Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Maryland black pastor gives excellent defense of marriage equality

Rev. Delman Coates
As marriage equality moves closer to becoming a reality in Maryland, it's important to remember something.

The National Organization for Marriage is playing the divide and conquer game between the gay and black community to the hilt and will continue to play this game with the help of some of the area's black pastors.

But not all black pastors are participating in this mockery. From NPR:

Reverend Delman Coates is a pastor at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, located in Prince George's County, Maryland, where skepticism about gay marriage is high. He talks to us about his evolution of thought on this issue.

From Truth Wins Out comes portions of this excellent interview:

The opening moments of the interview feature a short excerpt from one of Reverend Coates’ sermons; it’s delivered in that intense rhetorical style traditionally favored by fire-and-brimstone preachers, except that he’s using this voice to scold his flock for religion-based bigotry. It makes for remarkable listening, and the interview that follows will put heart into LGBT activists who have despaired of other Christian leaders’ position on civil rights. If he’s a political conservative (and he declines to discuss his personal views on homosexuality), then he’s a rational, intellectually honest one of a type we seldom hear from these days.
“My support for the Civil Marriage Protection Act,” says Reverend Coates, “is rooted in my heartfelt sense that in America, we have to protect public policy from personal and private theology and personal belief.
“I think the principles of our country are founded upon the ideals of our Constitution which protect religious freedom and institutional autonomy, yet at the same time preserve individual liberty as well. I’m really concerned about the way in which in many of our public-policy conversations…people are using theology as a basis for public policy. I think that’s a dangerous precedent.
“Governments fund things that are against people’s religious beliefs, personal theology and doctrine, all the time. Right now, local governments and municipalities allow for alcohol establishments, liquor stores in communities, gambling, and yet at the same time religious institutions teach their parishioners not to engage in these activities.
“There’s a difference between our public policy imperatives and our theological imperatives. Our challenge is to live in our faith…not to legislate it.
“We want foreign policy decisions as Americans to be based on sound intelligence. We want it to be based on credible threats. We don’t want foreign policy decisions for example, to be based on the theology of a particular religious tradition….
“We know that there could come a point in the future when the majority now is no longer the majority…I want to make sure that, 200 years from now, if my local church and those who worship in the local church, are no longer the majority in the local and national community, that our rights are preserved from the theological musings and understandings of whomever might be in the majority at that time. So I think it’s critically important for us to figure out a way to segregate and to separate public policy from theology.”

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'NC anti-gay amendment organizer says even maggots wouldn't have a gay relationship' and other Tuesday midday news briefs

Top @Vote4MarriageNC ally on gays: 'I don't even think maggots would do that' - First "diaper pastor" Patrick Wooden and now this guy, Ron Baity:

According to Jeremy Hooper:

Ron Baity is such a big part of the campaign to put a gay marriage ban into North Carolina's constitution that the Associated Press, The Winston-Salem Journal, and a number of local news stations have used the pastor as a commentator in the past month alone. He's also the guy who organized that big rally last May, at which prominent figure like Tony Perkins showed up to speak.

You gotta love those allies the National Organization for Marriage is counting on for a "respectful conversations" about marriage equality in North Carolina.

 In other news:

Gay ceremony at ag museum nixed - Because apparently lgbtqs don't pay taxes in Mississippi (snark).

Indiana Lawmaker: Girl Scouts ‘Radicalized Organization' Promoting 'Homosexual Lifestyle' - I knew there was something strange about those "thin mints."

Update: El Paso Mayor John Cook wins recall appeal - I love it when homophobic actions backfire.

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My problem with GoProud - where is the pride?

Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron of GoProud

The Republican gay group GoProud has been given a lot of negative names by many in the lgbtq community from "quislings" to "sell-outs" to "Uncle Toms."

While I'm not as descriptive of my displeasure of GoProud, believe me when I say that it's there.

I'm not a fan of GoProud for many reasons.

Now I could go on about how it is representative of the bourgeois myth of the gay male that I found so offensive when it was trotted out by Showtime network via that abysmal show Queer As Folk.

And I could make a point to mention how I have yet to see any gay men of color in the group (although I have been assured that black gay men are members).

But my single problem with GoProud is not necessarily what the organization represents, but what it hasn't done.

There is a consistent degree of immaturity with GoProud which I find annoying. Spokespeople of the group, Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia, seem to go on and on about the so-called intolerance of the "gay left" and how they are "pariahs" because they are conservative Republicans.

They seem to take some sort of demented pleasure in this whining.

Meanwhile . . .

Tony Perkins of the anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council is still looked upon by members of the Republican Party (and members of the media) as a legitimate conservative leader.

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council is still being called to be an "expert witness" in front of state legislative committees, when he is not creating phony social studies on the the lgbtq community.

Republican speaker of the House John Boehner is still wasting taxpayer dollars defending DOMA via abysmal junk science.

Republican state legislative bodies are attempting to pass all sorts of mean-spirited anti-gay laws, such as the "Don't Say Gay" bill in Tennessee.

And the National Organization for Marriage is trying to wreak havoc on marriage equality nationwide while simultaneously sitting on its haunches and waiting for the Republican primaries to end so it can attach itself to the winner like a fungus.

It's not the "gay left" behind these endeavors, but conservatives and the Republican party.  However, to my knowledge, GoProud has commented on very few - if any - of these anti-gay actions within the enclave it claims to be a member of.

And therein lies the problem I have with GoProud.

I may not agree with its philosophy as a Republican group, but I would respect the organization more if it spent as much time calling out the Republican party  and the religious right for their attacks on the lgbtq community as it does whining about the "gay left."

Pointing the finger at the supposed monsters on the other side of the fence while ignoring the fire breathing dragons in your court makes you look rather hypocritical.

Does GoProud have any gumption? Does it have any guts to challenge the disgusting status quo within the Republican party - the status quo which rewards you in terms of how anti-gay your position is or how many ways you can show your homophobia without shouting the dreaded "f" word.

I doubt it.  Instead, GoProud seems to be going hardcore with the martyr act, thereby devoting too much time and energy to splitting the lgbtq community into opposite and divisive camps.

I sincerely hope that this is not an intentional goal of GoProud. It leaves one wondering just who is really pulling the strings of the organization.

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