Archive for the ‘LGBT’ category

Which Side Of History?

June 25, 2020

Terry Gonda, a music director at her parish near Detroit, was told she would be fired because she is married to a woman.  The marriage was not a recent event and Ms Gonda had been active in the church for several years.  Why now, and for what reason?

  • First and foremost, Ms Gonda was not fired for job performance reasons.  Hmmm.
  • Second, bureaucracies move slowly to be sure, so the Archdiocese of Detroit may simply have not gotten around to firing Ms Gonda until last Friday… or was the diocese quietly betting that the Supreme Court would hold that Title VII definition of “sex” did not include LGBTQ members… and just got it wrong.

The Catholic Church has encountered many conflicts with what the Church has defined as dogma and believes as undeniably “true”.  Disappointingly, the Catholic Church has been on the wrong side of history uncomfortably often.  Famously Galileo put forward the notion that planets, including the earth, traveled around the sun, and refuted the church’s notion that all bodies traveled around the earth. (Why would the church even hold such a view?)  But for Galileo,  the Catholic Church disagreed and convicted Galileo in a church trial.  

Being on the right side of history, especially when the reason to be on the wrong side is based upon “dogma” or “unfounded beliefs” begs clear thinking and courage.  Once history vindicates the agonizing choice, everything looks easy.  In the 21st century, with medical science providing plenty of evidence that sexual orientation has a huge body chemistry component, continuing to ostracize LGBTQ humans seems a bit anachronistic.  

Of course recognizing LGBTQ humans does represent a risk for any religious organization.  For years, the average religious participant has been force fed a diet that says the individual church member is “better” than “those people”.  Eternal salvation is there for the asking… of course, with a little donation of currency too.

Wouldn’t one think that in 2020 religions are better than the Detroit Archdiocese example?  

So, It’s All About Abortion And Maybe LGBTs?

December 12, 2017

The Alabama special election for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions is taking place today. Regardless of who wins, Judge Roy Moore or Doug Jones, the real loser will be common sense.  Questions will remain whether the electorate can think clearly through complex issues. The main culprit is evangelical religion as practiced in the bible belt and particularly in Alabama.

Judge Roy Moore is the Republican candidate and as such should be the expected winner.

Moore, however, on any reasonable basis of “fitness for office” should be disqualified based upon his record as a Alabama court member. Moore was twice removed from office for not complying with lawful directives from higher courts. The recent allegation of Moore’s predilection for much younger women, and alleged inappropriate relations with a 14 year old represent a “he said, she said” issue and if Jones and Moore were tied in voter’s minds, might be enough to tilt the election Jones’ way. But that is not the case.
Republican voter after voter has said in interviews that Judge Moore represents their religious convictions and everything else be damned.

Abortion (or killing the unborn as these pious Alabamians say) is the issue, period.

What type of poisonous thoughts have these people been indoctrinated with? One is left to wonder how one can judge one life (the unborn) against the mother’s life if the mother’s life was threatened? And what about capital punishment or military service? Where is the bigger thinking about raising a family of several children when health or economic means would better allow?

These same evangelicals are quick to push forward their “holier than thou” views opposing a woman’s right to choose and hold slightly out of sight their views that the LGBT community are all sinners and as such lesser people. What type of religious institutions can teach such extreme hatred for fellow humans?

This type of extreme thinking also explains why so many Americans voted for Donald Trump whose life is hardly in alignment with biblical teachings.  Trump has said he was opposed to abortion and has half heartedly taken a swipe at transgender persons serving in the military. Go figure.

The greater issue on abortion is that abortion has been steadily decreasing, largely the result of contraception. It should be clear to everyone that the cycle of poverty can only be broken if family planning is a rational process and children are conceive with love and dedication to be raised into productive circumstances.

So, no matter how this election turns out, this subject will continue to be red meat for the bible thumpers and will be revisited again and again.

Politically Correct And Stupid

November 9, 2017

Danica Roem became the first transgender person to win a Virginia State House seat. Congratulations, of course, but what are the headlines in most news reports all about?

Is the conventional wisdom that transgender persons are in some way incapable of holding an elected office? Or is the subtext, that the Virginians are too opposed to transgender persons that elections to higher offices are near impossible?

Headlines such as “first woman”, “first black”, first black female”, etc are well known and have proven unremarkable in predicting the future. There have been, for example, African Americans elected to office who were very successful, as well as a few who were removed for criminal activity pretty much in the same proportions as non-African Americans.

IMO, these “first” headlines reflect a weakness in the news organizations’ intellectual level.   The “first” word is praise in “politically correct circles” but could be motivated by a naked attempt to attract more readers. Would news organizations do that?

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been criticized for its emphasis on important but non-core issue.  When election day arrived, Clinton was perceived as having not connected with many voters. We know the outcome of that missed opportunity.

Many Americans do not understand homosexuality and transgender choices are even less understood. Danica Room will be successful in office by what she brings and what she does, not because she is transgender.

Outside of office, Danica certainly can provide advice and support for others experiencing this transition. I wonder whether these news organizations will write about that?

Buying Votes?

August 26, 2017

President Trump cast his net this week in hopes of garnering votes for the 2020 election. Given where, however, the President cast his net, it would appear his efforts were directed at keeping 2016 voters rather than earning new ones. Hmmm.

President Trump began by calling out by name Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for not leading the Senate Republican majority to a victory in the “repeal and replace” fiasco. Senator John McCain was next for his deciding “no” vote and Senator Jeff Flake gained recognition “just because”. House Speaker Paul Ryan got his “shout out” over the House failure to put forward a Federal Debt Increase bill. Rounding out the shame list was Tennessee Senator Bob Corker who questioned President Trump’s fitness as President. I wonder what the President is thinking? Does he think vinegar will bring the bees to his flowers?

Next the President showed what the conservative Christian majority is really about. Lest you wonder, Christian behavior is not the answer. The President continued his efforts (delighting this group) to reverse policies which allowed transgender persons to serve in the military. With the armed forces leadership not pressing for this reversal, one wonders why the President wished to make this unforced error (singling out and demeaning a minority group)?

To complete the trifecta, President Trump decided to teach the nation a lesson in his version of the importance of the rule of law. The Teacher in Chief pardon former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio who had been convicted on Federal contempt of court charges. When directed by court rulings to cease profiling Phoenix area residents, Arpaio simply continued. Isn’t no man above the law?

There is a consistent theme among these actions, President Trump’s 2016 winning coalition had subsegments which, on learning of these actions, sat up and said, “that’s our President”.

Calling out Congressional leaders (Congress with a low double digit opinion rating), picking a fight with the “T” of the “LGBT” community (where no problem exists), and pardoning a sheriff who gave the middle finger to Federal Courts, all clearly satisfied President Trump’s base.  Yet these actions could have unfavorable blow back for the President. So, why did the President do these things?

The answer probably lies close to the thought, “President Trump couldn’t keep himself from doing them”.

Picking on others is what a bully does. Picking on others who will not or cannot strike back is even more what bullies do. And, degrading the institutions of Congress, the Military, and Federal Courts, seemed to the President asa means to elevate his own image in comparison.

I wonder who will tell the President that in this matter, the Commander in Chief has no clothes.

Bake Me A Cake

August 14, 2017

Jack Phillips is a baker from Colorado who denied serving a gay couple who asked him, in his capacity as a bake shop owner, to bake them a wedding cake (as he would for anyone else). Mr. Phillips claimed his deeply held religious views, which see homosexuality as a sin, prevented him from serving the gay couple. Colorado Courts have held against Mr Phillips but never the less, Mr Phillips has (clearly with outside support) appealed his case to the Supreme Court. Hmmm.

In the political world, pandering is a high art form. Some on the Supreme Court have been searching for a case to strengthen the First Amendment’s religious freedom clause and may see Mr Phillip’s case as a way to make a statement. IMO, the Supreme Court is entering very dangerous waters, especially if they should uphold an individuals right to discriminate.

Will the Court decide that in the cases of the LGBT community, discrimination (denial of service based upon sexual orientation) is acceptable?

What about deeply held religious views on race, gender, or white supremacy?

No one is saying Mr Phillips or any other holder of deeply held religious views cannot believe them or cannot lead their own life based upon these views. What should be at stake is that in a secular society, no one, regardless of how strongly held their personal religious views might be, has the right to impose their personal views on anyone else.

Regrettably, with the Hobby Lobby decision, the Court has already erred and may find this case too tempting and will reverse the Colorado Courts decision.

I wonder how the Court would rule if Mr Phillips had denied service to, say a Catholic or Baptist or Muslim for similar reasons?

The Bathroom Law Hoot

July 30, 2017

Americasn’ social awareness has evolved and continues to evolve. Homosexuality, which in years past, was the source of whispers, rumors, and outright disparagement has come out of the closet and, in all its multicolor stripes, shines brightly before all Americans. For some Americans this change has been just too much. “My whole life has informed me that this type of life style is wrong”, some say. Others add, “why even the Bible says its wrong.” Hmmm.

The acceptance of gays and gay life styles (by some Americans but not all) stems from largely the realization that someone they know or see regularly was gay and on top of that was respected when the person was in the closet. For this group of Americans, the recognition that the “gay” person was a contributing member of society was enough reason to change their minds. Gay life style was not a learned behavior, rather it was a natural condition for that person. Being gay was nature, not nurtured.

A fundamental of political life is to separate the whole into smaller groups and find ways to lump to gather a majority from these separate groups and produce a voting majority. Since gays are a minority, separating them out and emphasizing some aspects of gay life which could, in turn, cause “non-gays” to unite has been an obvious tactic.

And what better ally than to invoke god and the bible?

Gay men and lesbians were the easiest to understand. Gays and Lesbians were born that way. Transgender people, however, represented a much more difficult group to comprehend. Members of this group was born one gender and later sought to attain the physical characteristics and to live like the other gender. How is that possible?

For bible thumpers and the political low life’s who were ready to exploit them, the trans community was red meat. Discrimination against this group must be possible because they were less known and least understood. And most of all, clever discrimination could result in political victories.

When Charlotte passed an ordinance declaring it legal for someone to use the bathroom which matched their gender identification, North Carolina’s State elected officials had seen enough. (More to the point, many of these officials saw an opportunity). North Carolina passed a law (HB-2) which mandated that individuals had to use public restroom which match their birth gender. Hmmm.

After much debate and more importantly economic backlash from organizations such as the NCAA, the North Carolina legislation cried uncle and reversed the law. Now, here comes Texas.

Gallantly, Texas lawmakers worried about protecting innocent women from a transgender female (read male at birth) from entering a “female” marked restroom and doing something other than using the facilities. Hmmm.

Texas too demanded transgender people to use the restroom of their birth sex identity.

The hoot of this controversy lies in the realization that once someone has undergone a “trans” (transition from male to female or female to male), they no longer necessarily look like their former gender. Trans males often grow beards and trans women grow breasts.

Doesn’t anyone think that would present a give away if a big breasted “male” walked into a men’s room, or bearded “lady” entered a women’s room?

Of course, the real purpose behind these bathroom bills is power and searching for logic is non-sensical. And, to tell these “god fearing” christians that almost for certain they have already been using restroom while a transgender person was using it too could be too devastating to handle. Some things are better left unsaid.

What’s Going On?

December 18, 2016

It seems every news venue, radio or TV talk news program, or in the pages of the top newspapers, the subject, in some way, is about Donald Trump. Further, the inference questions (1) his victory as not legitimate, (2) his opinion poll numbers as terrible and getting worse, or that (3) he is hopelessly ensnared in conflict of interest situations. These reports question the wisdom of those who elected Donald Trump.  Hmmm.

There are, IMO, two important observations to remember. First, these same media outlets failed to point out the threat that the rust belt (or fire wall) States posed, and second, there are far more important matters about to impact Americans thanks to the upcoming Trump Administration.

Russian hacking and the subsequent Wikileaks disclosures were hardly earth shattering and even FBI Director Jim Comey’s totally out of place report to Congress was to a thinking person not decisive events. What the media could have reported was that despite overwhelming information on Donald Trump’s character, preparation, and natural disposition, a large group of voters could not care less. These voters cared only about their personal situation and preferred someone who offered them a life preserver, even if imaginary, to someone else who would be an adult in the room.

So it is now. Those “margin of victory” voters who decided the election thinking Trump was a great business man and was the only person who could deal with the economy and provide (good) jobs for everyone (but especially them) are still of the same mind.

This group cares little whether Donald Trump’s companies do well, even if the Trump Administration trades favors with foreign countries to boost more favorable outcomes for Trump enterprises… as long as these voters do well.

Rather than question Trump’s legitimacy, his razor thin temperament, or his near corrupt business dealings, the media would do well to inform all voters what other Trump and GOP policies are about to bring them.

Healthcare. The emphasis, the GOP says, will be on repealing Obamacare. With that, coverage of those under 26, those with pre-existing conditions, and those really sick Americans who exhaust some predetermined amount of coverage will be without coverage. In addition, Medicaid roles will be reduced and consequently hospital emergency room lines will increase while hospital balance sheets turn red. And while they are at it, Medicare will be up for improvements, read less coverage for more money. Buying the Trump line gets all this at the same price.

Social Security which these “margin of victory” voters expect to receive may look a bit different. Rather than a government managed benefit private enterprise might be called upon to offer 401K-like policies where social security taxes are invested by investment firms and the future of many Americans with no other means will ride upon the stock market.

Income inequality will become an accepted way of life. Work hard, get rich, and why worry. But for these “margin of victory” voters, there is no pot of gold waiting for them. Higher taxes on the richest or hire minimum wage levels are not going to happen. Income inequality will be transformed into what makes America Great Again (for the wealthy).

Regrettably there are other changes coming for which the “margin of victory” voters will not immediately register concern. For example, ignoring global warming, diminishing the EPA’s reach, pushing charter schools, expanding the concept of religious freedom (read making legal discrimination on the basis of deeply held religious beliefs) and reversing all sorts recent progress on inclusion will be the just reward for the “margin of victory” voters.

But the cruelest hoax will come under the flag, “cutting government spending” for the purpose of reducing the national debt.  Consider that the budget is currently unbalanced by about $600 billion or roughly the size of the defense budget.  So, there is suppose to be a massive tax cut, a massive investment in the infrastructure, and a rebuild of the military (to make it great again).  Where is the money going to come from to balance the budget?  Hmmm.  Cut baby cut.

Fasten your seat belts, the race to “Make America Great Again” is about to begin.

A Suspension Of Critical Thinking?

September 20, 2016

There should be no question that a Hillary Clinton victory will mean a dark period for those who support continued lax gun controls, or wish to turn back Roe v Wade, or seek new Federal “Religious Freedom” legislation in order to freely discriminate against the LGBT community. Vote against Hillary these Republicans think.

Clinton’s opponents also want to turn the Supreme Court back to conservative majority control. This would means more judicial support for campaign spending with dark money (Citizen United), greater religious freedom at someone else’s expense (Hobby Lobby), and much looser voting rights legislation (photo IDs). And don’t forget, Hillary will not be enacting any tax cuts. So from a GOP perspective, a Hillary victory is certainly something to worry about.

The problem at least some Republicans are having is that Donald Trump is their standard bearer. If Republicans want to achieve their social and economic goals, some how they have to accept Trump as the commander in chief and work to get him elected. Fortunately, at least some Republicans see a much greater risk in a President Trump.

There are strong bi-partisan arguments that the banking industry still can not be trusted (witness the recent Wells Fargo abuses), that corporate tax reform must be revenue neutral, and tax cuts for the wealthy do nothing for the overall economy. Simply eliminating Dodd-Frank, just cutting the corporate tax rate (and leaving corporate tax loop holes), and interpreting tax reform as cutting tax across the board, will open consumers to corporate greed.

And did I mention scrapping Obamacare, meddling with Medicare, and reducing Medicaid without sound alternatives will reinforce a two tier America.

The first question “thinking Republicans” should have if Clinton is elected, is how to avoid draconian legislation which will hamper Banks and Corporations from competing dynamically on the global stage. The second question is “how can we be sure what Donald Trump would do as President”?

The second question inevitably leads to what would a President Trump do, beyond these questions, on even more complex issues such as negotiating Trade Agreements, developing foreign policy, or handling domestic terrorist threats and acts?

It is no surprise to see single issue groups like the Chamber of Commerce, the NRA, and Pro-life organizations endorsing Donald Trump. These groups do not see much beyond their own proprietary interests.

Consider, in the current grid locked Congress, the chances of Democrats enacting any of their progressive ideas is pretty low (like zero). The chances, however, of a President Trump spontaneously acting in a manner which infringes individual freedoms, antagonizes foreign countries, and confuses financial markets seems distinctly more possible.

“Thinking Republicans” worry about these consequences.

The unanswered question may be “will too many Republicans suspend critical thinking and vote for Trump” or “will some Republicans recognize the danger and deny Trump their vote”?

Rome’s Queen Mary

September 13, 2016

Steady as she goes! Rome’s version of the Queen Mary is sailing by.

Vice President candidate Tim Kaine recently reiterated his support for gay issues including same sex marriage. Kaine said he remained strongly committed to his catholic faith. He reconciled his views and the Catholic Church’s because he believed the church would change its anti-gay marriage views some day. Hmmm.

Like the Queen Mary, its is tough to turn around.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week that a 14 year old was denied enrollment to a Camden (NJ) Catholic high school even though the student had been accepted and had paid the necessary deposit. The reason for denying entry was that the 14 year old applied for admission as a female and over the summer decided to begin the transition to a man. Camden Catholic said that “Mason” did not meet our “Catholic Identity” according to the news report. Hmmm.

Pictures of Madelyn now Mason reveal a clean cut, normal 14 year old. The school’s decision and the diocese’s quick statement of support show once again that the Catholic Church is stuck in a strangulating conservative grip, apparently feeling that if it denies the reality before its eyes, in time the world will suddenly conform to catholic dogma. Hmmm.

IMO, it works the other way.

Homosexuality has existed as long as recorded history. In a room of 20 people, the odds are that at least one is gay (either publicly or privately). The American public has changed it views of homosexuality markedly over the past 20 years as more and more successful people have outed themselves. Most of the secular public now seems to be saying, live and let live. In fact same sex marriage is the “law of the land”, not by legislative mandate but by the Supreme Court reading the publics minds.

The reasons someone is gay or lesbian is not clear, they just are (they didn’t learn it). More recently the public has begun to be exposed to transgender preferences. In these situations, a person identifies with the gender opposite to their birth gender. The more people who announce their changed gender preference, the more Americans perception of what is normal is being challenged.

But not the Catholic Church. They are blessed with greater knowledge, apparently.

With a clergy that some estimate to contain a third to one half homosexuals, the irony should not be lost. For adults, a transition to the opposite gender is usually accompanied with extensive counseling. For children/young adults, there is just as much or more need for compassion and support.

What a way for the Catholic Church to lead by example.

A Sound Thrashing May Miss The Mark

August 13, 2016

In the early weeks, post nominating convention period, Democrat Hillary Clinton appears to be pulling away from Republican Donald Trump. Her lead seems a result of sound “on the ground” campaigning, well financed campaign spending, and the complete opposite for the Republicans and Donald Trump. Hmmm.

If the current situation continues, Donald Trump will receive a well deserved thrashing and be sent back to his “Mar-a-Lago Club” in West Palm Beach, Florida to explain away his defeat.

While this may sound good, Trump’s disgrace and defeat could enable voters to overlook far more important matters. What about the GOP’s behavior for the past 6 years? What about the GOP’s platform and complete disregard for the average American, the LBGT community, undocumented workers, women, and healthcare?

Ironically, a landslide Trump defeat could result in a GOP loss of control of the Senate and possibly even the House. Such an outcome could be internalized by the GOP as down ballot collateral damage, not the result of policies squarely on the wrong side of history. With such an analysis, Republicans will again be reluctant to re-invent themselves into a relevant political party.

To be sure, it would be a very courageous move for the GOP to, in essence, jettison some of its narrow and petty factions whose goals do not help all Americans, play to minority prejudices, and attempt to conceal handouts to the wealthiest Americans.

Danger also lies in a Democrat landslide victory. Progressive views must be balanced by pragmatic counter views, or progressives will spend, spend, spend.

With income inequality acting as a malignant cancer spending through out the American body, there is not much time for another just say no Congress, or one that just says yes to more spending.  We need two Parties working on a common set of goals.