Showing posts with label Love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Love. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Correction to Yesterday's Post, Martin Luther King Jr. Quote Is Not Completely Accurate But Is Still as Scathing

     The quote attributed to Martin Luther King Jr. that I used in yesterday's post and that is being disseminated in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death is not completely accurate.  
     A Facebook user posted her own thoughts followed by King's quote.  Somewhere in the electronic game of "Telephone" that is social media, her original introductory sentence and the actual King quote were combined into a single quote.  Those little things called quotation marks make a huge difference.  (See Eats, Shoots & Leaves for more on the importance of proper punctuation.)

     The actual quote is from King's book Strength to Love, page 53.  It reads: 
     Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence.
     The Detroit Free Press reported that the first sentence — the part referencing “thousands” supposedly comes from Twitter user Jessica Dovey, who tweeted this morning at Jillette: “I am the original author of the ‘MLK’ quote. Somewhere my words got mixed with his.” Jillette then retweeted her tweet containing the admission.
     Even if the entire quote didn't come from King's lips, it doesn't devalue the meaning of what's being disseminated.  The unblemished King quote is stronger because it doesn't devalue the feelings of relief and redress belonging to those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. Also, the actual quote is  more universal and just as scathing of the condemnatory religious comments by Mike Huckabee, etc. and the actions of those who are boasting.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Egyptian Muslims Risk Lives to Protect Worshiping Coptic Christians

     On New Year’s Day, a devastating terrorist bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt killed 21 people and injured 79 others. Although the identity of the culprits was not known, it was assumed that they were Muslim extremists, intent on targeting those they saw as heretics. Religious tensions immediately rose in the country, and angry Copts stormed streets, battled with police, and even vandalized a nearby mosque. The riots and heightened tensions between the Muslim and Coptic communities was likely what the terrorists wanted — to divide the Egyptian community and create sectarian strife between different religious groups.
     Yet by Coptic Christmas Eve, which took place Thursday night in Egypt, things had changed completely. As Egyptian Copts attended mass at churches across the country, “thousands” of Muslims, including “the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak,” joined them, acting as “human shields” to protect from terrorist attacks by extremists. The Muslims organized under the slogan “We either live together, or we die together,” inspired by Mohamed El-Sawy, an Egyptian artist.
     Now, if only we could get American Christians to stop putting targets on their fellow Christians' heads...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

CNN's Report on the Minnesota Catholic Church's Anti-Gay DVD, Archbishop Nienstedt's Response: LGBT Allies' "Eternal Salvation" at Risk

     The fallout continues following Catholic Archbishop Nienstedt's offensive anti-gay-civil-rights DVD release.  In the CNN report embedded below, the Catholic parents of gay child are told by Neinstedt that their "eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversion of heart on this topic."

     Also in the CNN report is Lucinda Naylor, the artist fired by the Catholic Church for her protest of the DVD release.  After Naylor, a few "loving" Catholics are interviewed, who want to help "sinful" gays forsake their ways by putting billboards up and commercials on TV every night that expose homo's "sins."  But these loving Catholics aren't bullies, because it's not picking on a homosexual to fire them for getting married.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns' Impassioned Speech on LGBT-Bullying-Related Teen Suicides

     Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns spoke last night about the recent string of LGBT-bullying related suicides.  He makes an impassioned plea to children considering suicide to not give up on life and then to parents and adults to make a difference and end the hate and the bullying.

     His impassioned speech is worth watching in whole.  (It brought me to tears.)  

     Just hold on. It really does get better.
     That's the message Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns shared in an emotional speech during Tuesday night's council meeting, saying his goal was to reach out to youths everywhere who are struggling with being gay.
     During a moving speech, Burns said it tears him up each time he hears about youths taking their own lives somewhere in America after being bullied because of their sexuality or simply struggling with it.
     Burns, who is gay, said he'd like to give his 13-year-old self -- who also struggled with being gay -- glimpses into the future.
     His younger version would see him meeting his partner, being loved by his parents, winning a City Council election, Burns said.
     "High school was difficult, coming out was painful," he said. "I want to tell any teen who is watching this, life will get better. ... Life will get so, so, so much better."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bob Davis and Henry Schalizki Married in DC after Six Decades Together

          In 1942, Bob Davis and Henry Schalizki met while serving their nation during World War II.  They fell in love and have been a committed couple since 1948.  Over six decades they found the acceptance of friends, family, and even their military superiors (who invited them to events as a couple).  Now, in Washington, DC, they have finally been able to declare to those who know them, "We're married."

Bob in his days as a popular Baltimore radio announcer and Henry in the Navy

     The Washington Blade's video report of the couple's history and their wedding is embedded below.  

     Listening to their story, seeing their love, and their commitment, it's incredible that many  compassionate and honest religious people continue to believe that committed couples such as Henry and Bob are diabolical.   

     Click here for pictures of the wedding, via The Washington Post.
     Henry says one of the secrets to longevity in a relationship/marriage is "I'm always right and he gets his way." 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lutheran Restorative Justice for LGBTQ Christians Terminates Millennia of Discrimination and Hate

     The Huffington Post reports:

     After twenty-five years of deliberation, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Church Council has abolished its anti-gay policies, effective immediately. Following from discussions at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly last summer, the ELCA will now allow people in same-sex relationships to serve as rostered leaders. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) human beings are no longer considered abominations but blessed church members with full standing. Same-sex partners and families can now fully participate in the ELCA Pension Plan.
     Best of all, the ELCA is reinstating people who were removed from ministry positions because they were truthful and came out of the closet, as well as those who conducted holy unions for non-heterosexual couples. The ELCA has practiced restorative justice.
     The Lutherans -- breaking from Garrison Keillor stereotypes as shy, retiring, or stoic -- said, "Just do it!" All votes passed overwhelmingly, with no votes against and no drawn-out hassles about how to implement the policies.
     I'm proud of my Lutheran friends, some of whom are voting members of the ELCA.  By throwing out all discriminatory practices against LGBTQ persons and by restoring those who were thrown out in the past because they were honest about being gay or a supporter of equality and love for all people, the ELCA has embodied the reconciling love that the Jesus of Nazareth of the scriptures offered to marginalized and oppressed persons.

     Can you imagine if, instead of continuously blaming gays for the sexual abuse crisis or condemning the so-called "gay culture" in Vatican documents or electing a pope that referred to his own gay priests as "filth," the Roman Catholic Church did the same?

     Who would Jesus discriminate?  The ELCA has joined the United Church of Christ and Episcopal Church to firmly answer that question: "Not homosexuals!"

     Makes me wonder how any closeted gay Catholic priest, who still believes in the whole god thing can remain in a church hierarchy that smacks them with such theological violence.

Photo by NCinDC


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy V-D

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
Epicurus, circa 300 BCE
     And now for something not so completely different, courtesy of Monty Python...

Thursday, December 31, 2009

7th Hate of Christmas: Lonely New Year's Eves

The 7th Hate of Christmas According to Heretic Tom:

     I cried myself to sleep tonight, before the clock turned to midnight and people from the Canadian tundra to the Costa Rican jungle cheered joyfully and kissed their romantic others.  I cried myself to sleep for the second New Year's Eve in a row.  Alone.

     The year is now 2004.  It's 2:07 AM.  At least I slept for three hours.  That's more than I've been getting lately.  I can't sleep.  I can't stay awake.  I go through my days in some sort of liminal hell between depressive consciousness and restless shards of dreams.  Most nights, like tonight, I cry myself to sleep.  Alone.

     I spent a few days after Christmas with my family at my sister's house.  There I realized just how sick I am, how endangered I am.

     I was sitting alone, in the sunlight of the living room, listening to the old tape in my head that's been playing for decades.  Over the past eighteen months, since I was ordained a priest, the tape's volume has steadily been growing louder.

     "I'm a loser.  I'm unsalvageable, going to hell.  Nothing I do matters.  I'm a sick faggot: depraved.  I will always be this way, a failure: a homo, a sinner, a person to be used, abused and then thrown away."

     My sister entered the living room and asked me what was wrong.  I couldn't talk.  I just cried, like I am right now, as I stare at the ceiling over my bed.  She hugged me as I sobbed.

     "Uncle Tommy?"

     My two and a half year old nephew, stood before us, his big blue eyes peering out past his straw-blond hair, confused.  I couldn't stop crying, even for his sake.  He ran to my feet, climbed up onto my lap and hugged me and said, "I love you Uncle Tommy."

     I wanted to believe him, but I didn't.  I couldn't believe him.  In my depleted mind, there was only the old tape and its incessant iterations: "Nobody could love you.  Pathetic.  Sinner.  Loser.  Wimp.  Repulsive..."

     In that moment, I realized that I was sick, and that not even the power of my loving nephew's sweet hugs and honest love could penetrate my depression.

     A few days later, I returned to my parish.  I cried all the way from Chicago O'Hare to the rectory in Iowa.  Thankfully, the pastor Fr. Angerer had already vacated the premises, going to Boystown in Chicago for his New Year's festivities.

     Alone, I went through the motions.  I made it through the New Year's Eve Masses celebrating the Feast of Mary the Mother of God.  What bullshit!  I've never bought the whole Marion adoration, the myths, the "infallible" dogmas of the 19th century and their reverse revelation about what really happened two thousand years ago to a supposed virgin, but still I teach it focusing on the spiritual not the historical.  I was ordained to serve the church and to teach what it teaches, not what my depraved intellect discerns.  As with every other teaching with which I disagree in good conscious, I obediently choose to sell a little bit of my integrity, my soul, for the mission of the church.

     But even larger parts of my soul have been whored out to holy mother church.  I'm gay, but publicly in the closet.  In college and seminary, I was sexually exploited and harassed by priests, with whom I now work side by side, acting for the people in the pew like they are the holiest and healthiest priests alive.  I gave up the chance for love in the final months of my seminary life in Baltimore.  I loved!  I was loved in return, and it was holy, good, and real.  But, the man I love, now a vowed celibate like me, has cut me off, rejected me, in the name of god and what is good.  And it is good, our vocations.  We're helping people.  Our sacrifice, our lost love, will flower in their joy.  My celibacy, my pain, and my wounds will water their salvation.

     But nothing is alive anymore.

     I stare at the ceiling depressed, sobbing in the New Year, alone, afraid to act, paralyzed.  Then it hits me, my New Year's resolution: I'm done with fear.  I'm done bowing to the institutionalized homophobia of what "they" say on the other side of the closet.  I'm done fearing myself and beating myself up for not being what the church says god thinks I should be, for who can know the mind of god?  I'm done being afraid of what will happen to my career, my security, my healthcare, my future, and my reputation should I come out to my bishop about being gay and what I've endured at the hands of other priests that were supposed to be helping me be celibate, but only used me for their gratification.

     I don't know it right now, but this will be the last New Year's that I cry myself to sleep.  This will be the year that I conquer the fear.

     I don't fall back to sleep.  I watch 2004's first sunrise through my bedroom widow from frightened eyes, but that's okay.  I enter the fear, embracing it, confronting it, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

3rd Hate of Chistmas: Divorce

The 3rd Hate of Christmas According to Mrs. Levine:

Vintage illustration of a father reading the newspaper with his daughter Pictures, Images and Photos
     My grandma used to say, “You were the apple of your daddy’s eye.” I have one picture where I can see what she meant. I’m four, in a red and white frilly dress with thick white tights and black patent leather shoes. My daddy is holding me upside down above his head, looking up into my face, laughing. I’m squealing, looking down at him, laughing, the apple of my daddy’s eye. I love a lot of things about Christmas, but that’s the one I hate. It reminds me of what was lost.
     Shortly after that picture was taken, my dad started a custody battle. My parents had already been divorced for two years, but they were both about to remarry. It was time to start anew, and they wanted to take half of the old with them. Me.
     My dad is someone who gives up easily. So is my mom. This is how I know that I must have been equally as important to them at one point in my life. My mom won that battle, and my dad gave up. He remarried, stopped paying child support, had four boys, and showed up two hours late every other weekend to pick me up. I didn’t know how completely he had given up, though, until he gave me a Pizza Hut promotional basketball for my twelfth birthday. Secret Twenty-Four, Revealed. I’ve always hated basketball. I should have been grateful, though. After that birthday, he forever stopped sending presents or cards.
     Around fourteen-years-old I started needing him. My mom divorced and remarried again. I was looking to boys to make me feel valued. I had large breasts that the boys wanted to touch, so it was easy to get them to love me. I wanted to know my dad loved me. The way that manifested was to send his family cards for everything. All four half brothers got cards for every birthday. Occasionally I sent money. My dad got a card on his birthday. My step-mother got a card on her birthday, which coincidently is the day after my own. I sent Christmas cards, Thanksgiving cards, Graduation cards, and Father’s Day cards. I never got a single one in return. When I got married, something about my husband filled that hole and I finally stopped sending cards.
     Last year my husband said, “I think you need to try to see your dad this Christmas.” I’d been debating it for months. I had his phone number tucked into a book somewhere. I hadn’t bothered to remember which book. I assumed he lived at the same address. I hadn’t seen him since my wedding, five years before. So, at my husband’s urging, I called him.
     I can’t tell you what happened from there. I can tell you the actions but not the meaning. We had a series of four awkward phone calls trying to arrange when I would drive three hours over icy roads to get to his house in the next state over from my mom’s. At one point he offered to come and get me. But in the end, when there was only the date left to arrange, he never called back.
     And so it is Christmas, and I’m wondering do I put myself through this again? He’s a good man. I love him, otherwise I wouldn’t have tried so hard over the years, but he’s someone who gives up easily. And I continue to battle being given up time and time again. I know he loves me, but he’s too ashamed of himself to show it. He, quite miraculously, had a daughter that doesn’t give up. It’s a fact that apparently hurts us both.
     I try not to take my mother’s advice on men, but she says that men need time before they can see what’s important to them in life. She thinks that men are too concerned about themselves for most of their lives to really notice the people in it. She thinks that my father, like her own, will come back around and need me nearer to the end of his life, that I will again be the  apple of his eye.
     I’ve now been something like seventeen Christmas without seeing him. Seventeen X-mases and I'm still playing that goddamn tape in my head:
     All I want for Christmas is to know my daddy loves me.
(Read more by Mrs. Levine at her blog: Whispered between Women)

**Picture reblogged from Chronically Vintage.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Out of the Desert

The forty days in the desert of hate have come to pass.

It's time to celebrate.

Tell someone that you love them today.

All you need is love!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why Hate?

In the desert a voice cries out: “Proclaim a fast! Blow the trumpet. Call an assembly. Gather the elders. The time for catharsis is here. Embrace your wrath, your hatred. Forsake love for the sake of finding it again.”
-The Gospel According to Hate 1:1

For the next forty days and forty nights I’m fasting. I’m wandering into the heart of the dark forbidden desert of my hate. You are cordially invited to come along.
What lies in the heart of my hatred: wisdom, healing, or even love? Or are the shame-filled voices of my religious past correct? Will exploring my hatred breed only more resentment? Will I find only despair? Will I sink myself in a sea of ire?
“Why hate?” you ask, “Why go there? What good can you possibly find?”
You see, I have this enormous fear, one that has hounded me for decades, and, at age thirty-five, I find myself unable to elude it. My optimism has been consumed; my hope, spent. I did my best to love my neighbor as myself. I loved my enemies and prayed for my persecutors, but the truth that was supposed to set me free has failed.
Everywhere I turn, I’m greeted by fearful faces speaking with hateful voices, but no one admits it. Denial is the true “Way”—the gospel of our globalized culture. We deny not only our own feelings and how they affect our decisions and our relationships at home, but also how they negatively impact the poor, vulnerable, ill, and marginalized. Good guys are finishing last, and bad guys are reaping the benefits of their deceit, greed, and ignorance. I feel the optimism of my youth slipping away, my inner voices of hope and awe drowning in a cacophony of anger, pain, and resentment.
I stand at the precipice of my greatest fear: becoming a jaded old bastard, a cynic with no sense of awe, a misanthrope without the ability to trust or love.
I don’t want to be a hateful person, so it’s time to do something about it. It’s time to face my fear, to turn and run into the face of it, to leap into the unfathomable chasm. I’m going on a forty day diet of hate (for you religious folks out there: a hate fast or a Jesuit spiritual retreat of hateful reflection). I’m naming my fear and entering it.
Wasn’t it Aristotle who first said that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference?
This will not be a journey of indifference. This will be a journey of passion and honesty. I hope that honestly naming my hate will help to understand it, overcome it, and maybe to move beyond it, but really, I have no idea where this will end, if naming my hate will temper it and transform it into something less powerful or if I will still end up like the crusty old cynics that I saw in the seminary and priesthood, no longer men, but shells of resentment and regret.
 What I do know is that the most common confessions that I heard while a priest were for anger or hatred. Many of us have been religiously conditioned to fear our feelings viewing them as sins. We’re taught to cut them out, bury them deep within, or to exorcise them with prayer. Well, that hasn’t worked for me.
So, here I go. I’m on the edge of the dark precipice. Those of you, who already hate me, may be itching to push me in. Too late! I’m diving.

The hate feast will begin on Sunday, October 4, 2009, and conclude forty days later on November 12, 2009.
Until then, it’s a Marti Gras of love!