Monthly Archives: July 2010

Wednesday, 7/28/10, Public Square

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Homosexuality Part II

Mention “Gay Rights” in virtually any group of people and be prepared for a “spirited” debate. In those exchanges, I am regularly “accused” of being gay since “you must be gay to support those perverts.”

Well, I’m not gay, but I know plenty of folks that are and I want them to have the same rights that I do.

The laws regarding homosexual behavior are as varied as could possibly be. Even within the United States, sodomy was illegal until very recently, 2003, and even then it was a 6-3 vote by the Supreme Court. In 1986, the Court upheld the constitutionality of sodomy laws.

Homosexual acts are still punishable by prison sentences and even the Death Penalty in some countries. What is truly bizarre is the number of countries where male homosexual acts are illegal, but female homosexual acts are not.

The strangest of all is the law in Guyana where male homosexuality is punishable by life in prison, but female homosexuality is legal.

Go figure. They must have watched “The Hunger” one too many times.

Despite a lot of efforts, Gay Rights are still few and far between. The “Defense of Marriage Act” allows states to refuse to recognize marriages that are legal in neighboring states.  The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy still allows otherwise patriotic and valuable soldiers to be discharged for being gay.

Even normally liberal leaning California recently voted for a constitutional ban on Gay Marriage. The Texas Republican Party 2010 platform calls for the “criminalization” of Gay Marriage and a return to the sodomy laws that were overturned by the Supreme Court. Until 2006, there was an effort in the Senate to establish a United States constitutional ban on Gay Marriage.

The thread photo captures the irrational fear of homosexuality that marks much of the anti-gay debate. If what James and Aaron do in their bedroom is a threat to national security, then our national security system is sorely lacking.

There is no doubt that the battle for equality for gays and lesbians is an uphill struggle. Changes in attitudes and biases don’t come easily.

Thoughts?

(Part III tomorrow.)


William Stephenson Clark

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Tuesday, 7/27/10, Public Square

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Look who is in bed together

RNC Chairman Michael Steele and conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart

The Republican National Committee has invited Andrew Breitbart, who was just caught last week disseminating the highly misleading footage of Shirley Sherrod that cost her her job, to a fundraising event in August. He’s not just any old guest, either: He and RNC Chairman Michael Steele are co-hosting the welcoming reception on August 12. The RNC confirmed to Talking Points Memo that the event is going on, but refused to comment on the guest list.

Read more here.

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Homosexuality Part I

(In the interest of full disclosure, your not so humble columnist is a heterosexual man and therefore is less than qualified to write on this subject, but I am the only one here, so somebody has to do it.)

In researching for these columns, I came across a staggering array of statistics, many at odds with one another. In just merely looking for a base number of the percentage of homosexuals within the population, I found a range of two percent to six percent, with claims that from twenty to forty-five percent of people have had homosexual experiences. Recent polling in the United States (2004 and 2008) indicates a gay population of about four percent.

It is no wonder that the subject has so many varying points of view if researchers cannot even agree on how many people are actually homosexual.

Numbers aside, homosexuality has had a varied history, as well. Until 1973, the American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a disorder. In Ancient Rome, however, all the emperors, save one, took male lovers.  In some societies, male relationships with adolescent youths were encouraged and even celebrated. Artwork, throughout history, depicts both gays and lesbians in a positive light. Even in the Middle East, Persians had “wine boys” serve them in the taverns of the day.

So, how is a homosexual “born?”

Well, even that question is debated among professionals.

While the general consensus among most is that homosexuals are “born that way,” the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2004 stated:

“Sexual orientation probably is not determined by any one factor but by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences.”

Interesting. What “environmental influences” would cause someone to “choose” or “become” gay?

(Since I am trying to treat a serious subject with respect, I will refrain from any jokes about Tele Tubbies, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood or Bert and Ernie.)

The Religious Right and even some moderates and liberals claim that homosexuality is a choice. There are varying reasons behind their claims, but in my view, those claims are just a feeble attempt at justifying that last acceptable form of bigotry.

Thoughts?


(Part II of III tomorrow.)



William Stephenson Clark

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Monday, 7/26/10, Public Square

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WHITE PRIVILEGE

Take some time and think back over your personal life, list the times that the color of your skin has been a personal privilege? And the times the color of your skin has been a personal disadvantage?  Not another persons privilege or disadvantage, not some story you have heard of others.  Yours personally, some you may qualify as a guess or perhaps a could have been so.

But seldom does anyone actually have someone else say I am giving you privilege or disadvantage because of the color of your skin!  You can state that you could not see it, you were one out of a hundred people that applied for the same job. You did not see the other 99 so you have no idea who they were or the color of their skin. You might have got the job, but would have been the only white out of the hundred meaning the other 99 was a minority.

So, that means you should feel guilty of being the beneficiary of racism right?  You should be recognizing that there is white privilege and that is a point made by a guest on the Dillon Ratigan show.  Now since looking back, you personally, of all you have or had was it in your mind because of the color of your skin or because of your efforts?

On a personal level, I can not imagine anyone actually saying that the car in the drive or the roof over your head was because you are white. There is the problem that Torne said is the stumbling block to an understanding between the races.  The refusal of the whites to acknowledge on a personal level that they benefit from ‘White Privilege.’  But like the guy who asked me if I felt guilty for what my people did to his people? When everything he could list is something I had not done and knew no one who had.

One of my best friends grew up in a family of five children, where each day one member had to not eat a meal and their mother only ate once a day because there was not enough food for everyone to eat.  Over the years they lived in houses that were not much better then what people house their chickens in or store the mower in the winter.  It is vulgar, but is the truest example of how poor this family was:  “My friend’s family was so poor when he was growing up that if he did not wake up with a hard-on, he had nothing to play with the rest of the day!”  For his third birthday, his mother gave him a broken alarm clock as his birthday gift.  The rest of the story and one that is true of the rest of his life.  He took it apart and made it work!  And the alarm clock is an example of everything that life has given him.  Whenever life has given him a broken alarm clock he has taken it apart and made it work.

Therein lies the problem, few if any of us can look back and point to any time that white privilege has worked in our favor. We have seen the story of our life from the inside out not the other way around.  To tell my friend that because of being born with the color of his skin he has he was privileged. You would be expecting him to believe something that is invisible to him.

The same problem a Christian would have with a non-believer.  Without an example in his life to point to, you can not convince him that he should recognize it being there!

The same goes with me, never have I ever felt like because of the color of my skin that I have been privileged.  It was not until KAKE TV said it that I knew I lived in a “Socially-Economically depressed neighborhood”.  Only on  rare occasions did I ever feel like the color of my skin has been a disadvantage. In a life time everyone can and will feel that as an explanation for the outcome.

That your age was a matter, the color of someone else’s skin was a deciding factor, the gender you are was the matter.  Sadly like the stories you hear of, it is the truth.  Defecation occurs and life, people and society is far from perfect.

And like history, it can not be charged once written only the blank page of the future is write-able.

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