Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ask us

I had written last week about a coalition of progressive pastors and church people who declared their support for marriage equality in Michigan in contrast to a group the week before who had trumpeted how anti-gay they said the church should be. Between the Lines has more on the pro-gay event.

It was very much a press conference, a presentation for the media. And some of it was aimed at the media. As in a demand to stop portraying the hateful voices as mainstream Christian voices. You want stories on what the church thinks of marriage equality? Ask us. That other stuff you hear is not our voice. We believe in a God of love, compassion, and inclusion. We oppose a portrayal in the medial of Christians who talk about hate of the gay community. The rest of what was said is what we expect to hear from progressive denominations.

Every year many of the state politicians head to Mackinac Island for the Policy Conference put on by the Detroit Regional Chamber. I think it used to be mostly a GOP thing, but I hear lots of Dems now go too. Today, at this year's event, Gov. Rick Snyder declared his support for adding sexual minorities to the state's civil rights act. Good news indeed! This is, of course, after a slew of Michigan corporations demanded our inclusion in the law. House Speaker Jase Bolger is still trying to balance our rights with religious liberty -- which is a mental exercise able to tie a politician's brain into enough knots that he can't do anything.

GOP Representative Charlie Dent from Pennsylvania has stated his support for marriage equality! Life is too short for government to stand in the way of love. He is one of only three GOP members in the House in favor of equality. There are another three in the Senate. Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin notes Dent's pronouncement doesn't cost him a whole lot. It was a week ago that GOP Gov. Corbett announced there would be no appeal of the marriage equality ruling. Also, Dent's district is moderate. He has no GOP primary opponent and no Dem opponent in the fall. Even so, we appreciate any GOP voice for equality.

The Human Rights Campaign sent a letter to Pope Francis asking him to meet with nine teachers who lost jobs at Catholic schools for either being LGBT or being an LGBT ally. The activist group Queer Nation is not impressed and is calling HRC hypocritical. The big reason is HRC is supporting a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that has an expansive religious exemption allowing, for example, the firings these Catholic schools just did. Some folks are calling for dropping ENDA. It is time to include sexual minorities in existing civil rights legislation. That avoids the messy religious exemptions.

My spirea bloomed this year, one of the few plants in my yard that did. I planted it many years ago in honor of my grandmother who had several bushes of spirea around her house.

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