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Archive for the ‘Opines’ Category

We the People: Equal Justice under Law

Posted: Monday, March 25th, 2013
"Equal Justice Under Law" (SCOTUS)

Supreme Court building, Washington DC

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that big decisions shouldn’t be made by nine unelected Supreme Court justices. [Washington Post article covering a Sacramento, CA speech]

I am not a lawyer, but I disagree with that. We have a federal constitution whose Article Three spends a great deal of ink saying the American court system is in place to keep the majority from being a bully.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Without federal courts, the insanity that permeates policies in the state of Texas would have no check, no balance. The Constitution is in place as a social contract. It has the ability and duty to tell the hate-mongers to sit down. We have a Constitution that makes it unnecessary for anyone to vote on the basic rights of anyone. Marriage is one of the fundamental of being American.

LGBT Americans want… expect… to be treated equally. Nothing more. But certainly nothing less.

Bill Clinton: where we went

Posted: Friday, March 8th, 2013
Bill and Al's Excellent Adventure

Seriously Photoshopped picture that made the rounds in the 1991 presidential election.

Former president Bill Clinton wrote a piece published in the Washington Post in which he says it is time for marriage equality. That’s nice, but please pardon me if I don’t jump up and down breathlessly.

Bill Clinton is the president that got us into this mess. He signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). During his reelection bid, he even ran radio advertising touting how much he supported so-called “traditional” marriage.

Clinton also instituted Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), that awful military law that caused hundreds of LGBT soldiers out of their chosen line of work. Back then, Clinton met with several LGBT activists. When they expressed their displeasure over DADT, the president just shrugged and said we had to accept things.

“Where else are you going to go?” he asked.

I still remember DADT and DOMA. I’m still hurt that a politician who actively sought gay support would be so hateful in the laws he supported. I am still hurt that he would do radio commercials bragging about how he stuck it to us.

I know for a fact that his wife lost LGBT support because of the hurt of his presidential actions. Maybe we’d have our first female president already if Mr. Clinton hadn’t pushed DOMA and DADT. Maybe Hillary would be president if her husband hadn’t gone on radio to explain how anti-gay he was at heart.

“Where else are you going to go?”

Barack Obama, Mr. Clinton. I went with someone who did what he promised and didn’t change his tune to match what he considered expedient.

And if Bill Clinton really thinks the Supreme Court ought to strike down DOMA, an op-ed piece in the Washington Post is the wrong forum. The newspaper gets a larger readership. It gets Clinton publicity about how he has changed.

He could have (and should have) done something more on-the-record. He could have been part of an amicus brief, filed officially with the Supreme Court. That would have been something of substance, not merely something with sizzle.

Regardless of the forum, what Bill Clinton said this week is missing two important words. Without those two words, his grandstanding efforts in print are just so much hooey.

The two words Bill Clinton has shamefully failed to use: I’M SORRY.

The National Debt

Posted: Saturday, January 5th, 2013
14 Amendment (original)National Archives

14 Amendment (original)
National Archives

I don’t understand why the Congress talks about the “debt limit.” When they do something like start two wars, they also say the US will pay for them. Maybe they could read the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution:

“Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.”

What I think needs to happen (short term) is for Mr. Obama to pay what the Congress has spent and ignore any debt limit. Isn’t that what he’s required to do by the Amendment?
 

Words Together for the First Time

Posted: Saturday, December 1st, 2012
West Point chapel

Chapel, West Point, New York state

It’s been a great era for the LGBT community in the USA. Nothing’s perfect, but the changes have been amazing.

The chapel at West Point — the US Army college in New York state — is having a wedding of two lesbians.

President Obama, who said that he’d end “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” did just that. The American military didn’t implode. Reenlistment by non-gay soldiers didn’t cave like some homophobes predicted.

More states have approved marriage equality. Hate laws are still on the books in some states, but it is an improving situation. Everything could change in a flash, but it’s good right now.

The big news didn’t make any newscast. I was watching a TV show (Person of Interest on CBS). There was an extortion attempt against one of the episode’s characters: someone threatened to kill “her wife” unless the character did something. Lesbians on prime time television. It’s happened, even in the tightly puckered world of US television plots. This time was different.

“Her wife” was mentioned without comment. The fact that the characters were LGBT was just an accepted incidental. There was no subplot relating to their gayness. Nothing in the storyline was augmented or diminished because we had a lesbian couple. That’s just who they were.

I noticed because it was so matter-of-fact. Words that are put together today are combinations I never thought I’d see —

  • her wife
  • his husband
  • military same-sex wedding

There’s lots more work to do, of course:

“I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.”
— Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, August 27, 2003 (Fox News interview)

 

 

Las Vegas: Only breeders there.

Posted: Friday, November 30th, 2012

A federal judge in Nevada upholds that state’s anti-gay marriage law.

Disappointing but not a shock: he’s Mormon and was appointed by “W”. The reason is weird. The judge says gays can’t marry because we can’t “create” children. So this guy — who has polygamy in his family tree — says marriage is only for one woman and one man and only because they can make babies. Productive sex is more important than raising children. Good to know.

I guess elderly straight couples are next to be hit.

The judge also says that if gays can marry in Nevada, then boy/girl couples would stop taking marriage seriously. Seriously!

 

 

2012

Posted: Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

The 2012 election is over. I’d be hard-pressed to come up with results I like more, if you pretend Texas doesn’t exist.

Gov. Mitt Romney gave a gracious concession speech. If he had talked like a statesman during the election, he might have been elected. Some of his more virulent supporters are (naturally) foaming with talk of revolution and impeachment.

I’m not a pundit or anybody special. I just have a set of sensitive feelings and expertly honed viewpoints.



Two points and then I’ll shut up about politics for awhile (that’s a lie, of course, because I never shut up about politics).

  • I was having a fairly calm conversation with a guy who probably voted a straight Republican ticket. I didn’t ask; he didn’t tell. I waxed a bit about one of my heroes, former Senator George McGovern. He died a few days before the election, and he would have been so happy about the results of the 2012 vote. Back in 1972, I worked my butt off for that man as he tried to keep Richard Nixon from being a two-term president. McGovern lost. Nixon kept himself from serving two complete terms because he was a crook and had to resign in disgrace. The point is that the guy I was chatting with said something shocking about George McGovern: “Who?” Oy.
  • The other point I want to make has to do with voter suppression and rigged voting machines. Republicans supposedly tried to keep minority voting to a minimum. When they “allowed” voting, it was allegedly on rigged electronic voting machines. If all that’s true, they need to get a new batch of hooligans and programmers. Their rigged voting machines didn’t rig the vote.

 

Prop 8 — Mormon Connection Documented

Posted: Thursday, November 1st, 2012
"8"

“8” (documentary)

We watched “8” last night on the documentary channel. It’s about how the MORMON church pressured its adherents into donating huge sums of money to the California state ballot that removed rights from its LGBT citizens. There was a time when gay couples could get married, but Proposition 8 changed all that.

It isn’t easy to watch. I kept thinking the IRS ought to declare the Mormon church a cult and tax the heck out of them. That kind of negative wish is out of character for me, but it’s how I feel.

The documentary dates to 2010, and it’s still hard to watch. Prop 8 has been resoundly rejected by the courts and is headed to the US Supreme Court.

Prop 8 took hundreds of LGBT couples who were legally married and stripped them of that status. It’s never happened anywhere in the US before.

The documentary shows how the Mormons secretly organized a massive amount of money to send into California. Church documents show the millions of dollars being collected from adherents. Other church documents lay out an exotic plan of deception: to make it seem like the church had nothing to do with the effort. They came up with a dollar amount for each Mormon family, and they strong-armed each head of household to donate that amount… or else.

They threatened people. They lied to the IRS so egregiously that the US government had to confront them about reporting political activity. The church amended its report on the contributions, but the numbers are far from credible.

These guys can’t be trusted, and watching “8” underscored that to me in indelible ink. They lie. They bludgeon gay kids (caught on surveillance tape),

Mormon Temple in Utah

Mormon Temple in Utah

Church muckety-mucks say gay kids would be better off dead. And the state of Utah (kind of the Mormon’s version of a Vatican) has the largest incidence of teenage suicides in the country. Most of those kids who off themselves are LGBT. They kids get harangued by their church, and the parents usually side with the church (mainly because of strong warnings of reprisals both here and in the Mormon afterlife.

What is it about this money machine that is a church?  Their choir sings pretty hymns (raking in more money of course).

They do “substantial” activity in political campaigns (money, bully pulpit, social networking), and that is something that the US’s IRS is strictly forbidden. The church knows this, so they try to conceal their work: subterfuge with a sedition chaser.

Shame on them for lying and covering up their political activity. Shem on their members for being the sedition. Triple shame on the IRS for calling these lying hate-mongers the taxable entity they really are (based on their documented and substantial actions).

I’ve never been so blatant about a so-called religion because I really believe in Live and Let Live. But this morning church is — in many ways — about the “Got hates Fags” loons.

 

 

Care and Feeding of a Retired Archbishop

Posted: Saturday, October 27th, 2012
Abp Wynn Wagner (ret) on a Rhine River boat (Germany, 2012)

Abp Wynn Wagner (ret)
Rhine River boat (Germany, 2012)

Unless you are a public figure (or Mark Raven), I am probably going to be slow to anger. That’s my goal, but I am definitely a work-in-progress.

[WTF]Others don’t take the same tact. I still have 30+ “friends” on Facebook who report they “like” Mitt Romney. That’s down from about 300. I still feel like I have 30+ “friends” who don’t have enough in common to start any kind of conversation. They seem to want to stick around, and I don’t know how.

It’s none of my business who follows me on Facebook. You can “like” whomever and whatever you want. But……

My goal here is to avoid trouble “down the line.” I usually don’t do a flamewar in public (the exception being if you publicly bully somebody). But just so you know–

Books

  • I write spiritual books and gay romance novels. I even have one tarot book. Yes, that’s all over the publishing map. No, I don’t use pen names to keep my romance fiction from intermingling with my liturgical books. Maybe I should, but I don’t.
  • Some authors have separate profiles for their books. It’s a nice division: personal vs shameless promotions. (shrug) Maybe I’m too stupid to do that kind of social parsing, but I have one page where everything gets thrown together like a tossed salad. My two publishers — MysticWays Books (MWB) and Dreamspinner Press — have Facebook pages. MWB has pages for Wynn Wagner Books and Brent: the Heart Reader. Brent gets its own page because it’s an inductee into the Gay Book Hall of Fame, and MWB says that is a huge deal. I don’t run or edit all those pages: just my personal page. The point is that I still get homophobes on Facebook who swear they want to be my “friend.” (scratching head)

Politics

  • My politics is way out on the left where the busses don’t even run. I’m liberal (radical?), and I don’t mind saying so in public.
  • I’ll usually react when my Annoyance Meter goes over about 40% on political matters.

Religion

  • My religion is Old Catholic. That means I like really traditional liturgies and very progressive spiritual teachings. Yes, it’s Catholic. No, it isn’t Roman Catholic. If you’re curious about that, I have some awesome books to suggest!
  • I am a retired archbishop of the Old Catholic Church, and I’m fairly sure that the Church would appreciate my stressing that I don’t speak (or write) for anybody but me.
  • When organized religion crosses what I consider a theocratic line of proper behavior, I will stand up and wag my finger and scream about it as loudly as I can. In many cases, religion (mainly Christian and Muslim) ought to be ashamed of their bullying. It’s fine for them to order their adherents to do such-and-such or believe a certain way. It’s a whole other matter if they want me to do or believe what they preach. And I think it’s almost criminal for a religion to try to insert their dogma into civil law.
  • You don’t have to be Old Catholic for me to pay attention to you. I won’t even suggest you “convert” but will try to get you pointed in the right direction if you ask.
  • I honor your spiritual pathway.
  • I’ll usually react if you cross the line and demand everyone follow your path. Religious firefights get nasty quickly, and I really don’t like it when that happens. [cf., Billy Jack]
  • If you really want a philosophical fight, I will usually try to give you a head start. I have a couple of advanced degrees in philosophy and theology, so I have the home field advantage and I’m not too proud to use it (if push and shove come to play)

 LGBT

  • I’m gay, but I never-ever came “out of the closet.” That would have been dumb because I’ve never been in the closet (except to get fresh clothes each Spring).
  • Since I retired from my day job and from my duties in the Old Catholic Church, I don’t have any kind of tether (or net) to keep me quiet around homophobes.
  • Picking on any LGBTQ person in my earshot usually doesn’t end peacefully. (Just sayin’)

Sports

  • I don’t think it’s a big deal. It isn’t my defining moment, but you hang around me on football, you will probably see me screammg about sports teams (especially American football). In advance… sorry ’bout that.

The Red Line

  • Finally (and this is the real reason for this blog post), I take threats of death and injury seriously. Please don’t do it. The “Unfriend” button is fairly simple to use on Facebook, even for a right-winger or homophobe. I won’t mind if you use that button. I won’t even mind of you decide to block my posts. Promise.

Christianity and Islam: the violent underbelly of religion

Posted: Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
The Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834)

The Inquisition

I take death threats seriously, not because there’s anything wrong with dying, but because I worry about the people around me. What is it about self-proclaimed “religious” people that gives them a license to threaten others?

Because of my gay books, both fundamentalist Christians and Muslims feel it’s their duty to tell me they want me to be dead. Because I wrote a book called Tarot for Christians, one lock-jawed loons wants to burn me at the stake in a fire fueled by copies of my Tarot book.

When the goons pop up on Facebook, they get deleted and blocked and reported. When they comment on one of my websites, they get deleted. If I see where they are, I usually get their local law enforcement in the loop. In other words, I take it as seriously as I can.

To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never been assaulted or threatened by a Buddhist or Hindu or Jews. Those religions must be full of slackers or something.  😉

e-book-burning

Dude, “Kindle Fire” is just a trade name.

It’s the Christians and Muslims who want to stir things up. The Inquisition was ever-so real. It was run by a special organization in the Vatican, the Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis (Inquiry on Heretical Perversity). The trouble is that this organization is very much alive in the Vatican. It’s morphed a couple of times and has a new name. It’s now called Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), but it is the same kind of group populated by the same kind of people. Until a few years ago, the CDF was headed by a former member of the Hitler Youth. That man had to resign as chief inquisitor to become Pope Benedict XVI.

God bless Christian haters. God bless Muslim haters.

To my friends and faithful readers, a suggestion: please stick to getting e-books instead of paperbacks. E-books don’t burn as easily.

St. Thomas Aquinas would be Ashamed of this Roman Church

Posted: Friday, October 19th, 2012
Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

The pope’s gang of hyper-dressed thugs are being called out as being the biggest contributor to homophobic political groups. The all-male (and allegedly all-hetero) bishops of the Roman church don’t like the idea of gay marriage. In addition to the Roman Catholic church itself, big anti-gay expenditures are reported from the Knights of Columbus, the church’s beer-drinking bingo-playing men’s fraternity.

The pope doesn’t like queers. The Knights of Columbus doesn’t like queers. I get all that. I think it’s silly, but I get it. I think it would be tragic to grow up in a family of Roman… wait: I did grow up in that kind of family. It is hard on kids, but most survive with a few scars.

Where the Romans cross the line is when they say that everybody has to march in lock step with their code of conduct. How Counter-Reformation of them. Right?

What’s interesting is that they’ve conveniently forgotten the teachings of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). He would be dead-set against all this meddling in secular law. The Roman Catholics say he’s one of their greatest teachers, and he would tell today’s bishops to stay out of non-church legislation.

Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican priest from Naples, Italy. The Roman Catholics call this guy Doctor Angelicus (Angelic Doctor). They call him their Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis (Universal Doctor). This is the scholastic doctor, not a medical term. The Roman church reserves the term for their biggest of big-deal-thinkers. In other words, whatever Thomas Aquinas said is something you can basically take to the bank.

Back in seminary, I had to read his works until I was almost cross-eyed. One of the cool things he did was bring the logic of Aristotle forward. The Dark Ages were so dark that the only intellectual activity was in the east. Thomas Aquinas did his best to change that. (Mazel tov!)

Why is all this relevant to his church’s activity in gay rights? He wouldn’t approve. That’s why.

This Angelic Doctor said, for example, that governments should never make prostitution illegal. [gasp]

He wrote that the church is right to teach that prostitution is a sin. Maybe it is a serious sin, but the whole point to having a thoughtful church is to encourage individuals to overcome sinful things. He said that people who don’t tie themselves to the church’s teachings shouldn’t be forced to follow those teachings.

It would be like Jews trying to get Kosher laws written into criminal statutes.

Pope Pius V (1504-1572), also considered a saint, said St. Thomas Aquinas was “the most brilliant light of the Church.” And yet the modern Romans ignore his teaching.

Bishops of the Roman Rite studied the same Thomas Aquinas that I studied. They know this stuff, but they have a selective memory. Getting homophobic laws on the books fits their current map of reality. They want Roman adherents to be anti-gay. They want to expand that teaching to Jews and atheists and even Methodists. It tells me that they are so inept in their ability to control their own flock that they have to call for a lifeline. Rather than press the flock, they need to hire the government to do their enforcement.

I wish I could believe that they are singling out gay people, leaving the rest of humanity in peace. That isn’t the case if you consider their action on contraceptives. The Spanish Inquisition. The Crusades.

It’s a long history, and it is quite un-Christian.