Archive for ‘beliefs’

May 6th, 2008

Today’s letter – United Methodists have their beliefs, why can’t I have mine?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Every four years, the United Methodist Church holds a meeting to set church policy. At this year’s conference, the delegates:

– Upheld a church law that says gay and lesbian relationships are “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
– Kept a sentence in the Book of Discipline that says the church “does not condone the practice of homosexuality.”
– Retained a policy that lets pastors deny membership to gays and lesbians.

I think it is great that the United Methodist Church can make and enforce their own laws regarding who is able to participate in their community.

While the United Methodist Church has chosen to exclude lesbian and gay people from their ministry, my Episcopal church (like the Presbyterians, United Church of Christ and Metropolitan Community Church) has taken a different view that goes something along the lines that every human being is worthy of dignity and respect.

Governor, why are the United Methodists allowed to decide that gay couples will not get married in their church, while my church is not allowed to decide that gay couples will be allowed to marry in their church? Worse, why is my government – and my governor – enforcing this?

I’m starting to suspect that the real threat of the ban on same-sex marriage is a government intervention in the way America worships. Removing that freedom begins a slippery slide that will hurt us all.

I wish you would support the freedom to marry. It would not block the United Methodists one bit, but it would free my church to practice our beliefs without interference from you.

Yours,

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March 31st, 2008

Today’s letter – Jesus was not about ‘social order’

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today on the radio I heard about “Black Liberation Theology.” The logic goes like this: Jesus was a rabble-rouser. He kept telling people that they should not listen to the rabbinical power players, but rather listen to God. This upset the power players so much they executed him for what we would today call political crimes.

But through his life and death, He gave us liberty not just over the tyranny of death, but also over the tyranny of Old Testament laws and oppressive Roman rule. We reach heaven not through punishing people, but by liberating them. From The Good Samaritan to The Sermon on the Mount, God’s message is clear: we are to love God with all our heart, soul, body and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. That what Dr. Martin Luther King, Bishop Desmond Tutu and even Jeremiah Wright are trying to tell us, and not a bad foundation.

Now as a gay dad, I’m just trying to be the best husband, father and Christian that I can. That seems to disturb a lot of people. But what Liberation Theology shows us is God wants us to love and accept people no matter how much they disturb us. Whether the gays will or won’t go to heaven is unclear, but whether the oppressors or the oppressed will go to heaven is crystal clear.

Putting your veto on AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, was an easy thing for you to do, but if there is any truth to Liberation Theology, it was not the right thing to do. After all, I may be a rabble-rouser myself, but I am still your neighbor.

Yours,

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February 3rd, 2008

Today’s letter – a bad apple

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I believe it is part of our Governor’s job is to see what happens in other states so the best can be brought to California and the worst left where it is.

Kentucky has turned out to be a pretty perilous place to be gay. Even after a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004, things were looking up when a phone message by Pat Boone could not save the anti-gay Governor Ernie Fletcher from getting booted out of office, and state universities started offering partner benefits to all their employees – not just the ones who are allowed to marry.

But a bad tree bears bad fruit: Kentucky’s state Senate passed a bill 30-5 late last month to bar state agencies, including public universities, from granting any benefits for the partners of their lesbian and gay employees.

University presidents from eight Universities including the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and University of Louisville opposed the bill because they say it hurts recruitment efforts for researchers and professors. “If you want to compete with the best universities and the best corporations, you need to be able to offer the same types of benefits they offer,” according University of Louisville spokesman John Drees.

You must know and understand the cost of discrimination, Governor. If our Senate had brought a bill to your desk to specially exclude some people from our society and our economy because of what they are or what they believe, I have no doubt you would veto that. So why do you stop short of supporting the freedom to marry?

Please, Governor, leave the rotten apples in Kentucky and bring us into the 21st century with the most basic freedom: the freedom to marry.

Yours,

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January 24th, 2008

Today’s letter – more perfect

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Opponents of Equality say that gay couples are less perfect than straight couples, therefore they should be banned from marriage.

Another nail has been placed in the coffin of that argument: a new study published in the Journal of Developmental Psychology compares homosexual and heterosexual couples, and assesses their happiness.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that at all levels of commitment, the two types of couples had the same ability to resolve conflicts, the same level of satisfaction, the same kind of interaction with one another, and the same physiological response to each others’ presence.

The researchers have done their part, proving that gay couples are just as capable as straight couples at forming and maintaining happy relationships. Now it is your job, Governor, to make sure that the people see them as being just as worthy.

Yours,

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January 20th, 2008

Today’s letter – even Presbyterians can see the folly of exclusion

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I have written to you before about the rift over homosexuals in the Episcopal Church, but now it seems as though the Presbyterians are headed towards similar turmoil.

Lisa Larges is a deacon in San Francisco who is seeking ordination as a minister in the Presbyterian Church. The constitution of the church limits its clergy, elders and deacons to people in man-woman marriages or who are sexually abstinent; but it also has a policy of allowing exceptions for conscientious objectors.

Larges has called the special ban on gay clergy a “mar upon the church and a stumbling block to its mission” with enough conviction that the regional body of 77 churches voted last week to allow her third application to proceed by 167 to 151, and she will be interviewed in April.

She says “The church is a beautiful, messy thing. It’s about loving the church in spite of the church. It’s about being part of a movement to call the church back to its best self.”

If the Presbyterians can make an exception to their special ban on same-sex marriage, can’t you?

To borrow Ms. Larges’ words, depriving just some people of the ability to participate fully in our economy and society is a mar upon the state and a stumbling block to its mission of ensuring life, liberty, property and happiness for all. Governor – it’s time to call your state and your party back to its best self and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

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January 14th, 2008

Today’s letter – supporting evil is the same as doing evil

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As an example of how awful this battle over the freedom to marry has become, we fired our roofer today.

Well, we didn’t actually “fire” him, but here’s what happened. We had a leak in our roof. This guy from who was highly recommended came over to look at it, and later emailed us a quotation. His email led to his professional Web site, which listed “Victory Outreach Church of Eagle Rock” in his “community” section.

It took about ten seconds to discover that Valley Outreach is a notorious Texas-based Megachurch that not only operates reparation therapy facilities (where they beat the gay out of people) but also specifically endorses the Protect Marriage campaign to exterminate my family.

I did what anybody of conscience is obliged to do: I told this guy that I would retch if a fraction of a fraction of my money went to a place that has exchanged Jesus’ teachings for those of Pete Knight.

Our poor roofer guy was shocked and tried to defend his conscience by saying that he knows many gay people who are “his kindest friends.” I explained that if his ethics allows him to tell his kindest friends they are less worthy of marriage than Britney Spears, then he is not someone I want within a mile of my family, and chased him away.

Really, these are the people who can shoot an abortion doctor in the head without blinking an eye. They should be laughed out of any room they’re in. Yet they asked you to veto AB 43 and you complied.

I really wish you would put an end to this awful battle by telling the people of California that prejudice and hate is not acceptable. There is nothing wrong with gay marriage; there is everything wrong with denying it.

Yours,

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January 11th, 2008

Today’s letter – Choosing to libertate or to obliberate

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As an American and as a parent, I believe government should not interfere with individual choices. My personal beliefs are echoed in the California Republican Party Platform, which says:

“As Republicans, we believe the home should remain the central place for individual decision-making, and issues impacting the family should not be handed over to intrusive government bureaucrats. … [P]arents are most capable of making decisions for and about their children … the CRP opposes any effort to weaken parents’ freedom of decision and choice.”

Imagine my surprise when I found a list of lawmakers – Republicans all – who have taken a different vow, by supporting the Protect Marriage campaign “in defense of marriage.” This heartless master says:

“We oppose granting to homosexuals special privileges, including marriage, domestic partnership benefits, and child custody or adoption.”

As a homosexual American and proud parent, let me be clear: such an initiative does not just merely subvert my individual decision-making, but sets out to deliberately destroy my family outright.

You know these people, Governor. They are your colleagues and friends. Yet they have compromised their party and their conscience to pursue a path which is reprehensible. I don’t want you to ask them to abandon their beliefs: I want you to ask them to choose which belief they really support: their belief that gay people should be excluded from our economy and society, or that all individuals should have the same freedom of personal choice, especially in who they marry.

Yours,

ATTACHMENT: lawmakers who endorse the “protect marriage” campaign

ProtectMarriage.com Coalition Endorsements

State Senators
Senator Dick Ackerman (R-Tustin) – www.senate.ca.gov/Ackerman
Senator Sam Aanestad (R-Redding) – www.senate.ca.gov/Aanestad
Senator Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield ) – www.senate.ca.gov/Ashburn
Senator James Battin, Jr. (R-La Quinta) – www.senate.ca.gov/Battin
Senator John Campbell (R-Irvine) – www.senate.ca.gov/Campbell
Senator Dave Cox (R-Fair Oaks) – www.senate.ca.gov/Cox
Senator Jeff Denham (R-Merced) – www.senate.ca.gov/Denham
Senator Bob Dutton (R-San Bernadino) – www.senate.ca.gov/Dutton
Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (R- El Cajon) – www.senate.ca.gov/Hollingsworth
Senator Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) – www.senate.ca.gov/Maldonado
Senator Bob Margett (R-Arcadia) – www.senate.ca.gov/Margett
Senator Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks) – www.senate.ca.gov/McClintock
Senator Bill Morrow (R-Oceanside) – www.senate.ca.gov/Morrow
Senator Charles Poochigian (R-Fresno) – www.senate.ca.gov/Poochigian
Senator George Runner (R-Antelope Valley) – www.senate.ca.gov/Runner
Senator Mark Wyland (R-Carlsbad) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Wyland

Assembly Members
Assemblyman Greg Aghzarian (R-Stockton) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Aghazarian
Assemblyman John Benoit (R-Palm Desert) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Benoit
Assemblyman Russ Bogh (R-Yucaipa) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Bogh
Assemblyman Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Cogdill
Assemblyman Chuck Devore (R-Irvine) – www.assembly.ca.gov/DeVore
Assemblyman Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Emmerson
Assemblyman Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Harman
Assemblyman Guy Houston (R-San Ramon) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Houston
Assemblyman Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Huff
Assemblyman Rick Keene (R-Chico) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Keene
Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa (R-Biggs) – www.assembly.ca.gov/LaMalfa
Assemblyman Jay LaSuer (R-LaMesa) – www.assembly.ca.gov/LaSuer
Assemblyman Bill Maze (R-Visalia) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Maze
Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy (R-Monrovia) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Mountjoy
Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi (R-Lodi) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Nakanishi
Assemblyman Roger Niello (R-Sacramento) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Niello
Assemblyman George Plescia (R-San Diego) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Plescia
Assemblywoman Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Runner
Assemblywoman Audra Strickland (R-Camarillo) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Strickland
Assemblyman Van Tran (R-Costa Mesa) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Tran
Assemblyman Michael Villines (R-Clovis) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Villines
Assemblywoman Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) – www.assembly.ca.gov/Walters

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January 6th, 2008

Today’s letter – Are Americans entitled to discriminate?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’ve been having an online debate with YouTube user “shifty567” about entitlement, exclusion and society, and we need your help to settle it.

Shifty567 says “Certain and defined expectations are necessary to help hold a society together. People define marriage as between a man and a [woman]. That is not an oppression of your rights, but a difference of opinion and definition. The problem is that you are using the idea of freedom to justify your desire for something that you think you are entitled to, but you are not entitled to redefine beliefs.”

I say “Families get married, businesses get married; there is no “man on woman” definition of marriage. I’m not blocked from marriage because of a “definition,” but only because of my gender. Asking to be treated fairly is not entitlement, it is asking to be free from restrictions because of race, religion and gender. And I like to think Americans still believe in freedom.”

So which is it, Governor? Is my special exclusion from marriage necessary to hold society together, or is my exclusion from marriage an aberration in the American principle of “all men are created equal?”

My future rests with your opinion on this matter.

Yours,

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