The problem with gay men today April 23, 2011Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights, LGBT.
Tags: act up, AIDS, ed koch, gay, gay community, gay marriage, gay rights, glbt, larry kramer, normal heart, roger hollander, safe-sex, same-sex marriage, thomas rogers
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Saturday, Apr 23, 2011 18:01 ET
Outspoken activist Larry Kramer wants to know why this generation is so apathetic while he’s still so angry
To say Larry Kramer is polarizing is like saying Rush Limbaugh is a little bit conservative. The Pulitzer-nominated playwright, screenwriter, author and activist has been one of the most controversial figures in American gay life over the past 30 years. He first incensed gay men in 1978 with “Faggots,” his eerily prescient novel that critiqued the gay community’s culture of promiscuity. And as a co-founder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the founder of ACT UP, the influential AIDS activist group, he became one of the most strident and passionate voices in the early years of the AIDS crisis. While making countless enemies, most notably New York Mayor Ed Koch, he was one of the people most responsible for drawing attention to the disease.
Over the last decade and a half, as AIDS has transitioned from a death sentence to largely treatable and gay culture has transitioned from the margins to somewhere closer to the mainstream, Kramer has remained (almost) as angry as ever. In 2005, he published “The Tragedy of Today’s Gays,” a transcript of a speech in which he attacked the younger generation of gay men for their apathy over gay causes and accused them of condemning their “predecessors to nonexistence.”
Next week, Kramer’s politics will get another turn in the spotlight when his 1985 play, “The Normal Heart,” opens on Broadway for the very first time. The largely autobiographical story centers on a group of gay men in the early days of the AIDS epidemic and stars Joe Mantello as Ned Weeks, a Kramer-esque activist desperately trying to draw attention to the plague, alongside a cast that includes Ellen Barkin, Lee Pace and “The Big Bang Theory’s” Jim Parsons. The play remains a highly effective, moving work that brutally conveys the desperation and terror that accompanied the emergence of AIDS. But nowadays, it also doubles as a history lesson for people who grew up long after the first wave — a role that Kramer sees as vital.
Salon spoke to Larry Kramer in his New York apartment about the importance of “The Normal Heart,” iPhone’s Grindr app and the problem with young gay men.
I saw a preview of the play last night with a friend. I think many of the ideas in the play will seem exotic and a little dated to a lot of young gay men.
Like the idea of promiscuity as a political statement and that it would be treasonous or controversial for gay men to tell other gay men not to have sex, or to have sex with a condom. What do you think young people should take away from the play?
It’s our history. We’re gay. This was part of our history. This was the most horrible thing the gay population ever lived through. And yet it also represented — later on, with ACT UP, and the getting of AIDS drugs — the most spectacular achievement the gay population ever had. We gays did that.
I don’t know why so many gay men don’t want to know their history. I don’t know why they turned their back on the older generation as if they don’t want to have anything to do with them. I would like us to get beyond that.
But do you really think that lack of interest in history is particular to this generation?
You tell me.
Well, I’m 27, and I know that my formative images of gay life had nothing to do with AIDS. Ellen came out of the closet when I was in junior high and “Will & Grace” made gayness seem like a consumer identity more than anything else. Gayness wasn’t really linked with sickness is my mind, and so those early AIDS battles, I think, seem very alien to a lot of young people’s experiences.
I don’t know. I could understand what you’re saying. Sometimes when I go to schools, kids say that they’re taught to be non-confrontational or non-participatory now, almost like it’s not cool to have opinions and express them, which is sad. I hope we’re coming out of all that.
You seem to have some anger at the young gay population.
No more than the old gay population. I’m an across-the-board person. We have responsibilities toward each other, as family, as brothers and sisters. We’re all in this together. ACT UP was the most moving experience I ever had in my life. We were sick and dying and that gave everything a special glow of importance, but it showed us what we were capable of if we did do it.
You’ve had a famously acrimonious relationship with former New York Mayor Ed Koch, whose inaction about AIDS you blame for the death of many of its victims. Does he still live in this building?
Fortunately, in the other elevator bank so we don’t have to see each other. We pass occasionally, both of us making a big point of ignoring one another. As you may know, I once ran into him where we get our mail. He bent to pet my dog and I yanked her away and said something like: “No, Molly, that’s the man who murdered all of Daddy’s friends.” When I first saw him in the lobby, I screamed at him: “We don’t want you here!” as loud as I could across the length of the lobby and I was told by my landlord that we would be evicted if I did it again. So I didn’t. I like my apartment too much.
Coming out of the play last night, my friend and I both felt a perverse nostalgia for those early AIDS years we never lived through. They were obviously utterly terrifying and filled with sadness, but there’s also something appealing about having this galvanizing issue to unite gay men. We don’t have that as much now.
There are these issues now. It’s just that you don’t think of them as galvanizing, mainly because they’re not so life and death. I cite marriage, although I’m sort of fed up with how long it’s taken and I think we’ve gone about it the wrong way. I’m 76, and my partner is 64. I’ll obviously die before he does, and the way the laws are written it’s very hard to leave him anything of substance compared to what I have to leave. It all goes to taxes because we’re not legally federally married and that’s not fair, that’s just not fair. You don’t care about it at your age, but I care about it at mine, and there are a lot of older gays who should care about it as well. That should be a galvanizing issue. Anything that keeps us from being unequal should be galvanizing. I want what they have. I do. And everybody should. But again, people don’t think that way.
What has frustrated you about the move toward gay marriage in the country?
Just that it’s taken forever. I don’t think we should have taken the state by state approach because it just makes it go on, and then you have to re-sue and defend. Things need to go to the Supreme Court as fast as possible. There were ways it could have gone to the Supreme Court a lot earlier. If we lose at the Supreme Court, which everyone was afraid of, you just come back again. These [state] marriage we have don’t amount to anything. They’re feel-good marriages. They make relationships stronger and all that, but they don’t amount to a hill of beans in terms of anything legal or financial. You still need to pay federal taxes and you don’t get any of these benefits the government pays you if you’re heterosexually married.
The play suggests that one of the reasons there was so much meaningless sex in the gay community in the 1980s was because there was no gay marriage. Now that state marriages exist, do you think there’s been a cultural shift away from that meaningless sexual culture?
I think there’s still an awful lot of meaningless sex going on and the infection figures are still much too high and going up, so obviously there’s still too much careless sex going on. I don’t want to come out of this sounding like this prude. I never said don’t have sex, but what’s so hard about using rubbers? It doesn’t seem to require much intelligence to figure that one out. I don’t have much sympathy for people who seroconvert now, who know about AIDS. I don’t care if you were on drugs or whether you were out of it in the heat of passion or whatever. Your cock is a lethal instrument. It can murder people.
Are you familiar with Grindr, the iPhone gay sex app?
It’s an iPhone application that shows you how far away other gay men are, so you can have sex with them.
No. I’d be happy to use it now if I thought it would do anything. I get horny just like anybody else, and David [Webster, Kramer's partner] and I have been together a long time, so our relationship is now something else. I joined Daddyhunt or Manhunt and all those things, and posted my pictures, and filled out my questionnaire. And I got absolutely no response from anyone and it led me to wonder: What do older men do? It’s very sad that suddenly there’s no way to partake in all of this.
The interesting thing about Grindr is that it creates this map of your surroundings that’s really catered to gay men. You can log into it in your apartment and suddenly there are 100 people around you looking to hook up.
It sounds wonderful. I’m not against sex, I’m against being irresponsible. We have bodies and we should enjoy them, but we shouldn’t treat each other as things. That’s what it came to be in the [1970s] height of Fire Island [the gay party mecca], and I guess you could say the same about this Grindr thing.
It seems like the intense over-the-top party culture that Fire Island embodies — the kitschy nightclubs and circuit parties — are in the process of disappearing. I honestly don’t think they appeal to young gay people in the way they used to.
They were very drug-induced escapes. You really had to power your body for an enormous number of hours with an enormous amount of help. Someone said something interesting recently to me about why people did so many drugs in the 1970s: “It’s because it made it less painful, less difficult, less arduous, the life we led outside of the gay world.” Fire Island itself was and still is enormously competitive. You’re bartering with your body. Maybe people are more content with the sex online. I don’t know. I don’t see the gay world anymore. I don’t see it visually on the streets like we used to see it. I don’t know where it is. Do you?
Well, I think it’s less visible, and a lot of that has to do with the Internet. Gay ghettos are emptying out. There are fewer gay bars than there were before. And I think young gay people are more comfortable inhabiting the straight world and straight environments. I also think people have more straight friends.
Well, I’m glad I’m not your age anymore. Being gay was so much fun. And there were so many of us to have fun with — just being part of a very, very visible world where you saw people all the time and you socialized. I don’t see it now. I know they’re here. I know they’re in this building, but I don’t even know them as gay, even though I know they’re gay.
I am a gay person before I’m anything else. I’m a gay person before I’m a white person, before I’m a Jew, before I’m a writer, before I’m American, anything. That is my most identifying characteristic and I don’t find many people who would say that. The polls say the same thing: People do not identify themselves as gay. And that’s too bad. In fact, it’s tragic. It will prevent us from ever having what we deserve, I believe.
- Thomas Rogers is Salon’s Deputy Arts Editor.
The Salvation Army: It Gets Worse December 21, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights, Religion.
Tags: charitable dontations, charitable organizations, charity, christmas, gay rights, glbt, homophobia, human rights, mary shaw, religion, roger hollander, salvation army, soup kitchens
By Mary Shaw (about the author)
www.opednews.com, December 21, 2009
It’s that time of year again. At shopping centers everywhere, representatives from the Salvation Army, dressed in their paramilitary attire, ring their bells and aggressively invite your holiday donations. And I always see people eagerly throwing money into their big red kettles. I suspect that most of these generous individuals aren’t aware of what their dollars are actually funding.
Last year I wrote a column titled “The Salvation Army’s red kettle of trouble”, in which I outlined the Salvation Army’s long and disturbing history of religious coercion, abuse, and intolerance. An excerpt:
I have spoken with a number of people who have sought assistance from the Salvation Army in the past, particularly for disaster relief. I was told of how these people were preached to and forced into praying with the Salvation Army folks to their Christian God as a prerequisite for receiving services. If you’re Jewish, tough. If you’re Hindu, tough. Gotta pray their way, to their God, or else you’re not worthy of assistance. It’s quid pro quo. Gotta take advantage of people when they’re most vulnerable. Contrast this with the secular Red Cross, which just wants to help disaster victims, not save their souls. (In the interest of full disclosure, I personally received help from the Red Cross when my apartment building burned down in 2001. They were extremely helpful and compassionate, and expected nothing in return.) As if the religious coercion isn’t enough, the Salvation Army has also been implicated in a number of cases of alleged sexual abuse, ranging from molestation of child members of the Salvation Army’s Red Shield swim team in Seattle to pedophile rings that operated out of Salvation Army-run orphanages in Australia and New Zealand. (Yes, they like to “spread the love” worldwide.)
The Salvation Army is also homophobic — so much so that they would stop helping the poor if it meant they had to respect equal rights for gays and lesbians. In 2004, they threatened to close their soup kitchens in New York City rather than comply with the city’s legislation requiring firms to offer domestic partnership benefits to gay employees.
In the year since I wrote that piece, I have heard from several people who have shared their own negative experiences with the Salvation Army. Their stories have reinforced — and even worsened — my own impressions of the organization. A retired U.S. military officer contacted me after considering the Salvation Army for his charitable donations. He wrote:
“I’m glad I came upon your article about the Salvation Army. I have been considering leaving my worldly goods to them because I thought they did nothing but good. I had second thoughts when I was late in answering their charitable request. I have since found many disturbing facts about the Salvation Army.”
A former Salvation Army volunteer from Canada shared his experience with some ethical issues:
“Everyone [at the Salvation Army] liked me, because I also went to the service on Sundays. I am a believer in God. After 4 weeks [as a Salvation Army volunteer], I noticed whatever came in the back door for donation, for the poor, also left through the back door, and never reached the vulnerable or needy. All the good stuff the volunteers took. “I complained to one of the Salvation Army workers, That this should not be happening so close to Christmas. I was told to keep quiet, because the Major and some of the volunteers had an understanding. I was told to look the other way. I tried to ignore it, but it became very hard, especially when a local business donated six big boxes of clothes and shoes for children. All went missing.
“I complained again, and now I was labeled a troublemaker. In the end, I was told to leave.”
But by far the most compelling response I got was from an anonymous emailer who contacted me through a Yahoo account, probably accessed via a public library or other community Internet resource. This woman, who signed the email message simply as “Feeling helpless”, wrote:
“I am a homeless woman living at the Salvation Army women’s shelter. Can you help me expose the Salvation Army? I have so much to tell you but I can not do it by email.”
Unfortunately, no other contact information was included, and my attempts at follow-up seem to have fallen through, but hopefully she received my suggestion that she contact the appropriate authorities and the local media for immediate help in exposing and addressing whatever issues she was facing. This woman clearly needed more help than I alone can provide through my own writing and activism. I hope that her situation has since improved. The bottom line is this: While the Salvation Army may have done some good work over the years in providing assistance to the poor, the addicted, and the marginalized, their methods and practices are not ones that I approve of. There are many other nonprofit organizations out there that provide similar services in a more ethical manner.
And, if you’re a Christian, consider this: The ironic thing about the Salvation Army’s practices is that they do all that while labeling themselves as “Christian”. But think about it: If Jesus were here today, he surely would not approve of their methods.
So please think twice before tossing your spare change into their red kettles of trouble. Think about what you would be supporting with your hard-earned cash.
Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more…)
Catholic Church gives D.C. ultimatum November 13, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights, LGBT, Religion.
Tags: catholci archdiocese, catholic charities, catholic church, church-state, first amendment, gay marriage, gay rights, glbt, human rights, michelle boorstein, religion, religious bigotry, religious freedom, roger hollander, roman catholic, same sex, same-sex marriage, tim craig, washington catholic
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[FYI Two weeks ago the Pope made an offer to Anglicans to become Catholics, and yesterday the Vatican announced the search for extra-terrestrial life (yes, seriously).Now this news where the carrot routine has been replaced by the stick. NT]
Roger’s Comment: TAKE AWAY THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH’S TAX EXEMPT STATUS!
Same-sex marriage bill, as written, called a threat to social service contracts
By Tim Craig and Michelle Boorstein
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.
Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.
“If the city requires this, we can’t do it,” Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Wednesday. “The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that’s really a problem.”
Several D.C. Council members said the Catholic Church is trying to erode the city’s long-standing laws protecting gay men and lesbians from discrimination.
The clash escalates the dispute over the same-sex marriage proposal between the council and the archdiocese, which has generally stayed out of city politics.
Catholic Charities, the church’s social services arm, is one of dozens of nonprofit organizations that partner with the District. It serves 68,000 people in the city, including the one-third of Washington’s homeless people who go to city-owned shelters managed by the church. City leaders said the church is not the dominant provider of any particular social service, but the church pointed out that it supplements funding for city programs with $10 million from its own coffers.
“All of those services will be adversely impacted if the exemption language remains so narrow,” Jane G. Belford, chancellor of the Washington Archdiocese, wrote to the council this week.
The church’s influence seems limited. In separate interviews Wednesday, council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) referred to the church as “somewhat childish.” Another council member, David A. Catania (I-At Large), said he would rather end the city’s relationship with the church than give in to its demands.
“They don’t represent, in my mind, an indispensable component of our social services infrastructure,” said Catania, the sponsor of the same-sex marriage bill and the chairman of the Health Committee.
The standoff appears to be among the harshest between a government and a faith-based group over the rights of same-sex couples. Advocates for same-sex couples said they could not immediately think of other places where a same-sex marriage law had set off a break with a major faith-based provider of social services.
The council is expected to pass the same-sex marriage bill next month, but the measure continues to face strong opposition from a number of groups that are pushing for a referendum on the issue.
The archdiocese’s statement follows a vote Tuesday by the council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary to reject an amendment that would have allowed individuals, based on their religious beliefs, to decline to provide services for same-sex weddings.
“Lets say an individual caterer is a staunch Christian and someone wants him to do a cake with two grooms on top,” said council member Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 6), the sponsor of the amendment. “Why can’t they say, based on their religious beliefs, ‘I can’t do something like that’?”
After the vote, the archdiocese sent out a statement accusing the council of ignoring the right of religious freedom. Gibbs said Wednesday that without Alexander’s amendment and other proposed changes, the measure has too narrow an exemption. She said religious groups that receive city funds would be required to give same-sex couples medical benefits, open adoptions to same-sex couples and rent a church hall to a support group for lesbian couples.
Peter Rosenstein of the Campaign for All D.C. Families accused the church of trying to “blackmail the city.”
“The issue here is they are using public funds, and to allow people to discriminate with public money is unacceptable,” Rosenstein said.
Rosenstein and other gay rights activists have strong support on the council. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), chairman of the judiciary committee, said the council “will not legislate based on threats.” “The problem with the individual exemption is anybody could discriminate based on their assertion of religious principle,” Mendelson said. “There were many people back in the 1950s and ’60s, during the civil rights era, that said separation of the races was ordained by God.”
Catania, who said he has been the biggest supporter of Catholic Charities on the council, said he is baffled by the church’s stance. From 2006 through 2008, Catania said, Catholic Charities received about $8.2 million in city contracts, as well as several hundred thousand dollars’ worth this year through his committee.
“If they find living under our laws so oppressive that they can no longer take city resources, the city will have to find an alternative partner to step in to fill the shoes,” Catania said. He also said Catholic Charities was involved in only six of the 102 city-sponsored adoptions last year.
Terry Lynch, head of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, said he did not know of any other group in the city that was making such a threat.
“I’ve not seen any spillover into programming. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen if [the bill] passes,” he said.
Cheh said she hopes the Catholic Church will reconsider its stance.
“Are they really going to harm people because they have a philosophical disagreement with us on one issue?” Cheh asked. “I hope, in the silver light of day, when this passes, because it will pass, they will not really act on this threat.”
Lt. Choi Won’t Lie for His Country October 16, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights, LGBT.
Tags: amy goodman, dan choi, denis moynihan, don't ask don't tell, gay rights, glbt, human rights, Iraq war, roger hollander
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Lt. Dan Choi doesn’t want to lie. Choi, an Iraq war veteran and a graduate of West Point, declared last March 19 on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” “I am gay.” Under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” regulations, those three words are enough to get Choi kicked out of the military. Choi has become a vocal advocate for repealing the policy, having spoken before tens of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their allies at last Sunday’s National Equality March in Washington, D.C.
Shortly after Choi’s public admission to being gay, the Department of the Army sent him a letter stating, in part, that “you admitted publicly that you are a homosexual which constitutes homosexual conduct. … Your actions negatively affected the good order and discipline of the New York Army National Guard.” Since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993, 13,500 soldiers, sailors and Marines have been discharged from the military for similar alleged behavior. Choi could receive an “other than honorable” discharge, losing the health, retirement, educational and other benefits to which combat veterans are entitled. While Congress acts to remove the restrictions on health insurance for people with “pre-existing conditions,” Choi’s pre-existing conditions, being gay and being honest about it, may be enough to keep him out of the Veterans Affairs health care system for life.
The night before Sunday’s march, President Barack Obama spoke to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest and wealthiest gay-advocacy group: “We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve this country. … I will end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ ” He laid out no timetable, however.
After receiving the letter from the Army, Choi wrote an open letter to his commander in chief, Obama. He said: “I have personally served for a decade under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: an immoral law and policy that forces American soldiers to deceive and lie about their sexual orientation. Worse, it forces others to tolerate deception and lying.” U.S. troops in Afghanistan are serving side by side with NATO forces that include openly gay and lesbian troops.
Longtime gay-rights activist Urvashi Vaid, author of “Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation,” is opposed to war and militarism, but told me, “The military is a large employer, and has to commit to not being discriminatory.” She, too, was at the march Sunday, whose turnout surprised many of the mainstream gay organizations, as they hadn’t actively organized it. She said: “First, it’s a generational shift in the LGBT movement. There is a new wave of activism coming up. And it’s gay and straight. That’s a second big change … the third shift that’s happening in the LGBT movement is that it’s much more of a multi-issue agenda that is being carried by the people who are marching.” In addition to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the LGBT movement is also intent on repealing the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act, and on achieving marriage equality. This will be a hard fight, Vaid predicts, based on grass-roots activism in every congressional district. Challenging discriminatory laws couldn’t be more timely: On the day before Obama’s speech to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay man in New York City was taunted with anti-gay slurs and savagely beaten by two men. He is currently in a coma.
Lt. Dan Choi is still technically a serving officer. Obama could halt proceedings against Choi. Activists contend Obama could stop active enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” through an executive order. Presidential or congressional action may not come in time to save Choi’s military career. If he loses his health benefits, he has a plan. Choi got a message from an Iraqi doctor whose hospital Choi helped to rebuild while he was there. He said the doctor is “in South Baghdad right now. And he’s seen some of the Internet, YouTube and CNN interviews and other appearances, and he said: ‘Brother, I know that you’re gay, but you’re still my brother, and you’re my friend. And if your country, that sent you to my country, if America, that sent you to Iraq, will discharge you such that you can’t get medical benefits, you can come to my hospital any day. You can come in, and I will give you treatment.’ ”
Choi ended, “I hope that our country can learn from that Iraqi doctor.”
Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.
Religious Right Breaks the Bank to Fight Gay Marriage February 4, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights, Religion.
Tags: California Prop 8, candace chellew-hodge, gay and lesbian rights, gay marriage, gay rights, glbt, homophobia, human rights, Latter Day Saints, Mormon Church, proposition 8, religion hunger, religion poverty, religious right, roger hollander
1 comment so far
February 3, 2009
But what about feeding the hungry or housing the homeless? Not on the agenda.
Within the whole of the Bible there are six or seven verses that are used to condemn gay and lesbian people – depending on the person making the argument. At the same time, there are more than 300 verses that admonish us to take care of the poor and do social justice in this world for poor and hungry.
Guess which one the religious right will pour vast amounts of its monetary resources into fighting?
The final tallies show that opponents of Proposition 8 raised $43.3 million in 2008 and had a little more than $730,000 left on hand at year’s end. The measure’s sponsors raised $39.9 million and had $983,000 left over.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has been criticized for strongly encouraging its members to support Proposition 8, for the first time assigned a dollar value of nearly $190,000 to its role in getting the initiative passed.
More than half, or $97,000, went to the time staff of the Utah-based Mormon Church devoted to the Yes on 8 campaign, according to the church’s report. Another $21,000 was for the use of church buildings and equipment during the campaign. Most of the rest went to airline tickets, hotels and meals for church officials.
Focus on the Family, the evangelical Christian media empire based in Colorado, reported giving $657,000 in cash and services to promote Proposition 8.
All this money was thrown around by the religious right (forcing the other side to waste money fighting them) that could have been used to improve the lives of the 7.6 million people living in poverty in the United States or the more than 35.5 million Americans who are hungry or at risk of going hungry.
These zealots spend their worldly treasure not on feeding the hungry or housing the homeless. Those issues are not sexy enough and don’t raise enough money from their constituents. Instead they’ll empty the storehouse to ensure that two men or two women who love one another and want to commit their lives to one another cannot call it a marriage or partake of such rights as being able to make medical decisions for their loved ones. They base their efforts and their expenditures on Bible verses like Leviticus 18:22: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable,” but forget later verses like Leviticus 25:35: “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you.”
Then again, the religious right doesn’t treat the alien or temporary resident with the respect the Scriptures demand, either. So, perhaps this colossal waste of money is simply par for their course. Their spiritual bankruptcy is complete, then – gays can’t get married in California – and the least of these are still poor and hungry.
Candace Chellew-Hodge is the founder/editor of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians and currently serves as associate pastor at Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, S.C. Her new book is Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians (Jossey-Bass, 2008).