Author Archives: terrys06

Hey guys,

I came across an interesting video about the “stained glass ceiling” that women face in the Catholic church.  These women explain that despite formal credentials (theological training, special recognition from seminary professors, etc.), they cannot become fully ordained ministers because of traditional rules.  They mention that they feel called to fulfill theological leadership positions, but they cannot be they were born a woman (and once again, despite sometimes being more qualified and/or better than their male counterparts). While some of these women still found roles in the church, they were in positions that didn’t require ordination.

Of particular interest to me is that there seems to be a sense of guilt for feeling that they are concerned with their own rights to leadership positions; one woman mentions that the call is supposed to be to selflessness, and that she couldn’t help but feel self-righteous.  There must be a pretty significant level of cognitive dissonance resulting from feeling, on the one side, that you should be entitled to certain positions given your training and competencies, and on the the other side, that you should be sacrificing your own desires for the “cause.”

Thanks,

Stephen

 

Problems (and some solutions) for same-sex parents/couples

Hey everyone,

I found an article that addresses some of the legal obstacles same-sex parents have to overcome resulting from a lack of federal recognition as a “real” married couple.  The article identifies Kay and Amanda Shelton, who for all intents and purposes, are a married couple with two children.  They live together, they divide up child-care responsibilities, and one woman (Amanda, a commercial litigator) even claims her (unemployed) partner as a dependent when filing taxes.

This article lays out three domains that serve to be more complicated to this same-sex couple than would be for a different-sex couple.  It explains that (1) legal parenting rights are not easily obtained by the non-biological mother (despite the fact that the children call her “mommy,” and the biological mother wouldn’t trust her children with anyone else); (2) because the couple is not “actually” married, Amanda (the money-earning half of the couple) cannot contribute to Kay’s retirement in any form of spousal I.R.A. account; and (3) because they are not legally married, the couple cannot file jointly, resulting in an extra several thousand dollars that must be paid to taxes.

While these issues are unfair, the article does offer a hint of optimism by explaining that several of these issues can be circumvented through various means; for example though Amanda cannot contribute to a spousal I.R.A. for Kay, she can “hire” Kay as a nanny, which allows for certain itemized tax deductions.  Similarly, by obtaining “power of attorney for parental authority,” Kay can officially act on the behalf of the children with things like doctor and teacher visits.

So, while it is depressing to find that same-sex couples face such complications with regard to legality and finances, it is nice to know that there are some loopholes through which they can maneuver.  Just because these loopholes are available, however, doesn’t make up for the fact that same-sex couples still have to “jump through hoops” to get the same kind of privileges a (potentially less “qualified”) different-sex couple receives automatically.  I think this article can serve as a good “wake-up call” for different-sex couples, shining some light on the fact that not everyone gets the federal recognition they likely take for granted.

Thanks,

Stephen

 

Homosexuals are more than their sexuality

Hey everyone,

I found an article written by a homosexual philosophy professor addressing the separation of gay identity and gay sexual behavior.  He points out that homosexuals are often identified by others solely by their sexual interaction with each other, rather than with intimacy, “movie dates,” and the like.  He points out that non-homosexuals tend to forget that gay sexual behavior is only one small part of the relationship equation, just as it is in heterosexual relationships.

For example, the author explains that when he revealed his sexual alignment with his mother, she encouraged him to be “quiet” about it, as she and her husband were “not open about their sexuality.”  The key point here is that his mother, of course, is open about her “sexuality” with regard to the less behavioral components; she is openly married to her husband, and by extension, there are certain emotions, habits, and non-sexual behaviors that can be expected to go along with that.  With regards to her son’s homosexuality, however, she believed that he would “obviously” be blatantly outwardly sexual towards other men.

I post this article because I think the larger population often does overlook the fact that homosexuals are people, not just sexual beings who constantly interact with each other in a similar sexual fashion (though I’m pretty confident that the constituents of this blog don’t fall victim to such a misconception), and I think it’s a good “reminder” for those who might tend to forget such a distinction.

Stephen

Secular argument against gay marriage

Hey everyone,

I’ve heard several positions from the religious community regarding opposition to gay marriage.  I’ve heard that “marriage is supposed to be between a man and a women,” “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” “it’s just unnatural,” etc.  However, I haven’t really heard much secular arguments on the issue, and I was curious as to what that defense might actually be.

I came across this page, however, claiming a secular argument.  It would appear that the primary position represented therein revolves around procreation; gay marriages cannot produce children, and therefore, should not be allowed.

I would argue, however, that homosexual relationships could actually serve as a non-violent means of population control.  I just saw a news article the other day mentioning that in 40 years, Earth’s population has the potential to jump from 7 billion to 9 billion; that’s 2 BILLION extra people in 40 years!  The article mentioned that such a population boom can result in all sorts of problems, primarily stemming from lack of adequate food and/or resources.

Procreation (or at least the presence of procreation), I would therefore hold, is not exactly an issue.  Rather, too much procreation is, and it would seem logical to me that if you feel that homosexual marriages might stunt birth rate, then great, allow them!  If we actually are facing such a huge population surge, why not encourage marriages that might reduce procreation, and thereby offer a means of population control that just prevents children from being born, rather than one that kills them afterward (such as would be the case in an global food shortage resulting from overpopulation)?

Just thought I’d share.

Stephen

Cure for Homosexuality!…apparently there’s a need for one…

Hey guys,

As anyone who’s ever been in class with me knows, I’m pretty interested in the LGBT-Fundamentalist Christian clash. Consistent with that, I thought I’d share a page from an organization I found: “Christian Healing Ministries.”
This site is dedicated to prayer-healing, which in my experience, is typical of the more fundamental branches of Protestantism. These guys have prayer sessions “by appointment,” along with group session prayers, the former of which are led by “trained volunteer prayer ministers.”
Now, I’ve seen this kind of thing before; the church I attend frequently does some kind of “pray for healing” day. Everything from headache to heartache to schizophrenia, you come, tell the minister what ails you, and he’ll spend about 10-20 minutes praying for your physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual health. What distinguished this group to me, however, is that have a whole page dedicated to the “healing” of homosexuality.
Now, I would argue that any attempt to heal homosexuality comes along with the connotation that it *needs* or *should* be healed in the first place, and that it’s just not ok to just be gay.
Now in all fairness, this site is more benevolent than some of the other sentiments I’ve been exposed to; they explain that they feel homosexuality isn’t a sinful choice, they use very gentle language throughout the page, and they’re offering to “help” in the first place. However, the obvious connotation remains: homosexuality is some kind of  “disease” that needs healing, and if you are homosexual, you obviously must be seeking a remedy to your disorder.  I can’t imagine the kind of cognitive dissonance this would cause someone who’s both Christian *and* homosexual; the choice between your religion (and by potential extension, the approval of your family and community) and your sexuality is one I just don’t think anyone should have to make.

While I wouldn’t necessarily call the mood of this page “intolerant” per se, I would definitely be inclined to call its message demeaning. What is the most distressing to me, though, is that these people don’t really seem bigoted at all; as previously mentioned, they’re gentle, and seem to sincerely want to help. I imagine that if it wasn’t for their faith, they would not give homosexuality a second thought.

Thanks,

Stephen

http://www.christianhealingmin.org/newsletter/archives/healing/homosexuality.php

New “Gay Anthem”

Hey guys and girls,

Apparently, there’s a song out by Lady Gaga that constitutes a new “gay anthem.”  The song’s called “Born This Way,” and seems to be in support of GLBT issues in a more direct way the”I Am Beautiful” of Christina Aguilera fame.  Most interesting about this to me is that, if I’m not mistaken (those of you who know me are aware that I’m not exactly up on pop culture), Lady Gaga is actually relatively popular in mainstream society, and as such, she might be capable of contributing to the reshaping of the attitudes of a certain sub-population of the country (teens maybe?); it’d be interesting to see if some “on-the-fence” individuals actually look up to this celebrity enough to embrace a more open-minded approach to the LGBT community.  I’m not very optimistic that adamant LGBT opposition will automatically reverse their opinions (regardless of how much they love Lady Gaga!), but maybe such a song serve to establish some ally-ship with the LGBT community.

I mean, I’ve known individuals who did everything in their power to emulate rap stars (everything from clothing and slang right up to political views), maybe Lady Gaga could have a similar effect with regard to facilitating a more accepting public gay image.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4a8QtvOkBQ

Stephen

Article on Protestant reactions to homosexuality

Hey everyone,

I found a pretty cool article about Protestant congregations and homosexuality that I thought I’d share with you guys: Cage and Wildman (2008).  “Facilitators and Advocates: How Mainline Protestant Clergy Respond to Homosexuality.”  Sociological Perspectives, Vol. 51, No. 3, pp. 587-603.

Cage and Wildman collected the perspectives of some “mainline Protestant” ministers (as well as some members of their congregations), which helped to shed some light on some pervading feelings of homo-anxiety among the Protestant camp.  For the most part, any fear of homosexuals seemed to come from either widespread (false) generalizations, or from a fear of the change that could potentially be brought about through the implications of homosexual acceptance.

For example, one minister reported that the general sentiment circulating through his church community was that homosexuals were more “predatory” than heterosexuals.  As he explained, the notion of homosexuality and child molestation were very thinly separated concepts in the minds of his congregants.

These respondents also suggested that homosexuality in some way might initiate a change in historical practice and/or institutions, and as such, caused an exceeding level of anxiety.  For example, one minister noted that if homosexuality is something that will become considered natural and approved of by God, several millennia of theological teaching would be undermined, and such a thing is simply a “big deal” (p. 594).

So, for the most part, it would appear that a lot of the anxiety surrounding homosexuality in churches (at least, if we are to generalize from this article) stems from a lack of experience with the gay community, and/or from the shifting paradigm that its acceptance might incite.  While the former might be “cured” through educating the church community, the latter poses a more interesting problem for LGBT acceptance; I imagine change will be slow if half of the present fear surrounds the notion of change itself.

Stephen