Reconciliation: black & white, gays & the church

There were people who believed that once the bigots die off, then a more tolerant, more enlightened next generation would take over.

More questions from Arthur:

Do you personally chafe at the name “Liberal Christianity”, or do you see the name as a necessary counter-balance to the assumption that all Christians (Protestants in particular) are conservatives?

Interesting that after you asked the question, someone linked to Social Justice Is a Christian Tradition — Not a Liberal Agenda. The person who posted wrote: “Many Christians are wary of participating in social justice because of a deep-rooted fear of being labeled ‘liberal,’ ‘progressive,’ or ‘secular.'”

I replied: “I am a Christian, and I have ZERO fear of being labeled liberal, though I prefer progressive.” Yes, we need SOME designation to counter the narrative. You KNOW I’ve spent a lot of space in this blog both claiming my faith and saying, essentially, I’m not “like them,” so I’d rather make a positive assertion, rather than be anti a negative one.

I happen to believe actual Bible reading is likely to turn one into a liberal, unless you cherry-pick like the woman upbraided by President Bartlett on The West Wing.

Given how awful Christians—conservatives in particular, but even mainline Protestant churches—have treated LGBT people in the past (and fundamentalists still do), how do you think reconciliation could be achieved? Could that be a model for reconciling other segments of society that are divided because of past antipathy?

The churches that are accepting just DO it, not without a great deal of deliberation, mind you because that’s the Presby way. The Presbyterian Church USA has a More Light designation, which I happen to think is a terrible name, because almost no one outside the denomination gets the reference. But it involves providing an opportunity for full participation, from having LGBTQ pastors and lay leaders to same-gender marriage, conversation in adult education, and yes, participation in the gay rights parade, which, as I’ve noted in the past, is much more important now than ever, given the backlash. People will make mistakes in the process, but they need a safe space to do that.

The Daughter is not confused by her church friend who has two moms, e.g. A lot of the membership in my congregation is LGBTQ and the leadership of elders and deacons reflects that.

The United Methodist Church, of which I am a former member, has ducked the issue, for now, the last major Protestant denomination to do so, I think, fearing a schism. But the schism will happen whether they vote yea or nay in 2020.

Let me throw in a question from Reader Wil here:

How do we have to deal with racists? Whenever I want to tell about people who are discriminated against, there is always someone who denies it.

Oy, that IS a tough nut to crack. Lots of people seem to think that racism is over when I see no evidence of that being true, in the United States at least. I know I was more hopeful eight years ago than now. In the US, even the systems that had protected voting rights based on race – Congress and the courts – have let us down.

One of the great things I’ve seen, though, since Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter movement, is the sheer number of WHITE people who seem to “get” it, that mass incarceration hurts not just the black community but all of us. It has always been thus, the need for white allies (or straight allies or male allies).

There were people who believed that once the bigots die off, a more tolerant, more enlightened next generation would take over. That may still be the case, but it’s going to take longer than I would like. Race, and specifically black/white in America, has a long historic framework. Just as you think you’ve torn it down here (Confederate flag moved from the SC capitol), it rises up there (the racist, often pro-Agent Orange tirades, post-election.)

I’ll say this: it’s heartening when white people talk about white privilege because it says that the problem of racism is NOT a black problem, it’s everyone’s problem. After the nine people were killed in a Charleston, SC church, the congregations of a couple of churches in that city, one black, one white, but with a common history, started meeting together, and it created greater understanding. THAT’S reconciliation, and we need more of that.

But it’ll be a slow go. Especially when courses designed to address the issue are fought.

I know it’s not much, but we have to keep on keeping on, embracing the “other,” as often as we can. I’m impressed how, in New Zealand, people of every ethnicity have adopted some Maori terms. I can’t imagine a lot of American people using some native American culture – “talk American!” – other than to denigrate it, but maybe I’m too cynical.

June rambling #1: procrastination, and tessellation

The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson: America’s Mozart?

waltz in
When You Kill Ten Million Africans and You Aren’t Called ‘Hitler’ – King Leopold II of Belgium, who “owned” the Congo.

The Dannemora Dilemma. “‘Little Siberia’ turned out to be the prison’s nickname.”

The Weekly Sift addresses the Duggars’ brand of fundamentalist Christianity and other stuff. Plus What’s So Scary About Caitlyn Jenner?

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet and The Crystal Ball‘s 2016 Electoral College ratings. I have NO idea who the Republican candidate for President will be.

If it’s not Jeb Bush, and I have my serious doubts that it will be, then one of those people from the “he/she can’t win” category could possibly emerge.

ADD on blaming the victims of today’s disastrous economy for trying to survive it.

What Poverty Does to the Young Brain.

Disunion, The Final Q&A: The New York Times’s series on the Civil War.

Franklin Graham Calls for Christian Boycott — Here Are Some Ideas for Targets.

Rachel Dolezal and minstrelsy.

David Kalish: The Fine Art of Procrastination.

THE MARVEL-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX and a follow-up.

Drawing the Undrawable: An Explanation from Neil and Amanda Gaiman, re: The New Statesman and Art Spiegelman.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 will be available on July 29. This SHOULD mean you can update from Windows 7, and I can get rid of the dreadful Windows 8.

How to create strong passwords.

Why Pluto Is a Planet, and Eris Is, Too.

Now I Know: The Lights That Almost Led to World War III and America’s Most Wanted Coincidence and Why are there so few $2 bills?

Gouverneur is a small town of about 6,000 located in St. Lawrence County, NY. But how do you PRONOUNCE it? In English and in French.

Berowne: George Gordon. Better known as Lord Byron.

Never-before-seen film of the legendary aviator Amelia Earhart — from her last photo shoot ever, shortly before she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.

The origin of that Orange Church of God sign I see on Facebook all the time. Speaking of which: 6 Facebook Statuses That Need To Stop Right Now.

Mark Evanier’s childhood Christmas chicanery.

The app that identifies plants from a picture. Seriously, I could use this.

What is a tessellation? Math, and design.

A marbles tsunami.

True: Why are the Tony Awards so afraid of the Tony Awards?

Sex Pistols credit card.

The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson: America’s Mozart?

James Taylor’s creativity flows anew.

The Mary Lou Williams Suite, the jazz pianist and arranger. Includes the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee.

SamuraiFrog ranks Weird Al: 60-51. He also brought to mind that the birthday of Todd Rundgren is coming up, which reminded me of a 1985 album I own on vinyl that I haven’t heard in a good while. LISTEN to A Cappella, or at least the last song, a cover of the Spinners’ Mighty Love.

Bert Jansch’s Blackwaterside, first recorded in 1966. Which sounds an awful lot like Jimmy Page’s instrumental Black Mountain Side, from Led Zeppelin’s 1969 debut.

DJ Otzi – Burger Dance, “based on the premise that the single aspect of American culture most readily recognizable in the rest of the world is fast food.”

This list is rubbish, but hey, it has links to Beatles songs. The most skippable Beatles cuts, from “All You Need Is Love” to “Yellow Submarine”.

Muppets: Puppetman and Kermit the Frog and Grover on The Ed Sullivan Show and Grover is Special and the 1962 pilot Tales of the Tinkerdee and some other stuff.

Legendary Special-Effects Artist Rick Baker on How CGI Killed His Industry.

Actor Christopher Lee, Dracula and Nazi hunter, dies at 93. From The Guardian and BFI and the Hollywood Reporter and Bruce Hallenbeck in Diabolique and Mr. Frog and Gordon at Blog This, Pal.

Ornette Coleman, Jazz Innovator, Dies at 85.

Dustbury notes the passing of Monica Lewis, a voice, at least, you’ve heard, if you are of a certain age.

GOOGLE ALERTS (not me)

Roger and Carmen Green of Baraboo, Wisconsin celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

UK: An illustrated guided walk tracing the route of the Nickey Line is being led by railway enthusiast Roger Green on Saturday, June 27.

March Rambling: mostly about me

I’ve been Superman, Abraham Lincoln, and a Georgia O’Keefe painting.

roger2
My old buddy Augustus (who you FantaCo customers might have known as Matt), put this together for my birthday. Pic on the left is from the cover of the FantaCon 1988 convention program, drawn by the late Chas Balun. The image is on the right was John Hebert’s rendition from Sold Out #1, c. 1986.
This is about me because: It was so cool. And he wrote: “Thank you for turning me on to a world of literature far beyond science fiction and fantasy. You are still an influence on this boychik. Long may you arrange. (books in order).” And you thought I couldn’t blush.

Now Jaquandor KNOWS how to celebrate my birthday. He added me to his sentential links here. He answered my question about football.
This is about me, obviously. (Sidebar: some highly educated person wrote: “As is my want” recently in a mass e-mail I received. You have NO idea how difficult it was for me NOT to correct him. Jaquandor would NOT make this misteak, er, mistake.)

Tom Skulan of FantaCo is being interviewed for Theater of Guts.
This is about me because: I worked at FantaCo for over eight years I took the photo of Tom, and also the pic of the late Chas Balun looking towards the ceiling. I find it interesting that my photos of the store and the FantaCon have been so heavily used since I am really a lousy photographer.

Dustbury answers my question about women’s fashion. Not only does he know more about the topic than I do, but he also knows more about popular music.
This is about me because: as a librarian, I am always ready to defer to people with greater expertise.

Occasionally, I’ll do one of those BuzzFeed games. This month, I’ve been Superman, Abraham Lincoln, and a Georgia O’Keefe painting.
This is about me because: actually I found the first two descriptions relatively accurate; the third, maybe not so much.

Meet Jeopardy!’s new master–and his controversial strategy, [Podcast interview] by Glenn Fleishman, two-time JEOPARDY! winner. Plus Arthur Chu’s social media brand, from the New Yorker.
This is about me because: I like to watch JEOPARDY! And now that Chu’s 11-day run is over, these articles will stop, at least until the Tournament of Champions. See also, Ken Jennings’ interview with Julann Griffin, the mother of JEOPARDY!

Tosy continues to count down his U2 song rankings, from 144 to 135 and 134 to 125 and 125 to 115 and 114 to 101.
This is about me because: When I wrote that I was linking to his return post last month, he wrote, “Thanks, Roger! I need the pressure!” I THINK he meant that in a good way.

Eddie, the Renaissance Geek, links to Green Day songs.
This is about me because: I mean it’s GREEN Day. Yeesh. How is it that American Idiot is MORE relevant now than it was a decade ago?

In the years 1965-1966, Pete Seeger hosted a television series, Rainbow Quest, devoted to folk music. Here are 13 of the 39 episodes.
This is about me because: I loved Pete Seeger’s music, and I used to sing folk music, and this was posted by a sort of relative.

Incredibly dirty R&B: gloriously filthy music from the 30s-50s
This is about me because I really like music, as my posts this year should suggest. I’m particularly interested in the history of music in the United States. Yeah, that’s the story.

Why Sharp Little Pencil writes.
This is about me because: we lived in the same county (Broome, NY), at the same time, once upon a time. And because she speaks truth to power, which I find to be an admirable thing.

RodSerling.BinghamtonHS.
Here is, on a wall of Binghamton High School, a picture of Rod Serling.
This is about me because: Rod Serling went to what was then Binghamton Central High School, as did I. He was student government president, as was I. I got to introduce him to an assembly, sort of.

Mark Evanier linked to twelve songs, all but one sung by Mel Blanc, voicing a different cartoon character, each a “Happy Birthday” song for a different month. Here’s
January and February, and
March and April, and
May and June, and
July and August, and
September and October, and
November and December. PLUS Happy Birthday played on “the 5th largest organ in the world”
This is about me because: did I mention this is my birth month?

12 YEARS A SLAVE: portraits of Solomon Northup’s descendants
This is about me because: what it says about our preconceived notions. And because it’s about movies. And Northup lived around here.

My cousin Dr. Anne Beal is leaving one important job for another.
This is about me because: my family had Thanksgiving dinner with hers, and about a dozen other people, in 2013.

Stephen Bissette‘s open letter to DC on Facebook about NBC’s Constantine.
This is about me because my friend Steve’s dissection of DC is so deliciously understated, and addresses the issue of common courtesy.

Rory O’Neill, aka Panti Bliss, a leading drag performer in Ireland, speaks about homophobia.
This is about me because the narrative reminds me of certain people on a certain “news network” defining racism for black people.

Lisa retells the story of Esther, which led to the holiday of Purim.
This is about me because: about 20 years ago, I played Haman in a church play.

What’s the reality behind “senior moments”?
This is about me because: because…because…oh, yeah, because this TOTALLY explains mine.

Anthony sees an anxious face in this picture of a building.
This is about me because: so do I.

The Lost Art of the Unsent Angry Letter from Jaquandor, and the AmeriNZ response.
This is about me because: I seldom respond quickly to comments on the Internet so that I can avoid unnecessary noise.

SamuraiFrog is linking to Muppet stuff, such as Sequel Song and Lipton Tea commercials, and searching for sushi and St. Patrick’s Day.
This is about me because: The Daughter REALLY wants to see the new Muppet movie, so I GUESS I’ll just HAVE to take her.

Les Miserables is back on Broadway, and Sesame Street has put together an excellent cookie-themed parody of it.
This is about me because: I love theater and Muppets. And COOKIES!

picket

Frog is also still writing his 50 Shades of Smartass. Here’s Chapter 17 and Chapter 18 and Chapter 19 and Chapter 20.
This is about me because: now I have an excuse to REALLY NEVER EVER have to read the books.

Dustbury notes that a strange story about the woman’s auto-payments hid her death for six years!
This is about me because my auto-posting on this blog, and directed to Facebook and Twitter, would probably hide my own demise for a month.

I love this church sign.
This is about me because: I TOTALLY mean it. Bring it on, Westboro! Here’s my Fred Phelps tribute post. Here’s Nathan Phelps’ statement on the death of his estranged father. And Dustbury points to the new Westboro poison meister.

That purported gay/black antipathy thing

There DOES seem that there is a certain hostility by some black leaders towards what certain goofy people call “the gay agenda.”

Arthur at AmeriNZ asked a question earlier in the month:

Here’s something that worries me…: Racism. The spokesperson for the leading radical rightwing religious-political anti-gay hate group seemed to go WAY out of his way to praise black Democratic legislators in Illinois for not supporting the freedom to marry. That same hate group, of course, famously said that one way to defeat marriage equality was to deliberately create divisions between the LGBT and Black communities. All too often, LGBT people buy the racist propaganda hook, line, and sinker. And, it seems to me, some Blacks are too willing to buy the propaganda of mainly (or exclusively) white anti-gay groups.

So, I’m wondering two things. First, what do you think can be done to expose the racist lie of division for what it is, and second, how do you think we can persuade the two sides to ignore the (white) man behind the curtain who’s trying so hard to sow racial division?

One of the things that I’ve long believed is that “justice for all” ought not to be a meaningless slogan, but rather the reason people who don’t SEEM to be affected should support the rights of, for lack of a better phrase, the “other.” Whites should support black civil rights; men, women’s equality; straights, LGBTQ justice. (That’s one of the reasons I didn’t much like NYC mayor Ed Koch; he seemed to stir up hostility between blacks and Jews, when they had been traditional allies.)

Yet, in my freshman year at college, my next-door neighbor was astonishingly hostile to me, from the get-go. He was gay, and I always wondered if he had heard what I had heard somewhere or other, that black people did not like gay people, and therefore dismissed me out of hand.

To the specific point, there DOES seem that there is a certain hostility by some black leaders towards what certain goofy people call “the gay agenda.” I think some of it clearly comes from religious leadership. You saw this in the Prop 8 vote in California a few years back. All that so-called down-low behavior of some black men so closeted, they even hide it from themselves, comes from some cultural/religious disconnect.

I knew one openly gay black man – worked with him, actually – who was supposed to be coming home for Thanksgiving when he was about 21, but he felt his family wouldn’t understand his sexual orientation and would be unforgiving. They never knew where he was for decades. When they discovered that he died, 26 years later – from something I blogged about – they were devastated. Perhaps in the intervening years, their position on homosexuality had changed and having been in contact with his sister after his death, I believe it had.

Mostly though, and the video you linked to after the Illinois defeat of marriage equality actually touches on this, it’s a bit of an oppression competition. The gay rights movement has appropriated some of the language of the black civil rights movement of the 1950s and later, rightly so, I believe, but some black folks of a certain age just don’t like it. I kid you not, it sounds a little like “hey, they can pass for straight, but I can’t pass for white; we were enslaved, they weren’t.” And so on. It’s less an antipathy towards gays per se, as much as it’s a “make them wait their turn, keep them in their place, until WE achieve full civil rights” thing. This is incredibly parochial, and dare I say, stupid; “a high tide raises all boats,” and all that.

That said, I also do believe other nefarious forces are at work, quite possibly poised to embarrass one person: Barack Obama. The President comes out for marriage equality a year ago, and it passes, in one form or another, in a half dozen states, including in the Midwest. Where does it fail? In the state from which he was elected, Illinois. Can this be a coincidence? (Cough – Koch Brothers – cough.) Maybe, but I’m too cynical to believe it.

What to do about it? Oh, probably nothing. Let them just die off.

But you know what random thought flashed through my mind? That ad you pointed to with this back-and-forth:

“[Attractive young man] clicks to buy [a Kindle Paperwhite] and suggests [he and attractive woman sitting next to him] celebrate with a drink.

“‘My husband’s bringing me a drink right now,’ chirps she.

“‘So is mine,'” smiles he as they turn and wave at their male loved ones sitting together at a tiki bar.”

I’ve since seen the ad on the TV show Modern Family. Now if any of the participants were BLACK, you KNOW that would give the thing a whole ‘nother spin.

Here Now The News

Now foreclosures are all being frozen, to check to see which ones are legit, which is hurting the financial markets, which, in turn, is hurting my head.

A lot of news stories have been really dominated my consciousness this month. And these aside from politics, which I reckon will require its own post soon enough.

One was the safe return of the 33 Chilean miners. The day of the rescue, October 13, there was a live feed on CNN, and I watched it, off and on, for hours. And it was always comfortingly the same, well-described by the Los Angeles Times: The rescue work had adopted a mesmerizing, rhythmic routine, the thin capsule shimmying down and up the narrow shaft that had been drilled to reach the chamber. Each appearance at the surface delivered a newly rescued miner into the arms of overjoyed family members, reunions that were still moving with every repetition. It had a sort of chant or Taize quality to it.
Yet there will always be the inevitable backlash.

I actually read, in a LOC, “Oh, it was no big deal; they were perfectly safe.” To that person, I feel like throwing him down a hole for two months and see what he’d miss. Not to mention that in the first couple of weeks, the miners didn’t know if they would even survive. Here’s a video about NASA’s assistance, which should help one understand the stresses those men experienced, as well as some of the engineering requirements required for the rescue.

Another storyline involves the GLBT youths’ suicide and the mostly heartening response. I’ve watched a number of moving videos, including one of a Fort Worth, TX city councilman, which was excerpted on ABC News recently. But it was actually GayProf’s prose piece about the abuse he suffered as a kid that got to me; well, that and his link to Tim Gunn’s touching “It Gets Better” video. Interestingly, SamuraiFrog puts at least some of the blame on the current President of the United States, and I’m not sure he’s entirely wrong about that, though I “get” what Obama’s trying to do: end DADT and make the military think it was THEIR idea; maybe Jon Stewart will ask Obama about it next week. Frog also notes your everyday schmucks as well that contribute to a climate of bigotry-driven violence.

Remember that story in Hungary about the alumina-coated waters rushing through towns and into the Danube? Well, it was newsworthy in the US as long as there were fresh pictures. Now it’s yesterday’s news – unless you happen to live in other parts of the world.

What HAS been a continual big story in the US is the foreclosure stories, not so much that there are homes being foreclosed, but the fact that they’ve been foreclosed illegally (and immorally), with financial institutions failing to even look at the paperwork. Now foreclosures are all being frozen, to check to see which ones are legit, which is hurting the financial markets, which, in turn, is hurting my head.

Is yoga pagan? Yeesh.

I found this rather sad: KCET, the PBS affiliate in Los Angeles, has decided to break away from the public broadcasting network and become an independent station. Station officials intend to replace such PBS series as “Charlie Rose” and “NewsHour” with news and documentaries from Japan, Canada, and elsewhere, along with old feature films.

Deaths I failed to note: Gloria Stewart (Sept 26 at the age of 100). When she was picked, at the age of 86, to be old Rose in the movie Titanic, James Cameron said he wanted to find someone he could age to 101 easily, and who could still stand upright.

George Blanda (Sept 27 at the age of 83). It’s funny to realize that his career with the Oakland Raiders (1967-1975), which I remember quite well, was just the last third of the football Hall of Famer’s 26-year career as a quarterback and placekicker.

Norman Wisdom (Oct 4 at the age of 95). He was in one of my favorite movies, The Night They Raided Minsky’s. Here’s What is Burlesque with Britt Eklund and PERFECT GENTLEMAN with Jason Robards.

Solomon Burke (October 10 at age 70). Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Here’s Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, a live performance from 2003. And Cry To Me from the movie Dirty Dancing, with Patrick Swayze & Jennifer Grey.

Barbara Billingsly (Oct 16 at the age of 94). She was the mom on Leave It to Beaver, a show I never really embraced. But I WAS a big fan of the movie Airplane, where she talked jive; she discusses the experience here.

Tom Bosley (Oct 19 at the age of 83) I watched him as the father on Happy Days, though I may have quit it before Fonzie jumped the shark. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I also saw him on Murder, She Wrote, but slightly chastened to admit that I also viewed The Father Dowling Mysteries.

On the subject of death, Biblical scholar’s date for rapture: May 21, 2011. Anyone knowing me well probably knows that I find these predictions not only silly but antithetical to true faith.