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Monday, February 01, 2010

Alternatives

Well, after a jam-packed weekend that included a two-day Diocesan Convention and an Annual Parish Meeting, I'm not quite brain dead but pretty much zapped.

I still have a few gray matter cells left in my brain, however, to be outraged over this blog post from Bryan Fischer of 'Rightly Concerned' (a Blog maintained by the American Family Association), in which he calls for legal sanctions for LGBT people.

Here are some "low lights" of his post:
* It might be worth noting that what I actually suggested is that we impose the same sanctions on those who engage in homosexual behavior as we do on those who engage in intravenous drug abuse, since both pose the same kind of risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.

* If you believe that what drug abusers need is to go into an effective detox program, then we should likewise put active homosexuals through an effective reparative therapy program.

* The bottom line here is that, biblically, those “who practice homosexuality” should come under the purview of the law just as much as those who take people captive in order to sell them into slavery.

* If you believe all Scripture is inspired, then you are compelled to accept that legal sanctions may appropriately be applied to those who engage in homosexual behavior.
No, he's not from Uganda. This is a United States Citizen. A man who purports to be Christian (even quotes the Bible). This is America where you have to be brave in order to maintain your freedom.

It would be easy enough to dismiss this as just so much inflammatory rhetoric from the Right Wingnuts, but we do so at our peril.

These are the folks who sponsor the National Prayer Breakfast - a gathering of Washington senators and congressmen, lobbyists and power brokers and other Washington elite cognoscenti - which will be held this week.

In the past, some of our shining liberal stars like Hillary Clinton have attended. It has become the place to "see and be seen."

Well, now there is an alternative.

The Lead over at Episcopal Cafe is reporting:
A coalition of organizations is sponsoring The American Prayer Hour as an alternative to the National Prayer Breakfast which is connected to both the semi-secret religious and political group known as The Family and, through them, to the 'Kill-The-Gays' bill being proposed in Uganda.
The American Prayer Hour is "an inclusive, justice-oriented time of prayer and action" which will be launched on February 4th.

The American Prayer Hour will be anchored by events in the following cities:
* Dallas—Creating Change (Sheraton Dallas – Dallas Ballroom A)
* Chicago Theological Seminary (The Chapel)
* Berkeley–Pacific School of Religion (The Chapel)
* Washington, DC (Calvary Baptist Church, Chapel)
* Anchorage, AK (Church Life Alaska)
* Boynton Beach, FL (Church of Our Savior, MCC)
The website also provides some suggests as to how "we the people" can be involved.
There are four ways to get involved:

1. If you live in a city where an American Prayer Hour event is already occurring, please consider attending.
2. If you are interested in creating an American Prayer Hour event in your hometown, please contact Wayne Besen, wbesen@truthwinsout.org.
3. Spread the word about the American Prayer Hour and the truth behind the National Prayer Breakfast
4. Pray where you are—wherever you are—for a world safe for all families regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
You don't have to be half-brain dead to recognize the hideous evil of the prejudice espoused in the name of Jesus by Mr. Fischer.

Neither is it hard to miss a great idea and a good alternative like The American Prayer Hour when you see one.

Please spread the word to your folks in Washington and urge them to consider attending or participating in the alternative to prejudice and bigotry and ignorance wrapped in the mantle of prayer.

Please pray for all families everywhere that God, who calls us together in the sacred vocation of family, may also give us the courage and strength to live out that vocation with integrity and love.

"Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" as founding principles of this country are exceptional values from which no citizen in this country is exempt.

Freedom to Choose. It's one of the building blocks of American democracy.

The Right Wingnuts may claim ownership of "the fundamentals of faith" (newsflash: they don't), but you don't have to be half brain dead to remember the fundamentals of life.

I mean, I may not have gotten much sleep this weekend, but I did still wake up in America, right?

3 comments:

Risk Rapper said...

Dear Rev. Kaeton,

Thanks for this post. It's distressing to think that this man reads the same Bible as I do and comes away with an understanding of a message of exclusion, oppression, intolerance, suspicion and fear.

I also understand your reason to advocate a parallel prayer breakfast. Its important to break the stranglehold religious fundamentalism has on our legislators and many politicians.

I am however growing most concerned about the breakdown in consensus and our ability to cohabit events with parties holding a separate opinion.

I know its not an easy question or problem to address. I remember posting a comment on Bishop Beckwith's blog voicing my displeasure over Lambeth's exclusion of Bishop Robinson and asked the question, "when do we leave an organization whose ideas and practices are increasingly becoming antithetical to our own?"

During the past year I have been growing increasingly discontented with President Obama's failure to live up to a progressive agenda. The continuation of Don't Ask Don't Tell, escalation of war in Afghanistan, folding on the public option in health care have led me to believe he has abandoned the program of change he promised when he ran for office.

But his State of the Union address and his meeting with republican's at their annual retreat helped me to understand his earnest attempt to build consensus by continuing the conversation in the hope that a higher understanding will evolve and progress can be made.

I support your call that a more progressive/inclusive voice of the faith traditions be heard and pray that their wisdom takes hold in the hearts and minds of government leaders. I am however growing very concerned over the ever widening breach in our society. Once institutions are split antagonism grows the rift deepens and the possibility of conflict increases. We are called to be repairers of the breach. As each day passes I get a growing sense of what this country must have been like on the eve of the Civil War.

Last night I attended an AA meeting at Redeemer in Morristown. A more blessed and grace filled ministry under Gods kingdom one would be hard pressed to find. A few years ago I went to a recovery service at Redeemer. It was the first time I had ever visited that faith community and was unaware of the peculiar demographics of its parishioners. I had never in my life been more embraced and welcomed by a radical hospitality informed by Christs love. Inclusiveness is what their community is all about. It is my most fervent prayer that their ministry of inclusiveness does not condemn them to a ghetto of exclusion. They are a light that cannot be hid under a pot. It must be generously shared with everyone.

Thanks for the great post Reverend. May the Lord continue to richly bless your ministry.

peace and prayers,

jimmymac

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Dear Jimmymac - I get your point, but I don't think offering alternatives - especially to opportunities to pray - is a good example of the point you are trying to make, good as it is. I trust that the present unpleasantness in our environment is about the transition we are in as a nation and a society. We'll learn, eventually. Hopefully, before it's too late.

Paul (A.) said...

A man who purports to be Christian (even quotes the Bible).

No; he quotes a false English translation of the Bible tailored for evangelicals.

And the American Family Association, a creature of Donald Wildmon, does not sponsor the National Prayer Breakfast, which is organized by the older Fellowship Foundation (also known as "The Family"), currently led by Douglas Coe.

Which is not to say that The American Prayer Hour should not be supported.