Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Old Kentucky Home

Thank God my kids are so young, because I'm just not ready for the day I have to explain this to them.

When my husband and I decided to get married, my dad and I had a huge falling out over his ignorance and racism. I thought that he was going to no longer be a part of my life. The transformation that happened in his life after that was miraculous, but that's for another post. No one else gave me grief over being in a mixed race relationship, but my mother did express some concern over the adversity we might face, and more importantly, what life might be like for our kids. I remember almost laughing and telling her "Mom, it's not like we're going to be living back in Kentucky. We live in Los Angeles." I never imagined coming back here, raising kids here or being married to my husband here. For the most part, we have been pleasantly surprised at the open-mindedness here in Lexington. But, it is a University town, so more is to be expected. And here I am, only 6.5 miles from the University of Kentucky campus where Barack Obama was hung in effigy today. Did I mention that just a few weeks ago, my husband and I saw an old redneck man driving a truck with a bumper sticker that says "Obama is my n****r"? No kidding. My husband took a picture just to prove it. Like the shoe-shining photo, I refuse to reproduce it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Matthew Shepard

I can't believe it's been ten years. Here's a great article about how little progress we've made.

And here's an interview with Kentucky's Fairness Campaign's co-founder.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Great story here about an InterVarsity chapter dealing with the issues I talk about below.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I've had it.

It's taken me almost an entire week to be able to write about this because I was so angry on Sunday that my comments would have been nothing but hateful, and hateful is what I am angry about. I have grown up in church all my life. Mostly in the South in a very conservative evangelical church tradition. I remember thinking that to be a Christian, you had to be a Republican. Really, I was mortified when I found out that a good friend's parents were Democrats. I prayed for them. I remember seeing "voter's guides" near election time sitting in the church narthex. I never questioned their validity or propriety.

As I got older (and more educated), and more open-minded, my political views began to change. The change was, ironically, largely influenced by my faith. I also began to understand the danger in the church telling people how to vote and began to read the "voter's guides" with a more critical eye, and mind. And at some point, my feelings toward the religious right, Focus on the Family, etc. evolved into outright anger. I began to see how they had hijacked the faith for their political purposes. Nonetheless, I still respected my Republican friends and held many of the same values as them. After moving to Los Angeles, I was rarely confronted with the single-mindedness of my upbringing and even at church, was usually surrounded by mostly liberal-thinking individuals.

When we moved back to Kentucky, I didn't pay that much attention to religion and politics. I was prepared for the world were entering, even though my Los Angeles born and raised husband was not, and I just accepted that I was going to be in the minority around my Christian friends. I was able to deal with that until this election and particularly, until this Sunday. Now, I've had it.

It really started a few months back when my husband, a black man, received an absolutely appalling email from a "Christian" friend. This friend had been sending him Obama-bashing forwards and Republican propoganda for quite some time and my husband being the non-confrontational person he is, just ignored them. Until this particular email. It was a picture of Barack Obama shining Sarah Palin's shoes!!!! I can't do it justice by just typing that sentence, but I refuse to republish it here. He told me about it and I was appalled, but when he forwarded it to me and I saw it, I cried. The image was so shocking and so blatently racist that my heart absolutely broke over the idea that my beautiful, compassionate, loving husband had to open it and see it - from a friend whose daughter my husband had pastored as a youth pastor. In a very uncharacteristic move, he replied all and told the friend that he was hurt and offended. Then, being the sweet soul that he is, he replied all again AND APOLOGIZED because he felt like he had called the man a racist in front of a lot of people and he doesn't believe that the man is a racist. The scathing response he received is beyond explanation. Apparently this guy's other "black friend" had responded simlarly. The guy proceeded to accuse my husband and this other man, and really, all Obama supporters of being racists. He said that he had invited "more black people into his home than the two of them combined." (My husband asked me "is this kind of response something they teach you in your meetings?" - presumably the "white people meetings" we all attend, of course). He then berated Obama, accused him of being an "empty suit" and at the end, said, "I'm sorry if I offended you." (very sincere).

So, Sunday. I go to church and in the narthex there is a table with a "family values" voter's guide. I don't know why I picked it up. I knew it would piss me off. But I did. And it did. It had all the Kentucky candidates - for U.S. Senator, State Senator and something else. And it asked a serious of unbelievably loaded questions about issues that affect "family values." Of course, all of the Democrats chose not to answer. Because, at this point, they realize that anyone relying on these ridiculous guides isn't going to vote for them anyway. And answering these loaded questions truthfully is going to make you look worse in the eyes of the people who read them than not answering them at all. I read it and I was irritated, but I decided to go into church with a good attitude because I had seen these before and I shouldn't have expected anything else from our lilly-white, mostly upper-class church. I listend to the pastor's sermon, and it was good. I felt challenged and inspired, like you are supposed to feel in church. Then, at the end, the pastor encouraged everyone to pick up one the "non-partisan" voter guides and my blood began to boil again. Non-partisan??? Give me a break. Just be honest and tell people that you are advocating for a particular party. OH WAIT, you can't. You aren't supposed to do that as a church, and as a matter of fact, you would lose your tax exempt status, so you have to pretend to be "fair and balanced." Kind of like FOX news, I suppose. I left church irritated, but I quickly put it behind me because I just didn't want to think about it. But then came the email. From my Sunday School teacher. I love and respect her greatly. As a matter of fact, she and her husband were instrumental in saving my marriage. And I know that we have wildly divergent views on social, moral and political issues and that she is a staunch Republican. She LOVES George W. That staunch. But I didn't expect this from her:

This is the scariest election we as Christians have ever faced. From the looks of
the polls, the Christians aren't voting Christian values. We all need to be on our
knees. Do you believe we can take God at His word? Call upon His name, then
standback and watch His wonders to behold. His scripture gives us, as Christians,
ownership of this land and the ability to call upon God to heal it.

I challenge you to do so. We have never been more desperate than now for God to heal our land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 : If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

During WWII, there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England , its people and peace. This had an
amazing effect as bombing stopped.

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America , The United States of America and our citizens need prayer more than ever!!

If you would like to participate: each evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time, 8:00 PM
Central, 7:00 PMMountain, 6:00 PM Pacific, stop whatever you are doing and spend
one minute praying for the safety of the United States , our troops, our
citizens, for peace in the world, for wisdom and courage for our leaders, the
up-coming election, and that the Bible will remain the basis for the laws
governing our land and that Christianity will grow in the U.S.

If you know anyone who would like to participate, please pass this along. Someone said if people really understood the full extent of thepower we have available through prayer, we might be speechless. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have. Thank You.

Please pass this onto anyone who you think will want to
join us. God Bless You!!!

It was a forward, of course, and had a picture of a little boy and his dad, or grandfather praying together. My blood was boiling. The arrogance and audacity it takes to promote the idea that the only Christian values that matter are the ones that are important to Republicans is unbelievable to me. These people really believe that God cares more about the legal status of abortion and gay marriage than he does about the innocent lives that are being lost in Iraq, the lack of education and poverty that lead many people to be in a position to have an abortion, the lack of quality healthcare that causes babies who are already here to die, and I could go on and on and on. Look, I don't like abortion. I wish it didn't exist. And I personally think it's a horrible thing. But I don't think making it illegal is going to fix the problem and I don't think it's the issue that takes precedence over every other problem facing our country. And if you think gay people are the cause of the downfall of marriage in this society, than you are beyond hope because you clearly have no ability to reason or apply logic. I can respect my Republican friend's viewpoints, but I CANNOT tolerate being told that I, as a Christian, have to vote a particular way. Particuarly, when upon closer examination, the policies that are dictating that belief aren't even the priorities of the Jesus that I read about in my Bible.

I've been typing for over 30 minutes and I am supposed to be finishing up some work, so I'm quitting now, but really, I could write about this forever. Here's some thoughts from Jim Wallis on the topic.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008