The Blue Review: Oases of Welcome

In an exclusive interview for The Blue Review, I had the great honor to sit down with gay icon and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson. We talked about marriage equality, religious freedom, Add the Words and more.


Blue Review, Boise State University, BSU

Oases of Welcome

Openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson visits Boise

gene-robinson-660x300“Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal Bishop, was the keynote speaker at the Pacific Northwest regional conference for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in Boise Oct. 4 at the Riverside hotel. About 130 PFLAG members from nine Northwest states attended. Some events were open to the community like the healing and reconciliation service on Sunday, officiated by Bishop Robinson — especially for LGBT people who have been hurt and rejected by their faiths.”

Read the entire interview HERE on The Blue Review

Crusade of Hate Lead by American Christian Radicals to Blame for Anti-LGBT Laws

Remember these guys?

Scott Lively, Caleb Brundidge, Don Schmierer, Rick Warren, Lou Engle, Richard Cohen, Uganda, Hate, Homosexuality

(from left to right) Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries, “Ex-gay counselor” Caleb Brundidge and Don Schmierer from Exodus International, Richard Cohen, who’s book Coming Our Straight was used in Uganda as proof homosexuality is a choice, Pastor Rick Warren of the California based Saddleback mega church and Lou Engel of revival group The Call.

Imagine what would happen if people like us were forced to hide in our homes for fear of being arrested, beaten or killed for simply trying to live our lives.

Well, in Uganda today our LGBT brothers and sisters are in hiding and living in fear for their lives because of a successful campaign of hate with roots right here in America.

These men (pictured left) and other Americans created a firestorm of hate that has led to the creation of the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill that was signed into law on Feb. 24, 2014.

Under the new law, any Ugandan convicted of “Aggravated Homosexuality” will spend their life in prison, that is if they are not beaten or killed by angry mobs first.

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Melaleuca Call-Centers Staffed Minors in Anti-Obama Effort

AFP Melaleuca HS Flyer

Romney National Finance Co-Chair and Melaleuca CEO, Frank VanderSloot is using his resources for the promotion for partisan political flyers* circulated in at least four Eastern Idaho public high schools late October.

The American’s for Prosperity branded flyers were specifically targeting teens at $10 an hour to staff Melaleuca’s Idaho Falls and Rexburg call centers to make political phone calls to swing state voters with an anti-Obama message under the guise of a survey.

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Bryan Fischer Passes Idaho Values Alliance Torch to “Nation’s Abstinence Pastor”

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Sep. 15, 2010

All traces of Bryan Fischer have been wiped clean from the Idaho Values Alliance website in preparation for Friday’s re-launch of IVA under new president—and abstinence education consultant—Gary N. Brown.

On the website sourceministires.net, Brown wrote, “I am known across America as the nation’s Abstinence Pastor, impacting abstinence and marriage-education legislation and policy on every level of government. I have been able to gain the trust of senators and House members, alike.”

Brown told Citydesk he first met Fischer, who left IVA in 2009 for Mississippi-based American Family Association, when he moved to the Idaho panhandle from Atlanta two years ago. Brown left his position as pastor of Coeur d’Alene’s NorthStar Church after 10 months to helm the IVA, saying that he found work like that of IVA’s a better fit for him.

As head of IVA and during his time with AFA, Fischer has been a polarizing figure. Citydesk asked Brown if he shared Fisher’s stance on homosexuality and Islam.

“I am very well aware of some of Bryan Fischer’s positions on issues, and to be honest, I would rather not go there,” he said. “In the future we will have to address issues like that. I mean my goodness, it is a hot button topic … I don’t want any particular issue to take the headlines today.”
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We CAN have it all, same-gender marriage & religious freedom

Marriage Equality CoexistNo matter what side you are on in the debate over same-gender marriage, there is a simple path for everyone to get what they want, full civil rights for same gender couples AND protection of the institution of marriage. How? The conversation should never include religion period!

As citizens of this country, we are Americans first. As a democracy, we are governed first and foremost by our Constitution. In that document is the protection for religious freedom AND equal protection under the law.

Although many Americans are Christian, not everyone is! We are Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Agnostics, Spiritualists, Atheists, Humanists and everything in-between. Within each of these belief systems are conservative, moderate and liberal factions.

How then as a free democracy can we possibly think we can solve any social or political issue when religion is part of the discussion? It’s worse than trying to herd cats.

Rev. Dr. Welton Gaddy, president of the national Interfaith Alliance, put it very simply, “In a democracy, the Constitution trumps all.”

If you want a theocracy, get an island and start one. If you value REAL freedom and Democracy, let’s separate the legal contract, rights and responsibilities of what we now universally call marriage from religion entirely for EVERYONE.

The solution is civil unions for all and marriage only for religious groups. ALL religious organizations will have an exemption and don’t have to ‘marry’ anyone they don’t want to. However, anyone can become Civilly United.

That’s the easy part.

Each side must to give something up. ALL Americans have to give up the term “marriage” and ALL Religions have to give up preventing LGBT people from obtaining full rights and responsibilities that now come with heterosexual marriage in all states and federally.

That’s the hard part.

A Conversation with Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy

Interfaith Alliances Air America State of Belief Host Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy with Jody May-ChangThis morning I had the distinct honor and pleasure to sit down for an entire hour and talk with the president of the National Interfaith Alliance, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy.

Dr. Gaddy is quite an accomplished religious and political leader. He has authored 20 books and just last year published the powerful and poignant paper, “Same-Gender Marriage & Religious Freedom, A Call to Quite Conversations And Public Debate”

The reverend is an active practicing Baptist minister from Louisiana and the host of State of Belief, a weekly talk show on Air America Radio, and a frequent guest on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show.

“..the old cliche was, hate the sin love the sinner You’re not condemning homosexuality, you’re condemning a person!”

The reverend was called by the Obama transition team to advise the incoming president on issues related to religion and politics. Dr Gaddy played a key roll in working to get the Matthew Sheppard Hate Crimes bill passed and was in the oval office with Judy Sheppard when President Obama singed this historic legislation into law.

Our conversation focuses on the collision of religion and politics and how that has affected the national conversation on same-gender marriage. We talk about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints involvement in anti-gay ballot initiatives across the country, and what needs to happen to achieve true equality. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.

I would like to thank my friend and colleague, Executive Director of the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho, Pam Baldwin for arranging this wonderful opportunity.

Stay tuned for more from Dr. Gaddy! As I See It… will soon post his keynote address to the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho’s annual meeting and dinner.

LDS Church Backing SLC Gay Rights Ordinance Smells

Big news is circulating on the blog sphere that the Mormon Church backs protection of gay rights in Salt Lake City,” as reported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owned and operated, Deseret News on Tuesday.

<small>Michael Otterson, Mormon Public Relations (Photo: Tom Smart, Deseret News)</small>

Michael Otterson, Mormon Public Relations (Photo: Tom Smart, Deseret News)

At a public hearing on an employment and housing ordinance, public affairs managing director Michael Otterson said, “The church supports this ordinance because it is fair and reasonable and does not do violence to the institution of marriage.”

LDS support of this ordinance is nothing more than a political strategy to divert attention from the growing Mormon public relations problem of its role in the systematic religious abuse on gays and lesbians.

In Otterson’s statement he suggests same-sex marriage does “violence to the institution of marriage” yet says nothing about violence the Mormon Church has perpetrated against gay and lesbian human beings for generations, and more recently, funding and directing discriminatory initiatives like California’s Prop 8 and Maine’s Question 1.

These same LDS public relations gurus, at the alleged direction of Church leaders, have carefully orchestrated a finely crafted a PR campaign that resulted in a popular vote in two states that by a small majority, that took civil rights away from a minority. Just how “fair and reasonable” is that Mr. Otterson?

Some may say Mormon support of the Salt Lake City ordinance is a step in the right direction; and although, if passed, is a good thing, I suggest as far as the LDS position on this is concerned, it is nothing more than staged publicity stunt and small thing to give up as part of the cost of doing their dirty business.