Sunday, November 16, 2008

And from the City of Angels ...

Just a couple of pictures that came in last night from the Stop H8 Rally in downtown Los Angeles (thanks, Jim!) ... starting with City Hall sporting a rainbow flag draped there from the observation deck:

"Our boys" decked out in their "Equal Rites: The Episcopal Church Welcomes You" tshirts:

And a peek at the crowd -- estimated at 10,000:

The horrible wildfires devasting so much of the Southern California area are a huge cause of concern and invitation for prayer this morning. They've cancelled the marathon scheduled today for Pasadena because of bad air quality and many homes and lives still in harm's way as the Santa Ana winds continue -- they tell us -- for yet another day. But still, there's hope ...

From the New York Times report on the rally:

In Los Angeles, where wildfires had temporarily grabbed headlines from continuing protests over Proposition 8, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa addressed a crowd of over 9,000 people in Spanish and English, and seemed to express confidence that the measure, which is being challenged in California courts, would be overturned.

“I’ve come here from the fires because I feel the wind at my back as well,” said the mayor, who arrived at a downtown rally from the fire zone on a helicopter. “It’s the wind of change that has swept the nation. It is the wind of optimism and hope.”


JCF said...

As a longtime "Xena Warrior Princess" fanatic, I was thrilled to see that Lucy Lawless was at the LA Stop H8 rally. Good on ya, Luce! :-D

George said...

Any one want to speak out against the following:

In a blog entry titled "You'll want to punch them" on, poster "Billy Bob Thornton" wrote, "... I have never considered being a violent radical extremist for our Equal Rights, But now I think maybe I should consider becoming one."
"Stenar" asked, "Can someone in CA please go burn down the Mormon temples there, PLEASE. I mean seriously. DO IT." And, "Jonathan," warned, "I'm going to give them something to be f---ing scared of. ... I'm a radical who is now on a mission to make them all pay for what they've done."

Meanwhile, over at, "World O Jeff," said, "Burn their f---ing churches to the ground and then tax the charred timbers," while "Tread," wrote, "I hope the No on 8 people have a long list and long knives." "Joe," stated, "I swear, I'd murder people with my bare hands this morning."

And on the website, "scottinsf" posted, "Trust me. I've got a big list of names of mormons and catholics (sic) that were big supporters of Prop 8. ... As far as mormons and catholics ... I warn them to watch their backs."

Seems like virulent H8 speech to me.

Sandy said...

Is it any wonder, really, that people are angry? There's reason to be. There are many, myself among them, who take the passage of Prop 8 very personally. For many of our younger folk especially, who don't have the experience of the civil rights and peace and AIDS movements behind them, this may be the first time that they've experienced the chilling aspects of a ponderous door being slammed in their faces. Even for people who've been a part of this, and other, struggles all along, it's been too easy to become complacent. Why, gay is kind of chic, isn't it? Afterall, we have Ellen and LOGO and a cute young woman on the radio singing about how she kissed a girl. We're living openly, building families, going about our day to day business, just like everyone else.

We're more accepted than we've ever been.

Aren't we?

Aren't we?

Until that ponderous door slams in our faces and we're startled to realize that things may not really be as they seemed. Our neighbors voted to take away a very basic civil right. We were targeted by groups who brought in big bucks, much of it from other states, to wage a campaign that impacted hugely on our lives. We were targeted by groups who used fear and lies and even the name of God to fuel bigotry and hatred against us.

Is it any wonder that there is anger in the aftermath? Is it any wonder that there is a desire to strike back? This is not "just" politics. This is personal.

Hopefully, we will all find constructive ways to channel that anger. Hopefully we will be able to turn it into non-violent activism that makes a difference. But as that is happening, I believe we need to honor and validate those among us who are experiencing this deep, personal, visceral rage. Healing is hard. Acknowledging our anger and turning it to constructive use is hard. The work of healing won't be served by "speaking out against" but rather by reaching out toward.

john said...

George, religious sects who object to the heat they get for their political stands should stay the hell out of politics. Don't you agree?


george ... couldn't agree with you more.

which is why i neither read nor link to those kind of blogs

and why it's all the more important that people of faith and integrity step up and speak out about building bridges rather than walls between religious differences

religion-as-a-tool-of-bigotry has been part of the problem. we can be part of the solution

George said...

I am not sure of your point, John. This is hate speech. I fully understand that people are angry at seeing their expectations dashed. They are most welcome to channel that anger into political action or any form of non-violent protest. Urging houses of worship to be burned down is ugly and possible even criminal.
As for churches and their involvement in political issues, be careful what you wish for. Do you want to stifle TEC from speaking to the MDG's? Should the California Episcopal bishops (and Susan Russel) not have been permitted to express themselves with respect to proposition 8?

George said...

Sorry Sandy but there is no validity to honoring or validating hate speech much less threats of arson. I am not a Mormon or a RC but rather an Episcopalian but threats to burn down churches or LDS temples has to be called what it is - criminal, ugly and evil.

john said...

"I am not sure of your point, John. This is hate speech."

No it's not; it's simply vigorous political discourse. As I said, religious sects who object to vigorous political discourse ought to stay the hell out of politics.

And the next time one of my crowd ties one of your crowd up to a fence and beats him to death and then tries to raise the "God made me do it" defense, you be sure to let me know, hear?

IT said...

I completely agree that violence and threats of violence are out of place. Indeed, the leadership of the movement has called for peaceful protests only, and making efforts to reach out, so pulling a few random comments off the blogs is hardly fair.

Ineed, it's the Yes-on-8 leaders who are claiming that peaceful protests and court cases are anarchy. So they not only want to revoke our right to marry but suppress our right to free speech?

Finally let me point out that the US Constitutional democracy supposedly protects the rights of the minority from the mob of the majority. It says so right here, on a government website:
Just as no self-appointed group has the right to oppress others, so no majority, even in a democracy, should take away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual.

Little wonder that people are upset that in California, these principles appear not to operate.


George said...

It is vigorous political discourse to threaten to burn down houses of worship or to threatend people with knives? That is plain sick and dare I say it, disordered?

john said...

George, when someone actually burns down a "pro-Hate" church, I'll join you in criticizing them. As long they're just hyperventilating, I'll tell them to chill. How's that.

douglas hunter said...


I am a Mormon, and I have been pretty involved in prop 8 on the NO side of the issue. I cringe when I hear or read the comments you mention, they do a lot of harm, specifically when geared towards Mormons. Yesterday in Church my bishop tearfully spoke about how we are being persecuted in the aftermath of prop 8. I do not agree with him that we are being persecuted but we Mormons, as a community, as very good at always seeing ourselves as a persecuted minority regardless of the actual state of affairs. Mormons are latching onto the comments you described and saying "SEE! SEE! They do hate us!"

Meanwhile other important comments go unnoticed. First, are all the loving and empathetic comments being made by opponents of prop 8 who feel that we are in a time of healing and are committed to making that happen. The second kind of comment that is being ignored are all the hateful, stupid, thoughtless things that Mormon's who support prop 8 have said. There is enough anger to go around. I don't feel any greater outrage over the stupid comments you quoted than I do over any of the stupid and offensive comments I've heard at Church. I suppose you would like me to, but I don't.

What I do is to stand with Susan Russell and people like her every chance I get to spread a message of love, of inclusion, of empathy, of the ethics of listening, of the best that ALL people hope for in their relationships regardless of sexual orientation, etc. That's where our energy should be focused. Not tossing around accusations.

john said...

Tell us all about how horrifying all the "threats" being thrown at the Prop Hate crowd are, George.

"By 365gay Newscenter Staff
11.17.2008 3:20pm EST

(Syracuse, New York) A 20-year-old man is charged with the unprovoked murder of a Syracuse man in what police say was a hate crime.

Moses Cannon, 20, was sitting in a car with his brother Mark, 18, about to enter a party they had been invited to by an acquaintance.

Before they could get out of the vehicle, guests at the party came outside the house and began yelling homophobic epithets at them.

Syracuse Police Chief Gary Miguel said that one of the guests, Dwight DeLee, went into the residence and returned with a 22-caliber rifle.

Miguel said DeLee then put the rifle to the driver’s side window of that vehicle and fired one round.

“And that one round strikes Mark Cannon in the arm, and continues on and strikes Moses Cannon in the chest area,” Miguel told local cable news station News 10.

According to Miguel, DeLee fired at the brothers because Moses Cannon was gay."

The accused will raise the "God told me to do it" defense, of course.

JCF said...

Those quotes are awful George (I've seen them before: you got them from a RightWing site, who searched for and collected them the day after Prop 8 passed)...

...but you really need to get a life. If I collected EVERY threatening homophobic comment in the blogaverse, I know that I'd have no life, fer shur!

[As as John's story, above, attests, homophobic threats have a much greater chance of being acted upon. Lord have mercy!]

john said...

My question: What are people like George doing here? Surely, he doesn't expect to change minds. So what's his purpose, just being obnoxious, maybe?

IT said...

you are annoying me.

After Prop8 passed and the first marches happened in LA, posters in the blogs at the the LA Times said they'd like to drop bombs on west hollywood and exterminate the gays. In the San Diego union trib, they were threatening guns.

Your side. So don't go picking out a few comments from upset gay folk, you guys are just as bad.

I'm SO TIRED of the selectivef victimhood of the Christian right, as they eliminate rights of any non-Christian-rightists.


Sandy said...

Tedious it is to defend what I did say against what I didn't... nevertheless...

I said: I believe we need to honor and validate those among us who are experiencing this deep, personal, visceral rage.

I said nothing about validating suggestions or threats of violence, but rather that we need to honor and validate people who are hurting.

MarkBrunson said...

Look, I've spoken against some of the boycotts proposed, and, yes, I think that the violent language harms us rather than helps us, but, George, that's free speech, too.

George said...

Mark you are wrong. There is no right to incite or encourage others to commit criminal acts. It is wrong - period. And John, I join you in condemning the murder of that young person. The person who did it should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I also agree with you that murder is a more serious offense than the rants to which I pointed but imagine if you will someone taking that rant serously and actually setting a fire to a Mormon temple. Remember the murder of those young girls in Birmingham when their church was firebombed. Would any sane person want to see a repeat of that? Words have consequences, even those spoken from a place of deep pain.

john said...

"And John, I join you in condemning the murder of that young person."

quel surprise.

MarkBrunson said...

No . . .
George, I'm afraid you're wrong on that one. I'm talking legality - and they are within their legal rights, just like the bigots on the other side who say much the same. If a crime comes from it, then they may be held liable, usually in a civil case.
Is it wrong, morally and ethically? Yes. Worse, it's damaging to the mind and soul of the person saying such things.
However, there is a sense of reality to be attached, as well. It is unwise to cut off avenues - on both sides - of expressing violent rage, for without that expression, it is allowed to build into physical expression. While blogs are in a public space, they may also be regarded as private, which is the same principal that allows us to turn to someone listening to us in a crowded plane and say, "Do you mind? This is a private conversation." "Incitement" doesn't excuse the mob, by the way, from their own actions, anymore than it excuses the one inciting.

By all means, speak to them and tell these bloggers how dangerous what they're doing is, but don't expect others to shut them down for you

George said...

I don't intend to argue law with you. I suggest you read up on the crime of "solicitation." according to the chief law enforcement agency of the US (i.e., the FBI) "to be convicted of solicitation, it is sufficient to show that a speaker is serious about crimes of violence being carried out. Solicitation is an offer or invitation to another to commit a crime with the intent that the crime be committed. The crime is complete once a verbal or other form of request is made with the requisite criminal intent."

MarkBrunson said...

Well, George, I appreciate that you don't want to argue law, as I have no interest in arguing law myself.

However, it does seem that under the law you quoted, you'd have to prove criminal intent.

My point stands.