Friday, October 31, 2008

"Don't Speak For Me Sarah Palin"

OK ... I am WAY too busy a person to be looking at every YouTube parody somebody sends me via email ... but this one I bothered with and it was the best three minutes and eighteen seconds I've spent all day.


"Obama Hockey Mom"

Local PBS "So Cal Connected" Episode on Prop 8

Some nice footage of the No on 8 clergy phone banking here in L.A. in this PBS feature on Prop 8 ...

what we're up against between now and nov 4th

Taking a break from Prop 8 to post this "blog" my niece just forwarded to me and said "can this be real? i'm not sure if this blog is real but it is scary!!!"

It IS scary.
And it is NOT real ... it is real dirty politics!

Forget the "robo-calls" and check out this "robo-blog" ... aimed at young women voters ... and then get out there and get out the vote and make sure we turn this country around on November 4th.


"confession of an obama blogger"
sarah p
Says:October 27, 2008 at 5:04 am

Ok, I want to clear my conscious a little. Hopefully you could make a blog post to help some fellow clinton supporters out.

I work for a campaign and can't wait for this week to be over.

I was doing it for a job. I was not a fan of any candidate but over time grew to love HRC.

The internal campaign idea is to twist, distort, humiliate and finally dispirit you.

We pay people and organize people to go to all the online sites and "play the part of a clinton or mccain supporter who just switched our support for obama"
We do this to stifle your motivation and to destroy your confidence.

We did this the whole primary and it worked.

Sprinkle in mass vote confusion and it becomes bewildering. Most people lose patience and just give up on their support of a candidate and decide to just block out tv, news, websites, etc.

This surprisingly has had a huge suppressing movement and vote turnout issues.

Next, we infiltrate all the blogs and all the youtube videos and overwhelm the voting, the comments, etc. All to continue this appearance of overwhelming world support.

People makes posts to the effect that the world has "gone mad"

Thats the intention. To make you feel stressed and crazy and feel like the world is ending.

We have also had quite a hand in skewing many many polls, some we couldn't control as much as we would have liked. But many we have spoiled over. Just enough to make real clear politics look scarey to a mccain supporter. Its worked, alough the goal was to appear 13-15 points ahead.

see, the results have been working. People tend to support a winner, go with the flow, become "sheeple"

The polls are roughly 3-5 points in favor of Barack. Thats due to our inflation of the polls and pulling in the sheeple.

Our donors, are the same people who finance the MSM. Their interests are tied, Barack then tends to come across as teflon. Nothing sticks. And trust, there were meetings with Fox news. The goal was to blunt them as much as possible. Watch Bill Oreilly he has become much more diplomatic and "fair and balanced" and soft. Its because he wants to retain the #1 spot on cable news and to do that he has to have access to the Obama campaign and we worked hard at stringing him a long and keeping him soft for an interview swap. It worked and now he is anticipating more access. So he is playing it still soft.

This is why nothing sticks.

The operation is massive, the goal is to paint a picture that is that of a winner, regardless of the results.

There is no true inauguration draft or true grant park construction going on. There will be a party, but we are boasting beyond the truth to make it seem like the election is wrapped up.

Our goal is to continue to make you lose your moral. We worked hard at persuasion and paying off and timing and playing the right political numbers to get key republican endorsements to make it seem even more like it was over and the world was coming to an end for you all.

There is a huge staff of people working around the clock, watching every site, blogs, etc. We flood these sites. We have had a goal to overwhelm.

The truth is here. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

I am saying this because I know HRC was better for the country, and now realize this. I was too late by the time I connected to her. To me Barack was just a cool young dude that seemed like a star. I didn't know him or his policies, but now I understand more than I care to and I realize his interests are more for him, and the DNC and all working like puppets with dean. I always thought a president wanted the better good for the country. The end result I see is everyone dependent on the government, this means more and more people voting for the DNC. This means the future is forever altered. I don't see this as america, so I am now supporting John Mccain.

Sarah Palin is a huge threat, and our campaign has feared her like you can't imagine. If it seems unfair how she has been treated, well its because she has had a team working round the clock to make her look like a fool.

this is a big conspiracy and I am so shocked that its not realized.

We released a little blurb the other day that the Obama campaign was already working on reelection and now putting our efforts towards 2012. This was to make it seem like it was above us to continue caring about 2008. Trust me, its a lie. David is very smart, but its a sticky ugly not very truthful kind of intelligence.

Its not over yet, but I think the machine is working. And its a hill to climb.

I will be quitting my post on nov 5th and my vote will be for John Mccain. Fortunately, my position has been a marketing position and I don't feel I had any part of anything I would feel guilty for. But I look forward to getting out of this as the negativity and environment upsets me.

I wish you all well, and goodluck.

PS my name is not really sarah. but I am a female and I understand your plight.

Sign of the Times

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's Unfair and It's Wrong

This one's a Home Run! (New Prop 8 Ad just released today:)

Letting your voice be heard!

Today's Letters to the Editor: Pasadena Star News

Remember "It's Letter to the Editor Time, Boys & Girls!" from last week? Well, you did a great job, class! Here's what ended up in the paper today. Thanks to everybody who contributed!

Re: Tim Kelly, Guest View on Prop. 8:

Centrism won't work

Centrism didn't work for Galileo or Rosa Parks. It won't work for gay marriage.
Opponents of gay marriage hold a narrow view of human sexuality, made possible only by ignoring centuries of scholarship with regard to the historical, cultural and linguistic context of the Bible, and more than a century of medical research on human sexuality.

Gay and lesbian Californians share a sexual orientation, not a "lifestyle," and should have the same rights under our constitution as heterosexual couples. Let's not enshrine discrimination into the California constitution in the name of religion. Vote "no" on Prop 8.
Bruce Babcock,

Justice for all
Tim Kelly's proposal for a solution to the polarizing issue of marriage equality begs this question: If Kelly's "principled centrism" had been operating in 1954 when Brown v. Board of Education caused "polarization" in the land, would he have proposed a blue ribbon panel to improve the educational standards of segregated schools to solve the "practical problems" of African-American students but keep them segregated to preserve "social order?"

The question for California voters on Proposition 8 is simple: Are we a nation of liberty and justice for all or for just some?

The answer is vote "no" on 8.

Rev. Susan Russell
All Saints Episcopal Church

Don't repeat history

Tim Kelly's centrist proposal sounds reasonable if you don't know any history. Gay people have been discriminated against, labeled abominations and hidden away in the closet. What Prop. 8 stands for is not the protection of marriage, but the continued rejection of gay people as ordinary citizens in the community.
What Kelly wants is a new "separate but equal" doctrine. It didn't work before and it won't work now because it is discriminatory, unfair and unjust.

Rev. Warner R. Traynham
Los Angeles

It's getting ugly out there ...

At St. John's Cathedral yesterday, the "No on 8" banner out in the front of the church was still hanging, but shredded by knife slashes.

At a gas station in Orange County yesterday, the husband of an All Saints colleague was (in his words) "acosted" in response to his "No on 8" bumper sticker.

In an email just received from the No on Prop 8 campaign we get this word:

Beginning last night and continuing this morning a coordinated cyber attack on the No On 8 website prevented some donors from being able to contribute. This attack is being investigated by federal authorities. Fortunately, there was no breach in security and we are again able to accept contributions online.

And now there's this video circulating ... where a Yes on 8 spokesperson compares Hitler and Nazi Germany to "rally his troops."

Where does it stop?
It stops on November 4th with a NO ON 8 vote in California and a renewed commitment by ALL Americans to liberty and justice for all -- not just some -- Americans.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On the radio ...

Two chances to "dial in" and hear about Proposition 8 on the radio:

The first is a show called "Culture Shocks" with Barry Linn ... we're on at 1pm Pacific today for about 25 minutes.
The second is The Rachel Maddow Show on Air America ... we're on at 3:15pm Pacific on Thursday, Oct 30th.
UPDATE: The bad news is, I got bumped for today's show. The GOOD news is I got bumped for Barack Obama! (So listen anyway!)
UPDATE Now we're back ON ... at 6:30 Eastern/3:30 Pacific. Whew!
More later ...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cartoon Break

An Open Letter to Traditional Values Voters

Dear Traditional Values Voter,

As the upcoming election draws closer, it becomes more and more clear that lines are being drawn between those who support traditional family values and those who are attacking the foundational values of truth, justice the American Way -- the very essence of all that makes this nation great.

If you're confused by the polarizing rhetoric and attack ads flooding the airwaves, here is a quick refresher course on what traditional values are -- and aren't.

LYING is not a Traditional Value

The proponents of Proposition 8 -- the initiative that would eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry in California -- have three key messages for the people of California: if their proposition doesn't pass clergy will be forced against their conscience to marry same-sex couples and will risk losing their tax exempt status if they don't; children will be "taught gay marriage" in school and parents will lose their ability to opt their children out of those classes; and that "four activist judges" overturned the will of the people and imposed gay marriage on California.

None of these are true. They are lies. The First Amendment protects the free practice of religion, the Superintendent of Schools has said that Proposition 8 has NO impact on what is or is not taught in schools and the Supreme Court ruling came after the California State Legislature -- the elected representatives of the people -- had twice voted for marriage equality.

EXTORTION is not a Traditional Value

In a letter dated October 20, 2008, wrote to contributors to the No on 8 campaign, asking the donor to "withdraw its support for Equality California" and "make a donation of like amount to" -- adding:

"Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication to us that you are in opposition to traditional marriage. You would leave us no other reasonable assumption. The names of any companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to ProtectMarriage ... will be published. It is only fair for Proposition 8 supporters to know which companies and organization oppose traditional marriage."

EXPLOITING CHILDREN is not a Traditional Value

Among the Yes on 8 commercials airing is one featuring children attending their lesbian teacher's wedding (WITH their parents permission) being run over-and-over-and-OVER again WITHOUT the parents permission! In a recent press conference, the parents gathered to "demand that the Prop 8 campaign stop the lies and stop the exploitation of our children." Meanwhile, the Yes on 8 campaign continues to laud this new, abusive ad using unauthorized images of children without their parents' knowledge or consent. And they're proud of it. From their website: "Our new ad gives us great hope."

DISCRIMINATION is not a Traditional Value.

Here's what Senator Dianne Feinstein has to say about Proposition 8: "In my lifetime, I've seen discrimination and I see it again in Proposition 8. It would be a terrible mistake for California. It changes our constitution, eliminates fundamental rights and treats people differently under the law. Proposition 8 is not about schools or kids -- it's about discrimination. And we should always say no to that."

Let's review:

Exploiting Children

None of these are on the list of traditional values that made this country great.
Fairness is. Equality is. Freedom of Religion is. Equal protection is. Liberty and justice for ALL (not just "some") is.

Protect Traditional Values

Vote No on Proposition 8 on November 4th.

In the local paper

The Pasadena Star News is running a front page story on Prop 8 today ... "Polarized State" ...

... which concludes with:

Proponents believe that if Proposition 8 fails, the state will impose its rules on religious marriage ceremonies.

Opponents believe that argument is false and note that the state allows divorced couples to remarry, but respects the right of the Catholic Church to prevent such second and third marriages.

Even among area churches, the debate over Proposition 8, is evenly split. Bill Ankerberg, Senior Pastor at Whittier Area Community Church, said he supports equal rights within domestic partnerships, but believes there needs to be a separate set of rules concerning divorce and child custody specific to gay couples due to the unique nature of the union, he said.

"To just call it marriage and treat it like marriage is laziness on the part of legislators," Ankerberg said. "To just support it is to be naive."

Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Church in Pasadena, a No on 8 advocate, doesn't believe religion is on the ballot. "Yes, we need to worry about our children," she said. "We need to worry about health care and whether or not they have a roof over their heads. Those are more important than whether or not a few gay couples want to get married."

That's how Julie Tinney sees it. She was married Oct. 25 to her partner, Mirna Castaneda, in the couple's backyard in Alhambra. "We went to the courthouse and we filed legal papers to make this happen," Tinney said. "Marriage is a legal issue, that requires legal paperwork, that gives you civil rights."


The Star News also has a Prop 8 poll on its website right now. Don't know long it'll be up there but check it out here and if it's still up there, weigh in.


Monday, October 27, 2008


I'm sure it feels that way everywhere, as the November 4th Election Day looms closer on the calendar, but here in California "I gotta tell ya" (as one of my favorite bishops likes to say!) ... it really IS "all election all the time" as the Propostion 8 battle gets hotter and hotter.

Here's a quick round-up:

Let's start with the mounting controversy on the "Yes on 8" ads running on California television. Although they're full of fear mongering and bald-face lies in general, in specific there's one being run featuring children attending their lesbian teacher's wedding (WITH their parents permission) being run over-and-over-and-OVER again by the Yes on 8 folks WITHOUT the parents permission!

Here's a YouTube clip of the press conference where those parents (RIGHTLY!) demanded that the commercial be pulled:

Meanwhile, the Yes on 8 campaign continues to laud this new, abusive ad using unauthorized images of children without their parents' knowledge or consent. And they're proud of it. From their website: "Our new ad gives us great hope."

(If those are what they call "Family Values" then they can keep them!)

Meanwhile, in other news:

From the New York Times report -- "A Line in the Sand"

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobby based in Washington, said in an interview, “It’s more important than the presidential election.”

From the L.A. Times op-ed "Gay Marriage Chicken Littles:"

When my loving parent walked me down the aisle last month and I legally married the woman I have shared my life with for almost 17 years, it didn't hurt your marriage or anyone else's. It didn't take away any church's tax-exempt status, and it didn't have any impact whatsoever on curriculum in California public schools. Instead, it gave me the same rights, protections and dignity enjoyed by straight folks. That's only fair.

Also from the L.A. Times, Steve Lopez's profile on Fr. Geoff, "Gay priest is true to his faith:"

"They said I've caused scandal to the church," he said. "I think the real scandal is the thousands of gay and lesbian children who feel abandoned by the church of their baptism."



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mail Bag

We get mail. Lots of mail. Some of it with stamps on it still but MOST of it the in-your-inbox-kind -- the kind that seem to keep piling up faster than you can figure out what to say to answer them all!

And then ... sometimes ... along comes one that's just really EASY to answer -- like this one:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2008 12:57 AM
To: All Saints Church
Subject: Question


I had a question and was wanting to see if you can help me answer it. However I have a feeling you guys will ignore the question and not reply, but I urge you guys to think the question over.

Well, as I was passing by your the church i noticed several "no on 8" signs posted outside the church. I wondered why a christian church would vote no. Have you guys not read the following:

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." - Matthew 19:4-6

"If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination." - Leviticus 20:13

Please answer the question, thanks.
Happy to.
From: Susan Russell
Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2008 2:19 PM
Subject: Answer

Dear XXXX,

Your question regarding All Saints' position opposing Proposition 8 has been referred to me and I'd like to thank you for taking time to write, and to offer this brief response.

Interestingly your questions are not unlike the ones Jesus answered in Matthew 22:34-40 which -- even more interestingly -- was the text appointed for our sermon today at All Saints. The answer for us is that same as it was for Our Lord ... we believe that ALL the law and the prophets hang on the two great commandments: love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself. And we believe that we are following both of those commandments when we marry same-sex couples here at All Saints Church ... which we have been doing since June 17th.

If you click here you can hear what our rector, Ed Bacon, had to say about why as followers of Jesus we oppose writing discrimination into the constitution.

But at the end of the day, the issue facing the voters on Election Day isn't whose interpretation of Holy Scripture is "correct." In a nation that embraces both freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion, neither of us have the right to write OUR theology into the California constitution -- and that's what Propostion 8 would do.

The California State Legislature -- our elected representatives -- have twice voted for marriage equality for all Californians, the Supreme Court has ruled it is a right protected by our constitution and the governor opposes Proposition 8. We're a nation of liberty and justice for all, not just some and All Saints Church is committed to keeping it that way. That's why we have "Vote No on 8" signs on our lawn.

Thanks again for taking time to write.

(The Reverend) Susan Russell
All Saints Church
132 North Euclid Avenue
Pasadena CA 91101

Jesus Had it Right: Vote NO on Proposition 8

From this morning's sermon at All Saints Church in Pasadena ... the Reverend Ed Bacon, rector:

And let the people say: AMEN!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

FOX News 11: Decision 2008 -- Proposition 8

So last night they aired a 30 minute "fair and balanced" segment on our local Fox News Channel 11 on the issues around Proposition 8. Our friend Fr. Geoff (pictured below) was part of the feature ...

... as were No on 8 callers here at All Saints Church. Overall, I was really pleased with the piece. I think they painted a pretty clear difference between our positions and now we just have to keep staying on message and keep getting the word out. See what you think!

Click here go to the KTTV website where you can watch the piece in four different 6ish-minute segments. And don't miss this keeper quote from Pastor Jim, wherein he says we need to:

"Compel people to embrace the teachings of the Bible and elect Godly people who would appoint appropriate judges who would understand what's best for the culture."

My, my, my!

Friday, October 24, 2008

From Abel Lopez, Senior Associate Parish Life & Multiculturalism

Early in my childhood my brothers and sisters and I got in trouble quite often. Sometimes we created problems that got out of hand, for which we would then gather to discuss possible solutions or ways to make up our actions. Failing to find a way out of some big messes, we would conclude that it was the kind of problem that needed one of “Mama’s little prayers.”

Intrinsic in these words was our belief that Mama’s prayers were able to break through any amount of trouble and reach the divine in such a way that our little devil-acts could be erased and a new beginning granted to us. Even today, I still sometimes call Mama for her “little prayers.” Somehow they have become my comfort, not because of her intercessory powers, which I believed in as a child, but because the actions that follow her prayers were always about restoration with grace, providing a dignified way to resolve a situation.

I learned this many years later when my father would take me to the savannah in Cuba in his big Russian truck. Week after week, my father drove to a concentration camp, where over a hundred men were held in custody because of their sexual orientation. The only water they had was for drinking—none for bathing or laundry.

So we had them load our truck with clothes, socks, bed sheets and blankets that every one of us at home would then spend hours that same afternoon washing. And as we got to know these gay Cubans, our family prayer, Mama’s little prayer, was about their gaining their freedom. And, one more time, Mama’s little prayer was answered one day, when Fidel Castro shipped them all to the United States, where they found freedom. Well, of a sort.

I proudly became an American last year. America is a great land of opportunity with freedoms unimagined in other parts of the world. But there are challenges to that freedom—and one of them in this upcoming election is Prop 8, the ballot initiative that would take away the rights of same sex couples to marry.

Notwithstanding the theological reasons for opposing the measure, Proposition 8 seems anti-American to me. How can Americans propose limiting rights for some of its citizens? I’ve been told all my life that the words “Liberty and justice for all” were what America is all about.

This great ideal has been recently embodied in California law that currently upholds what we know to be true, that every Californian has the right to fundamental freedoms, including the freedom to marry the person they love. Regardless of how you feel about this issue, we should guarantee the same fundamental rights to every Californian. These rights should never be taken for granted. Proponents of Prop 8 continue to lie in their television ads.

It seems to me that it’s time for another one of Mama’s little prayers. One that inspires us to act on the side of freedom, justice and fairness. Let’s put the meaning back into the words “Liberty and justice for all,” by voting NO on Proposition 8.

One more for the road ...

Before I head out for the day, here's a PDF of the "threat letter" the Yes on 8 folks are sending donors to the No on 8 campaign.

You'll want to read it all, but here's a bit of text from the letter, asking for the donor to "withdraw its support for Equality California" and "make a donation of like amount to"

Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication to us that you are in opposition to traditional marriage. You would leave us no other reasonable assumption. The names of any companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to ProtectMarriage ... will be published. It is only fair for Proposition 8 supporters to know which companies and organization oppose traditional marriage.

Nice, eh? I'm wondering if we ought to launch our OWN letter writing campaign ... emailing and writing the companies and organizations listed as donors on the attached and thanking them for their support for traditional democracy ... the kind that guarantees liberty and justice for all.

Fr. Geoff on Bishop Gene

Here's a fun piece I found blog-surfing over my day-off-second cup of coffee! It's from Fr. Geoff's blog and is entitled:

"A cellphone call before breakfast"

On Wednesday morning, as I was driving to the Woman's Empowerment Conference in Long Beach, California; my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the telephone number which was displayed but, that's not all that unusual for me these days. So, I answered the phone and to my surprise, it was Bishop Gene Robinson.

You'll want to read all of this wonderful reflection: click here to read the rest ... and join me in giving thanks for the witness of both Fr. Geoff AND Bishop Gene!

Another new No on 8 ad ...

This one is actually changing votes ... and I just saw it during the morning news:

Of course, it takes money to buy air time so if you haven't yet donated to help in this important effort -- or you can give a little more to help in the "stretch run" -- click here. THANKS!

"In the news ..."

Here's a peek into the kind of "point-counterpoint" going on in California over Proposition 8 -- the effort to eliminate same-sex marriage.

Entitled "Local church, political leaders voice their support for Prop. 8" it's a report on a press conference in Whittier held by clergy-supporting-8. Here are a couple of their arguments:

"If God desired the government to rule the world, he should have created it first," Pastor Ray Telles of Hope of Glory Christian Fellowship said.

Hmmm ... now there's a compelling argument for theocracy over democracy!

Pastor Ed Smith of Zoe Christian Fellowship: "It violates my civil rights," Smith said of same-sex marriage. "I cannot change my skin color. I could change, if I decided to, my sexual preference and behavior."

Even if you give him the "gay people can change if they want to" argument (which I do NOT!) I still don't "get" how my marriage violates his civil rights!

But let's here it for the reporter, who -- in an effort to be actually "fair and balanced" included some other voices in her piece:

Some area Christians say they do not support Prop. 8's definition of marriage, however. The Rev. Bruce Gray of St. Matthias Episcopal Church said many of the faithful are stepping out against the measure. Gray said he believes fear of change drives the effort against same-sex marriage.

"Many people are afraid of the changes happening in our society," he said. "Literally, the economy, jobs leaving our communities, homes becoming unstable."

The Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena said her church has been blessing same-sex unions for 16 years. "We believe that the important thing about a marriage are the values that make up a marriage, not the gender of the people involved."

Russell said she supports the right of everyone to speak their mind about the issue, but hopes to see Prop. 8 defeated in November.

"What they should absolutely have the right to exercise is their faith," Russell said. "What the First Amendment does not do is give them the right to write their faith into our Constitution, and that's what Proposition 8 is about."


If you've got a minute, email Airan Scruby and thank her for her efforts to get both sides into her story. Would be other reporters will go and do likewise!

(On the schedule today is a planning meeting for the November 1st event at St. John's Cathedral, a press conference with local rabbis against 8 and then we're getting ready for Fr. Geoff to go on the local Fox News station tonight at 10:30, opposite the San Diego pastor orchestrating the Quallcom Stadium gig I blogged about last week. That's what a "day off" looks like during election season!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On All Saints Day, Celebrate the Sanctity of ALL Marriages!

Faith for Equality:
A No on Prop 8
Multi-faith Celebration

A multi-faith, multi-ethnic Los Angeles celebration by people of faith who oppose Proposition 8. More details to come ... save the date and join us!

Let's pack the house and show California voters people of faith who preach faith-based-values -- not fear-based-venom!

Date: Saturday, November 1st
Time: 12:00 noon

St. John's Cathedral
514 W. Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90007
For more information contact:

From Fr. Geoff

Here's yesterday's entry on Fr. Geoff's blog ... our courageous Roman Catholic priest friend who has become a hero to so many for his refusal to support his church's position on Proposition 8:


I had the pleasure today of attending the Women's Empowerment Conference in Long Beach, California. I found myself munching on some food, looked up and saw Madeleine Albright at the table next to me.

I stood next to an environmental vehicle display and found myself shaking hands with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is opposed to a constitutional ban on same sex marriage.

I talked with Bobby Shriver, heard about his wonderful work with Red, a product line that helps AIDS patients. He was also very supportive of NO on Prop. 8.

I had the honor of sitting next to Maria Shriver, our State's First Lady and hearing of her personal support for NO on Proposition 8. I met with the Benedictine Nun, Sr. Joan Chittister and heard of her support for NO on Proposition 8.

I met with the famous feminist, Gloria Steinem and heard of her support of NO on Proposition 8. I was interviewed by the Washington and then, appeared on the Peter B. Collins Radio show with Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Episcopal Church to discuss NO on Proposition 8.

Had any ONE of these things happened today, I would have considered today exceptional. However, all of these things happened in one day and it seemed totally unreal. The fact that so many remarkable and extraordinary individuals are supportive of Equality, Fairness, and Human Rights is both uplifting and hope inspiring.

As Melissa Etheridge said at a concert last night which raised nearly 4 million dollars for NO on Prop. 8, one day in the future people will look back at this time and find it hard to believe that some groups attempted to deny same sex couples the right to marry.


And how honored am I to be among so "great a cloud of witnesses" -- including Fr. Geoff -- as we work together to strive for peace and justice and respect the dignity of every human being!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New No on 8 Ads

California Clergy Urge No on 8

My favorite comment so far on YouTube: "It's nice to see that not all religious people are rabid morons."

A whirlwind of gay weddings

Rabbi Lisa Edwards was featured in Monday's L.A. Times:

"Even though I've just been crazy busy, it feels like such an extraordinary moment in time and it feels like such a blessing to be with these couples," said Edwards, 56, whose temple -- better known as BCC -- bills itself as the first synagogue for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews. (The congregation has straight members as well.)

The rush to the altar is triggered by the possibility that voters might approve Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that would override the court ruling and ban legal gay marriage. But couples marrying now hope that will still leave their marriages legal.

The California Supreme Court ruling that the state cannot prohibit same-sex marriages doesn't require religious organizations to recognize them. But clergy whose faiths sanction gay marriage -- particularly those with large gay congregations -- have found their schedules similarly affected.
And a big AMEN to that one! It is an absolute whirlwind here ... between the press & political ramifications of the impending election, the pastoral work with those considering marriage, preparing for marriage or freaking out that they won't be ABLE to get married (if the election goes the wrong way) and then there's the liturgical impact of not just planning but presiding at all these weddings.
See, you're tired just reading about it, aren't you?
All of this is my way of saying VERY publicly that if I've told you I'll do something and haven't followed through yet; if you ask me to do something and I don't manage to pull it off; if I'm behind on any other deadlines, to-do lists or commitments I'm asking for blanket absolution until November 5th when life gets back to at-least its chaotic life-as-we-know-it-at-All-Saints-Church.

It's Letter to the Editor time, boys and girls!

So here's an op-ed in today's Pasadena Star-News offering a sort of "apartheid-esque" solution to the marriage equality issue here in California. It BEGS for Letters to the Editor pointing out [a] separate-but-equal never is -- [b] it starts from the false premise that marriage equality undermines "social order" and [c] that "meeting in the middle" leaves the people on the margins still marginalized (among others.) You can click here to write and send your letter.

Oh ... and for the record ... Tim Kelly, the op-ed writer ... was the Senior Warden of one of the trying-to-breakaway-from-the-Diocese-of-Los-Angeles-and-take-diocesan-property-with-them congregations: St. Luke's, La Crescenta when the break-away was initiated in 2006.

Here's my question for Mr. Kelly: If his "principled centrism" had been operating in 1954 when the Brown v Board of Education decision caused "polarization" in the land, would he have proposed a blue ribbon panel to find a way to improve the standards of segregated schools to solve the "practical problems" of African-American students but keep them segregated to preserve "social order?"

Prop. 8 friends, foes should meet halfway
By Timothy A. Kelly -- 10/21/2008

As director of the DePree Public Policy Institute, I have been asked to weigh in on the matter of Proposition 8, which would amend the California Constitution to specify that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." I do so hesitantly, since this is a matter that evokes the strongest passions on both sides.

One side claims that the fight for same-sex marriage is analogous to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and it is clear as day to them that Proposition 8 is simply denial of equal rights.

The other side claims that there are theological, moral, or natural-law reasons to uphold the traditional definition of marriage, and fears that anything less will deny society's right to protect the social order by harming the institution of marriage. Not only so, but both sides are prone to pointing the finger at those who disagree and hurling insults that are neither helpful nor warranted (e.g., "homophobe," "sinner"). What to do?

I want to begin by pointing to the concept of "principled centrism" that has proven helpful in dealing with other hot-button issues. The basic idea is that the nation is too polarized, that both the far right and the far left are far wrong, and that there is a need to create a safe place in the center where civility and dialog can flourish. In order to do so, the underlying principles informing both sides must be identified, in the hopes of then finding some common ground.

Surprisingly, this is often doable!

So what are the underlying principles informing the debate over marriage?
On the one hand same-sex marriage proponents are asking for what they see as their basic equal rights. On the other hand, traditional-marriage proponents are asking for what they see as their right to protect the social order. Both sides have a point! And if there's any common ground, it may be that both sides are looking for a way to be able to live in peace and harmony. Both recognize that in the storm and stress of life it is fair to ask that the laws of the land do not harm law-abiding citizens.

This does not solve the problem, but starting at the level of underlying principles lessens the polarization and helps us see that there are no villains in this drama. It makes it a little easier to understand and respect each other. It makes it likelier that we can sit across the table from those with whom we disagree, and have a productive conversation.

What then? There must be a good faith effort to find a compromise solution that meets in the middle - that respects to the extent possible the principles of both equal rights and social order.

On the side of equal rights, same-sex couples point out that the current California domestic partnership laws ("domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections and benefits as married spouses") are not adequate. In emergency situations, for instance, same-sex partners are sometimes not allowed the access that would easily be granted to a spouse.

On the side of social order, many individuals and families feel that something precious is lost if the definition of marriage is changed to accommodate non-traditional couples. Some argue that children have a right to be raised by their biological mother and father if at all possible (notwithstanding obvious exceptions and the blessing of adoptions), and that traditional marriage inherently supports this right.

So where is the center? At the risk of sounding simplistic, I suggest that both sides would do well to give the other what is being asked for. This means holding onto the traditional definition of marriage, but taking seriously the problems that same-sex couples have under current domestic partnership laws.
As a voter, I wish there was a third option wherein I could vote for Proposition 8 but only with the caveat that a blue-ribbon task force would be created by the governor's office to solve the practical problems that same-sex couples report. I believe this would be doable.

Such a solution (Prop. 8 plus a blue-ribbon panel) fully satisfies neither side, but is an example of a "principled centrist" effort to find common ground and a way to move forward. It vilifies nobody, and respects the fact that both sides have understandable concerns based ultimately on their deeply held principles.

Timothy A. Kelly is director of the DePree Public Policy Institute and associate professor of psychology at Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in Pasadena.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

So I'm home again. I'm grateful to have my three-trips-in-ten-days schedule behind me, I'm grateful for lots of good work done with lots of faithful, fabulous friends and allies and I'm NOT so grateful for overpriced hotel food and intermittent Internet access.

Here's a quick "travelogue:"


The Claiming the Blessing Steering Committee met in Anaheim Oct 9-11 to continue our commitment to "promoting wholeness in human relationships, abolishing prejudice and oppression, and healing the rift between sexuality and spirituality in the Church." We looked back at the Lambeth Conference 2008 and looked ahead to General Convention 2009 ... including a site visit to the Anaheim Convention Center where the Episcopal Church will gather next July.

Among the highlights of our Anaheim gathering were:

* reports on the progress of "Voices of Witness: Africa" -- the in-progress documentary giving voice to the LGBT faithful in Africa;

*reports on the "Inclusion Activist" workshops being held all over the church in preparation for General Convention and beyond;

*welcoming representation from TransEpiscopal to the CTB Steering Committee;

*reviewing the status of resolutions in process toward GC'09.


Then it was off to Palm Springs for the Diocese of Los Angeles Fall Clergy Conference -- where the fabulous Howard Anderson (former Minnesotan and new rector of St. Matthew's, Pacific Palisades) led us in an inspiring exploration of where our 16th century Anglican roots meet the 21st century Emergent Church.

From my conference notes:

The Three “H’s” of Anglicanism

  • Humility
  • Hospitality
  • Humor

The Three “I’s” of Anglicanism

  • Incarnation
  • Inclusion
  • Intellect (tempered by humor and humility)

    “God is already deeply active in the world and our job is to go where that activity is apparent and point it OUT to the world.”

    “In the DNA of Anglicanism is in post-modernism because there has always been a “both/and." Our Anglican charism is inclusion – and, as Rabbi Friedman taught, when you resonate with your DNA, you do your best work.”

    “We are moving from doctrinal certainty to transparent humility.”

    “Keep us always in the company of those who fearlessly seek the truth;
    And protect us under the shadow of your wings from those who think they already have it.”


Then it was Chicago, and a meeting of The Chicago Consultation, a collaborative group supporting "the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion."

It was a great, pro-active gathering of over 30 bishops, clergy and lay leaders focused on continuing to network and coordinate our work and witness at General Convention 2009.

And now -- as noted -- it's home again, home again, jiggity jig. And while I rejoice in all the good work done over these last ten "very bizzy days" on "things Episcopal" the next ten days (or so!) will be dominated by "things Electoral" as the November 4th election looms and it's all hands on deck to get out the vote in general and beat back Proposition 8 in specific!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Go-Bama! (Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama)

So here's the news ... in case you missed it like I did because you were on a plane to Chicago ...

... or whatever.

It's the seven minute segment from this morning's "Meet the Press" and I think it's worth listening to the whole thing ... not only because of the punchline but because of Powell's thoughtful analysis of what we need to move forward as ONE nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the propostion that ALL are created equal.

And now, on to the work that brought me to Chicago: two days of meetings with "the Chicago Consultation" looking ahead to General Convention 2009 and beyond -- striving to make this a CHURCH where respecting the dignity of every human being are not just words we say in church on baptismal Sundays but values we live out 24/7.

More to come on that ... but for the moment, thanks to Colin Powell for his work and witness to this nation in this time of choice and challenge. And prayers invited for OUR work and witness as we gather at Seabury Western Theological Seminary and continue this work we have been called to do.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another picture worth 1000 words ...

This month's issue of "The Advocate" features California newlyweds ... including Diocese of L.A. priest Warren Nyback and his charming partner Michael Witmer. (They're at about "3 o'clock" on the photo ... Warren in black and Michael with a red tie.)
Threatening bunch, aren't they? Easy to see why the Sanctity of Marriage is shaking it its boots, what with people like these lining up to pledge to love, honor and cherish til death do them part.
Anyway, mazel tov to Warren and Michael ... and all the other couples represented by this sampling on the magazine cover. Let's hope (pray, organize and contribute!) that California voters do the right thing on November 4th and protect the right of ALL Californians to marry!

Friday, October 17, 2008

L.A. Times Endorses Obama

Barack Obama for president
October 19, 2008

He is the competent, confident leader who represents the aspirations of the nation.
It is inherent in the American character to aspire to greatness, so it can be disorienting when the nation stumbles or loses confidence in bedrock principles or institutions.

That's where the United States is as it prepares to select a new president: We have seen the government take a stake in venerable private financial houses; we have witnessed eight years of executive branch power grabs and erosion of civil liberties; we are still recovering from a murderous attack by terrorists on our own soil and still struggling with how best to prevent a recurrence.

We need a leader who demonstrates thoughtful calm and grace under pressure, one not prone to volatile gesture or capricious pronouncement. We need a leader well-grounded in the intellectual and legal foundations of American freedom. Yet we ask that the same person also possess the spark and passion to inspire the best within us: creativity, generosity and a fierce defense of justice and liberty.

The Times without hesitation endorses Barack Obama for president.

Our nation has never before had a candidate like Obama, a man born in the 1960s, of black African and white heritage, raised and educated abroad as well as in the United States, and bringing with him a personal narrative that encompasses much of the American story but that, until now, has been reflected in little of its elected leadership. The excitement of Obama's early campaign was amplified by that newness. But as the presidential race draws to its conclusion, it is Obama's character and temperament that come to the fore. It is his steadiness. His maturity.

These are qualities American leadership has sorely lacked for close to a decade.

The Constitution, more than two centuries old, now offers the world one of its more mature and certainly most stable governments, but our political culture is still struggling to shake off a brash and unseemly adolescence. In George W. Bush, the executive branch turned its back on an adult role in the nation and the world and retreated into self-absorbed unilateralism.

John McCain distinguished himself through much of the Bush presidency by speaking out against reckless and self-defeating policies. He earned The Times' respect, and our endorsement in the California Republican primary, for his denunciation of torture, his readiness to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and his willingness to buck his party on issues such as immigration reform.

But the man known for his sense of honor and consistency has since announced that he wouldn't vote for his own immigration bill, and he redefined "torture" in such a disingenuous way as to nearly embrace what he once abhorred. Indeed, the presidential campaign has rendered McCain nearly unrecognizable. His selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was, as a short-term political tactic, brilliant. It was also irresponsible, as Palin is the most unqualified vice presidential nominee of a major party in living memory.

The decision calls into question just what kind of thinking -- if that's the appropriate word -- would drive the White House in a McCain presidency.

Fortunately, the public has shown more discernment, and the early enthusiasm for Palin has given way to national ridicule of her candidacy and McCain's judgment.

Obama's selection also was telling. He might have scored a steeper bump in the polls by making a more dramatic choice than the capable and experienced Joe Biden. But for all the excitement of his own candidacy, Obama has offered more competence than drama.

He is no lone rider. He is a consensus-builder, a leader. As a constitutional scholar, he has articulated a respect for the rule of law and the limited power of the executive that make him the best hope of restoring balance and process to the Justice Department. He is a Democrat, leaning further left than right, and that should be reflected in his nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. This is a good thing; the court operates best when it is ideologically balanced. With its present alignment at seven justices named by Republicans and two by Democrats, it is due for a tug from the left.
We are not sanguine about Obama's economic policies. He speaks with populist sweep about taxing oil companies to give middle-class families rebates that of course they would welcome, but would be far too small to stimulate the economy. His ideas on taxation do not stray far from those put forward by Democrats over the last several decades. His response to the most recent, and drastic, fallout of the sub- prime mortgage meltdown has been appropriately cautious; this is uncharted territory, and Obama is not a master of economic theory or practice.

And that's fine. Obama inspires confidence not so much in his grasp of Wall Street finance but in his acknowledgment of and comfort with his lack of expertise. He will not be one to forge far-reaching economic policy without sounding out the best thinkers and practitioners, and he has many at his disposal. He has won the backing of some on Wall Street not because he's one of them but because they recognize his talent for extracting from a broad range of proposals a coherent and workable program.

On paper, McCain presents the type of economic program The Times has repeatedly backed: One that would ease the tax burden on business and other high earners most likely to invest in the economy and hire new workers. But he has been disturbingly unfocused in his response to the current financial situation, rushing to "suspend" his campaign and take action (although just what action never became clear). Having little to contribute, he instead chose to exploit the crisis.

We may one day look back on this presidential campaign in wonder. We may marvel that Obama's critics called him an elitist, as if an Ivy League education were a source of embarrassment, and belittled his eloquence, as if a gift with words were suddenly a defect. In fact, Obama is educated and eloquent, sober and exciting, steady and mature. He represents the nation as it is, and as it aspires to be.

Hot off the presses: New No on 8 Campaign Sign


Because it IS personal!

Actress and gay-rights activist Ellen DeGeneres has filmed a 30-second ad urging people to vote against Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban, and will be paying for the ad to air, the No on 8 campaign announced on Friday. The YouTube postings of her video have already been viewed roughly 80,000 times.Eddie Fernandez of the No on 8 campaign said DeGeneres is starting by purchasing $100,000 in air time for the ad.

Make it 80,001 ... Here's the commercial Ellen is soon-to-launch to help defeat Propostion 8:

Go, Ellen!

Grace in Action

Today's my day off -- the first one I've had in a little longer than I want to admit. And so I'm off to a self-indulgent start: doing some blog-surfing in between bill paying while the laundry and dishwasher happily hum in the background.

Later I'll head out to enjoy the beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood and hopefully take in a movie with my sweetie this evening. Oh ... and a haircut. I most DEFINITELY need a haircut.

But first I wanted to post up this opportunity to invite you into a little taste of what mission and ministry at All Saints Church in Pasadena looks like:

These are members of our Prayer Shawl Ministry. The pictures are from our Celebration of Ministries Sunday a few weeks ago, but there's also a 3 minute video that just went out to parish members this week as one of our stewardship witnesses.

I'd love for you to watch it. It came via email with this note from our rector, Ed Bacon:

I invite you to enjoy the following short video. It tells the story of our prayer shawl ministry, which makes the prayers of the parish tangible in the shawls that bring warmth and comfort to people in need. Together this video and the community of spirit that produced it are invitations to inspiration and calls for commitment. Your support of All Saints Church makes this important Pastoral Care ministry possible.
So settle back and take 3 minutes to see the side of All Saints Church that isn't about the stuff you usually read about us ... the powerful pastoral work that goes on 24/7 in Pasadena and beyond as we work to turn the human race into the human family -- with our politics AND with our prayer shawls!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Here's what we're up against here in California ...

They've named it "TheCall California" ... and here's a look at what they're preaching as they fundraise, network, phonebank and advertise to eliminate the right for same sex couples to marry in California:

It's impossible to watch this and not recognize that Christianity not only has been but CONTINUES to be a primary contributor to the problem of the oppression of LGBT people.
It has therefore never been more important for us to speak up AS Christians and be part of the solution -- by working to deafeat Proposition 8.

Father knows best on Prop 8

OK ... it's not exactly the New York Times or Boston Globe, but here's an editorial from the Chico News & Review supporting Fr. Geoff's stand against Prop 8:

Priest takes a stand for gay marriage—and pays the price

“How is marriage protected by intimidating gay and lesbian people into loveless and lonely lives?”

It’s a good question, one that speaks to the heart of the issues surrounding Proposition 8, the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot that would amend the California Constitution to limit marriage to heterosexual couples. What makes the question especially poignant is that the person who asked it was a 50-year-old Roman Catholic priest in Fresno named Geoffrey Farrow who, just before telling his parishioners that he opposed Prop 8, came out as a gay man.

“I know these words of truth will cost me dearly,” he said, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. “But to withhold them … I would become an accomplice to a moral evil that strips gay and lesbian people not only of their civil rights, but of their human dignity as well.”

Sure enough, a few days later Farrow’s bishop removed him as pastor, stripped him of his salary and benefits, and ordered him to stay away from all church communities in the area.

Supporters of Prop 8 say it will protect marriage as it is traditionally understood—a union between a man and a woman. If approved, the measure would vitiate a May 2008 California Supreme Court decision that declared the constitution gives same-sex couples the right to marry.

The measure, in other words, would eliminate a constitutional right and impose the beliefs of the majority on the minority. That’s a big step backwards. Many years ago, we remember, it was illegal for a black person to marry a white person in California. That was wrong, and so is discriminating against gay and lesbian people. As long as the state of California sanctions marriage, the rights and dignity marriage bestows should belong to anyone who chooses to take the vow.

There is absolutely no evidence that same-sex marriages will harm or otherwise affect heterosexual marriages. In the five months since the Supreme Court’s decision, the sky has not fallen. Thousands of Californians—gay and straight—have married, and all of them are facing the challenges of matrimony in their own ways.

We applaud Father Farrow’s courage in advocating for fairness and human dignity. Obviously, it was something his heart told him to do. As he himself put it, “At what point do you cease to be an agent for healing and growth and become an accomplice of injustice?”

LA Roundtable: On the Propostion 8 Debate in California

So remember back a week or so ago when we met Pastor Jack from Calvary Chapel? He was the guy with the "V-Blog" on YouTube explaining why he and his congregation are supporting Proposition 8.

We were both invited to come to a taping of the "L.A. Roundtable" show on October 7th to bring our different perspectives to the table ...

... so here we are! Ready to "rock and roll."

The 60 minute show included two different roundtable discussions ... one on Proposition 11 (a redistricting proposal) followed by ours on Proposition 8.

The show we taped on Oct. 7th is now running on the local public access channel and is ALSO online. So ... if you're interested in seeing "The Pastor Jack & Susan Russell Show" click here and check it out ... at 29:35 into the video clip.

PS -- You don't want to miss Pastor Jack -- at 44:08 -- explaining how high taxes in Denmark are the result of the passage of same-sex marriage ... ("It's a biological fact and it's a chemistry fact.") ... and from there it's a VERY short few steps to (you guessed it!) BEASTIALITY!

Videos du jour

Watching "Hello, I'm No on Prop 8" might just be the best 51 seconds you'll spend today:

And if you've got another minute-and-five seconds, make it a double feature and watch "And She's the California Constitution:"

Ready ... Set ... FORWARD!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On a lighter note ...

If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Delta Airlines one year ago, you will have $49.00 today.

If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in AIG one year ago, you will have $33.00 today.

If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Lehman Brothers one year ago, you will have $0.00 today.

But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the aluminum cans for recycling refund, you will have received a $214.00. Based on the above, the best current investment plan is to drink heavily & recycle.

It is called the 401-Keg.
(Thanks, Susy! :)

Who Won????

Who fared better in Wednesday's presidential debate?
Sen. John McCain 13%
Sen. Barack Obama 84%
No clear winner 3%

Who won the final presidential debate?
John McCain 32%
Barack Obama 61%
Tie 2.3%
Not sure 4.7%

Who won the final presidential debate?
Barack Obama: 85.08%
John McCain: 13.15%
It Was A Draw: 1.76%

Who won the final presidential debate?
John McCain 32%
Barack Obama 68%

What say you??????????????

This just in from the Diocese of Los Angeles ...

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

The Supreme Court of California has determined that all citizens of our state should have equal access to marriage as a civil right based in our state constitution. The Court's ruling provides the Church with an opportunity to reflect on our own theology of marriage. In the Diocese of Los Angeles, we have sought to provide the Church's blessing to all the baptized people of God.
Among those are people who have sought to have same-sex relationships blessed in the community of faith. I know that the acceptance of same-sex unions has caused spiritual struggle and questioning for some members of our Diocese, our Church and the Anglican Communion. My policy has been to allow clergy to respond to the needs of their community with pastoral sensitivity including the blessing of these unions as they deem appropriate to the pastoral context.

Earlier this year, when the court made same-sex marriage an option in civil law, I felt it necessary to convene a task force to develop a diocesan policy by which clergy in our Diocese might officiate at same-sex marriages. The task force has developed educational materials that I hope will help you and members of our Diocese to reflect on the issues involved in same sex-marriage as we discern our way forward.

I hope that all clergy in our Diocese might educate our congregations about marriage and have conversations about it.

Performing and blessing these marriages is not simply theoretical. There are real people in congregations large and small who have waited sometimes for many years for this opportunity, and the witness of their faithful love has been an inspiration to me. Other couples will step forward in the future. I hope you will take the opportunity in the next several weeks to listen to their stories. Many among these couples are members of our congregations.

While no one in this Diocese will be forced to move beyond what his or her conscience allows, we seek to provide that gracious space for those whose conscience compels them to bless the marriages of all faithful people as together we discern the work of the Holy Spirit who continues to lead us into all truth.

Your Brother in Christ,
J. Jon Bruno
Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles

New "No on 8" Commercial

This is the TV ad that's ready to hit the airwaves -- and the one that the focus groups tell us actually WILL "move the middle."

What it takes now is $$$$$$$$$$ to buy the airtime to get the word out.

I don't know about you, but I don't have anything left to give. And I just gave another $50.

Because here's the deal:

On November 5th, the rest of the world will still need saving -- but if we work together between now and November 4th we can see to it that California ends up on the right side of history in the struggle for marriage equality.

Join me. Click here to donate. Do it now. It's the right thing to do and NOW is the time to do it!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I got to meet a hero today

At a press conference today at Dignity House in Highland Park I got to meet Fr. Geoff Farrow ... the Roman Catholic priest who has risked so much to speak truth to power on behalf of the LGBT faithful.

Here's Fr. Geoff with Our Lady of Guadalupe over one shoulder and the Call to Action spokesperson over the other.

I was particularly moved by how profoundly he understands the stand he is taking to be a PASTORAL position (with political implications.)
Here's the statement Fr. Geoff offered today (as posted on his blog:)
You can be a good and faithful Catholic and vote NO on Proposition 8.
Many priests, nuns and ordinary Catholics will vote NO on Proposition 8 because they believe that taking away civil rights from same sex couples is wrong and strips them not only of civil rights but, also of basic human dignity. I know this because they have expressed this to me directly.
Many pastors simply refuse to say anything at all on the subject publicly. Most of my brother priests try to help Catholic same sex couples in the same fashion that they help Catholic heterosexual couples who use contraception or, who have divorced and remarried. We try to assist these souls in the confessional and in counseling sessions. We attempt to humanize what can otherwise be impossibly rigid doctrines that crush people or drive them away from the community of faith.
As an elderly Pastor once told me: “We are not technicians, we work with human lives”. People are not statistics, they are not a political issue, they are human beings. Initially, I too simply decided to remain silent. But then, more and more people came to me and asked for guidance on this issue. At the same time, the Diocese became more and more vocal in its support for Proposition 8 and began to organize lay people to vote yes on 8.
When I was asked to promote my congregation to vote yes on Proposition 8 I was placed in a position of having to choose between my position and the spiritual and emotional well being of those who I was called to serve. Theologians such as, St. Thomas Aquinas have taught of the primacy of one’s personal conscience because on the day that you die it will be your conscience that either acquits or condemns you before God.
In good conscience, I cannot place an impossibly heavy load on the backs of those entrusted to my pastoral care and leave them to fend for themselves as best they can. The cost of this would be abandonment of faith, possibly of God. It would probably contribute to isolation, depression and possible despair or, worse (especially for young people). I gave them the advice that most of them would receive privately from most priests, I simply did it openly at the end of Sunday Mass from the pulpit.
I was deeply grateful to be there to witness HIS witness ... along with other courageous Roman Catholic leaders ... modeling that faithful Catholics CAN vote No on 8 ... and also to be joined by Episcopal colleagues: Mark Hallahan+ (Chair of the Bishop's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Ministry) and Canon Lydia Lopez (Diocesan Communication Office.)
For all that I was so very grateful to be amongst so great a cloud of witnesses, how it must grieve the heart of God that we ... all of us ... are spending our time, energy and resources responding to this $24-million-plus campaign to mobilize bigotry and to write discrimination into the California Constitution in the name of "Family Values."
TWENTY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS ... while there are children who go to bed hungry and we have families without healthcare while others are facing foreclosure, eviction and homelessness.
No wonder Jesus wept.
Fr. Geoff asked in his interview earlier this week in the Los Angeles Times: "How is marriage protected by intimidating gay and lesbian people into loveless and lonely lives?"
He answered his own question in today's press conference. In English and in Spanish. And let's pray that there were those with ears to hear and hearts to listen and minds to change -- that the sacrifices this brave priest is making on behalf of the Gospel will bear the fruit of the defeat of Proposition 8 on the November 4th ballot.