Getting America to believe that people are born gay — that it’s not something that can be chosen or ever changed — has been central to the fight for gay rights. If someone can’t help being gay any more than they can help the color of their skin, the logic goes, denying them rights is wrong. But many members of the LGBTQ community reject this narrative, saying it only benefits people who feel their sexuality and gender are fixed rather than fluid, and questioning why the dignity of gay people should rest on the notion that they were gay from their very first breath.
“There are a lot of lesbians who subscribe to the ‘born this way’ narrative, in part because it’s become almost an obligatory story,” said Jane Ward, a professor of gender studies at the University of California-Riverside and author of Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men. “If you support gay rights then you have to believe that. But there’s now almost 50 years of scholarship on how people come to understand their queerness,” and Ward says for some people, queerness is something they claim ownership of more deliberately, over time.
The opposite of “I was born this way” is not “I chose this way.” In a 2016 article on sexual orientation published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, researchers wrote that “whether sexual orientation is a choice” is a poor phrase for advancing our understanding of sexuality. We choose our actions, they wrote, not our feelings. Words like “choice,” “preference” and “lifestyle” are loaded because they’ve been used to oppress sexual minorities.
…when you ask absent fathers themselves, you get a different picture. You meet guys who desperately did not want to leave their children, who swear they have tried to be with them, who may feel unworthy of fatherhood but who don’t want to be the missing dad their own father was.
In truth, when fathers abandon their own children, it’s not a momentary decision; it’s a long, tragic process. A number of researchers have tried to understand how father abandonment happens, most importantly Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson, who moved to Philadelphia and Camden, N.J., immersed themselves in the neighborhoods there and produced an amazing account, “Doing the Best I Can.”
Pregnancy is rarely planned among the populations they studied. Typically the parents are in a semi-relationship that is somewhere between a one-night stand and an actual boyfriend-girlfriend bond. The couple use contraception at the beginning, but when it becomes understood they are “together,” they stop. They don’t really talk about pregnancy, but they sort of make it possible….
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 17, 2017
Drums beat, a trumpet bellows and voices rise up in jubilant greeting of the morning, Pentecost Sunday. It’s a joyful day in the Christian church. Yet, here at Emanuel AME, sorrow still clings to the atmosphere, even two years later.
Memories of the nine who died here linger everywhere. They rest in worn spots on the pews. They float from the choir loft and resound from the pulpit. Downstairs in the fellowship hall, where blood flowed that night, bullet holes remain in the walls and tiles.
The date — June 17, 2015 — doesn’t feel very far away.
We are headed to New England!
I have been at this blog since the first part of 2003, and it is time for a break. As I am constantly insisting to my friends, none of us is indispensable, and this is a way of living that out by yours truly. Remember I told you I am the type of person who goes to bed every night just a little sad–only a little–about how much I don’t know (and still wish to find out). So moving away from the information addiction for me will not necessarily be easy–but it is important.
I will check in from time to time, but will be posting less. Thanks for your prayers, your comments and your support–KSH.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 16, 2017
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast revealed thyself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and dost ever live and reign in the perfect unity of love: Grant that we may always hold firmly and joyfully to this faith, and, living in praise of thy divine majesty, may finally be one in thee; who art three persons in one God, world without end.
At the set time which I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars….
For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up; but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.
–Psalm 75: 2-3; 6-7
In our community over the past few days we have been through a range of emotions that we rarely experience so close together. Even now as we meet and pray, there are people here in this church, in the surrounding streets wondering how to make sense of this.
How do you put into words what people here have experienced, the story of the past few days?
First there was Shock. As we woke up on Wednesday morning, there was that numb feeling, incredulity that something like this could happen in our modern, C21st sophisticated city. Looking up at the Tower and imagining what the people in there was going through was almost unbearable and so hard to even imagine how awful that must be.
Then there was Compassion. Alongside the tragedy, one of the remarkable things has been to see the amazing outpouring of compassion in this community over the past couple of days.
What we are living through in America is not only a division but a great estrangement. It is between those who support Donald Trump and those who despise him, between left and right, between the two parties, and even to some degree between the bases of those parties and their leaders in Washington. It is between the religious and those who laugh at Your Make Believe Friend, between cultural progressives and those who wish not to have progressive ways imposed upon them. It is between the coasts and the center, between those in flyover country and those who decide what flyover will watch on television next season. It is between “I accept the court’s decision” and “Bake my cake.” We look down on each other, fear each other, increasingly hate each other.
Oh, to have a unifying figure, program or party.
But we don’t, nor is there any immediate prospect. So, as Ben Franklin said, we’ll have to hang together or we’ll surely hang separately. To hang together—to continue as a country—at the very least we have to lower the political temperature. It’s on all of us more than ever to assume good faith, put our views forward with respect, even charity, and refuse to incite.
Thus, any Muslim unwilling to repudiate the belief that Islam is objectively true and that other religions are, at least in critical respects, objectively false, would be unqualified to serve under Bernie’s relativism test.
It also follows that any Muslims objecting to Vought’s appointment must either admit they don’t believe Islam is objectively true, admit they’re employing a double standard, or drop their objection to the appointment. The corollary to this, of course, is that any non-Muslims objecting to a Muslim’s appointment to public office merely on the basis of his religious beliefs are in precisely the same position. As James Madison wrote, the No Religious Test Clause means “Jews Turks & infidels” are free to serve in government. So long as a Muslim candidate for public service is qualified for office, the fact that he or she is an unapologetic Muslim can be no grounds for objecting to the appointment. Anyone who says otherwise while opposing Bernie’s test must either admit his bad faith or repudiate the Constitution.
I am inclined to think that Bernie Sanders and his allies mean well in opposing Vought’s nomination. They want to protect the feelings of members of a religious minority that has come under fire from many quarters. That sentiment is admirable and appreciated, but misguided. Bernie needs to realize that Muslims in America are more adult, and have more confidence in themselves and in the truth of their faith, than one might imagine. More importantly, by bending the Constitution in the name of pluralism to require relativism from all holders of public office, the institution of such a test would constitute a loss for Muslims and all religious believers in the long run.
Read it all (my emphasis).
When Christians engage with politics their consciences are going to be bruised. They will be imbued with a vision of the Kingdom of God and at the same time will have to compromise, daily. It was Bismarck who first said “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best.” To achieve anything worthwhile will often require settling for less than one’s ideals.
Cynics, and I include some media interrogators among them, choose to ignore this painful compromise; they posit only the stark, unrealistic and inhuman alternatives of perfection or hypocrisy. In fact, the word “hypocrite” entered the English language via the New Testament, where it was used by Jesus to excoriate those who laid down the law for others, while pretending personally to be virtuous. They were “play-acting”. That’s what the word means in Greek. It has nothing to do with failure: applied Christianity is for people who recognise their moral inadequacy and daily look for divine help to deal with it.
The pre-election hounding of Tim Farron was not acceptable. In interview after interview we were given the impression that his private views on gay sex were in the forefront of the Lib-Dem campaign. His tormentors should be ashamed of themselves. It is much to be regretted that he has now concluded that a leading role in politics is incompatible with his Christian faith.
Soon after he took the party reins in 2015, Mr. Farron was asked whether, as a Christian, he considers homosexuality a sin. The Lib Dem leader gave the quintessential Christian reply: “We’re all sinners.” But it wasn’t enough. The question would resurface amid the election campaign this spring.
During a TV interview on April 18, he was pressed four times, and four times he demurred. Quiescence wasn’t enough.
Pressure mounted, and the next day Mr. Farron relented. No, he clarified in remarks at the House of Commons, homosexuality isn’t a sin. That still wasn’t enough. The latter-day Gletkins and Ivanovs needed to be sure that Mr. Farron believed this in his heart of hearts, not merely as a matter of public confession. If he didn’t think homosexuality a sin, asked a BBC interviewer a few days later, why had it taken him so long to say so? Mr. Farron was reduced to spouting gibberish.
Then the Guardian newspaper unearthed a 2007 interview, in which he had suggested that “abortion is wrong” but also cautioned Christian activists that an immediate outright ban would be impracticable. Confronted with his own words on the campaign trail, Mr. Farron pleaded that he’d never advocated abortion restrictions. It wasn’t enough.
Germany’s Family and Youth Minister Katarina Barley on Wednesday called for her country to strengthen its efforts to prevent all forms of extremism, calling for a federal law on the prevention of extremism to stabilize projects and initiatives against, for example, right-wing extremism.
Although there is now more money available for prevention, “we aren’t yet on target,” Barley said on Wednesday. Announcing the findings of a report into extremism prevention, Barley said at a press conference in Berlin that in fighting Islamist extremism, “we must not wait until young people have become radicalized.”
“Security and prevention must go hand in hand,” she added.
According to Barley, prevention work must begin where the threat is particularly high, for example in the school yard, on the Internet, and also in the prisons.
Two different Christian denominations will be sharing the same place of worship during the next year in an example of neighbourliness and friendship.
When it was learned that St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan would be closed for a year for essential renovations, their church neighbours, St Maeldoid’s Church of Ireland parish at Muckno, Castleblayney, in Clogher Diocese, offered the use of their beautiful gothic–style building.
This generous gesture by the Select Vestry of St Maeldoid’s along with their rector, the Revd Neal Phair, and approved by the Bishop of Clogher, Right Revd John McDowell, was accepted by the Parish Priest of St Mary’s, Father Pat McHugh and his parishioners and from next Monday, 19th June, St Maeldoid’s Church will be used for both Church of Ireland services and Masses.