She starts off by reviewing Jenny Boylan's book wherein the author recounts her experience as a MTF transgender (emphasis mine):
Tolerance is the rice pudding of modern behavior; it tastes sweeter than bigotry, but no one would confuse it with a parfait. What Boylan’s book represents is something deeper and more important than tolerance. The way in which people insisted on valuing her on the basis of who she was and not their confusion about what she had done represents the best of human behavior.
Doing that is hard. The old bright lines used to make things so simple. White was different from black. Male was different from female. Straight was better than gay. Gay was bad. So was sex, unless it had been sanctified by Alencon lace and a catering hall. Sanctified by God, some would say, or “natural moral law,” which is what the Vatican cited in its statement last week against gay marriage, the theological version of “because I said so.”
The God who suggested we love one another seemed strangely absent from all this. Look at the bright lines in the new movie “The Magdalene Sisters.” It’s a devastating drama based on the true story of unmarried Roman Catholic girls who got pregnant and were essentially imprisoned in Irish laundries called the Magdalene Asylums, sent there by their own parents for no crime other than sexuality. Who cares about compassion when you can have never-darken-my-doorstep certainty?
"Last time I checked, we had separation of church and state, so I don't know why the president is talking about sin, or why he is implying that gays who want to make a permanent commitment in a world full of divorce and loneliness are sinners.
If we follow Mr. Bush's logic, shouldn't we have a one-strike-and-you're-out constitutional amendment: no marriage for gays, but no second marriage for straights who prove they're not up to it?"
I think she got the annoyance/insult sense of Bush's words just right. He thinks he's being magnanimous. He comes across as patronizing and insulting.
Of course, my friends say that his words weren't meant for us. They were meant as a sop to the political right-wing/conservative christian factions of the GOP. We'll see. If this amendment thing gets any traction, every queer in the country needs to be prepared to go to the barricades. I won't idly stand by while the equivalent of slave compromise gets written into the Constitution.
More than any other issue, the never-say-die efforts of liberals to normalize homosexuality have galvanized grassroots support for the political campaigns of the evangelical renewal.
so say the authors of an article in Christianity Today Magazine: "The High-Octane Fuel of Gay Activism"
This is a difficult article for me to read because the authors couch the struggle in stark terms of "us vs. them", liberals vs. evangelicals. I consider myself an evangelical who has had to dig a bit more on the issue of sexual orientation. The authors posit that the "normalization" of homosexuality (which I consider "normal" already; same-gender attraction has existed in the human condition for all of recorded history and exists "naturally" in the non-human animal kingdom as well) is the fuel that is driving the vitality of the confessing movement. If this is true, it bothers me a bit that the thing that drives the various expressions of this movement is not so much the desire for a closer walk with God; to know Him better; to have His life manifest in our lives (and through us, in society) but rather to strive *against* a group of people, a minority, who are struggling for acceptance in society in general and for full participation in the life of the church in specific. And they thing that is being disagreed over is how and towards whom we express *love* and the implications of that expression in terms of building healthy, stable, long-term committed relationships and how we create and build our families. What a crazy issue for Christians to be divided over.
I think that this is no different than the church splits that occured in the mid 19th century over the issue of slavery. Some churches took the high moral ground and others used scripture to support theologies of owning slaves and the social and cultural context status quo.
Because its victims must contend with fearsome threats to their sexual identity, male-on-male rape may be the most secret sex crime, though it's more common than meets the eye, especially if you include the epidemic of sexual assaults in prison. Few of the perps are homosexual; most would be quite willing to rape women if they could get their hands on them. Male rape, like all rape, is a crime of power, and its unconscious ambition is to enforce the sexual order. As gender traitors who already seem degraded, gay men are far more likely to be violated than to violate.
But in the straight imagination, a different image applies. Here, the terror of being raped (and the temptation that comes with it) is projected onto the homosexual, presumably lusting for straight-male tail. Every homo is imagined as a potential predator, and any display of gay aggression is likely to be seen, at least implicitly, in this light. Generations of us have been marked by the need to play the servile faggot in order to reassure straights that we pose no threat. We are taught from our first wet dream that it's dangerous even to imagine striking out against "real men," and the culture re-enforces this taboo by churning out endless images of what happens to queers who violate it."
That also explains why, at the first glimmers of sexual awakening at the onset of adolescence, those of us who realized with astonishment that we didn't share the same attractions as most of our same-gender peers instinctively knew the way to the closet. We sussed that something as innocent as commenting on another guy's attractive frame (which would have drawn no more than nodding assents if directed at a gal) would be viewed with hostility and likely result in a violent reaction.
"The most contentious of recent outings involves Abraham Lincoln, who had a relationship with a 24-year-old merchant named Joshua Speed when the 28-year-old Lincoln was living as a bachelor in Springfield, Illinois. The rumor mill on the Lincoln-Speed case has been smoldering for years, beginning with Carl Sandburg's 1926 observation that their relationship held a "streak of lavender and spots soft as May violets." Scholars have long noted the intense bond between the two men, who lived together for four years and—once again, the controversy thrives on sleeping habits in cold climates—may have shared the same bed.
The intensity of Lincoln's feelings for Speed is evident in Lincoln's depression after the younger man sold his store to return to his native Kentucky, an event that may have persuaded Lincoln to break off his engagement with Mary Todd. ("I am now the most miserable man living," Lincoln wrote. "To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better.")
There are two books in the works about the Lincoln-Speed case, one co-authored by former Kinsey researcher C.A. Tripp, another by Larry Kramer, whose forthcoming The American People will draw on hitherto unseen writings by Speed, some of which reportedly were found in the floorboards of the building he shared with Lincoln. Kramer has been wary about revealing the contents, but he did read passages from it at a 1999 gay studies conference at the University of Wisconsin. A local paper reprinted some of Kramer's more titillating quotes: "He often kisses me when I tease him, often to shut me up. . . . He would grab me up by his long arms and hug and hug." Describing his friend as "Linc," Speed described the future 16th president as a man who could not get enough huggin' and kissin'.
"... what is the most influential think-piece written about Europe over the past year? The one by Robert Kagan, an American neoconservative, endlessly quoted in all European capitals. So it's not just that our fast food, films, fashion and language are American. Even our debates about Europe itself are American-led.
As a result, there are two characteristic figures in Europe today: the deeply Europeanised anti-European and the deeply Americanised anti-American. We have all met him, the pinstriped Tory Eurosceptic who has a house in Tuscany, is an expert on French wines and knows a great deal more about Wagner operas than Chancellor Gerhard Schroder does. (This last may, admittedly, not be saying a great deal.) We have all met her, the ageing German anti-American peace campaigner, whose inspirations are Woodstock, Joan Baez and not the German Martin Luther but the American Martin Luther King. Except that each in turn would protest: "I'm not anti-European, I'm just against the Brussels Eurocratic vision of a federal superstate", and "I'm not anti-American, I'm just against the inhuman, warlike policies of that Texan cowboy in the White House."
This distinction is sustainable - up to a point...."
"...the US, like revolutionary France and revolutionary Russia, is a great power based on a universalist revolution - and therefore on the belief that the rest of the world should follow its example, or even that it should help liberate the rest of the world. Few things are more dangerous than empires pursuing their own interest in the belief that they are doing humanity a favour."
Essentially, trying to establish civil rights via right to privacy and equal protection leaves us with the right to identity but not the right to public behavior. The authors' thesis is that a better approach is via right to practice religion since it's dual pronged strategy: right to *practice* who we are and broadening the scope of what constitutes "morally acceptable" as a theological basis for law. The fundies have too much influence. It's time for the rest of us Christians to have our say and be *listened* to.
Republicans Want Terror Law Made Permanent
But there is strang cognitive dissonance on Al Jazeera's english coverage. The article linked above is *so* different in tone than the article that open proclaims that the Iraqi government has fallen and that American soldiers are being greeted in Bagdad by celebrating Iraqi's proffering babies and flowers.
I guess it *does* take a rocket scientist...
As we speak, I have a terrible sense of foreboding, because last weekend a stunning omen occurred in this country. Anyone who thinks symbolically had to be shocked by the explosion of the Columbia shuttle, disintegrating in the air and strewing its parts and human remains over Texas -- the president's home state! So many times in antiquity, the emperors of Persia or other proud empires went to the oracles to ask for advice about going to war. Roman generals summoned soothsayers to read the entrails before a battle. If there was ever a sign for a president and his administration to rethink what they're doing, this was it. I mean, no sooner had Bush announced that the war was "weeks, not months" away and gone off for a peaceful weekend at Camp David than this catastrophe occurred in the skies over Texas.
From the point of view of the Muslim streets, surely it looks like the hand of Allah has intervened, as with the attack on the World Trade Center. No one in the Western world would have believed that those mighty towers could fall within an hour and a half -- two of the proudest constructions in American history. And neither would anyone have predicted this eerie coincidence -- that the president's own state would become the burial ground for the Columbia mission.
Including one small town where the debris fell called Palestine, Texas.
Yes, exactly! What weird irony with an Israeli astronaut onboard who had bombed Iraq 20 years ago. To me this dreadful accident is a graphic illustration of the limitations of modern technology -- of the smallest detail that can go wrong and end up thwarting the most fail-safe plan. So I think that history will look back on this as a key moment. Kings throughout history have been shaken by signals like this from beyond: Think twice about what you're doing. If a Roman general tripped on the threshold before a battle, he'd call it off.
The Independent has a lead article entitled "An impressive show; but Mr Powell failed to make the case for a war on Iraq".
Pravda takes a short but clearly skeptical view.
The Guardian sits on the fence, the author not convinced that we should go to war but not convinced that we shouldn't, either.
The New York Times says that Powell may not have produced the smoking gun "but ... left little question that Mr. Hussein had tried hard to conceal one."
Slate states baldly that Powell Delivered the Goods on Saddam.
The London Daily Telegraph sides with the American administration and chides the Europeans for not offering any viable alternative.
The Washington Post calls the evidence Irrefutable.
The Globe and Mail feels that Powell presented a strong case.
Arab News states that "most commentators who saw the speech remained unconvinced that there was need for a war against Iraq: and quotes Norman Solomon, co-author of the the book "Target Iraq" in support of that view.
"I don't know why ..."
"Conservatives have long said that they want to get the government off our backs. If that's a principled stance, they should certainly want to get it out of our beds."