Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?

“A Quinnipiac University National Poll released on Thursday found that 68 percent of American voters believe transgender individuals should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces. 55 percent of voters in military households support trans service, as do 72 percent of independent voters. 60 percent of Republicans oppose trans service, but ‘every other party, gender, education, age or racial group’ backs it by a margin of 22 percent or more, according to the poll.” [Source]

It just boggles my imagination. It really does. The GOP has become a body of well meaning, but closed minded people eager to preserve “Family Values” or Judaeo Christian tradition, or “Religious Liberty”. But it’s discrimination, it’s hate, it’s judgmental, and it’s just plain wrong.

Conservatives are missing the point. Transgenders in the military, gay marriage, cakes and flowers for gay weddings – these things are not about morals and religion and Jesus. These things are about denying something from one group while providing them to others. That is the very definition of discrimination.

discrimination
noun
1. an act or instance of discriminating, or of making a distinction.
2. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.

If you really want to base law on Christian principles, then remember that Jesus said the 1st law is to love God, and the 2nd law is love your neighbor:

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Does not loving your neighbor preclude discriminating against him?

Well, doesn’t it?

In a Heartbeat

Published [on Youtube] on Jul 31, 2017
“In a Heartbeat” – Animated Short Film by Beth David and Esteban Bravo

A closeted boy runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams.

From the LA Times:

Hang onto your heartstrings, because they’re about to get tugged.

“In a Heartbeat” — the four-minute passion project from computer animation students Esteban Bravo and Beth David — had its cyberspace debut on Monday. And the Internet is crushing. Hard.

The animated short film, which has already amassed 6.4 million views (and counting) on YouTube alone, shares the sweet story of love at first sight. The narrative centers on Sherwin, a closeted young boy who, per the film’s plot description, “runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams.” The short chronicles the frenzied emotional roller coaster that erupts in the aftermath of his runaway heart.

In an interview with NBC News, Bravo and David cited their own experiences as the film’s primary inspiration, adding that “In a Heartbeat” is the kind of film they wished they had seen growing up.

“The original pitch was a story between a boy and a girl,” David said. “But it wasn’t until we made it about a same-gender crush that the idea really started to take form and resonate with Esteban and I. We realized that we had something that could potentially be really special to us.”

The film has resonated with other people too. Teaming up to create a joint senior thesis in November, Bravo and David launched a Kickstarter campaign that aimed to raise $3,000 for the film’s production. They surpassed their fundraising goal by a long shot, reeling in more than $14,000.

“With [‘In a Heartbeat’], we wanted to challenge the preconceived notion that LGBTQ content is not appropriate or suitable for younger audiences,” Bravo told NBC News. “It’s an innocent and lighthearted story about a boy and his crush that we hope will resonate with younger people regardless of their background.”

“We tried to tell this story from a genuine place,” David added, “and be as emotionally honest as we could about how especially layered this experience is for LGBTQ kids.”

Suffrage, Civil Rights, and the LGBT Debate

The issue of LGBT rights should be seen in the same light as women’s suffrage and civil rights. We are all God’s children, equal in the sight of God. We should all be equal under the laws of our nation and states, as well. Would anyone advocate taking away a woman’s right to vote? Would anyone advocate going back to Jim Crow laws?

At the heart of the conservative Christians’ argument is something called conscience or values. Well, what’s wrong with you worrying about your conscience, and me worrying about mine, without either of us trampling on the rights of the other.

Throughout history, calls for social change and equality have been nothing more than a group of people asking for fair and equal treatment. White, protestant, heterosexual males take all their rights for granted. Women, minorities, people of other faiths and sexual identities have to claw and fight for equal treatment. Why is that?


Trump’s latest LGBTQ slight

LA Times Opinion – July 28, 2019

President Trump’s outrageous claim Wednesday that transgender service members were a burden on the nation was crude and simplistic, and it seemed to catch the Pentagon by surprise.

By contrast, the friend-of-the-court brief filed by Justice Department lawyers in a gay man’s employment discrimination lawsuit was detailed and dispassionate. Yet it, too, belies Trump’s campaign assurances that he cares about “our LGBTQ citizens.”

The U.S. government isn’t a party to the lawsuit brought by the late Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor who said he was fired after he revealed that he was gay. He sued his former employer under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination because of “sex” — which the plaintiff argued covers discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. A district judge and an appeals panel disagreed, and now the case is before the full 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shares Zarda’s view of the law. But the Trump Justice Department took the contrary position in its brief. “Any efforts to amend Title VII’s scope,” the brief said, “should be directed to Congress rather than the courts.”

It’s true that in 1964, few if any members of Congress were thinking about discrimination against gay men and lesbians. It’s also true that until recently, courts did not interpret “sex discrimination” to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

But, as the Supreme Court has recognized, the meaning of sex discrimination can evolve. For example, in 1998 the high court ruled in favor of a male oil-rig worker who alleged that he had been the target of sexually oriented touching and threats from male co-workers — even though the Congress that enacted Title VII wasn’t primarily concerned with “male-on-male sexual harassment.”

Citing that decision (and others), the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled earlier this year that discrimination on the basis of “sex” did include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The court explained that, over the years, “Title VII has been understood to cover far more than the simple decision of an employer not to hire a woman for Job A, or a man for Job B.” For example, the law has been interpreted to forbid hiring decisions based on gender stereotypes. Extending that principle, the 7th Circuit held that refusing to promote the plaintiff in that case because she was a lesbian was punishing her for the “ultimate case of failure to conform to the female stereotype.”

Ultimately, the Supreme Court must decide whether the 7th Circuit’s interpretation is correct; we found it persuasive. But the Trump administration’s rush to insist that the law doesn’t protect gays and lesbians — in a case in which the federal government is not even involved — is deeply disappointing.


equal rights

Nun ministering to transgender women gets thumbs-up from Pope

by Inés San Martín
VATICAN CORRESPONDENT
CRUXnow.com

July 25, 2017

ROME- Even during the summer, when Pope Francis has a much more private profile, the energizer bunny of popes is far from being inactive. This year, for instance, he took the time to answer an email from Sister Monica Astorga, a Discalced Carmelite nun who works with transgender women in his native Argentina, helping them get out of prostitution and substance abuse.

Astorga wrote an email to Francis last Thursday, to update him on the new developments in the ministry she does in the southern Argentine province of Neuquen. It didn’t take long for her to hear back from the pope: She told Crux his answer came in the next day, on Friday.

Astorga had written to the pope to inform him that the city had given her a plot of public land, where she planned to build 15 one-room homes for the transgender women she works with.

Read the full article here.

About the featured photo: Sister Monica Astorga with some of the transgender women she works with. (Credit: Sister Mónica Astorga/Facebook.)

Fr. James Martin’s Ministry to LGBT Catholics

Meeting on the Bridge: Fr. James Martin’s Ministry to LGBT Catholics Becomes a Book

An interview with Jesuit Priest Fr. James Martin, by author Kaya Oakes

A few years ago, the idea of a “celebrity Jesuit” would have puzzled most Americans. That was not only before the election of the first Jesuit pope, but also before Fr. James Martin began appearing on The Colbert Report, and before his books on saints, spirituality and prayer ascended the bestseller lists.

Today, Martin occupies a unique place in religious media: still working a day job as the editor-at-large of America magazine (where I’m an occasional contributing writer), he’s also become a go-to explainer of Catholic issues to both religious and secular audiences. He’s so successful in this role that in April of this year, he took up yet another job when he was invited by Pope Francis to be a consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications.

In the past few years, however, even as Martin’s profile has grown, it has also included a focus on one of the Catholic church’s most marginalized groups, the LGBT community. Martin describes this as an “informal ministry,” conducted through articles, conversations and social media, and it expanded after the June 2016 shooting in Orlando, Florida when Martin was dismayed that Catholic church leaders failed to acknowledge the targeting of LGBT people in the Pulse massacre. His Facebook video posted the day after Orlando has over a million and a half views.

The scope of his outreach is still so unusual for a Catholic priest that Martin was honored by the church reform group New Ways Ministry in October of last year.

The talk he gave at that gathering has now been expanded into a book, Building a Bridge. Martin’s collection of the expanded talk and scripture meditations for LGBT Catholics even comes with an unusual set of endorsements from cardinals, bishops, and New Ways Ministry founder Sister Jeannine Grammick, who was investigated by the Vatican for her work with LGBT Catholics in 1999.

At a time when Catholic school teachers and lay ministers are still regularly being fired for being LGBT, endorsements from church higher-ups for a book that advocates pastoral outreach to LGBT Catholics comes as a surprise. But it’s also indicative of Martin’s unique position in the church: respected by everyone from Vatican officials to activist women religious to secular journalists to his massive social media following, he may actually be in a position to gently influence the way LGBT people are treated by the institutional church. We spoke in May.

Click Below to read the complete article and interview as a PDF.
Meeting on the Bridge

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Click here for original article source.

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Here is a good follow-up Q&A with Fr. James.

Stuff That Needs to be Said

I stumbled upon a fascinating blog tonight, after following a link on Facebook. I’d like to introduce you to John Pavlovitz. John writes a blog called, “Stuff That Needs to be Said.” He’s right. This stuff does need to be said. And he says it well.

Here are links to a few of John’s posts:

Yes, I’m a Christian—But I’m Not With Them

The Christians Who Defunded Jesus

The Christians Making Atheists

Christians Need to Stop Saying “The Bible Clearly Says”

No, Christian—People are Not “Struggling With Same-Sex Attraction”