VALUES VOTER SUMMIT: WHOSE VALUES?

From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

The Family Research Council (FRC) is hosting its annual Values Voter Summit Oct. 13-15, a rogues’ gallery of the radical right, this year keynoted by President Trump himself.

The FRC is an organization that has relentlessly vilified LGBT people – portraying them as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to children and the nation. Because of its demonizing lies about the LGBT community, it has been named as a hate group by the SPLC.

Like its host, the Values Voters Summit claims it stands for “values.” But whose values?

1. What’s the Values Voter Summit?
2. What can you do?

What’s the Values Voter Summit?

The Values Voter Summit is an annual political conference bringing together some of the most extreme groups on the right, including multiple designated hate groups. It was founded in 2006 and is hosted by the Family Research Council.

Who’s Family Research Council?

The Family Research Council (FRC) is an organization that often makes false and intentionally dehumanizing claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people as the organization battles against same-sex marriage, hate crime laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. To make the case that the LGBT community is a threat to American society, the FRC employs a number of “policy experts” whose “research” has allowed the FRC to be extremely active politically in shaping public debate. Its research fellows and leaders often testify before Congress and appear in the mainstream media. It also works at the grassroots level, conducting outreach to pastors in an effort to “transform the culture.”

Here’s their statement on “homosexuality:”

Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health the effects. While the origins of same-sex attractions may be complex, there is no convincing evidence that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn. We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools.

Read more about the Family Research Council.

What can you do?

Bigotry is not an American value. You can stand up for equality and speak out against the bigotry displayed by the Family Research Council. Here’s how:

  • Let people know that President Trump is lending the legitimacy of his office to a hate group that relentlessly demonizes LGBT people and works to deny them of their equal rights. Share this message on social media.
  • Expose the Family Research Council’s true values. Download this image and share.
  • Educate yourselfRead our profile on the Family Research Council.
  • Take action against hate in your community. Follow our 10 Ways to Fight Hate guide.

Mark’s take:

This is what Trump’s America looks like. This is what the conservative rights means when they say “Make America Great Again.” This what they mean when they say “Take our country back.” And they do it, in large part, in the name of Jesus Christ.

This is an affront to Christianity. Anyone who has read Jesus’ words knows that He was accepting, welcoming, and loving. He preached to, and associated with, the outcast, the marginalized, the poor, the sick, the sinners.

Jesus commanded us to love one another. He said not one single word about homosexuality. Not. One. Word.

The people that host and attend these events are bigots and haters. And Trump stands arm in arm with them.

#RESIST!

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Donald Trump & Franklin Graham: Both Dead Wrong

Trump on DACA

President Trump on Tuesday ordered an end to the Obama-era executive action that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation, calling the program an “amnesty-first approach” and urging Congress to replace it with legislation before it begins phasing out on March 5, 2018.

“I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents,” Mr. Trump said in a written statement. “But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.”

The statement was released shortly after Mr. Trump, who had called the issue a personal dilemma, dispatched Attorney General Jeff Sessions to announce that the government will no longer accept new applications from undocumented immigrants to shield them from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

Administration officials said the roughly 800,000 current beneficiaries of the program — brought to the United States illegally as children — will not be immediately affected by what they called an “orderly wind-down” of former President Barack Obama’s policy.

“Only by the reliable enforcement of immigration law can we produce safe communities, a robust middle class, and economic fairness for all Americans,” Mr. Trump said, calling the DACA program an “amnesty-first approach.”

[source]


Trump could not be more wrong on this issue, from the perspective of a caring and compassionate human being, and especially from the perspective of a Christian.


Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

[source]


Scripture and Immigration

The Bible has a lot to say about immigrants and immigration.  In fact, the Hebrew word ger, the closest word to our concept of an immigrant, appears 92 times in the Old Testament alone.  We encourage you to do a Bible study on the topic of immigrants in Scripture.  Here are some passages to start you out.

A few words about Franklin Graham

I have supported Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse, and especially Operation Christmas Child for many years. Although I have often disagreed with Graham’s politics, I have looked the other way, giving him the benefit of the doubt in light of the good works done by these organizations. But I have now parted ways with Franklin Graham.

  • Graham says immigration is “not a biblical issue.” [source]
  • Graham is vehemently anti-gay. [source] and [source]
  • Graham said that those who voted to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville are the ones to blame for violence. [source]

Stand Up & Speak Out

If you are a Christian, and especially if you are a gay Christian, it’s time to make your voice heard. We, as caring Christians, and thoughtful people, must be heard over the loud screams of hatred and bigotry. Find a way to get involved. The 2016 general election was a travesty. It must not be repeated. Here are a few resources:

hands

 

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.)