James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Posts Tagged ‘gay rights

How gay is this story?

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I was sitting in a fairly religious  environment yesterday. The group I was with was a little over 10 people. Because we had a group of 10, one person decided that they needed to tell this story. I think it’s one of the gayer stories I have heard in a pretty long time.

Here it is …

Jon and his dad run a family business. One of Jon’s coworkers, Dave, is their top worker. In fact, he’s so good that he can literally kill the competition 10 times as well as can Jon’s dad.

Now, Jon’s dad was a little jealous about this. In fact, he learned that Jon admired Dave quite a lot, and because of this, Jon’s dad was out to get Dave.

I mentioned that Jon admired Dave, but that might not be sufficiently strong description. Jon so admired Dave that he actually proclaimed that he loved him as much as he loved his own soul.

So, Jon and Dave make a plan to determine what Jon’s dad is actually intending to do. Jon finds out that his dad is planning to summon Dave in order to bury him.

Jon sends a message to Dave that Dave is at serious risk of losing everything. Dave is hurt by this. And when he next sees Jon, he runs up to him, they kiss, and then they weep together. When Jon tells Dave that he must go, the two of them swear (before God!) an eternal bond.

… pretty gay, no?

I mentioned that the group that I was with while hearing this story was pretty conservative. And yet, they demanded everyone’s attention for the telling of this story.

What I have not noted is that this all happened at the synagogue during morning services. The 10 people were a minyan, and the story was read in Hebrew. Yesterday was Shabbat, and today is Rosh Chodesh. On such a day as yesterday, we read a special Haftarah portion. That portion is from I Samuel 20, Jon is Jonathan son of King Saul, Dave is to become King David, and the family business is the Kingdom of Israel. Of course I and II Samuel contain several such stories of the intense love between David and Jonathan. These stories are replete with multiple expressions of a covenantal relationship between the two and even describe their souls as being intertwined using language as strong as any that describes a marital relationship. Upon Jonathan’s death, David goes so far as to proclaim that Jonathan’s love was more wondrous to him than the love of women.

This is particularly timely given the judicial retention vote in Iowa. In a bizarre retention election, voters threw out three judges who were part of the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court decision to end marriage inequality. Of course, much of the rhetoric against marriage equality is based on the moral offense that many people find in sodomy and their presumption that gay marriage is based on sodomy. I don’t know if any of the gay married couples I know engage in such conduct any more than I know whether married straight couples obey the sexual purity laws of niddah.

But, if you ever meet a married gay couple, such rhetoric is divorced from reality. The gay married couples I know reflect the love of David and Jonathan much more than they reflect the immoral sexual violence of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Bible gives us a way to model and celebrate such bonds, and yet my fellow residents of Iowa seem to remain committed to a voyeuristic and sexually obsessive view of gay couples. What a shame. They should read this Haftarah portion.

postscript … I ran across this site that specifically deals with these issues from a more Christian point of view.


Written by JamesEJ

Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 7:23 pm

State Sen. McCoy goes after Mickelson’s pocketbook.

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Sen. Matt McCoy

Sen. Matt McCoy

It looks like my chat with Jan Mickelson is making more waves:

A state senator is organizing a boycott of businesses that advertise during Jan Mickelson’s WHO-AM talk-radio program.

His first target: Toyota of Des Moines, even though he drives a vehicle purchased from the dealership.

“It’s the last one I’m ever going to own, that’s for sure,” Sen. Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines said Wednesday.

Mickelson said during a broadcast last month that some AIDS education efforts destigmatize the “stupid behavior” of homosexuality. He likened AIDS to lung disease, cirrhosis of the liver and heart disease.

via State senator targets Mickelson’s advertisers because of comments on homosexuality | The Des Moines Register.

Personally, I am generally not a fan of secondary boycotts.  I think one should target the person who engages in the offensive conduct and not the people who do business with such a person.  However, Jan Mickelson is broadcast on one of the most powerful AM stations in the country and his broadcast reaches almost the entire state.  Boycotting him is not likely to do much any time soon.  Boycotting his advertisers is probably more effective in this case.

What is more important is that efforts like this give more opportunity to confront the lies that build gay-hatred.

Written by JamesEJ

Friday, September 3, 2010 at 12:06 am

1040 WHO’s Jan Mickelson loses his argument with me.

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Jan Mickelson

Jan Mickelson

It appears that my smack down of 1040 WHO’s Jan Mickelson on the issue of gay rights did some good.  On Friday, the Des Moines Register reported on the response of Clear Channel Communications, which owns WHO, to Mickelson’s ridiculous remarks.  Although some of his remarks preceded my call, it is clear from the related reporting and commentary that my interaction with him is what provoked the strong rebuke. One Iowa, the gay-equality organization, was aggressive in calling Mickelson on his errors during my call.

Here is the full transcript of 1040 WHO’s retraction of Mickelson’s comments:

Jan Mickelson, an acknowledged conservative commentator with strong political views, is entitled to his opinions on a wide range of current topics.  However, his comments on August 19th regarding HIV/AIDS and public awareness campaigns regarding this disease confused strong opinion with medical fact and contain factual errors regarding HIV/AIDS, its spread, and current efforts to inform the public about this disease.

Mr. Mickelson’s comments do not reflect the opinions of Clear Channel, nor do they reflect the ongoing support Clear Channel provides to public service campaigns, such as Greater Than AIDS that works to convey the message that, indeed, AIDS does not discriminate. We regret any confusion about HIV/AIDS that may have resulted from Mr. Mickelson’s remarks

Written by JamesEJ

Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Branstad dabbles in anti-gay prejudice.

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In Iowa, Democrats have fairly good records of fiscal responsibility.  Republicans have generally failed to advance any significant conservative social agenda.  It makes for pretty balanced politics in the state.

So, what tips the balance?  This does:

A Republican takeover in the Iowa House next year would apply sufficient pressure to force both houses of the Legislature to pass a measure allowing Iowans to vote on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, Republican candidate for governor Terry Branstad said Thursday.

via Branstad: If GOP takes Iowa House, there will be a gay marriage vote.

Simply put, I am proud to live in a state that protects families of every sort.  I think gay parents should be held responsible for their children just as straight parents are held responsible.  I think gay partners should be able to rely on one another just as do straight partners.  I believe these bonds should be defended with the force of law.

While I also support pro-natal policies, it is clear from the low fertility rate among straight couples that this problem is not one of sexuality, but of other factors.  Moreover, gay women have children all the time and gay men use surrogates to achieve the same results.  We can have a pro-natal policy that recognizes these facts.

So, this tips the balance for me.  Republicans want to break apart families where the married couple is the same-sex.  That’s damaging to Iowa families, endangers the welfare of Iowa children, and is a violation of the basic civil rights of Iowans.

Written by JamesEJ

Friday, July 9, 2010 at 6:59 pm