Saturday, August 31, 2013

Moment of Zen: College Football

The college football season begins today.  I can't wait to see how my team does this year.  We didn't win a game last year, but we have a new coach this year.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Friday Funny

With my last two posts about ignorant people, and just the thought of how angry people like Pat Robertson and Mary Gowans, I felt I needed something to lighten things up a bit.  I saw this's Twitter page.  I laughed my ass off.

Just an FYI, since Blogger has been known to shut down gay blogs before, I set up a mirror blog on Wordpress at  Also, The Closet Professor is now on Twitter: @closetprofessor. The Twitter account is linked to the Wordpress account but occasionally I tweet or retweet something.  So, if you have Twitter, you can now follow my tweets.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

More Ignorance

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, so I felt that the above image was perfect to go along with the news story in this post.

A North Carolina-based mother is facing misdemeanor child abuse charges after she allegedly instructed her 12-year-old son to "beat the gay away" from his older brother, 15.

As local news outlet WECT TV6 reports, Whiteville police were summoned to the home of Mary Gowans on Aug. 24. When they arrived, there were "several people yelling and screaming," according to a police report cited in the report.

Gowans is alleged to have made her 15-year-old son strip down to his underpants while instructing his younger brother to strike him repeatedly with a belt, according to WITN. Gowans, however, denies those charges, even though she told reporters that her younger son did hit his older sibling, but that the older had hit the younger one first.

Gowans also told reporters that she believes her older son is gay "in some way," and that he has been visiting an older gay man who she heard had molested him. She said she tried to contact authorities with regard to the alleged sexual abuse, but nothing has yet been done.

Last year, a pastor in Fayetteville, N.C. sparked controversy after he urged his congregation to attack their children if they appear to be exhibiting behavior outside of gender norms, Good as You's Jeremy Hooper first reported.

Sean Harris, senior pastor of Fayetteville's Berean Baptist Church, later said he "would never ever advocate" hitting a child, but nonetheless defended his belief in the need to reinforce traditional gender roles in children. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Yesterday, one of my fellow teachers asked me how I dealt with students who believe in the literalness of the Bible.  As someone who teaches history, I teach about about prehistoric man, who was believed to have developed around 200,000 years ago, according to fossil records.  However, biblical literalists believe the world is only a little over 6,000 years old, and they do not believe in the accuracy of radiocarbon dating.  I told her that the term "day," as it is translated in the Bible, is actually a Hebrew word that means a period of time.  So we began discussing how so many things can be misconstrued especially when people have a closed mind.

Ignorance always saddens me, and most of the time, makes me angry.  Such was the case when Pat Robertson delved into a discussion about AIDS during a recent episode of "The 700 Club," in which he suggested that infected individuals in cities like San Francisco purposefully infect others by cutting them with special rings.

On Tuesday, Robertson and co-host Terry Meeuwsen responded to a question from a viewer about the disclosure of an AIDS status. Apparently, the viewer had been driving a nursing home patient to church and came to find out he has AIDS. The viewer was angry no one disclosed the man's health condition to her.

Robertson said he “used to think it was transmitted by saliva and other things, now they say it may be sexual contact.” So, he advised the woman not have sex with the man.

“There are laws now... I think the homosexual community has put these draconian laws on the books that prohibit people from discussing this particular affliction," he continued. "You can tell somebody you had a heart attack, you can tell them they’ve got high blood pressure, but you can’t tell anybody you’ve got AIDS."

“You know what they do in San Francisco? Some in the gay community there, they want to get people. So if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,” he said. “Really. It’s that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder.”

Right Wing Watch reported that particular comment from the broadcast was edited out of the clip the Christian Broadcasting Network later posted online. The Huffington Post could not immediately reach a CBN representative for comment.

Back2Stonewall writer Will Kohl dubbed Robertson's statements "the worst and most horrible lie that has come out of Pat Robertson’s mouth in his history of anti-gay hate." He asked for supporters to call CBN headquarters and demand the network force Robertson to apologize for his "outrageous lies."

In an email to the Huffington Post Kohl added, "It's well past time that members of not only the LGBT community but real Christians everywhere stand up to the anti-gay religious extremist like Robertson and say enough."

Tuesday's segment was certainly filled with fallacies.

AIDS develops from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is transmitted via infected persons by blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids or breast milk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These fluids must either come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the bloodstream for someone to be infected.

In addition, the gay community has not put "draconian" laws on the books like the televangelist claimed. In fact, many states have partner-notification laws that make an HIV-positive person legally obligated to tell his or her partner or partners, according to In some states, the omission of this information could result in a criminal charge.

Finally, HIV/AIDS is not a "gay" thing. The diseases affect people of all races, genders, sexualities and creeds.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

To Electra

To Electra
by Robert Herrick
I dare not ask to kiss, 
I dare not beg a smile, 
Lest having that, or this, 
I might grow proud the while. 
No, no, the utmost share 
Of my desire shall be 
Only to kiss the air 
That lately kissèd thee.
About This Poem
"To Electra" is one of many poems Herrick wrote to a woman he calls Electra, whose appearance he compares, in another poem, to "broad day throughout the east."

About This Poet
Robert Herrick was most likely born in London in 1591.  Although it is not known when Herrick was born, he was baptized on August 24, 1591.  Overshadowed during his lifetime by metaphysical poets like John Donne and Andrew Marvell, Herrick became more popular as his work was rediscovered in the 19th century. He died in 1674.

PS Sometime it's nice to imagine a poem like the one above is between two men.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Order of Chaeronea

In the reckoning of George Cecil Ives, today would be the sixth day of the year 2341, since he counted years from the Battle of Chaeronea, which fell on 20th day August in 338 BC.   A self-described "evolutionary anarchist," Ives was also a poet and penologist who, around 1893, founded a secret homosexual society, the Order of Chaeronea, the name taken from the town in ancient Greece where, in the late 19th century, the remains were found of an elite corps of 150 pairs of male lovers who died in 338 BC in a battle against Philip II of Macedon.  The army of Alexander the Great and Philip II of Macedon (for he was still alive then) vanquished the one-hundred-fifty members of the Sacred Band of Thebes in this last battle before Greece was under the hegemony of the Macedonians.

Sacred Band of Thebes were much lamented by Alexander himself, and have never really been forgotten. And, all those years later, George Cecil Ives’ Order of Chaeronea (the specifically spiritual effort within “the Movement” for full equality for queer people that he and many others took part in during the late 19th century) was founded specifically in their honor and memory, hence his dating schema mentioned earlier.

George Cecil Ives was born on October 1, 1867. He was raised by his father's mother, Emma Ives, and referred to her as his mother. Ives and his grandmother primarily resided in England at Bentworth Hall, or in the South of France. Ives was educated at home and at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

In 1892, Ives met Oscar Wilde at the Authors' Club in London. By this time Ives had accepted his homosexuality and was working to promote the end of the oppression of homosexuals, what he called the "Cause." Ives hoped that Wilde would join the "Cause" but Wilde did not have the same compassion towards this movement that Ives did. Lord Alfred Douglas met Ives in 1893 and introduced him to several Oxford poets, whom Ives encouraged to join the "Cause."

By 1897, Ives understood that the "Cause" would not be accepted openly in society and must therefore have a means of underground communication. Thus he created and founded the Order of Chaeronea, a secret society for homosexuals. Ives and other members dated letters and other materials based on this date, so that 1899 would be written as C2237. An elaborate system of rituals, ceremonies, a service of initiation, seals, codes, and passwords were used by the members.

The 'Rules of Purpose' stated that the Order was to be 'A Religion, A Theory of Life, and Ideal of Duty', although its purpose was primarily political. Members of the Order were 'Brothers of the Faith', and were required to swear under the 'Service of Initiation', that "you will never vex or persecute lovers" and "That all real love shall be to you as sanctuary." The group was male dominated, but did include a few lesbian members. At its peak 'the Elect' numbered perhaps two or three hundred, but no membership lists survive. Oscar Wilde was, however, likely an early recruit, along with Lord Alfred Douglas "Bosie". Other members may have included Charles Kains Jackson, Samuel Elsworth Cottam, Montague Summers, and John Gambril Nicholson.

An elaborate system of rituals, ceremonies, a service of initiation, seals, codes, and passwords were established. The Order, according to Ives' notebooks, had a specific purpose, distinct prescriptions and philosophy, and its particular symbolism: the "sign-word" AMRRHAO and "the seal of the double wreath." The prerequisites of membership were indicated to be "Zeal, Learning and Discipline." The principle of secrecy was conveyed by the metaphor of "The Chain" underlining that one should never reveal any information about the order or its members. The writings of Walt Whitman were particularly revered.

Ives was keen to stress that the Order was to be an ascetic movement, not to be used as a forum for men to meet men for sex, although he accepted a degree of 'passionate sensuality' could take place. He also believed that love and sex between men was a way to undermine the rigid class system, as a true form of democracy. The Secret Society became a worldwide organization, and Ives took advantage of every opportunity to spread the word about the "Cause."

In Ives' words:
We believe in the glory of passion. We believe in the inspiration of emotion. We believe in the holiness of love. Now some in the world without have been asking as to our faith, and mostly we find that we have no answer for them. Scoffers there be, to whom we need not reply, and foolish ones to whom our words would convey no meaning. For what are words? Symbols of kindred comprehended conceptions, and like makes appeal to like.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What Defiles a Person

And he called the people to him again and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."
Mark 7:14-23

Last week, I wrote that I would continue my previous post with a follow-up to answer the last question posed to me.  My commenter asked: "Regarding Jesus, what do you think Jesus means concerning sexual immorality defiling the heart in Mark 7:20-23? What sexual immorality would He have in mind and how would we know what He meant?"

First of all, you will notice that the verses that I quote above are  Mark 7:14-23, not just  Mark 7:20-23, because I wanted to present the wider context of what Jesus was saying. What is the key to living a life of truth and purity in Christ? Is it following the traditions of the church? No. Jesus in this section showed that purity in Christianity was not an outward thing but a matter of the heart.

Jesus had just scolded the Pharisees for following their traditions rather than following the word of God. In fact they gave such importance to their traditions that they completely negated the word of God, which was leading people astray. Jesus showed the error of their ways and then went on to correct them.

The argument came up over the washing of hands before eating. This was a tradition the Pharisees were teaching and were annoyed because the disciples of Jesus were not following their tradition. In showing the error of their argument, Jesus said to all the people that, "Hear me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him." (Verses 14-15)

A person is not defiled by eating without washing their hands, at least not in the sight of God. A person is defiled when they behave poorly towards their fellow man. Real defilement is a matter of behavior not food.  When someone behaves badly towards another they are showing a lack of respect and of love for that person. The basis of both the old and new covenants is love. So when a person acts in opposition to love, they are defiled for they are not acting in accordance with the nature and the will of God.

To eat with unwashed hands could make you sick physically, but it will neither commend nor cause your rejection before God. He does not care whether we wash our hands to eat or not. The old saying that "Cleanliness is next to godliness," is completely wrong.  What will cause you to be defiled is anger, wrath, malice, evil behavior, fornication, licentiousness, adultery, murder, deceit and so on. These are the true blots and blemishes on the character of man.

The application of what Jesus is saying goes far beyond the issue of what foods we eat. The same principle applies to the music we listen to, the beverages we drink, the movies or tv shows we watch, the books we read etc. There is nothing external to you that will defile you because sinful corruption and defilement comes from the human heart. Your goal should not be just to rigidly and ritualistically avoid all the things external to you that you consider unclean and unrighteous. Your goal should primarily be to surrender your heart to Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to transform your heart, transform your motives, and transform your desires so that your heart no longer desires to sin but desires to obey God and live a life of purity.  Do not think that by avoiding all the "unclean" foods, drinks, places, or activities that you will automatically be clean and righteous. It would be a tragedy if you spent your life, like the Pharisees, completely preoccupied with all the external issues but never dealing with your internal heart issues.

So nothing outside of a person corrupts him/her, does that mean we're free to eat, drink, watch, read anything we want anytime we want? Be careful. In 1 Corinthians 10:23 Paul addressed this issue by saying, "'I have the right to do anything,' you say—but not everything is beneficial. 'I have the right to do anything'—but not everything is constructive." So in a sense, barring any explicit Biblical commands to the contrary, yes we are free to  "do anything." However, it is not always constructive or beneficial to "do anything." For example, a Christian who is a recovering alcoholic has the freedom to drink alcohol, but it probably would not be beneficial for him/her to do so. Jesus' proclamation that nothing outside of a person makes him/her unclean and unrighteous is not meant to be used by you as an excuse to simply do whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want, and however you want.

Remember, the root issue is your heart. If a person is pursuing sinful behavior, it is not because something external to that person caused them to become sinful, but is because their human flesh wants to sin in that way. Your sin isn't a result of something outside of you; it is a result of your human heart and flesh wanting to be in rebellion against God. Read through that list of sinful vices Jesus listed, keeping in mind his teachings in the Sermon on the Mount that even looking at a woman lustfully is adultery, or that even being angry can be as bad as murder. After reading that list ask yourself, "Which of these/how many of these have I committed in the past day? Week? Month? Year?" How have you attempted to overcome those sinful behaviors? Simply avoiding external things and abiding to external rules is not enough to defeat your sin. You need Jesus. You need your heart to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. Instead of simply trying to correct your behavior, continually be surrendering you heart over to Jesus, and continually be seeking to have your heart, desires, and motivations conformed to the will of God. Only with a heart transformed by the Holy Spirit will you be able to experience true victory over sin.

Though the question from my commenter explicitly asked to address what Jesus meant by "sexual immorality," I find the complete context to be more beneficial to study than two words near the end of the passage.  However, I do want to address this because I think it is important for LGBT Christians to understand.  Sex outside of marriage, i.e. rape, fornication, and adultery, is clearly defined as sin, as are the lustful thoughts that go with them, even without the act, as Jesus states in the Sermon on the Mount.  However, that being said, when different places forbid LGBT marriages, they take that away from us.  We are denied the right to be married and have a fulfilling and loving relationship within the confines of marriage. Furthermore, homosexuality as a sin is a tradition of man and is not upheld by a true reading of the scripture of the New Testament.  Those who condemn homosexuality are no better than the Pharisees that Jesus corrects. As was pointed out in our study of the Book of James, we must be hearers and doers of the Word.

In Jesus we have the opportunity to overcome the nature of man. We can have the victory over the flesh by learning and applying the words of the truth. The path we are to follow is not the traditions of man, but the truth of the gospel of Christ. Seek His ways and you will find a path where there is no defilement. 

Friday, August 23, 2013


It's the end of the second week of school.  So far things seem to be going well, and the students are responding well with my new "I'm not taking any of your crap" attitude.  So tonight, I plan on getting my drink on with friends.  The question is: should I drink Vodka or Beer?  I will probably go for beer, but I haven't totally decided, vodka goes down too smoothly, especially when it's mixed with something and I might have too much.  I always stick to only one type of drink a night, so that I don't get a hangover or get sick.  No matter what I drink, I plan on having a good time.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wentworth Miller Comes Out

Though rumors of him being gay were rampant when he was on Fox's Prison Break, Wentworth Miller never responded to the rumors.  Now, he has revealed that he's gay in a letter to the Russia's St. Petersburg International Film Festival declining their invitation to attend.

Wentworth's letter, which is posted on GLAAD's website, thanks festival organizers for an invitation but states that "as a gay man, I must decline. I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government."

"Wentworth's bold show of support sends a powerful message to LGBT Russians, who are facing extreme violence and persecution: you are not alone," said a statement from GLAAD representative Wilson Cruz, who is also an actor (My So-Called Life).

Miller's announcement comes amid international condemnation of tough laws targeting homosexuals that the Russian government has passed in recent months. The new laws include fines for individuals accused of spreading "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors, and penalizes those who express pro-gay views online or in the news media. Gay pride rallies are banned as well, as is the adoption of Russian-born children by same-sex couples.

Here's a bonus picture of this sexy man:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Letters of Note

One of my fellow teachers was telling me about this website/blog called Letters of Note. (Letters of Note is a blog-based archive of fascinating correspondence, complete with scans and transcripts of the original missives where available. Letters of Note is an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos.) Since my colleague told me about this blog, I have enjoyed reading some of the letters. On a whim, I searched for letters about homosexuality, and found this one. I hope you enjoy.

Homosexuality is nothing to be ashamed of

In 1935, the father of psychoanalysisSigmund Freud, was contacted by a worried mother who was seeking treatment for her son's apparent homosexuality. Freud, who believed that all humans are attracted to both sexes in some capacity, responded with the following letter of advice.

(The letter was later passed on to Alfred Kinsey and reproduced in The American Journal of Psychiatry in 1951, hence the note attached to its foot.)

Transcript follows.

(Source: The Truth Tree; Image of Sigmund Freud via Multiart.)



April 9th 1935


Dear Mrs [Erased],

I gather from your letter that your son is a homosexual. I am most impressed by the fact that you do not mention this term yourself in your information about him. May I question you why you avoid it? Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness; we consider it to be a variation of the sexual function, produced by a certain arrest of sexual development. Many highly respectable individuals of ancient and modern times have been homosexuals, several of the greatest men among them. (Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc). It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime – and a cruelty, too. If you do not believe me, read the books of Havelock Ellis.

By asking me if I can help, you mean, I suppose, if I can abolish homosexuality and make normal heterosexuality take its place. The answer is, in a general way we cannot promise to achieve it. In a certain number of cases we succeed in developing the blighted germs of heterosexual tendencies, which are present in every homosexual in the majority of cases it is no more possible. It is a question of the quality and the age of the individual. The result of treatment cannot be predicted.

What analysis can do for your son runs on a different line. If he is unhappy, neurotic, torn by conflicts, inhibited in his social life, analysis may bring him harmony, peace of mind, full efficiency, whether he remains a homosexual or gets changed. If you make up your mind he should have analysis with me — I don't expect you will — he has to come over to Vienna. I have no intention of leaving here. However, don't neglect to give me your answer.

Sincerely yours with best wishes,


P.s. I did not find it difficult to read your handwriting. Hope you will not find my writing and my English a harder task.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Barcelona Inside Me

The Barcelona Inside Me
  by Robin Becker
Give me, again, the fairy tale grotto 
with the portico-vaulting overhead. 
Let me walk beneath the canted columns
of Gaudí's rookery, spiral 
along his crenelated Jerusalem 
of broken tiles, crazy shields. 
Yes, it's hot as hell and full 
of tourists at the double helix,
but the anarchists now occupy
the Food Court, and the arcadian dream
for the working class includes this shady
colonnade cut into the mountainside.
I've postponed my allegiance to
the tiny house movement, to the 450
square feet of simple, American maple 
infrastructure and the roomy 
mind suspended like a hammock
between joists. Serpents and castle
keeps shimmer, and a mosaic invitation
to the Confectionery gets me a free
café con leche on the La Rambla,

where honeycombed apartments bend 
on chiseled stone and host 
floating, wrought-iron balconies. 
I think I'll move into Gaudí's dream
of recycled mesh, walk barefoot
on his flagstone tiles 
inscribed with seaweed
and sacred graffiti 
from pagan tombs. 
O, Barcelona of chamfered corners!
And chimneys of cowled
warriors! From Gaudí's Book 
of Revelations, I invite the goblet
and the stone Mobius strip 
to a tapas of grilled prawns and squid. 
Gaudí's book of Revelations.

About This Poem
"Visiting several of Antoni Gaudí's masterpieces challenged my attachment to minimalism, occasioned some reading about Spanish architectural and cultural history, and led to unfamiliar, descriptive language. I tried to make the poem's line turns and diction shifts reflect the speaker's surprise at the city's delights. Into the architect's fantastical creations I plunged, a tourist with a dream of staying on."—Robin Becker

About This Poet
Robin Becker was born in 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She earned a B.A. and M.A. from Boston University and taught for seventeen years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

I am dedicating the posting of this poem today to a dear friend of mine who will be traveling to Spain next month, and I wish him safe travels.  I hope he will have a wonderful time.

Monday, August 19, 2013

I've Got Nothing

I racked my brain all night last night trying to come up with a post for today.  I came up with nothing, but this nice picture.  I remember thinking yesterday morning that I had come up with a great idea for a post, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was.  I guess it must not have been that great.  Oh, well...I hope you guys have a wonderful Monday.  I'm hoping that mine will go well.  My computer at school has died (apparently, the motherboard went bad), so hopefully I can get another one soon, even if it is just a temporary fix until the school can get me something else.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Questions and Answers

A  church of Christ minister emailed me a few weeks ago (with school starting back, I've been busy) with some question regarding my posts about gay Christians and my views about the Church of Christ.  In his comment, he stated:
I found your site interesting to come across. There certainly should be a place of discourse about homosexuality. I am a minister in the Church of Christ, and I do find that all sexual behavior outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful and contrary to Christ's words. I do know that many Christians can struggle with difficulties that make them feel on the edges of their church and faith to which I can relate. I think we can help each other. I do have some questions that I hope you can consider and respond.
In his comment and his subsequent email, he asked a number of questions which I will endeavor to answer.  In my first email to him, I wrote:
I have struggled for many years to try and understand why God created me in a way that I do not have an attraction to the opposite sex, but an attraction to my own sex.  I once asked myself if God made a mistake, but God does not make mistakes, therefore he had a purpose in the way he created me and those like me.  I prayed and meditated.  I read the Bible, searching for meanings of passages that were difficult to understand, even though some stated that their meaning was very clear and simple.  God guided me in that study, as he guides me throughout life.  I came to understand and believe that God created me the way I am, that the verses about homosexuality do not pertain to true love between human beings of the same sex, but as perverse sexual acts that are contrary to the teachings of Christ and the worship of Christ.
In what I have read of your views on homosexuality, which I plan to take a closer look to, you equate homosexuality with sexual practices only.  Homosexuality is not all about sex.  I can be a homosexual and still not engage in sexual practices. There are many who do.  However, we are judged by our perceived sexual lifestyle.  I am not denying that I have never fornicated, but I have also sought forgiveness for my prior indiscretions.
In his response, he asked how I knew I was born homosexual.  While it is true that most people do not develop sexual attraction until puberty, there is more to being homosexual than sex.  Though I won't claim that I was always aware of my homosexuality, it is more because I did not understand.  I had no concept of homosexuality, but I certainly knew that I was different.  Most homosexuals felt the same way growing up.  Most of us did not have the same interests as other boys.  I preferred to play with the girls when growing up.  I never enjoyed playing sports, though my parents forced me to. So you might ask, how I came to understand my sexuality.  It was not easy.  When sexual interests began in puberty, it was an attraction to boys not girls.  My dreams and fantasies were about boys.  Though I tried to think of girls in the same way, it did not arouse me.  It took a lot of internal wrestling to come to terms with my sexuality.

Some of the other questions my commenter had that I would like to address:

What do you think it would be like to be a Christian without the desires of homosexuality? How would life be any better?

If I were not homosexual, then I would not have struggled with coming to terms with being gay and Christian.  My parents would not worry about me because their concept of Christianity believes that I am damned to hell.  In ways, life would be better, but I am the way God created me.  I firmly believe that God created me as a homosexual and guided my strong Christian faith because he had a purpose for me.  We all have trials and temptations.  God tests our faith, as he did Job and Abraham, and so many others.  James 1:2-4 says "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  However, being homosexual strengthens my faith, not lessens it, and I take joy in that, just as God commands.

With many Christians struggling with temptations of sexual immorality, did you ever see yourself as enslaved your homosexual desires as sin?

Before I studied the scriptures and understood the true meanings of its words, yes, I did feel that I was enslaved by my homosexuality and sin.  However, when I studied the true meanings of the words, with faith that God was guiding my study, I came to believe differently.  I will not repeat this journey, but instead I urge you to go back and read my post "Abusus Non Tollit Usum."

Do you still think that sexual desires can be deceptive and entice someone to sin (Jas. 1:14-15, 1 John 2:15-17)?

Yes, I do believe that sexual desire, as well as all other desires of this world, can entice someone to sin.  However, this is universal, and does not pertain to homosexuals alone, but to all Christians regardless of their sexuality.  When we take verses and place a sexual meaning to them, especially when it has such a wider meaning, then we are perverting the Word of God.

Regarding Jesus, what do you think Jesus means concerning sexual immorality defiling the heart in Mark 7:20-23? What sexual immorality would He have in mind and how would we know what He meant?

This was the last of the questions asked, and I think I deserves a post of its own, so I will continue this next Sunday.

Thank you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and may God bless us to live in His love.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bayard Rustin Will Posthumously Be Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

The trailblazing strategist behind the 1963 March on Washington will this year be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That's a long way from the days when civil rights activists counted on Bayard Rustin's hard work.  Rustin taught MLK about non-violence, a strategy he’d learned from Gandhi. He organized the 1963 March on Washington. But he was discouraged from being a public spokesperson for civil rights because he was gay. Many activists at the time felt the movement wasn’t big enough to include homosexuality.

For 60 years, Rustin fought for peace and equal rights — demonstrating, organizing and protesting in the United States and around the world.  Rustin grew up in West Chester, Pa. In college in the 1930s, he joined the Communist Youth League for a few years, attracted by the group's anti-racist efforts. He later embraced socialism.

He was a gay black man, tall, with high cheekbones, and a gifted singer. He played a bit part in a Broadway musical alongside Paul Robeson, and Rustin often sang for his audiences as he toured the country, conducting race-relations workshops.

Rustin was considered a master organizer, a political intellectual and a pacifist; he served time in prison for refusing to register for the draft. He created the first Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation on interstate buses. Along with King, Rustin was one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

He had two strong mentors. A.J. Muste, the head of the pacifist organization the Fellowship of Reconciliation, hired Rustin as a youth secretary to conduct workshops and demonstrations against war and segregation. Rustin's other mentor was A. Philip Randolph, the head of the first predominantly black union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

"What Rustin took away from Randolph, especially, is the recognition that economic issues and racial justice issues are completely intertwined," says his biographer, John D'Emilio.

Despite his extensive involvement in the civil rights movement, Rustin was content to remain behind the scenes, D'Emilio says.

"I think of it as part of the Quaker heritage that he internalized. You don't push yourself forward," D'Emilio says. "It doesn't matter if you don't get the credit for it. What is important is this notion of speaking truth to power."

In 1953, Rustin's homosexuality became a public problem after he was found having sex in a parked car with two men. He was arrested on a morals charge. Later, when he was chosen to organize the 1963 march, some civil rights activists objected. In an effort to discredit the march, segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond took to the Senate floor, where he derided Rustin for being a communist, a draft dodger and a homosexual. Ironically, author D'Emilo says, it became a rallying point — for the civil rights leaders.

"Because no one could appear to be on the side of Strom Thurmond, he created, unwittingly, an opportunity for Rustin's sexuality to stop being an issue," he says.

The march was a success, and at its end, a triumphant Rustin stepped up to the microphone to read the demands that the leaders of the civil rights movement would take to President John F. Kennedy.

First on the list: "effective Civil Rights legislation — no compromise, no filibuster — and that it include public accommodations, decent housing, integrated education, [fair employment], and the right to vote."

Rustin wanted to move the civil rights agenda from protesting to politics and to work within the system — blacks and whites together — to create jobs and other opportunities. His effort fell flat, stymied by a more militant generation and the dominant issue of the times, the Vietnam War. Rustin said, "It has split the civil rights movement down the middle. It has caused many white people who were in it to say, 'That must wait now until we stop Vietnam.' "

In his later years, Rustin continued to speak out on a variety of fronts, and his personal life also changed: He met Walter Naegle.

Naegle, Rustin's surviving partner, says that in the final years of his life, Rustin became more involved in gay rights.

"He saw this as another challenge, another barrier that had to be broken down — a larger struggle for human rights and for individual freedoms," Neagle says.

Or, as Rustin put it:

"The barometer for judging the character of people in regards to human rights is now those who consider themselves gay, homosexual, lesbian. The judgment as to whether you can trust the future, the social advancement, depending on people, will be judged on where they come out on that question."

Activist Mandy Carter says Rustin was a visionary, understanding the parallels in the civil rights struggle and the gay rights movement. Carter is on the leadership council the National Black Justice Coalition, an LGBT civil rights group.

"For me and for a lot of us who are black, and gay and lesbian, bi, trans, who see ourselves as social justice advocates as well, to have this person — such an amazing role model," she says.

Carter says there was just no one like him, and she is delighted such a key individual in the civil rights movement is now being recognized with the nation's highest honor.

Rustin died in 1987 in New York. He was 75.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


The latest book on my must read list, plus starting back to school this week has left me wanting for sleep.  I started reading Todd Gregory's Need on Saturday, and it's been quite hard to put down.  Todd Gregory is better known as Greg Herren, who many of you know is my favorite author.  Todd Gregory is the pseudonym that Herren uses for his more erotic novels.  The main character of Need is Cord Logan, who readers were first introduced to in the short story "Blood on the Moon" in the Midnight Hunger anthology of gay vampire stories, so I read that story again before reading Need.  Need is a stand alone book, but it really helps if you read Cord's backstory first.

At the beginning of Need, Cord Logan has only been a vampire for two years, and is still adapting, trying to figure out who he is and what he wants. Haunted by what happened to him the last few nights he was human, he has turned his back on his fraternity of vampires. Returning to New Orleans, a chance encounter with an old friend from his human life triggers a disturbing chain of events. And now Cord's erotic journey of self-discovery becomes even more lethal, as an ancient society of supernatural beings must intervene to save the vampire race - and all humanity.

Need is erotically charged throughout, and some might complain that it has more sex scenes than substance, but the sex scenes actually do add to the story, which is what a good sex scene should do.  I admit though that some of the scenes seem a little too gratuitous, but they are a hell of a lot of fun to read.

Also, like many gay novels, Gregory creates a fascinating, lovable, and snarky female character, much as he does as Greg Herren with the characters Paige Tourneur and Venus Casanova in his Chance McLeod mysteries.  This time the character is Rachel, a female vampire with razor sharp wit, that I couldn't help but love.

The ending appear to me that Need has potential to go into a series. The curse that lead Cord from baby vampire making poor decisions to the very different vampire Cord is at the end of the book opened some interesting possibilities. I would love to read more of Cord if this did turn into a series. The events at the end definitely have my curiosity piqued. 

There are parts of the boom also that feels somewhat repetitive and in some parts scenes seem to contradict something we have already learned, but I can forgive that, hopefully you can too. 

The major drawback of this book for me, and this is for me personally, is that Herren/Gregory seems to have a deep seeded hatred of the Church of Christ.  Both Chance McLeod and Cord Logan's characters were raised in harsh, fundamentalist Church of Christ congregations.  I tend to be able to get over it because I just replace Church of Christ with another denomination.  It's hard for me to read such criticisms of a church I deeply love, but then I was raised in a very loving church.  I have never found out why the Churches of Christ make appearances in Herren/Gregory's writing.  I can only assume that Herren was raised in a harsh Church of Christ, very unlike the one I was raised in.  One day, I hope to have the chance to ask him that question.  It certainly will never stop me from reading his books.

PS If you have emailed me in the last week, I will get back to you this weekend.  With preparations for school starting and school itself, I have been too tired at the end of the day to respond to emails.  I will though.  I also blame Todd Gregory's Need for my lack of response because I've read each night until I have to force myself to go to bed.  So please forgive me.

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ken Bencomo, Gay Catholic Teacher Fired For Marrying, Gets Huge Student Support

Support for a Roman Catholic high school teacher fired for marrying his same-sex partner continued to grow Monday (Aug. 12) as the number of people signing an online petition topped 58,000 people.
Ken Bencomo taught English at St. Lucy's Priory High School in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendora for 17 years. He was fired last month after an article in the Southern California newspaper Inland Valley Daily Bulletin published a story and video about his wedding.
Bencomo, 45, and his husband, Christopher Persky, 32, were one of the first gay couples to marry on July 1, after a U.S. Supreme Court decision cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.
His termination is not the first firing of a gay Catholic schoolteacher. In Columbus, Ohio, teacher Carla Hale was fired from a Catholic high school in April, after someone pointed out that she listed her lesbian partner's name in her mother's obituary.
And in January, Nicholas Coppola was stripped of his volunteer posts as a religious education teacher, lector and visitation minister at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Oceanside, N.Y., after he married his same-sex partner.
"I just believe it's a complete injustice," said Brittany Littleton, 23, who graduated from St. Lucy's in 2008, and launched the petition to reinstate Bencomo on the web-based platform, "I was really horrified and sickened and so ashamed of my school for making this decision."
An aspiring actress, Littleton also led an Aug. 8 protest at the school, which she says drew about 300 people.
The Catholic Church is opposed to gay marriage.
Bencomo, who many students affectionately refer to as "Mr. B.," was head of the English department, as well as extracurricular activities such as dance and yearbook. Students say most people at the school were aware of Bencomo's sexual orientation. They were shocked to hear of his firing through social-media platforms, such as Twitter.
According to a recent poll by Quinnipiac University, a growing number of Catholics support same-sex marriage. The March poll, which surveyed close to 500 Catholics, found that 54 percent of Catholic voters support same-sex marriage, while 38 percent oppose it.
St. Lucy's media consultant, Robert Alaniz, said the school stands firmly by its decision. Bencomo was not fired for being gay, Alaniz added, but for making his same-sex marriage a "public spectacle."
Bencomo's attorney did not respond to requests for comment.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles would not comment on the firing, noting that St. Lucy's was not part of the archdiocese's school system. The private Catholic school is guided by the educational standards of the archdiocese, however.
Students said they would continue to press the school on the matter.
"There's been no sense of remorse or understanding of even what a hurtful and prejudicial decision this is," Littleton said. "So my plan really is just to keep going until they realize that. A lot of it really has to do with church doctrine, so this fight is going to have to continue on past St. Lucy's."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


  by Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Monday, August 12, 2013

They're Back

Or at least they will be back today.  Today is the official start of school, and they they, of course, are students.  I'm going to stay positive, and this will be a great year.  I keep repeating this in my head, hoping that eventually, I will believe it.  Otherwise, I may need one of each of those drinks above, especially if they contain plenty of vodka.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Why Is The Epistle of James Relevant to Gays?

This post should have come before all of the posts about the book of James; however, since I was studying the book myself as I was presenting it to you, this is the conclusion regarding why it is so relevant to gay Christians.  I hope that you have enjoyed our study of James as much as I have.  There is a lot of information I. This small book of the Bible that is relevant to us as well as all Christians.

Most all of us lived through the era of WWJD. What Would Jesus Do was imprinted on just about everything that can possibly hold a print. I refuse to be negative about it. It seems I’m in the minority with that as I searched WWJD on Google this week, 98% of the sites contained jokes about the phrase and they were all bad so I am not going to tell you one.

Over the past month or so we did not look at what Jesus would do necessarily, but at “What Would Jesus’ Brother Do?” The Epistle of James in the back of your Bible is a little five chapter letter that was written to some of the Jewish Christians that had been run out of town (Jerusalem) due to persecution and they were really struggling with things like their faith and their relationship with one another. So Jesus’ half brother James (half brother because Mary was their mother, but Joseph was only James’ dad) who had become a major leader in the early church writes a letter to encourage and instruct them.

As gay Christians we are often shunned by our churches as well.  We face persecution form other Christians just as the Jewish Christians faced persecution from other Jews.  We often struggle with our faith, because so many Christians see us as inherently sinful because we are homosexual and we have been taught this our entire life.  We struggle with coming to terms with being both Christian and gay.  Not only do we have to face persecution and questions from other Christians, but often we face similar questions from other homosexuals who question how we can be part of a religion that pushes us away.

James answers this throughout his Epistle.  He tells us that our faith will be tested and we must be steadfast.  He says that we cannot merely hear the word but we must be doers of the word, so that our actions speak for our faith.  James entreats us to show no partiality; therefore, we should not go by appearance alone but if we follow the Word of God, then we will treat all people the same.  Likewise, he says that if we have faith but do not show that faith through our good deeds, then we do not truly have faith.

James admonishes us to tame our tongues, so that we do not speak to quickly or foolishly.  He tells us that true wisdom comes from above, and we should look to God for guidance.  He also tells us that the jealousy and disdain showed to us by others (our fellow Christians or our fellow homosexuals, in the case of this study) is worldliness.  Only our Heavenly Father may judge, humanity cannot.  He tells us not to boast about those thing we do not yet know, and that wealth can often lead us astray.  Lastly, James relates to us that patience is suffering yet it is also a great virtue.  Prayers will be answered, though they may not be answered in the way we hope, yet we must continue to pray for God hears all of our prayer.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

First Day

Our first day was yesterday, and it was a long one.  I left the house at 8am after getting dressed and fixing myself a cup of coffee, because our letter told us to report at 9am.  Since it's a 40 minute drive, I was expecting to be early; however, unbeknownst to me and half the other teachers who actually read the letter, everything started at 8am, not 9am.  There was apparently a typo.

Things did not start out too well, but it got better.  After an initial meeting we were dismissed to our rooms to get them ready for open house that night.  Open house was at 6pm.  I went and visited with my parents part of the afternoon because they are closer than driving home and then back to school.  Our open house was a bit chaotic, because parents (like their children) don't k ow to shut up when someone is talking. After eating and meeting with parents, I went over to a friends house for a little while and did not get home until nearly 11pm.  Yes, the last part is my fault.  I could have been home about 8:30, but decided to visit a while first.

Though the letter said to report today at 8am, we were assured that we need not be there until 9am,  so like yesterday morning I am going to leisurely head to school about 8am, after fixing my coffee, hoping I don't get another phone call on my way asking where I am.

Tomorrow will probably be a long day as well.  We will probably have some professional development in the morning.  After they feed us lunch and hopefully dismiss us for the day, I am going to meet my mother in Montgomery to do a little shopping.  When we finish shopping I will probably head to a friends house for our usually Friday evening of drinks and relaxation.

I will rest up this weekend, then be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Monday morning for what I am optimistically referring to as a fantastic school year with the kids.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

PHD Comics

I know that some of you attended graduate school, and if so, and you haven't discovered PHD Comics, then you've been missing out.  The characters in the comics are all science majors, but the life of a graduate student is universal in many ways.  The two most recent comics made me laugh out loud.  I hope they have the same effect on you.

About Piled Higher and Deeper

The strip:
"Piled Higher and Deeper" (PhD) is the comic strip about life (or the lack thereof) in academia.

The author:
Jorge Cham got his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, and was a full-time Instructor and researcher at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) from 2003-2005.

A list of his research publications on robots and brain-machine interfaces can be found here.

Click here to visit his homepage.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The End of Summer

Today is my last day of summer vacation.  I go back to school tomorrow.  We have teacher workdays Thursday and Friday, then the students come back on Monday.  Where has my summer gone?  It really feels like the school year just ended last week.  I always think of summer as being three months off, but we really only got two months off.  I am not ready for school to start back.  Smart-mouthed kids, lazy students, and early mornings...YUCK!

I'm going to spend my last day of freedom reading.  This hasn't been the best summer; it's actually been pretty stressful.  However, some of my stresses have recently been relieved, and I was just starting to recover and relax some.  Now it all comes to an end.

My hope is that this will be a great school year, and that the students that I am dreading dealing with this year won't be as bad as I expect.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Move to the City

Move to the City  
by Nathaniel Bellows
live life as a stranger. Disappear
into frequent invention, depending
on the district, wherever you get off
the train. For a night, take the name
of the person who'd say yes to that
offer, that overture, the invitation to
kiss that mouth, sit on that lap. Assume
the name of whoever has the skill to
slip from the warm side of the sleeping
stranger, dress in the hallway of the
hotel. This is a city where people
know the price of everything, and
know that some of the best things
still come free. In one guise: shed
all that shame. In another: flaunt the
plumage you've never allowed
yourself to leverage. Danger will
always be outweighed by education,
even if conjured by a lie. Remember:
go home while it's still dark. Don't
invite anyone back. And, once inside,
take off the mask. These inventions
are the art of a kind of citizenship,
and they do not last. In the end, it
might mean nothing beyond further
fortifying the walls, crystallizing
the questioned, tested autonomy,
ratifying the fact that nothing will be
as secret, as satisfying, as the work
you do alone in your room.

About This Poem
"What can one learn from anonymity? Freedom, flexibility, invention, the chance to know who you are by acting out who you may not be. There is a lot to be gained from participating in the world around you, from engagement. This poem is an homage to the art of autonomy." 
 --Nathaniel Bellows

About this Poet
Nathaniel Bellows is the author of Why Speak? (W. W. Norton, 2008). He is also the author of the novel, On This Day (HarperCollins, 2003). Bellows lives in New York City.

Many of us who write blogs do so in anonymity, so we know that we can learn much from anonymity.  As an anonymous blogger, I continue to learn more about myself.  There is so much we can learn from Mr. Bellows's poem.  I chose this poem the same way I choose many poems,  after reading it and reading what the author said about it, the poem spoke to me.  Poems that speak to us, are often the greatest of poetry because it brings its own meaning to our soul.