Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Coretta Scott King: Welcome Her Home With Joy

Coretta Scott King Pic
Originally uploaded by thedoor.
But, Lord, we'll miss her here. Freedom fighting was Mrs. King's passion and great gift, one of many. Afraid of nothing, she embodied grace and dignity in spite of life-threatening opposition.

From Canadians for Equal Marriage:

"For many years now, I have been an outspoken supporter of civil and human rights for gay and lesbian people," King said at the 25th Anniversary Luncheon for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.... "Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement," she said. "Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions."

Chicago Tribune, April 1, 1998, sec.2, p.4.

Coretta Scott King boldly argued for civil marriage rights, even full marriage rights, for families like mine. She didn't make reticent concessions behind closed doors, but stood on podiums across America, over and over again plainly arguing for the freedom of all. She set a fearless example for us to follow.

Word Balloon Fun

Ennis: Jack, when you gonna get a truck that runs? I can't be seen in this pile. These jeans make me look fat? I don't think I can wear Wranglers no more. Just don't fit right. When are you gonna take me to Mexico? You keep talking about how we gonna go to Mexico, but we don't never go. Jack, I'm talking to you, huh? Jack, you listenin' to me?

Jack: (Yeah, a tire rim, that's it. Just came outta nowhars and hit me. Lureen'll hep me out. )

Monday, January 30, 2006

A Little Patience...

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt... If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."

Thomas Jefferson, from a letter he sent in 1798 after the passage of
the Sedition Act

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Brokeback--The Rest of the Story

This sad story by Jessie Torrisi was in of all places The Indianapolis Star. Read the whole thing here. Good picture of Sam, too.

On the face of it, Sam Beaumont, 61, with his cowboy hat, deep-throated chuckle and Northwestern drawl, is not so different from the ranch hands in Ang Lee's critically acclaimed film "Brokeback Mountain," which opened in Indianapolis on Wednesday...

That pretty much describes the life Beaumont had. He settled down with Earl Meadows and tended 50 head of cattle for a quarter-century on an Oklahoma ranch. "I was raised to be independent. I didn't really care what other people thought," Beaumont said.

In 1977, Beaumont was divorced and raising three sons after a dozen years in the Air Force when Meadows walked up to him near the Arkansas River.

"It was a pretty day -- January 15th, 65 degrees," Beaumont said. "He came up, we got to talkin' till 2 in the morning. I don't even remember what we said." But "I knew it was something special."
Beaumont moved to be with Meadows in his partner's hometown of Bristow, Okla., a place of 4,300 people. Together, they bought a ranch and raised Beaumont's three sons. The mortgage and most of the couple's possessions were put in Meadows' name...

During the day, Meadows worked as a comptroller for Black & Decker. He'd drop the boys at school on his way to work. At home, Beaumont took care of the ranch, feeding and tagging cattle, cooking and cleaning, and once built a barn.

"As far as I was concerned, I had two dads," said one of Beaumont's sons, now 33, who requested anonymity. He was 2 years old when Meadows joined the family.

"Dad helped with schoolwork and all the stuff around the house, taught me to ride horses and milk cows. Earl used to take me to the company picnics and Christmas parties. He bought me my first car."...

"People treated them fine," said Eunice Lawson, who runs a grocery store in Bristow.

But in 1999, Meadows had a stroke and Beaumont took care of him for a year until he died at age 56.

That's where the fantasy of a life together on the range collides with reality. After a quarter-century on the ranch he shared with his partner, Beaumont lost it all on a legal technicality in a state that doesn't recognize domestic partnerships.

Meadows' will, which left everything to Beaumont, was fought in court by a cousin of the deceased and was declared invalid by the Oklahoma Court of Appeals in 2003 because it was short one witness signature...

A judge ruled the rancher had to put the property, which was appraised at $100,000, on the market. The animals were sold. Beaumont had to move.

Because Meadows had no biological children or surviving parents, his estate was divided up among his heirs. When the ranch sells, the proceeds are to be divided among dozens of Meadows' cousins.

"They took the estate away from me," said Beaumont, who said he put about $200,000 of his own money into the ranch. "Everything that had Earl's name on it, they took. They took it all and didn't bat an eye."

Every state has common-law marriage rules that protect heterosexual couples. If someone dies without a will, or with a faulty one, his or her live-in partner is treated as the rightful inheritor.

But only seven states currently give gay couples protections -- such as inheritance rights and health benefits -- through marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships. What's more, Oklahoma last year amended its state constitution to ensure that neither marriage nor any similar arrangement is extended to same-sex couples.

Today, there are roughly 90,000 gay couples living in small-town America, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, and more than 5,700 in Oklahoma.

Oh, and the cousins are suing Sam for back rent for the years he lived on the ranch. Nice. When people ask you why gay people need civil partnership rights, point them to this story.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Top 10 Favorite Winter Foods

Jennie over at Trim and Fashionable had a good-lookin' soup recipe on her blog and it got me to thinking about food. I shouldn't even be writing this since I'm supposed to be going to Weight Watchers (They sent me a card recently that said--"If you've gained weight you need your meeting. If you've lost weight, your meeting needs you" with a coupon for a free session. I'll let you guess which "if" category I'm falling into these days.) But all the recent depressing politcal mess makes me feel like blogging about something more fun. SO.....

10- Ro-Tel cheese dip and tortilla chips. Staple of my church youth group fellowships, and not so infrequent meal around here.

9- Tie: Homemade chocolate pudding or homemade chocolate cake with a glass of milk. The milk is best with two ice cubes, enough to keep it cold, but not enough to make it watery.

8- Homemade vegetable soup and my mom's cornbread. Mom always puts a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes in her soup and it makes it really good.

7- John's grandmother's beef and noodles. Big here in the midwest. I don't know that many of my southern friends will have had this, but I know you would like it. It is something like chicken and dumplings, but with shredded beef. I love it and John's 94 year-old grandmother's is so good it makes me do a little dance.

6- Sushi. Any kind really. Bistro Chopstix here in Indy has a good roll called "Crunch and Munch." It is kind of sweet and it is indeed crunchy. Very fun.

5- John's chili. I grew up on chili made with Wicke-Fowler's chili starter and I still like it. But John's chili is an event. He goes up to the nearby Mexican grocery store to get dried chilis, grinds them and cooks them with big chunks of beef, like the kind you roast, not ground. I don't know what all he puts in it, and I don't need to know. But when I'm through, I know I done et me some chili.

4- John's spaghetti and meatballs- We never ate meatballs growing up, but John whipped some up the other day and I can't stop thinking about them. They were so fun and tasty!

3- Homemade banana pudding. We do not eat enough of banana pudding these days. I like the kind you cook and then bake with a meringue on top. Our friend Brad says he likes banana pudding in the middle of the night after its cold and has turned kind of brownish.

2- Mexican Chicken Casserole. Doritoes, chicken, Ro-Tel tomatoes, cheddar cheese, onion, and Cream of Mushroom Soup. I realize this is the third recipe on this list with Ro-Tel tomatoes in it. I didn't know how dependent I am on them. I found this graphic on the web. I didn't put the cross-out bar on the "Italiano" can, but I totally agree. Can't imagine having a use for those.

1- Chicken and Dumplings. I never get tired of eating chicken and dumplings. I think I could eat it every day. Viginia Kirk and Jane Purtle, who went to my church in Batesville and were editors of the Arkansas Baptist Monthly for awhile, published the best recipe I've had. Here it is:

Chicken and Dumplings

Boil one large whole fryer chicken with 2 stalks of celery and 1/2 of a large onion and three chicken flavored bouillon cubes and 1/2 tsp salt in 2 quarts water until very tender and falling off the bones. Cool, lift chicken out, debone and set aside. Save broth.


Bring broth to a boil over medium heat.

Mix in a separate bowl
4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cut in 1 scant cup of shortening

1/2 cup broth
1/2 cup milk

Mix well.

Roll out VERY THIN (1/4 inch) on a lightly floured surface. Cut in small strips or squares (pizza cutter works well for this) and drop into boiling broth (don't worry if they don't all drop all the way down into the broth). After last dumpling has been dropped, put lid on pot and boil for 10 minutes. Add chicken and cook for five minutes more to reheat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sneaky Chicken/Sneaky Snake

The Indiana House of Representatives is faced with another ridiculous piece of hateful legislation. First it was Patricia Miller trying to make it illegal for anyone but straight married people to have babies.

Now this, from Mary Beth Schneider at the Indianapolis Star:

Action in the Indiana House was called off abruptly Tuesday after a Republican lawmaker tried to pass an amendment that would strike down gay-rights ordinances in Indianapolis and other cities.

In a highly unusual move, House Speaker Brian C. Bosma, R-Indianapolis, adjourned the House for the day in the middle of the debate over the amendment offered by Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Lizton.

The early closing stalled debate on dozens of bills eligible for action Tuesday. Bosma now has time to try to resolve the matter before the House is scheduled to return to session at 1:30 p.m. today.

Outraged Democrats accused Republicans of trying to enact a broad restriction on local government that would affect not only gays, but women, veterans and others.

Several Republicans also expressed reservations about the amendment, which Thompson is trying to put into a bill that restricts governments' ability to seize private property through eminent domain.

Honestly, where have all the true conservatives who would be outraged by larger and unneccesary government controls gone? I'm ready for Republicans to take back their own party. And what does this have to do with eminent domain? Thompson is a sneaky chicken for not being honest about what he wants here. Dave, he represents the fair city of Danville! Can't you throw your weight around and get rid of ths loser?

It is a pretty sure bet that sneaky snakeEric Miller of the right wing fear-mongering group Advance America put him up to it. If you live in Indy, commit Miller's name to memory. You will be hearing it again and again.

Update: Speaker of the House, Brian Bosma, talked Thompson into withdrawing this amendment for now. We will watch to see if it shows up again later.

Monday, January 23, 2006

New Anti-gay Buzzword

"Homosexualization"--Watch for it!

As in "Homosexualization of America." Expect to see this phrase trotted out frequently by the religious right in the near future. I've seen it popping up in different media outlets. If you are a straight person who is secure in their sexual identity, I probably don't need to tell you that the idea that people, much less a nation, can be "homosexualized" is ludicrous.

But I will add a buzz phrase to the mix though: "state-sanctioned discrimination." As in, not providing all families the same protections is "state sanctioned discrimination." Go forth and multiply little buzz phrase!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Breaking News: Judge Says Maryland Must Marry Gays

From the Washington Blade:

The suit, Deane and Polyak vs. Conaway, was filed in July 2004 by the American Civil Liberties Union. Nine gay Maryland couples and one man whose partner died have joined the suit.

Murdock said that after hearing arguments from the state defending the statute, she concluded the ban on gay marriage is motivated by bias.

"When tradition is the guise under which prejudice or animosity hides, it is not a legitimate state interest," the judge wrote, rejecting as "illogical and inaccurate" the Maryland attorney general's argument that the statute did not violate equal protection because the ban on same-sex marriage applies equally to men and women.

The court also found no "sufficient differences" between the gay marriage case and the landmark Loving vs. Virginia suit, which challenged Virginia's ban on interracial marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the prohibition against interracial marriage in 1967.

What it means:

Probably good things, but nothing just yet. This was a circuit court decision and an appeal has been filed. The judge delayed corrective action until higher courts make their decision. The good news is a Maryland constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage didn't make it out of committee last year, which means the winds may be friendly in the appeal. It also means there may be another state we can move to if things go south here. Hey, we like crab cakes!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dying Cop/Cancer Victim Forbidden to Leave Pension to Partner

Found this extremely troubling story from Asbury Park Press over at Pam's House Blend. Read it and know this happens all the time. In fact, if you are gay and partnered you ought to look into your future situation. Pam's link has pictures of the soon to be icons of hatefulness.

TOMS RIVER — Steven Goldstein, reacting angrily to Ocean County's refusal to allow a dying police lieutenant to leave her pension benefits to her domestic partner, said gay activist groups will spend whatever it takes to unseat the freeholders.

"We are going to pour in a ton of money," said Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, a gay and lesbian rights activist organization. "These people really don't know. We are not done when Laurel Hester dies."

Hester, 49, retired as a county police lieutenant Jan 1. She is in a hospice near death from inoperable lung cancer and was unable to attend the meeting Wednesday. But Goldstein played a videotape of her final plea.

She wants to leave her pension benefits to her domestic partner, with whom she shares a home in Point Pleasant. Regular county employees have that option, but members of the police and firemen's pension system need county approval to do so. Several counties, including Monmouth, have given employees that option. All state employees have that option.

Married employees have no restrictions on leaving pensions to spouses.

"Gay activists from all over the country said "how much money do you you need to get rid of these guys?' " Goldstein said. "The day of the free ride is over. We are going to play hardball in the political arena like they played hardball against Laurel Hester."

The meeting room was packed by Hester's supporters. About a dozen spoke, and some carried signs. But the freeholders remained steadfast, sticking to the position they have taken for the past three months...

..."These are good people," she (Hester) said of her many supporters. "They are not going to give in. We don't always win, but we don't give up."

"Poster child" epithet

Joan Hervey of Plainfield, vice chairwoman of Garden State Equality, said having to go to each municipality is "dehumanizing. . . . We have to go door to door . . . asking, "Please, can we have some more?' " she said.

"Ocean County is (the) poster child for the homophobia in New Jersey," Hervey said. "As a board I hope you are not proud of that."

"She put her life on the line every day for each of you," said George Farrugia, president of the Gay Officers Action League of New York and New Jersey. "You are being called to task for Ocean County to not sit behind numbers."

Liz Arnone of Brick called the board's action a social injustice that tells gays and lesbians that "We are less than human."

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Winter Buffet Critique

I finally got the Christmas stuff put away. I set a personal record this year for striking the set early. Usually I pray the tree will put itself away until mid-February, which is about when I remember that particular prayer has never gotten me anywhere and I take it down myself.

Of course, now we have to get through the design limbo that is January, February and March.

Different folks I know have been rolling around Nate Berkus's (Oprah's interior designer) notion that one should never use artificial florals in home interiors. It is a common design concept, but my opinion of it wavers. First of all, I tend to reject the word "never" in all but the most extreme cases. And while I would love to have nature everywhere, I don't really have the budget for a parade of natural arrangements during the cold months. In spring and summer we grow our own, flowers, I mean.

Nate and my friend Gayle say just to use twigs and stuff like that, but I wonder if these things might look a tad severe in a regular (translated: non-artsy) house like ours. Gayle's house defines the word eclectic, plus she and her husband William are both artists. They have art everywhere. Their home is funky-cool and seems to lend itself to twigginess.

Still, here is my attempt at going au naturale on the buffet. I picked up some limbs dropped by the Tulip Tree in our back yard, and to warm winter up a little (I tend to get a little down this time of year) I threw in some related objects that remind me of fun people.

Here is another view. If you have an opinion, put it out there. More stuff? Less stuff? Different stuff? Duane said I could come prune some things from his yard if I need more. I wonder if I don't need some height under the lamp--maybe more books? I have to admit, after all of the crowdedness of the holiday decorations, I'm kind of digging the sparseness.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Brugge Brasserie: Restaurant Review

I’ll eat just about anywhere once, but there aren’t many eateries I’ll put into my “can’t wait to go there” category. Currently there are only three restaurants that enjoy that distinction. To get there a place must have fresh food that I find myself thinking good things about a few days later, a welcoming atmosphere (I don’t need fancy, but clean is a must), and consistency (I don’t like to take chances with my stomach, my time or my money.) I adore good service, but if a place is really good it is usually really busy so I understand if that part is soft. Most of the time I’ll settle for friendly and accurate.

In the seven months since it opened, Brugge Brasserie (in Broad Ripple behind and just west of the McDonalds) has popped right into a top spot as far as Indianapolis restaurants go. There aren’t too many places in any city where one can order Belgian beer, much less the food to go with it. What is Belgian food? Well, Belgium is sort of French and coastal. A brasserie is typically informal, so the food is as well. Put all those together and you get wonderful things. Frittes (pronounced “freet”) are a staple and the higher born cousin of what we would call a French fry. They come with great sauces, two with each order—I like the roasted garlic aioli and the vinegar mixed with sea salt. Other dishes have ingredients one doesn’t get to taste that often in places that aren’t fancy—shallots, endive, saffron, curry, butter with wine (always a favorite).

I typically order a pot full of mussels steamed in a dry Riesling and some herbs, the red curry ones are great, too. Simple and fragrant; healthy and fun to eat. An order of mussels (2 lbs) comes with frittes, two sauces, and French bread. All for 15.95! I can’t finish a pot of mussels by myself. Actually, one order makes a good lunch for two people. Belgium also is known for its soups and stews.

Brugge’s owner, Ted is a friendly and enthusiastic brew master from Indianapolis who spent the last several years in China brewing beer, selling lots of it, and I suspect raking in a lot of dough. I asked him how he chose to open a Belgian restaurant in Indianapolis. He said that Belgium has a very artistic and under-appreciated approach to beer. His beers are worthy of their own blog entry. Ted said the kind of bar food that went with Belgian beer also offered people a wide range of choices—depending on what you order, Belgian food can be healthy or decadent, heavy or light. All of those options are on the menu, and everything I’ve ordered has arrived fresh and hot.

Ted finally talked me into trying to the crepes they serve (another Belgian specialty). Where to put them has always been the issue. Even MY gut has its limits. I tried the chocolate hazelnut crepes, and they were wonderful—all that you want in a crepe—thin and light, but not too fragile. Like eating Nutella wrapped in edible origami. Okay, my simile skills are weak today. Anyway, they’re worth eatin’. I plan on being a regular at this spot.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


This is a reposting of an entry from Spring 05. It is about my friend Adam, who at the time I wrote it was in Beijing. He resurfaced this week, and since I finally got a picture (of him photographing bacon I believe) I thought I'd put the two together.

John and I are lucky to have many good friends, some of whom are straight guys. I've decided to blog over the next few weeks about our straight brothers. I'm using the term "brothers" to distinguish between deep friendships and those "I-have-lots-of-gay-friends" relationships you hear some politicians talk about when they are working to limit their "friends'" freedoms. I believe these brother relationships are under-reported phenomena that, like crop circles, should be celebrated.

Today I want to honor my friend Adam. I have known Adam for about 30 years--since we were kids growing up on Goff Drive in Batesville, AR. In our group of Batesville friends, Adam was a middle child. Not the youngest, but still a younger sibling of one of the older kids (we are all in our thirties now). His sister is Mandy, whom I also adore and who likely will have a blog entry devoted to her one day.

Anyway, Adam is known for a lot of things that when seen in print might make you wonder if he is well-liked at all. He is famously cheap--the kind of cheap that will start a conversation with "guess how much I paid for these shoes?" He is actually only cheap when it comes to himself (and unfortunately for them, the girls he ends up in relationships with). And he is only frugal with his money. He is very generous with his time. In fact, his last two visits to Indy have corresponded with our moves to new homes. Each time he acted like hauling furniture was what he was hoping to do with his free time that weekend and just pitched right in.

Adam blows his nose a lot and makes as much of a scene about it as he can. He prides himself on never being without a handkerchief. He can't really grow a beard and refuses to shave most of the time, so he can look scraggly on occassion. He told me once someone said it looked like he had ants crawling on his face. On a dare, he went an entire year without a haircut. He sort of looked like Kurt Cobain. He loves John Denver, Bod Dylan, and bluegrass. He likes tennis and golf. He is facinated by art and teaches English in China. He is a graduate student in Chinese history. Adam has almond-shaped eyes, though his family is from Virginia. On his first day at school in Arkansas some prophetic kid asked him if he was from China (or "Chiner" as Mary, Adam's mom would say), to which I'm sure Adam, even as a six year old, had an appropriately sarcastic response. Adam also is known for his sense of irony, that greatest of gen-x traits. He is one of the funniest people I know.

Adam came to Indy to spend Thanksgiving with me one year shortly after I moved here. I was still single. And after 10 years of trying to change something that would not be changed, I had decided that I was going to be honest with myself and figure out what it meant to live my life as a guy who could only fall in love with another guy.

My apartment was a tiny studio on the 28th floor of the only high-rise apartment building in Indy. That night as we lay in bed looking out over Indianapolis and talking about his last semester in China, I threw in the ultimate of non sequiturs and told him I was gay.

Actually, anyone who had to suffer through my coming out speech back then knows that it was a long one--full of explanations about how I tried everything to change, hadn't lost my faith, etc. Adam really is like my brother or I probably wouldn't have waited until we were in bed to tell him this. A lot of straight guys, like Jimmy Swaggert for example, imagine that they suddenly become the most attractive and irresistable guy on the planet when a guy tells them he is gay. Adam knew me and himself better.

After my lengthy revelation to which he listened respectfully, Adam was quiet for a moment and then said, "That's fine." Then matter-of-factly, "Have you been to your first gay bar yet? Because if you haven't we should go to one while I'm here."

While I didn't know what to expect from him, this was not on my list of top ten predictable responses. "I haven't been to a gay bar. I've never really been much of a bar person. Is it okay if we don't go?"

"Sure, but where are you going to meet other gay guys in Indianapolis?" He said in a "we need to fix this problem" kind of way that made me realize my dating life now had its own pit crew.

"This church I've been going to welcomes and affirms gay people, so I've been getting to know some guys there. Do you want to go on Sunday?" He said he did, so we went before he had to get back on the road home.

Not long after that I met John at Sunday School and within a year we fell in love. Adam came to stay with us one weekend when John was fishing in Canada with his dad. Adam arrived after John had left for his trip. By then, we were living in a house John owned.

For me, one of the problems with not being able to get married was figuring out how not to overstep my boundaries, which translated in this case to doing my best not to rearrange all of the living room furniture into a layout that actually looked good and facilitated conversation. It has since become apparent just how little John cares about such things.

Adam finally said, "Just do it. You know you will eventually anyway. You might as well while I'm here to help." So he helped me rearrange the entire living room, clean it up, dust, vaccuum, etc. (no small task this). I felt much better. Not too many friends will support your OCD tendencies by helping you put them into action.

I'm happy to say that since I came out to Adam not much in our relationship has changed. Our visits are still always too short, but that is part of growing up. We don't get to hike through the limestone-bluffed hills of Arkansas with our friends anymore. But there is a little more trust and transparency between us. And our time together has the worn feeling of Adam's frayed and faded (and kind of smelly) Yankees baseball cap, which like most of his clothes, he refuses to throw away. It seems that the people who are most comfortable with who they are and who have really thought about their values are the ones who freak least when a gay person shows up in their life. It may be unforgivably trite, but I believe true friends are a gift from God. I'm grateful for the brother I have in Adam.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Terrorism at Home

I'm referencing this story because when I was home in Arkansas for my 20th class reunion last year, a straight friend of mine said he didn't believe the lives of gay people were in danger in this day and age. This is far from the truth. My friend wasn't being mean. He just doesn't hear about such stories, which is why I will post them from time to time here. The truth matters.

From the Arizona Star:

SIERRA VISTA - Fear is keeping Pvt. Kyle Lawson awake at night - not of the enemy, but of his fellow soldiers.

For weeks, the 19-year-old Tucson native has been sleeping on a cot in his drill sergeant's office to protect him from further attacks because he is gay.

He's already had his nose broken - and says he also was threatened with a knife - after a friend let Lawson's secret slip at a party attended by members of the 309th Military Intelligence Battalion, a training unit at Fort Huachuca 75 miles southeast of Tucson.

Lawson now feels he has no choice but to leave the military and has requested a discharge. He was training to be an Army interrogator, a high-demand job in the age of terrorism.

"I can't keep living a lie. It's not safe for me here," said Lawson, who is described by friends and family as smart, moral and hardworking - qualities the Army says it values in soldiers.

He loved the army, but can't stay there. Ironically, the attacker is doing just fine. Read the rest of the article by clicking the link above to find out how the Army is turning a blind eye and encouraging the attacker to continue such behavior.

Oh, and Pvt. Lawson could have been someone you know:

Before joining the Army - before admitting to himself that he was gay - Lawson was a teen preacher at a Baptist church in conservative southern Missouri, where he went to high school after moving from Tucson. His church's disapproval of homosexuality caused him such angst he tried dating girls and willing himself to feel attracted to them, he said. It didn't work.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Oklahoma Pastor Props Policeman

From KOCO Channel 5 in Oklahoma City.

"...An executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention was arrested on a lewdness charge for propositioning a plainclothes policeman outside a hotel, police said.

Lonnie Latham, senior pastor at South Tulsa Baptist Church, was booked into Oklahoma County Jail Tuesday night on a misdemeanor charge of offering to engage in an act of lewdness, police Capt. Jeffrey Becker said..."

Human sexuality is like a river. If it is allowed to develop naturally it will stay within its banks. If it is blocked or dammed it will overflow its banks or create another path. The other path in cases like this one is innappropriate sexual behavior.

More from the article:

He has also spoken out against same-sex marriage and in support of a Southern Baptist Convention directive urging its 42,000 churches to befriend gays and lesbians and try to convince them that they can become heterosexual "if they accept Jesus Christ as their savior and reject their 'sinful, destructive lifestyle."

I wonder which part of his formula he failed to follow. A coach in my high school once said, "There are two things in life. One is the most overrated. One is the most underrated. The most overrated is sex. The most underrated is a good dump." I tend to agree on both counts. But people who never get the chance to experience sex that is normal for them in circumstances that match their values often end up turning sex into this overpowering monster that leads them to the kind of destructive behavior Latham pursued.

The sad thing is that Latham, like a lot of other people who are freaked out by their same-sex attractions, engage in innappropriate sex and then make the leap to believe that if that is all they can manange then ALL gay people must be doing the same things. Disrupting that fantasy would require Latham to form real friendships with gay folks and a big rethinking of his theology.

Latham likely will do one of two things--stick by his somewhat ridiculous claim that he was just at this well-known brothel/hotel "pastoring policemen" or more likely he will have a tearful confession ala Jimmy Swaggert/Jim Baker, and join an ex-gay ministry (he may be in one already) so he can be "restored" and keep driving that 2005 Mercedes. I predict the Southern Baptist Convention will make a public show of support for Latham's restoration and then later figure out a way to drop him like satan's pitchfork.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Mo' Movies

We've seen more movies in the last two weeks than we've seen all year. Here's a rundown on some of them. (Brokeback Mountain, which has been sold out at every showing since it got to Indy, is reviewed in another post so is not included here.)

Memoirs of a Geisha--Grade: B+

Saw this today with Dave. The story, like that of many women who historically have had few ways to maintain status or power independently of men, is not unfamiliar. The tone somehow manages not to be judgmental, however. While there are few surprises here, the film has a polished beauty and a haunted heart that seems true to this view of the geisha experience. If you are like me, after watching the refined gestures of geisha, you will be painfully aware of your posture for about the next two hours. Dave and I practiced geisha moves as we walked through Crate and Barrel on the way to the car.

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe--Grade: A

With the kids packed off to Grandma and Grandpas for New Years, what did Duane and Todd want to see? A kid's movie. That was what I was thinking when we made our plans to see this adaptation of C. S. Lewis's first volume in the Narnia series. I liked it! In retrospect, had the kids been with us, they probably would have been freaked out by some of the toothy violence. The script adaptation is pretty true to the narrative. By far the most appealing character in my opinion was Tilda Swinton's White Witch. Ethereal, elegant, and understated-- I found myself wishing she would take some sensitivity courses so she could stay around a little longer. The story is tight, very little fluff other than what Lewis originally included. The middle part felt a little like a Sunday School lesson (is this the same Disney the religious right has been boycotting for the last 8 years?). But Lewis sort of wrote it that way, and all I can say is that every Sunday School programs should have this budget.

King Kong--Grade B-

King Long. About an hour too long. Oh, and kind of racist. It won't give away any key plot points to say that it is clear early on that the only non-stereotyped person of color (among thousands) won't make it out alive. Anne Darrow's (Naomi Watts) relationship with Kong is so convincing you get the creepy sense that had the ending been different the religious right would be forming mile-long protest lines in front of theaters about now. Naomi Watts and CGI animals and sets provide all of the redeeming qualities.


Wow. Who knew watching someone's obsession with himself and one horrific story could be so compelling? Phillip Seymour-Hoffman disappears and the impossibly affected Capote is reborn. Watch for portrayals (somewhat unflattering) of both Red and Blue America during the late 50s. Capote has something to say about the surprising price of changing the course of American literature forever.