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Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Recognize!



RELIGION IN A NUTSHELL!

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH!

It's time to hold our belief systems accountable when they fan the flames of discrimination, hatred and worse. Bigotry cannot hide behind the veil of religion. The false prophets need to be banned. 

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy! 


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Divine Judgment


I saw this cartoon this past weekend and thought it didn't need any text whatsoever.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy! 



Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Thursday Thought...


A thought for the day...


and a special question for all those righteous souls who love to hate...
Whatever happened to this commandment?
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
Bible, Old Testament, Leviticus 19:18

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy! 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

National Week Of Prayer For The Healing Of AIDS

HIV + actor and model, Kory Mitchell

This upcoming weekend marks the beginning of the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS (NWPHA). I am honored for DQN In Northern Virginia to be a part of promoting this religious and spiritual initiative in bringing about the end of the HIV/AIDS crisis not only in this country but around the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 1.2 million Americans living with HIV. Of this number, 20%, or approximately 240,000 are totally unaware that they are infected. I think we all are able to see the picture here, however, here goes: if each one of those infected persons, who are unaware of their infection, have a sexual encounter or share needles with just one other person...there, I connected the dots.

Began by the thankless and tireless efforts of Ms. Pernessa Steele and The Balm In Gilead, Inc., this faith initiative was launched in the late 1980s first as the Harlem Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, then as the Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, it is now known as the NWPHA. The National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is ecumenical, involving peoples of all faiths, ethnicities, races and creeds. Throughout the USA, people in churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, meeting houses and faith circles will join together in working to end this pandemic. I am proud to say that my own belief community, the Greek Orthodox Church, is a part of this effort. 

I often point my finger at the bigots. false prophets and hypocrites of various religious persuasions here on DQN In Northern Virginia. They are exactly what they are and deserve what they get. At the same time, I admire, commend and respect the efforts, prayers, supplications and works of all those true believers who practice their faith in the spirit and commandment of their respective religions. The National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS are the sincere faithful practicing and living the Truth. 

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

    
The National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is an annual HIV awareness campaign that mobilizes faith communities and highlights the contributions and impact congregations are making in areas of HIV prevention, testing, direct service, advocacy and community engagement.
Now in its 24th year, the National Week of Prayer for the healing of AIDS (formerly known as the Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS and The Harlem Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS) is the forerunner of all national HIV awareness campaigns in the U.S.
This national faith mobilization campaign continues to call men and women of faith to prayer to take aggressive action in dismantling AIDS stigma; to make unconditional love and compassion available to all persons living with and affected by HIV; to disseminate factual HIV education and to engage communities in HIV testing and treatment services. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

In Appreciation And A Nude And Queer Friendly Retreat


I am truly grateful and humbled by all of the love shown to me during the past week of anniversary celebration here on DQN In Northern Virginia. I appreciate all of the congratulatory comments on each of the posts and the numerous emails awaiting me over the course of the days. I am deeply moved by the outpouring of kindness from all of you! Every act of support has made all the effort of the past three years worthwhile. Thank you!

Friendship is a truly remarkable experience for everyone involved. At times it tests our patience and saps our energy. However, more often than not, it brings to all of us innumerable rewards, treasures and benefits. Such is the case here. Your friendship is priceless. My love to all of you!  


I spent the anniversary weekend on a spiritual retreat. I left last Thursday, late morning, ahead of the approaching snowstorm, in order to be at the monastery/retreat center by noon on Friday. The site is located in a mountainous area of western Pennsylvania. The abbey is home to Eastern Orthodox monks. The retreat was the first offered in North America solely for queer Greek Orthodox men and their partners.

The weekend was refreshing and rejuvenating, focusing on what is good and productive about our Orthodox faith and traditions. There was a major emphasis on charitable acts, on compassion and on forgiveness for both perceived and real wrongs committed by others. In other words, what is affirming to us as gay men and on the positive aspects of religion. At no time did I sense any condemnation nor judgment from any of the monastic brothers.

This spiritual respite was a welcome change from the often hateful and hurtful environment that modern Christianity has become. I'm always bewildered and conflicted over how a belief system based on brotherhood, love and tolerance is consistently misrepresented and twisted by its followers and their leaders into one of exclusion, marginalization and violence. This four-day retreat was a true back-to-basics journey into what religion is all about.

During our recreation/leisure time daily, we were permitted to use the heated, indoor pool. As this was an all-male community (monastery) and an exclusively male retreat, nude swimming was allowed. Initially, my boyfriend and I were the only pair taking advantage of this. By the end of our first hour of  free time, others were also enjoying the aqua-nude opportunity. By Monday morning, more than half of the participants were swimming naked.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Practicing What He Preaches


In the past, I've often written here on DQN In Northern Virginia of the hypocrisy of those extremist haters, the radical right-wing and most unchristian so-called Christians. Those false prophets and Antichrists who twist and abuse religion and the true meaning of Christianity to further their private agenda of hatred and bigotry. I think that by this point in this paragraph, the overwhelming majority of you know exactly the type of clergy and their followers where this description is applicable.

During this season of charity and goodwill, it's only fitting that when an esteemed and honorable Christian leader publicly espouses the Truth of Christianity that he receive his just rewards. The man that I'm referring to is none other than the justly admired and respected Right Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu of the Anglican Church. The fact that his views are compatible with his faith is probably no surprise to anyone.


Commenting on the recent "Kill the Gays" bill considerations before Uganda's Parliament, the Right Reverend extolled his fellow clerics: "My brothers and sisters, you stood with people who were oppressed because of their skin color. If you are going to be true to the Lord you worship, you are also going to be there for the people who are being oppressed for something they can do nothing about: their sexual orientation."

Archbishop Tutu addressed the clergy and public in Nairobi, Kenya, during the convocation last week for the All Africa Conference of Churches. He added: " I am opposed to discrimination, that is unfair discrimination, and would that I could persuade legislators in Uganda to drop their draft legislation because I think it is totally unjust."

The retired bishop of Cape Town, South Africa, who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid, is emerging as a major proponent for tolerance and inclusion of GLBT peoples in both the church and across the entire continent of Africa. Tutu continued saying that people do not choose their sexual orientation and would be crazy to choose homosexuality "when you expose yourself to so much hatred, even to the extent of being killed."

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a man who is truly a personification of what is good in this world. Being supportive of GLBT people isn't easy or popular in Africa. Despite this reality, the good Archbishop stands tall for what he believes and defends our community. His sense of social justice he attributes to his strong faith and love for mankind.

Unlike some of his fellow clerics who falsely profess the same faith, the Right Reverend Archbishop not only believes and lives according to the Christian ideals, he also practices exactly what his religion teaches and what he, as spiritual guide, preaches.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Persecution Or Dignity?


We live in times when all sorts of haters are unashamedly espousing all manner of harm and injury against GLBT people. It seems as though the bigots and homophobes are on a stampede as to all the damage they want rendered against our community. Unfortunately, in the climate of this hotly-contested presidential election year, the rhetoric and evil will only escalate as the actual election day approaches. Be aware: it's only going to get worse.

Sadly, some of the loudest voices clamoring for harsh persecution of GLBT peoples are those from recognized Christian clergymen. These supposed leaders of communities adhering to the beliefs of the Prince of Peace are advocating anything except peace and tolerance. They are publicly proclaiming actions ranging from quarantining our community to outright violence and ultimately death.

As we are all aware, homophobia has existed for millenia, even though the term is of very recent origin. Similarly, ecclesiastical persecution of GLBT people has been around for over a thousand years. This is hardly news. However, we are now in the 21st century; supposedly, a period of human enlightenment. The overwhelming majority of peoples throughout the world enjoy a higher level of education and literacy than previously at any time in our history. These exhortations of hatred, intolerance and violence, especially from those occupying positions of leadership within faith communities, is inexcusable.

The actions that the so-called followers of Christ are advocating are in direct contradiction to the basic tenets of Christianity. These smack of the practices of the Nazis in their execution of the Final Solution and against the traditional ideals of peace, love and brotherhood. Clearly, the stewards of the Christian faithful have turned their backs on the religion they claim to represent and shepherd. One can only wonder what other church doctrines they choose to ignore. Somewhere along the way, the keys to the kingdom of heaven have been misplaced.  

Amazingly, of the two major political parties in this country, the one that claims to personify morality and traditional values has remained entirely silent about this hypocrisy. Just imagine if this were our community calling for this same treatment against clerics. Either they agree with the sacred apostates or the GLBT constituency simply isn't worth neither their attention nor their time. On the other hand, it could be (and probably) is a combination of both. From the GOP silence on this issue, the moral compass they want us to believe they hold has been misplaced along with the missing keys of the kingdom.

Now, the GOP has spoken out in the past when religious leaders crossed the line with regards to GLBT citizens. On September 11, 2001, when Jerry Falwell publicly blamed the entire tragedy because of America's gay population, the White House, under the direction of George the Bloody, firmly let him know that he was completely inappropriate and that was not the time for his grandstanding. Falwell backed down and remained quiet (for that particular moment). So the politicians have no problems with taking clergy to task (and vice versa).

When religious leaders abandon their beliefs and the self-appointed secular leadership discard their facade of moral authority, where does that leave the GLBT people to turn for guidance? Most definitely, not to those who cannot remain steadfast to their principles. They've already demonstrated their willingness to embrace cowardice and hypocrisy in order to further their personal agendas. We all know them for what they truly are: haters and exclusionists.

Instead of suffering the fate that their bigotry, indifference and silence have in store for us, we do have options. One is to seek out the growing number of faith communities that really practice the true
doctrines of their respective religions. These congregations and groups gather in churches, mosques and temples throughout the USA and are accepting, embracing and welcoming to all persons, according to the basic teachings of inclusion and love for all humanity. The faithful adhere to the spirit of what is good and just in the treatment and respect of all persons. The clergy responsible serve as guardians of the sanctity of their various faiths.

In the realm of the secular, we can support the moderates who, although they may not like us, recognize our humanity and our rights to equality. They acknowledge the principles contained within the Constitution and legal traditions to ensure fairness and justice for all persons. These leaders maintain national values over personal beliefs and feelings. They act in accordance with the precepts of benevolent governance.

Finally, we can support those who are our real allies in the political arena. They openly advocate and promote the ideals of liberty and justice for all, not merely those who think and act as they do. They believe in the inalienable rights for everyone and stand by their promise to protect and defend those rights, not matter the consequences. Sometimes, they make mistakes along the way; they may not always prioritize agendas to suit us. However, we know them to be persons of integrity who will not disregard equality and fairness because it may be the easy road to follow. They respect and value both the law and their constituents.

This is one of many reasons why I am again actively supporting President Barack Obama for re-election. I believe in his vision for our country and his ability to translate this vision into reality. He has demonstrated his honesty when it wasn't in his best interests to do so. Many criticized him for his evolution on the issue of marriage equality. Yes, he took his time in publicly announcing his endorsement. However, it was his decision to make when it was right for him. At least, he was open and honest with all of us throughout this process.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Their Naked Hypocrisy Exposed



During the 2008 presidential election, there was controversy and much discussion surrounding then Democratic candidate Senator Barack Obama and his association with Jeremiah Wright, the Chicago pastor of his United Church of Christ home parish. Many opponents of Mr. Obama cited the often outspoken sermons of Wright and his views of racial injustice in this country in order to frighten voters from supporting the then Democratic contender and his bid for the presidency.

Many of these critics of now President Obama's candidacy were Christian extremist clergy. They sought to use the race issue as a means of defeating him. Their logic being that Wright's remarks were often radical (in their eyes), against Christian values (in their eyes) and against white people. In their minds, the very worst thing for this nation was a black president affiliated with an inflammatory racist clergyman. Get the white voters alarmed over a possible black president was their goal. They used their pulpits to deliver this message.

Recently, the news media and social media reveal a new campaign by the same Christian extremist clerics. The race card wasn't effective in 2008, but these desperate people have resurrected this argument in attempting to dissuade voters. Let's remind everyone about the Wright issue. Now, they are also using homophobia as an instrument of achieving their goal. Taking this message, they are encouraging abuse and violence against GLBT people in an effort to mobilizing voters to defeat the President. He supports marriage equality so they want the 2012 election to be about race and homophobia. In other words, kill the queers and bring down the black man.  

It's election time again. Only this time, President Barack Obama has served almost four years in the Oval Office and seeking re-election. Desperate times call for desperate measures. These people will stop at nothing in an attempt to promote their own social agenda, which is their way or no way at all. Their way translates into a religion based on hate and exclusion.

Strip away their cloak of a false ideology of what Christianity is about and their naked hypocrisy is exposed for all to see. The extremism they claim Wright represents pales in comparison to their advocating physical harm and segregation against GLBT citizens. The hatred they claim he uses when he preaches against racial injustice, they echo in their hatred against gays. In doing so, they totally reject the true message of Christianity, which is one of acceptance and love.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Sin Of The Selective Sacred

I am intentionally omitting the use of the courtesy title of "reverend" in this post. Given the nature of the abuse and violence advocated in their messages, it seems hardly appropriate nor proper. Nor does the title of "mister" have any place here. A courtesy title is one of respect. I have no respect for those who hate or wish intentional harm to others.

Within the past several weeks, there have been several public sermons of hatred, with queers as targets, uttered by Baptist clergymen, both located in North Carolina. No doubt, these juvenile outbursts were directly related to the recent constitutional referendum in that state prohibiting marriage equality. Given the extreme measures proposed by the learned men of the cloth, obviously, there's some serious anger management issues in the background here. Did they make a pass at a man and get turned down? I wonder.


The first preaching of hate and abuse came from Sean Harris, pastor of the Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC. He encouraged the parents in his congregation to physically beat their children if they appeared to exhibit behavior that is considered in violation of their gender role. In other words, if they're suspected of being gay, it's open season for physical abuse. According to this so-called "Christian" leader, there is no greater sin in this world than to be GLBT.

Not to be outdone in this holy crusade, Charles Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, NC, decided to up the ante. Harris received national attention for his remarks and Worley felt the need to claim his fifteen seconds of hate fame. Worley preached, on May 13, that the Bible and God opposed homosexuality and that GLBT people should be placed in concentration camps.

"Build a great big fence 50 or 100 miles long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. Have that fence electrified so they can't get out. You know what? In a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce." Worley then continued by urging his followers not to vote for the re-election of President Obama in the upcoming November election.

Both of these sermons of exclusion and hate came from alleged ministers of the Christian faith. Both incitements publicly encouraged believers to physically harm GLBT people. Harris crossed the line by condoning abuse against innocent children. Worley went one step further by not only threatening GLBT people with segregation but by using his church as a tool for political means, in clear violation of the Constitution's mandate separating church and state.

These two instances of unchristian theatrics were posted to social media within hours of their performance. They soon attracted the attention of the national press, equal rights advocates and the GLBT community. These utterances of harm and hate became preserved for posterity and the public record. Expressions of outrage and support soon followed.

Harris reacted with feeble attempts to clarify his words and with claims that he was misunderstood. That lame defense only lasted for a few days and he soon gave up damage control completely. Worley's response was to flee into seclusion. Like Chicken Little, he ran scared and hid. A subliminal indication of guilt? He left it to the 100 or so members of his church to try to defend his blasphemy.

We are all too aware that these aren't the only two clergy who have misused their trust and proposed actions contrary to the tenets of their alleged faith. They are just the most public and the most recent examples of this hypocrisy. Sadly, Harris and Worley won't be the last.

While falsely alluding to Divine guidance, these two continue to represent the element of Christianity that is anything but authentic. Harris, Worley and others twist both The Bible and religion to suit their own personal ambitions and greed. Their narrow version of beliefs is a Christianity of the "pick and choose" variety. They selectively use obscure passages from The Bible as a basis to further an agenda of their own that is in direct conflict with the true teachings of Jesus Christ.

In performing this conscious act of deceit, Harris and Worley become the real enemy of the faith they claim to represent. They don the robes of the modern Antichrist. They alone decide what small parts of Holy Scripture to employ in their campaign of hate and totally ignore the essence of what the Christian religion truly teaches. These two, and others like them, assume the role of false prophets as they mislead their followers into practicing a belief system that disregards and bears little resemblance to core Christian values.

During his thirty-three years on earth, Jesus never publicly addressed same gender love. He often and routinely condemned every other sin known to man at that, but there is no record of any mention of homosexuality. Lacking any concrete evidence of a prohibition against queer relationships, either carnal or platonic, Harris, Worley and their company of fellow deceivers habitually and selectively refer to Old Testament passages of exclusion and consistently omit the frequent messages of Christ found in the New Testament that extol compassion, love and tolerance towards all of humanity.

The foundation of Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ personified the new covenant between God and humankind. The New Testament supersedes the Old Testament. The new religion, Christianity, is born from the old religion, Judaism. The words of Jesus explain the new covenant between God and humans as the rule of love for all people and spiritual truth instead of the old way, rule by law (Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25, Hebrews 8:8-13, 9:11-15). In choosing the Old Testament over the New Testament, Harris, Worley and their ilk are clearly denying the cornerstone doctrine of the faith they falsely claim to profess.

In advocating abuse and harm against GLBT people, these so-called Christian pastors once again arbitrarily select to ignore what Jesus taught as the Greatest Commandment and choose instead to spew hate. In Luke 10:27, Jesus said: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind; love your neighbor as yourself." In John 13:34, Jesus repeats: "Love one another. As I have loved you." In disregarding what Jesus Christ, himself, believed to be his most important message, Harris and Worley put themselves and their self-serving agenda in open defiance of  not only the command of Jesus but of Christian tradition as well.

Worley, at least, may have to pay a price for his blasphemy, deceit and transgressions. His hate message was noticed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a religious liberty watchdog group. This organization has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service asking that it investigate the tax exempt status of Providence Road Baptist Church. According to a statement released by that group, the Reverend Barry W. Lynn, CEO of Americans United, said: "His (Worley) pulpit command that people not vote for President Obama is a violation of federal tax law. I urge the IRS to act swiftly to investigate this matter."

On Sunday, May 27, 2012, a protest against Worley and his violent message was held at the Catawba County Justice Center in Newton, NC. Over 1,000 persons attended. Not far away, Worley once again stood at the pulpit of Providence Road Baptist Church and received a standing ovation from his followers, numbering fewer than 100 hypocrites.

Look out Worley! The GLBT folks are coming! And they're bringing the IRS with them! Wire that money offshore, quick!

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter: Greek Style!



For more than 125 million Eastern Orthodox Christians, Sunday, April 15, 2012, is the Feast of the Resurrection: Easter. It is the holiest day of the year on our liturgical calendar. Regardless of the nature of our individual religious observance, this holiday is a basis of both our culture as well as our faith. Our churches, as Orthodox Christians, are organized along ethnic or national traditions. As a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, I know this all too well from my own personal experience and upbringing. There's no way escaping its significance within our community, our heritage and our national psyche. As Greeks, whether native, expatriate or through origin, Easter is our celebration of life and our celebration of hope.

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, our houses of worship are adorned with sacred images, referred to as icons, instead of statues. These icons depict the elements essential to our faith, as does the Resurrection Icon shown to the right here. Easter is, first and foremost a religious celebration and the feast begins with services in all the churches that begin at midnight, the advent of the Holy Day. Afterwards, families and friends return home to break the customary strict Lenten fast with a breakfast of foods denied during the penitential season: meat. eggs and dairy products. This is the origin of the Easter egg. Greek custom is that all eggs are dyed red: the egg itself representative of rebirth through the belief in the Resurrection and the color red a reminder of the blood shed during the crucifixion. For Greeks, young and old alike, there is the Easter game played with the holiday eggs when exchanging the Easter Greeting with loved ones and acquaintances. Personally, I enjoy the game more than I do the festive breakfast. This is probably due to the eternal inner child within.

The religious obligation fulfilled, the feast day itself takes on a life of its own. For some, this is the traditional Easter meal that usually includes multitudes, with dancing, card games and of course, egg hunts. Others celebrate through street fairs, Easter festivals and other styles of celebrations. For many in Greece the day concludes with fireworks. In my family, the day entails a large mid-afternoon feast of traditional Greek holiday delicacies for the extended family and guests that ends with everyone joining in folk dances accompanied by live musicians (uncles and cousins).


Like what's happening in virtually every aspect of our modern lives, our ever-shrinking world often blurs ancient with contemporary as our cultures adapt to changing times. Greeks aren't immune to this phenomenon as the above graphic illustrates. Inscribed on the shield of the classic Greek warrior is "Easter" written in modern Greek. Commercially produced greeting cards are becoming increasingly popular as a means of conveying seasonal sentiments to those we love but are unable to physically reunite with for the holiday. The sacred combines with the secular as a means of allowing people to personalize their modern Easter celebrations.   



Of course, humor and satire always manage to find a way of incorporating themselves into our holiday observances and Easter is no exception. For whatever reason, I don't seem to be able to recall egg decorating being quite this much fun and interesting while growing up. The above picture clearly demonstrates the creativity of the human species; proving once again that necessity is the mother of all inventions. I wonder if the Easter Bunny is hiring new assistants?


Greek Pride is Easter Pride!


Kalo Pascha: Happy Easter!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter!


HAPPY EASTER!

SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012


For most of the world, this weekend is the date of the Easter Holiday.

For Christians of the Eastern Orthodox traditions, this is Palm Sunday and Easter is observed next weekend.

To all of you celebrating the Easter Feast this weekend, have a safe and joyous holiday!

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!









Saturday, March 3, 2012

Prayer Week For AIDS Healing: March 4-10, 2012

The National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is March 4-10, 2012. This is a community of faith based response to the AIDS pandemic that is engulfing both the USA and the world. Many churches, synagogues, temples, etc. throughout this country and around the globe annually participate in this prayer and missionary action.


Originating within Black churches at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, this outreach and healing ministry was organized by Ms. Pernessa Steele and initially sponsored by the organization appropriately named The Balm in Gilead, Inc. This grassroots movement by lay persons within various congregations of established religious denominations in the African-American community soon mushroomed and spread across both racial, ethnic and faith boundaries. Next, it crossed international borders and was embraced by parishes and religions in lands outside the USA as the pandemic unleashed itself on all of humanity.


For persons of faith, this observance represents a logical and natural response to this health crisis. This movement in many cases opened the hearts, eyes and minds of traditional religious institutions and clergy who had previously remained indifferent and unresponsive, if not openly hostile, towards the plight of persons living with HIV.


The 2012 theme for the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is: The End of the AIDS Epidemic is in Sight With Prayer, Education, Testing and Treatment. The Balm in Gilead, Inc., also sponsors a church affiliated program entitled: Our Faith Lights The Way. This is a national faith-based HIV testing initiative.  To receive additional information on these and other HIV related efforts, please visit: http://www.balmingilead.org or go to: http://www.nwpha.org

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

When Morality And Religion Diverge

I think that the accompanying image depicted to the left delivers an important thought for us all to consider. The message can do one of two things: it can be a Pandora's Box that brings out the hate of any and all the religious fanatics or it can be a point of truth that begs organized religion to re-examine the bigotry and intolerance that it espouses. Ideally, I hope that the latter would occur. Unfortunately, the former usually triumphs.

Religion is defined as the belief in and reverence towards a supernatural power understood to be the creator and ruler of the universe. It is the collection of doctrine that supports the belief system.  Religion is the shared emotional and spiritual beliefs held by its' followers. Morality is a system of ideas and values concerning what is right and wrong behavior. It is the quality of being in accord with this particular standard. The American Heritage Dictionary.

I need to add here that I am not anti-religious. I consider myself a spiritual man as opposed to a religious man for purely personal reasons. I am a member of a faith community and I try to do what is good and right. At the same time, I am a man with a mind and not a meek sheep. I have a brain, a mind and I use it. Simply because a human being in clerical guise tells me that I need to think this or do that doesn't mean that I'll automatically do it. I balance what I am told with my core religious beliefs and respond accordingly.


In an ideal world, a perfect world, morality and religion should be compatible. What is good and right is good and right, across the board, regardless of a belief system. Faith and morals supposedly work together to guide our lives toward the common good and the benefit of all, equally and unconditionally, without qualification or exclusion. Unfortunately, none of us live in a perfect world. Our lives are influenced and corrupted by humans with their own private or political agendas. All too often, these selfish ambitions are offered in the name of religion.

I am amazed at the hatred and intolerance directed towards the GLBT population by religious institutions, especially the extremists elements of Christianity. My experience with the Christian tradition is that it is a community of believers in the doctrine and message of inclusion and love. Yet the gift of love and compassion, acceptance and tolerance that's been the basic teaching of this faith for over two thousand years is completely ignored and, in many instances, cast aside by self-absorbed church leaders in their quest for power and worldly gain. These people condemn an entire population of God's children and reject the core pillars of their religion in order to spew hatred and, in some cases, death for fellow humans and abuse and blaspheme the name of God and teachings of Jesus in the process.

After all, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are also children of God and human beings. We, like other believers, were created by God in His/Her image. We, the GLBT population, are no different than anyone else. We breathe, eat, feel and live the same as everyone else. Just as my fellow humans, I celebrate joy and endure suffering and pain. The only thing that separates me from my community of faith is that I am shunned and cast aside by my religion.

Before I continue, I acknowledge that not all religions are intolerant towards same gender loving peoples. Within certain religions, some communities of faith lovingly embrace and welcome GLBT faithful while others do not. In faith communities that promote hate and exclusion, there also exist a few parishes/congregations that bravely defy the norm and accept queer members and refuse to participate in the dogma of rejection and disrespect. I salute and admire all the believers who follow the truth and cast aside the marginalization of their fellow humans.

The false prophets and deceivers who espouse condemnation and exclusion of queer people use the Old Testament prohibitions of ungodly practices while totally neglecting the New Testament as the new law which replaces the former. They ignore the commandment of Jesus that is recorded in The Gospel of St. Matthew: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." (St. Matthew: 22:37-39) They would much rather recall the God of vengence instead of the God of compassion.

When religion allows itself to be contaminated and manipulated by humans, it loses sight of its' collective tenets and truths. The contaminators and manipulators become the cancerous cells infecting the body of the faithful thus religion becomes blinded by the destructive invasion. The result is that religion becomes separated from morality. The two no longer work together for the greater good and benefit of all. When this happens, religion becomes an instrument of hate and evil as it has severed itself from morality, that what is good and right.

When any religion, whether it is Christianity, Islam, Judaism or any other, divorces itself from morality, it surrenders its' authority, credibility and legitimacy. Without morality, religion becomes a bankrupt cause that only exists on bigotry and discrimination. Without morality, religion sinks into godlessness and is eventually overcome with despair. Faith is replaced by fear; hypocrisy becomes the compass.

Once it abandons morality, religion loses its' validity. It no longer enjoys the goodness and righteousness that gives faith, the belief system, its' essence. It is a ship adrift without captain and crew. Religion has no reason to exist as it has undermined itself through hatred, decadence and false prophets. There is no longer the truth as a basic foundation because the truth was discarded, ignored and forgotten. The God of Love; of acceptance, tolerance and understanding was rejected just as the followers of the hypocites and haters turned their backs on their GLBT brothers and sisters. The message of fairness and justice that religion once delivered to the faithful no longer has any meaning to its' flock nor to the world-at-large.

I'll continue to participate in the ceremonies and rituals of my community of faith. This is out of habit; not of any clear devotion to a belief of exclusion and segregation. I believe that change is best conducted from the inside of any institution by putting a face on the victim. However, I also know that communities of faith are at a crossroads in their history. They survive through love or decay into ruin through hate. Their destiny and their legacy is in the hearts and minds of the faithful; it is obvious that the leadership is no longer practicing its' beliefs..

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Mighty Hath Fallen...Again!

Our language is rich in phrases and words of prophecy and warning to those who place themselves above and apart from the rest of us. Despite popular myth, this is also true for those bigots among us who preach and teach hatred and homophobia all the while living a lie and a secret life that includes the behaviors that they publicly despise. "What goes around, comes around," "The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree" and "Paybacks are hell" are a few examples of folk wisdoms that immediately come to mind. Two recent developments in two very public sex scandals once again prove these ancient adages to be both prophetic and true.

As same gender loving men, these revelations really don't surprise the vast majority of us. After all, we are too aware of the deceitful practices of those living dual lives. It is amusing to see how these surreptitious trysts of the preceived heterosexual proponents of family values shock the rest of our society. They simply are unable to acknowledge that some of the most vocal within their midst are shouting only to protect their private, hidden preferences. This brings to mind yet another proverb: "There are none so blind as those who will not see."


The situation surrounding Bishop Eddie Long, disgraced pastor of Atlanta's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and notorious homophobe isn't recent. However, there is a new twist to the latest ongoing saga of hate-spewing antigay clergymen caught in queer sex circumstances that makes us question why they're unable to practice what they preach.

The deceitful Bishop of the Down Low and his megachurch settled out-of-court last year with five young men who accused the preacher of molestation and forced sex while they were minor age members of the congregation. In a mutual confidentiality agreement filed with the court and sealed, Long paid an undisclosed amount in damages to each of the five plaintiffs in return for their silence on the matter. The typical pay-up and shut-up payoff in a futile effort to make the scandal disapper. Since the allegations first surfaced, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church has suffered a significant decline in both membership and financial contributions.

This past August, three of the young men, in an interview with an Atlanta TV station, announced that they were in negotiations for a tell-all book that would give the complete story of their relationships with the deeply closeted and lying pastor. This is where the "Ballad of The Bishop and His Boyz" takes on a whole new twist and turn.

During this interview, Mr. Spencer LeGrande, one of the alleged victims of the hypocritical Preacher Long, stated: "I'm going to tell the world- money does not buy happiness. When you sleep at night, the problems are still there. The money stuff, who cares about the number." LeGrande acknowledged the risks involved in publicly addressing the settlement issue. Obviously, the three young men participating in the broadcast understood better than their former paedophile pastor the Biblical injunction against materialism.

Evidently, Eddie Long once again has suffered a complete memory loss as to his Scripture. Last week, his attorneys sent a letter to the three victims demanding the return of the $300,000 they each were awarded under the settlement because they violated the confidentiality clause in speaking to the press. Apparently, Long is so lonely without his cash that the Bible and prayer together are unable to console him. Didn't that same Holy Book admonish us all against the sin of greed?

With no training as an attorney, it looks like the bishop also has broken the terms of the confidentiality of the settlement. His attorneys publicly disclosed, in the media release, the amount each of the plaintiffs were paid for their silence. Now Eddie, who has problems keeping his zipper in place, wants to present himself as the "victim" here. Please! Someone show him the verse in the Bible that says: "Let he who is free from sin cast the first stone."


Next, Representative Phil Hinkle, the Republican Indiana state lawmaker (Indianapolis) who met Kameryn Gibson and paid him $140 for "a really good time" continues to insist that "I'm not gay." We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but shouldn't someone let him know that ex-U.S. Senator Larry Craig has already used that exact line? What's more, it didn't work for Craig so why should he hope for any different outcome. By the way, that's Hinkle, not Craig, pictured to the left.

This wouldn't be quite as sensational except for one fact: Hinkle is a rabid homophobic hypocrite who pursues an antigay political agenda while indulging in the gay cookie jar. He got caught. Now he is forced to have to proclaim to the world everytime he opens his mouth that he's not queer. Someone remind the good Republican representative that "Actions speak louder than words." This is one folk wisdom that he's conveniently forgotten. And now it continues to haunt him.

In the Indiana state legislature, Hinkle recently supported a bill that made the state offer automobile tags that include: In God We Trust. He voted in favor of legislation in the form of a constitutional amendment that bans marriage equality in the state. His list of sponsorship includes a list of right-wing fundamentalist Christian goals.

This past August, Phil the Philanderer arranged a meeting with Mr. Gibson in a downtown Indianapolis hotel room. They exchanged emails prior to the tryst that were printed in the local press. The Republican lawmaker didn't deny the emails when they were published. When the two met, Hinkle exposed himself and promised Kameryn Gibson a bonus for a good time. Mr. Gibson must have indeed satisfied the closeted politician as he gave him an iPad and a Blackberry. In fact, it must have been excellent sex as Hinkle's wife later offered Kameryn an additional $300 cash in order to guarantee his silence about the encounter. Not only is Phil on the Down Low, he is also low-down if he's got to resort to having his spouse cover-up his same-sexcapades.

Hinkle has resisted calls for his resignation by colleagues, the Republican Speaker of the Indiana House and the Republican Indiana Governor. He has publicly acknowledged that he will not stand for reelection next term. Maybe he realizes that after this debacle, he'll be forced to pay more for his visits to the gay cookie jar in the future. Let's hope his local electronics mart has all those latest technology gadgets on sale and in bulk! The price for the bonus for his friends, the next time he has the itch, has just gone up!

In the cases of both Hinkle and Long, the mighty continue to fall, again and again. Their hypocrisy and hate perpetuate their own undoing as well as provide a disservice to those who look to them for leadership. They, and others like them, consistently betray the confidence and trust the innocent bestow upon them. Their deceit is both disgraceful and disgusting and brings to mind yet another proverb: "Oh what tangled webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

Fortunately, this tale of the hypocrites doesn't end at this point, Both of the above episodes do give a limited and somewhat bittersweet rewards for the offended parties. In this instance, the villainous Hinkle and Long aren't able to escape completely unscathed in their attempt to have it both ways.


For the young men who were sexually abused by Bishop Long, here's hoping that their prospective book deal will prove far more lucrative than the puny settlement they received from the false prophet. The book may give them the opportunity for healing and recovery from their trauma. It might even offer them movie rights and royalties that will fill the heart of their abuser with envy. That would provide them some sense of justice.

For Kameryn Gibson, he's already enjoying some celebrity post ordeal. Pictured right, he's now represented by Flava Works and is appearing online on both CocoDorm.com and ThugBoy.com. What's even better, they're referring to the Hinkle story, using the Republican by name, in promoting Dejuan Diamond (Gibson's stage name) in these films. Kameryn, a.k.a. Dejuan, has remarked: "I did it for Hinkle. I can show him what he and his pals really missed out on." That is truly poetic justice! Yes, there is even one more folk expression that we can employ here: "He who laughs last, laughs best." Here's hoping that each one of these young men have, at the very least, a hearty chuckle all the way to the bank!

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Conscientious Objections


Allow me to begin here with the fact that I thought long and hard over the selection of the title for this post. It wasn't an easy decision. The one that I chose isn't my preference. It does reflect my respect for the rights of others to follow their beliefs as long as it does no harm to anyone else. With that published, here's my beef!

Recently, in all the media, there's been a number of articles/broadcasts concerning the plight of all these innocent victims of the legalization of full marriage equality in New York State. Who are these poor, unfortunate souls? Why are they suffering at the expense of civil rights and justice? What wrong have we done to them?

Apparently, the enactment of total access to the right of matrimony law has discriminated against a few of the loyal Empire State employees. These local civic officials must now issue marriage licenses to same gender loving couples. As if that isn't bad enough, some of these public servants must now perform the civil ceremonies legalizing this union between these citizens. So, what's the problem? These duties are part of their job description and this enables them to collect their paycheck and receive their benefits. They've successfully performed these tasks in the past so, what's up now?

In the past, it wasn't legal for queers to marry. Therefore, these dedicated public employees had no problems discriminating against GLBT people. That, my friends, is the plain and simple truth. Now, with the impending marriage equality, suddenly, they are now the victims and the gay community are the oppressors. These outstanding workers are finding themselves in a dilemma as the professional requirements of their jobs mandate they provide marriage opportunities to same gender loving persons. This, it seems, is in direct conflict with their personal moral/religious convictions. These helpless innocents must now choose between their paychecks and their faith. Isn't this one of the many reasons that we have the constitutional separation of church and state?

The popular journalists are having a playday with this issue. The downtrodden must now choose between their selected profession and their faith of preference. Now, the media are all over them and their personal stories of grief and torment. The headlines of the day read of the crisis of conviction. As if marriage rights for gays happened overnight and without any previous warning!

Spare me the drama, the hype and all the tears. If there's a conflict, make your choice and go or stay. It's an individual and a private decision. If the media feel compelled to create a fuss, what about all the GLBT people who were denied the right of matrimony for all these many years? How about we celebrate that we are now one step closer to true freedom and justice after all these years of injustice? Or better, why don't we just sit back and allow equality to evolve?

Congratulations to all in New York who are finally getting married this upcoming weekend! Best wishes to you all! May your new life together bring you happiness and joy!

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Anticipation Of The Easter Feast

In the Greek Orthodox Church, now is the beginning of Holy Week, the most solemn of weeks in the Liturgical Year, the days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. During this sacred period, the Orthodox Church services encompass celebration (Palm Sunday), Divine Sacrament (Great Thursday), mourning (Great Friday), grief and reconciliation (Great Saturday) and triumph (Easter Sunday: The Resurrection). It is during this week that most Orthodox Christians perform their two annual sacramental duties of making Confession and receiving Eucharist.

This year, both Holy (Orthodox) Easter and Western Easter occur on the same date. The difference in observances is due to the Eastern tradition of adhereing to the Julian Calendar and the Western custom of following the Gregorian Calendar. Usually, the two holidays generally fall between one to four weeks apart. The Western Easter always precedes the Eastern Church celebration of the Feast except when the two coincide.

Due to the schedule of prayer services every evening this week, I've already written postings for the week and scheduled them for automatic publication. Later in the week, I'll join both Twin and Cuz as we gather with our extended family in the holiday festivities. I'll return home early next week and resume publishing then.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Peace On...? Goodwill Towards...?

We see the words: Peace on earth, goodwill towards all, displayed and offered by many, especially during this holiday season. A phrase of welcome, comfort, fellowship and inclusion. It serves as a greeting and a call and response to both friend and stranger alike. A message of acceptance and hope understood by us all. Often, it is the central theme of sermons and homilies delivered from altars and pulpits across countless faith communities throughout this time of year.

Yet frequently, this idea of tolerance is followed by words of hate, judgment, damnation and exclusion, particularly against the GLBT community. More than likely, this mixed message is uttered as divine truth from the altars and pulpits of numerous houses and sanctuaries of prayer and worship all over the world. A building dedicated to the glory of God and a place of solace and refuge becomes a home of intolerance, division and torture. A place and community that was meant to inspire and uplift is transformed into a commune of deceit and evil. A manifestation of all that's wrong in our world today.

The source of this deception, this problem, this distortion of truth isn't faith nor religion. The tenets or creeds of all the religions of the world are basically the same. They espouse charity, compassion, tolerance and understanding. They encourage what is good about humanity. These core values instruct us to strive to live our lives as decently, productively and respectfully as possible.

The root of this corruption of our belief systems are the men and women, the humans, who take what we hold as divinely inspired and interpret it to foster their own selfish and self-serving agenda of greed and power. There is no better way to guarantee their own material success and status than to demonize us, the GLBT community, and blame us for all that's wrong in this world. Label and libel us as the common enemy and your coffers will be full. If you want people to donate and support your cause, then give them a reason to fight and hate.

No, the conflict isn't with religion. Faith gives us all a reason to hope and to love. The problem is with the false prophets who manipulate religion in order to satisfy their personal greed and lust for power and wealth.

This holiday season, hope and work for peace on earth and goodwill towards all. That is the truly Divine. Beware of the false prophets and try to forgive their lies and transgressions. That is what separates us from them.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!