Let Us Love Our LGBT Neighbors As Ourselves - And Response (8)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

As the mother of a gay daughter, and an LGBT ally, I am disturbed by Dan Cathy's characterization of advocacy for legalizing same-sex marriage as "shaking our fist at God" and inviting God's judgment on our nation.   Such a message only adds to the angst some people experience with the realization that they are gay.   

To young people in particular who struggle because you are gay, lesbian, transgender, or questioning, I have this message from your allies:  we love you.  There is nothing wrong with you. There is a great deal wrong with a culture that still cannot accept that you are perfectly made in the image of God.  You deserve to live openly and without fear.  

The fact that you are gay or transgender does not scare me, threaten my family, or pose a threat to society. You deserve a life with all the same legal rights that I have, to work without being subjected to discrimination, to marry the person you love, to be a legal parent to your children, to participate in medical decisions for your family, and to leave an estate for your surviving spouse and children, just like other families do.  

 I urge others to "come out" and speak up on behalf of our LGBT friends and loved ones at every opportunity. Let us love our LGBT neighbors as ourselves by making life hospitable for them, in our families, schools, sports, churches, the workplace, and as citizens with full equal rights.

H. Diane Dixon
Hixson

* * *

Thank you H. Diane Dixson. So many times I have heard of people being thrown out on the streets by their supposedly Christian parents when they found out their child is gay. So much for a parent’s unconditional love for their child.   

As a side note, when all those people lined up for greasy chicken last week, I’ll bet they didn’t know their money has been donated to people like Bryan Fischer (who has been associated with groups like the American Family Association and the Family Research Council). Mr. Fischer tweeted that their needs to an “underground railroad” to basically kidnap children from gay couples. So when they chowed down on rubber chicken with side orders of  hypocrisy and sanctimony, they were supporting a company that financially supports groups that call for children to be “rescued” from same-sex couples. 

Aulcie Smith

* * *

Parents throw their children "out on the streets," as Mr. Smith claims, and not from personal knowledge but merely what he's been told, for being Republicans when they should be Democrats, and vice versa, not being good enough students, having school grades that are too good, for hanging out with blacks or whites or browns or greens, for believing in alternate universii, for riding motorcycles, for believing they might be able to make this world a little bit better place, for being a boy, or a girl, for being too successful, or not being successful enough, or any number of other reasons, legitimate or not. 

There is no end to family dysfunction. 

What I do in private, on my own property, with a consenting female adult, is my business whether it's out in the woods, on the back of the tractor, on the stairs, in the kitchen, on the desk in the office I pay for, on the washing machine with an unbalanced load of towels... on spin, is my business and nobody else's. 

However, when I want to take it into public view my actions become subject to the norms and mores of the local populace. Hetero or homo, none of us has a right to impose our sexual activities upon others... and most especially not in public like that Knox County Commissioner who got caught blowing smoke rings in what's known there locally as "Pickle Park." 

Don't like "rubber chicken?" Don't eat it. I don't fly because I'm not going to subject myself to TSA molestation while someone else who looks much more shifty walks right on through. I don't drink Starbucks' coffee because I can make better coffee at home, cheaper. Don't like Wally World? Don't shop there. Don't like cigarette smoke in a restaurant? Don't patronize the joint, or work there. Oops, Richard Floyd and his accomplices in our legislature took care of that with the force of a government gun. Want to pack a piece in the trunk of your vehicle but the boss won't allow it on his property? It's his property, not yours. 

A child has no choice where it's born. All children are born because a man and a woman do, uh, you know, um, "it," or otherwise put sperm and egg cells in close proximity. We, as a society, have no right to put a child into any environment to grow up except one in which there is a sperm producer and an egg producer, or two people who have the physiology to produce these. That's my personal belief. Don't like it? You're entitled not to. You aren't entitled to invade my property to express that displeasure. Neither are you entitled to harass, harangue, or otherwise infringe upon my right to live peacefully as I wish. 

Don't like the life philosophy of a company's owners, a privately owned company? It's their right to hold what ever beliefs they wish. It isn't our right to dictate to them what they will and will not believe. 

Don't like the philosophy of a publicly owned company? Don't buy its stock. If you don't own it's stock you don't own the company, and have no voice in how it's run as long as it meets the law. 

Live your life any way you want in the privacy of your own home, the home you own or rent, as long as you're picking up your own tab. When the public is toting the note the public has a right to require certain standards of conduct, but that's another issue. Don't try to force your lifestyle on the rest of us expecting not to experience some shoving back. 

Homosexuals swapping spit, in public, in front of a business establishment is just as offensive as a heterosexual couple doing it. 

Royce Burrage

* * *

I wanted to thank Ms. Dixon for her kind words to the LGBT members of our community.  As the daughter of a gay man, I can't say I agree with harsh opinions like Mr. Burrage's that homosexuals should not be allowed to raise children. According to him even infertile straight couples should not be allowed to have children since in some cases the sperm or the eggs are damaged or not present. As a sufferer of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome I don't produce eggs on my own. Does that mean my children should be taken from me? I was created and raised in a legal marriage between a man and a woman even though my father is gay.  So where does someone like me fit into your judgments?

All I can say is that I turned out better than a lot of people raised in heterosexual marriages. A lot of people my age are already divorced or have kids out of wedlock or never graduated college or can't pay their bills or have been arrested. I graduated college and high school with honors, have an excellent credit score, had my children in wedlock, am still married to my first husband, and have never been in trouble in my life. So I think it is safe to say my gay father along with my mother did an exemplary job of raising me.

Last time I checked most churches are filled with sinners of all kinds that nobody bats an eye at. I see tons of gluttons, divorcees, children born out of wedlock, liars in just about every church I visit. Why are they overlooked, but the homosexuals get the judgement and hatred? It makes you a hypocrite.  All sins are equal in God's eyes. God loves us all.  We are not making Him proud by spewing nothing but hatred at some of His creations. God does not make mistakes and you don't win people over with meanness. 

All this drama over the Chick Fil A mess has just made me feel like an outsider and like I fit in nowhere. Where does a Christian like me who was raised by a gay man and supports homosexuals fit in? Apparently nowhere. According to some people I am an abomination that should not even exist because homosexuals shouldn't be able to have and raise children. Funny that some of the same people that are so anti-abortion are also for me not ever existing. Nice.

April Sumner

* * *
Thank you, Diane Dixon.  You have written such a strong and lovely statement of support for your daughter and the LBGT community.

All of our children deserve better than a culture that excludes and shames them for any reason.

Seeing the throngs of people across America flocking to a restaurant in order make a statement while indulging themselves, I could not help but reflect on the needs of food banks, the needs of the homeless, including homeless Veterans, homeless families and children.

As to the notion that same sex marriage threatens or destroys “traditional marriage”, consider of a moment, the many other issues that harm or destroy “traditional marriage”: Namely, poverty, homelessness, joblessness, immaturity, infidelity, selfishness and lack of respect for another human being; to name a few.  One of the  biggest destroyers of ‘traditional marriage” is domestic violence.

Cecilia Lewis

* * *

Let's give an honest appraisal of the continuing Chick-fil-A issue here, since it has once again been entered into the public arena. The response across this country occurred not because of one man's beliefs, but because people supported his constitutional right to have and express his belief without being persecuted for it, a right guaranteed to every citizen in the First Amendment.

Based on numerous anonymous "insider company ratings" by employees, Chick-fil-A's Dan Cathey has a 91% CEO approval rating by employees across the board. That is nearly unprecedented today, when a CEO is lucky to get 50% approval.  Their corporate staff employees, which includes gays, receive generous benefits, including childcare, fitness facilities,tuition reimbursement, health, dental and vision coverage, and reduced-cost camps for families and children. The franchise stores also rate very high with high school and college employees in job satisfaction. They pay slightly above minimum wage, offer college scholarships, opportunities to own their own franchise at an extremely nominal cost, and younger employees report it is a fun, family-oriented environment to work in. They also note that they enjoy having Sunday's off to catch up on studies and relax--and they love their jobs and the company's emphasis on family values. Chick-fil-A hires gay employees across the board--who, until some were verbally attacked by other gays and put smack in the middle of this entire debacle--gave very positive feedback on the company as well.  So far as I know, there is not a restaurant in the entire chain that has ever asked customers about their sexual preferences, checked IDs to see if any gays are married, required that you oppose gay marriage to order a grilled chicken sandwich, or has denied service to anyone based on race, religion, age, sexual orientation, or gender. 

Meanwhile, in Chicago (near 10% unemployment and 27% among teens) and in Boston, the mayors were busy trying to prohibit Chick-fil-A from building more restaurants and providing jobs to teens within their city. Ironically, there was no outrage over Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel simultaneously enlisting services of another group found on the Southern Poverty Law Center's "hate list":  the Nation of Islam (NOI) headed by Louis Farrakhan. SPLC labels the NOI as a black separatist, anti-gay, anti-Semitic organization--a "hate organization."  Apparently, being labeled a "hate organization" by the SPLC doesn't matter to gays, because not one word was leveled in opposition to this blatantly anti-gay "hate" organization openly at work in their city.   And in Boston, the city fathers paid no attention to the SPLC "hate" listing for NOI either and granted them a real money-saving deal on city property to construct a mosque. No outrage over the NOI anti-gay stance in Boston, either.  No protesters and nary a "kiss-in" in sight.

Exactly how can Boston and Chicago--and gays--ignore and even embrace a group listed by the SPLC as a "hate group" on one hand--while denying a business license to a private company that has no such policy and simply has a difference of opinion on what constitutes "traditional marriage" on the other. Is the lack of outrage because NOI owns no businesses?  On the contrary, they own office buildings, banks, land development companies, produce and lamb packaging companies, apartment buildings, homes, farms (including in Georgia and Alabama), aviation facilities, newpaper plants, cold storage facilities and warehouses, bakeries, grocery stores, barber shops, dry cleaners, fur factories, restaurants, and snack shops. They've even put a down payment on a country club, where they intend to develop a fleet of yachts.  People buy from them every day, yet their anti-gay message is preached openly by their leader.  Where is the outrage against this SPLC-identified "hate" organization by gays who may be openly financially supporting their anti-gay messages as well?

Noticeably missing from the SPLC hate list, and even excused for their left-wing extremist actions, is Occupy Wall Street.  This left-wing extremist/anarchist group that caused some $9M in public and private property damage across the country, over one thousand arrests, drug deaths, rapes, riots, and that preached the overthrow of the government is given a free pass. No such free pass is given the Tea Party, which has many of the same complaints the OWS has. It appears that SPLC never finds a conservative organization, state, or issue that it doesn't hate.  Forgive us if there are legitimate questions about the "neutrality" of the SPLC, which was founded, staffed, and funded by those on the extreme left.  When Huffington Post, Daily KOS, and MSNBC publish material critical of the organization, it's time for people to pay attention. Since Tennessee voters just elected a candidate who is a member of one of the SPLC "hate lists," it's going to be curious to see how Democrats handle the dilemma.

As far as contributions to organizations you might disagree with, a case made against Chick-fil-A, I can guarantee that there are many thousands of companies in this nation that donate to causes and organizations that any one of us would find offensive on a wide variety of levels, issues and causes. So is the solution to put them all out of business--along with all their employees?  That's not a solution.  That's an immature. knee-jerk, emotional response.

"While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage,” says Sam Cathey, “we love and respect anyone who disagrees.”  Perhaps it is time for others to be as charitable in their personal opinions as well.

Mya Lane

* * *

Ms. Dixon, even from an opposing viewpoint, let me say I appreciate the unconditional love you have for your daughter.    But the fact remains, when the Bible is read completely and in context, homosexual activity is always considered sin, and never approved by God.  However, as others have mentioned, it is not the only sin and should not be regarding as any better or worse.    Whether or not you believe that Bible is a topic for another time.

Regarding the LGBT community, you stated, "There is nothing wrong with you."   I would have to disagree with that statement.   I believe there is something wrong with them, just as I believe there is something wrong with us all.   According to the Scriptures, we are all sinners that have come short of God's glory.    I believe the only resolution of that is to repent of our sin and believe in the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

I agree with you in that I am not personally threatened by the LGBT community.   If they are allowed to marry, it will not shake my faith one bit, although I do not agree that it is a God given or constitutional right, and I do not support it.   But my world will not fall apart if it does happen in Tennessee one day.

Having said that, I am not unkind to homosexuals and I'm not "spewing hatred", and most evangelical Christians are not, despite the picture many try to paint.    In fact, true Christians love the LGBT community.     You just have to realize that loving someone does not mean that you agree with them and give an approval for a lifestyle that contradicts the will of God.  Sometimes love is shown by telling someone they are wrong.

For those that despise Mr. Cathy's remarks,  may I remind you that tolerance should go both ways.  Which is more hateful, what he said or all the hateful things said to his employees and vandalism done to Chick Fil A property in protest?    When you actually read his statements, there is nothing hateful about them.    Dan Cathy is a man of strong conviction, who stands firmly for his beliefs and supports causes that affirm those beliefs.   (And guess what, the AFA and the FRC are not hate groups, whether or not you agree with them (and I often times do not).)

To sum up, Ms. Dixon,  I would ask you simply to consider if you are really disturbed by Mr. Cathy or more by the God he serves.  In the mean time, keep being a good mom and love your daughter as you always have.   That is the right thing to do without question.

Mark Lawrence

Hixson

* * *

Thank you, Mrs. Dixon, for your civil heartfelt discourse. I do not take issue with your right to express yourself in sincerity and respect.

Frankly, Mr. Smith, I had never heard of Bryan Fischer until your post. But because it sounded rather bizarre, and knowing how liberals tend to play fast and loose with the truth, I decided to look further into it.

Bryan Fischer’s comments regarding the underground railroad stem from his support of one case in particular. The case where a mother, Lisa Miller, fled the country with her biological daughter, Isabella Miller. Sounds pretty extreme. Here’s the back story:

(these are the facts based on court documents without any biased interjections by me)

Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins joined in a civil union in Vermont in about 2000. Lisa Miller bore a daughter through artificial insemination.

Later Miller and Jenkins split up. In the custody dispute over Isabella, Lisa, being the biological mother, won custody, with visitation rights being granted to former partner Janet Jenkins. This situation being agreeable to all sides.

However, when Isabella, then 5 years old, returned from her first visit to Jenkins, promptly told her mom: ”Mommy, will you please tell Janet that I don’t have to take a bath anymore at her house.” Pressed on the issue, Isabella stated that “Janet took a bath with me.”

Later, Miller noticed other troubling behavior. Little Isabella began openly masturbating. She appeared disturbed and unhappy following visits. After one visit, Isabella put a comb to her neck and said, “I want to kill myself.”

Lisa Miller decided to halt further visitation… back to court.

Sylvia Haydash, a clinical therapist who evaluated Isabella, testified in court that the visits were doing serious harm to Isabella. They were causing anxiety, renewed bed-wetting, and general psychological regression. Haydash’s professional opinion was that “further unsupervised visits would be detrimental… and could cause permanent damage to normal development.”

Gwen Corley, a social worker who also observed Isabella,said: “Isabella suffers from sleep disturbance and nightmares, having difficulty sleeping through the night. She talks about death, and expressed fear that if her mother dies she will be at risk. Without prompting, Isabella told her she is afraid that Janet may take her away from her mom.”

A friend who sometimes cared for Isabella testified in court that Isabella had become withdrawn and unhappy despite her normally cheerful demeanor. She stated that Isabella said that she didn’t want to talk about her visits with Janet because “it makes her cry”. She also said that pictures drawn by Isabella also caused concern.

In spite of all this, the Vermont judge ruled that if the visitations did not resume, he would transfer the custody of Isabella to Janet Jenkins.

Michelle Kenny, Isabella’s personal legal advocate appointed by the Vermont court expressed concern that moving Isabella to Jenkin’s custody could cause an adverse reaction in the child.

It was after this that Lisa Miller fled the country with her daughter. Lisa received lots of assistance in her flight and hiding. It is this that Bryan Fischer is referring to as the underground railroad. No one is proposing snatching babies from the arms of gay parents.

In the context of Bryan’s “underground railroad” statement, he said: “… the mom had no choice, Mom’s have a sacred, solemn duty, a responsibility to God to look out for the welfare of their kids.” And if you’ve ever seen the movie “Not Without My Daughter” with Sally Fields, you know a mother will do whatever a mother has to do to protect her child… with or without the law.

I don’t know enough about Bryan Fischer to fully endorse him, and I rarely agree with everything someone says, but I have also learned that liberals often don’t let the details stand in the way of their agenda.

Bill McGee

* * *

As late as the 1960s, part  '70s and even '80s, in many areas of America, and especially the South, it was still considered a form of bestiality for a white to marry or be in a relationship with a brown or black that could and likely would produce offspring. Any offspring produced from those type unions were considered an abomination in the eyes of God and the Christian belief for some. For those who believed such rhetoric, they would even point it out in scripture. . White men and women who chose to be in such a relationship were often ostracized and denounced by their families. If such relationships ended and  children had been produced from such a union, the only way the white side of their family would consider even remotely  accepting sometimes their own children back is that they left the children produced in such a union behind, and promised never to attempt to contact those children again. In many cases, the products of such unions often came to be raised by the darker side of their families. Such a situation happened here in Chattanooga when the black male died and the children's white grandparents would only accept their daughter back if she left the children behind. The children came to be raised by their black grandparents. Their mother was forced to leave them behind.

Many who attack gay relationships today would have much preferred a gay daughter or son over one being in a relationship with a a black or a brown that might produce offspring. From the opinion piece written by Mrs. Jean Wells, those thoughts and feelings didn't just disappear. They just went undercover for many. 

Anyone can dislike, or even hate, me, you or anyone they wish. That's an emotion. However, when you take measures and use your influence (financial, position of authority, whatever) to harm another human being just because you don't like the way they look, who they are, the color of their skin, their sexual preference .... that becomes an action which has nothing to do with freedom of speech, expression or emotion, and is  something that shouldn't be tolerated by any decent human being, especially those professing to be "Christ-Like" or "Christians." Far too many with money and influence who are bashing gays and the gay lifestyle have and are using their financial influence to take their beliefs to a higher level of intolerance. Often by proxy, they've used their financial influence even in other countries where to be gay or lesbian can mean a death sentence. That's where any decent human being should take a stand, when someone would stoop so low and become so base so as to use their financial influence, position of authority to hurt and harm other. Then use that religion and name in vain to make it appear as if their religion and God sanctioned it.  So it's OK. No loving God would condone such wickedness.

Reminds me of the neighbors who formed a little group, marched down to a local neighborhood store. "Prayed" about it in front of the store, then manipulated and abused the powers of authority to get them to  intimidate and harass the store owners into closing the store. That "ain't" the works of any "loving" God, y'all. The sad and scary part about it all is they actually convinced themselves the Christian God had a hand in it all. When it was actually their own intolerance of others at work. That's the works of Satan. Learn to recognize the difference. Sometimes evil hides behind good names, decent religions and even good decent people.

Advice: Don't jump on the-hate-the-gay bandwagon without at least first knowing its headed or it's destination, and where that a"hate-the__(fill in the blank)-bandwagon" has already made previous numerous stops all throughout history.

Brenda Washington

 


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