A personal blog by a graying (mostly Anglo with light African-American roots) gay leftist leaning liberal progressive fit married college-educated former Baha'i NPR-listening Professor Emeritus now following the Dharma from California to Minas Gerais, Brasil.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Via Faith In America
Dear Faith In America Supporters,
MAY I PLEASE ASK THAT YOU TAKE 10 MINUTES TO READ THIS NOTE ABOUT THE
FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY…AND HOW FAITH IN AMERICA CAN HELP MAKE IT BETTER.
Let me first state clearly that I believe so strongly that we must
either change anti-LGBT religicals or we must marginalize their role in
society. It’s not an either or, but both.
year with the holiday season sOur goal is to educate those that are in conflict and willing to learn, and to marginalize the role of those that are not. https://secure.squarespace.com/commerce/donate?donatePageId=57b4e3d2414fb5af39aefab3 Here’s why
As we all emerge from the fog of the election results, many of us are
left wondering how we move forward onto this horizon that seemingly
portends such danger to the gains we as a country have made in recent
years. At this time, Faith in America feels it is important to identify
the threats to continued justice for the LGBT community…and so many
other vulnerable groups….. as put forth by the new administration, to
place in perspective how viable these threats are and to offer solid
solutions about how those of us who value justice can leverage this
setback to justice as an impetus for greater change. The very real
silver lining is that sometimes it takes a kick in the butt like this to
wake more people up to do more….to ultimately gain more. I believe WE
The choice of Mike Pence as running mate was the first indication that
Donald Trump had a ‘faith strategy’….a strategy to woo evangelical
voters. Many looked at Trump’s pandering to the likes of Franklin
Graham, James Dobson or Jerry Falwell, Jr. as disingenuous or cynical,
but the reality is, he was smart to do it and it was clearly a factor in
his winning. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton did not have an
effective faith strategy and definitely did not come up with an
effective and innovative way to convince this important voting block
that in fact her past performance proves that she was the candidate with
strong moral values. When I think about ‘what is a good
Christian?’…Hillary is definitely it. Mike Pence is the worst of the
worst kind of person masking his outdated, ill-informed religious
bigotry as his being a ‘Christian.’ Mr. Pence, I’ve met good Christians
and you’re not one of them!
Trump not only courted voter’s hostile to the LGBT community while
occasionally saying something more moderate, but now looks like he will
potentially seek to pursue policies the Vice President elect in fact
championed as governor in his home state.
More concretely, this new administration has committed to nullifying
executive orders of the Obama administration, inclusive likely of the
protections offered to LGBT professionals employed by federal
contractors. Besides the real-life impact, it has a strong symbolic
message: the government will not protect those that are discriminated
Most disturbingly, is this administration’s professed commitment to the
furtherance of LBGT discrimination through the guise of emphasizing
“state’s rights” and “religious freedom” – two ruses presently employed
at the state level to deny equal rights to LGBT individuals.
Principally, it is the administration’s intent to further this agenda
through the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice in the tradition of
Scalia. Regardless of what he says that he believes marriage equality
is settled law, if Trump appoints a Scalia type to the bench, all bets
Finally, through new appointments to the Department of Health and Human
Services, any efforts thus far to identify and ameliorate the public
health crisis that is attendant to the LGBT community by virtue of its
minority status will likely be curbed. And by virtue of the extremely
harmful teachings that vulnerable kids grow up with. Second
Taken as a whole, the foregoing can seem overwhelming and
insurmountable. With this said, it is important to pause and determine
how likely and immediate each of these threats are.
Sadly, there can be anticipated a broad milieu that will seek to frame
the conversation of LGBT rights in hostile terms. Knowing the president
elect’s experience, he will likely delegate much responsibility to vice
president Pence and in so doing it can be expected Pence will seek to
further his extreme views wherever possible…and clearly, his views are
based on his religious teachings. It is reasonable therefore to
anticipate that federal protections through Obama’s executive order will
be the first assault.
Now that the Executive and Legislative branches are controlled by the
GOP, it can be expected that legislation will be crafted that will
further their aforementioned causes of states’ rights and religious
freedom. It is hoped that Democrats’ filibuster maneuvers would be
employed in defense of the LGBT community. Whatever pieces of
legislation which are successfully passed, however, ultimately must be
Constitutional. Therefore, the appointment of a Scalia judge it is
feared will potentially allow for the Constitution to be re-shaped. It is important to note that in the era of Scalia, great gains were made for LGBT rights.
A new Scalia judge will sadly not move the court in the progressive
direction we had all hoped, however, it will not fundamentally alter the
composition of a court which struck down DOMA and made marriage
equality the rule of the land.
Lastly, any overtures regarding Constitutional Amendments must be
tempered with the knowledge that such proposed Amendments will never
ultimately clear the extremely high bar set to affect such change.
There simply is not sufficient support to cause such mechanization's to
If this administration can be held to one term, we are hopeful that
lasting, destructive change can be averted. HOWEVER, THIS PROFOUND IF IS IN THE HANDS OF US WHO ARE COMMITTED TO HOLDING THIS ADMINISTRATION ACCOUNTABLE. So where does this leave us?
Aaron Sorkin penned a beautiful letter to his wife and daughter this
week, grieving this nation’s present malady, but more importantly
reminding his loved ones of the great responsibility his household now
bears to arise to a momentous occasion. The time for tweets and News
Feed posts is more important than ever. You can be a huge asset in
educating, in moving our messages more viral to a much wider audience.
Will you commit 15 minutes a day to watch our social media, like,
comment and share? Now we must pick up peaceful arms, roll up our
sleeves and place all hands-on deck. Will you help us hold fund
raisers? Support our fundraising efforts by sharing with friends and
family? By March 1, 2017 we need to raise $ 2 million so we can quickly
enhance the implementation of our efforts.
We are moving across a horizon now where the hostilities of a minority
yet influential group of sadly uneducated are in plain view. They are
uneducated about who LGBT people are, their accomplishments and goodness
in life, and the extreme suffering too many have been subject to. They
have been misled by their religious leaders. They interpret Scripture
in an outdated and misguided way. I’ve met too many parents who tell me
they actually never really read “the clobber verses” until their child
came out….and once they did, they realized they were wrong or not really
applicable to their loving child. Faith in America would like to
encourage all of you to see the opportunity this presents for those who
embrace love and justice.
The curtain has been pulled back and the prejudicial motivations of
those who ushered in this administration are in plain view. We must now
offer remedy in the form of knowledge alternatives….be they medical or
theological…. and we must seek out our political and allies as
stakeholders to champion our causes. Now is the time to choose and
rally around our fair minded and compassionate leaders.
More specifically, for those of you who have graciously supported the
cause of Faith in America – now more than ever we need all of your help
to protect what progress has been made and continue to raise awareness
about the LGBT public health crisis. Hundreds of thousands are
tormented with mental illness, homelessness, and, one to two thousand
take their lives each year. Consistent with FIA’s stated goal of ending
religious based teachings, which underlies this epidemic, we are
launching two ground breaking, game changing initiatives:
We are assembling concrete data led by prominent psychiatrists,
physiologists and pediatricians to educate anti-LGBT people….from
religious leaders to parents and all….about the very real and dangerous
harm anti-LGBT religious teachings have on LGBT people’s mental health,
especially youth. Distilling it down to the basic root cause of the
vast majority of anti-LGBT behaviors, we must give more than a
theological reason to stop the toxic teaching that “homosexuality is a
sin.” More on this to follow in the months to come.
Hundreds of campuses across this country employ LGBT discriminatory
language in their school’s bi-laws. At the time when youth’s principal
lifespan task is to form deep, intimate relationships – our LGBT
students are precluded from achieving this monumental lifespan task. Is
it any wonder why there are such disproportionately high rates of
suicide among college aged LGBT students?
Faith in America has conceived what it believes to be a game changer to
end these teachings on college campuses. Leveraging the legal expertise
of board members Roberta Kaplan, Howard Vine, and Shannon Minter, along
with legal counsel Phil Wells, FIA will be executing a comprehensive
strategy to end these teachings on campuses across the nation.
These campaigns are called END THE HARM.
We need your help to do this. Please give of your time and money. We
have run our organization mostly through volunteer efforts.
END THE HARM now requires countless people hours to do pain staking
research and data base population, as well as meeting convening’s. We
need your help on social media. Additionally, this will be enhanced and
significantly benefit from dedicated public relations and media staff to
elevate the cause, and make it part of the mainstream conversation. We
are assembling the team now. Your generous donations will have a
profound, measurable impact on the lives of LGBT youth everywhere.
United, together we will successfully combat forces of fear and lack of
knowledge, of animus which has been unleashed before our eyes. Your
partnership now can be the force for good that triumphs over evil and
fear. I know from personal experience that Faith In America's work
provides hope to our youth and gives them promise for a new horizon
filled with love and justice and.... a“whole” life.
I want to share something that happened to me on Election Day. One of
our long-term employees came to see me. With tears in their eyes, told
me about how their 20 something child came out over the weekend.
For generations, this family has attended and still does, what has
become one of the most virulently anti-LGBT churches in our rural area.
But when their childcame out, as they told me, they knew that everything
I had been saying in Faith in America's messaging had been "right."
Their 3 year younger child read our website and saw a speech I gave and
told his parent that “Mitchell was right." Before leaving we stood up
and hugged, and this person told me they loved me. It was quite
emotional and I must admit, nourishing…..makes my commitment to this
work worthwhile. I instinctively asked if they felt their child was a
sinner. Looking in my eyes, the verdict: no. This is our work. To make a
world where children are not just accepted, but embraced. If need be,
one at a time. With your increased support, we can reach much larger
I’ll end as I started: As we end the year with the holiday season Our goal is to educate those that are in conflict and willing to learn, and to marginalize the role of those that are not.