A Gay Dad’s Note to the Pope: You Snubbed Us for Kim Davis? Really?

davis and the pope

Last week, I invited the pope to join my family for dinner. It was largely a symbolic gesture, although, I had a house cleaning action plan and menu picked out should he have accepted.

It was not that I wanted him to meet my family specifically, but to actually sit face to face with a family like mine. My two sons were adopted out of foster care and situations that were life threatening and dire. Our family in the world of LGBT parents is not unique. A great number have tale after tale of kids who have gone from lives of potential abuse and neglect to homes where their parents love and honor them, and that their welfare is a priority. A Cambridge study showed, as a matter of fact, that the only family structured parenting unit that picked foster care aid as its top means of creating a family are families headed by two dads.

My point to the pope was— before you judge us, before you pontificate on how our families should not be legally or morally recognized, you can at least sit with us, face to face and see what we are about.

The pope did a lot during his visit to America. The thing he did not do was meet with LGBT families. To his credit, while he was here, he did not do any overt bashing of us either.

That is, until he was on his way out.

Like a little kid who has been an absolute angel for an afternoon, and then pranks out at then end, the pope shot a spit wad as his parting gift.

He secretly met with Kim Davis and put his seal of approval on her behavior.

My letter of regret:

Dear Pope Francis,

We sat staring at the open chair at our dinner table that we had hoped would be filled by you. True, the chance that you would accept our invitation was a long shot. We were hoping that the dignity you could afford families like mine might be a possibility.

It turns out, that hope was even a longer shot.

While in America, you gave several moving speeches. You talked of the family and how you wished young people would be inspired to start one. You talked of love and bonds, and principles with which I not only agree, I live.

As you were leaving, we all could have walked away with the feeling that some common ground had been built. Instead you gave us a sense of disappointment and betrayal.

The issue is not just that you met with Kim Davis. It is that you embraced her behavior and encouraged it. You stated, following your “secret” meeting: “Conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right…

Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise, we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying, ‘This right, that has merit; this one does not.”

What you neglected in your pronouncement is that while one may have a right to object due to one’s conscientious beliefs, one cannot expect to do so without consequence. As with the right to free speech, one may have the right to speak freely without fear of imprisonment or jail, but it does not preclude others from both speaking back or reacting to what has been said.

A person who believes the Bible legitimizes racism and/or slavery may state their conscientious objection to anti-discrimination protections, but it does not give them the right to discriminate. A firefighter who believes flames are “the will of God” does not have the right to let houses burn down when he has agreed to hold the hose that could douse the fire and prevent catastrophe. Your right to object does not give you the right to demean others.

The most honorable objections are done with willing sacrifices.

Kim Davis reports that you thanked her for her “courage.” It makes me sad to think of defining what Kim Davis did in humiliating loving families as being “courageous.”

If you want to understand conscientious objection and bravery, I would ask you to look instead to LGBT activist Corporal Evelyn Thomas: “I served in the Army National Guard and The U.S. Marine Corps prior to the enactment of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; during a time when “homosexuality was prohibited” under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). I survived my military career with damages. I survived a corrective rape. I was raped by four Marines; in which a pregnancy was the result. I carried the child of my rapists. I reported the crimes. Although it was traumatic and terrifying time, I survived the physical, mental, and emotional abuse… Too many innocent lives have been lost in this DADT-protestwar against inequality and injustice… Many people have viewed the iconic photo. It feels strange to think of that moment in the LGBT Movement. My comrades and I stood along the White House fence with our hands handcuffed to the metal bars, as a drastic and imperative plea for President Barrack Obama to end the oppressive, barbaric, and archaic practices of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. This is our Civil Rights Movement. Each time I look at that photo, I see 6 heroes-humans that risked their professional careers and some cases personal relationships to perform a brave act. We did not perform this act for fame or money. We did it so that the women and men serving in our military know and understand they are of value, and “their lives do matter.” We will not allow any man, woman, or government determine our worth.”

Evelyn Thomas and her comrades were brave. They made a statement for their beliefs and they understood the consequences. They did not seek to be made comfortable. They sought to be heard.

Kim Davis is not an Evelyn Thomas. She is asking for the world around her to be forced to conform to her own narrow view. The fact that you might share her worldview does not make it any more worthy or legitimate to impose on others who do not.

The afterglow of your trip is gone. Bernie Sander’s tears over your forward thinking principles have dried. It was not that you snubbed LGBT families and fell silent in speaking on our rights, it is whom you chose to see and support instead. Salt, meet wound.

We look at your empty chair at our dinner table and realize it is small compared to the emptiness you ultimately left in our hearts, and in our hopes for you. When you were told that you had been a “star” on this trip, you replied “how many stars have we seen go out and fall?”

Point taken.

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Posted in Family, Marriage equality, Mixing religion and politics, Prejudice, Religion | Tagged , , | 52 Comments

A Gay Dad Sounds Off on How Mike Huckabee is Choking on a Mixed Bag of Chips

Huckabee chip rant evol

My sons love Doritos. Jesse is a Nachos Doritos guy, and Jason, always his own man, loves the Ranch flavored.

I love the It Gets Better Project. They have provided inspiration and tangible help for teens at risk for suicide. It is a cause that no one in their right mind could be against. Yes, Mike Huckabee, you can take that for all it’s worth — you’re an idiot.

The recent campaign in which Doritos sold bags of rainbow chips to raise money for the It Gets Better Project brought smiles across our household. The campaign went well and before we could get on the computer to order our special bag, it was over. Sold out.

A new money-making scheme has taken its place however. Mike Huckabee, a financial wizard of the Bigotry Industry has stepped in to capitalize on a very scant, and now consumed, bunch of corn chips. He knows full well that homophobia sells and he is out to make his bucks on the back of Doritos. More to the point, he is seeking to make money by demonizing the at risk teens who are driven to self-destruction by the rhetoric he produces.

Huckabee does this under the guise of being “Christian.” He claims that Christianity is important to him. Unfortunately, few have done so much harm to the true precepts of Christianity as has Mike Huckabee. I would go so far as to say that Huckabee is to the heart of Christ what Judas Iscariot was to Jesus. He betrays it with a kiss.

huckabee hate rainbow

The Huckabee Hate Rainbow: No matter what Christian value he tramples, whether it is abuse of children, incest, dereliction of duty or feeding a rich man’s greed, Mike Huckabee is for it, as long as it is anti-gay.

A rich man donates to hate, Huckabee organizes a campaign to make him richer. A homophobe incest abuser is found out, Huckabee rationalizes away all he has done. A woman dishonors her office and tries to humiliate loving families, mocking them for wanting to be married, and there is Huckabee holding her hand in front of a stolen rock anthem. Now, Huckabee is attacking an organization that has saved the lives of thousands of teens. All of this done under the banner of “Christianity.” If you believe him, Huckabee press has gutted the soul of Christ of its love and compassion and replaced it with bigotry and homophobia.

“Meet your new sick partner,” Huckabee sends to Doritos, framing the It Gets Better Project as a “hate group.” As he does so, he tweets to his legion “Stand by me,” otherwise translated as “send money.”

How does Huckabee justify this categorization of an organization that is so profoundly good as being something so heinously bad? Two words: Dan Savage.

Dan Savage loathes Huckabee. Dan Savage is also famous for loathing Rick Santorum. Both those men, and others who have received Savage scorn deserve exactly what they got. Dan’s tactics are not gentle, nor are they the type that will be discussed at the family dinner table. Dan Savage is the LGBTQ version of Donald Rumsfield. He embraces “Shock and Awe.” He seeks to appall and disgust the card-carrying homophobes to their pearl-clutching cores. He succeeds.

It started with Santorum, who sought to be The Guy to write LGBT people out of the U.S. Constitution, years ago (and likely would still want to do so). Savage created a vile definition for “santorum”, which was naughty and creative and went viral. That put it in Google Heaven and there the definition sat, greeting every search for “Santorum” thereafter.

Savage’s shock and awe of Huckabee was not as widespread but calculated to obliterate sensibilities nonetheless. He made a recording, not for the faint of heart, that turns a Savage/Huckabee handshake into a sexual chronicle would make even the most sexually free go “Ewww.” For the sexually repressed, it just makes their head explode. You can see what I mean here. Of course, taking that piece of Savage’s work and equating it to what is being done at the It Gets Better Project, is like taking mainstream Christianity and comparing it to this.

Exploding heads are a good thing for Huckabee. He has long learned that when a homophobe gets irate, he or she goes for their wallet. So as Kim Davis no longer is of use to him, he has now taken aim at the corn chip.

As he does, so have I, in my own letter to Doritos.

Dear Doritos,

It was with great joy that my family and I saw your latest campaign “There is nothing BOLDER than being yourself” campaign. I am happy for your success and the contribution you have made to the It Gets Better Project.

That success is not without cost, obviously. You have earned the vitriol of the people of a certain mindset, particularly those who are followers of Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee has publicly addressed you and attempted to integrate your campaign with an attack made on him by Dan Savage. The two events are non-sequiturs.

While Dan Savage came up with the idea for the “It Gets Better” inspiration to save lives, his editorials and the It Gets Better Project organization are unrelated entities.

That Huckabee does not understand the Savage piece about him is irrelevant to your efforts. Huckabee missed Savage’s intent on the recording. Savage has an in-your-face X-rated style undisputedly. He sought to show that homophobic oppression is as vile and disgusting to families such as mine as descriptive sexual concepts are to Huckabee.

There is a big difference between the harm of Huckabee’s rhetoric and that of Savage, however. While Huckabee may be shocked at Savage’s tone and verbiage, Huckabee’s parents will not walk in finding him cutting himself or reaching for narcotics. Huckabee’s loved ones will not wake to find out that he had gotten up early that morning and stepped in front of a train.

The victims of Huckabee have done exactly those things, and it is to them that the It Gets Better Project makes its outreach.

So thank you for your small campaign. I am confident that the viral stir it has made within progressive circles will help drive your business up. The backlash you are getting from those on the other side will die down. As they write out their protests on their Apple devices, post them on Facebook, they will soon be informed that both those entities have been far more LGBT community progressive than Frito Lay has been able to be.

While this note is a “thank you” letter, I actually mean it to be a letter of request.

Eat your own chips. More specifically, please take your own campaign slogan to heart. You encourage the eaters of your limited run colored chips to be BOLD.

Please, Doritos, be bold yourself. Put your rainbow chips in wide circulation. Don’t just let this be a limited campaign for the benefit of social media and a single check to the It Gets Better Project.

Let this be a message that American families see on each trip to the grocery store. Let the teen who is contemplating suicide because they fear the homophobic reaction of the world around them, that Mike Huckabee would prefer they live in, see the chips that tell them they are not alone.

As Huckabee tries to hijack the narrative and choke us all with homophobia, grab it back, and take it to the next level.

Do it. Be BOLD.

Huckabee’s hate then won’t have a chance. The mass crunching on a global scale will drown it out as a new brand of love hits the scene… one with a hint of spice, cheese and a kicky chili flavor.

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Posted in Family, Hatred, Mixing religion and politics, Politics, Prejudice, US Politics | Tagged | 4 Comments

A Gay Dad Invites Pope Francis to Friday Dinner to Hang Out With His Family

pope F dinner invite evol

In March of 2013, I was writing a column about the pope. When I started writing it, I did not know exactly WHICH pope I was addressing. One pope had just left the post and the Vatican was in the throws of electing another. As I finished the piece, the announcement came. A former cardinal from Argentina was to be the new pope. Pope Francis.

My article, which enjoyed wide readership, made a request of the new pope. I sent it via twitter to the Argentinian’s personal account, hoping to reach him before he was sucked up into the Vatican forever. The last line of my request: “Surprise us.  Inspire us.  Show us what love really looks like.”

In many ways, he has done just that.

From a church famous for defining LGBT people as “intrinsically disordered”, it was a shock to hear its leader to utter the statement, “Who am I to judge?” There were plenty of anti-LGBT moments served up by the Catholic Church as well, but gracious moments reflected from the warmth from Pope Francis’s gentle, humble attitude DID “surprise us, inspire us” and gave us a hint what love from a pope could look like.

As he arrives in the United States, we are reminded that loving embraces of the pope may only go so far. It is rumored that he has concerns about LGBT people greeting him at the White House. Mike Huckabee, our Official Grand Gay Basher, tried to stoke those rumors on Fox News. “If I were hosting a group of Alcoholics Anonymous, I wouldn’t set up an open bar,” demonstrating in one breath that he is (1) completely ignorant about AA members who live their lives comfortably in open bar environments all the time, and (2) seems equally ignorant on the pope’s holistic values. While Huckabee may love the pope’s stance on abortion, he and other GOPers are aghast that the pope is anti-poverty, anti-capitalism, anti-guns, global warming conscious and for progressive immigration. If by Huckabee’s analogy a few LGBT handshakes are “open bars to AA members”, then the pope hanging out with the GOP Presidential want-to-be’s would be akin to thrusting the AA member into a drunken Frat party orgy and handing him or her a keg.

Tacky protocol not withstanding, there is a rumor going around that within the huge dogmatic monolith of a bureaucracy that is the Catholic Church, there is a living breathing human with a heart: Pope Francis.

It is to him, and that heart, that I make this invitation:

Dear Pope Francis,

Welcome to America. Welcome to the land of moneyed politics where the common man is being drummed out of having a voice. It is where the wealthy are running for office and the current Republican front runner has the advantage of being his own rich person, setting him apart from the others who are merely owned by other rich people.

It is a land that boasts as a major finance stream a “hate industry” operating under the guise of “Christianity” that raises millions of dollars by making media martyrs out of bigoted people refusing to do their jobs. It is a land that doles out regulations and restrictions over a virus that kills a few people and ignores proliferated weapons that kill hundreds of thousands.


Your brand of humility could be a breath of fresh air. Oh, yeah, and our air is heating up causing weird weather patterns. We’re not doing anything about that either.

I am a gay dad. I don’t detect that you come across very many people like me in your travels. You certainly did not when you hosted “Humanum”: The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium, at the Vatican with Pope Francis . That forum represented the worst of the worst in the intellectual rationalization of homophobia. Your Humanum videos represented fictions created by the now discredited anti-gay “researcher” Mark Regnerus. The forum itself included nonsensical speculations that:

  • Same sex marriages are a trend that will go away
  • Teens lose sight of their gender as they become aware of their sexual orientation
  • The universe, the stars, planets and ecosystems were created through a heterosexual act
  • The earth is a heterosexual creation- the ocean is female and the land is male
  • There is a “counter” sexual revolution that is about to happen
  • That same sex marriages will somehow impede “human flourishing”

Just as Mark Regnerus included NO families like mine to interview in his thousands of surveys (even though his study was supposedly to comment on LGBT families), no families like mine were at your forum either.

It begs the question, if you are going to make pronouncements about us, couldn’t you at least meet us first?

So, let’s change that and get together — shall we? You are cordially invited to come to Friday dinner with my family. In a sort of throwback to a previous Catholic mandate, we have fish on Fridays. I guess that is no longer a rule for Catholics, the having fish on Fridays thing, as you once did, but no matter.

It is funny how rules are re-evaluated and then changed, don’t you think? We can just call our Friday dinner a “traditional” one, protecting the sanctity of dining.

Plus, our “fish” is actually sushi, so we can even upgrade the old tradition a bit.

While you sit and eat with us, I will proudly introduce you to my children: my sons Jesse and Jason.

The Catholic Church has not been generous about the children in LGBT families. In the 1990s there was a Vatican document that stated that fathers like me were doing “violence” by parenting our kids, be exposing them to us.

You can chat with my boys, happy, healthy energetic 12 and 13 year olds, and tell me if you see signs of violence. I doubt that you will see any, even though, ironically, there has been violence there.

Not by me. Jesse is my son because his birth father battered and beat him when he was two years old. That act ended a process that would have reunified them and removed Jesse from my foster care. Instead, it made him my son for life.

You would have a lot in common with Jason. He, like you, comes from a Latin American ancestry. He can tell you his worries about Donald Trump building a wall attempting to keep any of his, and your, heritage from further penetrating our country. He can also tell you how his birth parents were Catholics, who ingested heroin, causing him to be born six weeks prematurely while fighting for life.

He is not being raised Catholic, as our family would not be welcome in that environment. Your environment. We are open to hearing how you might change that.

He is living proof that being physically born to two people who can biologically create life is not the same thing as being loved and parented by someone who cares for you above all else. Other children bearing out that sad reality are little Zachary, and little Gabriel, both beaten to death by their birth parents when each was suspected of growing up gay.

While we share our fish with you, we can talk about Christ, who taught all men to fish. We can share how we used the nets God gave us and cast them into life. Our nets were not made of sperm and egg, they were made of love and hope. What we netted was our own family.

There is nothing you could say to me that would dissuade me from knowing that my sons and I were meant to be together. We were and are each other’s destiny.

One of our family values is kindness. We think it is one in which you would agree, and appreciate. We also honor humility. To us, that is the quality which says we are all teachable, we are open to looking at things fresh, from a new point of view.

Many who have had a change of perspective about LGBT families, did it through insights made by their kids. Through their eyes, they see that the modern world is being formed more by love than by DNA, and not only is that alright, it is a good thing.

In the past fourteen years, my kids have made me see things differently, better. It has changed my world.

I know this would be hard for you, as you do not have kids. You never have, and never will. So, with the meal we would share, I will give you something more.

My kids. You get to pretend they are yours for the evening. Laugh with them, communicate with them, and experience their joy. Give them a few hours to rule your world. Trust me, if you do, that world will never again look the same.

You have broadened the embrace of your church from its predecessor. We applaud you. We want to believe in the compassion you seem to express. As you have extended your range to include many others who have felt forgotten or discarded, I ask you to reach just a little bit farther.

Please include LGBT people and families like mine.

If you can’t, at the very least, be looking into the eyes of kids like my son Jason when you explain why. If you succeed getting through that explanation, then the heart I thought was there… isn’t.

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Posted in Bible, Equality, Family, Hatred, Living, Marriage equality, Prejudice, Religion, US Politics | Tagged , | 10 Comments

A Gay Dad Sounds Off on Clerk Kim Davis and the Pseudo Christian Martyrs

Relig martyr evol

Kim Davis has gone to jail and is on her way to martyrdom. She defied every legal entity extending up through the Supreme Court and continued to deny marriage licenses to the same sex couple wanting one. She did so “under God’s authority.” The law finally removed her so others could do what she should have been doing herself, as she pledged, under oath.

She essentially campaigned to be charged with the misdemeanor of official misconduct that can have, as its penalty, up to a year in jail. The couple whom she has violated asked that she only be penalized by fees, but the judge determined that would not be effective. It also did not work as well for the agenda by which Davis appears to be marching.

Kim is one of two Clerks in Kentucky, both named Davis, that are the latest in a string of botched martyrs, although how exactly their misguided self destruction will play out still remains to be seen. When it does play out, we will all be very aware of it. The big Hate PR Media Machine will make sure of that.

Casey Davis, the other clerk, has vowed to fight to the death, even though there is not a single person trying to kill him, has hinted about killing him, or to whom killing has even entered their mind. He is on a bike ride across the state in support of Kim Davis. “I cannot let my sister go to jail without my doing something to let others know about her plight,” he states underscoring the intention of the two for a penalty of incarceration. (They are not blood related.)

Kim Davis’s quest to suffer slings and arrows on the behalf of her “faith” is at least a little more subtle. She has carried her cross up the stations of the US legal system, to reach her final destination, and now seems eager to dive into her own crucifixion. I sent her a letter trying to persuade her that she needed to be wary of her traveling companions, the Liberty Counsel. They are not only the ones with the nails and hammer, they also are the ones collecting the ticket proceeds from this gruesome event.

Mr. and Ms. Davis will do what they will. We have seen that none who are eager to drink their own proverbial, and not so proverbial, Kool-Aid, are easily persuaded from what they see as their calling.

So, they, like a few others before them, will fall mightily on their sword, even though it is only made of paper.

I have decided it is time to address, not them – been there, done that—but their followers.

Dear American Christian Nation,

Before I start, let me clarify. I am not addressing all Americans. Many are either Christian, or your kind of Christian. I am not addressing the vast majority of Christians who happen to be American. I am addressing those of you for which there is no separation of Church and State in your mind. I am addressing those of you who cannot see us as a nation, only a Christian one, and one that ostracizes all who do not fit into that structured well cast core.

You. “The chosen”.

We have an election going on, and it is time to severely scrutinize the candidates. They are all failing and principle-less and their missions are eroding any semblance to a noble legacy that you once possessed.

I am not talking about the candidates for President and politics (though, if you want to go there….), I am talking about the invisible yet contentious race to be seen as the biggest “Christian” martyr ready to ruin one’s life for God.

Only common requirement: Be extremely homophobic and seek the expulsion of LGBT people from anything that resembles a decent, responsible life.

First we had the baker, the florist and the pizza maker. The pizza maker’s martyrdom did not last long. The primary challenge for them was there was no real situation. They had insulted invisible people for a non-existent event. Then they became almost instant millionaires.

Becoming an almost instant millionaire is pretty much a disqualification for being a martyr.

The baker fell into a similar conundrum. They thought they had martyr’s pain over a $135,000 judgment against them, but then they got four times that amount in fund raising. As riches filled their homophobic coffers, they raised up their hands, and in their best Marie Antoinette cried “let them eat cake,” and sent out confections to all the people whose weddings for which they would have refused to bake. But then they sent them cake… for free.

If you can’t figure out when to bake or when not to bake, and you earned a big payoff — you’re not a martyr.

The florist’s quest for martyrdom just wilted for lack of damage. She claimed loss of avocation, home and all that she held dear. The truth was a $2000 fine and a finger wagging.

Those who don’t get punished really at all aren’t martyrs. They are drama queens.

There was also the Idaho wedding chapel guy who was went around telling everyone how he was going to prison. He barely makes it on this list since he had nobody who wanted to patronize him, no authorities questioning his action, no ordinances violated, and no issues raised on how he was doing business.

Those who have to beg to be harassed, and then still aren’t, are not martyrs.

WallaceSo now we come to the non-related clerking Davis “Bobsey Twins” of Kentucky. Casey Davis has taken to his bike to fight the evil LGBT windmills like a Vivian Malonecrazed Christian Don Quixote. Kim Davis has taken the role of a modern day George Wallace blocking the door to keep a young African American woman from attempting to be the first to register at the University of Alabama. He stood defiant, blocking the door on June 11, 1963 as Vivian Malone sought to enter.

American Christian Nation, it is time to take a hard look at your players. They are not serving you well. No one is being inspired to Christ due to their actions. No one is relating to some grand principle when all they see is gestures of cruelty being offered to innocent people who want nothing more to love who they love, and to be able to start their families with dignity.

Your martyrs are becoming more and more objects of financial opportunism of a giant Hate Industry more than they are the faithful willing to die for honor, glory and a righteous way of life. This is not about following God, it is about following the money. Right now that money is being spent yearly in the billions to attack other families so that you can feel self-righteous— or so you are being told.

Has your righteous feeling enveloped your life yet? How’s that working out for you?

Here is the really sad part. The millions being squandered on this vitriol? That is not the money of America’s progressive people. It is your money. It is coming from your need to “get at” people you don’t know and don’t understand. You are bankrolling this campaign of oppression that your grandchildren will come to mock and deride and wonder how anyone could be so stupid as to buy into.

The waste is yours. It is mind boggling to think what could be done if your collective mindset was re-directed to things that Christ actually did and does care about. Things like helping the sick, the unfortunate, the homeless and hurt. What healing could your outpouring to these self afflicting “martyrs” do if sent in another, positive and affirming direction.

It would change this from the age of the Wanna-be Martyr, to the age of Christian Miracles. While the results could be Heavenly, the choice in making it all happen is quite Earthly. It would not be up to God to alter the current trajectory, for Him, it is a spectator sport.

It is, instead, all up to you.

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Posted in Bible, Civil Rights, Equality, Hatred, Marriage equality, Mixing religion and politics, News, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Gay Dad Sounds Off On the Pawn for the Homophobia Industry Refusing to Do Her Job

kim davis evloeq

Along the metaphorical highway on the journey to LGBT civil rights, there are many collisions. These are when willful ignorance runs headlong into justice. Few of these are as fascinating as the wreck taking place in Rowan County Kentucky. It seems we in the American public cannot help ourselves to rubber neck and gawk as a group of cold hearted counter people, led by a county clerk, rudely deny a polite gay couple their marriage license.

A small melodrama has unfolded. The “good guys” are a couple of Davids — Moore and Ermold, who want to get married. After decades of LGBT progress, it is exactly in their legal rights to do so. The “villain” of the piece is a woman named Kim Davis who refuses to issue them a marriage license. She had denied the same to a second couple, James Yates and William Smith Jr.

The governor of the state has told her to comply with the request, as has a federal judge.

Her representation, the right wing Liberty Counsel, has told her to refuse as they create a high profile scene climbing the judicial appeal process. She calls her own homophobia “religious freedom”, the Liberty Counsel may call it a number of things, but what it really is to them is… profit.

As a gay dad, Ms. Davis’s behavior bothers me on multiple levels. I look at the messages not just to me, but to my kids and their counterparts in LGBT families across the nation. First and foremost is her attempt to disparage families such as mine and declare us invalid due to her own belief system. Her treatment of two prospective families is humiliating and demeaning. Kids who are in LGBT families, and kids who are LGBT themselves should not be sent this message that a government official would rather they simply not exist.

Second, however, is in her behavior. I am teaching my kids principles of responsibility and citizenship. Ms. Davis violates that principle at every turn.

I have written her a letter.

Dear Ms. Davis,

Over the past few months, I have been watching your reaction to the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality for families such as mine. Your stance has been in equal parts disappointing and confusing.

I understand that you are angry that the fight for marriage equality did not go the way you had hoped. While I am pretty sure I will not be able to persuade you into liking the decision, as a public servant, I do expect you to respect it.

Respect is the key issue at hand, for you, and for the gay couples of whom you refuse to help. You are demanding a respect of your beliefs far beyond what is reasonable, and they are demanding respect for their ability to self-determine the course of their own lives. Unlike yours, their demands are not just reasonable; they are the way things should be.

Your demand that the terms of your job adhere to your own standards rather than the objective standards of law reminds me of how my 12-year old son would like rules applied. He would like for his brother, who is 13, and him to be able to go to the local pool unattended. The pool’s rule for unattended kids is 14 and older. Jesse applies his logic this way: “Dad. If you add both Jason’s and my ages, together we are 25. That’s the same thing.” (Imagine them trying that logic at the local dance bar.)

His logic and the rules are not the same thing. Neither is your desire and the rule you want to break on behalf of “your beliefs.”

I have to admit right up front that as a Christian myself; I do not understand the religious system you claim to have. Nowhere in the Bible does it demand that you impede the family of a same sex couple. It does not imply that you should. The key principle of the golden rule, to do unto others as you would have do unto you, and Christ’s second great commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself”, absolutely are counter to your current behavior.

Much has been made of the fact that your own marriage license indicates you have been married multiple times. There are, theoretically, county clerks who would find your requests for re-marriage counter to Jesus’s directive on divorce. Would you react to them deeming YOU as “unmarryable” acceptable?

I wouldn’t, and I would defend you. I embrace Christ. I feel He has given us the awareness to understand that His directive in the discussion on divorce was to a specific time and place. His purpose was not to saddle people like you into hopeless permanent unions, but to protect women from destitution.

Even though I am confused as to your exact motivation, I ask that you reconsider your choices for a whole other reason. You set a horrendous example for young people, like my sons, who should be learning how to effectively co-exist with others in our society.

Your behavior reminds me of Jesse’s. He has a high sense of what he considers right and wrong just as he did about the pool, and when confronted by a situation holds his stand to the bitter end. Many times his stand it the correct and appropriate one. We get into trouble when it is not.

In those situations, he, like you, will want to only do what he wants, when he wants. It has taken many discussions and his growing maturity to understand that by being part of a team, a village, a country and by agreeing up front to the terms of engagement, he does not get to violate rules just because he wants to.

It is a lesson I wish you too would learn.

You also seem to share the need for life lessons around choosing with whom you associate. When Jesse is putting his foot down on something he needs to do, but doesn’t want to, he calls in his allies for credibility or support. “My friends don’t think that is fair!” Invariably those he calls upon to do the wrong thing have a vested interest. They want him to take the action, not for his well being, but because it serves their interests.

Such is your relationship with Liberty Counsel. As the Lexington Herald-Leader observes, the Liberty Counsel “describes itself as a nonprofit that provides pro bono legal representation related to “religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family,” funded by tax-deductible donations and grants. In 2012 those gifts reached just over $3.5 million and in 2013 topped $4.1 million, according to IRS filings.” They further point out that the group’s involvement with you is not because they even believe they can bring you satisfaction, but that “Liberty’s attorneys know they can’t win the case in Rowan County. Same-sex marriage is legal since the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision and it’s Davis’ job to issue marriage licenses. So, why is Liberty Counsel marching alongside Davis in this losing cause? It takes a lot to keep that marketing machine humming and those executives paid, and the only way to keep those donations coming is to stay in the news. For that purpose a losing cause is just as good as, perhaps better than, a winning one.”

Liberty Counsel seeks to attract emotionally charged hate money from those wanting to harm all gay families, from those who would wish to criminalize homosexuality, from those who see gay marriage and abortion with equal passion. Just because they have rallied to your cause, they are not your friends either however. What they are doing to you is worse than what they will actually be able to affect towards LGBT families.

My wish is for you to take a deep look into what would make you the better person. Your “friends”, who themselves will reap millions, are telling you to hang out until the end where you will be potentially unemployed, and perceived globally as a selfish intolerant hypocrite who was cruel to her neighbors. If you succeed on your current plan at the behest of Liberty Counsel, they will make a lot of money and in a paradoxical way, you will be the loser.

This “Good Samaritan” friend is telling you to do the opposite: do your job, respect the people making their own life choices, and trust the God you profess to believe in that love will prevail in the end.

If you do that instead, the couples you are denying will get the licenses they wish. They will walk away with the thousands of protections they deserve.

You will walk away with dignity. History will not regard you as a hate filled martyr, but a woman who changed her mind, evolved and chose the path of compassion.

The Liberty Counsel won’t be able to use you for fund raising.

You won’t just cease to be a pawn by those seeking to profit from your disgruntled feelings. You will be the real winner.

A few years later, you will be walking down the street of your town. You will see a gloriously happy little girl holding the hand of her dad. She will smile at you, and give a little wink. As that visual “butterfly kiss” warms your heart, you will look to her father and realize that you know him. He is one of the men you originally tried to deny a marriage license. Your eyes will dart immediately back to the little girl… who will still be beaming at you.

In that moment, you will know without a doubt that you ultimately did the right thing.

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Posted in Bible, Civil Rights, Equality, Hatred, News, Prejudice, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

A Gay Dad’s Open Letter to the Christian Billboard Couple: Get Your Homophobic Messaging Out of the Faces of Our LGBT Kids

bill board couple evol

Two years ago Richard and Betty Odgaard humiliated a gay couple. After a long tour of the Görtz Haus in Grimes, Iowa, Lee Stafford and Jared Ellers were informed that they would not be welcomed to engage the establishment for their wedding because they were gay.

After the story hit at the time, I decided to research how deep the Odgaard’s convictions were. Did they morally examine each of their clientele or did they only target gay people specifically? I sent emails asking for bids for two companies merging who wanted to do their celebration in a wedding-like motif. Betty responded welcoming the unnamed event. It could have been gun supplies, escort services, or a porn company. She never asked or seemed to care. As long as it wasn’t gay.

The Odgaards are now out of the wedding business, but they are not out of the gay couple shaming business. Their new venture is “God’s Original Design Ministry.” Its sole purpose seems to be to be as intrusive as possible promoting marriage and family inequality.

Their initial offering is a poorly designed billboard declaring marriage to be 1 male restroom icon plus 1 female restroom icon equals marriage. It is also tagged with a desperate plea “from God” for help with this concept.

Their goal is another 999 billboards to be placed around the country. They also hope that supporters will print and distribute a number of fliers. Per their website, these fliers are for followers to “distribute and post throughout your community” and to “place a flier on every windshield in your church parking lot next Sunday.”

The Odgaards have also been placed on Ted Cruz’s Iowa leadership team. Apparently he was concerned that he was appearing too LGBT friendly. That is not a problem now, Mr. Cruz.

I decided to write to the billboard wielding team.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Odegaard,

I can appreciate that you are probably one of the most frustrated and angry couples on the planet right now. You were foiled in your dream to make your charming business exclusionary, and found out the hard way that homophobia is not a viable marketing concept. Then to make matters worse, courts around the country who absorbed a library of the most thought out legal and ethical arguments determined that the types of marriages you abhor are in fact viable, legitimate and societally relevant.

It is understandable that you are in a mood to strike back. It is apparent however, that your hunger for revenge has clouded any sense of spiritual or religious principle you might have. Your current behavior needs to be re-thought. A lot.

Your vision is 999 billboards. I guess the irony of an inverted “mark of the beast” has not hit home with you yet. I love getting subtle messages from God, and in my opinion, He is sending you one.

I guess that speaks to the core of this issue and your behavior. Who exactly gets to speak for God? While I think He may be wishing you to stop your current plans as they inadvertently play dangerously close to the devilish “666”, I have no right to put that opinion on a billboard and rub your faces in it. I also have the humility to admit that no Divine Revelation has mandated my view. It comes from my own sense of Christian principles.

Those principles also center around the “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” concept. You are not treating LGBT families in any way close to how you yourselves expect or want to be treated.

You would not want to arrive at your car and find it stickered with a sign that says “the Odegaards Aren’t Really Married”. You would not want your grandkids to be subjected to billboards that said “Hey Odegaards, you are just one big mistake. Love God”.

So why do you seek to humiliate my kids that way? Why do you hope that a bullied, closeted LGBT teen sees your call for privilege which will send them further into feeling isolated and unwanted?

Your behavior reminds me of a Christian school I interviewed of which I might potentially send my sons. I let them know that we were an LGBT family and asked if that would be an issue. The administrator puffed up proudly as he stated, “Well, no, it is not an issue for us. It might be an issue for you, however, because as we tell those coming from divorced families, we do not believe that theirs is God’s best design of a family.”

I was happy to leave him in his delusion of speaking for God. As I thought about it later, I realized how profoundly wrong he was. My sons were both born to drug addicted birth parents. They would be dead if we had not come together as a family. Through their 12 plus years as my kids, the one thing I know with absolute certainty is that destiny, God, the Universe, meant for these two beings to be MY sons. While I believe in God, I cannot prove that He exists, so I extend faith. My family is different, I not only know we “exist”, our bond of who we are is imprinted on my soul.

You have no right shoving a message into our face that says differently. You do not have a right to put it on our roadways, you do not have a right to plaster it on our cars when we go to our church.

Your point in doing so is not to discuss your point of view. Your point is to make us feel inferior and illegitimate. Your point is to make us feel, by embracing our own families, apart from God. That does not make you “holy”, it makes you cruel. It makes the actions you are proposing ones of abuse.

Tim Rymel , in his article “What does Ex-Gay” Really Mean,” discusses one of the few passages in the Bible that has been perceived as anti-gay. He observes “In 1946, the Greek word arsenokoites was first translated in the Bible to mean homosexual. Until that time, it had been translated to mean “an abuser of mankind” or to “defile one’s self with mankind” in the King James Bible. “

It is ironic. I know of no LGBT families that are “abusers of mankind.” None.

With your latest project, however, that is exactly what you are.

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Posted in Bible, Family, Hatred, Marriage equality, Politics, Prejudice, Religion | Tagged , | 15 Comments

When Homophobes Vandalized This Proud Mom’s Home, She Responded in the Most Amazing Way

im gay garage evol

Seventeen year old Miranda DeLong received a huge shock as she was returning home from work last week. It was 2am in the morning. She, a proud bi teen, was accompanied by her friend, who is transgender, walking from the boardwalk where they were employed. There before them, scrawled in taggers graffiti paint across her family’s garage were the large words: “I’m Gay”.

Miranda’s sister Emily is also an out bi teen.

Imgay garage tagMiranda immediately ran in to wake up mom Erin, and dad Joe. The family gathered outside to see the work of someone determined to shame them. Miranda and Emily were in a state of shock. Their mom and dad were furious. Erin told me, “Our kids are our everything, and to see them hurt is worse than being hurt ourselves.”

No one needed to inform the DeLong family that they were an LGBT household. “We found out Miranda was bi when I read her diary when she was in the 8th grade. She was having some issues at school, and wasn’t talking. I confronted her and asked and then told her that she could love whoever she wanted, as long as she’s happy,” Erin states. “Emily came out to us just this year. Her best friend is gay, and had “I’m gay” written on her hand. Emily wrote, “so am I” on her own. I didn’t react much and she thought I didn’t realize what it said until she asked for another girl to spend the night. I asked if they were dating, and she ran out of the room. She thought her sister had “told” on her. I went up to her room and said we already knew from the writing on her hand. She asked why we didn’t react, and I said because I wouldn’t have overreacted if she said she was straight, why overreact for saying she was gay, to which she replied, ‘I like boys, too.’ And I told her the same thing we told her sister: Please love who you want and be happy.”

It is ironic that the same statement Emily used that allowed her mom to lovingly embrace who she is, was now being used in an attempt to harm the family.

Harm was not to be had, however. “We decided to paint,” Erin declares. “We decided that some announcements deserve more than gray spray paint.” Paint, they did. Their garage now sports the largest rainbow flag image for miles around.

Some have asked why the broader LGBT image was used rather than the specific Bi image. Thinking of Miranda’s transgender friend who also experienced the shock of the event, Erin answers, “We made it rainbow so we could include all sexualities, we have many LGBT friends that visit our house and we wanted them to all feel accepted. It was a way to support them all.”

The DeLong family has already received some world wide support through the site Stop-Homophobia where the image of their newly painted garage first appeared. Artist/designer Aldo Gatt applauded their creative endeavor, especially since their experience hit so close to his own. “What an amazing response. I had the same done to my house back in 2009. Someone broke into the house and sprayed homophobic threats on the walls. It was devastating to think anyone would have such hatred in them,” he wrote.

Aldo home graffitiAldo’s break in was covered in the local press at the time. They changed his name in the story to protect him. The vandals obviously knew that a gay man had just purchased the dwelling, which had been built in the16th century and scrawled their warning across the home chapel’s wall. “The house is 450 years old and has historic marine graffiti on the walls that were vandalised with the graffiti. Thankfully a restorer acquaintance of mine helped me with advice on how to remove the graffiti without damaging the walls.” Aldo reports.

Aldo2Aldo, like the DeLong’s found that an artistic retaliation was better than an angry one. The once vandalized wall is now a thing of beauty in the vacation rental home.

Times and attitudes have changed in six years, as the DeLongs are fortunate in receiving support from their local police force, in a way that Aldo was not. “The police asked the local paper to put a notice asking if anyone has any information. I think it was someone that knows my younger daughter. Her boyfriend is trans and her best friend is gay. They’re at the house a lot, and it’s not some closely guarded secret. That’s why we think someone was just shaming them. They’re already out.” Erin states.

“For me, it was different,” Aldo reports. “The lack of empathy and professionality shown by the Malta police when I reported it was as disturbing as the event itself. I was very upset when I went to report it as you can imagine. The police woman there was extremely rude to me, telling me straight that they wouldn’t send anyone to see what happened. She couldn’t (or wouldn’t) see it as a the personal threat it was.”

We are living in a time where LGBT progress is inspiring homophobic anger. The haters are in the mood to harm and humiliate. Our work on public attitudes is not over.

The Delong family, and Mr. Gatt are showing us our greatest weapon in response. It is not anger or retaliation, it is our creativity.

When attacked, we can channel our understandable rage, not into revenge, but into beauty. When smeared, we don’t smear back, when hurt, we don’t let them see us cry.

They see us plant rainbows.

Apparently, given His response on the day that the Roman Catholic dominated country Ireland passed marriage equality … God agrees.

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rainbow in ireland

A Rainbow Appears in Ireland as Marriage Equality Passes

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Posted in Family, Hatred, Prejudice | Tagged | 20 Comments