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Monday, January 04, 2010

Uganda and The Beam in Our Eye

Our good friend Dan'l emailed me this morning and sent me this from yesterday's NYT.

Briefly (although you really should read the Times article), Uganda has been encouraged by some of our religious right, several who hold government office, to propose a new anti-gay act, complete with life imprisonment and possibly the death penalty.

Here, possibly slightly edited, is what I replied to him.

From the article:

"“That’s horrible, absolutely horrible,” he (one of the preachers) said. “Some of the nicest people I have ever met are gay people.”"

Every time I hear "some of my best friends are", I know I'm talking to a bigot although they would never admit it.

California and Maine have both overturned their marriage equality laws. Other states (New York for one) have refused to enact them (and New Jersey is dragging its feet). Gays can't adopt in some states and in some cases, teens are hung on fences to die.Too many states have still not even gone so far as extending anti-discrimination laws to LGBT citizens and some laws actually prohibit such legislation.

On the federal front, we still have DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. We barely passed the new Hate Crimes Act (by sneaking it into the defense budget) and it certainly wasn't thanks to the religious right Senators who voted, in a body, against it.

Fred Phelps is still spreading his particular brand of hatred at funerals across the United States.

The threat, though, doesn't come from maniacs like Phelps. Most "reasonable" people knew he was nuts when he started attacking the families of servicemen. The threat comes from the "some of my best friends" folk whose white sheets are hidden under their suits and whose hatred is carefully concealed by their smiles and their "hate the sin, love the sinner" garbage.

I've been keeping up with Uganda on almost a daily basis through Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and the emails I receive from several gay rights groups. I've signed petitions and written letters. Did you know Uganda had one of the best records in Africa on AIDS prevention until the evangelicals got into the act? Now, those same evangelicals are wringing their hands. They can't seem to understand that they create the climate for hatred; especially in a country which has a long history of violence against its people. This is just one more example. At least they seem to have taken the death penalty off the table.

Too late for the hand wringing, the mea culpas, and the apologies. We continue to attack the mote in another's while ignoring the beam in our own.

The difference between us (as individual citizens, states, country) and the Ugandans is one of degree. We elect a gay mayor here (congratulations Texas - Houston if I remember correctly), a councilman or woman there, a Speaker of the Assembly in California, and pat ourselves on the back. The capital city of one of the reddest of the red states enacted an anti-discrimination law. We appoint a few to visible government positions and Barney Frank probably owns his seat in Congress. Meantime, that lesbian mayor in Texas, the gay Speaker in California, the LGBT citizens of that capital city, and even good old Barney, once he leaves Massachusetts, are still deprived of many basic rights.

I'm not sure there's much we, as a country, can do about Uganda until we clean up our own act.

On a lighter note, I hope everyone had a good holiday season, whatever you prefer to call it. Mine was a mix. Son Tim and hubby Juan are doing fine. Son Jim may be headed for Afghanistan in May. I had lunch with two of my great-granddaughters right before Christmas. Hard to believe they're all teens; two high school freshmen and one junior. We saw several of the family for Christmas and Tim and Juan came in for Thanksgiving. To top it off, my grandson, who I haven't seen it over 20 years and had all but given up on locating, found us on FaceBook. Joyous family reunion two days after Christmas.

Sorry I've been so out of touch. Most of you know I'm hanging out some on FaceBook, MySpace (although I hardly ever use it) and Twitter (same thing).

Gadfly, drop me a line when you get a chance. I'd like to know how you all in the Lone Star state are doing.

Happy New Year to all.

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