Category Archives: Spirituality
Our hearts go out to the estranged children of infamous hate-mongerer Fred Phelps of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, a pseudo-congregation made up primarily of members of his own family. Seems the old man, the patriarch of The Most Hated Family in America is dying. The father of thirteen children, four of those have severed ties. The man who terrorized funerals of AIDS victims and war victims with equal glee did not hold back with his own family. Son Nate Phelps has become an outspoken speaker on the topic of child abuse in religious organizations as well as an ally to and advocate for the Gay and Queer communities his father rallied against for so many years. Go, Nate! BTW, not all evil-ass cults are right wing. Religious abuse, like totalitarianism, can approach from the right OR the left. For a groovy take on THAT Cozmic Debris, just ask old Frank. Zappa, that is, baby snakes and yellow snow…
From pal of this site, Big Gay Al. Word from his groovy Rabbi, who loves on the queer Tribe and the goy gays both. The cool Franciscans dig us, too. Righteous faith communities have been at the forefront of our struggle for a long time. As whip-smart homo-hopper and site-pal Tim’m T. West has said: “If it ain’t Love, it ain’t God.” Word! Thanks for this, Al! Rabbi Avi Schulman is at Temple Beth Torah in Fremont, California. Such a mitzvah!
A WORD FROM RABBI SCHULMAN:
On Wednesday I rejoiced when I learned that the Supreme Court’s had decided to nullify the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. As a result of this ruling, gay and lesbian married couples will receive equal protection and benefits under the law as do heterosexual married couples. I was further gladdened when the Supreme Court declined to overturn the decision by a federal district court invalidating Proposition 8. In doing so, it is expected that within a month same-sex couples can marry in California.
It has been a long, hard struggle to reach this point in our society. As a heterosexual male, I have not been subject to the intense discrimination if not outright hatred that gays and lesbians, bi-sexual and transgendered people have experienced. But I have encountered intense resistance to granting any legitimacy to those who are LGBT. Some years ago, I gave a sermon advocating for gay rights. In response, I received the following letter:
I hope your Temple isn’t caught up in supporting homosexual rights!! God in the Old Testament has never approved of the homosexual life style. In fact they were to be taken outside the gates of the city and stoned. Also, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.
Remember, homosexuals are filthy people and have filthy practices. No wonder they have AIDS and thanks to them, heterosexuals have it, too. Don’t give them any rights!
A lot of Jews and Christians are homosexuals because they didn’t bond with a Dad. The Dad’s too busy for them and they are just around women and get too feminine.
A lot of Jewish boys too are homosexual because they got pampered in the city.
Do not grant homosexuals any rights. Follow God’s way and not Sodom’s way!”
The repulsive attitude, the appalling ignorance, and the sheer bigotry of the writer of this letter are reprehensible. But make no mistake, even today there are still people in our society who would agree with these sentiments.
Yesterday’s rulings by the Supreme Court represent landmarks in the fight for equal rights for gays and lesbians in America. However, there is still much more work to be done. More than thirty states do not allow same-sex marriage. However, through education and advocacy, we can help ensure that LGBT couples can marry in every state in the US.
Our Torah proclaims that each human being is unique and precious, endowed with the spirit of the Divine. Our prophetic tradition urges us to strive toward creating a society that is just and righteous. Amos the prophet proclaimed: “Let justice roll down like waters, righteousness like a mighty stream.” Wednesday’s landmark decisions by the Supreme Court felt like a waterfall of refreshing water that washed over our land.
You’re invited: Bay Area American Indian Two Spirits (BAAITS) 2nd Annual Two Spirit Powwow!
This year’s event will take place Saturday, February 2nd in Oakland, starting at noon. For directions and more information, visit the BAAITS website.
Last year’s groundbreaking powwow attracted over 500 people, and made history as the first and only public Two Spirit Powwow in the world.
A Powwow is a public gathering with Native dancing and drums, seeing friends and family. It is a cultural event, large and crowded at times, yet intimate. It holds a place in the hearts of the Native community, and BAAITS offering up this Powwow in the name of Two Spirit peoples is truly an honoring. The overwhelming response of our allies honors and recognizes the work and important role of the Two Spirit community.
We welcome all Two Spirit people as well as allies. Come one, come all. All dancers and Drums are invited to join us. Special dance categories this year will include a Switch Dance (Women take on the male roles, and vice-versa) and a Duct Tape Special, in which the dance regalia is made of duct tape and found objects. There will be contests for dancers, fry bread and Indian tacos, crafts and gifts for sale, a raffle, and most of all – community!
Beating the Bounds: an ancient ritual still practiced today in the British Isles. Communities traditionally reinscribed the boundaries of their parishes by walking the edges carrying sticks, pounding on the boundary marking stones. In an era before maps were common, when literacy was rare, these annual events (also called “gangdays”) were intended to impress upon everyone where community boundaries lay. Since resources were allocated according to parish, it was vital that the knowledge was passed down accurately though successive generations. It also helped keep the neighbors in line. To reinforce the lesson, the gangs would (and d0) stop occasionally to literally beat the knowledge into the boys. Sometimes, the youngsters would also be flung against the rocky stiles. All in good fun! Part of a suite of jolly old British customs that includes flogging the peg boys.