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The coolest most awesomest thing ever happened today. Jason Collins an NBA basketball player for the Washington Wizards came out as a proud gay African American man. This guy has no idea how many young African American men he’s helping by coming out. When you live in a small town in the bible belt of America all you hear is negative things about being gay and it can make you feel extremely lonely and isolated. After a while you start to believe all the negative things and begin to hate yourself. Seeing someone like Jason Collins come out can help change that… and that is a very huge big deal.
I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.
I am very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength and courage to become the first openly gay athlete in the NBA. His decision marks an important moment for professional sports and for our country. I echo what my father said in his statement and similarly hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.
Out of all the arguments, articles, books, pundit sparring, cable news segments, and verbal jousting for and against Gay marriage; no one has captured and conveyed the thoughts and feelings of frustration from the Gay community better than MSNBC’s Keith Olberman. I’m a loyal viewer of his show, but somehow this clip got by me. It was taken from a show he did a couple months back right after California passed Prop 8. His heartfelt plea was just as eloquent as it was profound. Watch and see for your self:
If you can’t play the video clip, here’s the direct url:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChanTFSmqao&feature=related
Here’s a clip that exposes the hypocrisy of denying basic human rights from Gay & Lesbian couples. It takes the logic and arguments from the anti Gay marriage movement, and uses it against them. Before I watched this video, I had never thought about it that way. But, it makes perfect sense. See for yourself and let me know if you agree.
Here’s the direct link just in case the clip doesn’t load.
I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes, that I think is very relevant to this story and the time we live in.
Seek not abroad, turn back into thy self, for in the inner man dwells the truth.
When I first heard this story last night, I got physically ill. I had to turn the tv off because I felt an eruption of emotion waiting to explode up out of me and manifest itself in the form of violence. Words can not describe how horrible all of this is. It made me angry, upset, vengeful, and hurt all at the same time. Anderson Cooper interviewed the boys mother on his show last night. You could see how deep her pain was just by looking at her. As she began to tell the story of what happened, I struggled to choke back tears so I could listen to everything she was saying. When she showed a picture of her son, I looked at him and saw me. We even shared similar upbringings. I immedieatly felt a connection to him. I could probably tell you almost everything going through his mind that led to his suicide. The adults, the teachers, and all other authority figures failed this child. The measure of greatness in a civalized soceity can be measured by how it treats it’s weakest members. Judging from what happened to Carl Joseph, WE ALL FAILED HIM. His mother would be justified if she decides to sue the teachers, the principal, the school, the school board, and the state. Maybe this will finally make people see what intolerance can leads to. The blood of this innocent little 12 year old boy is on the hands of ALL those right-wing evangelical, hate spewing, homophobic, republican, bigots that are teaching their children that it is ok to treat gay’s and lesbians like inferior 2nd class citizens, because they aren’t real people anyway. They might not come out and say it like that, but that’s the message they are sending when they form groups to ban gay marriage, and when they pass laws to keep homosexuals out of the military, and when they preach in their churches about how much God hates gays, and that God is sending all homosexuals to hell. It’s very logical to make that leap in a child’s mind, and because of this, they think it’s ok to commit violent acts, and throw hate speech to gays because according to what they’ve been taught, Gays are evil horrible and damned by God and Jesus. WWJD? Jesus would want us to “discriminate, kill, bully, and get rid of” homosexuals”. … right? I’m only being facioious here to prove my point.
I’m trying to be optimistic about the future of this country, and the fact that we just elected the first African American President has made this a little easier, but when things like this are still going on in 2009, it’s like one step foward, and 2 steps back. When are people going to finally wake up, get wise, and stop spreading their ignorance disguised as “religion”. What ever happened to showing the love of God? Whatever happened to “judge ye not”? What ever happened to “Love thy neighbor”? For some reason, Christians tend to forget about those teachings when it comes to gay and lesbian people. They would rather fight for oppression, instead of learning about tolerance.
I’m just so so so very sad, tired, and depressed about what this beautiful child had to endure. It makes me feel powerless because I am only one man, and it’s going to take a lot more people than just me, to change things. And no matter what I do or say, I can not bring Carl back to his mother and make things better. His pain at school was so great that he thought hanging himself with an extension cord seemed like his only option. How many more children have to die before we open our eyes and open our hearts, and finally get rid of this ugly evil stain on our country known as hate and intolerance.
Here’s some links and video that explains Carls story in more detail:
RIP Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover
April 17, 1997 – April 13, 2009
|11-year-old’s suicide brings bullying to forefront|
I know I said I wouldn’t get too political on this blog (which is supposed to be a lighthearted look into pop culture), but I feel this issue is important enough to veer into the world of politics just this one time. I feel justified in doing this because the line dividing pop culture from politics seem to be disappearing currently anyway (sign of the time we live in I guess).
I’m perplexed over President Obama’s choice of Pastor Rick Warren to do the invocation at his inauguration. Here’s a little back-story about Rick Warren:
He’s an evangelical preacher with a HUGE following. He has very outspoken anti-gay views. Earlier this year he lead the charge to pass proposition 8 in California, which repealed an earlier judicial decision to legally recognize gay marriage in that state. This homophobic bigot has also equated homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality in numerous interviews and sermons. Despite all this, his church boasts having the 3rd largest congregation in the US with a seating capacity of 3,500. He built a $20 million dollar student ministry facility called the Refinery. It houses the middle school (Wildside) and high school (HSM) consisting of nearly 1,500 students. He is most famously known for a book he wrote called “The Purpose Driven Life” which has sold over 20 million copies, becoming one of the best selling non-fiction books of all time. That’s what makes this man so dangerous to anyone that believes in civil rights, and the separation of church and state. He’s not some lone backwoods nutcase living out in the woods somewhere in West Virginia. He’s an opportunistic religious leader with the ear of white middle America. Whenever I would hear people talk about how polarized this country is, I really didn’t give it much thought. I chalked it up to media hype, and republican spin… but this whole situation with Rick Warren opened my eyes to a dark and glib reality. There’s a huge force of Christian Evangelicals that are growing in number as we speak. They want to impose their beliefs and way of life on everyone living in the US. And they think anyone that’s not straight white and Christian doesn’t deserve any rights or protection under this government. I’m sure I made my opinion of Pastor Warren very clear. So you might ask, what am I perplexed over? I obviously disagree with this man, and his perversion Christianity… so you’d think I’d be 100% against and strongly opposed to Obama choosing him to speak at his inauguration? …right? Well, not exactly… and here’s why:
When Obama announced his decision to run for president, I really didn’t know much about him. I knew he was a Senator, and I remembered what a great speech he gave during the Democratic convention back in 2004 when John Kerry was running. Other than that, I didn’t know a thing about this man or his beliefs. The more I found out about him, and the more I found out about his politics, I instantly switched my whole attitude about politics from absolute cynicism, to energized optimism. I made it my business to do anything I could to help this man get in office. I happily volunteered at the local Democratic office every chance I got. I wholeheartedly believe in this man and his ability to lead this country in the right direction. When Obama won the election, he said something that made a whole lot of sense, and it was so simple and so true, it made me think why haven’t I heard this before from any politician. He said that although a majority of America cast their vote for him, he still had a great number of Americans that voted the other way. He then went on to say that he’s not going to be President to just the “blue states” and all who voted for him, but all of America. He said he wanted his office to be as inclusive and diverse as our country is. That means that we need to listen to those we agree with, as well as the ones we disagree with. That’s what a true democracy is supposed to be. We’re still extremely polarized in this country, but ignoring a particular group just gives them more power and more of a reason to separate themselves from us. In a way it legitimizes their cause. So even-though I don’t agree with Pastor Rick Warren, he has very strong influence with middle America. And the way our economy is looking, we can’t afford to ostracize anyone.
I think we need to change the way we look at politics. We’re so use to the “status quo”, of how our government and elected officials operate, that we think that is the way it should be done. For instance, everyone has made such a big deal over Obama’s staff choices. He has women, men, Democrats, Republicans, Blacks, Whites, Asians, etc etc. He’s picking the people that he thinks are best qualified for whatever position. Previous Presidents have always picked only staff members from their political party, and family members, and even people that they owe a favor to. We’ve seen this happen that way for so long, that we’re blinded to the ugliness of it.
Ok, there’s my “two cents” (lol). In conclusion, I strongly disagree with all of Pastor Warren’s religious and political views, but I think President Obama made a wise choice in choosing him. He’s reaching out to a huge Evangelical community, and showing them and all Americans a lesson in love and togetherness.
Embedded video from CNN Video