The New Jersey Supreme Court has issued its decision regarding same-sex marriage. They gave the state legislature six months to figure it out and address the inequity faced by same-sex couples. That is imminently reasonable. Me? I'm over the same-sex marriage debate. It may be fundamental, but there are other issues facing the Queer communities that are equally if not more important. There's a manifesto circulating in the Queer communities entitled "Beyond Marriage." The truth is, marriage equality affects only a few Gays. This is from the manifesto.
Marriage is not the only worthy form of family or relationship, and
it should not be legally and economically privileged above all others.
A majority of people – whatever their sexual and gender identities – do
not live in traditional nuclear families. They stand to gain from
alternative forms of household recognition beyond one-size-fits-all
marriage. For example:
· Single parent households
· Senior citizens living together and serving as each other’s caregivers (think Golden Girls)
· Blended and extended families
· Children being raised in multiple households or by unmarried parents
· Adult children living with and caring for their parents
· Senior citizens who are the primary caregivers to their grandchildren or other relatives
· Close friends or siblings living in non-conjugal relationships and serving as each other’s primary support and caregivers
· Households in which there is more than one conjugal partner
· Care-giving relationships that provide support to those living with extended illness such as HIV/AIDS.
This is their agenda:
Ø Legal recognition for a wide range of relationships, households and families – regardless of kinship or conjugal status.
Access for all, regardless of marital or citizenship status, to vital
government support programs including but not limited to health care,
housing, Social Security and pension plans, disaster recovery
assistance, unemployment insurance and welfare assistance.
Separation of church and state in all matters, including regulation and
recognition of relationships, households and families.
Ø Freedom from state regulation of our sexual lives and gender choices, identities and expression.
The current debate over marriage, same-sex and otherwise, ignores the
needs and desires of so many in a nation where household diversity is
the demographic norm. We seek to reframe this debate. Our call speaks
to the widespread hunger for authentic and just community in ways that
are both pragmatic and visionary. It follows in the best tradition of
the progressive LGBT movement, which invented alternative legal
statuses such as domestic partnership and reciprocal beneficiary. We
seek to build on these historic accomplishments by continuing to
diversify and democratize partnership and household recognition. We
advocate the expansion of existing legal statuses, social services and
benefits to support the needs of all our households.
Now, can we talk about other things? Like universal health care.
Their lips are moving. Latest lie: No one in the Bush administration has ever called for "staying the course" in Iraq. That was asserted this morning by a liar, Dan Barnett, speaking for the administration.
HANNAH STORM (co-host): So, Mr. Bartlett, staying the course is no longer the operative strategy?
BARTLETT: Well, Hannah, it's never been a "stay the course" strategy. Strategically, we think it's very important that we stay in Iraq and we win in Iraq. And if we were to cut and run and go and leave that country too early, it would be a disaster for American policy.
BUSH: We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We're just going to stay the course. [12/15/03]
BUSH: And my message today to those in Iraq is: We'll stay the course. [4/13/04]
SNOW: People are going to want more of it, and that's why the President is determined to stay the course. April. [8/16/06]
BUSH: And that's why we're going to stay the course in Iraq. And that's why when we say something in Iraq, we're going to do it. [4/16/04]
BUSH: And so we've got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course. [4/5/04]
Asked to explain, White House counselor Dan Bartlett said: "The president has made clear that it is in our nation's interest to stay in Iraq until the job is done. He has also stressed that staying in Iraq does not mean we aren't adapting or changing our tactics to reflect the realities on the ground."
So "stay the course" is right when the president uses it, but not when the other guys do.
In just two weeks we have the opportunity to start turning this thing around. Vote for Democrats on the 7th, unless of course you like the way things are going in this country.
The Democrats should run a commercial that shows Republicans from Central Casting burning books and running the Constitution through a shredder. Who needs subtle. These are not subtle times. The tag line should read, "If you liked the Reichstag fire, you love these guys," or better yet, "Vote like your freedom depends on it. Vote Democratic." If the Republicans say the Democrats are soft on terrorism, just show Bush reading My Pet Goat and remind everyone that Bush was president when the planes hit the towers. No voice over just Bush with that blank look on his face and then the planes hit and the screen goes black with white lettering, "September 11, 2001 happened on the Republican's watch. Vote Democratic so we can clean up their mess." How about an ad that shows Bush saying "Terror, terror, terror," and then show FDR saying, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." Go to black screen, again with white letters, "Had enough of being scared? Vote Democratic and fight back."
I had the opportunity to watch Diane Sawyer's interview with Mel Gibson this week on ABC's Good Morning America. This morning I learned that Mel believes himself the victim in this sordid affair. Did you know that not one Jew apologized to Mel Gibson for thinking his movie, The Passion of Christ, was anti-semitic. I have to confess I did not see the movie. I don't find S&M snuff films very entertaining. I did read enough about it to have an opinion, but I kept my opinion to myself. I think Mel felt he was owned an apology because there were no pogroms after the release of the film. No pogroms, no anti-semitism. No, seriously, I think he believes that.
Those damn Jews accused him of anti-semitism and not one pogrom! Every Jew in creation should stop making war long enough to apologize to Mel because there were no outbreaks of violence against Jews as the result of his terrible movie? Hello? Here's my one question to Mel: did you ever stop and wonder why your movie about Jesus was so widely popular in Muslim countries? For a month or two, it seriously challenged The Protocols of the Elders of Zion for most popular movie about Jews in Muslim countries. Get a clue, Mel.
Regarding "all the wars of the world," he mentioned how frightening the wars in the Middle East were to someone who has children and grandchildren. He did allow that it takes two to tango. I think that he meant that all the wars the Jews were fighting did involve someone else. What a schmuck!
Mel has asked Jews to help him deal with his stupidity. No thanks, Mel. We know how you feel. You're not the first idiot Jews have had to deal with in this world. In this morning's interview, he played his victim card. Poor Mel. "I wouldn't hate Jews if they weren't so hateful!" Okay, he didn't say that. He sure as hell inferred it in my opinion. I was reminded of Maureen Dowd's column back when this brouhaha first occurred. (Thanks to Welcome to Pottersville for posting Maureen's column). She asked Leon Wieseltier, the author of “Kaddish ” and the literary editor of The New Republic, how he would help Mel get over his anti-semitism.
Mr. Gibson appears to believe that the Jews control everything. It is an ancient anti-Semitic insult. But now that he has gotten into trouble for his bigoted views, he has thrown himself at the mercy of the object of his bigotry.
He said he wants to “meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.”
He added: “I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery.”
. . . .
Now that the volatile Mr. Gibson has pleaded for guidance from leaders of the American Jewish community, I decided to consult the only one I know. I asked Leon Wieseltier, the author of “Kaddish ” and the literary editor of The New Republic, how he would help Mel heal.
“He has been a very bad goy,’’ Leon said.
“It is really rich to behold Gibson asking Jews to behave like Christians. Has he forgotten how bellicose and wrathful and unforgiving we are? Why would a people who start all the wars make a peace? Perhaps he’s feeling a little like Jesus, hoping that the Jews don’t do their worst and preparing himself for more evidence of their disappointing behavior.
“I have always wondered why people who believe that we control the world do not have more respect for us. Take that cop who arrested Gibson. Do you think it was a coincidence that he was a Jew? We have been following Gibson’s every move since he released that movie. The other night, when our uniformed brother spotted him bobbing and weaving in his star car, we saw an opportunity and we took it. Don’t blame us. It’s what Yahweh would do.
“When Officer Mee busted him, we all busted him.
“Moreover, it is the elders’ considered view that whereas alcoholism may require a process of recovery, anti-Semitism is a more intractable and less chic failing. This was not a moment of insanity, even if Gibson is insane. His hatred of Jews was plain in his movie and in his twisted defense of it, which was made when he was sober under the influence of his primitive world view. Perhaps he thinks that all he needs to do is spend a few months in AA — Anti-Semites Anonymous — and find some celebrity sponsor and run for absolution to Larry Zeiger, I mean Larry King, where he can say with perfect sincerity that the Holocaust was a terrible thing and gut yontif.
“But the elders have instructed Larry to be strict with the uncircumcised offender. He is to appear only opposite ‘American Idol’ and in the company of David Gest.
“We understand that Gibson cannot do it alone. But why do we have to do it with him? We would find it hard to be in a room with him unless, of course, he wants to count some money with us. Why doesn’t he turn to the vast number of his Christian brothers and sisters who show no trace of anything resembling his disgusting prejudice?
“Mad Max is making Max mad, and Murray, and Irving, and Mort, and Marty, and Abe. But we’re not completely heartless. If he wants to do Shylock at dinner theater, fine. If he agrees to fill his swimming pool with Kabbalah water, fine.”
Then Leon was just too aggravated to speak. He mumbled something in Aramaic and hung up.
Not being Jewish, I'm not supposed to take slurs like Gibson's personally. Okay, I don't. I still think he's a stupid asshole. As a zen buddhist pentecostal episcopal christian Jew, I was taught the principle of forgiveness. Rule number one, before you can ask forgiveness of someone you have offended, you must first be contrite. Blaming others for your mistakes is not an act of contrition. Saying bullshit like, "anyone who may have been offended by my act of stupidity" is not an act of contrition.
"Their alarm has been stoked by a highly suspect claim that if current trends continue, only 4 percent of teenagers will be “Bible-believing Christians” as adults. That would be a sharp decline compared with 35 percent of the current generation of baby boomers, and before that, 65 percent of the World War II generation." - Laurie Goodstein, NYTimes
We can only hope and pray. So to speak. Perhaps with so few, they can go back to being Christians rather than christianists.
Wow, where did 5766 go? Like a flash, it was here and now it's gone. And I'm not even Jewish.
I am Jewish, though. Not by birth or by training, but by identification. It must have been something that happened to me when I was avoiding the draft at the kosher summer camp in the Catskills back in the early 70s. Since I'm not Jewish I don't worry about my Jewishness too much. I have it completely figured out. It's just a phase I'm going through. Never mind that it's lasted 40 years. I'll get over it. It's just a matter of time.
Meanwhile, you want to know why I keep thinking I must be Jewish? Here's what the Jews here in San Francisco were pondering on Yom Kippur.
These concepts are complicated, Kushner said.
"He who performs repentance out of love," read one of the texts he handed out, "his premeditated sins are transformed into merits."
That idea, that a sin could transform into an act of beauty, drew an outcry.
One audience member called it "anti-Jewish," while another said that it amounted to "revisionist history."
But Julia Vetromile said she understood, citing the example of former gang members who use their experiences to push at-risk kids onto a productive path. They are saving lives by dissuading others from violence, Vetromile said.
"It's not that they didn't commit the crimes," Vetromile said. "But they couldn't do what they're doing if they hadn't committed those crimes."
A few questioned the limits of forgiveness.
"I'm one of the people who can't forgive the Germans and who can't forgive the Lithuanians, from where I came," an elderly woman in the audience said, referring to the atrocities of the Holocaust.
"You're allowing them to continue punishing you," Kushner retorted.
"For all of us, including myself, there are some things for which there is no forgiveness," he said. "But I regard that as a sign of my own spiritual defectiveness."
I asked a rabbi once if my obligation to observe Yom Kippur was affected by whether or not I believed in God. Absolutely not, he said. In fact, if I didn't believe in God, so much greater was my obligation to stop on Yom Kippur and take responsibility for the way I lived my life. Sometimes I wish I were either a little more zen or a little more Jewish, because I came up this year holding some grudges. Damn.
As a buddhist, I believe that a grudge weighs about a gazillion pounds and you put it in a tow sack and you have to carry it around with you everywhere you go. I have worked studiously to avoid grudges. I know I was supposed to start thinking about all of this on Rosh Hoshannah, but I was busy then fighting with an asshole. So here I am a day late and a dollar short with a gazillion pounds of garbage in my towsack.
So, belatedly in regards to the actual day the year changed, l'shana tova to all.