aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Mainstream Media meltdown
Box office, Radio, Music and Books are all down. Internet advertising is up. Most interesting is the “Mixed” category:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ DVDs: sales growth is slowing dramatically, from 29% last year to single digits this year.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ TV: Total viewership is still rising, but as channels proliferate and the audience fragments the rating of the average show continues to decline.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Magazines: Ad revenues are up a bit although the number of ad pages is flat (they’re charging more per page). Circulation is also flat, while newsstand sales are at an all-time low.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Videogames: it’s the final few months of the current generation of consoles, which tends to the trough of the buying cycle. Sales were down 20% in Sept, but will probably pick up by Christmas with the launch of the Xbox 360.
A wedding today
I just came from a wedding. A beautiful ceremony, it was performed by a gay man; his life-partner was in the congregation. There for the first time I was struck by the irony of his exclusion from the institution he was celebrating. The legal ceremony he was performing. For a man and a woman.
My friend is an ordained minister in the Unitarian Universalist Church. I have another friend here, an open lesbian, who is a Baptist minister. Their faith is deep and heartfelt. They are warmly embraced in their religious communities.
The findings in numerous national polls conducted by highly respected pollsters like The Gallup Organization and The Barna Group are simply shocking. “Gallup and Barna,” laments evangelical theologian Michael Horton, “hand us survey after survey demonstrating that evangelical Christians are as likely to embrace lifestyles every bit as hedonistic, materialistic, self-centered, and sexually immoral as the world in general.” Divorce is more common among “born-again” Christians than in the general American population. Only 6 percent of evangelicals tithe. White evangelicals are the most likely people to object to neighbors of another race. Josh McDowell has pointed out that the sexual promiscuity of evangelical youth is only a little less outrageous than that of their nonevangelical peers.
Like the closeted homosexual (often Republican) who is quick to point fingers, condemn and persecute (and pass laws) in an effort to disguise his own proclivities, it strikes me that these sinful evangelicals are the problem. On the other hand:
George Barna has developed a set of criteria to identify people with a “biblical worldview.” These people believe that “the Bible is the moral standard” and also think that “absolute moral truths exist and are conveyed through the Bible.” In addition, they agree with all six of the following additional beliefs: God is the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator who still rules the universe; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; Satan is a real, living entity; salvation is a free gift, not something we can earn; every Christian has a personal responsibility to evangelize; and the Bible is totally accurate in all it teaches.
...The good news is that the small circle of people with a biblical worldview demonstrate genuinely different behavior. They are nine times more likely than all the others to avoid “adult-only” material on the Internet. They are four times more likely than other Christians to boycott objectionable companies and products and twice as likely to choose intentionally not to watch a movie specifically because of its bad content. They are three times more likely than other adults not to use tobacco products and twice as likely to volunteer time to help needy people.
Now I don’t doubt that these people with the “biblical worldview” will vote against me on an anti-gay marriage ammendment, but they are not the problem. They are to be respected, admired and courted.
I lost a life-partner to AIDS. Most in his family were practicing Brethren, and conservative Christians of the latter sort.
What was so moving to me at the time was how they used their faith and their religion to deal with a very difficult situation - the loss of a son, brother, nephew and grandson. Grappling with their belief in the sinfulness of his sexuality. And their acceptance of me, his male lover.
They still won’t vote the way I’d like them to vote, but now nearly twenty years later I will go see them at Christmas.
Gay marriage has ruined Massachusetts! (again)
In case you missed it last time and in light of this week’s speech by Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, I thought it worth visiting again Ed Helms funny, relevant, perfectly targeted sketch on The Daily Show last week. Find it on The Malcontent:
BRIAN CAMENKER, anti-gay-marriage activist: I could sit here and I could probably, you know, find some way of connecting the dots to gay marriage to all of these [adverse effects] if I had enough time and I did some research.
HELMS: Yeah, [Mitt Romney!] why take time to do the research, when saying it is so much faster? Besides, the statistics are clear-cut. Now that gay marriage is legal, Massachusetts ranks dead last in illiteracy, 48th in per capita poverty, and a pathetic 49th in total divorces.
Like electing Kennedy in Alabama
“Today when most of the country thinks of who controls Massachusetts, I think the modern day KKK comes to mind - the Kennedy, Kerry Klan. One person who has been victorious against that tide in Massachusetts is Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.”
In his speech Romney thanked Walpin for his “very generous introduction.” Today Michael Stickings looks at that speech and wonders:
How in God’s name did Romney become governor of Massachusetts? Was it just that he seemed to be more moderate than he really is? Or was it his all-American good looks and charisma? I went to college there back in the early-’90s. Sure, there were conservatives like William Weld around, but Romney in Massachusetts is like, say, Ted Kennedy in Alabama.
Word is Romney supported employment non-discrimination, hate crimes legislation, partnerships, and civil union-like benefits for gay couples when he ran. Today his audience is not in Massachusetts so he panders to absolute extremism. Michael says, let’s call it like it is:
You know, the anti-gay movement often hides behind indirect arguments against same-sex marriage. For example, they argue that “activist” judges shouldn’t be allowed to legislate from the bench, that only a legislature of the people’s representatives should be allowed to decide on same-sex marriage. Or they argue that “marriage” is a religious institution and that they’re therefore defending religious freedom.
But let’s call it like it is: The anti-gay movement is anti-gay. Period.
I agree with Michael; and would urge everyone to please read what I see as the definitive article documenting just how that movement thinks: Russell Shorto’s NYTimes Magazine piece, ”What’s Their Real Problem With Gay Marriage? It’s the Gay Part” (included in its entirety in this Task Force PDF).
Negotiation is not possible. Compromise is not possible.
The anti-gay movement is absolutist and extremist. We who are on the other side must realize this and fight back with equal conviction and the knowledge that we have justice on our side.
The nuance of my difference with Michael is this: I think politics is compromise, but only by fighting back with equal conviction and trusting that justice is on our side will we be able to negotiate and win.