aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Former AFA columnist speaks out against homophobia
When Pam Spaulding was tipped off to columnist and former AFA staff attorney Joe Murray’s change of heart on the issue of homosexuality, she wrote and asked for an interview. The author of “some of the most entertaining anti-gay columns for the AFA I’ve ever read” - including, for example, Have We Lost the Culture War? and Santorum’s Surrender? - enthusiastically agreed to answer some pretty frank questions:
Pam Spaulding: As a Christian (and a conservative), describe your own evolution in thinking about homosexuality, the LGBT community, and how it has informed your politics and beliefs.
Joe R. Murray: Well, first I am not sure if I am a “conservative” in the traditional sense. To me, the meaning of “conservativeÃ¢â‚¬Â� has changed over the past few decades and, in light of such a change, I doubt that label applies to me.
I am pro-life, but I am also in favor of gay marriage. I believe in a strong military, but I do not believe homosexuality is immoral. I believe that trade policy should protect the Main Street worker and not the Wall Street fat cat. I believe that America has a duty to protect her borders and preserve her cultural integrity. And I believe in a higher minimum wage. So, I am not sure exactly where I fit in political spectrum.
That being said, the issue of gay rights has been weighing heavy on my mind for quite some time. The gay issue is a human issue, and thus I strongly believe that it must be approached with concern and compassion. Furthermore, the individuals engaging in the debate must recognized that behind the theories there are real life human beings that are made in the image of the Creator. [...]
It was...hypocrisy that caused me to open my eyes. Those on the Christian right, for whatever reasons, have become fixated on homosexuality. They are obsessed by it and perverse form of vengeance appears to be fueling their inquisition. I may be wrong, but I think actions are speaking much louder than words here.
The whole gay issue is no longer about the quest for the Truth; it is about fear and loathing. It is about shame and sorrow. It is anything but Christian.
And if a person’s sexual disposition is determined by birth, how can it be that these folks were created merely to be cast into Hell? The fundamentalist explanation makes no sense, but the view that only some homosexual behavior (see the verbiage used in Corinthians, etc.), and not all gays, is immoral does make sense.
Thus was my evolution. I may not be right, but I think the Christian community must explore these issues openly and honestly if they are truly to remain Christian. We have an obligation to explore these issues and be open to the fact that the modern view on homosexuality may be wrong.
Read the entire interview. Hopeful stuff. And great work from Pam!
What we are witnessing is not so much the imminent death of CDs but the death of the old methods of selling CDs. It’s still possible to make money in the CD business-any business with more than $7 billion in retail sales should allow someone, somewhere, to make a profit. The incumbents are getting killed, but upstarts are thriving, using different methods.
Those “thriving” upstart stores are “more like art-house theaters.”
Ok. Maybe. For a while.
“Crossover Day” bad news for Genarlow
“The General Assembly shall meet in regular session on the second Monday in January of each year, or otherwise as provided by law, and may continue in session for a period of no longer than 40 days in the aggregate each year....”
- Article III, Georgia Constitution
Day 30 in the 2007 General Assembly passed Tuesday with hardly a whimper. Day 30, or “Crossover Day” in each legislative session, is important. If legislation hasn’t passed either the House or Senate, it’s dead until next year, and a lot of bills, some controversial, some not, will have to wait until Jan. 8, 2008 for further deliberation. [...]
A bill that should be passed in the Senate but is a long shot is SB 37. It would allow judges to revisit 1,100 teenage sex offenders, specifically Genarlow Wilson, who is serving a 10-year sentence for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old when he was 17. The Legislature made such crimes misdemeanors in 2006.
Juanessa Bennett, spent most of her day Tuesday at the state capitol pushing for a change in the law that might lead to the release of her son.
“I hope to accomplish something today so that everything is near an end, and Genarlow and a lot of other kids will have a shot at a bright future,” Bennett told 11Alive’s Jerry Carnes.
UPDATE, real bad news:
[T]he Senate adjourned before taking up Wilson’s bill.
His attorney, B.J. Bernstein, was furious.
“The entire country has been looking at Georgia, and what we’re doing, and how we approach our teens,” Berstein said. “And what do they do? They don’t even vote on it, they just drop it.”
Amero sentencing delayed again
Just in from Connecticut. Sentencing for Julie Amero has once again been postponed. Originally set for March 2nd, it was postponed until this Thursday, March 29th. It’s now been bumped to April 26th.
This is good news for just about everybody. But Julie Amero is still living in suspense as to what her fate will be. I just hope that she, being closer to the case than I, can see reasons for being more optimistic.
For all the others who have not gotten our attention, this is the plea I’ve appended to all of my Amero posts:
WE NEED A COMPUTER FORENSICS INNOCENCE PROJECT; a Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld of the computer forensics world. We need experts who believe in the presumption of innocence and are willing to spend the time it takes to dig through logs, registry entries and hard drives to find exculpatory material when present. This is hardly the first case of its kind and, unfortunately, it’s not likely be the last. Prosecutors who look for - and presume - guilt do selective searches for data supporting guilt; those accused rarely have the resources to pay computer forensics experts to counter that selective evidence.
Scandal-plagued juvenile justice
Somehow I doubt that Texas is the only state with this problem:
The sentences of many of the 4,700 delinquent youths now being held in Texas’ juvenile prisons might have been arbitrarily and unfairly extended by prison authorities and thousands could be freed in a matter of weeks as part of a sweeping overhaul of the scandal-plagued juvenile system, state officials say.
Jay Kimbrough, a special master appointed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to investigate the system after allegations surfaced that some prison officials were coercing imprisoned youths for sex, said he would assemble a committee to review the sentence of every youth in the system.
The goal, Kimbrough said, is to release any youth whose sentence was improperly extended without justification or in retaliation for filing complaints. In his initial review of sentences, Kimbrough said, he had found many questionable extensions, adding that some experts estimate that more 60 percent of the state’s youthful inmates might be languishing under wrongful detention.
Such a mass emptying of a state’s juvenile jails would be unprecedented, experts said.
Among the leading candidates for early release is Shaquanda Cotton, a 14-year-old black girl from the small east Texas town of Paris, who was sent to prison for up to 7 years for shoving a hall monitor at her high school while other young white offenders convicted of more serious crimes received probation in the town’s courts. [...]
[O]fficials at the Ron Jackson Correctional Complex have repeatedly extended Shaquanda’s sentence because she refuses to admit her guilt and because she was found with contraband in her cell--an extra pair of socks.
Via Alas, a blog.
Stein’s not giving Stanford any money
In a December 2001 Stanford Magazine profile, Joel Stein said of his alma mater: “Stanford already got a whole wad of Stein money. Outside of organized crime, it’s not traditional to charge someone for a service and then ask for more later.”
On Marketplace last Friday, he played out that theme:
Stanford is always just asking for money - which I find odd, since I already paid them a lot. My latest letter says the school is trying to raise $4.3 billion by 2011 as part of the Stanford Challenge.
These are challenging people who aren’t afraid to ask for challenging donations from people who still haven’t paid off their student loans.
For those of you who have never been to the 8,000-acre Stanford campus, it’s very dissimilar to most places begging for charity. Darfur, for instance, doesn’t have its own new rubgy stadium. AIDS hospitals rarely have as many tennis courts.
Stanford, which raised nearly $1 billion in donations just last year - a record for a university - has an endowment of more than $14 billion. That’s more than the Gross Domestic Product of Belize or Sierra Leone - which has diamonds. [...]
Stanford could stop charging undergrads the $43,361 for tuition, room and board and call it an accounting error on its interest. It makes more sense for Rupert Murdoch to ask me for charity money. At least I still use his products.
I understand that rich people like to give money to organizations that make them look good. They want a powerful alma mater, a nice opera house, a buoyant Venice and a tidy stretch of road for Bette Midler to drive on. But they shouldn’t be able to write these donations off as tax-deductible charities… So save your stamps, Stanford. I’m not giving you any money.