In an unexpected unanimous vote June 5, commissioners in Hillsborough County repealed that community’s contentious gay pride ban that has stood for the past eight years. Over the years, the ban has brought national disgrace to Tampa and its neighboring communities at a time when St. Pete Pride on the other side of the bay has quickly grown into that county’s largest single one day event and the largest gay pride celebration in Florida.
Commissioner Kevin Beckner, who is gay, set the stage for a process that took more than two hours. Passage of the initial ban in 2005 took only a minute and 44 seconds.
After Beckner showed a 2005 video of the ban passing, he reintroduced the motion he had made at a previous commission meeting and asked his colleagues to vote for repeal with a “capital R.” The statement was an obvious reference to the language used by then-commissioner Ronda Storms who introduced the motion to “ban recognition of all gay pride events…little ‘g’ little ‘p’.” Many felt that comment was particularly hateful to the LGBT community. Storms also managed to get an amendment passed that said the ban could only be removed by a super majority vote of at least 5-2
Beckner’s comment drew a loud audible positive response from the large crowd in the commission chambers. At the request of Equality Florida, many supporters of the repeal wore red.
Even before commissioners themselves took up the issue it was obvious it was a controversial one to the public. Nearly 40 people took part in the public comment segment preceding the vote, so many in fact that the commission restricted comments to two minutes from the normal three minute limit.
Speakers against the repeal included religious leaders from conservative churches and a synagogue. In one comment that drew loud laughter from the crowd, a speaker said it didn’t matter what the economic cost was to the community because of the ban, that the real cost “was in losing God’s favor” if it was repealed.
One speaker used an unusual tactic by saying she and her husband were pilots but that pilots weren’t seeking what she saw as “special rights” being granted to members of the LGBT community. A rabbi said that if the LGBT community wanted acceptance from him that they had to accept his rejection of their lifestyle. There were a number of speakers who seemed to be confused that being LGBT was a “lifestyle choice” and not something that is inherent in a person’s identity.
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By the Chicago Tribune
Thousands tuned in to social media and live streams throughout the day Friday, (May 30) sending tweets and other messages of hope as they waited for the Illinois House to call a vote on the legalization of gay marriage. During breaks, activists paused to snap smiling pictures with the bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago.
But as the hours wore on, the optimism and energy dissolved in the face of strong opposition from Catholic and conservative African-American church groups, leading Harris to rise on the floor and tearfully announce that he would not call the bill — there wasn’t enough support after all.
His speech was greeted by the angry shouts of dozens of supporters who had been waiting all day to watch the history-making event.
“It felt like someone knocked me to the floor,” said Robyne O’Mara, who has been in a same-sex relationship for the past three decades and took off work Friday to be at the Capitol. “They failed us.”
Illinois had appeared poised to become the 13th state to approve same-sex marriage. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn promised to sign the bill. Democrats held veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate. President Barack Obama called for its passage during a Thursday night fundraiser in his home city, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was a major backer as well.
As anticipation reached a frenzied level Friday, so too did Harris’ lobbying efforts. He spent hours going desk to desk surveying colleagues, occasionally stepping out of the chamber to hold meetings and huddling on the floor with House Speaker Michael Madigan and with Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, who shepherded the measure through the Senate on a 34-21 vote on Feb. 14.
In the end, however, Harris declined to point the finger at any one group of lawmakers for the failure to vote, saying individual members had to make up their own mind and that several colleagues had asked to have the summer to weigh the issue in their district, with the promise they would return in November prepared to support same-sex marriage.
“This was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life,” Harris said of the decision to wait.
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By John Becker, Bilerico Project blog
In an explosive interview published yesterday (May 29) by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Darren Sherkat — a member of the editorial board of the journal Social Science Research, which published Mark Regnerus’s disgraced “study” claiming that gays and lesbians make inferior parents — once again eviscerated the study as “deeply flawed” and its author as “disgraced.”
Sherkat, who is also a professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University, was appointed by Social Science Research editor James Wright to conduct an audit of the process by which Regnerus’s study was reviewed and approved for publication.
Speaking to the SPLC’s Evelyn Schlatter, he remarked,
When we talk about Regnerus, I completely dismiss the study. It’s over. He has been disgraced. All of the prominent people in the field know what he did and why he did it. And most of them know that he knew better. Some of them think that he’s also stupid and an ideologue. I know better. I know that he’s a smart guy and that he did this on purpose, and that it was bad, and that it was substandard.
Additionally, Sherkat said that Regnerus’s “study” is part of a much larger and very alarming trend: the infiltration of mainstream academia, science, and research by conservative evangelicals, who then conduct and publish dubious studies bought and paid for by private foundations and think tanks with specific ideological agendas. In short, the right wing is hijacking science in a long-term effort to win the culture wars:
There is in fact a movement to change the intellectual and cultural climate of academics. This has been going on for over 30 years. Look at things like James Davidson Hunter’s Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation, where he talks about the growth of these more intellectual conservative evangelical types in Christian colleges like Wheaton and Gordon and Calvin, which is Regnerus’ alma mater. They’ve actively courted the young, successful people in these colleges to become professors, to become intellectuals, and they support their careers.One thing that’s disturbing to me about the Regnerus study is that Regnerus (right) received a large amount of money from these foundations and this creates a very different scholarly and intellectual atmosphere. It creates a playing field that’s not level. Someone like Regnerus is now able to go out and buy his own data, if we’re to accept data of this quality.
Even if we were to say it’s high-quality data, he is able to get a million dollars’ worth of influence — he was able to generate that kind of funding from these conservative foundations in a way that other intellectuals are not able to do. All of the traditional sources of social scientific funding have dried up over the last 20 years and there’s nowhere to go to get money, but these guys have it. There are talks in Congress about cutting the entire social science budget at the National Science Foundation. That is chilling, because then we’ll be completely reliant on people like Mark Regnerus and Brad Wilcox [of the University of Virginia] and Christian Smith [of Notre Dame University] and people like that for our information about potentially crucial or controversial issues.
WORD UP 218 – May 29, 2013
Weekly newsletter of NEW CHURCH FAMILY
3520 W. International Speedway Blvd. (US 92)
Daytona Beach, FL 32124
Rev. Susan McDaniels, interim pastor
Telephone: 386-527-5952 E-mail: NewChurchFamily@gmail.com
Office Hours of Pastor – Tuesday and Thursday 11-3 p.m.
(Subject to ministry needs outside the building; it’s best to call ahead if you need to see the pastor at a certain time.)
The building also is open Wed. 8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. (Tom Brown on duty)
THIS SUNDAY – JUNE 2 – Worship & Holy Communion, 10 a.m., Rev. Susan preaching. REMINDER: This is potluck Sunday, so bring in your favorite dish or beverage. Also, we’ll be receiving our monthly special collection of coins and dollars for the Benevolence Fund.
SCRIPTURE for SUNDAY
Lectionary Readings (Revised Common Lectionary, Year C)
1 Kings 18:20–39 or 1 Kings 8:22–23, 41–43; Psalm 96; Galatians 1:1–12; Luke 7:1–1
PRAYERS of the People
n Healing for Dan R., spots on the lungs
n Steve G. gives thanks for remission that a co-worker’s spouse has received after long treatment for cancer
n Healing for Larry C. in Miami, our frequent guest pianist. He has emergency cataract surgery scheduled for June 6. He has lost most of his sight in one eye.
n Continued healing for Margaret’s brother Pat , dealing with car accident injuries
n Continued rehab progress for Jennifer
n Healing for Linda N., who had to go to the ER Sat. night after taking a bad fall.
n Prayers for Lila Rose, the 6 year old with advanced cancer
n Roxanne gives praise and asks safety for her elderly relatives, embarking on a mission trip to Africa.
n Thanksgiving for young Isaiah and his mom who visited our church last Sunday.
n Thanksgiving for the 51 souls we remembered at service – people who founded and served our church for many years before going home to God.
SUNDAY SERMON RECAP – May 26 – REMEMBER GOD – Everyone has a few vivid incidents of their childhood etched in their memory. Rev. Susan recounted the time when her mom made her sit at the dinner table for hours because she stubbornly refused to at least taste a serving of succotash. (Lima beans: you either love them or hate them.) But how many of us remember the times that God or one of his agents (angels?) came to our rescue. The traffic collision missed by inches that causes us to yell out “OMG” — but just for a second. The dream of Jesus that seems so real but then is forgotten a minute after waking. The Bible tells us of various dramatic encounters when the Creator demonstrated his presence – Moses meeting God on Mount Sinai, the announcement of the birth of the Messiah, the Resurrection and the apostles receiving the Holy Spirit of Pentecost. We may never see a burning bush like Abraham but each of us will see, feel and understand God working in our lives if we pay attention. Psalm 121 assures us God is looking after us every day – watchful of our “goings out and comings in.” God remembers us – let us remember God – not just for an hour on Sunday but every day.
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By Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed
WASHINGTON — LGBT advocates — who faced a setback this week when the Senate kept protections for same-sex couples out of immigration reform — will have to wait until after the Fourth of July holiday to see any action on another top priority: a bill to ban workplace discrimination against LGBT people.
“I’ ve got a couple, three things on my agenda right now. I think we’re going to do ENDA probably after the Fourth of July break,” Sen. Tom Harkin, the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that is considering the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, told BuzzFeed this week.
Supporters had hoped to see the bill move out of the committee by June at the latest.
At ENDA’s introduction, the bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, had told BuzzFeed that he hoped to have the bill marked up in May or June.
“It’ s not ideal,” said Freedom to Work executive director Tico Almeida, who called the delay “disappointing .”
“It would have been the preference of many LGBT advocates to hold the markup in May or June, but the committee has a very busy schedule, and I do think that some policy makers in Washington, D.C., have a philosophy that nothing should be done on any gay rights issue until after the Supreme Court rules in the marriage equality cases,” he said. Almeida said he disagrees with that philosophy, but, “[M]any people in this town have decided to put all LGBT issues on hold until the Supreme Court rules.”
Almeida’ s organization has attempted to move forward nonetheless, filing a complaint on Wednesday in Illinois alleging that ExxonMobil discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation in its employment practices.
Human Rights Campaign spokesman Michael Cole-Schwartz wouldn’t directly criticize Harkin’s move, only telling BuzzFeed, “We have been pressing the chairman to bring up for a markup and have every confidence that he will make good on that pledge. We would like to see that as soon as possible.”
Almeida, whose organization has been more vocal than HRC in criticizing the lack of legislative and executive movement on workplace protections, nonetheless added, “We remain 100% confident that Chairman Harkin plans a markup this summer that will move ENDA successfully from the committee and position it for floor action in the fall.”
On that, Cole-Schwartz concurred, saying, “We expect that ENDA will be marked up with plenty of opportunity for the majority leader to bring it for a vote as well. Our hope is that ENDA will receive a floor vote this year.”
Merkley’ s office had no comment on Harkin’s statement, but a spokesman noted that the bill already has support from 46 co-sponsors, plus Reid’s support, and that they remain optimistic the bill will be heard on the Senate floor this year.
Two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins and Mark Kirk, are co-sponsors of the bill.
Eight Democrats — Sens. Maria Cantwell, Tom Carper, Heidi Heitkamp, Tim Johnson, Joe Manchin, Florida’s Bill Nelson, Mark Pryor, and John Rockefeller — and Independent Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats, are not co-sponsors.
WORD UP –May 22, 2013
Weekly Newsletter No. 217
New Church Family ICCC, span>
3520 W. International Speedway Blvd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32124
Rev Susan McDaniels Interim Pastor
www.newchurchfamily.org Tel. 386-527-5952
“We are the love of Christ. We believe the Holy Spirit empowers us. We will serve the community.”
THIS SUNDAY – May26 – Worship & Holy Communion, 10 a.m., Rev. Susan McDaniels preaching.
“Memorial Reading” – In keeping with a Memorial Day custom we started a few years ago, we will read our list of deceased church members & friends during Prayers of the People, following by a few moments of silent prayer.
SCRIPTURE FOR TRINITY SUNDAY:
Lectionary Readings (Revised Common Lectionary, Year C)
Proverbs 8:1–4, 22–31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1–5; John 16:12–15
PRAYERS of the PEOPLE:
Healing for Gerry and Frank, still feeling quite ill.
Healing for Dan R.
Strength and comfort for Teresa and Rick, mourning the loss of their German Shepherd to cancer. May a puppy now getting weaned in Lake County brighten their lives.
Continued prayers for 6-year-old cancer patient Lila Rose
Jay and Tom give thanks their elderly cat Simba is showing improvement. After 7 trips to the vet in 7 days, he is eating on his own, and gained 4 ounces over the weekend.
John S. offers thanks for Rev. Susan’s sermons
Thanksgiving for the life of Griff, who died at his Port Orange home as he wished, at 87.
Recovery and comfort for Oklahoma families devastated by a tornado.
Margaret asks prayers for her brother Pat, not doing well after a car accident. Also for the family of the DeLand man who was run over and killed by a deputy sheriff during a chase (for not wearing a seatbelt.)
SUNDAY SERMON RECAP – PENTECOST – (May 20) Many of us are familiar with the Pentecost miracle recounted in Book of Acts – the apostles being filled with the holy spirit and anointed with flames as they regrouped after the Resurrection. Rev. Susan reminded us of the origin of the Pentecost – a “festival of wheat” to be offered to God 50 days from Passover. It commemorated Moses’ ascent up Mount Sinai where he had a personal encounter with God and received the instructions we call the Ten Commandments. It was an occasion marked by thunder, lightning, fire, smoke and earthquakes. (See Exodus Ch. 19)
So often in the Bible, the proximity of God was linked to extraordinary events in nature. Ancient people believed that God was using quakes and lightning bolts to get their attention. Yet today, even with the fresh tragedy of the Oklahoma tornado, we treat natural disasters as almost routine events. We seldom venture outdoors to witness the spectacle directly. Instead, we huddle before our TVs and watch the Weather Channel.
Tom’s afterthought: We’re all familiar with certain televangelists who assert that gay people are somehow to blame for freak weather events. Ignoring the advances in meteorology that have made hurricanes, tornadoes and floods more predictable, they argue that God is punishing the world for its growing GLBT tolerance. All I can say is that those guys had better go outside and lift their eyes to the heavens. After the storm subsides and the sun comes out, there it is – God’s love for all humanity, including gays, beautifully displayed in the rainbow.
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