Thanks for stopping by.
I'm Steve and that's Tom with his tongue waggin'. We're a couple, living in Portland, Oregon, that's been together for over four years. At times it felt like it's flown by, at other times it seems like it's been forever. I'm the quiet one, more serious and detached. Tom is the more outgoing of the two of us. Creative and energetic, he's always got some project going on. Tom likes being active, wintersports are among his passions. While I tend to enjoy art galleries, knitting, and reading, I'm getting used to the sweat of exercise. Tom's my coach always pushing me outside of myself. I'm his anchor, pulling him in when he's A.D.D.'ed out on a tagent. We're quite the odd couple I guess, but love brings the unexpected together. We like meeting other people, enjoy having a beer or two and just hang. When we go out, you can find us at the PDX Eagle or C.C. Slaughter's. The photos are from a last fall's camping trip at the Oregon Coast. The links are just to some things that we find interesting. I've put my portfolio here, showing off some of the projects I've designed over the past decade. The commentary page is just some periodic ramblings on any topic that suits us. Please feel free to look around and comment . We'd love to hear from you, and if you're ever in the Portland area, perhaps we can meet.
Commentary: A copy of my email to the host of the program Hangin' Out, John McMullen. If you haven't heard the program, you should check it out, it's at http://www.gaybc.com
3 March, 1999John,
Great show as always. Thanks for the thought provoking interview with Reverend Mel White and the follow-up with Greta Morrison.
I found the conversation with Greta to be very interesting. I think it's particularly interesting that the underlying theme "don't try to change us, let us live free from persecution" sounded awfully familiar. I wish I could believe that was the case. I remain deeply cynical and distrustful of fundamentalist motives. If it was true, then why would we be vilified from the pulpit, why would there be such a preoccupation and resistance to obtaining equality for gays and lesbians?
I remember years ago, I was struggling with my identity, refusing to accept my homosexuality. I joined an organization called the Navigators. They were a fundamentalist organization bent on creating "good Christian Soldiers". From day one they drummed into everyone, that true Christians are persecuted and hated by the world. That the more we followed Christ, the more we were persecuted. The world was out to get us. After awhile, one believes the lesson taught and sees everyone else as the enemy. Daily scripture lessons, daily bible studies, weekly quotas on witnessing for the Lord. If you didn't feel comfortable cramming the lord down heathen's throats, get used to it, for it is our duty to be "fishers of men". The bible wasn't open to interpretation, since it is the "word of God". This allowed lessons to go unquestioned. Accept it or be considered a backslider.
It was believed that our minds would not be handed over to perversion (such as impure thoughts, homosexual fantasies, etc.) if we were walking on the "path of righteousness". Free will was covertly discouraged. To associate with others, who were non-Christian, was to be of the world; therefore incompatible with God's plan. Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, and especially Mormons weren't Christian. They were lost souls, and to associate with them could jeopardize your salvation. Backsliders were Christians who were separated from god through sin, therefore their salvation was no longer assured. Acceptance of Christ wasn't; enough, it was also necessary to change your life and to actively live it to the set standards.
I couldn't reconcile my homosexual desires, and it became necessary to leave the organization. From that moment on, I was outcast and shunned. People would literally turn their backs to me. I was a lost cause and doomed to Hell. It was very difficult for me. It took a very long time for me to recognize that my sexuality was a gift from God. To this day it has been very difficult for me to go to church. Whenever I've gone, I keep wondering if the congregation really accepts me. I feel like an outsider who is acknowledged, but not accepted. What I learned through that experience was by denying who I was, I was denying God's love.
I believe that fundamentalist attitudes encourage followers to be intolerant of others and their viewpoints, I also believe it fuels a desire to create a theocracy. It can damage people's relationship with God. It discourages questioning thought, which I believe weakens faith. Faith when questioned or challenged is reinforced and strengthened. When fundamentalist Christian faith is challenged, it reinforces belief in the doctrine taught.
By creating the perception that they are persecuted, fundamentalists can cry foul whenever someone speaks out against them, it encourages them to seek solace among themselves, and give them the strength to continue the war of intolerance. (Pat Robertson has stated that persecution of Christians is a hate crime, and should be recognized as such)
I do not believe it is our role to change the minds of others, but rather to stand up for our rights and demand them. I will not be tolerant of the homophobic rhetoric that Jerry Falwell, Gary Bauer, Pat Robertson, etc. preach. I will speak up when necessary, and I will not allow myself to be trampled by hatred disguised as religious freedom.
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