Monday, October 20, 2014

I’m a gay rights activist. I want to give $150,000 to someone who opposes gay marriage -- by Matt Stolhandske

As a gay man, I should hate Melissa and Aaron Klein.

They’re the Portland-based Christian bakery owners who, in 2013, refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding. And despite their insistence that they’re only morally opposed to gay marriage, not gays, they make their disdain for equality quite clear: “I didn’t want to be a part of her marriage, which I think is wrong,” Aaron Klein recently said of one of the women he rebuked.

I’m also an evangelical Christian. I can’t understand why Klein or any other Christians twist the words of Jesus Christ to justify this behavior. To me, it’s a deeply harmful and embarrassing bastardization of our faith.

But I don’t hate the Kleins. In fact, I’m raising money to cover the $150,000 punitive fine they received from Oregon.

* * *

To be a gay Evangelical is to live what some may view as a paradox. I grew up in a loving, supportive Christian home and my faith eventually led me to a conservative Presbyterian seminary. I was yearning to study my faith more fully, but I was also deeply burdened by my same-sex attraction.

I believed it to be evil – the most revolting and damning of all sins. Looking back on those dark days, I now see the hate I had for myself. I was also secretly angry at everyone in the church who had tried to lead me to believe that something so fundamental to me was disgusting and wrong.

It wasn’t until I stepped away from the church, albeit briefly, that I was I able to find love and forgiveness for myself and the true heart of the Christian gospel; the love of a Father so stubbornly refusing to condemn that He would send His Son to die in my place. And that gospel has so deeply permeated my soul that I cannot find it in myself to hate the Kleins.

In the face of intolerance, I am yet called to love.

I know some Evangelicals are convinced that being gay is a grave moral sin. And I believe that they, and all people, should have the right to decide whether or not to condone religious marriage ceremonies for gay couples. But the Oregon case is not a question of religious marriage. This couple didn’t ask the Kleins for their blessing. They simply asked to pay for a cake.

Last I checked, a pastry is not moral approval of a religious ceremony.

As he was suffering an agonizing death on the cross, Jesus Christ forgave even those who slaughtered Him. He welcomed the poor, the indigent, the scourges of society, into his arms. It’s impossible to imagine the same Jesus who humbled Himself to the point of crawling on the floor to wash the feet of Judas, today standing in the Klein’s bakery and telling them not to bake cakes for gay weddings. Regardless of what you believe Jesus’s position would have been on gay marriage, the Bible makes it clear that the posture with which He would approach gay and lesbian couples is infused with love.

I know this is a lot to ask of Christians like Klein; to shower love on people like me who represent something she abhors. So I’m trying to live that challenge myself.

The Kleins say the $150,000 fee will bankrupt her family. I’m raising money to help offset that cost. I’ll send whatever we raise along to the Klein family with a message of love and peace. I don’t want them to suffer. But I am also pleading with them and other Christians to stop using the name of Jesus to explain to the LGBT community why we don’t deserve access to the civil rights afforded to heterosexuals through the legal institution of marriage.

I hope the Kleins will accept this sign of good will. After all, they must see that our goals here are the same – to live our lives as we see fit and be treated equally under the law.

Already I can hear the shouts from progressive and gay friends.

“You’re an apologist for homophobes,” they tell me. “How can you reward this anti-gay behavior? Who next will they choose not to serve? African Americans? Single mothers? Muslims? We cannot support this.” To them I say: this is what an olive branch looks like. I am not rewarding their behavior, but rather loving them in spite of it. It is time for these two communities, which both cite genuine love as our motivation, to put aside our prejudices and put down our pitchforks to clear the path for progress.

New Audio of Joni Ernst Speech in 2013 Outlines Radical Ideology Built on Punishing the Poor

During last night’s debate in Iowa, everyone’s favorite pig-castrating mom, Senate hopeful Joni Ernst, regurgitated two of the right’s key talking-points: a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget, and a promise not to raise taxes under any circumstances.

We see this psychotic idée fixe in proponents of Neo-Liberalism all the time. We practically expect it; followed through, the implications of Ernst’s constitutional mandates would lead to the dismantling of most of the federal government. Which, as we all know, is the ultimate goal.

I say that with near certainty, by the way. Greg Sargent reported yesterday on a 2013 Ernst speech in which she outlines her “rather stark views about the relationship of Americans with their government.”In it, Ernst claims that we have created “a generation of people that rely on the government to provide absolutely everything for them,” and that wrenching them away from their dependence “is going to be very painful.” […]
In the audio, Ernst came out for a balanced budget amendment, said that would require “severe cuts,” reiterated her desire to eliminate the Department of Education, vowed a “good, hard look at entitlement programs,” and said electing a GOP Senate majority would be a key step towards all of this. She also said we are “encouraging people” to get on food stamps

Black & White Beauties

Meet Idaho's Most Outspoken Anti-Gay Bigots and Their Hateful Truck

Boise, Idaho-area couple Justin and Melanie Sease are driving around in a car painted with phrases like "HOMOSEXUALITY is a sin & a abomination", "Just Say NO to Gay Marriage", and "GOD'S NOT DEAD". They say they're speaking out for others who are afraid to do the same in light of the recent arrival of marriage equality in the state, and whine to KBOI that they're being ridiculed for it:

"We've had a few homosexual extremists who cuss us out and get very angry with us and threaten us."
Why are they on a crusade?

Says Justin, who claims he's "taking a stand for the Heavenly Father"

"We can never accept public homosexuality. It's wrong, and it's wrong in God's eyes first. He's very clear in the Bible. The Bible says that when homosexuality is publicly accepted, basically it spreads like a cancer....This is kind our little way of protesting the homosexual extremist movement..."

Said Melanie:

"If nobody else is going to do it, why not start doing it. Hopefully, other people will join us and follow us and do what we're doing.Most everyone who has seen our vehicles gives us a thumbs up, waves, smiles, or honks."

Several Las Vegas Wedding Chapels Won't Marry Same-Sex Couples

After making calls to about 15 wedding chapels, 8 News NOW found that several of them refused to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. The Elvis Wedding Chapel, which welcomes traditional and Elvis-themed weddings, said they wouldn't marry same-sex couples. However, when the 8 News Now cameras were rolling as we tried to get their stance on camera, they refused to open the door. "I'm not going to tell you,” David with the Elvis Wedding Chapel said, "It just -- there is no story here.”

Dolly Deleon, the owner of the Vegas Wed Chapel, said she's a born-again believer in Jesus. "My faith won't allow me," Deleon said. She said she's been asked to wed same-sex couples before, but has found that mostly people accept it when she says no. She did not know that a couple who is turned away based on race, sex, or sexual orientation could file charges against her. That could then lead to a misdemeanor arrest. "I would be a hypocrite if I said I'm a Bible-believing person and yet I would perform marriage that believe is solely against God's law,” Deleon said.

Marvel Gave Robert Downey Jr. The Giant “A” From The Avengers

Robert Downey Jr. Avengers A

When Ben Affleck asked Warner Bros. if he could take a Batsuit home with him, Warner Bros. told him it would cost him a $100k if he wanted a Batsuit. When Robert Downey Jr. joked that he wanted the giant 30-foot letter “A” from the set of The Avengers, producers had the letter delivered to his house according to the Mirror.

Downey Jr. told BBC Radio 1, “On the last Avengers, there's this scene where there's this 'A' which is probably 30 feet tall and I'm looking at it, and we're shooting in England, and I go, 'I need that in my office in Venice.'”

Downey Jr. continued, "About two weeks ago, a wheeler showed up, I'm like, 'What the heck is this doing here?!' And they go, 'This is the 'A' you asked for.' And I go, 'They brought it?!' So now we have a massive Avengers 'A' that will be prominently placed."

Of course, The Avengers made over $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office, so Marvel Studios could likely spare a big letter for one of their stars. Maybe, if Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice makes a similar amount or more, Warner Bros. will let Affleck have a Batsuit without having to pay out of pocket for it.

However, in fairness, Downey Jr. confessed to not having a complete suit of Iron Man armor, so maybe Affleck is just asking for the wrong prop.

FINALLY, Video Of Channing Tatum As A Teenage Stripper

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 2.16.09 PM
We’ve all fantasized about the fact that Channing Tatum got his start as a stripper, but we assumed watching him strut his stuff in Magic Mike and its upcoming sequel was the closest we’d ever come to seeing him in all his gyrating glory.

But thanks to the magic of the internet, a video has surfaced of an 18-year-old Tatum, going by the stage name Chan Crawford, doing his best late ’90s hip-hop inspired seduction ballet.

And OK, we may have been secretly wishing for something like this to appear, but something about seeing a teenager grinding up and down a bunch of middle-aged women kind of makes the whole thing a lot less sexy.

Also, what 18-year-old looks like that?! Come on.

Here’s the video:

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