Warren Blumenfeld's Blog

Social Justice, Intersections in Forms of Social Oppression, Bullying Prevention

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Eliminate the De Facto Religious Test for Elective Office

without comments

A collection of more than 19,000 emails from Democratic Party leaders lifted and posted by the document exposé website, Wikileaks, discloses apparent opposition research conducted against Bernie Sanders: one of their own presidential candidates. A May 5, 2016 message from DNC CFO Brad Marshall, in particular, questions Sanders’ religious beliefs.

“From:MARSHALL@dnc.org
To: MirandaL@dnc.org, PaustenbachM@dnc.org, DaceyA@dnc.org
Date: 2016-05-05 03:31
Subject: No shit

“It might may (sic) no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”

Marshall sent the email to DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda and Deputy Communications Director Mark Paustenbach. Though the message does not specifically mention Sanders, he was the only person running in either party who had previously identified as Jewish.

Republicans have also interrogated Bernie’s religious background. According to Kevin Williamson, in his article for the conservative National Review, “Bernie’s Strange Brew of Nationalism and Socialism,

“In the Bernieverse, there’s a whole lot of nationalism mixed up in the socialism. He is, in fact, leading a national-socialist movement, which is a queasy and uncomfortable thing to write about a man who is the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and whose family was murdered in the Holocaust. But there is no other way to characterize his views and his politics.”

Though careful not to call Bernie Sanders “a Nazi” outright because of his Jewish heritage and past, Williamson more than implies that Sanders’ brand of protectionism favoring U.S.-American workers’ rights and jobs, when linked to this self-described socialist political philosophy and his “leading a national-socialist movement,” is a clear and obvious reference to the Nazi party.

Sanders has fought tirelessly for U.S. workers of all backgrounds against their corporate overlords throughout his political life. Williamson, however, not-so-subtly attempts to instill in the readers’ mind Sanders’ own brand of racist National Socialism by stating that Sanders has always been critical of trade policies “with brown people – Asians, Latin Americans,” but has remained virtually silent regarding U.S. trade deficits with countries like Sweden and Canada, demographically whiter countries further along the socialism scale. Williamson continues his accusations of Sanders’ racism, and by so doing, falsely positions conservatives as the true defenders of racial equality.

To imply that Bernie Sanders’ style of Democratic Socialism even stands on the same side of the political spectrum as the National Socialism of the Nazi Party of Adolph Hitler shows not only a total misunderstanding of history and political theory, but more importantly, it underscores yet again the dog whistle politics of neo-conservatism.

By acknowledging Sanders’ Jewish background, and in deploying McCarthy-style propaganda scare tactics, Williamson taps into a longstanding anti-Semitic trope. According to Ellen Willis in her book titled “The Myth of the Powerful Jew”:

“The classic constituency for fascism is the conservative lower middle class, oppressed by the rich, threatened by the rebellious poor (particularly if the poor are foreign or another race); for this group Jews are a perfect target, since they represent the top and the bottom at once. Oppressed classes like the peasants in czarist Russia have traditionally directed their anger at the Jews just above them in the social hierarchy.”

Even before the Cold War and the so-called “McCarthy Period” (named after Wisconsin Senator, Joseph McCarthy), individuals and groups on the political and theocratic Right have flung the term “Socialist” – which in the public imagination was once synonymous with “Jews” — from their metaphoric sling shots into the faces of their political opponents to discredit their characters and dismiss their political ideas and policies, and to sway the electorate toward a Conservative agenda. This continues to this very day.

Not so very long ago, a Democratic candidate for the presidency came under attack for his Catholic background, with declarations from his detractors that the Vatican will control the White House if John F. Kennedy is elected. Before his election, a group of Protestant leaders strategized ways to derail his campaign.

Similarly, people often accused Mitt Romney of not being a “real Christian” for subscribing to the Mormon faith. Protestant leaders met in Texas in January 2012 during the Republican primaries to defeat frontrunner Romney whom they asserted did not take conservative enough stands on the issues.

Well, they did not attempt to prevent Catholic candidates, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, from winning. But I ask, is this real progress, especially since candidates’ religious beliefs very often determine, to a large extent, their eventual chances for government service?

Keith Ellison (D-MN), elected as first the African American Muslim to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, has come under continual fire for his Muslim faith. In particular, some Republican leaders, like Representative Steve King from Iowa, have questioned Ellison’s patriotism and his ability to follow the U.S. Constitution. They have roundly criticized his decision to place his hand on the Qur’an at his swearing-in ceremony.

Our founders intended the First Amendment of the Constitution to emphasize that a religious litmus test must not color the electoral process or other aspects of life that were not specifically religious in function.

In addition, the assertion that the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation is contradicted by the very fact that leaders like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and many others, while they believed in a God and could be described as “Deists,” did not advocate for or attempt to advance Protestant Christianity or another other faith or denomination.

Unfortunately, since the inception of the new nation, the religious backgrounds and beliefs of candidates have indeed determined their chances in the political arena, and have been used in their favor or against them. Though very unfortunate, it would be very difficult to even imagine a Muslim or atheist having any chance of ascending to the Oval Office in the current political climate.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 24th, 2016 at 10:32 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Republican’s Cynical Games of Historical Revisionism & Double Standards

without comments

I was deeply moved by the emotional testimony given by Patricia Smith on the opening night of the GOP National Presidential Convention when she talked about her son Sean, a U.S. information management officer who was killed in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

Though I understood that in her grief, she tearfully asserted, “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son,” she and many others in the Republican Party have no factual ground on which to stand for this claim.

Following numerous redundant Congressional investigations, dedicating thousands of hours in researching records and in conducting direct interviews, and spending millions of tax payer dollars, the Committees found no intentional wrong doing or criminal malpractice on the part of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or anyone else in the Obama administration.

By highlighting Patricia Smith as a prime-time Convention speaker, the GOP once again plays it games of both historical revisionism and double standards, and unfortunately, the Democrats have, for the most part, allowed them to play uninhibited.

When Barack Obama entered office in 2008 with both houses of Congress holding Democratic majorities, he made the decision to attempt to unify the country. For this reason, he decided not to push Congress to investigate in greater depth the events and actual motives that went into Bush Jr. and Cheney’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, even though it was widely understood that Saddam Hussein had no hand in the 911 attacks on the U.S.

Though Bush based his invasion on the premise that Saddam had stockpiled massive quantities of “weapons of mass destruction,” U.S. forces ultimately found none. Although Bush’s justification turnout out to be false, we nonetheless lost over four thousand of our sons and daughters with severe injuries to many thousands more, and literally trillions of dollars from our tax coffers. Iraqis lost hundreds of thousands of their sons and daughters in a war that should never have been fought.

Here is a prime example of the game of double standards: Where were the mothers of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq by a failed Bush administration foreign policy speaking center stage at the GOP Convention? Where were the redundant Congressional committee and subcommittee hearings dedicating thousands of hours in researching records and in conducting direct interviews, and spending millions of tax payer dollars to come to the truth about our involvement in Iraq?

Since the invasion under Bush II, Republican have played the game of historical revisionism by blaming Barack Obama for paving the way for the development of the radical terrorist group, ISIS by withdrawing a number of troops from Iraq.

In actuality, the Bush/Cheney regime was responsible for ISIS. By toppling Saddam Hussein, from the ruling Sunni faction in Iraq, the U.S. destabilized the entire region. This opened the door for Iraq’s long-time Iranian opponents, the Shia wing of Islam, to gain a foothold in Iraq. This destabilization set the stage for a Sunni-led terrorist group, ISIS, which raised from the ashes of Iraq’s rubbled landscape.

But facts don’t seem to matter to the Republicans. If they did, the Party would cease venerating and idolizing Ronald Reagan. In fact, Reagan increased the wealth gap between the very rich and the remainder of the population, and enlarged the rate of people living in poverty with his doublespeak “trickle down” economics. Ronald Reagan surreptitiously sold arms to Iran and furtively redirected the profits to fascist Central American dictators to fund and equip their death gangs of thugs.

Most of all, Ronald Reagan acted as a major co-conspirator in the deaths of people infected with HIV during the early years of what became a pandemic under his so-called “watch.” It took an excruciating long seven years into his presidency until Ronald Reagan, under whose presidency the AIDS pandemic first came to light, finally publicly acknowledged the existence of the crisis.

The one and only time he publicly spoke of AIDS before 1987 was in his first year in office when he inferred that “maybe the Lord brought down the plague because illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments.”

Patrick Buchanan, Reagan’s Chief of “Communications,” viciously and callously spoke for many in the administration by calling AIDS nature’s “awful retribution” that did not deserve a thorough and compassionate response, and later said:

“With 80,000 dead of AIDS, our promiscuous homosexuals appear literally hell-bent on Satanism and suicide.”

Where were the weeping mothers of people who died from HIV/AIDS under quasi-saint Reagan’s administration speaking center stage at this year’s GOP Convention? Where were the redundant Congressional committee and subcommittee hearings dedicating thousands of hours in researching records and in conducting direct interviews, and spending millions of tax payer dollars to come to the truth about Reagan’s (in)actions regarding HIV/AIDS?

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 19th, 2016 at 10:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Extreme Right-Wing Nuts Now Stand at Center of Republican Party

without comments

I found it extremely difficult and frightening to watch the Republican National Presidential Convention on its first night, since I had the definite impression that I was witnessing not simply a political gathering, but more distinctly, a neo-nationalist power rally with angry, primarily white and older Party activists.

The following day, I saw a rerun segment of a panel discussion on MSNBC hosted by Chris Hayes, which included Esquire magazine’s Charles Pierce who discussed what he perceived as the “old white people” who run the Republican Party. He argued that the convention is filled with “loud, unhappy, dissatisfied white people.”

Before I could take pride in the accuracy of my own perceptions, GOP Representative Steve King of Iowa piped in with a jaw-dropping, though not surprising, quip by retorting:

“This whole ‘white people’ business, though, does get a little tired, Charlie. I mean, I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about? Where did any other sub-group of people contribute to civilization?”

“Than white people?,” asked Hayes incredulously. King backtracked a bit and emphasized that in “Western civilization itself” and places where Christianity had a foothold was based on the contributions of primarily white people.

While one might automatically dismiss King as simply an extreme Right-wing nut, the presidential standard bearer of his party, Donald Trump, has moved King’s rhetoric and policies to the center. Throughout King’s infamous political career in the Iowa State Senate (1996-2002), and U.S. House since 2002, he has consistently defended the authority of white Christian people.

For example, he, like Donald Trump, have targeted undocumented immigrants, and rejected the notion that many are high-achieving students. King asserted that they should not receive a pathway to citizenship saying that for every valedictorian who is legalized, “there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

What seemed impossible, Trump actually moved to King’s right flank on issues of southern immigration:

“The US has become a dumping ground for everyone else’s problems. [Mexico is] sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and they’re rapists.”

Donald Trump, arguably the most prominent of the so-called “birthers,” continually accused President Obama of illegitimacy as Commander in Chief by arguing that he was born outside the United States, even well after the President released his official birth certificate. This along with Trump’s supposed investigations into Mr. Obama’s time spent in Indonesia as a child, and inquiries into his African roots on his father’s side coexist as not-so-veiled xenophobic and racist threats.

Steve King was also a prominent and outspoken “birther.” He has consistently tried to define President Barack Obama as “other” by attempting to prevent our President the right of self-definition – an apparent contradiction within a political party that emphasizes rugged individualism, freedom, and liberty. In August 2012, King made the absurdist accusation during a tele-town hall meeting that though his staff had found Barack Obama’s birth announcement in two separate Hawaiian newspapers,

“That doesn’t mean there aren’t some other explanations on how they might’ve announced that by telegram from Kenya.”

In addition, according to King while Obama was running for the presidential nomination in 2008:

“When you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected President of the United States…[w]hat does it look like to the world of Islam? I will tell you that, if he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaida, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror.”

Echoing King, Trump has demanded “for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” which plays into the rising tide of Islamophobia in the United States.

Trump, King, and other anti-immigration activists connect narratives representing immigrants, migrants, and even visitors to our borders in the language of disease, crime, drugs, alien and lower cultural and life forms, of invading hoards, of barbarians at the gates who if allowed to enter this country will destroy the glorious civilization we have established among the lesser nations of the world.

The 2016 Republican Party Platform has codified the language by defining the “other” as “illegal aliens,” as if they were dangerous and deadly non-human invaders from deep space.

Multiculturalism & Social Justice:

In the course I taught at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa titled “Multicultural Foundations in Schools and Society,” I showed students a video of our “Representative” Steve King. Speaking to his supporters on August 21, 2012 at a Le Mars, Iowa, Town Hall meeting, King conjured up a supposed deep and sinister plot to ensnare young and impressionable first-year college students into campus multicultural groups for the purpose of turning them into victims, which he asserted will convince them to work toward the eventual overthrow of this country’s power structure.

King talked about preparing for a debate on the Iowa State University campus on the concept of multiculturalism. He checked out the university’s website:

“I typed in ‘multicultural,’” he stated on the video, “and it came back to me at the time, 59 different multicultural groups listed to do, to operate on campus at Iowa State….And most of them were victims’ groups, victimology, people who feel sorry for themselves.”

He warned that these groups are “out there recruiting our young people to be part of the group who are feeling sorry for themselves….But just think of 59 card tables set up across the parking lot on the way to the dorm….And the first group says, ‘Well, you’re a victim that fits us. We want to help you. Why don’t you join us?’….And then you’re brought into a group that has a grievance against society rather than understand there’s a tremendous blessing in this society.”

Though King attended Northwest Missouri State University from 1967 to 1970, enrolled in courses toward a career as a wildlife officer, he never completed his degree. His political career officially began when he was elected to the Iowa Senate in 1996. While there, he was instrumental in passing the law mandating English as the “official” language of Iowa.

While in public office, he has consistently taken stands championed by the political Right opposing affirmative action for women and minoritized people, marriage equality for same-sex couples, women’s reproductive freedoms, and gun control, among others.

I advise Mr. King – and indeed, the entire Republican Party establishment and membership – that rather than resisting the concepts of multiculturalism and social justice and viewing these as challenges to our country’s very existence, we need to embrace our rich diversity. Even Republican National Committee head, Reince Priebus, announced that the Party must undertake better “outreach” to “minorities” in his “autopsy report” following the GOP’s failure to recapture the White House in 2012.

According to the National Association for Multicultural Education:

“Multicultural education is a philosophical concept built on the ideals of freedom, justice, equality, equity, and human dignity as acknowledged in various documents, such as the U.S. Declaration of Independence, constitutions of South Africa and the United States, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations. It affirms our need to prepare student for their responsibilities in an interdependent world.”

Today, the United States stands as the most culturally, ethnically, racially, linguistically, and religiously diverse country in the world. This diversity poses great challenges and great opportunities. I would advise Republicans and others that the way we meet these challenges will determine whether we remain on the abyss of our history or whether we can truly achieve our promise of becoming a shining beacon to the world.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 19th, 2016 at 1:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Conservative Christianity, Patriarchy, & Antisomatism

without comments

so·ma / sōmə / noun

–the body as distinct from the soul, mind, or psyche

an·ti·so·ma·tism /ˌan(t)ēˈ s­ōˈməˌtizəm / noun

an·ti·so·mat·ic /ˌan(t)ēˈ s­ōˈmə-tik / adjective

–hostility toward or discrimination against the body, in particular, the Stoic/Christian hatred of the body

Coined by Dr. Matthew Silliman

Many religious traditions, and in particular, monotheistic Abrahamic (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) religions view the Supreme Being without origin, for this deity was never born and will never die. This Being, perceived as male, is viewed as perfect, exists completely independently from human beings, and transcends the natural world.

In part, such a Being has no sexual desire, for sexual desire, as a kind of need, is incompatible with this concept of perfection. This accounts for the strict separation between the Creator and the created.

Just as the Creator is distinct from His creation, so too are divisions between the Earthly sexes in the form of strictly-defined genders and gender roles. This distinction provides adherents to monotheistic religions a clear menu of their designated socially constructed roles: the guidelines they need to follow in connection to their God and to other human beings.

Central to monotheism is the notion of “dualism”: the belief in binary oppositions with no nuance or middle positions in the universe, such as God/Devil, mind/body, right/wrong, good/evil, right/left, male/female, righteousness/sin, Christian/infidel, and so on.

This is particularly the case in conservative Christian traditions, in which, throughout the ages, denominations have employed a number of texts to justify and rationalize the marginalization, harassment, denial of rights, persecution, and oppression of entire groups of people based on their desires, behaviors, and/or social identities.

I am choosing to focus on conservative Christianity because in European and U.S. contexts, these denominations affect the most social power and, therefore, control. Examples of texts from the Christian Bible used to justify control over bodies, sexuality, and gender include, but are certainly not limited to:

On Same-Sex Sexuality:

Romans 1:26: “In consequence, God has given them up to shameful passions. Their women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural.”

Romans 1:27: “And likewise also the men, giving up natural relations with women, burn with lust for one another; males behave indecently with males, and are paid in their own persons the fitting wage of such perversion.”

Timothy 1:10: “For whoremonger, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.”

1 Corinthians 6-9: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.”

On Gender and Gender Roles:

1 Timothy 2:9: “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.”

1 Timothy 2: 11-12: “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.”

1 Corinthians 11:3: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 

Coming as it has within the context of Caitlyn Jenner’s talking publicly about her gender confirmation as a transwoman, Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco argued that,

“The clear biological fact is that a human being is born either male or female. Yet now we have the idea gaining acceptance that biological sex and one’s personal gender identity can be at variance with each other, with more and more gender identities being invented.”

He warned of the spread of a “gender ideology” that threatens the foundation of the Church and society itself because of what the Church defines as the biological imperative of the God-given “complementarity” between men and women.

Going even further and mentioning Jenner by name, Evangelical Pastor Dr. Ronnie Floyd of the Pinnacle Cross Church in Rogers, Arkansas asserted that Caitlyn Jenner, by transitioning, had sinned against God just like a family member sins by abusing children. Floyd, the pastor of the church attended by the Duggar family of the reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” promised that God can forgive Josh Duggar because he asked for God’s mercy over allegations that he sexually abused five young girls, including four of his sisters, when he was 14-years old.

Referring to Jenner, an Olympic gold medalist, during a Sunday sermon, Floyd told parishioners: “You dads, make sure you raise your sons around men who are manly….Gender is not fluid.” He said that God can also forgive Jenner for “his” sins if “he” atones.

The Catholic Vatican hierarchy recently fenced off Alex Salinas, a 21-year-old transman from Cadiz, Spain, by informing him that it had denied his request to become the godparent of his nephew because being transgender is incongruent with Catholic teaching.

According to the Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, its doctrine-enforcing agency: Transgender status

“…reveals in a public way an attitude opposite to the moral imperative of solving the problem of sexual identity according to the truth of one’s own sexuality. Therefore, it is evident that this person does not possess the requirement of leading a life according to the faith and in the position of godfather and is therefore unable to be admitted to the position of godfather or godmother.”

Further Catholic Antisomatism:

Based on Catholic Pope Francis’s recent document “On the nature of family life and marital love” (AMORIS LÆTITIA), Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Caput told unmarried Catholics, divorced Catholics, and Catholics who have re-married outside the Church that they must say kaput to sexual relations and “live as brother and sister” if they are still interested in receiving the sacraments of Holy Communion and penance (confession).

He wrote on the archdiocesan website, July 1, 2016 that “Catholic belief, rooted in Scripture, reserves all expressions of sexual intimacy to a man and a woman covenanted to each other in a valid marriage,” calling this an “unchangeable” tenet.

Though he did not tell people with same-sex sexual attractions to live as brother and sister as well, he commanded that:

“Those with predominant same-sex attractions are therefore called to struggle to live chastely for the kingdom of God. In this endeavor they have need of support, friendship and understanding if they fail. They should be counseled, like everyone else, to have frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Penance, where they should be treated with gentleness and compassion.”

While Catholic Church dogma on sexuality and gender is very saddening at best, I do not find it surprising, for it retains an ancient-era consistency. Combined with pronouncements opposing women’s reproductive freedoms, obstruction to contraception, antagonism to the ordination and ascension of women in the overall Church hierarchy, it corresponds seamlessly with monotheistic patriarchal fundamental attempts to control people’s bodies for the greater purpose of controlling their minds, and, therefore, maintaining the Church’s grip on power.

When patriarchal social and economic systems of male domination attempt to keep women pregnant and taking care of children, they can restrict their entry, or at least their level and time of entry, into the workplace, and ensure women’s dependence on men economically and emotionally. As women produce more and more children, expanding numbers of little consumers emerge to contribute to the Capitalist system ever increasing profits for owners of business and industry.

And when patriarchal social and family structures converge with patriarchal religious systems, women’s, girls’, and intersex people’s oppression and oppression of those who transgress sexual-, sexuality-, and gender binaries became inevitable.

A Fly in the Ointment:

Sojourner Truth, born into slavery who escaped to freedom in 1826 with her infant daughter, became a preeminent abolitionist and women’s rights advocate. Her famous extemporaneous speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in 1851 in Akron, Ohio cut a hole in the Christian monotheistic patriarchal foundation when she proclaimed:

“…Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ‘cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.”

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 18th, 2016 at 12:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Mike Pence, States’ Rights, & Freedom to Discriminate

without comments

Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump, has chosen Mike Pence, Indiana Governor, who has recently become an infamously-known political commodity by firing the first salvo in the war known as the “Religious Freedom Restoration” movement. He signed into law an act passed by his state legislature permitting businesses to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* people, and members of all other groups owners consider heretical to their beliefs, judgments, and precepts.

Since then, this expanding movement has gained support in state houses across the country as exemplified in Mississippi’s new “religious freedom” law patterned after Indiana. And North Carolina passed its HB 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, which includes a section that prohibits trans* people the ability to enter a restroom facility that differs from the sex assigned to them on their birth certificate.

Through arduous and highly contested debates, the framers of our great Constitution endeavored to strike a prudent balance of powers, not only between the three branches of the federal government, but they also endeavored to lay the blue print for a system that would grant to the states that which they did not specifically accord to the centralized national government. Numerous Constitutional amendments and judicial decisions over the years have increasingly fine-tuned this system in ways and over issues the original framers could not have even imagined.

Over our history, individuals and entire political parties have broadcast clarion calls delivered from soap boxes and mountain tops to newspaper editorial pages for increased rights of the states to decide issues they see fit, even when these contrast significantly from Congressional legislation and judicial decisions.

Political operatives have cried “states’ rights” often utilizing so-called “religious” justifications over issues of slavery, interracial marriage, racial segregation, women’s enfranchisement and the rights of women to control their bodies, public schooling, rights to education and other services for people with disabilities, immigration status, voting rights, so-called “Blue Laws” prohibiting Sunday sales, and many other areas of public policy.

“States Rights” and “Religious Beliefs” have long served as the allied battle cry as well for state legislators to deny lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans* (LGBT) people the rights and privileges summarily granted to their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. Today, no national laws require all states to protect residents from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, counseling, insurance, and other areas based on sexual identity and gender identity and expression.

Currently only 22 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have passed non-discrimination laws in housing, for example, protecting people’s rights based on sexual orientation, and 19 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, on the basis of gender identity and expression.

So what can we infer from those religions that justify such discriminatory treatment of other human beings?

In terms of LGBT equality, I simply cannot comprehend the clear and undeniable contradiction between a religion’s expressed claims, in various forms, to love one’s neighbor as oneself, and how it is better to give than to receive, combined for example, with a baker’s refusal to bake a confectionery delight; a photographer’s refusal to preserve joyous moments; a caterer’s refusal to cook the pleasures of delectable sustenance; a florist’s refusal to arrange the beauties from the garden; a jeweler’s refusal of a band connecting human souls; a realtor’s refusal to show shelters signifying new chapters in one’s book of time, or a landlord’s refusal to rent; a shop owner’s refusal to sell the common and special objects supporting and enhancing life; a restauranteur’s refusal to provide anyone a time away from the kitchen; an employer’s refusal to hire a fully qualified and committed employee, all these based solely on peoples social identities.

Therefore, we must see the “states’ rights” argument for what it really is: “States Rights to Discriminate.” And we must challenge the long-standing and deeply-held biases within some denominations that employ “religious” justifications that allow them the “religious freedom” to oppress.

Donald Trump, by choosing Mike Pence, has added LGBTQ people to his already long list of “the Others,” which includes Mexicans and all Central and South American-heritage people, Muslims, people with disabilities, all women, plus anyone who supports the “Black Lives Matter” movement. By choosing Mike Pence, Trump has double-downed in his attempts to divide and conquer the electorate by instilling fear in promising the bigoted the “freedom” to discriminate to the fullest extent of the law without the threat of prosecution.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 14th, 2016 at 2:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

“White Lives Matter” So Whites Can Live Without Fear

without comments

Imagine this: You are driving while white down the street. You are more than two times less likely to be pulled over and arrested during a traffic stop than black drivers. You are also significantly less likely to receive a traffic ticket then Latino/a and black drivers. Instead, you as a white driver are more likely to receive a verbal warning than are racialized drivers. You are also at reduced risk for police officers searching your vehicle during a traffic stop.

White pedestrians are also significantly less likely to be randomly pulled aside, questioned, and frisked by law enforcement officers than their black, brown, Native American, and Middle Eastern counterparts. In 2015 alone, “Police killed almost five black people per every million black residents of the U.S., compared with about 2 per million for both white and Hispanic victims.”

With these statistics in mind, it was inevitable that some white people would feel left out, invisible, white washed out of law enforcement discrimination, ill-treatment, persecution, and mortal injuries. So, to fill this need and counter the argument by asserting that white people are the real victims of police abuse, the neo-Nazi group from Texas, Aryan Renaissance Society (ARS), now promotes and publicizes White Lives Matter (WLM) as “a movement dedicated to [the] promotion of the white race.” Aryan Renaissance Society is a member organization of the white nationalist coalition United Aryan Front.

White Lives Matter events from a number of groups in different areas of the country included one sponsored by the anti-Semitic Christian Identity Theo-Political Ministry, Divine Truth Ministries, which planned a White Lives Matter rally on or near April 20, Adolf Hitler’s birthday, to “promote the idea that Whites have a right to live, and without fear; and to secure the existence of our people, and a future for white children.”

Just think of it, with the emergence of the White Lives Matter Movement, white people can venerate the good old days when we could stay even more blissfully unconscious of our white privileges than we are today – hey, what white privilege?; when the Euro-centric monocultural school system was even more the white washing order of the day; where the songs Elvis Presley appropriated from black blues artists and repackaged for a white audience blared over the audio systems in restaurants and elevators throughout buildings guarded by white security officers to keep out so-called “non-white” people.

Now, finally, I can breathe easier knowing there is a bright tomorrow for white people. I had been fearful that the way things had been going for us white folks lately, in two or maybe three years hence, we would see our culture and our race falling onto the endangered species list. Now I can rest assured. (Oops, I thought we didn’t have a race. Do we?)

Whiteness and white supremacy will continue long into the future, even after I have passed away into that great whiteness in the sky. Though I am Jewish and I don’t believe in him, maybe I will see cute white Jesus resplendent with his high cheek bones and flowing golden blond hair.

The White Lives Matter Movement can now sponsor events for white people so we can finally be given the option of finding and meeting one another. We can now invite to our communities white law enforcement officials to present information on the white European-heritage community experience.

Because of the new White Lives Matter Movement we are witnessing emerging, possibly we will see greater understanding of our white lifestyles. With this understanding, we might find fewer and fewer young people having to live in a closet of fear, we might see fewer hate crimes against white people on account of our non-race, and we might find greater chances for white students concentrating more on academics rather than on physical and emotional racial safety concerns.

We might also find as a result of this groundbreaking White Lives Matter Movement, closer family relationships, greater chances for career options and success for white people, and overall, a new generation experiencing enhanced feelings of self-esteem and developing positive white identities at earlier ages than ever before.

Oh yes, this Movement is on the Right[-wing] track! It is redressing the long and tragic history of oppression, marginalization, disenfranchisement, and victimization since the establishment of this great nation against all white European-heritage people.

This Movement is on the cutting edge by working to take our social institutions back to those halcyon days of the mid-20th century where law enforcement agencies hired only white officers and administrators, where great universities opened their doors only to the sons of the white Protestant elite and wealthy, before the time when educators came up with the wacky and horrific notion of expanding the curriculum to include other than European-heritage voices, before educators concerned themselves with providing their students an education that would equip them to live and function in a diverse and continually changing world.

Some people, though, are attempting to neutralize our glorious white history by asserting that “all lives matter.” Well, yes. Though actuality all lives do matter, that expression fails to highlight the fact that white people as a demographic group have the power and privilege to more than likely receive a traffic ticket for a broken tail light than a speeding bullet to the brain at close range.

That expression fails to highlight the fact that white people as a demographic group are more likely to receive a ticket for committing a misdemeanor for selling loose cigarettes or cassette disks than a lethal choke hold or a bullet to the chest.

And that expression fails to highlight the fact that white people as a demographic group are more likely to be left alone by neighborhood patrols for walking in a drizzling rain wearing a hoodie and carrying Skittles and a can of Arizona fruit juice than followed and eventually killed.

Indeed, the White Lives Matter Movement is providing a great service. All law enforcement agencies need to take note, or they will be left behind this new and exciting trend backward that will have far regressive implications.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 14th, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Republican Party Platform Reversing Earth’s Rotation on LGBT Equality

without comments

There is a thrilling scene in the first Superman movie, which hit the silver screen in 1978. When Lois Lane suffocated and died after her car fell into a deep crevice and was entombed with soil and debris, Superman devised an ingenious plan to revive his beloved. He understood that by flying at extremely high velocity around the Earth in the opposite direction of its current rotation, he could reverse the Earth’s spin. By so doing, he could turn back time.

Miraculously, our “man of steel” succeeded in saving his woman, this time before her car was swept away, and in the process, without the Earth incinerating, or rivers and oceans washing over the land, or mountains crumbling.

Attempting to take a page from Superman’s playbook, the Republican Party’s 2016 Platform Committee is attempting to reverse the social, political, and legislative rotation of the United States by turning back the advances lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans* people have made over the years.

A subcommittee of the National Republican Committee voted to approve a plank in the Party’s Platform blessing the psychologically dangerous and highly oppressive so-called “ex-gay” or “conversion therapy” of attempting to “convert” LGBT to heterosexual and cisgender. This abusive practice has been outlawed in a number of states, and has been condemned by most reputable medical and psychological associations.

The subcommittee also called for outlawing marriage for same-sex couples, which would take either an act of Congress, a Constitutional Amendment, or a Supreme Court case overturning the historic 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision.

And of course, the subcommittee would consider itself remiss if it neglected to continue the intimidation, increase the risk for harassment, violence, and shame if it did not force a mandate on trans* people to enter only the restroom of the sex assigned on their birth certificates rather than the one aligning with their gender identities. And ironically, this is the same Republican Party billing itself as the Party of “Freedom and Liberty.”

So, as the Party attempts to fly at high velocity in the opposite direction around our plant to reverse time, I wonder exactly how far back the Party would like to take us?

Would it like to recriminalize our sexuality by taking us to pre-2003 when the Supreme Court legalized our adult consensual relationships in its Lawrence v. Texas ruling.

Would it like to take us back to its 1992 Platform in which it wrote: “[The Republican Party] opposes any legislation or law which legally recognizes same-sex marriages and allows such couples to adopt children or provide foster care.”

Would it like to take us back to a time when bars and taverns serving LGBT people were denied liquor licenses by state liquor authorities since to do so would constitute “disorderly houses” or places of “unlawful practices.” And where customers were mandated by law to wear at least three articles of clothing “appropriate” to their sex, or else risk arrest.

Or would the Party like to take us back to a time when the psychiatric profession defined us as mentally sick or having a co-called “ego dystonic disorder,” or further back to having a “sexual orientation disorder,” or back to 1952 in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 1 when we were categorized as having a “sociopathic personality disorder.”

Or would the Party just have us incarcerated for up to two years like in England from 1886 until 1967, or sent to concentration camps like in Cuba, or exterminated as we were in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and ’40. Or would the Party rather we travel back in time under the Reign of Queer Elizabeth I of England where suspected men who engage in sexuality with their own sex suffered the death penalty from 1564 until as late as 1861. Hey, I know. The Party would like to take us way back to the Middle Ages where we were tied together as if mere kindling, and set ablaze killing many faggots with one flame as it were.

While Superman performed his trip back in time for the good of Lois Lane, the Republican Party takes flight to reverse people’s rights for political expediency. In promoting its so-called “conservative” agenda, the Party is deploying our bodies as its stepping stones for power. It is doing so by appealing to voters’ worse fears and deeply-held prejudices.

What the Republican Party neglects to realize, though, is that while anything is possible in science fiction, reality kicks up a fierce downward wind that will inevitably grab the Party out from the stratosphere and back to Earth.

Click for my extensive LGBTIQ PowerPoints, in two parts, Part One, Part Two.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 12th, 2016 at 10:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Blasting Away Black and Brown Faces and Lives

without comments

With the increased visibility of specific police officers killing unarmed black and brown people, the wide-scale demonstrations of outrage and protest traveling throughout the country, and investigations by the Justice Department into allegations of racial bias in policing, many law enforcement agencies are assessing procedures while attempting to improve relations with the communities in which they serve.

The Dallas Police Department, for example, for many years has undertaken steps to improve its community relations with remarkable results.

Allegations of racism in the hiring practices, policies, and attitudes in police departments, however, represent in microcosm much larger forces evident in our country. We must not and cannot dismiss police killings of black and brown people as simply the actions of a few individuals or “bad cops,” for oppression exists on multiple levels in multiple forms.

These officers live in a society that subtly and not-so-subtly promotes intolerance, imposes stigma, and perpetuates violence. The incidents must be seen as symptoms of larger systemic national problems.

The concept of “Social Reproduction” asserts that social institutions reproduce social inequities, especially in terms of socioeconomic class and race, which exist in the larger society. While the vast majority of police officers enter law enforcement with completely good intentions to serve and assist the public and to support their own families, they bring with them their past socialization sometimes aided and abetted by members of their departments.

So, where did they (we) learn these attitudes that they (we) are reproducing? We most certainly did not invent or create these negative belief systems. Rather, we all are born into a society that teaches us these biases. These systemic inequities are pervasive throughout the society. They are encoded into the individual’s consciousness and woven into the fabric of our social institutions, resulting in a stratified social order privileging dominant groups while restricting and disempowering marginalized groups.

Though usually subtle, the process by which systemic racism reproduces itself into law enforcement can also at times express itself quite blatantly. Take, for example, the North Miami Beach Police Department in Florida.

What members of the Florida National Guard found last year when they showed up at a shooting range for their annual weapons qualifying training shocked and angered them. Before they arrived, the North Miami Beach Police Department conducted sniper training at the site using mug shots of African American men for target practice, and for some reason, they failed to remove the pictures.

For one of the members of the Guard, Sargent Valerie Deant, this was extremely traumatic. One of the hanging mug shots was of her brother, Woody Deant, with a clear bullet hole in one of his eyes and another in the center of his forehead.

The Police Department took Woody Deant’s mug shot in 2000 after his arrest for drag racing that resulted in the death of two people. He served a 4-year prison sentence, and today he is a respected member of his community as a father, husband, and employee.

North Miami Beach Police Chief, J. Scott Dennis, defended the practice of using actual photographs in target practice because he argued that it is important for facial recognition drills. In this instance, all the faces profiled were of African Americans, though Dennis asserted that this is not always the case.

A Florida news station, NBC 6, contacted a number of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to determine whether this type of police shooting practice training is a widespread practice. Every law enforcement agency contacted stated they use only commercially produced targets, rather than photographs of actual human beings for target practice.

What am I missing here? Why does Chief J. Scott Dennis believe it to be good policy and practice to further target (literally and figuratively) people who have paid for their past mistakes? Does he think his policy has no real impact on the loved ones of those whose pictures his officers blast away?

Does this not fall under the category of “cruel and unusual punishment”? Does this not, in fact, promote racial profiling? Does this not, in fact, produce further distrust of police departments by the communities they are meant to serve? Does this practice not produce some sort of sadistic thrill on the part of the trainees? And if so, does this thrill not transfer when shootings real people?

By our challenging social institutions such as law enforcement agencies, we are taking a necessary step in reducing and one day eliminating cultural bias to ensure that these institutions work for everyone regardless of race and other social identities. But this is surely not enough.

In fact, racism (the systematic and hierarchical ideology of white superiority and white privilege) is perpetuated and enhanced on many levels: personal, interpersonal, institutional, and society-wide. We much look into the mirror at ourselves as well. Especially for us white people, we must come to consciousness of our social conditioning and the ways we have internalized notions of “race” and racism.

At this crossroads in our collective national consciousness, we have an opportunity to address the legacy of race, a divide on which this country was founded, and move forward out from the abyss of our past to a better future. If not, we will continue on the abyss and remain on the endangered nations list.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 8th, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Catholic Church Sex Positions Tantamount to Institutional Suicide

without comments

What is the purpose of sex for human beings? No really, I’m serious. What do you believe is the purpose of sex? Is sex only for procreation to sustain our species? Or is it also for other purposes? If so, what are those other purposes?

What about because it makes us feel good? What about as a way to bring people closer together, not only physically but also emotionally? Spiritually? What about because it constitutes a natural human need and function? For human touch? For bodily release of fluids, tension, frustration? For enhancement of our emotional stability?

I ask these questions as someone who was not raised within an orthodox religious tradition, and who is thoroughly bewildered by the anti-sex (sexphobic) and, therefore, anti-human doctrines of many of these religions.

For example, based on Catholic Pope Francis’s recent document “On the nature of family life and marital love” (AMORIS LÆTITIA), Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Caput told unmarried Catholics, divorced Catholics, and Catholics who have re-married outside the Church that they must say caput to sexual relations and “live as brother and sister” if they are still interested in receiving the sacraments of Holy Communion and Penance (Confession).

He wrote on the archdiocesan website, July 1, 2016 that “Catholic belief, rooted in Scripture, reserves all expressions of sexual intimacy to a man and a woman covenanted to each other in a valid marriage,” calling this an “unchangeable” tenet.

Though he didn’t tell people with same-sex sexual attractions to live as brother and sister as well, he commanded that:

“Those with predominant same-sex attractions are therefore called to struggle to live chastely for the kingdom of God. In this endeavor they have need of support, friendship and understanding if they fail. They should be counseled, like everyone else, to have frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Penance, where they should be treated with gentleness and compassion.”

Gentleness? Compassion? How “gentle” and “compassionate” is it for any person or institution to extort one’s sexuality for the honor of being permitted to rest among the flock, to find acceptance from one’s family, friends, peers? How realistic is it to live in a dualistic binary separation splitting the mind from the body, in which the mind holds sway over the “sins” of the flesh?

And how “gentle” and “compassionate” is it for Caput to assert that “…two persons in an active, public same-sex relationship, no matter how sincere, offer a serious counter-witness to Catholic belief, which can only produce moral confusion in the community…. Such a relationship cannot be accepted into the life of the parish without undermining the faith of the community, most notably the children.”

No Archbishop Caput, you have it completely backward, for it is the Church’s stands on sexuality and gender that will “produce moral confusion” and “undermine the faith” of young people. Why do you believe the Church has for so many years found it difficult to attract greater numbers of seminarians who might ultimately serve as Catholic priests? Why do you believe so many young people have been leaving the Church?

The demographic group of “recovering Catholics” is probably the fastest growing identity group in the United States second only to atheists, and for good reason.

Actually, Caput’s statement regarding young people reminds me of a cartoon I saw in a popular magazine. It showed an adult man and an adult woman, presumably two parents, sitting on a living room sofa, and two young people, a girl and a boy, seated on the floor in front of them. They were all gazing at a TV screen with the written announcement: “Due to the homosexual content of the following program, children might have to explain it to their parents.”

In the Catholic Church, young people have much to impart to their parents, guardians, educators, and Church leaders, including the Pope. If the Church is to save itself from itself and survive, Catholic adults must listen.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 7th, 2016 at 11:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Gays Against Guns & Pink Pistols: Two Views on Gun Debate

without comments

The United States ranks first among 178 countries researched in 2014 for the highest rate of firearms with 112.6 per 100 residents, with Serbia coming in a distant second at 69.7, Yemen third at 54.8, and Switzerland forth at 45.7.

Like individuals within most other social-demographically-constructed communities, LGBTQ people in the United States differ widely on issues of firearms along a continuum from imposing absolutely no restrictions on firearms ownership on one end to fully repealing the Second Amendment on the other.

Two particular groups embody at least some of the diverse attitudes of individuals within our LGBTQ communities: “Gays against Guns” and “Pink Pistols.”

Toward one end of the debate, Gays against Guns members and as a group are claiming: “Queer complacency is over.” The group is calling for a multi-pronged approach to gun safety in order to “Thwart the life-threatening convergence of homophobia and flawed gun policy.”

Included among its goals: “to ban access to high-capacity magazine guns and assault weapons, create stricter background checks for gun owners, close the loophole that allows sales of weapons at gun shows without background checks, ban gun sales via the internet, and block people on the FBI watch-list from purchasing guns.”

As other militant non-violent groups of the past, Gays against Guns conducts visible demonstrations to raise issues to the highest levels of public discourse like we did in the heydays of the Gay Liberation Front, Gay Activists Alliance, Women’s Liberation, ACT UP, Queer Nation, and others.

At this year’s recent New York City Pride March on June 26, members shouted chants calling for firearms safety, as people then dropped to the ground in a “die in” to emphasize legislative inaction and silence.

Situated toward the other end of the firearms debate is Pink Pistols, a national group originally organizing in 2000, but whose membership has risen enormously since the Pulse nightclub shooting on June 12 of this year killing 49 and wounding another 53. Like Gays against Guns, Pink Pistols understands the clear links between homophobia and violence against our community. However, unlike the other group, Pink Pistols’ solution is not to increased gun regulations, but, rather, it advocates for increased gun ownership, including hand guns and pistols of any color, as well as high-velocity and high-magazine capacity rifles.

President of the Utah chapter of this LGBTQ pro-gun group, Matt Schlentz, is pictured in the Salt Lake City Tribune posing in front of his Rainbow Gadsen Flag (with the saying “Don’t Tread on Me”) and his AR-15, similar to the weapon used at Pulse, in his backyard in Salt Lake City. Minus the rainbow, the Gadsen Flag is the same one deployed to represent the right-wing political group, The Tea Party.

Though upsetting enough as it stands, the article’s title altered the empowering motto of Queer Nation from “We’re Here, We’re Queer, We’re Fabulous, Get Used to It,” to the perverted and corrupted paraphrase: “We’re Here, We’re Queer, And We’re Packing Heat.”

I stand fully on the side of Gays against Guns, which is attempting to reduce the number of weapons and the skyrocketing gun violence directed against LGBTQ and all individuals and communities.

Though I truly understand the sentiment of taking up arms, I cannot support Pink Pistols’ perspective. Unfortunately, rather than diligently working for common sense firearms safety measures, Pink Pistols colludes in the endless cycle of increasing firearms in this country. When one fights fire with fire, one gets higher and hotter flames, and we all get seriously burned.

This brings to mind the profound words of Audre Lorde: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

While Gays against Guns has picked up new and refreshed tools, Pink Pistols continues to employ the oppressors’ tools crafted by the firearms industry and promoted and propagandized by the National Rifle Association.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 3rd, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized