American Family Association Finally Comes Out

The AFA today sent out an “Action Alert” email to their constituency about energy costs. They are blaming environmentalists for the rising price of gas, saying that:

We have abundant energy reserves, but the environmentalists won’t let us use them. All efforts to provide for our needs end up in court because of the environmentalists! A handful of environmentalists are forcing all Americans to pay outrageous amounts for gas!

They are lobbying the American people to support the “exploration of energy sources” saying that this “would not materially effect our environment.” Spreading this misinformation is immoral and dangerous.

And I might add, not Christian. Even Pat Robertson appeared in those ridiculous ads with Al Sharpton saying that we have to protect the environment. What would Jesus do? He would want us to protect and be stewards of God’s creation. I am grateful that there is an Evangelical Christian movement that recognizes the responsibility that we all have to protect the environment.

The American (anti)Family Association has finally come clean and shown their opposition to the environmental movement. This organization that supposedly clings to Christian values spews hate-speech and intolerance, and is now encouraging the American people to believe that they should be able to consume as much gas and oil as they want without regard to their impact on climate change. I can’t say that I’m surprised, but I am perplexed. The values just don’t match up.

I like to use the AFA script pages to write my representatives. Go to this link and type in your zip code, and it will take you to a page where you can fill in the blanks. Here is what I wrote:

Dear Senator/Representative:

The rising price of gasoline is hurting nearly every family in America.  But I believe that every one of us has a responsibility to live in a more environmentally sustainable manner.

It is time for Congress to get serious about making green living a priority in this country. We need to curtail our dependency on oil and to curb our consumption of gasoline and our contributions to greenhouse gases that are contributing to global warming.

We need to develop green-color jobs, create public transportation systems that work, build sustainable communities where people can walk or bike easily from home to work to buy groceries, etc. We need to make recycling easier, and we need to outlaw the use of plastic shopping bags. We need to work to change our culture so that people can live more sustainably. We need to stop consuming goods that only end up in a land fill after two years. We need to set national standards for decreasing carbon emissions.  We need to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from Big Oil.

As one of our Nation’s leaders, you have a responsibility to help find solutions to the climate change problem. The future of our planet, of our children, our families depends on it.

Just(ly) Married

Just Married

Originally uploaded by silly.goose

This week we celebrated a victory. The CA Supreme Court ruled that we have the right to marry and form a family bond, and that is protected by the California Constitution. We have taken a big step away from second class citizenship!

We are indeed blessed for so many reasons. Mildred Loving was smiling down on us.

I am so grateful for all of our friends and family who have supported us, and to the attorneys at NCLR, the ACLU, and the City of San Francisco.

And most of all, I’m grateful to my wife. I’m so proud to be married to her.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom’s birthday.

She hasn’t been with us since January 10, 2001, but everyone in my family finds a way to celebrate her life each year on her birthday.

On the anniversary of her death this year, my family had a very sweet email exchange about how we were all recognizing the anniversary of her passing. Our mother loved food, and it turned out that each of us was preparing a special menu in her honor and raising a glass to her.

My mother struggled with it the way that so many women do in this culture. I used to blame my mother for my my own formerly unhealthy relationship with food. I have struggled with food in my own way, and I have happily ended up with in a healthy place of loving delicious cuisine. Now I credit my mother with my very healthy appreciation of fine dining. I thank her for my educated palate.

My beloved is an artist in the kitchen, and each year on the anniversary of her death and on her birthday, we have a special meal that we know she would love. In January we had steak and Ceasar salad with a lovely Cabernet. My sister and her husband also made steak. My brother had artichokes with hollandaise (which we would have had but the artichokes here in Chicago just weren’t up to snuff).

So this weekend, Gillian has prepared a special menu yet again. We’re having shrimp scampi tonight, and tomorrow, shrimp cocktail with potatoes gratin and a lovely steak. I wish she were here, and I’m sure in her way she is.

Gillian and Mom got to meet before Mom died, but Gillian never got to cook for her. I’m sure she’s enjoying the ever meal that we prepare in her honor.

Freedom of Expression

My dad sent the following letter to Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern last week:

Representative Kern.

I just heard your remarks about gays. I am a 76 year old successful business executive who has known many gay persons at work and in society. All of them have been very productive and loving and kind. None of the deserve the hate that you are broadcasting. This is the trouble with this nation. People like you become misinformed and believe what they hear and become divisive. You are in a position of trust where you are supposed to represent all of the people. Gays make up over twelve per cent of the population and their friends and relatives expand that to at least twenty five per cent or more.

Do you feel responsible in your representation when you bash over one fourth of your constituents?

I ask you first to reconsider you hateful position and then become informed so you can represent your constituents properly. I can guarantee that you will be a much happier person as well.

My dad rocks. He’s one of my greatest role models. I thought this was an incredibly generous and hopeful response. My sister wrote to her, too, expressing her love and acceptance of gay people, and expressing her concern about Kern’s views (or more accurately her ignorance) about Islam and Muslims.

I can’t remember exactly what I wrote when I submitted my signature to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund open letter to Kern, but the general point was that I believe that Kern must know that her views are prejudiced, ignorant, and shameful. Otherwise she would not have expressed herself in a private audience where she believed her views wouldn’t be exposed.

My beloved pointed out that Kern is simply exercising her freedom of speech, and she has every right to her opinions. I couldn’t agree more, and I hope that more of her ilk come out into the light and expose themselves as the hate mongers that they are, especially if they are educators and hold public office as she does. People who hold office have a responsibility to represent and protect the rights of all people in their communities, even they don’t like them.

Yoga Podcasts

This is for you, Paul! And for my numerous other friends who have asked me for the link recently.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered some free vinyasa yoga podcasts through the iTunes Store. I just did a search for yoga, and there were all of these free hits, including many full yoga classes. I was thrilled, to say the least.

Finding time for yoga practice is challenging for me. I commute a long way to work, and my time is limited. I rely on home practice, and that is, shall I say, unreliable at best. I am fairly experienced, having practiced yoga on and off for about ten years now. But I am by no means disciplined or experienced enough to really feel confident as building a solid home practice.

I think these podcasts are going to change my life. They are really wonderful, challenging classes. If you have never taken a yoga class before, I wouldn’t recommend them. But if you have studied for a while and are comfortable practicing alone, these online classes are better than any video I have ever seen. And there is a good variety as well.

There are two teachers I have found who post free podcasts of their classes, Philip Urso of Salt Pond Yoga in Charlestown, RI, and Dave Farmar in Denver, CO. They are both great teachers. I find Philip a little more spiritual and gentle in his teaching, and Dave I find a little more athletic, butch, if you will. Don’t get me wrong, you will definitely break a sweat and work hard with each of them, its just a different vibe. If you’re interested, Philip Urso also has some free podcasts about A Course in Miracles.

This is a great kick-start to the old home practice for me. I’m inspired. Thanks Philip and Dave! Enjoy, everybody!

One final note: I have created a yoga group in Ma.gnolia: Yoga Reference. So far I am the only member, and I can’t seem to convince many people what a cool tool Ma.nolia is. I think it is a matter of time before it catches on, though. Or maybe I’m just a geek. Ma.gnolia is a web tool that I like a lot. It helps me track and manage book marks. Check it out!