By Rob Watson
A few months ago, I had pondered on what the now retired Pope Benedict might observe and learn on a trip with my family to Disneyland. He had just made some rude and inaccurate observations about families like mine, and I felt the reality, as demonstrated by tens of thousands of clamoring families in the “happiest place on earth” might give him something to think about.
Instead, he resigned.
Meanwhile, those within his church continued to act out obnoxiously and still others continued to put down lgbtq families, especially those lead by gay dads. There was somehope and speculation that the next pope might actually be gay, but he isn’t.
He is Pope Francis from Latin America.
As a gay dad, and a professional, I thought it would be fitting to do what one should, as a matter of courtesy, when someone gets a new job. You send a note of congratulations. So, on behalf of my family, including my two 10-year old sons, I am doing just that. Our note includes a suggested four-point plan based on the principles that I have used with my sons, and that they have found effective.
Dear Pope Francis,
Welcome aboard! In full disclosure, we are not members of your church, but rather neighbors of yours in the world community. Since we apparently live in close enough proximity that your team feels the need to provide on-going commentary about us, we thought we would send you a welcome aboard note and warm wishes of congratulations.
We also thought we would also include a four-point plan on how you might want to run the church and have an impact on the world. We don’t mean to over-step our bounds here, just make a few key suggestions. These are gay dad family style ideas…the kind that I share with my sons:
1. Be a good neighbor. What we are trying to say in the kindest of ways is… mind your own business. Except for this one letter, we usually do not make it our business to tell you how to run the church, and we would like you to stop telling us what is required to be a good and legitimate family. You have not created a family, rescued a child for life, have not spent sleepless nights over children with the flu, have not gotten your child to bed after waking with night terrors, or nursed a prematurely born child to health. So please – no lectures, and for heaven’s sake, please stop weighing in about our legal protections and telling everyone that if we get some, that heterosexuals will stop procreating and the world will end. Those kind of statements just make your team sound silly.
2. Respect women. Like your household, ours is made up 100% of the male persuasion. Unlike yours, our house understands that women are an intelligent and equal force in the world. My sons have been taught to respect, revere and take heed of the women authorities in their lives. You need to as well. It is time. Some of the nuns in your employ ROCK. The misogynistic infrastructure has got to go. Your right hand man needs to be a woman.
3. When you are wrong, say you are sorry and accept your consequences. This is a no-brainer for my sons, but seems to be a hugely difficult concept for your church. If you collectively were my sons, you would have found yourself on SUCH a Timeout , I can’t tell you. In any case, this is what you need to do. Cleanse the slate now. Say you are sorry to all those that have been hurt by your leadership both by direct abuse and by cover-up. Pay. Create foundations for abuse therapy and funds for direct financial restitution—not that there is a price tag to make up for what has been done. It may in fact, break your bank. You may have to sell and mortgage the riches of the church, but in the end, you will be spiritually richer.
4. Do good. That is the ultimate message I give my sons, and it is the one you should be giving the world. Do good works. The world has plenty of pain, and could use a Prince of Peace. How about giving that a try for the next few decades and see where it gets you? If I am wrong, you can go back to picking apart people’s personal gender characteristics and predicting the end of life as we know it.
So, there you go. Welcome to your new job. On behalf of me, my same sex partner, and my sons, I wish you well. I wish for you to emulate the Lamb and herald a new dawn of hope. I hope that you learn from many of the members of your own church who are fair, tolerant and want a better world. I pray that you look out at the rainbow of the LGBTQ community and see it with the same sense of promise as Noah did when he saw his rainbow as he descended from the Ark.
Surprise us. Inspire us. Show us what love really looks like.
A new report from Third Way finds that voters largely do not punish lawmakers for voting for marriage equality, regardless of political party. The study analyzed lawmakers in Washington and New York, the only two states where elected officials have faced re-election after addressing the issue of same-sex marriage. Of those who supported the freedom to marry, 97 percent of them who ran again won re-election. Two of the five who lost were under investigation for corruption or misuse of tax dollars, and one lived in a Washington district that voted to approve the marriage equality referendum, so it’s not likely her loss had much to do with the question of marriage.
The last two lawmakers on the list who ran for re-election and lost after supporting marriage equality were Republican New York Senators Stephen Saland and Roy McDonald. The National Organization for Marriage waged an expensive vengeance campaign against them, and while it had some impact, the net result as not in NOM’s favor. McDonald lost to his more conservative primary challenger, but he also raised less money than she did. Saland lost to an equality-supporting Democrat because he split his votes with a conservative challenger who stayed in the race after the primary election. NOM has claimed there are consequences for voting against marriage equality, but the only evidence that this is true is created by NOM spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in retaliation.
Supporting marriage equality does not have to be a political decision for lawmakers. Only NOM’s commitment to political bullying tactics stands in their way of continuing to win the support of their constituents.
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The Defense Department announced -for the first time in U.S. history -that it is allowing service members to march in uniform in a gay pride parade. Even though their policy is to not allow troops to march in uniform in parades they will be making an exception for the San Diego gay pride parade. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta vowed to remove as many barriers as possible so that gays and lesbians can be proud to be out in uniform with the recent repeal last year of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”.
Progress is good.
By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
So in watching all of the craptastic Republican jargon being thrown around over the past many weeks and months, I thought that perhaps I should take a good, hard look at this life that I’m leading and the family of which I am part. Some of the candidates have declared that they wanted for marriage to be just like it is in the Constitution – I swear to God they’ve said it! To this I constantly will yell at the TV or internet, “I’ve read the original Constitution several times and it says NOT ONE WORD about marriage in it!!!!” Others have talked about homosexuals being deviants, unnatural, something that makes God “sad.” Oh no. I had no idea. Again I decided that I might ought to take a look at my apparently deviant life. So here it is. A day in the life of a deviant married lesbian mommy.
7:15 AM – Alarm goes off; snooze gets hit.
7:25 AM – Alarm goes off again. Snooze may very well get hit again.
7:35 AM – Alarm goes off again. OK I’m up; gotta get Noah up for school. Praying that baby girl Harrison stays asleep long enough for me to get him out the door.
7:45 AM – Make sure that Noah gets breakfast, gets dressed in matching clothes, homework in backpack, and teeth brushed.
8:15 AM – Noah out the door to awaiting ride. I make a bottle for Harrison and wait for her to wake up, if she hasn’t already.
8:30 to 9:00 AM – Change Harrison’s diaper. Feed Harrison. Burp Harrison. Get puked on by Harrison.
10:00 AM – Put Harrison down for morning nap. Maybe I will lie down and nap with her, too. Maybe I will have some coffee. Maybe I will throw some laundry in. I might even shower.
11:30 AM – Harrison usually wakes up. Changer her diaper again and give her meds. We play for a bit. If we have somewhere to go, she will go in her bouncer in the bathroom while I shower. If staying in, we move to the den where she might play in her bouncer or swing.
12:00 to 12:30 PM – Feed Harrison. Burp Harrison. Get puked on by Harrison. Play with Harrison a bit more, and hope that she gets tired so that I can maybe eat some lunch.
2:00 to 4:00 PM – Hope that somewhere during this two-hour timeframe that Harrison will take a nap. During this time I might clean one day, do laundry another day, edit photos another day.
4:00 PM – Noah gets out of school; goes to the band hall to practice his instrument for thirty minutes. Some days I will take Harrison in the stroller to the walking track and we will walk a few miles – she usually naps during this venture out.
4:30 PM – Pickup Noah and Dee from school if it is rainy or too cold; otherwise they will walk home.
4:45 PM – Noah and Dee home from school; gotta find them a snack and get them at the dining room table doing homework. Now I need to figure out what we’re going to have for dinner.
5:30 PM – Start dinner. Have Noah unload the dishwasher and sometimes take out the trash and recycling. Erikka usually comes home from work around this time, where she takes over with Harrison (with a bottle by now) so I can finish making dinner.
6:30 PM – Michelle picks up Dee for the evening. We have dinner…hopefully. Harrison will usually swing while we eat. Sometimes, on rare occasions now, we might go out to eat for dinner. I know, settle down – it’s a thrill a minute around here!
7:00 to 8:00 PM – Family time, usually hanging out in the den. Harrison might nap and also get her evening meds. We might catch up on some DVR’d programs. Noah sometimes hangs out and watches TV with us, or plays in his room.
8:00 PM – Noah in the shower.
8:30 PM – Make sure that Noah does his reading, at least thirty minutes. Harrison will probably have another bottle between now and 9:30 PM.
9:00 PM – Noah in bed with teeth brushed and headgear on.
11:30 PM – I usually hope to get into bed by now. Erikka is already there, and often already asleep. I might watch TV for thirty minutes or so.
12:00 AM – Usually lights out and TV off. Only a few more hours before the alarm goes off and we do it all over again.
So there it is. I know it’s crazy and offensive to a LOT of conservative Americans. I know that my family doesn’t deserve to have the same rights and privileges as all of our hetero counterparts…I understand. When you live such an outlandish lifestyle like we do, then the government has to take it upon itself to step in and make decisions for all of us.