The Rainbow Toilet vs. HB2: Wiped from The Headlines in NC
Law & Order’s Special Victims Unit had nothing on Genevieve “Gigi” Burkhalter of Durham NC; but that wasn’t going to stop the North Carolina state troopers who do security at the governor’s mansion in Raleigh. The mansion is currently occupied by governor Pat McCrory, known worldwide as the face of HB2, Carolina’s trans-hostile Bathroom Law.
The troopers were sure they saw a crime being committed there under cover of darkness on April 15, 2016, and when they followed up what they saw on a security videocam, there it was, on the green lawn near the mansion.
A bomb? A corpse? A cache of erased State Department emails? No, wait — it was a toilet. Continue reading The Rainbow Toilet vs. HB2: Wiped from The Headlines in NC
Northwest Update: The Expulsion Plot Thickens
Three brief items for those following the fallout from the decision by Northwest YM to West Hills Friends in Portland for becoming a welcoming place for LGBT persons.
First, I’m advised that the question has been set for the called NWYM representative meeting on December 9-10. It comes at the end of this excerpt from a “tentative agenda” that came to hand: Continue reading Northwest Update: The Expulsion Plot Thickens
Update-Northwest YM Gay Expulsion: The Power In Posing The Question
How does a group in power get what it wants from a divided Quaker body, given the practice of seeking “unity” or a near-unanimous “consensus” for action?
It’s not hard, and we’ll get to how it can be done in a moment. First, some background:
As reported in our October 22 post, there’s movement in Northwest Yearly Meeting (NWYM), on the case of the expulsion of West Hills Friends (WHF) in Portland OR, by the NWYM Elders, in July 2015. West Hills is a LGBT-welcoming meeting.
The NWYM Administrative Council recently proposed that a joint statement be issued by both West Hills and NWYM, in which West Hills would agree to accept its expulsion. (Full text of the proposed statement is here.) Continue reading Update-Northwest YM Gay Expulsion: The Power In Posing The Question
The Northwest Gay Expulsion Impasse: Is A Break In Sight?
At its September business meeting, West Hills Friends (WHF) in Portland Oregon considered a statement accepting its expulsion from Northwest Yearly Meeting (NWYM) for having become a LGBT-welcoming congregation. If approved, the statement would be issued jointly with NWYM.
The decision to expel West Hills was made public by Northwest YM’s elders on July 24, 2015, at the conclusion of the YM’s annual sessions. (More details here.)
However, like a death sentence, pronouncing the expulsion did not
Transphobia: The Bible Is Better Than That
North Carolina’s odious “Bathroom Bill,” HB2 has been pushed out of the spotlight for the moment, while the crazy 2016 election plays itself out.
I can understand that. But HB2 will be back, and it’s still on my mind. In particular, I’ve been trying to figure out what’s at the root of the support for it. I have some idea of the politics, and the major personalities; but what’s the nub, the “bottom line”?
It isn’t the “science” cited on behalf of the law — a curdled combination of cant and charlatanry. Or the panic over predators stalking “little girls” in public restrooms, which is trumped up, and such assaults were already illegal. Anyway, we already know the cultural right has big issues over a gender binary (and male dominance), so that riling up its base about sex works to boost voter turnout. But what is its basic justification? Continue reading Transphobia: The Bible Is Better Than That
Grace In Your Face: Remembering Bill Kreidler
First written Summer 2000
One of the finest, most eloquent ministers of this generation of liberal Quakers, William J. “Bill” Kreidler, of Beacon Hill Meeting in Boston, died on June 10, 2000. That was a time to mourn, and also a time to remember, and to pay tribute. And today, more than a decade-plus later, remembrance and tribute are what I want to do here.
Of Bill’s biography, I know only a few scattered facts: He was from a farm community in western New York, and grew up in the Dutch Reformed Church. He began college in Buffalo and finished in Boston, where he became a public school teacher. He was gay. He wrote books about conflict resolution in schools, and did consulting with school systems on violence prevention. Where and how he came to Friends I don’t know; but he was a founding member of Beacon Hill Meeting.
My first memory of Bill is from St. Lawrence University, at the FGC Gathering of 1984. I was leading a workshop, my first for FGC, on the Basics of Bible Study, and he was in it. Continue reading Grace In Your Face: Remembering Bill Kreidler
“Ain’t had a prayer since I don’t know when . . . .”
Imagine this scene (part of it really happened):
It’s August 6, and George W. Bush is at home in Houston, or maybe at the ranch. He’s finishing a watercolor, or (stay with me) reading a book, though certainly not that heavy new biography, “Bush,” by military/presidential historian Jean Edward Smith, which takes another big whack at his tattered reputation.
Maybe he’s even pondering the big presidential decision by Harry Truman made 71 years ago, because for many of the rest of us, August 6 is Hiroshima Day.
Whatever. Meanwhile across town, in a big Houston pavilion, more than 20,000 people are jammed and jamming, screaming their lungs out for — the Dixie Chicks, in a raucous, triumphant concert that sold out in minutes months ago. It’s the Chicks’ first appearance in Houston in fifteen years.
Okay — I really have no idea what GWB was doing that day. But the part about the Chicks is the truth.
The political purpose behind the notorious North Carolina “Bathroom Bill” or HB2, has never been hard to figure out: it is carefully aimed to stir up sexual anxiety among many in the state’s Republican base, and thus to maximize turnout in this fall’s election.
A similar ploy, to put a ban on same sex marriage (which was already illegal) into the state constitution was tried in 2012. Silly alarmist rhetoric was rolled out, about churches being invaded and ministers jailed, and the ban passed. Though soon struck down in court, the maneuver worked quite well politically: very conservative candidates swept the North Carolina legislature.
This year, a new panic was ginned up over mythical hordes of hulking male predators scheming to masquerade as transgender women so they could invade bathrooms and assault “little girls”. The idea is absurd (& such assaults are already illegal) but could well maximize conservative turnout again, and cement the right’s power base here.
For that matter, HB2’s bathroom provision was a very effective cover for the law’s other, more substantive provisions, which did very real harm, by stripping the state’s cities and citizens of several other rights, including some unrelated to gender, but very much to do with advantages to some greedy corporate interests. Continue reading Carolina Quakers (A Few, at Least) Speak On HB2
Orlando & Friends: A Quaker Prophet Speaks
Fierce controversies over the presence and affirmation of LGBT persons have dogged many Quaker Yearly Meetings in the past decades. In some groups, the debate has been resolved; but in others it continues to rage.
As discussed in an earlier post, the late Willie Frye, a longtime North Carolina Quaker pastor, was the target of intense criticism in the early 1990s by making supportive statements about homosexuals. Charges were made that he was teaching “false doctrine,” and advocating homosexuality. Efforts were made to drive him from the yearly meeting, out of his pastoral career, and to divide the yearly meeting itself.
In 1994, Willie presented a statement on his behalf. Since then it sat obscurely in his papers until a few days ago, when a relative retrieved it, and shared a copy with this blog.
We’ll take up the bulk of the presentation in a future post; it makes gripping reading. But in light of events earlier this week, in Orlando, the following section leaped out as timely, though it is 22 years old. Genuinely prophetic statements have such continuing relevance. Continue reading Orlando & Friends: A Quaker Prophet Speaks