The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Response to Western Star bigotry

Bessemer's Western Star is published by Trib Publications, Inc., and their president, Bob Tribble, exhibited his lack of education and his bigotry in a recent editorial. You can read it here.

Three letters appeared in today's Western Star in response. One is from me, the others are from Elisa Macon and Trey Noland. This will make for a long blog post, but I am posting all three letters here. Click "Read more" to view the letters.

Trey Noland is a former Assembly of God minister and foreign missionary.

Dear Editor,

In his editorial regarding the repealing of DADT, Mr. Tribble manages to present himself as level-headed and makes sense until the last 4 paragraphs of the letter. That is where his logic is replaced by superstition (disguised as faith).

Mr. Tribble, as do many religious men and women, begins to claim to know what "God calls" and what "God wishes". I would say Mr. Tribble may know as much about God as he does about gays. Just like his knowledge of gays is obviously prejudiced, here-say, and stereotyped perception (it's ridiculous to claim all gays are covering up misery and unable to find peace) his understanding of God is prejudiced by his own perceptions and what others have told him about God.

Now, that's a common human trait and not so horrible in and of itself. However, Mr. Tribble is going beyond just believing something...he is using his personal understanding and beliefs to condemn others.

There are only seven scriptures which address homosexuality in the Bible. Every one of those scriptures refer to either rape, sexual idolatry, or pederasty between two people of the same sex.

There was no concept of modern-day, committed, monogamous gay relationships...not to mention any understanding by Biblical authors of recent advancements in science that suggest one's orientation is innate and unchangeable. Even if one believes the Bible to be without error, it is arrogant to believe your understanding is without error. Mr. Tribble and other Christians (myself included) need to keep this in mind before we speak out in condemnation of others.

Trey Noland


Elisa Macon is a Birmingham Realtor, and former educator.

Dear Editor,

A recent letter writer spoke in support of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Please allow me to offer a different opinion.

It is wrong to expect our distinguished men and women in uniform to lie about who God made them to be. There is no honor in suppression of the truth. Therefore, DADT is wrong. Period.

The letter writer continued to share his opinion of homosexuality. He stated opinion as fact, and he was wrong on at least three very important points:

1. "The Bible is clear about homosexuality." This is a false statement. As all Biblical scholars know, the King James version of the Bible is a translation from original language, and there was no term related to sexual minorities when the Bible was written. The translation of "homosexual" in Romans is from a word meaning "weak-spirited" and referred to those who refused to acknowledge Christ in public. The passage from Leviticus is also often quoted, but those who follow Christ know that He said the law (Leviticus) is to be put away, and He is the new high priest. Those laws were to a specific people at a specific time of near-extinction, and no one obeys these laws today (unless you sacrificed a calf on your front lawn last Saturday). There are in fact beautiful homosexual love stories in the Bible, including Jonathan and David. Read it for yourself. Finally, Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing to do with homosexuality, but with inhospitality and greed; again, stop taking passages out of context and read the whole Bible for yourself.

2. "Homosexuality is a sin." This is a false statement. Sin is an act, not a state of being. For instance, according to the Bible, judging and condemning others is a sin, because it is a chosen act; but Jesus himself embraced diversity in making sure we understood that there is no male or female, no Jew or Greek, but that we are all the same in God's eyes. Homosexuality and other sexual minorities are just beautiful diversities in creation, like height and hair color. Though redheads are in the minority, it is not a sin to be born red-headed. It is a sin, however, to turn souls away from Christ's love through discrimination, as this letter-writer has done.

3. "Gay lifestyles can never produce peace and happiness in their hearts." This is a false statement. First, gay is not a "lifestyle" any more than being short or tall is a "lifestyle"- again, it is a creation by God. But those who are living God's will for their lives are filled with the fruits of the Spirit- love, joy, peace- whether gay or straight. The only misery comes from denying who God made you to be. This letter-writer obviously lives in misery, but there is no misery in truth. God blesses and loves his gay children who have the courage to acknowledge Him and be honest about who He created them to be.

This letter writer would do well to observe Jesus' commandments to love God with all his heart and love his neighbor as himself. This includes everyone- every "whosoever" God ever made.

Elisa Macon


My letter. Y'all know who I am.

Dear Editor,

A recent editorial in the Western Star (written by their out of state owner) urges congress and the military to keep the current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in place.

The writer bases his position on the errant belief that military chaplains would have to leave the service if they could not preach against homosexuality. As the acting chairperson of Equality Alabama I feel that this issue should be addressed, but it was another statement in the editorial that motivates me to respond.

“Homosexuals call themselves gay but that is only an attempt to cover up their misery. Gay lifestyles can never produce peace and happiness in their hearts,” the writer says.

Across this state gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals are leading happy and fulfilled lives, some in partnered relationships, and others as singles.

To assume that all gays are trying to “cover up their misery” is ludicrous, and stems from outdated mid 20th century beliefs that homosexuality is a mental disease, which we now know it is not.

It is true that some gays suffer from low self esteem and depression but so do some heterosexuals. And many of the problems that those gays have stem from the uneducated and hateful rhetoric they hear from people like this editorial writer.

At a time when anti-gay bullying and LGBT teen suicides are in the news, one would think that an editorial writer could show more compassion and sensitivity toward their gay readers.

As for the issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, 75% of Americans (ABC News/Washington Post 2010), including 60% of churchgoers (Gallup, 2009) are in favor of repeal. The recently leaked military survey reveals that those currently serving are also comfortable with lifting the ban, and that there will be little if any effect on the operations or effectiveness of our military.

Let’s base our support for repealing the policy, or lack thereof, on whether it would affect military readiness and on the wishes of the American people, not on hateful rhetoric based on decades old research.

LGBT soldiers are serving and are dying for our country now. If they can die for our country, they should be able to do so without being asked to lie about who they are. Where is the honor in that? Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be repealed now.

Joe Openshaw
Equality Alabama Interim Chairperson
Bessemer, Alabama

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