>Does Faith Unite Us? Do Republicans Divide Us?

>When will I ever learn?

I continue to read The Western Star.

Dale Jones, the editorial writer for the Western Star, is again off base with his opinion column this week. He continues to bring an anti-gay message to his paper, condemning Barack Obama for being a member of a denomination that endorses same sex unions (as well as for his views on using faith to bring people together). So many people that go out of their way to express their anti-homosexual views turn out to be suppressing their own homosexuality. This study completed at the University of Georgia supports this position. Warning, this is a scientific paper and does not mince words. I got this link from Trey at The Human Animal. Just read the abstract at the first of the paper, you will get the idea.

UGA Study

Dale, it’s OK.

But…to the column at hand. Using the same terms that Jones uses in describing Barack Obama, I will describe Jones as “claiming to be a Christian.” I actually think it is non-productive to be guessing at the validity of one’s relationship with God, but since he did it, I felt I could. Jones is right, though when he says “Faith is about bringing individuals closer to God.” But he is wrong when he criticizes Obama for saying faith is supposed to bring us together. Faith does both of these things.

How odd that he make this assertion in a column about patriotism and the Fourth of July. Does he not realize that our country was founded as the United States, after we were brought together as “peoples” of differing faiths, in spite of our differences? Because the various religious and political leaders of the time had faith that the union of the various states with their differing religious and political would succeed, the United States was formed. Does he not know that religious freedom was one of the reasons our country was formed? That we are free to worship as we please, and that we are united by our faiths even though they may be different?

So typical of conservative republicans is their propensity to be divisive, so it should not come as a surprise that Jones does not understand unity. That is how they win elections, by dividing the electorate and inducing fear. Be afraid of terrorism, don’t vote democratic. Be afraid of gay marriage, don’t vote democratic.

Jones is afraid of the people of this city being united (thus his criticisms of the gay community). He is afraid of the people of this country being united, as well. He says he is “frightened by an individual who claims to be a follower of Christ, yet refuses to actually follow what the scripture teaches” and “frightened by the fact that we seem to continue on this path…” There he is, spreading fear, as he tries to persuade readers to agree with him.

I don’t know what denomination or religious affiliation Jones is affiliated with. But this is obvious: his view is that there is only one way to interpret the Bible, and his way is that way. From his statements, he asserts that he understands every verse, and nothing in the Bible is open to debate. In questioning whether Obama is really a Christian or not, he asserts that those who do not follow his own view are also not Christian. He says later in the article that he is “not going to judge the spirituality of Barack Obama,” after spending three paragraphs doing just that.

He says to fly the Stars and Stripes, but not rainbow flags this Fourth. I say fly both. The Stars and Stripes to show your patriotism and your rainbow flag (whether you are gay or not) to show that you support unity and inclusion for all in our city.

What we should really fear is a government that picks apart our constitution, beginning with the First Amendment, as just happened in the Bong Hits for Jesus case in which the Supreme Court recently ruled against free speech. Read what Trey had to say: The Human Animal

Here is a crepe myrtle, one of many.

8 Responses to “>Does Faith Unite Us? Do Republicans Divide Us?”

  1. Dale Jones Says:

    >Ah…You got it Joe. I’m suppressing my own homosexuality. YEAH RIGHT.You know, it is pretty pathetic and extremely GUTLESS that you continue to be critical of me for the VERY REASON that you say I am critical of others. You don’t agree with me, so you write blogs arguing what I write about.But since you started this (AGAIN) let me set you ‘straight’ on a few things.The BIGGEST MAJORITY of the citizens of this country ARE NOT IN FAVOR of gay marriage. Why would we want a president who is?Secondly, you CANNOT take the Bible and try to ‘spin’ it to make it read like you want it to read. There are indeed areas of the Bible that are, to some extent, open for debate, but HOMOSEXUALITY is NOT one of them. I am inclined to list SEVERAL VERSES for you to look up, but am confident that you would only spin those to fit what you want to believe.I take offense MOSTLY to when you say that I am afraid of the people of this city being united. I am ALL FOR this area coming together to move our communities forward. You ASSUME that because you lost an election by somewhat of a narrow margin, that this entire town is PRO GAY. Yet the election had LESS THAN 30% voter turnout. You don’t have a clue Joe. We need to push this area forward. We need people of all ages, sexes, races and economic levels to join together to make this area the best it can be. But YOU have ONE OBJECTIVE…and that is constantly pushing your GAY AGENDA. Look at the blogs on this site. It is ALL ABOUT PUSHING THE GAY AGENDA, Joe. That is ALL it is about.Bottom line is this, if you have a problem with ANYTHING I write, you need to be ‘man’ enough to come to my office and talk to me about it. I’ve told you many times and I’ll tell you again, my door is open to ANYBODY. Stop hiding behind this pathetic blog and come talk to me face to face.I don’t think you can.I would ENCOURAGE you to make sure that this is the LAST TIME that I am the subject of a blog on this site.Dale Jones

  2. twoseekingplaymate Says:

    >I am not sure I know where to begin – I am quite troubled by the tone, anger, and bitterness that is present in Mr. Jones’ reply to this entry. One of the things that make this country great is the freedom to have differing opinions. Judging (…judge not less ye be judged…) by how aggressive Mr Jones’ replay is – I would have to feel he is afraid of people who are different from him. I also subscribe to The Western Star – however, not for much longer – I have yet to read any comment, opinion or statement that would make me as a gay man, trying to live my life peacefully, feel invited, wanted, needed or appreciated in Mr. Jones’ Bessemer. I hate to be the one to point it out to Mr. Jones’ but the world is NOT full of heterosexual, white, republican men who “read” the bible and “tell” everyone else how they should live their lives. This is a free country. I am sure that the message Jesus left for all “who believe” was not: “be like me or go to hell” – IT WAS: “Love your neighbor as yourself”!!! No where in that sentence does it say “make your neighbor like yourself” – it says “Love your neighbor”. God created everyone with different personalities, different looks, different abilities, different interests, and different fingerprints. Why is it so hard for some people to believe that God would create people with different tastes in other ways? And as a result – you are commanded to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. No where does it say …. Except…. Quoting Mr. Jones – “But YOU have ONE OBJECTIVE…and that is constantly pushing your GAY AGENDA. Look at the blogs on this site. It is ALL ABOUT PUSHING THE GAY AGENDA” Yet again, I do not want to be the one to point it out but EVERYONE has an agenda. Someone who smokes “pushes” the cigarette lobbyist agenda. Someone who drinks “pushes” the alcohol lobbyist agenda. Someone who gambles “pushes” the gaming agenda. Someone who sits at home says and does nothing “pushes” the conservative right wing agenda. Some show themselves more than others but everyone whether they care to admit it or not is actively pushing or pursuing a cause. If people like Joe Openshaw do not pursue the fabled “Gay Agenda” who will. Can we depend on heterosexual, white, republican men who “read” the bible to forward the cause of unity, inclusion, fairness and justice for all? History would say no.

  3. Joe Says:

    >Dale,Barack Obama is not in favor of gay marriage. He opposes them; however he is in favor of civil unions.Polling: CNN Poll May 2007…51% favor either same sex marriage or civil unions, 43% say neither Newsweek Poll: March 2007…50 % say yes on marriage or civil unionFox News Poll in May 06….60% favor either marriage or legal partnership for same sex couplesBible: Evangelicals spin the bible to say what they want all the time. Everyone who interprets it does the same. You can’t throw any verse at me that haven’t been before, and I will email you the verses you are talking about and why they do not bash homosexuals.I do not assume that the entire town is pro gay, any more than I assume the entire town is non-racist. You say I have one agenda, the gay agenda. “Look at the blogs on this site. It is ALL ABOUT PUSHING THE GAY AGENDA, Joe. That is ALL it is about.” I looked at every blog this month. June is gay pride month, and of 21 blogs I have posted, only four even mention anything gay. However, I have posted regarding public safety and violence several times, environmental issues several times, political issues several times, The Western Tribune several times, recipes, satire and Sopranos.I write a column for the Tribune, and of the 7 I have written; only one mentioned a gay issue.I do not think gay issues are the most important issues facing our city or our country. Lack of leadership is the most important issue in both cases. Next I would say environment.And is that a threat at the end?

  4. Wayne Says:

    >As Joe points out, the balance of those favoring civil unions or marriage for gays is rapidly approaching a majority, if not actually become one (and that’s a *FOX* news poll).I am curious about this statement from Dale Jones:You don’t agree with me, so you write blogs arguing what I write about.Well, duh. What’s wrong with that? It’s kind of like, American to do so, isn’t it?

  5. Joe Openshaw Says:

    >Wayne,Dale does not seem to realize that blogs are a recognized media outlet. Newspapers large and small (as well as cable televeision news services)are turning to online reporting through digital editions and blogs and paper circulation is dropping. People get their news in different ways now. Blogs are a way to present breaking news (Birmingham Blues often does this),opinions, (many of us do this),science (you do this) and links to news stories (we all do this, too)in entertaining fashion. It doesn’t bother me that he calls my blog pathetic, at least he appears to be reading it every day, so it must be somewhat successful. But one thing is clear, I am not hiding behind my blog, I am standing with my blog.

  6. Wayne Says:

    >Joe -Well that would explain it. Dale isn’t keeping up with things, probably. Dale doesn’t realize that blogs have become quite a democratic force, and therefore objects to them. They *are* threatening to him, and so more power to them, I say.Much as he isn’t keeping up with the very large number of Americans who approve of gay marriage or civil unions. More power to them too.

  7. Dale Jones Says:

    >So, all of you are for FREEDOM, right? Everyone should have FREEDOM to say, and think, and ACT as they please.Explain to me, then, why there is presently a bill being considered by congress (Senate bill S. 1105) that would basically make it illegal for a Pastor in a church to preach against the sin of homosexuality. The proposed bill would make it a “hate crime” if a Pastor preaches from Romans Chapter 1 or 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6. Wait a minute…what about the separation of church and state. You can’t bring a Bible to school anymore. Can’t pray before a football game. But NOW the government is going to come inside the walls of the church and tell the preachers what they can and cannot preach?There is a California lawsuit which is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court that would make the use of the words “natural family,” “marriage” and “union of a man and a woman” a “hate speech” crime in government workplaces.CNN and The Washington Post both reported that General Peter Pace, former chiarman of the Join Chiefs of Staff, was fired because he publicly expressed MORAL opposition to homosexual behavior.Basically, we are getting to the point where if you are OK with the sin of homosexuality, you have a right to say so, but if you OPPOSE it, you better shut up or go to jail. GOD FORBID.Wayne, blogs are not threatening to me AT ALL. But the IGNORANCE that is shown on them, does scare me a little.It is true, Joe, that Obama is opposed to same sex marriage, but does indeed support civil unions and also in giving same-sex couple full rights. What an idiot! He supports a constitutional ban on flag desecration, stating “…not because I condone desecration of our flag, but because I celebrate the VALUES our flag represents.” He doesn’t seem to understand that those VALUES are MORAL, CHRISTIAN values that our founding fathers believed. NOT the “everyone is free to believe whatever they want to believe, and nobody is right or wrong” value system of today.There IS RIGHT and there IS WRONG. And it is the ultra-liberal activists that are making every attempted to make fun of conservative Christians and portray them as hatemongers. I am not a mean guy. I love everybody. I am all for a free America, where people can live, and work, and play. BUT, we must follow the LAW and we must abide by the Christian principles that our LAWS WERE BASED ON!!!Joe, my door is still open. Use it whenever you wish.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    >who even decides what’christianity’ is these days.what we really NEED to do is unite. this is no longer the ‘united’ states …our ruler just calls it ‘mairca’. every tom dick and harry has their own splinter group and that includes christianity and if they can afford it a lobbiest. that plays right into the government hand. the people as a whole are not heard. all lobbiest should be run out of washington and montgomery and forced to live without insurance or affordable healthcare until they can get a regular job.we elect people to represent us but they truely represent the people who can afford to be represented. thats because people are off in their own corner.we need to UNITE and TAKE BACK our government.90% of these ’causes’ are nickle dime and most would be settled if we concentrated on human rights and the environment and such. why should i care about anothers religion color sexuality and so on. why should there be any legislation based on those things. we need to see people as people and let individuals just be and it isnt happening.thats what we NEED to do.

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