23 June 2006

The Battle Against Ignorance

In Roeland Park, Kansas, which is near where I live, there was recently a controversy. Joseph Nadeau, the music director of St. Agnes' Catholic Church was forced to resign his position because he is Gay. His sexual orientation came to light when his diocese learned that he also served as music director for the Heartland Men's Chorus, a local Gay singing group.

In January, they informed him that his attraction to men was not in keeping with Catholic teachings. They gave him a choice: Quit the Heartland Men's Chorus and publicly "denounce" homosexuality, or give up his job at the church. Nadeau chose to do the latter, and also chose not to litigate. At the urging of St. Agnes' parishioners, he was allowed to stay the remainder of time left on his contract. Last month, he ended his tenure at the church in dramatic fashion, singing and playing a topical hymn called "God Help The Outcasts."

His firing has triggered much discussion in this region. Last week, I watched a discussion about Joseph Nadeau on a local news program. The panel of commentators reached a consensus that Nadeau deserved to be fired because his homosexual conduct was prohibited by his employer. They agreed that a church has the right to expel anyone whose behavior contradicts its doctrine. That kind of blatant ignorance had to be challenged! There was no way I could ignore it. The following day, I mailed off a letter to the TV station. This is what I said:

I would like to take exception to some of the things said on the most recent telecast of "Kansas City Week In Review" in regard to the Church and homosexuality. Nick Haines asked John Long, publisher of the LesBiGay magazine CAMP if there was a difference between a Christian church asking its parishioners not to practice homosexuality and a Muslim mosque asking its members not to wear shoes. Mr. Long couldn't seem to give him a direct answer, but I can. There's a big difference!

Sexual orientation is not like a pair of shoes that you can put on and take off at will. It is an inherent part of your being. You might as well tell a woman to denounce her ovaries and stop her menstrual cycle! Now, there are ways that women can employ to stop their cycles, but is it a wise thing to do? Is it healthy? Most important, is the request for her to do so in her best interests, or is it malicious?

Let me elaborate on that last point. There was a consensus among (the host's) panelists that a church has the right to conduct its business any way it chooses to. This may be true in a strictly legal sense, but it isn't true from a moral standpoint, and morality is what the panel was really talking about. The Christian church is NOT a business, and the people who set themselves up as church hierarchy are not its CEOs! Jesus Christ is the CEO of the Christian church, and His policies are the only ones that are valid.

Jesus Christ did NOT teach that people should be excluded from fellowship and service in His church because of their sexual orientation! Nor did He command that homosexual men and women be celibate. While the Christ did speak of what we now call Gay men in the 19th chapter of Matthew, He did not speak of them in any sort of condemnatory way. The prohibitions against homosexuality that are found in the Bible reflect man's laws and man's prejudices. They are not part of God's commandments (again, reference the 19th chapter of Matthew)! Bigots misinterpret those passages in order to disguise their own bigotry as Christian teachings, but they are clearly not Christian teachings.

When churches mistreat God's children, they may avoid legal sanction, but they still have to reckon with Divine judgment!

Ignorance is the enemy of truth! It is Satan's favorite weapon. God sent Jesus Christ to Earth to banish ignorance and reveal the truth of Divine salvation. Anything and anyone who seeks to obscure the truth must be corrected. Ignorance about Lesbians and Gay men has gone unchallenged for far too long! We must always be ready and willing to challenge homophobic ignorance, because when we do, we are doing God's work.

GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF THOMAS 68:1-2
Jesus said, "Blessings on you when you are hated and persecuted and no place can be found, wherever you have been persecuted."

GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF MARY MAGDALENE
(Jesus Christ said) be careful that no one leads you astray by saying "look here" or "look there." The Child of humankind is within you! Follow that. Those who seek it will find it. Go and preach the Good News of the kingdom. Do not lay down any rules other than what I have given you, and do not establish law, as the lawgiver did, or you will be bound by it."

14 June 2006

Strange Fruit

MATTHEW 7:15-20
(Jesus Christ said) "Watch out for false prophets! They come to you looking like sheep on the outside, but they are really like wild wolves on the inside. You will know them by the way they act. Thorn bushes do not bear grapes, and briars do not bear figs. A healthy tree bears good fruit, while a poor tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a poor tree cannot bear good fruit. Any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire! So then, you will know the false prophets by the way they act."

Yesterday, I was surfing the Web and happened upon a web page called Jesus and The Homosexual(sic). At first, I thought it was something similar to this blog. I was thrilled to find another site devoted to frank discussion of the Christ's sexuality and the relevance of His life to Lesbians and Gay men. Unfortunately, I only had to read a few paragraphs to realize how wrong my first impression was.

This was one of those "ex-Gay" websites devoted to "delivering" homosexual men and women (but especially men) from their "sin." Imagine my surprise when I found out that the author of this page, one Lambert Dolphin, cites the same Gospel verses that I cite to prove God's acceptance of Gay people . . . only he cites them for the opposite purpose! The translation he quotes is a little bit different from the one found in my Good News Bible. It's worth reproducing here:

MATTHEW 19:9-12
(Jesus Christ said) "Whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery." The disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry." But He said to them, "Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."

This translation of the verses is much clearer. "Some (cannot marry) because they were born that way," which is the way the Good News Bible phrases the beginning of Matthew 19:12, sounds vague in comparison. There's nothing vague about the word "eunuch." When the Christ speaks of "eunuchs who have been so from birth," I have no doubt that He is talking about Gay men. Used in this context, a "eunuch" would be a hermaphrodite, and you'll recall from my previous posting that in the ancient world, Gay people were thought of as hermaphrodites.

Diverse sexual orientation occurs in the human population far more frequently than hermaphroditism does, so not only can "homosexual" be understood as an alternate meaning for the phrase "eunuchs from birth," it was almost certainly the primary meaning. For more information on this topic, please read the very informative essays at . . .


If, as I believe, Jesus Christ was Himself homosexual in His human form, wouldn't He know the difference between Gay men and true hermaphrodites? Certainly He would. He would know the difference even if He weren't, but at that time in history, no separate word existed to describe homosexual orientation. The apostles had such difficulty understanding the Christ's teachings on other matters, just imagine what confusion would've resulted had He tried to explain sexual orientation to them in detail! Even today, most people are unable to grasp the concept. Therefore, the Christ used language His disciples would understand. Lambert Dolphin understands that language, too, but check out the convoluted interpretation he lays on that passage:

Marriage, Jesus implied, was for life. Only under exceptional circumstances, that is in the case of adultery, was divorce permitted. The disciples were evidently startled at the standards Jesus indicated when He quoted Moses as authoritative. They suggested to Jesus that remaining single might be preferable. To this Jesus responded that a celibate, single life, "for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven" was acceptable.

However, Jesus made no mention of homosexuality as a third option for those who might have been "born that way," nor did He suggest that all have a right to choose their own "sexual preference." He did not give us the slightest reason to suppose every individual has a God-given "right" to his or her body, to do with it as one wills. Evidently He believed that marriage, though at times difficult and demanding, is the only relationship where sexual expression meets with God's approval. Those who prefer to remain single are to live as "eunuchs," that is without expressing their sexual desires.

When factual evidence is lacking, there's always good old fabrication to fall back on! Jesus Christ said nothing in that passage about celibacy! He is talking specifically about men who do not have sex with women. What's more, ancient eunuchs were often not celibate! Dolphin is bending over backwards to justify his argument. Assuming that the Savior meant to say something He didn't actually say is putting words into His mouth.

Consider this: In the various Gospels, the Christ is quoted as speaking against many things. Specifically, he warns against greed, deceit, pride, praying in public (yes, it's true!), swearing oaths to God, passing judgment on others (hello!) , and most of all, acting in a hypocritical manner. At least four times in the New Testament, He speaks on proper relations between men and women, on marriage, adultery, divorce and lust. Is it possible that He would simply forget to prohibit homosexual relations?

No, it isn't. These marriage passages are exactly where such a prohibition would appear, but it does not appear here or anywhere else in His quoted speech. Frankly, I'm amazed that it doesn't! Given such strong societal opposition to homosexuality over the centuries, more than one Biblical copyist must've been tempted to attribute disapproval of homosexual relations to the Christ. God's Divine will is the only thing that prevented it from happening, I'm sure!

From here on out, Lambert Dolphin reveals his true agenda. Never mind his tacit acknowledgement that Jesus Christ's comment about "eunuchs who have been so from birth" was in reference to Gay men. He begins to characterize homosexuality as a cognitive disorder. (Let me note here that, according to his online résumé, Dolphin was trained as a physicist, not a psychologist.)

Using tortured language and Bible scripture that's even more tortured, he embarks on a rambling explanation of what causes men to engage in "homosexual acts"(recruitment is the main reason), describes how to "cure" this behavior, and ends by citing references to "ex-Gay" literature. He talks about something called "sissy boy syndrome" and digs up the tired old canard that too much coddling from Mommy can pervert an impressionable boy's natural (heterosexual) inclinations:

The important research of Elizabeth Moberly, Leanne Payne, Joseph Nicolosi, Jeffrey Satinover and others has shown quite conclusively that virtually all male homosexuals testify to having had poor relationships with their fathers. (Blogmaster's note: this research and the conclusions drawn from it have been discredited by the American Psychological Association.) Growing up to be a man is not as easy for boys (as) womanhood is for girls. All of us spend nine months in the womb of our mothers and we arrive into the world bonded strongly to our mothers . . . most of the time the male child identifies strongly enough with his father, an uncle, older brother or other male. Thus a new same-sex bond takes place, and mother gradually begins to take second place. In some (but not all) instances where there is an absent father, or perhaps a sensitive boy and a cold, indifferent father, taken together with a protective or possessive mother, there can be a thwarting of this normal transfer of identity bonding from mother to a suitable male role model.

Ah, yes . . . blame the mother! There's nothing like sprinkling a little misogyny into your homophobia to make an absurd argument more convincing. Dolphin tries so terribly hard to impress the abnormal nature of homosexuality on his readers, he seems to be trying to convince himself as much as anyone else!

In fact, that's exactly what he's trying to do. He calls himself "ex-Gay," but admits to still having homosexual desires. No matter how many Bible verses he twists, and no matter how many bogus scientific studies he cites, Lambert Dolphin will never fully convince himself that homosexual orientation is curable. He can't, because the truth of his natural sexual impulse exists within his own body . . . and within the Gospel According to Matthew.

Thousands of Gay people over many years, young people in particular, have been hurt by so-called "ex-Gay" ministries and their malicious promises of "deliverance" from homosexuality. The thorns and briars concealed within the religious rhetoric of homophobic preachers (the "poor trees" of which Jesus Christ spoke) leave lasting wounds on the spirit. It's because of such charlatans that Christianity has acquired an undeserved bad reputation among people who would otherwise be Christians.

Taken on their own merit, the Gospels offer nourishment to the soul. Taken with the teachings of a false prophet, they are anything but nourishing! A Christian Gospel mixed with bigotry is like fresh water mixed with poison: It looks refreshing, especially when you're very thirsty, but one sip can leave you at death's door.

How many Christians today are dying from poisoned faith? The number is frightening to think about. We need pure water to drink, and we need pure Christianity to nourish our souls. No other kind will do!

13 June 2006

What About The Word "D*ke"?

Previously, I denounced casual use of the word "queer" by Gay people.  I could've included the dreaded D-word in that blogpost, but I felt it was necessary to address this slur independently. Why? Well, there's an urban myth going around that the word "dyke" as applied to women was not originally pejorative. The story goes that it was the name of a noted woman from antiquity who was revered for her masterful ways. It didn't take much investigation on my part to discover that this story isn't true.

The woman this urban myth refers to was not named "D*ke!" Her name was Aglodike, and she was a 4th century Greek physician. Female doctors were unheard of in her day, and legend has it that she masqueraded as a man in order to practice. After her ruse was discovered and publicized, outraged men are said to have abbreviated her name and used it to stigmatize any woman who behaved in too "masculine" a manner.

This etymology of "d*ke" can't be confirmed. I don't find it credible, because the Greek and English pronunciations of that spelling are quite different. Even if they were the same, the manner in which Aglodike's name is reputed to have been used was still disrespectful and derogatory.

Another theory about the etymology of "d*ke" sounds much more probable to me: That it's a corruption of the term "hermaphrodite," which at one time was used to refer to people of homosexual orientation. A hermaphrodite is a life form of indeterminate gender. So, as far back as we can trace it, the word "d*ke" has been employed by ignorant people to question the authenticity of womanhood. With that in mind, consider this excerpt of a news article that currently appears in the online edition of The Advocate:

The Right to Own "D*ke"

It’s taken three years and the fight is still not over, but members of the country’s most famous group of biking Lesbians are finally winning the right to own their own name.

Formed in 1976 by a group of Lesbian motorcycle enthusiasts in San Francisco, D*kes on Bikes has been the leadoff contingent in the city’s (Gay) Pride parade every year since. The popularity of the group led to the founding of similar D*kes on Bikes chapters across the country and even overseas. In 2003, when a Wisconsin woman planned to launch a clothing line using the name D*kes on Bikes, the motorcycle group felt compelled to protect its name.

“We absolutely wanted to keep it from being used for monetary gain,” says Vick Germany, 49, president of the group. But federal trademark attorney Sharon Meier had a different view of what, or who, needed protection. She rejected the group’s application and two subsequent and well-documented appeals because she considered the word "d*ke" to be disparaging toward Lesbians, calling it “scandalous” and “vulgar.”

“I am a d*ke. I’m damn proud to be a d*ke!” Germany says of her reaction to the rulings. “There was no way I was going to let them tell me that word could hurt me.” Under pressure from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, in December 2005 Meier (who did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment) relented and approved the D*kes on Bikes trademark.

God bless Ms. Meier. At least she tried to do the right thing! Wouldn't it be ironic if she were heterosexual? (In all likelihood, she is.) A Straight woman, exhibiting more Gay Pride than the Lesbians involved in this case! How sad that Lesbians would so internalize society's hatred of their sexuality, they'd actually fight for the "right" to express that hatred themselves . . . and to have it recognized by the United States Copyright Office!!! It makes me want to cry and puke at the same time!

You know, there are heterosexual African-Americans who've begun to say that the Gay Rights movement is not a legitimate Civil Rights struggle. They argue it has nothing to do with the original Civil Rights initiatives of the '50s and '60s, and has nothing in common with the noble goals of Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King, Jr. Chief among The Kings' goals was a desire to spotlight the dignity of Black people. Theirs was a movement to uplift humanity. What are Gay people trying to uplift?

Up until now, I always believed that Gay rights were indeed Civil Rights. However, I'm having second thoughts. If what Gay people are fighting for today is the right to call themselves f*ggots, d*kes and queers . . . if that's what the Stonewall rebellion and the Pride marches and the years of political engagement really boil down to . . . then those African-American critics are absolutely correct! Lesbians and Gay men don't have a clue what a Civil Rights movement is really all about.

We might as well spit on the graves of Bayard Rustin, Barbara Gittings, Magnus Hirschfeld and all of our other courageous forebears. What a miserable way to honor the martyrdom of Matthew Shepherd and Harvey Milk. What an insult to the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us . . . to want to "own" a name given to us by Satan! Could there be ignorance any more profound? Could there be any greater sin? Surely, God is not pleased.

07 June 2006

What About The Word "Queer"? (Part One)

For quite some time, I've been wanting to address the use of the word "queer" among Lesbians and Gay men on my blog. I was thinking seriously about how I wanted to address it when the opportunity to do so landed right in front of my nose.

I picked up the latest edition of a local Gay publication and found an appalling editorial inside. A Lesbian activist had written a spirited defense of the word "queer" and was actually encouraging its wider use! She claimed it was a term with the potential to unite sex and gender minorities. I responded immediately with a letter to the editor. It may or may not be published, but that's not important . . . my main purpose in writing the letter was to reproduce it here:

I harbor no illusions that I can ever come between Ms. (name withheld) and her enthusiasm for the word "queer." That said, I'm going to do my damndest to try! Let me say first that I can sympathize with her desire to pull Lesbians, Gay men, Bisexual persons, Transgendered persons, leather fetishists and Pansexualists under the same protective umbrella. We'd all like to protect everybody from gender and sex discrimination, wouldn't we?

The problem is, the umbrella hasn't been invented that will cover so many different kinds of folks at the same time! Certain people will get coverage, and others will simply be left out because there isn't enough room for them. For example, people like me who do not identify with the word "queer", find its usage reprehensible, and resent having it applied to us against our will.

In her editorial, Ms.(name withheld) cites over fifty diverse designations (not all of them homosexual) that are supposedly covered by the word "queer." It's absurd! She's piled on so many meanings, she's rendered the word all but meaningless. She hasn't made "queer" a radical statement, she's made it a joke . . . but not a very funny joke, in my opinion.

I wonder if it ever has occurred to people like Ms.(name withheld) that many Lesbians and Gay men have no desire to be radical? We are quiet souls who are comfortable with our sexuality. We don't see our sexuality as falling outside of what's normal or natural. We have no need to politicize or radicalize it.

We refuse to live our lives in perpetual reaction to the activities of bigots. We refuse to associate ourselves with the most hedonistic and bohemian elements of society just because some people (both pro and anti-Gay) think that's where we belong. Ms. (name withheld) talks about how important it is to stand up for yourself, and to come out of the closet. She's right, but let me remind her of something that's equally important: Defining yourself for yourself and not allowing others to do it for you!

This isn't the first time I've heard this scurrilous argument that Lesbians and Gay men who refer to themselves by hateful terms like "queer", "f*g", "d*ke", "fudge packer", "rug muncher" and "ass pirate" are draining those insults of their negative power. I'd like to pose a few questions to everyone who makes this argument. Why does it still hurt to be called such names by a bigot? If we've made them into such positive and affirming terms, why do they continue to carry their derogatory connotations? And why do we have such a strong need to embrace such dehumanizing terms?

I have an answer to that last question myself. Let me quote Dana Carvey's Church Lady character from "Saturday Night Live" here: "Could it be . . . Satan?" Could it be that our love of sexual slurs is anything but a revolutionary re-invention of language? Could it be our deep-rooted self-hatred manifesting itself? Could hidden shame be the real name of this word game?

I'm acquainted with a man named Neil Brian Goldberg, a popular songwriter. He's not Gay, but he's got a theory about why minority groups are attracted to unsavory words like "queer" and "n*gger". He says that using those rude words on ourselves is a form of psychological self-torture, a subconscious way of identifying with your oppressor. You convince yourself that you're doing otherwise, he explains, but all the while you're reinforcing your own feelings of shame and victimization. Neil told me:

When someone calls one of their own (by a slur), they are assuming the persona of the old masters and bigots! It makes them feel safe, like (saying), "I'm one of you" to the haters. They are denying their own heritage and siding with the enemy to feel safe, as all appeasers do . . . it is wrong! (It is) bad language, and should be shunned.

I concur with his theory. Look at the way our Civil Rights struggle has stalled! I argue that the stagnation of our movement has as much to do with our disrespectful attitudes toward ourselves as with the influence of the religious Right Wing. We can be our own worst enemy.

In Nazi Germany, a majority of people believed that persecuting Jews was the right thing to do just because their governing officials told them so. In the southern United States not so long ago, a majority of people believed that disenfranchising African Americans was the right thing to do just because their governing officials told them so. Just a few years ago, a majority of Americans believed an unprovoked invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do just because their governing officials told them so.

Now a majority of Lesbians and Gay men are starting to believe that presenting themselves to the world as "queers" is the right thing to do just because their equivalent of governing officials is telling them so. Lord, deliver me! When are human beings ever going to act like they've got sense in their heads and start distinguishing what's right from what's wrong? We absolutely must reach for a higher standard of intelligence!

I refuse to unite with anybody under the banner of "queer"! I refuse to engage in verbal self-flagellation. I refuse to disrespect my sexuality. I know that my sexuality is a creation of God. I know that God loves me, and wants me to love myself. And I know that nothing, absolutely nothing that God creates is "queer"! I consider it a sin to refer to myself and others in that way, and no number of bigots and/or misguided Gay activists will ever make me believe otherwise.

05 June 2006

The Violin Lesson

In previous posts, I've paraphrased lines spoken by actress Della Reese in an episode of the much-loved TV series "Touched By An Angel." Let me talk more in depth about that episode, because it's one that every Lesbian and Gay man should see. Titled The Violin Lesson, it originally aired on Sunday, 22 December 1996 during the series' third season. It amounted to a sermon more powerful than a lifetime's worth of televangelist harangues; really, I can't exaggerate its importance.

The premise of "Touched By An Angel" was that a trio of heavenly emissaries (portrayed by Della Reese, Roma Downey and John Dye) intervened each week in personal crises suffered by ordinary people. At a key point in each show, the angels would reveal themselves and impart the message of God's love. It was a very different kind of TV than "The Sopranos" and other kinds of amoral entertainment vehicles that capture the public's attention today!

But I digress. The Violin Lesson concerned a Gay man named Tony DuBois who is dying from AIDS. Tony returns home to his father, violin maker Jordan DuBois, and breaks the news of his diagnosis. At the same time, he reveals his sexual orientation to his father. This changes how the elder DuBois perceives his son; he now finds Tony deeply flawed. Jordan throws him out of the family home, much in the same way he throws out violins after finding flaws in their wood. Crushed, Tony goes off to an AIDS hospice to die alone.

Monica (the Roma Downey character) intervenes with the father and tries to soften his heart. Enraged, he lashes out at his son's homosexuality and calls him a "queer." Monica responds to Jordan's outburst by reminding him that "nothing made by God is queer!" I recall jumping to my feet at the sound of her words. To finally hear something I had believed for years, and to hear it articulated in an explicitly religious context! The feeling was indescribable.

But that wasn't the only bolt of lightning I would feel as I watched this incredible hour of television. Later in the show, Tess (the Della Reese character) appears to Tony on his deathbed. He expresses to her his fear that God has condemned him. She responds in a sweet but authoritative voice: "What you've heard were the words of someone else . . . words of hate and confusion! But God is not the author of confusion! God is the source and completer of your faith."

Soon afterward, an enlightened Jordan DuBois hurries to his son's bedside, carrying a violin he had once discarded for being imperfect. As his son passes into the afterlife, Jordan plays a beautiful melody on the instrument. Looking down at the violin, he is amazed to discover that the flaw in its wood has changed into the image of a Christmas tree. There was no way to miss the deep symbolism in this final scene. An ocean's width and depth probably couldn't have contained all the tears that flowed from the eyes of Gay viewers as they learned The Violin Lesson that night.

Of course, everybody didn't cry. This courageous and groundbreaking telecast sparked something of a backlash among Christian fundamentalists. Bigots were so outraged, many of them never watched "Touched By An Angel" again. I can easily imagine what kind of vicious sermons were preached in its aftermath. To be sure, the prevalence of anti-Gay bigotry didn't diminish; in fact, since the show went off the air in 2003, the forces of religious homophobia seem to have intensified. But this was to be expected!

When God reveals His truth in such an awesome way, what else can Satan do but marshal his false prophets in retaliation? He concentrates his powers of distortion on the minds of Christian converts with renewed vigor. He stirs up the Right-Wing intellectuals, trots out the self-hating "Queer activists," and throws a few bigoted politicians into the mix for good measure. He uses everything in his trick bag to draw our attention away from God's Divine light.

Satan has no equal when it comes to trapping people under the dark cloak of ignorance, but thankfully, his methods are never 100% effective. A lot of folks had their eyes opened on 22 December 1996, and the experience changed them forever. Make no mistake: Lucifer lost quite a bit of ground that Sunday evening, ground he's never recovered!

The Violin Lesson is now available on DVD; you can find it in the "Touched By An Angel", Season Three box set. This remarkable TV show teaches us something that's even more important than tolerance for Lesbians and Gay men. It teaches us that we must go directly to God for the truth. We must seek out a personal relationship with Him. There can be no intermediary, not even the Bible!

On the advice of Christian ministers, millions of people have traditionally made the Bible their primary source of faith. Oh, what a mistake! Within the pages of the Bible can be found much confusion, and the men who compiled the Bible centuries ago intentionally raised its confusion level. After all, when people are confused, it's much easier to lead them where you want them to go! For thousands of years, false prophets have used the Bible to lead the unsuspecting faithful down a garden path. At the end of that path lies an awful terrain where bigotry, hatred and inhumanity thrive.

Fortunately, Jesus Christ has always been there, standing in the distance, forgiving his flock for being ignorant and for not knowing the wrong that they do. (He's had so much practice at doing this, I'm sure it's second nature to Him now!) The Shepherd on the hill is always ready to take our hands and guide us onto the right path. All we need to do is turn our eyes in His direction. When we reject false prophets and choose to have a direct relationship with God, He replaces darkness with sunlight so that we may view the Shepherd with more clarity.

I believe the telecast of The Violin Lesson was an instance where God's sunlight shined so brightly, the figure of the Shepherd on the hill was unmistakable. There's no doubt in my mind that it drew scores of disillusioned Gay Christians back to their faith. Scores more are catching sight of the Holy Shepherd all the time, even as millions continue to be distracted by Satan's deceitful machinations. No matter. I think there will be more days of bright sunshine, and more opportunities for people of all sexual orientations to lift their eyes and see the Good Shepherd beckoning.