The Raleigh Rant

Abuses of Power

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The #MeToo movement has brought media attention to the dirty secret that the U.S. is a patriarchal nation similar to many other countries. Sexual favors are regarded as just one of the perquisites of power, such as a yacht, limousine, or private jet. In other words, it is just one more form of entitlement of the rich and powerful.

We have been surprised how quickly the reaction has spread among media moguls, politicians, and corporate executives. The glare of notoriety has brought swift response from corporations that wanted to protect their public image, but politicians have largely been exempt from retribution because they claimed the charges were just part of another witch hunt and based upon lies. Although women make up more than half of the population, in many cases they still are a minority in the seats of power. A lot of attention has been drawn to the examples of the "glass ceiling" in board rooms, sports, IT industry, and various levels of government. That is changing, but not without a struggle.

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Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

What does that mean? If you live alone, do you have a home? If that is just someplace where you feel secure and comfortable, the I guess it's home. What about homeless people who live on the street, in a tent, or a shelter? By definition they have no home or physical security. For the first time in several years, I stayed home for Thanksgiving rather than travel to visit friends.

To me, home always meant where my parents lived even many years after I had left. Going home meant going to visit my parents and my sister. Now that most of my family and many of my friends are gone, that is no longer an option for me. Both of my former partners are gone.

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A Peek at Gays on TV

A Peek at Gays on TV

The second coming of Will and Grace was hailed as a landmark to stem the recent tide of homophobia on TV news. I'll admit that I couldn't even finish the first episode of the series because it was so supercilious and silly. I found the gay twit stereotypes offensive. A wave of homophobia has sprung up after the election of Trump and his cabinet. That backlash is promoted by the radical right, but his comments are only intended to tear down everything and everyone as a means to feed his ego. LGBT people are only some of the folks subject to his attacks.

Spectrum in Raleigh doesn't carry the Here channel, and most of the Logos channel programming seems to be Rue Paul reruns. So what if the new Star Trek has token gay characters? Is that really so bizarre in the 21st Century? We've had Ellen and Rachel Maddow for years as positive models for the LGBT community. Even Oprah Winfrey has promoted LGBT individuals and issues.

Read more: A Peek at Gays on TV

What is Radical Christianity?

What is Radical Christianity?

The Statement of Dogma issued in Nashville on August 30th by cbmw.org (a coalition for biblical sexuality), otherwise known as the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, marked a 14-point position statement of what they think evangelical Christianity should be interpreted to mean. It is not the Good News Gospel. It is a recitation of the theology of the Pharisees.

Jesus was born, raised, and lived as a Jew. He read the Hebrew Bible (we call it the Old Testament.) The story of his life, his message of the Gospel, and the radical shift in theology are what we call the New Testament. The religious people of his day followed a strict observance of the 612 laws of the Hebrew Bible and worshiped a vengeful and wrathful God. He was the protector of the Nation of Israel, and when bad things happened, it was God sending his punishment for their misbehavior. Jesus preached a gospel of Good News, love, and abundant living for all mankind --- not just the chosen few. If somewhat reluctantly at first (he was a good and observant Jew,) he came to understand the possibilities for all mankind to know and accept the wisdom and grace of God.

Read more: What is Radical Christianity?

The T in LGBT

Transgender Soldier

The T in LGBT

Transgender people have been the step-children in the LGBT community. The notoriety of the HB-2 law in North Carolina and the pending legislation in Texas about so-called "bathroom bills" brought them out of the dark into public consciousness. In spite of all the mean-spirited bigotry associated with this publicity, it brought about the unintended consequence of making them visible.

The Twitter edict by the Donald took the abuse a step further in mandating the exclusion of transgender people from the military. The same excuse was used as was used against gays and lesbians that they would hinder combat readinaess. When that issue was raised in the Obama administration, the military took a long time and studied the impact and concluded that allowing LGBT people to serve openly would not create a negative impact. They even spent considerable time and effort in diversity training and surveys to mitigate the transition from the prior exclusionary policies.

After Trump posted one of his infamous tweets, the Defense Department responded that the expulsions would not take effect until a new formal written policy was received from the White House. Those transgender people currently serving in the military would be allowed to remain on active duty until further notice. The White House has since then stitched together a plan that would require them to be phased out over time.

A statement was released by the Palm Center from 56 retired general and flag officers responding to President Trump’s proposed ban on transgender service members in the U.S. military. In their statement, the retired officials stated that such a ban could cause “significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent, and compromise the integrity of transgender troops who would be forced to live a lie, as well as non-transgender peers who would be forced to choose between reporting their comrades or disobeying policy.”

This one tweet stirred the pot of hostility and dissension all over again, which in itself will have an impact on military readiness. The Department of Defense just went through this exercise, and now they may have to go through it all over again if Congress or the courts don't act.

The move was a calculated political step to appeal to Trump's base that are mostly homophobic and/or racists. His appeal to the dark side is one of the tactics that helped get him elected, and he is still operating in campaign mode rather than serving as President.

Transgender people of color, both inside and outside the military, already have been particularly vulnerable to harassment and violence. Trump's action only increases that proclivity among some people.