Opening our Hearts... Awakening to Other

As many of you reading this probably feel saddened, sickened and outraged when we turn on the news to yet another tragic and senseless slaughter of black lives, we can only hope not to become numbed and completely apathetic. While it is absolutely maddening from Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Samuel Dubois, and the daily litany of abuses, I try to keep reminding myself to "stay awake” and to stay engaged in whatever ways I can.

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Film "Love Heals Homophobia": American Christians FIGHTING anti-gay laws in 76 countries worldwide

Most Americans have no idea what is going on in the Christian communities of Africa and the Caribbean. Too many American churches support anti-LGBT laws as seen in Nigeria, Uganda, and Ethiopia where even Campus Crusade for Christ is pushing for the death penalty for homosexuals. Genuine Christians from America must counter what the extreme fundamentalists are exporting. The truth needs to go out to the millions of people who have been misled with lies about LGBT people.

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DEAR UNITED METHODIST CHURCH: What If the Church Gave a Trial and Nobody Came?

So, for what it’s worth, I’m just “over it” when it comes to anything related to charges and trials... It’s just all so 20th century….kind of like shoulder pads in women’s suit jackets. It’s time to clean the UMC closet. It’s embarrassing every time we wear one of those things out in public. Should someone file a complaint against me I think I’ll just ignore it. Should my bishop call me in to account for my actions (in so far as it relates to performing same-gender weddings) I have a hunch I just won’t go. Should a trial be scheduled, I’ll be hard pressed to participate...

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Visual chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King's life and personal achievements

Most children learn a bit about Dr. King in schools today, but it’s vital to continue that conversation outside of the classroom and in the world, where equality issues are still pressing. This infographic presents a timeline of the life of Martin Luther King Jr., to honor his legacy and fuel the conversation about his battle for equality.

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TIP Exclusive: Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Trayvon slaying

May this tragic act help the US to be true to the ideals of the founding persons of your great nation. May you all realise that you really are all members of one family, God's family, the human family: black, white, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, lesbian, transsexual, gay, bisexual, and so-called straight all belong together in the bundle of life.

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South of the Bible: Where Right Liberties Meet Wrong Laws

Activist – (Chastity) C.D. Kirven is a Lambda Literary nominated Author of the book – “What Goes Around Comes Back Around”, Board member of DFW Pride Movement, GET Equal activist, Artist – Artwork was shown at Butch Voices Conference in Oakland, CA and artwork in December 2009 issue of Curve magazine. She created the first GLBT cell phone documentary about same sex intimate partner abuse. She has an online clothing line at www.zazzle.com/cdkirven & is editing her online reality show about her life called: “SOULPRINT”. Ms. Kirven is currently working on a play, her second book “The Glass Closet” & a documentary. Contact @ cdkirven@aol.com, http://cdkirven.blogspot.com or www.myspace.com/cdkirven

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Is there a wrong way to love somebody? This question can only be answered individually but somehow can be publicly regulated by a majority. I’m a citizen of a country that defines you by who you love and not how you live? Faith is the belief in the unseen. I believe in equal rights but it’s a reality as a lesbian of color that is just out of my reach. My faith in justice is filtered through religious laws intent on limiting freedoms while dedicating ideology. Religious convictions have long been the buckle of the social justice belt but that belt has been used as a whip to persecute the GLBT community. We have moved from the rule of treating others like you want to be treated - to hate those who don’t share similar beliefs. This country was founded as a refuge from religious persecution and to secure the separation of church from state. How long will we allow moral laws to divide us along political lines?

There is a misconception I feel needs to be clarified. GLBT rights are somehow not civil rights because sovereignty is tied to unchangeable physical characteristics and not to unjustified denial of fundamental rights. The civil rights movement is linked to the gay rights movement by legal oppression. We share disparaged treatment at the hands of a majority determined to define the liberties of a disenfranchised minority. It is that simple. You are no less an American because you worship Buddha or Jesus. You are human before you are anything else. Judgment is price no one can afford to pay.

Every secular philosophy is interwoven into society’s perception of the individual human condition. You are GLBT and somehow not equal. Americans were created equal and should be allowed to live free of spiritual regulations that are diverse as they are cultural.

A civilizing technique adopted by modern society is to allow religion to lose its attachment to nationality and instead become a universal social attitude. Therefore, spirituality is synonymous with your political identity. We’ve allowed a nationally devout conversation to create classifications and separate America by those who demand everyone adhere to a specific moral code so they can govern the conduct of human affairs. I’m not my brother’s keeper and I’m solely responsible for my devotional observance. My personal choice to practice a specific religion should in no way interfere with my rights as an American. My God is not required to be your God but we are all required to follow the letter of the law. The freedom that represents is what makes America so great. So now, when you are asked about the intersection of gay rights and civil rights, you can say they are the same because if you are human then the right to liberty means justice for all.