What shall we write about this week?  It is not like there isn’t a whole mess of topics to pick from.

There's the whole Karen Handle power grab, under the guise of “family values.”

There was some idiot from the political right caught on camera saying that Rachel Maddow was the best excuse he could think for using contraception, under the guise of "family values."

There is One Million Moms.com (a project of the American Family Association) wanting Ellen DeGeneres fired from being a spokesperson for JC Penney’s, of course, under the guise of "family values."

Religion blog: The guise of ‘family values’

Not to leave well enough alone, they’re also after Macy’s for selling wedding cake toppers of two men, again, under the guise of “family values.”

I could write about the guy running for the presidency of the United States who has been married three times and divorced twice (let’s all pray this third wife doesn’t get some sort of serious illness or it may be divorced three times) and claims to know more about family values then anyone on the planet.

I was tempted — for just a second — to write about the lunatic who has gone from being a Bishop to being crowned King recently, after leading a march through Atlanta under the guise of, yep, you guessed it, “family values.”  Shall we talk about those four young men? … never mind.

There’s the “Love Won Out” conference coming to Atlanta next week, and in the sheep’s clothing of “reparative therapy,” which will try to convince attendees that even if you can’t get rid of their “gay feelings,” they can be suppressed and family values of America will be safe. Really?

Last, but not least, I could have written about the young man in Atlanta who was set upon by three or four men twice his size and beat viciously in broad daylight because he might be gay. Maybe it’s a stretch to say this was in the guise of “family values,” but all this family talk certainly lit the fuse that led to this behavior.  One has to wonder where the family values were as while this beating was going on not one call was made to 911 … just saying.

So which topic, Reverend?  Well actually all of them.  Sadly, they’re all connected by the “Church” who has decided you and I are not smart enough, wholesome enough, spiritual enough, or sin free enough to to decide for ourselves how to live our lives in full relationship with God.  Some factions of the “Church” are desperately trying to convince us that God has not spoken since the last period was translated into the King James Version of the Bible.

When I say the “Church,” I’m referring to the extreme religious and political right who have come to the belief they have been chosen by God to save the United States of America.  So to my friends of faith and clergy friends, if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it.

It goes without saying the “Church” is so fearful of what the Bible really says about sex, family, marriage, community, life and death, that talking about it with any intellect or common sense brings screams of twisting scripture and “Gay Agenda.”

The ultimate power this “Church” claims threatens to cut us off from communion and send us to hell if we did not abide by the lease agreement of faith they gave to us and to sign in our own blood.

Of course, they have made so many people’s lives a “living hell” that we are not as fearful of going to hell as we once were.  So, in a political move that would have made Richard Nixon blush, they have developed the “theology of family values.”

I love my fellow activists in the community, but they too often forget all of the afore mentioned garbage started because the “Church” and its self-proclaimed leaders have over the years handed down creeds, dogma and rules that were narrowly defined as to what was acceptable to Almighty God when it came to matters of sex, our bodies, and love. Step outside those lines and we find ourselves condemned.

All this talk of separation of church and state is hog wash, and the “Church” is the biggest offender of it. They’re trying to force their particular beliefs and family values into the government where we will end up with a theocracy rather than a republic.

On June 25, 2012, my partner and I will have been together for 30 years.  As far as we’re concerned, we’re married.  We didn’t need the church or the government, for that matter, to tell us it was or wasn’t a marriage.  

In fact, it would be nice if the government would recognize our 30 years together, and instead of giving us a gold watch, how about the 1,400 plus gifts of law that straight people get for getting married and divorce at the rate of 50% after seven years?

As you might imagine there has been a lot of discussion in our house about our “marriage” and what it means.  I wish I could give credit to whoever wrote what I am about to share, but I can’t find the author; I think we saw it on Facebook.   However, it was too good not to share.

“True Meaning of Marriage”

“The true meaning of marriage is love. By love, I mean not just what we feel but what we do. Love as a feeling is very flimsy an up and down roller coaster. Love is an action! In order for it to become the ultimate force and for us to rediscover the true meaning of marriage, love has to be unconditional. You are not looking for acceptance or validation. You are giving of yourself to another not because of them, but because of your values. A death to ones self so that another may live and benefit from your sacrifice.

This is not an easy road to walk. But it is the most rewarding road however. An old Buddhist saying goes like this, “I want peace.” If you take your ego (I) and your desires (want) out of the equation, i.e., the self, you will have only peace left. The true meaning of marriage is expressing love unconditionally to another. It is an unstoppable force that can endure anything. How do you find it? Within yourself. You have to draw strength from you. Neither seeking validation nor acceptance, just seeking the opportunity to show love.”

Gee, that has nothing to do with the gender of the people involved, but rather, our God given gifts of mind, heart and soul.

So to all those who buy into the political sound bite of family values as authored and structured by the religious and political right, I say this:

1) If you are opposed to “gay marriage,” marry someone of the opposite gender. If you stay out of my bedroom, we will stay out of yours. If you’re feeling really generous, consider giving up those 1,400 plus laws that benefit you, or failing that, at least share.

2) To those who think contraception is a sin, we gay folks can show you another couple of methods of birth control.

3) To those who think Ellen DeGeneres should not be a spokesperson for JC Penney, then don’t shop at JC Penney.

4) For those of you who have a problem with what Macy’s sells, shop elsewhere and let the free enterprise system work.

5) For those who want to speak about family values and you have been divorced multiply times and had numerous affairs…find something else to do or just shut up!

6) For those preachers who would proclaim the title of King, re-read the “red letters” of the New Testament and once again become a servant of God’s people.

7) To those who think the Bible is the inerrant and infallible word of God…it is not now nor has it ever been, get over it.

8) To those who are trying to sell Hell as a place…it is not a place but rather a state of being, enjoy your stay.

9) For those who think there is some magic prayer which will get you to heaven, there isn’t one…only feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked and visiting the sick and imprisoned will put one on a path to a greater and better place.

10) To those in the LGBTQIA community who feel beaten, batter and worn out…take the words of Ellen DeGeneres to heart; “let my haters be my motivators.”

11) To those who think you can beat us, shame us, or kill us, we will hunt you down like the rabid dogs you are and send you to jail for the crimes you commit.

12) To those who don’t think the LGBTQIA community have any values, chew on Ellen’s statement for a moment or two: “Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need.”

Finally, but certainly not least, to those who think you have all the moral answers as to why the LGBTQIA community should not be treated equally: We are who we are and your approval isn’t needed.

Rev. Paul M. Turner is the Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church of Atlanta. For more information, please visit www.gentlespirit.org or e-mail info@gentlespirit.org“>info@gentlespirit.org.