All posts by Dan Vera

Charlatans of Intolerance

A week back the New York Times Magazine profiled the disturbingly (proudly) intolerant Evangelical Fundamentalists from Africa who have moved their "ministries" to the United States.  Worth a read.  But more worth a read is this Letter to the Editors:

Daniel Ajayi-Adeniran and Raphael Adebayo claim that the Redeemed are in America because it “has fallen into the thrall of wickedness.” If America is considered fallen, what does that say about the extreme poverty, disease, ethnic cleansing, tribal warfare and failed states of Africa where he and the Redeemed originated? In truth, the Redeemed came to America because this is where the money is, and because American freedoms allow all religions — even the most bizarre — not only to exist but to sustain their existence by exemption from taxes.

We chastised the leaders of the American automobile industry for flying to Washington on private jets, yet we subsidize by tax relief the purchase of a private jet for a religious group that prays for God to cancel debts supernaturally; believes text messages offer divine protection; prays for deliverance from curses, spells and sorcery, witchcraft, evil spirits, poverty and addiction due to demonic possession; petitions God to transform their followers into millionaires; and claims to perform miracles, see the future, raise the dead, avoid traffic jams, foresee coups, restore hair, cure kidney disease, depression and H.I.V.

How can we be so inconsistent?

Newtown, Pa.



Former Priest Marries His Partner of 50 Years

An inspiring story out of Connecticut:

Former Priest Marries His Partner of 50 Years

"It is exciting and also gratifying to go this route, from the closet to being legally married on the campus where we first met," Nolan said. "It's a real sentimental journey."

But for a couple that's been together for over 50 years, the marriage is also a bit of a formality.

"For me the significance of it is the legal part, but I do believe marriage should be a civil issue and religion should be left out of it," Pingpank, a former math teacher, said. "For me it's something we should formalize because we can."

A Straight Ally on Amazonfail

Richard Nash, founder of the respected indie Soft Skull Press (now an imprint of Counterpoint), had a fascinating entry on his blog about the recent LGBT book-ranking controversy (if you've been in the sauna the last few days you can get up to date here, here and here).  Nash writes as a straight ally and tells the truth about the importance of vigilance when it comes to corporations like Amazon.  It's well worth a read.  A taste:

"In effect: guilty until proven innocent is the standard to which we must hold ourselves. Because that’s how the other half lives, without any choice in the matter."

You can read the rest of it here: A straight white male publisher on glitches and ham-fisted errors

Response Ad to Hatred

A right-wing smear merchant, the "National Organization for Marriage" (!?) recently released a new fear mongering (if not over-blown and dramatic) ad against marriage equality full of lies and propaganda. This is by far the best response I've seen.  The creator uses bits of the ads and snippets from the audition tapes of the actors for this commercial to reveal what a pack of lies this whole thing is.  Bravo!

Dustin Lance Black at the Oscars

A moving speech:

"Oh my God. This was, um. This was not an easy film to make. First off, I have to thank Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg and all the real-life people who shared their stories with me. And, um, Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco, and our entire cast, my producers, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, everyone at Groundswell and Focus, for taking on the challenge of telling this life-saving story. When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life, it gave me the hope to one day live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married.

I want to thank my mom who has always loved me for who I am, even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he'd want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government  or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours. (Wild applause from the audience.) Thank you, thank you, and thank you God for giving us Harvey Milk."  – Dustin Lance Black