Orlando: Phoenix Rising

From the ashes of destruction, so the legend goes, rises the Phoenix, renewed and reborn. The horrible, burning agony—physical and emotional—of the tragedy in Orlando will give rise to a glorious spirit. We can see it appearing already.

Since the Stonewall riots of 1969, the spirit within LGBTQ people has been glowing brighter and stronger every year. The last few years have been the most remarkable yet, because the spirit has been spreading to people who are becoming advocates.

Islam: Beauty or Beast?

In my research for my stories about gay teens, I see rant after rant by people who are obviously stark-raving terrified of homosexuality. And when I look up from the question of sex, I see a very similar fear concerning religion and, most specifically, fear by Christians in the U.S. of Islam. Fear can often be mitigated through education. I've seen it reduce homophobia in many cases. However, in my own efforts to educate myself about Islam, I'm not learning much that would mitigate fear. (Please note: I am talking about the religion of Islam and its scripture, not about Muslims. The scripture itself is immutable, but its interpretation by individual Muslims can vary a great deal.)

Rana Elmir*, deputy director of the ACLU of Michigan, is an American Muslim tired of being expected to apologize for the actions of Islamic terrorists. In her words, “…terrorism is not mine. I will not claim it, not even through an apology.”

God, or Mammon? Kim Davis must choose.

If Kim Davis and her knight in shining armor Mike Huckabee are to be believed, Davis has suffered “immediate and irreparable injury" because she was expected to perform the duties for which she was hired: that of Kentucky's Rowan County clerk.

Davis's attorney is saying that Davis “is facing immediate and substantial harm and consequences for exercising her individual constitutional and statutory rights.” And what right does she want to exercise? Her religion condemns homosexual activity, so she doesn't want to be required to issue legal marriage licenses to gay couples. She wants to perform only the parts of her job that don't, in her mind, conflict with her religious beliefs. Should she be allowed to do that?