Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Urgent Open Letter to African-American and Hispanic Clergy Members and Leaders

SATURDAY, APRIL 7, 2012

'When an Angel Speaks'


Special Commentary from Bishop Terry Angel Mason 

An Urgent Open Letter to African-American and Hispanic 

Clergy Members and Leaders 
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I greet you in the name of Jesus, Savior of the world and King that is soon to come!

I realize that many of you may not know me and, since you are called to lead God’s people, I realize that the first thing you will want to know is what my credentials are. While I am tempted to go into great detail about who I am, I must be cognizant of the fact that this letter will be printed in numerous publications, both nationally and internationally, and cannot be lengthy.

I am first a born again child of God and a Bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ. I have been saved since the age of five, was called into ministry at the age of eight, and was ordained and licensed by ordained ministers in a credible, non-denominational church in San Diego, California, where I founded my first ministry. While I know that many of you will want to know more about my background, I ask that you not focus entirely on that issue. Respectfully, I request that the focus be solely placed on the urgent matter that prompted this correspondence -- a matter that literally deals with what I feel are life and death issues that will affect not only clergy members and leaders, but those we minister to.

Beloved shepherds, the apostle Paul warned us in the epistle of II Timothy, Chapter 3, that in the latter days, “perilous times shall come.” I think we all agree that the world is experiencing exactly what he prophesied in the letter written to Timothy, his protégé. Brothers and sisters, I realize that we come from many different backgrounds and that we are as diverse in our interpretation of scripture as the varieties of flowers on earth and stars in the universe. But there are fundamental truths and basic tenants of the Gospel that I feel bind us in the spirit of unity. It is in that spirit that I address you.

God has given me an international platform as a columnist and author. As a result, I am ever careful to give Him the glory for making this possible because I know that if it were not for His favor and wisdom, I could never have achieved success on any level. In gratitude and service to Him, and because of the sincere concern I have for all of God’s people, the LOVE OF CHRIST IN ME WON’T LET ME BE SILENT about the issues I am about to present.

As you know, this election year deals with many issues: contraception, the fate of Medicare and Medicaid, "Obama Care", the Citizens United decision, marriage equality, gun control, and laws (rightfully) in question like the “Stand Your Ground Laws” in Florida and many other states. This election will also serve as a referendum on whether or not the accomplishments of President Barack Obama have met the needs of the very citizens that voted him into office.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I know without a doubt that it was the Spirit of the Lord that inspired me to write this letter to you. Moreover, I believe that if you have the Spirit of Christ in you, then the Spirit of truth will confirm this in your hearts and minds.

Given the nature of what I do in the community as an HIV/AIDS advocate, civil rights activist and pastor, I am constantly in the presence of people from every walk of life. Their concerns and needs often pain my heart in a way that I could never articulate. On many nights, I find myself prostrate in the presence of God with tears in my eyes because I see people in such dire straits on a regular basis and admittedly this is somewhat disconcerting and overwhelming!

I have lived on the earth 55 years, and I must admit that I have never seen such disregard for human beings as I have in the last few years. Jesus said that this would be, yet, admittedly, I am still amazed at how we could even consider doing things, politically speaking, that would gut and obliterate social programs that house the homeless, feed the poor, provide medical assistance to seniors, and fund education programs for our children, youth and young adults.

While I realize that many of you have been speaking out on these issues, I also know that most of us have been sinfully silent. I've come to realize this as a minister that has traveled and spoken all across the nation. Now, just so you know, I am aware of what the laws say about the separation of church and state. I am aware of the restrictions that a 501 (3c) non-profit status places on religious institutions and congregations. I know that none of us can mount the pulpit and recommend to any of our parishioners who they should or should not vote for, even though many of us do it anyway!

However, Jesus made it absolutely clear that our heavenly mandate is to lead the lost to Christ, heal the sick, clothe the naked, visit those who are in prison, teach our children the statutes and precepts in God’s word, and to lovingly care for our senior adults and widows in our congregations. Jesus also made it abundantly clear that these were mandates issued by God. I realize that many of you do a great job in many of these areas, but if we made an honest assessment of whether or not we were adhering to God's orders, on a national and international scale, we would discover that we are greatly missing the mark!

Thousands of men and women are in our nation's prisons, but few of us have effective prison ministries. Countless youth, young adults and even senior citizens are infected with the HIV/AIDS virus and only a handful of us have even taken the time to set up a ministry to tend to these people because we feel unqualified to do it or because we prejudge these individuals. Moreover, more often than not, we shrug our shoulders and purposely look the other way because, consciously or subconsciously, we feel they got what they deserved. Thus, they end up being regarded as unworthy of any assistance our ministries could provide.

I urge you to find out what institutions in your city care for and offer services to the elderly, those suffering from HIV/AIDS and other life threatening illnesses. Ask if you can come and see how they run these programs and what your congregation can do to assist them. What is going to startle many of you is how many of your parishioners’ faces you are going to see at these places. After you have visited these places, I guarantee you will not be so quick to mount your pulpit and foolishly bash these people and/or organizations, especially when you discover that many of them are doing a better job than you ever could, as they compassionately minister to the hundreds, if not thousands, in your congregation.

I would like to address a specific issue concerning senior members of our congregations. Sunday after Sunday, I watch elderly people struggle to climb the steps of buses in my city that shouldn’t even be on the road because they are old and unsuitable to serve seniors and disabled persons. In sharp contrast, more modern and streamlined buses are assigned to rich, influential areas in our cities and neighborhoods. What is even more troubling is the fact that while many of us can afford van and bus ministries that would address these needs; we do nothing to help change the situation.

The result is that our seniors, who happen to be some of our most loyal and dedicated (tithers) and members, are forced to ride substandard buses filled with violent people, youth who use foul language and engage in drug use on the buses, and have absolutely no respect for the elderly. Furthermore, it is to our shame and our misplaced priorities that after church has concluded, many of these same seniors stand on bus stops while other parishioners pass them by in their Mercedes, Cadillac’s, BMW’s, or Chrysler 300’s! To add insult to injury, the same parishioners wave at them and won’t even stop to see if they can assist them with getting home!

I challenge each one of you to do something radical! Instead of pulling up to the church grounds in your 2012 Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes or Bentley, use public transportation to come to church for one week. I guarantee you that your entire perspective will change and that most of you will respond by making much needed changes in your ministry -- changes that will finally bring that growth and transformation that many of you have been praying for so desperately.

In 2008, many right-wing, prominent, and rich evangelicals infiltrated our ranks and convinced us to vehemently oppose Proposition 8. Over $65 million was spent to prevent same-gender-loving people from getting married because it was said that this threatened the family unit and was undermining the institution of marriage. This issue galvanized pastors, bishops, priests and parishioners and the proposition was voted down by a narrow margin. Many of us flexed our spiritual muscles thinking we had done the Lord a great service after our elite, right-wing brothers and sisters quickly retreated to the safety of their culturally and religiously isolated ranks, never to worship with us again. Well, at least until they felt our support was needed when the next issue or controversial proposition came up.

I was amazed when this happened, and I will tell you why. Just think of what the body of Christ could have done with $65,000,000! If we were really concerned about saving marriages, we could have used that money to create national counseling programs where pastors could have been trained to minister to married couples and couples who are preparing to marry. Money could have been poured into already existing credible programs that are effectively providing counseling to our parishioners, creating stronger marriage relationships, and perhaps decrease the great number of divorces in the body of Christ.

Oh my brothers and sisters, I know that it is easy to blame gays for the conditions of our failed relationships, but the truth is when we stand before Christ -- and believe me when I tell you that all of us will -- there will be no one to heap the blame upon but ourselves! Incidentally, the proposition will soon be overturned and the money used to fight it will be a wasted investment!

Many of us were ecstatic when Senator Barack Obama was elected as the first African- American President of the United States, and we vowed to support him in every way. Yet, when we discovered he was a president who had purposed in his heart to ensure that all Americans would have equal rights, no matter what their religious convictions, age, gender, or sexual orientation, many of us bailed and joined the ranks of other prominent religious leaders, many of whom are used like puppets by right-wing politicians to do their bidding.

Now, here is the horrific reality, which I find amazing! Many of us, as leaders, are willing to support a political machine that will strip away social programs that meet the needs of over 70 percent of our parishioners. We do this because we don’t have a correct understanding of the office of “priest” and “king”. Barack Obama was not elected or ordained by God to operate in the office of priest/pastor, but rather the office of “king”, which biblically is synonymous with President of the United States.

Don’t misunderstand or misconstrue what I am saying, thinking I am suggesting that any elected official is to misuse his office, forget the mandate of God, disregard the needs of the people and act like a dictator. I am simply pointing these things out to you because it is evident to me that many shepherds don’t have a correct biblical understanding of these offices. All too often, they confuse the two or place expectations and demands upon the President of the United States that should never be placed on anyone who serves in this position.

Based on conversations I have had with parishioners, a substantial number of people feel that because the country now has an African-American President, many states have enacted voter suppression laws that will prevent hundreds of thousands of African-Americans from voting in the 2012 election. While we cannot immediately reverse these laws, we can begin national campaigns to make sure that everyone in our congregation has appropriate identification documents that will ensure that they can vote.

Additionally, we can creatively arrange car pools so that voters can get to polling places. Recently, I heard it announced on television that many national organizations who are responsible for getting voters registered are totally abandoning all efforts because of voter suppression laws that place them in harm's way, legally speaking, or should I say, “illegal harm’s way”.

If we are honest with ourselves, most of our church calendars are filled with annual days that never address any of the issues that I have mentioned. Just imagine how grateful our congregants will be when we initiate a plan to help them obtain the proper identification so that they can vote this year. Since the vast majority of our parishioners already possess these documents, this effort will not be financially cumbersome or burdensome and it is not illegal. Additionally, it does not place our religious institutions in legal jeopardy in any way.

Year after year we diligently plan for the Pastor’s Appreciation Day, the Annual Usher's Day, Youth day, Men’s and Women’s Day, and the list goes on. We have this down to a science, but now we must refocus our efforts and ourselves and come to understand that our very livelihoods are at stake. We cannot allow the few programs that meet our educational and medical needs, as well as other much-needed social programs, to be stripped away while the rich get richer and feel no obligation to the poor, working poor or the endangered middle class.

In conclusion, I wish to state that many of us worry about the moral decay of our nation, and because this is a concern, politicians use this as leverage to distract us. They know we think that the wrath of God will come upon our great nation because we feel that much of what the "ungodly" does is in direct opposition to the Word of God. The truth of the matter is that if our nation is destroyed and/or incurs the wrath of God, it will be because we pander to the rich, while totally disregarding those who are destitute and are in desperate need of our assistance! Tragically and ironically, even if we don’t like what is being done by those in positions of authority -- still, we remain conspicuously silent!

Before you discount what I am saying, or disregard this letter, I ask that you act with the same resolve and urgency when you thought the institution of marriage was being undermined because there is a real Goliath on the battle field! This giant looks like us, knows all of our religious terminology, knows exactly how we think and knows how to use what we think and believe against us. And if we are not careful, he will cut off our heads, desecrate our people and deny us our civil rights, all to benefit him and deceive us. It is only after he has plundered our parishioners and made a mockery of our spiritual mandate – THAT WE WILL BE THE ONES TO BLAME FOR LETTING THESE ATROCITIES HAPPEN!

The choice is yours! The onus is upon us, the men and women who were called to shepherd God's flock. Will we step up, embrace and demonstrate the qualities of Christian leadership with which we were gifted and protect our congregations, or will we stand indolently and apathetically aside while we bear witness to the politically-proposed evisceration of our poor, our youth, our seniors, and our already struggling and endangered middle class? Either way, I guarantee you that we will one day stand before our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and give an accounting for our actions or lack of actions. I cannot speak for you, but when The Prince of Peace asks me, "Did you feed and protect my flock?" I want to look Him in the eye with pride as I say, "Yes, Lord!", and not hang my head in shame!

In His Service,

Bishop Terry Angel Mason, Global Author and Intl. Columnist

Terry Angel Mason has been featured in the following publications and/or news venues: (Lee Bailey's) eurweb.com, The East County Magazine, Five (5) Magazine, Whosoever Magazine, SGL Weekly Magazine, Outword Magazine, The NBJC Newsletter, The Advocate, Frontier Magazine, Broadway World, The Windy City Times Newspaper, New Pittsburgh Courier, New England Informer, Our Weekly Magazine, Out Impact, The San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, The San Diego Gay and Lesbian Times, The San Diego Union Tribune, ME Magazine, POZ Magazine, The New Civil Rights Online Magazine, A&U Magazine, Religious Tolerance, Marriage Equality International, Homorazzi, BN&S News Commentary, Real Health Magazine, Q Magazine, MSNBC News Vine, ILGA, Out Military Online Magazine, Proud Parenting Web Magazine, Fuse Magazine, Echelon Magazine, The Bay Area Reporter, Connextions Magazine, and in many other publications.

To purchase Mason’s books, read breaking news stories, feature articles, interviews, or obtain more information about the author, visit his website at www.TerryAngelMason.com.



- Click on Map Logo to go to NBHAAD WEBSITE-

The National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Strategic Leadership Council has selected Internationally Acclaimed Author and Community Activist Bishop Terry Angel Mason to serve as a national spokesperson for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day held each year on February 7th. Bishop Mason has worked diligently to empower thousands of Black communities across the country to increase awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the importance of getting tested and/or seeking treatment. Because of his dedication and passion to mobilize African Americans  to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, we are honored to have him serve as a one of our national spokespersons.

For more information on the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, please visit NationalBlackAIDSDay.org
 


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ANGEL'S ARTICLE IS FEATURED IN
THE LOS ANGELES SENTINEL NEWSPAPER 
- COMMEMORATIVE KING ISSUE
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The Endangered Middle Class is on Life Support...
and the Republicans are Poised to Pull the Plug!


















Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Don't Blame the President! Don't Blame the Congress! Blame Yourselves!


The Endangered Middle Class is on Life Support... and the Republicans are Poised to Pull the Plug!




When an Angel Speaks
The Endangered Middle Class is on Life Support.. and the Republicans are poised to pull the plug!
Part 1: Don't Blame the President! Don't Blame the Congress! Blame yourselves!
It is January 2012 and the insanity of the 2012 Presidential Election has begun. I believe the word "insanity" is appropriate and succinct because of the axiom which states that "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."This adage takes on an even more prophetic and nostradamean meaning when you consider that this fall, once again, the American people are going to the polls and insanely attempting to select a President to lead them out of the morass, muck and mire that has afflicted our country and symbolized its politics! I contend that "insanely" is the correct word because unless we do something different, we will not effect any meaningful change, no matter who wins the White House this fall. Moreover, that different thing that we MUST DO is pause for a moment and reflect upon our choices and the actions that WE MUST TAKE in order to save our country which is dangerously teetering on the edge of the abyss.
Firstly, we must vote according to our own self-interests. This is usually what most voters do, but in this Presidential election we must intelligently re-define what our BEST self-interest is, and because I am advocating for the endangered Middle class, I assert that the most important and critical self-interest we have is SURVIVAL! The Republican party is hell bent upon destroying us, the Endangered Middle Class. Why else would Congressional and Senatorial Republicans try to eliminate Social Security and Medicare through the Ryan Plan, in addition to killing almost every job bill that the White House has proposed. Job bills which could have added thousands if not tens of thousands of high paying jobs to a crippled economy. The Democratic Party has been feverishly attempting to resuscitate a grievously ailing national economy and the Republican Party is withholding the critical assistance needed to heal the patient. Why is this? You need only to look back upon Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's vow in 2008 when he said,
"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."
The Elected Republican Party officials do not care about the economy because THEY HAVE MORPHED INTO THE PARTY OF THE RICH! This is why they do not worry about the Endangered Middle Class because they cannot relate to us. They don't know how hard it is to balance a shrinking paycheck against rising expenses. They don't know the pain of losing long held treasured jobs because of greedy avaricious bank initiated financial recessions. They don't lose sleep at night worrying about staving off foreclosure on their homes, despite the fact that MANY ALREADY HAVE LOST their homes! So why should The Republican Party care about us the Endangered Middle Class? The answer is THEY DON'T AND THEY WILL NEVER CARE! Why not? Because it is not in their best self-interest to do so. Period! This brings me to the crux of my argument which is this important and irrefutable fact that it is not enough to re-elect President Obama, We must elect Democratic Congressional Representatives and Democratic Senators to aid Obama in implementing his policies. It is not enough to just vote for the man with the vision, but we must also put in place people who support that vision and the visionary! I President Obama should not have to do all the heavy lifting! It is our responsibility to give him some help! It isimperative that we elect enough Democrats to regain control of the House of Representatives and MAINTAIN control of the Senate. Hello Endangered Middle Class America, ARE YOU LISTENING?!! It is only by the regaining and maintaining control of Congress and The White House can we thwart and undo the grievous damage inflicted upon our beloved nation.
The Republicans are masters of distraction! Their current strategy is to portray Obama as a promise breaker and that he has not kept his campaign promises. But what they don't tell you is that every promise he has attempted to keep, promises ranging from from rescuing the economy to delivering jobs, the Republican Party has thwarted, obstructed, if not down right killed! Divided government does not work if one faction of that government are zealous extremists who would destroy our beloved country to win an ideological point. Remember the Debt Ceiling Crisis and how perilously close the Republican Tea Party Congressional officials brought us to defaulting on our national debt which would have destroyed our economy and plunged the world into a global depression. This unnecessary political posturing resulted in the downgrading of America's credit rating. Moreover, the Republican Party has the audacity and malevolent cunning to blatantly lie and falsely attribute this debacle to Obama. An anonymous writer who wrote under the pseudonym General R. Never said, " People deserve the government they permit!" Furthermore, if we do not WAKE UP and vote in our own best interests by voting for OBAMA and other Democrats then we, the Endangered Middle Class, deserve the inevitable pain, misery, heartache and death that will surely come as the Republican Party pulls the plug on us. I don't know about you, but I don't plan on "going gently into that good night." I'm going to vote for every good democrat I can find!
About Global Author Terry Angel Mason
Terry Angel Mason is an internationally renowned author, columnist, keynote speaker, poet, singer, songwriter, minister, and Civil Rights activist who currently resides is Southern California. He is the author of three popular titles, Love Won't Let Me Be Silent, They Say That I am Broken, and The Dream Keeper, set to be released in 2012. A revered leader and global change agent, Terry Angel Mason's mission is to inspire, educate and empower millions around the world, and promote love and acceptance for all people. A highly sought after author and activist, Mason has been featured in (Lee Bailey's) eurweb.com, Healthy Black Men, The East County Magazine, Five (5) Magazine, Whosoever Magazine, SGL Weekly Magazine, Outword Magazine, The NBJC Newsletter, The Advocate, Frontier Magazine, Broadway World, The Windy City Times Newspaper, New Pittsburgh Courier, New England Informer, Our Weekly Magazine, Out Impact, The San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, The San Diego Gay and Lesbian Times, The San Diego Union Tribune, ME Magazine, POZ Magazine, The New Civil Rights Online Magazine, A&U Magazine, Religious Tolerance, Marriage Equality International, Homorazzi, BN&S News Commentary, Real Health Magazine, Q Magazine, MSNBC News Vine, ILGA, Out Military Online Magazine, Proud Parenting Web Magazine, Fuse Magazine, Echelon Magazine, The Bay Area Reporter, Connextions Magazine, and in many other publications.
Follow Angel Mason on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ALOVEBALLAD

Friday, May 20, 2011

DON LEMON: Don Lemon: Young, Gifted, Black, Gay and Handsome!

Recently, you may have heard the news that the esteemed CNN news anchor, Don Lemon has "come out" and announced to the world that he is a gay or a same-gender-loving man. I congratulate him for taking this very courageous and personally liberating step. However, I am also extremely dismayed that he is being criticized for why it took him so long to do so.
Some say that Lemon came out to create buzz about the release of his new book, Transparent, and to increase book sales when his memoir is released. Others are criticizing him because he did not make a bolder public announcement. As a same-gender-loving man, I know that it is not uncommon for gay people to delay announcing to friends and family that they are gay, and perhaps with good reason! Even though America purports itself to be a democratic nation that embraces all cultures, religions, and ethnicities, regrettably, still many Americans unfairly bash President Obama, spewing out racial slurs like venomous snakes characteristic of the 60's and adamantly oppose equal rights for same-gender-loving people--specifically in regards to marriage equality. One need look no further then the fierce battlegrounds of New York City, where a heated contentious war is being waged against same-gender-loving people to prevent them from marrying the person of their own choosing.
In the past three years there has been an unprecedented number of youth and young adults committing suicide because of gay bullying. Movies and music have been saturated for decades with gay slurs, homophobic lyrics and stereotypical story lines that insult, demean and discriminate against gay people, much like blacks were portrayed in black and white films in the past.
Noted Essayist, Cleo Manago, founder and CEO of the African, American Advocacy, Support-Services & Survival Institute (AmASSI), could be named among the long list of critics, who in my opinion engaged in the recent bashing and criticizing of Lemon for not being more vocal on issues that relate to the African-American community and insinuating that the only reason Lemon was selected by CNN is because he is a fair-skinned brother whom as Manago puts it, "may possibly be in his position at CNN because he is a light-skinned, homosexual Black man who is likely seen, by Whites, as less threatening than another type of Black man."
While I do agree with Manago, that CNN has skirted around and even blatantly ignored pertinent issues that pertain to the African American community and same-gender-loving people, I do not agree with his assessment of Mr. Lemon's journalistic skills, qualifications and/or CNN's reasons for hiring Don. Don is a man of integrity. He is personable and caring, in addition to being an excellent journalist who is more than qualified to be an anchor for CNN.
Moreover, I applaud CNN for supporting Don in his decision to make his sexual preference public and I believe that they were very wise to do so! Rachel Maddow, as you know is perhaps one of the most respected and courageous same-gender-loving female journalists on television today! People all over the world regularly view her telecast and appreciate her thorough, unbiased, incisive cutting-edge style of reporting. I sincerely believe that because Don has elected to be more transparent regarding his personal life, that he is poised and primed to become one of CNN's most dynamic and most watched anchors, who will boldly seize new opportunities to address many of the issues that Mr. Manago claims are intentionally omitted by CNN.
I'd like to remind everyone involved in any type of judgmental action, that Don Lemon's private life is exactly that, "Private!" No one but God is privy to the elements, factors and reasons that motivated him to bravely announce to the world that he refuses to go on hiding this aspect of his "Private" life any longer. Furthermore, it is clear to me that he is self-assured and comfortable enough in his own skin to publicly say to the world, this is who I am! You may judge me on my professional merits and my public persona, but you may not judge me on who I choose to love!

Friday, May 6, 2011

FOR THOSE WHO WILL NEVER KNOW THE JOY OF A MOTHER'S DAY OR A FATHER'S DAY


Mother's Day and Father's Day will soon arrive but thousands of children, and young adults will miss the celebration because states like Virginia, Illinois and Arizona have recently moved to prevent same-gender-loving people from becoming foster or adoptive parents solely based on their sexual orientation and marital status. Moreover, discriminatory restrictions in other states, including Florida and Arkansas, have recently been the subject of heated ongoing legal action.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 30 percent of foster youth across the nation are black. What is even more troubling to me as an African American same-gender-loving man and parent is that black youth are found in disproportionate numbers in the foster care system. These beautiful children are prevented from being placed in permanent loving homes because they are hindered by discriminatory laws that make their placement in nurturing families almost impossible. You will be amazed to discover that African American children represent only 25 percent of the children who are adopted.

I know from my research as a global author and Civil Rights Activist that an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the population in the world is same-gender-loving people and since this is true, it stands to reason that thousands of these same children are also LGBT youth as well!
Many conservatives who support these discriminatory laws publicly promote the perception (through media) that child molestation is directly linked to homosexuality, and boldly claim that this is the reason that same-gender-loving people are unfit to parent and should never be permitted to adopt. Perhaps, it's because many continue to falsely associate homosexuality exclusively with sexual behavior and thus believe children are not safe around gay men or lesbian women.

While on the train the other day, I heard two Black men talking about gay people, and one of the men stated, "They're okay; just don't bring them around my children!" But adoption experts, law enforcement agencies, and psychologists continuously declare in study after study that "A child's risk of being molested by his or her relatives' heterosexual partner is over one hundred times greater than by someone who might be identifiable as being homosexual." The study also found that out of 269 cases of child sexual abuse, only two offenders were found to be gay or lesbian, proving, that same-gender-loving people are actually less likely to molest children than heterosexual men or women. Unfortunately, these unfounded perceptions have led to widespread opposition to gay people parenting children in our society, leaving thousands if not millions of children held captive and grossly deprived from loving families in a discriminatory foster care system.

As conservative politicians flex their political muscle in Congress and in the Senate, thinking nothing of disregarding the needs of the poor and disenfranchised by attempting to eliminate Medicare and other much needed social services; the question begs to be asked, "Who is going to care for and support these children?" I won't even attempt to even estimate the staggering cost of caring for these children because I already know it is costing taxpayers multiple millions!

The National Black Justice Coalition recently pricked the consciences and hearts of millions all over the world by reminding us that there are already one million LGBT parents raising two million children in our country today and this number is growing! According to analysis of the 2010 Census data, a sizable number of these parents are African American and Latino, and they are raising their children to love their country, respect their neighbors, worship a loving God, and positively contribute to their communities.

Thank God that in addition to the National Black Justice Coalition's ongoing mission to combat discrimination in our country; Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) is also committed to do the same! Recently, he re-introduced legislation known as "The Every Child Deserves a Family Act." This legislation if successfully passed would expand the number of qualified foster and adoptive parents for youth in the foster care system by banning all discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status. Subsequently, this would open up hundreds if not thousands of new homes to youth who desperately need placement.

Furthermore, I was alarmed when I was made aware of these additional staggering statistics revealed by Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of PFLAG National: "There are more than 500,000 children currently in the foster care system. While 120,000 of them are available for adoption every year, 25,000 of these youth will 'age out' of the system without ever finding loving families to call their own (and many LGBT youth will remain homeless). Tragically, more and more states' laws and practices are creating barriers for these children from accessing permanent homes. This legislation would remedy that problem."

Last year, I was invited to Chicago Illinois on my birthday by several organizations. One of the organizations who sponsored and organized the book signing event called UCAN is responsible for placing children and LGBTQ young adults age 18 -- 24 in homes in Chicago, Illinois. My life was profoundly altered by meeting them! And I am now committed to aiding UCAN in their mission of placing these deserving souls in loving homes. There are no words that could express how impacted I was as I gazed into the eyes of these young adults while reading excerpts from my book. I secretly vowed to myself and to God that I would do everything within my power to ensure that every one of them was placed in loving homes with parents who could rear them and nurture them the way God intended for all children and young adults to be nurtured.

Just remember that when you phone your local restaurant this weekend to make dinner reservations for you and your mother in preparation to celebrate Mother's day that there are millions of children and young adults who do not have the same privilege. They will miss out on the joy of heading to the mall to secretly purchase that special Mother's Day gift, and they will be denied the opportunity to present their fathers in June on Father's day with a gift as well! And while this gift giving ritual may seem insignificant to some, these precious moments, bless the lives of youth and young adults. Because as they gaze into the approving eyes of parents they find validation, empowerment, and they come to the realization that they are truly loved!

In the upcoming months, when it's time to vote on legislation like "The Every Child Deserves a Family Act," I challenge you to recall how wonderful it felt to have a nurturing mother and/or father and the magical feeling of security that you felt in their loving care. Don't buy into the homophobia, misinformation and discrimination spewed out by misguided conservative politicians and religious leaders, bent on depriving same-gender-loving people from enjoying their legitimate Constitutional rights, while condemning thousands of children in the Foster Care System to a life of missed opportunity, tragic abandonment, and unnecessary homelessness.

by Angel Mason, Global Author
http://www.terryangelmason.com/
FOLLOW THIS BEST SELLING AUTHOR ON TWITTER LINK: http://twitter.com/ALOVEBALLAD

SOME OF THE CHALLENGES BLACK GAY PARENTS FACE

Audio Excerpt from Love Won't Let Me Be Silent, entitled,
PRODIGAL SON

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland Transgendered Woman Almost Killed While Apathetic and Insensitive Crew Members Encourage Assailants

 
Welcome to McDonald’s, Where Violence and Homophobia are More Popular Than the Big Mac!

(Baltimore, Maryland Transgendered Woman Almost Killed While Apathetic and Insensitive Crew Members Encourage Assailants)



McDonald’s has finally reached the ultimate pinnacle in their quest to provide the perfect family dining experience.  They now offer you dinner theatre with their mouthwatering Big Macs, delicious fries, Filet Fish sandwiches, Value Meals and Fruit Smoothies. Now, customers can watch murderous homophobic female thugs, as they attempt to kill members of the LGBT community, while Management and crew members cheer them on and video tape horrific violent assaults to later post on YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK and other HIP HOP Social networks.
Sound unbelievable??? Well, that is exactly what happened on a chilling Baltimore evening at around 8 p.m., inside a McDonald's restaurant in the 6300 block of Kenwood Avenue. What fueled the incident was when a Transgendered woman made her way toward the women’s restroom to use the facility. The victim first asked one of the McDonald crew members if she could use the restroom and was told that she had to purchase some food in order to use the facility. She responded by saying that she really had to go right away and could not wait. According to the woman, while walking toward the restroom an unidentified man apparently approached her, possibly one of the girl’s boyfriends, in an attempt to flirt with her, but the woman declined his offer and immediately went into the restroom. When she came out two African-American females, 14 and 18 spat in her face and began arguing with her, expressing their objection to the woman using the bathroom and one of the women accused her of flirting with her boyfriend. The argument escalated into what has become one of the most violent attacks ever viewed on the internet. As a matter of fact, immediately after the video was uploaded to several popular social networks, it went viral!

video
When I first learned of this incident, I was warned that the video is extremely violent and graphically disturbing, but never in my wildest dreams, could I have ever imagined just how horrific and disgusting it would be to watch! All through the video, I was overwhelmed by a variety of emotions. All the while, cringing in disbelief and thinking to myself, “This cannot be happening and why isn’t anyone making any real attempt to stop this violent attack, phone the police; and my God, where is the manager?” And then out of nowhere, after several minutes which seemed like hours of brutal beating, an elderly woman dressed in white like an angelic emissary appears on the scene to rescue the woman in distress. Even though, it is clear that she is no match for the two younger women attacking the victim, she literally places her life in jeopardy, in a courageous attempt to defuse the situation and ward off the attackers. While her efforts were not completely successful (because the assailants later returned to beat the woman even more viciously), still her intervention delayed the attackers and may possibly have saved the woman’s life.
Now, you are probably wondering, like me, where was the staff and where was the manager? That’s an easy question to answer; the manager is making a half- hearted attempt to stop the fight while others can be heard in the background, peering through video phone camera lenses, boasting about how they are going to put the video on YOUTUBE and other social networks. The Manager on duty made an insincere attempt to intervene only after the badly beaten victim was viciously dragged by the hair to the front door by the young female thugs who seemed intent upon murder. After a sustained barrage of brutal kicks to the head, the victim began convulsing; bleeding from the mouth, all of which was followed by a violent seizure.

Moreover, while this occurred, the crew was gleefully cheering the thugs on while videotaping it, never making a genuine attempt to defuse the attack and/or phone the police. Instead of the manager locking the door and retaining the two women who had attacked the victim until the police could arrive, the employees encouraged them to flee for their own protection and the manager walked over the victim’s body lying in the doorway (as he can be seen doing throughout the video) like she was a piece of trash that was totally unworthy of any type of assistance.
  

When Baltimore County officers finally arrived, they found a 22-year-old woman convulsing and having seizures. She was still lying in the doorway of the restaurant. After the woman had recovered to some degree, the officers questioned the woman and apparently ran a make on the woman to determine if she had a criminal history. Their inquiry revealed that the victim had a lengthy rap sheet, which of course had nothing at all to do with the incident or the fact that she had been undeservedly almost beaten to death by vicious attackers.
The victim’s criminal history and even home address were made public after the unmerciful beating, further jeopardizing the woman’s safety and adding to the emotional duress, physical and mental trauma caused by her assailants.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

IS KOBE BRYANT HOMOPHOBIC OR JUST A PRODUCT OF HIS ENVIRONMENT

Out of the Abundance of the Heart the Mouth Speaks!
(A Tree is Known by the Fruit it Bears)


43 For there is no good tree that bringeth forth corrupt fruit; nor again a corrupt tree that bringeth forth good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. (Luke 6:43-45 ASV).
For years I have been a Laker fan. I've attended Laker parades, purchased Laker gear, attended countless Laker games and can be found glued to the television as they play out of town games that I can not personally attend. Days on end I can be seen proudly wearing my favorite Laker hat and my purple and gold, like it is a ritual. Even while traveling last summer to the Big Apple (NY, NY) I engaged in countless conversations on and off airplanes and trains about my Lakers! I can't even articulate how wonderful it is to travel all over the country doing book signings, only to arrive in a new city to see them selling Laker gear like it is going out of style.

However, Tuesday night was the first time in my life that I felt embarrassed to even be called a diehard Laker fan. I have seen my Lakers lose games and still I believed in them and supported them, in spite of what anyone had to say, but I must tell you that it broke my heart (as a same-gender-loving black man) not to receive the same support and respect back. Yes, I know that many of you will say, "He's just over reacting and blowing an unintentional comment, verbalized in the heat of frustration and anger out of proportion. Besides, it's not really all that serious!" But the truth of the matter is that it is very serious! As a matter of fact, on a scale of 1 to 10 it's a 50!

Whenever someone who is as highly respected and admired like Kobe Bryant, loses control at a nationally televised NBA Game and calls an NBA Referee, a F@#KIng Faggot, that's nothing to sneer at! Of course Kobe claims that it was out of "frustration, pure frustration" after being slapped with his 15th technical of the season. This may be true, but it is also true that millions of young men and women look up to Kobe, worship the ground he walks on, and incessantly dream of one day being just like him.

Yes, I agree that Kobe was indeed angry, so he reached into his arsenal of words and found the most derogatory, demeaning term and hurled it at the Referee with the intention of doing the most emotional and psychological damage to the man that he could. No one can convince me that if he didn't think gays were the scum of the earth that he would not have purposely selected this word. As stated previously, he merely expressed what he really feels at the core of his being and reached into his arsenal of weapons with the full intent to annihilate the man in the worst way possible verbally - striking back like a foolish child throwing a temper tantrum.

Now, just so you don't think I'm being too hard on Kobe, I know firsthand what it means to be in the public's eye and constantly scrutinized and I know what it is to be revered by thousands of people all over the world and have to live up to a glorified image and inflated expectations. But in times of frustration, I don't resort to calling people names or using derogatory slurs because I am infuriated. The reason that I don't do these things is not because I possess some type of supernatural control over my emotions, but because these things are not in my heart! Intense anger has a way of exposing what has been intentionally or unintentionally embedded in our hearts. Contrary to popular opinion, anger is not necessarily a bad emotion when bridled and tempered by self-control. But anger can be a double-edged sword betraying us and exposing ideas and prejudices deeply rooted in our hearts and minds. In one ungarded moment, the heart can bypass the mind and express itself, revealing its true content when tested by the refining fires of life.

Kobe has already gone out of his way to apologize and demonstrate his deep remorse for having acted so stupidly and I applaud him for doing so, but I also would like to recommend that he allow the purifying light of God's love and truth to flush out what has been implanted in his being which has been secretly defiling him and the multitudes for decades.
The gay community has been desperately striving to make us comprehend for years that "LIFE AND DEATH IS IN THE POWER OF THE TONGUE!" Here is one of the greatest wisdom principles that one could ever learn, and that is "WORDS CAN CREATE AND DESTROY!" What we contemplate and think upon constantly is a form of meditation (with unlimited ability to shape our thinking) that is why rap music is so powerful! Eventually that which we think upon for an extended period of time shapes our thinking and behavior. One of the greatest spiritual truths of all time is "THOUGHTS ARE THINGS AND WORDS HAVE POWER!" Moreover, thoughts and behavior reveal what is truly in our hearts and minds long before we begin to speak it!
I believe that in some ways, Kobe is a victim himself and didn't fully realize it until this unfortunate incident occurred. You must realize that it has only become distasteful and unacceptable to use terms against gays in the last two or three years. For years, well known rappers spewed out homophobic slurs as often as it rains in Seattle. Consquently, it was acceptable to do so because if a man was gay, he was considered to be the scum of the earth. Furthermore, though many rap artists have toned it down fearing the wrath of organizations like HRC and GLAAD, they have done nothing to undo the damage in the hearts and minds of millions of fans influenced negatively for years who now view gays, lesbians and transgender people as people who are worthless, demented, incomplete and/or distorted.
This prevailing attitude is not only something that plagues African countries like Uganda but is also expressed in America's overt refusal to grant same-gender-loving people equal rights. It is clear that the people living in the hood aren't the only ones brainwashed by relentless subliminal homophobic hate messages which cause our young people to commit suicide at an alarming rate, and tempts conservative religious extremists with ideas of reinstating Jim Crow laws under the guise of "reclaiming their country from a supposed incompetent Black leader."

And the comments! The comments are so offensive until it sickens me at the core of my being to even know that people think hating anyone is okay. Just listen to the comments posted on the Lakers' BlogSpot, YOUTUBE and in the Los Angeles Times.
LA TIMES COMMENTS:
Comments like:
"Don't apologize, Kobe. You've explained yourself. That's enough. What do we play for? RINGS!!! Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever! GO LAKERS!!!"
"I don't think this should be an issue that generate much money for the nba...its just an expression that wasn't directed to anybody...which should have not been given attention...these gays/lesbians have just been so pampered when in fact they are not very sensitive to the society as a whole...has the media been attentive to these gays/lesbians when they attack personally the pope, the clergy when these persons are morally upright than them..."
"Ha ha ha .. that was really funny, the gays are so hurt, poor gays... their feeling are truly hurt"
"Kobe, do not try to appease the homosexual community by being in one of their sick sodomy celebrating parades and don't allow them to extort money from you. Society is supporting you against these ...whiners."

Additional YOUTUBE COMMENT:
"...and fags are offended as always, crybabies, and then they wonder why nobody likes them!"
When I read these comments, I realized just how very far we as Americans still have to go to reach The Promised Land of Equality. Every day, I personally see young Blacks and Hispanics being verbally and physically abused by people who just don't give a damn! And I think to myself, if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were still on the planet, he would be grieved tremendously to see us treating one another with no regard for human life and no regard for our children's future or well-being. But then again, it's clear from the majority of comments that I read that it's perfectly okay to do it to them because we hate them anyway. The real truth of the matter is that we all have brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, step-children, husbands, wives, friends and lovers who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. We may not know it, but it is a true fact! And suffice it to say, that the Lakers have more gay fans than they could ever imagine who regularly purchase season tickets, show up at parades and proudly wear and display their Lakers' gear without any reservation. It's just too bad that many of these people will be murdered, ruthlessly persecuted and beaten beyond recognition by peers simply because they are gay!

Even though maniacs and misguided people and diehard Laker fans want to blatantly overlook Kobe's foolish mistake, because after all "it didn't really hurt anybody or endanger anyone" - which is what many will be inclined to think and say. Statistics prove otherwise, or didn't you note the epidemic of suicides among gay and lesbian children and young adults this year and the year before? And of course it had nothing to do what the fact that stars, rappers and athletes in a fit of anger slipped and called someone a "F#@*king FAGGOT!" The only problem is that you will never be able to convince the mother, father and grandparents of that gay child who has been abused or even heartlessly murdered that these mishaps were harmless and inconsequential! There is, however; one statement written among the numerous comments that appropriately expresses a truth that I think all Americans need to read and consider upon which I will conclude.


"This is a sad day for Kobe, for the Lakers, and for the NBA. That he came out, in a moment in anger with such a nasty slur, it means that deep inside he holds a deep seated homophobic hatred. If the Ref or another player would have called Kobe the infamous politically incorrect 'N' word' - wow, would Kobe have been angry! Kobe should be penalized more heavily for this. He should be suspended for at least one game. We have too many big shot athletic 'heroes' who are continually giving the wrong message to their fans, especially young people. It has to stop somewhere...whether it is using verbal insults or shooting up steroids, there are major morality issues we collectively must face. I am a big Lakers fan and still love Kobe Bryant. Howver, after this outrageous remark, he is just as guilty as the Barry Bonds and A-Rods who abuse their position, their salaries, and place in society."

Who knows, perhaps Kobe can donate the $100,000 fine he was forced to pay to the families of all the innocent same-gender loving people (that supported the Lakers for years) who have been beaten to death by homophobic abusers to defray the cost of funeral expenses!
by Terry Angel Mason
WWW.TERRYANGELMASON.COM
FOLLOW THIS BEST SELLING AUTHOR ON TWITTER LINK: http://twitter.com/ALOVEBALLAD

Saturday, April 9, 2011

LGBT GOSPEL GAY ARTISTS PROUDLY COME OUT REJECTING THE CHURCH'S ANTIQUATED HOMOPHOBIC TEACHINGS



This morning after dragging myself out of bed, I stumbled into my living room and sat down in front of my computer in order to check my email. After wiping the sleep from my eyes, I was shocked when I read an email from BlackPlanet.com and Newsone.com disclosing the fact that DeJuaii Pace (a renowned gospel singer, a member of the famous Pace Sisters) had just announced to the entire world that she is a lesbian and has been suppressing her natural inclinations since the age of four. The article also mentioned the fact that she would be telling her story of how she had overcome her food addiction and had come to terms with her sexuality this Tuesday on the OWN Network (owned and operated by Oprah Winfrey).

As I finished reading the article, I immediately scrolled down to the comment section of the article (s) to get some type of idea as to what other reader's reactions would be, regarding DeJuaii's disclosure. I have to tell you that after reading several of the comments, my heart literally sunk into the pit of my stomach, due to the fact that the comments were filled with so much hatred and homophobic venom. The comments were so extreme until it made me ashamed to even refer to myself as a Christian! Nothing that anyone had to say even mirrored anything that looked, acted or sounded like the love of God! And the most offensive thing of all was that they did it in the name of Jesus, and felt justified in doing so! Anyone who knows anything about Christianity or the Bible will tell you that love is kind, patient, forgiving, not boastful, never arrogant, edifies and never destroys!

DeJuaii, like thousands of African-American children, grew up in a Pentecostal, holiness environment and any notion of even sleeping with a man before wedlock was completely out of the question and frowned upon by the Church in every way. If a young woman would come up pregnant, she would immediately be ostracized from the church and/or prohibited from participating in any aspect of ministry until she had come before the entire congregation to repent and ask forgiveness, before she could be reinstated. Instead of DeJuaii, yielding to the temptation of sleeping with a male or a female (like most contemporary Christians do) she did something that most of us could never fathom, and that was to remain sexually inactive. Even today, at the age of 45, she is still a virgin.

Tonex, now known as B. Slade was also publically and ruthlessly attacked by his gospel peers, (and so-called brothers and sisters in Christ) after disclosing that he was a same-gender-loving Christian man. Almost immediately, other gospel artists (who had claimed to be die-hard friends and fans) began to venomously slander him and quickly distanced themselves from him. Furthermore, they could even be heard in public arenas referring to him as a pervert, sexual vampire and heretic!