January 25, 2009.
To Editor Tracy Baim:
I hope your readers understand the importance of the article in the current issue of Windy City Times (01-21-09) by Paul Marinkovich, about “Sex and the Seminary.”
The article discusses a recent report, “Sex and the Seminary: preparing ministers for sexual health and justice,” (from Connecticut’s Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing and New York’s Union Theological Seminary) that points out the almost total failure of religious schools to discuss issues of homosexuality. The survey covered 36 seminaries, Protestant and Jewish.
This is a generic issue, the academic community, and professional schools do not give students the needed information to deal with homosexual issues. An some universities still are afraid to hire professors who are homosexual, giving the old lie that they might push a gay agenda, as if the hetero agenda is not being pushed. So physicians, lawyers, etc. come out with no preparation to understand even the issues of sexuality, much less homosexuality.
A step in the right direction is the mention on the same page that the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach of Chicago has completed a social justice challenge people giving time to agencies working for change (Center on Halsted, etc).
I liked the viewpoint on the Barak Obama inauguration by Rev. Irene Monroe. Her thinking of the Watch Night of Dec 31, 1862, with black slaves waiting to hear of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and Obama taking the oath, puts things in perspective. And the issue of Rick Warren, and others who rightly want to let Obama know of our community’s needs is good, but I’m sure that most of us have now heard, what we expected — as I’m sure the Obama people expected — the backlash from right-wing religious people totally, generically disliking Obama and anything he says or does, but especially furious that Obama mentioned non-believers in his speech, and mentioning the need to talk with Muslims.
And it is significant that many of these haters are Black heterosexual male preachers. How strange to hear them call his new administration a “dark” time in our nation’s history. So there is a push from those, who did not vote for him of course, including not only, hopefully, only a few racists who will hate him no matter what he does but those who will dislike him if he is not “conservative” enough and just want a Republican to take over as soon as possible — hard to understand since no one could have done more damage to our nation than the last eight years, and no one could be more “socialist” than the last months of Bush 43.
I also liked coverage by Lawrence Ferber of the Lifetime movie Prayers for Bobby. In another gay/lesbian publication (Seattle Gay News) there is discussion of whether or not TV can change people’s views, and if it can, this is a good effort toward ending parents’ hatred and fear of their child’s homosexuality. And the interview with Sigourney Weaver is very good, right questions, right answers — but then we do have our agenda so I don’t claim to be objective.