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Passions in Poetry

Unbelievable

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Denise
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0 posted 12-26-2004 12:05 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

quote:
In Philadelphia, four Christians, members of a group called Repent America, are being prosecuted for quietly praying and reading Bible verses at a gay celebration, funded by the city. (This notwithstanding that the Christians obeyed police orders and remained at all time peaceful, even while being accosted by militant homosexuals.) The four – ages 17 to 72 – are charged with a variety of misdemeanors and felonies (including criminal conspiracy, ethnic intimidation, and riot). If convicted, they could face 47 years in prison, essentially for practicing their religion. The American Civil Liberties Union – so concerned with the free-speech rights of pornographers and the procedural rights of terrorists – has yet to be heard from here.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=16417
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=41969
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=42011

How could this happen in America? And how can any rational, fair, and right thinking person defend these arrests and charges?
Ringo
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1 posted 12-26-2004 12:33 AM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

Basically Denise, Orwell was right... Certain pigs a just a bit more equal in the eyes of the law.
As for the ACLU, they are willing to stand up and fight for ANYONE'S right to practice their freedoms as long as it isn't a Christian (or especially a Catholic) who is the one being free...
Their website itself (and the source of my facts... well some of them) is full of decisions that they were involved in that were to the detriment of the Christians of the world and what they stand for.
As for some facts that aren't on their site:
In Pa there was a small town where there were NO Jewish families (the type of town where everyone had been there for 10 or 12 generations), the ACLU fought against the boro council and forced them to take down a nativity scene because a person of the Jewish persuasion MIGHT drive through their small town with no connection tio the major interstate. When they tried to argue their 1st Amendment rights and won, the ACLU fought back with Separation of Church and State, and by having the Nativity Scene on the grounds of the boro owned park adjacent to the boro hall, the boro (with a Methodist church, an Episcobal church, and a Catholic church) was in fact sponsoring and promoting the Christian faith.
Flash forward 4 years... the ACLU is fighting against a boro that wants to put a Nativity on the boro property (in front of the boro hall), even though there is a minora standing tall and proud on the steps.

In another case, a teacher is being ordered to pass his lesson plans past the principal because he is a very devout Christian. He is showing how American history is steeped in religeous tradition (NOT CHRISTIAN traditions, but RELIGEOUS). He is forbidden from showing his students the CONSTITUTION and the DECLARATION of INDEPENDANCE due to the fact that he would be passing out religiously slanted lessons and material. He is ther ONLY teacher in the entire school that is required to submit his lesson plans, and EVERY teacher is handing the students these two important documents... The main difference??? The offending educator is not hiding his light under a bushal and is not following the lead of Peter by denying his Master before the world. It must also be said that our of an entire day's worth of students... only ONE parent has EVER complained. We had more complain when my History teacher refused to teach the Civil War in a 3 week long detail oriented lesson plan (complete with battle maps and unit sizes and casualty counts... the hazards of growing up on a Marine base!!!)
This teacher has also had superiors sit in on his classes, and he has NEVER been occused of attempting to convert his students to his way of thinking.

As for the four hardened criminals who had the audacity to practice their right to peaceful assembly... you might want to check and see who is representing the Gay-rights organization in the civil suit, or who is going to be siding with them in case these guys and gals fight the charges... I wonder if their initials would be ACLU?
Unfortunately, Denise, the ACLU no longer stands for American Civil Liberties Union... it stands for All Christian-hating Liberals Unite.


Or maybe that's just me.


In the wooden chair
Beside my window
I wear a face born in the falling rain
Brad
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2 posted 12-26-2004 08:30 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

What did the Christian group say at the gay organization?
Brad
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3 posted 12-26-2004 08:37 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Was it government permitted (permit) or government sponsered (money)?
Denise
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4 posted 12-26-2004 12:17 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I agree, Ringo, the ACLU certainly doesn't seem to have a good track record in representing the free speech rights of Christians, does it?

City funded, the article says, Brad. Which I really don't understand since we are supposedly experiencing such a terrible budget deficit problem that they are laying off some of us city workers (civilians at the moment).

So other than the "parade", called "OutFest", which I've seen in the past, containing X-rated grotesque displays of overt debauchery, I'd still be against the City financing it for budgetary reasons.

The articles state that the protestors were reading bible verses, praying, staying on the sidewalk as per their permit, and being peaceful and cooperative with the police, even while being accosted and ridiculed by the "Pink Angels". The prosecutor called the bible verses "fighting words" and qualified as hate speech under the new PA law. The judge agreed.
Mistletoe Angel
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5 posted 12-26-2004 04:21 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

You're right, this is unbelievable.

I am a liberal, and a Christian, and I certainly believe when you're the American Civil Liberties Union, I expect them to honor each individual's right to express themselves and their traditions and festivities, regardless of creed, gender, sexuality or political positioning.

In my belief, Christmas is not merely an exlusive Christian holiday, like some others perceive it as a holy day that holds no meaning for other faiths. But in my heart I have always believed Christmas as a festival of the human heart. That time of year when we are aware more than any other day that we must continue to raise by at least one octave the conscious notion of peace on earth, to let the light shine upon the fear we all endure and let the healing begin with joy and the innocent nature that resonates in our childlike holiday hearts.

Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, but moreover, the rebirth of the soul. We all have endured the turmoils in our world throughout the year, but this time of year reminds us the light will always shine down on us and redemption is here, and we should set example to the light and harness it in our hearts to one another.

Deep down I am grieved and outraged with these examples you and Balladeer have provided, just as I am grieved and outraged with the continuing disgrace to the homeless communities everywhere under sit-lie ordination laws, the high number of Americans (44%) who believe Muslim-Americans civil liberties should be restricted by the U.S government, etc.  

One quote I've always admired is what Agnes M. Pharo said,

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."

All throughout the spectrum, from the uncivil acts on Christian-gay relationships by the ACLU to the homeless and to Muslims and other minorities, etc, it is clear so much still needs to be done.



Love,
Noah Eaton


"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20

[This message has been edited by Mistletoe Angel (12-26-2004 07:29 PM).]

Balladeer
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6 posted 12-26-2004 08:11 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I'm with you, Denise. I'm beginning to feel like the fellow who said he had read so much about the ill effects of drinking that he decided to quit reading. I'm beginning to feel the same way about the news....
Larry C
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7 posted 12-26-2004 08:19 PM       View Profile for Larry C   Email Larry C   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Larry C's Home Page   View IP for Larry C

'deer,
What took you so long? I quit subscribing to the newspaper and reading it cover to cover twenty years ago. No regrets! But I agree with Denise this seems an atrosity all it's own. Though I must say as Christians we have not done well demonstrating God's love to the homosexual community. Which I think can and should be done without condoning the practice.

If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.

Ron
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8 posted 12-26-2004 09:38 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Yet more biased reporting. At the very least, the articles should have started, "In Philadelphia, four alleged Christians ..."

Thinking there just might be a bit more to the story than was being told, I did a Google search on "philadelphia repent america." Though most of the results were just as biased as the quoted story, taken collectively, a pattern began to emerge.

Michael Marcavage, director of Repent America, has pretty much made a career of in-your-face counter-demonstrations, being arrested in front of abortion clinics, evicted forcibly from the 2nd Annual Phillies Gay Day ball game, convicted of obstruction for preaching using amplification in front of "Condom Kingdom" (second offense), held and committed to the psychiatric ward of Temple University for protesting a school play that depicted Jesus as a homosexual, spent 30 hours in jail after being arrested across the street from Madison Square Garden for bringing a pro-life message to the Republican Convention, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

"We do what God is calling us to do," Michael Marcavage told the Philadelphia Gay News last week. "If it means breaking the law, we do that."

I couldn't find a single unbiased report of what actually happened during the Gay Pride's OutFest celebrations, but I have to suspect the arrests were as much a response to PAST behavior as to events that took place that day. The alleged Christians were told by police to leave. They didn't. It doesn't legally matter whether the police were right or wrong to disperse the group, because the failure to comply was sufficient justification for immediate arrest.

Those who bring an anti-gay message into the heart of a gay event, clearly aren't there to win converts. At what point does free speech become nothing but a tactic to disrupt the speech of others?
Balladeer
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9 posted 12-26-2004 11:32 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

At what point does free speech become nothing but a tactic to disrupt the speech of others?

hmmm...that certainly brings up some food for thought, Ron. Would that mean that any person or group that disagrees with the subject of an event should be banned or arrested because they could be disruptive to the message of the event? Therefore blacks peacefully protesting a KKK rally should be arrested or banned? Democrats protesting the RNC or Republicans protesting the DNC or right to life groups outside of an abortion clinic or a variety of other topics we could come up with...these people should be arrested because of their views which are negative to the function at hand?

If these people were screaming or yelling or using disruptive tactics I can see the issue but if they were peacefully doing their own thing and the "disruptiveness" was nothing more than their presence there, would their arrest be justifiable?

I am not disputing your thoughts, Ron.I'm just saying that it does indeed pose some interesting food for thought, no?


(btw, leaving in the am for two days so I won't be ignoring the conversation, just won't be around. I'll check in when I get back)
Skyfyre
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10 posted 12-27-2004 02:19 AM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

Agreed completely, Ron.

Looks to me like these Repent America folks went looking for trouble, and found it.

It seems to me like these "Christian" groups need to concentrate more on the love and understanding part of Christianity, and leave the judgement to God.  Converts aren't won by criticism, but by compassion.  

Reading the article and seeing homosexuals referred to as "sexually abberant" doesn't sound terribly Christian to me.

Not that I think someone can be "converted" from homosexuality.  What did they think, some guy at the OutFest was gonna run up and say "Thank God you were here!  I was gay, but now I'm cured!!"

As for the ACLU, last I knew they were a private agency - they can represent whomever and whatever they want.  I don't think they'd represent a troupe of gay men who got arrested going into a Christian function in costume and singing YMCA at the top of their lungs, either.

quote:
If these people were screaming or yelling or using disruptive tactics I can see the issue but if they were peacefully doing their own thing and the "disruptiveness" was nothing more than their presence there, would their arrest be justifiable?


Absolutely.  Just like I'd expect the police to arrest me or anyone else for going to any public (or private, for that matter) gathering and nearly incinting a riot by telling the people there that they were all evil and wicked for being what they are.
Ron
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11 posted 12-27-2004 02:23 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

You're right, Mike. I guess any time one person's freedoms impedes another's, there's going to be lots of issues to consider.

In this particular instance, judging only by past behaviors, I'm guessing the protesters were less than peaceful, and much less than cooperative with police. Being heard probably shouldn't be a function of how loudly a bull horn can be cranked to drown the opposition. That would seem to be SOP for Marcavage and his team.

This instance aside, however, there's still much to consider. If I spend time and money organizing an event, should I be forced to provide a venue at my event for my opposition? Even though they spent no money or time of their own? Yet, do we really want to promote a world where being heard has to carry a price tag (forgetting for a moment, of course, that such a world happens to be where we live).

Personally, I think we all have the right to protest. I'm not so sure we should expect to use someone else's stage to do it.
Not A Poet
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12 posted 12-27-2004 10:49 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

But does it changes things when that "other person's stage" is a public street, paid for by public tax money?

Ron
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13 posted 12-27-2004 02:18 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

If it was a private stage, Pete, I don't think there would be any questions to ponder. My house, my rules.

I was, however, assuming a public venue, specifically public access. That might be the street outside an abortion clinic or, as was the case in this thread, a public demonstration or rally. Yes, the streets are open to everyone, but that certainly doesn't mean you can try to forcibly park your car where mine is already sitting. Crunch! Your right of access has to be limited by my right of access, else chaos ensues.

Too, while the streets are paid by government taxes, that is not necessarily the largest cost involved in building a "stage." Attracting an audience can be costly and time-consuming. Should that audience then belong to both sides of an issue? I honestly don't know.
serenity blaze
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14 posted 12-27-2004 02:39 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Funny you should mention that Ron.

Last night, after reading in Balladeer's corresponding thread:

"A recent winter parade in Denver looked very much like a Christmas event, except for one small thing: Every reference to Christmas was banned

Parade? Sounds like a public place to me..."

I got to wondering why a Christian would even want Christ sitting next to Santa in a parade.

And as I tend to bumblebee graze in my thought processes, naturally I thought of the various parades that will soon be rolling through the streets of New Orleans, depicting some of the Greco-Roman Gods, most notoriously Bacchus. I then tried to envision a "Krewe of Christ".

Um, it'll never happen. The city would never grant a permit to such an event, simply because it would incite riots and be impossible to police. (And yet, permits are granted to religious procession all the time--consider that New Orleans is also a very Catholic city, and we have many such events dedicated to various Saints.) But a parade of such a scale as the others would open up the door to mockery. No one wants to see their religion parodied. And yet, there does happen to be a Krewe of Druids that does just that. And the druids I know (and yes, I know druids, sighs and smiles) aren't the least bit miffed by it, just more amused that a parade boasting their name and religious beliefs got it all so woefully wrong.

And still further in my musings, I tried to imagine a country where Wicca had become the mainstrain religion. Would we then feel compelled to clean up the Holy Sabbat of Samhein? (Halloween to most of you.)

And then I start reading (in a vain effort to sleep, about the history of the Roman Empire) and just how much political trouble the various Ceasars had with state sponsored religions.

I'm no less confused today then I was yesterday, except on one point:

Perhaps our forefathers took into account the difficulty of politics and religion when they wrote that bit that separated church and state, and it's prolly a very good thing that they did.

(and I swear I have a brain in there somewhere)



Sunshine
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15 posted 12-27-2004 03:48 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

quote:
Ron:  "Too, while the streets are paid by government taxes, that is not necessarily the largest cost involved in building a "stage."

Hmmmm...religious groups protesting on government streets...

Could one call this a conundrum?  If not, what happened to separation of church and state?  If a religious event [organized praying, for whatever reason] can happen on government streets, and the government runs the schools and allows religious activities on the streets, ergo, I can pray in school, right?

ARGH...
Brad
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16 posted 12-27-2004 08:12 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

You can pray in school.

serenity blaze
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17 posted 12-27-2004 08:44 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I know I did.
Ron
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18 posted 12-27-2004 10:17 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Of course, you can pray in school, Kari.

But do you really want a teacher or principle telling you that you can? Or when and to whom? THAT is the issue.

Government is composed of people, making it perhaps a bit unrealistic to think we can ever wholly separate church and state. What we try, instead, is to isolate any hint of support by the state for a specific religion. The students can pray. The teachers can't. (And they probably need the benefit of prayers more than most.)
Huan Yi
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19 posted 12-27-2004 11:34 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Why was the city funding
“a gay celebration”?
Did it before or subsequently fund
a “straight celebration”?
How about a celebration of old men
who sleep with young women?


[This message has been edited by Huan Yi (12-28-2004 12:22 AM).]

serenity blaze
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20 posted 12-28-2004 12:26 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Actually John, in New Orleans, the answer to all is:

"yes"
Denise
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21 posted 12-28-2004 01:14 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I honestly don't know, John. We do have a large gay community and many of them in high places, so maybe it's politically motivated, the old "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours"?

I guess the City can fund anything it wishes to fund. It sure would be nice if the citizens of the City would have a say in how its tax dollars are spent, especially when the Mayor is crying poor mouth every day and laying off workers and taking over 5 months to finally give us a contract (as bad as it is, at least we finally have one). When things are this bad financially I think every non-essential should be voted on.

There's money for gay festivals and two brand spanking new stadiums (costing the citizens millions and most of us can't even afford the price of a ticket to the games played there), and for a multi-million dollar expansion of the Central Library, and for whatever else strikes the fancy of the current powers-that-be.

If the protestors were asked to leave by police and didn't, they deserved to be arrested...for failure to disperse. But I wonder who ordered the police to order the protestors to leave and why? During the anti-war demonstrations several times over the past two summers, when virtually the entire down town district was shut down by grid-lock due to protestors lying in the streets and blocking traffic (against the terms of their permit), the police were ordered not to interfere and to let them continue violating the law, despite the severe stress and inconvenience it caused to the folks just trying to get to and from work. Again I wonder by whom and why? Seems to be a double standard to me, selective enforcement of the rules? One group is given the wink of any eye, a pass, thereby having the effect of encouraging further disruption and law breaking, and the other charged with a felony?

I also don't like the idea of my tax dollars funding something that contains X-rated acts performed in public. Geeze, didn't there used to be a law against that? Even if these displays are not "officially sanctioned", they know it happens, and no one ever gets arrested for it either. It seems to me the bottom line is in whom is offended by something. It's okay to offend folks who are appalled by X-rated public displays of lewd acts (we can just close our eyes and go away, afterall, and learn tolerance?), but don't quote bible verses to gay folks (whom I guess can't close their ears and learn tolerance?)

My main problem with the incident was that the prosecutor and judge declared that the bible verses that were read were "fighting words" and only those who were caught on tape reading from the bible were the ones who are subject to the "hate crimes" felony charge. The other 7 protestors weren't. I think that sets a very dangerous precedent for freedom of religion and freedom of speech. But it wouldn't surprise me if that's the reasoning behind, and purpose of, these charges. Some people, and/or group, want a precedent set regarding the quoting of the bible.
Ron
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22 posted 12-28-2004 01:56 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Why was the city funding  “a gay celebration”?

While that's certainly a darn good question, John, it's also an entirely separate one. We could also talk about police brutality or, as Denise appears to want, poor fiscal management, or probably a hundred others valid complaints, but muddying the waters seldom seems to accomplish much. Was city funding of the event germane to the protestors breaking the law? I don't think it was.

quote:
It sure would be nice if the citizens of the City would have a say in how its tax dollars are spent ...

You guys don't vote in Pennsylvania, Denise? Gee, maybe y'all should start. Or, better yet, maybe you should consider running for office yourself?

quote:
My main problem with the incident was that the prosecutor and judge declared that the bible verses that were read were "fighting words" and only those who were caught on tape reading from the bible were the ones who are subject to the "hate crimes" felony charge. The other 7 protestors weren't. I think that sets a very dangerous precedent for freedom of religion and freedom of speech. But it wouldn't surprise me if that's the reasoning behind, and purpose of, these charges. Some people, and/or group, want a precedent set regarding the quoting of the bible.

Should the Bible be given greater legal significance than the Koran, Denise? Than the Book of Mormons? How about Darwin's "The Origin of Species?" Do you really think I couldn't quote something from each of those books that would be fighting words to many?

The Bible not only can be used to incite hate and anger, Denise, it usually is. There are far more Christians professing love, I'm afraid, than there are actually practicing it.
Titia Geertman
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23 posted 12-28-2004 07:47 AM       View Profile for Titia Geertman   Email Titia Geertman   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Titia Geertman's Home Page   View IP for Titia Geertman

I think one certainly must consider norms and values when using the right of free speech and see the perspective in wich it is used.
There certainly is a great difference in disrupting a 'party' of terrorists/pornographers or disrupting a party of gay people in my opinion.

I can't express myself very well in English but, as an example: would I be using my right of free speech in a proper way if I would've disrupted a church Christmas celebration, just because I don't believe in a God??? I think the moment I should do that, I would be crossing a line of tolerance and free expression of religion.

Everybody is free to think and act as they please, unless their aim is to hurt other people. Gay people's aim is not primarily to hurt other people, so what gives Christian people the right to disrupt their party.
There's nothing wrong with pornography either as long as it sticks to consenting adults.

I think Christianity and Islam are the most agressive, surpressing and non tolerant religions on earth and the moment people act surpressively in one way or other towards other people under the flag of their religion, they're wrong - in my eyes anyway.

Would you really have come in here posting in the same way if the article had read: 'four gay people are arrested because they've disrupted a Christian celebration party'???
I dare to think not.

Like scattered leaves...my words will flow

serenity blaze
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24 posted 12-28-2004 03:01 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

"Why was the city funding  “a gay celebration”?"

Wow. That's really a problem?

Seriously, I never thought it was. While I'm not sure if New Orleans actually funds The Southern Decadence festival, (a kind of Gay Mardi Gras) it certainly promotes it. They also promote The Essence Festival (which is sort of the same thing that caters to people of color).

I guess I should stay out of these discussions.

I really do live on another planet.

And the funny thing is, I never bothered to question that, and now that I have--it still doesn't bother me.

And I was considering MOVING. HA.

I don't think so. I barely know how to behave here.
 
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