So, back early October I sang a couple of masses at St. Mary's College, out in Moraga. I didn't think too much of it, since singers are always doing "church gigs."
Many churches want their choirs to sound better, and the only way to do that is to hire professionals to come in and beef up the sound. This means that many singers are used to going to services for religions that aren't their own.
Usually, I tune out for everything except whatever I need to be singing. I'm pretty lucky in that my usual Sunday gig is at a very liberal Presbyterian church where the message is about diversity, inclusion, social justice....
So anyway, I just got my mail, and found the check from St. Mary's. And I looked down at it, and all of a sudden thought: "Hm, I'm taking money from an organization that opposes civil rights. I'm taking money from an organization whose clergy can withhold the Eucharist if you vote differently than they think you should...."
I'm really not sure how I feel about taking their money.
Maybe I should have thought of that BEFORE I agreed to do the gigs.....
Yesterday, November 15th, people across the country protested against the passing of proposition 8.
The events were planned so that they would occur more or less simultaneously, which is a cool concept, except if you're in Hawaii and had to protest at 8am on a Saturday!
Despite there being a huge event in San Francisco, I stayed local, and went with some friends to the Oakland Rally for Marriage Equality. I think it was important to show that it's not just the rich boys in the Castro who are angry, but people all over the state and even the country.
Oakland was a smaller affair. I can't find figures on how many people, but maybe 1,000? There were speakers who touched on many facets of the struggle, some chanting, a pair of stilt-walkers who tried to waltz, and a drum circle at the end. One woman read from Audre Lorde's work and her own. It was a very "Oakland" crowd--diverse, economically and racially/ethnically, laid back, and there were loads of families, some clergy members (I don't know from which denominations), young, old, able, disabled....
The most engaging speaker, in my opinion (though they all had great things to say), was new Oakland City Council-person Rebecca Kaplan. She's the first out Lesbian to serve on Oakland's City Council, and she's great. I kind of wish that I still lived in Oakland, so that I could vote for her, but even so, I think that Oakland's in good hands. She's brilliantly smart (actually, she went to MIT with Celeste), a great speaker, down to earth, and hopefully the antidote to some of the smarmy nepotistic crap that seems to come up in Oakland politics sometimes.
Anyway, she talked about how she won by this unexpectedly huge margin, and then heard the prop. 8 results and spent the whole next day crying. She talked about the supreme court ruling that made it possible for convicted murderers to get married, when they had previously not been allowed. She expressed outrage that when it comes to marriage, murderers are welcome, same sex couples are not.
(I cannot find anything about this court decision, so if you happen to know, could you tell me? I'd love to be able to check the specifics)
The crowd was peaceful and respectful, and the atmosphere was laid back and very family friendly. Frank Ogawa plaza is a sunken amphitheater thingy, and there's a wide, flat area at the bottom that was swarming with little kids. They were able to get closest to the speakers, which was cool. One of my favorite signs was "I support all famlies" (yes, spelled like that) which was held by a little girl in a red baseball cap.
The speakers also urged the crowd to be respectful of people of faith, which didn't seem like a problem at this particular rally, but some activists have been attacking religions or the religious, which waters down our hope for acceptance of ALL people, if you ask me....
I carried a sign. It took me ridiculously long to make, considering how simple it is: Of the 3 friends that were with me, I was the only one who thought to make a sign, so we passed it around and took turns with it....
You can see more pictures of the event here, and read a write-up here. Most Bay Area media seems to be covering San Francisco, which makes sense on the one hand, since it's a bigger city with a bigger rally, but it would be great to get some firm information about how many people were there...
So there you have it. My morning/afternoon of peaceful protest. We couldn't have asked for better weather (it was in the high 70's and sunny), and the terrible winds from the night before died down so there were no fly away signs.
I've become slightly obsessed with the "Recent Visitors" map in the sidebar of this blog. I can look at where my readers are, and I have to say, if it's accurate, I'm really pleasantly surprised at how many of you there are.
It also leads me to think silly things like "It would be cool to have a reader in Aberdeen....what can I do to up my readership in the north of Scotland."
I did notice that someone is reading from Leicester, England. If you are that person, could you leave a comment or something? My dad's from Leicestershire, you see, and it's fascinating to me that I've got a reader there!
So, anyway, back to your regularly scheduled Saturday...
What is up with Californians? Why is bigotry acceptable?
There is no viable, civic reason to favor Proposition 8. None.
I'm sick of arguing with words like "fairness" and "no matter what you believe about marriage..." I'm sick of "I respect your oppinion" because I don't.
I do not respect you if you think it is ok to discriminate against someone. I do not respect you if you know so little about the US government that you don't know that Church and State are supposed to be separate. Unless you're under, oh, about age 14, there's no excuse for that. I do not respect you if you have no real thought process and just think gays are icky. I do not respect you if you vote for Obama and think you deserve an "I'm so tolerant" cookie but vote for a measure that screws over people who are different from you.
I'm done being "respectful." I'm really effing pissed.
I have been meaning to blog about the "other" California propositions that have been causing me distress, and, as you can tell from my archive, I haven't done it.
Well, here's a quick roundup: 1) Everyone and her mother knows that I'm very, very opposed to Prop 8. I've been shouting about it for ages. You'll find me tomorrow (Voting Day) out at polling places, volunteering with the campaign.
2) Proposition 4 would require parental consent for teenagers seeking abortions. This one is tricky, because even amongst those who are pro-choice, many still feel as though teenagers are children who should be controlled by their parents.
I, even, kinda feel that if you think of yourself as mature enough to be having sex, you should probably be mature enough to talk to your parents about it. BUT. I say that because my experience has been that I can tell my mom anything about anything. I always have.
I'm weird. My situation is very different than most people.
The bill does not take into account situations of abuse, whether sexual (ie, the cause of the pregnancy) or physical/emotional (ie, the consequences of a pregnancy). It says that a girl can get around it by going before a judge and getting a court order, but what teenager is equipped to deal with the legal system alone?
A campaign representative was interviewed on NPR and her response was: "I don't think that teenage girls are mature enough to decide to have abortions."
It's that simple. They don't think that abortion is a valid choice. period.
If you wouldn't ever choose to terminate a pregnancy, that's fine. That's your choice. If you really think that girls should get their parents' counsel if they're pregnant, that's also fine. Encourage those you know to have open and honest relationships with their children or parents. HOWEVER, don't force young women into harm's way with this law.
3)Proposition 6: The one that is claiming to be about police and safety and curbing gang violence around the state. Well, that sounds like a good thing, right?
Only it would start us down a very scary road, legally. It would allow for heresay evidence in court, and would allow 14 year olds to be tried (and incarcerated) as adults. Do I even need to explain why those are bad, bad things?
So, there you have it. The other two bills that are making me vaguely sick to my stomach.