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David Moore

Come out, come out, wherever you are
We’re in a strange place right now — the world is turned upside down with anti-gay amendments left and right and religious extremists seem to be attempting to move our democracy in the direction of a theocracy. Liberal and moderate politicians are running scared and afraid to vote in favor of the very causes that prompted them to run for office in the first place, as threats of retaliation come from even the president himself.

Amidst all the darkness surrounding us right now — I found a couple of particularly uplifting coincidences on the political scene:

Kansas mayor says he is gay

Outgoing Lawrence Mayor Mike Rundle, announced April 13 that he is gay. He said he made the announcement partly because of a statewide vote in favor of an amendment to the Kansas Constitution banning gay marriage.

“It is with dignity and pride that I acknowledge that I have been Lawrence mayor and in all likelihood, Lawrence’s first gay mayor,” Rundle said after finishing his one-year term. The announcement was greeted with applause from the audience and fellow commissioners.

Rundle indicated that he was well aware of a “whispering campaign” targeting him since he first entered politics in 1987.

Rundle told the audience he did not acknowledge his sexuality earlier because he wanted to keep the political focus on his quest for good government and he wanted to avoid triggering prejudice that might detract from that quest.

“I think, perhaps, that is less of a concern today than it was 18 years ago,” said Rundle.

Republican state senator acknowledges he’s gay

Minnesota State Sen. Paul Koering (R-Fort Ripley) announced April 13 that he is gay and that many of his legislative colleagues have known about his sexuality for some time.

In interviews published by the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune, the Brainerd Dispatch and a web log, therawstory.com, Koering said he had faced questions about his sexuality since he joined senate Democrats in defeating an attempt to force a floor vote on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

“I’ve always felt like my personal life was just that — personal,” Koering told the Brainerd Dispatch.

He decided to publicly acknowledge he is gay because the questions were taking up time that he preferred to spend on his legislative activities.

“It’s hampered me from doing the real work that I want to do here,” Koering told therawstory.com. “I just felt that I need to talk to reporters and say ‘Yep, I’m gay, so what?’ and now that’s done, let’s talk about the real issues, good-paying jobs with health care benefits, talk about issues that affect families and people in their daily lives.”

It’s refreshing to know there are a few politicos out there in the world that aren’t too scared to let the world know it’s okay to be openly gay. Why, shucks, you can even be a senator or a mayor.

Fact of the matter is, though, there are a lot of people that don’t feel that way. They would prefer that we hold our tongues and accept the role of second-class citizens.

One such “shining” example is “Americans For Truth” President Peter LaBarbera, who recently spoke out against “Day of Silence,” a student-led day of action for those who support making anti-LGBT bias unacceptable. Participants take a day-long vow of silence to recognize and protest the discrimination and harassment.

In response to this effort, LaBarbera said that a “Day of Silence” simply does not go far enough and called for extending the idea to a “Decade of Silence” for pro-”gay” advocates in our nation’s places of learning.

“Parents are sick and tired of pro-‘gay’ liberals using the trusted school environment to promote homosexuality and gender confusion as normal to impressionable children,” LaBarbera said. “We know we speak for the majority of American moms and dads in calling on pro-homosexual activists to extend indefinitely their voluntary ‘silence’ in our schools.”

This is just the kind of rhetoric that makes my blood boil.

So what do we do?

We declare war on the theocrats who want to change everything our country stands for.

We can do that by becoming involved, listening, watching and responding. If you’re not politically active — now is the time to be. When you’re listening to right wing babble from crazed maniacs like Neil Boortz or Dr. Laura — call them on their misinformation campaigns. If you’ve got the constitution to grin and bear it through any news on the FOX network, note the right-wing overtones or propaganda reports and call and complain.

Theocrats have been slowly organizing, over the past 25 years and have amassed a considerable amount of power. Still, we outnumber them.

More Americans believe in separation of church and state. Most Americans aren’t running around screaming about the dangerous impact of same-sex unions on heterosexual marriage. We need to be just as vocal as this minority that is trying to hijack our way of life.

And just like the mayor and the senator — if you’re not out already — you need to come out.

In the words of Howard Dean at a recent Democratic Party gathering, “Are we going to live in a theocracy where the highest powers tell us what to do? Or are we going to be allowed to consult our own high powers?”

David Moore

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