Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir Make free of gender about God, Jesus, the Bible and Gay Pride

An emotional Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir lashed out today at media reports describing “Seksualiti Merdeka” as a “free sex festival”, and threatened to sue if the matter was not clarified.

She told a media conference that “no words could describe” her anger at hearing the event being described as such on television station TV3 last night, and warned a reporter from the station of consequences if her statement today is misreported.
“I have been looking at your face and we know who you are,” the eldest daughter of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said during the press conference on the front porch of Tenaganita’s headquarters here, visibly shaking with anger.
Marina had turned up at the NGO’s single-storey office on Jalan Gasing this evening to lend support to four fellow human rights activists who were being questioned by police over their involvement in the recently-banned sexuality rights festival.
The four are Seksualiti Merdeka founder Pang Khee Teik, Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan, Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez, and Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah.

Well, it is flattery if the impersonator wants to brown-nose you; it is complementary if it is truthful, supportive of what you advocate and scored good points for you (however why should not one use their name instead of impersonating?); it is flippantif a Michael Jackson impersonator can’t even do thecrotch clutch with flair; it is chicanery if the impersonator wants to get you into trouble with the Evidence Act.

When this blog was one year old HERE I asked:

“Did I make a contribution? Was the posting impactful? I tried to contribute from the heart. Impact? Maybe I got recognition for the wrong reasons: Somebody impersonated Zorro and had his posting hosted by Mahaguru. When I alerted Zainal Abidin he immediately brought down the posting and apologized in an email. Then last Saturday during the Price Hike Protest a police superintendant called out to me: “Hello Zorro, can I have your particulars?” And three weeks into opening up this blog, an anonymous caller reminded me that there was a place called Kamunting. If getting noticed is impactful for whatever reasons I will continue to write from the heart, for justice, for peace, for freedom to speak, freedom to assemble, and freedom to tell it as it is.





I like what Haji Kler commented on Marina’s piece:

Haji Kler

June 6, 2012 4:02 PM

I have decided that I am going to tag Najib in all my FB and Twitter post, so we can publish together-gether from now on 😉

If they don’t like what I say or write and want to take action, well then he goes down with me because I tagged him and so he “published” it on his wall too, kan…

Go read Marina’s post HERE, familiarize yourself with this Evidence Act

and listen to this PODCAST.

“I am here only as a supporter because two years ago, I officiated Seksualiti Merdeka without any incident,” she said.
Marina explained the event was not to promote free sex, but to help the marginalised lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community understand their legal rights.
“It is an event to explain and educate them of their rights within the laws, and not outside.
“So I am very angry, very angry, there are no words to describe, at certain parties calling this a free sex festival. You have nothing better to do? Nowhere here is free sex allowed… are you crazy to imagine this?” she charged.
Marina reacted with irritation when a reporter later asked Ambiga if she would continue to her struggle in support of events like Seksualiti Merdeka, and pointed out that the former Bar Council president’s involvement in the event was merely to officiate its opening.
“For the struggle, ask me. I have been defending their (the LGBT community’s) rights for over 20 years now. In fact, I defend the rights of all who have been discriminated [against] — the poor, and everyone else.
“So if there is any discrimination or violence against anyone, I will continue to defend their rights. That’s it. Do you understand?” she said.
Marina then threatened legal action against any media organisation that misreports her statement today.
“I will not discriminate against TV3,” she said.
Seksualiti Merdeka, a movement championing the freedom for sexual orientation and gender identity, has been holding the festival annually since 2008 but sparked a heated debate after the government banned the celebration.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Khalid Abu Bakar said the police were not against freedom of expression or human rights but had to step in because the organisers did not have a permit to hold the festival in public.
Khalid added the police were investigating the matter under section 298A of the Penal Code and section 27A(1)(c) of the Police Act and had linked Ambiga to the movement.
Malay rights group Perkasa and other Muslim NGOs have held small protests against the event outside mosques in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam, which they said insulted Islam as the religion of the country.
An ulamak (religious scholar) questioned a segment in TV3’s “Wanita Hari Ini” women’s programme, which aired an open discussion about breast enlargement procedures.
Religious speaker Datuk Mohd Che Daud said the station made an inappropriate move to discuss the matter in public, when it should have been discussed in private.
He also said breast enlargement procedures were haram (forbidden) and chided television stations for being influenced by Western norms of openly talking about sensitive matters.
Universiti Teknologi Mara media studies and communications faculty senior lecturer Dr Siti Zabedah Mohd Shariff concurred with Mohd Che Daud’s argument, saying that the show was debating a trivial issue which violated a woman’s dignity

With federal court after federal court ruling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in recent days, and with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this week reaffirming its ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, do gay marriage foes see the walls closing in on them?

Maggie Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, told me in an interview this week that she found it “kind of insulting” that the 9th Circuit decided not to have a larger panel of the court rehear the case, possibly sending it to the Supreme Court, because she and others put a lot of “time and treasure” into getting Prop 8 passed.

Statements like that are what lead people to believe that she and other opponents of gay marriage just don’t get how deeply offensive the campaign against marriage equality is to gays and lesbians as well as to millions of other Americans. She instead sees herself and those opposed to marriage equality as the true victims, and events this week only seem to have solidified that view.

But, Gallagher says, “I think about gay people as my fellow citizens, my neighbors, my friends, for some of us, family members.” Gallagher was on my radio program, participating in a debate I moderated between her and scholar and gay marriage advocate John Corvino, about a book they co-wrote, Debating Same-Sex Marriage (It’s surely the only book ever that will feature both Rick Santorum and Dan Savage praising it on the back jacket.)

I noted to her that she speaks in that way, about gay people as fellow citizens who should have rights (even if not marriage), when she is on shows like mine and on CNN and other mainstream outlets. But when she goes on Christian media outlets she talks about homosexuality as something that is an “unfortunate thing” and sinful.

“I think it’s not true that I go on some stations and have a radically different view than I have here,” she responded. “I don’t see that any of us has the right to redefine marriage. It’s older than government. It has its own meaning and purpose.”

But Gallagher did not deny that she called homosexuality “unfortunate” and in fact reiterated that she has “orthodox” Catholic views on the issue. It’s an important fact because Gallagher and NOM often try to couch their arguments against gay marriage as strictly secular, social science-based arguments about the family and children. The only reason religious people are so prominent in the debate, they contend, is that they have more “motivation” to speak up.

“I think the reason you hear only primarily religious people willing to stand up for that idea is that it requires a community,” Gallagher said, “and religious people have more motivation to be willing to stand against the charge that you’re hateful, or bigoted, or discriminatory or wicked, really, if you don’t believe in gay marriage.”

With events changing rapidly on marriage equality, and with gays and lesbians getting married now for eight years in Massachusetts and with no damage to the heterosexual marriage (Massachusetts actually has the lowest divorce rate in the country), what would it take for her to throw in the towel and say that gay marriage does no harm?

In the book she actually says that there are no studies of the children of married gay couples because it hasn’t existed long enough. That is bizarre in that she is putting enormous weight on a piece of paper and not looking at the actual reality of gay families, where all the evidence is quite clear that children do just as well as with heterosexual parents. It also seems pretty desperate, as if the gay marriage foes do in fact know the walls are closing in.

On the show Gallagher responded to that question by saying that it might take 30 years or more for us to know the effects of gay marriage, and thus that long for her to change her mind.

“In terms of no-fault divorce it took about 30 years for social scientists to come up with a tentative consensus” about the effects on marriage, she said. She added that she’d want to see a society where gay marriage didn’t have a negative effect, over a very long period of time, before she changed her position.

That of course makes it virtually impossible: we can’t know the effects of gay marriage, she is saying, unless we see what it would do over a generational time span in a society, but we can’t let it happen (even though it is and has been for eight years), in order to actually measure its success or failure, because it could be harmful, even though there is no evidence suggesting that.

“It’s a long-term perspective,” she reiterated. “That’s what I’d like to see before I became convinced.”

But why should that even convince her? She is, after all, an”orthodox” Catholic who believes the Vatican’s position on homosexuality. Thirty years of social science research, on any number of issues, doesn’t matter to the Pope. It’s doubtful it’s going to matter to Gallagher either, and it betrays the true reason why she’s waging this battle.

In preparation for our L.A. Pride Festival this weekend, the team putting together the materials for our Diocese of Los Angeles booth at the festival came up with the following ten “frequently asked questions about God, Jesus, the Bible and gay people” — and asked me to give them my best shot. And so I did.

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?

1. Is being gay a sin?

No. Sins are acts that separate us from God and keep us from loving our neighbors as ourselves. Being gay is not a sin. Bullying is a sin. Being hateful to other people is a sin. Putting yourself in the place of God to judge others is a sin. Being gay is not.

2. What did Jesus say about gay people?

Jesus said the same thing about gay people as he said about all people: God loves you beyond your wildest imagining and calls you to walk in love with God and with each other. He also said a whole lot about loving your neighbor, welcoming the stranger, embracing the outcast and ministering to the marginalized.

3. Does the Bible really condemn homosexuality?

The short answer is no; no it does not. The handful of passages in the Old and New Testaments that talk about God condemning specific sexual acts have nothing whatsoever to do with sexual orientation and everything to do with contexts such as cultic prostitution or gang rape. To put it another way, using the Bible as a handbook on human sexuality makes as much sense as using it as a handbook on astronomy. Just as those who wrote the Biblical texts had no concept of the science that would prove the earth actually revolves around the sun, so they had no concept of homosexuality (which wasn’t defined until the 19th century.)

4. How do I respond when people say “God hates “f–s”?

First of all, God’s nature is to love, not to hate. We believe that what God cares about is not our sexual orientation but our theological orientation — and that the question that matters is not “who do you love?” but “do you love?” Recognizing that homophobia causes some folks to project onto God their own fears, prejudices and biases against LGBT people, sometimes the best response is simply no response. It can be a challenge, but getting triggered by hate-mongers prevents us from being the change we want to see.

5. I thought gay men and women weren’t allowed to be priests?

The Episcopal Church has been ordaining women to the priesthood since 1974 and we have women deacons, priests and bishops throughout the church — including two women bishops here in the Diocese of Los Angeles. When it comes to gay men in the priesthood, the issue is not homosexuality — it is honesty. The church has ordained gay men for centuries but finally the Episcopal Church added “sexual orientation” in the non-discrimination list in 1994 — ending our version of “don’t ask/don’t tell.” Because the Episcopal Church allows for diversity of practice, the leadership of “out” LGBT and women clergy is more prevalent in some places than others. But the Diocese of Los Angeles is proud to have been in the forefront of inclusion.

6. Can I still receive Communion in your church if I am gay?

Of course you can. In many of our churches you will hear a variation on the invitation “whoever you are and wherever you find yourself on the journey of faith there is a place for you here.” God’s love is radically inclusive and so is the Episcopal Church.

7. Despite what is happening legislatively, can my partner and I be married in the Episcopal Church yet?

The only accurate answer to this question is “that depends.” It depends on which diocese you’re in and whether you’re in a state that has civil marriage equality. For example, New York State is a marriage equality state. In four of the six dioceses clergy can both solemnize and bless a civil marriage and in one of them clergy can bless but not solemnize (a judge or justice of the peace has to do the civil marriage part). Here in Los Angeles clergy both blessed and solemnized same-sex marriages in 2008 when it was legal and our bishops have been in the forefront of working to overturn Prop 8 and get marriage equality back. As Facebook might put it: “it’s complicated.”

8. What do I tell people when they say being gay is a sin and a choice?

Tell them that Jesus said absolutely nothing about being gay but he said a lot of things about judging other people. Then tell them that while there is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation there IS consensus that sexuality is a continuum. So the “choice” is not to be gay, straight or somewhere in between — the “choice” is to build our own healthy relationships … and give other people the grace to build theirs.

9. Should I try to “pray away the gay?”

No. If you need to pray away something, pray away homophobia. Homosexuality doesn’t need healing. Homophobia does.

10. How do I respond when politicians condemn my sexuality, citing their belief in the Bible?

Remind them that the First Amendment protects them in believing whatever they want to about what God does or does not bless but it also prohibits them from using those beliefs to decide who the Constitution protects or doesn’t protect. Tell them to stop confusing their theology with our democracy. And then campaign for and donate to their opponent in the next election cycle.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s