Don't Think of a Hurricane!

So it’s the last week of the summer, and you’re one of the few in the office who hasn’t escaped for vacation, and the Republicans are failing their God-given duty to offer you some entertainment while you wait for things to speed up again? Some nerve they have! Here are some things to read, and not to read, while we wait for the balloons to start dropping.

First, do not go reading all those stories about how Isaac is tracking Katrina, the other famous Republican hurricane. (Five years ago, I gave a little talk about the moral values that were not on display during Katrina’s aftermath here.) And don’t start thinking, in your godless way, that if a potential hurricane were threatening the Democratic convention, certain evangelicals would say it was God’s punishment for believing that women and LGBT folks are fully human. We know that this is not the climate’s angry punishment of those who deny that it is changing. So don’t even let yourself start dancing with thoughts like that. The climate is neutral. Humans interpret it, or fail to—and in failing to, schedule major events in Tampa during hurricane season. So don’t go all anthropormophic, imagining that the climate is punishing people for failing to think about its power.

Instead, let’s think about something uplifting, shall we? Let me propose the advancing LGBT movement in Uganda. Recently, Val Kalende of ILGHRC (International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission) wrote a moving Huffington Post article, suggesting that her fellow LGBT Ugandans stop focusing on being victims and start to focus on the positive. To imagine what balls it takes for her to say such a thing, read the beginning of her article:

As I had anticipated, declaring my love for fellow women got me my own share of homelessness, verbal abuse, and alienation, even from people I trusted the most. Abandoned as a teenager and forced into maturity at a tender age, I always believed in the transformative power of truth, because the truth, as they say, sets us free. My "coming out" story as a Pentecostal-raised Ugandan lesbian woman is no different from the story of the activists who marched at the first-ever LGBT Pride parade in Uganda on Aug. 4.

Coming out meant homelessness, abandonment at 14, profound loneliness. And yet she can still write this:

While the " desperate" narrative puts us in the international spotlight and does hold our leaders accountable, it also pits us against our fellow nationals. A balance of both narratives will bring the change we all need.

Her essay continues by noting that the notorious proposed antigay bill is still just that, a proposal, and not yet a law. And she notes that while police have been harassing and arresting LGBT folks for such things as peacefully and legally gathering to celebrate being gay, “It has become a trend for Ugandan police to arrest, harass, humiliate, and in some cases shoot at unarmed civilians” in general, not just the queers.

If you haven’t seen the pictures before, do go back and take a look at the inspiring shots of Ugandan pride. I love these people.

Has God sent a hurricane to punish them yet? And yet there's a tropical storm aimed at the Republican convention? What's up with that?

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