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A Gay Dad Invites Pope Francis To ‘Meet My Family Face-to-Face’

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Gay dad Rob Watson is tired of being talked about by religious leaders, so he pops the question to the visiting pope: “If you are going to make pronouncements about us, couldn’t you at least meet us first?”

In March of 2013, I was writing a column about the pope. The last line of my request: “Surprise us.  Inspire us.  Show us what love really looks like.”

In many ways, he has done just that. As he arrives in the United States, we are reminded that loving embraces of the pope may only go so far. It is rumored that he has concerns about LGBT people greeting him at the White House. The pope has already tasted a bit of the right wing kool-aide it seems, encouraging the population to keep fighting for “religious freedom,” which has become a euphemism for LGBT oppression. Tacky protocol not withstanding, however, there is a rumor going around that within the huge dogmatic monolith of a bureaucracy that is the Catholic Church, there is a living breathing human with a heart: Pope Francis. It is to him, and that heart, that I make this invitation:

Dear Pope Francis,

Welcome to America. Welcome to the land of moneyed politics where the common man is being drummed out of having a voice. It is where the wealthy are running for office and the current Republican front runner has the advantage of being his own rich person, setting him apart from the others who are merely owned by other rich people.

It is a land that boasts as a major finance stream a “hate industry” operating under the guise of “Christianity” that raises millions of dollars by making media martyrs out of bigoted people refusing to do their jobs. It is a land that doles out regulations and restrictions over a virus that kills a few people and ignores proliferated weapons that kill hundreds of thousands.

Welcome.

Your brand of humility could be a breath of fresh air. Oh, yeah, and our air is heating up causing weird weather patterns. We’re not doing anything about that either.

I am a gay dad. I don’t detect that you come across very many people like me in your travels. You certainly did not when you hosted “Humanum”: The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium, at the Vatican with Pope Francis. That forum represented the worst of the worst in the intellectual rationalization of homophobia. Your Humanum videos represented fictions created by the now discredited anti-gay “researcher” Mark Regnerus.

The forum itself included nonsensical speculations that:

  • Same sex marriages are a trend that will go away
  • Teens lose sight of their gender as they become aware of their sexual orientation
  • The universe, the stars, planets and ecosystems were created through a heterosexual act
  • The earth is a heterosexual creation – the ocean is female and the land is male
  • There is a “counter” sexual revolution that is about to happen
  • That same-sex marriages will somehow impede “human flourishing”

Just as Mark Regnerus included NO families like mine to interview in his thousands of surveys (even though his study was supposedly to comment on LGBT families), no families like mine were at your forum either.

It begs the question, if you are going to make pronouncements about us, couldn’t you at least meet us first?

So, let’s change that and get together – shall we? You are cordially invited to come to Friday dinner with my family. In a sort of throwback to a previous Catholic mandate, we have fish on Fridays. I guess that is no longer a rule for Catholics, the having fish on Fridays thing, as you once did, but no matter.

It is funny how rules are re-evaluated and then changed, don’t you think? We can just call our Friday dinner a “traditional” one, protecting the sanctity of dining. Plus, our “fish” is actually sushi, so we can even upgrade the old tradition a bit.

While you sit and eat with us, I will proudly introduce you to my children: my sons Jesse and Jason.

The Catholic Church has not been generous about children in LGBT families. In the 1990s there was a Vatican document that stated that fathers like me were doing “violence” by parenting our kids, by exposing them to us.

You can chat with my boys, happy, healthy energetic 12 and 13 year olds, and tell me if you see signs of violence. I doubt that you will see any, even though, ironically, there has been violence there.

Not by me. Jesse is my son because his birth father battered and beat him when he was two years old. That act ended a process that would have reunified them and removed Jesse from my foster care. Instead, it made him my son for life.

You would have a lot in common with Jason. He, like you, comes from a Latin American ancestry. He can tell you his worries about Donald Trump building a wall attempting to keep any of his, and your, heritage from further penetrating our country. He can also tell you how his birth parents were Catholics, who ingested heroin, causing him to be born six weeks prematurely while fighting for life.

He is not being raised Catholic, as our family would not be welcome in that environment. Your environment. We are open to hearing how you might change that.

He is living proof that being physically born to two people who can biologically create life is not the same thing as being loved and parented by someone who cares for you above all else. Other children bearing out that sad reality are little Zachary, and little Gabriel, both beaten to death by their birth parents when each was suspected of growing up gay.

While we share our fish with you, we can talk about Christ, who taught all men to fish. We can share how we used the nets God gave us and cast them into life. Our nets were not made of sperm and egg, they were made of love and hope. What we netted was our own family.

There is nothing you could say to me that would dissuade me from knowing that my sons and I were meant to be together. We were and are each other’s destiny.

One of our family values is kindness. We think it is one in which you would agree, and appreciate. We also honor humility. To us, that is the quality which says we are all teachable, we are open to looking at things fresh, from a new point of view.

Many who have had a change of perspective about LGBT families, did it through insights made by their kids. Through their eyes, they see that the modern world is being formed more by love than by DNA, and not only is that alright, it is a good thing.

In the past fourteen years, my kids have made me see things differently, better. It has changed my world.

I know this would be hard for you, as you do not have kids. You never have, and never will. So, with the meal we would share, I will give you something more.

My kids. You get to pretend they are yours for the evening. Laugh with them, communicate with them, and experience their joy. Give them a few hours to rule your world. Trust me, if you do, that world will never again look the same.

You have broadened the embrace of your church from your predecessor. We applaud you. We want to believe in the compassion you seem to express. As you have extended your range to include many others who have felt forgotten or discarded, I ask you to reach just a little bit farther.

Please include LGBT people and families like mine.

If you can’t, at the very least, be looking into the eyes of kids like my son Jason when you explain why. If you succeed getting through that explanation, then the heart I thought was there… isn’t.

 

Image by Catholic Church England and Wales via Flickr and a CC license

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News

‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’: RNC’s ‘Chilling’ MAGA Chant Echoes Trump – and ‘1930’s Germany’

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Echoing Donald Trump’s fist-pumping and shout immediately after his ear was nicked by a would-be assassin who killed an innocent bystander Saturday, attendees on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee on Monday broke out into chants, yelling, “Fight! Fight! Fight!”

“Having finished the prayer and pledge, and rendition of ‘God Bless America,'” LaPolitics Weekly editor and publisher Jeremy Alford reported, “RNC delegates almost immediately begin chanting the same war cry @realDonaldTrump emitted upon being shot: ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ ”

Baptist minister Brian Kaylor, who has a PhD in political communication, is the author or co-author of five books, including “Sacramental Politics: Religious Worship as Political Action,” and “Baptizing America: How Mainline Protestants Helped Build Christian Nationalism.”

He writes: “Delegates yelling ‘fight!’ during RNC shows the danger of what Trump’s instinct was on Saturday.”

READ MORE: Was Trump Hit by a Bullet or Not? Calls Mount for Campaign to Release Medical Records

Attorney and SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah posted a short clip of the moment, remarking: “Bone chilling to see at #RNCConvention people chanting ‘Fight’ in unison with one arm punching in the air. Instantly conjures up rallies from 1930’s Germany. There is no other way to put it.”

The fist-pumping is very visible in the bottom portion of the frame:

Author Stephen Beschloss responded: “Here’s the Trump Republican Party’s ‘unity’ message: Fight.”

Professor of history and fascism and authoritarianism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat also responded, writing: “You know what to do, Americans. We can avoid this nightmare. Never become resigned or fatalistic. That’s what they want.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein, also an NBC News/MSNBC contributor, also posted a clip, and remarked: “Expect to hear this a lot this week.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Biden Channels Lincoln in Address on Trump Assassination Attempt: ‘We Are Not Enemies’

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News

Was Trump Hit by a Bullet or Not? Calls Mount for Campaign to Release Medical Records

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Critics are calling for Donald Trump’s campaign to release his medical records in the wake of Saturday’s attempted assassination, noting that no physician has gone on record to give the American people any information, which some are saying is a lack of transparency.

Trump has stated he was wounded by the shooter’s bullet, but reports have also stated the bleeding on his right ear was from shards of glass from his teleprompter.

“Trump has posted that his ear was pierced by a bullet, but the sad fact is that he’s an unreliable source. News organizations need to wait for more credible confirmation of what happened,” wrote journalist Steven Beschloss on Saturday.

“Why haven’t we heard from the medical staff or others confirming whether Trump was or wasn’t hit by a bullet?” he asked Monday, adding, “If indeed Trump was cut by a piece of glass, then all the talk that he was shot is factually wrong. This needs to be clarified by the authorities involved, no matter whether it contradicts the Trump narrative.”

Investigative journalist Jonathan Greenberg on Monday asked, “What is Trump hiding?”

READ MORE: ‘Just the First Step’: Trump Declares ‘Uniting Our Nation’ Means Ending All Cases Against Him

“Did Trump actually get shot in the ear? If that’s the case, why has he not released the medical report & images of the wound? Why should we trust the most successful liar & con man of all time, who has lied about all his medical records so far?”

Professor of journalism Jeff Jarvis on Monday also asked, “why have we not seen a medical report from the hospital that treated Trump? Why have we not seen reporters vocally demanding it?”

He added: “Let’s at least try to demand transparency from the campaign and doctors. I don’t see anyone trying.”

“Trump was taken to Butler Memorial Hospital close to where the attack happened, but no details have been officially released,” The Daily Beast reported Monday.

Calling it a “Mystery,”  The Beast reports, “the Trump camp has not disclosed what kinds of tests the former president underwent, how he was treated and for what types of injuries, and if there will be follow-ups. While such details may seem insignificant, the American public tends to expect maximum clarity about presidential health, as the public storm over President Joe Biden’s mental acuity, one led by members of his own party, demonstrated.”

The lack of transparency into Trump’s health after the assassination attempt is in line with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s refusal to release full information surrounding his overall health in general.

While President Joe Biden has released a good deal of data from his doctors on his health, Trump has released very little.

READ MORE: As Cannon Dismisses Trump Classified Docs Case Experts Pin Blame on Clarence Thomas

In 2020, when then-President Trump contracted COVID, reporters demanded information from doctors, which was very limited at first, and, as CNN reported, “created confusion.” Part of that confusion was in the timeline of events. It has been reported that Trump, according to at least three of his close aides, had tested positive for the deadly coronavirus just days before one of the 2020 presidential debates, and appeared just feet way from his opponent, now President Joe Biden without announcing his status.

Trump has a history of hiding his medical status.

Even before he was elected, in 2015, Trump only a provided a short letter from Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, who later revealed Trump had dictated to the doctor what to write.

“He dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter,” Bornstein told CNN in 2018. “I just made it up as I went along.”

NBC News in 2018 reported that Bornstein also revealed Trump’s team had “raided” his office and removed all his medical records.

“Bornstein told NBC News that he felt ‘raped, frightened and sad’ when Keith Schiller and another ‘large man’ came to his office to collect the president’s records on the morning of Feb. 3, 2017. At the time, Schiller, who had long worked as Trump’s bodyguard, was serving as director of Oval Office operations at the White House.”

READ MORE: Biden Channels Lincoln in Address on Trump Assassination Attempt: ‘We Are Not Enemies’

 

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‘Just the First Step’: Trump Declares ‘Uniting Our Nation’ Means Ending All Cases Against Him

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Donald Trump, declaring his surviving Saturday’s attempted assassination a “miracle,” reportedly has changed his upcoming address to this week’s Republican National Convention to promoting “unity.” But unlike President Joe Biden’s Oval Office speech Sunday night urging America come together, the ex-president is defining national unity as everyone agreeing all legal and civil cases against him are baseless “Witch Hunts.”

Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a 20-year old registered Republican with an AR-15 style rifle unloaded eight bullets in the ex-president’s direction, causing his ear to be grazed, possibly by schraptnal or glass, while killing a 50-year old supporter at a rally in the stands behind him, Trump posted just two words to his Truth Social account: “UNITE AMERICA!”

“The former president has told multiple outlets he wants to focus on unifying the country after surviving an assassination attempt,” Rolling Stone reports. “As Trump’s allies and other prominent Republican commentators attempt to weaponize the shooting into a political cudgel against Democrats to silence criticism of Trump and his track record endorsing political violence, it may only be a matter of time before the former president slips back into his old habits.”

Monday morning, barely one hour after U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee in Florida, handed down her ruling entirely dismissing the Espionage Act/classified documents case against the ex-president, Trump expanded on his definition of unity: ending “ALL the Witch Hunts.”

RELATED: As Cannon Dismisses Trump Classified Docs Case Experts Pin Blame on Clarence Thomas

“As we move forward in Uniting our Nation after the horrific events on Saturday, this dismissal of the Lawless Indictment in Florida should be just the first step, followed quickly by the dismissal of ALL the Witch Hunts — The January 6th Hoax in Washington, D.C., the Manhattan D.A.’s Zombie Case, the New York A.G. Scam, Fake Claims about a woman I never met (a decades old photo in a line with her then husband does not count), and the Georgia ‘Perfect’ Phone Call charges. The Democrat Justice Department coordinated ALL of these Political Attacks, which are an Election Interference conspiracy against Joe Biden’s Political Opponent, ME. Let us come together to END all Weaponization of our Justice System, and Make America Great Again!”

Veteran journalist Brian J. Karem responded to Trump’s post, writing: “So much for uniting people. That didn’t last a single day.”

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) added, “I knew this mad man would soon be back. He’s incapable of unifying peanut butter and jelly. For Trump it’s always been me, me, me first (& only).”

Media columnist Justin Baragona noted, “The new Trump tone lasted a record 36 hours.”

READ MORE: Biden Channels Lincoln in Address on Trump Assassination Attempt: ‘We Are Not Enemies’

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