Gay Poet Richard Blanco Reads His Inaugural Poem ‘One Today’

Richard Blanco

TEXT:

One Today
One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.

One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together.

4 women go topless in St. Peter’s Square to protest Vatican opposition to gay marriage

VATICAN CITY — Four women have gone topless in St. Peter’s Square to protest the Vatican’s opposition to gay marriage.

vatican-gay-marriage_protestPolice quickly took the women away Sunday, and the pope appeared not to have been disturbed as he delivered his traditional prayer from his studio window overlooking the piazza.

On their bare backs, the women had painted slogans “In Gay We Trust,” and “Shut Up.” One of them, Inna Shevchenko, said: “Today we are here to protest against homophobia.”

The small demonstration coincided with a march in Paris that is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to protest the French president’s plan to legalize gay marriage and let gay couples adopt children.

French Catholic bishops and other religious leaders have strongly opposed the proposal, and the Vatican has backed them.

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic Church Prepares For Ordination Of Transgender Priest

If you just looked out the window to see if pigs are soaring across the clouds, you’re not alone. The North American Old Catholic Church, a congregation that combines Catholic teachings with progressive values, is set to ordain a transgender priest in Minnesota.

GLAAD shares the press release detailing the ordination of Shannon T.L. Kearns:

Shannon T.L. Kearns

The North American Old Catholic Church, one of the largest Old Catholic bodies in the United States, will ordain Shannon T.L. Kearns to the priesthood on January 19, 2013. Kearns, who is a transgender man, will be tasked with starting a new Minneapolis parish, House of the Transfiguration, after his ordination. This will be a pioneering parish in Minnesota; one that combines the traditions of the church with progressive perspectives and embraces all people.

The ordination will take place at 3 pm at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave. Minneapolis. Bishop Benjamin Evans of the diocese of New Jersey will preside. He says, “The North American Old Catholic Church looks forward to establishing a presence in Minneapolis with the ordination of Father Kearns. God’s Holy Spirit continues to bless us with growth!” The North American Old Catholic Church is a progressive Catholic tradition that welcomes all people. This church ordains women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, married and partnered people, and those who have been divorced. The North American Old Catholic Church focuses on social justice and developing new parishes.

Kearns has a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. While in seminary he transitioned from female to male. Kearns says, “I am honored and humbled to have my calling to ministry affirmed by the North American Old Catholic Church. I look forward to many years serving as a priest.”

Congrats, Father Kearns!

Complete Article HERE!

Fewer Americans Believe Homosexuality is a Sin

By Russ Rankin

The percentage of Americans who believe homosexuality is a sin has decreased significantly in a year, according to a survey by LifeWay Research.

husband & husbandA November 2012 survey of adults in the United States found 37 percent affirm a belief that homosexual behavior is a sin – a statistically significant change from a September 2011 LifeWay Research survey asking the same question. At that time, 44 percent answered, “Yes.”

In contrast, the percentage of Americans who do not believe homosexuality is a sin remains nearly the same between the two surveys – 43 percent in September 2011 and 45 percent in November 2012 indicate this belief, with an increase in the percentage of those unsure of what they believe. Seventeen percent in the November 2012 survey said, “I don’t know;” an increase of 4 percent over the September 2011 survey.

Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, pointed out halfway between the two polls President Barack Obama changed his pre-election position concerning gay marriage.

“The president’s evolution on homosexuality probably impacted the evolution of cultural values – there is a real and substantive shift, surprisingly large for a one-year timeframe – though this was hardly a normal year on this issue,” Stetzer said.

The November 2012 survey also reveals Americans in the South (40 percent) are the most likely to select “Yes” to the question “Do you believe homosexual behavior is a sin?” as are Americans who attend religious services at least about once a week (61 percent), and those calling themselves “born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christian” (73 percent).

Americans who never attend religious services are the most likely to say they do not believe homosexual behavior is a sin (71 percent).

These findings from LifeWay Research come as Pastor Louie Giglio on Jan. 10 withdrew from giving the benediction at President Obama’s upcoming inauguration program in the face of criticism over a 15-year-old sermon referencing homosexuality as a sin. Stetzer noted the connection, saying, “The culture is clearly shifting on homosexuality and this creates a whole new issue: How will America deal with a minority view, strongly held by Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, and so many others?”

Complete Article HERE!