Sunday, 5 September 2010

Defending Real Families.


The fatal flaw in the argument against gay marriage and gay adoption is that since children “need” a mom and a pop (a dubious proposition in itself), then all mixed  -sex couples make better parents than any same-sex couples. This flaw is tragically highlighted in an open letter to Pastor Joshua Beckley, posted by Derrick Matthis  at RENWL.

There is much in this articulate and thoughtful piece to applaud.  The scandalous part is the professional footballer he cites, Antonio Cromartie, who has eight children from  six different mothers – but struggles to even name them all.   On the other hand, Matthis writes movingly though from deep personal experience, describing his own family, in a graphic image, as a “village” – but also rejoices in the successes within his family, which patently means the world to him.

It is obvious that there are some irresponsible gay men who would make appalling parents – just as there are some straight men who fit the same description. There are many superb mixed couples who raise great families – just as my own parents did. And there are gay and lesbian couples who make excellent parents. Matthis does not make clear whether he is himself either partnered, a parent, or aspires to be either – but just consider the immense pride with which he writes of his siblings and their offspring: of one niece, he writes:

My baby sister's little girl. Thuglette, Bad Stuff, Little Monster, BeBe's kid, Rug Rat...the various nicknames I call her when we're together. Her name is Mya. And she is every beat of my heart.

This is a world away from Comartie , who is unable to name his own kids – yet in the argument against family equality, Comartie is presented as the model, and Matthis as inherently unsuitable to be a father (unless he denies his identity and marries a woman).

I can quote only extracts – so cross to the original, and read the full post, too.


From  RENWL  (Restore Equality Now~ West Adams/LA South Marriage Equality And Community Activists):

Open Letter to Pastor Beckley

Senior Pastor Joshua Beckely

Ecclesia Christian Fellowship

1314 Date Street

San Bernardino, CA 92404

Dear Pastor Beckley:

Based on your commitment to the continued and unchanged definition of marriage I thought since this latest effort didn’t quite work out, that perhaps I could interest you in some other very pressing issues that could use the input of a committed man of the cloth in the African American community. In doing a little background research you seem to be a man who cares deeply and takes every opportunity to give back.

You’re a father, a devoted husband, man of the cloth and community leader. We so need many more like you to help shape the direction of the black community . You must be aware of this already.

There’s a specific issue that hit me HARD in recent days. It came to me in the form of video in a news article. I’d like to share it with you. And please do not be concerned. There’s nothing offensive or unsavory about the contents. But it is very saddening. And its effects continue to rip through our community almost completely unchecked.

You may be aware of NY Jets player Antonio Cromartie. A week or so ago he he was asked about his family, specifically to name all of his children on camera. In the video, Cromartie is seen discussing being a father and when finally asked to name all EIGHT of his children—this is eight children from six different mothers spanned across several states. Cromartie could barely name all of his children.

A sportswriter called this one of the most shameful moments in NFL history. I beg to differ. I find it one of the most shameful recent moments in black American history. The fact that an issue hasn’t previously been made of this gives you an idea of how poorly the idea of the “Family” unit is regarded to a lot of people.

My baby sister, 22 years old. Workin' on that hair last Thanksgiving morning. She is also a single mother raising a child among the village called my family.

…….children born out of wedlock in the United States tend to have poorer health and educational outcomes than those born to married women, but that may be because unmarried mothers tend to share those problems.

Pastor Beckley I’m almost certain that you’re well aware of all of the above and please forgive me if I’m being redundant by reintroducing these statistics and facts to you. But the whole point behind my sharing this with you is that there is an obvious breakdown in terms of the family unit in the black community. The problem is so paramount that I have to be honest, when I see our black church leaders making themselves so visible in matters such as same-sex marriage, I sincerely wonder with deep frustration and sometimes a sense of hopelessness if their priorities are in tandem with the realities impacting the greater black community of this nation.

Pastor Beckley, I write this letter to you not to discourage you from your beliefs or your commitment to your beliefs. I write this letter to you asking you to re-examine all the wonderful truly abundant possibilities for the black community if we decided to focus on our community in a way that serves to strengthen it in every imaginable capacity.

That focus would be on the black family.

And what are the factors that lend to destroying the black family—TODAY. RIGHT NOW. Those things that are serving RIGHT NOW to deteriorate our families: joblessness, poverty, poor education, fatherlessness, high incarceration of our young men—HIV/AIDS infection exploding through the roof in our women and same gender loving men and no prevention funding from the government or state—-so many issues on the menu right now.

Can’t we all work together? Can’t we work to build an inclusive world for our children, all God’s children, to receive the love and nurturing all of them so righteously deserve, today? Can’t we work to create a unified vision as black people that serves to empower all of us?

Family means everything to me. I love my family so much—my siblings, nieces and nephews, my mother, my belated father, that deceased grandmother who worked in the cotton fields of Texas as a child—couldn’t go to school cause she had to help put food on the table. I miss that old lady. I miss her love for the Lord and her strength, and her vast all encompassing love for her children and grandchildren. Most of all I miss her abundant and bottomless love for me. When I told her at 19 years of age that I was gay, she told me, “you are my child. I will love you no matter what.”

I believe that was the day that I finally decided to believe in God, to truly accept God. Before that day I couldn’t. God seemed to belong to someone else. I was afraid and ashamed of who and what I was, the feelings I had. There was no place in God’s heart for me. But finally one day I broke down. And through tears told my NaNa everything. I did this because I trusted her and loved her so much. Throughout all my childhood she never made me feel bad about being me. I knew she wouldn’t turn her back on me if I told her my truth. So I shared with her the things I felt and my fear and shame. And then she said what she said. It was like a great weight was lifted from me. The way I saw it, if Nana loved me no matter what, then God had to feel the same.

And that’s because I learned everything I knew about about God through her. NaNa’s love was unquestionably God’s love as far as I was concerned. Nobody loves the way she did, live with such abundance, gratitude for life and not be a true child of the Lord. Now I’m not the churchy type. I’m not gonna lie. And yes Pastor Beckley, I do believe in the Lord. And his merciful love for all his children.


Again I hope this letter finds you well, Pastor Beckley. I look forward to receiving your thoughts.


Derrick Mathis


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