Dear Republican Candidates for President | Those are my Dads You’re Bashing

Photo courtesy of Ted Eytan: Creative Commons

Dear Republican Candidates for President,

As you begin to consider the tone of your candidacy for president, I have one request.

Please don’t use my dads as a bargaining chip.

My family is not an issue or topic to be used to garner votes, we are flesh-and-blood human beings on the back-slide of our life-spans who just want to live out the rest of our lives in relative peace.

My dads fought long and hard against discrimination that threatened their safety and the health of our family. I rest easier today knowing that in their golden years, they can enjoy the benefits of marriage (after 36 years together), and if one of them gets sick and lands in long-term-care, they will be able to see each other in the hospital. By the grace of God — though not the law — they had long careers in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s free from discrimination. I’m thankful for these small graces.

When you consider using politics and laws as tools to turn back decades of discrimination for LGBT families, remember that you are condemning children like me in LGBT families to years of unjust suffering.

Did you know there are over 6 million kids residing in LGBT homes today? Your decisions are not neutral, they hurt kids like me who have been a part of loving LGBT families for over four decades. You say that you are “thinking of the children” but I don’t see how this is the case when you are actively campaigning against laws that will protect our parents and our families. Perhaps you could explain your logic to me?

Further, did you know that when you politic using words like “the gay agenda” or “the gay issue” or “lifestyle choice,” or worse when you call my parents an “abomination” that you are talking about my dads? Can you imagine if someone talked about your parents the way you are talking about mine? How would that make you feel?

I suppose, Republican Presidential Candidates, you also think that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so I too must be gay, or misguided, or have “issues.” I’m a pretty normal straight 44 year old, did well in school, have an incredible circle of friends, have had a great career, and I love being a part of my church.

Furthermore I’m seminary trained, I’m Christian, and I believe that God’s call to us to “love everyone” includes the LGBT community. So I’m a little baffled how you can marginalize my dads with hateful rhetoric in one breath, and then in the second believe that you are doing the work of God?

Oh, p.s. back to that little thing about my dads being an “abomination” — did you know that taken literally, the bible claims that you too are considered an abomination if you eat shellfish or wear mixed clothing. AND, that you are in danger of not inheriting the kingdom of God if you’ve ever been guilty of any of these things: impurity, sensuality, idolatry, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness. It seems to me that your fits of anger against the LGBT community might be causing you the kingdom — so as a fellow believer, let me help hold you accountable and tell you right now just to STOP IT.

The political engine seems to have jumped on the anti-gay, pro-gay battle and stepped up their rhetoric to try and win the hearts and minds of voters like me. Voters who (and there are many of us) — were so disgusted by the tone of the last election that we gave up our privilege to vote (don’t worry, that won’t happen this election). Voters who believe that politicians are so out of touch with my generation and the generation to follow that our elected candidates would rather USE people and LOVE things instead of the other way around.

When did y’all stop loving the people you were elected to serve?

Sure. There is a lot of debate going on right now about LGBT families and couples, and you could easily step on that bandwagon and catapult yourself to the oval office — because let’s face it — hate can stir up a nation, hate sells news, and if you are in the news then you get attention which helps your campaign. I’m in marketing, so I get that.

But don’t you also remember that place in the bible where it says “a nation divided against itself cannot stand?”

If you split our nation down the middle, and in the name of “religious freedom” you use my family to do that, that doesn’t sound like freedom at all. It sounds more like prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry. It also leaves America shattered and ripe for a strong, unifying leader to come in and take over (think Hitler because this is the environment he stepped into — a fragmented nation).

So if you can’t muster up enough compassion to think of my dads, and you refuse to have compassion when thinking of my family, think of our nation.

Thanks,

Jenny

 

 

***

Info: In case you have missed what the republican candidates have launched against LGBT families, I’ve listed them below.

Mike Huckabee:

  1. In the wide-ranging AP questionnaire in 1992, Huckabee said, “I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk.” [USA Today, 12/8/2007]
  2. Huckabee Compared LGBT Marriage Equality to Incest, Polygamy, and Drug Use and Said LGBT Couples Should Not Be Allowed To Adopt Because “Children Aren’t Puppies.” [Associated Press, 4/13/10, AUDIO]

Ben Carson:

  1. Carson infamously said that prisons are proof that people “choose” to be gay [CNN], and he has previously compared same-sex marriage to pedophilia, bestiality, and murder. [Baltimore Sun, March 29, 2013]

Ted Cruz:

  1. Cruz said same-sex marriage had produced rabid zealotry in Democratic ranks. This ideology, he argued, was excluding people of faith. “There is a liberal fascism that is going after Christian believers…Today’s Democratic Party has become so radicalized for legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states that there is no longer any room for religious liberty.” [The Hill, 4/25/2015]

Rand Paul:

  1. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul remarked on President Obama’s decision to publicly support same-sex marriage by saying, “Call me cynical, but I wasn’t sure his views on marriage could get any gayer…Now that doesn’t mean we need to be harsh and mean and hate people…But that doesn’t mean that we have to go ahead and give up our traditions.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/12, VIDEO]

Marco Rubio:

  1. In 2013, Senator Rubio voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that the Miami Herald reported “would make it illegal under federal law for employers to discriminate against their employees based on the employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity. These same basic workplace protections are already afforded to individuals on the basis of race, creed, national origin, gender, and disability status.” [S. 815 Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013, Vote #232 64-23, 11/7/2013; Miami Herald, 11/20/2013]

Give Kids a Voice in the Conversation | Marriage Equality

Photo courtesy of Guillaume Paumier: Creative Commons

I have always believed that children of LGBT parents have an important voice that can change the conversation surrounding LGBT families in our society.

The first time I stumbled upon this part of my story, I was sitting with my friend Paige at Uncle Julio’s pizza place on Capitol Hill. It was a brisk winter evening in 1993 and we were in our early twenties. As we munched on our pizza and discussed life in the city with my dads, I remember leaning forward in my chair and making a comment that continues to resonate in my soul:

“Paige, I truly believe that the children of gay families hold an important voice that the church and society need to hear. I believe that I can be a voice that can stir up compassion in the heart of every person who is prejudiced against gay people. My voice can be the compassionate connection that they need to be able to see my dads as human, not as evil, and as people, not as an issue.” (1)

Fast forward twenty-two years and my voice has been included in an amicus brief presented to the Supreme Court of the United States to advocate on behalf of marriage equality.

As a part of a combined effort between Family Equality Council, One Million Kids, and COLAGE, the brief is entitled the “Voices of Children,” and has been filed largely because of the gross omission of children’s voices in the marriage equality debate:

The voices of children raised by same-sex parents – those who live every day within the family structure at the heart of these lawsuits – are too often unheard in the debates about same-sex couples and marriage. Their stories are too often missing from discussions of “traditional” families or “family values,” and their personal experiences too often discounted as irrelevant. Although those who oppose marriage for same-sex couples frequently make assumptions about the quality of the children’s family lives, the children themselves are rarely asked to explain what they actually experience. (2)

In the brief I talked about the difference a simple piece of paper designating my dads as “married” had on my heart:

“You don’t think that a simple piece of paper designating your parents as ‘married’ can have a tangible difference on the bond you have with them — but it does. I watched decades of marginalization of my family fall away in the moment that the judge pronounced them as husband and husband.” – Jenny Rain, 44 (3)

When I learned that my voice had been included in the amicus brief, it was as if my life had come full circle. In that moment, I knew that my voice could play a small part in changing the conversation in our nation, as can every voice of every child of LGBT parents in our nation.

Children of LGBT families, know that on Tuesday, April 28th as we rally at the Supreme Court, our choir of voices has been HEARD and INCLUDED as a part of changing the conversation in our nation!

Download the entire brief here.

 

Follow One Million Kids on April 28, 2015 for LIVE updates from the Supreme Court! Find us here:

   Facebook Instagram Twitter

Real time updates on Periscope!

 periscope 2

OMK2 2

###

(1) Will They Laugh if I Call You Daddy: Growing up with two dads in an Evangelical World. Jenny Rain (not yet published).

(2) Voices of Children Amicus Brief, Family Equality Council

(3) Amicus Brief Filed on Four Landmark Same-Sex Marriage Cases Presents Voices of Children, March 6, Bradley Jacobs, Family Equality Council.

Are we entitled to freedom?

Walking along the Pacific coast yesterday, I contemplated freedom.

Basic human freedoms like, well, walking along a beach, eating food that I want to, going where I want to go on vacation, even taking a vacation when I want to.

As the sand splayed through my toes, I was contemplating the blessing of freedom and thinking about how I have never lived without basic human freedoms. Watching the fishermen flock to the pier at Pismo Beach I wondered if they were fishing because they wanted to, or because they had to as a result of lack of household income.

It made me grateful for the fact that I never had to worry about an empty belly. 

My mind wandered to my beach time in Burundi, Africa in 2010 as well as my time at IJM learning about how many children and families were forced to work in the fishing industry (Lake Volta, Ghana). I grieved over the fact that some of them would never know freedom, unless someone like me intervened to provide rescue.

As I gazed through the planks on the pier, I was saddened that many people in our world would never know the peace of determining where they would next take a step – because their captors were determining their steps for them.

It made me wonder why freedom is seen as a basic human right for all people. 

I wondered why a lack of freedom for subgroups of humanity inflames other free humans to respond. I contemplated the fact that lack of physical freedom often causes the crushing of one’s soul. I wondered if we have a “right” to freedom or if freedom is granted as a “privilege” … I wondered how  some people could be physically enslaved but mentally “free,” whereas others were physically free but mentally enslaved.

This is how my mind wanders when my feet do… and I came to no resolution about this concept of freedom.

What about you? How do you view freedom and what has it meant to you?

 

 

Freedom Fridays | A Brave Survivor Of Sexual Violence Helps Stage Undercover Operation

Marisol was distraught but determined to get help so other girls would not be deceived and abused like she had been. An undercover police officer posed as her friend, staging an operation to rescue Marisol and arrest the suspects.

For me, stories of rescue from the Philippines have a very special significance.

You see, I’ve had the incredible privilege of sponsoring a young woman through Compassion International since 2001 and recently she was accepted into the Compassion Leadership program – a huge honor that less than 1% of Compassion children receive. I’m so proud of her…

Stories like the one I’m about to share below make me think of her because what if Compassion hadn’t found her? What if they hadn’t chosen to serve her, encouraged her, raised her up into a fine young woman? What if I hadn’t chosen to partner with Compassion?

But Compassion did find her. They did serve and encourage her and develop her leadership capacity. And I did choose to partner with Compassion.

And that sweet young woman now has the incredible leadership development opportunity that I have prayed for over ten years for her.

There are so many ways we can make a positive, eternal impact on another person. Ways that have nothing to do with what chicken sandwich we eat, which candidate we support, or what side of the proverbial political fence we sit.

And truthfully, our common humanity demands that we find the heart to serve the least of these… regardless of what we may or may not believe.

Today’s Freedom Friday story is from my sweet sponsored child’s back yard…

***

Marisol was distraught but determined to get help so other girls would not be deceived and abused like she had been. An undercover police officer posed as her friend, staging an operation to rescue Marisol and arrest the suspects.

MANILA, THE PHILIPPINES – When Marisol* first made the long drive from Manila to the provincial town nearly 80 miles from her home, she thought she was on her way to a better life. The 17-year-old girl was going to be a domestic helper, a chance to make a living and gain independence from the poverty that defined her young life.

But when Marisol arrived at the new house, the woman who had offered her the job as a maid turned on her. Almost immediately, the woman’s live-in boyfriend sexually assaulted Marisol, and the couple threatened her life if she ever told anyone. Worse, they told Marisol that she now had to recruit a friend, who would be subjected to the same abuse.

Marisol was distraught, but she was also determined to get help. The same woman took her back to her hometown, where Marisol told a local NGO what had happened to her. The NGO called IJM for advice on how to proceed. Right away, IJM contacted the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation, and the anti-trafficking police unit initiated a plan to rescue Marisol – and stop the traffickers from hurting girls like her.

An undercover police officer posed as Marisol’s friend, and soon the pair was on their way back to the abusive house, escorted by the unsuspecting trafficker. A second police vehicle with IJM staff and social workers from the other NGO trailed closely behind. Heavy rains delayed the journey, but after five hours they arrived back at the house.

The man who intended to harm Marisol’s friend in the same way he had abused her was waiting. But soon, NBI police agents arrested both him and his girlfriend who had escorted the young women. Both suspects are now facing charges of trafficking and rape.

Marisol was escorted to another home, this time a safe and loving shelter for trafficking survivors. She will receive crisis care and vocational opportunities that will allow her to lead the independent life she desires.

*A pseudonym has been used for the protection of this IJM client.

Today, choose to get involved and make rescue possible for other women like Marisol

Hear more stories of rescue…

42 Rescued from Bonded Labor | India

Justice a dream for trafficking victims | Philippines

“This Case Will Pave the Way” – 20 Year Conviction | Rwanda

Slavery in America? | United States of America

The Dangerous Dance of Poverty and Violence | Injustice around the World

Grace’s Story | Africa

Trafficked.Enslaved.Now Free | Philippines

 

Freedom Fridays | Trafficked. Enslaved… and now free!

It’s Friday, so that means it’s Freedom Friday here at the bloggity.

The day I get to share about the incredible work that International Justice Mission has the privilege of doing in 14 different countries around the world. It’s God’s work of rescue that He has invited us into and it is a daily honor to get to participate in this good work. This work is beyond our ability to do on our own. It truly is God’s work, and we are simply invited into that good work of rescue with Him.

Daily we meet for prayer to cry out to God for His hand to move because this very good, but very difficult work reminds us that it is too big for us. It is beyond our capabilities, beyond our talent, beyond our resources, beyond even our best intentions and plans, and beyond our desire to make the good things happen. We need God to intervene and move mountains, governments, and those principalities and powers that are truly beyond our human resources.

And we are so grateful when He does so… Today’s rescue and redemption operation is from the Philippines…

***

MANILA, THE PHILIPPINES – IJM Manila staff sat quietly with police officers from the National Bureau of Investigations and other members of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT). Minutes slowly ticked by, turning into hours. At 10:30 p.m., an undercover operative made a phone call, and the calm before the storm ended as everyone sprang into action.

The rescue team loaded into vans and sped off towards the large entertainment bar where they believed young women had been trafficked and sold for sexual exploitation.

The bar, previously a warehouse, had high ceilings and walls with bright décor. A single pole stood in the center of the stage. Hidden behind the stage was a long, narrow room with cardboard beds crowded along the cinderblock walls. On one wall was a picture of Jesus, hanging next to a cover of Maxim Magazine. Cigarettes and clothing were strewn about the dirty room. A rickety staircase led up to four tiny rooms, reserved for customers who paid the bar owners to have sex with the dancers.

Law enforcement officers effectively secured the location and arrested half a dozen suspects who have now been charged under the Philippines’ anti-trafficking law. IJM and staff from the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development helped explain what was happening to the young women.

After leaving with the rescue team, at least one of the girls said she had been hired as a minor, and several more gave statements at the law enforcement office indicating they had been trafficked and exploited for sex in the bar.

The successful operation was the result of intensive coordination between IJM and its government partners. One of IJM Manila’s lawyers explained how he felt at the end of the long night: “Seeing the girls leave that dark and dirty place that has been like their prison cell for months and knowing that there is freedom and a new life on the other side of the door makes it all worth it.”

***

 

Who is International Justice Mission?

International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. READ MORE »

Read some past stories here:

Five Minute Friday

42 Rescued from Bonded Labor | India

Justice a dream for trafficking victims | Philippines

“This Case Will Pave the Way” – 20 Year Conviction | Rwanda

Slavery in America? | United States of America

The Dangerous Dance of Poverty and Violence | Injustice around the World

Grace’s Story | Africa

How YOU Can Get Involved With IJM

This summer have fun and take action with International Justice Mission. click on the link below to learn more and get involved in our summer Freedom Challlenge !

Pray, Support our work, or Start a Justice Campaign!

Follow @ijmhq

Follow @ijmCampaigns

IJM on Youtube

IJM on Vimeo

Friend IJM on Facebook

Freedom Fridays | Grace’s Story | Protected. Defended. Home.

When Grace’s husband passed away, relatives tried to steal her home — she became a victim of property grabbing.

Her home and her land was her entire livelihood, the only way she could provide for her five children. Without anyone to defend her rights, Grace started to lose hope. Then Grace met IJM, and everything changed. “My old life has ended and now a new one is beginning.”

Watch Grace’s story.



Make more stories like Grace’s possible—help IJM open a new field office in Northern Uganda.

IJM has been protecting women like Grace in central Uganda for the past decade. This summer, help us open a new field office in Gulu, Northern Uganda to help more people. Why Gulu? Learn more.

Give Now

» Impact of your gift

The AIDS Quilt | Washington DC

This is the first time I have had the opportunity to see the AIDS quilt.

Over the two weeks surrounding Independence day, it was stretched out across the mall. Though I had heard my dad and Dencil talk about the quilt, and the impact that it can have on you, I was completely unprepared for the stark reality of the number of names of the deceased that covered the lawn of the mall.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died from this disease.

Men, women, children, babies.

It gave me pause to think about the gift of health. The gift of mobility. The blessing of friends who do not have to greet me from behind a sterilized medical mask because any germ could be fatal. It made me think of Gitz and the pain she suffered the last years of her life and how she chose joy despite the pain. It made me wonder how many of the names on the quilt had taken the route my friend Sara did and thus left an eternal legacy for those behind.

It also made me think of the names of all of those who were still suffering

Whether it be from AIDS, or cancer, or violent oppression, or some form of lack of freedom.

Because truly, the suffering of one of our fellow sisters or brothers should cause the compassion of us all… though many times it does not. Sometimes suffering results in increased prejudice, or denial, or blatent disregard for the fallen and the falling.

Think Rwandan genocide.

Think German Holocaust.

Think American Internment Camps.

Think AIDS crisis.

Think Breast Cancer.

Think Sex Trafficking both inside our borders and across the world.

It should not be.

On our watch, may the names that are quilted into the fabric of justice and freedom and health be greater than the names that become a part of our memories.

Sweet Shot Tuesday with Kent Weakley Photobucket

Freedom Fridays | A Story of Rescue

Today I am joining Lisa-Jo for five minute friday.

The stories you are about to read and see below are real. The undercover footage is real. The horror that is happening is real. Yet it is a story that must be shared…

Go.

A few months ago I joined a story-culture.

That culture’s name is International Justice Mission. Here at IJM we exist to give voice to the stories of the voiceless because sharing their story* with you is the way rescue happens for other victims…

Here at IJM we believe that the power of story to mobilize and galvanize the world into action is the most important ingredient of being salt and light for Christ in the world.

You see, when we talk about “trafficking” and “bonded labor” and “voilent oppression” we are not talking about an issue, or a cause, or a social movement… we are talking about people…

People like Jyoti and Madesh and Eugenia.

We are talking about the story of a real person with a real name and a real heart and a real face.

We are not just telling stories to put a face to an “issue” we are sharing our stories because they need to be told.

They need to be told to people like you, who didn’t know these stories existed before…so you can get involved, or pray, or help us move political will in the direction to stop this monstrosity from continuing.

Or you, who has a sponsored child in an area where stories like this still exist… and now you know how much your gift of $24 a month helps to prevent trafficking from happening to your sponsored child.

Or you, who have just learned that a young girl from another part of the world that just happens to be your daughter’s age is being systematically raped, abused, and violently oppressed… so that you can stop feeling bad about it, join with us in the fight for justice, and help give her the freedom that she was granted by Christ…

The stories of our victims are important. They matter.

Because our victims deserve a better story than what is currently being written for them by violent perpetrators.

*Please note, IJM blurs the eyes of all victims for their protection and privacy as well as ongoing case-work in some of the stories.

Stop.

Read some past stories here:

42 Rescued from Bonded Labor | India

Justice a dream for trafficking victims | Philippines

“This Case Will Pave the Way” – 20 Year Conviction | Rwanda

Slavery in America? | United States of America

The Dangerous Dance of Poverty and Violence | Injustice around the World

How YOU Can Get Involved With IJM

This summer have fun and take action with International Justice Mission. click on the link below to learn more and get involved in our summer Freedom Challlenge !

Pray, Support our work, or Start a Justice Campaign!

Follow @ijmhq

Follow @ijmCampaigns

IJM on Youtube

IJM on Vimeo

Friend IJM on Facebook

Freedom Fridays | The Dangerous Dance of Poverty and Violence

Vancouver Sun Article

“Poverty is no excuse for forcing children into prostitution,”

Says International Justice Mission (IJM) Founder and President Gary Haugen. “Violence is what keeps them there,” he further states. There is a dangerous dance of poverty and violence that IJM seeks to impact through transforming public justice systems. As we here in America celebrate the precious freedom of independence this next week… may we not forget the 27million people across the world who are enslaved by some form of violent oppression…

What does IJM do?

International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.

Our work…IJM works to rescue victims from slavery, bring justice to the perpetrators, restore victims to health and wholeness, and transform public justice systems.

How we do our work… IJM seeks to make public justice systems work for victims of abuse and oppression who urgently need the protection of the law.

This Freedom Friday as we prepare to celebrate July 4th in the United States

… may we pause and consider, pray, and search our hearts for how we can make a difference in the lives of those caught in this horrific dance of violent oppression and poverty.

 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2.15-16

Get involved in our work!

Pray, Support our work, or Start a Justice Campaign!

Join Recipie for Change

Follow @ijmhq

Follow @ijmCampaigns

IJM on Youtube

IJM on Vimeo

Friend IJM on Facebook

Read some past stories here:

42 Rescued from Bonded Labor | India

Justice a dream for trafficking victims | Philippines

“This Case Will Pave the Way” – 20 Year Conviction | Rwanda

Slavery in America? | United States of America

Freedom Fridays | Slavery in America?

As a part of my Freedom Fridays posts, I wanted to share today the latest IJM campaign that launched!

Today, there are more children, women and men in slavery than ever before. Over the last decade and a half, IJM has worked with local government officials to bring rescue and justice to families trapped in forced labor slavery and girls victimized by trafficking.

But slavery is not just happening overseas. While IJM has developed expertise through our casework in South Asia, the U.S. Government and domestic anti-slavery organizations have developed strategies to combat slavery here at home. In the past 15 years, over 1,000 people have been freed from slavery in Florida’s tomato fields. Thanks to innovative solutions developed by farmworkers themselves, change is already underway. But there is more work to be done to finish the job.

Slavery in U.S. tomato fields is a problem with a solution. This summer, we have a Recipe for Change: Join us as we campaign for slave-free tomatoes.

America’s major fast food chains have already joined the Fair Food Program, an agreement that protects farmworkers from slavery and other abuses. Now it’s time to get supermarkets on board – so slavery is eradicated from the tomato supply chain.

To learn more about slavery in U.S. tomato fields and how you can help make a difference this summer, sign up for our Recipe for Change weekly updates. Throughout the summer, you will get easy action steps, campaign resources and tomato-centric recipes from food celebrities like Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman, plus Gary Haugen and other leaders in the abolition movement!

Join us as we campaign for slave-free tomatoes this summer!

P.S. Read how one Florida advocate discovered slavery was not just happening overseas – it was just a drive away.

GET IN TOUCH

I'm a natural connector both online and IRL and I become positively giddy when my diverse communities collide with one another!