The World's New Gay State

Indifference to Injustice is the Gateway to Hell

That’s right, I said it.  It doesn’t matter if you are a believer in the afterlife, or a believer in “Supreme Beings” or if the “hell” in question is a condition in this life when we settle for less than the best of humanity has to offer. 

I think of this quote and how it might apply to the current tizzy over the development of a mosque in lower Manhattan.  Such a fuss is being made.  Sadly, it takes a silly development such as this to rouse the passion of some and to stir the media frenzy of too many talking heads.

I’m surprised at how many people in the past have misunderstood my stated position on the mosque.  Or perhaps they were intentionally blown out of proportion for some calculated purpose.  In the USA, it is clearly within the rights of the group to build a mosque and having cleared local zoning issues, for any powers to deny them their right to build a mosque would be an injustice as I see it.  More importantly, that’s how the U.S. Constitution sees it.  No clear thinking American should deny the right of the Muslims to build their mosque at 51 Park Place.

Still, the Muslims in their theocentric wisdom must hear the message loud and clear:  the mosque should not be built at 51 Park Place.  Yes everyone knows they CAN build it, far fewer believe they SHOULD build it.  I fall into that category.  As for all of the posturing taking place on both sides of the issue, the circus and poor behavior of those staunchly opposed to the mosque displays the worst about America and they fall squarely in the trap of Muslims who  want to create an American boogeyman.  I am embarrassed by the behavior of Americans whipped into irrational behavior by the current events and the protestations in lower Manhattan.

To be clear, the building at the center of the controversy, two blocks from the World Trade Center,  is not really “worlds away,” as some like to describe.  Two blocks from anything is still in the immediate neighborhood.  In this case, being two blocks away from the World Trade Center placed it close enough for the landing gear and a wheel from  one of the jetliners to crash into the roof and side of the building.  This collateral damage makes the site an actual part of “Ground Zero” in my estimation.

Even in highly congested Manhattan, two blocks away is still close by.  Ask any Manhattan resident and they will say ones  “immediate neighborhood” tends to be 4 or 5 blocks from our location in either direction – at an absolute minimum.  For more active residents, taking myself as an example, my neighborhood is approximately 10 blocks in any direction.  That would be 20 blocks from the far northern tip to the far southern tip of my “neighborhood.”  According to New York’s grid pattern, 20 blocks equals one mile, give or take.  Manhattan is comprised of dozens of such neighborhoods, like a string of pearls on a necklace, one after the other.  My favorite video store, which I patronize regularly is nine blocks from my Manhattan apartment.  It takes me all of 8 minutes to get there on foot if I’m in a hurry.  A more leisurely stroll might take 10-11 minutes.

So, the proposed mosque, being two blocks north and a half block inwards, doesn’t not even come close to being what has been described as “world’s away.”  And here is where the argument is relevant.  There are tens of thousands of survivors of the 9-11 attack.  Many go to work in that neighborhood every day.  The walking wounded are all around us.  I happened to be downtown that day and survived and did many others.  For tens of thousands of us, the scars we carry with us from September 11th are invisible.  But these are wounds that are with us day and night nearly a decade later.  Psychologically or emotionally, many of those who experienced the attack  in person (not on television from a safe, unknown distance,) may never fully recover.  For many of us, we have lost a decade of our lives in the way our world’s were altered.  Nearly a decade later I pass Ground Zero and shake my head in disgust at all of the tourists, primarily Americans who come to gawk.  Especially just after the attack, when the streets reopened to civilian traffic, tourists were having their picture taken and the ensuing excitable frenzy resembled Carnival more than it did a burial ground.  Shameful then and it is shameful now.

Out of consideration for so many people who continue to live with the trauma of the attack, the mosque, if it had “community interests” in mind, above all else, would agree internally, out of “sensitivity” to the community and to show grace and tolerance and understanding, to do the right thing and move the mosque beyond what is still considered the immediate neighborhood.  The leadership of the mosque project, if they were attuned to the feelings of the community and if they wanted to do the right thing, would have tabled the project before it started to circulate among the media outlets.  It tells me the mosque leadership either does not have the better interests of the community in mind or that perhaps this is all one big publicity stunt.  Now after weeks of negative reactions from both the public and the media, mosque leaders can claim to take the high road but that the exercise exposes just how narrow minded and bigoted America really is!  You see!  They’ll say…there is no freedom of religion in America!  “We pulled back the curtain and showed the world the reality!” mosque leaders will scream.  I can already see this playing out on Al Jazeera and media outlets throughout the Middle East.

New York City as a geographic territory is larger than 300 square miles.  New York City is larger than 51 separate nation-states that are scattered around the globe.  There are countless other places to build their mosque in New York City.  The Governor of New York, Gov. David Patterson even offered to give the Muslim community other land for free to satisfy any slighted notions.  Free land in New York City?  What other group gets an offer like that?  Yet the group is determined at this stage in the development to pursue a mosque directly in Ground Zero.  If they insist on building another mosque in the downtown area, as other mosques already exist, it should follow the cultural definition of a neighborhood and out of respect for those who survived the heinous attacks and out of respect for all of those who lost a loved one, move their mosque at least eight more blocks away so that it is not in the immediate vicinity.  Finally, for those who don’t know, downtown Manhattan is not exactly the home of a large residential Muslim community.  People would have to commute into downtown to use the facility.  This is important to recognize, because it shoots a hole in the argument that having the mosque at 51 Park Place is a necessity.

In Manhattan, like many other urban cores around the world that have been centuries in the making, we walk among the ghosts of those who have fallen before us.  Nearly every square block of lower Manhattan represents some ghastly site, some atrocious act.  Men and women who died but whose mere existence and struggles were simply swept under the carpet of history.  In Manhattan, London, Beijing or any city – take your pick, countless numbers have died and without wealth, fame and or prominence were not even worthy of a footnote in history books.  Walking along the streets of Greenwich Village, I pass countless row houses and townhomes and think how many people inside those walls took their last breath and closed their eyes for good.  I walk past shops where robberies, kidnappings and murders occurred and not even a plaque memorializing the events hang on the wall.  People want to forget the horrors, yet death, history and signs of rebirth are all around us.  In one hundred years, when all of the survivors of the World Trade Center attack are dead, the events of September 11th may seem like a footnote in American history.  And in 400 years if America as we know it still exists, the horrors of 9-11 will undoubtedly be supplanted by more recent, more horrifying events that capture the public’s attention.  That – THAT, would be the perfect time to build a mosque within the neighborhood of Ground Zero.

Some have compared the building of this mosque to the Japanese building a “cultural center” at the entrance to Pearl Harbor, Newt Gingrich among them.   Others have rightfully asked if the Germans would allow a Youth Center for Aryan teens to be built across the street from Auschwitz.  Still other examples beg the question if an American Museum of Military History would be tolerated at Ground Zero of Nagasaki or Hiroshima and lastly, what would be the reaction to the Celtic League of Western New York should they choose to celebrate the courage, personal fortitude and the freedom of defending American liberty of one Timothy McVeigh and erect a statue to him across from the sight of his Oklahoma City bombing.  Many on the far left have criticized such comparisons.  I am prompted to throw my martini at my flat screen when Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann  ridicule mosque opponents as hateful bigots too closed minded to accept tolerance and diversity in a greater world.  I am especially disappointed with my Gay sister Rachel Maddow.  In the third edition of “The Gay State” which was released this summer, I proclaimed Ms. Maddow as “one of the greatest Lesbians in the history of the world.”  She, of all the talking heads, as much as I adore her and support her right to condemn others by virtue of her place on the airwaves, should know much better.  Rachel Maddow, a Lesbian scholar and professional; no empty-headed suit is she; knows full well that no group in all of the recorded history of the world has done more to savagely brutalize, murder, oppress and obliterate the global Gay community as the hate-filled Muslims.  Frankly, the Nazi’s killed fewer Gay people than have the Muslims.    I at least expected fairness from her, knowing the atrocities the Muslims have been capable of.  But her unbridled  political correctness and uncontained elitism is preventing her from seeing all sides of the issue and handling it fairly. 

So as I write this and you, gentle reader, digest my words, know that  I merely am trying to explain and flush out my answer to readers who have reacted negatively to my earlier statements.  However, I have not changed my position in the slightest and I stand by my earlier posting on the mosque debate.  My concern in writing is not to dictate what the American policy should be.  My concern is what the policy would be in our Gay nation-state.  In our Gay nation-state, mosques, just as all houses of worship, will be allowed if the followers of a particular faith desire one.  As I have already stated repeatedly, more damage has been done to my people in houses of worship than any other singular type of facility in all of  world history.  So in our Gay nation-state, no religion will be allowed to spew their hateful venom on our shores.  They can preach the best they have to offer, but we will not allow them to bring their condemnations into our new homeland.

Furthermore, churches will be required to keep their messages sequestered within their houses of worship.  Like our military, and soldiers like the clergy, will remain in their barracks or churches until called upon.  They will not and cannot pollute the greater good of society with their narrow theocentric views.

All faiths will be welcome in our Gay nation-state.  Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam will be welcome as will every other religion, great, large or small.  And hundreds of other, smaller faiths will receive the same welcome mat.  Quakers, Amish, Animists and Wiccan’s will have their edifices  from which to speak of love and the betterment of humankind within their houses of worship.  If a group of believers bow down and hail the Slinky toy, it is their choosing and no concern of the government.

Throughout the world, some cities enact zoning to keep problematic industries from sprouting up in otherwise pleasant neighborhoods.  Toward that end, just as some cities keep their strip joints and hoses of “exotic dance” and brothels in certain districts, we will enforce a similar policy to keep all religious houses in one district or zone.  We will establish this zone from the very beginning of our Gay nation-state so this zone will be given its due prominence, affording ease and convenience to all worshippers.  We will build this zone to complement grand houses of worship and the small centers of niche religions.  I personally favor an enormous circle with a magnificent park in the center.  IT would be very contemplative, soothing and soulful place.  ON the outer ring of the circle would house all of the religious compounds.  Cathedrals of every order would be built where congregants could practice their piety.  Religious campuses and schools would be built side by side, allowing for greater tolerance and understanding among them all.

We envision a house of Catholic worship will be next to a compound for Taoists.  The Presbyterians will have a splendid center next to the practicing Sunnis.  A Jewish Synagogue  would be built next to a home for the Amish.  And so on and so forth.  Side by side.  In fellowship and mutual respect.  No one in our Gay nation-state will be allowed to feel slighted when it comes to religious freedom.  Yet we will reserve the right to establish boundaries of physicality and where such reverence will be performed for the general public.  As all of these world’s religions jostle about to show they follow one true God, let them begin by making concessions and accommodations to one another.  I believe the Gay society, more than any other society in the world, understands the necessity for tolerance and the need for sensitivity.  The Muslims, just one of many religions, could stand to learn a bit about fellowship and tolerance from us.  Otherwise, this whole kerfuffle about the Ground Zero mosque could have been avoided.  They should no more build their mosque adjacent to Ground Zero than the Gay culture would insist on building a Gay Social and Cultural Center next to an elementary school in the most conservative town you could think of in, say South Carolina, Mississippi or Oklahoma.  Obviously, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Gay culture or Gay society.  But we all know our building such a facility next to an elementary school would only serve to enflame the parents and members of the school.   We are sensitive enough to the feelings and perspectives of others that we would not choose to disrupt and damage others to make a point.  We could even build a Gay church next to the elementary school, but again, why?

Finally, as for the quote that serves as the headline to this article:  “Indifference to Injustice is the Gateway to Hell.”  The quote is from artist Harriet Feigenbaum.  It can be seen etched into the New York State Supreme Court building and might be a warning to those who will not stand and defend their rights.  The Gay nation-state, as in the United States, we will defend our citizens and their right to worship freely and as they choose.  But no group, and to the Muslims of lower Manhattan, I now speak directly to you; no group will be allowed to use their pious doctrine to browbeat their fellow citizenry into having its religious doctrine shoved where it isn’t welcome.

And that I hope, is my final word on this subject.

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Gay Nationalists Vow To Teach Muslims Importance of Tolerance

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 13, 2010

Contact:  Jack Flannigan                                                                                           

Press Secretary                        

The FIGS Party                                                                                     

Old Chelsea Station, #2                                                                        

New York, NY  10113

 

Gay Nationalists Vow To Teach Muslims Importance of Tolerance

(New York, NY)          The international Gay community has been coalescing in recent years to establish the world’s first politically autonomous Gay-majority nation—state.  Under the banner of the FIGS (Free, Independent Gay State) Party with their President Garrett Graham at the helm, the organization is opening new offices in New York.

          Weighing in on the 911 Ground Zero revitalization efforts, the organization expressed a desire to support the neighborhood rebirth, in lieu of being geographically closer to its activities with other international bodies associated with the United Nations.  To further the organization’s outreach objectives, the international body representing the global Gay community is seeking a location in close proximity to the World Trade Center site as well as the proposed Mosque and Islamic Cultural Center.

          “Officials with the FIGS Party stated the international Gay community is declaring they stand shoulder to shoulder with all democratic, freedom—loving citizens of the world who  bow their heads to all of those who perished in the 911 attack on liberty,” according to Jack Flannigan, Press Secretary.

          The FIGS—New York headquarters will eventually become the New York Consular offices for the international governmental body.  According to FIGS President Garrett Graham, “We see this as an opportunity to increase dialogue and understanding within the Muslim community.  If Islam is to be a “great religion,” as it likes to call itself, they must stop their savage violence and discrimination against our people.  The global Gay community has endured hatred, executions, crimes against humanity and brutal oppression at the hands of the Muslim’s for thousands of years.”

          America offers the world a freedom of religion that is a shining example of tolerance.  It should inspire all of us to forgive the Muslims for their heinous atrocities against us, for their actions are rooted in ignorance and they know not what they do.  Nor should we judge them, as in time, from a higher power, they will receive their own fiery brand of justice for the unending persecution they have foisted upon our people.  Hate, especially when cloaked in religion from the posturing pious, must be eradicated.” Graham said.

          According to Jack Flannigan, the FIGS Party Manhattan offices will become a beacon for the global Gay culture and will showcase the finest it offers up to the world.  We can foresee our stylishly attired “hostesses” at the doorway, greeting all of our neighbor’s morning, noon and night.  What we can do to expose the religious, indeed all people, to the best our society has to offer, will surely pave the way to improved global relations, Flannigan stated.  They are proposing the international Gay cultural center be named after Mark Bingham, one of the 911 hero’s who prevented United flight 93 from possibly crashing into the US Capitol or the White House and instead brought the plane down in a rural Pennsylvania field.

          The FIGS Party continues to negotiate for suitable leasing terms.

#   #   #

For additional information, contact

Jack Flannigan, 347-949-3747

The Gay State and the Question of Race.

July 26 (New York)  When I speak to a group, even a small group, it is interesting on how quickly tempers flare from those who are quite adamantly opposed to the Gay State concept.  Rebuttals are often laced with personal matters as to religion and sometimes from those who are professionally versed in theology.  It’s not lost on me how often detractors seek to find ways to denounce the concept or dismiss it as some sort of “Utopian” scheme.  Sometimes, but only rarely am asked new questions which after these many years, comes as a surprise.  One such question came from a woman who asked me about race.

I can remember her question as if it were yesterday.  When I called on her out of a crowd, her question was, “I agree with you on many points, but I wonder at what point, is sexual orientation NOT ENOUGH?”  She went on, and I can remember every nuance in her voice, “How would a Gay state treat its people with regard to the importance of race and how would it differentiate on the matter of race?”

I can remember her question so clearly in part, because in retrospect, I am displeased with the response I gave her at the time.  It is after all, an issue that requires and deserves a series of discussions and cannot be satisfied with a quick one or two sentence response.  The inability of humankind to solve racial tensions has plagued mankind for centuries.  I remember I hesitated for a moment, gathering my thoughts and determining which part of the question I should attempt to give a voice to.  My answer was insufficient but was as follows: “In terms of how race plays a role in the Gay culture, Asian, Latino, Black or Caucasian, race, I believe,  is secondary.  Gay people have been oppressed in nations of every color.”  It wasn’t an intentionally malicious effort to avoid the topic more fully.  The answer was insufficient and I skirted the key aspect of race in culture.  I have often wished I had the opportunity to address this particular issue for this woman.

The importance of race.  And how would the Gay state treat its people with regard to the importance of race and how would it differentiate on the matter of race…

To be blunt, I suggest… the short answer is no.  No, I would demand that the Gay State endeavour to become the world’s first post-racial society.  On the contrary, THERE SHOULD BE NO IMPORTANCE PUT ON THE ASPECT OF RACE.  A man should not be known as the Black Gay.  A womyn should not be classified as the Latina Lesbian.  We are all citizens of the Gay state.  And to this question, let me ask in return, what good has ever come from putting importance on race?  Where has emphasizing our differences gotten us in this world?  In our new country, the derogatory references to someone’s race can finally be stricken from civilized society.  Fueling racial hatred and intolerance is destructive to society in general and batters ones soul, just as when Gays are shunned and bullied based on sexual orientation.  On the contrary, instead of emphasizing the importance of race, I say we should seek to marginalize racial differences.  What better way to remove racism into the trash bin of history, than to give it no significance?

Too many people have not been exposed to a variety of cultures.  Too many people have lived their own small lives and to their own detriment, surrounded only by people who look like themselves and believe in the same set of values.  We need to increase the acceptance of diversity, not drive people into the emotional and mental illness that is ethnocentrism.  For all the years of my life I have been a part of a minority population that did not always by necessity bear the brunt of hatred.  As a boy and as a young man, I could hide my Gayness in a way people of color cannot and therefore I could blend in with the Heterosexuals if need be.  No one was the wiser, except me.  Obviously, many people of various racial make-up do not have that opportunity, as ill-conceived as it is.

It is human nature that we endeavour to put people in boxes.  Humans like to categorize one another so they can determine which cavalcade of stereotypes can be heaped upon the individual.  Another ill-conceived category that can be used to someone’s detriment is regionalism.  I have spent years of my life living in communities where I have also been a racial minority.  In the United States, I lived in the only state where Caucasians are a minority – Hawaii.  When Asians are grouped as one, they significantly outnumber European-Americans.   And I witnessed and experienced what’s commonly referred to as reversed racism.  In the islands, many “locals;” meaning those of Asian descent think that a Caucasian will never and can never  be a “local,” even if born and raised in Hawaii.  I would venture to say that most Caucasians in Hawaii have at one time or another been referred to as a “Haole.”  The word was originally used to refer to someone as a “foreigner” or as a “stranger” not of the land.  Yet in popular culture, especially among the younger generation, Haole is derogatory for whitey.  It is never used in a positive light.  It is another example of provincialism that is embedded in geographic isolation.  With a certain tone under some circumstances, it is meant to offend much in the same manner some people still use the “N’ word.  In my estimation, this is an ill-intended byproduct of placing an importance on race.  If screaming “fire!” in a crowded theatre is against the law, so should the use of words that are intended as weapons to endanger another.  What useful purpose comes from disparaging or damaging another person by using such language?  These examples do not infringe on free speech issues but should be stricken from use.

Some have said that I am guilty of the same generalizations by exposing those who commit the act.  I disagree that exposing those guilty of drawing “first blood” renders us just as guilty.  Placing importance on race remains in the 21st century, one of the world’s most egregious examples of provincialism.  It is pitifully small-minded, by my thinking.  In our new Gay State, with citizens from every existing nation on Earth, we want to dissolve our differences and in the process, build bridges to one another.  Placing importance on race (particularly with negative connotations) only results in dividing us based on our differences and thus is not helpful.

It is a fact that the global Gay community suffers from having the scourge of racism within its own ranks.  Today it is a sad fact that the global Gay community is itself tainted by this insidious blight of racism that is found in every part of the world.  Non-Gay nations, which is to say EVERY nation on this Earth, give in to the weaknesses of the human mind and let divisions by race overpower society.  We in our new Gay State will do things differently.  We in the new Gay State will all have witnessed, lived and have known the damages of being the “odd man out,” the wasteful act of diminishing another living soul based on discrimination.  In our new home, this defect of racism based on intolerance and ethnocentrism will be stopped at the border.

Like Hawaii and like the planet as a whole, Caucasians in the Gay State will not have a majority status.  In order of racial population, particularly for full-time residents, we would expect Asians and Africans to be dominant population groups with Latin, Caucasian and other minorities also making a significant representation.  Part-time and seasonal residents would come from more economically advanced nations and as a result would expect to see more North Americans and Europeans.  Vacationers will pour in from every corner of the world.

Most of the people of the world would  probably expect that in America, the most racially divisive region with the most hostile and blatant racism is in the southern United States.  This is not to suggest that vile racism does not exist in all 50 states.  These are historic generalities and people from the region may argue based on individual merit that they do not fit the label and rightfully so.  Such intolerance and hatred is often a result of ignorance and southerner’s were not historically the region of the United States that placed the most emphasis on education and cultural diversity  for the general populace.  Provincialism rears its ugly head in places such as this.

For a number or years I became intimately acquainted with Charleston, South Carolina.  It is an architecturally  beautiful city, with a history based on slaves and barbaric and brutal racial oppression.  This was a city that had achieved great wealth by profiting on the blood, sweat and wholesale trade  and bondage of an entire race of people.  The hatred and intolerance of Charlestonian’s  however, didn’t  end with racism.  For generations, they have expressed hatred for fellow American’s  with northern roots.  Charleston, SC, where the American Civil War began, where their heinous acts of treason and terrorism by these southern separatists resulted in the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans; where hundreds of thousands of more Americans were killed trying to hold the Union together and these people of the south, even today in shocking numbers, dare to express a dislike for US citizens from the north.  I am quicker to pardon the southerner’s who actually participated in the War Between the States, as their ignorance and economic dependency prevented them from truly understanding the scope of what they were doing.  I am far less charitable towards the southerners of today who do not admit their shame and embarrassment for the actions of their forefathers.  They should be on their knees, for the sins of their families, begging forgiveness from their fellow American’s for all of the horrors they brought to the United States.  Most American’s from every corner of the nation have forgiven the acts of the south for betraying the U.S. and in fact, committing the greatest act of mass murder in US history.  In acknowledging their wrong-doing, I am not perpetuating the continuing ill-will towards the south.  As a people they should be forgiven and collectively as a people we should move on.

In the time that I lived in Charleston and travelled extensively throughout the south, I can’t tell you the number of times I was referred to as a “Yankee.”  When I was referred to as a Yankee, it was not to honor me for the bloodshed of my forefathers who fought to keep our nation together.  I was not called a Yankee because I was being honored for so many from my region of the US who gave their lives to free a whole race of people.  They referred to me as a Yankee as if it was a bad thing.  And in doing so, their pathetic provincialism again rose to the surface.  The entire world calls all Americans “Yankees.”  Yes, to the greater world, far beyond the provincialism of the southern U.S. and small-minded way of life, southerners are considered Yankees too!

This is to illustrate the damage that is done when society allows or even encourages people to emphasize our differences more than our similarities.  My experiences in life, as a Caucasian in an Asian culture, as a Northerner in the South, as an American in foreign lands, I cannot believe that separating people by race, treating them differently or  bestowing upon them “special rights” based on racial status,  RARELY IF EVER results in something good.

In conclusion, we will continue to acknowledge the ways we as a Gay society have made positive achievements.  We will promote the positive attributes of all of our people and aggressively encourage all of our new citizens to leave the negative connotations that attach themselves to racial identities behind in their lands of birth.  I remember the words of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He said “In the beginning, we all may have come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.”  Together.  As one.  Let us wash away all of the identities attached to race and racism and celebrate our Gay humanity.  One people coming together as one in our new Gay nation. It remains true that like the larger international world, the global Gay community suffers from having the scourge of racism within its ranks.  Today it is a sad fact that the global Gay community is itself tainted by this insidious blight of racism that is found in every part of the world.  Non-Gay nations, which is to say EVERY nation on this Earth, give in to the weaknesses of the human mind and let divisions and divisions by race overpower society.  We in our new Gay State will do things differently.  We in the new Gay State will have known the damages of being the “odd man out,” the waste of diminishing another living soul based on discrimination.  In our new home, this defect of racism based on intolerance and ethnocentrism will be stopped at the border.