Sunday, January 25, 2015

A blogger in jail - Raif Badawi

I spend  a lot of time writing about and for journalists and bloggers who are persecuted for simply writing. Hundreds are in jail. Many have been killed.

As a blogger I get occasional hate mail from folks who do not like gay people, do night like vegans or do not like the idea of animals not being anything other than a product, but I have never felt that I could not write or that I would be imprisoned or killed for writing.

Today I ask you to take a moment to spread the word about Raif Badawi. A Saudi blogger, father of three, husband. He was sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashings for his blog writings. 

At this time the next series of lashings have been postponed due to his physical health being so poor from the previous lashings.

I have tried to get as much information about his sentencing and "crime". Rather than write paragraphs and paragraphs I am adding two paragraphs from a Washington Post editorial that for me sums it up nicely:

"Mr. Badawi acted in the spirit of freedom of the modern age. A blogger, he called for open debate about interpretations of Islam. His blog posts were sometimes satirical and sometimes irreverent. They also infuriated the kingdom’s hidebound religious clerics. On Friday in Jiddah, he was given a punishment from a bygone century: 50 lashes, the first of 20 floggings, once a week, to a total of 1,000 lashes for his outspokenness. The word barbaric hardly captures the depth of this depravity.

As we described it last year, Mr. Badawi was arrested in 2008 and questioned about his Web site but released. Then he was charged with setting up a Web site that insults Islam, and he left the country. He returned when prosecutors apparently decided to drop the charges, but in 2009 he was barred from leaving. In 2011 prosecutors alleged that his Web site “infringes on religious values,” and he was arrested in 2012, when a well-known cleric issued a religious ruling that Mr. Badawi was an apostate who must be tried. His Web site was shut down, and his family left Saudi Arabia. A judge threw out the charge of apostasy, which carries the death penalty, after Mr. Badawi assured the court that he is a Muslim. In a subsequent trial he was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison and a fine equivalent to $266,000."

Ever since reading of this and learning more and more about Raif, I think of him all of the time. 

Would you please help me spread the word? We have the power to shine a light on Raif and to support him.

Amnesty International is working hard to get Raif released. Here is a link to their site: help Raif
On their site you can send a note to the Saudi's and then promote that on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you. And thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Is your place of faith anti gay?

So many churches and other places of faith express that they "welcome all". Many have cool pastors or clergy or whoever leads them. They are friendly, loving and seem like awesome places to worship.

But many of them are anti gay. To be specific, they believe that gay people are going to hell. To be a little more specific, they believe that gay people who have sex are going to hell.

They might not talk about it. They might try to convince you that no matter what you believe, no matter how many gay friends and/or family members you have, that being in a sexual gay relationship means hell.

They say things like "we're not against something we are just for Jesus" and "it's really between the person and God". Yet invariably something negative will be said about gay people. My favorite is when these same people refer to our marriage as "so called gay marriage".

I acknowledge that this is a difficult topic for many, and that biblically speaking it is a topic with a lot of feelings and emotions.

I also believe that it is well past time for equality-loving folks to stop supporting anti-equality places of faith.

One of the most difficult things for me to experience in my life is watching people I love, and who I know love me, support places of faith that teach that I am going to hell.

I see this often. I am reminded by it all of the time by posts I see on Facebook. It's heartbreaking.

It's heartbreaking because I know these folks love me, and Mike. I know they support us 100%.

Financially supporting places of faith that denigrate gay people, in any way, is taking action against gay people, against equality.

Our church does not believe that we are going to hell. There is absolute love for us as a married couple. Those who preach at our church believe fundamentally that our love, our marriage, is not "sin".

This is a tough topic for both of us. We both have experienced hate and persecution from religious people.

Please don't support them. As with many things, we can vote with our dollars.

Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The 19-year vegan

19 years!

Holy cow!

This month, 19 years ago, I decided to go vegan.

My decision was based on the animals. I had the information and it was time to take action.

In no way does my veganism stop cruelty completely. My being vegan is a way to do the least harm possible to all living beings while I am on this earth.

I realized that my passion and compassion could go beyond my taste buds.

I realized that my passion and compassion could extend from human suffering and take a look at my dinner plate.

I love animals. If I have any control in it, I don't want them to be harmed. I certainly don't want to be  a part of paying others to kill and torture animals so I can eat.

Now 48 (49 next month), I am super grateful that I am vegan. It is definitely the way for me.

It's not enough. But that is for another post!

If you have any interest in veganism, we have links to websites that we feel are helpful.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mario the cow

I think it was 2004.

I was in San Francisco for work and added a few days to spend with my dear friends John and Randy.

They surprised me with a trip to Farm Sanctuary. We spent a night at one of the cabins there, got the tour and met many lovely animals.

And we met Mario.

Mario had recently just gotten back from surgery for his broken leg. He was a calf, saved from a dead pile at a dairy farm. A trucker at the farm saw he was still alive and brought him to Farm Sanctuary.

Mario could walk pretty well when I met him. He totally loved being loved. Several times I watched him run and jump in the air, something I had never seen. I fell in love with Mario. He was honestly the cutest most precious being, and I thoroughly loved every minute I got to spend with him.

I think of him from time to time. He is one of the lucky ones. After being found on the dead pile he never had to know the life that almost every other farmed animal has to go through. And he didn't become veal.

Look at Mario now! I found these gorgeous photos from Cadry's Kitchen blog, from her visit to Farm Sanctuary.

Big love to Mario. And to all those who fight to stop animal cruelty.

Here's a link to Farm Sanctuary:

Here's a link to Cadry's post:

Thanks for reading.