Monday, July 16, 2007

Our Family's Story on the Sunday Front Page

When the Muskegon Chronicle asked to interview our family, we were happy have our trusted friend Susan Harrison Wolffis tell our story. We were surprised, however, to find it the lead story on the front page of the Sunday edition!

Now we're hoping it will save lives.

Parents Choose to Accept Son Over Church and Friends

In 2005, while his parents were getting ready for a Super Bowl party at their home in Spring Lake Township, Ari Beighley asked if his mother had a couple of minutes to talk. Two hours later, mother and son emerged from conversation, their lives irrevocably changed. "Even when we were talking that day, I remember thinking: Things are never going to be the same again in this family," said Ari's mother, Colette Beighley.

"In a sense, everyone had his or her own 'coming out.' " By the end of the year, Ari Beighley's father, the Rev. David Beighley, 56, had his ministerial license "withdrawn" by the West Michigan District of the Wesleyan Church for, among other things, questioning the denomination's position that homosexuality is a sin, he said.

Read entire story

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Read Right and Blue

I grew up in a very patriotic family. Much of my youth was spent in the halls of the Veterans of Foreign War. My father, brother, and husband are veterans. My love for this country has always been profound as has my national pride. Lately, though, I’ve gotten to experience something completely different: national shame.

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to pursue a dream I'd had since I was nineteen. I spent three weeks at a Zen retreat. It was a life changing, excruciating, and profoundly beautiful experience all in one. Over half of the nearly one hundred participants who joined me spoke English as their second language. We were a beautifully diverse community.

I was, however, completely caught off guard by several international students in attendance. These compassionate individuals sat down with me and very seriously asked WHY America was in Iraq and pleaded for our withdrawal.

Suddenly, I was being held personally responsible for decisions of the Bush-Cheney administration. I was mortified!

There are so many things I love about this country, and I am grateful for my many freedoms. Yet the rights and freedoms that we grant to individuals within as well as outside our borders are screaming with discrepancies.

Usually for me the Fourth of July is a happy time of celebrating our country.

This year … not so much.

In the past year I’ve learned the horrifying definition of “waterboarding”; and worse, that the United States of America employs this practice. Additionally, our country is engaging in massive civil rights violations, such as wiretapping, in the name of national security. Then, last year, when the US Supreme Court (Hamdan v. Rumsfeld) found our treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo violated the Geneva Convention, we simply rewrote the rules (Military Commissions Act).

What the hell has happened to our beautiful country?

In the words of the late great Molly Ivins,
“We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell … Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"
This Independence Day I was trying to find a patriotic song that I could endorse. I’ve found one: I’ve Got a Hammer by Peter, Paul, and Mary.
It's the hammer of justice
It's the bell of freedom
It's the song about love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land
And not just all over this land, but outside our land as well.

This Fourth of July may we each find our hammer, bell, song …
and pots and pans!

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