Saturday, April 28, 2012


In addition to the no-black-musicians weirdness at the recent concert of the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Freedom Band there was even more weirdness: the band's seeming endorsement of an anti-Gay religious group.

The concert, held at Ebenezer/Herchurch Lutheran church was kicked off by a "welcome" from Pastor Stacy.


This is the first time, of all the concerts I've attended in churches, that the minister of the church addressed the audience.

It was like, is this a religious service or a concert? Was the music just bait for a religious pitch?

I find this unacceptable, in and of itself. And it is completely unacceptable for a group that receives public funding. (SFLGFB receives funds from the San Francisco Hotel Tax Funding for the Arts.)

Pastor Stacy's little speech was halting and awkward--making vague connections between the goodness of music and the goodness of, well, goodness.

She knew she shouldn't proselytize so she was trying to proselytize without proselytizing.  The result was pure embarrassment.

The group Pastor Stacy represents is anti-

Most Lutheran groups agree with most Christians that all gay sex is always sinful.

The highly liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, includes people with differing views on gay sex.

Many ELCAers hold the traditional view that all gay sex is sinful.

Other ELCAers focus on the value of faithful monogamous (sic) lifelong relationships. Their position is, "Let's not talk about the sex part too much."

So ELCA, which includes Ebenezer/Herchurch, is unwilling and unable to say that gay sex is good, or even that gay sex is not sinful.

Pastor Stacy thinks it's just fine to belong to a group that tolerates the assertion that all gay sex is sinful.

So why is a group with "Lesbian and Gay Freedom" in its name endorsing an anti-Gay religious group.

Who the fuck knows?

But it's weird.

As far as I can tell, Herchurch is a Lutheran outreach to feminist/lesbians, making the story of the Bible palatable by manipulating the gender of pronouns.

See here, ELAC's position(s) on homosexuality.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012


The city is San Francisco.

The year is 2012.

The musical group is called the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Freedom Band, performing in concert at Her Church.

Sixty-three musicians plus conductor.


None of them African-American.

Going by surnames in the program,  five Asians, including the conductor.

Otherwise, all white.

I sent an email to the band's president pointing this out and asking how the band was dealing with this imbalance.

1) Has the band (which is run by a Board of Directors) ever discussed this issue?

2) Have there been any outreach efforts to address this imbalance?

3) Are there plans for future outreach?

I was expecting a brief, sort of boilerplate reply, such as:

The Board is aware of this lack of diversity and we take it very seriously.  We have reached out in various ways to non-white communities and will continue to do so.

My inquiry met a stone wall. As if I was asking for a discussion, not answers, Julie replied

I am more than willing to make the time available to discuss the concerns you raise, and to learn from your experiences in bridging cultural and power differences in our community. As an organization we continually strive to evolve, and we welcome fresh perspectives and constructive ideas for how we can better achieve our mission.

So, I take this response to mean:

NO, the Band/Board has never really considered the issue of racial diversity.

NO, the Band/Board hasn't reached out to non-white communities.

NO, the Band/Board has no particular plans for future outreach.

This is surprising, coming from a well established, highly organized group.

SFLGFB led the last Veterans Day Parade, in honor the recent repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

SFLGFB has been named the official band of the City and County of San Francisco.

SFLGFB receives public money from the SF Hotel Tax fund.

You'd think that some PR-minded band member would have noticed.

Or possibly the lack of racial diversity at this particular performance was a complete anomaly.

It would be nice to get the simple questions answered before beginning a complex discussion.

Us old folks remember "token integration." Much derided, tokenism was at least better than total segregation. One black face in a sea of white might presage another and another.

How far have we regressed?

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