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October 2006

The United Church of Christ

I am now a member of the United Church of Christ.

Saturday the North Texas Association of the UCC voted in the Cathedral of Hope. Since CoH-OKC is still a part of CoH-Dallas, we are now members of the UCC. In the spring, CoH-OKC anticipates being voted into the Oklahoma Association. I have not gone through the process of getting my ordination recognized by the UCC and being credentialed as a UCC minister. I don't have to go through that process. I will make that decision at a later time.

Anyway, it is interesting to now be part of a denomination that my family was a member of around 15 generations ago. There are elements of my theology and polity that are not perfect fits with the UCC, but, then, they aren't really perfect fits anywhere. Part of the UCC spirit, however, is to think broadly about who all can be included. So at the same time we are entering the UCC, so is an African-American Pentecostal church in Tulsa. Quite an exciting time to joing the United Church.

So, it is funny to wake up and find oneself a part of a different denomination.


So, I haven't told you that much, yet, about Michael.

We've now been dating for about seven weeks, and it is continuing to develop at a good pace and is a very comfortable and fun relationship. Plus all my friends who have met him really like him and some have threatened me to make sure this one stays around awhile.

I first met Michael during the Equality Ride activities last spring. He was one of the Oklahomans who met the Riders at ORU and was arrested. Then we'd see each other around at various events or just at the clubs, just every now and then. I always thought he was attractive, but I never thought he'd be interested in me. I guess he thought I was attractive too.

I saw him in August, for the first time in a couple of months, at the Pride board meeting. He tells it that he walked into the room and I yelled, "Michael!" I guess I betrayed myself. He was excited by my excitement and joined some of us out for drinks that night. We then started e-mailing some. That week the fourth friend in a month told me to be bolder when I was interested in someone, so I asked him out on the first date. And it just went from there.

Integrity v. Swiftboating

Odd thing. I was looking back over a project I did in 9th grade on the 1988 election (don't ask). While perusing, I was looking through this article that was in the Tulsa World on August 14, 1988 about Bush the Elder narrowing his VP list. At the end of the article, they recapped other campaign news for the day, including this interesting tidbit:

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis interrupted a weekend on Cape Cod for a news conference that included a tribute to Bush's "enormous courage and tremendous patriotism." A day earlier, Bush's account of being shot down in World War II was questioned by a gunner who witnessed the episode.

This Week in TV

Project Runway is over. No more Tim Gunn to bring fabulosity into my life every week.

Jeffrey won? I really thought that of the four collections, Ule's was the best. It was stunning and dramatic. Laura had gorgeous gowns, and I think will now have a career of doing custom designs for high end clients. Michael's was trashy and disappointing (except for the first three). Jeffrey does have an interesting look, but much of his collection I didn't like.

Lost was somewhat confusing this week. I felt much like I did in the first half of last season, that most of the episode was a waste and not advancing the plot very much. Clearly the point to was illustrate the turn of Locke's character back to faith.

Studio 60 was fantastic. I thought it was good that they developed Harriet's character and made her less one-dimensional. I was also glad to see more of the actual show-within-the-show.

Heroes seemed to move the story slowly, while maintaining the intrigue. Looks like next week will take a bigger step. I think this could really be a good show that I stay committed to.

Caught in a Contradiction

Here is the text of an e-mail from Joe Quigley:

This is the full text of the letter written in 2003 by the then superintendent in response to the publicly asked question, "Does the OKCPS District allow discrimination against our Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender students?".

In subsequent years, both in appearances before the Board and in emails, the existence and content of this letter was made known numerous times to members of the School Board and other administrators within the District.

At no time was the content or intention denied or contradicted.
Clearly if the Board did not agree with this letter and the one that followed a year later, there was ample opportunity to make this known.

Members of the Committee revising the Student and Parent Handbook last May (06) were very precise in offering inclusive language in the provisions on Nondiscrimination, Bullying and Harassment contained therein. There was no ambiguity. There was no question of intent.

So it is amazing that the District when removing the Handbook for 2006-2007 would express those sentiments as reported in the Oklahoman of 10/20/06.

It would appear that the district holds that someone attempted to pull a fast one with the statement, "We didn't review the materials closely enough," as if a closer examination would have allowed them the opportunity to remove language and remain vague.

The Committee was very clear, and the District has had the language since May 2006.


August 27, 2003

Dear Mr. Quigley
First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to come and speak at the August 18, 2003 Board of Education meeting. We always appreciate citizens taking the time to come to the Board meetings and express their concerns
During the meeting, you asked Board members whether or not the Oklahoma City Public School District discriminates against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered students. Please know that this district does not discriminate against any student. That includes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students.
Additionally,you should know that our bullying regulation protects gay, [lesbian], bisexual and transgendered students who may be the victims of name calling and violence because of their sexual orientation. The harassment regulation also protects gay students who are being harassed, on the basis of sex, as defined by law.
Please know that this district is concerned about the safety and welfare of all students and that it has and will continue to put policies, regulations and procedures in place which we believe will provide a safe and conducive learning environment for all students. Again, I thank you for your interest in the District and I hope that this information is helpful to you.

Bob Moore, Superintendent
Oklahoma City Public Schools.

The District's comments regarding the language of the Handbook 2006-2007 follow:

"That language is inconsistent with the board's policy, which it approves," Fair said Thursday.

She said the language's inclusion in the code of conduct and in the handbook was a mistake.

"We didn't review the materials closely enough," Fair said.

Wow! To pull student protection at a time like this when student safety and welfare are center stage as result of recent shootings, even of the Amish!

Joseph Quigley
NWClassen HS

A More Detailed Summary of Today's Events

Well, exuberance changes to anger. The School System has retracted the copy of the Student and Parent Handbook that they published on-line this morning. Supposedly the Oklahoman will have the story tomorrow, but here's my understanding of events.

For ten years folk, including Joe Quigley, have been advocating for the inclusion of sexual orientation in the school's non-discrimination and harassment policies. I have spoken to the School Board three times on this issue, just in the year and a half that I've been here.

This summer when the committee to re-write the handbook was named, we were excited to learn that Joe Quigley was a faculty representative and that Dr. Terri Miller, Asst. Principal of NW Classen, was also on the committee -- two openly gay people who had long advocated for this change.

According to Joe, when the committee got to this portion of the handbook, the recommendation was brought to change the language by another member of the committee, not either himself or Dr. Miller. The committee agreed that the change needed to be made and drafted various wordings for the school to consider.

For months the publication of the Handbook has been delayed (normally it comes out before school starts). Dr. Miller had continued to work, after the committee was done, to assure that the final language included sexual orientation; she was quite confident that it would be adopted.

Today when the handbook was published on-line, the paragraph I quoted in my previous e-mail was noted by many, exuberant e-mails and phone calls circulated, and the press began reporting. I, for one, noticed that there was an odd discrepancy -- on page 10 there was a non-discrimination/harassment policy that included sexual orientation and on page 16 there was a policy that did not include it.

When The Oklahoman called the school system while working on their story about the change, the spokesperson responded that she didn't know what they were talking about and when alerted to what the system had published this morning, I guess the administration freaked. They pulled the on-line version of the handbook this afternoon.

The story I was told by one source is that the system is saying it was a mistake, that that wording should have never been published. From another source I learned that they are saying that the final draft of the handbook hadn't yet been approved by the Board, so the entire thing shouldn't have gone on-line. I await the press reporting on this tomorrow.

If sexual orientation is not included this year, then it means that the Board has intentionally overruled the recommendation of the committee whose assignment it is to write the handbook and that they have retracted a policy that the school system itself published. This year they will not be able to use the excuse that they are covering all students and don't need to add language, because this year they have chosen to subtract language that would have protected students. Though we knew all along that it was their prejudice motivating their votes, it becomes flagrantly apparent now. Clearly their prejudices outweigh protecting students -- a violation of their jobs and a betrayal of the public trust with which they've been entrusted.


We didn't win. When the press contacted the School System today to ask about the policy change, the system freaked out. They didn't realize that the paragraph including sexual orientation had made it into the published version placed on-line today. By the afternoon, they had pulled the on-line version. Supposedly The Oklahoman is doing a story on this tomorrow.

The committee that wrote the handbook this year included sexual orientation. I know because two friends were on that committee. So, this year the School Board had to actively and intentionally decide to override the committee's decision and exclude sexual orientation from the policy. Plus, they published a copy with it, and are now retracting it.

How else are we to read their action other than that they have NO intention to protect gay kids from harassment and discrimination. They have actively and intentionally decided to exclude a segment of the student population from the protections and services of the system. In other words, they have actively and intentionally decided to to discriminate AGAINST our gay kids. Remember what Jesus said about such people, it is better that a millstone be hung around their necks . . . .