Sunday, August 31, 2008

Beer of the Week: Yuengling Original Black & Tan

I tried several new beers on our recent trip to Holden Beach. The best, and most notable, of these was the pint of the Duck Rabbit's Milk Stout that I had in the hotel bar in Chapel Hill while I was sulking about not being able to make it to the Carolina Brewery. The most interesting, however, might have been the Yuengling Original Black & Tan, a pre-blended packaged beer (more on what that means later).

Yuengling, which traces its history back to 1829, advertises itself as the oldest brewery in America, and I won't argue with that. Based out of Pottsville, PA, it is now - after the InBev acquisition of Anheuser-Busch - the second-largest domestically-owned brewery in the US, behind only Boston Beer Co. (of Samuel Adams fame).

The Black & Tan is one of seven different beers offered by Yuengling, though as noted above it is a blended beer rather than a discrete beer in and of itself. Traditionally a Black & Tan is one of many different blends that a bartender might offer, a mixture of a dark ale (a stout or a porter) and either a pale ale or a lager. Now companies like Yuengling are offering pre-blended beers in bottles, mixed at the brewery rather than your local pub, and for sale in your friendly neighborhood grocery of liquor store. (For a comprehensive list of the various Black & Tans now available pre-blended, and consumer reviews of them, see here.)

I picked up a six-pack of Yuengling Original Black & Tan at the beach mart on the island at Holden Beach, and I did it for three reasons. First, staying with our extended family (with my lager-loving father as the other main beer drinker) I was really jonesin' for a dark beer. Second, the Yuengling Black & Tan was one of only two dark ales available on the island. The other was the perfectly safe but thoroughly unexciting Newcastle Brown Ale.

Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with a Newcastle Brown Ale. It is perfectly drinkable, with a nice, smooth flavor. In fact, when I'm out in what my family politely calls "normal" places (that is, away from those fine establishments that cater to beer geeks) either it or a Guinness is my default beer. But I've had it a time or two. I know exactly what it will do for me. Safe, sure. But what about romance? What about variety? What about the thrill of the unknown.

For me, at least, the Yuengling Original Black & Tan was a thoroughly unknown quantity. Thus it had to be tried. It just begged me to buy it.

That begging was most successful because of the third reason I picked it up: the price tag. At a svelte $5.49 for a six-pack, I simply couldn't resist.

The Yuengling Original Black & Tan is a blend of their Dark Brewed Porter and their Yuengling Premium Beer, a pilsner. It is dark - almost black, like a porter - and has a robust head when poured. It smells a great deal sweeter than a porter, and for good reason: it isn't one. Also, while it has the roasted, almost burnt, malty flavor of a porter, with hints of dark chocolate, it goes down a fair amount smoother, and is less complex. The pilsner mellows out the aggression of the porter.

As a fan of rich, complex, almost abrasive dark ales, I wasn't quite sure what to make of this Black & Tan. At first it struck me as a porter that lost its nerve. But then I realized that I was judging it unfairly. As I've noted a few times, it isn't a porter. I keep pointing that out because several of the reviews a the Beer Advocate made the mistake of judging it as such. It is a blend of a porter and a pilsner.

As I'm typing this (Saturday night, though this won't post until Sunday morning) I'm finally polishing off the last of the six-pack I bought at the beach, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. It is a more-than-drinkable beer, at an exceptional price. But I've never been a fan of blended beers, and this is no exception. Worth the money, no doubt, but - despite the fact that I bought it expressly for this purpose - there's no real romance. Just a decent beer at a cheap price.

The price-point, in fact, is ultimately the real selling point. I'd certainly rather drink this than a macro-lager, and they are comparably priced.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I just want to say "thank you" to the aliens...

who snatched Pat Buchanan's body!

I didn't see this clip live last night, because I've long since given up watching cable news talking heads ruin my love of politics (I watched the convention on CSPAN - novel idea, watch the whole thing, without pundits bloviating over it). However, it warmed my heart to hear this morning that even Pat Buchanan thought Sen. Barack Obama's acceptance speech last night was simply brilliant, the best convention speech ever.

Watching the convention on TV, I got the same feeling of raw energy, of hope welling up into a singularly transformative force, that I used to get at evangelical Youth Rallies and revivals as a teenager on fire for Jesus. Not only were many of the speakers comfortable with the language of faith - a fair amount more comfortable, I would add, than the Republicans who have too often been pimping out the faith of others - they did so in a thoroughly non-theocratic way. I didn't get the idea, as speaker after speaker spoke to the way that their faith helps shape their populist politics, that these were men and women that wanted to convert you, to compel you to adopt a particular religious creed, only the acceptance of which would secure your full citizenship. Instead I felt that these were men and women who shared a sense of calling by a holy power to reach out to all who are suffering under a political and economic system that simply does not care about them. To reach out without exception. To reach out with compassion. And to offer some entirely worldly and pragmatic salvation that isn't pie in the sky, but rather food on the plate.

But what struck me the most was the sense of hope, the sense of calling, the anticipation that the gathered community could make a difference. It was like how church ought to be. And it would have been so even without the many references to faith.

Obama's speech was rightly the climax of both the evening and the convention, and as I watched it I felt proud to be a part of a nation which could, despite its manifold sins and wickedness, produce such a remarkable person.

I know, this is just a gushing, gut-level reaction, rather than some substantive engagement with the content of the speech. And I know, Republicans are and have long been attacking Sen. Obama for his ability to inspire such glowing praise. But I maintain it is a sad day indeed for any party who is reduced to attacking a candidate because of their ability to inspire, their ability to call us passionately to be our best selves. For their ability to draw more than 80,000 people out to hear a political speech. For their rallying of a generation that has never expressed an interest in electoral politics.

For their ability - as the clip above demonstrates - to disarm even their harshest critics, if such critics have the courage to simply sit and listen with a semi-opened mind.


Update: In case you missed it, here's the speech itself:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

AP Bullies Blogger

Just when you think the Associated Press could sink no further, you read this.

Sami = Superhero

[Note: In an homage to this blog's humble origins, not only am I (finally!) writing another post about Adam, I'm doing it with him next to me hitting me with his lightsaber, listening to David Byrne's "Glass, Concrete, and Stone," because that's what he wanted to listen to. I LOVE my life!]

I basically had two jobs to do today (which is how I can write about my day in the past tense, just after noon): First, since I live my the airport, my house is like an extra long-term parking lot, only this lot you don't have to pay for. As such, whenever anyone who knows me flies out of Louisville, they park at my place and I drop them off at the airport. This morning I got to do that favor for an old friend.

The second job was really a two-part job. Job 2a, pick up Adam from preschool. He started back on Monday, with his classes being on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, each running until noon. Not much of a break from my full-time summer parenting schedule - especially considering that I'm supposed to be writing my thesis. But, hey, I'll take it. Anyway, if Adam were gone much longer than that, I might start going into withdrawal.

Job 2b - this was the important one - bring Goldfish crackers!

I evidently failed as a parent when I picked him up on Monday without being armed with a snack for him to eat in the car on the way home.

Daddy, he scolded me, in that delightful little voice of his, always pretending to be bigger than it is, whenever you pick me up from school, you need to bring me a snack, or else I might get hungry on the way home.

Good to know.

So, I asked him what he wanted for snack.

Ummm..... How about some Goldfish crackers!

O.K., I'll bring some Goldfish crackers.

Just so I wouldn't forget, he reminded me all day yesterday that the next time I picked him up from school - that would be today - I should make sure to bring him some Goldfish crackers.

Then, just so I wouldn't forget, he reminded me all morning that today, when I picked him up from school, I should bring him some Goldfish crackers.

Then, just so I wouldn't forget, before I headed out to take my friend to the airport this morning, I put a bunch of Goldfish crackers in Adam's snack bowl, stuck a travel top on it, and put it on the kitchen counter.

Just before I arrived at Adam's preschool to pick him up, I had a sinking feeling. Like I had forgotten something. But what could it be? I've got the booster seat. I've got the carpool number I've got to hang from my rear view mirror so the school knows I'm authorized to pick him up. What could I be forgetting?

OH SHIT! I scream, at no one in particular. I'd forgotten the Goldfish crackers. (Didn't see that coming, did you?)

So I called up Sami, who not coincidentally works in the same building as Adam's preschool. Got her voicemail. I am the biggest idiot... I begin, before another call comes in on my phone and confuses me. (Can't wait 'til she gets that message! Yes, you are, but what did you do this time?)

I called her again. This time I get her, explain the situation. I'm now sitting in the parking lot in the line to pick Adam up. She races to his class, and slips a package of Goldfish crackers into his backpack. (Where did she get them, anyway?)

When Adam reaches the car, he asks, Daddy, where are my Goldfish crackers? It didn't even occur to him to ask if I'd brought them. Of course I brought them. How could I forget something that important?

I cooly reach into his backpack and pull out the crackers, like some kind of magic trick. How'd they get there?

And, once again, my ass has been saved by my lovely wife. How does she do it?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go do battle with a very short Jedi knight.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Same As It Ever Was

John McCain hates talking about his experience as a P.O.W. in Vietnam. He detests using his military service, and his selfless sacrifice for his country, as a political asset. Everybody know this, right? After all, every time he or someone from his camp mentions that experience, it is always coupled with that disclaimer.

But, of course, Sen. McCain isn't really reticent to describe his time in the Hanoi Hilton, especially in the midst of a political campaign. In fact, these days it is his most frequent (sometimes only) defense of his many gaffes and/or moral lapses.

Cheat on your first wife?


Lie about being in a "Cone of Silence"?


Call the Czech Republic by the wrong name?


Confuse Sunnis and Shiites?


Forget how many houses you own?


I'm beginning to think that Sen. McCain's campaign ads should begin or end not with "I'm John McCain, and I approve this message," but rather with "I'm John McCain, and did I mention I was a P.O.W.?"

Like the rest of America, I'm grateful for Sen. McCain's service to his country, for his ability to endure under unimaginable duress. But I'm also beginning to wonder when the "honorable" man who all but accused Sen. John Kerry of pimping his military record isn't guilty of doing that very thing. I understand that Sen. McCain's military record is a great political asset. I just resent the media narrative that he is reticent to use it as such.

To that end, check out this ad (a tip o' the hat to The Stump), from his first political campaign - way back in 1982:

John McCain is not reluctant to speak of his experience as a P.O.W. He is not reluctant to talk about it in a political setting, or to use it as part of his campaign strategy. He has, in fact, from the very beginning seen it as his greatest asset. And, of course, he's right to see it as such. I just hope it isn't his only asset, because he may be beginning to max out that metaphoric line of credit.

That, at least, is the thesis of a recent op-ed piece by Maurine Dowd. And a compelling thesis it is, made all the more compelling by the fact that it is coming from someone in the mainstream media, a group that has more often than not aided the creation of the "McCain doesn't like to talk about it" myth.

John McCain's war record is heroic, and - despite the fact that Republicans have shown little hesitancy to attack Democratic war heroes - should be off limits in attack ads. However, by making his service the central theme of his campaign (the only coherent theme I can discern, with the possible exception of "experience") he runs the risk of turning his greatest asset into a great liability. If the media ever warms to the fact that he has never shown the slightest reluctance to use his experience as a P.O.W. politically, it may not only greatly devalue that experience, but may also call into question those other great myths upon which the McCain campaign has been built.

Then what will remain standing? An angry opportunist, much more comfortable dishonestly attacking his opponent and threatening his enemies than saying anything constructive about himself or his vision for America.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beer of the Week: Special Anniversary Edition

[Update, 11-14-08: I've recently learned that Browning's went out of business last month. Sad times, when the economic downturn takes out a local brewery.]

One of my favorite beer mantras is drink locally. Not only does drinking locally help support local businesses, it also helps increase the quality and diversity of the beer available where you live. If your city can support a locally brewery, it can most likely also cultivate a market for better imports and craft beers.

To that end, in Louisville, we beer lovers are delightfully spoiled. There are four different brew-pubs in the Louisville area - three in Louisville proper (Bluegrass Brewing Company, Browning's, and Cumberland Brews), and another just across the river, in New Albany, IN (New Albanian Brewing Company). Each local brew-pub crafts a wide variety of beers, offering a mixture of brews made year-round and seasonals. You can find almost any style of beer you'd want, and find it locally.

Knowing my passion for local beer, Sami - who says she doesn't like beer, though I've been working on her - has resigned herself to dining in local brew-pubs in those rare moments when we can actually eat out. She even bravely pretends to enjoy herself.

Going above and beyond her duty to occasionally put up with my culinary eccentricities, for our anniversary she even suggested that we go to a local brew-pub, Browning's.

Browning's has a fantastic location, on Main Street downtown, sharing a converted old warehouse building with Louisville Slugger Field, home of the Cincinnati Red's Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats. We were hoping to package dinner with a baseball game, but alas the Bats were out of town.

Before we even arrived at the brew-pub, I had my evening planned out. I was going to have their Louis XVI Guillotine ESB with dinner, and follow it with their Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout. The ESB - despite the incongruence of having a British-style ale named after a French monarch, which could only happen in Louisville, named, as we are, after Louis XVI - is a pretty damn good beer, one of my two Browning's regulars (along with another British-style ale, their John Shield's Blacksmith Porter). The Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout I'd never had, though I like the Bluegrass Brewing Company's Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout, a local favorite.

Bourbon barrel ales are made by brewing an ale - usually a dark one, like a stout or a porter, though the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is an amber - and then aging it in a used bourbon barrel. This creates both a stronger beer and a more complex flavor, as the beer both goes through an additional fermentation and takes on some of the flavor of the bourbon barrel. Because bourbon is native to Kentucky, and because it is illegal for a distillery to reuse the charred oak barrels that bourbon is aged in, there are several different kinds of bourbon barrel ales made in Kentucky. It is a kind of local specialty, a way to reuse bourbon barrels without violating the laws concerning the production of bourbon. The end result is often quite a treat.

However, I had neither the Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout nor the ESB, because when we arrived at Brownings I scanned the Seasonals list, and spied two beers I just had to try.

The first was the 80 Schilling Scotch Ale, which I started just before our meal and finished with our meal. It had a promising beginning. The color was amber/brown, which shone red when held up to the light. The aroma was both sweet and complex, with hints of caramel and vanilla. However, the head was thin and dissipated quickly. Still, I put it to my lips anticipating, based on the aroma, a very good beer.

Alas, what I got was both thin and weak. It was very drinkable, and it didn't taste bad. Rather, it simply didn't taste enough, if that makes any sense. The promise of a rich, complex flavor made by the aroma was left unfulfilled. There simply wasn't enough malting.

It was by no means a bad beer. It just didn't live up to its promise, and was vastly inferior to, say, Schlafly's Scotch-Style Ale. I'm glad I tried it, but I would have been better off sticking with the ESB or the Porter.

The other beer I tried was their Belgian Quad. A strong, dark, Belgian-style ale is my all time favorite beer, and this promised to be just that. It had alcohol aplenty (the waiter couldn't remember if it was 11% or 13% ABV, but whichever, it was certainly enough!), and was thus served in a half-pint rather than a pint. It was also certainly dark, mixing browns and blacks, and nearly opaque when held to the light. The aroma was, surprisingly, more subtle than that of the Scotch Ale, and as I put it to my lips, mildly depressed by the failure of the previous beer, I was prepared to be underwhelmed.

Instead I was startled. Richly malted, the Quad opened up a whole universe of complex flavors, delighting my palate, tickling my tongue. It was well crafted, by no means thin, and certainly not weak. I'd hold it up there with almost any domestic copy of a dark Belgian ale. In fact, it reminded me most of Brewery Het Anker's Gouden Carolus "Grand Cru of the Emperor."

So, if the dinner beer was a dud, the dessert beer more than made up for it.

On a final note, if you happen to find yourself in Louisville sometime, check out the local beer. It won't disappoint.


Here's what the Beer Advocate community thinks about Browning's.

Now That's What the Olympics Are All About!

Adam is spending his morning watching Olympic handball, begging me to let him play the sport. Anybody know of any handball leagues in the States?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wanda Sykes on Gay Marriage

Another shining example of the comic as truth-teller!

If you don't believe in same-sex marriage, then don't marry somebody of the same sex!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Does this mean I have to vote for McCain?

If You're a Dog, It's Better to be Catholic

Tom, my source for all things nonsensical, just sent me this delightful exchange between Catholic and Presbyterian church signs:

Sorry, the image didn't do what I'd hoped it would, but if you click on it you should be able to read the signs.

I'm sure my PCUSA friends are begging to explain the differences between their denomination and Cumberland Presbyterians about now.

Update: For those of you who can't get the image to work, the exchange between the signs goes something like this:

Our Lady of Martyrs Catholic Church: ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN
Beulah Cumberland Presbyterian Church: ONLY HUMANS GO TO HEAVEN/ READ THE BIBLE
Beulah Cumberland Presbyterian Church: DOGS DON'T HAVE SOULS/ THIS IS NOT OPEN FOR DEBATE
Our Lady of Martyrs Catholic Church: FREE DOG SOULS WITH CONVERSION
Our Lady of Martyrs Catholic Church: ALL ROCKS GO TO HEAVEN

Monday, August 18, 2008

Seven Years Good Luck

Seven years ago today, Sami and I were married, at Shiloh United Methodist Church in Goshen, KY, the small country church where she grew up, where her grandmother served as organist for over 60 years, and where we met. My grandfather (technically my step-grandfather - he married my grandmother after my grandfather died) performed the ceremony, as our lives were symbolically joined before God, family, and friends.

Happy anniversary, dear. These last seven years have truly been a gift and a blessing. May I have enriched your life at least half as much as you've enriched mine.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beer of the Week: The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout

The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery in Farmville, North Carolina, specializes in well crafted dark beers. I stumbled upon their Milk Stout by accident on our recent trip to North Carolina.

After visiting Holden Beach, where my grandmother grew up in my great-grandmother's house, which was destroyed by Hurricane Hazel in 1954 (according to family legend, the air-pressure in the house was so great that, even though the house was lifted off its foundation, tossed through the air, and landed several blocks from where it once stood, when my family went to clean up the damage none of the dishes in the cabinets had broken!), we visited my grandparents in Chapel Hill. While there I'd hoped to visit the Carolina Brewery. Whenever I travel I like to sample local beers.

However - even though my uncles were in town from Ohio and Texas, respectively, and even though my grandfather likes to visit the Brewery often - I couldn't talk anyone into going with me on the only night we would be in Chapel Hill. Dejected, I wandered around our hotel to see if it had a bar, and, if so, what their beer list looked like.

I stumbled into the bar right after we put Adam to bed, and asked the lone bartender - more interested in the pre-season football game on the TV than anything else - what they had on tap.

"Well, we used to have (insert generic American light lager - I can't remember if it was Bud Light or Coors Light, or maybe Miller Light) but we just ran out."

"Damn. Oh well, I was hoping for something local, anyway."

His eyes lit up.

"Local?!? Do you like dark beers? There's a great brewery just down that road over there," he said, pointing to his left, though as we were enclosed, with no roads visible behind the interior walls of the hotel bar, I couldn't tell what he might have been pointing at. "The Duck-Rabbit, in a little town called Farmville. They make the best beer around."

Then he handed me a bottle of their Milk Stout, and a pub glass to pour it in.

It was, simply put, one of the best stouts I've ever had. Dark black, and thick, with a cream colored head. Thickly malted, but mildly sweet. It had a rich, complex flavor, but still went down smooth (and, in a world in which words like "smooth" and "refreshing" are euphemisms for "tasteless," that's really saying something). In beer form, it reminded me of everything that I loved about a dark chocolate malted milkshake growing up. But it was no child's candy beverage, but a deep, rich, robust dark ale.

I'm sure I'll visit Chapel Hill again soon, since, in addition to my grandparents living there, I am considering UNC for my PhD studies (not my first choice, but definitely on the list). When I do, I have no doubt I'll finally make it to the Carolina Brewery. But they'll have some stiff competition on their hands if they want to convince me they have the region's best beer.


Here's what the Beer Advocate community thinks about the Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Beer of the Week: Preview

(Note: This post was written, appropriately, while sipping a Flying Dog Horn Dog Barley Wine Style Ale)

After repeatedly badgering my beleaguered brother Tom (who doesn't really like beer, though he does tolerate the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, proudly brewed in our hometown, Lexington, KY) with more than he ever thought about wanting to know about beer, he suggested that I start my own beer blog.

Not a bad idea, I thought. However, as this blog is neglected enough as it is, rather than starting a new blog devoted exclusively to beer, I've decided to try a new series, which will no doubt be dropped like every other semi-recurring series I've started here. In it, I'd like to, well, not quite review, but perhaps explore a different beer each week.

I hope to start tomorrow, by telling the story of how I encountered one of my new favorite American Stouts...

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Love It: Faith and Hope, Together

Sorry for the punny title, I'm so happy I simply couldn't resist. Believe it or not, I had several drafts, trying to work "faith," "hope" and "love" into the title of this blog-post. The monstrosity above really is, alas, the best I could do.

Anyway, I am happy, and encouraged, not just by the news that Barack Obama is leading John McCain among Christian voters, according to a recent poll by the Barna Group, but even more by this:

Mark Nickolas of Political Base is reporting that a Christian group, Matthew 25, will soon air their first pro-Obama ad.

Check out Mr. Nickolas' post for more details.

In related news, despite the obvious similarities (just ask Hal Lindsey!), it turns out Barack Obama is not, after all, the anti-Christ.

Good to know.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

(Un)Holy Trinity Humor

Tom sent me this comic from xkcd just before we left for the beach, but I'm finally getting around to posting it:

Despite the fact that no scriptures would really need to be revised, and that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not the only forms of Trinitarian language available, this is still pretty damn funny.

We "Ironic" Liberal Christians

I knew the media has a hard time making sense of the diversity present in American religion (or religion in general), but I did not expect this from NPR, of all places.

On Morning Edition, correspondent Mara Liasson declared it "ironic" that a "liberal Democrat" (that would be Sen. Barack Obama) would showcase his Christian faith.

I know that the Religious Right has highjacked public religious discourse in our country, but, as Jason Linkins at the Huffington Post notes, that is the true irony:

[E]veryone knows the story of how Jesus Christ stood and yelled at Lazarus, "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you dirty appeaser!" just before inviting the moneylenders to set up shop in the temple to fondle Congressional pages.

That quote is obviously dripping with sarcasm. This one, however, is not:

[T]he central tenet of Christianity is Christ's admonition that we shall be judged by what we do for the least among us, making it, wait for it... IRONIC!...for Christians to lobby heavily for massive tax-cuts for plutocrats.

A great many ironies could be added to this, none more potent than that a man claiming to be a disciple of the one many Christians call the Prince of Peace (his favorite philosopher, even) could lead us into an illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation that never attacked us. Or that said invasion and occupation was made politically possible by the persistent lies of one who claims allegiance to the Truth.

As for Barack Obama's Christian faith, I see no obvious irony.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Offline Again

I'll be offline for most of the next week or so, as we take our annual trek to Holden Beach, North Carolina.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Framing the Problem

Note: This was written as a guest post at Womanist Musings.

In ethics as in public discourse, the way that a problem is framed goes a long way toward determining how that problem will be defined, and eventually "solved." I thought of that simple truth reading two earth-shattering sentences by Marquette ethics professor Daniel C. Maguire.

As a lay theologian, a blogger, and a student of religion and ethics, I've written a great deal on sexual ethics, especially as relates to homosexuality (most notably here; and here). But in my writing, and in my teaching, I haven't paid sufficient attention to how I've framed the "problem." That's a sin that, after reading these two sentences, I vow to never commit again:

Homosexuality is not a problem: heterosexism is a problem, and not just for sexual minorities. To think of homosexuality as "problem" - which even persons of liberal bent can do - is a distraction and a surrender to the unjust and poisonous prejudice of heterosexism.

With those two sentences, which open his introduction to the book Heterosexism in Contemporary World Religion: Problem and Prospect, Maguire not only helps supply those of us who wish to be allies of the marginalized and oppressed with a proper frame for a serious moral problem, he also, to put it bluntly, calls me and other well-intentioned but clumsy liberals out for not paying sufficient attention to our privilege.

Homosexuality is not a "problem." Heterosexism is a problem. Homophobia is a problem. This is no less true than any other situation of oppressive fear and hatred. Nazi Germany, despite the best efforts of theologians and politicians alike to frame it as such, did not have "Jewish problem." Jews weren't the problem, anti-Semitism was. Antebellum and Jim Crow America, as well as apartheid South Africa, did not have a "race" problem. Race (the audacity of black- and brown-skinned people to continue to exist and to continue to affirm their own innate value) was not the problem, racism was. Similarly, for the bulk of world-history, despite the persistent oppression of women characteristic of hegemonic patriarchy, gender is not a problem; sexism is.

Yet in public discourse, in both religious and political settings, the problem of heterosexism is framed as a problem of homosexuality, as though the problem began with the existance of people who are naturally attracted to members of the same gender, instead of with the violent hatred directed at them by heterosexists and homophobes. We who would be allies, then, must follow Daniel C. Maguire's lead here, and help change the frame. The problem is not that GLBT community exists. The problem is that members of that community are subject to fear, hatred, and oppression, to social, systemic, and physical violence.

Heterosexism, not homosexuality, is the problem.