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By Angelo Lopez on December 22, 2008

Recently there has been a lot of controversy over the pick of Rick Warren to do the invocation at Barack Obama's inaugural ceremonies. This selection has especially angered the LGBT community, since Rick Warren played a prominent role in garnering support for Proposition 8, the recent proposition that banned gay marriages. While the controversy is painful for those involved, it could also be an opportunity to start a dialogue between the LGBT community and the Evangelical, Mormon, and Catholic churches. Since Rick Warren was willing to invite Obama into his church to speak on issues like abortion to a fairly conservative Christian audience, perhaps he'd be as willing to have a forum within his church with gays and lesbians about issues between the two groups.

My wife and I voted against Proposition 8 and we both tried to get our friends to vote against it. We both have close friends who are gay and lesbian. But we both have Catholic, Evangelical, and Mormon friends. Lisa's close friend and former roommate is Evangelical. After Proposition 8 passed, there were stories of vandalism of Mormon and Catholic churches and attempts to boycott people known to have supported Proposition 8. For my gay and lesbian friends, they talked about the many bad experiences they've had with Christians. One of the things I'm realizing from listening to these two groups of friends is that the LGBT community and the Christian community do not understand each other very well, and they are becoming increasingly antagonistic towards each other.

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By Angelo Lopez on December 21, 2008

This December has been a time to slow down and reflect. One of the greatest blessings that I've had this year is attending St. Thomas church and the opportunity the pastor gave me to do some cartoons for her Sunday bulletin. I haven't become a good Christian or anything, but it's helped me to feel like I'm on a path to knowing God better. Here are some of my cartoons over the past year that I've made for my Sunday church readings.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." Then Mary said, "Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:26-38

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By Angelo Lopez on December 20, 2008

"Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reforms. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of struggle... If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will..." (Frederick Douglass)
Last month, when Obama made his victory speech in Chicago, I was deeply touched at the sight of so many older African Americans in tears of joy. Though I was happy for Obama's victory, it must've had a special meaning for many older African Americans that it wouldn't have for me, especially for those who lived through the civil rights era and before. The election of Barack Obama wouldn't have had happened without the hard work and courage of past civil rights activists to fight for racial equality and to challenge the racism of American society. At the final stretch of the election season, a book by Philip Dray was released in bookstores about the first black Congressmen in the United States. This book, Capitol Men: The Epic Story of Reconstruction Through the Lives of the First Black Congressmen, describes the seven Congressmen and the conditions they faced during the Reconstruction.

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By Angelo Lopez on December 18, 2008

As Caroline Kennedy contemplates running for her uncle's old Senate seat in New York, I am reminded of a library book that I used to check out all the time around 15 years ago. RFK: Collected Works was a collection of all of Bobby Kennedy's speeches and I was really inspired by the idealism and the compassionate values that Kennedy's speeches embodied. I had not lived through the 1960s, but Bobby Kennedy became a hero to me through the values that were enunciated through those speeches. The library had long since discarded this book, which makes me sad, but I photocopied three of my favorite speeches. Here is one of my favorite of Kennedy's speeches, one he made in Berkeley, California on October 22, 1966. It dealt with the problems of race in America in the 1960s, and the temptations of violence among those frustrated at the slow pace of change. When Barack Obama made his great speech on race earlier this year, it made me think of this speech.

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By Angelo Lopez on December 14, 2008

In the year 1791 an unusual correspondence took place. Benjamin Banneker, a free African American and an astronomer, mathematician, surveyor, almanac writer and farmer, wrote a letter to then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. Banneker’s letter was a plea for justice for African American slaves and a statement of racial equality and it challenged Jefferson’s suppositions of the inferiority of blacks. At a time when most Americans shared Jefferson’s racial views, men like Benjamin Banneker were around to show the wrongness of such views.

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By Angelo Lopez on December 12, 2008

About a year ago I started attending St. Thomas Episcopal Church. It's a wonderful church in the heart of the city of Sunnyvale. At the time I was trying out different churches to see where I would feel comfortable being at and where I could find God again. Since that time I've been reading what I can about the Episcopal church and getting to know the people at St. Thomas better. They have been very kind to me. I asked the pastor if I could submit some cartoons for the church bulletin to illustrate some of their weekly passages and she agreed. I'll illustrate this post with a few of those cartoons.

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By Angelo Lopez on December 6, 2008

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is one of my favorite poets. I always knew him as the owner of City Lights bookstore in San Francisco and the publisher of Allen Ginsberg's poetry collection Howl & Other Poems that caused a lot of controversy in the 1950s.

A couple of years ago, I watched a documentary on Ferllinghetti called The Coney Island of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and discovered the breadth of Ferlinghetti's influence as a poet, a painter and a social activist. The poet Kenneth Rexroth influenced Ferlinghetti's political ideology towards that of philosophical anarchism, and Ferlinghetti has urged artists to be engaged in the political happenings of the world. He has been involved in the nuclear disarmament movement, the antiwar movement, farm worker organizing, and other progressive causes. He promoted public poetry readings and founded City Lights Bookstore with Peter Martin to promote dissident literature. Ferlinghetti's book of poetry A Coney Island of the Mind has sold over a million copies and remains one of the most popular poetry books in the U.S.

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By Angelo Lopez on December 6, 2008

I've always liked poetry. I never took a class, though, or learned about meter and some of the basic things that make up a poem. So I've always been a bit insecure about talking about the hidden meanings of some of the more esoteric or avant garde poetry. I just know what I like. My favorite poet is Ogden Nash, and I've grown to like e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. And I love the so called poetry books of the Old Testament. Someday I hope to take a class to learn more about poetry. And the Risen Bread was a discarded library book that I got for a dollar just out of curiosity. It turned out to be a real find.

And the Risen Bread is written by Daniel Berrigan. Daniel Berrigan is a Jesuit priest who was active in the antiwar and civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s. He is also the author of 14 volumes of poetry. His first book of poetry, Time Without Number (1957), was nominated for the National Book Award and was awarded the prestigious Lamont Prize for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Berrigan was influenced by three people in his life journey as a priest, a social activist, and a poet, according to Ross Labrie, who wrote the introduction to And the Risen Bread. The first was Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement and a pacifist and social worker. Another was Thomas Merton, who channeled a life of contemplative spirituality and social activism through poetry and writings. A last influence on Daniel is his brother Philip, a believer in nonviolent confrontation of social ills.

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By Angelo Lopez on December 3, 2008

A week or so ago, an insightful person wrote a post to me telling how prejudice affects the way a person lives out their daily lives. Instead of walking in confidence, people who are discriminated against often live in fear of being harassed. After reading her comment, I tried to think of examples of where prejudice eventually leads. In societies that embrace a prejudiced view of a group of people, they often take harsh measures to keep a member of a marginalized group in their place. In extreme cases, this may even result in lynchings and murder. The deaths of Emmett Till, Joseph Smith and Matthew Shepard are examples of where prejudice eventually leads.

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By Angelo Lopez on December 1, 2008

During this Thanksgiving weekend my brother and his family came over to my parents' house. It was a nice time to spend with family. As I reminisced with my brother, we reminisced about the comic book collection that we once had as children. Somewhere in my parents' garage is a box of old comics that my brothers and I used to collect.

Among my favorite comics was a one of a group of superheroes called the Fantastic Four. The first comic book I ever read was an old Stan Lee/ Jack Kirby Fantastic Four reprint that I found in my grandparents' home when I was around 7 and it got me hooked. Though I had started reading comics long after Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had long broken up their partnership, I saw a lot of their work from old reprints that Marvel used to produce of the old Fantastic Four issues. They were a major inspiration for me to want to be an artist.

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Want to read more pieces written by Angelo Lopez? We have more here! This page you are on right now is an archive of entries written by Angelo Lopez in December 2008. This author's preceding monthly archive is Angelo Lopez: November 2008.

The next monthly archive, after this one, is Angelo Lopez: January 2009.

To see all entries ever written by Angelo Lopez, see the complete blog archives for Angelo Lopez.

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This is an archive of blog entries written by Angelo Lopez in December 2008.

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