Dr. Ben Carson’s Gay Marriage Gaffe – Latest on MUSED

Image courtesy of MUSED.

Dr. Ben Carson is a highly lauded neurosurgeon, educator, speaker, and best-selling author.  After  making several appearances on Fox News and giving speeches at the National Prayer Breakfast and the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), he’s become somewhat of a political wunderkind lately.  Carson recently caught some heat for comments he made last week on Fox News’ Hannity about gay marriage.  He said, “Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition. So, it’s not something against gays. It’s against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society. It has significant ramifications” (Media Matters).  He later apologized and said his comments were “insensitive” and misunderstood.  He went on to say the “attacks” by “racist” white liberals against him “have been so vicious” (The Hill).  To learn more, read “Where Dr. Ben Carson Linking Gay Marriage To Bestiality Went Wrong” on MUSED.

MUSED Magazine Online is a pioneering “digital destination for lifestyle, entertainment & culture for modern black gay men.  MUSED serves as a collective of experiences and issues we care about” (see About MUSED).  Its mission is to raise the level of consciousness for our community and provide reliable, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for its readers.  MUSED is the only weekly online magazine for black gay men.

Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels and the MUSED family for featuring the article! 

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Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

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Power of Love: A Contemporary Aside (from ‘Prevail’)

Nothing’s worse than men obsessed with power,

Having the all-consuming ability to exercise control and influence 
     over others,
Like beasts foaming at the mouth with the high of going in for the 

Maybe it’s the elevated nature of the position,
This putting-on-a-pedestal type treatment.
Or it’s simply a common case of ego,
When all of the attention has blown one’s head up to the size of a 
     Goodyear blimp,
When arrogance and ignorance have taken the place of humanity, 
     decency, and common sense.

There’s this godlike attitude,
This I-can-do-no-wrong mentality,
This holier-than-thou, my-way-is-the-only-way-because-there-is-no-other-way frame of mind.
But let me put it to you quite simply—your shit stinks too.

You may make decisions about the economy, education, 
     healthcare, defense, and other facets of our government and 
But you will never have the power to control the heart,
For the heart cannot be contained.
You will never be able to control anyone’s ability to love,
For love is divine.
You will never be able to tell anyone who they can or cannot love,
For love is essential to living.
Like breathing,
It’s a natural thing
That cannot be controlled by man—
Love is too powerful.
It’s stronger than man.
Continuing to push the issue
Will not make it any better.
Continuing to push the issue
Will make things worse,
Causing us to divide even further.

Love is not a choice.
And who you happen to love
and who happens to love you is not an alternative lifestyle.
There is nothing alternative about love.
Love is an essential part of life.
Essential to feeling complete.
There is no substitute;
There is no alternative to something we all have an innate need 
     for and right to experience and share.
Love will forever reign supreme.

Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics is available at iUniverse, Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle), Barnes & Noble, Book-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover), and other retailers.   

Day 89: Infinite Ways to Get to the Ultimate Spiritual Destination

While watching one of two The Best of The Oprah Winfrey Show episodes on OWN today, I was astounded by how small-minded we can be. This episode featured best-selling authors Betty Eadie and Sophy Burnham. The topic was spiritual beliefs, specifically how to get closer to God and what questions we would ask if God were physically here with us in this moment.  When the discussion shifted to our path to God, some of the audience members adamantly believed that the only path to God was through Jesus.  They could not fathom the notion that we all have different paths.  And though different, these paths still lead us to the same place—to God.  One part of me says, “Of course.  How could you not believe this, especially if this is the only path you were exposed to?”  But the other part of me says, “How small of you to think your way is the only way.  There are multiple ways, multiple paths to get to the ultimate destination.”  

When it comes to our beliefs, there’s a comfort in what’s familiar.  There’s also a sense of complacency because we do not question anything.  We don’t challenge ourselves.  And we easily welcome those in who believe and feel the same way we do.  When someone or something challenges what we believe, we get defensive and, often, are not as receptive or open to other possibilities (as was the case with a certain audience member on this best-of episode who tried to read—and I do mean READ—Oprah the riot act, but Oprah wasn’t having it).  

In our lives, we all follow different paths to get to the ultimate destination (to God).  Our life experiences are what can bring us closer to or take us away from God.  While our paths may be different, we still get to the same destination.  For me, the obvious example of this is the beltway.  The beltway is composed of several different intercounty and interstate highways that connect at various junctions.  These junctions help get us to our respective destinations.  Often times, many of us are going to the same destination but we take a different route.  Though the route taken and the time of arrival may be different, we all still reach the same destination.  And as most who’ve traveled on the beltway will probably testify, it helps to know alternate routes to get to your destinations.  We get into problems when we’re only open to taking one path.  And if we can’t get beyond this one path, we don’t have to wonder why change and different results continue to elude us. 

Spirituality tells us that we each have our own unique relationship with God.  Let no man tell you different.  The responsibility to maintain and nurture this relationship falls on us.  Religion, on the other hand, is a tool that we can use to help manage our relationship with God.  What we call God or what religion we follow is insignificant, since so many of our principles, values, and beliefs are universal.  It’s about being connected to a spirit, a being greater than ourselves—and letting that spirit guide and direct us.  But it’s our choice whether we want to accept it.  We don’t have to.  And that doesn’t make us any better or worse than the other.  Just be flexible, open, and accepting of the fact that there are several paths available for us in this life.  And remember, while our path or walk may be different—the ultimate destination is universal and always the same.

Day 86: Gone Too Soon (from Prevail)

In a society that claims to value individual freedoms—it’s a shame that people are (still) ridiculed for simply being themselves.  There’s no reason that anyone should have to hide or live a lie because they fear being ostracized, hurt, or even killed.  It’s unacceptable.  We’ve lost too many due to the hateful, intolerant ways of others in this world.  It must end.  In tribute to those we’ve lost, here’s “Gone Too Soon,” a poem from the “Life” section of my book Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics.

Gone Too Soon

Fighting with the world everyday,
Trying to stand firm on ground that changes like DC metro area weather,
Not knowing when it’s safe to be you, or when it’s best to retreat:
It’s safer on the inside—sometimes.

The golden era ended quicker than you could comprehend.
And you were thrust upon the audacity of disgust and hatred
From people you thought were your friends,
People you thought were your family,
People who said they loved you but you just can’t seem to trust.
You’ve walked a line that many people claim they can handle but couldn’t, even if humanity depended on it.
It’s a line that you don’t want to walk.
It’s a line that often runs faster than the speed of sound and light, with a soundtrack that repeats daily.
And you’re tired of hearing it.

Living in a world where people get high off of ridicule and bullying,
One is left numb,
Not wanting to deal.
The help you need never arrives when you need it.
It always comes too late.
You push and push,
And push and push.
And you keep pushing,
But the force always seems to kill your spirit.
It was at first a temporary thing,
But the period of death began to outlast the periods of rebirth.

There’s a lot that you can and have dealt with,
But it’s the pain and its lasting effects
That cut you down to nubs,
The hurt practically defying man’s comprehension of depth.
If you could only find relief,
A sweet release from it all…
If only…

The inner light quickly fades.
Time halts,
And you succumb to a place
Where your spirit will forever reign.
You’ll be safe from harm and healed
From a lifetime of pain.
If only it didn’t have to come to this.
If only…
You’d still be here.

If only…

You could’ve been saved.

© 2012 BuddahDesmond

Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politicsis available at iUniverse, Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle), Barnes & Noble, Book-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover), and other retailers.

Day 32: A Direct Route to Divine Power

Man can proclaim to be as wholly holy, devout, and pure as possible.  But it never changes our human nature.  Our innate fallibility and imperfection.  Our tendency to pass judgment, to boast, and be haughtily bound in our approach.  Some of us can’t help being ourselves in everything man has “created” – even religion.  We were made in his image but are not the image.  We may be Christians or working to be Christians, but we are not Christ.  We are not God, Buddha, Allah, Vishnu, Shiva, or any god of worship.  That’s why I will never allow anyone to tell me about how I should live my life, force their beliefs upon me, or tell me about how my relationship works with The Creator.  It’s personal territory.  It’s mine.  It’s about my spirituality and my spirituality determines how I believe my relationship should be.  Advice and guidance are one thing.  But you do not rule my path to higher power.  Because I – like you, like everyone else – has a direct route all day, everyday.  And there’s nothing that any man can do to change that.

Day 15: You Know What The Bible Says…

A few weeks ago I came out to one of my best childhood buddies.  We’d known each since the fourth grade.  Though we lost touch a few times along the way due to distance, we never lost our bond or connection.  It seemed to grow stronger over the years.  We went through and experienced a lot – individually and collectively.  And he’d been there with me – through most of it.

So I have no idea why I waited so long to come out to him.  There’s a part of me that didn’t think he’d have a problem with it and that he’d be fine.  I thought, “Hell, he probably already knows – he’s just waiting for me to tell him.”  And then there’s another part of me that was hesitant.  When I was away in college, he became a born-again Christian.  And I thought that there’s a great possibility that he either won’t accept me or if he does – he might rub the sin, scripture, Bible, Christian thing at me.

I wanted to speak with him in person or at least over the phone about this.  But due to hectic schedules, we kept missing each other. So I opted to do it via email (not my mode of choice, but hey…).  Here’s a portion of his reply to my email:

You know I look at you as a brother and really want you to live a long, prosperous, joyous & blessed life. You also know my religious views being a Christian rapper and all I’m sure you know where the Christian belief stands on homosexuality. The bible tells me that it’s a sin against God, but it also says that no sin is greater than another and that sin (including homosexuality) can be forgiven. You see God loves is greater than anything sin and His love is the definition of unconditional… My beliefs will not allow me to celebrate what the Word of God calls sin HOWEVER just as God still loves you; so do I. It doesn’t mean that the bond of friendship is any weaker on my end…

I just don’t know what or how to respond.  I was both angry and somewhat content with the response. Content because this is what I was expecting him to say and this is why I was hesitant in telling him anyway.  Angry because I’m so sick and tired of hearing this sin bullshit.  And I’m sorry but it’s bullshit.  God made me the way that I am for a reason.  My being gay is not a choice or something that I can just turn on and off like a light switch.  It’s part of me.  It doesn’t consume me and it doesn’t cloud everything that I do.  But you cannot acknowledge me in totality without acknowledging that part of me.  And as a lifelong friend, I guess I was just thinking that he’d be able to see completely beyond this and accept me totally, wholly.  Maybe I’m asking for too much.  Maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing.  Maybe I asked for it.  But at what point do you get beyond the scripture to the realness in life and the substance of the realness staring in your face….in all of its divinity?  What would you do?


What is normal?
This question has popped up a lot lately.

Is it pink hair, tattoos, body piercings, and dark clothes?
Is it oversized hoodies, baggy designer jeans, Timbs, and over-the-top bravado and swagger?

Is it the $900,000 condo in a metropolitan area?
Or a cookie cutter single family home in the suburbs?

Is it blue collar or white-collar work?
Or how about a get-rich-quick plan?

Is it traditional? Or is it conventional?
Is it revelatory? Or is it revolutionary?

Is it the big house with seven bedrooms, six full baths, a picket fence, Lexus GS, two kids, and an American Bulldog?
Or is it an unashamed, refusal of the American dream?

Is it conservative or liberal?
Is it republican or democrat?
Is it capitalist, socialist, or communist?
Or is it apolitical?

Is it mainstream or underground?
Is it male, female, or trans?
Is it straight, gay, bi-, multi-, or asexual?
Is it married, common law, or a civil union?
Is it Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist?
And is race, class, or culture a factor?

Wait a minute …
Does normal even know what normal is anymore?
Let’s face it:
We’ve come a long way…. Or have we? (Okay; that’s another poem for another day!)
We’ve evolved into so many different things
With a variety of tastes, likes, dislikes, desires, wants, needs, and dreams.
But the more things change, the more things stay the same
If you look a little bit closer, we tend to be more alike than we are unalike.
So instead of forcing people into what we think is right,
Or how we think people should live
(Translation: what we’re comfortable with),
Just let people be.

And remember—just because it was right for you don’t mean that it’s right for everyone else.

© 2012 BuddahDesmond

Claiming to Know: A Poem

I never thought I’d see the day when people would use the Lord’s
     words in vain.
The Good Book has been used to support every ill within society.
There’s no exception to this, even now.
With people using The Word against each other
Not knowing while in defense they’re spewing more words of hate.
This contradiction is the cause for my current disdain.

I’m left wondering what happened to the love?
What happened to respect?
What happened to decency?
The current regime is using its religion to support a political agenda.
They think they’re sounding righteous when speaking for the people,
When in actuality they’re catching feelings and taking it personal;
     it’s sacrilegious and totally obscene.

I’m left asking what happened to the separation between church and state?
I was under the impression that religion had no place in politics.
I thought there was freedom to choose.
But I’ll be damned if somebody’s going to tell me how I’m supposed to live,
     What I’m supposed to think,
     And how I’m supposed to feel.
I have an individual relationship with God.
We’re cool;
And nobody can tell me otherwise.
No preachers, no priests, no nuns, no family, friends or strangers at that.

No human being can ever take precedence over the Supreme Being
     because of infallibility
We’re not perfect.
We’re flawed.
So what makes you think that the real message didn’t get lost in translation
     or in our current interpretation?

Everybody’s claiming to know the deal.
Everybody’s claiming to know The Word.
Everybody thinks they got The Good News.
Everybody’s claiming to know,
But claims aren’t totally legit.
Besides, no one’s really going to know anything…
     until Judgment Day.

© 2005 BuddahDesmond