Good Christian belle

Gay ally Kristin Chenoweth talks about her new country music CD (she adores Dolly!), queers … and the right way to be a Christian

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO KRISTIN | The performer has conquered stage, recording, TV … and uniting gay rights with her faith.

Kristin Chenoweth doesn’t get miffed very easily. But when she does, watch out. Last year, after Newsweek published a commentary on the inability of gay actors to play straight roles, she wrote an extensive letter to the magazine, calling the article “horrendously homophobic.”

But Chenoweth’s allegiance to the gay community goes back to growing up in Oklahoma — a place she returned to for her latest album, Some Lessons Learned, the first of four where the opera-trainer singer fully embraces her country roots.

We had lots to talk about when we caught up with Chenoweth, on a dinner break from shooting her upcoming series, Good Christian Belles. She discussed her history of dating gay men, her opinion on Michele Bachmann’s support of gay conversion clinics … and being a little bit wicked.

— Chris Azzopardi

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Dallas Voice: Your character’s name on Good Christian Belles is Cockburn — Carlene Cockburn. Chenoweth: I can’t wait for my family to hear that one. Are you kidding? I was like, “Wait a minute…!” But I just think the most important thing for me as an actress, because of the lines that come out of my mouth, is to just have to speak them and keep going, because they’re so funny and her name is so funny and the whole thing is just so great. I love it.

Does your character have anything in common with April Rhodes, who you play on Glee? Probably not on paper, but they’re both pretty outlandish people. Carlene, though, is the antithesis of April.

You grew up in Oklahoma, so country music is your roots. How is your new album a reflection of that? It’s so funny, because I get asked, “Why a country album now?” But that’s how it all began for me. Of course, why would anyone know that? It’s not something I’ve been talking about a lot, but it’s the music I grew up listening to. One of my biggest influences is Dolly Parton, and when you look at the history of songs in musical theater and in country, they’re both usually great storytellers.

I know just how lucky I am to do this kind of music. Getting to go to Nashville and sing this music that feels like home to me was a real gift, and one that I don’t take lightly.

The song “What Would Dolly Do?” reminds me a lot of Dolly herself. I co-wrote that. [Producer] Bob Ezrin asked, “Who’s had the biggest influence on you country music-wise?” I said, “Dolly, without question.” And he said, “How would she approach it? Let’s think: What would Dolly do?” I said, “Bob, why aren’t we writing that song?”

There’s something about her that I feel very attuned to. There’s only one Dolly. I’m not comparing myself, but I’m just saying her spirit and the way she looks at life is pretty similar to me. And the cover I did of hers [“Change”] is actually a very emotional thing and it reminded me — of course, how could I ever forget? — what an amazing songwriter she is. You know, I didn’t do a lot of covers. I did two covers, one of Carrie [Underwood] and one of Dolly’s, and I just love both of them. I love their music, I love their spirit — everything they stand for.

It makes total sense, because, to me, both you and Dolly epitomize happiness. Oh my god, thank you. That’s the biggest compliment you could give me.

So, being so happy… what pisses you off? Oh, gosh! I don’t really get mad that often. But I’m not going to lie: When I do, there’s a quiet that comes over me that is a little like whoa, and that happens when I don’t feel other people are prepared or doing their job or pulling their weight. I come from a family where my dad came from nothing and worked hard to get where he is, and he said, “Work hard, play hard, Kris,” and I guess that’s kind of been my motto in life. So when I see people squandering opportunities or having a sense of entitlement, that really makes me crazy. Because I don’t understand it. It’s not a world I get.

One thing that does make you upset is homophobic people. I don’t like that, you’re right.

Your letter in response to that Newsweek column said it all. Why was it important to address your feelings on that issue? To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for what was going to happen. I was on Broadway doing Promises, Promises, and I read the article and I actually thought it was pretty irresponsible. I’m not even talking about whether a person agrees with being gay or not, I’m talking about artistry and gay

actors trying to play straight. It just made me mad, because I thought, “Well, I’ve played a prostitute, does that mean I am one? No.” I just thought it was a little bit of a bullying thing, and I honestly prayed about it — no kidding, I prayed about it.

And by the way, I’m a big fan of the magazine, which is why I was so bummed. But I think that they felt bad and hopefully there’s been some discussion about it and some learning, because that’s what we’re here to do on this Earth, to learn our purpose. Well, one of my purposes in this life — since I’m a believer and a Christian — is to help people realize that not every Christian thinks that being gay is a sin.

To reinforce your point, you made out with your Promises, Promises co-star Sean Hayes at the Tonys last year. It might’ve been a little jibe. It might’ve been a little one! Ha!

What was it like to make out with a gay man? Was that your first time? Well, let’s face it, my high school boyfriend is gay, so I don’t think it’s my first time making out with gay men! I bet a lot of women don’t even know they’ve done it! And Sean Hayes is just a darn good kisser, what can I say?

Wait, so you dated a gay man in high school? Yeah, and I’m like, “Well, that’s why we were such a great couple!” He didn’t pleasure me in any way but he helped me pick out my prom dress!

Was he one of the first gay people you knew in Oklahoma? Yeah. I want to tell you something I know about myself: When I was in the second or third grade, I first heard the word “dyke,” and it was in reference to a girl in our school who was very, very tomboyish. I didn’t really understand what the word was, but I knew I didn’t like the way it was said. And for some reason I’ve always been drawn to the person that was alone, and I don’t mean to make me sound like I’m Mother Teresa, because I’m not. But I’ve always been drawn to people who felt left out or different, and maybe it’s because, I too, felt different and unique. People would not think this of me, because there’s this perception of me that, “Oh, life’s been perfect and things have come so easily.”

But let’s face it: My speaking voice is very interesting. Yes, I was a cheerleader but I also wanted to do all the plays, I was in renaissance choir, and, I too, felt a little bit like an outsider. I was always drawn to people who felt that way, too. And sure, some of them were gay and I never did understand — I guess the word is fear.

God made us all equal. He made me short, he made someone gay, he made someone tall — whatever it is, it’s not a sin; it’s how we’re made. And that’s the way I feel about it. It flies in the face of a lot of what Christians believe, but as I’m finding out there’s a lot of Christian people who think the same as me. So that’s my deal, and I think we should not be careful of the unknown but rather accepting and loving of it.

As someone who’s Christian and supports the gay community, how do you feel about the pray-away-the-gay program that Michele Bachmann supports? [Long pause] You know what, you can have your opinion. One of the great things about being in this country is we get to freely say what we believe. I just don’t happen to agree with that. Though I like the “pray” part!

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

The arguments against repealing DADT rooted in outlandish fear and homophobia

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

In the fight to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the argument of the lgbt community has been consistent.

Sexual orientation should not be used a criteria to keep people from serving their country. Lgbts can and have served in the military admirably and should not have to lie to continue to do so.

Now on the other side of the fence, the arguments of those who want to keep DADT (or keep lgbts out of the military altogether) have ranged from distortions to downright outrageous lies.

Let's look at the top five:

5. Gays will go “rape crazy” on military men – This year, discredited researcher Paul Cameron actually had the audacity to come out with a “study” claiming that gays are four to seven more times likely to rape their fellow servicemen. He even says that some perpetrators of heterosexual sex assaults can be termed as gay because apparently some gay men “like women too.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, while saying nothing about Cameron's phony study, actually echoed its main points:

Our military exists to fight and win wars, not engage in radical social engineering. Forcing soldiers to cohabit with people who view them as sexual objects would inevitably lead to increased sexual tension, sexual harassment, and even sexual assault.


4. Heterosexuals will abandon the military if DADT is repealed – Last year, The Military Times came out with a survey claiming that a majority of respondents (58%) said they opposed openly gay service and 10% said they would not re-enlist if the ban was lifted. However, the Palm Center and Gary Langer who headed polling for ABC News skewered the survey for numerous errors.

Robert Knight of the right-wing Coral Ridge Ministries earlier this year said the following:

” . . .25 percent of people in the military have said they'll either resign or they wouldn't re-enlist. It would hurt recruitment because the military draws from traditional populations that have very traditional values. It would hurt unit cohesion.”

However, it was discovered that the poll he was citing was nonexistent.  Knight's claim originated from a quote by World Net Daily writer Mychal Massie.  World Net Daily is a publication not necessarily know for its credibility. Amongst other things, it pushes the belief that President Obama is not a United States citizen.

 

3. Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal will lead to the draft, forced abortions, pansexual cross-dressing, forced abortions – Robert Knight again:

Forcing open homosexuality on the armed forces would destroy the volunteer military and bring back the compulsory draft. Since women are now deployed close to combat, and the only legal reason they are not eligible is their combat exemption, a new draft could include our daughters. And some would face pressure to have on-base abortions in order to complete their tours of duty.

Chaplains would be the first victims of Mr. Obama's homosexualization of the military, followed by anyone who violated “zero tolerance” policies for homosexual acceptance. Bible-believing Christians would quickly find themselves unwelcome in Barney Frank's new pansexual, cross-dressing military.

Other fallout includes family housing, reduction in retention, recruitment and unit cohesion, an increase in homosexual sexual assaults and a boost to overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Can you believe that? He forgot the wanton cannibalism.

2. Gays in the military will lead to increased diseases – Earlier this year, a right-wing group, America's Survival, put out a video claiming that gays serving openly in the military will lead to an increase in diseases like AIDS. The video was so offensive that it was removed from youtube.

America's Survival is led by Cliff Kincaid, head of the right-wing group Accuracy In Media. Kincaid and AIM has a long history of smearing the gay community.

Earlier this year, AIM was forced to retract a story on its web page which inaccurately accused Obama appointee Kevin Jennings of being a pedophile.

And Kincaid is probably one of the only few people in this country who openly defends Uganda's anti-gay bill including the part about the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”

Now what can top all of these ridiculous reasons? This one by the Traditional Values Coalition:

1. The repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell will lead to “sodomy on the battlefield” and sex parties:

Imagine the impact that the rampant spread of STDs, including HIV would have on the military? How will the military handle the spread of these diseases in the barracks? How will the military handle sodomy in battlefield situations?  . . . what about the unrestrained drug and sex antics committed by young male homosexuals?


The reasons for repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell are good enough to stand on their own.  But the claims of the opposition add credibility to these reasons simply because they are totally unprovable, illogical, and add nothing to the argument. They mainly come from a desire to exploit fear and ignorance. And a place of desperation.

Fear, ignorance, and desperation are qualities which have never had a place in our Armed Forces. And they don't deserve to be accommodated now.

But those who have served admirably and will continue to do so, regardless of sexual orientation, should be allowed in through the front door.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin