One question which many have asked is: What's happening to you now, what are your immediate plans? Frankly, I am still waiting to hear from the bishop as to what my status currently is with my parish and the Diocese of Fresno. I mailed a certified letter to him this week in which I said that if I did not hear to the contrary from him, I would resume my duties as pastor of St. Paul's Newman Center this weekend.
All of the priests of our diocese were attending their annual retreat this week from Monday through Thursday. For obvious reasons, I thought that my presence at this retreat would be disruptive and I thought it more prudent to take a private retreat instead. Friday is my usual day off and so, my tentative plans are to return to my parish this weekend and resume my pastoral work. Unless, of course, the bishop informs me otherwise. I can tell you frankly, that my family is not very thrilled at the idea of my returning to Fresno. Both they and others have expressed fears for my personal safety and even for my life.
I had expected to be suspended as a priest immediately, which is why, I took my personal belongings with me when I left the parish for retreat. Since this has not happened, and I am still a priest in good standing, and as far as I know, still the pastor of St. Paul's. So, here I am waiting for the phone to ring.
I am however, making good use of my time. I am speaking with various groups and individuals who are working very hard for the "NO on Proposition 8" campaign. I have to tell you, this is a fight for all of us, not just for people in the state of California. If the yes on prop. 8 party wins, they won't stop with robbing gay and lesbian people in California of their right to marry. They will then, move on to weaker states and go after domestic partnership laws, adoption laws, and employment protection laws. Essentially, they would like gay and lesbian people to have no rights at all and simply to not exist.
What can you do? If you live in California, vote NO on Prop 8 and, try to persuade as many people as you know to also, vote NO on Prop 8. Give money to the NO on Proposition 8 campaign. It cost large amounts of money to buy air time on major media here in California. People who want to take away civil rights from gays and lesbians are spending HUGE amounts of money to buy air time. Lorri L. Jean from the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center (www.laglc.org )spoke at a fund raiser this last week in LA and said that the Yes on 8 machine has raised 20 MILLION dollars to strip us of our rights. We are 5% points behind in the polls right now. We need to catch up, to do that we need to be heard. To be heard we need to buy air time. To buy air time we need cash and we need it NOW. Please, contribute to the No on Proposition 8 campaign.