Thursday, January 29, 2009

Protecting Children -- Edith Bunker, “All in the Family”

The Thalamus Center project is about
Protecting Children by education about Human Sexuality.

There is a scene in an old TV series called “All in the Family” where Edith Bunker is experiencing menopause and she does not know what is happening to her. Edith’s daughter Gloria is explaining to her the symptoms of menopause. Edith feels bad that her daughter has to tell her about menopause.

Edith expresses her frustration and sadness about her lifetime lack of knowledge about human sexuality. (A video clip, click on the quote, below)

Edith is not alone even today. Much of the opposition to same sex marriage is likely to a great degree related to feelings and confusion about many aspects of human sexuality exactly like Edith, on the part of millions of people, for women as well as for men, everyone. Ignorance about human sexuality is extremely harmful to children.

Read more
Groundbreaking Research on Family Rejection of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adolescents Establishes Predictive Link to Negative Health Outcomes

S C I E N C E of Early Childhood Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Development

Sexual Conversion Therapies, Jack Drescher MD

Pray Away the Gay” “Groups that proclaim to ‘cure’ gay people of their sexual orientation lack any legitimate medical backing, cause harm ..."
Read more

News reports: Read more
Surge in anti-gay hate crime

Prosecuting the Gay Teen Murder TIME

Gays killed...REUTERS

Historians 'ignored gays killed by Nazis'

Secret gay 'killed and burned three boys' The Independent News

Gays...threats, rape,

Life for gay killing...BBC NEWS

Gay...slaying sparks outcry...msnbc

Two gay teenagers were publicly executed...ILGA

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stopping Gay Teen Suicide -- by John M. Enlow

Gay Teen Suicide: Problems and Solutions

By John M. Enlow, December 10, 2008

Every day in the United States we are losing gay teen lives because they feel that they are the only ones out there, isolated from the rest of the world. It can be seen in this country as an epidemic. According to the Center for Disease Control/Massachusetts Department of Education Youth Risk Behavior Survey (1999), 33% of gay youth will attempt suicide. In fact, gay teen suicide attempts are four times that of heterosexual youth. Yet, why is this not seen as a social problem? Gay teen suicide is a societal problem that has reached epidemic proportions, but there are solutions that can help this population. Creating programs that help Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, and transgender teens is on solution, as is developing high schools like Harvey Milk in New York.

Gay teens in the United States can be invisible. However, they can be your sons and daughters or nieces and nephews. When confronted with such things as being in high school or just daily life, gay teens are faced with not wanting to be gay because this is not the “cool thing” to be in school. Also, they are afraid to come out because they fear being picked on by other kids. If the kids came out to people they could be face such things as ridicule or even hate crimes. Such things will ultimately lead them to depression and maybe even drug and alcohol dependency.

All teens are under more pressures than ever in today’s society. I have personally talked to these teens and it seems that they are faced with such pressures as how they dress and how they act around their peers. Some have the difficult task of their sexual orientation. They do not know who they can talk to and who they can share with their same sex attractions because they are faced with such things a bullying and hate crimes from their peers, as well as their family. As the Gay, Lesbian, and Trans-gender advocacy group, The Trevor Project states: “Sexual orientation and gender identity alone are not risk factors for suicide. However, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth face many social factors that put them at higher risk for self-destructive behaviors, including suicide”

Also, as stated by the US Surgeon General:

Last July U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher released a report entitled "The Surgeon General's Call To Action To Prevent Suicide 1999", which called suicide a public health crisis. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24, who account for 35% of the American population and 15% of all suicide deaths. Additionally, the suicide rate has doubled among children ages 10 to 14 since 1980 (Ocamb 2000, 1).

These statistics show that there is a growing problem with suicide in young people. Many in society want to ignore these statistics because they believe that being gay is an amoral act or that gay teen’s sexuality is just a phase that these teens are going through, which they will outgrow in time. In fact, “Approximately 5 percent of young people consider themselves lesbian, gay or bisexual, and many adolescents know a friend, classmate, neighbor or relative who is non-heterosexual” (Harvard Reviews of Health News 2006, 1). Being gay or lesbian is more acceptable today than in the past, but there is still a long way to go for it to be truly acceptable in our society.

As Ritch C. Savin-Williams and Geoffrey L. Ream (2006) state: “Controversy exits, however, based on methodological issues, including the unrepresentative nature of the gay youth population sampled” (Savin-Williams and Ream 2006 170). Many believe that the problem of gay teen suicide is overstated. Yet, why would researches fix these numbers to say that so many gay teens are committing suicide? Society would like you to think that they know the true numbers of gay teens. Yet the truth is: no one has the true number of how many gay teens are really out their or Gay adults for that matter. Still, society is not open to teens knowing who their true identities are.

“Gay teenagers are "coming out" earlier than ever, and many feel better about themselves than earlier generations of gays, youth leaders, and researchers say. The change is happening in the wake of opinion polls that show growing acceptance of gays, more supportive adults and positive gay role models in popular media” (Elias 2007). Even though gay teens are coming out earlier and earlier it is still hard for them to come to grips with whom they are at such a young age. They are turning to drugs and alcohol to answer their problems instead of talking to some positive role models, which there is very few of them to turn to in many communities.

There are many reasons why it is hard for these teenagers to find role models. Firstly, the gay community is honestly frowned upon groups like the churches and the community in general to help them to understand their community. Secondly, the gay community isn’t really a whole yet. The gay community is divided among many subgroups. Until the gay community comes together as a group and a whole, it will be difficult for these teens to find such great and inspiring role models, role models that can guild teens through the stressors of life.

Robert Li Kitts writes the same thing that The Trevor Project states: “Being gay in-and-of-itself is not the cause of the increase in suicide. The increased risk comes from the psychosocial distress associated with being gay” (Kitts 2005 160). There are many things that one can associate with this. Gay teens are faced with such things as peer pressure and lack of support from schools, such as groups like the gay straight alliance, and just plain out depression because they grow up in households where their parents tell them that being gay is bad. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender teens feel like outcasts in our society. Many feel the need to hide the true feelings.

Being gay in the US is still seen as a sin by many religious groups, or against the social norm in many ways. Gay rights are under fire across this country. This year alone they have taken rights away from gay people in the state of California because they believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. In the state of Arkansas and Florida they made it apparent by banning gay people from being able to adopt children. It is still looking like gay people in our society are being treated as a second class citizen.

This has an adverse affect on gay teens. It reinforces the feels that being gay is wrong. “One study involving 350 gay adolescents between the ages of 14 and 21 reported that 54% made their first suicide attempt before coming out to others, 27% made the attempt during the same year they came out, and 19% made the attempt after coming out” (164). This statistic shows that there are a lot of teens out in the word that need help. Those first day, months, year after coming out are rough for Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teens.

The worst off in the gay community are young people in conservative rural regions and children whose parents cannot bear having gay progeny (Elias 2007). Many church and religious organizations have always coming out and stating that homosexuality is a sin, and that they feel that they can form such organizations to help these teens and individuals to turn them into people they call “Ex Gays.”

“Exodus is one of the ministries of the so-called “ex-gay” movement, a controversial fundamentalist Christian campaign that encourages gay people to renounce their sexuality. This, its annual conference, promises “an amazing week of breakthroughs, transformations and healings” (Bannerman 2008). There are many such groups scattered throughout the world. “Conservative Christians and Jews have teamed up with men and women who call themselves “ex-gay” to lobby – and even sue – for the right to tell teenagers that they can “heal” themselves of unwanted same-sex attractions” (Simon 2006 A-1).

These “ex-gay” groups out there are putting even more stress on teens for simply being Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. The people in these groups think that they can help gay individuals to change their sexuality by the power of prayer. In some cases, they might have helped these individuals suppress their true identity and mask it behind another. This could ultimately lead to the psychological problems that they face as individuals and lead to the statistic of suicide and depression in gay teens. In fact, “Three former leaders of Exodus International, often described as the nation’s largest ex-gay ministry, publicly apologized . . . for the harm they said their efforts had caused many gays and lesbians who believed the group’s message that sexual orientation could be changed through prayer” (Trounson 2007 B-4).

Thankfully, there are many organizations in this country that have a mission to help Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teens. “More than 3,000 Gay-Straight Alliance clubs meet across the country. Nearly half a million students take a vow of silence one day each spring in an annual event to support gay rights. California may soon require textbooks to feature the contributions of gays and lesbians throughout history” (Simon 2006 A-1).

The Gay-Straight Alliance is an organization that is formed to teach gay teens that they are not the only ones out their in public schools. It also teaches the students on such issues as homophobia and other oppressed situations. The club also shows the teens how to cope with the feelings they are having and teaching them to deal with such things as discrimination and harassment. As Michel Dorais writes in his book that deal with research on gay teen suicide, Dead Boys Can't Dance, (2004) “Young homosexuals males are also often placed in the role of having to educate those around them after their coming out” (Dorais 2004 75). These kinds of club help because they are a safe place to be who you are.

Unfortunately, many gay and straight teens feel that the club makes them targets by students that do not feel that being gay is right. While doing my research for this paper, I came up with a group on Facebook called “Stopping Gay Teen Suicide”. In this group, I set it up where gay and straight people alike can come and share their stories of their attempts to commit suicide, and for the teens to come and talk to older individuals so that we can hopefully teach them that suicide is not the answer to their problems. As Dorais writes: “Their double burden is therefore involved struggling with a serious problem and also feeling that it was impossible for anyone to understand and help them” (75). I hope that my Facebook can be a help.

While starting my Facebook group, I have gotten a lot of hits from individuals that tell me “thank you” for starting the group and that “there should be more people in the world like me.” Also, I have had teens that told me their stories of how they don’t feel safe in their neighborhood as well as public schools because they didn’t have an opportunity to be themselves. My ultimate goal for this group is to show teens and adults that they are not the only ones out their and that we all have this problem and we should turn around and face it head on.

Schools need to be a place that help Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teens to develop in to adulthood. Michel Dorais writes, “Schools are a pivotal element of socialization process and they should be privileged places of learning about respect pf self and others” (91). Schools should be open to the possibility that there are Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender in the school, and openly observing these teenagers that seem very suicidal at times. They should also have programs set in place to where these teenagers can come and talk about what challenges they are being faced with in society as well as in school. Teachers should also be properly trained on how to deal with these teens. Schools should be a positive environment to where these teens can come and be young adults.

However, how many highs school across this country have programs in place that deal the problems gay teens face? Dorais states: “Teachers and administrators frequently turn a blind eye to sexist and homophobic statements and behavior of students and schools staff” (91). People are faced with this all over the country. Teachers should really be educated on how to work with these teens and how to properly deal with the students that are faced with sexist and homophobic remarks. If they turn a blind eye well then they should be handed the maximum punishment for letting things like this go on in school. “At a time in life – childhood and adolescence – when rejection or acceptance by one’s peers is very important, when the first feelings of sexual attraction plays a monumental role in our sense of relationship with others, the imposed fate of the Token Fag is exceptionally cruel” (78).

Too many Gay, Lesbian, and bisexual students are being harassed and bullied in many public schools all over the United States. There needs to be some kind of intervention for these bad statistics to change. “A 2006 report by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that 35 percent of Illinois students reported that sexual orientation is the most common reason students are harassed or bullied at school. Nearly the same number of Illinois students said the same for gender identity”

The Trevor Project can have a significant affect on the lives of gay teens. It is a group that helps Gay, Lesbian, and bisexual teens. On their website, teens can see where they can call helpline counselors to talk to if they are feeling suicidal. It offers educational advice to the educators on how to deal with these teens in their time of need. They also have events to teach everyone on how to work together and solve the problems that we are all facing in the community.

The United States government can play a role in solving this problem too. “For a brief moment after President Clinton's election, gays and supporters of gay rights were hopeful because they thought he would lead the battle for gay rights” (Torres 2000 But little has been done in the years after that beginning belief.

However things are changing “In Massachusetts, for example, Governor Weld has formed the Commission of Gay and Lesbian Youth to come up with strategies to stop gay teen suicide” (Torres 2000 There are new schools forming all over the United States strictly for gay and lesbian and bi sexual teens. These schools will be a good thing for these students. It will give them a chance to have a normal education without the hassle of teens bullying them for their sexual orientations. Hopefully, this will ultimately lower the numbers of gay teen suicide in the United States and it will educate the people to understanding we are here, we are queer, get use to it because we are not going away anytime soon.

One such school is Harvey Milk in New York City “Harvey Milk is a voluntary public high school in New York. It's open to all students, but is a safe haven for LGBTQA students, especially those who are at-risk and have experienced extreme levels of violence and harassment. A majority of the students are African-American or Latino. The school was founded in 1985, but opened as a public high school administered by the New York City Department of Education in 2003”

Why are there not more of these kinds of schools in this country? As the New York Times (2008) states:

The Harvey Milk High School -- named after a slain gay city official from San Francisco -- is an outgrowth of a longstanding program for gay students. Many of those who have gone through the program were from low-income minority families. Some were former dropouts. The program was successful, with about 95 percent of those eligible to take the Regents exams graduating from it (New York Times November, 25, 2008).

This school is has shown to be successful with 95% graduating. This should be a model for other places in this country. And it is.

Chicago is trying to open one of these types of school too. “An LGBTQA Chicago Public Schools ( CPS ) high school has been proposed and, if given the green light, the school would join the likes of New York's Harvey Milk High School in becoming a national model in providing a welcoming, safe education for queer and questioning youth and their allies” (Wooten 2008 This is a very good idea. Their needs to be more then one school in this country because the gay teens need to feel safe when they come to school without having to deal with harassment as well as discrimination for who they are. Their needs to be a school like this in every state in the United States, so that people can open their eyes to the times of change.

In writing this paper it shows that we are faced with such an epidemic as the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teens committing suicide in the United States and the world. We as a nation need to find a way to fix this problem. Ultimately, we need to create more programs such as The Trevor Project to keep these teens alive. My Facebook group was created ultimately to get these teens to dialogue with me and to show them that they are not the only ones out in the world that face problems of everyday life. Education needs to be the biggest step in creating a more positive environment for these teens. Creating schools like Harvey Milk High School is a step in the right direction. We need to create stricter laws that prohibit people to turn the other way if they notice these kids in trouble.


Bannerman, Lucy. 2008. “The camp that 'cures' homosexuality”. London Times. October 7, 2008.

Dorais, Michel. 2004. Dead Boys Can’t Dance. MiGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal.

Elias, Marilyn. 2007. “Gay teens coming out earlier to peers and family”. USA TODAY 2007.

Kitts, Robert Li. 2005. “Homosexuality Is a Risk Factors in Teen Suicide.” Problems with Death. David A. Becker and Cynthia S. Becker, Ed. Thomson Gale: NY.
Opinion. 2008. New York Times, November 25, 2008

Ocamb, Karen. 2000. Trevor Project Fundraiser Brings Out the Stars. Lesbian News; Jan 2000, Vol. 25 Issue 6, p19, 1/3p, 1 bw.

Savin-Williams, Ritch C. and Ream, Geoffrey L. (2006). “Homosexuality Is Not a Risk Factor in Teen Suicide”. Problems with Death. David A. Becker and Cynthia S. Becker, Ed. Thomson Gale: NY.

Simon, Stephanie. 2006. “Ex-Gays’ Seek a Say in Schools” Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2006, Section A-1.

Torres, Ciara. 2000. “Stopping Gay Teen Suicide”

The Trevor Project. 2008. Education.

Trounson, Rebecca. 2007. “3 from ex-gay group are sorry” Los Angeles Times, June 28, 2007, Section B-4.

- - . 2006. “Support for Gay, Lesbian Teens." Harvard Reviews of Health News. Harvard Health Publications Group, 2006. NA. Academic OneFile. Gale. Roosevelt University Library. 4 Nov. 2008

Wooten, Amy. 2008 “Gay high school planned”. Windy City Times. 2008-09-03.

You are invited to join the Group:

John M. Enlow
found on Facebook

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Sexual Continuum by Brian Mustanski, Ph.D.

(A video clip, click on the title)

By Brian Mustanski, Ph.D. on January 26, 2009 in 
The Sexual Continuum

Discussing all things related to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) health and development: from the biology of sexual orientation to talking to your family about sexuality to the pros and cons of the Internet in our romantic lives.

Brian Mustanski, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He received his doctorate in Psychology from Indiana University, where he trained extensively at the Kinsey Institute. He has been the recipient of multiple federal and foundation research and training awards, including being named a William T. Grant Foundation Scholar. Dr. Mustanski's research focuses on understanding the development of sexual orientation and eliminated health disparities faced by LGBT people. In 2005, he co-authored the first genome scan of male sexual orientation, which received international attention. The majority of his current research focuses on the health and development of LGBT youth. Dr. Mustanski is currently conducting one of the first longitudinal studies of LGBT adolescents in order to more fully understand the development of sexual orientation and identify factors that promote resilience. In addition, he conducts applied research on HIV prevention among young men who have sex with men (MSM). He is the PI of an NIMH-funded study to develop and test an online HIV prevention program for young MSM. Dr. Mustanski is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with a focus on the treatment of sexual and relationship problems.

The above can be found on 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Listening Parents Network -- Fortunate Families

Catholic Families with Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sons
January 22, 2009                     Contact: Jerry Furlong
 402-895-6386 or
Rochester, NY: Catholic parents struggling with the knowledge their daughter or son is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender have a new place to turn for support. Fortunate Families, Inc., a national ministry for Catholic parents of LGBT children, announced a new “Listening Parents Network premiering in late January 2009. This network is designed to lend an “understanding, compassionate and non-judgmental ear to parents who may be struggling with their child’s orientation,” said Fortunate Families President Mary Ellen Lopata.

Fortunate Families’ listeners are Catholic parents of LGBT children themselves. They have volunteered to field the phone calls or e-mail messages of other parents who find they “just need someone to talk to,” according to Lopata. “Our listeners know something about the way these parents feel,” she said. “They’ve experienced the fear, confusion and doubts themselves. They know the importance of talking with someone who can personally relate to what they’re going through. Many of our listeners, in fact, first found hope and help themselves by talking with other parents.” The names, locations and information about the volunteer listeners, and how to contact them, can be found on Fortunate Families website

The listening parents are not professional counselors and cannot give professional advice of any kind, Lopata said. They will, however, be provided resource and training materials to help with their contacts. “The real treasure of knowledge our listening parents hold,” Lopata emphasized, “is their own personal experience.” Fortunate Families was founded in 2004 by Mary Ellen and Casey Lopata, Catholic parents of a gay son.

Mary Ellen & Casey Lopata
PO Box 18082
Rochester, NY 14618-0082

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

'Tis the gift to be free

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free

'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be

And when we find ourselves in the place just right

'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained

To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed
To turn, turn will be our delight

'Till by turning, turning we come round right

Simple gifts (Shaker song)

OBAMA: My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it)."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Musicians Performing at the Inauguration of President Barack Obama
Yo-Yo Ma, on cello Itzhak Perlman, on violin Gabriela Montero, on piano Anthony McGill, on clarinet performing a new work by John Williams, "Air and Simple Gifts."
"My Country 'Tis of Thee"

The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery

at the end of the swearing-in ceremony atthe U.S. Capitol in Washington
The ending part of the benediction of the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery.
For full text: The Associated Press

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of incl
usion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together as children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leav
e us alone.

With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for t
hat day
when black will not be asked to get in back,
when brown can stick around ...
when yellow will be mellow ...
when the red man can get ahead, man; and
when white will embrace what is right.

That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

Watch on C-Span - Rev. Joseph E. Lowery