Monday, January 30, 2012

Eric Jame Borges - A Truly Tragic Story

The following video was made by Eric James Borges - some time before he committed suicide. Note that even though this is an "It's Gets Better" Video there is no real happiness in his voice - simply because all happiness has been beaten out of him.

His parents tormented him as well as his classmates: after they tried an unsuccessful "exorcism" on him they then kicked him out of the house "In The Name Of God."

He worked for the Trevor Project and was a budding filmmaker. He will be missed.

Enough said.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

But Is It Genuine?

This video of a youth as a poetic rap tirade against organized religion is both provocative and disturbing - considering the source. At first glance, its protagonist, 22-year-old Jeff Benthke, has the right stance and attitude: organized religion is something Jesus would have frowned upon.

But something's not quite right. He comes from Mars Hill Church, home of the virulently homophobic pastor, Mark Driscoll. Upon viewing it a second time, I have the distinct, creepy feeling that Benthke is hiding a sledge hammer behind his back, ready to bash the viewers if we get too close.

It's frightening. He seems so sincere and truthful. And spot on.


The Bludgeoning Of Cats: The South's Right Wing Politics Has Never Left Us. But What's Good For Gingrich, Is Bad For The Rest Of Us.

Dad and his chums caught Crip's old black tomcat, killed it, skinned it, and cooked it in the kitchen of one of Dad's little restaurants. They called it squirrel meat and delivered it to Crip on a linen-covered tray. When Crip returned to work the next morning, Dad and his co-conspirators asked him how he liked his meal. They knew he would complain even about a free home-cooked lunch, and when Crip called it "the toughest squirrel meat" he had ever eaten, they were glad to tell him why.
The Rev. Jerry Falwell always prefaced this story about his father by saying that his father's "pranks bordered on cruelty."

The old white southern mindset is perhaps best portrayed with those words: "pranks" and "bordered." That mindset is a condition that still persists today - maybe in an even more virulent form:
An Arkansas campaign manager says he came home Sunday and found his family’s cat fatally bludgeoned on his front steps - with the word “liberal” scrawled across its side.
Though Burris says has no idea who'd want to target him and his family, he cited the popularity of conservative talk radio and the rise of conspiracy theories about President Obama as potential motivating factors.
"This is in no way representative of the community, but there is a strain of folks who just don't really live in reality."


We have an African-American as President. Marriage equality is on the books in six states and promises to be in others. Government deregulation of our financial institutions led to a depression. The Iraq war was not based on hidden weapons of mass destruction. "Prophetess" Cindy Jacobs did not "cure" a woman of her hysterectomy. The Girl Scouts of America do not fund Planned Parenthood.

And The South still has an identity problem after 140 years.

And Newt Gingrich will benefit from that identity problem. For the reasons for Gingrich's win in South Carolina may be the same reasons given by a commenter on US MessageBoard:

1. South Carolina is the is the hotbed of Evangelicals and KKK.
2. The other favorite of bigoted morons Perry dropped out and endorsed Newt.*

And let's face it, Gingrich's comment about Obama being a "food stamp President" resonated with too many people mired in old prejudices. It's a comment that he has yet to rescind in any way. And if many voters in the South have any sway with Gingrich, he probably never will.

The violence that has surrounded Southern Politics for these last 140 years may be old and hackneyed, but it still exists in horrific splendor to anyone who will listen to its history of lynchings and mayhem. The Southern Poverty law Center lists 989 hate groups among the 48 contiguous states, with 433 of the in 12 Southern states.** The state with the highest number - not surprisingly - is Texas (59). The correlation between the high number of executions in the state and its number of hate groups presents a chilling mindset.

And another chilling thought: will there be more cat-killing to come during this election year?

Or will there be ... worse?

*I should point out that the thread of that subject was quite interesting with people arguing that SC was not a hate state, while some others posted Klan and N*zi rallies posted on YouTube.

** With a per capita average making the Southern states 4 times higher than the rest of the country.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

These Are Not Nice People! Cat Bludgeoned to Death With "Liberal" Scrawled Across It's Body

I won't publish the full pic because it is too upsetting. 

A campaign manager for an Arkansas state congressional candidate came home to find his housecat brutally bludgeoned to death with the word "Liberal" scrawled across its body. 

According to a statement from Democratic congressional candidate Ken Aden's campaign, Jacob Burris’ cat had been hit so violently that one of its eyeballs "was barely hanging from its socket."
The incident shook Burris, who expressed concerns about the safety of his children.
The abject violence and hatred of the Right should stop right now. But it won't. Feeding on the fears and hatred of the semi-literate (at least the perpetrator spelled "liberal" right) won't stop. Perhaps the only way to quell the violence a bit is to publicize it, making certain that everyone knows how vicious these people really are. 

Sorry, but this is just too upsetting.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Occupy Mega-Church, Pt 1: Rich on Pastors, Poor on Benevolence

Did you know that only 13% of mega church income goes towards "missions and benevolence"?? Charming.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sacred Cows Make The Best Hamburgers

It's time.

I just renewed my copyright on the title, Sacred Cows Make The Best Hamburgers. The Christian Right will never be the same.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's all about CONTROL

After years of writing about the wrongs the Right (esp. the Christian Right) has done to humanity, I've come to the conclusion: it's all about control. You have to be able to control people in order to have any power over them. Progressives are not fighting for control, but fighting against it. The freedom to be human means not being controlled. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What's in YOUR Sainthood?

While currently writing an article about Mother Theresa, it occurred to me that "sainthood" means different things to different people. The Vatican has a process and it requires a number of miracles performed in  the name of the saint. but guess what - some saints have been "fast tracked" and other have histories that you would not consider seemly for sainthood. 

Add to the fact that the Christian Right HATED Mother Theresa and LOATHED Princess Diana for the good works they did. They consider them a plot by :THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN" (demonic, of course) to carry out Satan's bidding. 

Oh, and they think the QUEEN reside on Mount Everest.  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Prophesying On This Crazy, Vicious, And Stupid Election Year: What To Expect In Religion, Politics and The Country's Top 21 CR Wingnuts!


But Rick Santorum IS running as the "Jesus Candidate". 

There are approximately 295 days left of this election year and the batsh*ttery has only begun to take place. It's going to be a free-for-all of Dominionism, self-righteousness, mud-slinging, blatant bigotry, homophobia, anti-Catholicism, anti-Mormonism, with a slew of fake miracles thrown in for good measure.

The reason? The zealotry of today's "Social Conservatives" (Christian Right or CR) knows no bounds. In a time when separation of Church and State may be needed more than ever, they are furiously trying to break down the wall and establish itself as the only religious authority in America. And while the panoply of Right Wingnuts is not without its secular side,* the economy, jobs, immigration, the environment and foreign policy may end up taking back seats to social issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and All American Muslim. "To hell with immigration, what about homosexual indoctrination in schools disguised as anti-bullying programs?" "Why talk about war with Iran, when we have sharia law creeping up on us throughout the country?"

They know their power, but they also know that power must be unified: last Friday (Jan. 13 - an ominous date to be sure) some 150 leaders met in Brenham, Texas to discuss just that. The  luminaries included Tony Perkins (Family Reasearch Council), James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Don Wildmon (American Family Association) and Gary Bauer (American Values).  It was initially suspected that this gathering would decide which presidential GOP candidate they should completely support and which ones they should "request" to step down. The results: Santorum is the one. But wait! They've asked neither Gingrich nor Perry to step down! A closer look at the players in this game reveals that not all of the Christian Right are willing to back Santorum unconditionally. Big players like Jim Garlow (see below) are still backing Gingrich. Who's backing Perry? Bryan Fischer (shudder).

Onward CR Soldier

Today, when it comes to religio-political strategies it's safe to say that fortitude is the name of the game: no matter what South Carolina** brings, everyone has to forge through Super Tuesday and beyond. Schemes have to be laid and ads have to be placed so that issues are kept fresh in the minds of the voters all the way up to the election, no matter who wins the nomination. The primary war strategy is to "get Obama at all costs" while the secondary strategy is to "vote with 'Christian' values." 

Fortitude. Determination. Ruthlessness. Viciousness. Self-Righteousness. Craziness. Stupidity. They'll all build exponentially, because on top of everything else there are the statewide and local issues at stake: some states have propositions for same-sex marriage, while others have more immigration regulations, repeals of "liberal" laws, and recalls of judges and politicians.

It will be a wonder that anyone is left standing after Nov. 6. And for those of us who will be, we'll need to pinch ourselves to make sure it wasn't a a bizarre dream.

The Top Twenty-one

In the realm of the Christian Right, there are more wingnuts than there are stars in the heavens, so I've tried to whittle the count down to a few who we will be seeing throughout the rest of this ungodly season. 

David Barton. David Barton will keep steamrolling through history and twisting Thomas Jefferson into a Gordian Knot. In his book, The Jefferson Lies, Barton tries to posit an evangelical Jefferson - a fact which in itself is a lie. In a sense, Barton has been given the scepter of King Of The Dominionists. And for good reason: not only does he continue to bear false witness against the likes ot Thomas Jefferson et al, but he drones on and on about how America MUST be a Christian nation. Actually, the impetus of his thought leads to: Christian ONLY nation. Although he has neither a degree in history, nor one in theology or a masters of divinity, he now dictates which aspects of American life are biblical or non-biblical.

The unfortunate thing about Barton is that people actual eat up his hubris, making the liar that much more of a celebrity. Trust Barton to weigh in on every candidate. This year, he will analyze our political process every biblical step of the way... with any amount of (fake) authority he can muster.

Gary Bauer. Possibly the oldest and most experienced in the religio-political scene, Bauer, like Pat Robertson, ran for President. Unlike Robertson, he is not senile nor is he prone to make outrageous statements concerning Haiti. He is endorsing Rick Santorum whom he hopes will be able to unify the Christian Right.
“It’s going to be a particularly bitter, nasty general election. That’s what the White House is signaling with the class warfare rhetoric,” Mr. Bauer said in an interview Saturday. “In an election like that, you want the base of your party to be on fire for the candidate.”
"On fire" for a sweater vest? Bauer postulates that Santorum can identify with working and middle classes.
It remains to be seen as to whether or not the working and middle classes will feel comfortable with such righteousness. Warning to Bauer: Santorum's income and lifestyle is far from middle class.

Glen Beck. Yes, Beck's still around. He's cocooned in Texas, to be sure, safe and secure amongst the Rick Perrys and Robert Jeffresses and swinging without a care in a hammock made of money. Or in bed with one of his numerous injuries. From all appearances, however, he took most of his viewers/listeners with him: his GBTV venture employs over 100 people and rakes in approx. $20 million. Two new shows are scheduled for Jan. 18th (wonder why?). Beck boasts that his media empire will become larger than Oprah's. He may well be following in Oprah's footsteps, since his waistline seems to be expanding along with it.

So Beck is not to be discounted this election year: his FOX die-hards still number in the millions and his franchises ("news" website The Blaze, and a number of books) still hold sway in the political scene. His interview with Gingrich, while respectful, was searching enough to put Gingrich on the defense. With Bachmann out of the running (he endorsed her), whither will Beck fly? The endorsement may go grudgingly to Gingrich.

Ann Coulter. If Ann Coulter becomes another mascot to an organization (just as she did to GoProud), she'll start getting free hay from equine societies everywhere. In order to schedule her diatribes, just find out when her next book is coming out and she'll be on the talk show circuit telling everyone how much she loves herself.

As far as religion is concerned, the best comment so far, comes from the inimitable Betty Bowers (Landover Baptist Church - a parody) and her review of Ann Coulter's Godless, The Church of Liberalism in America:
Let's be honest: Reading a book about religion from Ann Coulter is tantamount to reading a book about dieting from Michael Moore. After all, who wants to be lectured about not being Christian enough by an almost-50 year-old boozehound in a black leather miniskirt who has never been married? Count me as having a healthy skepticism over whether Miss Coulter has saved herself for marriage.
Coulter(geist) will no doubt back Romney, but not without getting in a few digs about his Mormonism, expounding on the talk show circuit as to whether or not he wears magic underpants.

The Duggars. The classical composer Johan Sebastian Bach had thirteen children. And from all accounts, they were all very talented in music. The Duggar family has nineteen children, and they all play musical instruments. Perhaps they're trying to outdo Bach, but the only real talent they have is for promoting "purity" in the face of unbridled baby-making. Adherents of the The Quiver-Full movement (God wants you to have as many kids as possible), they are a peon to family values and to The Sound of Music.

They have used their reality show persona to endorse Rick Santorum. BFD you say? Unfortunately, to the die-hard "family values" crowd, it is. And there are plenty of those around to make trouble. Just ask Tony Perkins. Look for them at churches and shopping malls everywhere.

Lou Engle. If Lou Engle doesn't support Newt Gingrich, there may be some bad blood between them in the future. After all, Engle laid hands on and blessed Gingrich publicly and Gingrich gave whole-hearted support to Engle's The Call. And the matter may not hinge on gay rights so much as how anti-Islam Gingrich is. Engle will do anything to see that Muslims are persecuted (oops, I mean converted) as much as possible.

 From Truth Wins Out:
Although Engle may sound delusional, he has many followers and people must pay attention to what he is preaching. He believes what he says and so do his cult-like minions.”
It's a boon to Gingrich that Engle doesn't believe Deuteronomy 22:22.

Bryan Fischer. The professional hate monger who is nonetheless equitable in his radio broadcasts - he hates everyone - will keep on heaping his disdain on Obama, gays, single black women, Native Americans and people who don't pay their county fire protection assessment fee.* He will be a good monitor, however, in finding out just how far right politicians will lean: if they're on his show, they will no doubt feel free to exercise their right of free speech by appearing to be as wingnutty as possible (as Huckabee did with the "birther issue"). For Fischer's choice, however, it's Rick Perry, because Santorum has a weak "infrastrusture" and Gingrich:
Newt Gingrich is fatally flawed and bleeding from too many self-inflicted wounds, including morphing into Michael Moore in his attacks on free enterprise.
So when Perry eventually withdraws from the race, there will be a great gnashing of teeth and rending of garments in Fischer's studio.

Jim Garlow. Garlow penned an extremely long and involved letter on why he is endorsing Newt Gingrich. The upshot is, of course, that Gingrich, it seems, is the one to play the strongest hand in regaining "religious freedom." By that, of course, Garlow means religious authority. Garlow looks upon himself as a pragmatic religious politico by noting that if Romney wins the nomination, he will support Romney - with reservations. It seems that Romney's flip-flopping on major issues makes him somewhat untrustworthy. Garlow's merely playing on the suspicions of the rest of the country, which makes Garlow himself seem worthy of suspicion.

Jim Garlow has been a guiding light to all things religio-political: he walks hand-in-hand with Alliance Defense Fund and it's "Pulpit Initiative", daring pastors to endorse candidates and risk losing their tax-exempt status.

Look to Garlow to follow the campaign trails all the way to November. His steadfastness and consistency regarding social issues will certainly do more to bolster the cause of Dominionism than anything else.

Newt Gingrich.  As of Jan. 12th , Gingrich has received an endorsement from Tim LaHaye, the "Rapture Man" (Left Behind series). While the current scene has Gingrich battling Romney with attack ads, the real battle may be between Gingrich and Santorum in trying to garner support from people like LaHaye. Santorum may have the Duggars, but Gingrich is hot on his heels after all of his (Gingrich's) mea culpas regarding his personal affairs. Concerning South Carolina, Gingrich describes him self as a "Georgia Reagan conservative," but Reagan didn't pander to the CR that much simply because, at the time, it wasn't considered a voting block. 

Gingrich was a busy boy that same day because he joined a conference call with Pastor Jim Garlow (see above), Tim Wildmon (American Family Association) and George Barna (Christian Right pollster). During the call, Gingrich took up the familiar (but fictional) rallying cry of church groups losing funding because of perceived "hate crimes" (e.g. refusing to allow same-sex couple adopt).

The Gingrich camp is also exhibiting an enormous amount of chutzpah (or stupidity) since Matt Staver (co-chair of Gingrich's Faith Leader's Coalition) has announced that he will moderate a presidential candidate forum in Florida 3 days before the Florida Primary. So who besides Gingrich will show up?

Franklin Graham. The hard-core evangelist, Franklin Graham, forges into politics in a less ballsy way than most of today's CR wingnuts, but make no mistake: the neighbor of Sarah Palin and friend of Donald Trump knows that his endorsement carries weight.  

Which is why a number of evangelicals are very angry at Graham: by endorsing Romney, he has put a huge dent into the CR's attempt at unification against Romney and his Mormonism. "He's not running for Pastor-in-Chief" came as a shock to people who viewed Graham as fringe Right and excessive in his hard line stances against abortion and homosexuality, therefore against a "cult" like Mormonism. It was as if Graham patched up the wall of separation between church and state. 

It just might be that Franklin Graham is laughing his ass off. 

Linda Harvey.Every day, Linda Harvey gets to look more like Leona Helmsley and gets to sound like, well, Linda Harvey. She is so far out there as homophobes go, that the only parties she goes to are ones hosted by Bryan Fischer. He must be her only friend.

Harvey (founder of Mission America and host of a radio talk show) is so virulently homophobic that she warns parents against gay doctors and other health care workers:
"...Select your pediatrician very carefully... you may want to consider writing a letter that you file with your pediatrician that should your child ever be hospitalized, you do not want your child to be treated or cared for by one of these members of the Children’s Hospital gay employees group except in the case of an emergency situation."
Harvey has even gone so far as to say that gays do not really exist - only the "lifestyle" does. And, like Fischer, she has compared homosexuals to Naz*s. As inferred by her website, Harvey takes her political stances from Tony Perkins and The Family Research Council, so she is pro-Santorum and Perry, luke-warm on Gingrich and definitely against Paul and Romney. Look for her to be telling everyone who to vote for according to how homophobic he is.

"Bishop" Harry Jackson. "Gays and liberal Christians are enemies of God and deserve to be struck down."

Jackson seems to anticipate violence., which is natural, since he resembles a vanguard in the black separatist movement.: his concentration on African Americans as "spiritually superior" beings has garnered the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center in a special Intelligence Report. Jackson is also an avowed anti-Catholic, who believes that the "Queen of Heaven" is a satanic force bringing about demonic perversions such as gay rights. It isn't confirmed if Jackson has agreed with evangelicals to support Rick Santorum. Then again, it isn't confirmed that Santorum would denounce the Virgin Mary.

Cindy Jacobs. What can't be said about Cindy "Japan-is-shaped-like-a dragon" Jacobs? Every time she speaks, Pentecostals shiver in mortification and when she is (almost) lucid, she spouts stories of miracles she has performed, but conveniently forgotten to document. It's amazing that the woman gets away with such flat-out fakery. She proves, however, that some people will believe anything if it is said as "prophecy."

Jacobs' fear-mongering is as ferocious as her wardrobe:
Do not be intimidated by these attacks and you will win. The church will find her voice. The liberal media will particularly come against those who are pro-life and pro-biblical defense of marriage. Hate crimes will be tolerated and called acts of justice.

Along with Lou Engle, her rhetoric is so militaristic and violent that it is hard to dismiss. The fact that no overt violence has been attributed to her public utterances merely means that while she appears stupid in almost every regard, she's very savvy about covering her ass. Some day, however...

Robert Jeffress. It doesn't matter how many good deeds you do, if you don't follow Robert Jeffress' take on grace, you'll go to hell. He's also stated that the First Amendment will invite the wrath of God:
Although our Constitution grants every citizen the right to worship or not worship any god he chooses, that right in no way changes God’s attitude toward idolatry. God does not change. Any nation that chooses to publicly renounce the true God in order to embrace and elevate other gods is going to face God’s judgment. That is what the Word of God says. 
Of course, since Jeffress called Mormonism a "cult" it is not surprising that he thinks we ought to do away with other religions in the country altogether. His is probably the most forthright stance for the "convert or die" movement spurred on by Reconstructionism.   

Rick Joyner. This man rose to prominence when he declared that he had be taken to heaven by Jesus and saw all the apostles in weird positions. He couldn't name them (or any of the positions either). Be that as it may, his MorningStar Ministries wound up purchasing part of the ailing Heritage U.S.A. Christian theme park (with a baptismal water slide!) from Jerry Falwell after the disgrace and indictment of Jim Bakker, the original builder. Problems with the park have lingered on and the latest information has Joyner's ministry struggling to develop it in the face of neighborhood opposition.

Joyner's more newsworthy pronouncements include: the prophecy that the Japan earthquake would unleash demonic naz*sm in America. Among his other achievements, Joyner was also appointed a Knight of Malta, an organization so mysterious and convoluted in its history that only he could see the advantage of it.

Tony Perkins. The head of the Family Research Council may propose that the CR consider forming a third party, and if Santorum pulls out, Perkins might just take up the gauntlet by insisting that Santorum be the one to show its power. I hear a loud collective "WTF?" Why? Disappointment and division have always been the enemies of the CR during election years. Unification - even behind a third-party-couldn't-possibly-win candidate - would show the rest of the country who's boss and reiterating to the GOP just how much it needs the CR vote. Of course, this reasoning may be weak, but the righteous arrogance of the CR is not to be underestimated.

Perkins' big push of late has been to keep the "acceptance" of homosexuality at bay in the nations' classrooms by seeing that anti-bullying bills are really pro-bullying bills (for religious reasons, of course). Perkins must absolutely adore Santorum! And I wouldn't I wouldn't put it past him to put a burning cross on Dan Savage's front lawn.

Janet Porter. Janet Porter is a "heartbeat" away from getting her own way in some states: her crusade against abortion and the theory that human life begins once a "heartbeat" is discovered has gained ground in some states. Eschewing other social issues (like gay rights), Porter has been successful in pushing her blatantly Dominionist agenda through. She has a problem with being labeled a Dominionist, though, because VCY media dropped her program, labeling it "Dominionist." She actually has called for the overthrow of the government (in front of the Lincoln Memorial no less). She has also called Obama a Soviet Agent.

Porter claims she is not a theocrat. Right. Her calls to prayer will become more frequent and frantic as the election approaches. She is a known adversary of Romney, so if Mitt wins the nomination, watch her go into a frantic mode, barreling through state houses of Congress with ultrasound equipment and pregnant women.

Ralph Reed. Mr. "body bag" Reed* has toned down his rhetoric and opted to put all of his efforts behind his organization Faith and Freedom Coalition. He all-but-endorsed Romney in his last statements about South Carolina. Reed's probably the most practical one of the Christian Right (besides giving Rick Warren a run for his money in the secret/sinister department) and all he sees is the defeat of Obama. FFC can certainly bide its time until that day comes, then...

Pat Robertson. Although Robertson's political swan song occurred many years ago, it seems he will never give up the title of chief moralizing moron. Trust him to make pronouncements (from his "talks" with God, of course) that will be tactless and totally out-of-whack with reality. Perhaps his only real power lies in the over 150 legal eagles (more like vultures - courtesy of Robertson's Regent University Law School) he planted in government during the Bush administration. He's also dangerous in that he can distract the country from the real hard core religionists trying to gain ground.

Rick Santorum. It is well known that if anything puts the kibosh on Santorum's campaign, it's his own self-righteousness. But one thing's for sure: his campaign won't be over until the Christian Right says it's over. Even  defeat in some primaries won't loosen the stranglehold they have on him. As I said above, he may consider some states too important to quit, certainly before Super Tuesday. But even if he does, you can be sure that he will remain in the news throughout the entire election process/period. His endorsement of Perry or Gingrich will certainly have some weight. Which brings to mind: will Santorum make like Bob Vander Plaats and charge "promotional fees" for the endorsement?

C. Peter Wagner. Wagner likes smashing up things - like Native American religious symbols and artifacts. Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation will prove to be a detriment to Santorum's campaign simply because of the NAR's extreme anti-Catholicism stance (the Virgin Mary is a "demonic idol"). Cindy Jacobs is an "apostle" and the whole thing smells of lunatic fringe. But make no mistake, their rhetoric can harm people and they hate Obama enough that they might just set aside their anti-Catholic feelings to push through ANYONE who is a "Jesus" candidate.

The Chaotic Hilarity Of It All.

So in the next ten months we'll be feted and excoriated by a fractious group of people who tell us that the country will go immediately to hell if Obama is re-elected. They will tout disasters as warnings. They will hold prayer rallies in front of Capitol buildings and in front of mosques. They will bombard the airwaves with attack ads littered with dubious (or totally fake) research. They will constantly vilify Obama while insisting that there is no such thing as separation of Church and state. They will fill their events with imprecatory prayers (e.g. praying for failure or outright destruction of Obama's programs and even Obama himself). They will caucus endlessly in attempts at unification. They will resort to fictional miracles. They will keep on having children to underscore pro-life advocacy. They will invoke the Creator millions of times and debate as to whom God really called him to lead

Considering the vitriol and rancor these wingnuts have against Obama, liberals, gays, Muslims, and everyone not in tune with their theologies, it a wonder we can look at them and not be extremely fearful ...through our laughter.

But laugh we must.

I am mindful of the time I served as a client intake volunteer for the AIDS Emergency Fund (during the worst years of the epidemic). One very ill client I encountered was the most jovial young man, so much so that I asked him why he was joking so much about everything. "I have a group of friends who have AIDS,"he answered" and we've all agreed that if we can't laugh at this sh*t we might as well be dead!"

Also, like Mark Twain said,

 "Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand."

*Ron Paul has some problems which border on the ludicrous, like not getting his stories straight about his newsletters. Mitt Romney's "Bain" problem promises to produce some comedy as well.
** Poor South Carolina: the pressure and mayhem in the coming weeks would make anyone want to move out of the state. Added to which Rick Perry's prayer rally, The Response, is actually playing again in SC just two days before the primary.
*** As a description of his political tactics, Reed once said "You don't know it's over until you're in the body bag. You don't know until election night." Reed has since then tried to tone down this image.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Viva Pelosi!!

The Advocate just came out with a beautiful portrait of Nancy Pelosi and it's definitely worth reading. 

The best part of the interview is comprised of only two sentences, however - her take on GoProud:

"Oh, but what about them?" she snaps. "He chooses a party that supports his values. They've chosen a party that supports their income — a party that denigrates them and treats them with disrespect.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stroll Discovery - Pigeon Shit Aside

While still recovering from my sinus infection (now hacking only during mornings and evenings), I decided to make another stroll through Lake Merced.

There's a monumental statue off the side of the road: a monument to Juan Bautista De Anza, donated  by the citizens of Sonora, Mexico. As bronze statues go, it's fairly mundane and the only truly beautiful thing about it is the horse. It (the statue) didn't have much in the way of bird droppings, so I decided to look De Anza up, thinking that he was a nasty enough character that even the birds didn't deign to shit on him. 

It turns out I was he was a trifle wrong: it seems that he was an explorer trying to find workable land routes to Alta California, and although he took three padres on his expeditions, there are no findings of the forced conversions normal for the time. The statue's plaque, however, incorrectly listed him as the "founder" of San Francisco when  in fact, he never made an establishment here, that being the job of Moraga.

I wonder if De Anza appreciates the setting: on one side busy highway and on the other side,  a lake with gorgeous sunsets.

Not bad.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tennessee Gets The Call: Slouching Towards Africa, The Lou Engle-Honored State Proudly Touts The Right To Bully

Over four year ago, the state of Tennessee made a proclamation raising "prophet" Lou Engle to genuine religious icon status:
On April 9th, 2007 the One Hundred Fifth General Assembly of the State of Tennessee and the House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing and blessing TheCall and Lou Engle, passed by the Tennessee state legislature.
A resolution is a deeper legislative act than a "proclamation". A resolution carries more weight of authority, and goes through a more complicated legal process before passing.
And now, Tennessee - the state that never got over the Scopes trial* - is emulating Engle's work in Africa by pushing a bill that would definitely make it OK to bully gays in schools - for religious purposes, of course.

Harassment, intimidation, or bullying prevention task forces, programs, and other initiatives formed by school districts, including any curriculum adopted for such purposes, shall not include materials or training that explicitly or implicitly promote a political agenda, make the characteristics of the victim the focus rather than the conduct of the person engaged in harassment, intimidation, or bullying, or teach or suggest that certain beliefs or viewpoints are discriminatory when an act or practice based on such belief or viewpoint is not a discriminatory practice as defined in 4-21-102(4).

Last July, Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a measure that prohibits local districts from passing and enforcing any anti-discrimination laws stricter than the ones set down by the state of Tennessee (hint: the state doesn't have any real anti-discrimination laws). The state legislature also created a firestorm in prohibiting educators from discussing homosexuality in schools with the infamous "Don't Say Gay" bill (see video below).

Tennessee has been known for years to house anti-gay hate-mongers ala Fred Phelps, people like Glynis Bethel who pepper-sprayed a woman who protested her anti-gay preaching, then pepper-sprayed the police who took her into custody. And the country made note of the gay bashing attacked instigated by one young man's own preacher father. But the latest attempt by the Tennessee legislature to allow anti-gay bullying is considered a step back in time and culture. Or in a lock-step with the likes of Uganda.

Too Close To Home

But while leaders of the anti-gay movement in Uganda were spurred on by the likes of Lou Engle and The Call (his ministry), the efforts of Engle and his followers in the U.S. have garnered attention mainly for their anti-Muslim attacks, side-lining their influence in local governments like the counties of Tennessee on issues of anti-gay discrimination.

So just who is supporting the bill?

FACT (?)

The leading proponent of the bill is the Family Action Council of Tennessee, a social conservative group linked to Focus On The Family and to the virulently anti-gay Family Research Council. And the leader of FACT is former Republican state senator, David Fowler who now admits that he has helped create a firestorm, but seems to be rather proud of it: In an interview, Fowler said, "the purpose is to stop bullying, not create special classes of people who are more important than others."

In the past, the denial of Fowler and FACT concerning anti-gay bullying in the suicide of teen Jacob Rogers demonstrated how uncompromising in its attitude towards teen sexual identity many people in Tennessee are:
The Nashville Scene reported that, according to FACT, Rogers' suicide was a result of "the rotten fruit of the all-about-me individualist culture that comes when we deny the existence of God and his image in us."
But for some people, the way to stop bullying is to yank the kids of FACT's families out of school: "You're going to hell" is a common bullying tactic too often heard by gay teens across the country and it is this particular tactic that FACT wants to preserve.

Because Tennessee has over 35 designated hate groups in the state, it ranks as one of the most serious outposts of hate in the country per capita.**

FACT will definitely make the total 36.

*Rhea county, where the Scopes Trial was held, celebrates Scopes' conviction annually. It is also the county that tried to get the state to pass a resolution allowing it to criminalize homosexuality.
**According to the Southern Poverty Law Center. There are 9 KKK affiliates in the state.

And finally, the rhetoric of Lou Engle:

If we’re struggling with a homosexual, same-sex desire, LET THE BIBLE KILL YOU, rather than make it easier for you, and say well, there must be a better scriptural answer to this …

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Tale of the Beautiful Big Brother

Just read this one. But makes you stop and think about what the father is going to do when those kids get home. I shudder to think!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Serenity Amidst Chaos: Keeping It Alive.

That's what we all strive for, I guess.

I took a stroll around Lake Merced - for the first time since I've moved here. I set aside the thoughts of the day: Rick Santorum's win in Iowa, Cindy Jacobs' fake miracles, the unabashed righteous arrogance of the Christian Right, the political circus yet to come. 

The good and the bad of living in SF's Park Merced: it's remoteness. Cabs won't come here. MUNI's M line is the pits and really the only thing out here transit-wise. Some long time residents of SF don't even know where it is. They think it's in Oakland. But the serenity of Lake Merced is awesome and exactly a twenty-two minute walk from my apartment. 

Even though I fought too hard to keep my apartment here, there are times that I wonder: why? 

Thank God for my stroll. 

Shopping For Toilet Paper

Scheduling. Life is all about scheduling. Structure. Where do I fit in writing about prophetess Cindy Jacobs and shopping for toilet paper? Of course, separating the two is the hard part. 

Yeah, it's all about scheduling. Sometimes passion interferes: I get started on something at 10pm, then don't finish 'til 3am. which screws up the next morning. 

Scheduling. Cycling. Groove. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Life Begins on January 3rd

For me, at least.

The Holidays were good. Better than could be expected, in fact: I didn't spend them in a 12'x12' SRO on 6th Street which is where some people wanted me to be. I still have my cats, Katie Scarlett and Chloe Anastasia. I have sex occasionally - not as much as I want, but I'm working on my social skills. 

So what do I do now, after the Holidays? 

I live. No, I LIVE. I schedule. I write. I work out. I take my meds. I cook. I socialize. I become involved in people's lives. I try to help people. I work on my book. I look for writing gigs. I work on my 4x4 community garden plot. I read more facebook. I go to therapy. 

I make sure that all is well with my world. Well, as best as I can. 

Yes, life began today. 

It's all I've got. Its all I can give.