Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pray-Away-The-Gay And Ex-Gay Voodoo Get SHOKed By Rep. Jackie Spier ... And Sued by The SPLC

Is this the end of the Self-Loathing Industry?

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit today accusing a New Jersey organization of consumer fraud for offering conversion therapy services – a dangerous and discredited practice that claims to convert people from gay to straight.
I knew a man who, when he told his parents he was gay, his mother said "we'd rather be burying you today than hear this." For them he had already undergone shock treatments and intense psychological therapy. For them he had gotten married and had fathered five children. Yet he still could not deny who he was. 

He was honest with himself ... and lucky: he weathered the depression that comes with failure to change something innate.

The Self-Loathing Industry

Whether it's listed as legitimate "reparative therapy" or (more to-the-point) "pray away the gay" counseling, an attempt to "cure" a person's sexual orientation is part of an industry that is very real, very forceful, ... and very harmful. Like forcefully banging one's head repeatedly against a stone wall, it eventually results in damage that can be life-threatening. It can be fatal: attempts at suicide are common among people who undergo such therapy.

And yet there is irony in the damage: therapists often point to suicidal attempts as a "symptom" of being gay: the Family Research Council often cites depression as a part of homosexuality and that gays are "naturally" prone to depression because they know they are not right (with God). The Self-Loathing Industry promoted by "family values" groups can be self-sustaining, feeding upon the very depression it creates.

The kingpin of the Self-Loathing Industry is undoubtedly one Joseph Nicolosi, founder of NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality), while the wikipedia entry for Dr. Nicolosi has been considerably cleaned up in the last year, the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) has had some choice words for Nicolosi - "endlessly confrontational" - and roundly disputes NARTH's other "experts" and "researchers":

"In 1995, for example, NARTH featured Scott Lively, co-author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, at its annual conference. Lively’s book argues that the Nazi Party recruited gay men because of their inherent savagery and that gay men largely orchestrated the Holocaust — a claim roundly rejected by all reputable historians. NARTH has also promoted the work of Paul Cameron, who remains director of the Family Research Institute despite being ejected from the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association (ASA). The ASA declared, “Dr. Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism.”Nicolosi's patent blaming of homosexuality on parents ("Fathers, if you don't hug your sons, some other man will") has caused the APA to chastise him repeatedly and he has had some time keeping his APA membership as well as memberships in other professional organizations. Like Paul Cameron, his approach is often referred to as 'junk science.'"
And like junk food, junk science can be harmful - even violent: some "therapies" involve confrontational beating of objects representing both parents. Beating your mother, it seems, has therapeutic value. 

Preventing More Damage

While the Self-Loathing Industry has been around a long time (remember all those "self-help" books?*), it did not reach its zenith until the Christian Right settled on it as a means to "eradicate" homosexuality while claiming that its concern was for the homosexual. Organizations like NARTH and Exodus sprang up, clinics like Marcus Bachmann's suggested that there was a "cure" through prayer and "cured" couples were advertised in all media. The web of fraudulent claims, however, began to unravel when "ex-gay" poster boy John Paulk was discovered in a gay bar. Then Exodus admitted that homosexuality is not a "choice" and that there was no "cure." Compounded with reports of increased client depression, suicides and warnings from the APA, the stance of the Self-Loathing Industry became rocky.

Now lawmakers are stepping in to prevent kids from going into dangerous therapy, egged on by their unaccepting, desperate parents: California recently passed a law that no one under 18 may be subjected to reparative therapy. And now:

"In response to tragic examples of the harmful psychological abuse inflicted on young people through dangerous sexual orientation conversion practices, also known as reparative therapy to convert or “repair” an individual’s sexual orientation, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) will introduce the Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) resolution on Wednesday, November 28. At a 10:00 a.m. press conference, she will discuss the resolution and her efforts to investigate whether taxpayer funds have been used to reimburse therapists for this discredited and ineffective practice through the federal Medicaid or TRICARE healthcare programs."
Along with the ground-breaking lawsuit brought on by the SPLC (above), it appears as if the Self-Loathing Industry may be on its last legs. But appearances in cases of social acceptance can be deceiving: the Christian Right is putting its full weight against such legislation and cries from the pulpit will be heard for a long time.

The Battle For The Self Loathing Industry may have just begun. 

* The most classic response to self-help mania came from Calvin & Hobbes:

Calvin: "I'm writing a self-help book! There's a huge market for this stuff. First, you convince people there's something wrong with them. That's easy because advertising has already conditioned people to feel insecure about their height, their weight, looks, social status, sex appeal and so on.
Next, you convince them that the problem is not their fault. Finally, you convince them that with your expert advice they can conquer their problem.
Hobbes: Ingenious. What problem will you help people solve?
Calvin: Their addiction to self-help books! My book is called "Shut Up And Stop Whining: How To Do Something With Your Life Besides Think About Yourself." The trouble is...if my program works, I won't be able to write a sequel.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ex-Gay Therapy Gets Hit In The Pocketbook

I've long said that the way to fight hate groups is to bankrupt them and this news may be the forerunner to events leading tom the demise of ex-gay therapy:

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit today accusing a New Jersey organization of consumer fraud for offering conversion therapy services – a dangerous and discredited practice that claims to convert people from gay to straight.
It also names the total jerk Joseph Nicolosi and his "therapy" techniques.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Last Great Moral Hypocrisy Scandal Of The Year? Family Values Attorney Charged With Sexual Abuse And Production Of Child Pornography!

Checklist for moral hypocrisy:

  • Child Exploitation
  • Child Pornography
  • Drug Possession
  • Illegal Gun Possession
...And Promoting It Child Pornography On Craigslist

But on facebook, she listed the Bible as her favorite book, so all should be forgiven, OK?

"A New Hampshire attorney associated with an anti-gay group of "Christian" lawyers, is facing federal charges that she took a teenage girl to Canada and convinced her to engage in sexual activity and to let it be filmed."
Defending "Family Values" gets tougher with every hypocritical scandal: Lisa Biron, a prominent attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) was recently arrested by the FBI and charged with seven counts of child exploitation, transporting a child for illegal sexual conduct, possession of child pornography and production of child pornography. Witnesses have testified that she has also been in possession of ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine.

Guess the ADF is a bit embarrassed, huh?

Ah, but the Lisa Biron case gets even more embarrassing: she was previously charged with possession of child pornography and while waiting for trial, a gun was discovered in her apartment, prompting the judge to deny bail. She also allegedly sent a threatening text message to one of the witnesses.

Super embarrassed.
By a super sinner...
by a super hypocrite ...
and a super idiot: she advertised the child pornography on Craigslist. 

Whether or not she will be defended by the Alliance Defending Freedom remains to be seen, since she is pleading not guilty, but so far it seems as if the ADF wants to forget about her as quickly as possible: her profile and association with Alliance Defending Freedom has been expunged from its website.

Unfortunately, the ADF couldn't expunge everything about Lisa Biron: In Concord, she worked with the ADF in defending a Pentecostal church in its tax fight against the city , and in Manchester, NH, she served on the board of directors at Mount Zion Christian Schools.

On facebook, Biron also cited her favorite book: The Bible.

Hypocrisy At It Best

Not since the outing of Pastor Ted Haggard with a male prostitute (along with alleged possession of crystal meth) has the Christian Right suffered such a set-back in terms of demonstrating "family values." Although the year was laden with scandals and rotten rhetoric* this last jewel in the crown of hypocrisy shines brighter than most. And yet the Christian Right (let alone the Alliance Defending Freedom) has yet to respond sufficiently. The incident, like many others, is being swept under the proverbial moral rug. It may be up to the media to keep it in the public eye - a media that the Christian Right will be quick to blame as "left wind" in its dogged determination to reveal the truth: extreme hypocrisy exists within the realms of the Almighty Right.


The hypocrisy, of course, lies in the stance that the ADF (Founded by James Dobson and Focus on the Family) has taken in the culture wars: " keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system and advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family." In other words: the high moral road. As the Alliance Defense Fund, it was instrumental in litigating through the morass of appeals for California's Proposition 8 (unfortunately, doing a rather poor job on almost all counts). It was supposedly stocked with the best of Pat Robertson's Regent University School of Law. And it recently proffered advice to clerks in the sates of Maine, Maryland and Washington how to avoid issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples so as not to "violate their consciences."

After this latest situation, however, the ADF has a lot of 'splainin' to do.

It won't, of course.

* - After while introducing Primary Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Pastor Dennis Terry tells all of the "naysaying" liberals to "get out!" of the country.
 - Pastor Sean Harris told his congregation to "crack that wrist" of any four-year-old who showed homosexual tendencies.
 - Pastor Charles Worley tells his congregation the country should put homosexuals behind an "electrified fence" to die off.
- Bryan Fischer warned CNN viewers that gays were the founders of the Nazi Party.

Will There Be Salvation For The Executive Director Grinch Who Stole $2M Worth Of Toys ... From The Salvation Army?

Probably not, but subsequent donations vindicate toy makers' greed.
Thefts of Salvation Army kettles during the Christmas season have been rampant for years, but this inside job surely takes the cake for sheer Grinchieness:

"TORONTO – The former executive director of a Salvation Army facility has been charged in the alleged massive theft of thousands of toys and donations from the charity's Toronto warehouse.Staff Insp. Tony Riviere said Monday David Rennie, 51, is charged with theft, possession of stolen goods and breach of trust and will appear in court on Jan. 4.The Salvation Army announced the theft last week, saying up to 100,000 items worth about $2 million were allegedly stolen from the facility in Toronto's North End over nearly two years."

'Tis the season to give..and receive, or so David Rennie thought ... for almost two years. After a devastating disaster and fire hit the Salvation Army warehouse in Toronto, Rennie was hired as executive director to help clean up. Instead, he cleaned out: diverting over 100,000 toys, bikes, strollers and foodstuffs to another warehouse he rented. Over 146 pallets were discovered. Some bikes donated by the mayor of Toronto were discovered among the donations. He wasn't alone in this massive theft, and police are looking for further suspects. He turned himself in to police four days after he was fired and the theft made public.

Poor guy, he was probably just trying to get that ONE Christmas toy his kids were hollering for.

The city of Toronto has been in shock for the last 5 days, with people wondering how many children could have had much needed toys or strollers ...or food. It's the most Grinch-like theft to hit North America in decades. But while the city reeled, two toy makers sprang into action, donating more than $350,000 worth of toys:

"Within days of the theft being made public, several companies offered large donations to the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas toy drive. Spinmaster Toys donated $100,000, while Hasbro Canada pledged $250,000 in toys to CTV’s Toy Mountain, which collects toys that are then passed on to the Salvation Army."
Is There No Soul Left In Christmas?

The massive theft brought out about the risky side of donating to some charities: they may be based on a benevolent Christian God, but they are still subject to human greed, and the officials have to steel themselves for the possibility of theft at all levels. Yes, it is a sad commentary, but the fact is that hypocrisy (saying you are "Christian" while not practicing the tenets of Christianity) has ruled for a very long time in today's religious enclaves and failure to recognize that fact makes all faith-based charities vulnerable. In Catholic circles, priests and bishops have been caught with their hands in the collection box; in televangelist media, fraud is rampant*; scam artists abound in the form of prosperity gospel preachers. 

And for those who want the money, Christmas is just another fruitful holiday.

Keeping It Local

For the donor, the best way to donate, may be to donate as locally as possible. Of course, operations like the Salvation Army have local chapters such as the one for Toronto, but the more local a charity is, the better it can be tracked as to how much of your dollars are actually going directly to the people who need them most. Diligence is the key.

We can't always depend upon big corporations to step in during a crisis. 

*Remember that Pat Robertson almost landed in jail for fraud: asking people to donate for relief operations to Zaire while having Operation Blessing planes ferry his mining equipment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

If Ugandans Get Their Christmas Wish Of "Death To Gays", How Many American Evangelicals Will Also Make Merry?

Which One Is Santa Claus - The Christian Right Or Born-Again Ugandans?
"Speaker, we cannot sit back while such (a) destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation," the activists said in a petition. "We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament ... so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation."

The "destructive phenomenon" is, of course, homosexuality. At least according to the Ugandan Parliament. And it hopes to eradicate it before Christmas as a "Christmas present" to Christian Ugandans. After all, the Christian anti-gay clerics asked for one. Speaker Rebecca Kadaga told The Associated Press that Ugandans "are demanding it." "Everyone" wants the "Kill the gays" bill to pass.

But who, exactly, is "everyone"?


The imprint of American Christian Evangelicals on Uganda is so bold that all you have to do is look to the surface of the country - embodied in Madame Museveni. Her husband may be the titular born-again Christian head as President, but Janet Museveni is the country's spiritual and societal soul. She is also a born-again Christian, but more importantly, she is the conduit through which the American Christian Right passed its homophobia on to an uneducated country. She was certainly instrumental in having Pastor Rick Warren declare Uganda to be a "Purpose Driven Country" (whatever that is). It is doubtful that people like Scott Lively would have ever gotten to first base with the country's leaders without her influence.

"From 5 to 8 March 2009, a workshop took place in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, that featured three American evangelical Christians: Scott Lively, an author who has written several books opposing homosexuality; Caleb Lee Brundidge, a self-professed former gay man who conducts sessions to heal homosexuality; and Don Schmierer, a board member of Exodus International, an organisation devoted to promoting "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ".[14] The theme of the conference, according to The New York Times, was the "gay agenda": "how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how 'the gay movement is an evil institution' whose goal is 'to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity' ".
The hand of the Family Research Council's chief "researcher" Paul Cameron was clearly seen in the rhetoric:
"Homosexuals are at least 12 times more likely to molest children than heterosexuals; homosexual teachers are at least 7 times more likely to molest a pupil; homosexual teachers are estimated to have committed at least 25 percent of pupil molestation; 40 percent of molestation assaults were made by those who engage in homosexuality."
It is alleged that American "prophet" Lou Engle also encouraged the criminalization of homosexuality and the death penalty (although he has denied the latter, he has never denied that he would prefer homosexuals to be placed in prison.)

Provisions of the bill:

Death penalty:

- to repeat offenders of homosexuals acts
- to people who engage in homosexual acts with a minor
- to people who are suspected of "aggravated homosexuality" and have HIV
Prison sentence:

- to those suspected of homosexual activity
- to those who do not report homosexual activity within 24 hours
- to those suspected of "promoting" homosexuality
- to anyone who aids and/or abets a homosexual (e.g. renting to to a homosexual)

In addition:

- all people suspected of homosexual activity and arrested must undergo HIV testing.
- former residents suspected of homosexuality may be extradited and sentenced.

It perhaps the provision of "promoting" and "reporting" that have caused an era of savage chaos in Uganda even before the legislation takes hold: people "report" their enemies and anyone suspected of being a social liberal could be judged a "promoter". Neighbors have been going door-to-door to weed out "abominations". Activist David Kato was bludgeoned to death. Anglican Bishop Senyonjo was punished for accepting gays.* 

A Great Christmas Gift That Keeps On Giving!

In the almost surreal world of African Christianity, replete with armies and witch-hunters, it should be no surprise that Uganda has held steadfast against international pressure to shelve the bill. Museveni himself said that he would withdraw from treaties and the United Nation's Declaration of Human Rights if necessary. So it seems that the "gift" of the "Kill the gays" bill might give the nation of Uganda something else: admonition and isolation from the international community. 

It will certainly give a gift to people like Tony Perkins: something to crow about.

*Expelled from Uganda and stripped of his pension by the Church.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Q.: What Would The Holy Republic of Christianland Look Like? A: A Lot Like Texas.

And it would certainly save the rest of us from the "We're-So-Persecuted" bunch.

Over 50,000 people have signed petitions to secede from the Union. Good. Great! FANTASTIC! Just think of what the United States wouldn't be burdened with any longer: Hell Houses. And no more Patriot Movement, no gay teen suicides, no more misogyny, no more Islamophobia. Neither would there be any SPLC or ACLU, since they wouldn't be necessary. And no more Newt Gingrichs, Karl Roves, Mike Huckabees, Bryan Fischers, Tony Perkinses, Michele Bachmanns, Ann Coultergeists, Michele Malkins or Franklin Grahams. 

And no more Glen Becks.

Instead, there would be absolute "from" freedoms: from religion, from proselytizing, from intolerance, from righteous arrogance, from bigotry, from misogyny, and from all the social phobias. And "to" freedoms: to marry and  to say "Happy Holidays". Why, America could get to work at being a truly wonderful nation dedicated to love and peace.

Hey, we can dream, can't we?

The recent spate of petitions and buzz about secession can be clearly seen in this interactive geopolitical map. And it's not surprising as to where most of it is concentrated: Texas The state that has always had elephantiasis of the ego is the state that has toyed with the idea of secession for over a hundred years. It is the epitome of Barack Obama's "guns and Bibles" set, a place where Gary Cass ("You can't be a Christian and don't own a gun.") would feel more than safe and comfortable. It is a place that cheers it's record of executions. It is a place where megachurches and Fundamentalist theology rule, largely through a governor who calls together strictly Christian prayer rallies. 

Ten days ago, opining on the differences of the electorate (Obama being demonspawn, of course), Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association suggested that a wall be built between socially conservative (Christian Right) America and the rest of country. He also suggested that people would be digging tunnels under the wall trying to get to "our" side, being, of course, more prosperous - and righteous. 


What Would Christianland Look Like?

If Texas and its far Right minions seceded from the United States of America, it would, of course, be the dream of David Barton: it would be a "Christian ONLY Nation." The term "Christian" would have difficulty in definition and there would be in-fighting among people like Catholic bishops, John (Rome is the whore of Babylon") Hagee, and Cindy Jacobs (who goes around smashing statues of Catholic saints). Pat Robertson, who said that he didn't have to be nice to Methodists and Episcopalians ("spirit of the Anti-Christ") might have difficulty living amid non-charismatics, but once the unsavory elements of "True Christianity" have been rooted out, the country might have these demographics and pertinent data:

Ethnicity: 90% White, 8% African-American, 2% Hispanic (well, it does live right next to Mexico)
Christian Denomination: 60% Southern Baptist, 10% Assemblies of God, 10% Pentecostal, 5% Roman Catholic, 15% Non-denominational Bible-Thumper.
Population: 15 million plus the entire Dugger family.
State Bird: Raptor-hawk
State Motto: "In R.J. Rushdooney* We Trust"
Primary exports: oil, guns, Bibles, televangelists and righteous arrogance
Primary Media: Glen Beck, FOX News (w/Mike Hucakbee), World Net Daily, Washington Times (for international/foreign news), Christian Broadcasting Network, Trinity Broadcasting Network.
Chief Institutions of Higher Learning: Regent University, Liberty University, Bob Jones University, Glen Beck University


President:  Rick Perry     Vice President:   Mike Huckabee
Cabinet Members:
Secretary of State: George W. Bush
Secretary Of Defense: Erik Prince (of Blackwater infamy)
Secretary of Education and Home Schooling: David Barton
Secretary of Homeland Security: Chuck Norris
Secretary of Family Values: Tony Perkins
Secretary of Commerce: Mitt Romney (with special dispensation to his Mormonism by Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress)
Secretary of Religious Affairs: co-Secretaries Cindy Japan-is-shaped-like-a-dragon Jacobs, and San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordeleone
Secretary of Propaganda: Bryan Fischer
Secretary of the Interior: Michele Bachmann
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff: Pat Robertson

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: Antonin Scalia
Undersecretaries would include: Joel Osteen, Ken Copeland, Rod Parsley, John Hagee, T.D. Jakes, Scott Lively. 

Imagining what a meeting of government's top officers would look like damages the brain, but you have to admit it would make a great sitcom.** 

Seriously. Seriously?

While we can poke fun at the machinations of the Christofascist Right, the matter of secession points out that they have made enough inroads in the country's Great Division to command some fear -  if not respect. In a country that needs unification now more than ever, the big CR is not about to compromise and is best left alone - and far away - to lick its wounds from the election. Separation and isolation can be good things: the CR could be contained and politely asked ... leave the rest of humanity alone.

Just a thought.

*Founder of the Reconstructionist movement and agent provocateur of American theocracy.
** A reality show would too surreal.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Worst Ad EVER!

Does the NRA have anything to do with this?
You Bet!!!

Obama Won, FOX Lost: Will Murdoch's Minions Survive?

More than a week after the election, the inept machination of FOX News are still coming to light, and one media watchdog is now petitioning the FCC to revoke FOX's license: siting a 6-month old study by Farleigh Dickinson University, is requesting the FCC take action against Rupert Murdoch's evil empire:
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION: Rupert Murdoch has failed every “character” test available, and the programs under his broadcasting licenses have both been implicated in scandal and have been proven to make audiences less informed, not more. We urge you to revoke Murdoch’s broadcasting licenses immediately, and to take a stand against his corrupt media empire.
The petition has 45,000 signatures so far (100,000 needed for the FCC to consider it).

I doubt that anything will come of this, but it's interesting to note that someone is taking the time to do something about FOX's "Faux" news.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thumpy Thursday: Betty Bowers And Heavenly Real Estate

It's Thumpy Thursday - that day when things are just thumping along and you're waiting 'til Friday. To ehlp us along is the inimitable Betty Bowers. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dan Savage Is Right About Tony Perkins, But Just How Many Gay Bodies Are Evangelicals Sitting On?

Right Wing Evangelical Christianity has a lot to answer for.

Accountability is not one of religion's strong suits: witness the reaction of the Family Research Council to Dan Savage's charge:

On Mike Huckabee's program:

Mike Huckabee: “I found Dan Savage to be unnecessarily rude, vile, and angry. Just angry. He was not a happy person and he just takes out his venom on other people, but he’s gone to a level I’ve never seen.”
Perkins responded, “As my teenagers would say, he has some issues. He is a man with some real deep-seated issues … and Dan Savage is nowhere near, he’s a hundred and eighty degrees from the positions that we have taken. It’s wrong and I will tell you this, we are pursuing everything possible to deal with him because he is out of control.”
Note that Perkins did not answer to the responsibility the FRC has in teen suicides.

Refusal of culpability always leads to further investigation, and even though the Christian Right counters such investigation with cries of "PERSECUTION!", investigation is indeed necessary: a grain of truth can be supplanted in everyone's mind and counter-actions must be taken.

Walking Backward: A Much Wider Sphere Of Hate And Destruction

Going back to the origins of demonizing gays and lesbians is, to some, like going back to the Stone Age in America's Evangelical vs LGBT culture war, but it must be done to give scope to the current battle. Perkins' demonizing is following a tradition laid down by Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms. So to get a clearer perspective it may be necessary to walk backwards - to a time even before the Age of AIDS.

In November of 2010, The Family Research Council was named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The reason: disseminating false information about gays and lesbians in order to create animosity towards a specific group. Tony Perkins, of course, hit the ceiling, but he had good company: the evangelical American Family Association was also named a hate group. One strong reason for this: the rhetoric of the AFA's Director Of Issues Analysis (whatever that means), Bryan Fischer*. Fischer's celebrity stems from the fact that he has denigrated not only gays, but Muslims, feminists and African-Americans. 

In 1992, the Family Research Council came out with a video, the Gay Agenda in which was cited the discredited research of Paul Cameron. This video was widely distributed among evangelical church groups and conservative organizations. In that same year, minister-turned politician Mike Huckabee came out with the statement: "I feel [homosexuality] is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk." He also suggested that AIDS patients should be "isolated from the general population."**

From 1982 onward, the most favorite culture war battle cry was 'AIDS is a gay plague." The demonizing that resulted from groups like the Southern Baptist Convention is still far-reaching:

From OPEdNews (Demonizing America - Part 2: "Kill Them All! God Will Take Care Of His Kind!"):
Probably the most obvious (and the most vicious) holdout as far as demonizing PWAs is concerned is the powerful Southern Baptist Convention. Almost thirty years after the start of the epidemic, the SBC still cannot point to the sponsorship of any faith-based agency dealing with AIDS this country. ...Today, they still follow Jesse Helms dictum that helping AIDS victims in Africa was fine because they were "all heterosexuals" while all AIDS victims in America were perverted sodomites.
(Of note: Tony Perkins is Southern Baptist and carries on its traditions extremely well.  In 1991, Mr. Perkins was cited during a political campaign for failing to report that he had knowingly purchased the mailing list of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke.)

In 1980, the Traditional Values Coalition was formed by Rev. Lou Sheldon as a bulwark against what it deemed a "deviant lifestyle."*** And although discrimination against homosexuals had long been in place by the evangelical community, the formation of the Coalition marked the first organized attempt to demonize a group. 

Body Count

The number of fatalities resulting from the demonizing of people like Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council is impossible to calculate: to count the number of pulpits, televangelists, hate groups and hell houses that have caused people to be kicked out of their homes while they were sick and dying, that have caused adult and teen suicides, that have caused people to be bashed and killed, is incalculable. It is unknowable, because the nature of demonizing is too insidious to calculate.

And this is what Tony Perkins and his ilk count on: without direct cause and effect, the Family Research Council will continue to going skipping merrily down Unaccountable Lane.

* Wikipedia: "In August, 2012, AFA Director of Issue Analysis Bryan Fischer compared the children of gay parents to slaves, tweeting that "we need an Underground Railroad to deliver innocent children from same-sex households".
 ** This was several years after the CDC determined that AIDS was not transmitted through casual contact.
***Both Lou Sheldon and the Traditional Values Coalition were later embroiled in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Most Violent Pastor In America

Yes, it's Ken Hutcherson. Remember: he's the guy who said that if a man opened a door for him, he'd rip his arm off! His unwavering stance against gay marriage is getting more vitriolic and he is someone to watch ...very, very carefully.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Election Is Won, Anger Will Come And Stupidity Is ...Deferred

The analysts will be too kind. Sorry.

The re-election of George Bush showed just how stupid our country had gotten. The election of Barack Obama in 2008 showed the world that America had its fill of stupidity. The re-election of Barack Obama has re-affirmed that attitude ...

...but barely.

With George Bush, we had the world's greatest diplomatic dimwit: reading the expression on his face as he descended from Air Force One, you had the distinct impression that he didn't have a clue as to where he was. His presidency was a diplomatic void so vast that everyone and their mother screamed to him in his last year "Legacy, can you spell legacy?"  And after years of blood shed in Iraq, then Afghanistan - blood shed essentially for Bush's ego - other countries were wondering if they would be next, and Bush's last year was a feeble attempt to make him look like a statesman for peace.    

By contrast, Mitt Romney's forays into foreign policy were prize-winning blunders that showcased his ineptitude against the Nobel Prize-winning Obama. And while Romney didn't talk with his mouth full of turkey sandwich to heads of state, he did have his foot in his mouth most of the time. 

Comparisons in stupidity, however, may stop there since Romney and his campaign seemed to have a stupidity uniquely its own.

Worse Than George?

The possibility that Mitt Romney might be a mental lightweight surfaced early on in his campaign: no intelligent official refuses to be transparent when it comes to tax returns, then states that there could not possibly be anything incriminating in them. And the Bain debacle: Dick Cheney may have convinced the public that he had absolutely no ties to Halliburton, but that was before Halliburton got the most lucrative of all Iraq War no-bid contracts - and behind closed doors. Romney's convoluted non-explanations of his exit from Bain did nothing to keep liberals from scratching their heads. Then there followed "I'm not concerned about the poor", "47%", "Eastwooding"*, "Obama screwed up Lybia," "I shop at Costco," "Fire Big Bird," "Binders full of women," and, by extension, the idiocy of Paul Ryan's tax returns (less than 2.4% to the charities he told everyone would "pick up the slack" from his budget hatchet job), gym photos and "cleaning clean pots." 

Image Problem? What Image Problem?

Molly Ivins' uncovering of the Bush Texas Ranger shenanigans did not dent the image of George Bush: he was a spoiled brat-turned-wheeler-dealer, but somehow his innate "good ole boy" oafishness covered him. That image, indeed, served him well afterward when people were disbelieving of the fact that he held 100,000 acres in non-extradictable Paraguay (for a quick and easy get-away should the "war crimes" heat get too much). Romney' attempts at an image change were, by contrast, pathetic and useless (e.g., the best joke to come out of the Hurricane Sandy disaster: "Romney's Hurricane Sandy Tip: 'Upon approach of the hurricane, evacuate to your second or third home.").** He seemed clueless as to how he presented himself to the public, thinking that they would like him no matter what he said - or how he lied. He couldn't put his past governorship of Massachusetts in the light enough to obscure the fact that he was a rich Gordon Gecko playing at being a politician.

The Real Problem

Throughout it all, however, the most glaringly stupid thing about Romney's campaign is that people actually dismissed the idiocies: they dismissed the lies, the foreign policy ineptitude, the image blunders, the feigned concern for all Americans. Almost HALF of America. 

Maybe the same people who voted for Bush twice. They're still with us. 


Deferrment Of Stupidity, But Not Of Anger   

The re-election of Barack Obama may have deferred the onslaught of stupidity in terms of campaigning and policies, but it will not quell the anger of the Right. Consider the other people who won/lost: Akin and Mourdoch lost, while Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren won. 

On all accounts of the Christian Right, demonspawn won. 

There will be hell to pay

*Not Romney's gaff, but certainly the RNC's blunder.
** Anne Romney also contributed to the ill image with "you people." Republicans must still be smarting with their attempt to paint Theresa Heinz Kerry - richer than the Romneys - in an unflattering light. But since they could get nothing glaringly hypocritical from the saavy philanthropist, they had to settl on the fact that she (admittedly) had Botox injections.

Would You Put A Gun In Any Of These Guys' Hands? Last-Minute Election Revivalists Might Take Gary Cass' Dictum To Heart!

Last Minute Election Revival Crazies Take Center Stage.

Before watching the following video, it's important to note that the fringe element always screams the loudest.

And Cindy Japan-is-shaped-like-a-dragon Jacobs (founder of Generals International) is certainly fringe. The woman who has declared herself a "prophetess" and a "New Apostle" may have packed them in after promising to cure hysterectomies, raising children from the dead and smash as many Native American artifacts as she can find.

Last week, Pastor Gary Cass declared that "You can't be a Christian and not own a gun." However, with the vehemence of these people (to be fair - one of them is really praying for Obama to receive the Holy Spirit), it is evident that some people should not heed Cass' Christofascist, NRA, Patriot Movement activism. The words may be holy, but their screams are hellish.


The video also invites one to look at the background - a barely filled stadium staged with people filled not with "Possession of the Spirit" but with the Spirit of Possession, possession by the speakers. Trance-like (and in what seems to be terminal slow motion), these people are to be feared the most: what goes on in their minds may be the stuff of horror films. It is as I've always stated about Christfascists: there are two kinds - the Elmer Gantrys who charismatically control people and the Elmer Fudds being controlled. The Elmer Gantrys are dangerous enough, but the Elmer Fudds may be lethal: after all, they're the ones with the guns. 

Gary Cass' guns.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bracing for the Worst

I'm posting this teaser a day ahread of time. It's one of the most important (and frightening) articles I've ever attempted. We must brace for the worst cpoming out in the Christian Right: if Romney wins, we'll definitely see a surge in righteous arrogance and a clamping down on reproductive and gay rights. If Obama wins, the Christian Right will definitely be a tiger to be reckoned with: the poor Presidetn will receive more hate mail and deat threats - an imprecatory prayers than ever.

Stay tuned....

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

Election Pulpits: They're Everywhere This Sunday!

The colors of this Sunday's pulpits, however, will not be red, white and blue. There will be only one color: black. 

"For those who hope for salvation, no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life. God is not mocked, and as the Bible clearly teaches, after this passing instant of life on earth, God's great mercy in time will give way to God's perfect judgment in eternity.
I therefore call upon every practicing Catholic in this Diocese to vote. Be faithful to Christ and to your Catholic Faith. May God guide and protect his Holy Church, and may God bless America.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C.
" political loyalty can ever take precedence." 
This Sunday the pulpits will be overflowing with voting "suggestions". And some suggestions might be stronger than others, implying that if you don't vote the way God wants you to vote, you're going to hell (ahem, "putting your immortal soul at risk"). Bishop Jenky's mandate to vote (and vote as a Catholic, to be sure) was mild in comparison to what some preachers have been saying. And what they've been saying is essentially God wants you to vote in this way:: for any anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-women's rights, anti-"social justice", hell, any anti-"socialist" politician that has mentioned God and Bible in the same breath a dozen times during their campaign speeches. 
Since the polling results have been so close, their exhortations will smack more of desperation than authority: they might tell their congregations how their religious liberty is at risk besides their immortal souls, or they might spout extreme doom and gloom for the future of civilization. They will deal in extremes simply because they need to frighten their congregants. 
After all, fear has been the Right's highest, most successful commodity.
Their fear-mongering has already worked on me: I'm too afraid to venture out to a church this Sunday. Instead, I'll be praying, as Jesus told me to, in a quiet corner of my home. 
I'll be praying, of course, for sanity to return after the election. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Where's The Love?

In times of crisis, America has always put political biases behind and focused on helping rescue, rebuild and repair. During 9/11, I seem to recall that people put aside their political differences and backed George Bush and his efforts to quell the anxiety of the country. It was only until later that suspicions arose concerning the disaster's origins. And even through "Heck-of-a-job, Brownie," we stood by and supported the administration in its weak endeavors.

We felt we had no choice. This is America. We don't bicker while people are hurting. We wait a decent time until the worst is over to take sides, to criticize, to blame.

That moment of constraint evaporated during Hurricane Sandy's onslaught. Actually, it wasn't even there to begin with. There was no "let's stand behind the President at this moment in crisis." There was no feeling of unity. Perhaps it was the timing of the disaster, coming as it did at such a critical juncture of American politics, but the lack of full support for the Obama administration's efforts was telling: the Right still screeched its old tune, the tune that it vowed to keep up since Jan.20, 2009:

"Always be on the attack, no matter what Obama does. Attack the good as well as the bad. Never give up. Never!"

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was roundly mocked and criticized for praising President Obama's efforts to rescue and relieve the people of his state.

Rush Limbaugh: 

"Christie's the only Republican not just praising Obama, it's a -- let's just put it this way. Is it wrong for one man to love another man?But that man love out there is isolated in the state of New Jersey."

Pulling together regardless of political ideologies has always been the American way. Is now the time to determine just who is American...and who is not?