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Which Will You Choose?

October 12, 2009 Leave a comment

President Obama has taken his ‘audacity’ to new levels tonight, equating sin-based ‘relationships’ to the normal and natural male-female relationship that finds its best fulfillment in God-ordained, procreative marriage.

During the presidential campaign, Obama once punted on an abortion-related query as to when life begins, saying that was above his “pay grade.” Too bad he didn’t attempt a similar evasion on  homosexuality. The president has gone way over his pay grade on this one. Homosexual practice is a moral issue, settled by the Creator and His clear design of nature since the beginning of time. Obama can no more declare with any authority that abnormal, homosexuality-based relationships are as “admirable” as normal relationships than he can proclaim that each day will now have 30 hours instead of 24 to increase American productivity.

The president could not be more wrong. Homosexual relationships are not to be admired, they are to be pitied, as immoral “unions” that can only pretend to copy real marriage. Moreover, when the government treats such aberrant relationships like marriage, it risks placing hundreds of thousands of children in homes that are motherless or fatherless by design, through “gay adoption” — another misguided homosexual demand advanced by Obama. (Source)

Categories: Gay Rights

How To Lie For Jesus

October 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Ah, telling blatant lies in the name of religion (usually while denying that you’re doing it for religion) – it’s The American Way, apparently. Here’s one of the latest attacks on Kevin Jennings, and it’s a doozy:

ROVE: Well, one of two things happened on this. Either they decided that they deliberately wanted to put a very provocative, very controversial person in a job that — where his views and his public statements and his actions were likely to unsettle a large amount — number of Americans, or, once again, that vaunted Obama White House vetting system broke down.

I can’t imagine that President Obama lacked the sensitivity to think that somebody who had said the things that Mr. Jennings had said, had done the things that Mr. Jennings had done, had taken the sort of high-profile, in-your-face advocacy of things like NAMBLA and gay rights and queering elementary school curricula — that the president of the United States would think this was a person that he ought to put in charge of safe schools, and yet he did. (Source, emphasis theirs.)

Excuse me while I break out the surgical implements.

#1: Yes, I can imagine how that meeting went. “You know what this administration needs to do? Piss off more conservatives – especially religious conservatives. I cannot think of a single reason why that wouldn’t be a bad idea. Let’s get Kevin Jennings for the safe schools thing, that’ll drive ’em nuts.”

Yeah, I don’t think so.

#2: Kevin Jennings never said that he supports NAMBLA. Not once. This goes beyond mere insinuation and into outright lying. Rove isn’t saying that Jennings might have advocated NAMBLA, or that he said he admired somebody who in turn supports NAMBLA (which is actually true), but that he actually did advocate them. He even refers to it as ‘high-profile, in-your-face’ advocacy, which makes it all the more strange that there’s absolutely no evidence of it.

‘Shameless’ is the word that springs to mind. (Well, that or ‘staggeringly incompetent’, but I’m giving Rove the benefit of the doubt here.)

#3: I had a feeling this ‘Queering Elementary School’ thing was going to become another right-wing talking point. And I was correct! Fancy that.

Jennings wrote the foreword to book called, funnily enough, Queering Elementary Education, in which he supports preventing physical abuse of LGBT students (for shame!). While that title is likely to raise a few eyebrows, and most likely was intended to do so, I should point out that almost nobody criticizing Jennings for contributing to it has actually discussed its contents. Its almost as if (and this is a wild idea, so hold on tight), they haven’t actually read the book but have decided to demonize it anyway based solely on the title and a synopsis.

Oh, and as far as I’m aware, Jennings won’t actually be setting elemtnary school curricula, making this yet another red herring in the entire debacle.

(Oh, and you can that foreword here, if you’re interested.)

Categories: Gay Rights

The Kevin Jennings Thing

October 6, 2009 Leave a comment

So far I’ve refrained from commenting on the Kevin Jennings affair, mostly because of the amount of mind-numbing stupidity involved. (I mentioned my growing misanthropy before, right? Okay, good.) Here’s a quick and dirty recap for those who managed to avoid the whole thing::

  • Jennings, former executive director of GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) was appointed to be the assistant deputy director of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Because Jennings is gay For entirely valid reasons, the religious right decided to have a bit of an aneurysm over this.
  • It soon came to light that Jennings had apparently advised a fifteen-year old boy to continue having sex with a much older man he met at a bus stop as long as he used a condom, which is certainly not the best way for a young teacher (as Jennings was at the time) to handle that kind of situation. Jennings responded by apologizing for what he felt was a mistake on his part, and stressed that, at the time, teachers had absolutely no training in how to deal with this kind of situation. He never actually told the boy to continue having sex with the man (despite what a lot of people seem to think), but neither did he tell him to stop. A poor course of action on Jennings’ part? Certainly, but as he said, this was at a time when teachers simply didn’t know how to handle situations involving gay students.
  • Several rather hysterical commentators were ready to demand Jennings’ head on a plate over this, until it emerged that the boy was actually 16 at the time of the incident – which was and is the age of consent in the state where he lives. In other words, although it was still pretty irresponsible of Jennings to not maybe look into the situation further, there were no laws being broken.
  • The boy himself, now a grown man, even got involved by reiterating that he was 16 at the time and that he felt Jennings handled the situation admirable. There is apparently a scan of his drivers license online to prove that he was ‘of age’ at the time, but I haven’t seen it.
  • Case closed? Well, no. Jennings is gay, which means that having him connected in any way with schools will always be a bad idea as far as the religious right is concerned. (Let’s not mince words here, all right? It’s blatantly obvious.) Now it seems that Jennings praised Harry Hay, the founder of NAMBLA, in a 1987 speech. (And if you don’t know who they are, please, check their Wikipedia page rather than Googling them. Trust me.) And here comes the religious right again, this time claiming that Jennings supports paedophilia.

Firstly, it doesn’t seem as if Hay is the one who actually founded NAMBLA, he just supported them and shared their views. (Which is itself pretty bad, of course.) Secondly, Jennings did not say that he admired Hay for his association with NAMBLA – rather, he said that he admired him for his early, pioneering activism on the part of LGBT people. Jennings was not alone in this – it seems that Hay’s obituaries commonly highlighted this period in his life.

That should be the end of it, but the right-wing media machine is currently hinting furiously (without actually making any sort of committed statement) that Jennings did or does still agree with Hay’s views on pedophilia. There’s a widespread view that Jennings was wrong to say that he admired Hay’s pro-gay work because it somehow makes him guilty of supporting all of the man’s other views by association.

To those who feel this way, I have a shocking revelation: George Washington owned slaves. No, really, he did. He was incredibly racist, as were most of his contemporaries (they were sexist, too!). Pretty much every nationalistic ‘hero’ you care to name, from any country and any time period, had some sort of belief or engaged in some sort of action that would get them universally condemned by the media today. John Locke, whose philosophy laid the foundation for the values that went into the creation of the USA, complained that poor children were economically worthless until they were about twelve years old – he wanted some way to get them used to working and fuelling the system upon which his comfortable lifestyle depended  sooner than that.

People deserve to be praised or condemned based on the views that they themselves actually hold. If anybody wants to demonize Jennings for admiring a man who also believed some things which were far from admirable, fine; but let them also demonize anybody who admires Locke, Washington or virtually any other ‘hero’ from the annals of history, even from very recent history.

Categories: Gay Rights

James Bowman Can Read My Mind

October 5, 2009 3 comments

You can probably guess how I feel about supposedly secular or (cough) ‘unbigoted’ arguments against gay marriage – in short, they tend to be bullshit. Just recently I came across a similar argument (fully secular and, supposedly, without a whiff of bigotry anywhere) against repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, penned by James Bowman. I won’t go through the main thrust of the argument itself, which is slightly…esoteric, shall we say, but I will comment on a few aspects of it. The full thing can be found here, if you want to follow along at home.

Perhaps even critics of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” have an uneasy sense that they cannot simultaneously say–as much of the commentary about the film Brokeback Mountain seemed to suggest–that the homosexual relationship is simply friendship carried to a higher power and, as the advocates for gay marriage imply, that it is exactly the same as the erotic love between men and women. Those who are not homosexuals have always resisted any simple equivalence between sexual love and friendship, not out of bigotry but at least partly because to grant it would be an abdication of their own right to love. Characteristically, the robust heterosexual, if told that close friendship with another man is only a degree away from homosexual relations with him, will back off the friendship. He knows, or believes, what it seems the homosexual cannot know or believe, or doesn’t want to know or believe, namely that the two sorts of love are different in kind and not just in degree.

Might I suggest that when you start a point by invoking Brokeback Mountain, things will almost inevitably go downhill swiftly?

I really have no idea what Bowman is getting at here. Who says that ‘the homosexual relationship is simply friendship carried to a higher power’? This is the first I’ve ever heard of it, and I’ve been following the national embarrassment that is opposition to gay marriage and openly gay servicepeople for quite some time now. The idea that gay men (it’s all about gay men) view their relationships as some sort of friendship with benefits pervades the article and is taken as a given – Bowman seems to be assuming that his readers will automatically know what he’s talking about, but I haven’t the faintest idea. I certainly don’t view friendship as only quantitatively different from romantic love or sexual desire, and I’m genuinely perplexed at his casual assumption that I should.

This is also the first time I’ve ever seen both heterosexual men and homosexual men characterized poorly in one fell sweep. Heterosexuals, we are told, are (or want to be) real men, manly men, men who are aggressive in their love of all things heterosexual and who would end a friendship at the suggestion that it might contain in it something similar to romantic love. I’m not sure what kind of masculine image Bowman was trying to depict here, but I’m guessing it wasn’t ‘macho homophobe’. Homosexual men, on the other hand, are apparently in the grip of eros, the same corrupting force behind incest. (But homosexuality isn’t analogous to incest, Bowman is quick to point out. He doesn’t say why, given the rather overt comparison in the second last paragraph, so I’ll just take his word for it.)

In another part of the article, Bowman suggests that gay people should be willing to ‘be publicly reticent about their sexual behavior’ if they really want the right to serve their country, in the process suggesting (oh so subtly) that the effort to get DADT repealed is some sort of political demonstration rather than a genuine push for equal rights. Of course, any gay reader will instantly notice his mistake – like so many heterosexual commentators, and that includes both sides of the debate, Bowman is here treating homosexuality as if it begins and ends with ‘sexual behavior’. However, one can be discharged from the military for identifying as gay even if one is not currently engaging in sex with another man (again keeping the focus on men here, as per our target for the evening). Being gay is not just about engaging in certain types of sex acts. It’s far more than that, and I’m willing to bet that even a vow of chastity on the part of gay soldiers wouldn’t be enough to satisfy proponents of DADT.

I merely ask those who wish to do away with the prohibition of open homosexuality in the armed services to consider that the more than 1,100 flag and general officers who recently declared their support for the existing law were motivated, as they claim, by genuine concern for national security and not by bigotry. Wouldn’t any refusal to do so be tantamount to -bigotry itself?

Gasp. I have never come across this argument before, Mr. Bowman, you have blown my mind.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Ignoring the incredibly moronic attempt at being profound, (‘Are not you who fight bigotry also engaging in bigotry? And are not you who fight discrimination not also engaging in discrimination? And can we please put an end to this pathetic rhetorical trick once and for all?’) I’m interested in finding out how Bowman knows that the 1,100 officers he mentions here were motivated only by national security. That’s a lot of people, after all, and I’d be honestly amazed if none of them had less pure intentions than the safety of their fellow citizens when they decided to support DADT.

Categories: Gay Rights

This Is Why I Will Never Live In America

October 5, 2009 4 comments

You may have heard about the religious right ‘Take Back America Conference’, which sought to break the world record for the number of hysterical claims made in one venue per hour take back American from the Liberal Hordes. There’s a recap over here, which, if accurate, is utterly terrifying. Some highlights:

  • [T]he fervent belief that America is at a tipping point between freedom and fascist power: President Obama and his congressional allies are on the verge of delivering America into Socialism, Communism, and/or Nazi-style tyranny, and that government is therefore to be feared and resisted
  • hostility not only to same-sex marriage but also to any legal protections for LGBT Americans and same-sex couples
  • a new push to use “abortion as black genocide” as a wedge between African Americans and pro-choice progressives built around a new “documentary” portraying abortion as 21st century genocide
  • American exceptionalism – the belief that America’s founding was divinely inspired and the nation has been uniquely blessed by God – is alive and well, though America is now living under a curse for having elected Barack Obama

I was really starting to think that, as a species, we had moved beyond believing in curses and arbitrary bouts of divine protection for certain countries. (Although then again, I also thought we were beginning to move beyond believing that gay and transgender people need to be ‘cured’ of their hideous afflictions. My rapidly blossoming misanthropy is apparently more justified than I thought.)

Categories: Atheism, Gay Rights

Peter LaBarbera Is Now a ‘Hero’. Yes, Really.

October 1, 2009 3 comments

I shouldn’t need to introduce Peter LaBarbara, so I won’t, mostly because I’ve already had a shower today I don’t want to feel the need to run for another one. Some people seem to like him, is all I’ll say:

So far the referendum effort looks like a marketing campaign for marriage.  Smiling couples appear in virtually every ad, some male and female, some of the same gender. But as we get closer to November 3rd, the ads are sure to become more hard-hitting. The pro-family side will point out how same sex marriage will harm our religious and civil rights, and gays will scream bigotry. But both sides, if they are honest, will admit they are  eager to hide the unpleasant aspects of the homosexual subculture.

Enter Peter LaBarbera, the one figure in the pro-family movement who fits the definition of a hero. LaBarbera is not a man of the cloth, nor a politician. He is a journalist whose mission is to find the truth, without fear or favor. Had LaBarbera chosen another profession, he might have been a policeman walking a beat in a tough neighborhood in Chicago, or a fireman rushing into a high rise to save a screaming child.  Instead, LaBarbera goes undercover to expose the harsh realities of the homosexual rights movement.  LaBarbera’s heroic efforts have been rewarded with fierce opposition from the homosexual rights movement, and  disfavor from many on the Religious Right.

LaBarbera travelled from the Windy City last week to a cozy fireside reception at the League’s main office in Augusta. Ample tea, coffee, and refreshments put everyone in a relaxed and happy mood – but some weren’t prepared for what they were about to hear.

During his talk, LaBarbera told his audience about his undercover activities investigating the homosexual rights movement. What he found at many public gay pride events is not suitable for publication here. Those who need first hand proof of the depravity of the gay rights movement can visit his website, AmericansforTruth.org. There can be no doubt that if the public had the information LaBarbera offers, not only would same sex marriage come to a quick end, sodomy would again be a crime throughout the U.S. (Source, emphasis mine)

LaBarbera’s tactics are as shameful as they are dishonest. Those of you who have been unfortunate enough to visit his website will know that he collects photographs and information from sex parties, S&M clubs and (in particular) the weirder side of gay pride parades in order to demonize gay people everywhere. His ‘reasoning’, if it can be called that, goes something along the lines of ‘I have found gay people who engage in sexual acts which I find disgusting, therefore gay marriage should be outlawed (and more besides)’. Never mind that nothing he shows is illegal, that quite a bit of it would only offend somebody with as fundamentalist a mindset as LaBarbera and his followers, or that I could easily obtain pictures of straight people engaging in the exact same acts and thus ‘prove’ that heterosexuals are depraved; as far as he’s concerned, he has constructed a knock-down argument against all things gay.

The anti-gay contingent who actually want to make ‘sodomy’ illegal is small, but I have no doubt that it would expand rapidly if given half the chance. Kooks like LaBarbera are too dangerous for anybody who values freedom from religiously motivated tyranny to ignore, whether you be gay, straight or neither.

Categories: Gay Rights

And How Would You Deal With It, Focus On The Family?

September 30, 2009 4 comments

I’m a little confused. Focus on the Family is complaining about upcoming  attempts to address anti-gay bullying in Alabama schools, which in itself isn’t surprising. What is a bit off-putting is that they don’t seem to have come up with any sort of alternative plan of action.

Alabama schools are now required to write stricter anti-bullying policies, thanks to language in a bill that opens the door to the gay agenda.

The new law is problematic because it puts the focus on the motivations and “characteristics” of victims, rather than on the wrong actions of the bullies.

Betty Peters, a member of the Alabama education board, said the bill would allow gay activists to work their language and curriculum into schools.

“We need to punish all bullies,” she said, “regardless of their motivation.”

Ah, okay – it’s a fairness issue. I can get on board with the idea that all bullies should be punished equally, but that’s missing the point. Suspending kids for harassing gay students is not going to make the problem magically go away. This is a specific issue, an outgrowth from the general problem of bullying, and a specific response is needed to address it. Should we treat racist bullying as if it was the same as the general background noise of cruelty to be found in any high school? What about bullying that targets kids with disabilities? FOF isn’t denying that there’s a problem here, but they are denying that it needs to be solved. The current ‘solution’, if you could call it that, is clearly not working, or else this wouldn’t be an issue in the first place.Why are they so adamantly against schools even talking about homosexuality?

Oh wait, I forgot to quote the end of the article:

Parents should watch out for attempts to mandate special protections for “gender identity” and “sexual orientation”— which can pave the way for pro-gay curriculum and mandatory “diversity” training.

And they sign off with the scare tactics routine.

These people need to make their position more clear. Do they think that gay students should be free from harassment and bullying? Do they think that gay students should be free from social stigma? I sure as hell hope so, but they need to be a lot clearer than this about it.

Categories: Gay Rights