Gaylingual: July 2007: Archives

July 30, 2007

Out Of Focus...On The Family genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions

Out Of Focus

Occasionally, I like to see what the Christianists are up to and what they have to say about current topics of interest. Today I was treated to some of the best rhetoric I've heard in a long while...and I just had to share.

The folks over at Focus on the Family have two articles of interest posted on their website. Mr. Dobson runs a mean propaganda machine and these two offerings won't disappoint the flock. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I did.

Marriage Down, Cohabitation Up

Expert says the U.S. is near a tipping point.

Marriage is declining, according to the annual “State of our Unions" report. The study from Rutgers' National Marriage Project also shows cohabitation is sharply on the rise.

David Popenoe, the report's author, said the long-term trends do not look very optimistic.

“You’re going to see it in children being kind of aimless, shiftless, having relationship problems," he said. “They grow up into adults who don’t marry, cohabit, have instability of relationships – basically, it’s a tragedy."

Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of issue analysis at Focus on the Family Action, said the study reflects the self-centeredness of today’s culture.

OK, so children of people who live together...as opposed to children living with parents who have a document stating that they are married...are "aimless" and "shiftless" and "have instability of relationships". Wow! Who would have known?

Now you'll have to excuse my skepticism but I'm slightly confused since I've known "aimless" and "shiftless" people who were married...came from married parents...and attended church on a regular basis. If I were to use the same reasoning found in this article, couldn't I offer the exact same hypothesis for children from married parents?

On the simple basis of logic, the assertion is absurd. Drawing a correlation between marriage and the attributes mentioned by Mr. Popenoe would be akin to me arguing that marriage is bad since the vast majority of homosexuals are the product of heterosexual relationships. Hmm...I guess that should lead me to be in favor of family values, eh?

The second article may be even better.

U.S. Votes to Accept Gay UN NGOs

The United Nations has accepted two radical gay-rights groups as official non-governmental organizations, or NGO’s. The vote to include them was made against the recommendation of a UN-panel. In favor: The United States.

The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights and the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Quebec are now officially able to have input into United Nations policy. Samantha Songson of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute says the head of the Canadian group is wasting no time in spreading his message.

The U.S. was among the nations that voted for the groups’ inclusion. Thomas Jacobson of Focus on the Family says it’s been U.S. policy since last year.

“There was a decision made that the US would support non-governmental organizations that were homosexual and lesbian based as long as there were not direct connections to pedophilia."

“They can do enormous damage. The primary battles that we’ve had for years at the UN are over sexual issues and over the construct of the family."

Huh?! So the United States government decided they could support LGBT NGO's if they weren't connected to pedophilia? I guess I missed the debate and discussion of this topic within the government of the United States as well as the press release that reported on this interesting decision.

I guess that must mean that the U.S. government wouldn't support the Catholic Church or the Vatican having any influence at the United Nations. After all, they allowed rampant pedophilia to exist for decades. Perhaps I'm wrong but the Pope routinely has a voice at the UN...maybe he gets an exception because of his Christian beliefs.

I certainly hope this also means that the government will object to NGO's that are affiliated with any church whose spiritual leader has committed adultery or hired male prostitutes for clandestine sexual encounters. It just wouldn't be good practice to allow such people to have a voice on the world stage.

Frankly, this is the kind of crap that organizations like Focus on the Family like to disseminate to their followers. Much like the Bush administration, they believe that if they repeat erroneous information often enough, people will start to believe it to be true. Isn't there a commandment that condemns that type of behavior?

Perhaps god grants exceptions to those who lie and deceive in the name of promoting family values and Christian living? I'm sure it must make perfect sense to Mr. Dobson...given his affinity for divinity.

They say god works in mysterious ways...so I guess his followers are simply doing the work of the lord when they encourage the perpetuation of more shiftless Christians. Yea, that's the ticket.

Tagged as: Christianity, Family Values, Focus on the Family, James Dobson, LGBT, Religion, United Nations

Daniel DiRito | July 30, 2007 | 5:44 PM | link | Comments (0)
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July 17, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards At San Francisco HRC Dinner genre: Gaylingual & Video-Philes

The following video is of Elizabeth Edwards speaking at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner in San Francisco on July 14, 2007. Edwards offers an informed and impassioned talk on the need for equality for the LGBT community and rightly points out the lack of action on the part of the Bush administration...making note of the only issue impacting the LGBT community that the President endorsed...support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Daniel DiRito | July 17, 2007 | 8:25 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Evangelical Extremists Rail Against Hate Crimes Bill genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation

Stop The Hate

If one reads the propaganda of evangelical extremists, one might think that a hate crimes bill to punish crimes committed upon gay individuals is intended to silence all statements of religious opposition to homosexuality. The right wing rhetoric machine is in full gear to characterize Senator Ted Kennedy's legislation as a virtual "thought police" measure that not only punishes the faithful but also will punish our military because the bill is attached to a defense appropriation and may force the President to sign the bill.

From World Net Daily:

Sen. Edward Kennedy's "hate crimes" plan – feared by Christian leaders as a way to censor biblical condemnations of homosexuality – has been proposed as an amendment to a defense spending bill, a maneuver opponents are calling "shameless" and "manipulative."

The Kennedy plan, which earlier was introduced as separate legislation, would classify gender and sexual orientation as specially protected classes of people under federal law. Opponents say it would require law enforcement personnel to become "thought police" to determine whether a crime already addressed by existing law could be prosecuted under an enhanced standard of "hate crime."

The White House already has suggested the proposal is unneeded and a veto would be in order if it is approved. But Kennedy has proposed inserting it into the defense appropriations plan, which Bush wants to pass.

"The maneuver is one clearly calculated to put the president in the position of ending up vetoing a defense appropriation," Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel told WND.

Joe Glover of the Family Policy Network said the move is "shockingly manipulative."

"It is a shameless attempt to push the homosexual agenda on the American people by exploiting American soldiers who are currently in harm's way around the world," he said.

Just how many cases do we need to cite before America stands up and stops the bill that will criminalize Christianity?" she asked.

"It will criminalize not just those willing to speak the truth and spread the Gospel in the public square, but those pastors, authors, radio hosts and anyone who 'counsels, commands, induces or procures [the commission of a 'hate crime']'," she said.

Rev. Rick Scarborough, president of Vision America, said the plan will "punish Christians for preaching certain biblical principles and lead to pastors being jailed in violation of their First Amendment rights as we have already witnessed in Europe."

"If this bill passes, a pastor who preaches about homosexuality being sin could be prosecuted if someone who has heard his message commits a crime against a homosexual. The implications for conservative biblical pastors who have broadcast ministries are staggering. We cannot allow Christians to be dragged into court for simply fulfilling their biblical mandate of preaching the gospel," said Scarborough, a Southern Baptist pastor who now is participating in a "70 Weeks to Save America" campaign.

"It is clear the enemies of the cross are wickedly shrewd," said Rusty Lee Thomas, of Elijah Ministries.

"Hate crimes legislation that includes sexual orientation is bad law because it criminalizes speech and does nothing to prevent violent crimes. All crimes are motivated by hate. Hate crimes laws will not be used to punish the perpetrator, but will be used to silence people of faith, religious groups, clergy, and those who support traditional moral values," said Staver.

So let me see if I understand the logic of these fanatical fundamentalists. The fact that homosexuals are the victims of violent hate crimes ought not be subject to heightened punishment because the hateful rhetoric of Christians might face scrutiny.

Aren't these the same people who feel that radical Islamic clerics need to be silenced when they suggest that Western civilization is evil? So the bottom line is hate speech is acceptable as long as it fits the doctrine of Christians. Perhaps they should also have state sanctioned authority to open Guantanamo like camps to imprison homosexuals or maybe they prefer the right to execute homosexuals in order to cleanse society of the infidels?

If one were to take this same faulty logic, then wouldn't it be acceptable to accuse those who voice extremist rhetoric against homosexuals of being terrorists’ intent on fomenting violence against gays? Perhaps I simply need to establish a religion so that I can preach hatred towards Christians? Would that allow me to spew whatever venomous animosity and hatred I felt was warranted...no, make that required... by my anti-Christian beliefs?

Frankly, the growing practice of faith based hatred is an issue in need of attention. Look, I have no problem with those who hold religious beliefs that suggest that homosexuality is sinful...just as I am amenable to other religions holding beliefs I find to be little more than fanaticism. The problem arises when religious leaders move beyond just pointing out that their doctrine is opposed to a particular behavior and towards calls for extinguishing those behaviors and characterizing those who practice those behaviors as militant activists with radical agendas who must be silenced.

Specifically, there is nothing radical about homosexuals asking that they not be discriminated against by employers...there is nothing radical about homosexuals wanting the right to visit their partners in the hospital...their is nothing radical about homosexuals wanting the same benefits afforded to committed couples able to exchange marriage vows...their is nothing radical about wanting to be able to walk down the street hand in hand without fear of being assaulted.

If equal rights and equal opportunity are radical concepts in America, then the radicalization of America has already been perpetrated by those who seek to deny such basic rights. This practice of bait and switch being espoused by extremist evangelicals is detestable. Their effort to portray Christians as victims is little more than a sham to couch their own radical actions as family values and to deny their fellow Americans the very same basic rights. Portraying gays as a threat to all they hold sacred is the guise by which they seek to deny homosexuals their fundamental rights and to paint them as militant extremists who are bent on destroying the established order.

The growing practice of faith by division is unacceptable. Instead of focusing on positive and proactive messages, religious leaders have chosen the easy route...they have capitalized on existing hatreds in order to obtain power and line their pockets with the cash that comes from the creation of conflict. They may prefer to call that the practice of Christian values but I doubt Christ would recognize the value of such divisive and deceitful doctrines.

Daniel DiRito | July 17, 2007 | 9:29 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 14, 2007

BBC: The Most Hated Family In America - The Phelps' genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Video-Philes

The following three video clips represent the second half of a two part posting at Thought Theater of a BBC documentary by Louis Theroux of the Fred Phepls family and his Westboro Baptist Church titled The Most Hated Family In America. The first half of the documentary can be found here.

Theroux's documentary actually preceded the Keith Allen documentary Keith Allen Will Burn In Hell which was previously presented at Thought Theater here and here. Theroix has made a number of documentaries for the BBC...frequently featuring what one might call unusual people.

Theroux spent a full three weeks at the Westboro Baptist Church compound. His style is decidedly different than the aggressive approach taken by Keith Allen. Theroux is far more subtle and one can watch him looking for chinks in the armor of those he interviews. His laid back mannerisms seem to have allowed him to be more disarming with some of the Phelps clan.

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Daniel DiRito | July 14, 2007 | 9:02 AM | link | Comments (1)
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July 12, 2007

Bill O'Reilly Blathers On About Gays At Ball Park genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation

If you haven't heard about the latest Bill O'Reilly pontification, you're in for a treat. The San Diego Padres sponsored a night celebrating gay pride in San Diego which included the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus singing the National Anthem. On the same night, the Padres gave out team ball caps to any child under 12 years old.

In O'Reilly's twisted reasoning, the "clustering" of gays in proximity to children was inappropriate and "stupid" on the part of the Padres...or as O'Reilly likes to describe it, the night was a misguided exercise in social engineering.

One of the individuals joining O'Reilly is Sandy Rios of the Culture Campaign, a right wing religious organization bent on fighting the "culture war" in order to bring morality to America. Rios asserts that the gay agenda is focused on recruiting young people into homosexuality; making an event that includes gays and young children offensive.

The thing I keep coming back to is this. If a child is raised in a family like Rios', that child will be bombarded with the message that being gay is wrong. At the same time, people like Rios contend that being gay is a matter of choice. With that in mind, how would Rios explain a child of hers "succumbing" to the "gay agenda" over the proper upbringing, the religious doctrine, and repeated criticism of the homosexual lifestyle that she is no doubt providing?

If the "gay agenda" is able to overcome the virtual 24/7 influence of parents...and it happens at random to Christian families...isn't it likely that something else is at play? Isn't it reasonable to assume that if her child declares to be a homosexual, then that child must possess some innate preference that surfaces despite the constant parental influence and the religious beliefs? Further, there is little doubt that the child realizes that such a pronouncement will likely lead to their being ostracized and condemned.

Now if the "gay agenda" and the "manufactured nature of the gay identity through the media" is that effective, wouldn't one assume that a far larger number of children would identify as homosexuals? If Sandy Rios can't protect her child from the "gay agenda", why would one assume any parent could prevent a child from becoming gay...and if one buys my argument, then only one of two things can be true.

One, those in charge of gay recruitment (the wizards behind the curtain?) have devised a marketing plan that exceeds the success of all other marketing efforts such that it can overcome the constant drone of religious objections, the imagery of heterosexuality that dominates the media, the peer influences found in the school environment, and the persistent societal bigotry directed at gays. That, my friends, is one bad ass marketing plan!

Two, being gay must not be a choice and once a child realizes the nature of their sexuality...against incredible odds and with great risk of pain and rejection...they find the courage to announce their sexuality in order to live a life of happiness and fulfillment.

Any parent unwilling to look at the realities outlined above is simply in a state of denial and capable of outrageous fabrications such that one would want to question their fitness to be a parent.

The truth of the matter is that those opposed to homosexuality are desperate to affirm their religious beliefs and there are few limits to the means by which they would seek to achieve that goal...including great emotional and psychological damage to their own child.

The problem is that this affliction permeates the psyche of many Christians such that they attack all that fails to support their beliefs...whether that be scientific evidence of evolution, proof that abstinence only is a failed approach to sexuality, the entire gay community, or their own child's homosexuality, to name a few.

In the end, it is no wonder the world is filled with conflict. If a parent can abandon their own child because of words that were written by men who lived many years ago and whom they have never ever met, then Christian values are little more than the weapons by which we demean and destroy what little remains of our shared humanity.

Daniel DiRito | July 12, 2007 | 3:04 PM | link | Comments (0)
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July 11, 2007

BBC: The Most Hated Family In America - The Phelps' genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Video-Philes

The three video clips below represent the first half of a Thought Theater presentation of a BBC documentary by Louis Theroux on the Fred Phelps family and his Westboro Baptist Church titled The Most Hated Family In America.

Theroux's documentary actually preceded the Keith Allen documentary Keith Allen Will Burn In Hell which was previously presented at Thought Theater here and here. Theroix has made a number of documentaries for the BBC...frequently featuring what one might call unusual people.

Theroux spent a full three weeks at the Westboro Baptist Church compound. His style is decidedly different than the aggressive approach taken by Keith Allen. Theroux is far more subtle and one can watch him looking for chinks in the armor of those he interviews. His laid back mannerisms seem to have allowed him to be more disarming with some of the Phelps clan.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2007 | 9:59 PM | link | Comments (1)
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APA Reviewing Gay Counseling & Reparative Therapy genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation

Science At The Edge

In a move that may signal the repudiation of gay reparative therapy...an effort to convert one from homosexual to heterosexual...a task force of the American Psychological Association will conduct a review of its policies with regard to the counseling of gay and lesbian clients. The review has led numerous religious groups to send letters to the APA urging the panel to accommodate the religious belief that homosexuality is wrong.

NEW YORK -- The American Psychological Association is embarking on the first review of its 10-year-old policy on counseling gays and lesbians, a step that gay-rights activists hope will end with a denunciation of any attempt by therapists to change sexual orientation.

Such efforts -- often called reparative therapy or conversion therapy -- are considered futile and harmful by many gay-rights activists. Conservative groups defend the right to offer such treatment, and say people with their viewpoint have been excluded from the review panel.

A six-member task force set up by the APA has its first meeting Tuesday.

Already, scores of conservative religious leaders and counselors, representing such groups as the Southern Baptist Convention and Focus on the Family, have written a joint letter to the APA, expressing concern that the task force's proposals would not properly accommodate gays and lesbians whose religious beliefs condemn gay sex.

"We believe that psychologists should assist clients to develop lives that they value, even if that means they decline to identify as homosexual," said the letter, which requested a meeting between APA leaders and some of the signatories.

Clinton Anderson, director of the APA's Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns Office, said the panel would base its findings on scientific research, not ideology.

"They want a rubber stamp of approval for a form of therapy that's questionable in its efficacy and they don't want to deal with the issue of harmful side effects," said Drescher, who is editor of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy.

While I realize that there are individuals from strict religious backgrounds that may be inclined to seek out those who purport to assist with altering one's sexuality, I also believe that the practice of psychotherapy has a scientific basis and promoting therapies which can be demonstrated to be harmful would be contrary to the purpose of therapy and should not be endorsed simply because religious leaders want to treat troubled individuals as guinea pigs in their efforts to push an anti-gay agenda.

I'm also amused that opponents of homosexuality frequently insult the field of psychotherapy...primarily based upon the APA's position that homosexuality is not a mental illness and should not be treated as such. Notwithstanding, when attempting to legitimize therapeutic practices that legitimize their objectives, they suddenly become proponents of the scientific method. Unfortunately, the "experts" they rely upon have, for the most part, been discredited by the APA for their biased disregard for proper research standards.

One of the predominant perpetrators of this contrived data is Paul Cameron, a psychologist and researcher who was dropped from the APA in 1983 (though he states he withdrew prior to the ethical concerns that prompted the review of his membership). Regardless of who dropped who first, the concerns about Cameron's work subsequently led to a condemnation by the American Sociological Association in 1986 and a disassociation by the Canadian Psychological Association in 1996.

Consistent with the doctrines of absolutism that dominate religious dogma, opponents of homosexuality like to play both sides of the fence...they routinely accuse the APA and the field of psychology of supporting the gay agenda while at the same time promoting their own versions of voodoo science as uncontestable and certain fact. In other words, they see the scientific method as secondary to their own conclusions. Their "research" starts with the desired conclusion and then proceeds to fabricate the data to achieve the desired result.

I'm convinced that fanatical evangelicals hope to use false science and "repaired" individuals tortured by years of religious indoctrination to build a case for the classification of homosexuality as a mental illness and the re-criminalization of homosexual sex.

Anyone that doubts that science is under siege by extremist zealots determined to institute a theocratic government need look no further than men like Paul Cameron and James Dobson and the many other "Christianists" who are working diligently to establish quasi-scientific foundations to produce faux facts to further their faith based facade.

Let's hope the APA delivers a scientific slap in the face to these dangerous demagogues.

Image courtesy of www.edge.org

Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2007 | 11:31 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 10, 2007

GWB: Promoting HIV One Missing Condom At A Time genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Six Degrees of Speculation

Unlock The Condoms

I've written about the Bush administration's HIV/AIDS efforts in Africa a number of times...here, here, here, and here...and while I applaud the expanded funding that have been committed to that effort, one cannot ignore the fact that a significant portion of the money is being spent to affirm a view of morality held by the President and his evangelical supporters...despite evidence that the money spent on promoting abstinence only is leading to added infections.

Michelle Goldberg offers the latest view on the controversial abstinence only program...a program that requires that a full third of all prevention funding be exclusively for that effort.

Frankly, I can't state it any clearer than this...the ideology of religious absolutism and the fanatical adherence to such dogma is going to kill people in Africa. As such, one can only conclude that we have now reached the point at which "compassionate conservatism" has completed the natural journey of absolutist ideology...it has granted itself status as judge, jury, and executioner.

Further, as is often the case when this happens, there is no limit to the efforts to manufacture facts in order to support the beliefs and actions of those who are blinded by their need to affirm that they are right and that they are doing the work of their god.

NAIROBI, Kenya -- On July 5, Beatrice Were, the founder of Uganda's National Community of Women Living with HIV and AIDS, stood before hundreds of other HIV-positive women in Nairobi's vaulted city hall and denounced the Bush administration's AIDS policies.
Like many in attendance, Were contracted HIV from her husband, a common occurrence in a region where women make up the majority of new infections and marriage is a primary risk factor. For those like her, the White House's AIDS prevention mantra -- which prescribes abstinence and marital fidelity, with condoms only for "high risk" groups like prostitutes and truck drivers -- is a sick joke.

"We are now seeing a shift in recent years to abstinence only," she said. "We are expected to abstain when we are young girls and to be faithful when we are married to men who rape us, who are not necessarily faithful to us, who batter us." The women in the audience, several waiting to share their own stories of marital rape, applauded.

Were exhorted her audience to "denounce programs that are not evidence-based, that view AIDS as a moral issue, that undermine the issues that affect us, women's rights. I want to be very clear -- the abstinence-only business, women must say no!" Again, there were hollers and applause.

I find the sanctimonious and arbitrary indifference to scientific evidence the equivalent of the Catholic Church's unwillingness to acknowledge the clear and calculated murder of Jews during the Holocaust. In fact, it may actually be worse given the fact that while the Church may have sat on its collective hands, the Bush administration is actually participating in a practice that leads directly to unwarranted and unnecessary deaths. That is inexcusable.

In her brilliant new book, The Invisible Cure: Africa, The West, And The Fight Against AIDS, Helen Epstein shows what some of the ideologues' policies have meant on the ground.

Epstein, who has a background in biology and public health, argues that people in East Africa, where the spread of AIDS has been especially catastrophic, don't have more partners over a lifetime than people in other regions, but they are more likely to have simultaneous long-term relationships. Citing the work of the sociologist and statistician Martina Morris, she writes that concurrent liaisons "are far more dangerous than serial monogamy, because they link people up in a giant web of sexual relationships that creates ideal conditions for the rapid spread of HIV."

Uganda's initial response to AIDS addressed this, and urged partner reduction, or "zero grazing," which was not the same as abstinence. Condoms played a role as well. "HIV infection rates fell most rapidly during the early 1990s, mainly because people had fewer casual sexual partners," Epstein writes. "However, since 1995, the proportion of men with multiple partners had increased, but condom use increased at the same time, and this must be why the HIV infection rate remained low."

Yet in a grotesque irony, PEPFAR funding has refashioned Uganda's anti-HIV campaign to fit the distorted notions of American conservatives (and their allies among Uganda's evangelical revivalists, who include First Lady Janet Museveni). "The policy is making people fearful to talk comprehensively about HIV, because they think if they do, they will miss funding," says Canon Gideon, an HIV-positive Anglican minister from Uganda who has been a leader in the clerical response to the epidemic. "Although they know the right things to say, they don't say them, because they fear that if you talk about condoms and other safe practices, you might not get access to this money."

Today, Uganda's infection rate is once again rising.

A few weeks before I came to Kenya, I spoke with Stephen Lewis, who until last year was the United Nations Secretary General's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. I asked how he understood the balance between the harmful and the helpful aspects of Bush's AIDS initiative. "It really is difficult to quantify," he said. "The only thing one can categorically say is that the overemphasis on abstinence probably resulted in an unnecessary number of additional infections." That this policy is celebrated as Bush's greatest moral achievement shouldn't be understood as praise.

Note what UN Envoy Lewis is actually stating...he is clearly arguing that the President's actions may be consistent with his moral imperatives (religious dogma), but those imperatives are going to kill more Africans...and that certainly deserves no praise.

I'll offer one other observation that further demonstrates the degree to which fanaticism knows few, if any, limits. The latest polling on the approval of the President is, by any measure, dismal...some of the worst for a sitting president. Nonetheless, he still has the support of slightly less that 30 percent of the American public.

I'll suggest that those individuals share one key affinity with George Bush...they remain committed to imposing their notions of morality and their version of theology upon the whole of the United States...and they have a cavalier disregard for all those they deem to function outside of their moral template...so cavalier that the lives of fellow human beings have become expendable consequences of their "Christianist crusade".

Daniel DiRito | July 10, 2007 | 12:45 PM | link | Comments (0)
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July 6, 2007

This & That: News In Brief genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church:

Funeral Protest

Shirley Phelps-Roper has been charged with a number of violations related to a recent protest by the group at a funeral for a soldier killed in the war in Iraq. The charges include flag mutilation, negligent child abuse, disturbing the peace, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Westboro's clan, made up primarily of Fred Phelps and his family members, routinely include their young children in their protests.

Apparently Shirley and Fred like to be sure their young'uns are messed up before they reach their teens...they make better lunatics that way.

James Holsinger - Nominee For Surgeon General:

James Holsinger

It looks like President Bush's controversial nominee for Surgeon General will face the scrutiny of the Senate next week. Holsinger's history includes a paper, The Pathophysiology of Homosexuality, in which he suggests that homosexuality is unnatural and leads to illness and disease...or as he likes to characterize it...bad plumbing decisions.

Holsinger has also been affiliated with an ex-gay ministry...or as I like to call it...putting a square peg in a round hole. Holsinger is expected to face strong opposition.

Iraq War Costs Soaring Past Estimates:

Cash Cow

Estimates suggest that the cost of the war in Iraq may top $1.4 trillion dollars...if it ever comes to an end, that is. At the moment, monthly costs are running about a third higher than had been predicted. I suspect the rationale goes something like this, "Let's protect our way of life and our interests in Iraq at all costs...so what if we bankrupt the country in the process. Never mind that North Korea has nukes, Iran is about to have them, and Pakistan is so unstable they might lose a few of theirs."

Daniel DiRito | July 6, 2007 | 3:17 PM | link | Comments (2)
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July 5, 2007

Keith Allen On Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Video-Philes

The following video clips are the second half of a two part posting here at Thought Theater presenting a documentary called Keith Allen Will Burn In Hell, a look at Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church. You can find the first posting here along with some further information about Keith Allen.

Allen's style is raw and I caution anyone who may be sensitive to profanity and abrasive language (from Allen and those he interviews). There is also one brief snippet of satirical nudity that may offend. I personally feel the documentary has merit regardless. While I am not troubled by his approach, that may not be the case for all viewers. The interviews are for the most part civil, though there are some heated exchanges.

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Daniel DiRito | July 5, 2007 | 10:27 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 3, 2007

An Open Letter To Michael Glatze genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions

Authenticity

Today, Michael Glatze, a well known figure in the gay world and a former proponent of gay rights, wrote of his rejection of homosexuality in an essay posted at World Net Daily. I have posted Michael's essay below and I have followed it with my own open letter to Michael. I think Michael should be whoever he want's to be...but his choice to do so by attaching negative judgments to the lifestyle of other well-adjusted gays warrants a response.

From World Net Daily:

How A "Gay Rights" Leader Became Straight

By Michael Glatze

Homosexuality came easy to me, because I was already weak.

My mom died when I was 19. My father had died when I was 13. At an early age, I was already confused about who I was and how I felt about others.

My confusion about "desire" and the fact that I noticed I was "attracted" to guys made me put myself into the "gay" category at age 14. At age 20, I came out as gay to everybody else around me.

At age 22, I became an editor of the first magazine aimed at a young, gay male audience. It bordered on pornography in its photographic content, but I figured I could use it as a platform to bigger and better things.

Sure enough, Young Gay America came around. It was meant to fill the void that the other magazine I'd worked for had created – namely, anything not-so-pornographic, aimed at the population of young, gay Americans. Young Gay America took off.

Gay people responded happily to Young Gay America. It received awards, recognition, respectability and great honors, including the National Role Model Award from major gay organization Equality Forum – which was given to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien a year later – and a whole host of appearances in the media, from PBS to the Seattle Times, from MSNBC to the cover story in Time magazine.

I produced, with the help of PBS-affiliates and Equality Forum, the first major documentary film to tackle gay teen suicide, "Jim In Bold," which toured the world and received numerous "best in festival" awards.

Young Gay America created a photo exhibit, full of photographs and stories of gay youth all across the North American continent, which toured Europe, Canada and parts of the United States.

Young Gay America launched YGA Magazine in 2004, to pretend to provide a "virtuous counterpart" to the other newsstand media aimed at gay youth. I say "pretend" because the truth was, YGA was as damaging as anything else out there, just not overtly pornographic, so it was more "respected."

It took me almost 16 years to discover that homosexuality itself is not exactly "virtuous." It was difficult for me to clarify my feelings on the issue, given that my life was so caught up in it.

Homosexuality, delivered to young minds, is by its very nature pornographic. It destroys impressionable minds and confuses their developing sexuality; I did not realize this, however, until I was 30 years old.

YGA Magazine sold out of its first issue in several North American cities. There was extreme support, by all sides, for YGA Magazine; schools, parent groups, libraries, governmental associations, everyone seemed to want it. It tapped right into the zeitgeist of "accepting and promoting" homosexuality, and I was considered a leader. I was asked to speak on the prestigious JFK Jr. Forum at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 2005.

It was, after viewing my words on a videotape of that "performance," that I began to seriously doubt what I was doing with my life and influence.

Knowing no one who I could approach with my questions and my doubts, I turned to God; I'd developed a growing relationship with God, thanks to a debilitating bout with intestinal cramps caused by the upset stomach-inducing behaviors I'd been engaged in.

Soon, I began to understand things I'd never known could possibly be real, such as the fact that I was leading a movement of sin and corruption – which is not to sound as though my discovery was based on dogma, because decidedly it was not.

I came to the conclusions on my own.

It became clear to me, as I really thought about it – and really prayed about it – that homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within. We cannot see the truth when we're blinded by homosexuality.

We believe, under the influence of homosexuality, that lust is not just acceptable, but a virtue. But there is no homosexual "desire" that is apart from lust.

In denial of this fact, I'd fought to erase such truth at all costs, and participated in the various popular ways of taking responsibility out of human hands for challenging the temptations of lust and other behaviors. I was sure – thanks to culture and world leaders – that I was doing the right thing.

Driven to look for truth, because nothing felt right, I looked within. Jesus Christ repeatedly advises us not to trust anybody other than Him. I did what He said, knowing that the Kingdom of God does reside in the heart and mind of every man.

What I discovered – what I learned – about homosexuality was amazing. How I'd first "discovered" homosexual desires back in high school was by noticing that I looked at other guys. How I healed, when it became decidedly clear that I should – or risk hurting more people – is that I paid attention to myself.

Every time I was tempted to lust, I noticed it, caught it, dealt with it. I called it what it was, and then just let it disappear on its own. A huge and vital difference exists between superficial admiration – of yourself, or others – and integral admiration. In loving ourselves fully, we no longer need anything from the "outside" world of lustful desire, recognition from others, or physical satisfaction. Our drives become intrinsic to our very essence, unbridled by neurotic distractions.

Homosexuality allows us to avoid digging deeper, through superficiality and lust-inspired attractions – at least, as long as it remains "accepted" by law. As a result, countless miss out on their truest self, their God-given Christ-self.

Homosexuality, for me, began at age 13 and ended – once I "cut myself off" from outside influences and intensely focused on inner truth – when I discovered the depths of my God-given self at age 30.

God is regarded as an enemy by many in the grip of homosexuality or other lustful behavior, because He reminds them of who and what they truly are meant to be. People caught in the act would rather stay "blissfully ignorant" by silencing truth and those who speak it, through antagonism, condemnation and calling them words like "racist," "insensitive," "evil" and "discriminatory."

Healing from the wounds caused by homosexuality is not easy – there's little obvious support. What support remains is shamed, ridiculed, silenced by rhetoric or made illegal by twisting of laws. I had to sift through my own embarrassment and the disapproving "voices" of all I'd ever known to find it. Part of the homosexual agenda is getting people to stop considering that conversion is even a viable question to be asked, let alone whether or not it works.

In my experience, "coming out" from under the influence of the homosexual mindset was the most liberating, beautiful and astonishing thing I've ever experienced in my entire life.

Lust takes us out of our bodies, "attaching" our psyche onto someone else's physical form. That's why homosexual sex – and all other lust-based sex – is never satisfactory: It's a neurotic process rather than a natural, normal one. Normal is normal – and has been called normal for a reason.

Abnormal means "that which hurts us, hurts normal." Homosexuality takes us out of our normal state, of being perfectly united in all things, and divides us, causing us to forever pine for an outside physical object that we can never possess. Homosexual people – like all people – yearn for the mythical true love, which does actually exist. The problem with homosexuality is that true love only comes when we have nothing preventing us from letting it shine forth from within. We cannot fully be ourselves when our minds are trapped in a cycle and group-mentality of sanctioned, protected and celebrated lust.

God came to me when I was confused and lost, alone, afraid and upset. He told me – through prayer – that I had nothing at all to be afraid of, and that I was home; I just needed to do a little house cleaning in my mind.

I believe that all people, intrinsically, know the truth. I believe that is why Christianity scares people so much. It reminds them of their conscience, which we all possess.

Conscience tells us right from wrong and is a guide by which we can grow and become stronger and freer human beings. Healing from sin and ignorance is always possible, but the first thing anyone must do is get out of the mentalities that divide and conquer humanity.

Sexual truth can be found, provided we're all willing and driven to accept that our culture sanctions behaviors that harm life. Guilt should be no reason to avoid the difficult questions.

Homosexuality took almost 16 years of my life and compromised them with one lie or another, perpetuated through national media targeted at children. In European countries, homosexuality is considered so normal that grade-school children are being provided "gay" children's books as required reading in public schools.

Poland, a country all-too familiar with the destruction of its people by outside influences, is bravely attempting to stop the European Union from indoctrinating its children with homosexual propaganda. In response, the European Union has called the prime minister of Poland "repulsive."

I was repulsive for quite some time; I am still dealing with all of my guilt.

As a leader in the "gay rights" movement, I was given the opportunity to address the public many times. If I could take back some of the things I said, I would. Now I know that homosexuality is lust and pornography wrapped into one. I'll never let anybody try to convince me otherwise, no matter how slick their tongues or how sad their story. I have seen it. I know the truth.

God gave us truth for a reason. It exists so we could be ourselves. It exists so we could share that perfect self with the world, to make the perfect world. These are not fanciful schemes or strange ideals – these are the Truth.

Healing from the sins of the world will not happen in an instant; but, it will happen – if we don't pridefully block it. God wins in the end, in case you didn't know.

My open letter to Michael:

Dear Michael,

I read your posting at World Net Daily and I wanted to share some of my own thoughts on your thoughts and the larger subjects of sexuality, religion, and authenticity.

First, let me say that your words express an inner anguish that seems to have been your companion for many years. I have great sympathy for your heartache. Your attempt to resolve that anguish is noble, however your efforts to extrapolate your own journey as a tonic for all that ails others within the gay community is sadly misguided.

I don’t know you so I hesitate to offer my observations without one important caveat. Your life has been lived by and large in the public sphere…first when you embraced homosexuality through YGA and your many other activities…and now as you embrace an alternate reality that you have chosen to share through World Net Daily. Therefore, I make the assumption that both then and now, it has been your choice to submit yourself to the scrutiny of others. If I’m wrong, my apologies.

You note that YGA “was meant to fill a void" for young gay Americans…something not so “pornographic". Is it possible that YGA was meant to first and foremost fill your own void and to combat your own issues with pornography? Let me elaborate. You see pornography is not the unique domain of homosexuals…it is available to virtually all sexual persuasions and curiosities…and one has the free will to partake or to pass.

I’ve read gay newspapers and periodicals for many years and I’ve always known I had the discretion to read and view those articles, advertisements, and photographs of my choosing. When you speak of homosexuality as being “by its very nature pornographic" isn’t it plausible that what you are actually explaining is how you elected to define your own affiliation with homosexuality? Keep in mind that one can affiliate with heterosexuality in the very same manner…maybe you have yet to discover that prerogative.

You also state that “homosexuality is not exactly ‘virtuous’". Clearly, virtue is not innate to any sexual preference…just as it isn’t innate to Italians, Caucasians, tall people, people near the equator, or people who drive yellow cars. Virtue is a chosen state of being that is available to all humans. Your proximity to virtue during your homosexuality was a function of your actions as a human being with free will…not something one can definitively obtain or be denied as a result of some affiliation. If you lacked virtue, YOU lacked virtue…being gay need not separate one from virtue.

You indicate that “homosexuality prevents US from finding our true self within. We cannot see the truth when we’re blinded by homosexuality." The quest to find ones self should never be sought through affiliations. The fact that you couldn’t find communion with your self while you identified as a homosexual is not an indictment of homosexuality…it is an indication of your own internal conflicts…conflicts you played out in the public arena then and conflicts you now purport to have resolved in an alternate reality…once again seeking to air your process on the public stage. Unfortunately, your process now is not necessarily any more authentic than your process then.

What remains consistent is your need for others to affirm who and what you are whenever and wherever you tell us what you are. Don’t take this wrong, but I recall a time when I would fret about eating in a restaurant by myself…all I could think about was what others may be thinking it said about me. In a conversation with a wise friend, I mentioned my hesitation and she offered this observation, “Daniel, what makes you think you’re that important or that relevant in the minds of other diners? Why you are there eating alone is only meaningful to you."

You see it was my perception that was flawed, not my situation. I was living outside of myself and relying on outside feedback to affirm myself…an exercise in futility. May I suggest you remain in the same predicament though you’ve altered your scenery? You proceed to state that you became aware of your homosexuality when you “noticed that I looked at other guys" and that you resolved your desires by paying attention to yourself. You continue by stating, “Every time I was tempted to lust, I noticed it." Your words are clues to your own flawed perception. How you see other men…lustfully…is of your making…it is the perception you brought to your experience with homosexuality. The men you lusted after were not the issue…it was what you carried within.

Unfortunately, you attempt to apply your reality to all other homosexuals…once again illuminating your need for external affirmation…and in your current circumstances you need to vilify that which you no longer want to inhabit your psyche. Sadly, electing to announce your heterosexual affiliation is not the equivalent of extinguishing your flawed perceptions nor does it mean you will approach your heterosexuality any differently than you did your homosexuality. The healing of the heart is not an external event that is subject too, or a function of, ones proximity to any particular societal construct…in this instance heterosexuality.

You then pivot towards religion and your search for, and discovery of, your “God-given self". Lacking in that observation is the realization that others may already be in harmony with their god-given selves. You see, may I regrettably suggest that you suffer the belief held by so many who identify as born again…you presume that everyone else must have lost sight of their god-given identities and is therefore in need of rebirth. May I posit that this is once again demonstrative of your need for external validation of your processes, your identity, and all that you experience? In other words, you are still a victim of your inability to embrace an identity of your own volition absent reinforcing feedback.

Your words provide further insight into your struggle. You state, “Lust takes us out of our bodies, “attaching" our psyche onto someone else’s physical form". More telling words may have never been uttered. What you describe is your own persistent psychic wound that manifests itself in the objectification of others in order to fill an internal void…one you must believe to be insatiable and outside your capacity to repair. You see, your demons are just that…your demons. While you may find comfort in believing that every other homosexual has the same demons…that belief is merely a defense mechanism your ego employs to assuage the pain.

I would also speculate that the mindset you held put you in contact with people suffering similar struggles…thereby allowing you to reach your misguided conclusion that all homosexuals were like you. As difficult as this may be to hear, the friends I have would have little difficulty identifying you and your particular perceptions and the flawed judgments that they foster. That reality likely limited your exposure…but it certainly did not serve as a legitimate basis for your current hypothesis. You see, all that you have identified in your diatribe against homosexuality is that portion of your identity that you subconsciously find detestable. I’m sorry for your dilemma but I reject your conclusion.

Near the end of your essay, you state that “homosexuality took almost 16 years of my life and compromised them with one lie or another". Shame on you. That statement is an affront to everything else you ask us to embrace. At what point will you take personal responsibility for your own behavior? The pursuit of truth is not a construct you get to strap on when it serves you and pine for when you lack the wherewithal to seek it.

What you need to strive for is authenticity. Your persona as a cheerleader in the latest and greatest uniform of your liking is simply the measure of your inauthentic self. Your predicament is sad and I feel for you…but your carelessness and your cavalier capacity to tear down whatever no longer serves your fragile identity is indefensible and unacceptable.

The fact that you now wrap yourself in the glorious guise of god may once again serve your masked and manipulative inner master but it puts you no closer to truth. You contend that god wins in the end because you have chosen to co-opt god to augment your own disenfranchisement from self-truth. While you have hitched your wagon to this particular iteration of truth, it doesn’t mean you have found truth. You have simply found a new mechanism of certainty that can be substituted for the ever elusive identity that in the end has ironically come to define who you are and who you aren’t.

Michael, I hope you’re able to find peace…but I have to implore you to do so without attacking those who have journeyed much further along the path.

Regards,

Daniel

Daniel DiRito | July 3, 2007 | 2:56 PM | link | Comments (129)
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Keith Allen On Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Video-Philes

The following video clips are the first half of a two part posting here at Thought Theater presenting a documentary called Keith Allen Will Burn In Hell, a look at Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church.

Keith Allen has worked in film and television for a number of years in the United Kingdom...primarily as a comic actor. Allen is the father of eight children, including Lily Allen, an up and coming singer.

In recent years, Allen has made a number of documentaries. In this most recent offering, Allen offers an up close look at Fred Phelps and members of his Westboro Baptist Church.

While we all have perceptions of Phelps and his followers, Allen delivers perhaps the most intimate expose to date. Allen films his ad-lib conversations during a visit to their Topeka compound; giving the viewer insight into the thought processes that serve to motivate the Phelps clan.

Allen's style is raw and I caution anyone who may be sensitive to profanity and abrasive language (from Allen and those he interviews). There is also one brief snippet of satirical nudity that may offend. I personally feel the documentary has merit regardless. While I am not troubled by his approach, that may not be the case for all viewers. The interviews are for the most part civil, though there are some heated exchanges.

Allen is a masterful moderator and it is clear that he has a grasp of human nature...demonstrating a keen understanding of how far he can push before needing to pull back. He has an ability to be both charming and chafing...and he knows when to modulate between the two.

Part One

Part Two

Daniel DiRito | July 3, 2007 | 9:48 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 1, 2007

Floods In UK God's Punishment For Yadda Yadda... genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation

My Two Cents

If I had a nickel for every time a religious leader said that natural disasters were god's punishment for some behavior they didn't condone, I'd give religion a run for its ill-gotten coffers. The latest pontification comes in response to the recent flooding that has plagued the United Kingdom. In typical fashion, a bishop in the Church of England assailed all of the usual suspects...gay marriage, immorality, greed, and the general decay of societal values.

The Rt Rev Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle, argued that the floods are not just a result of a lack of respect for the planet, but also a judgment on society's moral decadence.

"This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way," he said. "We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as the environmental damage that we have caused."

The bishop, who is a leading evangelical, said that people should heed the stories of the Bible, which described the downfall of the Roman empire as a result of its immorality.

"We are in serious moral trouble because every type of lifestyle is now regarded as legitimate," he said.

"In the Bible, institutional power is referred to as 'the beast', which sets itself up to control people and their morals. Our government has been playing the role of God in saying that people are free to act as they want," he said, adding that the introduction of recent pro-gay laws highlighted its determination to undermine marriage.

"The sexual orientation regulations [which give greater rights to gays] are part of a general scene of permissiveness. We are in a situation where we are liable for God's judgment, which is intended to call us to repentance."

I've also tried my hand at prognostications. Many years ago when I was in high school, I predicted that the unbridled molestation of boys by priests and the abject disregard of the practice by those in positions of authority would result in swarms of locusts and countless forms of pestilence.

As it turned out, the only thing that happened was that one of the priests fell into a ditch on his back while drunk and called out for someone to help him out. I've always viewed my act of charity in lending him a hand to be my own personal get out of hell free card.

The funny thing is we rarely hear about the rewards of our good deeds...an oversight I attribute to a fundamental belief on the part of religious types that pointing out sin is a far more effective tool for controlling the flock and raising money. We might not be as malleable if we thought we were in god's good graces.

I've often wondered if one could conclude that religious types were out of touch with god since they've been making these types of predictions for centuries and yet the world seems to keep on turning. Maybe in the end none of us mortals have the ability to make sense of the many random acts that accompany this human existence. Perhaps that alone should be instructive and lead us to live life to the fullest knowing our demise is beyond our control...and beyond the control of those who want us to believe otherwise.

Anyway, that's my two cents on the subject. That's the best I can do until we have a few more natural disasters and those nickels start rolling in.

Daniel DiRito | July 1, 2007 | 6:24 PM | link | Comments (0)
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