In a moment of karmic irony, Mitt Romney's seemingly limitless desire to court the religious right, through his unabashed demonstrations of opposition to gays, may only be matched by the christian's displeasure with his Mormonism. Call me evil, but I love when one "fundie flock" has the potential to cancel out another.
Leading the way on an issue almost certain to be resurrected during the general election, Mitt Romney issued a statement this morning condemning the Democratic candidates for their refusal at last night's debate to rule out teaching about gay issues to second-graders.
Romney said that the answers proved "how out of touch the Democratic presidential candidates are with the American people."
"Not one candidate was uncomfortable with young children learning about same-sex marriage in the second grade," Romney notes. "This is a subject that should be left to parents, not public school teachers."
This is not the first time Romney has seized on teaching about gay issues to young children. In July, he took Obama to task after the Illinois senator told a Planned Parenthood conference that "it’s the right thing to do to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools." A rival to Romney pointed out that the former governor himself had supported "age-appropriate" sex ed in his 2002 gubernatorial bid.
While I have no particular axe to grind with Romney, I can't help but view his sudden "do-over demagoguery" as a demonstration of his zeal for power and an important measure of his integrity quotient. I know...he wants us to believe that he has simply changed his mind on abortion and gay rights...and I'm suddenly dating women...yea, right!
The problem the Romney strategy presents for the Democrats is that his insistence on carrying the values torch for the GOP will likely force his primary opponents to jump on the values bandwagon in an effort to prove their christian credentials. The fact that he instantly seized upon remarks made at last evenings Democratic debate support my concerns.
Fortunately (for those opposed to Mitt), Romney has an obstacle which may well prevent him from being anointed as the bastion for bible beaters. You see, they believe he suffers from the ailment of Mormonism...a belief system which many christians contend is unacceptable and nullifies his presidential pedigree. A new survey suggests Romney's religion may be a formidable obstacle.
MEDIA ADVISORY, Sept. 26 /Christian Newswire/ -- ChristiaNet.com, the world's largest Christian portal with twelve million monthly page loads, recently asked, "Would you elect a Mormon for president?" President of ChristiaNet, Bill Cooper, responds, "An overwhelming majority of Christians have spoken on the issue, they won't vote for a Mormon."
Out of 2,000 Christians surveyed, 59% claimed they would not vote to elect a Mormon for president. Most comments resulted from the belief that Mormonism is a cult, "The church of Mormonism is a cult and I would never vote for a cult leader." Most in this category also felt that Mormons were not Christians, "A Mormon is not a Christian, and they don't follow the Bible like Christians do." In fact, almost all responses in this category suggested that a Mormon's belief in Christ and God were contrary to a Christian's belief. "They believe in a different Jesus and a different God," is an example of one such comment.
I'm not certain how reliable this survey data may be, but one would be naive to think that Romney's faith will have no bearing on the votes cast by the religious right. From a political strategy standpoint, Romney's efforts to engage the values voters may complicate the GOP equation. If he forces the other front-runner candidates to the right, it may hurt the appeal of a Rudy Giuliani with moderate and independent voters.
Whatever happens, the GOP race is bound to be a fascinating look at a party attempting to craft a winning identity in the aftermath of the 2006 election. While I have no dog in the show, I suspect Romney may be barking up the wrong tree.
Image courtesy of The Economist
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Christianity, Evangelicals, GOP, LGBT, Mitt Romney, Mormonism, Religious Right, Rudy Giuliani
Daniel DiRito | September 27, 2007 | 12:50 PM |
| Comments (1)
The christians are not happy campers at the moment. Their anger centers upon an advertisement for the Folsom Street Fair, a gay event held annually in San Francisco. The ad uses the format of The Last Supper as the setting for the print image; populating the table with individuals dressed in stereotypical gay regalia...and the table is "sinfully" littered with a variety of sex toys. Naturally, the bible brigade finds the image to be sickeningly sacrilegious...which of course means they have reacted with more than sufficient sanctimony.
Enough of my sarcasm...I'll let the christians speak for themselves. The following excerpts are a sampling of the outrage found on the internet.
From CNS News:
Organizers of San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair -- sponsored by Miller Brewing Co. -- have portrayed Christ and his disciples as half-naked homosexual sadomasochists in the event's promotional advertisement, and the conservative group Concerned Women for America is complaining about the hypocrisy of it.
"The bread and wine representing Christ's broken body and lifegiving blood are replaced with sadomasochistic sex toys in this twisted version of Da Vinci's The Last Supper," CWA said on its Web site.
CWA is calling on California politicians -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sens. Feinstein and Boxer among them -- to "publicly condemn this unprovoked attack against Christ and His followers.
"We further challenge the media to cover this affront to Christianity with the same vigor as recent stories about cartoon depictions of Mohammed and other items offensive to the Muslim community," CWA said.
The fair describes itself as "the world's largest leather event." The city supports it by shutting down several city blocks and providing security. It is financed in part by the same South African–owned Miller Beer that has also supported illegal alien rallies.
Oh that disgusting city of San Francisco...how dare they grant permits and block off streets for gay events...and that naughty Miller Brewing Company...how dare they sponsor gay events and activities by those terrible illegal immigrants...and let's not forget the evil and liberal mainstream media! Apparently, the christians are prone to persecution complexes. I'm sure the city of San Francisco wouldn't deny them permits for events and I'd bet Miller would be happy to offer its sponsorship. Of course I suspect the christians would find San Francisco an unacceptable city and Miller an inappropriate sponsor.
Anyway, here's what the folks at Moonbattery.com think it would take to get anyone to pay attention to their concerns:
Unfortunately, Christians would have to fly a few planes into buildings full of people before that will ever happen. The media only sides with the bad guys.
I guess this confirms that the GOP has succeeded in portraying liberals and the media as unpatriotic terrorist sympathizers to their base. It also appears that the christians have mobilized and captured Miller's attention...enough so that the company has asked to be immediately removed from the print material...issuing the following statement on their website:
From Miller Brewing Company:
Statement Regarding Folsom Street Fair
While Miller has supported the Folsom Street Fair for several years, we take exception to the poster the organizing committee developed this year. We understand some individuals may find the imagery offensive and we have asked the organizers to remove our logo from the poster effective immediately.
Well, after a little research, it seems that the Folsom Street Fair isn't the only group that has found The Last Supper to be an attractive theme for publicity campaigns and print materials. I've included a couple of the most recognizable ones in the graphic at the bottom of this posting.
Yes, as you can see, The Last Supper served as the setting for the characters in the Star Wars movies and for the cast of the HBO series, The Sopranos. No, I don't think the Soprano family will receive an exception for being Italian Catholics...they seem to have a bit of a problem with most of the commandments. It is interesting that I've never heard any criticism of these depictions of The Last Supper...but then again, they aren't tied to the gay community.
Given Miller's decision and the lack of focus on the other depictions, I decided to take a look at the advertiser's who have been featured on the Sopranos. Keep in mind that HBO doesn't run advertisements; instead they place name brand products in their programs...providing exposure that has great value. The following excerpts provide the relevant details:
From USA Today:
The creators of the HBO shows do accept free use of cars and other goods. It cuts costs and adds realism. The days of TV characters drinking generic "beer" are over. Sopranos creator David Chase and his team of writers frequently write brand names into scripts to add reality to the show, which is averaging 10.8 million viewers per week, according to Nielsen Marketing Research. Jersey boy Chase is a stickler: When Carmela Soprano reaches for milk, he demands it be a brand distributed in New Jersey, says Landress.
If marketers had to pay for ads on The Sopranos, the cost would equal $287,325 for a 30-second spot and HBO would pocket $6.8 million per show, according to a study by DiMassimo.
Landress rejects "exclusive" offers that would make HBO borrow products from a single marketer in a category. She says consumers see competing brands, so The Sopranos' writers want variety: Motorola and Nokia cell phones; Apple and Gateway computers; Mercedes (Tony's girlfriend Gloria was a Mercedes dealer), Lexus and Range Rover autos (both driven by Christopher Moltisanti); Coke and Pepsi (the gangsters drink Coke; the feds like Pepsi); SnackWell's and Turkey Hill foods favored by Carmela.
Strange as it may seem, I'm not aware of anyone objecting to these high profile companies supporting The Sopranos...a show which has used The Last Supper imagery and that is arguably not an ideal representation of family values.
Now that the Sopranos has ended its run on HBO, the rights to the series have been purchased by Arts & Entertainment...and they do sell advertising...and they need to given what they paid for the privilege of airing the show. In addition to the companies mentioned in the following excerpts, ad time has also been bought by Ford, Sonic, and Paramount Pictures.
From Broadcasting & Cable:
Once-stodgy A&E surprised many in the TV community when it won a January 2005 bidding war for rights to rerun the HBO show, agreeing to pay $2.55 million an episode. The searing crime drama roared out of the gate with 4.4 million total viewers, including 1.9 million in the key adults 18-49 demo.
At the same time, the show helped coax 30 new advertisers to A&E in 2006, with another 20 already set for 2007, says AETN Ad Sales Executive VP Mel Berning. The client list includes Yellow Book, Texas Instruments, Alltel, TGI Friday's and Taco Bell.
“They're meeting their guarantees and obligations," says PHD Executive VP/Director of National Broadcast Harry Keeshan, who bought ads for his client Quiznos and is pitching the show to new advertisers this year.
Let's take a look at Star Wars and the cash cow marketing monster it has become with the reworking of the original trilogy, the subsequent prequel movies, and the release of enhanced DVD's and countless other products. Oh, and let's not forget Fox's connections to the Star Wars money machine.
From USA Today:
Star Wars is one of the all-time moneymaking franchises, generating nearly $3.4 billion in global box office and $9 billion in retail sales since 1977. As the buzz builds for the finale of George Lucas' space series, consumers won't be able to swing a light saber without seeing, hearing or reading references to Darth Vader, Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi over the next month.
Promotional partners Pepsi, Burger King, Cingular Wireless, America Online, M&M/Mars and Kellogg are launching a multimillion-dollar cross-promotion to push their own brands while basking in the reflected glory of Hollywood. As partners, they get the rights to use Star Wars characters in their advertising.
In 1999, to promote Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the remaining "Special Edition" films (V and VI) aired on U.S. broadcast network Fox (they bypassed premium cable for direct broadcast airing). That same year, Fox acquired all television rights to Episode I after the premium cable networks declined due to cost. A similar situation nearly happened with Attack of the Clones, until HBO struck a last-minute deal with Fox and Lucasfilm for the exclusive pay-cable rights.
The Fox network acquired the U.S. network television rights, in April/May 2005, to promote the then-upcoming Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, with Episodes I, IV, V, and VI placed in limited syndicated television distribution, (on Fox affiliates in most markets) while the Fox network was able to air Episode II in mid-May, prior to Episode III's initial theatrical release.
So the "fair and balanced" network has been a key player in the marketing of Star Wars...which we know means that the network made a fair share of money from the sale of advertising time to big name companies. Again, I can't recall anyone calling on Fox and the many advertisers involved with Star Wars to cease their involvement with these movies as a result of the blasphemous Last Supper depiction.
No, the christians apparently give Star Wars and The Sopranos and Fox and countless large corporate advertisers a free pass; instead deciding to go after a gay event held in San Francisco...one which most Americans have never heard about or attended. Are we to conclude that the pursuit and condemnation of the "militant" gays and their inferred insistence upon defiling religion at an event in San Francisco is a greater threat to christianity than the likes of Star Wars, The Sopranos, and Fox Network?
The following excerpts provide the latest reactions from The Catholic League:
Catholic League president Bill Donohue announced a national boycott of Miller Beer on this morning’s “Fox and Friends." He explains why today:
“Never have we experienced greater corporate arrogance than in this dispute with the Miller Brewing Company. Miller is sponsoring an incredibly outrageous and palpably anti-Christian event in San Francisco: the Folsom Street Fair (see its website at folsomstreetfair.com and be prepared to see the shocking photos of what goes on).
“Accordingly, Miller leaves us with no options: we are calling on more than 200 Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu organizations to join with us in a nationwide boycott of Miller beer. We feel confident that once our religious allies kick in, and once the public sees the photos of an event Miller is proudly supporting, the Milwaukee brewery will come to its senses and pull its sponsorship altogether. If it doesn’t, the only winners will be Anheuser Busch and Coors."
Contact: Miller spokesman Julian Green at email@example.com
Phone: 1-800-MILLER 6 or 414-931-2000
Perhaps all of these outraged groups need to take a look at the other depictions of The Last Supper before they decide to single out the gay community and one large corporate sponsor. While the christians love to accuse the gay community of hypocrisy and bigotry, it seems to be the christians who fail to grasp the meaning of hypocrisy.
Until they begin applying their outrage equitably, I see this latest assault as more of the same...an opportunity to further their hateful agenda...an agenda focused upon dispersing anti-gay propaganda whenever and wherever they find an opportunity.
I guess I'm going to have to start drinking Miller Beer and watching The Sopranos on A&E and Star Wars on my Fox Network affiliate. Oh the inhumanity of it all!
Tagged as: Catholic League, Fanatacism, Folsom Street Fair, Fox Network, Homophobia, LGBT, Miller Brewing Company, Religion, San Francisco, Star Wars, The Last Supper, The Sopranos
Daniel DiRito | September 26, 2007 | 11:44 PM |
| Comments (2)
Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made an astonishing statement during his appearance at Columbia University earlier today. In response to a question about the mistreatment of gays in Iran, the leader offered the following comment.
“In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country."
The comment drew an immediate spattering of laughter and boos. Ahmadinejad simply reiterated his statement with the following.
"In Iran, we don't have this phenomenon. "I don't know who's told you that we have it."
Gays in Iran are subject to the death penalty and the above photo shows a recently documented hanging of two gay teenage Iranians. The President, before being pressed to directly answer the question, attempted to gloss over the issue by comparing the enforcement of U.S. law with the enforcement of Iranian law...an attempt to simply suggest that Iran upholds its laws just as is done in the United States.
Apparently the persistence of the questioner led the less than nimble leader to use a well know tactic of oppressive regimes...to simply act like the situation doesn't exist. I guess the Iranian leader believes denial is an effective strategy. Frankly, I'm happy Columbia asked him to speak...it gave American's a first hand look at a man who cannot withstand the basic scrutiny that accompanies a free society and open dialogue.
I thought he looked like a fool as he spent the bulk of his time attempting to weave a divine justification for the beliefs he espouses...arguing that scientific ability is a gift given to a select few. In essence, I believe he sought to assert that his science comes from legitimately blessed individuals...not the impostor's found in Western culture.
The following video clips are from a CBC News Sunday Night documentary, Out In Iran, which chronicles the secret lives of Iran's gay community. Unfortunately, having to keep their lives secret is not only discriminatory...it is apparently the only way to stay alive. Please be warned that the video contains some disturbing images.
Tagged as: CBC News, Columbia University, Freedom of Speech, Homophobia, Iran, LGBT, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, United Nations
Daniel DiRito | September 24, 2007 | 1:58 PM |
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Time and again we hear the argument that liberals hate America...or that they support the terrorists...or that they lack patriotism. The accusations are often made because of their opposition to the war in Iraq...fully lacking any real substantiation.
Well we now have a body of evidence that values voters may be the ones who hate America...primarily because it doesn't support their narrow version of religious ideology.
Comparison is a useful tool, and in this instance, it provides some much needed perspective. The same people who assail liberals for exercising their basic constitutional right to free speech seem more than willing to blur the lines of the constitution in order to impose their particular religious views upon the entire society.
At the GOP Values Voters debate last week, The Church Of God Choir opened the event by singing a rendition of God Bless America...one where the words have been changed to instead asks "Why Should God Bless America?"...continuing on to state that America has "turned her back on everything that made her what she is". While liberals may disagree with specific U.S. policy, one would be hard pressed to find an event of this stature...one with candidates for the presidency in attendance...where the sponsorship is issuing an across the board condemnation of their country.
In fact, I suspect that such a brazen defiling of a cherished patriotic song at a Democratic debate...in order to spew one's displeasure with the state of our nation...would draw calls for a Congressional resolution of condemnation similar to the one issued against MoveOn.org.
To further make my point, I've included a defiling of the same song by Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church. If you're not familiar with this group, they travel the country protesting at funerals of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan...asserting that the deaths are little more than god's punishment for America's sins.
The Westboro version of God Bless America is called God Hates America, and while it uses arguably harsher language than the one at the Values Voters debate, they present a similar message...a message that America isn't acceptable because it has failed to adopt the religious beliefs of a certain segment of society.
I would suggest that liberals adopt a tactic frequently used by the GOP...one that takes every possible opportunity to repeat the following meme..."Why does the GOP hate America?"
Tagged as: Fred Phelps, God Bless America, GOP, MoveOn.org, Religion, Values Voter Debate, Westboro Baptist Church
Daniel DiRito | September 23, 2007 | 12:57 PM |
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A ruling by Maryland's Court of Appeals and a statement issued by California Governor Schwarzenegger effectively kills efforts to adopt same sex marriage in both states.
The ruling in Maryland reverses a lower court ruling that determined a 1973 ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. In its decision, the higher court rejected the argument though it stated that the ruling in no way prevented the legislature from adopting same sex marriage if it was so inclined.
With regards to California, despite hopes for a change of heart, the announcement from the Governor was in line with his prior veto of similar legislation. Schwarzenegger contends that signing such legislation would nullify Proposition 22, a voter initiative passed in 2,000 which bans the recognition of same sex marriages enacted in other states. Supporters of the new legislation argued that Proposition 22 didn't specifically ban same sex marriage in the state.
The California Supreme Court is scheduled to take up the issue of same sex marriage later this year or in early 2008.
From The Washington Post:
BALTIMORE -- Maryland's highest court on Tuesday upheld a state law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, ending a lawsuit filed by same-sex couples who claimed they were being denied fundamental rights.
Maryland's 1973 ban on gay marriage does not discriminate on the basis of gender and does not deny any fundamental rights, the Court of Appeals ruled. It also said the state has a legitimate interest in promoting opposite-sex marriage.
"Our opinion should by no means be read to imply that the General Assembly may not grant and recognize for homosexual persons civil unions or the right to marry a person of the same sex," Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. wrote for the majority.
(Sacramento, California) Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced he again will veto legislation that would allow same-sex couples to marry in California. And he warned lawmakers that they can keep on passing the bill and he will continue to veto it.
The only thing that would change his mind, he said Monday, is if voters overturned Proposition 22 which was passed by the electorate in 2000 to stop gay marriage, but which courts have ruled only applies to marriages performed out of state.
"It would be wrong for the people to vote for something and for me to then overturn it," Schwarzenegger told reporters at a news conference.
While the decisions are disappointing, the issue is far from over as efforts to enact same sex marriage are ongoing in a number of states as well as through the judicial system. With the upcoming 2008 election, the timing of any legislation or court rulings in favor of same sex marriage would have the potential to motivate evangelical voters who currently appear less motivated than they have been in past elections.
Despite predictions that same sex marriage will not be an issue of significant attention in the upcoming election, I expect the GOP to utilize the controversy in the period just prior to the election. Past campaigns suggest that raising the fear of same sex marriage in values voters proximate to an election serves as an effective motivating tool. There is little reason to believe that the GOP would forego the use of any weapon in their arsenal.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Arnold Schwarzenegger, California, LGBT, Maryland, Same-Sex Marriage
Daniel DiRito | September 18, 2007 | 9:22 AM |
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Black and white...white and black. America has struggled with these two words for decades. No doubt race is the first thought which comes to mind when one mentions black and white...but the issue is much broader than skin color...it encompasses a way of thinking that struggles to see the many shades of gray which occupy the space between two extremes.
Hence, my thoughts on the subject were triggered by four items in the news...all seemingly unrelated though clearly conjoined by the presence of a simmering sickness...one which has at its core a pitiful propensity to view the world and its inhabitants with the forceful, though false safety found in the embracing of extremes.
For most of my life, I've been a doodler...writing and drawing in school notebooks or in any other blank space I could find on an otherwise white piece of paper. By and large, my doodles were mindless acts intended to fill space...both the space on a piece of paper and the empty mental space that often accompanied my own boredom.
However, not long ago, I stopped to think about my doodling and realized that one particular pattern existed...one that was evidenced by years of writing words that are opposites...most frequently the words "sooner" and "later"...all words that are akin to the concept of black and white.
At the same time, my life has been characterized by an effort to see the many shades of gray that one must navigate in order to move from one extreme to the other...so much so that I've often angered individuals on both ends of the philosophical and political spectrums. I view my choice to do so as a decision to remain conflicted...the place from which I've always sought and found my most significant moments of awareness and insight.
Truth be told, choosing to reside in such a state creates anxiety and frustration...but the payoff has always exceeded the cost...payoff that comes in what I've called my periods of hyper-reality. During those intervals, long standing mental logjams are broken and a comforting clarity suddenly emerges in a cascade of cognition. It's as if pieces of a puzzle fall effortlessly into place to reveal a much needed image.
I make mention of my personal experience because I believe it a worthwhile contemplative construct...one that has the potential to move beyond the banality of black and white...and therefore past the animosity which seems to typify our adoption of an architecture of antagonism.
With that contextual background, let's look at the specific news items. First, the observations of Stanley Kurtz on a Salon.com article titled, So Long, White Boy, in which he points to a new book about the Duke lacrosse rape case, Until Proven Innocent, specifically citing this quote from the book, "Duke’s politically-correct faculty...produced a mirror image of the worst racism of the South in the 1950s....". Kurtz raises the prospect that the Duke case and the university response may provide evidence that reverse discrimination is the ultimate product of affirmative action. He concludes with the following.
First the Democrats alienated many white men by supporting discriminatory preferential treatment policies. When these men refused to accept this discrimination, many of them left the Democratic Party. This, in turn, enraged many Democrats, who began to think "invidiously" about white men. So it would appear that racial discrimination in law and policy breeds racial discrimination in culture. If the Democrats lose a large chunk of the "NASCAR Dad" vote in the upcoming elections, it might have something to do with the fact that the Dems richly deserve to lose it.
The second item is the "censoring" of Sally Fields remarks during the Emmy Awards. While accepting her award, Fields, who plays a mother on the television program "Brothers & Sisters", dedicated her award to all of the mothers in the world and stated, "May they be seen; may their work be valued and raised and especially for the mothers who stand with open hearts and wait. Wait for their children to come home from danger and harm's way and war". As she closed her remarks, Fox cut out the following statement.
From The National Post on Canada.com:
"If mothers ruled the ruled the world, there would be no..."
Snip to wide shot.
What was cut (some people saw it live) from the broadcast: "god-damned wars in the first place"
The blogosphere is abuzz with commentary on Field's remarks and the decision by Fox to edit the latter portion. The situation is being characterized differently by those on opposite sides of the political spectrum. One side suggests it is an issue of censorship by right leaning Fox Network and the other side argues that Field's was simply using the Emmy's as a platform for an anti-war tirade.
Consistent with the argument I intend to make, I choose to focus on the dialogue rather than the merits of either position. The following are some of the comments found on the internet.
someone should’ve thrown her off the stage, forget using a cane.
G*****n you, Rupert Murdoch! All Sally was doing was trying to offer the progressive counterpoint to that war-glorifying, Bush-loving, neoconservative medley of talk show one-liners earlier in the broadcast.
Well, if mothers ruled the world in the way Sally meant (i.e. mothers wouldn’t send their own or other people’s children to die in wars, so there wouldn’t be any wars)–what would happen in reality is that a great many Western mothers would indeed keep their children from fighting. However, the Islamist moms around the world would be busily strapping bombs to their babies themselves and shoving them out the door to kill Jews and Americans. Result? We’d lose our culture and our lives. Miserably and quickly.
As any straight man can attest, if women ruled the world there’d still be plenty of wars. They’d just cease to be for discernible reasons. I’ll go hide now.
Confirms that the right-wing corporate establishment cannot survive without war. A threat to war is a threat to their very existence. Manifestly, the anti-war movement is their biggest fear, greater even than an adverse puritanical FCC ruling. Shocking (but predictable).
The third item involves Chris Crocker, the gay man who defended Britney Spears in a tearful YouTube video. Crocker has become the latest celeb of the moment and as so often happens, he has become the focus of mean spirited and malicious comments...comments which clearly seek to use the Crocker situation to push a variety of ideological beliefs.
Most recently, Crocker took issue with a Fox News segment...one which he felt was nothing more than a personal attack by the group of reporters. There are those who defend Fox News, stating that Crocker sought the attention and therefore needs to deal with the consequences...and there are those who feel the Fox segment was homophobic. The following are an example of some of the most heinous comments in response to this latest Crocker video clip.
Clearly ur the most gay and stupid person in the world, why do u wear make-up? Are u a guy who think he's a girl, Or are just a dumb dumb, + UR SO F****D UP! Put a dildo in ur ass a gun in ur mouth and shoot urself!
what a friggin weirdo! I swear if i ever see this person face to face i will kick his/her ass!
hahaha your are sick!!! please do us a favor die soon before someone kill you for good!!!
BTW, If you WERE MORE A WOMAN you wouldnt cry like the little bitch that you are. people get made fun of, deal with it, thats what drives the world.
The final item involves the immigration debate and the belief that the GOP stands to see the gains they made with Hispanic voters under George Bush evaporate in response to perceived prejudice against Mexicans. The two poles of the immigration argument are miles apart. On the one hand, there are those who favor the deportation of all illegal's and the sealing of our border with Mexico. Then there are those who take the opposite view...the one which views the issue as a matter of basic rights and proposes that all illegal's be granted amnesty and that the U.S. make it much easier for Mexicans to immigrate.
Sept. 24, 2007 issue - Lionel Sosa has long been one of the Republicans' most potent weapons come election time. A Hispanic marketing guru, he's crafted successful ad campaigns for presidential candidates from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush aimed at drawing more Latinos into the GOP fold.
But Sosa, who last worked for Bush in 2004, has also been dismayed by the way many GOP candidates have handled the illegal-immigration issue, advocating policies like building a border wall and employing rhetoric that he says is venomous and xenophobic: "It's just an exaggerated, unfriendly position that needlessly turns away Latinos."
Unlike the Democrats, all the Republican presidential candidates, except Sen. John McCain, declined to participate in a debate on the Spanish-language channel Univision, possibly to avoid hostile immigration questioning (the network says it's trying to reschedule). They also ditched conventions earlier this year held by high-profile groups like the National Council of La Raza and NALEO.
Among Latino evangelicals, the portrait's just as bleak. They make up a growing portion of the Hispanic electorate and are twice as likely as Latino Catholics to identify with the GOP, according to Pew Research Center surveys. Yet "right now, the nativist and xenophobic constituency is in charge of the Republican Party," says the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the evangelical National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. "That's a party the Hispanic-American voter cannot support."
Quite frankly, all of these stories are related...related in their evidence of a growing climate of black and white...the need to view all situations and issues with a certainty which cannot be justified or sustained...a certainty born of bias but doggedly disguised as unencumbered eRudytion.
It's a need to determine which race has suffered more from discrimination such that we seemingly need to conclude whether one race has been more aggrieved. What can be achieved in arguing that the white male is the new black male? What is the goal and where and when does it end?
It's the need to prove that the war in Iraq is about the freedom and liberty promised by democracy such that success must and will include the transformation of the world into an image of our liking.
It's the need to characterize civility and a commitment to peace as a gender driven dynamic such that the world cannot function appropriately if one gender holds more power than the other.
It's the need to refute the potential of women of Islam as advocates for peace by defining their religion as evil and thereby associating them with acts of terrorism...all designed to lead one to the tortured conclusion that their annihilation may well be justified.
It's the need to report the news through ideological filters such that news is little more than packaged rhetoric meant to bolster network ratings and define reality. Its a public which seems all too receptive to believing that the news is either black or white...happily stepping over our own responsibility to demand that all news be factual...and doing so with an ill-conceived notion that all will be well if we can only succeed in painting a map of the United States red or blue.
It's the need to identify sexual orientation as the defining moral issue confronting the nation such that individuals like Chris Crocker become lightning rods for the bias and prejudice which seeks to unleash its ugliness by finding its way to the much sought after path of least resistance.
It's the need to vilify Mexicans as a force for the undermining of our cultural identity...all the while ignoring our history as an agglomeration of countless cultural influences...influences which were once thought to be a noble trait and a defining part of our charmed legacy.
It's the willingness of politicians to close their eyes to those walking in the back door because they long ago opened the front door to all those willing to foster and fund their political aspirations.
It's embracing all that is wrong with the construct which posits that the absence of love must be accompanied by the emergence of hate...both in our personal lives and universally in all things that we deem to defy the lazy and illogical labels of black or white.
In a world where proponents of a higher being...a divine creator...prevail...and willfully espouse the inability of science to extricate the intricacies of god's grand design...we willingly bear witness to the audacity which so arrogantly and arbitrarily seeks to attach our own vituperate views to that which we deem to be unacceptably different.
Either we accept the infinite grayness that permeates our perceptive proclivities or we continue down the path of painting ourselves into the dark corners and blinding back rooms which come with an insistence upon the advancement of ideation that is little more than two dimensional delusion.
Unless the battle for black and white gives way to judicious gradations, the red blood which gives each of us life will undoubtedly be the last vague vestige upon the canvas which was intended to represent the enduring achievements of our shared humanity. That's a legacy we can preclude...that's a legacy to lament.
Tagged as: Affirmative Action, Border Security, Chris Crocker, Duke Lacrosse, Emmy Awards, FCC, Fox Network, Homophobia, Immigration, Islam, LGBT, Sally Fields, Stanley Kurtz
Daniel DiRito | September 17, 2007 | 10:32 AM |
| Comments (1)
I'm generally a patient and tolerant person, but every once in a while I'll come across a situation that ticks me off. This morning I ran across one of those instances while reading comments on a site I frequent.
The following comment was in response to a posting which made reference to Senator Larry Craig and his anti-gay voting history.
Homosexuality/sodomy are disgusting, filthy acts against God. HE says in HIS word that homosexuals will not enter Heaven. I don't want some pervert in politics. Politicians are bad enough as it is without queers around.
Despising homosexuality/sodomy is not racist/hateful/fearful. It is common decency and common sense.
Aside from the wholesale bigotry voiced in this comment, it also demonstrates a butt load of ignorance...and I'm going to do my best to expose it in this posting. While I don't want to jump head first into Biblical interpretation, a little background is required.
Most of us are familiar with the Biblical citations used to condemn homosexuality. They are few but those who utilize them do so with fervor. Essentially, the primary reference involves an admonition against lying with men in the same manner as lying with women...hence the condemnation of same sex relations. This is usually bolstered by a further reference to Sodom and Gomorrah and their destruction by fire...all predicated upon the story of Lot and the purported desire of a number of citizens to "get to know" (defined as homosexual rape) his male guests (angels disguised as humans sent to rescue Lot from the destruction of the evil city...as the story goes).
The definition of the word Sodomy has evolved over time to include what some might say are acts that go beyond those described in the Bible. Nonetheless, the dictionary currently defines it as follows.
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French sodomie, from Late Latin Sodoma Sodom; from the homosexual proclivities of the men of the city in Genesis 19:1-11
: anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex; also : copulation with an animal
It is possible to connect the expanded definition with other Biblical references and interpretations such as those which contend that the "spilling of seed"...in any way that isn't intended to procreate...is sinful. In other words, those who adhere to strict Biblical interpretation may well contend that sexual intercourse between a man and a woman with the intent of "being fruitful and multiplying" is the only acceptable sexual act.
Before we proceed, an important caveat is needed. There are countless iterations of ideology which result from Biblical interpretation...some of which wouldn't agree with the above expanded definition of sodomy. I point to the above distinctions in order to demonstrate the pitfalls of literal interpretations...meaning that the Bible has clearly been subjected to cultural and societal influences.
Therefore, it is important to note that there are Biblical citations available to support a number of conclusions...all of which require contextual understandings beyond the words. Further, the Bible is an amalgam of individual writings compiled over some 2,000 years which undoubtedly means that cultural influences impacted what was written and what was read and then rewritten over time. There is no way to conclude that what is in the Bible today is in fact an accurate translation of the purported exchange from god to any of the many authors...nor that the author correctly grasped god's words when they were allegedly spoken.
Enough background; let's return to the comment. I believe it is safe to conclude that since the author cites and condemns both homosexuality and sodomy, the author is accepting at least some of the current and expanded definition of the word (which may well be a function of his/her own Biblical interpretations). Notwithstanding, I'm going to modify the intent for the sake of this argument such that the use of sodomy wasn't intended to include any of the expanded acts contained in the current definition. Clearly, doing so has little rational basis since it makes little sense to use both words if the author sees them as one and the same (homosexual sex). Regardless, I'll proceed with that assumption and my reasons will become evident.
The above commenter and many of those opposed to homosexuality draw clear lines in their condemnations...lines which become blurred if one takes the time to explore the sexual practices of humans. In fact, the absence of clear lines forms the core of my argument...an argument which undermines the certainty of the commenter and those who hold similar beliefs. First, let's look at some relevant information.
Kinsey data collected between 1938-1963 found that 9 percent of non-married males and 28 percent of non-married females had engaged in anal sex at least once.
Among married subjects, the numbers were much lower--around 11 percent for both men and women.
In 1974, Playboy magazine published a huge survey of over 2000 people. Depending on the age of the respondent, between 14 and 25 percent of people said they had tried anal sex at least once.
A more recent study, conducted in 1990 at the Kinsey Institute, found that 27 percent of male and 24 percent of female college students had anal sex at least once.
One researcher, who surveyed one group of people in the 1970s then another in the late 1980s, offers a good point of comparison. In the first survey, 25 percent of women had anal sex and 8 percent reported engaging in it regularly. In the second, 72 percent had anal sex, and 23 percent reported engaging in it regularly.
A 1991 survey of 3200 men (in a nationally representative sample) found that 20 percent of men age 20 to 39 had engaged in anal sex at least once. Fifty percent of the men who had tried it had only tried it once. Interestingly, in this more contemporary study, more older men reported having had anal sex than younger men (27 percent of men age 35 to 39 versus 13 percent of men age 20 to 24).
The most recent U.S. data from a national representative sample comes from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), which was conducted on over 12,000 men and women aged 15 to 44. Results show that 34 percent of men and 30 percent of women reported engaging in anal sex at least once.
In a 1996 survey of Swedish women aged 18 to 74, about 20 percent of women overall reported having engaged in anal sex--specifically, 28 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds and 2 percent of 66 to 74 year-olds.
Billy, J.O., Grady, W.R., Klepinger, D.H. "The Sexual Behavior of Men in the United States" Family Planning Perspectives Vol. 25. Issue 2 (1993): 52 -60.
Bolling, D.R. “Prevalence, Goals and Complications of Heterosexual Anal Intercourse in a Gynecologic Population. Journal of Reproductive Medicine Volume 19 (1977): 120-124.
Bolling, D. “Heterosexual Anal Intercourse: A Common Entity, Perceived Rarity, Neglected Patients and Ostrich Syndrome." Paper presented at the 1987 Kinsey Institute Conference, AIDS and sex: An integrated biomedical and biobehavioral approach, Bloomington, IN, December 5-8, 1987.
Fugl-Meyer, K.S., Oberg, K., Lundberg,P.O., et al. "On Orgasm, Sexual Techniques, and Erotic Perceptions in 18- to 74-Year-Old Swedish Women" Journal of Sexual Medicine Volume 3, No. 1, (2006):56-68.
Gebhard, P.H. & Johnson, A.B. The Kinsey Data: Marginal Tabulations of the1938-1963 Interviews Conducted by the Institute for Sex Research Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders,1979.
Hunt, M. Sexual Behavior in the 1970s. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1974.
Mosher,W.D., Chandra, A. & Jones J. “Sexual Behavior and Selected Health Measures: Men and Women 15–44 Years of Age, United States, 2002." Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics; no 362. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics (2005):
Voeller, B. “AIDS and Heterosexual Anal Intercourse." Archives of Sexual Behavior Volume 20. Issue 3 (1991): 233-276.
One can pick and choose from the above data, but I think it is safe to conclude that more heterosexuals engage in sodomy than do homosexuals...a conclusion we can make if one compares the fact that gays are believed to be no more than 10 percent of the population (the high end of the estimates) and the above studies clearly indicate that at least 20 percent of heterosexual men and women have engaged in anal sex. Even if we assume that the study included a representative number of homosexuals...meaning they need to be removed from the study numbers to discern the number of heterosexuals...the number of heterosexuals engaging in anal sex would still be larger than that of homosexuals.
Now the commenter and many of those who oppose homosexuality might be inclined to argue that those instances of such acts among heterosexual couples is acceptable. Regardless, making that assertion would still violate the current definition of sodomy...and it would clearly violate the stricter Biblical interpretation against acts of sex which aren't intended to procreate.
However, I conceded above that I would assume that the commenter only intended homosexual sex in using the term sodomy...and I'm going to keep my word...even though I believe I've already debunked the focus upon homosexuals as sodomites deserving of wholesale condemnation. With that said, I'm only going to focus on those heterosexual males who have engaged in anal sex...a number, I'll remind you, which still exceeds that of all homosexuals...male and female included. Stay with me...I promise to tie this all together.
Back in 2001, Dan Savage conducted a contest to name the act of anal sex whereby a woman wears a strap-on device to penetrate her male partner. The winner was the word "peg" which has subsequently been expanded to be known as pegging.
Returning to the above studies, it isn't apparent how many of the men who engaged in anal sex did so with a woman (defining them as heterosexuals)...but given the numbers and the percentage of the population presumed to be gay, they would still have to be the largest share. On the surface, that doesn't appear to further my argument and it may seem to play into the contention that such male with female anal sex (heterosexual) doesn't meet the narrow definition of sodomy...that being male with male anal sex (homosexual). Further, as I mentioned above, many of those opposed to homosexuality might argue that anal sex between a man and a woman is actually an acceptable practice.
Were it not for the Bible, my argument may have failed...but every now and again...the universe provides for those in need in strangely ironic ways. Let's see what the Bible has to say about this male with female anal sex (recall that were only looking at pegging...whereby the female penetrates the male).
Time and again, gays have inquired with Biblical scholars as to their proximity to sin and their potential for salvation if they continued with their gay relationships but didn't actually engage in gay sex. In other words, they sought to know if they would still be guilty of the sin if they didn't engage in the act. The following excerpts are from a response to such an inquiry.
Since you acknowledge the prohibition against sodomy, I will forgo exegesis to establish it. I will also simply state my complete agreement that God loves the person while hating the sin, regardless of who the person is, or what the sin is. However, there is an apparent assumption in your question which must be addressed. I cannot find support in the Word of God for the idea of “homosexual persons" apart from those who practice sodomy in heart or deed. Beyond the fact that the Bible does not use a clinical term (homosexual) for those who engage in the sin of sodomy, it is obvious that there are two types of persons, unsaved sinners and saved sinners, and each type can come in one of two genders, male or female. This excludes the idea of sodomites being a different kind of person. It is not a third gender, or a different species of human being, and I cannot consider it a special class of person any more than I can consider liars a special class of person.
Accordingly, I must define a “homosexual person" as one who either practices sodomy, or entertains it in his/her thought life. Either is the equivalent of the other, except in the manner in which it involves and affects someone else. So, someone whose thoughts entertain sodomy is guilty of the sin, even without actually committing the deed. This is the principle expressed in these texts, among others:
Matthew 5:27-28 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
Proverbs 23:6-7 “Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: 7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee."
These definitions force me to the conclusion that relationships between “homosexual persons," even without the sexual acts, are sinful because of the thought life.
But there is more to consider in your question. I think defining “homosexual person" as one who has in time past committed the sin of sodomy, either in thought or deed, but have truly repented of the sin, and eliminated it from his/her life, and not just someone who has eliminated the practice of the sin, is an error. One is a sodomite if one commits the act in thought or deed. If one does not, one is not.
Alas, the basis of my argument is exposed. If one embraces Biblical scripture, then the act of sodomy cannot be justified under any circumstances and it certainly cannot be separated from the condemnation. If, in fact, thoughts of sodomy are the same as sodomy, then those men who engage in pegging are well beyond the minimal definition of sinning in committing such an act...even if it is with a woman. To argue otherwise would provide a justification for anal sex which would be suitable for use by homosexuals.
I say as much because I can't imagine the thoughts which would motivate and justify a heterosexual male to desire anal penetration. If those opposed to homosexuality truly associate it with sodomy (narrowly defined as male with male anal sex), then the act of being pegged would have to somehow be divorced from the notion of a woman inserting a virtual depiction of a penis into her male partners rectum. If that can be achieved, well perhaps I've witnessed my first miracle.
In addition, to argue that a representation of a penis isn't the equivalent of a penis isn't possible if one accepts the above Biblical scripture. If said scripture can be circumvented, then all scripture is open to negation and/or reinterpretation.
Taking it a step further, should someone provide a rationale which allows sodomy in a heterosexual relationship, then that same construct would have to apply to homosexuals because homosexuals could contend they engage in it for the very same scripturally sanctioned reasons.
In the end, those who use the Bible as the means to condemn have to be subject to the very same document. To do otherwise would not only constitute a rejection of the Bible, it would be an invalidation of the beliefs one ascribes to it.
I would suggest that my argument not only points out the inconsistency and the hypocrisy that exists in many of those who rail against homosexuals...it affirms my belief that the premise of opposition to homosexuality is far removed from any strict Biblical interpretation. In fact, I'll be so bold as to peg those who do so as little more than unbridled bigots.
Finally, to the individual who inspired this posting with the above comment, may I sardonically suggest that you reconsider your attempts at shoving your proverbial square peg down the justifiably defiant throats of gays? Your temerity is abominable.
Tagged as: Bible, Bigotry, Dan Savage, Homophobia, LGBT, Lot, Pegging, Religion, Sexuality, Sodom & Gomorrah, Sodomy
Daniel DiRito | September 6, 2007 | 9:53 AM |
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As if Larry Craig hasn't drawn enough attention, it is now being reported that the Idaho Senator is considering the withdrawal of his intent to resign from the Senate.
From The Idaho Statesman:
U.S. Sen. Larry Craig says he might reconsider his decision to resign if he clears his name in his arrest for disorderly conduct in a restroom sex scandal.
That’s why Craig chose his words carefully during his resignation speech Saturday in Boise, according to a voice mail message he mistakenly left on a stranger’s phone. In the message obtained by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, Craig tells a man named “Billy" that his choice of language is deliberate because it leaves the door open for him to stay in office.
The voice is indeed Craig’s, spokesman Dan Whiting said. Whiting would not say who “Billy" is. Later that day, Craig announced that he had hired high-profile criminal defense lawyer Billy Martin, whom Craig hired to help him unravel the guilty plea Craig filed last month.
Whiting confirmed in an e-mail that his boss “intends to resign on Sept. 30th. However, he is fighting these charges, and should he be cleared before then, he may, and I emphasize may, not resign."
The fact that Craig left the message on the wrong phone simply adds to the tragic and comic nature of this ongoing spectacle. Apparently, the supportive remarks of Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter gave Craig some hope that he could weather the storm and remain in his position.
Speaking of positions, since the Senator "came out" with his new "stance", I couldn't resist having a little fun with the Senator's never ending string of not so subtly suggestive semantics...hence the following tongue-in-cheek graphic.
Tagged as: Arlen Specter, Gay, Homophobia, Idaho, Larry Craig, LGBT, Tearoom, U.S. Senate, Wide Stance
Daniel DiRito | September 5, 2007 | 10:22 AM |
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