Gaylingual: December 2007: Archives
In his appearance on Meet The Press, Mike Huckabee, like so many other evangelicals, stated his belief that all humans are sinners. While that remark makes sense in broad terms...especially if one accepts the validity of most religious constructs...Tim Russert, in the following video, points out that Huckabee has a history of shifting his focus to the "sins" of homosexuals.
This hyper-focus on the behavior (sins) of gays is puzzling to me. Time and again, men like Pat Robertson and James Dobson point out that gays are a very small percentage of the population. If that is true, and evidence suggests as much, then why pay so much attention to this small segment of society?
Look, if evangelicals want to be viewed as god's policemen, why don't they direct their attention to the behaviors of their own? I find it amusing that they rail against any recognition of gay relationships while they seemingly ignore the failed construct of heterosexual marriage.
I think it's safe to assume that a good evangelical christian should be focused upon efforts which eradicate the most "sin". If that is true, then why haven't they taken the same aggressive approach (that they apparently reserve for opposing homosexuality) to banning divorce or directing their attention towards the rampant infidelity that plagues heterosexual marriage?
In answering my own question, my suspicion (ever mindful of human nature) is that it is far easier for evangelicals to tell gays which behaviors they need to suppress than it is to correct their own flawed behaviors. Truth be told, the real threat to conventional marriage comes from conventional heterosexuals...men and women who treat marriage like the acquiring of a new car; it's great for a few months but before long all the other models look far more inviting. One might be concerned if these heterosexuals were having affairs with homosexuals...but the last time I checked...the lion's share of adultery takes place between a man and a woman in a heterosexual marriage.
Each time a married heterosexual ends up in the wrong bed, they diminish the institution of marriage. Each time a homosexual ends up in bed with his or her partner has absolutely no impact on anybody's heterosexual marriage. If were going to attach blame, how about we pin it on the proper culprits?
If Mr. Huckabee and his fellow evangelicals truly believe sin is about the behaviors we choose, then I suggest they forego their fixation on gay behavior and clean up their own dismal track record. Besides, there is little doubt that the vast majority of gays have been birthed in heterosexual marriages. Wouldn't you think that would lead evangelicals to wonder why this sacred heterosexual environment is so conducive to the emergence of homosexuals?
If I were to apply the logic evangelicals utilize in opposing gay marriage, I might have to be in favor of banning heterosexual sex. After all, how can family values be saved if these very families are churning out all of these homosexuals? Sounds like bad behavior to me.
Tagged as: Adultery, Divorce, Gay Marriage, Heterosexuality, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, James Dobson, LGBT, Meet The Press, Mike Huckabee, Pat Robertson, Same-Sex Marriage, Tim Russert
Daniel DiRito | December 31, 2007 | 1:30 PM |
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I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time researching Matthew Murray in hope of understanding what led him to the place that ended his troubled life and the lives of four innocent individuals who were far too young to exit this existence. In retrospect, I probably uncovered the person I expected to find. I say as much because I’m sure I have walked in his shoes at various junctures in my own life. I’ll try to explain…and in so doing…perhaps I can shine a much needed light on these lost individuals.
As a child, I was outgoing and generally popular at school…until I reached the eighth grade. In fact, I had always been one of the best students and I was often singled out in that regard. As fate would have it, I was also very small and I didn’t mature until I was a freshman in college. While the other boys in the class were growing and maturing, I maintained the stature of a child.
Needless to say, I knew nothing about girls and though I tried to participate in the games of courtship, I wasn’t particularly adept at it…and unbeknownst to anyone, my belief that I was gay was simmering in the background. Just to avoid misunderstanding, I never exhibited any of the stereotypical behaviors most people associate with being gay…save for what was likely an air of detachment due to the fact that I was different and didn’t know what to do about it…nor did I dare discuss it.
Having grown up in Catholic schools in the 60’s and 70’s, I knew how the Church…and virtually everyone around me…felt about homosexuality. It was not only a sin…it was a scourge…and I knew well what I would encounter should my true identity be exposed. Hence I chose to pray at night that God would let me wake up in the morning and find myself to be straight. I made countless bargains with God…and while I realize how silly that may sound…it was deadly serious to me. Notwithstanding, I remained gay.
So here’s the thing…we live in a society that prefers to isolate the unfamiliar…the different…the unordinary. We are a go along to get along nation. Perhaps it’s an offshoot of the competition which accompanies our capitalist orientation…perhaps it’s also a basic element of our human nature. At the same time, we likely place a greater value on success and winning than many other societies…a dynamic which serves to further isolate the awkward, the introverted, the socially clumsy, the overweight, the homely, and many others.
Fortunately, over time, most people find some semblance of success that can overcome the handicaps that were all too easy for others to point out during their formative years. Sadly, some individuals are so badly scarred by these early years experiences that they fail to find or see the attributes they possess. Instead, like a calf marked for culling from the herd, they are forever aware of their “differentness" and try as they might, they are forever anticipating the moment when they will be singled out.
In this awareness…in what seems to be a horrific and perpetual practical joke perpetrated by fate…these individuals become even further handicapped as they adopt the easily seen mannerisms that denote the full-scale manifestation of suspended socialization skills. It’s the inability to speak in groups, the looking down or away when spoken to, the nervous movements, the sweaty palms, and any number of other identifiers that scream, “I’m different and I know it…and it makes me squirm".
As nature would also have it, such individuals are quickly viewed as “defeatable"…they are not noted as competition and they soon become an afterthought in our haste to climb any number of ladders. As this news is disseminated…and, have no doubt, it travels quickly…they are even further set aside as inconsequential.
For me, I was one of the lucky ones. After bloodying the nose of the largest boy in my eighth grade class, I was restored as a viable being in the eyes of those who had made the assessment that I served no threat. However, that moment of vindication only came after months of begging my mom and dad to not send me to school, months of fearing what would be done to me the moment my grandma dropped me off and her car was out of sight, months of racing to morning mass in order to avoid time on the playground before school, months of sitting near the entrance to the school during recess in case I needed to escape into safety.
Yes, I survived to try again…but I did so while carrying any number of scars for more years than I care to admit. Truth be told, I didn’t even know how to accept my newfound status. I expected the other shoe to drop at any second and I remember listening intensely during every conversation for the moment when it would turn against me…when instead of talking to me, “they" would be talking about me…planning the next antic to embarrass me and snatch from me another piece of my already sparse dignity and my tenuous identity.
As I've pondered Matthew’s situation, I couldn’t help but think back to the fear I absorbed and the anger I swallowed before mustering the strength and the courage to punch someone in the hopes of saving myself. I would relate the feeling to drowning…it's that moment when you’ve gone under a couple of times…and despite someone being there attempting to help you…to pull you out of danger…all you can think to do is flail and grasp for any inkling of hope to keep you afloat…even if it is taking you and your rescuer under in the process.
And while I’ve nearly drowned both literally and figuratively…I can’t really say how to identify the inevitability of that pivotal moment of explosion, nor can I tell you how to anticipate it…either for oneself or for another one might encounter. And yet we must find the means to identify and prevent the next Matthew in order to save him as well as those he may take under with him.
All I know is this…there are individuals in our midst who are in waters where there feet cannot reach bottom in order to keep their head afloat…there are individuals who are adrift and will soon be in those same waters…there are no doubt some individuals who have already gone under the water once…maybe even twice.
Perhaps nature…ever the antagonist…has in this instance actually provided us with the answer…perhaps she gave us two hands knowing there would be times we would want and need to lend one to another. It’s too late to pull Matthew and those he took back from the depths…but I ask you now…take the time to pause and look around…somewhere nearby…someone is fidgeting and feeling all alone…reach out and bring them back.
Tagged as: Chrstnghtmr, Colorado Shootings, LGBT, Matthew Murray, New Life Church, nghtmrchld26, Youth With A Mission, YWAM
Daniel DiRito | December 13, 2007 | 12:18 AM |
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UPDATE: 12/10/07 @ 2:50 PM
It now appears that Matthew Murray, identified as the shooter at the New Life Church had previously worked or volunteered at Youth With A Mission, the site of the first shooting. Also, the two teenage girls killed in Colorado Springs were apparently involved with YWAM, although nothing has been released suggesting Murray actually knew the victims.
It is also being reported that Murray had enrolled in a class at Colorado Christian University last year...though the source indicated that Murray never complete the course.
MSNBC has also just reported that a source told the news outlet that Murray "hated" Christians and may have sent threatening messages. I find this piece of information puzzling in light of the homeschooling and the fact that other reports suggest that the family was "really religious". I suspect that if Murray indeed "hated" Christians, it was a recent development and may have been connected to his alleged falling out with YWAM.
The news conference has been moved back to 4:00 PM MST.
UPDATE: 12/10/07 @ 12:37 PM
Authorities in Colorado Springs have identified the shooter in the New Life Church incident in which two teenage sisters were killed. The shooter, Matthew J. Murray was 24 years old and lived with his parents and a younger brother in Englewood, a Denver suburb. The Murray residence was searched last evening as part of the investigation.
Matthew Murray is the son of a local neurologist. Calls to the fathers office were met by a recorded message stating that the office was closed. According to local news sources, the family has lived in the neighborhood for approximately ten years. A check with the area school system did not provide any information as it is believed Murray was homeschooled.
Other information is sketchy but some reports suggest that one of the Murray brothers was a student at a religious school...though the name and/or location of the facility hasn't been reported. It remains to be seen if authorities will conclude that Murray was the shooter in the first incident which took place in Arvada at the Youth With A Mission facility some twelve hours earlier.
A news conference is expected at 3:00 PM MST.
It is being reported that a second church shooting has occurred in Colorado; this one at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, the former church of Ted Haggard, the pastor who admitted to sexual immorality related to his alleged sex-for-hire relationship with Mike Jones, a gay male escort in Denver. Local news stations indicate that four people may have been shot though no information on the condition of the victims has been released.
The first shooting took place early this morning at Youth With A Mission in Arvada, a Denver suburb. A total of four were shot in this first incident and two of the victims are reported to have died.
Youth With A Mission is affiliated with Exodus, the ex-gay organization which offers "reparative therapy" to gays...a practice that has been criticized by the gay community and the American Psychological Association (APA) has raised doubts about the practice.
From Exodus International:
Exodus Youth, a division of Exodus International that helps teens and young adults struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction to find life and healing in Christ, has joined a new coalition of evangelical ministries to call students to pray for their peers. Over 20 ministries across America, including notable youth organizations such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Teen Mania Ministries and Youth With A Mission, are uniting to spread a counter-cultural message of truth regarding the challenges facing America's youth today.
In addition, this newly formed network of ministries is urging students, ministry leaders and youth workers to pray and fast for a spiritual awakening among America's youth on the first Friday of every month beginning June 1, 2007.
Reports earlier this morning indicated that the suspect was a male in his 20's who was apparently unknown to members of the organization, though he may have attended an event at the center last evening.
There is speculation that the second shooting may have been carried out by the same gunman. Early indications suggest that the gunman has been shot but details remain sketchy. Some local news outlets have raised the possibility that the gunman took his own life following the shooting.
From Fox 31 News:
At least four people were shot outside New Life Church on Sunday, but it was not immediately clear if any of them died, El Paso County Sheriff's Lt. Lari Sevene said. Police have confirmed that the shooter was killed, though they are not saying whether he was shot by police or died of a self-inflicted gunshot.
Despite the above update, there appears to be conflicting information on the status of the shooter in the Colorado Springs incident. Some news outlets are reporting that the shooter is in custody...though they have declined to say if the suspect has been shot.
Following so closely on the heels of the Omaha mall shootings, this is another in a troubling string of similar attacks on unsuspecting and innocent individuals. One has to wonder what allows any individual to devalue life to such a degree. I find it unfathomable.
I'll provide further updates as they become available.
Tagged as: American Psychological Association, APA, Exodus, Matthew Murray, New Life Church, Ted Haggard, Youth With A Mission, YWAM
Daniel DiRito | December 9, 2007 | 2:46 PM |
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I've always felt Mo Rocca was one of the most underrated comics in the business. Perhaps that's a function of my interest in politics and the fact that Rocca is as knowledgeable as most of the news reporters we see on television. Even better, his skill at deadpan comedy in a political setting is unmatched.
Rocca has covered a lot of territory in is career; having worked as a correspondent on The Daily Show, worked on Larry King Live as a consultant/political historian, and now as a feature player on The Tonight Show. He also appears on PBS, VH1, The Food Network, and has a regular show on Sirius Satellite Radio.
His work during the 2004 Democratic and Republican conventions is some of his best. Besides being quite funny, his knowledge of U.S. presidents is extensive and the fact that he wrote a book on the pets of the presidents titled, All the Presidents' Pets: The Inside Story of One Reporter Who Refused to Roll Over, only adds to his comic depth.
In the following video clip, Mo points out that gay marriage was one of the leading wedge issues in the 2004 presidential election. He goes on to explain that drivers licenses for illegal immigrants is a current topic of discussion. That leads Mo to ask passers-by about the latest hot button election issue..."should gay illegal immigrants be allowed to drive to their own same-sex weddings?"
Feel free to share your own answers and observations.
Tagged as: Drivers Licenses, Humor, Immigration, LGBT, Mo Rocca, Same-Sex Marriage
Daniel DiRito | December 9, 2007 | 11:53 AM |
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In the aftermath of a week of bully pulpit ballyhoo from the GOP presidential candidates, I decided to address my disdain in the only manner which would allow me to stomach the subject...sarcasm.
Having watched Mitt Romney tell us the meaning of faith in America and listened to Mike Huckabee toss tactical banana peels at the Bostonian's (former Massachusetts liberal) forever flip-flopping feet, I found myself wondering which candidate would soon be sporting a wooden cross on his shoulder for the duration of the campaign.
Fortunately, there may well be a silver lining hidden in these holier than thou high jinks. By the time the GOP is done vetting it's candidates, the average fair minded American may find them to be far too extreme and far too beholding to their religious right-ocrites. We've all heard the expression "if you live by the sword, you die by the sword"...well...2008 may provide a worthy successor, "if you live by the lord, you die by the lord"...especially when you spend all of your time fighting about which lord to worship.
Moving on, the following is my offering to assist voters in determining how to qualify for entry into the GOP's evangelical enclave. Feel free to offer additional requirements and restrictions. I would hate to be accused of an act of omission...I've heard the punishment is ghastly...if you're not George Bush or an acceptable affiliate.
The Top Ten Ways To Identify An Evangelical Republican:
They're opposed to sectarian conflict in Iraq but in favor of sectarian politics in the United States.
They're opposed to homosexuality and same-sex relationships but they'll vote for a presidential candidate who does drag and lived with two gay men if he can beat Hillary Clinton and her "typically" unfaithful heterosexual husband.
They wouldn't dare vote for a Clinton given Bill's disgraceful sexual antics in the White House but they're happy to support a candidate who used New York City funds to carry on an adulterous affair.
They criticize Democratic candidates for suggesting they would only nominate pro-choice judges to uphold the law of the land while they require their own candidates to pass religious litmus tests in conflict with the law of the land.
They're in favor of abstinence only sex education even if it leads to more unwed teen pregnancies and more parent sponsored abortions (call it the evangelical version of NIMBY - not in my back yard; NIMBU - not in my babygirls uterus).
They're in favor of the separation of church and state if it involves opposing a congressional inquiry into the fundraising and spending habits of leading televangelists but opposed to the separation when it comes to selecting a presidential nominee.
They support candidates who endorse more funding for AIDS in Africa while embracing a candidate who favored quarantining AIDS patients in America as well as having Hollywood fund AIDS research instead of the government.
They tout Ronald Reagan as their political icon despite the fact that he was unable to acknowledge the toll of HIV on gays in America or even utter the word AIDS...while they and their church's now run around talking about saving Africa from the ravages of HIV...as long as it doesn't involve condoms.
They talk about their Christian values while they favor denying health care treatment to the children of illegal immigrants. Family values apparently stop at the waters edge (that would be the Rio Grande river).
They'll never make enough money to truly benefit from George Bush's tax cuts for the rich or condemn his doubling of the national debt but they're happy to call the Democratic candidates who supported an increase in minimum wage and favor a national health care system unacceptable tax and spend liberals.
They abhor the fact that Jesus was tortured, mocked, and condemned to death without due process but they're damn sure in favor of waterboarding and disregarding the principle of habeas corpus while indefinitely imprisoning war on terror detainees.
The following video clips provide Mike Huckabee's assertion that his surge is God's work (therefore proving Mitt Romney is a "Christian" imposter) and some candid discussion of Romney's faith speech (a speech that pales in comparison to the JFK speech).
Tagged as: 2008 election, Abstinence, Africa, Christianity, Eugene Robinson, Evangelicals, GOP, Hillary Clinton, HIV, Hollywood, JFK, Keith Olbermann, LGBT, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Mormonism, Religion, Ronald Reagan, Rudy Giuliani, Same-Sex Marriage, Tax Cuts
Daniel DiRito | December 8, 2007 | 10:24 AM |
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