Gaylingual: August 2008: Archives

August 27, 2008

Charlie Crist: Married Today...Gay Again Tomorrow? genre: Gaylingual & Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek

Well the media finally has acknowledged that the Charlie Crist engagement / marriage may be a sham. In the following video, some of the folks from MSNBC have a little fun with Crist's potential selection as John McCain's VP.

The money quote comes from Chuch Todd, "After Friday the engagement might be off if he's not the running mate., right? ... I don't know!". Look, I respect the privacy of politicians...but I also find it objectionable for some of them to live one life while voting and conducting themselves in direct opposition to that life in the interest of political expediency.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Charlie Crist, Humor, John McCain, LGBT, Vice President

Daniel DiRito | August 27, 2008 | 10:25 AM | link | Comments (1)
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August 21, 2008

Focus On The Family: Defeating Homosexuality With Homoeroticism genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

They say, "If it quacks it's a duck"...but I'm now convinced that if it quacks, it's an affiliate of Focus on the Family. In the following video, Kim Trobee cites the testimony of David Pickup to counter the fact that the American Psychological Association remains skeptical of those who promote therapy to reverse homosexuality. Trobee and her associate proceed to tell us that the APA's "embrace of the gay agenda" is under siege by learned experts and that gay activists have likely overplayed their hand.

I hate to burst Focus on the Family's Biblically based bubble, but if David Pickup is their idea of a reputable expert, they're in need of a serious reality check. Should there be any doubt, take a look at the following David Pickup video.

When I first saw the video, I wrote the following:

This is priceless. The following video is apparently a legitimate advertisement for men seeking to overcome their homosexuality. The fact that it is filled with homoeroticism only reinforces my belief that many of these men are tortured Christians with a limitless ability to disguise their sexual orientation by engaging in acts of denial that are intended to demonstrate their heterosexuality...as well as their devotion to the religious dogma they seem hopelessly driven to embrace.

Honestly, when I first saw the video clip, I thought the program had to be a joke. However, after tracking down the site where it is advertised, it appears to be a "legitimate" attempt to offer services intended to "repair" homosexuality. Of course I know nothing about the credentials of the gentleman offering the program. For all I know, he could simply be an opportunist attempting to play upon the insecurities of men who feel compelled to reject their homosexuality. Even if he is sincere in offering this program, it doesn't negate the absurdity in suggesting that homosexuality can be washed away.

In fact, I think the video is a comical adventure in homoeroticism (and I had a little fun with it in my prior posting). I suspect the use of this kind of exploitive imagery is an element in the APA's reluctance to endorse this supposed "treatment". The fact that the actual evidence also casts doubt on the therapeutic value of such programs only underscores the absurdity of the FOF assertions.

While men like Pickup would have us believe that they are providing a beneficial service, I'm of the opinion that they are simply capitalizing upon the fact that some homosexuals are unable to reconcile their orientation with the rigidity of their religious beliefs. Hence, these programs are merely the means to reinforce ideology and suppress actual one's sexual orientation.

In different circumstances, I suspect we would equate these programs with the kind of brainwashing we typically associate with cults. The fact that some participants report themselves as having altered their orientation is little more than the scripted assurances we witness from those who would have us believe that their membership in a cult is an act of willful self-awareness.

Frankly, the endless effort to establish the "militant homosexual agenda" meme as a matter of fact is sickening. The utter lack of legitimacy in this assertion is only exceeded by the total disregard for facts that is so often the trademark of those who wrap themselves in the pabulum of piety. This disconnect is disturbing...and it calls into question their claim to Christian values.

Tagged as: APA, David Pickup, Focus on the Family, Kim Trobee, LGBT, Psychology, Religion, Reparative Therapy, Sexual Orientation

Daniel DiRito | August 21, 2008 | 11:48 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Red State Update Meets Westboro Baptist Church genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek

Sometimes contrast creates nothing but conflict; other times it highlights the absurd positions some people hold. The following video is an example of the latter. This encounter, between the folks of Westboro Baptist Church and Red State Update's Jackie and Dunlap, is clearly intended to make us laugh. While it succeeds in doing just that, it also demonstrates the complex distinctions that defy our attempts to generalize and categorize each other.

Clearly, Jackie and Dunlap are caricatures created for comic value. Regardless, they represent one of the many mindsets we find in our American culture. One could say the same about the Westboro clan, although their actions aren't intended to make us laugh and they undoubtedly hold a uniquely controversial viewpoint. In watching this interaction, we realize the dangers that come with labeling.

Perhaps in seeing the exchange between these two groups, we are able to see the things that connect us with those we would otherwise reject. In fact, one could argue that the extremity of the Westboro Baptist ideology helps the rest of us find the common ground we share but so often fail to acknowledge. As we see in this video, Jackie and Dunlap may well have more in common with the gay couple they interview than with a group like Westboro...a group we would be more inclined to associate with the red neck personae they exhibit.

Sadly, the video also highlights the divisive nature of our political process. In the pursuit of power, all too often those who seek office choose to exaggerate our differences while downplaying our similarities. In this way, they simply raise the barriers that separate us from each other. The more this happens, the more antagonistic we become to each other...seemingly accepting the one-dimensional depictions we've become accustomed to as a result of the relentless rhetoric that rolls off the tactical tongues of our politicians.

In the end, we see that a seemingly light hearted video may have a greater capacity to foster understanding than those who spend their time behind their pulpits promoting propaganda or those who traverse the country telling us the intend to unite us; not divide us.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Humor, McCain, Obama, Red State, Religion, Saddleback, Westboro Baptist Church

Daniel DiRito | August 21, 2008 | 9:05 AM | link | Comments (0)
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August 18, 2008

Bill Donohue Speaks His Mind: "Silence Others" genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

BillDonohue.jpg

No doubt election years are trying times for many of us. It's easy to find oneself drawn into the dog fight...especially if one is passionate about any particular issue. Fortunately, we live in a country that allows us to speak our minds and cast our votes accordingly. Sadly, there are those who want the benefit of speaking their mind in order to silence others. Last time I checked, that's contrary to the American way.

However, it isn't contrary to the Catholic League's Bill Donohue. It seems that Donohue has taken offense to some of the bloggers who were selected to attend the Democratic National Convention...and he's calling upon the powers that be to "nix them ASAP".

From The Catholic League:

Over 120 blogs have been credentialed as members of the media for the Democratic National Convention; those who have received credentials are allowed to cover the Convention at the Pepsi Center. While most of them offer legitimate commentary, some do not.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue is protesting two of the blogs:

"The list of credentialed blogs include radical sites like The Daily Kos. Worse are blogs that feature anti-Catholic and obscene material. The two most offensive are Bitch Ph.D. and Towleroad.

"On the home page of Bitch Ph.D. there is a picture of two children: one of them is shown flashing his middle finger. Today's lead post, which was written August 17, is called 'Jesus Christ.' It begins with, 'I'm a really crappy Catholic who hasn't been to mass in ages because most parishes around here 'will' insist on being aggressively anti-abortion....' The writer then objects to some children's toys on the grounds that they are more offensive than desecrating the Eucharist. The toys are actually balloons that have been made to depict Jesus in various poses, including a crucified Christ; one of these images shows Jesus with a penis. Several who commented on this image made patently obscene comments.

"Towleroad describes itself as 'A Site with Homosexual Tendencies.' Accordingly, it shows men in jock straps and underwear. It also has a post on Pope Benedict XVI that takes him to task for wearing a cape with ermine. Some of those who commented on this described the pope in a vile and profane way.

"Both of these blogs should be cut immediately from the list of credentialed sites. Neither functions as a responsible media outlet and both offend Catholics, as well as others. To allow them access to the Democratic National Convention sends a message to Catholics they will not forget. We look for Leah Daughtry, CEO of the Convention, to nix them ASAP."

As I stated at the outset, Donohue is entitled to his opinion. Notwithstanding, he's not entitled to call on the Democratic National Convention to censor its list of bloggers. Yes, some of the bloggers chosen (this one included) have been critical of the Catholic Church...but we also represent important constituent groups in the Democratic Party. If Donohue wants lockstep homogeneity, there's another party that more likely to embrace his point of view.

Truth be told, Donohue isn't apt to vote for the Democratic nominee anyway...which likely means this grandstanding is simply a political stunt designed to outrage those Catholics he believes might be entertaining a vote for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Again, he has every right to be heard...but so do the bloggers he's singling out.

Donohue's actions are part and parcel of the objections many have to the Catholic Church. History tells us that the Church is predisposed to dictating to its followers...despite ample evidence of its many misjudgments as well as an abundance of inappropriate decisions and behaviors.

While the Church believes in the infallibility of its leader, history suggests otherwise. The fact that men like Donohue still adhere to this mind set simply highlights his and his church's irrational insistence upon blind faith. That can only work if one lives in a vacuum or has no interest in considering the facts.

In the end, Donohue's outburst is an attempt to bully those who fail to share his ideology. He's welcome to offer an opposing view...but he has no standing to demand that those with adversarial views be silenced. This is America...not the Vatican.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Atheism, Barack Obama, Bill Donohue, Catholic Church, Catholic League, LGBT, Pope, Vatican

Daniel DiRito | August 18, 2008 | 2:12 PM | link | Comments (2)
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August 15, 2008

Friday Funny: No To Gay Marriage & BigoTV genre: Gaylingual & Tongue-In-Cheek & Uncivil Unions

Those opposed to same-sex unions frequently suggest that it is a threat to their own marriages. In the first of the two following videos, 9in10.org helps highlight some of the hypocrisy behind these sanctimonious assertions.

Needless to say, their depiction of the heterosexual male's fascination with girl on girl action also highlights the acceptance of female objectification and the degree to which the male mind set dictates societal norms.

In the second video, they introduce us to BigoTV...a network committed to propagating all forms of bigotry. Pay special attention to the portion of the video (1:35 - 1:45) where our two bigoted friends engage in a little celebratory cackling. Suffice it to say that their latent tendencies are on display.

No To Gay Marriage

BigoTV

Tagged as: Bigotry, Gay, Gay Marriage, Humor, LGBT, Racism, Same-Sex Marriage

Daniel DiRito | August 15, 2008 | 11:32 AM | link | Comments (0)
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August 13, 2008

Ignorance Wins: A Rainbow Conspiracy - Maybe It's The Gays? genre: Gaylingual & Tongue-In-Cheek

The following video is possibly the most egregious display of unbridled ignorance I've seen in years...and stating as much may well be an inexcusable insult to ignorant people everywhere. Rather than focus on the fact that this video maker must have never attended a science class in her life, I think it may be more fun to come up with a list of reasons to believe that sprinkler rainbows are part and parcel of a currently undisclosed militant homosexual strategy.

With that said, grab your tin foil caps, sit back, and imagine a room full of scheming homos...dressed in mauve military uniforms...designed with impeccable style, slimming lines, immaculate accents, flawless fabrication...and tell-tale rainbow badges embroidered and affixed atop their heterosexual hating hearts. Let the games begin!

Number Ten:

Sprinkler rainbows are the precursor to the introduction of disco ball slip 'n slides...complete with smart lighting to produce rainbows, water soluble lubrication for extra slippage, and piped-in party music featuring dance remixes of Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and Patti LuPone standards.

Number Nine:

Gays have created a secret society of children's clowns to hammer home the rainbow color scheme (ever see a clown dressed in brown and black?) and imprint children with a flair for the flamboyant.

Number Eight:

The acronym R.O.Y.G.B.V., thought to represent the colors of the rainbow, was actually constructed as a clandestine code for communicating one's same-sex orientation to others. The letters stand for "Ride On Your Great Big Viper".

Number Seven:

The Wizard of Oz, thought to be a children's book authored by Frank Baum at the turn of the century, was actually the first in a series of literary works designed to tease out the theatrical curiosities of pint-sized little people...prime targets for voluntary servitude as fairy fellators.

Number Six:

The myth that each rainbow has a pot of gold at its end was perpetrated by militant homosexuals to lure unsuspecting individuals away from their homes and into remote areas where they could be convinced to join a tribe of traveling drag queens who knew the way to the pot of gold.

Number Five:

Unicorns are frequently pictured with rainbows in an effort to subliminally signal those who may be predisposed to a fascination with all things phallic.

Number Four:

An effort to rearrange the names of the planets is underway. Militant gays are convinced that school children discussing the rings around Uranus in science class would be far more vulnerable to indoctrination than those who discuss the brightly colored rainbowesque rings around Saturn.

Number Three:

The metallic oxide salts mentioned in the video (that produce these ground-hugging water rainbows) are the work of a group called The Lesbian Legionnaires. Exposing little tomgirls to low lying rainbows is thought to hasten their rejection of all things feminine and frilly.

Number Two:

Stuart Shepard, creator of Focus on the Family's recent video requesting evangelicals pray for rain during Barack Obama's acceptance speech in Denver, is actually a closeted homosexual enlisted to infiltrate the organization and promote these prayers in the hope that Obama's closing remarks would be delivered under a double rainbow.

Number One:

The Rainbow vacuum cleaner, sold door-to-door and through in-house demonstrations, was invented as the means for gay men to enter heterosexual households and gauge the willingness of married men to engage in provocative innuendo while discussing the systems novel attachment...the crevice tool.

The Rainbow Conspiracy

Tagged as: Comedy, Conspiracy Theorists, Gay, Homosexual, Humor, LGBT, Militant Homosexual, Rainbow, Tin Foil Hat

Daniel DiRito | August 13, 2008 | 2:52 PM | link | Comments (0)
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August 7, 2008

One Wingnut's Pedophile Is Another's Science Guru? genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

When Peter Tatchell served as the Grand Marshall of the San Diego LGBT Pride Parade, the Family Research Council jumped at the opportunity to discredit him and point to his selection as evidence that the LGBT community embraces pedophilia.

When Tatchell, in a recent article at Spiked, suggested that an individual's homosexuality is far more complex than basic genetics, the folks at Focus on the Family referenced him as a seeming expert on the origins of homosexuality...and further evidence that gays have attempted to use genetics to excuse their inappropriate behavior.

I'm not sure how one begins to square the dissonance. First, a look at the FRC's take on Tatchell.

From FRC:

It seems that the San Diego LGBT Pride Parade has a long history of problems associated with pedophilia, including hiring a number of registered sex offenders. However this year they truly crossed the lines to practically endorsing pedophilia by naming pedophilia activist Peter Tatchell as the International Grand Marshal. The fact that such a person even exists, let alone to be endorsed by an organization that also receives taxpayer funded services, is incomprehensible.

Mr. Tatchell's website (which I won't link to but which can be found easy enough) includes topic titles such as:

"Lowering the unrealistic age of consent will help teenagers: The criminalisation of teen sex inhibits advice and protection,"

"SEX RIGHTS FOR THE UNDER-16s, Young people under 16 have sexual rights too,"

"I'M 14, I'M GAY & I WANT A BOYFRIEND, Fourteen year old LEE tells about first sex, boyfriends, coming out, paedophilia, and why an age of consent of 16 won't help under-age gays like him."

"CONSENT AT 16: PROTECTION OR PERSECUTION, Young people under 16 have a right to make their own sexual choices without being victimised by the law."

How this man is not immediately arrested instead of being honored at a parade is beyond me.

Now take a look at the latest Focus on the Family video touting Tatchell's remarks as a refutation of the "gay gene" hypothesis.

So the bottom line is the FRC thinks Tatchell is a garden variety pedophile who should be incarcerated while FOF holds him up as an informed expert. The fact that neither FRC or FOF have truly researched or read the works of Tatchell is simply a testament to both groups propensity for knee-jerk reactions to anything related to homosexuality. Truth be told, Tatchell isn't a pedophile nor did his article reduce homosexuality to a thumbs up or thumbs down genetic equation.

Take a look at the following excerpts from the Spiked article.

From Spiked:

I don't disagree that genes (and hormonal exposure in the womb) influence sexual orientation. The scientific evidence for these biological influences is presented in the book Born Gay (2005), written by Glenn Wilson of the Institute of Psychiatry in London and Qazi Rahman, a lecturer in psychobiology at the University of East London.

But contrary to what the authors seem to suggest, an influence is not the same as a cause. Genes and hormones may predispose a person to one sexuality rather than another. But that's all. Predisposition and determination are two different things.

The relative influence of biological versus social factors with regard to sexual orientation is still uncertain. What is, however, certain is that if gayness was primarily explainable in genetic terms we would expect it to appear in the same proportions, and in similar forms, in all cultures and all epochs. As the anthropologists Clellan Ford and Frank Beach demonstrated in Patterns Of Sexual Behaviour (1965), far from being cross-culturally uniform and stable, both the incidence and expressions of same-sex desire vary vastly between different societies.

The homophobes are thus, paradoxically, closer to the truth than many gay activists. Removing the social opprobrium and penalties from queer relationships, and celebrating gay love and lust, would allow more people to come to terms with presently inhibited homoerotic desires. In this sense, it is perfectly feasible to 'promote' lesbian and gay sexuality and 'make' someone queer. Individuals who have a homosexual component in their character, but are inhibited by repression or guilt, definitely can be encouraged to acknowledge their same-sex attraction and act upon it.

Were future generations to grow up in a gay-positive, homo-friendly culture, it's likely that many more people would have same-sex relationships, if not for all of their lives at least for significant periods. With this boom in queer sex, the social basis of homophobia would be radically undermined.

In this state of greater sexual freedom, where homosexuality becomes commonplace and ceases to be disparaged or victimised, gayness would no longer have to be defended and affirmed. Gay identity (and its straight counterpart) would thus, at last, become redundant. Hurrah!

Reducing Tatchell's thoughts to the pabulum contained on the FRC site or in the FOF video is laughable. The one-dimensional characterizations of Tatchell's intentions and his conclusions is at best a matter of selective reading and suspended reasoning. Then again, this should come as no surprise since these groups have done the same with the Bible for years. Such is the art of unsubstantiated certainty and a disregard for rational thought and the scientific method.

When science supports evolution, they race to condemn it by citing the Bible and pointing to each and every gap in the fossil record. When an erudite gay man cites the admitted uncertainty of science, they tout some of his words as inviolable evidence that homosexuality is nothing more than a self-serving choice. If one can engage in this level of triangulation, one might as well assert that a circle has four corners.

I think it's safe to conclude that this level of disjointed dogma makes it virtually impossible to conduct an intelligent dialogue with many of these intransigent ideologues. Watching the folks at FRC and FOF using the views of the same person...in one instance as a valid expert and in another as a virtual monster...to make seeming judgments about the nature of all homosexuals...gives credence to the theory that ignorance is bliss. Frankly, who am I to disagree? In fact, I'll be the first to admit that these folks must be blissfully ignorant.

Tagged as: Bigotry, Evangelical, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, FOF, FRC, Gay, LGBT, Peter Tatchell, Religion, San Diego Pride, Spiked

Daniel DiRito | August 7, 2008 | 6:11 PM | link | Comments (0)
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August 4, 2008

Does God Hate Westboro Baptist Church? genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church, renowned for the vitriol its members spew on a regular basis...at just about anybody and everybody...was the victim of a suspicious fire early this past Saturday morning. In the following video, Phelps accuses fags and/or fag sympathizers of setting the fire. Phelps correctly calls the act mean spirited...all the while blind to the numerous mean spirited acts he and his followers commit each time they protest the funerals of innocent individuals.

From The Kansas City Star:

TOPEKA | The Topeka Fire Department is investigating a small fire outside of a church whose members protest at soldier's funerals.

A fence and garage at Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church became engulfed in flames early Saturday, according to the Topeka Capitol-Journal Web site. The fire did not spread to the church building.

Topeka Fire Marshal Greg Bailey said the cause of the fire has not been determined. However, a spokeswoman for the church, Shirley Phelps-Roper, said she believes it was deliberately set.

From WIBW.com:

The pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church has asked Attorney general Mike Mukasey to treat the fire at their home over the weekend as a "hate crime."

Pastor Fred Phelps sent the Attorney General's office a letter Sunday claiming "[t]here is evidence that hatred of our religion was the motivation, in part at least."

The letter calls upon the Department of Justice, as well as the other law enforcementagencies who received copies of the letter, to involve themselves in the investigation and treat it as a violation of Federal Civil Rights and Hate Crime legislation.

So hate crime legislation is good and necessary legislation when applied to religious intolerance, but it's the granting of "special rights" when applied to violence against gays? Don't get me wrong...I'm not defending those who set the fire. They were wrong and they should be charged and punished accordingly.

At the same time, Phelps' comments in the following video are a testament to the absolute ideology he embraces. If a soldier is killed in Iraq, he insists it is God's punishment for a country that enables fags. If a gay man is murdered or dies from AIDS, the Phelps clan concludes that it's God's retribution for their sinful ways.

On the other hand, if something bad happens to Westboro Baptist Church, it isn't a sign of God's displeasure with their actions. Rather, it is merely a symbol of the degree to which the rest of the world has succumbed to evil and embraced sin. Now I understand that this selective reasoning is simply the nature of faith in its most extreme form.

At the same time, it is by no means a rational endeavor and it lacks any modicum of checks and balances. If one is so certain of one's beliefs to the point that one is never wrong, one will always find someone else to blame and there isn't apt to be a scintilla of introspective analysis. Multiply this extreme fanaticism by the number of religious ideologies that feel the same and one quickly sees one of the prevailing sources of unresolved conflict. So long as each of these groups remains steadfast in their absolutism, tolerance is seen as little more than a blatant violation of one's beliefs.

As each of these groups sets out to remake society in accordance with their own narrowly defined dogma, the potential for conflict expands exponentially. If one group gains the upper hand, the others feel compelled to resist and react...often by whatever means they deem necessary. The more they feel threatened by the opposing ideologues, the more inclined they become to do whatever it takes to purge the system of the evil doers...even if that means acts of insurrection.

I have no idea who set fire to Westboro Baptist Church. I do know that if it had been my house, Fred Phelps would be the first to assert that it was simply a message from God that he hates fags. If I were a believer, wouldn't that same rationale entitle me to conclude that God hates Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church?

I suspect I've simply described the circular nature of religious extremism. Then again, if I'm going to have to think about this incident in terms of circles, I would prefer to invoke a well-known axiom...the one that proclaims, "What goes around, comes around".

Tagged as: Bigotry, Fred Phelps, Hate, LGBT, Shirley Phelps Roper, Topeka, Westboro Baptist Church

Daniel DiRito | August 4, 2008 | 8:29 PM | link | Comments (2)
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August 3, 2008

CDC Report - U.S. HIV Infections 40% Higher Than Estimates genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood

CDC.jpg

A new report suggests that the number of annual HIV infections in the U.S. has been drastically underestimated...or underreported. While this is a significant revelation, I'm of the opinion that the back story may be far more telling. Let's look at the new data first.

From The International Herald Tribune:

The United States has significantly underreported the number of new HIV infections occurring nationally each year, with a study showing that the annual infection rate is 40 percent higher than previously estimated.

The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and released here on Saturday, found that 56,300 people became newly infected with HIV in 2006, compared with the 40,000 figure the agency has cited as the recent annual incidence of the disease.

The findings confirm that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has its greatest effect among gay and bisexual men of all races (53 percent of all new infections) and among African-American men and women.

The new figures are likely to strongly influence a number of decisions about efforts to control the epidemic, said the disease centers' director, Dr. Julie Gerberding, and other AIDS experts.

Timely information about trends in HIV transmission, they said, is essential for planning and evaluating prevention efforts and the money spent on them.

Dr. Kevin Fenton, who directs HIV- prevention efforts at the agency, said, "CDC's new incidence estimates reveal that the HIV epidemic is and has been worse than previously known." A separate historical trend analysis published as part of the study suggests that the number of new infections was probably never as low as the earlier estimate of 40,000 and that it has been roughly stable over all since the late 1990s.

A number of leading health experts have criticized the agency for not releasing the information earlier. On Nov. 21, CDC officials told AIDS advocacy groups and reporters that the data would be released soon. In an editorial on June 21, The Lancet, an internationally prestigious journal published in London, severely criticized the disease centers for failing to release the information and said, "U.S. efforts to prevent HIV have failed dismally."

Representative Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was critical of the administration. "HIV prevention has been underfunded and too often hindered by politics and ideology," Waxman said in a statement released Saturday. He said the administration had reduced domestic spending against HIV. "Since fiscal year 2002, when adjusted for inflation, CDC's prevention budget has actually shrunk by 19 percent. The president has recently requested decreases in funding for HIV prevention at CDC." Waxman said he would soon hold hearings on why health officials had "less and less money to actually get these programs to the communities that need them."

Kevin Robert Frost, chief executive of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, said the AIDS conference would exert increasing pressure on "governments to focus on reaching the marginalized populations that are most affected by the epidemic," like gay men, injecting drug users and African-Americans.

Yes, the numbers are troubling...but I find myself struggling to determine the source of my discomfort. I suspect my anxiety is driven by the recent response to the World Health Organization's recent announcement it had overestimated the threat HIV posed to the heterosexual population (outside of Africa). When the WHO report was released back in June, a collective "I told you so" came from many groups generally aligned with the views of the religious right.

The general tone of the response to the report suggested to me that there had been a percolating animosity towards those who may have used inflated numbers to push for more HIV funding. Inherent in many of the articles I read was a belief that the prior warnings were a deliberate effort to deceive. Even more evident was the inference that the heterosexual world had been duped into fearing a pandemic in order to increase AIDS funding and remove the stigma that HIV is a gay disease.

Here's a couple of the responses from those on the right.

From Life Site News:

The HIV/AIDS director confirmed that male homosexuals are most at risk for AIDS, and that in many places rates of infection amongst male homosexuals are increasing, not declining.

"We face a bit of a crisis [in this area]. In the industrialised world transmission of HIV among men who have sex with men is not declining and in some places has increased," stated de Cock [head of the WHO's department of HIV/AIDS].

"In the developing world, it has been neglected. We have only recently started looking for it and when we look, we find it. And when we examine HIV rates we find they are high.

However, promoting the strategy of universal prevention is also recognized as having been one of the most successful ways that homosexual activists capitalised on the impending AIDS pandemic to make the general public sympathetic to their cause and to launch them from political obscurity to their current elevated status. Although the AIDS "pandemic" among heterosexuals may now have disappeared, its political usefulness has also since disappeared, with homosexual activists now aggressively changing marriage laws worldwide.

From The Family Research Council (in response to the Independent's article):

In the article, however, one line stood out in particular:

"Any revision of the threat was liable to be seized on by those who rejected HIV as the cause of the disease, or who used the disease as a weapon to stigmatise high risk groups, he said."

In other words: We couldn't tell the truth, because it might have made people think there is something wrong with homosexuality, prostitution, and drug use.

I think the message delivered in these two examples is evident. HIV was and is a gay disease and the gay community and their allies simply sough to capitalize on it. Yea right, we decided it was worth losing thousands of our friends and family to promote the gay agenda. In fact, our militant strategic plan was so elaborate that we envisioned HIV as the means to achieve gay marriage (if anyone was left to marry).

So here's where my discomfort centers. Many want to hail George Bush's PEPFAR initiative (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) as evidence of his commitment to compassionate conservatism. While I commend the dramatic increase in funding for those suffering from HIV in the third world, I can't help but notice the decrease in funding for HIV prevention here in the United States.

Consider the fact that the president has attached strings to the PEPFAR funding he's previously provided...stipulating that a third of the money needed to focus on abstinence...and one begins to see the full picture. If the moral judgment behind the seeming disinterest in U.S. funding isn't obvious, I'm happy to extrapolate and elaborate.

The president and his religious followers don't condone homosexual sex...at all. As such, when they promote abstinence in Africa, they do so in the context of suggesting one should forego sexual contact until marriage...and only within a marriage. Hence, promoting abstinence to the gay community is a tacit acceptance of their relationships and a seeming endorsement of their validity. The alternative...an aggressive campaign to foster safer sex and condom usage is even more untenable. Doing so suggests that homosexual sex is acceptable, that contraception is allowed, and that sex without the intention of procreation is a valid pursuit.

Let me be clear. I can't fully know George Bush's feelings and intentions. Regardless, I can compare and contrast his words and his directives in order to draw some plausible conclusions...which brings me to Jesse Helms.

When Jesse Helms died, there were those (Libby Dole in particular) who wanted to honor the bigoted former Senator by naming the expansion of the PEPFAR initiative after him. While Helms admitted his error with regards to AIDS funding in the third world, he never once apologized to the gay community for stifling funding here in the states...and he never retracted any of his vile anti-gay comments. Therefore, I think it's safe to say that he distinguished between those with AIDS in the third world and homosexuals with AIDS here in America. While George Bush has been careful to avoid denigrating homosexuals, his actions with regards to HIV funding mirror Helms' overt expressions of hostility.

George Bush's actions may have nothing to do with bigotry and everything to do with political expediency. As one looks back on the AIDS years, this pattern of politicization is the very problem WHO and others were attempting to address. It's also a steep price for the gay community to pay for the political aspirations of a few men (don't forget how long it took Ronald Reagan to even utter the word AIDS). So what can we conclude about those who lambasted WHO and all those who were undoubtedly cognizant of the prickly political terrain?

Well, from this gay man's purview, we can conclude that there are a number of Americans who still believe that AIDS is a gay disease and that it is little more than God's retribution for acts of immorality. Even more disturbing, there are those who would be happy to further cut AIDS funding in the U.S. while sitting on their hands and watching the gay community wither away under the ravages of AIDS. Not only has this been the case in the minds of millions of Americans; it has led politicians to pander to them while sacrificing members of the gay community.

I don't know if the CDC's underestimating of HIV infections was an honest error or a calculated omission carried out by political appointees mindful of the mindset of their benefactor. The fact that we've witnessed questionable practices by other Bush appointees with regards to the implementation of health policy offers little solace.

When I hear George Bush scold Democrats and Barack Obama for opposing offshore oil exploration and the expansion of nuclear energy, I can't help but notice his willingness to unabashedly promote the kind of interests he favors. When I've heard countless individuals suggest that it's all about the oil (money) for George Bush and his minions, I've been hesitant to concur.

When I recall that he's opposed to embryonic stem cell research, to comprehensive sex education and condoms to prevent teen pregnancies and the transmission of STD's, and drug his feet on the expansion of funding for HIV prevention in the U.S., I find myself wondering if the priorities of the current iteration of Christianity have anything to do with compassion. I have my doubts.

Tagged as: AIDS, CDC, Elizabeth Dole, FRC, George W. Bush, HIV, Jesse Helms, LGBT, PEPFAR, Religion, Religious Right, Same-Sex Marriage, United Nations, World Health Organization

Daniel DiRito | August 3, 2008 | 9:12 AM | link | Comments (0)
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