Monday, December 31, 2007

Hypocracy that knows no end...

A Christian author by the name of Dr. Gary Cass has written a new book where he claims that "Christian bashing" is the last socially acceptable form of bigotry in America. Dr. Cass didn't stop with his book, Christian Bashing, however, he has also founded the "Christian Anti-Defamation Commission." Yes, you read that correctly. The fundamentalist community, the ones who oppose hate crime protection for gays, the ones who oppose employment and housing protections for gays, and the ones who are trying to make gays second class citizens though constitutional amendments think they are being picked on. What's next? A support group for rapists whose victims fight back?

If anyone has read this guys book, please let me know. I would buy it, but I don't want to give these people $15.00.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A truth worth sharing this Christmas

I did not write what is posted below.  I caught it off of Pam's House Blend, but it was originally from Faith In America Blog.  It is a very powerful piece, and I wanted to share it here.


A truth worth sharing this Christmas

The harm experienced by two Florida and South Carolina families this Christmas because of religion-based bigotry against gay and lesbian individuals is very real.

Many evangelical Christians this year may have to admit to their children that they've been perpetrating an "untruth."  Perhaps they are made just a smidgen more uncomfortable by the fact that they believe truth was embodied in Christ - who according to their religious teachings was a person born different than any other human being.

So at a time when many Christians are cautioned not to forget the "reason behind the season," they are confronted with the fact that they must close the door on a part of their son's or daughter's childhood by telling them that certain stories about the partially eaten cookies, the hand-scrawled note left behind and the soot smeared on the floor were really not true.

But the young lives of a future generation will go on albeit perhaps  a bit more cynical and somewhat dejected from discovering such a truth. 

For the families of Pat and Lynn Mulder of Auburndale, Fla., and Elke Kennedy and Jim Parker of Greenville, S.C., the lives of their two children will not be going on. The day-to-day gifts of joy they gave their parents, siblings and friends ended with their deaths - and no amount of perception will make their future lives and their gifts to those around them a reality.

Pat and Lynn's son Ryan Skipper, who was killed in April 2007, and Elke and Jim's son Sean Kennedy, who was killed in May 2007, will not be with their families next week to celebrate the season - and there is an underlying reason which we as Americans must confront honestly and truthfully.

Both young men died after attacks that have been reported as acts of violence against them because they were born different. The difference was that they enjoyed dating, being around, spending time with, and bonding emotionally with men instead of women. That difference, according to certain religious and religious/political factions in America, condemns them as sinners, unclean, undeserving of the same rights that other Americans enjoy and unworthy of God's love.

Gays and lesbian individuals are not the only Americans who have been delegated as second-class citizens at the hand of misguided religious teaching. African-Americans were once labeled as a cursed lot. And with the "Adam first, Eve second" thinking, women also have been denied equality in this country as many people believed they stood more in favor with their God by standing opposed to full equality for women.

The majority of religious-minded people look back on those periods in history and realize that religious teachings were misused and misconstrued to deny African-Americans and women full equality.

Yet many Americans today fail to see the history of religion-based bigotry against gay and lesbian citizens and the harm that it causes to millions of wonderful people simply because they are different.

The families of Ryan Skipper and Sean Kennedy this Christmas are experiencing the harm that comes when a social climate of rejection and condemnation is allowed to flourish because a society accepts bigotry against gay and lesbians as religious truth. While those families experienced the physical violence that is promoted by such a climate of rejection and condemnation, millions of of other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans and their family and friends experience this violence and in other forms as well - emotional, psychological and spiritual violence.

In South Carolina, where Sean Kennedy parents will spend Christmas, the state in 2006 voted to ban gay marriage and the opposition from Christian churches in that state was instrumental in writing such discrimination into South Carolina's constitution - which coincidentally still banned interracial marriages until just a few years ago.

Next year in Florida, where Ryan Skipper's parents reside, a ban on gay marriage is being proposed for that state's constitution and no doubt religious and religious/political groups will lead that effort.

While denying gay and lesbian citizens the right to marry is but one of the many rights they as American citizens are not allowed to enjoy, it is an issue that clearly defines how a majority religious belief is used to justify legal discrimination against a minority.

Let's hope that people across this nation will pause for a moment to recognize that misusing religious teachings to justify discrimination against gay and lesbian citizens must be recognized just as wrong today as it has been in the past.

Great social injustices of the past have fallen faint when America's heart and soul bestows its most wondrous gift – equality.

Sharing that truth will most assuredly enrich the lives of future generations.

Brent Childers
Executive Director
Faith In America

Monday, December 24, 2007

Who's The Bigger Bigot - Starring Mike Huckabee

It's Christmas time. A time of giving, of charity, of compassion. At least, it is supposed to be. This Christmas season however, we get to watch GOP Presidential contender Mike Huckabee travel about Iowa selling his views of America - an America where not only is it not ok to be gay, it's just plain illegal.

For those who don't follow politics much, Huckabee came under attack from Ann Coulter a few days ago for comments he made in 2003 where he said the Lawrence v. Texas decision (the one that struck down sodomy laws) was "probably" ok. In Ann's view, as well as most of the members of the radical fundamentalist crowd, it is ok for the government to dictate what you do in your bedroom.

Huckabee's campaign, eager to prove they are just as anti-gay as the next fundamentalist nut job, quickly issued a statement claiming ignorance (hey, it worked for him on the whole Iran NIE thing, and the whole AIDS thing - hell, this guy has made being clueless a focal point of his campaign) as to what the decision was at the time he made the original comments. Now Huck feels that the decision, "is an extreme example of judicial activism." Why is it that every time the court issues a ruling limiting the power of government the religious right, who claim to be small government conservatives, start jumping up and down and screaming about judicial activism? It goes deeper than that, though. As the dissenting opinion to Lawrence points out, if sex is not the government business, then dictating who can marry and who can't is not the government's business either.

So why is this important? Simple. If Huckabee has his way, it will, once again, be illegal in several states to be anything but celibate if you are gay. If Huckabee has his way, the police will be able to kick down a gay persons door and arrest him and his partner for having sex (which is what sparked the original Lawrence case). Given the opportunity, he will stack the courts with judges who will rule not based on the law, or on the Constitution, but on extreme interpretations of the Bible. The Founding Fathers promised us a nation where "all men are created equal" and where "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are "inalienable rights." But that is not Mike Huckabee's vision for America. Huckabee's America is one where gay people must live in shadows, fearing the power of the state and being denied the most basic of civil rights. The fundamentalists have made their mission clear - they want to roll back each and every advance the gay community has made and force us back into the closet. We cannot let them succeed.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Sanctity of Marriage - Exhibit B

One of the reasons God's own warriors protect the sacred institution of marriage is to provide stable homes for kids. After all, a couple of homos clearly cannot provide the loving environment, or the positive, wholesome role model that children need. For that reason, they should not be allowed to marry.

Who is allowed to marry however? Well, Mr. Antonio Harris is. This fine, upstanding gentleman was allowed to marry his girlfriend of 11 years (who he already had 2 kids with). Unfortunately, however, he had to be married in a courtroom, because, well, he couldn't afford the $200,000 bail that was imposed on him due to charges of drug trafficking and possession of a weapon by a felon. If convicted, he faces 38 years.

Far from wearing a toilet paper dress however, Mr. Harris was sporting prison stripes and shackles.


Judge Allows Inmate to Marry in Court

Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:41 AM EST
Associated Press

CINCINNATI — One way or another, Antonio Harris faces a long hitch.

Harris, jailed as he awaits trial on drug and weapons charges, was allowed to get married Wednesday in the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge Steve Martin.

He was supposed to marry Aretha Thomas, 32, on Monday night at home. But that morning, his bail was increased to $200,000. Since Harris, 34, was unable to make bond, the couple got married in court.

Instead of a tux, the groom wore jail-issue black and white stripes, his wrists cuffed in front of him. The bride's ensemble was a polo shirt, jeans and tennis shoes. The newlyweds were allowed a brief kiss before Harris was returned to his cell.

"I know it's kind of unusual," Thomas said. "But that's everyday life. You never know what will happen."

The couple had been engaged 11 years and have two children. Martin said the fact that the couple has kids helped sway him to grant the request.

Harris was indicted on charges including trafficking in cocaine and marijuana, possession of both drugs and illegally having a weapon after a previous felony conviction. If convicted, he faces a 38-year sentence.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Sanctity of Marriage - Exhibit A

As I am sure all of you are aware, the straight Christian community avidly opposes equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians. They do this because marriage is a sacred institution ordained by God, and gays would only tarnish and destroy it. In what is sure to be a series of blogs, I will demonstrate the ways these holy defenders of the sacred institution of marriage protect it from the God hating homos.

From Yahoo News:

The bride wore white, 2-ply toilet paper

Wed Dec 19, 6:46 PM ET

If you're the kind to need a tissue at weddings, this was the place to be Wednesday. Jennifer Cannon wore a dress made of toilet paper when she was married to Doy Nichols at a public restroom in Times Square.

"You may kiss the bride," the officiant said, "but please don't squeeze the Charmin dress."

The intricately detailed dress — which looked at a glance like a regular wedding gown — was designed by Hanah Kim, winner of the 2007 Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest, sponsored by

The ceremony took place at the Charmin Restrooms — temporary, free public restrooms set up for the event. As the newlyweds from Lexington, Ky., walked back down the aisle, family and friends threw — what else? — shredded tissue.


Public Restroom to hold the wedding in: $0.00
Toilet Paper Wedding Dress: $5.00
Preserving the sanctity of marriage: Priceless

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Gloves Come Off As Iowa Race Heats Up

As the Iowa race heats up its become a battle to the death for Huckabee and Romney, as only one can be the leading Republican theocrat. AS the battle rages, the ads get much more interesting, as you can see below! As a word of caution, please do not be drinking anything as you watch these, otherwise, you might have a dirty monitor.

Yes, those were fake, but, strangely, so true...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Huckabee Flip Flops On Taxes

Mike Huckabee realizing that no one is buying it anymore
"Nobody's going to find some YouTube moments of me saying something radically different than what I'm saying today."

- Mike Huckabee 10/21/07 on FOX News

On Huckabee's website, he claims to have been responsible for extensive tax cuts while Governor of Arkansas. He claims, "As Governor of Arkansas, I pushed through the Arkansas Legislature the first major, broad-based tax cuts in state history - a $90 million tax relief package for Arkansas families. I also doubled the standard deduction to $2,000 for single taxpayers and $4,000 for those who are married. Some taxes I eliminated entirely: the marriage penalty, bracket creep caused by inflation, income tax on poor families, and capital gains on home sales. To encourage investment, I cut capital gains for both individuals and businesses. To help people better themselves, I provided tax credits for employee training and education. In total, I cut taxes and fees nearly 100 times during my ten-and-a-half years as Governor, saving the people of Arkansas almost $380 million."

However, that is not the whole story. He also *begged* the legislature to raise taxes. However, don't take my word for it, the video is on YouTube, and is presented above for your enjoyment.

Huckabee was confronted on this on Fox News. He claimed that it was in response to a court ordered funding increase for schools. However, his campaign had to retract that because the truth was that this was to cover expenses in the general budget. When Mike Huckabee says he beleives that government spends to much and the people are over taxed, remember that in Arkansas, he believed the people were undertaxed and the government needed to spend more. Remember Rev. Huckabee, the Bible says you should not lie.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mike Huckabee Digs Himself In Deeper

The Huckabee AIDS flap continues to develop. The day after the story broke Huckabee went on Fox News, where he was questioned about his comments. The video of this interview is on YouTube, and has been embeded here.

As the video shows, Huckabee dances around this issue while refusing to admit he was wrong and making claims that do not jive with reality. When specifically questioned on the quarantine remarks, he says he never said "quarantine" just "isolate" but does not explain the difference. Then, after a pause to think up a new answer, he threw out the Kimberly Bergalis case (the woman who claimed to have been infected by her dentist). Of course, Huckabee didn't do his homework here either. Evidence suggests that Ms. Bergalis was less than truthful about her virginity, unless, of course, she also caught genital warts from the same oral surgery she claims to have gotten AIDS from. To be fair, Huckabee could not have know this when he made the statement originally, but he could have known it now, had he or his staffers bothered to do some fact checking. Instead, he used it as an excuse to try and further justify his disturbing views.

Yesterday Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign, along with A. Gene Copello, president of The AIDS Institute sent a letter to the Huckabee campaign. In this letter, Mr. Solmonese and Mr. Copello requested that Huckabee sit down with the Jeanne White-Ginder, mother of Ryan White, the teenager who died of AIDS in 1990 having contracted the disease through contaminated blood products, to hear from her, first hand, the pain and suffering that such ignorance causes to people who suffer from HIV/AIDS and their families. Huckabee responded to this letter by saying that, "I would be very willing to meet with them, I would tell them we've come a long way in research, in treatment."

Sometimes you really have to wonder if Huckabee engages his brain before running his mouth? Ms. White-Ginder has had a child die of this disease. She also sits on the board of The AIDS Institute. Who does Huckabee think he is that he has anything he can teach her regarding HIV or AIDS? There is one person who needs educated on HIV, and it certainy is not Ryan White's mother

The HRC letter points out that four years prior to Huckabee's statement, the Department of Health and Human Services was issuing brocures explaining that HIV could not be spread by casual contact. This, and the multitude of other evidence available at the time demonstrate that Huckabee is more committed to his world view of AIDS being a sinners disease than to what is true and what is right.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Mike Huckabee - Idiot? Hatemonger? Facist? All Three?

Mike Huckabee - Dunce of the CenturyPictured to the left is the man who seems to be quickly becoming the favorite son of the far right wing theocrats, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.  Why, you may ask, is he wearing a dunce cap?  Well, because, as the
AP reports
, the man is either an idiot who is either woefully out of touch with reality, or a hatemonger who spews anti-gay bigotry to drum up support with "the flock".

In 1992, when he was running for the U.S. Senate, Huckabee wrote in response
to an AP questionnaire, "If the federal government is truly serious about doing
something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague."  He then went on to say, "It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."

When asked on that same questionnaire about increased funding for AIDS research, he wrote, "In light of the extraordinary funds already being given for AIDS research, it does not seem that additional federal spending can be justified... An alternative would be to request that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor(,) Madonna and others who are pushing for more AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS research."  So which is it Mike, is it a "genuine plague" that is so dire that you wanted to put the "carriers" in camps, or was it something so minor that it could be left to celebrities to handle?

When asked about those comments now, Huckabee claims ignorance.  After all, he maintains, that was 1992 and we didn't know how HIV was spread.  According to Huckabee, "We now know that the virus that causes AIDS is spread differently, with a lower level of contact than with TB.  But looking back almost 20 years, my concern was the uncertain risk to the general population — if we got it wrong, many people would die needlessly. My concern was safety first, political correctness last"  Of course, by 1992 everyone, except, apparently, Mike Huckabee, knew how HIV was spread.  So which is it Mike?  Were you just ignorant then or are you lying now?  Or were you just quot;talking tough" to capture the homophobe vote?

I think we can figure out which it was.  On that same questionnaire, when asked about homosexuality in general, Huckabee wrote, "I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk."

Folks, well, for those of you folks who are members or friends of the gay community, this is what we are up against.  If we are complacent, we will lose all the gains we have made, or worse.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Highway to Heaven has been found... Someone tell Michael Landon... **UPDATED**

As reported on Pat Roberson's The 700 Club,  Interstate 35 is
no longer the evil North American Union Superhighway, but, rather, has been
revealed as the subject of Biblical Prophecy from Isaiah 35:8. 

The video at the right is the segment that ran on The 700 Club
This video was posted on YouTube by the folks at Right Wing Watch, which is
an organization which keeps tabs on the extremists in the Christian
community.   I present it here mostly for comic relief. 

However, there is one thing that concerns me here.  Part of this little
mission of their's have been little "gatherings" outside of gay bars to try
and convert all of us militant sodomites.  Personally, I feel it is
only appropriate that, should this become a common occurrence, that we in
the gay community show our, well, appreciation for their attention by
gathering outside of their church on Sunday morning...

Oh, and one other thing Pat, I lived just off I-35 in Kansas City for many
years, and I am still as queer as a $3 bill, so, your theory is, well,
crap..  But, we have all come to expect that from the fine folks at
The 700 Club


As it turns out, the gay guy in this video who was claiming to be cured of being gay is bipolor and was off his medication at the time. After the supposed cure, the so-called Christians shipped him off to ex-gay camp and told him not to contact his parents or resume taking medication. After a few weeks, the gayness came back, and the guy is now back home, back on his meds, and - big surprise - still gay... Below is the text of the story from The Dallas Voice:

Friday, December 14, 2007
Dallas gay man adversely affected by Christian "purity siege"

By John Wright of the Dallas Voice

Next time you see that group of fundamentalist Christians proselytizing outside the gay bars on the Cedar Springs strip, be sure to ask them about James Stabile.

In late November, right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson’s “The 700 Club” aired a segment on how some have come to believe — through prophecies, dreams and visions — that Interstate 35 is the “highway to holiness” referenced in the Old Testament.

As the story goes, a reformation is springing up in cities along I-35, which runs from Laredo to Duluth, Minn., that eventually will spread to the coasts and cleanse the entire nation of sin.

Or something like that.

Anyhow, the segment focused on a group affiliated with Heartland World Ministries Church in Las Colinas that’s been staging so-called “purity sieges” outside the bars on the strip — not far from where I-35 passes through Dallas — on Friday nights for the last few months.

I had covered one of these “sieges” back in early September, but as usual my timing was a little off.

Turns out, had I been there just a week before, I could have witnessed firsthand the dramatic and miraculous alleged conversion of Stabile.

Stabile, “a 19-year-old homosexual atheist from Dallas,” was out having a few drinks when he ran into Joe Oden, the Heartland evangelist who’s been helping to organize the sieges.

“He just barely touched me, and he said, ‘Fire!’ And I remember staggering backward, and I thought I was, like, tripping on acid,” Stabile said in “The 700 Club” segment. “It was the weirdest thing ever. … I didn’t feel the desire to be with men like I had felt before.”

Naturally, thanks to YouTube, it didn’t take long before the segment was plastered all over the gay blogosphere.

But the question remained: For the love of God, who is James Stabile?

I mean, surely someone in Dallas’ gay community had met this guy, right? Or was he just a member of the church who was planted on the strip so the incident could be staged?


I later asked Oden (who turns out to be a pretty nice guy, though clearly not my type), whether he could put me in touch with Stabile.

Oden told me Stabile had been shipped off to Pure Life Ministries, which operates a residential treatment program in Northern Kentucky.

“It’s a program for people who’ve lived alternative lifestyles just to get totally clean,” Oden told me.

Upon further investigation, I discovered Pure Life Ministries is also the place where Mike Johnston — remember him?! — is director of donor and media relations.

Johnston’s the guy who contracted HIV before swearing off homosexuality and becoming a poster child for the ex-gay movement in the late 1980s.

Then, in 2003, it was revealed that Johnston was living a double life — cruising men online and organizing unsafe sex parties while failing to disclose his HIV status to partners. Johnston eventually checked into Pure Life and later re-emerged in his current position.

“With good reason, people would question what I’m saying now,” Johnston told me recently during what he said was the only interview he’s given on the subject in four years.

But I digress.

A few weeks later, Oden told me Stabile had been kicked out of Pure Life for being a “compulsive liar,” which rekindled my interest.

Finally, I was able to get in touch with Stabile’s father, Joseph, who gave me the real scoop.

Coincidentally, Joseph Stabile is pastor of Cochran Chapel United Methodist Church, the oldest church in Dallas.

Joseph Stabile said he’s fully accepting of his son’s sexual orientation and believes being gay is neither a choice nor a sin.

Joseph Stabile said James left home to go out that Friday night and never returned. Joseph said James, or “B.J.” as his parents affectionately refer to him, is bipolar and had stopped taking his medication.

James called a few days later and told his parents he was moving out, and that he’d be back to get his stuff. James apparently had moved in with some folks from Heartland.

After that, it would be some time before James’ parents heard from him, as his church friends reportedly advised him not to contact them.

Joseph Stabile said the Heartland folks also may have advised James to throw away his medication, telling him that God would cure his bipolar disorder, too.

Joseph’s parents said James has a tendency to be less than truthful, especially when he’s off his medication, and that he loves attention. They said they don’t believe he’s ever questioned his sexuality, but that the folks from Heartland manipulated and exploited him for publicity.

It wasn’t until James got to Pure Life that he was able to reconnect with his parents. Not surprisingly, James wasn’t fitting in to the program, his father said.

“James did not fit into the program because their whole aim was to have him not be gay,” his father said.

Thankfully, the story has a happy ending. After nearly four months, James returned home last weekend.

His parents said they feel it’s too soon for James to talk about what happened, and that they want him to see his therapist first.

They said James has revealed little about his time at Pure Life, which he now refers to as “straight camp.” James just told them it was “horrible” and that there are some things he will never be able to share.

James’ mother, Suzanne, said he told her the people at Pure Life constantly threatened that he was going to hell.

Men in the program had to be fully clothed from the neck down at all times, including when they went to sleep, James told his parents. And they were prohibited from any physical contact, including shaking hands.

When James got kicked out, his father asked someone at Pure Life whether they would buy him a bus ticket.

After all, James had paid $2,100 to get in to the program, plus $150 a week. But the representative from Pure Life refused.

Joseph Stabile has contacted “The 700 Club” and asked them to retract the information about James in the segment.

For now, though, James parents are just glad to have him back.

“None of that experience was Christian, helpful, loving or supportive,” Suzanne Stabile said.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Blame the Gays!

It's been a while since my last blog. Actually, truth be told, I am supposed
to be leveling my roommates priest on World of Warcraft right now, but decided
to ramble on for a bit on my blog.

I came across a hilarious video on Youtube entitled "Blame the Gays"
Basically, this video takes the religious right's arguments against gay marriage
and exposes them for the ridiculous lunacy that they are. Of course, I
don't expect this will have any impact on the minds of the fundamentalists,
after all, these are the same people who try to convince atheists of the
existence of God by threatening them with going to hell.

While the video may be light hearted fun, the reality of the matter is
much more serious. Hoping over to, the religious right's answer to mainstream journalism, one can find a commentary on their front page that supports a book that claims that same sex marriage will criminalize religion and bring down society as we know it.

On an unrelated note, the Youtube Republican Debate was the other day.
One of the questions submitted was from a retired Army General who is gay.
He challenged some of the candidates on DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell).
The religious right types are up in arms now because, apparently, the
General is connected to Hillary's campaign. Regardless of who he
supports, or even if he works for a campaign, by virtue of the fact that he
served this nation his entire adult life with enough skill and devotion to
become a General, means he has earned the right to ask presidential
candidates why they feel that his presence in the military was detrimental
to morale and discipline. The candidates that responded - Hunter, Huckabee
and McCain all beat around the bush, and gave responses that were all
somewhat insulting.

The worst, and absolutely most absurd response came from Duncan Hunter, a
man who I sincerely hope to see unemployed in the near future, who said,
"General, thanks for your service, but I believe in what Colin Powell said
when he said that having openly homosexual people serving in the ranks would
be bad for unit cohesion. The reason for that, even though people point to
the Israelis and point to the Brits and point to other people as having
homosexuals serve, is that most Americans, most kids who leave that
breakfast table and go out and serve in the military and make that corporate
decision with their family, most of them are conservatives. They have
conservative values, and they have Judeo-Christian values. To force those
people to work in a small tight unit with somebody who is openly homosexual
goes against what they believe to be their principles, and it is their
principles, is I think a disservice to them.
I agree with Colin Powell
that it would be bad for unit cohesion. "

One also has to wonder of Rep. Hunter would apply this logic to anyone
with whom a "Christian" may be uncomfortable with. Shall we ban Jews,
Muslims, Atheists, Hindus, Wiccans, etc from the military? What about
denominations that the others don't like? If the majority of the Army
is Catholic, should Baptists be banned? Of course, we also have the
good "christian" people who think that non-whites are evil as well, do we
ban them too?

What Congressman Hunter does not get is that there was a time where the
majority of the military came from families and backgrounds that believed in
segregation, yet, we did them the "disservice" of desegregating the
military, something that Hunter would have probably opposed if he had had
the chance.

In related news, 28 flag officers (Generals and Admirals for those
unfamiliar with military terms) sent a letter to Congress calling for an end
to the ban on gay service members. These voices are added to the
voices of a majority of American's who believe that this ban, which costs
our nation thousands of skilled soldiers in a time when are military is
stretched to the limit, is contrary to the best interests of the United
States and the military.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Phelps Clan Must Be Breeding

A lot of time in gay rights debates, to the chagrin of the religious right, Fred Phelps and his clan are invoked as examples of extremism and bigotry from their side of the issue. Many on the religious right try and distance themselves from Phelps by saying he is one man who, with his family, is on a solo crusade and does not represent the Christian right at all. They make this claim despite other groups, with similar ideology springing up throughout the nation.

One of these groups, an outfit calling itself Soulwinners Ministries, is leading their own nationwide picketing party they are calling "Save Our Students". As part of their traveling circus, they decided to picket the dining hall and student union of UNC-Chapel Hill. The picture of the left, with the lovely sign reading "HOMO SEX IS A THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY" being held by a friendly man wearing a t-shirt that says "NO HOMOS GO TO HEAVEN" is from that picket. Another reported sign read "Satan says that God loves everyone."

Of course, the antics did not end with just a picket. This group of "Christians", in clear obedience to Christ's command to "Love thy neighbor" accused an all girls a capella group of being lesbians, and started approaching students at dining tables and quizzing them on their sexual orientation and proclaiming that the students were going to burn in hell. One student in particular wrote a letter to the editor of the school's newspaper objecting to having been labeled a "vigorous masturbator" by this lovely group. One has to wonder, being Christians are called to emulate Christ, if Christ Himself would have used that particular phrase, or ran around the dining hall randomly condemning people to hell.

No road trip would be complete, however, without a poorly done Geocities like piece of internet graffiti to publicize it, and our friends have one of their very own (linked above also), though it is lacking pictures and flashing frames. However, they do tell us the purpose for there traveling show on this little site, "Daily, on college campuses, this country’s future policy makers, parents, are injected with insidious ideologies, inoculating them to sodomy, same-sex marriage, fornication, abortion, under the demonic deception denoted 'diversity' and 'tolerance.'" Seriously, what the fuck does that mean? It sounds like a bad George Bush quote. Apparently, thoughts of "vigorous masturbation" precluded them from vigorous proofreading, or vigorous critical thinking, for that matter.

Why does this matter? Surely no one takes these buffoons seriously, right? Well, unfortunately, no, people do. In Sacramento, there is a group of Slavic immigrant Christians who have embarked on a similar type of crusade against the local LGBT community. For the past couple of years there have been pickets and counter pickets, and members of this community have made threats of violence. Those threats became reality on July 1st of this year when a 27 year old gay man was attacked at a local lake by a group of Slavic men who were making anti-gay and racists comments before the attack. The victim, Satendar Singh, died four days later. Two suspects have been named, one has been arrested, and the other fled and, from the last reports I have seen on this case, is believed to be in Russia. While these groups appear to be comical, and its fun to mock their stupidity, their hate is very real, and the danger of some people who think like them acting out on that hate is equally real.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Religious Freedom And The Seperation Of Church And State - How Freaking Hard Is It To Understand?

Last weeks post regarding a religious freedom/separation of church and state issued raised a little bit of discussion. The Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment are so simple that it blows the mind how people can't quite seem it get it. The Church and the State are two separate entities and neither should dabble in the other's business. The state must refrain from promoting or endorsing a certain sects beliefs, but, at the same time, it also must avoid being hostile towards a sect or belief system. Additionally, each citizen has the right to exercise their religious beliefs free from most interference of the state, save those of reasonable time, place and manner restrictions that are viewpoint neutral, with some limited exceptions.

What kind of things constitute a reasonable time, place or manner restriction? Imagine a street preacher walking down the sidewalk of a residential area knocking on doors to try and share his faith with homeowners. If he does this in the middle of the afternoon, he is fine (provided he respects "No Trespassing" and "No Soliciting" signs), and the state cannot restrict this activity. Now, suppose he decided that 2:00 AM is an appropriate time to do this. Can the state restrict that? Yes, because that is a valid time based restriction. He is not being restricted for the content of his speech, rather, he is being restricted because of the time he chose to do it. Suppose he decides that the best place to share his faith is in the middle of an intersection. Can the state restrict that? Yes, it can, because its not the content of the speech being restricted, but the place is, as the state has a valid interest in keeping traffic moving and keeping this guy from causing an accident. Should he then decide that, in the same residential area, he will start preaching via bullhorn. Can the state restrict that? Again, they can, because the interests of the residents in peace and quiet in their homes is a valid reason for the state to restrict the use of bullhorns.

Now, to be valid, these time, place and manner restrictions need to be, in almost all cases, viewpoint neutral. Basically, if the state is going to tell the Christian preacher that he can't walk down the sidewalk peaching via bullhorn, it has to also apply the same restriction to anyone else who walks down the same street talking about anything through a bullhorn.

In my last blog on this issue I discussed how a schools reaction to a student's religious comments in a graduation speech, in my view, crossed the line of a reasonable restriction. Below, I will detail four other incidents that I think also illustrate important points, and, in three of the cases, demonstrates how some people can't get what is a very simple concept. The forth issue is more of a commentary on how followers of one particular religion need to learn to how to respect others.

Item One: Christian School Expels Lesbians - Parents Sue.

In late 2005 a Lutheran school in Riverside County, CA expelled two students it suspected of being lesbians. A news report on this case can be found here. The parents sued, claiming that the protections in CA law that prohibit discrimination against LGBT individuals apply to the school. This case popped back up on the radar because some Christian legal groups got involved and started filing briefs in the case.

Without going into too much detail on the specifics (if you want to know them, read the links), it seems to me that this is a very basic case when you apply Constitutional principles. Was the school acting within their rights when they expelled students they believed violated their religious codes on homosexuality? Yes. Can CA require a religious institution to act in a manner contrary to its religious beliefs? No. The only possible exception is the government can require schools to agree to adhere to certain regulations in exchange for accepting government money. If this school made no such agreement with CA, it can do whatever it wants in this regard, and the state cannot interfere. But, isn't it wrong to expel kids for being gay? Yes, it is. Society's recourse is to not send your kids there until the school stops perpetrating spiritual violence against LGBT people.

Item Two: University bans Christian Group, calls foot washing "hazing".

A lawsuit has been filed in federal court against Savannah State University for suspending and then expelling a Christian student group for "harrassment" and "hazing." Per the lawsuit, the harassment charge stems from some students and groups disapproving of the organizations message (part of which was vocal opposition to the Greek system) and the hazing charge comes from the groups practice of washing the feet of new members, in a reenactment of Christ washing the feet of His Disciples in the Book of John.

Again, for more details, read the link. The issues here are simple. A state institution cannot discipline a group over the religious content of their speech, no matter who likes it an who doesn't. Additionally, the label of "hazing" being applied to an innocuous religious ceremony is absurd. People have the right to believe what they want, and to express their religious beliefs on campus without fear of being disciplined because they dared to offend someone. In America, we have the freedom of religion, but we do not have the freedom to not be offended.

Item Three: Orange County, FL, settles federal lawsuit filed against it for prohibiting a woman from passing out religious fliers in a public park.

Orange County, FL was forced to back down after trying to prohibit a woman from passing out religious fliers in a public park without government permission. The original story can be found here. Florida is werid. In one part of the state a mayor is launching an all out holy crusade against gay people, in another part the local government seems to have an issue with religious literature being passed out, and in another part, an anti-gay legislator is offering blow jobs to other men in public restrooms, for money. What an interesting place.

The issue here is that the state cannot restrict someone from passing out religious fliers in a public park, and it cannot require people to get government permission before sharing their faith and beliefs. Again, to me, this seems obvious, but maybe things are just more convoluted in Florida. Either way, lots of tax dollars just got wasted because people don't want to play by simple rules.

Item Four: Fundamentalist Christians need to learn to respect other beliefs as well.

Last month I wrote a blog chastising fundamentalists for ignoring everyone else's rights to freedom of religion. One of the items I mentioned was the non-sectarian prayer given by a Hindu before the U.S. Senate, and the fundamentalists opposition to it.

I mentioned that piece in passing, but, the other day, finally saw video of it. Honestly, I was shocked and appalled at the conduct of "Christians" in the Senate Gallery who were disrupting the prayer. The video below is from that day.

As prayers go, when the guest chaplain was finally able to finish it, that one was pretty innocuous. Hell, you could have summed up the content of that prayer in five words, "Hey God, how's it hanging?".

The disgusting thing is the comments made. "Lord Jesus, forgive us, Father, for allowing the prayer of the wicked, which is an abomination in your sight..." What the hell? That guy didn't seem wicked to me, nor are most Indian people I know. But, we all know how fond the Christian right is in calling people abominations...

It gets better... World Net Daily reports that the same guy made the same prayer to the California Senate, and now the fundamentalists are really up in arms. Tim Wildmon, of the American Family Association had the following comment, "We're not opposed to the ability of people to worship their own gods or god, but when it comes to our civil government … it's always been the recognition of the God of the Bible. Every religion is not equal. That's my belief. That's logic."

Tim, READ THE CONSTITUTION YOU FREAKING MORON! God is not the basis of civil government! The recognition of God is not the basis of civil government! Your beliefs are no more valid, under law, than his are. PERIOD!

"The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion." - President John Adams in the Treaty of Triploi

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law." - President Thomas Jefferson


There we have it folks, more fun and frivolity, and lawsuits, in the realm of religious liberty. Please feel free to comment and discuss the above. The more these cases are brought to the front, hopefully, the better people will understand how our founders intended the church and the state to interact. Maybe, just maybe, we can avoid some of these lawsuits from clogging up our already over burdened courts.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Goats Everywhere Implore You: DO NOT Fly On Nepal Airlines!

According to an article by Reuters today, Nepal state run airlines was having problems with their Boeing 757. To assist in fixing the problem they sacrificed two goats, in front of the aircraft at the Kathmandu airport, to appease Akash Bhairab, the Hindu sky god. Hopefully, afterwards they actually fixed the problem with the aircraft.

Dear God, I certainly hope the FAA doesn't let these people fly into American airports...

The article can be found here.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Seperation Of Church And State - The Other Side Of The Coin

I have discussed, in detail, separation of church and state, and why the government needs to remain neutral towards religion. In a lot of cases, the abuses come when the government tries to inject the religious realm into the realm of government. However, on the other side of the coin, sometimes government inappropriately silences the religious viewpoints of its citizens, which also violates the separation of church and state. The case below is one of those situations.

In 2006 Erica Corder was one of 15 valedictorians at Denver's Lewis-Palmer High School that was given the opportunity to make a 30 second speech. During her speech, Erica made the following comment, "I need to tell you about someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine. He died for you on a cross over 2,000 years ago, yet was resurrected and is living today in heaven. His name is Jesus Christ. If you don't already know him I personally encourage you to find out more about the sacrifice he made for you." It is important to note that the comment was not a part of the speech that she had submitted before the graduation.

As a result of the comment, the principal informed her that she would not receive her diploma until she apologized. The apology that she authored for the principal stated, "I'm sorry I didn't share my plans with Mr. Brewer or the other valedictorians ahead of time." The principal, however, refused to accept the statement until it included the following, "I realize that, had I asked ahead of time, I would not have been allowed to say what I did." Once she added this phrase she was granted her diploma. However, she decided to file suit claiming she was not given instructions ahead of time as to what was appropriate in her speech. She is asking for the district to clarify its speech guidelines and issue a statement that she did nothing wrong. She is not seeking any compensatory damages.

Lets be honest here for a minute. It certainly appears that the reason she did not include the religious remark in her speech is she knew it would not have been accepted, and she thought she could just sneak it in. If this is indeed the case, one has to wonder if she noticed the irony in her witnessing by deception, after all, the Bible prohibits lying. The appearance of deception here will, most likely, result is the loss of her case. However, this case does illustrate a point that I feel is important.

The First Amendment's separation of church and state is a vital part of our Constitution. It restricts the state from positions that either favor or oppose certain belief systems. There are many ways that the above statement would be inappropriate, for example if it were made by a school employee, or made by a student at a compulsory activity, or in some way endorsed by the school. However, none of these are the case. This was a statement of faith given by a student, with no endorsement by the school, as part of a brief graduation speech at a ceremony where no one was compelled to attend. While some restrictions on speech of students in the school setting is permissible and Constitutional, we need to remember that kids do not check their rights at the door.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Are All The Anti-Gay Republicans Gay?

In what is becoming a common occurrence, another Republican political type has been caught in a public gay sex sting. First it was the Rev. Ted Haggard, then Florida state Rep. Bob Allen, and now, its U.S. Senator Larry Craig of Idaho, who was arrested for, and plead guilty to, disorderly conduct arising from an attempt to solicit sexual activities from an undercover officer in a restroom at the Minneapolis Airport.

This is not the first time Sen. Craig has been involved in a gay scandal. In 1982, then Rep. Craig was part of an investigation into cocaine use and sex with male congressional pages, as evidenced by the video below:

In 2006, shortly before election day, Sen. Craig was also "outted" on BlogActive by gay activist Mike Rogers, who says he has interviewed more than one man claiming to have had sexual relations with Sen. Craig.

Despite pleading guilty to the charges in this case, Sen. Craig is claiming he is innocent and was just trying to handle the matter "quickly and expeditiously."

Why does this matter? Well, first of all, no one, especially members of the United States Congress should be trying to find sex in public restrooms. It also matters because Sen. Craig has consistently voted against gays. He has voted, twice, for the Federal Marriage Amendment, he voted for DOMA, he voted against hate crimes legislation protecting gays, as well as legislation preventing employment discrimination against gays.

Sen. Craig may have thought that by voting against gay issues every chance he got, he could somehow dodge the consequences of his actions. However, no matter how much he tries, he can no longer dodge the truth. It is time for him to stop being a hypocrite. If he cannot face the truth, and admit it to his constituents, then he needs to resign his position.


Republicans are distancing themselves from Sen. Craig faster than he can protest that he isn't gay. In the last couple of days the Romney campaign has tried to distance itself, and so called "pro-family" groups are calling for his resignation.

"I think it reminds us of the fact that people who are elected to public office continue to disappoint, and they somehow think that if they vote the right way on issues of significance or they can speak a good game, that we'll just forgive and forget," said Mitt Romney.

Brian Fischer of the Idaho Values Alliance said, "The senator does need to be given an opportunity to thoroughly share his side of the story, but it appears, from I think an objective standpoint, that he is guilty of the things that he is accused of. And if that's the case, then I believe the senator needs to step down from public office."

LGBT people have plenty of reason to be angry with Sen. Craig. He betrayed his people every time he voted against basic fairness and equal rights for the LGBT community. Why is Romney and the Idaho Values Alliance attacking him? Because he is gay, plain and simple. This isn't about policy to them, because Craig has always voted they way they want, and is likely to in the future.

One of the comments posted on MySpace on this blog was a rehash of the "gays are dysfunctional" line of bullshit that I have been refuting on my Gay Marriage blog. There is a dysfunction here, but it is not what Astrochronic thinks. The dysfunction is with society. The dysfunction is the manic obsession of the religious right to persecute the gay community. The dysfunction is with a society that judges the content of a person's character based solely on their sexual orientation. The dysfunction is with a society that will not allow people to serve if they are different.

While Sen. Craig did break the law, a misdemeanor, many other Senators have done much, much worse and have been treated much, much more kindly by their colleagues. The Larry Craig that today is the subject of attacks coming from the right today is the exact same Larry Craig that, two weeks ago, was a darling of the religious right. The only thing that is different is that now they know he is gay. "For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God," says the Bible. Yet, in the twisted world that is fundamentalism, being gay is the one sin that is unpardonable.

To Sen. Craig I say this: You have done great wrongs to the gay community. However, it is not too late to make amends. Come out, admit who you are, and stand up to the hate and bigotry of the fundamentalist right. You have been their whipping boy for far too long.

***More Updates***

This story is turning into a national joke. A few days ago Sen. Craig announced his intention to resign as of Sept. 30, effectively ending the story, or so we thought...

But we may be wrong. Craig's people are saying that he might not resign now. Seriously, what the hell? Can this guy make up his mind? You plead guilty but then plead innocent. You say you are leaving, but then start this coy little wait and see game? Did someone give him John Kerry's copy of Flip-Flopping for Dummies?

Mr. Craig, you are just embarrassing yourself and the Republican Party. Do the nation a favor, pack your desk and go home. NOW!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Gay Marriage - The next battlefield in the war for equality.

While reading another blog, I was directed to a particularly, well, asinine, piece posted on MySpace by a guy writing under the handle Astrochronic. This piece is arguing that marriage equality for gays was, somehow, an infringement of civil liberties for straight people. His argument is, basically, homosexuality is a "dysfunction" and that gay people cannot form the required attachment that you would find between married people. Because gay people disagree with this perspective, he claims they are "self deluded." He throws in occasional arguments about morality, mental health issues, the media, and how gays living their lives is bad for society. In this blog I am going to answer the major points of piece in question, though, not necessarily in the order that they were presented.

You will also notice one other thing in this response that is not present in the original piece. In my response, for questions of fact, you will find citations. When discussing our government and governing documents, you will find quotations. These facts and figures will not convince the die hard fundamentalist, much as Galileo was unable to convince the fundamentalists of his time that the Earth revolved around the sun. Rather, this response is aimed at the middle - the fair minded people who can weigh the facts before making a decision.

Regarding religious arguments against homosexuality, specifically questions as to the morality of homosexuality and homosexual relationships:

The gay marriage debate is one involving the granting of civil rights and responsibility by the state. In America, we have the separation of church and state. While Christians may claim that this separation is the creation of an activist Supreme Court, the first person to coin the phrase was actually Thomas Jefferson, who wrote, "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

Will this convince the fundamentalists? Well, no... Unfortunately, God Himself probably couldn't either. However, regardless of what they want to claim, our government is secular and was intended by its creators to be secular. The question of whether gay marriage or homosexuality is moral or not is for each individual to decide for themselves, not for the state to decide. Our Constitution promises each American equal protection under the law. Giving 1049 rights and privileges through marriage to heterosexual couples, while denying them to homosexual couples breaks this promise. Judging which interpersonal relationships between consenting adults are moral or not is not, nor should it ever be, the business of the state.

Regarding the assertion that homosexuality is a dysfunction or a disorder:

The American Psychological Association has the following to say regarding homosexuality being a disorder, "Psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals agree that homosexuality is not an illness, mental disorder or an emotional problem. Over 35 years of objective, well-designed scientific research has shown that homosexuality, in and itself,is not associated with mental disorders or emotional or social problems. Homosexuality was once thought to be a mental illness because mental health professionals and society had biased information. In the past the studies of gay, lesbian and bisexual people involved only those in therapy, thus biasing the resulting conclusions. When researchers examined data about these people who were not in therapy, the idea that homosexuality was a mental illness was quickly found to be untrue."

The American Psychiatric Association says, "All major professional mental health organizations have gone on record to affirm that homosexuality is not a mental disorder. In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association’s Board of Trustees removed homosexuality from its official diagnostic manual, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Second Edition (DSM II). The action was taken following a review of the scientific literature and consultation with experts in the field. The experts found that homosexuality does not meet the criteria to be considered a mental illness."

The two major professional organizations for the mental health field both say homosexuality is not a disorder. As such, Astrochronic's primary argument that gays suffer from a disorder is shown to be false.

Regarding the assertion that homosexual relationships cannot be as fulfilling as heterosexual relationships, and that heterosexual relationships are the ideal:

In 2003 a study was published that was conducted by Dr. John Gottman of the University of Washington and Dr. Robert Levenson of the University of California at Berkley on gay couples and their relationship dynamics. During an interview with a University of Washington campus publication, Dr, Gottman said, "Gay and lesbian couples are a lot more mature, more considerate in trying to improve a relationship and have a greater awareness of equality in a relationship than straight couples."

Quoting from the same article Dr. Gottman goes on to say, "Straight couples start a conflict discussion in a much more negative place than do gays and lesbian couples. Homosexuals start the same kind of discussions with more humor and affection, are less domineering and show considerably more positive emotions than heterosexual couples. The way a discussion starts is critical. If it starts off in a bad way in a heterosexual relationship, we have found that it will become even more negative 96 percent of the time. Gays and lesbians are warmer, friendlier and less belligerent. You see it over and over in their discussions, and their partner is receiving the message they are communicating. In turn, their partner is allowing himself or herself to be influenced in a positive way. With married heterosexual couples a discussion is much more of a power struggle with someone being invalidated."

Dr. Gottman's prediction for the future - "I think that in 200 years heterosexual relationships will be where gay and lesbian relationships are today."

Now who is this Dr. Gottman? What does he know about relationships? Dr. Gottman, along with his wife Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman run The Gottman Institute, and Dr. Gottman is the author of 37 books dealing with relationships, family and parenting. More information on Dr. Gottman can be found here.

Far from being dysfunctional psudo-relationships, gay relationships have been show to be just as strong, if not stronger, the heterosexual ones. The are most definitely not "an abberation[sp] to the natural human bonding instinct," as the blog author insists.

Regarding gay people's desire to live their lives in the open:

Astrochronic comments in his blog, "why can't they just keep it to themselves a little better?" My response to him is, why should we? The First Amendment to the United States Constitution grants to all Americans the freedom of expression. If the fundamentalist crowd does not like it, that is their problem.

Additionally, coming out is therapeutic.
Quoting the American Psychological Association, "sharing that aspect of themselves with others is important to their mental health. In fact, the process of identity development for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals called "coming out", has been found to be strongly related to psychological adjustment—the more positive the gay, lesbian, or bisexual identity, the better one's mental health and the higher one's self-esteem."

Astrochronic states that, as part of the dysfunction he claims gays have, that they have a higher rates of bipolar disorder. I would submit to him that, if that is true, then the cause is not being gay, but rather dealing with the stigma society places on being gay. However, this argument is irrelevant anyway, as we have shown that professionals in the mental health field state, in absolute clarity, that homosexuality is not a disorder.

Regarding Astrochronic's claim that "the Constitution ensures the pursuit of happiness but that does not mean at the expense of society.":

First, Astrochronic needs to get his documents correct. The phrase "pursuit of happiness" is from the Declaration of Independence, which states, "
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Read that again! Notice the word "unalienable"? What are unalienable rights? Simple, unalienable right are absolute rights - natural rights, if you will. In the view of the founders of the nation, those rights are yours because you are a human being.

When dealing with rights, the Constitution states in the 14th Amendment, "nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Should gay people surrender our unalienable rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness and our constitutional rights to equal protection of the laws because it makes straight people more comfortable? I think not.

Regarding the assertion that some other partnership is acceptable, so long as it isn't called marriage:

Why do gay people insist on marriage? Because it is what straight people get. Separate but equal did not work in segregation, it will not work for marriage. The Constitution requires "equal protection." Fundamentalists put a lot of stock into this argument of semantics. To them, if its called something else it is something else, and therefore, unequal.

The irony is, gay people are already getting married in every state in this nation. The state's prohibition on gay marriage does not extend to churches, many of which are performing gay weddings already. Additionally, church or no, nothing prohibits or prevents gay couples from telling the world that they are married. The things at stake in this argument are 1049 rights and benefits offered to married people under federal law. Things like inheritance, hospital visitation, medical decision making, spousal privilege, social security survivor benefits, trans-national spouse protections, tax incentives, etc. While some of these can be obtained through complicated and expensive legal documents, most of them cannot.

Regarding the assertion that gay marriage harms heterosexual marriage, and the sanctity of marriage:

This assertion is, on its face, absurd. Fundamentalists seem to be under the impression that if gays are allowed to marry, that their own marriages would collapse. Of course, there is no evidence that this will happen, and it has not happened in Massachusetts, the only state in the nation that allows full marriage rights for gay couples.

How would straight marriage be harmed by gay marriage? Would formerly straight people change their minds, turn gay, and go find a gay marriage? Would straight people, seeing that their exclusive club is not so exclusive anymore just give up and go solo? The only way I can see this impacting straight marriage is if closeted gay people are encouraged enough by a more open and accepting society that they come out of their closet and avoid disastrous heterosexual marriages. That, however, is a benefit, not a curse.

We hear a lot about the "sanctity" of marriage. How can any institution be declared sacred if it can be granted for a small fee at a drive up window by a guy dressed as Elvis in the great state of Nevada? How can it be sacred when Fox, the network that is near and dear to the fundamentalists heart, has a reality show that offers a large monetary prize to a woman to fake an engagement and wedding to fool her family? How can it be sacred when some of the most vocal people screaming it is sacred are on their second or third marriage?

The argument that the institution of marriage has been unchanged from ancient times is also a fallacy. In ancient times, and, in some countries even in modern times, marriage consisted of one man and many women (polygamy is also mentioned in the Bible). Up until 1967, when the Supreme Court struck them down, many states had laws preventing interracial marriage.

There are also Biblical arguments that fundamentalists make, but, as I pointed out earlier, those are not appropriate in the realm of government. If a church is opposed to gay marriage, it is free to not marry gay people.

Regarding the notion that gay marriage infringes upon straight people civil liberties:

The author's premise in his piece is that, because of the conditions he cited (and refuted above) that allowing gay marriage would in some way limit his freedom. Even in the event that all of his assertions are true, he has, in no way, demonstrated how gay marriage personally harms him. His claim is that harm is done to him because marriage would be cheapened. However, could not the same line of reasoning lead one to conclude that his Free Speech liberties are cheapened when someone protests for a cause which he opposes?

What are civil liberties? Andrew Reeve defines civil liberties as, "Those freedoms which are, or should be, guaranteed to persons to protect an area of non-interference from others, particularly power holders and legal authorities. Civil liberties are especially invoked to limit the justifiable coercive power of the state: for example, freedom from arbitrary arrest, or detention, and habeas corpus; freedom of speech; freedom of lawful assembly; freedom of association and of movement; and the right not to incriminate oneself. Some civil liberties are seen as implications of respect for the rule of law; for example, the right to a fair trial. The importance of civil liberties has been reflected in attempts to provide constitutional guarantees for them."

With that definition in mind, how, exactly, do two people getting married, neither of whom is Astrochronic, in any way, impact his civil liberties? No where in that definition, or in any other from any reputable source, will he find support for the assertion that his liberty is impacted because he just doesn't feel as good about it as he did before. The assertion is groundless and absurd.


I hope that these points have shed some light, and some facts, on the assertions made by Astrochronic. The fight for gay marriage is far from over, but it is a fight I am confidant will be won by those who seek to expand liberty in America, rather than contract it. Please feel free to post any comments, for or against my arguments.

The Immigration Debate

My blogs thus far have been my opinions on various subjects. This one is different. On this issue I am completely torn. So, if you have strong feelings on this issue, or a unique perspective, please comments and let's have a discussion.

To preface this blog, I am linking up three videos. The videos are Penn & Teller's take on the whole debate from their show Bullshit. Agree with them or not, they definitely are food for thought. So, please, watch the videos, read my comments, and then lets discuss it. I will warn you, however, the language is a little on the rough side, so don't watch these at work or around the kids.

As usual, this blog is being posted on both my Blogger site and my MySpace site. If you have a myspace account, please comment on the myspace site, otherwise, please comment here.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

There is really three parts to this debate. We have the border question, the immigration question itself, and the question of what to do with the illegals who are already here. So, lets deal with each of these separately.

The Border

Until recently, I was an advocate of fencing off the southern border. What changed my mind? Watching people get over, under and through the fence in less than five minutes. The government, right now, is preparing to spend 60 Billion dollars to cover only 1/3rd of the border with a fence that can be bypassed in five minutes. Does this seem to anyone else to be a absurd waste of money? Additionally, if Penn & Tellar's statistics are correct - which I would bet they are - only half the illegals jump the border anyway - the rest just overstay legal visas.

So my questions are: Why is this a good idea? Can we truly secure the border? Even if we secure the southern one, what about the northern one? If we do secure the southern border, whats to stop immigrants from hopping a boat in Mexico and sailing up the coast a bit and coming ashore in some random spot? Can we really hope to keep out people who really want to get here?


We are a nation of immigrants. If you get right down to it, no one, not even the Native Americans, are actually native. Whether you believe in creation or evolution, I think everyone can agree that the origin of mankind was not North America. America is an amazingly diverse society, made up of every culture, tradition, religion and belief in the modern world. Every group that has come here so far has added, in positive ways, to our society.

It has been argued that letting in too many immigrants will take the jobs of Americans, and yet, with an estimated 12 million illegals in the county, unemployment is under 5% and pretty much has been that way every non-recession year that I can remember. It is also clear that one of the major things driving immigration from Central and South America is not so much a fleeing of tyranny, but, rather, trying to find work. The illegals would not be coming here in the numbers that they do if there was not a demand for their services.

With that in mind, how do our immigration laws play into this? Can we lessen the amount of illegal immigration by making it easier for people to come here to work? If so one wants to come here to work, and they don't have a serious criminal record, why not let them in? Could easing immigration laws to make it easier to get here legally reduce the number of harmless people coming across the border, thereby making it easier for the Border Patrol to round up the not-so-harmless ones?

Illegal Immigrants already in the U.S.

We have something like 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Many of them have been here for years. Several of them have children who are U.S. Citizens. Realistically, we can't round up and deport them all in any reasonable amount of time. Even if we could, the economic repercussions could be severe, especially in the agriculture and construction industries.

One of the arguments against deportation has been that the price if food would go up as farmers costs increased due to having to pay more for labor. The counter to this argument was that, what we were saving in food, the government was paying out in services to people who were paying no taxes, and that we would save that money, out taxes would go down, and we wouldn't notice. Should we deport all these people, does anyone really believe that the savings in social programs would result in a tax decrease? Anyone?

Many people oppose "amnesty" for the illegals already here. So far, the programs proposed are not amnesty, but, rather, are stiff fines and requirements that illegals return to their native countries, pay the fines, and then apply for legal admission - which is not guaranteed. I understand, in principle, that we must respect the rule of law, but, at the same time, we have, as a society, made exceptions when it seemed to be in the best interests of those involved (i.e. amnesty for Vietnam era draft dodgers)

So, what is the best way to deal with this problem? Can we deport 12 million people? Should we deport 12 million people? What about immigrants whose children were born here and are American Citizens, being we can't deport the kids with the parents? Why would an illegal return home and apply for admission when their ability to return is not guaranteed? What is the point of asking them to return home in the first place? Can we not find a way to legalize those who are productive members of our society with out being overly punitive?


Like I said at the start, I am not sure what I think on all this. I am not even sure why it is the huge issue that it is. A lot of people cite crime committed by illegals, but, legal immigrants and citizens commit a whole lot of crime too, so I am not so sure this argument holds much water. If anything, legalizing the good immigrants would free up resources to focus in on the bad ones. Also, though I hate to say it, some of this debate is driven by good old fashioned bigotry, just like when we had laws against Chineese immigrants or Japaneese immigrants, or immigrants from various European countries that no one liked at the time. So, anyway, convince me. What should we do with this mess?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Not so fast...

Kevin McCullough had an interesting piece posted today, 8/19/07, on entitled "Radical Gay Activist: 'We Lose'" The premise of Mr. McCollough's piece was that, since bisexuals are, well, bisexual, and therefore are attracted to both genders, that being gay is therefore a choice. Based on this lapse of logic, he then goes on to claim that, being he has exposed, if you will, that gays choose to be gay, that he has therefore won the entire gay rights debate, and demonstrated that being gay relationships are on par with adultery, incest and pedophilia.

Why does this matter? Simple. Fundamentalist Christians see, literally, everything in black and white. You are either right or wrong, righteous or evil, straight or pervert, normal or flawed. It is this black and white thinking that makes it difficult for them to grasp the concept of diverse human sexuality (similar to how the church was unable to grasp the concept of a round earth a few hundred years ago). If sexuality is something you choose, they reason, then you are simply a freak for choosing something other than being straight, and, therefore, they are morally justified in their persecution. If it is a psychological disorder - an idea that is rejected by all reputable psychologists, psychiatrists and the APA - then they are still justified, in their minds, to persecute because gays can choose to get cured. If, however, sexuality isn't a choice or a disorder - if it is an individual trait like hair color, eye color, or height - then they will have a harder time convincing the flock to oppose rights for sexual minorities.

At the same time they are declaring homosexuality to be a choice, the fundamentalists are running "camps" and "counseling" programs to "cure" people of homosexuality. Despite the fundamental rejection, and warnings of potential damage, of this type of "therapy" by the field of psychology, fundamentalists persist in their modern day inquisition. While fundamentalists tout success, the recidivism rate, even among their leadership, shows this to be a sham.

The notion of being gay being a choice would be laughable if it were not so tragic. No other minority group in this nation faces the prospect of losing friends and being rejected by family for being who they are. Gays are the only minority group in America it is fashionable to hate. Gays can be fired from their job and evicted from their homes just for being gay. Gay teens are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than straight teens. Yeah, its an attractive proposition, isn't it?

Of course, the only person who truly knows what goes on in a person's mind is that person. Ask any gay person if they chose to be gay, and the answer will be no. Gay people are just gay, we didn't choose to be gay any more than fundamentalists choose to be straight. However, fundamentalists seem to reason that, since gays are perverts, they must be liars as well. Since they compare gays to pedophiles and persons who commit bestiality and incest, I guess liar is more of a compliment. Despite the protests of the fundamentalists, gay people are who we are, and we have the right to be who we are. We should not have to hide to satisfy a group who hates in the name of God.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Mean-spirtedness at its finest

Once again I have been perusing the "news" articles over at the mouthpiece of the American Family Association, Situated between the pieces about Desperate Housewives being an evil, evil show, and Redbook being the devil's handiwork, were a couple of articles that show that when Christ was telling people to "love thy neighbor", the fundamentalists are pretty sure He was NOT talking to them.

These articles are covering, or, rather, seem to be cheering on legal actions and protests against the City of Seattle and two universities in Kentucky for committing the unpardonable sin of giving health insurance to the partners of gay employees. Thats right - they are giving the gays insurance! Give them insurance and they might see a doctor, which might make them live longer! OH THE HUMANITY!

Really, you have to be hard pressed to find any any group in this country more mean spirited than fundamentalist Christians. One of the things ONN does on its site is allow "the flock" to comment on each article. Some of the comments would be absolutely hilarious if it wasn't for the sad realization that these people not only vote, but likely indoctrinate their children with this crap too. I should mention that the names may or may not be real depending on whether the poster actually used their name. Also, ONN screens each comment before it is posted on the site, and, the one I posted pointing out their hypocracy on another issue, didn't quite make the cut - but lets see which ones did:

A particularly enlightened chap named "Bill" commented, while claiming that allowing gay partners would bankrupt the health insurance companies, states, "Add into the mix the homosexuals with their killer disease and lifetime (short as it may be) hugely expensive medical care, and this will only encourage them to continue engaging in self-destructive activity. At society's expense." Bill (assuming it's the same Bill) comments on the other article, "That two perverts remain together for a lifetime on rare occasion does NOT validate the activity. They are an insignificant, morally corrupt, mentally defective tiny minority in the country...yet you'd think they were the majority." Tell us how you really feel there Bill... I'm sure he would have written more, but he had to go buy more WWJD apparel...

Another enlightened fellow named "Terry" writes, "We need to re-establish Jesus Christ in our system of government again, and also in our educational system. We need to go by his laws and not contrive our own. We are under God's judgement. Homosexuals will die and be slaughtered, just like blacks and hispanics. We need to establish the traditional family values that can only come about through establishing Jesus Christ as the head of our government, community, churchs, and society." The Love of Christ is strong with that one, I see. (BTW, the emphasis is mine, the spelling errors are his)..

"Craig" had this little gem to share, "The Constitution doesn't provide equal protection for lifestyles such as pedophilia, incest, stealing, murder and polygamy. Why should a lifestyle like gay marriage be protected or supported?" I had to clean up Craig's typing a bit, reading it made my head hurt. Since when is murder a lifestyle? Is gay marriage a lifestyle in and of itself? If I stay single, will I still be slaughtered like the blacks and hispanics? Perhaps I should go in the other direction and "sin boldly" by getting in a polygamous gay marriage and becoming a shoplifter... Hmmm...

Now, not everyone who commented was, to borrow a phrase from The West Wing, a card carrying member of the "Ignorant Tight-Ass Club." In fact, there were a few people who do get it. One of them, Sherrie Robertson, made an especially noteworthy post where she said, "God bless this Mayor for doing The Lord's Work in this regard. The cruelty and hatred inherent in the religious right position is apparent---only hatemongers would seek to deny someone healthcare because of who they love. Shame on those who do." Sherrie, thank you for injecting some reason into this mad house.

If you want to read the articles in question, they can be found here and here.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." - Matthew 22:37-40

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Attention Fundamentalists: America is NOT a theocracy!

In reference to:this article

Often times I peruse the American Family Association's "news" site to keep an eye on what that group is spouting on any particular day (and, well, some of the stuff they obsess over is hilarious). Today, they have a "news story" about how a Congressman from Idaho just doesn't think the Founding Fathers would have approved of a Hindu cleric giving a non-sectarian prayer before the Senate, and certainly would not approve of the voters electing a Muslim to Congress.

"We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes -- and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers," claims Rep. Bill Sali (R-Idaho). Oh really Congressman? I wonder what the Founders said about this when they wrote the Constitution? Well, lets look, shall we?

Article One, Section Two of the Constitution states, "No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen." Wait a sec. Those damn Founders left out the part that was supposed to read, "Also, no one can be elected if Bill Sali doesn't like what they think." Damn, that really sucks for Congressman Sali, as its gonna be hard for him to get that amendment though.

It is truly scary when people get elected who don't have the slightest clue about the Constitution or the details of its creation. If Rep. Sali would be so kind as to take a minute out of his crusade to make American into the world's next fundamentalist theocracy he might find that America wasn't founded by not only Christians, but Deists, Agnostics and Atheists. Had he done his research, Mr. Sali would have, most definitely, come across the following little tidbits:

"I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies." - Ben Franklin

"The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion." - President John Adams in the Treaty of Tripoli

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law." - President Thomas Jefferson

"What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of liberty of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries." - President James Madison

Well, damn, I'm sorry, Bill, but it appears that you just might be an idiot. Maybe that's why the First Amendment separates religion and government. Next time brush up on history before spewing your bigotry. Of course, I'm sure you won't so long as the "fact-checkers" at One News Now are doing such a stellar job...