Just A Link
1 week ago
If you believe that what drug abusers need is to go into an effective detox program, then we should likewise put active homosexuals through an effective reparative therapy program. Secondly, I'm afraid you're simply wrong about the Bible's perspective on the law and homosexuality. Paul lists quite explicitly in 1 Timothy 1:8-11 the actions and behaviors that are the proper concern of the law:The Bible says!
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality*, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine...The bottom line here is that, biblically, those "who practice homosexuality" should come under the purview of the law just as much as those who take people captive in order to sell them into slavery. You express a belief in the Scriptures, and I trust your confidence in Scripture is not selective. If you believe all Scripture is inspired, then you are compelled to accept that legal sanctions may appropriately be applied to those who engage in homosexual behavior.
Remember folks, the Christianist right is not about hatred and bigotry. It's about the gentle redemptive love of Jesus, forced upon you at the barrel of a gun in prison as they beat the gay out of you.
Currently, in the country of Uganda, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by a life sentence in prison. It is considered under their penal code to be "carnal knowledge against the order of nature." However, a new piece of legislation has been proposed that would increase the punishment from a life sentence to a death sentence. It would also make it criminal to discuss homosexuality in public, and even make it illegal to rent property to someone who is openly homosexual.Huh. Well you see boys, there's always hope. Even some Republicans can indeed have a spark of human kindness, of human decency within them.
Regardless of one's view about the morality of sexual orientation, I will never support a measure that would impose a nation-wide death sentence for one's sexuality. Further, I believe that is a direct violation of human rights, and the United States is one of several nations who have called on the Ugandan government to disregard the proposed bill all together. As we continue to monitor this issue, rest assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind.
it is the collapse of any desire for the common good, the evaporation of civic virtue that is our problem. No leader can save us from that. Only we can.Athenian democracy flared up for a moment in history like a glorious flame, but was snuffed out by foolish internecine warfare and the lust for empire, despite the pleas and advice of good rulers and wise men. The Roman republic expired in civil conflict and was succeeded by a long line of absolute rulers who kept the forms but not the spirit of a republic, and reduced the free citizenry to servile spectators; as Gibbon famously wrote of the Roman people in the prosperous age of the Antonine emperors, outwardly the empire was flourishing, but in their hearts it had withered away.
Rain and snow this morning transitioning to snow showers for the afternoon. Cold. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph. Snow accumulating 1 to 3 inches. Chance of precipitation: 100%.Damn. And I have to go to work in this mess. Sure wish I could come home to find some young, hairy stud stirring up a mess of Southern Pot Roast.
We abide by the notion that all are created equal, no matter who you are or what you look like. If you abide by the law, you should be protected by it. If you adhere to our common values, you should be treated no different than anyone else.
My foreboding sense is that America may have already passed the point of no return in terms of civil, constitutional governance. I do not believe that in the Bush administration, the United States was effectively governed by its Constitution. The forms were still there, but the reality wasn't. Beneath it all, the desire for despotism ran, fueled by the despot's greatest ally, fear. Fear of foreigners, fear of terrorists, fear of gays, fear of immigrants, fear of the inevitable uncertainties of real reform.Sullivan also responds to this inane remark:
It was entrenched by the military's own embrace of the role of imperial adventure, by the CIA's embrace of torture, by the president's assertion of total, extra-legal power in a never-ending war that now encompassed the US as well as abroad and citizens alongside non-citizens, and by a resurgent, right-wing partisan media that saw its job as fomenting propaganda rather than seeking any kind of truth, and liberal mainstream media so afraid of its own shadow and so intimidated by accusations of elitism that it became the equivalent of Harry Reid. . . .
So this fever feels to me like either the kind that precedes the final death of this republic into a carnival of FNC-directed war and debt and drama led by charismatic media-emperors or empresses - or the fever that finally ends the sickness, and restores some sense of civic responsibility and republican virtue. Last night, I saw one of the few men left able to see the depth of the crisis and not lose faith in this country's ability to overcome it. My faith in this country - so strong in the past - is not as strong as Obama's now.
But I sure as hell believe in fighting for it, and for him, against the forces at home and abroad that would truly end this experiment in self-government while pretending, of course, that everything is exactly the same. I believe our crisis is deeper than many now believe - because it is not just a crisis of economics, of debt, of over-reach, of an empire now running on its own steam and unstoppable by any political force, but because it is a crisis of civic virtue, a collapse of the good faith and serious, reasoned attention to problems that marks the distinction between a republic and a bread-and-circuses Ailes-Rove imperium.
Those, in my view, are the stakes. Are you ready to get back into the arena and fight? And if you don't, who will?
"Umm, what was that Abu Ghraib scandal all about? It started out as misconduct between men and women and then it steadily deteriorated into abuse of prisoners. The common denominator is lack of discipline. Once you break down discipline, good order and discipline and morale, everything that’s required for unit cohesion, you undermine the culture and the strength of the armed forces," - Elaine Donnelly, in an "argument" against gays in the military.
At this point, you realize that they really do live in an alternate reality, immune to evidence, hostile to reason. The Abu Ghraib scandal was about the torture and abuse techniques authorized by Bush and Cheney and supported by the vast majority of Republicans actually being photographed and documented. It was an example of what happens when a president unleashes torture in wartime as a legitimate tool. That it could be used to argue against allowing many servicemembers to serve their country without being persecuted for it is simply gob-smacking.
Minter, a transman and fellow Texan - from Sulphur Springs - was the lead attorney in the Marriage Cases ruling in 2008, in which the California Supreme Court held that same-sex couples were entitled to marriage as a fundamental right.
Stacked up against this mountain of facts, scholarship, and science, the Prop 8 proponents - though represented by fine attorneys - were not able to come forward with a case of their own. Before trial, they dropped nearly every witness they had planned to present and relied entirely on two poorly qualified, ill-prepared expert witnesses, neither of whom was able to establish that banning same-sex couples from getting married has any rational or legitimate purpose relating to procreation, child rearing, tradition, or any of the other justifications that have been offered in the past in support of anti-gay discrimination. In fact, nearly all of the defendants' experts agreed with the plaintiffs that marriage equality would benefit same-sex couples and their families in many real, tangible ways.
It should not have come as a surprise that the defense's case turned out to be so weak. As our executive director Kate Kendell is fond of saying, the arguments against marriage equality have always been "all hat and no cattle." This trial showed more powerfully than ever that there truly is no substance to the arguments of those who would deny equality to our families. It has been extremely gratifying to see those arguments aired out in public, before a smart, independent-minded judge, in a way that's never been done before.
Our case for Proposition 8 has been deeply harmed. The public record has been impoverished and the information available to reviewing courts permanently reduced all because some witnesses feared retaliation as a result of the publicity.Imagine that. The swarming homos are bringing Western Civilization, and probably all human life on the planet, to a crashing end, and still they lack the courage of their convictions? Observes Joe, with a snicker:
She is pre-arranging her victim status for her post-decision speaking tour. Delicious.
To Democrats, I would remind you that we have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve some problems, not run for the hills. And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that sixty votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town, then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.All I could think was, my God: an adult in the house. Finally. A responsible parent. Or at least, a fair but firm schoolmaster.
I speak only for males here but Shaw was certainly right in saying that 99 percent of men masturbate and 1 percent are liars. . . .Image from Wikimedia Commons: 1903 patent drawing of a male chastity device that used spikes, alarm bells, and electric shocks to prevent masturbation and nocturnal emissions.
Nature is an elastic concept. The Church's grasp of it remains umbilically linked to the biology of the thirteenth century. And its allegedly celibate clerisy is the only group allowed to examine it. Hence what most adult, intelligent human beings regard as the hilarity of the hierarchy's claptrap. And hence too the impossibility of actually changing it.
So we continue to live in the late Soviet period of Catholicism. They pretend to make sense; we pretend to believe them.
An estimated 66,000 lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals are serving in the US military, accounting for approximately 2.2% of military personnel.Your tax dollars at work.
Lifting DADT restrictions could attract an estimated 36,700 men and women to active duty service along with 12,000 more individuals to the guard and reserve.
Since its inception in 1994, the “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy has cost the military between $290 million and more than a half a billion dollars.
I covered this movement [the religious right] for six years, and in covering it I met just dozens and dozens of followers, leaders and activists who told me that they had had some terrible thing happen to them in the past that they blamed themselves for. Junk — you know, alcoholism, some family crisis, sexual abuse, sex addiction, pornography addiction, drug addiction — you name it. And they confessed this to me unprompted, without me even asking about it. And I wanted to understand what it was that connected all these people together — why there seemed to be a common thread throughout the movement.
I came across Erich Fromm’s book, Escape From Freedom — which he wrote in 1941 as a warning to Americans after fleeing from Nazi Germany and watching the rise of an authoritarian movement in a democratic society. And what he said was the peril stems from people who can’t handle the pressures of freedom, who can’t handle the anxiety and pressure of exercising their free will in an open society. Often they will succumb to that pressure. They will become self-destructive, and they will seek what he calls the neurotic solutions, which is flocking to an authoritarian structure or an authoritarian leader to basically control them and help them reorder their lives.
And that’s what so many people on the Christian right told me. And if they did what they wanted to do, they would basically go crazy and do anything up to man-on-dog sex. But when they did what God wanted them to do — you know, God as translated to them through James Dobson — they could put their lives back together. Fromm helped me articulate what I was seeing on the Christian right, which was a culture of personal crisis that animates the politics of resentment.
BuzzFlash: How does an individual, personal crisis animate the politics of resentment? What’s the tie between the two?
Max Blumenthal: When you believe that when you do what you want to do, you can’t moderate your own behavior, and you’re destroying your life — you’re self-destructive — for whatever reason, you seek to dissolve the self, what you think is the source of your problems.
For example, if you’re ashamed of the fact that you’re gay, and you live in a community where homosexuality is looked down upon, you blame yourself. And you seek to dissolve the self in a glorious holy cause that’s bigger than you. And in giving away the self, you give yourself over to a strong authoritarian leader like James Dobson.
The story of Christ as depicted in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ — and it’s depicted in every Mel Gibson movie; Mel Gibson is the top propagandist — is really the same. Iconically, at the end of each movie, the protagonist has his body torn apart while he’s screaming “freedom.” He’s transcending his own body, this vessel of shame and sin, and moving on to a higher plane, and becoming part of this glorious cause, becoming a symbol of it.
That’s the goal of so many of the men of the Christian right. It’s why Mark Sanford, for example, when he confessed his affair with his Latina lover in a nationally televised press conference, said the reason why he followed God’s law is to restrain himself from the self. It’s like John Ensign, the only Pentecostal senator in the Senate, a far right-wing legislator from Nevada — well, what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. His affair was revealed with a staffer he’d been paying hush money to. He wrote her a letter and he said, “The reason why I did this with you is I walked away from God.” In other words, “I did what I wanted to do.”
Sarah Palin, in her autobiography, Going Rogue, says you have to give your life over to God and let God take over. In other words, give away yourself and let God take over control over your own life. This is a movement populated by people who believe that they have to give away their own individual will.
They give away the self to a higher leader, which is the essential mentality of an authoritarian follower. And the reason why they think that way, the reason why they want to give the self away, is they loathe what their individual will has made them do, and they feel that it will lead them to do, which is a sin. . . .
It’s only about 12 to 20 percent of the American voting public. But they must see themselves as [persecuted] early Christians in order to exercise their influence in a way that’s disproportionate to their numbers in order to energize the base, to energize the activists, to get them to be fervent politically: constantly running for school board elections, running for dog catcher, hammering in yard signs, leafleting church parking lots on Election Day. They have to believe that their very survival is at stake. . . .
But the movement that has control of the Republican Party . . . . All they care about is ideological purity. Everyone who’s representing them in Congress thinks just like they do and is not representing on the parochial concerns of their district, but the dominionist agenda of the Christian right and the radical right.
So I would call the GOP the ZOP — instead of the Grand Old Party, it’s the Zombie Occupied Party. It has no ideas. It has no capacity for maneuvering on constituent concerns. It’s just like a zombie that’s lurching towards Obama and towards all the moderate Republicans and yelling, “Brains!” And eventually, it’ll eat itself alive.
However, and at the end of George Romerez’ Land of the Dead, the zombies figure out how to use guns. So if Barack Obama, the White House and the Democratic Congress don’t have an agenda of their own, the Zombie Occupied Party could do some serious damage. And they already have.
The plaintiffs presented academic witnesses who said allowing gays and lesbians to marry would benefit the couples and their children and improve the status of marriage without affecting opposite-sex couples.Now look at that last statement: it sure paints a pretty picture, doesn't it? An Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It to Beaver, It's a Wonderful Life kind of world. In fact, the kind of world, and family, that most of us probably wish we'd had when we were growing up.
The ballot measure's defenders said it merely reaffirmed traditional marriage, but their chief witness for Prop. 8's benefits was [historian David] Blankenhorn, who has spent two decades arguing against same-sex marriage. His 1995 book, "Fatherless America," contended that attacks on the traditional family had weakened the bonds between fathers and children.
Scholars overwhelmingly agree, he testified Tuesday, that marriage is "a socially approved sexual relationship between a man and a woman" and that the "optimal environment" for children is with their married, biological parents.
whipped himself with a belt, even on vacation, and slept on the floor as acts of penitence and to bring him closer to Christian perfection, according to a new book by the Polish prelate spearheading his sainthood case...Sullivan, a devout Catholic, approves, saying
"It's an instrument of Christian perfection," Oder said, responding to questions about how such a practice could be condoned considering Catholic teaching holds that the human body is a gift from God.
"As some members of his close entourage in Poland and in the Vatican were able to hear with their own ears, John Paul flagellated himself. In his armoire, amid all the vestments and hanging on a hanger, was a belt which he used as a whip and which he always brought to Castel Gandolfo," the papal retreat where John Paul vacationed each summer.
I have every respect for the practice of self-mortification and self-denial. . . . I see the last Pope's embrace of these things as affecting signs of his deep and genuine closeness to God.Yet despite his loyal support for self-flagellation - a practice which Jesus never indulged in, and never, ever recommended - that brilliant mind also has the independence to ask the pertinent question here:
So why is self-abuse inherently wrong when it is done by hand and yet saintly when it is done by whip?Masturbation, of course, is also an "intrinsically and gravely disordered action," the Church says.
I would liken a lot of the things Camp Courage has taught to a lot of the values that the Army tries to inculcate, and I think Camp Courage does that brilliantly. It really just says, “You have to stand up for who you are,” and, “Your fears and your human tendency to hide and to be comfortable are the things that make our movement and our society absolutely weak.”
A lot of people have a sense of worthlessness, particularly within the LGBT community just because of the way society has set up judgment against us. Camp Courage really turned that on its head, and says that the sense of worthlessness and that hiding is what makes you worthless. When we break through that, even with all the consequences — particularly with me, the consequence of getting kicked out of the military — some of us feel like we’ve been stripped of our dignity. But us just standing and sharing that story, that is our dignity in itself. And so that’s really the message that I’ve tried to portray to a lot of people as much as possible — there is so much strength in that very simple value of honesty and integrity. I’ve realized that parts of my identity help me to spread that message in different ways, and they build a platform, in a way, so that I can communicate to a wide array of people. But the basics of it all, the foundation, is the fact that when you stand up, you confer that dignity upon yourself. . . .
We can have all this legislation and we can have all these successes in the courtroom or in Congress or even in the executive branch or the bureaucratic level, and those are measureable. But the true measure for me, when I think about my work and this activism, is are we capable as individual gay people in the world to live honestly, and how have we progressed in the ability for people to come to terms with themselves. So when you look at that very noble end state, then every single thing we do, even if we seem disunited, is working toward that.
If you think just in terms of if the activism is going to the end of having legislation, then, sure, you can think of it in terms of lobbying. You can look at the other lobbies and see other constructs and the constraints of our particular political system. But my goal from the very beginning is to tell every soldier—and of course that’s applicable to every Southern Baptist, or every Asian-American, or every gay person in America and the world — that you are honorable. When we can make that message very clear to all these people, I think, in the end, that is much more important for us as a community, to have that dignity. Are we there yet? I think we’ve come a long way in that goal.
Trial Proceedings near Dramatic Close
Last week, the Supreme Court erased decades of precedent by ruling that corporations have the same rights as people when it comes to speech. Let’s hope that the court will as readily see that LGBT people have at least the same rights as corporations and surely the same rights as other people.
It's hard to explain how the gay man's psyche survives childhood and adolescence and early adulthood even in a completely tolerant society. To feel unworthy in the depths of one's being is a wound that takes decades to heal and courage to face. Many young gay people feel it; more to the point, in my view, many young gay people will always feel it - because being different in such a profound way from one's peers as one grows up is inevitably isolating. To live in a world where all the institutions are designed for the other, and to navigate a path through that, is really tough. So, yes, happiness can be elusive or too easily bought.
But this is life. It is tougher for many gays than straights, but not always. And this is the human reality: men die and they are not happy, to go all Camus on you. We have to suck it up and deal with it, and realize how insanely lucky we are to be born as homosexuals in one of the very few periods in time when we haven't been targeted for murder or jail or unmitigated obloquy.
I don't think I would have gotten through intact without God, my friends, my family and my husband. The first matters. The double bind for gay kids is that the refuge I believe they need - a loving God to heal and protect them - is actively hostile in many faith communities. And so the internal isolation deepens, even as the search for faith is often the most tenacious among those the churches deem unworthy of it. The temptation to drink or do drugs as an alternative is very strong - and, frankly, not entirely unhealthy in moderation as a way to find moments of transcendence or escape or perspective.
But in the end, the only solution is love. I believe that all love comes from God, but whether you do or not, love is still tangible in the human and natural world. Alas, we gay men have taught ourselves so powerfully how we are unworthy of such love, and afraid of it, that we seek it in all the wrong places or grab simulacra of it we then use to punish ourselves.
It was staggeringly demoralizing for the Democrats.
In one swoop, the implications sank in. As long as the Republicans refuse to accept or compromise on anything, as long as they insist on filibustering every single piece of legislation Obama favors in the Senate, then nothing can be done. That's how the system works. It doesn't matter that the House passed health reform (and cap and trade) by a big margin months ago. What matters is that just one or two senators can hold up the entire process indefinitely. This is, of course, an insane way to govern a country. But it's right there in the Constitution. Because every state gets two senators, and the empty rural states tend to be Republican, you end up with the fact - illustrated by writer James Fallows - that the Senators favoring health reform represent 63 percent of Americans, while those voting against represent 37 percent. But the 37 percent wins. Hence the great spoof headline of last week: Republicans win 41 - 59 majority in Senate. . . .
I feel for the guy. His bill was attacked by the left as a sell-out to insurance companies; it was attacked by the foam-flecked right as communism - the end of America as they have known it. The bill remains more moderate than those once proposed by Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Obama has also taken all the blame for the recession and the debt, as if Bush never existed. And he has helped turn the economy around in ways not yet felt on main street.
But this is the big time and politics is a contact sport. How Obama responds to this will tell us a huge amount about him. He cannot and should not reinvent himself as a Democratic partisan. He isn't. He cannot fake populism. He's too responsible for that. He cannot ram a bill through by hook or by crook if he is to respect the genuine anxiety about the reform. So he has to be calm, patient, reasonable and somehow harness Democratic anger as well. He is still well-liked and his approval ratings have recently been gliding up. He could easily prosper personally, as Clinton did, by presiding over a Congress dominated by the opposition. But he does not want to be a Clinton; and the times require much more.
If he fails now, the reformist center of American politics, fragile at best, may be gone for a long time. And so his crucible awaits. The promise of his candidacy - that there must be a way to unite Americans in dealing with their longstanding problems - hangs in the balance. I do not know - because no one can - how he will grapple with this. But one recalls that politics, in the country as well as Massachusetts, is always pregnant with the possibility of surprise. And the audacity - for it is truly audacious now - of hope.
So here's the good news: We've gotten pretty far down the road. But I've got to admit, we had a little bit of a buzz saw this week.Well, I'm glad to hear you testify, Mr. Fierce Advocate. I hope you mean it this time.
Now, I also know that part of the reason is, is that this process was so long and so drawn out -- this is just what happens in Congress. I mean, it's just an ugly process. You're running headlong into special interests, and armies of lobbyists, and partisan politics that's aimed at exploiting fears instead of getting things done. And then you've got ads that are scaring the bejesus out of everybody. (Laughter.) And the longer it takes, the uglier it looks. . . .
And I'm not going to walk away just because it's hard. We are going to keep on working to get this done -- with Democrats, I hope with Republicans -- anybody who's willing to step up. Because I'm not going to watch more people get crushed by costs or denied care they need by insurance company bureaucrats. I'm not going to have insurance companies click their heels and watch their stocks skyrocket because once again there's no control on what they do.
So long as I have some breath in me, so long as I have the privilege of serving as your President, I will not stop fighting for you.
"Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself," - Thomas Merton, "Letter To A Young Activist"Hmm. Well okay, Big Man. You da boss.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.