Saturday, December 15, 2007

Shooter Murray tried Mormonism last year

As if Mitt Romney wasn't having enough trouble wooing the Christian Right base of the GOP, now this: Matthew Murray was baptised as a Mormon last year. Watch some of the wingnuts twist this all around. Have fun Mitt! Here are highlights from the Denver Post (

Matthew Murray, the Englewood man who shot and killed four people and wounded three others at churches in Colorado Springs and Arvada last week, was baptized into the Mormon church a year ago, Salt Lake City TV station KSL News reported.
A.J. Ormond was there the day Murray was baptized, and he said he immediately noticed a change. Murray seemed happy, calm, at peace, Ormond told KSL-TV.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement confirming "Matthew Murray of Englewood, Colorado, was baptized about a year ago." Ormond describes Murray as polite and friendly, a young man who, despite his family's protests, was seriously contemplating devoting his life to the LDS Church. Murray's experience with the LDS Church culminated with his baptism. Soon after, he stopped going to church. A little more than a year later, Murray was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot to his head following a shootout with a security guard. Ormond told KSL-TV that he immediately recognized Murray's picture when it was splashed on TV. "It was obvious that it wasn't the person we had known that had committed those shootings and those murders."

More Saturday Male Beauty

Barack Obama's Youthful Drug Use

As has been widely reported, a now unemployed campaign adviser for Hillary Clinton floated a balloon concerning Barack Obama's admitted use of drugs in his late teen years. Yes, it is true that the GOP candidate whoever he may be will no doubt try to depict Obama - should he be the Democrat nominee - as what the typical GOP white voter views blacks as being like anyway: drug users, criminals, welfare cheats and low life types in general. The GOP base is not mostly lily white without good reason. Back when Doug Wilder ran for and was successfully elected Governor of Virginia, that under current was discernible. It will be even worse in 2008. Of course, Christian Right base that now controls the GOP not only dislikes gays, but Hispanics, Catholics (unless they are so far right that they want the Latin mass returned church wide), Jews (except for their role in bringing about Armageddon), and basically everyone who is not a white evangelical.
Obama will need to face up to this situation should he win the nomination and be prepared to address the issue head on. At the same time, many voters will be utterly turned off by this probable GOP tactic, not the least black voters. At the same time, Hillary needs to be prepared to face down ever imaginable skeleton that will be dredged up by the GOP from Bill Clinton's years in office should she be the Democrat nominee. Regardless of who is the nominee, expect the GOP to run a mean, nasty campaign with race baiting, gay bashing, anti-immigrant nativism, etc. That is standard operating procedure for the Christianists: wear your religion on your sleeve and then utterly ignore the principles of that claimed faith which would bar such dishonest and hate-filled statements and actions.
As for the leak from Hillary's campaign, I view it as just plain stupid. Thankfully, the campaign staffer was fired. Hopefully, others on Hilliary's campaign staff took notice. For many people - myself included - one of her big hurdles is convincing them that she is not a female "Slick Willie" and that she has some standards of fair play. This stunt did not help win them over. Here are highlights from a New York Times article that looks at this issue among others (
An adviser to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign suggested this week that Mr. Obama’s admission of drug use as a young man could weaken his candidacy should he win the general election. The Clinton campaign repudiated the remarks, Mrs. Clinton apologized and the adviser resigned, but she and her aides have kept the issue alive by referring to it publicly a number of times in what appeared to be an effort to drive up negative views of his character and raise doubts about his ability to weather a general election.

In an interview, Mr. Obama responded that voters would ultimately be turned off by such attacks on him, particularly about his admission more than a decade ago that he used marijuana and cocaine in his youth. “My past and my character seemed to be fine when I was 20 points down,” Mr. Obama said. “Those kinds of tactics or strategies, I think, are emblematic of an old politics. It’s the exactly the kind of politics that the American people are tired of.”
As he reaches out to those voters, Mr. Obama implores upon them a heavy sense of responsibility. At the same time, though, he seemed to unwittingly raise expectations for his own campaign here, particularly if he doesn’t win in Iowa and seeks to move on to the Feb. 5 contests for a second chance. “You in Iowa have this extraordinary privilege of choosing who the next president of the United States is going to be,” Mr. Obama told an audience at the Lakeside Ballroom in Guttenberg, a town that overlooks the Mississippi River. “Whoever wins this caucus is likely to win the nomination and is likely to win the presidency.”

Abstinence Programs Are Facing Rejection

This Washington Post article shows ( that people - and states, Virginia included - are waking up to the fact that the abstinence only sex education classes much loved by the Chimperator and the Christofascists of the far right (no doubt because some of their organizations have been able to suck at the government money trough under this ruse) do not work. Hello, what a surprise!! I think most teenagers (if not to mention higher grade elementary students) could have predicted this outcome.
Once again, the religious agenda of Bush and the members the lunatic far right - Victoria Cobb of The Family Foundation here in Virginia springs to mind - ignore reality and common sense to push their agenda of attempting to force their religious views on all. Why the Democrats in Congress do not act to CUT funding rather than increase it is dumbfounding. To me it is one more proof that the Democrats lack any back bone and will not challenge the Chimperator head on. Why they allow a president with some of the lowest approval ratings ever to bully them mystifies me. Stand up and fight, damn it! P. S. the photo above is dedicated to Ms. Cobb also pictured above, who I suspect is borderline frigid at best since she goes into near spasms at the mention of that dirty word, sex. Here are some story highlights:

The number of states refusing federal money for "abstinence-only" sex education programs jumped sharply in the past year as evidence mounted that the approach is ineffective. At least 14 states have either notified the federal government that they will no longer be requesting the funds or are not expected to apply, forgoing more than $15 million of the $50 million available, officials said. Virginia was the most recent state to opt out. Two other states -- Ohio and Washington -- have applied but stipulated they would use the money for comprehensive sex education, effectively making themselves ineligible, federal officials said. The number of states spurning the money has grown even as Congress considers boosting overall funding for abstinence-only education to $204 million, with most of it going directly to community organizations.

This wave of states rejecting the money is a bellwether," said William Smith of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, a Washington-based advocacy and education group that opposes abstinence-only programs. "It's a canary in the coal mine of what's to come." Smith and other critics said they hoped that if enough states drop out, Congress will redirect the funding to comprehensive sex education programs that include teaching about the use of condoms and other contraceptives. "I think this could be the straw that breaks the camel's back in terms of continued funding of these programs," said John Wagoner of Advocates for Youth, another Washington advocacy group. "How can they ignore so many states slapping a return-to-sender label on this funding?"

The jump in states opting out follows a series of reports questioning the effectiveness of the approach, including one commissioned by Congress that was released earlier this year. In addition, federal health officials reported last week that a 14-year drop in teenage pregnancy rates appeared to have reversed. "This abstinence-only program is just not getting the job done," said Cecile Richards of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "This is a ideologically based program that doesn't have any support in science." "The governor has often stated that abstinence-only education does not show any results," said Gordon Hickey, a spokesman for Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), who announced plans to give up the funding last month. "It doesn't work. He's a firm believer in more comprehensive sex education."

Saturday Male Beauty

Secular Europe’s Merits

This New York Times op-ed column ( takes a look at the difference between Europe where the people have learn from the past about the dangers of religion and politics merging and the USA where the Christianists are Hell bent on repeating the mistakes that caused division and warfare in Europe. It also looks at the incompetence of the Chimperator's regime where religion trumps facts and science. It likewise shows why the USA does NOT need the next president to be someone like Huckabee or Romney who seem incapable of separating religious belief from govenmental policy. Here are some highlights:
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland - The cathedral here, on which work began in the 12th century, was once the largest in Scotland, until a mob of reformers bent on eradicating lavish manifestations of “Popery” ransacked the place in 1559, leaving gulls to swoop through the surviving facade.
Europe’s cathedrals are indeed “so inspired, so grand, so empty,” as Mitt Romney, a Mormon, put it last week in charting his vision of a faith-based presidency. Some do not survive at all. The Continent has paid a heavy price in blood for religious fervor and decided some time ago, as a French king put it, that “Paris is well worth a Mass.”

Romney, a Republican presidential candidate, was dismissive of European societies “too busy or too ‘enlightened’ to venture inside and kneel in prayer.” He thereby pointed to what has become the principal transatlantic cultural divide.

Europeans still take the Enlightenment seriously enough not to put it inside quote marks. They have long found an inspiring reflection of it in the first 16 words of the American Bill of Rights of 1791: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Thomas Jefferson saw those words as “building a wall of separation between church and state.” So, much later, did John F. Kennedy, who in a speech predating Romney’s by 47 years, declared: “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.”

The absolute has proved porous. The U.S. culture wars have produced what David Campbell of Notre Dame University called: “the injection of religion into politics in a very overt way.” Much too overt for Europeans, whose alarm at George W. Bush’s presidency has been fed by his allusions to divine guidance — “the hand of a just and faithful God” in shaping events, or his trust in “the ways of Providence.”
Such beliefs seem to remove decision-making from the realm of the rational at the very moment when the West’s enemy acts in the name of fanatical theocracy. At worst, they produce references to a “crusade” against those jihadist enemies. God-given knowledge is scarcely amenable to oversight.
Religion informed America’s birth. But its distancing from politics was decisive to the republic’s success. Indeed, the devastating European experience of religious war influenced the founders’ thinking. That is why I find Romney’s speech and the society it reflects far more troubling than Europe’s vacant cathedrals.
Romney allows no place in the United States for atheists. He opines that, “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.” Yet secular Sweden is free while religious Iran is not. Buddhism, among other great Oriental religions, is forgotten.
The fires of the Reformation that reduced St. Andrews Cathedral to ruin are fires of faith that endure in different, but no less explosive, forms. Jefferson’s “wall of separation” must be restored if those who would destroy the West’s Enlightenment values are to be defeated.

My Daughter's Graduation - Tony Snow's Hypocrisy

My oldest daughter graduated with honors and received her Masters Degree in Education today from Old Dominion University here in Norfolk. I am very, very proud of her!! She is beautiful, smart, talented and a wonderful sweet person. By a strange set of circumstances (one of the counselors had to unexpectedly go out of maternity leave early) she will have a position as a long term substitute for a counselor at the high school where she has already been working as an assistant coach for the school's swim team. Obviously, she is happy is very happy. Previously, she thought she would not have a position until in the spring semester when a different staff member was set to go out on leave. Hopefully, it will all translate into a full time position for her next school year.
The ceremony was nice as graduation ceremonies go, except for the fact that Tony Snow, the former White House Press Secretary was the commencement speaker. Early in his career, he had written for both the Virginian Pilot and the Daily Press on the Peninsula (i.e., Hampton and Newport News). Some of his factual statements were flat out wrong - I guess that's what happens when you work for a bosses like the Chimperator and Emperor Cheney who cannot discern the truth from their delusions. One of Snow's themes dealt with love of one's country - i.e., the USA. Among other things he said trying to make it seem as if the last seven years under the Chimperator have been productive, Snow made statements such as (a) the divorce rate is the lowest it has been since the 1960's - obviously not a true statement, and (b) the teen pregnancy rate is the lowest in years - also not a true statement sine in 2006 the rate increased, no doubt due to abstinence only sex education.
Moreover, in the area of civil rights for all citizens - prompted no doubt by the honorary doctorate awarded to a 92 year old local black woman who worked for years for the registration of and voting rights for black Americans - he talked about the steady progress in providing equality to all Americans, conveniently leaving out the efforts of the Chimperator's and the GOP's efforts to make LGBT Americans permanent second class citizens. I was about to gag and vomit when he made those statements. Then just at that moment I received a text message from my younger daughter who was sitting in another section of the convocation hall with her mother that read as follows: f*** this speaker!! My thoughts exactly. Fortunately, my son had stayed home and not come to the graduation. He - being an extreme liberal politically - no doubt would have wanted to yell something out to Snow and perhaps have caused an incident.
Other than having to listen to Tony Snow's lies and misstatements of the truth, it was a pleasant time. After the ceremony, I had a pleasant talk with both daughters (and even with their mother who is civil toward me now that the divorce is over).

Friday, December 14, 2007

More Friday Male Beauty

700 Club Lied About Gay Conversion

I previously did a post on our local Christianist nutcase, Pat Robertson's, statement that that Interstate 35 is the “highway to holiness” referenced in the Old Testament. As the story went, 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. The segment also talked about one James Stabile, “a 19-year-old homosexual atheist from Dallas, who claimed “It was the weirdest thing ever. … I didn’t feel the desire to be with men like I had felt before,”refer to his being touched by Joe Oden, the Heartland evangelist who’s been helping to organize the "purity" sieges. As Paul Harvey says, now for the rest of the story. Note that false "ex-gay" Michael Johnston is at Pure Life Ministries (where he has been hiding out since he was exposed as a fraud in August 2003). Here are highlights from the Dallas Voice ( that provide the rest of the story:
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.
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.
James’ mother, Suzanne, said he told her the people at Pure Life constantly threatened that he was going to hell. 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. “None of that experience was Christian, helpful, loving or supportive,” Suzanne Stabile said.

Blackwater in Baghdad: "It was a horror movie"

L-R: The car of one of the victims; the injured arm of another of the victims; Ahmed Haythem and his mother, Mohasin, who were both killed in the shooting spree.
Salon ( has more details on the massacre in Baghdad of civilians by employees of Blackwater USA, the Christianist owned and led mercenary firm located in nearby Moyock, North Carolina. The details are ghastly and show the utter disregard for the lives of Iraqi civilians, viewed no doubt, as less than humans by the Blackwater mercenaries due to their Muslim faith (note the paltry amount offered to families of the victims by the U. S. State Department). It certainly appears that Erik Prince (allegedly devout Christian) lied when he testified before Congress. Is it little wonder why the USA is so hated by Muslims around the world? Here are some highlights:
For Khalaf, a 38-year-old Iraqi, Sept. 16 started like many other sunny summer workdays. He donned his police uniform -- a white shirt, navy trousers and hat -- and headed to Baghdad's busy Nissour Square. By 7 a.m. he was out in the street, directing the flow of traffic coming from the multi-laned Yarmouk access road into the square. When he spotted four large all-terrain vehicles with guns mounted on top, he did what he always did. He stopped traffic and cleared the area for what he knew, from the tell-tale sign of the two accompanying helicopters, to be a security firm's convoy.

At first, this seemed completely normal for the totally abnormal world of Baghdad in September 2007. "Convoys are common," explained Khalaf. But this convoy made an unexpected U-turn, drove the wrong way around the one-way square, stopped in the middle of it and started shooting. Fifteen minutes later, 17 Iraqi civilians were dead, dozens more wounded, and a white sedan that had been engulfed in flames contained two bodies charred beyond recognition. "It was a horror movie," said Khalaf, describing the aftermath of the now notorious Blackwater shootings.

I interviewed Khalaf on Nov. 30, in a small conference room inside a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey. In one of the most in-depth collection of testimonials to date regarding Blackwater, Khalaf was among five witnesses and victims flown from Baghdad to meet with Susan Burke, William O'Neil and their team of lawyers and investigators. The team is suing Blackwater on behalf of the victims of the Sept. 16 shooting. Sadly, this lawsuit may be the only way that the victims and their families receive remotely adequate compensation for their losses.

Khalaf recounted the events of that day to a hushed room of lawyers with laptops. He watched, he said, as the Blackwater convoy made the U-turn toward the street where he stood directing traffic. As the convoy stopped, Khalaf watched as a large man with a mustache standing atop the third car fired several shots in the air. Khalaf turned back toward the Yarmouk road to see what might have spurred the shooting and heard a woman yell, "My son! My son!" He ran three cars back to a white sedan to find a woman holding a young man slumped over and covered with blood. The man was Ahmed, a 20-year-old medical student at the top of his class, and the woman his mother, Mohasin, a successful dermatologist and mother of three. He described how he crouched by the car, his right arm reaching inside, his head out and left arm up in the air, signaling to the convoy, his gun secure in its holster. Then the mother was shot dead before his eyes.
The shooting then turned heavier, Khalaf said, his eyes red-brimmed and serious. He hid behind the police traffic booth, but shots came directly at him, hitting the adjacent traffic light and booth's door, and he fled back across Yarmouk road to safety behind a hill. Along with a few hundred others, he stayed there as the chaos unfolded, watching as the helicopters circling above the street started shooting at those below. Fifteen minutes later, the four-car convoy continued around the square and drove away. Amid the wreckage, colorful clouds billowed into the air from the convoy's parting gift -- multicolored smoke bombs.
In remarks prepared for delivery before a congressional hearing in October, Blackwater chairman Erik Prince claimed company guards "returned fire at threatening targets," including "men with AK-47s firing on the convoy" and "approaching vehicles that appeared to be suicide car bombers." Prince's prepared testimony also asserted that one of the vehicles had been disabled by the "enemy fire" and had to be towed.
But the accounts of Khalaf and others contradict each of Prince's assertions. Khalaf, who was there before the shooting began, said he never saw anyone fire on or approach the convoy. He watched as all four cars drove away as the 15-minute shooting spree ended, and huddled in fear as the helicopters began firing. He thought the helicopters would start spraying those who were hiding behind the hill for safety from the street-level threat. Khalaf's observations are backed up by official accounts, including leaked FBI findings.
Haythem, the composed, articulate and powerfully calm father and husband of Ahmed and Mohasin, who died in the white car, expected them to pick him up at the health center where he worked that afternoon. He waited and waited, and eventually went home without them. "I tried to be patient," he said. "I kept calling, but thought there must be some sort of cellphone interruption."
Finally, around 5 p.m., he phoned his brother who worked at the hospital closest to Nissour Square. His brother went to the emergency room, then to the morgue. He learned that all of the bodies there were identified -- except for two that were completely burned with body parts missing. His brother then headed to the square, where he called Haythem to tell him he had found a charred white car with a license plate number written in the sand. The numerals and letters matched the family's plate. Haythem identified his son from what was left of his shoes. His forehead and brains were missing and his skin completely burned. He identified his wife of 20 years by a dental bridge.

These are not isolated events. In October, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released its analysis of Blackwater's own internal reporting since 2005, which found 195 shooting incidents in the last two years, including 160 in which Blackwater employees fired the first shot. The Burke O'Neil lawsuit may be the only way that victims receive compensation for their loss. The State Department has offered family members $10,000 for those killed in the Sept. 16 shootings -- an amount most consider insultingly low and have refused. In less high-profile cases involving U.S. contractors, no one has offered anything.

Friday Male Beauty

For gays, keeping Huckabee out of the White House is a must.

This column in the Washington Blade ( pretty much sums up my views on Mike Huckabee and why he must not make it to the White House. Here are some highlights:
THIS COUNTRY, AND specifically the LGBT community, does not need an Ayatollah sitting in the White House. And that’s exactly what we would get if the current flavor-of-the-week, Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas should, in comeback fashion, meander his way through the primaries to win the GOP nomination and then upset the Democratic candidate in November of 2008.We have already experienced a devastating seven years with George W. Bush at the helm, who some have dubbed the “minister-in-chief. While the federal government is technically secular, this president has seen to it that administration policies and personnel meet with the approval of the Christian conservatives who, in no small way, helped to elect him twice and embraced him as one of their own.
“I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk,” Huckabee wrote.

Here is a man who admitted on national television during one of the earlier debates that he does not believe in evolution and, therefore, by extension, science. That has to be discouraging to those who have witnessed a president since 2001 who has placed little value in science.The next president will have the opportunity to appoint two, perhaps three justices to the Supreme Court. With a Huckabee presidency, you can expect such nominees to be anti-choice and anti-gay. For it would be those positions that will have helped to elect Mike Huckabee.

The Unbelieveable Level of Denial Among the Catholic Laity

I posted a comment on a prior post concerning the Catholic Church ( because - in my view - it typifies the mindset of the Catholic laity that in part has enabled the Catholic hierarchy to avoid punishing the host of bishops and cardinals that engaged in cover up of sexual abuse of minors by predator priests. I can think of no other organization where this systematic cover up by high level officials would not have lead to mass dismissals and/or demotions.

In the comment the poster makes the remark that "While some church leaders clearly protected predators and hindered the process of protecting children, their number is so few as to not even register." I am not sure by what definition she defines "so few." The Daillas Morning News had a special report on the cover up by U. S. Bishops and found as follows:
"Roughly two-thirds of top U.S. Catholic leaders have allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to keep working, a systematic practice that spans decades and continues today, a three-month Dallas Morning News review shows. The study - the first of its kind - looked at the records of the top leaders of the nation's 178 mainstream Roman Catholic dioceses, including acting administrators in cases where the top job is vacant.

Excluded from the study were auxiliary bishops who, in larger dioceses, serve in subordinate roles but still can vote on many matters before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the 17 bishops who lead eparchies, which are diocese-like entities that worship according to the Eastern rite."

The full story can be found here: Of course, this story only looks at the U. S. Bishops. When one looks at the picture world wide, the total number becomes very large. Moreover, some of the auxiliary bishops not counted have moved on to be bishops of dioceses and cardinals in a few cases with no accountability being exacted for their past malfeasance. I'm sorry, but Catholics in denial need to do their homework better before they try to reprimand me for not knowing my facts. Believe me, I have followed the abuse story closely and thoroughly for over 6 years. The Church hierarchy (including Benedict XVI who like his predecessor, has not removed any bishops involved in cover ups) is morally bankrupt and should not be taken seriously until a full housecleaning is done of the offending bishops and cardinals.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More Thursday Male Beauty

Turning Homosexuality On and Off

Recent study results with fruit flies and the ability to modify sexual orientation will no doubt have some Christianists salivating at the possibility of (1) using this information to attempt to further beat down gay rights and/or (2) demand that gays seek out a cure if one were ever discovered. This piece in the New York Times ( looks at the new research and also at the issue of should sexual orientation be changed. Personally, I say it should not - for whatever reason, God made gays for a purpose even if we humans cannot figure it out. Moreover, but for the hate and abuse disseminated by the Christianists (and their Muslim and Hindu counterparts), growing up and living life gay would be a non-issue. Rather than change people, perhaps the better course is to change the hate based and homophobic religions? Otherwise, next they may be wanting blacks and other non-whites to change the skin pigmentation if an easy and inexpensive method were developed. Read the Christianist organizations' web sites: they are NOT friends of racial minorities or gays. Here are some highlights:
What if you could take a drug that would quickly alter your sexual orientation from straight to gay, or vice versa? To their surprise, neurobiologists have discovered that homosexuality can be turned on or off in fruit flies. They’d known that sexual orientation can be genetically programmed, but they didn’t realize it could also be altered by giving a drug that changes the way the flies’ sensory circuits react to pheromones.

Within hours of the treatment, previously heterosexual male fruit flies would be courting other males, and treatment could also cause flies who had been engaging in homosexual behavior to become exclusively heterosexual, the neurobiologists report in Nature Neuroscience. You can read a summary of it here from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the home of one of the researchers, David Featherstone.
I asked Dr. Featherstone if it might be possible one day to quickly alter humans’ sexual orientation. Here’s his answer: Although I am not sure my research is a big step in this direction, I think that ultimately the answer will be: Yes. After all the goal of neuroscience is a complete understanding of brain function. Understanding in science is typically demonstrated by the ability to control a process.
The question of whether or not homosexuality should be turned on and off is not a scientific question. It is an ethical/societal dilemma. I am glad my work is stimulating the discussion earlier rather than later. History is replete with poorly thought out attempts to ‘cure’ societal/behavioral ‘illnesses’ that turned out, with proper perspective, to not be ‘illnesses’ at all.
Would some social conservatives (like Leon Kass), who normally object to biologists “playing god” and pharmacologists altering “human nature,” change their minds and urge the use of biotechnology to promote heterosexuality? Would some social liberals try to restrict the use of this biotechnology? Would parents, gay or straight, want to regulate their children’s sexual orientation — and should they or their children be allowed to do so?

Thursday Male Beauty


I have been waiting for someone to try to pin Matthew Murray's actions in shooting individuals at both Youth With A Mission and at New Life Church on his sexual orientation. Leave it to slimy FOX News to lead the way on this issue. Fortunately, Proceed at Your Own Risk has a post ( about this issue that sheds perhaps further light on what drove Murray to snap - lies and hypocrisy among the area Christianists (remember that Focus on the Family, one of the biggest proponents of the "cure" myth, is based right in Colorado Springs). Imagine Murray's frustration if he was thrown out of Youth With A Mission because of his orientation and then he sees Ted Haggard being granted a free pass of sorts and forgiveness after he claimed to be "cured" within a few weeks and announced he was now "fully heterosexual" something we gays know is not true.
To be perfectly clear, I in no way condone the Colorado shootings or violence against other individuals for perceived wrongs EVER. But there would be a certain irony if it were to prove out that Murray's inability to be "cured" as consistently and falsely promised by these Christianist organizations literally all around him is what made him go over the edge. Having tried for over three decades to be "cured" myself before finally coming out and ultimately finding peace with my sexual orientation (after five years of therapy), I can at least catch perhaps glimmers of the rage at God and at Christianists that Murray felt. I myself felt at times that my life had been ruined by religious frauds and liars. I suspect that many in the LGBT community have had a similar experience. Here are some highlights form Proceed at Your Own Risk:
FOX, always vigilant when it comes to the gay scourge, is now reporting that Matthew Murray, the deeply troubled young man who shot and killed himself and members of Ted Haggard's New Life Church and the church's Youth With A Mission program was gay. In fact, he may be a victim of the church's ex-gay reparative therapy program. Having failed to find heterosexuality through Jesus it appears that Murray was booted out of the youth program and out of the church. Crushed by this rejection and overwhelmed by rage and despair thanks to the curse of homosexuality, Murray went on a killing spree that ended with himself.

I would hope "and pray" that America's reaction to this would be a growing realization that homophobia--and Christian homophobia in particular--is a deep and pervasive poison in our society that does much harm to our culture, our spiritual and political health and the human spirit. Murray's rage seems to have had several layers. He was furious that the Church had forgiven Ted Haggard but not him. He believed that he had done everything he was supposed to do according to New Life Church counselors but was still booted out for being queer. And, perhaps most perfidious of all, Jesus had failed to cure him.
Betrayed by the Church and crushed by the curse of unholy same sex desires, Murray chose that most American of Constitutionally protected solutions to his life problems: He purchased a small arsenal that included assault rifles and an an assortment of semi-automatics and then he went on his All-American shooting spree. We easily talk about the cost of homophobia in terms of teen suicide, substance abuse, shattered self-esteem and chronic depression, but we shy away from the impact homophobia may be having on all of us, not just troubled queers.
We badly need to more closely examine the pathology of homophobia and the closet as these onerous institutions drive men to an intense state of self-loathing, self-delusion and much harm to themselves and, it appears, to others.
Police say Murray was motivated by revenge. Revenge for what? The answer seems to be in Murray's blogging, according to the FOX report. After trying to "go all out for God" and failing, Murray wrote he fell into a deep depression. Murray, 24, was dismissed from Youth With a Mission in 2002 for what the training center has described only as health reasons. Last summer, he wrote, "People like us are going to go to hell, according to Christians." He lists several reasons why. Reason number seven is bluntly stated, "I'm bisexual."
In other postings, Murray wrote, "... I can never get a female date. I am at least able to get some male action." And later, he wrote about confronting his mother about his bisexuality. Murray wrote that he told her, "Using drugs, alcohol and having gay sex, I'm just trying to do what any Christian pastor would do. At least I'm not doing meth like Ted Haggard." Murray also noted that the Church forgave Haggard. He posted, "I want to know where was all the love, mercy and compassion for my supposed imperfections?"
At least in Iran, the executions of gay men are swift. In the United States we prefer to slowly drive our gay children insane so that they grow up to be monsters.
Additional information is set out at the Denver Post ( and at this site where what are believed to be some of Murray's postings about his unhappiness and issues with religion can be found:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Final Wednesday Male Beauty

ENDA Currently in Limbo - Gays Remain Unprotected in Virginia

This Virginian Pilot article ( looks at the current status of ENDA which has passed the U. S. House of Representatives but which is still awaiting action in the U. S. Senate. The Chimperator has indicated that he will veto any such bill that comes to him, but I hope the Congress will put him on the spot. Most Americans support employment protections for gays (even in Martinsville, Virginia based on callers on a TV talk show I was involved in back in March of this year) , so Congress needs to show Bush to be the nut case that he truly is. That, of course would require that the Democrats grow some backbone - something they have yet to do. The article also looks at the situation of gays in Virginia who currently lack any protections. As for the comments of Victoria Cobb of The Family Foundation in the article, from my experience over the years, in my opinion, Ms. Cobb is one of the most untruthful individuals (translate LIAR) involved in Virginia politics and is utterly incapable of grasping the concept that her religious views should not control the civil laws. Shannon Bowman, my fellow HRBOR board member, quoted in the article is pictured at left. Here are some story highlights:
Federal laws ban office discrimination based on factors such as age, race, color, religion and gender. But “there’s no federal law protecting against discrimination against sexual orientation, and there’s no Virginia state law,” said John Bredehoft , an attorney with Kaufman & Canoles in Norfolk.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine last year renewed an executive order banning discrimination against sexual orientation in state offices. But “unless you’re a state employee, you’re not in a protected category under Virginia law,” said Norfolk lawyer Michael B. Hamar . “You’re open game.”

The House approved the bill, 235-184 . Local legislators split along party lines: Republicans Randy Forbes and Thelma Drake opposed it; Democrat Bobby Scott supported it. In a related issue, House and Senate negotiators last week agreed to drop a controversial provision attached to a defense bill that would have expanded hate crime laws to include gay people. Nevertheless, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., a supporter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, expects to begin Senate action by January on the workplace bill, said Melissa Wagoner, an aide.

Sen. Jim Webb, a Virginia Democrat, will be a co-sponsor because he believes in “basic notions of fairness for all Virginians, including the belief that discrimination has no place in our society,” said spokeswoman Jessica Smith . Republican Sen. John Warner is reviewing the bill, said Bron­wyn Lance Chester, a spokeswoman . Don’t count on any anti-gay employment legislation getting into the law books anytime soon, said Jesse Richman, assistant professor of political science at Old Dominion University. “I think it will pass eventually,” Richman said, “but maybe not for some time.”

Hampton Roads Business OutReach – a coalition of businesses owned by or supportive of gay people – still backs the bill. “We were unhappy that it excluded the transgendered population,” said Shannon Bowman , a vice president, “but we feel it’s at least a step in the right direction. If we don’t stand behind it the way it’s written now, it might be completely thrown out and everyone would lose.”

Victoria Cobb , president of the Family Foundation in Richmond complains that the case hasn’t been made that gay people are “systematically disadvantaged as a class.” Foreman counters, pointing to a recent UCLA report that found “consistent evidence” of workplace bias. It cited surveys in the past decade showing that 15 percent to 43 percent of gay men and lesbians faced problems.

Norfolk attorney Hamar represents a former employee of the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville who says he was fired after his boss interrogated him about his sexuality . He filed a complaint with the state, saying the firing violated Kaine’s order. Museum officials have denied the allegation. The complaint is pending.

President Again Vetoes Children's Insurance Bill

If there was any question as to whether or not Chimperator Bush gives a damn about poor and lower middle class children, his second veto of the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance program, passed not once but twice by Congress, shows the answer is "NO" he does not give a damn. This Washington Post story ( gives the details. What is interesting is that John Aravosis over at America Blog notes that he, Markos of the Daily Kos, and Arianna Huffington, like me, all were once members of the GOP, but left because of what that party has become. Let us hope the defections continue in ever greater numbers. Clearly, if you are not the child of one of the Chimperator's country club set, you are not worthy of note or health care in the view of the Chimperator, who has squandered hundreds of billions in Iraq, but who cannot spare $35 billion for children in America. The man is truly despicable. Here are some highlights:

For the second time in three months, President Bush yesterday vetoed legislation that would have expanded the State Children's Health Insurance program by $35 billion over five years and would have boosted its enrollment to about 10 million children. Bush cited the same reasons that led him to veto a version of the bill on Oct. 3 -- that it raised cigarette taxes and provided coverage for children of middle-class families instead of focusing on the working poor.

The fate of the $5 billion-a-year program remains undecided, as lawmakers negotiate a new five-year funding package that can win Bush's approval or draw a veto-proof majority in the House and Senate. If they cannot do that soon, Congress is expected to pass a temporary extension that would keep the program funded through much of next year.

Church of Sweden, Sweden's Biggest Church Supports Gay Marriage Bill

This denomination, the Church of Sweden, is a sister church to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America a/k/a the ELCA (my current denomination). Hopefully, this will put further pressure on the ELCA to make a major position change at the next general meeting of the denomination. The Church of Norway, another ELCA sister church is already moving along the lines of the Church of Sweden. Here are highlights from (

(Stockholm) The Church of Sweden said Wednesday that it approves of legislation that would make laws governing marriage gender neutral. The denomination describes itself as Evangelical Lutheran and its membership includes about 75 percent of Sweden's population. In making its statement of support for the bill now before Parliament the Church, however, said it would continue to use the word "marriage" to refer to opposite sex unions.

The statement said that marriage and partnership are "forms of partnership of equal value". The support of the Church is considered the last major hurdle the legislation faced before going before Parliament. Six of Sweden's seven political parties support the legislation that would allow same-sex couples to marry, leaving only the small Christian Democratic Party opposing the measure.
If passed it would create gender-neutral marriage, allow churches to perform ceremonies, provide same-sex couples with the right to adopt children and allow lesbians to have artificial insemination. Sweden already has civil partnerships under a law enacted in 1995 that gives most of the rights and obligations of marriage to same-sex couples who register. But it does not provide for adoption of IVF.

A parliamentary committee studying the issue last year called civil partnerships outdated and recommended Parliament allow same-sex marriage.

More Wednesday Male Beauty

A Catholic's View on Episcopal Fundamentalists Taking Their Toys and Running

Michael J. Bayly, the executive coordinator of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities and the editor of The Progressive Catholic Voice, and author of the "Wild Reed" blog ( has kindly referenced my post on the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin's vote to leave the Episcopal church as well as the VNS column relating to that issue. As a thinking Catholic, he has some very interesting reflections on the Roman Catholic Church's treatment of gays and it;'s reluctance to accept new knowledge. I highly recommend you read the entire post. Here are some highlights from his post, "In Catholicism’s case, the fundamentalists are not, to use different imagery, “jumping ship.” Rather, they’re very much in control. Indeed, they’ve barricaded themselves on the ship’s bridge - all the while declaring that such an arrangement is God’s will." (emphasis is mine):

Interestingly, Roman Catholic Coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt, in a recent letter-to-the-editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, cited biblical rather than doctrinal reasons for the Catholic Church’s “teaching” on homosexuality. I say “interestingly” because although some, including Archbishop Nienstedt, often argue that the church’s doctrinal stance is based on the “witness of scripture,” the Catholic Church tends to emphasize and rely more on “tradition” rather than “scripture” in justifying its prohibition on “homosexual acts.”

Why? Well, I think part of the reason is that most Catholics, including those within the hierarchy, know that the vast majority of scripture scholars question the appropriateness and validity of using ancient biblical texts to condemn our modern-day understanding and acceptance of homosexuality. On a range of issues, people realize that the Bible can’t be taken literally. Accordingly, even the Catholic Church has come to condemn biblical fundamentalism. Put another way, it no longer teaches that the Bible is the inerrant word of God.

Yet what the Catholic Church claims, instead, as inerrant (and thus unchangeable) is its “tradition,” by which is generally meant its teaching on faith and morals. As a result of this claim, dialogue on any number of important issues is effectively shut down. Of course, what’s happened is that one form of fundamentalism has been replaced by another: biblical by doctrinal. The end result is the same: the Spirit, present and active in the lives of all – yes, even gay people – is denied, and the church’s living tradition becomes mired in hubris, intellectual dishonesty, and the fear of change.

Fundamentalists, I’ve discovered, are incredibly insecure. The mere thought of development, growth, and change can send them into a frenzy. They have forgotten that religion should point to God, not be God. Yet sadly, aspects of their religious lives have become their god. Any threat to these idols is met with hostility fueled by both arrogance and fear.

In Catholicism’s case, the fundamentalists are not, to use different imagery, “jumping ship.” Rather, they’re very much in control. Indeed, they’ve barricaded themselves on the ship’s bridge - all the while declaring that such an arrangement is God’s will.

40,000+ Visitors from131 Countries

WOW!!! I continue to be amazed that large numbers of folks that visit this block and read my thoughts and ramblings. I suspect some come for the "male beauty" posts, yet when I did the poll on whether or not to keep doing them a while ago, many of the respondents were those who I know from their comments actually read my serious posts. When I started to blog in earnest back in April of this year, I wondered if anyone would come to the blog. When I broke the 1000 reader mark I was pleased - this new number of visitors is beyond my wildest expectations. Thank you each and every one of you for your support and readership.

Pope Says Abortion, Gay Marriage Are 'Obstacles' to World Peace

Just when you think the Vatican cannot come up with any more nutty pronouncements, Pope Benedict XVI steps into the breach and lets off yet another ridiculous statement. In addition to gays and abortion, I guess single parent families and grand parents raising children are also threats to world peace. So too it would seem is celibacy. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has this summary (

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Nuclear arms proliferation, environmental pollution and economic inequality are threats to world peace -- but so are abortion, birth control and same-sex marriage, Pope Benedict XVI said in a statement released by the Vatican Tuesday (Dec. 11). "The Human Family, a Community of Peace" is this year's papal message for the World Day of Peace, which will be observed Jan. 1. Presenting the nuclear family as the "first and indispensable teacher of peace" and the "primary agency of peace," the 15-page document links sexual and medical ethics to international relations. "Everything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and woman, everything that directly or indirectly stands in the way of its openness to the responsible acceptance of new life ... constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace," Benedict writes.

The full text of Bendict's conflated language - why can't the Vatican ever speak in normal language - can be found here: Here are some highlights:

The family, society and peace

The natural family, as an intimate communion of life and love, based on marriage between a man and a woman(2), constitutes “the primary place of ‘humanization' for the person and society”(3), and a “cradle of life and love”(4). The family is therefore rightly defined as the first natural society, “a divine institution that stands at the foundation of life of the human person as the prototype of every social order”(5).

The denial or even the restriction of the rights of the family, by obscuring the truth about man, threatens the very foundations of peace.

Consequently, whoever, even unknowingly, circumvents the institution of the family undermines peace in the entire community, national and international, since he weakens what is in effect the primary agency of peace. This point merits special reflection: everything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, everything that directly or indirectly stands in the way of its openness to the responsible acceptance of a new life, everything that obstructs its right to be primarily responsible for the education of its children, constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace.

Here, however, we cannot forget that the family comes into being from the responsible and definitive “yes” of a man and a women, and it continues to live from the conscious “yes” of the children who gradually join it.

Wednesday Male Beauty

Double Standard of Huckabee and Romney

Both Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are whining about questions about their religious beliefs and anyone questioning their fitness for office based on their religious views. Of course, neither of them have any problem attacking others who do not live by their religious views, gays being but one group they would deprive of civil rights based on non-conformity with Baptist or Mormon beliefs. Moreover, on MSNBC this morning, Romney was once again pontificating the Christian nation myth I addressed earlier this week in a post. Both men are utter hypocrites in my view and neither is fit for the presidency since it would lead to more of the same lunacy Bush's religion extremism has already caused. In my view, their religious views become irrelevant only at such time as they cease trying to diminish the legal rights of those who do not share their religious beliefs. Until then, they should be open targets for attack. They do NOT get to have it both ways.
The Washington Post has two stories that look at the crocodile tears of both candidates. The first from today's Post, from which highlights are set out below, looks at Romney's disingenuous whining (
BOSTON -- Republican Mitt Romney retorted to questions about his faith by surging rival Mike Huckabee on Wednesday, declaring that "attacking someone's religion is really going too far."
In an article to be published Sunday in The New York Times, Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, asks, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"
Romney, vying to become the first Mormon elected president, declined to answer that question during an interview Wednesday, saying church leaders in Salt Lake City had already addressed the topic.

"But I think attacking someone's religion is really going too far. It's just not the American way, and I think people will reject that," Romney told NBC's "Today" show. Asked if he believed Huckabee was speaking in a coded language to evangelicals, Romney praised his rival as a "good man trying to do the best he can," but he added, "I don't believe that the people of this country are going to choose a person based on their faith and what church they go to."
"Governor Huckabee has said consistently that he believes this campaign should center on a discussion of the important issues confronting our nation and not focus on questions of religious belief," said Charmaine Yoest, a senior adviser.
The second from last week, from which highlights are set out, looks at Huckabee's hissy fit (
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist preacher who has surged in Iowa with evangelical Christian support, bristled Tuesday when asked if creationism should be taught in public schools. Huckabee _ who raised his hand at a debate last May when asked which candidates disbelieved the theory of evolution _ asked this time why there is such a fascination with his beliefs.
Huckabee, at a dinner in Des Moines, told reporters that the theory of intelligent design, whose proponents believe an intelligent cause is the best way to explain some complex and orderly features of the universe, should be taught in schools as one of many viewpoints. "I don't think schools ought to indoctrinate kids to believe one thing or another," he said.
"I'm just not going to go off into evaluating other people's doctrines and faiths. I think that is absolutely not a role for a president," the former Arkansas governor said.
He appeared with more than 60 Iowa pastors endorsing him at a news conference Tuesday, including best-selling author Tim LaHaye of "Left Behind" fame and his wife, Beverly. Also endorsing him was Chuck Hurley, an influential Iowa conservative who had backed Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, a conservative who quit the race in October. LaHaye called Huckabee "the most electable candidate who shares our commitment."
Anyone LaHaye likes ought to send people fleeing if they believe in religious freedom and separation of church and state.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The LaBarbera Award: Tony Perkins of Family Research Council

In his December 10, 2007, FRC Action Alert Update which can be seen here:, Tony (Mr. Friend of the KKK) Perkins at Family Research Council goes on a rant about the "secular media" and its treatment of Mike Huckabee and other issues. Then he makes this statement concerning the Sunday shootings in Colorado:
An Assault On Faith: It is hard not to draw a line between the hostility that is being fomented in our culture from some in the secular media toward Christians and evangelicals in particular and the acts of violence that took place in Colorado yesterday. But I will say no more for now other than that our friends at New Life Church and YWAM are in our thoughts and prayers.

As we have seen so far, the shooter grew up in a reportedly very religious "Christian" family, was home schooled as many Chrisitianist prefer so that their children are not contaminated by public education, and had attended for a time Youth With A Mission's training program until he was kicked out. In fact, increasingly it looks like his rejection by Youth With A Mission and perhaps its members was the motivation for the deadly killing spree. Thus it seems difficult to see where the "secular media" had any hand in the tragedy. Oh, but wait. Perkins and FRC never let the truth and real facts get in the way of spreading lies to incite their sheep like followers. That's why Jim Burroway created the LaBarbera Award in honor of Christianists who come up with the most outlandish, untrue propaganda.

For those who do not know, the LaBarbera Award is named for Peter LaBarbera a/k/a Porno Pete who is hysterically anti-gay, puts out huge amounts of untruths and has a strange habit of regularly attending gay leather and bondage events and taking tons of photos allegedly for "research." LaBarbera graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Political Science in 1985, but basically claims expertise in medicine, mental health, biology and genetics since he thinks he knows more than professionals with real credentials in those fields. On the website of his latest organization - he has made a career out of bashing gays and has moved from one extreme organization to another - he lists his varied positions with wingnut organizations ( but interestingly enough omits any reference to his work at Kerusso Ministries with fallen ex-gay Michael Johnston. I wonder why. :)