Saturday, December 10, 2011

More Saturday Male Beauty

Picture of Another Adirondack Memory

Morning mist over the lake. Click image to enlarge.

Archbishop Suspected of Ordering Massacre and Ex-Gay" Advocate Support Nigeria's Anti-Gay Bill

It's been a good while since I have mentioned Archbishop Peter Akinola, former Anglican primate of Nigeria and a strong supporter of break away Episcopal parishes in the USA. Akinola is violently anti-gay and is suspected by many to have ordered the massacre of 660 Muslims Yelwa, Nigeria, by the Christian Association of Nigeria (Akinola was president of the organization at the time of the massacre). A lengthy piece in The Atlantic in 2008 looked at the massacre and other atrocities in Nigeria about which Akinola's only comment was "My views on Islam are well known: I have nothing more to say." Here's a highlight from the article on the "Christian" militia's behavior:

During the Christian attack, the two young women took shelter in an elder’s guarded home. On the second day, the Christian militia arrived at the house. They were covered in red and blue paint and were wearing those numbered white name tags. The Christians first killed the guards, then chose among the women. With others, the two young women were marched toward the Christian village. “They were killing children on the road,” Danladi said. Outside the elementary school, her abductor grabbed hold of two Muslim boys she knew, 9 and 10 years old. Along with other men, he took a machete to them until they were in pieces, then wrapped the pieces in a rubber tire and set it on fire.

When Danladi and Ibrahim reached their captors’ village, they were forced to drink alcohol and to eat pork and dog meat. Although she was obviously pregnant, Danladi’s abductor repeatedly raped her during the next four days.

Akinola's views on gays are also well known and as the Lagos Guardian reports, Akinola is strongly behind the currently pending anti-gay legislation in Nigeria. Other supporters of the bill which would impose lengthy prison sentences include Felix Jovi Ehwarieme, Adjunct Professor of Scientific Theology and Biblical History at the United Bible University, Lagos and President of Shepherd Organization, which runs "ex-gay" therapies. Akinola and Ehwarieme embody the religious extremist behind the legislation. It goes without saying that American Christianists have had their hand involved in stirring up anti-gay hysteria in Nigeria as well. Here are some highlights from the Guardian article of the foul forces supporting this legislation:

Since its passage by the Senate, Nigeria has received strong criticisms and warnings from the British, Canadian and the United States of America governments, which have individually threatened to withdraw aids and other forms of assistance to Nigeria, if the law is allowed to exist.

But Akinola, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, urged President Jonathan not to succumb to such pressure, but rather tow the path of God by assenting to the bill.

Akinola, who described the bill as “a new orientation towards transformation and reformation of Nigeria from its moral decadence into a new platform of sound morality,” said President Jonathan would be going against God’s will for Nigeria if he refused to sign the controversial bill into law.

He stated that Nigeria needs such law to preserve the nation’s sacred moral heritage for national development. The former Primate of Church of Nigeria, who described homosexuality as an aberration, said it was repugnant to the word of God and African beliefs. “Same-sex marriage is against natural order of creation; it is against the laws of our religions, and it is against our African custom and traditions,” he said.

Felix Jovi Ehwarieme, who has worked with a lot of homosexuals to overcome the condition, said homosexuality is a learnt habit devoid of genetic manipulations.

Ehwarieme, a surgeon and author of Homosexuality, explained that the habit often starts from masturbation taken to extremity. He added that although homosexuals use the Bible to argue their case, the Bible has clearly shown that those involved in the act would not inherit God’s Kingdom.

“An average male child has masturbated at one stage of his life or the other. If this behaviour were not controlled, it would lead to lack of interest in the opposite sex. This often happens in the subconscious mind, so that by the time one grows into it, one would not know why one hates the opposite sex. This is because when one masturbates, one may have practiced it with other male children,” he argued. “So, by the time they are qualified to have sexual relations, they just discover that they have something that satisfies them more than natural sex.“The problem with homosexuals is that they do not know how they become what they are,” he surmised.

Chaplain of Blessed Tansi Catholic Chaplaincy at Anambra State University (ANSU), Rev. Fr. Paul Ifeanyichukwu Obiaga, described homosexuality “ as satanic and sin against nature.

Yep, as always, the Catholic Church is spreading anti-gay hatred as well. This ignorant, hate- filled rhetoric (which is sweeping much of Africa) is part of what prompted Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to take action earlier this week. People don't come much nastier than Akinola in my opinion and it is far past time that hate and extremism based on supposed religious belief be reined in and ended. A glimpse of what's happening in Nigeria makes a strong case that the world would be a far better place if religion simply vanished from the face of the earth.

Brantingham Lake Memories

Fall morning stillness - our white boathouse is seen at far right across the lake. The water has been lowered to avoid winter ice damage. Click to enlarge image.

Washington Post Slam's Cuccinelli's Plan to Campaign at Taxpayer's Expense

For six decades with one exception - who also was a Republican for the record - Virginia Attorney Generals have resigned from office once they announce they candidacy for governor. The reasoning is simple: (1) it avoids any appearance of conflict of interest in the performance of one's duties as top attorney for the Commonwealth and (2) it avoids making taxpayers subsidize one's political campaign since the reality, the campaign will preempt the performance of one's paid duties (Mark Earley, a former law partner of mine, was AG and later ran for governor, so I know first hand the time demands of such a campaign). In short, resigning from office is the honorable and ethical thing to do. Which is exactly why Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli has said he will not follow the 60 year tradition. As with most Christianist extremists, Kookinelli talks alot about ethics and concern for taxpayers, but his actions tell the real story. The Washington Post is rightly appalled at Kookinelli's plan to campaign at taxpayer expense. Here are highlights from it's editorial on the issue:

IT’S EASY TO make the case — and we will, at a later date — that Ken Cuccinelli II, the attorney general of Virginia, already has done a lot to politicize the office he holds, and thereby diminish its status. Nonetheless, Mr. Cuccinelli seems intent on going a step further.

Having announced his intention to run for governor, Mr. Cuccinelli (R) is bucking more than 60 years of bipartisan Virginia history by refusing to do the right thing and resign. Instead, he is insisting on remaining the state’s top lawyer “until the last day of my term,” even as he holds fundraisers, attends events and campaigns for governor. Thus Mr. Cuccinelli will inevitably further politicize his office, adding a partisan cast to every significant move it makes.

Since the 1940s, 10 of Virginia’s 11 elected attorneys general have run for governor, and nine of them have resigned to do so. The past four, including Mr. Cuccinelli’s elected predecessor — the current governor, Robert F. McDonnell — were Republicans; the ones before that were Democrats.

If Mr. Cuccinelli’s intent is to invite cynicism and cast ill repute on the position he holds and the office over which he presides, he is doing a bang-up job.

In a letter to his staff, he attributed his decision to the fact that “the people of Virginia trusted me to be their attorney general, and I intend to give them four full years.” If so, they may also have taken him at his word — frequently stated while he campaigned — that he intended to run in 2013 for reelection as attorney general, which he described as his dream job. It turns out he didn’t mean it.

Now he pledges to give priority to his current job, and Virginians will have to hope that his legal decisions will not be colored by his candidacy.

In my opinion, Cuccinelli is a sleaze bag and a prime example of those who want to suckle on the government tit - something he claims to abhor - while expending his time and efforts elsewhere. Why does the term hypocrite come to mind?

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

National Organization for Marriage Is Now Pushing Paul Cameron's Discredited "Research"

If there were not already enough reasons to despise the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM"), now, in its rapid morphing into a full fledged anti-gay hate group, the organization is pushing the long discredited "research" of Paul Cameron. For those not in the know, Cameron was thrown out of every legitimate mental health and counseling association to which he belonged almost 30 years ago because he had falsified studies, distorted the work of others, and published outright lies. In one federal court case in which Cameron was a witness, the court in its opinion specifically called Cameron's testimony fraudulent. Yet Cameron is NOM's new "expert" of choice as it expands from "protecting marriage" to outright slandering and denigrating LGBT individuals. As noted before, I hope we soon find out who is backing NOM financially so that these new lies can be tied around the necks of these merchants of hate. Alvin McEwen has a good piece that looks at NOM's new low. Once again, the dishonesty of the "godly Christian" set is breath taking. Here are highlights:

You all knew that this would happen sooner or later. From Equality Matters:

Earlier today, Equality Matters reported that the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) Ruth Institute was endorsing a book that claimed, among other things, that gay parents are more likely to molest their own children than heterosexual parents.

Now, NOM appears to be doubling down on that claim – and this time on its main blog. In a December 8 blog post, NOM promoted an essay posted on the “Bad Catholic” blog titled “Two Lesbians Raised a Baby and This Is What They Got...” The essay – written by blogger Marc Barnes – is a response to a video of an Iowa man speaking eloquently in defense of his two moms, which recently went viral. Referring to the video as “false advertising,” Barnes attempts to lay out the case for why gays and lesbians aren’t fit to raise children:

Gay couples are less likely to stay together
Gay couples don’t want to get married
Gay relationships are more likely to be violent/abusive

Near the end of his essay, Barnes makes an argument which is apparently becoming NOM-dogma – gay parents molest their children at higher rates than heterosexual parents:

Similarly, the children of homosexual parents are much more likely to be sexually abused. The journal Adolescence reports that a “disproportionate percentage—29 percent—of the adult children of homosexual parents had been specifically subjected to sexual molestation by that homosexual parent, compared to only 0.6 percent of adult children of heterosexual parents having reported sexual relations with their parent…. Having a homosexual parent(s) appears to increase the risk of incest with a parent by a factor of about 50″ (P. Cameron and K. Cameron, “Homosexual Parents,” Adolescence 31 (1996): 772.).

That's right. Barnes - and NOM, since it is featuring Barnes' piece - is now pushing the work of the discredited Paul "gay stuff gerbils up their rectums" Cameron.

For those who are not in the know (and those who are regular readers of this blog really should be in the know), he is the man who, in the 1980s, came up with the idea of aggressively using science to prove that homosexuality is a "dangerous lifestyle." The problem is to do this, Cameron attained a reputation for either distorting legitimate science or distorting his own work to gain the conclusions he wanted from his "studies." He has also been discredited and censured by many group and individuals on the left, the right, and in the middle due to his bad research techniques.

[T]he Southern Poverty Law declared Cameron's group, the Family Research Institute, to be an anti-gay hate group. Cameron has been rebuked by many legitimate sources:

“(Cameron) misrepresents my findings and distorts them to advance his homophobic views. I make a very clear distinction in my writing between pedophilia and homosexuality, noting that adult males who sexually victimize young boys are either pedophilic or heterosexual, and that in my research I have not found homosexual men turning away from adult partners to children . . . I consider this totally unprofessional behavior on the part of Dr. Cameron and I want to bring this to your attention. He disgraces his profession.” - Dr. A. Nicholas Groth in 1984 after discovering that Cameron distorted his work.

"Paul Cameron (Nebraska) was dropped from membership for a violation of the Preamble to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists - American Psychological Association, 1983

The science and profession of psychology in Nebraska as represented by the Nebraska Psychological Association, formally dissociates itself from the representations and interpretations of scientific literature offered by Dr. Paul Cameron in his writings and public statements on sexuality. Further, the Nebraska Psychological Association would like it known that Dr. Cameron is not a member of the Association. Dr. Cameron was recently dropped from membership in the American Psychological Association for a violation of the Preamble to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists - Nebraska Psychological Association, 1984

Dr. Paul Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism" - American Sociological Association, 1985

The Canadian Psychological Association takes the position that Dr. Paul Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism and thus, it formally disassociates itself from the representation and interpretations of scientific literature in his writings and public statements on sexuality. - Canadian Psychological Association, 1996

NOM's decision to push Cameron's work - through nasty proxy - is significant because it proves something the lgbtq community and our allies have always known. NOM has never been interested in protect marriage. NOM's only goal is to demonize gays. The next time Maggie Gallagher whines about how her organization is being unfairly called "bigoted," just remind her of this little incident.

By pushing Cameron's long discredited work, Maggie Gallagher and her cohorts at NOM truly make tawdry prostitutes look virtuous in comparison. At least the prostitutes are honest.

Kathleen Parker: The GOP’s Death Wish

No doubt Kathleen Parker will get more hate mail from members of the Christianist/Tea Party base of the GOP for once again speaking the truth about the parade of clowns who have been the changing flavor of the month with the lunatic elements of the GOP. In her latest column in the Washington Post Parker - a rare rational conservative - sums up the apparent GOP wish to go down to defeat in 2012 rather than nominate someone who isn't borderline clinically insane like the Christianists and Tea Party followers. While party of me would like to see a revival of the GOP as a rational political party, I don't see that happening until the Christianists and Tea Party are driven back into the political wilderness and seen by all as the ignorance loving bigots that they are in fact. Rather than pandering to them, the GOP ought to be seeking to marginalize them and kill the Frankenstein monster once and for all. Here are highlights from Parker's column:

“Anybody but Mitt” has become a familiar mantra throughout the Republican primary campaign. It is also weird and self-defeating. Republicans apparently want to nominate anyone except the one person who can defeat Barack Obama. And for all the strangest reasons:

One: He’s changed his mind. True. He changed his mind, thus becoming more conservative.

Two: He’s too perfect.

Three: You can’t drink beer with him. Whatever.

The result of these petty obsessions has been a pathological flirtation with a parade of lesser candidates who could replace Romney. This parade has persisted despite polls consistently showing Romney as the most likely to defeat Obama. It continues even though it’s perfectly clear the White House worries most about Romney.

First came Rick Perry, who, now desperate for attention, has turned his sights on gays in the military and Obama’s “war on religion.” Next was Herman Cain, who, though he has suspended his campaign, seems unable to leave the stage.

Now it’s Newt Gingrich’s turn. . . . he’s the serial husband with whom anyone could feel comfortable sharing a beer. Or a keg. . . . . But no one other than Callista Gingrich thinks her husband can prevail in a general election. No. One.

Instead of rallying to support him, former colleagues are going out of their way to politely say, “He can’t lead.” Gingrich’s record of leadership is demonstrably erratic. He is, in the words of former senator Jim Talent, who served with Gingrich from 1993 to 1999, “unreliable.”

[T]oo many Americans beyond the bubble don’t want to hear what Washington has to say. They prefer to hear Gingrich say, “I’d rather be effective representing the American people than be popular inside Washington.”

This is music to the ears of those who have come to loathe and distrust all things Washington, even though Gingrich is as much a Washington insider as anyone. And there’s a reason for his unpopularity. It isn’t because of his marriages or his Tiffany’s expense account. It is because his erratic behavior and his inability to resist the sound of his own voice have caused Republicans to lose too many fights.

But when a man who intends to lead the country cannot marshal the loyalty of those he has attempted to lead before, voters might pay heed. Then again, if Republicans want to make Democrats happy, Gingrich is their man.

I won't be hlding my breath waiting for the Christianist/Tea Party base to pay heed. Each time they lose, they think the answer is to find an even more insane candidate - the exact opposite of what really needs to be done.

The Story Behind Rick Perry's Desperate Gay-Bashing Ad

It doesn't take a rocket scientist (if one's been following this blog) to grasp that I hold Rick Perry in about as much contempt as Michele Bachmann and "Marcia" Bachmann who run reparative therapy clinics - a practice labeled lest we forget as unethical by the APA. And it's not just because Perry launched his campaign effort with a gathering of Christofascists or that his family hunting camp carried a racist name for decades. Rather it's because he seems willing to use every past sleazy GOP ploy and symbolizes to my thinking the worse elements in today's GOP - false piety, a race to ignorance and the embrace of bigotry. The nation should have learned to reject all of this crap after the nightmare reign of the Chimperator and Emperor Palpatine Cheney. And then there's the fact that Perry is clearly over his head and seemingly might not even be competent to be an elected dog catcher. As a Queerty column reveals, Perry and some in his campaign are only too happy to play the anti-gay card in a desperate attempt to revive his campaign which is nearly on life-support. Here are some highlights:

[T]he real scoop is the behind the scenes battle at Perry’s campaign (which given his poll numbers could be renamed the Alamo). It turns out that the man behind the [anti-gay] ad, Nelson Warfield, has a well-documented history of gay-bashing to advance his candidate’s cause. And in a twist that we ourselves couldn’t make up, gay Republicans, whose existence has indeed been proven, are apparently outing the Perry campaign pollster who called the whole idea “nuts.”

Perry is desperate to prove to Iowa evangelicals that he is one of them, and the ham-fistedness of the ad toward that aim has made it the endless target of parody that will do nothing to halt his downward trajectory. But it did open up a rift within the campaign.

Tony Fabrizio, Perry’s pollster, sent Warfield a message to say that the ad was “nuts”–as anyone who has seen it will attest. Fabrizio has done polling for Log Cabin Republicans, so everyone in the Perry campaign knew he was, shall we say, sympatico. “Tony was against it from the get-go,” Warfield declared. “It was the source of some extended conversation in the campaign. To be very clear: That spot was mine, from writing the poll question to test[ing] it, to drafting the script, to overseeing production.” (Credit duly noted and not to be forgotten.)

[O]kay, some internal squabbling in a failing campaign is good for a short news cycle, but wait!–there’s more. GOProud’s Jimmy LaSalvia blew a less-than-140-character gasket on Twitter, complaining that “I’ve just about had it with faggots who line their pockets with checks from anti-gay homophobes while throwing the rest of us under the bus.” And just in case you were wondering who LaSalvia was talking about, he subsequently tweeted “I was talking about Rick Perry’s pollster/strategist.” . . . Some might wonder why LaSalvia continues to work within a political party that has been running us over with a fleet of buses for, well, decades now.

To recap: we have a homophobic ad from a punch-line candidate that recycles a strategy from a failed campaign and is objected to by a campaign adviser who is subsequently outed by fellow gay Republicans, who calls the fellow enable a “faggot.” We can hardly wait to see what the next news cycle brings.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Meghan McCain: Newt Gingrich Can’t Beat Obama

The GOP presidential nominee contest continues to provide entertainment even as it at times is horrifying to see just how low the Republican Party has descended into ignorance and bigotry. I'd be lying if I did not admit that I don't hope to see the GOP tear itself apart. In my view, it is the only way in which ultimately decent, rational folks can regain control from the Christianist/Tea Party base that is dragging the party downward. Inexplicable, Newt Gingrich is rising to front runner status, but many see this as disastrous if the party hopes to block Barack Obama from a second term. One Gingrich critic who represents what could in time be the new face of the GOP is Megan McCain, daughter of John McCain. In a column in The Daily Beast she lays out why Gingrich - should he be the GOP nominee - cannot beat Barack Obama. Her reasoning is on target. Here are some highlights:

[D]o you know one of the few things that can make me a cynic? Politicians with a history of ethically questionable behavior who miraculously reinvent themselves as the second coming of Ronald Reagan. Politicians with a history of corruption who think people who question their history “don’t have a clue” about America and what is right for our country. I am, of course, referring to Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich is the new flavor of the month, the current frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. He has seen such a dramatic surge in the polls, I’m actually scared. The idea of Gingrich becoming our nominee makes my stomach turn. What exactly are we doing as a party?

The primary process exists for voters to discover which candidate can best represent the party in the general election. So far, I have not heard one argument for how Gingrich could beat President Obama next year. Gingrich is a smart man and a talented politician. But he’s also a Washington insider, who served this country for 40 years with a track record of being a questionable character.

Democrats would love nothing more than for us to nominate Gingrich because all they will have to do is delve into his past for easy ammunition. If we nominate Gingrich, we lose to President Obama. In these tumultuous times, we need a leader who is stable and consistent. Gingrich is neither.

What Republicans need right now is a statesman and a real leader who will inspire America, not someone who reminds them of all the things they hate about Washington. The possible nomination of Gingrich makes it difficult for even a person like me to continue to be an optimist when it comes to politics and the future of the Republican Party. I don’t know what kind of choice I am being given if this election ends up between Gingrich and President Obama, because from my perspective, that is no choice.

The real question that looms is, why do Republicans continue to resist Mitt Romney? He is by no means a perfect candidate or politician (as much as we want our politicians to be infallible, they never are), but he is light-years less controversial than Gingrich.

I just hope the voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida wake up in time to realize this before it’s too late and we forfeit the election to President Obama and the Democrats.

The Good Politics of Gay Marriage

Even as the far right convulses in hatred and bigotry against LGBT citizens, a sea change is taking place in America in terms of support for LGBT civil equality, albeit not at the same pace in every state. Virginia, as has now been its norm for over a century, continues to be in the rear guard seeking to swim against the tide of history and equality. In the process, the state sends a message to the world that progressive and innovative businesses and the best and the brightest are not welcomed. But elsewhere, as noted, things are changing at a rapid pace. A column in the Washington Post even makes the argument that supporting same sex marriage may now be the smart political thing to do. Here are some highlights:

Now is the time for President Obama to complete his evolution on the subject of same-sex marriage. Supporting the right of all Americans to marry the person of their choice would be the right thing to do. Strange as this may sound, it might also be good politics.

More to the point, it would not be the almost certainly disastrous political move it would have been even in the last presidential campaign, when none of the major Democratic candidates supported the right to marry.

Flash forward three years to Hillary Clinton’s remarks this week. “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,” declared Obama’s chief primary rival and now his secretary of state, echoing her famous declaration, as first lady, about women’s rights. Clinton did not go so far as to endorse same-sex marriage. Yet the arc of her logic bends inexorably in that direction. As Clinton surely knew when she proclaimed that “no practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Now, in a memorandum to Democratic consultants and campaign managers, gay rights advocates argue that backing same-sex marriage is not the political poison it was in years past. Indeed, they contend, it could be a political boon — not only with Democrats but with independent voters, some 56 percent of whom approve of same-sex marriage.

Their data? Analysis by Joel Benenson, Obama’s pollster, and Jan van Lohuizen, who served that role for George W. Bush.

“What was once used as a wedge by Republicans to turn out conservatives and put Democrats on the defensive may now have the opposite effect, as growing numbers of voters across the board support the freedom to marry,” says the memo, written by Democratic strategist Doug Hattaway and Evan Wolfson president of Freedom to Marry.

“Younger voters, who are critical to Democratic victories in 2012, are highly motivated by candidates who show their support for ending discrimination in the nation’s marriage laws.” Hear that, Mr. President? Younger voters!

Support for same-sex marriage is accelerating; More voters strongly support same-sex marriage than oppose it. And the strongly opposed minority is unlikely to back Democratic candidates no matter what.

The understandable instinct of the president and his political advisers is to play it safe. But the data ought to give comfort that Obama would not commit political suicide were he to complete the evolution he clearly knows is inevitable. In the politics of 2011, survival of the fittest does not compel opposition to marriage equality.

And then there is this question for Obama: Mr. President, what better moment will there be? You might lose. A lame-duck proclamation would be lame. If not now, when?

One other thing that the Democrats need to do is connect the dots: those who oppose LGBT rights are the same people (or their descendants) who used the Bible to support slavery, support segregation, oppose integrating the military, and oppose interracial marriage, etc. They have a very, very ugly legacy and it needs to be tied firmly around their necks - especially folks like Tony Perkins of FRC with a history fraternizing with white supremacists. The public needs to be reminded of this history over and over again. These "godly Christians" are NOT nice people.

The Christian Right's Exporting of Homophobia to Africa

The mouthpieces of the American Christian Right - who are neither truly Christian nor right - and their pandering whores in the Republican Party continue to go berserk in the wake of Hillary Clinton's historic speech addressing the officially endorsed anti-gay hatred and violence in many countries of the world. The usual suspects are beside themselves and the spittle is flying by the bucket full. Think Progress has this summary of some of the hate infused reactions:

Rick Perry: “This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country. Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong. President Obama has again mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles.”

Rick Santorum:
“Obviously the administration is promoting their particular agenda in this country, and now they feel its their obligation to promote those values not just in the military, not just in our society, but now around the world with taxpayer dollars.”

Matt Barber (Liberty Counsel)
: “[President Obama] feels compelled to export American culture’s decline in morality, and export that immorality to other nations that are trying to adhere to traditional principles relative to human sexuality.”

Peter LaBarbera (American For Truth About Homosexuality
): “Reading Hillary’s UN #gay rights speech. The arrogance of modern liberalism is astounding: redefining sin as a *human right.*“

Pat Robertson (The 700 Club)
: “Isn’t it appalling that the United States of America would try to force the acceptance of homosexuality on other nations but at the same time we would not force them to take care of their religious minorities and they would permit discrimination and persecution of Christians?”

Vic Eliason (Voice of Christian Youth America)
: “The inmates have taken over the asylum.”

Mat Staver (Liberty Counsel)
: “[The Obama administration] is forcing foreign countries to fund and liberalize… the radical sexual anarchist agenda.”

Janet Mefferd (radio personality)
: “Other than the fact that you have African countries that have policies like Nigeria, criminalizing homosexuality, are they not a sovereign nation? Can’t they make up their own minds about these things? If they want to pass a law we’re going to play bully over this issue?”

Peter Sprigg (FRC):These type of human rights and civil rights protections are usually granted for characteristics that are inborn, involuntary — you can’t choose them, immutable — you can’t change them, and innocuous — they do no harm to anyone. All of those things are true of race and sex. None of them is true of the choice to engage in homosexual conduct.

What is noteworthy about all these reactions is that they utterly reject modern medical/mental health knowledge on sexual orientation in favor of a few passages from a book - the Bible - increasingly being shown to be untrue on many issues and anything but accurate history. The other noteworthy thing is that these self-congratulatory "Christians" have a single message: hatred towards others who are different.

It would be bad enough if these cancer like hate was limited to the USA. Unfortunately, the purveyors of anti-LGBT hate have engaged in a successful plan of exporting this sickness to Africa where they have played upon uneducated populations and acted in consort with some of the nastiest rulers on the planet. Op Ed News has a piece that looks at this horrific American Christianist export. Here are some highlights:

We can see the flames from Africa now, and they are not coming from bonfires declaring liberty for LGBTQ people. They are the flames coming from countries like Uganda and Nigeria. They are the flames of anger and vengeance being wreaked upon gay communities. Where the fires came from, however, is something that should concern everyone in America, because, like some perverted Prometheus, America's Christian Right gave Africa it's fires. Clinton was right to say being gay was not a Western invention, however, she should also have said that homophobia was certainly a Western invention, promoted in Africa by Christian Right leaders such as Scott Lively, Lou Engle and, to a certain extent, Rick Warren.

The Christian Right's exportation of homophobia has been happening over a number of years, well ahead of the "Kill-the-gays" bill in Uganda.

Nigeria has reacted so strongly to Clinton's speech that it purportedly added MORE offenses in its anti-gay bill. "To hell with them," said lawmaker Jakari Mohammed , referring to other denouncing the bill. It could be argued that Nigeria has seen same-sex "marriages" for centuries (actually as part of a surrogate tradition, with a woman marrying another woman for her husband), but somehow traditions have a way of disappearing and appearing when according to expediency.

According to the current bill, kissing in public would be an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Anti-gay vendettas - like those in Uganda - will become rife in the most corrupt country in the world.

And Nigeria has never been alone in its attitudes about gays. Here is a list of countries that could definitely be cut off from American aid: Algeria Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Of course, what's remarkable about the list is that it does not include South Africa, the only more or less functioning nation on the continent, where gay rights are protected in the constitution and same sex marriage is legal. It says a great deal about the nations that are climbing on the homophobia band wagon. If their leaders truly gave a damn about their respective nations, an anti-gay jihad would be the last thing upon which they'd be focusing their attention. There are far, far greater problems to deal with. Let's be blunt. Just as the one of my posts yesterday correlated Biblical literalism with ignorance and low IQ's, homophobia in Africa correlates with the failed nations on the continent. In fact, an argument can be made that most of these nations were better governed when they were governed by European colonial powers.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Ninth Circuit Skeptical of Bias by Walker in Prop. 8 Hearing

The hate merchants and liars among the proponents of California's Proposition 8 appeared to take a beating today in hearings before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today. Two of the issues argued today involved (1) whether or not video tapes of the trial should be made available to the public and (2) whether or not Judge Walker's ruling should be overturned merely because he subsequently revealed that he was in a long term same sex relationship. As noted before on this blog, by extension the Proposition 8 argument against Walker would mean that female judges, black judges and many others would have to recuse themselves from cases. On the issue of the video tapes of the trial, from those who were at the trial, the real fear of the Proposition 8 proponents is that the tapes would not only make the anti-gay animus of the Proposition 8 witnesses clear, but also show that there really are no non-religion based arguments to support Proposition 8. Hopefully, a final ruling on all issues, including the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8 will be handed down soon. Here are highlights from The Advocate's coverage:

In what was likely the last hearing before a ruling is delivered on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday appeared unconvinced that a previous ruling on the ban be tossed because the judge was in a longterm same-sex relationship.

Before the issue of whether former Chief District Judge Vaughn Walker should have recused himself from the 2010 case where he ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional, the Ninth Circuit dealt with the release of videotapes of that trial. Prop. 8 proponents have been fighting for years to keep the tapes unavailable to the public, while gay rights advocates want the public to see them. . . . Thompson made the case that witnesses would be harassed and intimidated should the tapes be made public; judges didn't seem convinced.

Moving to the issue of Walker, it seemed the Prop. 8 proponents had a much bigger mountain to climb. Lawyer Charles Cooper tried to convince the judges that Walker had a stake in the Prop. 8 case, since he was in a longterm gay relationship. The judges questioned whether it was clear Walker wanted to marry, since he didn't during the brief period when same-sex marriage was legal in California.

AFER's David Boies rebutted Cooper's arguments, asking the Ninth Circuit panel whether a heterosexual judge committed to opposite-sex marriage would have to disclose that information or recuse himself or herself. Boies added that the Prop. 8 supporters are singling out minority judges and holding them to different standards.

A Lutheran Bishop's Challenge to Catholic Bishops

As long time readers know, one of the first things I did at the beginning of my coming out journey was to distance myself from the Roman Catholic Church in which I had been raised. Why remain in a faith tradition that denigrates you - especially when that same denomination is controlled by those who would rather protect child rapists than turn them over to the police. By coincidence, I ultimately found myself in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ("ELCA") in a parish that for the most part actually seemed to want to practice the Gospel message of Christ. Power, control and manipulation of others, and of course money - the truly sacred things to the Catholic Church hierarchy - seemed to way down the priority list. Then in 2009, after considerable controversy, the ELCA took the step of allowing partnered same sex clergy. Sadly, some of the modern day Pharisees within the parish ranks fled the ELCA and the denomination suffered from "doing the right thing." Now, with the Roman Catholic Church spending millions of dollars to denigrate LGBT individuals, the former presiding bishop of the ELCA has issued a challenge to a group of Roman Catholic bishops. Will they accept the challenge? Probably not. But Bishop Herbert W. Chilstom's op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune clearly sets the standard of what Christian leaders ought to be about in the debate over same sex marriage. Here are some highlights:

May I share a word with all of you who now lead the Roman Catholic community of faith in Minnesota? First, I would go to the wall to defend your right to work for the adoption of the so-called marriage protection amendment. Having said that, I must tell you that I believe you are making a significant mistake.

Over my 35 years as an active and retired bishop I have come to know hundreds of gay and lesbian persons. I have yet to meet even one who is opposed to the marriage of one man and one woman. After all, they are the daughters and sons of such unions.

What they cannot understand is why church leaders would oppose their fundamental desire and right to be in partnership with someone they love and respect who happens to be of the same gender and sexual orientation. They don't understand why they should not enjoy all the rights and privileges their straight counterparts take for granted.

More than a half century ago Father Francis Gilligan spoke out for equality for African American citizens of Minnesota. Though many argued on the basis of the Bible that these neighbors were inferior to others, Gilligan fought tirelessly for justice for these brothers and sisters.

In our generation homosexual persons are subject to the same discrimination.
Their detractors often use the Bible and tradition as weapons of choice.

Is it not time for religious leaders, walking in the footsteps of Father Gilligan, to do the same for another minority, neighbors who are as responsible as our African American sisters and brothers?

Let me put out a challenge to each of you brothers. Invite 15 gay and lesbian persons from your respective areas, one at a time, to spend two hours with you.

Thirty hours are a pittance compared to the time you are investing to promote adoption of the marriage amendment. Use the time, not for confession, but to listen to them describe what it is like to live in our culture in Minnesota.

Hear as they tell you what it means be a child of God and a faithful member of your church, persons who happen to be gay or lesbian through no choice of their own. I can promise you, based on my experience, that your heart will be deeply moved by what you hear.

When you have finished your time with these sisters and brothers in Christ, spend a quiet hour reflecting on a single question: "As I understand the heart of my Savior Jesus, how would he treat these sons and daughters of my church?"

Biblical Literalism or Low IQ: Which Came First?

I happened upon a piece in Discovery Magazine that I wrote about roughly 3+ years ago. Given what has happened to the GOP with its takeover by the Christianists and the idiocy of many of the would be GOP presidntial nominees, it seem worthy referencing yet again. The graphs are quite informative:

The author of the piece had the following to say:

The IQ scores are from the General Social Survey as reported by The Inductivist. I already knew that this sort of correlation existed, it’s pretty unsurprising as I noted. The same pattern shows up if you use post-graduate eduation as the dependent variable. And I spot checked SAT scores by denomination, and again the association shows up. All that being said, the title was obviously tongue-in-cheek.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Will Gingrich Kill the Tea Party?

As a former Republican I shake my head daily at the lunacy that has now become the norm within the GOP. Ignorance is exalted, hypocrisy has been taken to new heights, and the rabble within the Christianist/Tea Party element of the Party seem Hell bent to destroy not only the GOP but the nation as well as the strive to move backward in time to a version of America that never really existed except in their deluded minds. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is moving forward and nations like India and China are embracing the science and knowledge that the GOP wants to discard. Enter Newt Gingrich into the GOP mix. He's the antithesis of what the Christianist/Tea Party claims to support. He's a thrice married serial adulterer - so much for the sanctity of marriage - and the consummate corrupt Washington, D.C., insider who has made a fortune playing the system. A column in The Atlantic looks at the quandary that the deranged party base faces if Gingrich were to win the GOP nomination. Here are some highlights:

Gallup finds that 82 percent of Tea Party affiliated voters deem Newt Gingrich an acceptable Republican presidential nominee in 2012. They don't seem to realize that if he wins the nod their movement is doomed, regardless of how the general election goes. The Tea Party cannot support Gingrich without betraying its core principles. But the movement also cannot disclaim him once he is the Republican nominee.

Tea Partiers with a better instinct for self-preservation would see that none of the Mitt Romney alternatives still running would be as corrosive to their cause as the former Speaker of the House.

Support for the War on Terrorism and the invasion of Iraq caused many conservatives to stay loyal to Bush. But that didn't mean they liked No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, the attempt at a guest worker program, TARP, or the Harriet Miers nomination. Especially after the defeat of John McCain, many on the right insisted they'd never again support Bush-Rove conservatism. And Gingrich supported almost all the most controversial Bush-Rove policies!

He [Gingrich] favored No Child Left Behind, an unprecedented federal intervention in education. He supported Medicare Part D, a brand new, budget-busting drug entitlement. He supported "comprehensive immigration reform," perhaps the most divisive-among-conservatives policy initiative of the aughts. He urged the passage of TARP. And he even spoke favorably about the infamous Harriet Miers nomination, a George W. Bush misstep that caused many of his most loyal supporters to rebel.

Another Tea Party talking point is its suspicion of Washington, D.C., insiders. . . . But Gingrich? He is the epitome of the Inside the Beltway insider, and not only because of his long stint in Congress. After retiring, he profited lavishly off connections he made on the taxpayer dime, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars influence-pedaling. Most famously, he got $1.6 million from Freddie Mac, the very entity that many conservatives regard as most culpable for the financial crisis. And then he had the temerity to insist that he was paid as "a historian," an explanation so transparently farcical that it can justifiably be seen as an insult to the intelligence of GOP primary voters.

As if supporting such a man weren't incoherent enough already, a movement that valorizes Joe the Plumber, family values and hockey moms is now rallying behind a long-winded former academic turned career politician with an affinity for private planes, chauffeurs, and buying Tiffany and Co. jewelry for his third wife.

Confronted with Gingrich's heresies, which are sure to spill from his novelty-addled mind regularly, they'd have to decide on their next move: leave or live with it.

Some affiliated voters won't support in good conscience a guy who favored all the things they railed against after it happened under Bush. Others will be disgusted by the revolving door cronyism, and still others will be upset that the Republicans nominated a twice-divorced adulterer (with a record of supporting an individual mandate in health care). There is a small chance that a narrow Gingrich win at the end of a long, drawn out primary, wherein his Tea Party support suffers, could result in a third party run that divides the right side of the political spectrum.

Much more likely is that Republicans, including most Tea Partiers, rally around the GOP nominee, even if it is Gingrich. That might do even more damage to the Tea Party, as it would be the ultimate act of compromising principle and ideological purity for the sake of beating the Democrats.

It would seem worthwhile in the immediate aftermath of a Gingrich win. And then President Gingrich would take office, and proceed to behave like... well, a decades-long Washington insider who supported No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, the attempt at a guest worker program, TARP, and the Harriet Miers nomination. Every conservative betrayal would be a reminder that the Tea Party helped elect just the sort of man they'd so righteously vowed to eschew. The label wouldn't stand for anything anymore.

And a Gingrich loss to Obama? In a world where the Tea Party was seen as responsible for his rise, it would be discrediting, as losses always are for the faction that urges a divisive candidate. Along with the blame game, there'd be four more years of Obama, which Tea Partiers regard as the ultimate failure. No wonder that a Gingrich win is Nancy Pelosi's dark, twisted fantasy.

It seems the Tea Party is looking at a potentially lose - lose situation. Which is fine by me. The cancer of the Christianist/Tea Party element needs to be eradicated.

Is Homophobia Associated with Homosexual Arousal?

I've written before about this question before and based on my personal interactions with some of the professional Christian set and subsequently "outed" members of the GOP, I'd answer a definite yes. And this conclusion was confirmed by a study more than 15 years ago at the University of Georgia. Here's the synopsis of the study from the U.S. National Library of Medicine:


The authors investigated the role of homosexual arousal in exclusively heterosexual men who admitted negative affect toward homosexual individuals. Participants consisted of a group of homophobic men (n = 35) and a group of nonhomophobic men (n = 29); they were assigned to groups on the basis of their scores on the Index of Homophobia (W. W. Hudson & W. A. Ricketts, 1980). The men were exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian videotapes, and changes in penile circumference were monitored. They also completed an Aggression Questionnaire (A. H. Buss & M. Perry, 1992). Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. The groups did not differ in aggression. Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.

The study is most relevant in the wake of the Christianist hysteria over Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's steps to ratchet up pressure on anti-gay nations and Rick Perry's latest ad that glorifies anti-gay political positions (is a coincidence that gay rumors have swirled around Perry for years?). PoliticusUSA has some fun commentary on the closet cases within the GOP and the Christian Right. Here are some highlights:

Darn penises (or peni as The Donald would no doubt say). The Republican Party flees in terror.

I haven’t seen additional studies on this, and one would want to see these results duplicated, but this study does differentiate from arousal that can result from anger and specifies the arousal measured as sexual. I think we can all agree that the penis doesn’t lie as often as a politician or demagogue con artist raking in millions by appealing to hate.

This theory has been out there since Freud posited it. It is predictable that the Republican Party suffers reliable and consistent public humiliation after their most ardent anti-homosexual puppets get busted in public bathrooms doing the dirty deed.

Many theories in psychology account for this other than the homoerotic enlarged penile circumference. There’s projection that allows the person to distance themselves from what they most fear and despise in themselves. There’s denial leading to all kinds of machinations meant to assist in avoiding facing the truth.

And then there’s just common sense. How much energy does it take to hate an entire segment of people, to work tirelessly in order to deny them the right to serve in the military, to marry, to get access to healthcare and the pension of their spouse, even the right to visit their partner in the hospital?

Most people simply don’t care what strangers do with their life. It’s beyond telling when a political party and so called religion come together in service of this kind of hate. Fear often drives the individual; fear of their own desires and fear of their own choices. But the agenda of the political religious group is much more suspect. What do they stand to gain from focusing on something quite irrelevant to most of our daily lives? And more importantly, what are the results of their efforts?

The groups who perpetrate such ugly hate on a national, macro level are not much different from the childhood bully; they’re afraid, they’re attempting to put themselves in a position of power and authority over another group for their own benefit, and they are attempting to pull their group together by singling out those who don’t belong – a tactic often used by weakened groups whose only hope at survival is to divide and conquer.

I've often said that Robert Knight, Tony Perkins - and likely Brian Brown as well - who are just too hysterical about homosexuality need to go out and hire rent boys, satisfy their suppressed desires and move on in their lives and let the rest of us live our lives as we choose. Ditto for all the tortured "ex-gays" for pay.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Local Bigot Pat Robertson Hyperventilates Over Obama LGBT Rights Memorandum

Hardly a month goes by when local anti-gay bigot-in-chief (and in my opinion Christianist shakedown artist extraordinaire) Pat Robertson doesn't shoot off his mouth and spread his batshitery across the airwaves on the 700 Club. Thus, I guess it should have been expected that Robertson would be venting on air following Barack Obama's issuance of his memorandum directing all U.S. agencies to support LGBT rights around the world. Right Wing Watch caught Robertson's rant:

Isn’t it appalling that the United States of America would try to force the acceptance of homosexuality on other nations but at the same time we would not force them to take care of their religious minorities and they would permit discrimination and persecution of Christians? What kind of a country have we got? You know, there is a God in heaven and He is just. Thomas Jefferson, ‘I tremble when I remember that God is just.’ He is just, he is not going to allow this kind of thing to go on forever. This country cannot continue to violate God’s principles and to make a mockery of His laws and think we’re going to get away with it. And when the blow comes, it’s going to be horrible.

What's appalling is the manner in which Robertson enriches himself by demonizing other humans and asking those who can't afford to do so to send him money so that he can continue to live the comfortable good life in his mansion near Regent University. In my opinion, if anyone needs to fear God's wrath, it's Robertson and his fellow modern day Pharisees among the professional Christian set.

Why is the So-Called Christian Press Imposing a Blackout on New Sexual Orientation Research?

As noted in the prior post, Lisa Miller, a kidnapper under federal arrest warrant, claims to be an "ex-gay" even though all of the legitimate medical and mental health associations are of the position that sexual orientation cannot be changed. Despite many new research studies that collectively support this premise and demonstrate the falsity of the "ex-gay" myth, the so-called Christian press - not to mention virulently anti-gay hate groups - seems to conveniently act as if this research and the newer studies don't exist. The reasons are pretty obvious: this research underscores that many pastors, Christian publishers and the anti-gay hate groups are lying to their flocks/subscribers. They care more about denigrating LGBT individuals and pocketing money made by misrepresentation than they do about telling the objective truth. As I note frequently, virtually no one is more dishonest that the "godly Christian" crowd. It seems that in their minds, the truth is whatever is convenient to their anti-gay agenda and will put money in their pockets. They make the money lenders described in the Gospels look like highly ethical and upstanding folks. Warren Throckmorton (pictured above) looks at this phenomenon and the amazement from some among the sheeple who are finding out that they've been deliberately misled. Here are some highlights:

Of late, I have given several talks to a variety of evangelical groups on the current research on sexual orientation. Along the way, I have been contacted by evangelicals who ask about the current status of sexual orientation research. After the conversations and speeches, many questions come up. One question I hear after almost all of these conversations is: Why haven’t we seen anything about these studies?

Many of the questioners read evangelical publications and consume evangelical media. However, they don’t know anything about the brain research of Ivanka Savic in Sweden (2005, 2008) or Adam Safron and colleagues at Northwestern University (since 2005).

They know there is no gay gene but they don’t know about the significant brain, perceptual and cognitive differences reported within the past five years by various researchers around the world.

Many evangelicals believe homosexuality is due to abuse. . . . . they are unaware of the 2010 study by Wilson and Widom’s study which found no relationship between abuse and having a gay partner for men or women (men were more likely to have had at least gay experience in their adult lives but not a recent partner). They are unaware of the 2010 work of Wells in New Zealand that found 81.6% of gays reported no sexual abuse in their lives.

Many evangelicals I speak to think that change of orientation is pretty common and the evidence is being suppressed by the gay-friendly media. . . . When I explain to them what change means in the context of the study, they are surprised. Then I point out the study, also by Mark Yarhouse, that found no change in orientation for men and women in mixed orientation marriages, they wonder why that study was not reported in the media. I wonder the same thing.

I could be wrong but I don’t think any of the studies to which I have referred here have been reported in the Christian press. The Jones and Yarhouse study was reported widely, but the Yarhouse study showing no change among sexual minorities in mixed orientation couples – which is more recent – was not reported anywhere.

Many evangelicals get their information from NARTH through groups like Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Exodus International, etc. Others get information from Christian media. However, these studies are not reported in these places.

I suspect the culture war is to blame. It cannot be because sexual orientation is not news. The issue comes up in the Presidential campaigns and other news all the time. However, evangelicals are quite unprepared to discuss this very current topic with the most recent and best scholarship.

In my view, Christian media and organizations have a responsibility to provide this information to their readers and consumers. Given the backlog of unreported studies, there is plenty of material for their reporting.

If I were Warren, I would not hold my breath waiting for this information to be reported. Candidly, the anti-gay organizations have no desire in reporting the truth. They will lie, distort information, and continue a news blackout on anything that gets in the way of their agenda. Truth and accuracy in reporting are mutually exclusive from the Christian press.

New Arrest in the Lisa Miller Kidnapping Case

There are new developments in the federal kidnapping case of Lisa Miller (pictured at far left in the photo) - the self-proclaimed "former" Lesbian, if you believe the truth and veracity challenged folks at Liberty Counsel - who fled the USA with her daughter in defiance of Vermont Court orders awarding custody to Miller's former partner, Janet Jenkins. A Virginia man from Stuarts Draft, a small town not too far from Liberty Counsel's home base in Lynchburg, Virginia, has been arrested for his involvement in helping Miller flee the USA with her young daughter, Isabella. As noted before in prior posts, some administrative support staff at Liberty Counsel outwardly appear to have perhaps been involved in assisting Miller as well. The Rutland Herald has coverage on these new developments. Here are some highlights:

A Virginia man who federal prosecutors say helped a woman leave the country with her daughter so she wouldn’t have to turn custody of the girl over to her former lesbian partner surrendered Tuesday to face charges he aided in international parental kidnapping.

A complaint unsealed Tuesday said Kenneth L. Miller, 46, of Stuarts Draft, Va., arranged passage for Lisa Miller to travel to Canada before flying with her daughter in September 2009 to Nicaragua, where she was sheltered for a time by a group of Mennonite missionaries.

Kenneth Miller appeared in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Tuesday and was released, said U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin, who would provide no further information about the case.

Earlier this year, prosecutors indicted an American Mennonite missionary living in Nicaragua, Timothy Miller, on charges of helping Lisa Miller reach Central America. In October, prosecutors dropped the charges against Timothy Miller in exchange for his cooperation.

None of the Millers involved in the case is related.

The affidavit made public Tuesday indicated that Timothy Miller had helped provide the information that led to the charges against Kenneth Miller.

The affidavit says Timothy Miller arranged passage for Lisa Miller and her daughter, paying for the tickets with his mother-in-law’s credit card, but Kenneth Miller had told him he would be reimbursed for the price of the tickets.

In the spring of 2010, Lisa Miller was indicted in Vermont on charges of international parental kidnapping.

The latest complaint alleges that Kenneth Miller, a Mennonite pastor, asked another Mennonite pastor from Ontario, whose name was redacted from the affidavit, to meet Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella, now 11, at a hotel in Niagara, Ontario. In Ontario, that pastor picked Lisa Miller and her daughter up at the hotel and took them to the airport in Toronto, where they flew to Mexico and then Central America.

If convicted of aiding in international parental kidnapping, Kenneth Miller could be sentenced to three years in prison.

Of course what many of us would like to see ultimately surface is involvement by Matt Staver or others on the legal staff of Liberty Counsel. The organization, which files lawsuits on behalf of right wing Christianist groups, in my opinion, needs to be shut down.

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

The GOP's Disingenuous "Concern" for African Americans

Just when you think the hypocrisy of today's GOP cannot possibly reach more absurd heights, someone in the GOP Congressional delegation proves that assumption wrong. A case in point is Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, who is pushing for restrictions on abortion out of supposed concerns for African Americans. This from the same political party that is working incessantly to reduce African American voting rights through voter ID requirements, etc., opposes affirmative action plans, is populated by Christianists/Tea Party members who barely seek to hide their white supremacist leanings, and that wants to cut funding for numerous programs that benefit African Americans. It's like Hitler claiming to have concerns for the welfare of Jews. A column in the Washington Post looks at this ridiculous posturing that's enough to make one want to vomit. Here are some highlights:

Rep. Trent Franks established his credentials as a civil rights leader last year when the Arizona Republican argued that, because of high abortion rates in black communities, African Americans were better off under slavery.

But the congressman doesn’t just talk the talk. On Tuesday, he chaired a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on legislation he is introducing that would protect African American women from themselves — by making it harder for them to have abortions.

Orwellian naming aside, the House Republicans’ civil rights gambit (which follows passage of a similar bill in Franks’s Arizona and marks an attempt to get an abortion bill to the House floor before year’s end) points to an interesting tactic among conservatives: They have taken on a new, and somewhat suspect, interest in the poor and in the non-white.

Newt Gingrich, now threatening Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination, tried a similar argument when he argued for the elimination of “truly stupid” child labor laws and suggested that students could replace the janitors in their schools. He further explained that he was trying to help children in poor neighborhoods who have “no habits of working.”

Developer Donald Trump, who owns a Virginia country club that counts Gingrich as a member, announced this week that he would join with Gingrich to help “kids in very, very poor schools” — by extending his “Apprentice” TV reality show concept to all of 10 lucky kids.

This “fun” might sound less patronizing if these conservatives displayed a similar concern for the well-being of the poor and the non-white during debates over budget cuts. But, whatever the motives, lawmakers and conservative activists were not bashful when they held a pre-hearing news conference Tuesday, standing beside posters directed at Latinos and African Americans (“black children are an endangered species”).

“It is horrific that in America today, babies are being killed based on their race and based on their sex,” protested Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America. Other participants in the news conference suggested that Planned Parenthood is “excited to take money specifically earmarked to kill a black baby” and linked abortion-rights advocates to eugenics, euthanasia and the Holocaust.

“This morning, you can walk into a clinic and get an abortion if you find out your child is African American,” said Patrick Mahoney, a conservative activist. If you find out your child is African American? So a black woman would have an abortion because she discovers — surprise! — that her fetus is also black?

Before the audience had a chance to digest that, Mahoney began shouting about how abortion is “lynching” — frightening a child in the front row, who cried out and hugged his mother.

And people wonder why I fled the Republican Party? Anyone with a shred of honesty and integrity needs to run screaming from this crowd.