Saturday, June 16, 2012
One of the objectives of this blog is to support the rights of LGBT citizens and also to expose hypocrisy be it in politics, religion or sometimes even in LGBT organizations. One of the biggest groups of hypocrites one sees nowadays is the hate filled and fear and bigotry motivated members of the so-called Christian Right - individuals I often refer to as Christianists or Christofascists so as to distinguish them from the "good Christians" if you will. An example of their hypocrisy invokes boycotts of businesses. When some supporters of Proposition 8 for example had their businesses boycotted or picketed by LGBT activists, the Christofascist claimed that they were being persecuted and intimidated. But these same people have no problem in trying to threaten and intimidate businesses that do not conform to the Christianist anti-gay agenda. Among those who almost constantly call for their Kool-Aid drinking followers to boycott gay friendly businesses are the American Family Association, a registered hate group, the National Organization for marriage, and of late the "One Million Moms" which more likely involves a handful of women who might be better described as bitches or shrews.
One of the latest targets of the anti-gay agenda of these modern day Pharisees is JC Penney which ran the ad set out above in their Father's Day catalog. This cad campaign followed Penny's signing of Ellen Degeneres as a spokeswoman. When confronted by the forces of hate and bigotry, JC Penney's basically told the bigots to kiss their ass. And some sources suggest that the company went a step further and blogged e-mails coming from the One Million Bitches webpage.
Sum of Us has put together a webpage where a message of support can be sent to JC Penney thanking the company for its refusal to back down in the face of demands from bigots who despise the constitutional rights to freedom of religion and free speech for anyone except themselves. Consider signing the letter here. Better yet, go shop and JC Penney.
|The view from our table - click image to enlarge|
Today was a gorgeous day and Pridefest attendance appeared to at least match last year's level. The day was warm and sunny even if a bit windy. HR Pride had a great booth to market Out in the Park on August 18th and there were assorted food vendors and other merchant booths. Both HRC and Equality North Carolina also had good contingents. We spent the day listening to music, a moving testimonial by Diane Midgett who founded Brandon's Beacon of Hope, the beneficiary of the net profits from Pridefest 2012, in honor of her late son Brandon. (More on this story tomorrow when I'm less "cocktailed") and lazing by the pool with many other festival attendees. A sizable contingent of friends from Hampton Roads are attending and shortly we will be headed to an ocean front beach house south of the First Colony Inn for an impromptu birthday party for one of our Hampton Roads friends.
A part of the package here at the First Colony Inn was a gift certificate at Pamlico Jack's restaurant across the by-pass road from the Inn. Pamlico Jack's offers a panoramic view across Pamlico Sound towards Manteo Island to the west and breath taking sunsets (see below). Better yet, as part of Pridefest, a great pre fixe menu was available this evening. The food was wonderful as was our server, Erin, who truly went out of her way to make sure the dining experience was exceptional.
Tomorrow should be another good weather day and promises lots of fun and sunshine. Those who did not make the trip down have missed out on something most enjoyable.
Not to sound mean spirited, but I do have to wonder if Mitt Romney, as a child of both wealth and political privilege, has ever had to take real risks or worry about financial burdens and serious discrimination. Yes, he's Mormon and has had to face anti-Mormon bigotry and he's had to deal with his wife's illness. But those pesky problems of keeping a roof over one's head, paying the grocery bills and living pay check to pay check that most of us have to worry about are likely an unknown concept to Romney. And in terms of political risk, Romney has likewise never exhibited any real daring and instead seems to have typically pivoted to what he thought was expected either by his church or his perceived constituency. In short, Romney has rarely been challenged and always played it safe based on his cultural/religious perspective. Barack Obama, as a mixed race individual form modest means has been forced to live a very different life path. And now that vastly different journey seems to be showing as Obama steps out on the limb on gay rights and immigration while Romney takes the "safe" short term approach. Then of course, there is also Romney's almost pathological lying about Obama "spending like a drunken sailor" which is an utter lie as the chart below confirms. Here are highlights from a Washington Post article that looks at the divergent approaches of Obama with Obama showing daring and leadership while Romney remains a follower:
There’s not much President Barack Obama can do to boost the economy in the next five months, and that alone might cost him the November election. But on a range of social issues, Obama is bypassing Congress and aggressively using his executive powers to make it easier for gays to marry, women to obtain birth control, and, now, young illegal immigrants to avoid deportation.
It’s a political gamble that might fire up conservatives, many of whom remain cool to Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Democrats think it’s more likely to inspire enthusiasm among groups that were crucial to Obama’s 2008 victory — young voters, women and Hispanics.
Romney is the play-it-safe candidate, rarely straying from his jobs-and-economy talking points and sharply limiting encounters with national reporters. Romney took six hours Friday to offer a short and carefully worded comment that criticized Obama’s new immigration policy for not providing “a long-term solution.”
Romney didn’t say whether he would overturn it if elected. But by noting “it can be reversed by subsequent presidents,” he might have sown doubts in the minds of some young illegal immigrants studying the policy.
Obama looks like the bigger risk-taker. He doesn’t have many options. He is constrained by a complex, interrelated and frail global economy, and by a Republican-run House. Together, they severely limit his ability to influence the struggling U.S. economy . . .
Democrats enjoy a hefty edge among Hispanic voters, and some GOP strategists fear Romney is widening the gap. In the primaries, Romney criticized one rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for granting in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants. The former Massachusetts governor also distanced himself from opponent Newt Gingrich’s call for making it clear the United States will not deport illegal immigrants who have led stable, crime-free lives in the United States for many years.
Sidestepping Congress, where immigration proposals have languished for years, Obama acted to make illegal immigrants immune from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED diploma or certificate, or served in the military.
With significant economic gains so hard to achieve, a possible route is to be seen as expanding or protecting the rights of gays and lesbians, young Hispanics and young women.
Republican consultant Mike McKenna said Obama’s advisers “have obviously made a decision that they are going to win this election by energizing the base. Between this decision and the gay marriage emphasis, they have doubled down on their core and moved away from where most registered voters are.”
But Democratic campaign veteran Doug Thornell sees more gains than risks in Obama’s immigration decision. “The Republican base is pretty inspired to beat Obama already,” Thornell said. For persuadable voters, he said, “this is in keeping with a president who does big and bold things.” Romney, he said, is “pretty vanilla.”
Nothing offends me more that liars - especially liars who claim to be religious and wrap themselves in the mantle of religiosity while betraying the Gospel message. Mitt Romney is such a liar in my opinion.
Having been in the closet for 37 years before coming out and struggled to be "straight" during a more than two decade long marriage, I know full well that one's sexuality doesn't change no matter how much you lie to yourself and others whom you love. Thus, I refrained from writing about Josh Weed a Mormon who admits he's gay but claims he's happily married to a woman. Someone is lying and I suspect it's Weed and his wife who are lying to themselves and to each other because of the religious brainwashing that both of them suffered growing up. And none of this is intended to say that Weed doesn't love his wife. All those years in the closet, I DID love my wife. I just could not be what she really wanted or deserved. And despite Weed's unspoken claim that "one can have it all" if one decides to follow his path, the truth is that you cannot. No matter how "robust" he claims his sex life is with his wife, the cynic in me cannot help but wonder what/who he's really thinking about when he's having sex. I suspect that he's lying to himself out of religious based guilt. And his wife's lying to herself that she's not being cheated somehow. Some like Andrew Sullivan gushed that one should be free to live their life however they want be it gay or straight. That's true so long as you do not then take the next step and try to force others to follow your route or the route that others are pushing upon them.
Having reviewed the website for Life STAR Washington where Josh Weed is employed as a therapist, it looks like Weed has lied about other things. This clinic and its treatment of "pornography addiction and unwanted sexually compulsive behaviors" looks strikingly like Marcus Bachmann's "Christian counseling" clinic that pushes reparative therapy. And note the shame language. Yes, that form of therapy that the APA condemns and which the State of California may make illegal for those under the age of 18 years. What's really frightening is that Life Star Washington is gearing up to launch a full blown youth division. One can only wonder how many LGBT youth will be damaged by such a program.
Oh, and did I mention, the costs for this "12 step" witch doctor like therapy? It's quite lucrative for the therapists: to take the full blown treatment program over a course of a year or two equates to thousands of dollars per patient - or should I say victim. Here's the discretely worded language of how Life STAR Washington describes itself:
LifeSTAR Washington is a three-phase treatment program aimed at helping individuals who struggle with pornography addiction and unwanted sexually compulsive behaviors. The phases of treatment build on one another providing a long-term and comprehensive approach to eliminating addictive/compulsive sexual behaviors.
LifeSTAR Washington provides participants with a combination of group therapy, education, tools, and resources to help overcome unwanted sexually compulsive behaviors. Partners receive strong support and guidance as to how they can best manage their life as they live with someone struggling with sexual addiction.
While homosexuality is never explicitly mentioned, the coded language would seem to have it as one f its targeted "compulsive behaviors." Wee may claim that he takes a "live and let live" approach to sexual orientation, but his clinic seems to tell a different story and seems to be peddling the same old "ex-gay" snake oil.
Personally, I support Barack Obama's surprise announcement that the young illegal aliens born in the USA or brought here in early childhood who have lived their entire lives and gone to school in America will not be summarily deported. Frankly, it's the morally correct thing to do - even the true Christian thing to do, if you will. However, I'm sure that the immigrant haters - many of whom are little more than white supremacists absent the white robes and hoods - in the GOP (many of whom meanwhile hypocritically wrap themselves in religion) will be less than pleased. And the situation will force Mitt Romney to take a position that will either appease the anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic GOP base or utterly alienate many in the fast growing Hispanic demographic. Romney's disingenuous song and dance as he likely tries to be all things to all people will be interesting to watch. Here are highlights from a New York Times piece:
In many ways, President Obama’s unilateral shift in immigration policy was a bluntly political move, a play for a key voting bloc in the states that will decide whether he gets another term. But as political moves go, it held the potential for considerable payoff.
It sent a clear signal to fast-growing Hispanic populations in Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and other states that he understood their frustration at his lack of progress so far in addressing problems with the immigration system and reducing the number of deportations.After two weeks in which his re-election campaign often seemed to be struggling to cope with events and losing the upper hand to Mitt Romney, Mr. Obama, for a day at least, was able to drive the agenda. And the president’s announcement put Mr. Romney, whose party is already split on the issue, in a tough spot, pressuring him to choose between further alienating Latino voters who chafed at the anti-illegal immigration stances he took in the primary season and alienating conservatives who reject policies resembling amnesty.The timing of the announcement appeared to have been carefully calibrated. Next week, Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama are scheduled to appear before a group of Hispanic elected officials on successive days in Florida, a ready-made opportunity for the president to draw a contrast in their positions before a swing-state audience.
[P]olling suggests considerable public opposition in both parties to deporting people already in the country illegally, and support for steps that would allow otherwise law-abiding young people who arrived in the United States illegally to stay.
Democrats have long seen immigration as the best example of how Mr. Romney’s move to the right during the bitterly contested Republican primary could complicate his ability to create a broad general election coalition. During the primary season, Mr. Romney opposed the Dream Act, proposed legislation that would have allowed many young illegal immigrants to remain in the country and would have given them a path to citizenship. As he has moved into the general election and confronted the need to compete for Latino voters, his campaign has tried to finesse the issue by saying that the focus of his outreach to Hispanics would be on jobs and the economy, and his initial response to Mr. Obama’s decision on Friday was to focus less on its substance than its unilateral nature.
Congressional Republicans were more pointed in their criticism, but they too were careful not to oppose some kind of solution to the problem of young people who are in the country illegally but who are productive, otherwise law-abiding residents.
Their caution reflected concern within the Republican Party that they are at risk of giving up a chance to win the political allegiance of Hispanics, not just for this election but for years to come.
Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, called this week for the party to do more to connect with Hispanic voters. And just before Mr. Obama’s announcement, former Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi told reporters in Washington on Friday that Republicans, for political and business reasons, should support plans to let workers who are not citizens stay in the country.
Some advisers have argued that Mr. Romney has more to lose by exposing himself to charges of shifting positions over illegal immigration than he has to gain by appealing to a slice of the Latino constituency that ranks immigration a top concern — because those voters already support Mr. Obama.
We arrived in Nags Head last night without mishap and settled in to the First Colony Inn in a nice second floor room that faces to Ocean (the Inn is three stories). The room has antique furniture, a small kitchenette, and a veranda on two sides that looks across the beach toward the ocean on one side and out across Pamlico Sound on the other. Built in 1932 and renovated when moved from the encroaching ocean, the place has a real old-style beach feel to it. The photo above is a sunrise view.
We arrived too late to catch the sunset cruise but did make it to Michael Walters' show "Show Tunes Made Me Gay" which was wonderful funny. On Sunday, Walters will be doing his Dame Edna show which is supposed to be great as well. The main Pride events begin today at 12:00 noon here on the First Colony Inn property which include spacious lawns and shade trees and a nice pool complex (see the aerial view below). I will post more after the breakfast (eggs, bacon, waffles, cereal, muffins, English muffins, fruit, etc., etc.) included in the room charge. BTW, it's a gorgeous sunny day!
Breakfast was good and the vendors are setting up. And in not too long the event will be underway. We have a number of friends down from Hampton Roads and HP Pride will have a booth promoting "Out in the Park" on August 18th.
One thing that can always be depended upon with House of Delegates member Bob Marshall is that he will repeatedly reveal what a truly foul and hate filled man is is in fact. And his hatred for LGBT Virginians is near pathological. The man has openly said that he'd be happy to drive all gays from Virginia. And now that the Richmond Circuit Court judges have played an end run around Marshall's and heinous bigots at The Family Foundation, the spittle is flying fast and furiously from Marshall's lips. The reality is that Marshall is quickly becoming utterly outside the main stream even in the delusional Republican Party of Virginia - his 5% showing in this past week's GOP primary is telling. Now he's lashing out at Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell for his approval of the Circuit Court end run - which I believe is part of McDonnell's desperate attempt to appear to be less extreme - and the few fellow members of the GOP who aren't knuckle dragging Neanderthals. WTVR-TV looks at Marshall's conniption fit and thinly veiled threats aimed at the judges who placed qualifications over religious based hatred. Here are highlights:
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – One day after Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall questioned whether fellow Republican delegate Manoli Loupassi backed openly-gay Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland for a judgeship because Thorne-Begland donated to Loupassi’s campaign, the Richmond lawmaker dismissed Del. Marshall’s accusation.
“Bob got five percent this week,” Del. Loupassi (R – Richmond) said in reference to Del. Marshall’s showing during the Virginia primary in which Del. Marshall (R – Prince William) lost his bid to be the Republican candidate for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat. “He’s had a bad week. I forgive him.”
During a phone interview with CBS 6 Thursday, Del. Marshall said he planned to sponsor a bill forbidding lawmakers from sponsoring or voting for a judicial candidates if that candidate had given money to the lawmaker in the previous five years.
Last month Del. Marshall organized state lawmakers to reject Thorne-Begland’s judicial nomination. Del. Marshall argued Thorne-Begland’s history as a gay rights activist made him unfit to be a judge. Thursday, the Richmond Circuit Court circumvented lawmakers and appointed Thorne-Begland to an interim seat on the bench.
“We appointed the judges who appointed him. So they are calling into question our own judgment. That is not smart, on the part of these circuit court judges,” said Del. Marshall in a phone interview with CBS 6. “To place someone on the board like that who, when he was offered an opportunity to rebut a presumption that he wasn’t committing a felony, under the uniform code of military justice, declined to do so, is a disgrace.”
During the phone interview, Del. Marshall also questioned whether it was proper for Del. Loupassi, who practices law in Richmond, to potentially argue a case before Thorne-Begland given the pair’s financial and political relationship.
“I am a practicing attorney. I win some and I lose some,” Del. Loupassi said. “The reason why you’re losing and the reason why you’re winning is because the judges are making determinations not based upon the lawyer whose in front of them, but based upon the facts that they hear.” Del. Loupassi said Thorne-Begland would have an opportunity to remove himself from a case should be feel uncomfortable.
And as noted, Marshall is really peeved with Bob McDonnell. Here are highlights from the Richmond-Times Dispatch on Marshall's spittle flecked comments about McDonnell:
Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William said Friday that Gov. Bob McDonnell's support for what Marshall called the "end run" appointment of Tracy Thorne-Begland to a Richmond judgeship "encourages judicial usurpation" of a power that the state constitution gives to legislators.
Tucker Martin, a spokesman for McDonnell, said Thursday: "The governor believes Mr. Thorne-Begland is well-qualified to serve on the bench. He congratulates him on the appointment."
On Friday, Marshall released to the media an email he had sent the governor. "Your support of this judicial appointment by circuit judges means you hold the appointed judiciary to be a branch of Virginia's government superior to the branch elected by the people, the General Assembly," Marshall wrote.
"We can and do differ over the alleged qualifications of this nominee. And I note that your endorsement of the nominee considerably relaxes the standards as to what constitutes disqualifying factors for judicial appointments. I and others are stunned by your open embrace of the judicial activists on the Richmond Circuit Court who have effectively usurped a constitutional power belonging to the General Assembly by selecting a nominee after he was rejected by the assembly."
Friday, June 15, 2012
UPDATED VERSION: There's yet more bad news for the Christofascists and their "ex-gay for pay" puppets who strive to keep alive the myth that sexual orientation can change and that being gay is a "choice" this time in the form of new research out of Italy. The study confirms that sexual orientation is genetic - even while it seems counter intuitive - and is offset in family genetic lines by the increased fertility of women who carry the homosexual gene. Thus, the argument of the Catholic Church and the Christianists that homosexuality goes against "natural law" - a concept developed in the 13th century, a time of abject ignorance on matters of science, biology and genetics - is false when the countering benefit for perpetuation of the species is factored in. Indeed, the Catholic Church's anti-gay arguments based on "natural law" rank right up there with condemnation of Galileo. Not that the Church ever seems to learn from its enormous number of past mistakes. Here are excerpts from Think Progress:
Italian researchers have made a new discovery that solidifies the understand that homosexuality — at least in men — has a strong genetic component. Though this study does not identify a specific gay gene, which probably does not exist, it does demonstrate what role genetics play.
Andrea Camperio Ciani at the University of Padova discovered that the mothers and maternal aunts of gay men tend to have significantly more offspring than those of straight men. Tthere seems to be at least one gene on the X chromosome that creates a trade-off in men and women. The men turn out gay (and hypothetically less likely to reproduce), but the women’s fecundity increases, making them more likely to have more offspring. In a sense, the gene makes men more attracted to men, but the women more attractive to men. Not only are they more fertile and have less complications during pregnancy, but these women are also more extroverted and have few family problems and social anxieties.
This is called the “balancing selection hypothesis,” and it effectively demonstrates how male homosexuality —as documented not only in humans but hundreds of species — does not actually contradict expectations that evolution favors reproduction. Still, homosexuality is clearly not determined by a single factor. Studies have shown, for example, that exposure to certain levels of hormones in the womb can play a role in sexuality. . . . . But this research may help explain why female sexuality tends to be more fluid while men’s tends to be more fixed; this “trade-off” gene may just not be playing the same role.
Scientists may never fully identity what complex combination of factors determines sexuality, but there is still plenty of evidence to conclude that it is natural and healthy part of human diversity. With each new discovery about the nature of homosexuality, discrimination against people for being gay becomes more repugnantly indefensible.
After work the boyfriend and I are headed down to OBX Pridefest in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the weekend. We have dog sitters/house sitters lined up and the weather forecast is great. Last years event was great fun and we expect the same this year. We will be staying at the First Colony Inn (pictured above and below) - a historic inn that was moved to save it - which is at the center of the Pridefest events. The event represents more than just a beach party since net profits will go to support charitable organizations:
After receiving our 501c3 tax exempt status in February, the board of directors of OBX Pride, Inc. has announced our parnership with a local Dare County based HIV-AIDS assistance nonprofit called "Brandon's Beacon of Hope--HIV-AIDS Foundation". BBH will become our 2nd charity recipient (last year it was the Outer Banks Hotline for battered spouses and children). This group will be working with the regional medical professions to offer absolute private services and assistance to victims of HIV-AIDS in the Northeast region of North Carolina. Up until now, those needing assistance had to travel to metropolitan areas to receive care, and thus, the number of victims in Dare County and the surrounding regions has gone unreported. We are trying to change that and we hope you can help. Even though people are living much longer lives with HIV, the average cost to these people is $367,000 for the rest of their lives. Your donation or sponsorship of OBX Pridefest, our biggest fundraiser of the year, will help us help BBH. Any profits made from OBX Pridefest (after we have paid our bills) will be donated to BBH.I hope Hampton Roads readers and readers in Northeast North Carolina will consider driving down and joining the fun. As noted in prior posts, Dare County was the only non-metropolitan, non-university related county in North Carolina to reject Amendment One.
Since its release the far right funded "study" on gay parenting has been increasingly ripped apart for its flawed methodology and bizarrely fabricated "sample" of children of LGBT parents. Like many of the right wing funded faux studies, it seemed to decide what it wanted to conclude and then cooked the data to support the preordained result. Box Turtle Bulletin has another good take down on the "report" and the American Psychological Association ("APA") has joined the fray and slammed the study and rejected its conclusions. First, these highlights from The Advocate on the APA's slamming of the biased report:
A recent study called into question the ability of gay parents to raise well-rounded children, but the report has been widely blasted as biased, manipulative, and agenda-based. Now the American Psychological Association has stepped in to reiterate its belief that gay parents are just as good as straight parents.
"On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the American Psychological Association and other health, professional, and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation," the APA announced on its website earlier this week. "That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. This body of research has shown that the adjustment, development, and psychological well-being of children are unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish."
The APA was responding to the "New Family Structures Study," which called into question the effectiveness of gay parenting. . . . . . for the most part, the paper doesn't even look at same-sex couples raising a child together in a longterm committed relationship."
Many of the study's children considered to be raised in gay households were not being raised by parents in a committed same-sex relationship, whereas many of the children in heterosexual households had two married parents. Children of parents who had at one time in their lives been in a same-sex relationship were considered to be part of a "gay household."
It comes as no surprise that NOM and the Mormon Church have jumped on the flawed study as support for their demonizing of LGBT individuals and families. As noted, Box Turtle Bulletin looks at the study's author as he proves unable to refute the blistering attacks. Here are excerpts:
Children whose “moms had a lesbian relationship” weren’t necessarily “raised in a same-sex household” — the children might have never even met their mother’s lesbian partner, much less have been raised by her. Jim Burroway has done some great work pointing this out, and I’d like to extend it. In fact, I’d like to go so far as to show that Regnerus himself admits that he has, well, nothing.
Regnerus’s team interviewed 15,058 people. Few of them had a gay parent; even fewer lived with their gay parent’s partner for a significant time; and fewer still came from what Regnerus calls a “‘planned’ gay family.”
A couple points:
- Regnerus is fond of talking about “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers,” but he defines them as adults who have ever had a same-sex romantic relationship, even if it only happened once, even if it only lasted a few days.
Back to those numbers, though. Regnerus obviously can’t draw any conclusions male same-sex parenting based on a sample of less than 1. How about lesbian same-sex parenting? Is his sample of 30-45 respondents enough to significantly describe the broader population? No. Not unless the total nation-wide population of adults raised by two lesbian parents is about 50 or fewer.
- Regnerus has no data on “planned gay families.” He derived those numbers from looking at “respondents who claimed that (1) their biological parents were never married or lived together, and that (2) they never lived with a parental opposite-sex partner or with their biological father.” The numbers are a guess.
Now here’s why this is so ugly.
- In the study’s introduction, Regnerus frames it as an examination of same-parenting and a corrective to flaws in earlier, positive studies on same-sex parenting.
- But Regnerus’s data on same-sex parenting contains the same sample-size flaws for which he which criticized those other studies.
- So once he leaves his introduction and enters analysis, he abandons all pretense of studying same-sex parenting and focuses instead on parents who have ever had a same-sex romantic relationship, regardless of whether they raised a child with that same-sex partner.
- Nevertheless, he does not correct his introduction in order to frame the issue properly.
And finally, he grants interviews to conservative outlets, claiming that his study shows the harm of same-sex parenting, even though his own words, in his own study, demonstrate that he knows his sample size is just too damn small to say anything with confidence.
Indeed, Regnerus' work is reminiscent of the biased crap that Paul Cameron has churned out over the years to provide the anti-gay Christofascists with faux expert "studies" to support their unrelenting campaign of anti-gay hate and bigotry. One has to in fact wonder how a reputable university could allow a faculty member to turn out a report that will result in little but embarrassment and derision.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
As early readers of this blog know, growing up my family had a summer home on Brantingham Lake in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. While the home is again owned within the family (other than an interlude in the the mid 1970's and 1980's, it's been in the family since 1938), I have not been back in many, many years for numerous reasons, not the least of which is that I don't want magic memories lessened by a current reality. It was a period when I as a closeted gay teen boy could feel almost normal and excel in sailing, canoeing and slalom water skiing. The rest of the year outside of snow skiing was far less happy. A group on Facebook posted the image above which is a postcard view from about the time period that I enjoyed those wonderful summers - and experienced unspoken crushes. I truly don't think I'd have survived but for the lake house and my summer friends.
The Boston Globe has an article that will make Maggie Gallagher and her fellow self-enriching hate merchants see red. It looks at the possibility that the forces of hate and bigotry led by the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") may well lose the anti-gay ballot initiatives in Washington State and Maine. It would break a streak of bigotry not seen since the states of the South enacted Jim Crow laws after the end of Reconstruction following the Civil War. A time period that saw the rise of the KKK and similar white supremacy organizations many of which like NOM and its Christianist allies used the Bible to justify their vicious hate and bigotry. One can only hope that the analysis proves accurate an that NOM and its fellow bigots go down to abject defeat. Here are some article highlights:
OLYMPIA, Wash.—Opponents of gay marriage have an unblemished track record in U.S. elections, chalking up 32 victories in 32 public votes.
They've won in blue states and red ones, among the most heavily religious areas and among the least-churched. North Carolina punctuated the winning streak just last month by comfortably approving a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions.
Gay marriage supporters are optimistic that they can end their losing ways this year, with four states voting on the issue in November. They're particularly encouraged by the prospects in Washington and Maine.
Here are five reasons why same-sex marriage proponents have a decent shot at success in 2012:
WASHINGTON: Officials certified a gay marriage referendum on Tuesday, meaning Washingtonians will decide the issue this fall. Voters upheld an "everything but marriage" law in a similar referendum vote three years ago, approving it by a 53-47 margin. . . . . Lawmakers comfortably approved gay marriage earlier this year as political leaders such as Gov. Chris Gregoire talked about how their views on the issue had changed. However gay marriage opponents are not conceding anything yet.
REPUBLICANS: Six Republican lawmakers in Washington voted in favor of the gay marriage legislation, and a leading GOP candidate for attorney general also declared his support. Republican Rep. Maureen Walsh, who represents conservative territory in eastern Washington anchored by Walla Walla, said she believes opinions on the issue are changing even there. "My district is far more receptive to it than they've ever been in the past," she said.
POLLS: A recent poll conducted by consulting firm Strategies 360 found that 54 percent of likely Washington voters think it should be legal for same-sex couples to get married, though the survey didn't specifically ask them how they'll vote on Referendum 74. Public support nationally has also been increasing steadily, . . . .
MAINE: Maine voters rejected gay marriage three years ago by a 53-47 margin, and activists have been working over the past two years to change voter opinions. They believe there are positive trends, especially since several of the states that have legal same-sex marriage are New England neighbors -- New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut. The Legislature in New Hampshire, now controlled by Republicans, considered repealing that state's gay marriage law this year but ultimately rejected that effort.
OBAMA: President Barack Obama's recent declaration of support for gay marriage was celebrated as a key endorsement among gay rights groups. He remains comparatively popular in Washington, with 53 percent approving of his work and 43 percent disapproving, according to the Strategies 360 poll. . . . . David Farmer, who is leading efforts to legalize gay marriage in Maine, said Obama's statement galvanized supporters and also echoed the views of people on the fence. "The way he talked about his evolution is very similar to what we see people talking about when we go to door-to-door," Farmer said.
In an amazing turn of events after the Christofascists at The Family Foundation and the mentally deranged and homophobic Del. Bob Marshall torpedoed his appointment to the Richmond District Court Bench, Tracy Thorne-Begland (pictured at left) has been appointed by the Richmond Circuit Court judges to fill a District Court vacancy. The Circuit Court judges move follows an unusual move by five Richmond based mega law firms - a veritable who's who in the Virginia legal world - that jointly signed a letter addressed to the Circuit Court judges urging them to appoint Thorne-Begland and decrying the bigotry that was evidenced by his treatment by the Virginia House of Delegates. Hopefully this turn of events will embolden other businesses and corporations to send a strong message that they - and many of us regular citizens - are over the Family Foundation dictating state laws and policy. Victoria Cobb and her coven of haters at The Family Foundation need to be sent slinking back into the political wilderness or whatever dark swamps or nether regions that they crawled out from. They are an embarrassment to Virginia and they need to step into the 21st century. Here are highlights from the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
The Richmond Circuit Court has appointed Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland to fill the judicial vacancy created when the House of Delegates rejected his nomination to the Richmond General District Court bench last month. He is the first openly gay judge in Virginia.The appointment is a vindication of sorts for Thorne-Begland and his supporters, who felt his rejection by the GOP-controlled House of Delegates last month was primarily motivated by the fact that he is openly gay.It is also a bold move for the judges of the Richmond Circuit Court, who know his interim appointment to the bench could face political opposition when it comes up for review next year in the legislature. The judges did not act in a vaccuum, however.The May 15 vote in the House sparked a measure of outrage in the legal community, as well as among local elected officials, Democrats, moderate Republicans and a number of organizations representing civil liberties and gay rights.Earlier this week, five of Richmond's most prominent private attorneys, representing politically influential law firms, sent a letter to the Richmond Circuit Court expressing support for Thorne-Begland. And on Wednesday, an internal Republican memo surfaced that rebutted opposition leveled by several Republicans with military backgrounds over Thorne-Begland's military record as a Naval flight offcer.The memo, written by Del. Richard L. Morris, R-Isle of Wight -- a 22-year Navy veteran and military law attorney -- argued that Thorne-Begland had not violated military law or his oath in publicly stating his opposition to the military's policy against gays in the armed forces.Tracy Thorne-Begland has released a statement about his appointment as a general district court judge."I am humbled by the Circuit Court's decision," said Thorne-Begland, who serves as Richmond's chief deputy commonwealth's attorney under Commonwealth's Attorney Michael N. Herring.Thorne-Begland's appointment to the 13th Judicial District in the Manchester Courthouse takes effect July 1."I look forward to serving the citizens of the city of Richmond as a jurist, and over the coming months, I hope that my service provides comfort to all Virginians that I remain committed to the faithful application of the laws and Constitutions of Virginia and the United States of America."Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Gov. Bob McDonnell, said: "The governor believes Mr. Thorne-Begland is well-qualified to serve on the bench. He congratulates him on the appointment."
It is ironic that Victoria Cobb - head Christofascist at The Family Foundation made this remark about the Circuit Court judges' rebuke of her organization's rank bigotry:
"As a member of the court, he now has the responsibility to uphold the Constitution, not apply his own personal, political agenda or viewpoint," said Victoria Cobb, president of the Christian conservative group, The Family Foundation. "Because of our efforts, he will be watched very closely in the coming years, particularly if he is elevated to any higher court in the future." Cobb said she hoped the "incident" would prompt deeper scrutiny of future judicial candidates.
The Family Foundation and Ms. Cobb do not give a rat's ass for the Constitution and the law. It is ALL about their personal agenda of turning Virginia into a theocracy governed by the Christianist equivalent of Sharia law. Ms. Cobb and The Family Foundation represent one of the most insidious forces of evil and threats to constitutional government in the Commonwealth. It's safe to assume that if her lips are moving, she's lying.
While the Christianists disseminate hate and discord against gays, immigrants, non-whites and non-Christians among others and the Catholic Church leadership continues to demonstrate that it is morally bankrupt, younger Americans are watching and drawing their own conclusions about religion. And increasingly, that conclusion is that they don't need or want religion and all of its poisonous attributes. The chart above from Talking Points Memo that reflects new Pew Research findings shows clearly who belief in God and religion is plummeting among the under 30 set. I'm sure the self-congratulatory professional Christians and the Catholic bishops will blame the situation on "secular society" but I suspect the real reason is because the Christians in America are killing Christianity. Given the hate and violence that seem to be the principal hallmarks of Christianity nowadays, that's probably a good thing. Here are highlights from the TPM article:
The younger generation is abandoning God in droves. A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that belief in the existence of God has dropped 15 points in the last five years among Americans 30 and under. Pew, which has been studying the trend for 25 years, finds that just 68 percent of millennials in 2012 agree with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God.” That’s down from 76 percent in 2009 and 83 percent in 2007. Among other generations, belief in God is high and has seen few changes in recent decades.
The trend was also reflected in declining numbers of millennials who agreed with the statements “Prayer is an important part of my daily life” and “We all will be called before God at the Judgment Day to answer for our sins.” Answers to those questions also didn’t change much among older generations.
The hypocrisy and disingenuousness of the Roman Catholic Church leadership remains stunning. While feigning contrition for the organized crime like world wide policy of enabling and then covering up for predator priests who preyed on children and youths, the Church continues to fight tooth and claw to avoid being held accountable for such heinous abuse - abuse that sometimes pushed victims to drugs, alcohol and suicide. The spectacle of the criminal trial still ongoing in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the implication of at least two cardinals in the deliberate protection of predators with absolutely no concern for victims should make any thinking Catholic want to head for the church door. Sadly, as the New York Times reports the Catholic Church leadership is doing everything possible to kill efforts to extend the statute of limitations which would allow more victims recourse for their abuse. Here are article excerpts:
While the first criminal trial of a Roman Catholic church official accused of covering up child sexual abuse has drawn national attention to Philadelphia, the church has been quietly engaged in equally consequential battles over abuse, not in courtrooms but in state legislatures around the country.The fights concern proposals to loosen statutes of limitations, which impose deadlines on when victims can bring civil suits or prosecutors can press charges. These time limits, set state by state, have held down the number of criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits against all kinds of people accused of child abuse . . .Victims and their advocates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York are pushing legislators to lengthen the limits or abolish them altogether, and to open temporary “windows” during which victims can file lawsuits no matter how long after the alleged abuse occurred.The Catholic Church has successfully beaten back such proposals in many states, arguing that it is difficult to get reliable evidence when decades have passed and that the changes seem more aimed at bankrupting the church than easing the pain of victims. Already reeling from about $2.5 billion spent on legal fees, settlements and prevention programs relating to child sexual abuse, the church has fought especially hard against the window laws . . . .Changing the statute of limitations “has turned out to be the primary front for child sex abuse victims,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University who represents plaintiffs in sexual abuse suits.“Even when you have an institution admitting they knew about the abuse, the perpetrator admitting that he did it, and corroborating evidence, if the statute of limitations has expired, there won’t be any justice,” she said.Timing is a major factor in abuse cases because many victims are unable to talk about abuse or face their accusers until they reach their 30s, 40s or later, putting the crime beyond the reach of the law. In states where the statutes are most restrictive, like New York, the cutoff for bringing a criminal case is age 23 for most serious sexual crimes other than rape that occurred when the victim was a minor.In New York, the Catholic bishops said they would support a modest increase in the age of victims in criminal or civil cases, to 28. But their lobbying, along with that of ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders, has so far halted proposals that would allow a one-year window for civil suits for abuses from the past.Joan Fitz-Gerald, former president of the Colorado Senate, who proposed the window legislation, was an active Catholic who said she was stunned to find in church one Sunday in 2006 that the archdiocese had asked priests to raise the issue during a Mass and distribute lobbying postcards. “It was the most brutal thing I’ve ever been through,” she said of the church campaign. “The politics, the deception, the lack of concern for not only the children in the past, but for children today.” She has since left the church.The new archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, who led the successful campaign to defeat such a bill in Colorado, says that current restrictions exist for “sound legal reasons.”
There truly is no real contrition on the part of the Church leadership. The only real concern is over the monetary cost of having been caught and exposed. The victims don't even show up on the radar screen in Rome. It's disgusting and a major reason I'm no longer a Catholic.
The Christofascists at the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") had been pressuring major Minnesota corporations to remain "neutral" in the marriage battle being waged in that state. Being "neutral" in NOM's jargon means remaining silent and by implication supporting NOM's theocratic agenda of forcing Christianist religious beliefs on all citizens and shredding the First Amendment's guaranty of freedom of religion for all, not just far right Christians. Now, General Mills has responded and announced its opposition to the anti-gay marriage amended being pushed by NOM and its fellow anti-gay hate groups and liars. Here's what Minnesotans United for all Families posted on its Facebook page late yesterday evening:
BREAKING NEWS TONIGHT: Fortune 500 Corporation General Mills CEO announced tonight that General Mills opposes the marriage amendment seeking to limit the freedom to marry in Minnesota. Stay tuned for more information!
Not surprisingly, some of the haters are none too happy that General Mills has opted to support equality under the civil laws. Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown will be acting as if someone peed in their Cheerios. Think Progress looks at the Christianists disingenuous "stay neutral" campaign here.The piece goes no to note as follows:
[T]here’s no such thing as a “neutral” position that doesn’t still hurt the gay community. The term as used by anti-gay conservatives seems to derive from Minnesota’s largest school district, Anoka-Hennepin, where a “neutrality” policy prevented staff from discussing LGBT issues and thereby created a toxic bullying-ridden climate for gay and trans students. A policy of neutrality is a policy of invisibility, disregard, and shame. NOM’s use of such a red herring is both a sign of the organization’s anti-gay malevolence and desperation for support.
Lastly, NOM’s rationale that supporting marriage equality has “little to do with” corporate missions is simply wrong. Businesses do better when their LGBT employees are treated fairly, because they can recruit and retain more talented staff and market their spirit of inclusion to customers. Minnesota’s businesses should call NOM on its bluff and do what’s right for both their profits and the thousands of same-sex families who might patronize them: embrace equality for all.
In what cannot be happy news for Mitt Romney, a new Gallup poll shows that by a considerable margin Americans outside of Kool-Aid drinking GOP circles blame Chimperator George Bush for the nation's crippled economy far more than they blame Barack Obama. While Romney continues to try to blame Obama for the continued economic doldrums, 68% of Americans recognize where the real fault lies: George Bush, Emperor Palpatine Cheney and the GOP controlled Congress. Obviously, Obama needs to keep pounding on this fact - and the fact that Romney's proposals to date are little more than a warmed over version of the disastrous policies of the Chimperator's failed presidency. Here are highlights from Politico:
Americans continue to place more blame for the country’s ongoing economic problems on former President George W. Bush than on President Barack Obama, a new survey shows.
Though Bush has been out of office for nearly three and a half years, 68 percent blame him a “great deal” or “moderate amount” for the nation’s economic woes, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday. Meanwhile, 52 percent of Americans believe the same about Obama.
There exists a partisan divide on who blames who for the current economic distress, but Republicans are more willing to blame Bush than Democrats are willing to blame Barack Obama.In fact, 49 percent of Republicans said Bush was greatly or moderately responsible for America’s economic woes, compared to 51 percent who said he wasn’t. On the other hand, 19 percent of Democrats blame Obama for the current distress, while 81 percent say he is “not much” or “not at all” responsible.
Bush’s continued unpopularity - he was recently polled as the least popular living ex-president - may have an impact on the 2012 presidential race, since some of the potential running mates for GOP candidate Mitt Romney are deeply tied to Bush, who served in the White House from 2001 to 2009.
For example, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman was the director of Office of Management and Budget from 2006 to 2007; Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels held the same position from 2001 to 2003. And of course, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is George W. Bush’s brother.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Yesterday I noted an article that quoted Michael Stafford, a former Republican Party officer, who has left the Republican Party because of the GOP's down right inanity, meanness and religious extremism. These are the same attributes of the GOP that caused me to leave the Party over a decade ago (although the party was still quasi-sane when I left compared to its current state). Now, I've found a column written by Stafford that goes into to even more detail and confirms many of my own views of what has happened to the GOP. Here are some highlights from The Cagle Post:
I’m a life-long Republican. My political affiliation has been woven intrinsically into the very fabric of my being.As an adult, I continued to be a rock-solid Republican- I helped run my law school’s chapter of the Federalist Society and its Republican club. And after the election of President Obama in 2008, I served as an officer in my state Republican Party. For the next two years, I devoted substantial amounts of my time, my talent, and my treasure to supporting local candidates running for office and to building the Party organization. Today, however, I am a registered Republican no longer.I came to the decision to leave the GOP not with a heavy heart, but with a broken one. I reached this point through a long series of awakenings and realizations - a path marked by literally years of wrestling with, and finally accepting, the political implications of a number of difficult truths. It involved ever-increasing levels of cognitive dissonance, as I tried to square my experiences, concerns, and knowledge, with my continued loyalty to the GOP.As a local GOP official after President Obama’s election, I had a front-row seat as it became infected by a dangerous and virulent form of political rabies. In the grip of this contagion, the Republican Party has come unhinged. Its fevered hallucinations involve threats from imaginary communists and socialists who, seemingly, lurk around every corner. Climate change- a reality recognized by every single significant scientific body and academy in the world- is a liberal conspiracy conjured up by Al Gore and other leftists who want to destroy America. Large numbers of Republicans- the notorious birthers- believe that the President was not born in the United States. Even worse, few figures in the GOP have the courage to confront them.Republican economic policies are also indefensible. The GOP constantly claims that its opponents are engaged in “class warfare,” but this is an exercise in projection. In Republican proposals, the wealthy win, and the rest of us lose- one only has to look at Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget to see that.Its [the GOP's] reckless behavior helps drive the political dysfunction crippling our nation. In the end, it offers a dystopian vision of our future- a harsher, crueler and more merciless America starkly divided between the riders, and the ridden.Ultimately, leaving the GOP was necessary in order to maintain my own integrity. Leaving is also a public act of personal protest. I am under no illusions about its broader significance- it will have no impact on the trajectory of the political narrative in this nation. But that does not make it futile. On the contrary, as the shadows lengthen, such minor individual acts of defiance and dissent are more critical now than ever before.Perhaps, one day, a reformed and responsible Republican Party will reemerge.But until then, the GOP and I have reached a parting of the ways. In the poignant words of “Kathleen Mavourneen,” an old Irish ballad: “It may be for years, and it may be forever”
If it's any consolation to Stafford, he is but one of countless life long Republicans who have left the GOP in order to maintain their own integrity and moral decency. Of course what I find most ironic is that the GOP continues to pretend that it is the party of Christian values even as its policies reflect little but greed, cruelty to the less fortunate and a total lack of compassion or caring for others. Oh, and then there's the rejection of objective reality that I find most troublesome.
I'm not a subscriber to The New Yorker, so I can only quote from an article abstract that focuses on AFA's anti-gay bigot in chief, Bryan Fischer, as well as a piece on Right Wing Watch. But what's interesting is the picture that emerges of Fischer. Like Maggie Gallagher (who engaged in what the GOP and Christian Right would describe as slut behavior and found herself pregnant and abandoned by her "boyfriend") and it seems all of the prominent "ex-gays for pay," Fischer seems to have come from a f*cked up family background and the man still suffers from psychological issues that he's never properly dealt with. Instead he projects his anger and venom on others, Native Americans, gays, immigrants of all sorts and Hispanics being among his preferred targets. In my opinion, the man is a mental case and it is telling that he's typical of the hate merchants of the self-professed Christianists. Rather that ranting and spewing hate towards others, Fischer ought to be seeking a significant mental health intervention. Here are highlights from The New Yorker abstract:
[E]vangelical radio talk-show host Bryan Fischer. . . . who hosts “Focal Point,” a popular Christian radio talk show, is one of the country’s most vocal opponents of what he calls “the homosexual-rights movement.” As he puts it, “A rational culture that cares about its people will, in fact, discriminate against adultery, pedophilia, rape, bestiality, and, yes, homosexual behavior.” His goal is to make this view the official stance of the Republican Party.[The article] tells about Fischer’s upbringing. He attended Stanford University and the Dallas Theological Seminary. Fischer directed Biblical studies at Cole Community Church in Boise, Idaho for thirteen years. Discusses Fischer’s growing political activism and tells how he came to be affiliated with the A.F.A.
|Click image to enlarge|
While spewing anti-gay lies and hatred the Christofascists always disclaim any responsibility for anti-gay bulling and the resultant suicides by LGBT teens that are a too frequent phenomenon. Worse yet, these horrid individuals and their organizations claim to "love gays" even as they incite hatred and violence against us. In the five years that this blog has been online, it is instructive that the ONLY death threats and threats of harm I have ever received (which why all comments are now moderated and a profile required for those leaving comments) have ALL been from "godly Christians." As Right Wing Watch is reporting, Matt Staver, the head of the poor excuse of a law school known as Liberty University School of Law has gone beyond the pale in claiming that gays not only want to destroy "religious freedom" - which for Staver translates to Christianists being allowed to force their religious views on all citizens - but also to destroy the concept of God as well. Meanwhile, Staver's fellow hate merchants at Traditional Values Coalition (a registered hate group) are pushing a truly vile ad - see the image above - opposing ENDA. It doesn't take much to connect the dots and see that this kind of hate speech is an incitement to violence against LGBT citizens. Here are highlights from Right Wing Watch on the type of "Christian love" being marketed by Mr. Staver:
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver is ratcheting up the rhetoric in opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), even going so far as to say that if passed the legislation may lead to child molestation, sexual assault, and death. Staver told Jim Schneider of VCY America on Crosstalk yesterday that ENDA “will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals”Staver: So you can go into these restrooms or changing rooms, if you’re a man, and want to go in and molest, or watch, or sexually assault young girls. So, I mean, the absurdity of this is just beyond understanding how someone could be in favor of it. This [ENDA] will ultimately, in addition to colliding with religious liberty, in addition to forcing a radical agenda on people, this also will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals.Schneider: How critical is it Mat that our listeners contact their U.S. Senators at this time pertaining to ENDA?
Staver: I think it’s absolutely critical, we cannot have this law pass, we just simply cannot have it pass, it will literally reshape America and business and you will have your religious freedom on a collision course with this radical homosexual agenda. This will be the biggest club that the homosexual agenda will have to ultimately beat down people of faith and moral values.
Staver: Years ago I said what the ultimate goal of this homosexual agenda was not this sexual orientation where you are wired to a particular way but ultimately the abolition of gender. It’s hard for us to even comprehend that, how can you abolish the concept or the construct of gender, male and female, it’s so objective, it’s so obvious, how can you do that? But that’s exactly what they want to do: anything that you see is just fictitious; it’s only what’s in your mind. If you abolish the concept of gender you ultimately undermine morality, you ultimately have no morality and norms for men and women or sexual behavior. As Alfred Kinsey ultimately wanted to do, he wanted to undermine morality in marriage. Why? So he could undermine the very concept of God himself.
Don't be surprised to hear lunatics citing Staver and TVC as justification after they murdered or maimed some innocent LGBT citizen. And what's equally frightening is that this is exactly the type of propaganda approach that Hitler and the Nazi regime utilized against the Jews of Europe in the 1930'2. Staver and TVC are the ones who are truly evil.
While I commend Australian Catholic bishop Pat Power's honesty and integrity, his departure only solidifies the powers of dishonesty, reaction and anti-modernity that are the hallmarks the Catholic Church hierarchy. On the other hand, had he not resigned, the Nazi Pope would likely have forced him from office because he was speaking the truth. God forbid that a bishop openly describe the cancer within the hierarchy and priesthood. Or that a bishop openly talk about how out of touch the Church leadership is with the laity. A piece in The Age looks at the situation. Here are highlights:
AUSTRALIA'S last openly progressive Catholic bishop, Canberra's Pat Power, has resigned, citing the Vatican's inability to listen and the twin crises of clergy sex abuse and the shortage of priests as the most vexing issues facing the church.
Bishop Power, 70, was not due to retire for five years, but will step down on June 30. With Toowoomba bishop Bill Morris sacked by the Pope last year, Bishop Power was the last Australian bishop prepared to challenge the Vatican publicly.
He called sexual abuse ''a terrible stain on the church'', and said the Vatican habit of secrecy had provided conditions for sex abuse and many other forms of abuse to thrive.
He said it was essential for the Vatican leadership to be aware of the real issues touching the lives of the faithful. ''Sadly, I don't think they have a good grasp of that reality and when things are tough, as they are now, there can be a temptation to bunker down.''
Bishop Power called the sex abuse crisis the gravest faced by the church since the 16th century Protestant Reformation, needing not just a focus on abusers but a total systemic reform of church structures. This had to be much more than ''tinkering around the edges'' and must address the authoritarian nature of the church, the participation of women, clergy celibacy and teaching on sexuality. The leadership must hear the voices of the faithful, he said.Leading progressive commentator and former priest Paul Collins said the resignation took the Australian church ''further into serious trouble'', not least because it was increasingly hard to find experienced priests prepared to become bishops.