Saturday, August 18, 2007

The tale of Miss Swallow and Mr. Sprigg.

PBS has an interesting story about how young people are coming out as gay earlier in life than in the past. I can believe that. Certainly the gay people I’ve met, who are younger, are much more open about their sexuality than individuals of my generation.

What I found curious was that PBS, to give balance to the story, interviewed the religious fanatics. I notice they never interview Nazis when they do something about the Holocaust -- maybe because there aren’t any Nazis in the White House. Oh! Right!!! Never mind.

One of these loonies from a so-called ex-gay ministry was quoted. She was all upset that kids who are gay are told that it’s okay to be who they are. She wants hell fire and brimstone, self-loathing, self-pity, disgust, maybe a little vomit and loads and load of depression -- the way homosexuals are supposed to be. Though I had to crack up when seeing that her name is Barbara Swallow!

This reminds me of the time I was watching one of the phony exgays on some Christian television station -- a waste of valuable airwaves. This clown was from something called “Be Whole Ministries.” Now the born-again types aren’t the brightest of the bunch. And they were still trying to get used to the subtitling on the screen. But I almost fell out of my chair laughing when they put up the name of the ministry as: “Bee Hole Ministries”. Talk about kinky -- a bee hole! I cringe to think what they would do with Miss Swallow.

Then PBS quoted some twit named Peter Sprigg -- don’t ask me where these names come from. Mr. Sprigg is with a Right-wing religious group. In other words he lobotomized himself with a Bible, not a functioning brain cell left -- a perfect Christian.

Mr. Sprigg says: “Young people have no business committing to a sexual identity until they’re adults.” See -- not a functioning brain cell left, not one.

This is stupidity on a multiplicity of levels. It takes practices, and lots of faith, to concoct a single sentence with so many fallacies crammed into it.

First, one does not “commit” to a sexual identity. This is not like adopting children or buying a house. One doesn’t sign on the dotted line and get enlisted as a new “gay” for the rest of one’s life. People are. It’s not really complicated. It just is. It is not a commitment, a choice, a decision, it just is.

But the perpetual solicitors of Jesus can’t understand anything that doesn’t come with recruiting others. They assume that because they go door to door, annoying people into coming to church with them, that gay people do something similar.

There must be secret “revival” meetings in big tents outside the high schools where unwilling young men are dragged in and harangued about the evils of heterosexuality until they are willing to confess their evil ways, give up the demon of straight lust, and commit themselves to “the gay agenda” where they live “the gay lifestyle”.

What a perfect example of fundamentalist projection. They have an agenda, so anyone they hate must have one as well. They have a lifestyle -- wel,l very light on the style part -- so they assume everyone else does as well. They all have to look alike, believe alike, think alike, offend alike, so they naturally assume that all gays are the same way. They think gay culture is a monolithic lifestyle just because they work so hard at stamping out individuality.

The fundamentalist Christian is the perfect collectivist.

Next, the very idea that teens can’t know their sexuality when they are teens is silly. Straight kids know they are straight and gay kinds know they are gay. Some might feel conflicted but most don’t.

And, if teens are too young to commit to a sexual identity, is Mr. Sprigg actually saying that straight teens shouldn’t be allowed to date? Should schools cancel dances? Should going steady be a crime?

Now I can assure old Sprigg that there will be unintended consequences if he wants to prevent teens from committing to a sexual identity. Let’s be realistic. A typical high school is full of hormones.

But we don’t want teens committing themselves to a sexual identity. So lets stop the girls and the boys from dating and interacting -- that is where most the “committing” goes on, isn’t it? So all those boys can’t date girls. All they can do is hang out with each other, maybe shoot some hoops, change clothes in the locker room, take long, lingering, steamy showers. I’m not sure this would lead to the results Mr. Sprigg wanted.

If you think it would work just ask the Mormons about all those sweet young men with the bad haircuts on the bicycles who are forbidden to to have female companions and spend all their time together. Well, lets just say it’s not a good idea if they are trying to actually prevent homosexuality.

And if teens have “no business” committing to a sexuality exactly why did Sprigg’s Jehovah flood them with hormones so that they can’t think of anything else? Here is this know-it-all deity who can foresee the future. He designs the male of the species and determines they must never have sex outside of heterosexual marriage, when they are adults.

Then he takes them, years before they are actually adult,s and baptizes them in a sea of hormones that make it so that the only thing they can think about is sex, sex and sex. And then when they are heavily sexed up God pulled another dirty little trick. He designed them so they can’t hide it! If that is “intelligent design” what would stupid design look like?

Considering these facts I’d drop the intelligent design nonsense and embrace evolution if I were them. If that is intelligent design then Jehovah wasn’t that bright was he?

So what’s a fundy to do? You can’t leave the boys with the girls or they commit to a sexuality. You can’t leave the boys with the boys, or more committing takes place and its even more sinful! Leave them alone and they commit to themselves repeatedly. Maybe this is why so many fundamentalists are into home schooling. On the other hand that also has problems, but I guess where these people come from a roll in the hay with yoru sister isn’t that unusual. I guess we should be thankful most of them don’t live on the farm anymore. If they did I don’t think I could eat another steak in my life.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bigot mother uses antigay laws to separate son from his partner of 25 years.

I wish I could tell you precisely how angry I am right at this moment. The rage is boiling up like you wouldn’t believe. It is almost 5 am and I should be going to bed. I can’t. The very, very ugly head of hate and bigotry has reared itself again and harmed innocent people and destroyed the beauty of loving commitment. I want to tell you about two of the cruellest, most vicious, bastards I have ever heard of. And I sincerely hope that both of them are struck down dead soon. These people are monsters for what they did. These vile people are Thomas and Jeanne Atkins of Carmel, Indiana.

Now, let me tell you about their son, Patrick. Patrick was raised by these two “parents” who were ultra-religious and still are. Patrick went off to Wabash College in 1978 and there he fell in love. His parents hated the idea. The person he loved was Brett Conrad.

For a quarter of a century Brett and Patrick lived, loved and struggled together, to establish their lives. After 12 years they were able to buy a home together. They shared their bank accounts and their entire life. The bastards of parents hated every moment of it. But the lengths they would go to astounds me and I don’t expect much humanity from fanatics.

Patrick was on a business trip in Atlanta when he collapsed from a ruptured aneurysm and then, while still in hospital, he had a stroke. Brett rushed to Atlanta to be with his partner. The vile parents had flown down as well and asserted legal control over their incapacitated son. They hate homosexuals and homosexuality. And they don’t want Patrick to ever be allowed to see Brett again. You can see why I think these people are walking pieces of shit.

According to court documents Patrick’s brother said “that Brett’s mere presence in the hospital was ‘hurting’ Jeanne and offending her religious beliefs." The court also said that " Jeanne told Brett that if Patrick was going to return to his life with Brett, after recovering from the stroke, she would prefer that he not recover at all.” Any woman that would wish this upon her own son is not fit to be called a mother, unless one were to insert a very rude word immediately thereafter.

Jeanne is a fanatical Catholic. The picture above is of her leading employees, at the company her son used to run, in daily prayer sessions. On top of that she attends Catholic Mass every day. We are talking hard-core fanatic. It takes a lot of faith to inflict this much pain on others.

At first the family would allow Brett 15 minutes with Patrick but only after they had left so that they wouldn’t have to be religiously offended by the FACT that Patrick is gay. But then the cruelty of righteousness got the upper hand and they banned the visits altogether. Only “family” and clergy were allowed in by the family’s orders. The court reports, with seeming approval, that “hospital staff defied the family’s instructions and allowed Brett to continue to visit with Patrick in the morning and in the evenings, outside of regular visiting hours.” Good on them.

Patrick is pretty much incapacitated. He can do basic things with help but can’t understand most of what he reads and can only engage in simple, short conversations. Brett has been fighting to bring Patrick back to the relationship and home they built together. The “parents” refuse to consider it. It’s a sin, is all they can snarl. I don’t quote this guy often, but didn’t someone these people allegedly worship supposedly say: “As you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto me”?

Brett went to court but Indiana doesn’t recognize gay relationships in any form. Thanks to the Republicans they have a constitutional amendment specifically forbidding legal recognition of gay couples. The court was sympathetic but their hands were tied. The court said: “We are confronted here with the heartbreaking fracture of a family. Brett and Patrick have spent 25 years together as life partners -- longer than Patrick lived at home with his parents -- and their future life together has been destroyed by Patrick’s tragic medical condition and by the Atkinses’ unwillingness to accept their son's lifestyle.” The court said that given the parent's rabidly antigay views that it was skeptical they could properly care from Patrick’s emotional needs but their hands were tied by the law.

The best the court could do was grant Brett visitation rights . What god-damned awful people are these parents from hell. But these bastards weren’t finished. They are going back to court to deny even this much. The argument is that Brett has no legal standing and that they, as the so-called parents, are guardians and that means they can determine anything they want about who is allowed to visit their son. What perfect little Hitlers they have become.

First, the parents stuck their son in a nursing home. Brett would come by after hours to spend time with his partner so the parents wouldn’t see him. Staff at the nursing facility said that Brett’s “visits had a positive impact on Patrick’s recovery.” An observer from the court testified it is “evident that Patrick loves Brett very much and it is evident that Brett loves Patrick.

A neuropsychologist told the court that a long term relationship is beneficial to recovery. Normally he would try “to reintegrate the patient into that environment so that they can participate in activities and situations with which they’re familiar.” He said spending time with Brett would be beneficial. The family argued in court that any visitation “poses a risk of diminishing Patrick’s chance for normalcy of life.” I suspect they are referring to his homosexuality and not his illness. These parents apparently would prefer their son to be incapacitated than for him to be gay. Lovely people!

When Brett filed for guardianship, which the courts denied because of the law, the parents suddenly had Patrick transferred to their home even though they were told this would negatively impact Patrick’s recover. They have prevented Brett from coming on the property and won’t even let him speak to Patrick by telephone. They also grabbed what assets they could. And they admitted that regardless of what the court ordered they would never allow Patrick to see his partner again. All of this pain just because they believe that a deity has told them to act this way.

Under guardianship laws in Indiana there is no provision to recognize gay partners, no matter how loving or how long they have been together. Parents, no matter how cruel, have superior rights. The court document is heartbreaking. It lays out the facts that these parents can’t stomach.

It acknowledges the men have, for 25 years, “lived together and have been in a committed and loving relationship” but that the parents “vehemently disapprove”. The court quoted a letter Patrick had sent his parents begging them to accept Brett. “I want you all to know that Brett is my best friend in the wold world and I love him more than life itself. I beg all of you to reach to him with the same love you have for me, he is extremely special and once you know him you will understand why I love him so much.” The parents refused that request.

The court says that Jeanne is so hateful of homosexuals that Brett’s family, which is accepting of the couple, were called “evil” and “sinners” because they refused to condemn them. Jeanne “testified that no amount of evidence could convince her that Patrick and Brett were happy together or that they had a positive and beneficial relationship.” By the way this horrid woman can be contacted through this email address: I have a home address and phone number but since poor Patrick is kept there by these parents I won’t give it out. Please note that this email goes to Lisa Atkins, who I believe is a daughter, not directly to the mother who doesn't give her email on the company website. But at you can find a company phone number.

Also note that these people sell their deserts, a company that Patrick helped start with his investment and with his efforts, all over the U.S. and Canada. You might wish to avoid purchasing any of these products and encourage others to do so as well. You can also find the contact details of sales reps who cover the area you live in. You might wish to contact them and tell them you are boycotting their product and why. And you might wish to encourage others in your area to do the same. If you do contact these horrible people try to remain polite. Simply express your feelings as non-obscenely as possible, don't issue threats or harass.

The parents are also trying to take the home that Brett and Patrick lived in together and apparently are having some success. The court says that the home must be split equally between Brett and the horrid God-botherers. The parents can sell the property if they wish. The parents took two-thirds of the bank account that Patrick and Brett shared. They are taking half of all household goods

Conservatives say that legally recognizing gay couples will destroy marriage. The only destruction I see here is being done by fanatical parents with the help of the law.

Boycott Atkins International Foods, the cheesecake made with hate.

One fellow blogger has said that he has found that Bloomingdales in New York City carries the Atkins line of food, helping fund Jeanne Atkins in her campaign, although they don't know it. He suggest people contact Bloomingdales and protest this. You can file an on-line complaint about them stocking Atkins here. If you wish to call them do so at 1-888-593-2540. Or do both. I hope the gay media also picks up on this topic. And I urge other bloggers to push this issue. This is too horrible to let slide.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Exgay nonsense book for kids.

When the book Heather Has Two Mommies was released the Religious Right had fits. Rarely have they frothed at the mouth so much as over that book. The book was a children’s story about a girl who was being raised by a same-sex couple. That was considered evil and wicked and sinful.

The Religious Right said that children shouldn’t be told that that same-sex couples exist because they are too young to be exposed to that topic.

At the same time they endorse a farcical group often called “the exgay movement”. Groups like Focus in the Family pour money onto these groups in order to give the impression that religious therapy can turn gay people into straight people. That movement has spawned another movement: the ex-exgay movement”. That is made of up people who were previously “cured” through a dose of prayer but apparently preferred other things when upon their knees.

So far there has been no sign of an ex-ex-exgay movement.

Closely connected to these exgay “ministries” is NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. These are mostly religious therapists who are rather obsessed over the sexual partners of other adults. I always find it a bit bizarre when someone is really, really obsessed the sex lives of others. And one person who was close, both to NARTH and the exgay ministries, was Richard Cohen.

Mr. Cohen has personally produced a children’s book, Alfie's Home, which explains the exgay view of homosexuality in terms that, well, in terms even a child could understand. And it includes illustrations including a young boy lying naked in bed with a full grown adult male. Heather having two mommies was too advanced but apparently showing boys in bed with men is acceptable provided you are pushing an antigay agenda. If you don’t believe follow the rest of this post as we go through what Cohen is saying and show you precisely what he concocted to show children.

And perhaps you will learn precisely how to create a homosexual, according to the exgay movement. You can order it on line if you think this is really just a sick joke.

Step 1. Daddy is distant, Mommy is loving. Poor Alfie says his daddy works a lot and is never home. And when he is home he fights with mommy and yells at Alfie. Alfie want’s daddy to spend time with him. He says that mommy, “holds me” and talks about her problems and “it makes me feel very uncomfortable and strange.”
Step 2: Evil Vampire Homosexual. Now that Alfie feels too comforted by mommy and too distant from daddy along comes his Uncle Pete who just can’t get enough of holding little Alfie which makes him “feel loved.” Of course Uncle Pete then jumps into the sack with little Alfie and “started touching my private parts” and “taught me to touch and play with his”. So little Alfie and Uncle Pete bonk like rabbits “for several months”.Step 3: Alfie is called names at school. He became a teenager and “started feeling different” because he was called “Faggot” and “Queer” and Alfie “didn’t know what they meant.” Apparently Alfie was a very dumb teenager, about the only one who didn’t know what those words meant.
Step 4: Alfie decides he must be gay. But lucky for Alfie a nice exgay kind of therapist is able to set him straight, literally. He says Alfie just wanted love from daddy.
Because the evil gay uncle took advantage of Alfie feeling unloved then Alfie got confused and started dating boys because he was really looking for daddy’s love. The same way men date women simply because they never felt loved by their mothers. (Okay, that last bit isn’t in the book but it would follow, wouldn’t it?)
Step 5: Therapists confronts the family. Our nice multicultural therapist (they made sure he is black) gets hold of the evil Uncle Pete to make him seek help. And mommy and daddy come in to get their lives straightened out as well.
Step 6: Healing! Mommy and daddy are all better and happy because the therapist helped them. Uncle Pete cries and begs for forgiveness and Alfie feels much better because of it.
Step 7: The Final Solution. Alfie suddenly realizes “I’m not gay”. Spending time with daddy and having daddy touch him was all he needed. Now he is really home.
I can’t wait for the sequel. Alfie Knocks Up a Girl!

Surely when the term psychobabble was invented Richard Cohen was in mind. It is hard to believe that sane people think this way. It is even worse to think they want to get small children to believe these things. This seems to be a mixture of the old Freudian hocus-pocus about distant fathers and loving mothers added to the vampire theory of gay recruitment that the fundamentalists just lap up. But I would think that even they would have problems with drawings showing little Alfie and Uncle Pete snuggling in bed.

This stuff is just too weird. And I should note, scary as well. No doubt there is a market for all sorts of such titles. We could put out: Sara Burns a Witch; Mommy! There's an Islamofascist Under My Bed; Homeland Security is Our Friend; Invasion of the Taco Eaters; and Billy Bans a Book. All are sure to be favorites and they would make such lovely Christmas presents. On the other hand is there anymore more likely to cause the kids to appreciate more underware from grandma?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Church cancels funeral at last minute because deceased was gay.

Cecil Sinclair served in Desert Storm. Recently he needed a heart transplant. He had some surgery to prepare him for that transplant and contracted an infection during the process. That infection killed him. He was also a gay man in a long-term relationship with another military veteran, Paul Wagner.

Wagner says that a member of High Point Church, an evangelical megachurch, offered the church for the funeral because Sinclair's brother, who is mentally challenged is a member of the church and a janitor there. The grief struck family accepted. And the night Sinclair died a minister from the church came to the hospital and Wagner was introduced to him as the partner of the deceased.

Wagner prepared to bury his partner, and Sinclair’s sister was helping. Together they prepared a loving collection of photos to be shown at the funeral to highlight Sinclair’s life. And they ran an obituary which mentioned Paul Wagner as Sinclair’s partner. That is when they were in for a shock.

After the obituary appeared the church announced it would not conduct a funeral for a gay man. Rev. Gary Simons, leader of this church, said it was not the obituary that was the problem but alleged that the video tribute of photos showed men “engaging in clear affection, kissing and embracing.”

Kathleen Wright, the sister of the deceased, was shocked by this claim. She helped prepare the photos for the video and insists the church is lying. She said none of the photos showed kissing or hugging. And Wagner backs that up:
...we gave the church a total of 83 various pictures of Cecil that were forwarded to us by various members of his family. Of those, not a single one showed a man hugging or kissing another man, nor were there any overtly homosexual references. Cecil’s sister Kathleen sat and worked with the two people preparing the video and went through all of the photos with them. There was only one photo which would be considered offensive, as it was a picture of him in his early 20s making a rude gesture at his best friend who was taking the photo. We removed it and never asked that it be included. It was just overlooked in the rush to get things done. These individuals went through all the other photos, which were pictures of family gatherings, birthday parties, vacations, etc. At no time was anything expressed to her or us that they had a disagreement with any of the other photos.
Rev. Simon's kept up the charade about the photos as being the primary cause for his throwing out the funeral. He piously said that if a mother in the church lost a son who was a murderer that the church would conduct the funeral. "But I don't think the mother would submit photos of her son mudering someone. That's a red light going off." Actually, Reverend, that's the bullshit detector going off. Even if one accepts the absurd comparison of being gay to murdering someone the family says that no photos of kissing or hugging or gay affection were included.

Whatever the Reverend claims, the family insists that no such photos were used or shown. Ms. Wright sees the last minute cancellation of the funeral as a “slap in the face” saying they wouldn’t bury her brother only because he was gay. And Rev. Simons basically confirms that. “Had we known it on the day they first spoke about it -- yes, we would have declined then.” Wagner says he was introduced the first day as the deceased’s partner.

Simons says that to bury the dead man would have been an endorsement of his “sins”. Apparently only those who have never sinned get funeral services at this church. Simons claims that “the church” offered to pay for another site for the funeral. Wagner says that is not the case. It was the church member, who originally offered the church for the funeral, who offered to pay “with money from his own pocket, not church coffers”.

And while the church eventually found the will to say they were doing this because the dead man had been gay they were first reluctant to tell the family the truth. The family was called and simply told “a mistake was made” and the church could not help them. No other explanation was given.

A niece of the deceased then called the church demanding to know why they were canceling a funeral with so little notice. This was when “a very long string of excuses began to form.” First, they were told it was because they planned to bring in food from outside. Then it was blamed on nearby construction work that would be obtrusive. Then she was told there was a conflict with another event. When she asked what event was conflicting the church hung up on her.

Rev. Simons offered a explanation that is a bit muddled. “We did decline to host the service -- not based on hatred, not based on discrimination, but based on principle.” Actually to say they declined the service is not correct. They cancelled it. A decline would have come up front not at the last second. It is what happens when you refuse something from the start. What they did was pull the plug on a man’s funeral with no warning. That is more than just declining. It was only the night before the funeral that Rev. Simon had the funeral forcing the family to find a new venue for the next day and spending hours calling the approximate 100 mourners who would be attending.

Second, no one ever acts “based on discrimination”. Discrimination is the act itself not the reason for the act. And one can discriminate on the basis of their “principles”. Most racists, for instance, have “principles” regarding race which they act upon. Whether or not said principles are humane and decent is another question.

I see no other reasonable explanation for this action except the fundamentalist obsessions with gay people. Even if one grants their premise that it is a sin to be gay they would admit that everyone else they bury are sinners as well. In fact they argue that “all have sinned”. But only one class of “sinner” is denied a funeral at the last second.

It is not that a church doesn’t have the right to decline a funeral. That is their right and one they should be free to practice for any irrational reason they wish. Had they declined the funeral from the start there would be no unnecessary pain inflicted on a grieving family. But canceling at the last minute is just cruel. It is their decency I question not their rights.

Paul Wagner showed a decency that far surpassed the church in question. He said he understands “the church’s right to deny us the use of their facilities”. He wrote that he joined the military to “defend their freedom of religion and freedom of choice”.

Wagner says that if they had been told upfront the church refused to bury gay people “the entire issue would have been avoided” and they would have made other plans. His problem was “with the method in which they did it.... If they had told us right away, or even on Tuesday that they were not comfortable with the service we would have been more than willing to try and come to some sort of compromise, or we could have changed venues. We were never given that option. Someone in a position of power made the decision to cut us off, and didn’t even have the moral courage to tell us the truth to our faces.”

I have never seen funerals as rituals for the deceased but for the living left behind. I do not believe the dead can be insulted, they are dead. What this church did was to the living, grieving friends and family. I fully agree with Mr. Wagner. The church had the right to rfuse the service. I, too, think they are wrong for doing so but that they have the right to make that choice. And I agree that their cancellation at the last minute was unnecessarily heartless and cruel.

If they had made a mistake they should have learned to live with it and not inflict pain on people already in pain. They should learn from the experience and made it clear, in the future, that they refuse to perform funerals for gay people. Whatever one make think of the vile Fred Phelps, and his deranged family, at least they are honest and upfront with their hatreds.

High Point Church made a mistake but instead of taking responsibility for that mistake they hurt a mourning family. Their actions are a clear indication of just how bigoted and intolerant they are. They may call their beliefs “principles” if they wish. I’ve never met a bigot who wasn’t overflowing with “principles”. But the people they imposed suffering upon were not, for the most part, gay. They were mostly heterosexual friends and family who were in mourning and then, not Mr. Sinclair, were the ones who were hurt.

My feeling is that incidents like this will not drive the culture war but end it. Most Americans are decent people and they feel for anyone who has lost a loved one. When they see this sort of unnecessary cruelty they are repulsed. The culture war will end because fundamentalist can’t hide their true nature under the cloak of being “pro-family”. It was precisely the family, in this case, that they hurt. The family and friends of Mr. Sinclair have all learned something first hand about fundamentalism. And what they learned will cause many of them to defect from the cause of “cultural conservatism”.

When something this insensitive happens word spreads. As it spreads more and more people have their eyes opened. The culture war will end because the Religious Right will lose the bulk of decent people. Their power will diminish because more and more people will be repulsed by what these people do. The Religious Right will decline because they will be seen as indecent, inhumane, intolerant and cruel. And most Americans don’t share those values.