Saturday, July 29, 2006

If You Can’t Beat Them on the Issues…

Ahhhhhh GOP sleaze at its most repugnant: If you can’t beat your opponent based on the issues and track record, then imply that your opponent is gay. And that is what Gary Lankford, the Ohio Republican Party's recently hired "social conservative coordinator" has done in the Ohio gubernatorial race:

How low will Republicans go to try and hang onto control of Ohio, the swing state where their machinations secured the presidency for George W. Bush in 2004?

Lower than reasonable Americans, no matter what their partisanship, no matter what their ideology, could imagine.

Gary Lankford, the Ohio Republican Party's recently hired "social conservative coordinator" this week dispatched a mass e-mail to so-called "pro-family friends" that featured his 10-point introduction to U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, the Democratic nominee for governor.

Strickland, an ordained Methodist minister who has thrown Republicans for a loop by speaking about his faith during the campaign, is running far ahead of scandal-plagued Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, the Republican nominee who gained national fame in 2004 when he was broadly accused of manipulating election processes and vote counting to favor Bush in the presidential race.

What's the GOP strategy for getting Blackwell back into the running? Imply that Strickland is gay.

Forgive me, but this so-called Party of God and Values can go to hell!

Read the whole article if you have the stomach.

Hat tip to PageOneQ


Beware of Crash and Burn Fundies

I believe my 4 brothers and I had one of the wisest, most amazing mothers around. To this day I marvel at the lessons she taught us - by example, not by preaching - and the values and beliefs she instilled in us as a result.

One thing she always, always emphasized was the importance of flexibility. Whenever one of us kids would become too rigid or dogmatic about something, it was like a giant red flag for her. She would quietly remind us that a tree that does not bend inevitably snaps in the wind. Although that could be annoying in the heat of those moments past, the lesson stuck with most of us. The result has been a marvelous resiliency and an ability to remain open to new ideas. We grew up un-ensnared by rigid dogma, but with a healthy sense of curiosity. And our desire to learn was never stunted. Somehow this approach only served to make us more committed to our beliefs because we arrived at them not at the end of a belt, but by exploring, questioning, pondering and sometimes agonizing, but ultimately believing in whatever issue it was we were grappling with because we arrived at it the hard way.

Now she was not advocating mushiness or never taking a strong stand on something we truly believed in, she simply was telling us that we should always allow for another point of view since issues are rarely black and white. By taking this approach, she gave us permission to change our minds on something and even to admit when we were wrong.

I think this may be one of the reasons I detest the Dobson, Robertson, Falwell crowd so much. They in essence teach their firebrand version of religion at the end of a belt (figuratively speaking). For them everything is black and white. And the result is that many of their followers (not all) are so in-your-face and I’m-right-you’re wrong”, that I immediately recoil and look for an escape route. It is also why I have found their growing influence with this administration so frightening.

I have comforted myself through these past 5 ½ years with the knowledge I learned from the lessons my mother taught us. I keep telling myself that eventually something is going to snap. Black and white does not work in a world of grays. These people are too rigid and eventually they will snap like the tree my mother always told us about.

All of this leads me to Mel Gibson, Religious Right hero and rigid dogmatic Catholic who seems to be proving my mother’s point as we speak:

A blitzed Mel Gibson launched into an obscenity-laced tirade when he was busted on suspicion of drunken driving early yesterday, threatening an officer and making anti-Semitic and sexually abusive remarks, according to a police report.

The article goes on to say:

According to the incident report obtained by, the Road Warrior embarked on a belligerent, anti-Semitic outburst when he realized he had been busted.

"F-----g Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," Mee's report quotes him as saying.

"Are you a Jew?" Gibson asked the deputy, according to the report.

The actor also berated the deputy, threatening, "You motherf----r. I'm going to f--- you," according to Mee's report.

The actor also told the cop he "owns Malibu" and would spend all his money "to get even with me," Mee said in his report.

Read the whole article. This sounds like a man who has snapped. And then remind me again why I should believe the Dobsons, Robertsons, and Falwells when they tell me my son is evil.

Hat tip to Andrew


Friday, July 28, 2006

Army Dismisses Gay Arabic Linguist

I just don’t understand it. At what point are rational, thinking people going to wake up and realize that the GOP “holy war” against gay people has gone too far? And at what point do rational, thinking people realize that the GOP’s bizarre obsession and downright homophobia threaten this country’s national security? I’d say when things like this happen on a fairly regular basis:

A decorated sergeant and Arabic language specialist was dismissed from the U.S. Army under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, though he says he never told his superiors he was gay and his accuser was never identified.

Bleu Copas, 30, told The Associated Press he is gay, but said he was "outed" by a stream of anonymous e-mails to his superiors in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C

Never mind that the military has been having trouble meeting recruiting quotas or that right now, the Army has a shortage of Arabic language specialists. These frickin people are (gasp) g-a-y:

More than 11,000 service members have been dismissed under the policy [don’t ask, don’t tell], including 726 last year -- an 11 percent jump from 2004 and the first increase since 2001.

And let’s not forget that many of these people have extremely valuable skills critical to this “war on terror” we are fighting right now. And yet the military feels completely justified in throwing away these invaluable and very limited resources because of their sexual orientation.

And the list of people with stories to tell is long. Major Margaret Witt is another person with a personal story to tell:

In 1993, Maj. Margaret Witt was a poster woman for the Air Force's flight nurse recruiting program. In her career of 18-plus years, the decorated, 42-year-old operating room and flight nurse from McChord Air Force Base earned stellar reviews for her work.

In 2003, President Bush awarded her the Air Medal for her Middle East deployment and, later, the Air Force Commendation Medal, for saving the life of a Defense Department worker.

Less than a year later, following an Air Force investigation, Witt, a reservist, was drummed out. Her offense: a committed relationship, but with another woman, a civilian, from 1997 to 2003.

And adding insult to injury, the Air Force has a shortage of qualified, well-trained flight nurses, but Major Witt’s 19 years of decorated service was just not enough to overcome the crime of being gay.

And let’s not forget how expensive homophobia is to the American taxpayer:

…the GAO also noted that nearly 800 dismissed gay or lesbian service members had critical abilities, including 300 with important language skills. Fifty-five were proficient in Arabic, including Copas, a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in California.

Discharging and replacing them has cost the Pentagon nearly $369 million, according to the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Could someone who actually agrees with this “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy please explain to me why we should keep this policy in place, because for the life of me, I cannot think of one rational reason other than irrational homophobia. It is getting harder and harder to look at the GOP as anything but a party driven by bigotry and homophobia.

Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report Share

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Washington Courts Say No – Part 2

Ok, so not everyone is calm, cool, and collected when it comes to this decision by the Washington Courts. And I have to confess, I’m feeling a little better about getting fussed up now, especially since I have some great company here and here.

What’s really hard to accept about this decision is the fact that procreation is cited as a reason to limit marriage equality:

Under this standard, DOMA is constitutional because the legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children's biological parents. Allowing same-sex couples to marry does not, in the legislature's view, further these purposes.

And these ladies aren’t buyin it. So rather than paraphrasing, I am just going to copy and paste right from Shakespeare’s Sister’s blog because she sure seems to have a knack for highlighting the idiocy and hypocrisy. And the madder she is, the better the case she makes:

Bullshit. Less than a week after we’re granted one of the most gagginating photo ops of the Bush administration, as the president vetoed a stem cell bill while surrounded by “snowflake babies”—the result of embryo adoption—I don’t want to hear about how the well-being of children is contingent upon encouraging families in which children are reared by their biological parents. On one hand, we have the GOP suggesting that 400,000 embryos ought to be adopted to avoid their fate as research tools or medical waste, and on the other, we have the courts denying gay marriage on the premise of the superiority of biological families. Unfuckingbelievable.

As long as straight couples are allowed to be married and deliberately childless, or infertile straight people are allowed to marry, there’s no justification for denying marriage to same-sex couples on this basis. So what if allowing same-sex couples to marry doesn’t further the purposes of procreation and survival of the human race (which is fallacious anyway, considering that gay people can procreate, if nontraditionally, and adopt)? Neither does my marriage. Not every straight person with the capacity to procreate wants to do so, and many of them still get married—because they don’t define marriage as the conduit to procreation. Each of us should have the right to define our own marriage. For some people, it may be creating a stable structure into which to bring children; for others, it may simply be about signaling a long-term commitment with a single beloved companion; for others, it may be about convenience; for others, it may be about money. People get married for all sorts of reasons, some more noble than others, and it’s not up to the courts or the government to create the definition of their marriages for them. That’s sort of what “freedom” is all about.

Need I say anything more than Amen?

Go read what they both have to say in full. They never disappoint.


Washington Courts Say No

Andrew, the eternal optimist, seems able to find the bright side of things more easily than I can these days. Rather than lingering (due in part to the fact that he had not yet had a chance to read the decision himself) on the Washington court’s recent decision to uphold the ban on gay marriage, he looks to the state of New York and Eliot Spitzer to find any semblance of hope in the bigger picture.

In the first governor's campaign debate on Tuesday night, Eliot Spitzer and Tom Suozzi clashed on several issues, one of them gay marriage.


I think same sex marriage should be legal. I will propose a bill to permit that to be the case in the state of New York.

To which Andrew responds:

And so the courts begin to retreat and the legislative process gains ground. Recall that the most populous state in the country has already passed marriage equality in its legislature. In some ways, a court pause before a looming legislative triumph may be good news.

I can only hope that Andrew is right. He makes me ashamed of myself. He has dealt with this fight for equality his whole life, whereas I am a relative newcomer and to some extent just a spectator. I have not only never been singled out and discriminated against for something over which I have no control, but I probably would never have taken these legislative and court battles so personally if I had never learned that I had a dog, errr, a son in the fight.

I guess it is time for me to stop looking for instant gratification. It is not going to happen. This is obviously an issue that cannot and should not be shoved down people’s throats. My hope is that each small victory will pave the way for bigger ones and as people see that the world and their marriages are not ending because gay couples are allowed to marry, most fair Americans will soften and even reverse their previously held reservations about this issue.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Why Are Some of the Cruelest People Found in the House of God?

For so many people going to church provides a safe haven from the outside world. It provides a peaceful place to connect with God without feeling judged. It is a place to feel loved and cherished in spite of human frailties. It is a place that offers forgiveness, serenity, and hope for redemption -- unless you are gay, then in a surprisingly huge number of churches, never mind, there is no redemption for abominations.

As the mother of a gay son, I had to come face to face with the beast. My own Church’s stand on homosexuality was probably the most devastating part of learning my son was gay. According to my Church, the Catholic Church, my son is objectively disordered and intrinsically evil.

In the beginning, my biggest worry was knowing that if my Church’s stand on homosexuality was causing this much gut-wrenching turmoil for me, what on God’s green earth was it doing to my son? Well, it was devastating him too, as I found out when I read an essay he wrote for a Catholic high school class assignment titled Hell Bound:

It was not until I reached high school that I learned that I was going to hell for a sin that I did not understand, for a sin that I did not want to commit, and for a sin that I could not control. Being fourteen years old and totally believing that God wanted me to go to hell was very hard. I could not fathom how being gay warranted an eternity of pain and torture, as if this “curse” was not already enough torture.

It is both scary and painful to write about this subject; however, I feel that I need to. This aspect of me that I have kept hidden for so long is just now starting to emerge. I am scared. Hell, I am more than scared. Even now I have the urge to stop and throw this paper away, to write about something else, to pretend and forget. But this “fake” identity that I have lived is no longer working.

The impact on gay adolescents is exponentially more horrific. It is so profound and soul shattering that I can only shake my head and wonder how these men and women of the cloth can live with themselves. And that they do it in the name of God just takes my breath away.

What got me thinking about this were two different articles appearing in the Advocate right now. Two different people are telling stories that highlight the misery that comes with not fitting their Church’s very narrow and rigid template for normal. Both stories painfully highlight the cruelty that our gay children are experiencing in their uphill quests to be good Christians:

Bully Pulpit

There’s an old hymn that says, “This little light of mine / I’m going to let it shine / Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!” I used to sing this song in church when I was a little boy armed with the belief that the light inside of me was one that was worth shining. My voice was my direct connection to God, and I sang proudly in my Pentecostal church choir every week with the unwavering impression that God was a loving God and that I was one of his children. I was taught that God’s love was unconditional and that anyone could be the recipient of it—as long as they “believed in their hearts and spoke with their mouths.”

As early as the age of 7 I remember the adults in my life engaging in conversations behind closed doors, whispering to my mother about how “my light” might be shining just a little too brightly. For you see, my light was not a small simple light, it was opalescent—a rainbow of effulgent light whose colors were synonymous with sin. I didn't know why I felt sinful at the time; I just knew somewhere deep inside that I was. I prayed for deliverance. I prayed for a healing. I prayed for my light to shine an appropriate and subtle white: “Dear Lord, whatever is inside of me that’s not pleasing to you—take it out.” Then puberty hit, and I realized what all the fuss was about. The whispering and private conversations even became personal attacks from the pulpit. It seemed like not a single service could go by without some passive-aggressive minister or evangelist brandishing Leviticus 18:22 in my face. It became so toxic that I stopped wanting even to go to church since every time I was there I was either being told that I was an abomination and a disgrace or that AIDS was punishment for my homosexual urges. Something I didn't even have control over was causing an international plague. My light was dimming.

Read the whole story, it is heartbreaking.

The second story is written by a gay Catholic teen who was preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Here is a snippet:

Confirmed as a Solitary Christian

Excommunication may be the most violent word in the intricate vocabulary of Catholicism.

Although the Catholic Church has specific doctrine for the process and analysis of excommunication, some petty diocesan priests have bestowed upon themselves the responsibility of performing the deed, something I have myself experienced.

He goes on to say:

I have a solid memory of being told—by a white-collared, black-clad priest of about 30 years—that I was not welcome in the church because of my position on homosexuality. He stood keenly over me, forcing me to cower in the corner on a stark wooden chair. “This church does not welcome you,” he repeated to me in as flamboyant a voice as he could muster.

I have such a dark memory of eighth grade. I had been studying since the beginning of the school year to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Catholic Church. I was stoked. This would officially confirm me into the church as an adult ready to take on the responsibilities of a Christian life.

He continues his story by telling us that he was publicly outed by the administration of the school he was attending. He painfully details the cruel fallout from that disclosure and then the ultimate cruelty of all, being barred from receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation:

There was no need for a ceremony. I did not need a sealed letter from the Vatican detailing its accounting of the reasons I was excommunicated from the church. No process, no ceremony, and surely no ritual was needed to tell me I was not welcome in the church served by generations of my ancestors. I had been excommunicated without need of documentation.

I was confirmed into my life as a solitary Christian. I maintained my dignity amid incessant judgment and false accusations from the religious community where I went to school.

He finishes his essay:

I still have not been given a justified explanation as to why I need to rebuke the person God created in order to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Again, read the whole story, it too is heartbreaking.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Beautiful Life Cut Short

Back in January of this year, one of my daughter’s middle school friends died of brain cancer. Her name was Ashley. She was 16.

Sadly, we were not aware of Ashley and her family’s nightmare until it was too late. My daughter had lost touch with Ashley a couple of years ago because we had moved and my daughter ended up at a different high school than all of her middle school friends. But Ashley and my daughter were definitely together a lot in their middle school years because of their similar interests and mutual love of sports. I cannot tell you how many softball fields we left with no voice because these girls could sure play the game and put us on the edge of our seats.

I have gone back and forth trying to decide whether to write about Ashley. The pain is still so strong and so raw. Just thinking about what her family has gone through shakes me to my very core. I just cannot imagine anything more painful than losing a child. It is every parent’s worst nightmare.

Each time I pass Ashley’s old high school or the softball fields, on which my daughter and she played so many games, I feel this golf ball sized lump in my throat and my eyes fill with tears. Ashley was such a bright light and she made an impression on everyone who knew her. She was gorgeous, smart, funny, extremely gifted athletically, and she just had the kind of personality to which everyone was drawn. I cannot help but think the world lost something really big the day she died. There are no words for that kind of loss.

There were 3 or 4 huge articles in our paper about her and an editorial cartoon printed in her honor. They had to hold the memorial service in a mega church and there still was not enough room for all of the mourners who came to say good bye. So many people spoke, telling their personal stories of how Ashley had touched their life. Friends, parents, teachers, coaches, and the list went on and on. Everyone had a story to tell, the picture weaved by the stories bespoke a life that had so much potential and so much promise. The collective sorrow in that building was heavy and suffocating.

So why am I writing about Ashley now? I think about her almost every day. I wonder if things could have turned out differently. I know that Ashley’s parents did everything they could to save their precious daughter’s life, but even with the marvels of modern medicine it was not enough. But I just cannot help wondering, was Ashley’s life just slated to end early and nothing could have changed that, or, could things possibly have been different if George W. Bush had made different decisions about stem cell research when he first became president?

His decision to use his very first veto on one of the few overwhelmingly bipartisan bills to come out of this very divided and partisan House and Senate just does not sit right with me. Maybe if it had been a different president, I would be saying something like, well that took courage for him to follow his deeply held convictions. But it wasn’t a different President, it was George W. Bush, a man that I don’t think has deeply held convictions, but rather political ulterior motives. And if those political ulterior motives profoundly and negatively affect lives, then so be it. It is all a political game with this President and the impact on families is not really his main concern.

Oh dear God, forgive me, but I cannot shake the what ifs when I think of Ashley. Why did such a beautiful young girl have to die? Could there have been a break-through in stem cell research in time to save Ashley? What if we had a President who did not make decisions based on saving poll numbers and rallying “the base”? What if we had a President who did not see things in black and white, but in the more realistic shades of gray that life’s moral dilemmas seem to present themselves in? What if we had a President who weighed and measured and agonized and then made decisions for the greater good of the people instead of for the approval of the James Dobsons, Jerry Falwells, and Pat Robertsons of this country?

I guess I should stop torturing myself with these questions; we will never have the answers to them. And tragically, this world will never know what might have been had Ashley beat the cancer and lived to show us.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Oh My God – Not the Mooing Dog

James Dobson’s response is quick, decisive, and leaves no room for debate:

"Dogs aren't born mooing, and people aren't born gay."

Oh Jimbo, me thinks thou protesteth a bit too much...

Hat tip to PageOneQ


GOP Ain’t Gonna Let It Go, Bigotry Works Too Well for Them, or So They Think

I have never been so disgusted. With all the truly pressing problems that our country is facing right now and only five more weeks left of legislative session for the remainder of this year, what do you suppose our GOP House of Representatives’ top priorities are? Why debating an amendment that has absolutely NO chance of becoming law since the Senate has already rejected it, of course:

The House of Representatives could not have been any more obvious if the sergeant-at-arms had wheeled an equine carcass into the well and the speaker had pummeled it with his gavel.

Yesterday's House debate on same-sex marriage was pure dead horse: The Senate last month rejected -- emphatically -- a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to ban same-sex marriage, so there was zero chance the amendment could be approved this year.

And from an AP article titled GOP sees advantage in gay marriage debate:

The House rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage on Tuesday, a setback that conservatives hope to turn to their advantage in the fall elections.

"Be assured that this issue is not over," said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

But no worry, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., the leader of House conservatives, argued that:

…the vote was a successful failure. We poured a little more concrete in the footings of a building that will be built.

So, we have major problems escalating in the Middle East, our sons and daughters dying in Iraq as the violence spins out-of-control, a growing deficit that will burden our children and grandchildren, major corporations waiting for some kind of pension reform legislation, thousands sitting on pins and needles wondering if they will even have pensions by the time Congress decides to act, thousands and thousands of displaced Katrina victims still waiting for relief a year later, hurricane season upon us once again and big questions about our preparedness this time around, and the list goes on and on and the House GOP is debating an amendment that has no chance of passing. How’s that for tending to the people’s business?

Well Dana Milbank tells us they really weren’t too worried about the people’s business because:

… members of the House were answering to a Higher Authority:

"It's part of God's plan for the future of mankind," explained Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.).

Rep. Bob Beauprez (R- Colo.) also found "the very hand of God" at work. "We best not be messing with His plan."

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) agreed that "it wasn't our idea, it was God's."

"I think God has spoken very clearly on this issue," said Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), a mustachioed gynecologist who served as one of the floor leaders yesterday. When somebody quarreled with this notion, Gingrey replied: "I refer the gentleman to the Holy Scriptures."

"Marriage is not about love," volunteered Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who noted his 31 years of matrimony. "It's about a love that can bear children."

"The world did not start with Adam and Steve," Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) told reporters.

Gingrey, the floor leader/gynecologist, posited that the debate was "about values and how this great country represents them to the world." After the vote, he elaborated: "This is probably the best message we can give to the Middle East in regards to the trouble we are having over there right now." (emphasis mine)

To which Dana Milbank rightly ends his article:

So that was it: The marriage debate wasn't about amending the Constitution; it was about quieting Hezbollah.

To which I end my rant:

How much more of this nonsense do we, the people want to take? Let’s show them at the polls this November just how badly they miscalculated with this thinly veiled political ploy. It is time to reinstate a government for the people, all of the people, not just the ones that meet these bigots’ approval.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

He’s Back

Mike over at Mighty Middle is blogging again. I didn’t realize how much I would miss him. But he is back and better than ever. And he is a great ally in the fight for gay marriage. I’d put him toe to toe with Dobson, Robertson, or Falwell any day ---- and they’d lose, hands down.

If you haven’t read his latest articles on Gay Marriage yet, please check him out now. He is worth the time:

EEEWWW Is Not Enough

Because of Who They Love


To Have and To Hold Wrongly

Richard Cohen’s response to New York’s highest court’s decision upholding the ban on same sex marriage:

There are exactly 316 benefits of marriage. I learned that from the decision of New York's highest court upholding the ban on same-sex marriage, which means that the often-wed Elizabeth Taylor has enjoyed these benefits 2,528 times, while a lesbian could not have any of them, despite having a stable relationship and a child or two. If it pleases the court, your decision is just plain idiotic.

Read the whole article, it makes the rationale used by Judge Robert S. Smith, the judge who wrote the majority decision, look rather stupid.

Hat tip to The Mighty Middle


I’m an Independent Now

The face of the Republican Party has really changed since the days of Barry Goldwater. I know it has become a party to which I personally feel deep shame admitting I ever had any connection, but I figured I had an especially good reason (gay son) to hate the Republican Party. And I mean HATE with a vengeance that only a “mother scorned” could feel. What I didn’t realize was how many life-long prominent Republicans (most likely NOT parents of gay children) there are out there who feel the same revulsion and fury that I feel about today’s version of the Republican Party. That point was really driven home for me this past week when I caught a couple of interviews with John Dean, the former White House Counsel to President Richard Nixon, who has been making the rounds while promoting his new book, Conservatives Without Conscience. I quickly began to realize just how “not alone” I am in despising this group of people now calling themselves Republicans. And I must say “my misery sure is loving the company”.

I bring this all up because after our move I made re-registering to vote a top priority for me, my husband, and my 3 kids. There has never, ever been a shower that made me feel cleaner than I felt when I got my new voter registration card in the mail and there was a big, glorious I for Independent after my name. Sadly, I still do not feel that the Democratic Party as they stand right now has earned my support, but I will definitely be voting to oust the scummy Republicans in office right now. I just do not believe this country can withstand 2 more years of a Republican controlled everything. And I want to do my part to get them out. Out of power, out of our PRIVATE LIVES, out of my son’s life, and out of my family’s life. I want them to return to private life and the real world. I want them to see and feel the full impact of the pain that they have wrought upon so many. I want them to see and feel how creepy, invasive, and corrupt this government has become from the same perspective that we, the little people have been seeing it. And lastly, I want them to someday find the souls they lost while in office and feel great shame for their role in what they have done to this great country and to so many great American citizens that they have unjustly singled out as inferior and unequal. Share

James Dobson - A Look Into His Background

Morbo, over at the Carpetbagger discusses an interesting article titled And on the Eighth Day, Dr. Dobson Created Himself, which appears in the July issue of a Denver magazine called "5280". And he wastes no time capturing my attention with this opener:

Have you ever wondered why Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is such a nutcase? Why is he so obsessed with the sex lives of people he doesn't even know? Why does he hate gay people so much? Why does he claim to love Jesus so much, and then behave in a vicious manner so unlike Christ?

Hell yes, I have wondered! I have spent many an hour pondering how a man who claims to be an advocate for the family and a good Christian could be my family and many other families’ worst nightmare. I have puzzled long and hard on how James Dobson came to represent Christianity at its finest when in my eyes he represents the antithesis of what a good Christian should be. I’ve spent long hours wondering why there are so many people who have so little trust in their own faith, their own moral compasses, their own gut instincts, their own common sense, and their own ability to be good human beings and parents that they turn to this man for guidance and answers. Are we that pathetic that we need how-to guides on so many things that should come naturally? And are we that woefully misguided that we would elevate this man to top Family Advice guru?

After reading the entire article, I am truly frightened that it is this man that has reached such a pinnacle of success and influence. This article provides a disturbing peek into the formative years of a man who believes it is his god-mandated mission to jump into the most personal and private aspects of everyday American lives and dictate and if possible, legislate his firebrand version of morality and godliness. And after reading this article I cannot think of any person more frightening to have this kind of influence and power.

So why does James Dobson believe he is The Chosen One who owns the only parcel of moral high ground with the only direct line to his version of an unforgiving, vengeful, and hateful god? This might explain some of it:

The Dobsons were members of the Nazarene Church, a denomination of evangelical Christianity that believes human beings are inherently evil but can be saved if they repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ. Followers believe fervently in Judgment Day, when the Lord will return to the earth, the dead will be raised, and the faithful will be reunited with their loved ones in Heaven. Nazarenes believe that after a person has had an initial born-again experience, the Holy Spirit will seek to perform a second work of grace called “entire sanctification” or “baptism with the Holy Spirit,” which purges all sin. Gil Alexander-Moegerle, a former Focus executive and once one of Dobson’s most trusted advisors, writes in his 1997 book James Dobson’s War on America that this “Holiness” principle is key to understanding Dobson’s worldview: “James Dobson believes that he has been entirely sanctified, morally perfected, that he does not and cannot sin. Now you know why he and moralists like him make a life of condemning what he believes to be the sins of others. He is perfect.”

And of his childhood years, the article gives us a look into what probably formed the basis for many of Dobson’s beliefs about child rearing and discipline. It may also explain why “Jimbo” (as his daddy called him) feels families like mine ended up with gay sons --- because those daddies did not do as good a job beating the tar out of their sons as his daddy did:

In the Dobson household there were “a million rules,” the son would later write, “regulations and prohibitions for almost every imaginable situation.” He was chewed out for using the expression “Hot dog!” and forbidden from uttering “darn,” “geez,” or “dad-gummit” because they were considered shorthand swear words. Yet Dobson was a rambunctious and mischievous kid. He loved roughhousing with his father; one of their favorite games was kick fighting. The elder Dobson would encourage the boy to kick him in the shins, blocking the blows with the bottom of his feet. “Jimbo,” or “Bo,” as his father called him, would fight back like a tiger, prompting his dad to “tap” him on the shins with his toe. “We would end up laughing hysterically, despite the bumps and bruises on my legs,” Dobson writes in Bringing Up Boys.

And then there is this horrifying passage, which prompted Morbo to point out: any child psychologist will tell you, this type of cruelty toward animals is a sign of a serious psychological disturbance. And I must concur. I truly believe James Dobson has some serious unresolved problems. It is truly frightening that he has become the person to which people look for answers on discipline and family values:

Once, as Dobson writes in The New Strong-Willed Child, Jimbo provoked a fight between a pug bulldog and a “sweet, passive Scottie named Baby” by throwing a tennis ball toward Baby: “The bulldog went straight for Baby’s throat and hung on. It was an awful scene. Neighbors came running from everywhere as the Scottie screamed in terror. It took ten minutes and a garden hose for the adults to pry loose the bulldog’s grip. By then Baby was almost dead. He spent two weeks in the animal hospital, and I spent two weeks in the doghouse. I was hated by the entire town.”

And what about Jimbo’s momma?

Myrtle Dobson was an amiable and social woman, but she didn’t hesitate to whack her son with a shoe or belt when she felt it was required. Consequently, Dobson writes, he learned at an early age to stay out of striking distance when he back-talked to his mother. One day he made the mistake of mouthing off when she was only four feet away and heard a 16-pound girdle whistling through the air. “The intended blow caught me across the chest, followed by a multitude of straps and buckles wrapping themselves around my midsection.” The girdle incident did not dampen his defiance, however. One evening, after Dobson’s mother forbid him from going to a dance, the recalcitrant teenager told her that he was going anyway; she picked up the telephone and called her husband. “I need you,” she said.

“What happened in the next few days shocked me down to my toes,” writes Dobson. His father canceled the next four years’ worth of speaking engagements, put the Oklahoma house up for sale, and took a pastor’s job in San Benito, Texas, a small town near the Mexican border. Dobson had two years of high school left, and when he started classes he found himself the target of a couple of bullies. Rather than turn the other cheek, Dobson wheeled around and threw his schoolbooks in the face of one annoying youth. “By the time he could see me again I was on top of him,” Dobson writes. Dobson also tried a little bullying himself, targeting a boy whom he sized up as a “sissy.” But the boy gave him such a thrashing that Dobson concluded bullying wasn’t for him.

So Jimbo concluded “bullying wasn’t for him”, and yet to this day he still attacks laws aimed at preventing the bullying of gay and lesbian students. And in spite of his professed opposition to bullying (except for gay children of course), the article goes on to describe a classic example of bullying in its most heinous form: Dobson vs. Siggie, or more specifically: 200 pound bully vs. 12 pound helpless dog:

A fifth member of the household, a stubborn little dachshund named Sigmund Freud, added to the chaos. When “Siggie” refused to go to bed one night, Dobson got out a belt and whacked him. The dog bared its teeth and Dobson gave it a second whack. “What developed next is impossible to describe,” writes Dobson in The New Strong-Willed Child. “That tiny dog and I had the most vicious fight ever staged between man and beast. I fought him up one wall and down the other, with both of us scratching and clawing and growling. I am still embarrassed by the memory of the entire scene.”

For someone who is embarrassed by the memory, he sure has a funny way of showing it. He includes an even more detailed description of this man vs. dog altercation in one of his child rearing and discipline books. I simply cannot imagine any good reason for including this in a book about discipline nor can I figure out what lesson he was trying to convey. For me it simply reinforces the fact that the man has some really deranged ideas about discipline and he is the worst kind of cowardly bully.

But wait, why limit beatings to helpless small dogs when there are helpless toddlers just begging for a beating too:

In his first book, Dare to Discipline, published in 1970, he tells parents it’s OK to spank their little ones as long as it’s done in a loving, careful environment. The best place to spank a child is on the buttocks, he writes, recommending a “neutral object,” such as a switch or a paddle. The physical discipline can begin with a thump to the fingers “just enough to sting” when the toddler is 18 months old, and it should stop by the time the child is 10 or 12.

And now that we have a generation of grown children raised on Dobson’s sage advice, what are we hearing:

Some children who were on the receiving end of spankings still resent him. Writing about The Strong-Willed Child on, a Florida woman said that the Dobson-inspired spankings administered by her mother created scars that have lasted a lifetime. “I have spent my entire adulthood attempting to re-parent myself and overcome the psychological damage my mother created,” she writes. “My mother admitted to me several years ago that had she known spanking would have produced the long-term effects I live with and destroyed our relationship, she would not have followed Mr. Dobson’s advice. Unfortunately, her timing was too late.”

But apparently there is no shortage of people who still turn to this man for guidance:

Today, Dobson’s organization so dominates Colorado Springs that the two have become synonymous. The city, which has been called the “ground zero” of the Christian Revolution and the “Vatican” of the Religious Right, has become a mecca for more than 100 evangelical organizations. Every year, 260,000 people make the pilgrimage to the Springs hoping to glimpse the man they consider a family friend. And every election season, candidates, both state and national, genuflect at Focus on the Family’s brick citadel on the hill, hoping for a campaign boost. Dobson’s pronouncements from the political pulpit have grown more combative, more divisive, and more frequent. Hate mail and death threats are piling up. He often travels with four bodyguards, including a retired Delta Force commando; his kids have worn bulletproof vests. Though the battle is largely one that Dobson’s initiated, associates say he’s the one who feels embattled…

So let me end this rant with Morbo’s closing paragraphs since he says it so well:

So Dobson got smacked around with shoes and belts — for the heinous crime of exclaiming "hot dog!" His parents were uptight fanatics who mistreated him, and his mom even threw intimate undergarments at him. He got abused at a new school and lost a fight to a smaller kid. On at least one occasion, he was mean to a dog.

This is all a shame, and now I think I better understand why Dobson constantly tries to use the raw power of the state to cram fundamentalist Christianity down our throats: He had a lousy childhood.

There is a better way, Jim. Admit that these childhood demons still haunt you. Get help. Find a counselor. Talk it out. You have issues, dude. There's no shame in that. Get the help you need and quit trying to gloss over your crummy upbringing by messing up the entire country.

Let this be a lesson to all of us as well. I've complained on this blog before about parents who use corporal punishment on children. Children certainly do misbehave at times, but nothing excuses physically assaulting youngsters. If the moral arguments against beating kids do not persuade you, consider this: As you spank your child, you may be shaping the country's next James Dobson.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sorry about the lack of posts...

But we got a last minute opportunity to meet all of our kids in a beachside location for a few days and we just could NOT pass it up. I mean, come on, 110 degrees or 75 degrees? Who wouldn't jump at the chance?

Will be back in a couple of days.

Seething Mom Share

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Official Homosexual Agenda (version 1)

I often hear the Religious Right rambling on about the Homosexual Agenda and I had absolutely no idea what the heck they were talking about. Well thankfully Pam comes to the rescue with the elusive document (there are several versions, but I will start with version 1 and give you time to digest it):

The Homosexual Agenda:

6:00 am Gym

8:00 am Breakfast

9:00 am Hair appointment

10:00 am Shopping

12:00 PM Brunch

2:00 PM (Here's the really important part)

1) Assume complete control of the US Federal, State and local Governments as well as all other national governments
2) Recruit all straight youngsters to our debauched lifestyle
3) Destroy all healthy heterosexual marriages
4) Replace all school counselors in grades K-12 with agents of Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels
5) Establish planetary chain of "homo breeding gulags" where over -medicated imprisoned straight women are turned into artificially impregnated baby factories to produce prepubescent love slaves for our devotedly pederastic gay leadership
6) Bulldoze all houses of worship
7) Secure total control of the INTERNET and all mass media for the exclusive use of child pornographers.

2:30 PM Get Forty Winks of Beauty Rest to prevent facial wrinkles from stress of world conquest

4:00 PM Cocktails

6:00 PM Light Dinner

8:00 PM Theater

11:00 PM Bed