Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We're on our own kids

Well I’ll be damned. I never thought I’d say this, but there is a certain comfort in knowing just where the Republican Party stands on Gay and Lesbian issues. They’ve certainly made no secret of their homophobia or their desire to enshrine their hatred of gays into laws. But what the hell can you say about a party who pretends to be your ally, but who’d throw you under the bus in a heartbeat if it meant even the slightest political gain?

I’ve always known there is a certain slime factor that comes with politics and power, but c’mon, is there anything slimier than this:

Bob Shrum's book has already caused its share of trouble for John Edwards, in part from Shrum's recollection that Edwards wasn't comfortable with gay people in 1998.

But the book is really sort of a pile of unexploded ordnance, and the person who comes off as most indifferent to questions of gay rights isn't Edwards, but Bill Clinton.


"Clinton, Kerry reported at the time, did suggest blunting Bush's appeal to cultural conservatives with a reprise of Clinton's Sister Souljah moment in 1992 when he'd denounced her call for violence against whites — and done it as conspicuously as possible in front of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition.

"Kerry, Clinton ventured, should consider defying Democratic interest groups by endorsing the Bush proposal for a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage."

Shrum reports that "this was a flip-flop too far for Kerry.

Yup, that’s good ol’ Bill Clinton, lookin ya in the face and flashin that big warm “I’m your friend” smile while all the while looking for the nearest speeding bus to throw every last one of ya under.

And lest we all forget, Ben Smith reminds us:

Bill Clinton does, reportedly, continue to play a role in Hillary's campaign.

I have to agree with Andrew Sullivan on this one:

… are there still some delusional morons out there who think Bill Clinton and his life-partner give a flying DNA sample about gay people? Yes, the last president was marking the dress of an extra-marital lover, while he was grandstanding on the Defense of Marriage Act. That says everything about Bill Clinton that you'll ever need to know.

At least with the Republicans you don’t have to worry about being stabbed in the back since they’ll gladly look you right in the eye when they stab you. So I’ll give them credit for their honesty.

I just want to bury my face in a pillow and cry. Do we not have any allies? I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t think we do. And I sure as hell don’t trust Hillary Clinton to be that knight in shining armor. I get the feeling she’d sell her first born if it meant a slight up tick in the polls.

Nope, I think Jarred is right: “as far as gay rights go, we're probably going to have to settle for voting for the "least evil" candidate.” But I can tell you one thing right now, Democrats are going to have to earn my vote and at this point, they’ve all flunked – miserably.


Anyone for a Guinness?

This is definitely 5 stars in my book as well:

Hat tip Andrew


Monday, May 28, 2007

Dear Senator Edwards,

I just finished reading several articles and blog posts inspired by a specific quote from you in Bob Shrum’s new book. The quote I speak of is, "I'm not comfortable around those people" which was your response to the question, “What is your position, Mr. Edwards, on gay rights?”

I am a 49 year old woman, married 25 years, and up until a few years ago, a lifelong Republican (although I’ve always voted for the person I felt to be the best candidate, which many times meant not a Republican). I am also the mother of 3 beautiful children, one of them gay, or more to the point, one of those people around whom you are so uncomfortable.

I am now an Independent who is searching, studying, agonizing, and praying for just the right presidential candidate to hang my extremely dashed hopes on. You have definitely been in the running, but now I am not so sure. And it is not because of your discomfort around gay people. You don’t have to be “comfortable” with my son or any other gay or lesbian to garner my vote, but you do have to be able to put that discomfort aside and publicly commit yourself to fighting for the exact same rights for my child that your children will take for granted.

Any man or woman who cannot fulfill the obligation of ensuring (in spite of their discomfort) that all Americans are equal and not “separate but equal” (as in civil unions or “partnership benefits”) is not, in this seething mother’s eyes, fit for the highest office in this country. This country needs a courageous leader who is guided by the founding principles of our forefathers and not by a wet finger in the wind or James Dobson’s version of Christian values.

Your rhetoric about 2 Americas is eloquent and resonates with me, but probably not in the way you intended. George W. Bush chose to use the promise of making my son a permanent second class citizen to garner the votes of the most hateful segment of his base. And he threw salt in this mother’s wounds by doing it under the guise of Christianity. His “gay bashing for votes” was unbearable, unforgivable, and sinful. So this mother will never vote for anyone who speaks of the disparity between the “2 Americas”, but who concedes that allowing gays the right to be married “would be a jump for him”. I simply cannot help feeling that your willingness to ensure that my son will never have the exact same rights his siblings have (or your children have for that matter) is akin to creating a mini version of “2 Americas” right smack dab in my very own family.

Bush was blatant in his quest to make our gay and lesbian sons and daughters second class citizens. Stealth attempts to make our gay and lesbian children second class citizens by any presidential candidate is not going to get past the thousands of parents who are already reeling from the current president’s profound betrayal of our children. Our wounds are way too raw. So it is with great disappointment that I have come to realize that you have used your own discomfort and religious beliefs to admit and justify that you would probably deny my child what your children already have. It shouldn’t have surprised me I guess. You are really no different than any of the other candidates out there right now. My son’s right to be treated equally were dashed the day he had the courage to admit he was gay. And make no mistake about it, admitting to be gay in this country takes genuine courage since it means allowing your rights to be used as bargaining chips by opportunistic politicians and religious zealots.

Maybe you should ask yourself how you would feel if it was your child being singled out as not worthy of equal treatment because it offends some people’s religious beliefs or makes some people “uncomfortable”. Nowhere is it written in our constitution that my child must pass James Dobson’s twisted version of Christian values or that my child must make everyone feel comfortable in order to be treated equally in this country. Religious beliefs and comfort levels have no place in this discussion. And any candidate who uses those things as litmus tests for determining the rights of any minority is not the right person to lead this country out of the deep dark depression this country is feeling after 6 ½ years of George W. Bush and Karl Rove politics.

Do the right thing Senator Edwards, stand up for my child just as you would your own. This country is in desperate need of a politician who is willing to do the right thing. And God knows we parents of gay and lesbian children could use a true American hero right about now.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rest in peace, you blowhard.

Timothy Noah over at Slate has a great article looking back on the life of the "The right's holy fool":

God, they say, is love, but the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who died May 15, hit the jackpot trafficking in small-minded condemnation...


On news of Falwell's death, McCain said in a statement, "Dr. Falwell was a man of distinguished accomplishment who devoted his life to serving his faith and country."

Nonsense. He was a bigot, a reactionary, a liar, and a fool.

At which point he backs it up with a long history of Falwell idiocy, which always managed to make the day’s news cycle and further bloat the guy’s image as a big joke in the eyes of anyone with any kind of connection to reality. And even though I am painfully familiar with pretty much all of the incidents he cites in the article, I still found the list humorous to read in a kind of sadistic, self-tortuous way.

I stumbled upon the Slate article via another great post by Steve Benen over at the Carpetbagger Report entitled “An ‘unshakable moral compass’?” in which he details how the House Republican caucus and the White House stumbled all over themselves ignoring the man’s history while praising him as a:

“great leader of America’s conservative movement” whose “strong set of values” and “unshakable moral compass” had made America “a better place.” “More than we all realize,” one member of Congress said, “we are very blessed the he came our way.”

In Steve’s words:

I realize that when a prominent national figure passes away, many will want to paint his or her life in as positive a light as possible. It just seems polite.

That said, the praise showered on TV preacher Jerry Falwell this week on the House floor was galling, even by the embarrassingly low standards of the House Republican caucus.

Steve ends the post with a quote from Americans United:

The Rev. Jerry Falwell’s funeral was yesterday and, predictably, President George W. Bush sent a representative. Tim Goeglein, White House liaison to religious groups, stepped into the pulpit of Thomas Road Baptist Church and praised Falwell as a visionary.

As the Associated Press reported, “The White House sent Tim Goeglein, its liaison to religious groups. He called Falwell a ‘great friend of the administration’ and told mourners that Falwell had trained young people now serving in the Bush administration – ’so a man of great vision has seen a vision fulfilled.’”

A man of “great vision”? What vision might that be? Falwell’s vision was one of an officially “Christian America” — Christian by his narrow definition of that faith, of course. His “vision” would have excluded not only Americans who happened to be Jews, atheists, Muslims, Buddhists and other non-Christians but also millions of Americans whose Christian faith is less rigid.

Is Falwell’s great “vision” his legacy of ugly gay bashing and his crude personal attacks on anyone who dared to stand up to his narrow-mindedness? Perhaps the “vision” the White House celebrates is Falwell’s constant attacks on the great constitutional principle of church-state separation (which he repeatedly said was a lie and a myth) or his often-stated desire to tear down the public schools.

But maybe the “vision” Goeglein celebrates is the one Falwell outlined two days after Sept. 1, 2001. With the wounds of that horrific attack still fresh, Falwell went on national television to blame the mass killings of nearly 3,000 people not on the evil terrorists who executed it but on Americans who disagree with him on political issues. […]

Have we forgotten already? The White House apparently has.


What About the Parents?

I've been meaning to blog about this for weeks, but with work taking up the bulk of my time these past few months, I put this post on the back burner because I wanted some time to think on it. But then when I got to thinking about it, I realized I'm hardly qualified to comment on this subject since my family has never had any personal experience with these ex-gay organizations. My only experience comes solely from the many stories I've read about the terrible damage these ex-gay "ministries" do to gays and lesbians desperate to meet the Dobson litmus test for normal. But little is said about the harm these organizations do to the entire family of the gays and lesbians going through the "degaying process".

Well I ran across this most heartbreaking post a few weeks ago and it does talk about the harm done to the family and in a better, more authentic way than I ever could because it is the personal story of someone who knows first hand. So please hop on over to Peterson Toscano's place and read his story.

Oh, and by the way, pay no attention to the crazy lady in the comments section. She is a known head case when it comes to this subject and tends to get overly emotional when it comes to these religious frauds who spew hatred and homophobia under the guise of Christianity. Share

Sometimes you just gotta have a good hard cleansing cry

Have you ever had a day where everything just comes to a head and you lose it over something that normally would only irritate you or cause you to shake your head in disgust? Well, that was me last night. I was sitting at my computer when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I just lost it. I was just so pissed, so disgusted, and so overwhelmed with a sense of defeat and hopelessness that I just could not stop myself from having a good cry (with a little bit of temper tantrum thrown in for good measure).

Now it wasn’t any one thing in particular that caused it. It was more of a gradual build up of things. It has gotten to the point where there’s just not a day that goes by in which I don’t read at least one mind-bogglingly ludicrous or infuriating or depressing thing that painfully reminds me of what a pathetic state our country is in.

Well last night I was getting my final dose of blog-reading in before shutting off the computer and getting ready for bed when I popped on over to John’s place for a bedtime story and read this:

US military kicks out 3 more Arabic linguists for being gay

Sure, we won't be able to stop the next September 11 from killing perhaps tens of thousands of people because we don't have enough linguists to translate the terrorist chatter, but at least they stopped the gay linguists. And they wonder why we're losing in Iraq? Because we have complete bozos running our military. This is criminal.

Now normally this would not have been enough to send me over the edge. I’ve certainly known for quite some time that our military has become a joke when it comes to its wildly over-the-top homophobic Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. And I am not talking about our brave men and women (many of them gay) over in Iraq and Afghanistan, I am talking about the 5-star wussies over in the Pentagon who enforce this ludicrous policy. By acting like a bunch of weak-kneed frightened pansies who look under their beds for those scaouwy scaouwy homos every night before they go to bed, they have reduced our supposedly “Greatest Military in the World” into a laughing stock. They may never rid this world of terrorists, but rest assured people, they’ll have the “straightest” military ever.


But as I said, that bit of news on any other day would just make me shake my head in disgust, embarrassment, and anger, it wouldn’t normally make me have a minor breakdown.

No, it was definitely a slow culmination of highly disturbing articles like this one from WorldNetDaily, a major whacked out religious site no less:

Bush grants presidency extraordinary powers, directive for emergencies apparently gives authority without congressional oversight:

President Bush has signed a directive granting extraordinary powers to the office of the president in the event of a declared national emergency, apparently without congressional approval or oversight.

...The directive establishes under the office of the president a new national continuity coordinator whose job is to make plans for "National Essential Functions" of all federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments, as well as private sector organizations to continue functioning under the president's directives in the event of a national emergency.

"Catastrophic emergency" is loosely defined as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions."

And this article in which extremely sloppy reporting gives legitimacy to a known hate mongering homophobe and damages a whole class of people in the process:

SF Chronicle quotes known hate group as legitimate expert claiming gays molest kids

Ilene Lelchuk, a reporter with the San Francisco Chronicle, quoted the leader of a known hate group (without identifying him as such) as a scientific expert on gay issues (he claimed that gays molest kids) in a story just published Monday. The "expert" in question is none of than Paul Cameron. You may recall that I've been writing a lot about Cameron in the past few weeks (as has Pam Spaulding), as the lead religious right groups keep pushing his hate "science."

What's the problem with Cameron? He's a man who has suggested that the extermination of gays might be necessary. Per the Southern Poverty Law Center:

He told the 1985 Conservative Political Action Committee conference that "extermination of homosexuals" might be needed in the next three to four years. He has advocated tattooing AIDS patients in the face, and banishment to a former leper colony for any patient who resisted. He has called for gay bars to be closed and gays to be registered with the government.

Or this:

Greg Palast has something to say about Monica Goodling.

From a press release on Daily Kos.

BBC Television’s Newsnight has 500 "missing" Rove office emails including a series of self-incriminating notes which provide "the keys to the kingdom" behind the prosecutor firings.

In the opening to today’s testimony before Congress, Monica Goodling, former Department of Justice White House Liaison, testified that Deputy Attorney General Kyle Sampson lied. At issue was, says Goodling, Sampson’s denial "that he had some knowledge of allegations that Tim Griffin had been involved in vote ‘caging’ during the work on the President’s 2004 campaign."


The BBC reporter explained that ‘vote caging’ is a crime; Tim Griffin directed it; Karl Rove, Goodling and Sampson knew it, yet Rove demanded the appointment of Griffin as the US Attorney for Arkansas.

‘Caging’ was a 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign scheme to challenge, on false evidence, the right to vote of tens of thousand of Black voters.

Which in turn led me to this and made me realize how criminally negligent and pathetically inept our major news organizations in this country are:

GregPalast's diary


In several emails obtained by subpoena by Congressional investigators, Goodling and Griffin complain about ‘that British reporter Palast’ (an American working with BBC London). In a February 5, 2006 email, Griffin gloats to Goodling that "no [US] national media" has picked up Palast’s discovery of the ‘caging’ operation.


Which led me to this:

Depressing Video Clip and the realization that maybe we didn’t need to be going through this agony these past 6 ½ years with this worst President ever if we had just had a clean election system that we could trust.

And there’s oh so much more, but I think you get the picture and this post is already depressingly long. I know I am not the only one who has scary mood swings that vacillate between a catatonic depression and seething rage so let me close with this piece of advice, which certainly has helped me:

Have a good old fashion temper tantrum and cry once in a while, it doesn’t solve the problems that sent you over the edge in the first place, but you sure feel better afterwards. Share

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Reliving my own first broken heart – through the broken heart of someone I love

Yesterday morning I got an anguished phone call from my gay son, a college student in the state of Washington. I knew the minute he started talking that something was very wrong and I could feel my heart start pounding hard within my chest. My husband, who was standing nearby washing the coffee pot, hearing my end of the conversation and sensing that something was wrong, stood motionless, his gaze frozen on me, as he tried to ascertain the gravity of the problem by my limited end of the conversation.

Our son was not just upset, he was devastated. He had called to tell us that he and his boyfriend of almost 2 years, the first true love he’d ever experienced, had broken up. He was beside himself with sadness, confusion, and anger.

I didn’t have the words to console him. I felt so inadequate and so far away. And yet, I knew from the memories of my own first-love breakup that there really wasn’t much I could say that would ease his pain regardless of my proximity to him. All I could really do was listen as he spilled his unbridled emotions into the mouthpiece of his cell phone.

I have never wanted more desperately to hug him.

At that point I realized that it doesn’t matter whether it is a gay couple or a straight couple, a breakup is painful, and a broken heart is a broken heart, agony knows no sexual orientation. But what I didn’t realize is how painful it would be for me and my husband. Though I had no expectations that this relationship would be the life-long committed relationship that I know one day my son will have, my husband and I had grown attached to the young man our son has been dating for almost 2 years. We truly felt he was part of our family and we treated him as such, including him on family vacations, having him share the Christmas holiday with us, and inviting him on the trip to our oldest son’s college graduation last year.

Weird as it sounds, I feel betrayed by the meltdown of their relationship. Yes, I know that sounds a tad irrational, but I’m not going to claim I’m always rational, especially when it comes to one of my kids.

I am kind of puzzled though by my emotions. Why am I reacting this way? I actually burst into tears in the shower yesterday. So after a day and a half thinking about it, I think I may know why.

1) We genuinely liked our son’s boyfriend. We treated him like family because our son truly cared about him and so we truly cared about him.

2) We took great comfort in knowing that our son was in a committed and monogamous relationship and not out there messing around with a different person every other day in some kind of mad quest to make up for those lost and lonely high school years.

3) We were overjoyed that our son was finally at peace with himself and therefore able to settle into the contented and happy relationship he thought he’d never have.

Yes, this was just a first love gone sour, but I could not help thinking about gay and lesbian couples who’ve been together for years and the added agony they go through because we deny them even the most basic protections that married couples get when they break up. Even the innocent children of gay and lesbian couples pay a terrible price for our homophobia and bigotry. Just thinking about the complications my son and his ex are going to have over the less than 2 years of minor entanglements and melding of property really brings home for me the cruelty we inflict upon our fellow gay and lesbian Americans by denying them equal rights and protections because it offends some people’s religious beliefs. Shame on us. Breaking up is painful enough without us exacerbating the misery.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hate is not a good legacy

Morbo, a frequent guest poster over at the Carpetbagger, has a good post on Jerry Falwell and his legacy. It is aptly titled: Hate is not a good legacy and it is well worth the full read.

Morbo makes the point that very few of us have an opportunity in this life to touch the number of lives that Jerry Falwell touched. But tragically Jerry Falwell used this opportunity in such a way that he will be remembered not as a great man who did great things, but rather he will remembered for:

…[helping] usher in the Religious Right and, whether we like it or not, [redefining] American politics. But his larger legacy, which I think is pretty negative to begin with, is overshadowed by specific incidents of intolerance and extremism from his disturbing career.

Falwell will be remembered as the guy who outed the purple Teletubby, as the man who accused his fellow Americans of being responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. People will recall that he once compared Sen. Hillary Clinton to Satan and said the Antichrist will be Jewish.

He’ll be remembered for gay bashing, for religious intolerance and for crude personal attacks on his perceived enemies. He’ll be remembered as someone who divided, not united, our people.

And as legacies go, this is a really lousy one. These are crummy things to be remembered for.

And he finishes up by saying:

I know it’s not considered polite to say negative things about the recently departed, but Falwell’s passing should not obscure one obvious reality: He was given a chance to make a difference in the world, a rare opportunity most of us never receive. He squandered it. That is the final tragedy of Jerry Falwell’s misspent life.

I have my doubts about the afterlife and the existence of a Supreme Being. But I do know this: If such a being exists, he/she/it created us all and does not want us to hate one another. Thus, those who promulgate hate will not spend eternity in a good place. But I’m not vindictive. Falwell need not endure hot flames licking at his ample backside. Putting him alone in a room to spend eternity contemplating his squandered life is punishment enough.

Now this is where Morbo and I part ways. I’d be ok with the hot flames licking at ole Falwell’s ample back side. I shall never forget the pain Falwell’s hateful words caused my family and thousands like mine. Never.



That is the sound of the latest holier-than-thou fraud to fall from her perch atop the moral high ground.

That would be Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the woman who has made a career screaching family values, moral values, personal responsibility, and ethics to the heathens among us, which I am sure in her mind encompasses everyone but her. And I know that it certainly includes my gay son since in this violently homophobic woman’s eyes there is nothing more evil or immoral than gays and lesbians. And she has never missed a chance to let people know it with her very convenient bully pulpit and access to the airwaves.

Unfortunately, while she has been imparting all these valuable tips on morality, family values, parenting skills, and personal responsibility to her radio audience over the years, her own son was growing up to become the antithesis of everything she was telling her listeners to be.

Yep, it looks like the woman who never lost an opportunity to demonize my gay son as evil, may have to do some serious soul searching about where she went so wrong with her own son:

The soldier son of talk radio relationship counselor Laura Schlessinger is under investigation for a graphic personal Web page that one Army official has called "repulsive."

The MySpace page, publicly available until Friday when it disappeared from the Internet, included cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned "My Sweet Little Habib"; accounts of illicit drug use; and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets.

The site is credited to and includes many photographs of Deryk Schlessinger, the 21-year-old son of the talk radio personality known simply as Dr. Laura. Broadcast locally on 570 KNRS, "Family Values Talk Radio," the former family counselor spends three hours daily taking calls and offering advice on morals, ethics and values.


"Yes . . . F---ING Yes!!!" said one blog entry on the Schlessinger site. "I LOVE MY JOB, it takes everything reckless and deviant and heathenistic and just overall bad about me and hyper focuses these traits into my job of running around this horrid place doing nasty things to people that deserve it . . . and some that don't."

It’s time for this woman to go, don’t you think? After all, even if we were to show her way more compassion than she has ever shown some of the desperately pathetic people who call into her show, we’d have to work really hard to turn a blind eye to at least one transgression in her past.

Not sure what I am talking about? Just Google Dr. Laura Nude (and no, I’m not linking to it, though it’s tempting). And then tell me why we have to listen to her pollute the air waves with her advice on how to be moral and ethical. Hell if she cannot instill the very values she preaches in her own son or live them herself, then why the hell are we looking to her for advice on anything?

And one more thing, she has a lot of nerve telling me my son is evil. How dare her!


Thursday, May 17, 2007

An editorial cartoon is worth a 1000 words

Once again the Arizona Republic’s editorial cartoonist, Steve Benson, nails it.

Confidential to Mark: Sorry Mark, Jerry Falwell was just NOT a nice guy and he deserves every single bit of the disdain being heaped on him now.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell is dead

And I have absolutely nothing kind to say about this horrible man, so I shall refrain from saying anything. But that won’t stop me from linking to others who aren’t holding back.

Down With Tyranny:

One should never speak ill of the dead. I must have missed that lesson; maybe snuck off to a Dodgers game at Ebbett's Field instead of going to Hebrew School when they taught that one.


If Charon can ferry his bloated carcass across the Styx, I'm sure there'll be a huge party in Hell tonight to welcome one of Satan's most effective servants on earth. Jerry Falwell was found dead in his office after a gigantic breakfast featuring all sorts of preparation of pig flesh. I doubt though that the Third Circle of Hell-- Cererus' sweet little eternity where gluttons like Falwell are condemned to live in mud, cold rain and hail falling on them while they eat their own excrement-- will be where he'll wind up. Nor will the Fourth circle-- the materialism circle-- be his final resting place. Nah, the welcome mat is out for ole Jerry at the Eighth Circle (for those guilty of deliberate Evil), either in Bolgia 4 (false prophets, tailormade for him) or Bolgia 5 (corrupt politicians). The false prophets wind up with their heads twisted around facing backwards and the rotten pols spend eternity in a lake of boiling tar. Of course Bolgia 9 would be no stretch either-- an unpleasant little eternity for the sowers of discord. Dante has assigned Muhammad there.

Andrew Sullivan:

Since I can think of nothing good to say about him, I'll say nothing. And pray for the repose of his soul.

John at AMERICAblog:

Jerry Falwell was a hateful bigot…

Yes, no one likes speaking ill of the dead. But we don't whitewash a life of bigotry and intolerance simply because the man is now gone. Al Sharpton (not a presidential candidate, but still) has already praised Falwell - that's absurd. Falwell supported apartheid, Mr. Sharpton. Falwell accused you and me of having caused September 11. Dead or alive, that is not the kind of man who deserves our praise. Jerry Falwell wasn't afraid of being a bigot in life, we shouldn't be afraid of calling him one in death.


“Reverend Falwell’s death today causes my thoughts to turn toward the members of our community who have at great personal sacrifice contended with the Reverend’s work and teachings. As I remember Reverend Falwell’s life, I also remember all of the families of people who have died of AIDS,” said Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign. “Reverend Falwell’s legacy is not about the tenets of Jesus’ ministry such as healing the sick and standing with the disenfranchised but about shunning and ridiculing those who have suffered and died of AIDS and their families. Many faith leaders today are moving away from his divisive approach and toward the compassion and inclusiveness that Jesus modeled every day of his ministry.”

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

“The death of a family member or friend is always a sad occasion and we express our condolences to all those who were close to the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Unfortunately, we will always remember him as a founder and leader of America’s anti-gay industry, someone who exacerbated the nation’s appalling response to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, someone who demonized and vilified us for political gain and someone who used religion to divide rather than unite our nation.”

John Cole at Balloon Juice:

I have a number of nasty things I would like to say about this fellow and the damage I think he has done to our discourse and our politics, but now is not the time…


Monday, May 14, 2007

Oh the memories...

I grew up in a family with 4 brothers. This video really brought back the memories. Just add two more boys into the mix and you'll have a pretty good idea of what my poor mom had to put up with.

Hat tip to Andrew


I only have five more school lunches to make

And my daughter, the “baby” of the family, graduates from high school, marking the close of a major chapter in my life.

And then late this summer she will leave Arizona and join her middle brother at the same university he attends in Washington state. They are very close and I feel good that she will have him (and his boyfriend of almost 2 years) near by.

Not only will this be the first time in 23 years that my husband and I will not have kids in the house, but it will also be the first time we don’t have kids in the same state. Our oldest son joined the Peace Corps and left for the Ukraine in March.

I cannot say that I am worried about the empty nest thing or not having enough to do or feeling that my life has no meaning anymore. My husband and I have been talking about and planning for this new phase of our life for a very long time. My biggest worry is finding enough time to do all the things we have planned.

Yes, there is a tinge of sadness that this very wonderful part of our lives is drawing to a close, but there is also a lot of pride that we have successfully raised three independent, hard-working kids with so much promise and so much enthusiasm, and so much to contribute to society.


Oh damn, here we go again…

I am so grateful that we found out about our son’s sexual orientation while he was still in high school and living at home with us. It gave my husband and me the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with our son minus all the “closet” baggage and fake personas he’d specifically designed to keep anyone from getting to know the real him. It gave us time to get comfortable with his sexual orientation and him time to get comfortable with it too. And most importantly it gave us the opportunity to talk to him about things that we would not have talked about if we had not known he was gay.

BUT it was also the worst time to find out we had a gay son. It was right smack dab in the middle of George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign for reelection. And every single day of that sickening campaign was a painful kick-to-the-gut reminder that our beloved son was nothing more than a tool to this man. We watched in horror as the President of the United States put our son’s constitutional rights up as bargaining chips in order to win over the most hateful segment of his base so that he could eek back into office for 4 more years.

No, it was an absolutely terrible time to learn that the child we loved so much it hurt was gay. And looking back, I’m damn glad that period in our lives is over. Unfortunately I think I need to brace myself for 2008 since it seems to be shaping up to be a remake of 2004, but with different goofballs playing the lead roles.

And judging from this article by Greta Christina, she thinks so too. She focuses on Mitt Romney in this article, but you could easily substitute the name of many of the other GOP candidates and no one would notice:

You know, it's not so much the fact that he's opposing same-sex marriage that bugs me. I pretty much expect that from any Republican Presidential candidate, and for that matter from most of the Democratic ones too.

It's not even the fact that Romney used to be both more progressive and more gay-friendly. After all, John McCain needs someone to keep him company in his craven rush to suck the collective cock of the far right.

What's really bugging me about Romney's opposition to same-sex marriage is that he's using religion and the Bible to defend it.

And then she gets to the crux of what’s really difficult for those of us who don’t share the same religious views as these sanctimonious frauds:

When elected officials cite religious beliefs -- and religious scripture in particular -- to defend their political positions, they're basically saying that they have the right to make decisions about other people's lives, not on the basis of evidence or ethics or good arguments, but on the basis of unsupported faith.

And not just a general ecumenical faith in some sort of God or some sort of soul, but a specific set of beliefs and rules -- about which people all over the world disagree vehemently and violently, and for which there is no basis for believing other than (a) their personal hunch, and/or (b) the tradition and authority of their parents and teachers and religious texts.

They're saying that, when deciding an important question with a powerful effect on people's lives (such as same-sex marriage), a book written thousands of years ago in a society that no longer exists -- and their own personal interpretation of that book -- is every bit as important, and maybe even more important, as what does and does not work to make our society flourish, and to make the people in it stable and happy.

Not just when it comes to their own life -- their own marriage, their own body, their own sexuality -- but mine, and yours, and everyone else's.

Because the thing about religious beliefs is that they're not based on evidence. They're based either on personal inspiration, or the authority of religious teachers and texts (or some combination of the two). And ultimately, they're not debatable. You can argue with people about their religious beliefs, but eventually it always comes down to, "I believe what I believe."


The Bible is a complicated, self-contradictory mess, written by different people at different historical periods with sometimes wildly different points of view. And it can be used -- has been used -- to defend just about any position, from slavery to civil rights, from the stoning of homosexuals to the support of same-sex marriage. (As Ingrid said: If you're trying to pass laws based on the Bible, but you're not passing laws against blended fabrics or charging interest on loans, then you need to shut up.)


It's one thing to base your own life on a collective religious tradition or an inspired religious hunch. I think it's mistaken, I think it's problematic... but I also think it's none of my damn business. But when people try to base MY life on their collective tradition or inspired hunch -- without actually bothering to look at my life and what would and would not help me and the people around me -- that is another kettle of fish. And it's a kettle of fish that stinks to the skies.

Yup Christina, you said it better than I could. And I thank you for it.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A lesson for James Dobson about REAL FAMILIES

Hey Dobson! FAMILIES COME IN ALL SIZES AND SHAPES. And not all will fit your narrow, bigoted idea of the perfect family.

Try telling this tigress and her pride that her family is not a REAL FAMILY:

In a zoo in California, a mother tiger gave birth to a rare set of triplet tiger cubs. Unfortunately,
due to complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely and due to their tiny
size, they died shortly after birth.

The mother tiger after recovering from the delivery, suddenly started to decline in health,
although physically she was fine. The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused
the tigress to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate
another mother's cubs, perhaps she would improve.

After checking with many other zoos across the country, the depressing news was that there
were no tiger cubs of the right age to introduce to the mourning mother. The veterinarians
decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment. Sometimes a mother
of one species will take on the care of a different species. The only orphans" that could be
found quickly, were a litter of weanling pigs. The zoo keepers and vets wrapped the piglets in
tiger skin and placed the babies around the mother tiger. Would they become cubs or pork chops?
Take a won't believe your eyes!!

Because only bigoted old fools wouldn’t recognize that REAL FAMILIES don’t have to look exactly alike to be a family, but they do have to have lots of love.

And one more thought: how many "good Christian" families have tossed their gay children out in the street like trash because they are "different" and don't meet the Dobson specs for the perfect child?

Answer: Plenty!


Thursday, May 03, 2007

George Bush – Go to Hell!

Yes, you heard me right. (And for those who are offended, I apologize. But might I suggest that maybe you’re in the wrong place if my outburst bothers you.)

I just cannot help myself tonight, I am so hoppin mad I can hardly contain myself. And it’s just not enough to scream it at my poor husband. I need to scream it to the world: I loathe George W. Bush with every fiber of my being.

This sorry little man spent his afternoon “praying” with the Mrs. James Dobson today. And after his little session of prayer, he comes out all bolstered with, God only knows what, but it certainly wasn’t God’s grace, and proclaims he is going to veto the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, H.R. 1592, which passed in the House today by a vote of 237-180.

Yes, that’s right, he is going VETO a bill that would include gays and lesbians in with other minorities that are targets of violent hate crimes.

Is THIS what our so-called “Christian” president spent his afternoon praying about --- whether my son deserves the same kinds of protections the Dobsons, Robertsons, and Falwells get?


And to those 180 Representatives who voted NO, maybe you could explain to Mathew Sheppard’s mom why you don’t think gays and lesbians are targets of violent hate crimes.

And as always, I can count on Andrew not to melt down into a whimpering, seething mess. Here is his much cooler, calmer perspective on this:

There are, I think, two coherent positions on hate crime laws.The first is opposition to the entire concept, its chilling effect on free speech, its undermining of the notion of equality under the law, and so on. That's my position. I oppose all hate crimes laws, regardless of the categories of individuals they purport to protect. The other coherent position is the view that hate crimes somehow impact the community more than just regular crimes and that the victims of such crimes therefore deserve some sort of extra protection under the law. The criteria for inclusion in such laws is any common prejudice against a recognizable and despised minority. The minority need not be defined by an involuntary characteristic - religious minorities are so protected - and they choose their faith. Nor need the minority be accurately idetified. If a gentile is bashed because the attacker thinks he's Jewish, the hate crime logic still applies. I disagree with this, but I can accept its coherence.

But the one truly incoherent position is that hate crimes laws are fine for all targeted groups except gays. Gays are among the most common victims of hate crimes, and straight people are also targeted for being gay even when they're not. If you're going to buy the whole concept of hate crimes, it makes no sense to exclude gays - none. Notice we need no discussion of the morality or otherwise of homosexuality. All that is being punished is the perception of someone else's identity...


The federalist argument equally applies. If it is the position of the feds that this should be left entirely to the states, fine. But to say that the feds have a role in matters of race and religion, but not sexual orientation again makes no logical sense, unless the federal government wants to send a strong message about the moral and human and political inferiority of gay people.

Perhaps making these logical arguments is futile. The reason for this veto is quite simple. Christianists simply regard homosexuality as an evil and a sickness. Any law that implies that being gay is an identity and deserves equal respect and protection as other identities is anathema to them. Implicit in their worldview - and absolutely implicit in the position of the president - is that it's okay to attack gays in a way that it's not okay to attack, say, Jews or blacks. This is the core position of the Christianists - which is why I refuse to call them Christians. Bush, we now know, is a captive of this bigotry and an enabler of it. Whatever your general views of hate crime laws, this argument holds. And this president should be ashamed.