Thursday, June 29, 2006
Conservative Christians and Jews have teamed up with men and women who call themselves "ex-gay" to lobby, and even sue, for the right to tell teenagers that they can "heal" themselves of unwanted same-sex attractions.
-- Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2006
** On May 2, 2006, Orlando-based Liberty Counsel and Washington-based Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) launched their joint "Change is Possible Campaign." The goal is to threaten schools with frivolous lawsuits unless they allow the scientifically bankrupt message of ex-gays into classrooms.
** The Christian Post reported in April 2006 that Liberty Counsel will ask students to distribute literature and put up posters promoting ex-gay messages. "We also encourage them to start Gay to Straight Clubs, and ask that the ex-gay viewpoint be included in all diversity day presentations that discuss homosexuality," said a statement from the law firm.
** Viroqua High School, near La Crosse, Wisconsin, cancelled Diversity Day in March 2006 after the Liberty Counsel threatened a lawsuit unless "ex-gays" were allowed to participate.
** Exodus International, the largest ex-gay group in America, has a web-site, "Exodus Youth," geared towards children (http://exodusyouth.net/youth/index.html). Exodus’s Executive Director made his group's intentions clear in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, "If you're going to allow one side into the schools, you need to allow the other side, too. People want alternatives." (LA Times, May 28, 2006)
** The same L.A. Times article reported that teachers, too, are beginning to raise the subject with their principals. "It's been our hottest issue over the last two years. Without a doubt," said Finn Laursen, executive director of the Christian Educators Assn. International, which represents 7,000 teachers, mostly from public schools.
** A high school in New Hampshire invited ex-gay activist Aaron Shorey to present his story on Civil Rights Day last year. He's working with several other New England schools to get permission for similar presentations. The ex-gay group Inqueery, based in Des Moines, has also sent speakers to public high schools. In Boulder, Colo., educators are considering including an ex-gay pamphlet in a resource guide to help teachers handle questions about sexuality.
** Similar lawsuits may be filed in New Jersey where Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) is seeking parents and students willing to sue to get the ex-gay view into schools.
** In 2005, a federal judge sided with PFOX in a lawsuit against a Maryland school district. PFOX had sued to block the district's new sex-education curriculum, arguing that its treatment of homosexuality was biased. The judge wrongly agreed that students should hear pseudo-science and PFOX now has a seat on the committee charged with drafting new lesson plans.
The Pentagon is revising a document that calls homosexuality a mental disorder, officials said Wednesday.Lawmakers, medical professionals and others had pressed for the change in a document outlining procedures for dealing with disabled service members
."Homosexuality should not have been characterized as a mental disorder in an appendix of a procedural instruction," Lt. Col. Jeremy Martin, a Defense Department spokesman, said Wednesday. "A clarification will be issued over the next few days."
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
(Rush Is Such A Pill)
The Associated Press reported that Limbaugh was detained
Monday for more than three hours at Palm Beach International Airport, upon returning from some R&R in the Dominican Republic. Customs officials reportedly found a bottle of the erectile-dysfunction drug in his bag--but his name wasn't on the prescription, according to Palm Beach County sheriff's spokesman Paul Miller.
With all the prescription smack he has done, it is no surprise that Rush couldn't rise to the occasion. These days, Rush doesn't seem so "conservative." It appears he lives more like a rock star than a Republican.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Ex-Gay leader Janet Boynes
will be staffing the first ever "ex-gay" exhibit
at the National Education Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Florida THIS WEEK
. She will even have a brainwashing booth to fool educators into thinking kids can pray away the gay.
This is part of an orchestrated effort
on the part of the ex-gay ministries to target children
. As a community, we have a clear choice to make: We can either sit on the sidelines and let the right wing mentally abuse kids
or we can choose to take a stand and put a stop to this madness.
Friends, if you want Truth Wins Out to be in Orlando this week
to counter this threat
, I need your kind and generous support TODAY
. It is great that many of you have commented on my site - but commenting is not a commitment to stopping the very injustices that we discuss. I can't do this on my own and need your urgent help. If you are interested in making sure the truth is told in Orlando about these damaging groups please make a donation to Truth Wins Out today
(WeeklyColumn)(Political Parent, David Parker)
The recent scene portrayed by Concerned Women For America in a web article
was chilling. The group wrote, "A mob of schoolchildren seized and beat the 7-year old son of pro-family activist David Parker behind his school, Estabrook Eleme
ntary, in Lexington, Massachusetts, on the second anniversary of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts." Concerned Women went on to say that the victim, first grader Jacob Parker, "apparently is feeling the heat for his father's opposition to forced homosexual education."
"When you tell children over and over that opposing homosexuality amounts to hatred, you're setting some kids up for this sort of abuse," said Robert Knight, Director of Concerned Women for America's Culture & Family Institute. "The school posted numerous slanted articles in the school library about Mr. Parker's dispute with authorities, and some parents went out of their way to stir up hatred toward Parker and his family."
There is only one small problem with this horror story: It is a fabrication
so fictitious it could have been written by Stephen King. Virtually nothing is true and the distortions are a deliberate attempt to smear a school district, intimidate administrators and influence a curriculum that has the temerity to suggest that gay families exist and should be treated with respect.
The trouble started
in early 2005 when David Parker, a parent tied to the right wing political group Mass Resistance
, was upset with the school's pro-gay curriculum. He sent a series of unpleasant e-mails to Estabrook's principal, Joni Jay, saying that he did not want his son exposed to "beliefs contrary to the Word of God in our Christian faith."
On April 27, 2005, Parker met with Jay and presented the principal with a series of demands, refusing to leave campus until they were met. After three hours of protesting, Parker was finally arrested. As part of a headline-grabbing publicity stunt, Parker refused to post bail and spent the night in jail. More recently, Parker sued the school district in Federal court over the issue of teaching tolerance in schools.
While he likes to portray himself in the press as simply a father, he is really an extremist
who cares more about politics
than parenting. A newly minted martyr, Parker joined Mass Resistance leader Brian Camenker for six appearances in Maine in an effort to undo an anti-discrimination law in the Lobster State.
With a defeat in Maine and growing acceptance of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, Parker apparently grew desperate for notoriety, which leads us to the first grade "mob" scene. I interviewed Paul Ash, Superintendent of Schools, about the incident, reviewed his official report and found that the facts presented are not consistent with the way the incident has been reported by the right wing "media."
Indeed, to ensure he could not be accused of a conflict of interest for investigating one of his own schools, Ash formally asked the Lexington Police Department, the Middlesex District Attorney and the Department of Social Services to intervene. All three agencies swiftly concluded that the sensationalistic accusations were without merit.
For example, the "mob" of children turned out to be only one child, a friend of Jacob's. Not long after the fight, Jacob went over the friend's house for a play date. The motive for the fisticuffs had nothing to do with David Parker's anti-gay activism, but was a "disagreement over who would sit where in the cafeteria."
This is hardly the violent liberal conspiracy darkly and breathlessly portrayed by the extreme right. Still, the facts did not get in the way of the right wing launching a vicious smear campaign
full of inconsistencies and innuendo. The garbage spewed by Concerned Women for America and Mass Resistance
was also eagerly reported by Rev. Lou Sheldon
of the Traditional Values Coalition. This created a feeding frenzied echo chamber
, where zealots across the globe were duped into believing that school officials had conspired with progressive parents to have a mob of children punish a conservative father by pummeling his son.
Similar to the right's intimidation campaign against Michael Schiavo, the yelling yahoos were provided with Ash's personal information
. "I have received hundreds of e-mails, many of them threatening," Ash told me in our interview. "I even got an angry call from Japan at 4AM. It is one thing to attack my opinion, but this is a blatant attempt to terrorize."
I asked the Superintendent if there was any validity to the right wing's claims. "Zero, this is complete bull
," Ash explained. "What these groups have done is taken a playground fight and used it for political goals."
Instead of focusing on the three R's, the school district now has to waste its time defending itself against the right wing's three D's: Deceit, Dishonesty and Deception.
The Associated Press
wrote a story on the new Canadian gay brother study
. In it, the news organization inexplicably quoted Tim Dailey, a senior fellow at the conservative Center for Marriage and Family Studies.
"We don't believe that there's any biological basis for homosexuality," Dailey said. "We feel the causes are complex but are deeply rooted in early childhood development. If it is indeed genetically based it is difficult to see how it could have survived in the gene pool over a period of time."
If Daily's quote sounds obtuse and unscientific, it is because he has no more qualifications to discuss genetics than Dr. J or Dr. Seuss. A quick web search reveals that this "Center" is an arm of the Family Research Council, a well-known ideological activist front group for rightwing Christian fundamentalist churches. It is not any kind of "scientific" organization and has no academic or scientific credentials or status whatsoever.
An equally quick web search reveals that Dailey's credentials to critique this scientific and biological research, are as follows: "Dr. Dailey received his bachelors' degree in Bible and Theology from Moody Bible Institute, his M.A. in Theological Studies at Wheaton College, and his Ph.D. in Religion from Marquette University." Yeah, a real Academy of Sciences heavyweight! (Thanks to reader Bryan W. for the assist)
Sadly, the modern media thinks it is legitimate to counter scientists with spin doctors. But if veracity and vigilance still have any place in journalism, this unethical practice has to stop. By elevating dilettante doctors to the same plane as learned researchers, the Associated Press diminishes its own credibility and demeans its own profession. It is time for the media to stop "he said/she said" journalism and start interviewing real experts.
Monday, June 26, 2006
The senator hit the nail on the head on NBC's Meet The Press when he said:
"I cannot understand why the structure of the Democratic Party, the consultants that are here in Washington, constantly advise Democrats not to take a strong stand. This election could turn on this Iraq issue, in fact, the 2006 election, and maybe even 2008. The party that says we have a reasonable plan to bring the troops home by this date and to refocus on the anti-terrorism issue is the party that will win. And I believe that my political instincts tell me..."
What other Democrat would tell the truth like Feingold? He is clearly the best candidate in the pack.
A new study suggests a male's sexual orientation is not the product of his environment but rather is influenced by biological factors present before birth.
Researchers at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., have found evidence
that "a prenatal mechanism(s) . . . affect men's sexual orientation development."
The study's author, Prof. Anthony F. Bogaert, explored the causes behind what is known as the fraternal birth order, research that shows a correlation between the number of biological older brothers a man has and his sexual orientation.
Dividing his sample into four groups, Bogaert examined the impact of all types of older brothers, including step and adopted siblings, and the amount of time brothers spent together while growing up.
His research found that only the number of biological brothers had an impact on sexuality, regardless of whether the boys were raised together. Writing a commentary piece accompanying Bogaert's study, professors from Michigan State University noted that his research puts to lie the notion that one's social environment can affect sexuality.
"It is the number of older biological brothers the mother carried, not the presence of older brothers while growing up, that makes some boys grow up to be gay," write David Puts, Cynthia Jordan and Marc Breedlove.Once again
, a biology study strongly points out that homosexuals are born, not made, as the anti-science right wing arrogantly says in its propaganda. The notion that sexuality is a result of nurture is looking more bizarre by the day. After all, gay and lesbian people come from every imaginable background. To create a cause and effect relationship between homosexuality and family dynamics is so 19th century and absurd on its face. I look forward to more research which will confirm this simple truth.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
(Aiken Doesn't Look Very Conservative In This Photo)
The Republican Party has a campaign manager in the state of Arizona by the name of Steve Aiken who was convicted back in 1995
of having sexual relations with a teenager. ABC News has the story
. Aiken was also an official with the anti-gay Traditional Values Coalition. Thanks to the blog, The Blue State
for this story.
If there is one thing America needs, it is more values lessons from the far right...
For a man who says he is pro-family - does the Illinois Family Institute's Peter LaBarbera ever have time for his wife and children?
Once again, he is attending Chicago Gay Pride. This has to be his umpteenth gay pride/leather ball/circuit party/bathhouse/sodomy den/ porn palace excursion.
You know, once ought to be enough for this creepy right wing fetish-following freak to get an idea of what goes on in some of these places. Does he really need to visit these joints a thousand times to do "research?"
It seems like Peter is enjoying himself a bit too much. One would think that a true "pro-family" activist would be at home on God's Day with his real family instead of "reporting" on leather floats.
Interestingly, Peter's fascination with S&M only extends to the gay community. I don't think he would be caught dead in a straight sin-sanctuary. When was Peter's last report on swingers clubs? No, his only hobby is homosexuality, which strikes me as a bit queer.
To make matters more bizarre, Peter sent out a laughable press release
blasting Republican gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka. He whined that the candidate's float in today's Chicago "Gay Pride" parade is "scheduled to be just nine spots ahead of a float sponsored by the homosexual bathhouse called Steamworks." Talk about a stretch! I guess Topinka can accuse Peter of frequenting the bathhouse because he will likely walk by it during today's parade. In the ridiculous release, Peter lists the address of the bathhouse. What do you bet he didn't have to go to the yellow Pages to find it? He probably has the address tattooed on his ass.
For God's sake, Peter has probably been at more Pride events than RuPaul. Why don't we just make it official and name him Grand Marshall of next year's parade?
Memo to Perverse Pete: Go home, your family is waiting for you.