Saturday, February 28, 2009

Exodus International & Alliance Defense Fund Attempt To Silence Day of Silence

Day of Truth Event
Joining forces to reach more students
February 23, 2009

Orlando, FL- Two Christian organizations are teaming up to empower youth to express their views on sexuality by co-sponsoring this year's annual
Day of Truth event held April 20 on high school campuses nationwide. Exodus International, a ministry that helps those affected by same-sex attraction to live a life that reflects their biblical beliefs and Alliance Defense Fund, a legal support organization, are co-sponsoring the event this year and are hoping for a record turnout that will continue ongoing dialogue on issues surrounding faith and sexuality.
Exodus International is a hate organization with the political goal to publicly define same-gender attraction as a choice, thus negating any need for equal rights for LGBT persons in regard to housing and employment discrimination, to hate crimes protections, etc. They do this by characterizing gay persons as child molesters to being responsible for the Holocaust, and vocally oppose any and all legislation that would result in the equal treatment of LGBT persons under the law.

The Alliance Defense Fund, in the context of “Day of Truth” and many other situations, exists for the opportunistic attempt to seek out incidences of resistance to any expression of (mostly) anti-gay hate messages, such as those of Exodus International, in the effort to sue on the basis of religious discrimination:
Call 1-800-TELL-ADF, and be prepared to give your name, the name of your school, and the names of officials that required you to stop. If you are under the age of 18, we will also need to talk to your parents to get their permission to help you.
For more information, this is an excellent report on the anti-gay political aspirations of Exodus International.

Most importantly, all of this is in response to the Day of Silence.
What is the Day of Silence®?
The Day of Silence, a project of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), is a student-led day of action when concerned students, from middle school to college, take some form of a vow of silence to bring attention to the name-calling, bullying and harassment -- in effect, the silencing -- experienced by LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students and their allies.

Lance Bass PSA for Day of Silence
So in essence, we have Exodus International, teamed up with the Alliance Defense Fund, objecting to raising awareness -- via Day of Silence -- about harassment and bullying directed toward LGBT students, by further fomenting hatred for LGBT students in the name of “religious freedom.”

On with the goods.

Their “Day of Truth” link above, then leads to the main DOT page, which leads to, among others, option #4 - Prepare - the resources you need, - which then leads to no less than 18 hyperlinked documents/articles etc., most of them PDF’s:
Day of Truth manual (.pdf)
Enclosed are many ideas and suggestions for how the Day of Truth can have the maximum impact at your school.

Common questions about the Day of Truth (.pdf) (or visit this page)
Find answers to some of the most common questions you might have about participating in the upcoming Day of Truth.

Hostile questions about the Day of Truth (.pdf) (or visit this page)
You may encounter some hostile questions while participating in the Day of Truth. These tips will help you better address those questions.

Day of Truth PowerPoint
Use this PowerPoint presentation to promote the Day of Truth.

Day of Truth snapshot (.pdf)
A quick overview of the Day of Truth to share with friends and classmates.

Day of Truth press release (.doc)
Download this sample press release if you are interested in contacting the media about the Day of Truth.

Student Rights Handbook
This handbook is a helpful guide for Christian students around the country.

Day of Truth legal rights memo (.pdf)
Helpful tips in understanding your legal rights.

Adult involvement in the Day of Truth (.pdf)
While the Day of Truth is meant to be a student-led, student-initiated event, there are things that parents, youth pastors, and other concerned adults can do to get involved.

Teacher involvement in the Day of Truth (.pdf)
Learn about the ways that teachers can participate in the Day of Truth.

Tolerance, Diversity and the Freedom to to Choose
Focus on the Family examines the true meaning of tolerance.

The End of the Culture Wars (.pdf)
This resource, provided by Exodus, talks about the true meaning of tolerance.

Gender and Sexuality: Fluid or Solid? (.pdf)
Exodus' Mike Ensley shares the Truth about "fluid" sex and gender.

Homosexuality Isn't the Answer (.pdf)
Mike Ensley, with Exodus, explains how his personal experiences revealed the Truth: homesexuality isn't the answer.

Sex and Gender (.pdf)
This resource, provided by Exodus, discusses God's plan for sexuality.

What if I'm Still Struggling? (.pdf)
Exodus' Mike Ensley shatters the lies, and shares how God's plan is best.

Homosexuality FAQ sheet (.pdf)
This resource, provided by Exodus, answers some common questions about homosexuality.

The ten big myths of homosexual behavior (.pdf)
This resource, provided by Mission America, explains the truth behind common myths about homosexual behavior.
From the very first link: "Day of Truth manual (.pdf) Enclosed are many ideas and suggestions for how the Day of Truth can have the maximum impact at your school."

From the very first paragraph of that link:
Welcome to the Day of Truth® student manual. On behalf of the thousands of faculty and students who oppose the promotion of homosexual behavior, we’re pleased to welcome you to the team that will take a bold stand for God’s truth.
“On behalf of the thousands of faculty and students who oppose the promotion of homosexual behavior”

“who oppose the promotion of homosexual behavior”

“homosexual behavior”


And there we have the “Day Of Truth” goal of Exodus international and the Alliance Defense Fund; to promote the notion that same-sex attraction and gender identity are nothing more than “behaviors.”

Thus promoting the notion that LGBT students are nothing more than aberrant behaviors.

From the second form:
Common questions about the Day of Truth (.pdf) (or visit this page)

Find answers to some of the most common questions you might have about participating in the upcoming Day of Truth.
Question #1:
What is the Day of Truth?
The Day of Truth was established to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective.
Thus, the LGBT, or perceived to be LGBT students who are being harassed and bullied, are now part of the infamous “homosexual agenda.” That same one that’s bent on destroying civilization as we know it. Thus, the LGBT victims are now the real threat.

And finally (at least as far as this post goes)…
The End of the Culture Wars (.pdf) This resource, provided by Exodus, talks about the true meaning of tolerance.
It starts…
For too long, issues like homosexuality and abortion have gotten so divisive that healthy, honest debate has gone out the window and people feel pressured to choose between one of two polar opposites--neither of which seems quite right. In the end, people end up misunderstanding, hating and attacking one another.
“It doesn't mean labeling a belief you don't agree with as hatred so you don't have to deal with it.”
Oh be still my beating heart, that sounds so reasonable. But what if that belief you don’t agree with is the definition of hatred?

“Tolerance means we can respectfully express our differences, but then put them aside and cooperate on the things we can agree on, like safety, fair treatment, and kindness.”

But as shown above, we don’t agree on safety, fair treatment, and kindness.

“agree on safety”
Exodus Urges Congress to Stop Hate Crime Legislation

Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, said, “Hate crimes legislation does not prosecute illegal actions that harm others, it prosecutes beliefs about homosexuality that for many Americans, is consistent with their faith.”
A bald faced lie. Visible on their very website - as though you can prosecute a belief.

They don’t seem to have any problem with hate crime legislation itself, just when sexual orientation is about to be added to it. In fact, hate crime legislation already provides for religious belief.

Hate crimes legislation deals with physical violence, and if you, Exodus International, are against any deterrent to that, then there’s no “agree on safety” to speak of.

“fair treatment”
From the ACLU:

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) offers Congress the opportunity to ensure workplace equality by protecting LGBT workers from employment discrimination. ENDA…would ban employment discrimination based on an individual's sexual orientation [or gender identity]. The bill protects workers from discriminatory hiring, firing, promotion or compensation practices, as well as retaliation for reporting such practices.
From Exodus:
Exodus has been on record as opposing the redefinition of marriage, the use of hate crimes legislation to suppress freedom of conscience and religious liberty as well as ENDA­, the corporate version of hate crimes. ENDA is another example of the state forcing a state sanctioned sexual morality at the expense of religious liberty.
Randy Thomas [VP of Exodus]: To pass ENDA, and create a protected class – and I’m not black, and I’m not a woman, and I’ve never been a woman – but I do respect civil rights. I do respect Dr. King, and for ENDA and hate crimes legislation, to create–a special class, or a protected class, undercuts civil rights–to the core.

Now is there an issue of homosexuality in the workplace? Sure, let’s talk about that. Let’s have a dialogue about homosexuality in the workplace. And the dynamics that that causes inside the workplace. Valid concerns, absolutely. And where there is a problem, like I experienced, we should take care of it. But as a former gay identified man, and I say former, because I am no longer gay. I did experience a change in my identity, as well as my sexuality. But as a former gay man, I see this perspective. (Crowd applauds) Thank you. I see this from the perspective of knowing what it’s like to be a gay man–in the workplace, but I also see it from the perspective of, I want my religious liberties protected.
So to hell with “fair treatment” too, Exodus International considers their religious liberties to include “discriminatory hiring, firing, promotion or compensation practices, as well as retaliation for reporting such practices.”

“and kindness”
What's your "success rate" in changing gays into straights?

No one is saying that change is easy. It requires strong motivation, hard work, and perseverance. But we find hundreds of former homosexuals who have found a large degree of change--attaining abstinence from homosexual behaviors, lessening of homosexual temptations, strengthening their sense of masculine or feminine identity, correcting distorted styles of relating with members of the same and opposite gender. Some former homosexuals marry and some don't, but marriage is not the measuring stick; spiritual growth and obedience are.

On the statistical side, careful reviews of research studies on sexual orientation change suggest that real change is indeed possible. Studies suggesting change rates in the range of 30-50% are not unusual, although "success rates" vary considerably and the measurement of change is problematic. For details and review of several studies, see the link below.
“Abstinence,” suppression of “homosexual temptations,” feeling more “masculine or feminine,” even “marriage.” That’s how they get to the 30-50% “success rates.”

It’s no accident that they use the ambiguity of the word “change” so often.

The false implication that sexual attraction is what “changes” is what is meant to be conveyed.

It’s horribly dishonest. And the study they link to has been debunked at length:

Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation

Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse conducted this “study.” On page 15 we find “The Controversy,” and the goal of the study:
(1) …is it ever possible for an individual who has a homosexual orientation to change that orientation via religious means? (2) Is the attempt to change harmful, as so many today claim.
They literally set the bar for success as low as conceptually possible -- Is it EVER possible to go straight, and is attempting to go straight EVER harmful?

Exodus would seem to want to keep use of the concept of sexual fluidity, but only if it flows in one direction.

Is it ever "harmful?" Beyond Ex-gay is one resource that can heartily testify to that.

Day of Truth: False hope for political purposes, the demonization of LGBT students via accusation of nefarious "agenda," and trivialization of the LGBT and those perceived to be LGBT, victims of taunting, bullying, and physical violence.

Day of Truth, coming to infect a school near you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

John Denver would be ashamed!

(Also posted in a diary at Pam's House Blend)

Truth Wins Out: The Family Policy Council of West Virginia's Hate Ad:

Full Video transcript:

Marriage began in the heart of God, and He designed it perfectly, for one man and one woman. A husband, a wife, a family. The building block of every community, every culture, every race, every nation. Governments have recognized and uniquely protected marriage for more than 2,000 years, so families can pass life to the next generation.

In West Virginia however, there is currently no clear definition of marriage as only the union of one man and one woman, yet marriage has a public status, and in most states is protected in law. Marriage between a man and a woman is held up as the ideal in all of civilized society because of its profound stabilizing influence on our culture, as well as the important economic benefits of strong and intact families.

But today that ideal is under and unrelenting attack, and same-sex marriage in West Virginia is a closer reality than you may think. 30 states have already passed constitutional amendments defining marriage, but activists outside our state are aggressively targeting the remaining 20, including West Virginia. Working tirelessly to redefine marriage away from God's design, to favor the desires of adults over the needs of children, for the naturally balanced model of a mother and a father.

The push for same-sex marriage has produced an historical crisis for the Church. Today in courtrooms across the country, in decisions as recent as last month, our constitutional guarantee of religious liberty is going toe to toe with an aggressive social agenda, and religious liberty is losing.

Judges in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut, have arbitrarily redefined marriage and religious freedom. And virtually every area of ministry is coming under legal attack. Threatening our ability to freely and legally follow the faith. Church day care, faith based marriage counseling, Christian adoption agencies, religious schools, Christian businesses, doctors, professionals, para-church ministries, even the church, its clergy and lay leadership. Each is a growing battleground for promoting same-sex unions against church teaching, even individual conscience, with the full weight of the law standing against the faithful.

With alarming swiftness, these sweeping changes are moving from the courtroom to the classroom. In many schools today teachers are being ordered to stop using the words "mother" and "father." Father's Day celebrations are not observed, and the very concept of motherhood is abandoned to political correctness. Across the country, elementary school children are being taught to equate homosexuality with heterosexuality, and incredibly a parent's right to object to this indoctrination is becoming legally impossible.

In West Virginia, same-sex advocates could easily launch the state and its churches into legal chaos. They know that what was done in California was never intended to stay in California. A weekend trip to San Francisco for a West Virginia same-sex couple, plus a pro-bono ACLU attorney, could easily become a nightmare for marriage in West Virginia. In fact, a currently pending same-sex adoption case here, could effectively allow 5 unaccountable judges in Charleston to alter the Biblical definition of marriage for all of West Virginia. It's time to legally define marriage now, before costly litigation makes it politically and practically impossible.

West Virginians should define marriage, not judges under pressure to be progressive. West Virginians have an opportunity to take a stand for God's design, but only if elected officially will allow a vote in 2009, and West Virginians clearly desire to preserve the definition of marriage as one man and one woman in our state constitution. What's also clear, is that to pass a marriage amendment in West Virginia this year, the Church must lead. Pastors and their congregations must be willing and committed to defending God's design for marriage.

Please, pray about your active involvement at this critical moment in our state's history. Some of the things you can do include: Pray for marriage in West Virginia. Meeting personally with your delegate and state senator. Share with them your concerns about religious freedom and the moral definition of marriage. Ask for their support to allow the people of West Virginia to decide on marriage, not unaccountable judges. Pray for them, and remember that it is the Church's calling to speak truth to power, so power will speak the truth.

Your involvement matters, voting and involvement in the public square is central to being salt and light, and bearing witness to the truth. 2009 is West Virginia's best opportunity to take a stand for God's design. The time to preserve the definition of marriage in our constitution is now. One man. One woman. That's marriage.

First of all, marriage is a civil contract, not a religious one, just to get that canard out of the way.

Now, I went to the wv4marriage website, and under the section "Stand4Marriage Sunday" section, there is an option to click on "resources," which leads to a list of PDF's. I know from the Florida4Marriage website that the pastors resources section often contains the more sinister Biblical content, so I clicked on the one that said "Full text message for pastors." And it delivered - in spades.

One point of note before we begin. At the end of the document it says "-END," and then says this:
A pastor for 20 years and a pioneer leader in the values voter movement, Dr. Kenyn Cureton, former Vice President for Convention Relations for the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, currently serves as Vice President for Church Ministries with the Family Research Council in Washington, DC.
So I am assuming that Dr. Kenyn Cureton is the author of the document, and will be referring to him as such throughout this post.

That said, let the flames of hypocrisy begin...

From the video: "Marriage began in the heart of God, and He designed it perfectly, for one man and one woman. A husband, a wife, a family."

Clarified further by the wv4marriage website:
What is the divine pattern, God's original intention for marriage and the home? Go back to Genesis, the book of beginnings. For example, Genesis 1:27: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Aren't you glad God created Adam and Eve, man and woman?
What they always neglect to mention, is that God's perfect design for marriage and family included incest. Adam and Eve and their children were the only humans on Earth, simple math.

God's perfect design for marriage and family = advocacy of incest.
Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve = advocacy of incest.

Unless of course God changed his mind...
Again: "Marriage began in the heart of God, and He designed it perfectly, for one man and one woman."

Except of course when He designed it for Abdon,* Abijah, Abraham, Ahab, Ahasuerus, Ashur, Belshazzar, Benhadad, Caleb, David, Eliphaz, Elkanah, Esau, Ezra, Gideon, Heman,* Hosea,* Ibzan,* Issachar,** Jacob, Jair,* Jehoiachin, Jehoram, Jerahmeel, Joash, Lamech, Machir, Manasseh, Mered, Moses, Nahor, Rehoboam, Saul, Shaharaim, Shimei,* Simeon, Solomon, Terah,* Zedekiah, and Ziba.*

What's that you say, God never condoned or approved of polygamy, He just "allowed" sin to happen?

Hmmm...2 Samuel 12:8
I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.
Well He "allowed" it alright, and according to the Bible, He also condoned and approved of it.

Or did He change His mind on that one too?
And my all time favorite tack - attempting to hide one's endorsement of mass murder.
The Word of God, which does not err, is abundantly clear about homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 says: "You are not to sleep with a man as with a woman; it is detestable." Leviticus 20:13 says: "If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed an abomination..." Those are severe statements.
The FULL text of Leviticus 20:13 is thus: If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

And just in case you weren't sure about his sincerity on that one, he clarifies:
Some say: "Well, that's Old Testament, but Jesus never said anything about homosexuality." I would disagree. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."

Some say: "Well Christians don't restrict their diets like they did in the OT Law, why should we pay attention to restrictions against homosexuality." It is true. We don't keep kosher. Why? Because Christ's death on the cross not only provided a way for sins to be forgiven, including the sin of homosexuality, but it also rendered obsolete the dietary, ceremonial, and sacrificial laws (see
Hebrews 8:13). Yet the principles of the moral law remain in force. The moral law calls homosexuality an abomination [and deserving of deathPhotobucket]. Jesus said: "I didn't come to change that."
So the "moral law" -- that includes having we gay guys put to death -- "remains in force," unlike those pesky dietary, ceremonial and sacrificial laws.

Also, I read the entire chapter of Hebrews 8, and nowhere did I find the quotation "I didn't come to change that," let alone quoted by Jesus specifically.

He goes on:
Equally severe is God's own version of the Extreme Makeover of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed in a hail of fire and brimstone primarily because of this sin (Gen. 19).
Let's take a look at "this sin" of Sodom and Gomorrah, the pith of which we can find specifically in Genesis 19: 4-8:
Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom-both young and old-surrounded the house. They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them."

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."
So Dr. Kenyn Cureton, the author of this propaganda piece, considers, or at least wants pastors across West Virginia to believe that adult same-sex consensual relationships are the equivalent of gang rape, and to be silent about Lot, the hero of the story, who willingly offered up his virgin daughters to be gang raped in lieu his stranger-guests.

That's some darn tootin' morality you got there, Dr. Cureton.

And I just love it when they pull this little trick:
In fact, Jesus basically condemned homosexuality by affirming the divine pattern for marriage. In Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9, quoting from Genesis 1 and 2, Jesus said that marriage is between one man and one woman.
And now for what Jesus says immediately after those texts:
Matthew 19:9: "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

Mark 10:11: He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.
I wonder how many haters that would throw out of the ring.

And the proverbial 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
"Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit God's kingdom? Do not be deceived: no sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers will inherit God's kingdom. Some of you were like this..."
We've covered the adulterers, now let's cover the revilers...
Revile: abuse, admonish, berate, blame, castigate, censure, chide, criticize, denigrate, denounce, disparage, give a talking to, lambaste, lay down the law, lecture, rake over the coals*, ream, reprimand, reproach, reprobate, reprove, scorn, tongue-lash, vilify, vituperate
I guess we'll see them all in hell.

While we're at it, let's add insult to injury:
Dr. Kenyn Cureton: While as many as 2 out of 3 Americas are opposed to "gay marriage," homosexual activists and their allies have looked to the Courts to further their destructive program. Take a look at their successes in the legal arena. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the nation's remaining Sodomy laws.
What a tragedy, our relationships are no longer criminal.

The word Sociopath comes to mind. They have a distinct advantage over most of us, they have no conscience. It really is all just a game to them. And the non-thinking masses just follow their lead.

Same crap all over again.

Good luck, West Virginia.

Country Roads - John Denver

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bill Maher: Religulous


The documentary RELIGULOUS follows political humorist and author Bill Maher ("Real Time With Bill Maher," "Politically Incorrect") as he travels around the globe interviewing people about God and religion. Known for his astute analytical skills, irreverent wit and commitment to never pulling a punch, Maher brings his characteristic honesty to an unusual spiritual journey.

Directed by Larry Charles (BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"), RELIGULOUS will mark Charles' first feature project since the critically acclaimed, wildly successful BORAT. Jonah Smith and Palmer West of Thousand Words (A SCANNER DARKLY, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) are producing.
Religulous - Trailer

Before getting to the main quote of this post, I wanted to share something that Bill Maher said in the DVD commentary.

As the saying goes: Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. I think Maher is speaking mostly of the religious leaders in this regard, but it got me thinking that certitude itself is also a sense of “power.” Which may help to explain why not only the religious leaders, but their followers as well feel that they are infallible and can do no wrong:
Bill Maher: Well, because they were so nice, and you know, I mean that’s the next thing we get to as I recall, I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who’s watching this first.

Director Larry Charles: Jesus dies in the end.

Bill Maher: But we kind of get to this point about, you know, it’s so many nice people trying to do nice things, how the fuck does it become this burning and killing and stabbing and fucking?

Larry Charles: Because there’s enough people who use it to do not nice things.

Bill Maher: Because you can’t give people absolute power. That’s why our government is great, cause it has checks. You know, because people are schmucks.

Larry Charles: Human nature is…

Bill Maher: Right, horrible. So, to give people absolute power, you know, you’re infallible [the Pope], and you’re the priest, and you’re the--you know, of course they’re going to fuck kids, and burn, and start wars, and you know…

Larry Charles: And not pay the price for it.
This next monologue is part of a montage of clips from the show and quotes from the Bible and the Qur’an which I have not included for the sake of brevity. (libhom, you might like this one)

For the record, I do believe that some people may “know what happens when you die,” and “possess mental powers” that Bill Maher does not - be they few and far between, but I feel his take on the destructive effects of religious blind faith is dead on:
Bill Maher: It seems peaceful, but this is the very spot [Megiddo, Israel] where a lot of Christians believe life on Earth will end. The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert man to destructive courses, the world actually could come to an end.

The plain fact is, religion must die for mankind to live. The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge in having key decisions made by religious people, by irrationalists, by those who would steer the ship of state not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken. George Bush prayed a lot about Iraq, but he didn’t learn a lot about it.

Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It’s nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith, and enable and elevate it, are our intellectual slave holders, keeping mankind in a bondage, to fantasy and nonsense, that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction. Religion is dangerous, because it allows human beings who don’t have all the answers to think that they do.

Most people would think it’s wonderful when someone says, “I’m willing, Lord. I’ll do whatever You want me to do.” Except that since there are no gods actually talking to us, that void is filled in by people with their own corruptions, and limitations and agendas. And anyone who tells you they know -- they just know what happens when you die, I promise you, you don’t. How can I be so sure? Because I don’t know, and you do not possess mental powers that I do not.

The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt is humble, and that’s what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting shit dead wrong.

This is why rational people, anti-religionists, must end their timidity and come out of the closet and assert themselves. And those who consider themselves only moderately religious, really need to look in the mirror and realize that the solace and comfort that religion brings you, actually comes at a terrible price.

If you belonged to a political party or a social club that was tied to as much bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence and sheer ignorance as religion is, you’d resign in protest. To do otherwise is to be an enabler, a Mafia wife, with the true devils of extremism that draw their legitimacy from the billions of their fellow travelers.

If the world does come to an end here or wherever, or if it limps into the future, decimated by the effects of a religion-inspired nuclear terrorism, let’s remember what the real problem was: That we learned how to precipitate mass death before we got past the neurological disorder of wishing for it.

That’s it. Grow up or die.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Focus on the Family: Inheriting the wind as we speak.

Focus on the Family’s Citizenlink had a teaser article entitled: “Intelligent Design Belongs with Darwin in Classrooms; Political Correctness Does Not”
by Candi Cushman, an education analyst for Focus on the Family.

They then link to the full online opinion piece in US News & World Report. I was under the impression that they were a legitimate news source, apparently not.

She begins by referring to the movie “Inherit the Wind,” describing it as “an eloquent protest against attacks on freedom of thought.”

I recently watched that movie, and the title comes from the Biblical passage Proverbs 11:29 - “He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.”

Meaning that those who unnecessarily stir up trouble with their families, communities, society, will eventually be abandoned and left alone. They will “inherit” only the air that surrounds them.

And true to Focus on the Family persecution-complex form, Ms. Cushman states the following:
But if the film were reproduced to reflect today's events, there'd have to be a role reversal. This time the person sitting in the prosecution box would be an educator who dared to challenge any part of Darwin's theory.
And again with the whole “tolerance” meme, AKA those who tout the merits of tolerance should also be tolerant of intolerance:
Those leading our public education systems constantly proclaim their love of diversity, tolerance and academic freedom. But actions speak louder than words.
She then dismisses any concern that “secularists” may have about the teaching of religion in schools, and that even people of faith wouldn’t want this.

And finally, the plot point: “The majority of parents do, however, want their kids to examine all the scientific evidence…both information for and against Darwinian evolution to be presented.”

And what would that information against “Darwinian evolution” be? Intelligent Design. She concludes that not teaching ID along side evolution is a “double standard.”

This is called teach the controversy -- if you can’t win your argument on merit, you might be able to convince people that the arguments are equal, and thus, fair and balanced to teach both. In some cases this is appropriate, but evolution is based on science, Intelligent Design is not. The real “controversy” attempting to be taught here is that science itself is equal to religious belief, despite Candi Cushman’s denials that this is the case.

She claims “Students should be allowed to hear all the evidence” and “They [evolutionists] claim there is no room for new evidence.” Problem is, there is no scientific evidence to back up ID.

Here’s an informative yet very easy to read Q & A from the ACLU on ID.

I should say here that I believe in an intelligent designer, a created evolution if you will, but I’m not about to call that scientific evidence, nor especially intelligent design, for fear of being associated with these buffoons.

And I love this next part:
More than 700 scientists have signed their names on a petition (launched by The Discovery Institute in 2001) stating their skepticism that natural selection can sufficiently account for the complexity of life.
If you’re not familiar with the Discovery Institute, they are one of, if not the main players in this “teach the controversy” Intelligent Design charade.

Secondly, I canvassed that site a couple years ago looking for anything even remotely scientific, and found nothing. No experiments, no scientific theories, nothing. However, I did find this little gem called “The Wedge Document.”:
The Wedge Document is an internal memorandum from the Discovery Institute (the leading proponent of Intelligent Designer "Theory") that was leaked to the Internet in 1999. The Discovery Institute later admitted to its authenticity. Since then, Discovery Institute hasn't talked very much about the document, or the strategy it outlines. The reason is crushingly obvious, since the Wedge Document makes it readily apparent that the Discovery Institute is flat-out lying to us when it claims that its Intelligent Designer campaign is concerned only with science and does not have any religious aims, purpose or effect.

The Wedge Document is
reproduced here, in full.
She goes on:
Shouldn't students have the opportunity to investigate what…may point to evidence of design?
Again, I believe in an intelligent designer, but the word “design” used in this context, is a euphemism for consciousness. And if anyone is going to prove the consciousness responsible for designing matter itself, it’s going to be the quantum physicists.

We then get more persecution complex, oh woe is me, won’t somebody please think about the children, etc.
They are simply protecting educators' and students' First Amendment rights to have a free and open dialogue.
The very fact these protections are necessary, should send a wake-up call to those who truly do care about tolerance and academic freedom in this country.
“First Amendment,” “Tolerance,” and “Freedom.”

Here’s how the ACLU describes it:
Q: Why not "teach both sides"?
A: This would be like teaching astrology in an astronomy course or alchemy in a chemistry class. There are not "two sides" to the science.

Clearly this woman is not very learned, or she would know about the PBS program called “Intelligent Design on Trial,” which can be watched online for free, along with tons of resources. It also provides the transcript of the show, the most striking part of was this:
NARRATOR: Barbara Forrest's testimony would make a strong case that the Dover school board was thrusting religion into the classroom. And in comparing the Of Pandas and People drafts, Forrest discovered that the authors had apparently made their revisions in haste.

BARBARA FORREST: In cleansing this manuscript, they failed to replace every word properly. I found the word "creationists." And instead of replacing the entire word, they just kind of did this, and got "design proponents" with the "c" in front and the "ists" in the back from the original word.

NICK MATZKE: So the correct term for this transitional form is "Cdesign proponentsists." And everyone now refers to this as the "missing link" between creationism and intelligent design. You've got the direct physical evidence there of a transitional fossil.
The whole point of Intelligent Design is to undermine scientific inquiry, and thus the need to educate our youth on the importance of rational thought. Thus they confuse the issue by making it sound like evolution and ID are scientifically equal, hence “teach the controversy.”

It’s just another veiled theocratic ploy to wrest power from the government and anyone who disagrees with them.

But since when was Focus on the Family known for its integrity? It’s mostly their absence of embarrassment that baffles me. Unless they actually think they’re right, in light of the evidence, in which case I would ask how it’s possible to be that stupid?

She didn’t even make an argument, she didn’t even try. It was little more than a whiney diatribe on how science isn’t catering to their redefinition of it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Finally! Florida Amendment 2 list of donors.

From the Bilerico Project: Map Showing Supporters of Florida's Amendment 2 Hits the Web
Filed by: Waymon Hudson
February 7, 2009 1:00 PM
A new website called has launched with a handy, searchable database and map so you can find out who in your area gave money to take away the rights of others. But this site provides more than just names of contributors, it also has information on conflict resolution and how to approach those around you to talk about the real impact of Amendment 2.

It's not retribution, it's about changing minds and holding people accountable.
This website was created in response to the passage of Amendment 2 in the State of Florida. In November 2008, Amendment 2 was passed with 62.1% of the vote. This action by Florida voters has enshrined hatred and discrimination as a part of the Florida Constitution.

Amendment 2:
"This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."
Related links:

Those who signed the Amendment 2 petition:

John Stemberger's Florida4marriage used "Dutch Study" to dupe gullible pastors and church goers.

John Stemberger: “If I blow my brains out”.

Quick, look over here, it's all about gays!

Julian Lennon: Saltwater

From the movie "Whaledreamers"

Saltwater video

Whaledreamers Trailer

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sneaker Pimps: Six Underground

Save Me: The Movie and Resources

Save Me
Directed by: Robert Cary
Cast Info: Chad Allen; Robert Gant; Judith Light; Stephen Land; Robert Baker
2007, Drama, 96 minutes
First Run Features

From the DVD interview with director Robert Cary:
"The challenges of anything that deals with this subject matter, I think is to walk a line between what could be melodramatic and exploitative, and what could end up feeling like you’re pulling punches. So you have to both go there and ring the bell, but not feel like you’re sounding a false alarm."

Review: Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide:
They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and in this look at one of the most polarizing religious and sexual debates in America, filmmaker Robert Cary attempts to reconcile homosexuality with Christianity. Mark (Chad Allen) is a young gay man who has fallen into a dangerous cycle of hard drugs and risky sex. Recognizing that his sibling may not have the strength to pull himself back from the edge, Mark’s brother checks him into the Genesis House Christian retreat in New Mexico -- a place far removed from the temptations of the big city. Genesis House is run by a deeply spiritual, middle -aged couple named Gayle (Judith Light) and Ted (Stephen Lang). After losing a battle with sin back when she was young, Gayle has dedicated her entire life to rescuing young homosexuals from their own inner demons. In order to help Mark through the process, Gayle assigns Scott (Robert Gant) -- one of the program’s advanced “fifth phasers” -- as the newcomer’s mentor. When Gayle notices that Mark and Scott’s relationship is intensifying, she sees the development as a threat and fights back in order to prevent her carefully controlled world from falling apart. The spectre of damnation looming constantly over their shoulders, Mark and Scott are finally forced to confront the truth about their own true natures.
Save me Trailer

You can find interviews with the cast and director, here.

Director’s Note, By Robert Cary:
"I felt that the challenge in telling this story would be to resist the temptation to judge Judith’s character -- indeed, to judge any of the people who enter and work at this ministry -- and to understand that the motives and mechanics of this movement cannot be reduced to generalities. In my research I was surprised to find that there are hundreds of ministries across the country devoted to this kind of work, and equally surprised to see that there is no form of official accreditation, nor any set way in which they carry out their “mission.” So my collaborators and I set out to fashion a “Genesis House” which was not a scary or extreme environment, but rather one in which operated on principles similar to those of any twelve-step program -- a place which, while rigorous and spare, was in many ways gentle and loving."
From the resources section:
What The Bible Says - And Doesn’t Say - About Homosexuality
By Rev. Mel White, Co-Founder of Soulforce

A Biblical response to the question people often ask… “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you are also gay?”

In this 24-page booklet available at, Mel White puts forward these eight premises:

1. Most people have not carefully and prayerfully researched the Biblical texts used by some people to condemn God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.

2. Historically, people’s misinterpretation of the Bible has left a trail of suffering, bloodshed, and death.

3. We should be open to new truth from Scripture. Even heroes fo the Christian faith have changed their minds about the meaning of various Biblical texts.

4.The Bible is a book about God. The Bible is not a book about human sexuality.

5. WE miss what these passages say about God when we spend so much time debating what they say about sex.

6.The Biblical authors are silent about homosexual orientation as we know it today. They neither approve it nor condemn it.

7. The prophets, Jesus, and the Biblical authors say nothing about homosexual orientation as we understand it today. But, they are clear about this one thing. As we search for truth, we are to “Love one another.”

8. Whatever some people believe the Bible seems to say about homosexuality, they must not use that belief to deny homosexuals their basic civil rights. To discriminate against sexual or gender minorities is unjust and un-American.
Also see SoulForce's What the Science Says - And Doesn't Say - About Homosexuality

Both can be downloaded for free in PDF or HTML form.

Background On The Ex-Gay Movement:
In 1973, when the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality form the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, religious leader, joined by a small group of mental health practitioners, broke form the organization to continue treating gays and lesbians with “reparative” or “sexual conversion” therapy. Throughout the 70, treatment centers began cropping up across the country being led by Frank Worthen’s Love in Action centers, followed by Exodus International in 1976.

Over the next two decades, there was a marked increase in funding and support of Christian-run ministries, bolstered by support from Christian-right organizations like Focus on the Family among others. The movement became spearheaded by Exodus International, an umbrella organization that oversees hundreds of Christian-based ministries and is also expanding into non-Christian organizations like PFOX, parents of Ex-gay People, and Jonah, a program for Jewish ex-gays. In 1992, they formed the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality in an attempt to legitimize the “clinical work” of such organizations. Since then the movement found new traction, bringing “ex-gay centers solidly into the on-going debate over same-sex issues.

After quietly existing in over a hundred centers across the country throughout the turn of the century, the number of “ex-gay” ministries began to increase due to an increase in funding around the 2000 elections. Focus on the Family began pouring money into the creation of additional sites bolstering their numbers to over 200 including sites in Canada and around the world and in 2003 Love in Action introduced the first structured program specifically for teenagers.

But in summer of 2006, the national debate over “reparative” therapy, in particular the teen program, broke out again over the MySpace blogs of a teenager named “Zack”. A 16 year-old boy in Memphis, Zack recently came out to his parents in the Spring to which they sent him against his will to Refuge, an intensive Love in Action program. Before leaving home, Zack detailed several of the rules for clients such as reporting sexual fantasies, no eye contact for the first three days and having their belongings searched every morning. Zack’s entries quickly spread from friends, to filmmakers, to the media, eventually leading to an investigation of Love in Action by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

In August of 2006, the American Psychological Association issued another warning about the practices of such institutions:

“The APA’s concern about the positions espoused by NARTH and so-called conversion therapy is that they are not supported by the science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.”

The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Workers all deny reparative therapy’s very premise. “We are finding hat the number of people claiming to be harmed by reparative therapy are increasing, says Dr. Jack Drescher, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s committee on Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues. The APA even went as far as endorsing gay marriage to help reverse the gay stigma, citing evidence that stable, monogamous relationships are beneficial for mental health.

So as the country moves into the latter part of our decade, the debate over homosexuality and religion, from gay Episcopal bishops, to same-sex marriage and the “ex-gay” movement, wages on.
Online and Community Resources:

For those interested in learning more about resources for LGBT men and women of faith, we have assembled the list below…

California Faith For Equality

LGBT Methodists

Gay Mormons

Affirming Baptists

LGBT Catholics

Evangelicals Concerned (LGBT)

LGBT Quakers

Gay Christian Network

LGBT Disciples of Christ

LGBT Unitarians

LGBT Seventh Day Adventistis

LGBT Lutherans

MCC - Metropolitan Community Churches

LGBT Presbyterians

LGBT Religious Archives

LGBT UCC - United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns

Faith In America

Interfaith Alliance



Beyond Ex-Gay

Ex-Gay Watch

Truth Wins Out

Evangelicals Concerned
Resources, Recovery and Books

American Psychological Association

American Psychiatric Association

American Medical Association

National Association of Social Workers

Here are some of our community partners who support the film and the rights of LGBT men and women everywhere…

The Point Foundation
LGBT Scholarships

Family Pride Coalition

GLAAD - Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

Gay-Straight Alliance Network

HRC - Human Rights Campaign

Lambda Legal

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

PFLAG - Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Battle in Seattle: The Movie, and the effects of globalization.

(For the record, this is cross posted at Soulforce, and apparently you can watch the whole thing online.)

I rented this movie at Blockbuster the other day and I found it very inspirational and empowering, especially because it’s based on true events. The protesters accomplished so much, and I kept thinking about it in terms of Soulforce protests.

I remember when this was going on in 1999, there was a news clip of the protests one day, and I didn’t think much of it until they kept reporting on it day after day. It just kept escalating, but I still never really knew what it was all about. After watching this movie -- ten years later -- I now understand.

The thing about this movie and its accompanying website, is that it provides an easily understood focus, untangled by political mumbo jumbo.

One more note, protests like this are going on all over the world. In the fight for human rights, we are not alone.

Official Battle in Seattle Movie Trailer:

For background’s sake, here’s another video I found with actual footage from 1999. It’s about 5 minutes long. If you don’t feel like watching it, below the video are the words that were overlaid at various points.

This is what Democracy Looks Like? 1:
The World Trade Organization is the latest in a series of transitional bodies and agreements designed to regulate the global economy. It can use sanctions and fines to override the labor, safety, and environmental standards of individual nations.

In November, 1999, the WTO was scheduled to hold its last meeting of the millennium, behind the closed doors of a convention center in downtown Seattle. Activist prepared to blockade the streets to prevent the meetings from taking place. On Tuesday, over 30,000 protesters converged on downtown Seattle.

“I think in 10 years from now, the thing that’s going to be written about Seattle, is not what tear gas bomb went off on what street corner, but that the WTO in 1999 was the birth of a global citizen’s movement for a democratic global economy.”
Back to the Battle in Seattle website.

The trailer is on that first page (same as the first video above). Once you enter the official site, there are options to find out more about the movie. Toward the bottom of that page, there is a link that says “Who controls the world,” which leads to a WEALTH of information.

This is so relevant for me because I often bring up in political discourse (LGBT or otherwise) the 40,000 people who starve to death and die of easily preventable diseases - EVERY DAY. Not to mention the guilt I feel when I spend money on things I don’t actually need.

Here are a couple examples from the links on that 'who controls the world' page:

Note to WTO, IMF, World Bank: Africa is Not Your Buffet Table:
“At the time of decolonization in the 1960s, Africa was not just self-sufficient in food but was actually a net food exporter, its exports averaging 1.3 million tons a year between 1966-70,” Walden Bello reports in his article, “Destroying African Agriculture.

“Today, the continent imports 25% of its food, with almost every country being a net food importer. Hunger and famine have become recurrent phenomena, with the last three years alone seeing food emergencies break out in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Southern Africa, and Central Africa.”
The Case for Accessible Medicine:
There are four companies that together form an oligopoly, or act as a collective ‘monopoly,’ dominating the pharmaceutical industry – Merck, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly. Called the “Big Four,” these corporations wield tremendous power over international politics and trade. Previously, over 50 countries had exempted essential medicines from being patented. This would allow, poorer countries to make inexpensive “generic” formulas to help with disease control. But with heavy lobbying efforts on the part of the Big Four, a new Trade Related intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) deal went through, making it difficult to provide these lower-cost medicines. Their argument – patent protection is vital if companies are to put large sums of money into R & D [Research and Development]. The truth – only 10% of R & D (which is a small fraction of marketing expenditures) goes into the drugs that account for 90% of global disease. Brazil has rejected TRIPS, and manufactures its own HIV medications enabling the treatment of 4 times the number of patients otherwise possible. The US backed proceedings at the WTO to force Brazil to amend this patent law, but in 2001 an agreement was won to make it easier for developing countries to access life-saving medicines.
I remember when congress was debating The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and I didn’t know whether to be for it or against it. “Free trade” sounded beneficial, but there was strong opposition to it. It seems that these “free trade” agreements are mostly a free-for-all for corporations.

The North American Free Trade Agreement took effect on January 1, 1994:
NAFTA opponents - including labor, environmental, consumer and religious groups - argued that NAFTA would launch a race-to-the-bottom in wages, destroy hundreds of thousands of good U.S. jobs, undermine democratic control of domestic policy-making and threaten health, environmental and food safety standards.
NAFTA requires limits on the safety and inspection of meat sold in our grocery stores; new patent rules that raised medicine prices; constraints on your local government’s ability to zone against sprawl or toxic industries; and elimination of preferences for spending your tax dollars on U.S.-made products or locally-grown food.
I’m not sure what our trade agreements are with China, but the whole WTO/NAFTA thing reminds me of the working conditions there. They pay them pennies an hour and work them to death - figuratively, under deplorable conditions, and sometimes using chemicals that are know toxins that cause illness and death. And virtually everything we buy these days is made in China, and there’s no getting around it. It’s literally cheaper for companies to make the stuff there and then ship it all the way over here. It makes me sick every time I see “made in China” on a tag or label, because I know what it means.

I caught a good documentary on HBO awhile back, called “Mardi Gras: Made In China.” I highly recommend it if you want to get a sense of the working conditions they endure.

From one review:
With the tagline: “Beads, Breasts, and Business: A Story of Globalization Gone Wild,” it’s obvious that Mardi Gras: Made in China isn’t going to be a dull, dry documentary about international trade. Instead, this film produced by Carnivalesque Films describes (in Mandarin and English) how impoverished young girls in China toil over threading cheap plastic beads into necklaces that drunken young revelers at Mardi Gras in New Orleans will do almost anything to receive.
This trailer's a bit racy, like a Girls Gone Wild ad, and the movie focuses much more on the China end of it than the trailer implies.

Mardi Gras: Made In China:

I’ll close with the words of Soulforce co-founder Mel White, from his book Religion Gone Bad:
The person who benefits most from demanding justice is the person who demands it. The main reason for insisting that the fundamentalist leaders meet with us is not to change them, but to change us. Win or lose, we take it to the streets because just being there enriches and empowers our lives. When we help those who suffer, we are the ones who benefit most. When we volunteer to help cut off the suffering at its source, our lives are given new meaning and new power. Our Creator is not in church or synagogue, temple or mosque. Our Creator is on the front lines where people are suffering injustice, and when we join her there we discover what it means to be a son or daughter of God, what it means to be truly human.

Dog Tags

I know you've all been just dying to hear my movie reviews, so here's my first installment. Hopefully one of many, check back often...

thumbs up Pictures, Images and Photos

Sorry, not much of a trailer. I promise it's deeper than this, but in a way, this does kind of sum it up:

Written and Directed by Damion Dietz

Also check out Justin Mortelliti's music. The song "The Fall" played over the credits. I kinda liked it, the rest of it's not bad either.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

From the ever insightful Austin Cline:

Bishop Michael Sheridan: God the Author of Marriage
Sunday February 1, 2009

"A common argument used by those who oppose gay marriage is that marriage is created by God for specific purposes and with a specific form in mind. Any violation of those purposes or that form is an affront to God, whom we should all honor and obey. Such an argument is useless when it comes to a secular state which doesn't have the authority to enforce any commands from any gods, but the theocrats who make this argument — and only a theocrat can demand that civil laws be restricted by theological demands — refuse to accept that."
Mailbag: Protestants vs. Gays and Catholics
Sunday February 1, 2009

"Alice is another one of those who believes that homosexuality is just a "lifestyle" that gays "choose" and only appears among humans who are "sinners" and thus able to "choose" to sin - whether it be gambling, violence, drug addiction, or homosexuality."

(Click on titles to read full articles)

Christian persecution complex "bashing" bullshit.

Christian Anti-Defamation League: "Bashing"

"ONE CORRECTION: It's the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. But they're still "cattle" to me."

The Gay Alphabet

From the YouTube info:
Right wing groups and the church argue that the very existence of gay publications and groups effectively advertise, glamourise and recruit people into the gay lifestyle.

They see it as 'recruitment propaganda'.
Which is of course rubbish.

This is an art project that explores what a recruitment campaign might look like...