Take Your Choice of Preachers: Bible Sneaker or Plastic Smiler; Yeah, You Take Your Choice, Not Everyone Is That Naive

Mine is a quiet, one-block, cul de sac street.  In fact, even though a couple of families have teenage kids, I didn’t know it until I had lived in my house for about six months.  Aside from lawn mowers and edgers, the loudest it gets around here is on the rare occasions when the Vietnamese family that lives catty-corner plays Asian music out of their garage.  I’ve gotten to know a few of my neighbors enough to invite to my house or be invited over, but with the rest, it’s mostly a wave here and a “how’s it going” there.

My neighbors across the street fall into the “how’s it going” category.  They are a pleasant enough couple.  I had heard that the husband was a “preacher,” but that didn’t bother me, and they certainly like my dog.  And generally, anybody that likes my dog, I like.

  However, what these neighbors did after I arrived home from  an out-of-town, Christmas holidays trip still colors my view of them.

One night a couple of days before New Years, I was sitting watching a movie and the doorbell rang.  When I flicked on the porch light, there they were smiling, saying they had something for me.  During our quick chit-chat, an aluminum-foil covered paper plate was shoved into my hands; then a few more niceties were exchanged, and they headed back to their house.  I knew when the plate was given to me there was something else with it, but not until I had gotten into my lighted kitchen did I discover what accompanied the somewhat haggard (I love all the connotations that word brings ) plate of candy was a Bible.

It rubbed me the wrong way immediately, and even though a few days later, I threw everything into the trash, including the untouched candy, their little “present” makes me feel uncomfortable when I see these otherwise nice neighbors.  I think it’s pretty presumptuous of people to push off religious materials anywhere, but for neighbors to try to sneak me a Bible takes a lot of nerve, but it’s the kind of thing a lot of religionists do.  They somehow think they know what other people need.  These people don’t know anything about my personal beliefs, but I doubt that they would try to give a Bible to the Sikh family that lives a block away.

I wonder how they’d feel if someone tried to bring them a Koran.  Actually, if I wanted to push the “neighborly” envelope a bit, I’d cook up something tasty and slip a DVD of “Queer as Folk” under it and take over to them.  But, I do think they are decent enough people and are just who they are.

These people are a far cry from another Houstonian preacher, Joel Osteen.  Last Sunday morning, between gardening and coffee, I was flipping through the channels; there he was–with his smile, more plastic and longer-lasting that that of a Miss American pageant contestant.  That, along with the forever-blinking eyes and sing-song, nasal voice, made me click over to another channel in less than 30 seconds, but not before I saw “Joel Osteen Tickets” flash across the bottom of the screen.

It seems like  ever since the Osteen’s bought the Summit (more recently dubbed the Compaq Center), the former home of the Houston Rockets’ games and other sports events, to be his Lakewood Church, Osteen has been on the big-time gravy train.  I knew there were books and all kinds of TV interviews, where he has all kinds of unkind things to say about gay people.  Then last year, he bought a $10.5 million house in Houston’s swank River Oaks.  You’d think what is made from the crowd at the Houston location would be enough to make do.

But follow up on the “Joel Osteen Tickets”, and you find that he’s selling out huge venues, just like Lady Gaga–for Gaga-like ticket prices.  “Discounted” tickets are going for as high as $485 for one “show” in Raleigh, NC.

Do they sell tickets when the pope makes appearances?  I never heard that Billy Graham did, or Oral Roberts, even when he was doing all the laying-on-of hands “healing”.

It sure looks like it’s big business, but for every snake oil salesman, there are the hundreds, or thousands, who want a nip of that snake oil.

I’ll take the Bible sneaker over Mr. Plastic Smile. The former probably has his heart in the right place, but is a bit misguided; the latter is just a salesman, in not too convincing of a disguise, especially when those pockets are so filled up.

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How Language Bullies, But When It Might Be OK To Say “That’s So Gay”

“Say Something” seems to be Australia’s equivalent of the “It Gets Better” Project, a youtube campaign that was started Dan Savage, a Seattle columnist, after the rash of gay teen suicides last year.  “Say Something” has been set up as part of the 2011 Sydney Mardi Gras, one of the largest gay events anywhere in the world.

Matthew Mitcham, an out, gold medal diving champion in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has created his video, short though it is, for the Say Something project.  In it he advocates for eliminating the use of the phrase “It’s so gay” in a negative way.

Fortunately, I don’t think I’ve ever heard this phrase used, except maybe on TV.  I’m not much around the age group, teens or younger, that probably uses this phrase.  However, I know I wouldn’t like it if I were a gay kid in middle or high school and had to hear it all the time.  Frankly, there are far worse words as derogatory syn0nyms for gay people, when they are trying to demean either gay people or even others that are not gay.

For the most part, kids use these stronger perjoratives because they got them from hearing adults say them.  When I was a kid, the “n”-word was the harshest, but  most often used, word that we called each other on the playground.  Strange though it sounds, we could use that word without admonishment, but knew better than to use “real” swear words, which today are commonplace in movies and the music on the radio.  There’s nothing surprising thses days about hearing them in so many rap and hip-hop songs, where they sort of get bleeped out.  But when I hear them come in songs like Enrique Iglesias’ latest hit, I get uncomfortable.

We used the “n”-word, not because we had ever met even one Black person, but because we heard the word at home.  “That’s so gay” seems to be somewhat like that.  The kids that use the phrase aren’t directly trying to be offensive to gay people because they are just saying something like “That’s so lame,” which was used not so long ago, and I expect, still is used by some kids.

And speaking of “lame”, what if the phrase being used were “That’s so disabled” or “That’s so physically challenged”?  Most people probably would find that more offensive than “That’s so gay.”  However, when”That’s retarded” was so popular, there weren’t too many negative ripples.

When it comes to being politically correct (though really I think it has more to do with civility than politics), it’s hard to keep up.  I seem to remember Lyndon Johnson using nigras (which doesn’t sound that different from the “n” word), and he was the President who signed the major civil rights laws in the mid-1960s.  Colored People was once OK; there’s still the NAACP.  Then there’s still the question of African-American (or Afro-American) or Black.

There’s a similar problem with people and newspapers using the term homosexual.  In fact, it has a very specific, somewhat clinical or academic meaning, but most of the time when used outside of certain fields of study, homosexual come with a negative connotation for labeling people, in a way that “colored” was once used by whites, when they knew that there was a more appropriate word.

Just like many use homosexual as a way of emphasizing the “sexual” aspect, as if that the only quality that characterizes us, they also employ the word to hit other people’s buttons that its the “same” sex.  And, “you know, doing with the same sex, well, that’s something so bad, because, you know, the preacher said it in church, and it’s in the Bible, you know.”

So it’s not are far stretch to the same negativity inherent in “That’s so gay.”  The negative connotation from homosexual is carried over to the word “gay.”

It’s really not much different than expressions that have applied to other groups.  I grew up with people using the expression of “jewing someone down,” not having any idea that it came from the negative stereotype of Jewish people.  I’m sure there are kids out there who, when comparing the sizes of dips on their ice cream cones, are screaming, “I got gypped (or jipped),” having no idea that the word came from negative stereotype of gypsies cheating or robbing people.

There are two sides to these pejoratives.  On the one hand, they make the language colorful and precise.  With the internet and other forms of technology, the English language is already being “dummied down” with all its LOLs and other shortcuts.   (Oops, can I say “dummied down”?)  On the other hand, words can hurt, and we know it.  People, especially adults, who use these words to belittle others know what they are doing. 

Newspapers, politicians, and preachers who use the word homosexual know that gay people don’t like to be called that, but they do it anyway.  In reality, it’s just a subtle way to bully.  Isn’t there a verse in the Bible that says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?  Doesn’t that mean civility and respect?

It all comes back to civility, doesn’t it?

If people want to use the line “That’s so gay,” they should really use it with the meaning “That’s so creative” because that’s a positive stereotype of gay people.  Think of all creativity put out by hair stylists (let’s go with those straight-thinking stereotypes), artists, playwrights, and composers.  Let’s don’t forget to mention Michalangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander the Great or some current creative gay people like Elton John, Ricky Martin, or Ellen Degeneres.

So maybe when (or if) you read something on here that makes you think a bit, you’ll say, “That’s so gay.”  But, hey, you gotta put the right tone in your voice or it won’t work.

And What Will the Conservative Republicans Say Now about Sancti-MOAN-ious Sanford’s Revelations and the Sanctity of Marriage? Come’on Now, We’re All Waiting with Bated Breath

Mr. A-List (that’s A for Adultery), Republican Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina was forthcoming with even more revelations about his relationship with Maria Belen Chapur, the Argentinian woman with whom he has been having an affair. It seems, though, that his current mistress is not the only woman he has been involved with during his marriage to his wife, Jenny. “Oh, what a tangled web . . .” If you’re into the details the South Carolinian newspaper, The State has the most.

Actually, I’m not that interested in what Sanford or other straight people do in bed; it’s just that when so many of them give out this “holier than thou” attitude, laying it on thick about the sanctity of marriage and how gay marriage and homosexuality are just about the worst thing that anyone could be part of, you want to sit there and say, “Hey, Sluggo, maybe you might want to re-think your position on love and who can love whom, and maybe your love isn’t really any different than anybody else’s love.” (Wow, that was a long sentence; I got to take a breath myself.)

Anyway, ya gotta dig these cartoons:

First Church of GOPDevout Christian

And So It Goes–Another “Moral” Republican, Presidential-Hopeful “Goes Down” . . . So To Speak . . . All the Way to Argentina

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, another of the "A-List" Republicans

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, another one of the "A-List" Republicans

“Lost” Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina has come back to the States from Argentina, and upon his return admitted to having an affair with an Argentinian woman whom he had met some eight years ago.  This is the same Republican governor who made such a big fuss over the stimulus package and didn’t want to take money for his state, which in the end the state legislature accepted.

We probably should start making some tick marks on the calendar to see how many weeks in a row, these Republican big-wigs are going to “come out” admitting to breaking some biblical rule.  It was just last week that U.S. Senator John Ensign admitted to having had an affair with an employee, who was also the wife of one of his top aides.

These types are the same ones who rail against gay marriage and espouse the “sanctity of marriage”.

Just once I’d like to hear from any of the bible-beaters and have them show where that book says there is anything wrong with love, either gay or straight.  What I don’t understand is where they get all so quiet and seem like the shyest little girl in the corner, when one of these conservative Republicans breaks one of the 10 commandants from their own holy book.  I mean, one of the 10 commandments; that should be like really a big deal, but they’d rather go on harping, campaigning, and spending money trying to tear down gay people based on a few debatable verses.

More Damaging Fallout for Republicans from the Ensign Affair; More of their “Moral” Values Lead to Even More Hypocrisy

John Ensign, Republican Senator

John Ensign, Republican Senator

The situation surrounding the admitted affair of Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign is getting even more damaging for Republicans.

Doug Hampton, the husband of the woman who was involved with Ensign, says he wrote a letter to that favorite network of the right, Fox News, informing them of the affair and asking for their help. Both Hampton and his wife Darlene had worked for Hampton, and their 19-year-old son had also been given a job during the affair.

In the letter, Hampton also said that Hampton’s roommate, Republican Senator from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn, knew about the affair. (Please tell me–why do U.S. Senators need roommates?)

Fox News claims that they didn’t get a letter from Hampton, but strangely enough, it was not soon thereafter that Ensign publicly admitted to the affair.

Ensign’s Republican colleagues are saying nothing more than it’s a private situation and they feel so sorry for his family.

What short memories they have! How much time and taxpayers’ money did the Republicans in Congress spend trying to force President Clinton out of office after the Lewinsky revelations? For months on end, basically all other congressional work stopped so that they could force every little detail out. But now with Ensign, they want only to say, “It’s a personal situation.” What hypocrites!

One of those giving support to Ensign is beleaguered Governor of Nevada, Jim Gibbons, who is in the process of divorcing his wife. The Las Vegas Sun says this about Gibbons’ response to Ensign’s admission:

Ensign’s admission comes on top of a string of disclosures and allegations about Gibbons. Since his election in 2006, Gibbons has been accused of sexual assault, sending love notes on a state phone and improperly firing a state employee. In recent court documents related to divorce proceedings, his wife, Dawn, accused him of a history of infidelity.

This is the same Gibbons who recently vetoed a domestic partners bill in Nevada. Fortunately, the Nevada Senate was able to override Gibbons’ veto.

Aren’t these two Nevada Republican politicians the true posterboys for the sanctity of marriage? How many more closet doors will be cracked open before people realize the true hypocrisy in the actions and words of these leaders of the so-called “moral” Grand Old Party.

Why Don’t These “Moral” Republicans Ever Seem To Have To Face the Consequences of their Actions?

John Ensign, Republican Senator

John Ensign, Republican Senator

Interesting, interesting, interesting. Don’t those Republicans just personify the “family values” they so glowingly espouse. (Thanks to The Rachel Maddow Show and the Las Vegas Sun for this one.)

A couple of days ago, Senator John Ensign, the Nevada Republican, admitted to having an affair with the wife of one of his top aides. Yes, interesting, because Ensign was one of the Republican senators who had called for President Clinton to resign after the Monica Lewinsky affair. This same “forgiving” senator also had demanded that his fellow Republican senator, Larry Craig from Idaho, resign after he was arrested for trying to do some hanky panky with an undercover cop in a restroom in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Up to now, though, Ensign himself has only found it fit to step down from a senate committee chairmanship.

Since Ensign’s admission of his breaking the 7th commandment (wonder why he didn’t say it that way?), it has come to light that the woman with whom he was having this affair was also on his payroll, but even worse (great for her I suppose), her pay was doubled in both of the two jobs that she had as his employee. (Now it sounds like it was really three.)

What’s even more gob-smacking is that during the same period, her 19-year-old son was being paid for doing “research policy consulting”. Yes, that sounds like something a 19-year-old is really qualified for.

So onward go these moral Republicans, who never seem to have to pay in any way for what they get caught doing. People like Craig continue in office until the term ends, feigning being wronged, liked the meadowlark feigns being wounded to distract you from her nest of eggs. Others like prostitute hiring, David Vitter, U.S. Senator from Louisiana, smile and act they have done nothing and that everyone should pat him on the back for just being a man. And now Ensign.

Well, as for Ensign, I’m waiting for these moral Republicans, especially these evangelical christian types to come out and use their holy book literally, like they always do when they try to condemn gay people and homosexuality.

I mean here it is:

( Leviticus 20 verse 10 and Deuteronomy 22 verse 22). Moses had said both the adulterer and the adulteress had to be stoned. Where was the adulterer? Where was the man that had been found in the very act of committing adultery with the woman? Why had they not brought the man to be stoned together with the woman according to the law of Moses? Both adulterer and adulteress caught committing adultery had to be stoned according to the law of Moses. To stone the woman alone would have been wrong. (Here’s my source, in case somebody wants to mess with me.)

No, these hypocrites only want to use their morality and their religious beliefs, and their literal use of the bible when it suits their purpose. So, of course, they are not going to say anything against people like Craig, Vitter, or Ensign.

Let’s see if these hypocrites’ acts can somehow be blamed on gay people, like, for example, “if those gay people in Massachusetts (because that was the only state where same-sex marriage was legal when Ensign started his affair) weren’t able to get married, I would never have have wanted to cheat on my wife and sleep with my employee who just happens to be the wife of one of my top aides.”

And the Bible Says This about Marriage

Cain WifeThe last time I ever read anything from the bible was back in my college days when I was taking a World Lit. course, and during the section on Ancient and Medieval Lit., I figured out that a lot of what was written in a supposedly holy book was hardly different than the fantastical stories and sagas of other writings of those times.

Tonight after thinking about Betty Bower’s video (check it out below), I got to wondering about Adam and Eve, and especially their children. I only remembered about Cain and Abel, and that “Cain slew Abel”, but then tonight I found out that there was Seth, who was born like 130 years later, because people lived such a long time in those days. Yeah, right. Life was so easy back then, I guess.

But what I was really wondering was how all these anti-gay-marriage people explain all this. Well, now I know. Just like they say in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, “Incest is best!”

I mean, they always say, “The bible says marriage is between one man and one woman.” But why are they so closed-mouth about incest?

They say that what the bible says about marriage has always been the same, but shame on them; they’ve been holding out. Now I know because “Bible Study Manual” told me so.

Read on. I’m sure you’re going to be busting a gut at how all this is explained–yeah, “explained” nudge, nudge; wink, wink.

As marriage in the Bible specifies one man for one woman for life, this means Christians have to be able to explain how Adam and Eve’s sons could marry and have children to propagate the human race. Thus we need to be able to answer the question concerning Cain’s wife.

One can actually answer this question with just a little Bible knowledge. Genesis 5:4 tells us that Adam and Eve ‘begat sons and daughters.’ Josephus, the Jewish historian, states that ‘The number of Adam’s children, as says the old tradition, was thirty-three sons and twenty-three daughters.’ The point, of course, is that Adam and Eve did have many children.

Therefore, brothers must have married sisters at the beginning. Remember that the law against close intermarriage was not given until the time of Moses – e.g., ‘none of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him’ (Leviticus 18:6). There was nothing wrong with brother and sister marriages, originally. If you think about it, that is the only way to populate the world, starting with only one pair. Notice that Abraham married his half sister with no condemnation from God, even though this was later forbidden.

Also, as Adam and Eve were created perfect, their genes would have been perfect. As the curse God placed upon creation started to operate only after they sinned, their descendants would not have had many mistakes in their genes. These mistakes (harmful mutations) add up only after a long period of time.

So brothers and sisters (Adam and Eve’s children) could have married and not had the problems of deformities in their offspring as might well happen today, if such close relatives married and had children. This is because today humans have lots of mistakes – because of the curse – in their genes. This may cause problems when matching pairs are inherited from both parents, as much more likely with close intermarriage.

Some people, though, say that there must have been people other than Adam and Eve, because Cain went to the land of Nod and found his wife. First of all, the Scriptures quoted above make it obvious that there was only one man and one woman from whom came all other human beings.

Secondly, the Scripture says that Cain went to the Land of Nod and ‘knew’ (had sexual relations with) his wife. John Calvin, in his commentary on Genesis, and most other conservative expositors, make the point that Cain was married before he went to the land of Nod.

Don’t you like how they can use science when they want to throw in the idea of “genes”, but then ignore it when comes to how long people lived.

So there you go. If you don’t have a good answer, just make one up, and “That’s the way it is.” End of story. No discussion.