Tag Archive | news

Weekend Update 3/17/2018: Did no one see this coming?

Things you find in a closet (click to embiggen:

Another entry in my series on news that either came in after I posted my Friday Five, or new development in previously posted stories, or things that didn’t make the cut but deserve some commentary. This is also another in my series of posts pointing out that public figures who are most adamant about policing, judging, and criminalizing other people’s sexual behavior seem to always have some kind of immoral skeleton in their own closet.

Deputy Australian Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce resigns over sex scanda He’s a family-values politician, described as one of the “most staunch opponents of same-sex marriage” and gay rights in general, et cetera, has been having an affair with a staffer. Not only is he resigning his post, but he is leaving his wife (the mother of his four children) for the younger staffer who his pregnant. Did no one see this coming?

Last month in Utah we got first this headline: Rep. Jon Stanard resigns abruptly with little explanation followed up with this: Utah Rep. Jon Stanard, accused of meeting call girl for sex, used public money for hotel rooms. Before you ask, yes Stanard was also a typical family-values politician, pro-life, anti-gay politician: “Family values” politician Jon Stanard of Utah hates gay people… but he sure loves prostitutes!. Did no one see this coming?

Let’s not forget the governor of Missouri, arrested last week on charges that while he had his mistress tied up in bondage gear, he took pictures of her against her will, threatened to release the pictures to her family and the public if she told anyone about the affair they were having, and then did send the picture to someone. That’s three separate crimes under Missouri law. He’s refused to resign and had been blaming the whole thing on a jewish billionaire that the Republicans keep naming whenever they want to claim that protests aren’t genuine and so forth. Apparently somehow this guy forced him to take the pictures and store them on his computer and make the threats that were secretly recorded by the mistress’s husband? Well, things aren’t looking good for the family values, anti-gay, pro-life governor, as more bad news piles on: Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ nonprofit is an example of ‘secret cash’ trend, report says. So, the pro-family, anti-gay guy was cheating on his wife, blackmailing his mistress, sending revenge porn, and is breaking campaign finance laws. Did no one see this coming?

The headline on this one is true, but leaving out a lot: Anti-gay discrimination just cost this judge 3 years of pay Vance Day is a state judge in Oregon, and you may recall that Oregan legalized marriage equality before the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling. This guy repeatedly had his staff construct an elaborate system that included lying to any same sex couple that came in to get married that the judge wasn’t there, and so forth. As the state Supreme Court ruled when handing down the punishment: “That screening process demonstrated to respondent’s staff that, in exercising his statutory authority and judicial duty to solemnize marriages, he would not treat all couples fairly.”

But that’s not all he’s being sanctioned over. Day also had a strange relationship with a veteran suffering from PTSD whose case in Veteran Treatment Court had been presided over by Day. Despite the veteran being under orders not to have guns (because of previous felony Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol convictions), Day provided him with a gun on at least two occasions, and promised the man that Day would somehow get his other legal restrictions lifted. These details make very little sense, at the moment. Day invited the veteran to dinner at his house before this things happened, and this was after the veteran had appeared in court in front of Day, and at some point after that the gun incidents took place. One reason we don’t have details is that Day has been indicted on three criminal counts over these incidents (all separate from the judicial suspension). Until this goes to trial we won’t know what was going on. Oh, and also, after some altercations with referees of his son’s soccer games, he lied and claimed a ref assaulted him. So, the pro traditional values judge who went to extreme links to deny some gays equal treatment in his court, has been making false criminal allegations against people he disagrees with, circumventing laws to give guns to a convicted felony, and committed other yet-to-be specified in court (when those indictments are unsealed) official misconduct. Did no one see this coming?

But I have to ask, why, oh why would a vehemently anti-guy official suddenly take a peculiar interest and start offering big promises to another man? I’m just asking.

In other news, Maine House candidate who attacked 2 survivors of Florida shooting drops out of race. Leslie Gibson is (again) a so-called family values, pro-life, traditional marriage supporting politician. He had called one of the teen survivors of the Parkland shooting a skinhead lesbian (whatever that means), and another a bald-faced liar. When members of his own party called him out, he issued an apology to the young woman he called a skinhead lesbian, but left the comments about the other student standing. This all happened when he was running unopposed for reelection to his state legislative seat. A few days later, on the last day to register, a young woman registered as a democratic candidate for the seat, and another republican registered to run again him. And that’s when he dropped out of the race.

Listen: you can’t simultaneously dismiss these high school students’ protests and such as meaningless because they are merely children and don’t know anything, and also attack them as if they are public figures involved in the process. That’s super hypocritical. And an asshole move. Anyway, he did the usual claim that he’s not dropping out because he did anything wrong, but because this controversy is a distraction.

Yeah, right. Good riddance.


Friday Five (everything old is new again edition)

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It’s the third Friday of March!

Things have been happening in the lives of a bunch of our friends. Work is being insanely stressful. I have not been in the greatest of moods. But enough about that.

Once again I bring you the Friday Five: The top five (IMHO) stories of the week and videos (plus notable obituaries and a recap of my blog posts).

Stories of the Week:

Using an AIDS-activism slogan to protest gun violence.

Donald Trump Is the New George W. Bush.

Jesus Taught Me How to Play Soprano Saxophone While I Was Dead, Says Christian.

Generation Z Is Less Religious Than Ever, and Evangelicals Don’t Know Why.

Depth Of Russian Politician’s Cultivation Of NRA Ties Revealed.

In Memoriam:

Pioneering Scientist Stephen Hawking Passes Away at 76.

How Stephen Hawking Transformed Our Understanding of Black Holes.

Stephen Hawking’s life was made possible by access to great health care and social support.


Things I wrote:

Weekend Update (3/10/2018): Another homophobe arrested for being a sexual predator.

100 years of Daylight Saving Time, and most of what you know about it is wrong.

Pseudo spring arrived, time for flowers and to assess our plans for the veranda!.

…and the darkness comprehended it not.


Spider-Man’s Tom Holland crushes Rihanna’s “Umbrella” in lip-synch challenge:

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Which Trump Cabinet Member Will Survive The DCAA Tournament:

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Jimmy Kimmel’s Shocking Discovery About Trump Merchandise:

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Conor Lamb’s Win, Trump’s “Space Force” and #NationalStudentWalkout::

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Ireland’s Adorable Gay Eurovision Song Entry May Be Banned By Russia:

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Weekend Update (3/10/2018): Another homophobe arrested for being a sexual predator

“I refuse to take gun control suggestions from people who ave never touched a gun, eat soap, and get confused about which restroom to use. Merica.” “'How can you talk about gun control when you're never fired a gun' how y'all anit gay and you've never sucked cock?”

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Once again stories that didn’t make it into the Friday Five, or new developments in stories that did, have come to my attention. So I’m going to share them with you, along with some commentary and context. Dan Savage used to post this irregular feature on the blog of the Seattle biweekly newspaper, The Stranger called “Youth Pastor Watch.” He had a Google news alert looking for the key phrase “youth pastor” and he would post stories about youth pastors being arrested or charged with molesting girls or boys, having affairs with the wives of congregates, and occasionally other crimes. And there were always concern trolls asking why he only posted news of youth pastors committing crimes. So he started occasionally throw in a story about a Youth Pastor who was in the news for doing something good. And half the time the youth pastor who hadn’t committed a crime would be shown the post with his story in among all these horrible crime stories and he would post a comment to the blog to the effect, “Not quite sure what I’m doing in this post.” You can’t please everyone, I guess.

The point of his posts and my referencing the now is merely a subset of a bigger problem. The evidence of the hundreds, nay, thousands of virulently anti-gay pastors and politicians who have turned out to be hiding some sexual shenanigans of their own has reached the point that I seriously think it should be required of journalists and police to start sniffing around in the background of the vocal anti-gay folks. In hopes of stopping things like this for going on for years: After Threatening Suicide, Anti-gay Pastor Ronnie Gorton Indicted on 47 Charges of Sexually Assaulting Boys. One of this guy’s victims was under 13 years old when the sexual assaults started and went on for more than seven years. At which point he found another teen victim. For some more details Munford pastor indicted on 47 counts of sexually assaulting teens.

I don’t want to deny anyone due process. But this stuff is crazy.

Other pastors have similar secrets: Pastor was ‘counseling’ the young, naked man tied up in his car, he says. Please note that’s what he says, now. When the police first came up to the car parked on a well-lit residential street that neighbors had called in for suspicious activity, the pastor had a different story. The young naked man was bound in nylon rope, sitting in the front seat. The minister was sitting in the back and had to “re-arrange his clothes” when he saw the police walking up. That pastor didn’t identify himself right away, and tried to assure the cops nothing wrong was happening because “We were just playing. We meet up from time to time to play.”

Playing is not counseling. Clearly, the pastor was afraid he was going to be arrested for kidnapping or something, so he told the truth. Sexual play. The young man probably has a humiliation/exhibition kink, and the pastor like to jerk-off while making naked young men do whatever he says. Mostly technically not illegal (public nudity laws being a thing), but when you rant from the pulpit about the supposed sexual immoralities of other people, encouraging your congregation to oppose gay rights laws in order to stamp out perversion, et cetera… well, no one at all should be surprised when it turns out you have more than a bit of experience with that perversion.

And I’m going to have to remember this the next time:

“If you insist that ‘How can you talk about gun control when you’re never fired a gun’ is a valid argument, then I’m free to conclude that the only reason you could possibly have a legitimate opinion about gay sex is if you have a lot of experience with it.”

(In addition to that fact that this liberal queer blogger used to be a card-carrying member of the NRA, has owned guns, has used those guns to hunt various game animals, and so forth, as I explained here. So by their logic I can indeed lecture them about gun control.)

ETA: And then I saw this story after posting: Medical Board Finds Ex-Gay Torture Psychiatrist Guilty Of Having Sex With Male Patients. It wasn’t just having sex. Two of the patients thought the groping and such was supposed to be therapy at the beginning. So there was some coercion/deception going on. One of the patients was an 18-year-old sent to the doctor by his parents…


Friday Five (from jedi to joker edition)

“Let's get a few things straight: You Trump voters are NOT 'half the country.' You're not even a third of it. You're not a 'Silent Majority.' You're a Vocal Minority, and in truth, you lost the Presidency.”

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It’s the second Friday of March!

The weather is warming up, which is nice. Though it also means that my hay fever is ramping up.

Once again I bring you the Friday Five: The top five (IMHO) stories of the week, five important storis about queer rights, and videos (plus notable obituaries and a recap of my blog posts).

Stories of the Week:

An OurTime.Com Con Man and the Women Who Busted Him .

Deadly Connection: Neo-Nazi Group Linked To 3 Accused Killers.

Former Ohio Republican AG says he regrets ‘devil’s bargain’ with the NRA: ‘I had abandoned my principles and sold my soul’.

The unwelcome revival of ‘race science’ .

MSNBC’s Ali Velshi refutes NRA talking point that people are safer with more guns around.

News for queers and our allies:

There is No Such Thing as a “Homosexual Lifestyle.”.

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters: Religious right defense of ‘ex-gay’ therapy is doomed to fail.

Was It Right for a Gay Escort to Expose Dozens of Catholic Priests Who Saw Him? Yes.

Roy Moore ‘Struggling to Make Ends Meet’ – Urges Supporters to Help Him Fight ‘Gays, Lesbians, and Transgenders’ –.

Ontario AG reviews call for inquiry into Toronto police handling of missing persons cases linked to Gay Village serial killer.

In Memoriam:

David Ogden Stiers, Major Winchester on ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 75.

David Ogden Stiers, ‘M.A.S.H.’ actor who became voice of Disney movies, dies at 75.

Alan Alda pays tribute to M*A*S*H costar David Ogden Stiers.

Lewis Gilbert, director of three James Bond films, dies.

Things I wrote:

Sunday Funnies, part 27.

A writer writes — where do characters come from?.

Subplots, plots, and resolutions — but what about the denouement!.

Unnamed faces in old (and not-so-old) family pictures.


Pastor Jeffress talks evangelical reaction to Stormy Daniels:

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Stormy Daniels Sues, Gary Cohn Quits, Trump Talks North Korea: A Closer Look:

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Alt-Right Killers | March 7, 2018 Act 2 | Full Frontal on TBS:

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Legion | Season 2 – Official Trailer:

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Mark Hamill’s Walk of Fame Award Acceptance Speech – Star Wars The Last Jedi:

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Friday Five (can’t logic around hate edition)

“One of the most common patters seen in mass shooters is a history of violence against women. But I highly doubt you'll see folks in power calling for more gun restrictions for men with a history of domestic violence since that would impact many in the government and police forces.” —Bree Newsome

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It’s the first Friday of March!

We’re still having colder than usual weather, including a rather weird graupel storm last Sunday that I got stuck in traffic in for a long time. I seemed to then come down with a cold for a couple of days in the middle of the week. And things continue to be super busy at work.

Once again I bring you the Friday Five: The top five (IMHO) stories of the week and videos (plus notable obituaries and a recap of my blog posts).

Stories of the Week:

Georgia Can’t Afford Another Anti-LGBT Bill.

Humans Behave Surprisingly Bat-Like in Echolocation Study.

Mars Curiosity rover can now drill again, and more like a human.

Report: Media Largely Ignored Unprecedented Anti-LGBTQ Violence of 2017.

Olympian Gus Kenworthy shared some of his worst hate mail and made a powerful point: Homophobia is very, very real.

In Memoriam:

Emma Chambers, The Vicar of Dibley actor, dies aged 53.

Nanette Fabray, star of stage, screen and TV’s ‘One Day at a Time,’ dies at 97.

Marty Allen, Wild-Eyed Comedy Star, Is Dead at 95.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 2/24/2018: Mutually Assured Massacre.

Ill humours and untangled threads – more adventures in dictionaries.

You’re a storyteller, so paint pictures with your words.


Survivors of Pulse, Parkland Mass Shootings Stand Together in Solidarity:

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Trump Discusses Guns; Hicks, Kushner and Carson Under Fire: A Closer Look:

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Trump Claims He Would Have ‘Run’ Into The School:

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Gal Pals. Just girls being friends. Just sleeping in the same room and scooting the beds closer together while they use their ‘portable massager’ after a hard day:

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Kendrick Lamar, SZA – All The Stars:

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Hayley Kiyoko “Curious” | BOY VERSION with Donald Romain:

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Weekend Update 2/24/2018: Mutually Assured Massacre

“The 2nd Amendment should always be defended and adhered to in the spirit in which it was conceived... everyone has a right to a flintlock musket that takes a skilled shooter about a minute to load and is accurate to about 25 yards.”

Click to embiggen.

Once again stories that didn’t make it into the Friday Five, or new developments in stories that did, have come to my attention. So I’m going to share them with you, along with some commentary and context.

Many new developments related to the Parkland shooting: Sources: Coral Springs police upset at some Broward deputies for not entering school. Turns out, not only didn’t the armed deputy who was on school grounds specifically to guard the students just hunker down and hide for the entire shooting, the other deputies from the same county office all did the same thing when they arrived. Only the city police actually entered the building to confront the shooter.

Just one more reason why arming more people doesn’t lead to children being safe.

In case you’re curious about how the myth that more guns somehow make us safer came to be, read this: Gun Rights, ‘Positive Good’ and the Evolution of Mutually Assured Massacre.

A lot of idiots out there are sharing the conspiracy theory posts that these high school kids who are confronting lawmakers are fake. Given that all the tech companies have pledged to try to root out fake news, we need to ask, Why Can Everyone Spot Fake News But The Tech Companies? After multiple tragedies and national security disasters made worse by hoaxes and misinformation, why is this even a question? The article explains.

And while we’re on the subject: The collective outrage over Facebook and its actions might result in a lot of talk, but it won’t really change Facebook, its ethos, and its ethics.

And let’s not forget all the people who are trying to pedantically argue that the AR-15 the shooter used to kill 17 people isn’t an assault weapon: What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns. I’ll let the surgeon explain it himself:

In a typical handgun injury that I diagnose almost daily, a bullet leaves a laceration through an organ like the liver. To a radiologist, it appears as a linear, thin, grey bullet track through the organ. There may be bleeding and some bullet fragments.

I was looking at a CT scan of one of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer, with extensive bleeding. How could a gunshot wound have caused this much damage?

The reaction in the emergency room was the same. One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left to repair, and utterly, devastatingly, nothing that could be done to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.

It’s also important to note that contrary to popular belief, the issue isn’t the Constitution: Why the Second Amendment does not stymie gun control.

And if you’re one of those people trying to tell me that guns don’t kill, it’s people who kill remember first that yeah, there are a lot of evil people out there plotting: Report: Washington state home to one of the largest cells of notorious white supremacist group. So maybe we should make it less easy for them to get weapons.

Finally, I want to end on some good news: Oregon legislature passes bill strengthening state’s gun laws. In Oregon and many other states it is already illegal for someone with certain types of domestic abuse convictions and such to own guns. The problem in those states that have them is the “boyfriend” loophole. Most people convicted of domestic abuse wind up pleading down to a misdemeanor charge, which doesn’t kick in the federal ban against felons, right? And statistics have shown that the number one predictor of whether someone will go out and attempt (or commit) a mass shooting is past domestic abuse, so many states amended laws over the last few years to include the misdemeanor abuse charges in the gun ban. Except that the misdemeanor only counts if the person who committed the abuse either had shared living quarters for a certain number of months with the victim, or if they are married to the victim. So boyfriends who beat their girlfriends before tricking her into moving in with him or marrying him can still buy guns. No matter how many different girlfriends they abuse over the years.

That is now no longer the case in Oregon. Only 49 states to go…


Friday Five (heeding the call edition)

Gun massacres fell during the assault weapons ban (click to embiggen)

It’s the fourth Friday of February!

Seattle is in the middle of a record breaking cold snap, even while other parts of the country are experiencing record breaking heat. We seldom get snow in Seattle at all, and this winter we’ve had it several times. They’re saying it’s going to be this cold for several more days, at least. And the same large atmospheric phenomenon giving us all this icy weather it also what’s making it so warm elsewhere.

Once again I bring you the Friday Five: The top five (IMHO) stories of the week and videos (plus notable obituaries and a recap of my blog posts).

Stories of the Week:

More Than Twice As Many Women Are Running For Congress In 2018 Compared With 2016.

The Pro-Trump Media Has Its Match In The Parkland Students.

Democrats Should Run on Gun Control All Over the Country.

Gov. Greitens indicted for felony invasion of privacy stemming from affair. He is also accused of attempted blackmail. So much for family values…

What Ever Happened To Brendan Fraser? This article is not about what you probably think it’s about.


Billy Graham: Neither prophet nor theologian. I so seldom agree with George Will, but maybe only a curmudgeonly old ultra conservative can get away from saying (among other thing) in an obituary: “Graham frequently vowed to abstain from partisan politics, and almost as frequently slipped this self-imposed leash, almost always on behalf of Republicans… On Feb. 1, 1972, unaware of Nixon’s Oval Office taping system, when Nixon ranted about how Jews “totally dominated” the media, Graham said “this stranglehold has got to be broken or this country is going down the drain.” He also told Nixon that Jews are “the ones putting out the pornographic stuff.” One can reasonably acquit Graham of anti-Semitism only by convicting him of toadying.”

Even a Graham can’t save Trump. (This is more about Franklin Graham and his ilk and Trump, but the opening paragraphs nicely sum up the way Billy fit into the lives of many, many evangelicals in the 50s through at least the 80s)

Anti-gay evangelical Billy Graham has died, aged 99.

What the Obits Aren’t Saying: Evangelist Billy Graham Was a Homophobe.

Far from being ‘an exemplar to generation upon generation’, Graham is an example of how religion is so often successfully leveraged as a means of making bigotry appear somehow acceptable, even something to aspire to.

Things I wrote:

It can’t be too late for common sense about guns, right?

No, today’s official holiday name isn’t what you think.

When the roll is called up yonder, or queer confessions of an ex-evangelical.


Trump vs. The World: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO):

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The Kids From Florida Aren’t Acting:

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Fox News retracts story mocking Olympic diversity:

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Legion Season 2 “No Secrets” International Promo (HD):

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Matt Gresham – Home (Official Video):

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When the roll is called up yonder, or queer confessions of an ex-evangelical

Me wearing part of the uniform for the interdenominational youth touring choir I was a member of for many years.

Me wearing part of the uniform for the interdenominational youth touring choir I was a member of for many years.

Just a few months ago I was trying to explain to a friend who lives in the U.K. the weird hypocritical dogma of the typical American fundamentalist Christian, and wound up mentioning that although I disagreed vehemently with many things that Billy Graham preached, I always felt his basic faith was sincere. This is in contrast to my opinion of Graham’s son who has taken over running the ministry, who both on air and in-person came across as an especially unethical used car salesman.

Even so, I was a bit surprised at my reaction to the news that the 99-year-old Billy Graham, oft described as “America’s Pastor,” died yesterday. Let’s make no mistake: while Graham was unusual among Southern Baptist ministers in the 1950s to embrace desegregation (“there is no segregation at the foot of the cross”) and at least gave lip service to decrying racism, he was an unrepentant homophobe. Statements he made over the years included: “Let me say this loud and clear, we traffic in homosexuality at the peril of our spiritual welfare.” Or: “Is AIDS a judgment of God? I could not be sure, but I think so.” Graham claimed to be non-partisan, but often came down on the Republican side of many issues. “At 93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage. The Bible is clear — God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.” And it’s really hard to justify some of the comments he made while discussing Jews and the media with President Nixon in the 1960s.

But Billy could preach! Oh, how he could preach! It’s difficult to explain to someone who didn’t grow up in an evangelical community in the 50s, 60s, or 70s the cherished place Graham inhabited in the hearts of the faithful, semi-faithful, and faithful-adjacent. Graham wasn’t just held up as an example of a good man and great preacher, people were so certain he was inspired by god, that quoting him sometimes had a stronger effect than quoting from the scripture.

As a teenaged Southern Baptist (very closeted) queer boy in the 70s, I was perhaps more acutely aware of how much Graham was revered than most. While many saw my flare for the dramatic as a troubling hint of queerness, others saw it as a calling from god to become a preacher. The combination of that theatricality with my ability to memorize and recall huge sections of the Bible, as well as a facility with language, and being quick-thinking on my feet had people talking about what a great preacher I would make when I was still in grade school. Once I was older, and had more experience thanks to musical groups, drama club, and the debate team, well, it surprised no one when elders of the church started trying to convince me to get ordained in my late teens.

At the same time, completely unbeknownst to me, Mom and several women in our church were meeting once a week to pray that god would “rescue” me from the temptation of homosexuality. I hadn’t come out to anyone, at all, at the time. And while there are been some very furtive sexual relationships with a few boys my age during middle school, by the time people’s suspicions had risen to that point I was celibate, secretly praying even more fervently than they were, and doing everything I possibly could to be straight.

Which is precisely why, when I was approached about ordination, I started meeting with one of the associate pastors and studying to become a minister. Like millions of religious queers before me, for some time I thought that embracing “full-time Christian service” might be the only way to make my feelings for other guys go away.

I should mention that in Southern Baptist churches at the time, ordination was something that happened usually at your local church before you went off to Bible college. Which is the reverse of the way most other denominations do it. So I was still a teen in my first year attending community college while meeting with the pastors and deacons of our church several times a week to study and pray about my future.

I wish I could say that what caused me to back out was an epiphany about my sexual orientation resulting in self-acceptance replacing the self-loathing I had been taught all my life. That tipping point wouldn’t come for a few more years, yet. I also wish I could say that it was learning that the origins of the Southern Baptist denomination were much more racist and pro-slavery than I had been taught. That shocked me a little bit, but I was already quite familiar with the fact that only a few years before this the Southern Baptist Convention had finally denounced segregation of the races.

What did bring me to my senses were two conversations that happened close together, each with a different deacon in our church.

In the first, the elder in question took issue with my continued interest in science, particularly my interest in astronomy and evolution. He was quite unimpressed by my argument that a god who could plan and carry out a plan involved 15 billions years of stellar evolution eventually leading to humans was a far more impressive feat then simply waving a magic wand and making everything at once. While he referenced the Baptist principle that interpreting the scripture was something each person must do on their own, he also made it clear that my adherence to scientific fact was not an asset for a pastor.

In the conversation with another deacon, I mentioned an article I had read recently in which I learned that Fred Rogers, famous as Mister Rogers on PBS stations, was an ordained Presbyterian minister, who considered his work producing the children’s show his ministry. I thought it was a great example of how doing god’s work could take many forms The deacon had a very different view. First, he pointed out that (in the opinion of typical Southern Baptists), Presbyterians were “soft” on Biblical inerrancy. Further, if Rogers was actually doing god’s work, he would use that daily television show to tell children directly the story of Jesus. Since he didn’t do that, he wasn’t doing god’s work, according to this deacon. Finally, he said, “You know that Billy Graham was raised Presbyterian? He joined the Baptists because we’re actually doing god’s work.”

And those two conversations were the final nails in the coffin of me becoming a Baptist minister. The epiphany I had after those conversations was that all of the church leaders who had been urging me to become a minister didn’t really see the makings of a pastor in me. Instead, they thought that anyone who had Talent, whether it be intelligence, a gift for language, or whatever, who didn’t use that to evangelize wasn’t doing god’s work. That simply being a good person and doing what you can to make the corner of the world you were in a better place and to love your neighbors wasn’t enough.

I didn’t call things off until the end of the Sunday evening Church service where, as part of the process, I delivered a sermon and otherwise conducted the service. I still think that my John 16:33 sermon is an incredible work of art. But even as I was giving it, I knew the whole thing was a mistake. I suspect if I hadn’t called it off, that the deacon who was so concerned about my love of science would have done what he could to derail things. Regardless, there were a few more times over the next couple of years that leaders in that church and related churches came to me and asked me to prayerfully reconsider become a preacher.

I had learned my lesson: if the evangelical faith couldn’t accommodate both scientific fact and Mister Rogers, well, it didn’t have a place for me, either. I didn’t find my real place until several years later, but that’s a story for another day.


It can’t be too late for common sense about guns, right?

I’ve written about the most recent incident last week, and laid out how all the usual arguments for why we can’t do anything about mass shootings have been trotted out by other industries and proved incorrect a while ago: They used to insist that drunk driving couldn’t be reduced either. I had some more stuff I was going to follow up with, but almost everything I wanted to say is summed up by Emma Gonzalez, one of the survivors of last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida: Teen who survived massacre rips Trump to pieces in emotional takedown. I’m just going to quote a bunch of that article:

[S]he responded directly to Trump’s tweet, which blamed students at the school for not reporting on the shooter’s behavior before the event.

“We did,” Gonzalez said, “time and time again, since he was in middle school.”

“We need to pay attention to the fact that this isn’t just a mental health issue,” she continued. “He wouldn’t have harmed that many students with a knife.”

“How about we stop blaming the victims for something that was the shooter’s fault?” she demanded, and called out those who do deserve to shoulder that blame.

“[The people] who let him buy the guns in the first place. Those at the gun shows. The people who encouraged him to buy accessories for his guns to make them fully automatic. The people who didn’t take them away from him when they knew that he expressed homicidal tendencies. And I am not talking about the FBI. I am talking about the people that he lived with, I’m talking about the neighbors who saw him outside holding guns.”

The NRA gave $30,000,000 dollars to the Trump Presidential campaign alone, not to mention the tens of millions to various senators and congresspeople. Last year, when Congress passed a law making it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns (and Cadet Bonespur signed it), the NRA sent out a bulletin to all of its members bragging about it.

The NRA routinely pours millions into defeating laws that NRA members themselves claim to support. When gun sales plummeted last year after Cadet Bonespur was inaugurated, they spent a bunch of money producing advertisements that portrayed Black Lives Matters protesters and such as dangerous violent people. The ads were blatant calls for white supremacists to buy more guns and prepare for a race war.

The NRA as an organization is demonstrably not promoting responsible gun ownership and hasn’t been for decades. It’s only goals are to protect and increase gun manufacturer profit; and if any of its leaders aren’t racist (a highly difficult proposition to prove), they are all absolutely fine fanning the flames of racial fear to keep the money rolling in.

So, anyone still supporting them is supporting an organization that sees mass murders of children and racial tension as marketing tools. You aren’t nobly defending a moral principle if you support them.

It’s time to end this bloody charade.

“The common refrain when shootings happen in that if you restrict access to guns, they'll just use knives. This is a switchblade. It's illegal to own in 11 states, illegal to sell in 13, illegal to open carry in 14, and illegal to concealed carry in 17. Itf we can agree that certain knives are so efficient at killing that we shouldn't possess or carry them, why can't we agree the same about guns? Keep in mind, knives meet the legal definition of arms referred to in the 2nd amendment.”

“The common refrain when shootings happen in that if you restrict access to guns, they’ll just use knives. This is a switchblade. It’s illegal to own in 11 states, illegal to sell in 13, illegal to open carry in 14, and illegal to concealed carry in 17. Itf we can agree that certain knives are so efficient at killing that we shouldn’t possess or carry them, why can’t we agree the same about guns? Keep in mind, knives meet the legal definition of arms referred to in the 2nd amendment.”


Friday Five (delighted devil edition)

The Republican Party has a HUGE PROBLEM and BLOOD on their HANDS!

The Republican Party has a HUGE PROBLEM and BLOOD on their HANDS!

It’s the third Friday of February!

It’s been a weird week for us. My hubby caught another cold. Work has been a weird mix of “Rush! Rush! OMG Please hurry!” and “let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” This weekend we’re host Writers’ Night, meeting a friend for a birthday celebration, and will try to see Black Panther.

Once again I bring you the Friday Five: The top five (IMHO) stories of the week and videos (plus notable obituaries and a recap of my blog posts). This week I’m also including for links related to the 19th mass shooting of the year, because awful news sometimes needs a separate category.

Stories of the Week:

Christian Writer: ‘The devil is delighted’ to see evangelicals defending Trump and the GOP at all costs.

The Follower Factory – Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market. The interactive graphics on this story alone are with the click!

Jeff Sessions Celebrates “Anglo-American Heritage of Law Enforcement”. A lot of people keep defending this on the grounds that Anglo-American is a technical legal term used sometimes used to refer to the U.S. interpretation of common law. But it wasn’t in the prepared speech, it is something he added over the advice of others, and every racist dog whistle that ever existed is technically a term of something that exist. Doesn’t make it not racist.

‘Skating was always there’: Eric Radford’s road to becoming the first openly gay man to win gold at the Winter Olympics.

Inside Apple’s HomePod Audio Lab.

Horrible News:

Our Moloch.

Leader Of White Nationalist Militia Says Shooter Was Member, Took Part In Paramilitary Drills.

New assault weapons ban will prevent mass shootings, experts say.

How Donald Trump’s Defense of White Supremacists Puts National Security at Risk.

After the Parkland shooting, let’s call GOP hypocrisy on guns what it really is: complicity.

In Memoriam:

These are the innocent victims of the Florida school shooting.

Florida shooting victims: Tributes pour in for students and teachers killed in Parkland school massacre.

Florida school shooting victims identified by authorities, remembered by friends, family.

Things I wrote:

Offended offenders — the joke is on who, exactly?

A Writer Writes: Where do I find my subplots?

“But he wasn’t a very good illusionist” — or, all is fair in camp, love, and war.

Great-grandma’s Gun.


P!nk Belts Out the National Anthem! | Super Bowl LII NFL Pregame:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Adam Rippon skates clean team event free skate:

NBC won’t allow embedding, so click here.)

Former GOP House Rep. David Jolly: If You Want Any Action On Guns, Democrats Must Flip The House:


(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

STAND BY YOUR MAN (Donald Trump) – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Otter Snow Day at Shedd – 2018:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

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