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July 28th, 2014

Should We Not Have Done That…?

A soldier in the war against the homosexual menace has a road to Damascus moment

As she sobbed over the breakup of her parents and family, an errant thought darted through my head: If we as a society didn’t condemn homosexuality, gay people wouldn’t feel pressured into marrying heterosexually, against their true attractions, and families wouldn’t be torn apart when the gay spouse could no longer continue the ruse. I had seen a number of gay Christians marry an opposite sex partner, only to leave when they couldn’t pretend any longer. It wasn’t fair to the spouse, the kids, or themselves. My doubts about the efficacy of change and the evangelical Christian stance against gay rights of any kind nagged at me.

 

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
July 24th, 2014

We Knew What You Are Even Before The Speech Began You Jackass…

Marco Rubio wants to be the new look of an old song and dance…

Marco Rubio defends gays, attacks gay marriage

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledged Wednesday that American history was “marred by discrimination against gays and lesbians.” But in a speech at Catholic University in Washington, Rubio drew the line sharply at marriage equality and accused supporters of same sex unions of “intolerance.”

“I promise you even before this speech is over I’ll be attacked as a hater or a bigot or someone who is anti-gay,” Rubio said. “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. Support for the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay, it is pro-traditional marriage.”

And David Duke wasn’t anti-black he was pro white.  Let’s talk for just a second about hypocrisy, starting with that laughable MSNBC headline.  You can almost hear the headline writer wondering if anyone would buy into “defends gays by attacking gay marriage”, and then deciding they’d taken the bullshit far enough as it was.

If it’s bigotry to call bigotry bigotry, and discrimination to call discrimination discrimination, and hypocrisy to call hypocrisy hypocrisy then those words have no meaning at all.  Of course, Rubio doesn’t see it as bigotry, because homosexual relationships really are deserving of scorn.  It’s just hard to say so in the same breath as wringing your hands about American history being “marred by discrimination against gays and lesbians.”  It just wouldn’t hit the right note to say we need to mar our history a little less please.  I am saddened by discrimination against gays and lesbians, except when I’m not.

Never mind all that.  I’d like to point out one small detail that I’ll bet a lot of heterosexuals who heard him or read this didn’t catch…certainly not the ersatz reporters covering him…but which I’m sure every gay person saw immediately, like a slap in the face…

The 43-year-old senator preached tolerance for gay couples and advocates of gay marriage and spoke about the United States coming a “long way” in its treatments of gays and lesbians. He said all Americans should acknowledge a history of institutional discrimination against gay people and that “many committed gay and lesbian couples feel humiliated by the laws’ failures to recognize their relationship as a marriage.”

If you’ve been in this struggle for any length of time it just jumps out at you. Here it is again…

“many committed gay and lesbian couples feel humiliated by the laws’ failures to recognize their relationship as a marriage.”

Humiliation.  Humiliation.  We feel humiliated.  On Facebook the other day I said something to the effect (I’ll repost it here later) that there aren’t very many arguments in the homophobe toolkit, that all they ever do is rephrase the same old crap you’ve heard a zillion times before, as if the problem with a crap argument is one of presentation and not that it’s a crap argument.  This is one of them: Gays only want marriage for social approval.

That’s what Rubio is saying there, oh so patronisingly, and what you need to see in it is how strong the reflex is to trivialize our relationships. This is how bigots think…homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex…and even when they’re trying hard not to say what they think, they get to talking long enough and it just starts coming out.  Hello, I can’t see the people for the homosexuals.  The gays are feeling humiliated because the law doesn’t treat their relationships as marriages.  Their relationships.  Their relationships.  Their relationships.  He probably had to practice for days to keep from saying their sexual liaisons.

Let me tell you about humiliation.  Back in 2009, a mere five years ago in the struggle, Donald Carcieri, the homophobic governor of Rhode Island back then, and member of the National Organization For Marriage (surprise, surprise), vetoed a bill that would have simply provided burial rights to “domestic partners” on the grounds that it was part of an ongoing process of eroding the institution of marriage.  The Providence Journal reported at the time that…

In his veto message, Republican Carcieri said: “This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue.

“If the General Assembly believes it would like to address the issue of domestic partnerships, it should place the issue on the ballot and let the people of the state of Rhode Island decide.”

Humiliation…

The legislation was prompted by one of the more heart-wrenching personal stories to emerge from the same-sex marriage debate.

At a hearing this year on one of the stalled bills to allow same-sex marriage, Mark S. Goldberg told a Senate committee about his months-long battle last fall to persuade state authorities to release to him the body of his partner of 17 years, Ron Hanby, so he could grant Hanby’s wish for cremation — only to have that request rejected because “we were not legally married or blood relatives.”

Goldberg said he tried to show the police and the state medical examiner’s office “our wills, living wills, power of attorney and marriage certificate” from Connecticut, but “no one was willing to see these documents.”

Humiliation…

He said he was told the medical examiner’s office was required to conduct a two-week search for next of kin, but the medical examiner’s office waited a full week before placing the required ad in a newspaper. And then when no one responded, he said, they “waited another week” to notify another state agency of an unclaimed body.

Humiliation…

After four weeks, he said, a Department of Human Services employee “took pity on me and my plight … reviewed our documentation and was able to get all parties concerned to release Ron’s body to me,” but then the cremation society refused to cremate Ron’s body.

“On the same day, I contacted the Massachusetts Cremation Society and they were more than willing to work with me and cremate Ron’s body,” and so, “on November 6, 2008, I was able to finally pick up Ron’s remains and put this tragedy to rest.”

There are people within whom what this man went through simply does not register. They can’t fathom why Goldberg was so determined, other than it must be some sort of homosexual narcissism.  That he loved Ron Hanby seems preposterous.  Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.  And they’re the ones who think all this is about is a fight for social recognition.

Rubio probably thinks himself very enlightened because he is willing to grant some small portion of human status to the gays. Yes, our history is marred by discrimination toward them. Perhaps we should not have done that…quite so much. He might even have signed a bill to allow the gays to bury one another. But that he sees us as being humiliated by the lack of equal marriage rights says it all.

It is not humiliation we feel, and fighting for the honor and the dignity of our love, and to protect and secure our households, something any of you would do for your own, is not intolerance.  You’d know what it was if you could see the people for the homosexuals.

Noting President Obama didn’t declare his support for gay marriage until 2012, Rubio said, “If support for traditional marriage is bigotry, then Barack Obama was a bigot until just before 2012 election.”

Actually what he did was prove he wasn’t a bigot. That takes more than words. It certainly takes more than words about how humiliated the gays feel.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
July 21st, 2014

Damage

This came across my Facebook stream just now…

Op-ed: All Gay People Are Screwed Up and It’s OK

We all face a deficit for growing up LGBT in a straight world. Admitting it is the first step in making sure the next generation gets a better deal.

Like the writer, Neal Broverman, it surprises me that this is controversial.  It shouldn’t be.

It sometimes takes a harsh circumstance to remind us how different our lives are. In The Case Against 8, HBO’s powerful documentary on the defeat of California’s antigay ballot initiative, lead plaintiff Kristin Perry had an “a-ha moment” while testifying in front of a federal judge. Defense attorney Ted Olson asked Perry if she thought granting marriage equality to gays and lesbians would have an effect on other forms of LGBT discrimination. Perry said her whole life would have been different, and better, if the biggest choice she made in it — marriage — was given the same weight and respect as everyone else’s: “So, if Prop. 8 were undone and kids like me, growing up in Bakersfield right now, can never know what this felt like, then I assume their entire lives would be on a higher arc, they would live with a higher sense of themselves that would improve the quality of their entire life.”

Reflecting on that moment later, she said, “It was powerful to connect the dots spontaneously on the stand and realize you’ve been living under this blanket of hate everywhere you turn…

Every crush I’ve ever had, every gay guy I’ve ever tried to date, every perfect match I thought I’d found, they were all wounded. And I have to suppose they looked at me and saw the same, good as I had it compared to a lot of other gay guys. I didn’t get sent to a camp, I didn’t get thrown out of the house, I wasn’t told by my own parents that I wasn’t loved. But you don’t grow up in a world that tells you from every direction that you are despised without taking it to heart.

Mad #145, Sept ‘71, from “Greeting Cards For The
Sexual Revolution” – “To A Gay Liberationist”

Detective_1968_481

“The thought of turning…of turning involuntarily into one of them frightened me…and made me sick with anger.”

bakersfield_kountry_komics_faggot
Jake shows the kids how to deal with a limp wrist faggot in Larry Weltz’ “Gearjammer”, Bakersfield Kountry Komics, 1973

 

And the worst of it is you grow up accustomed to it all, and you forget the wounds are there, always defeating you and you don’t even know it anymore, because you’ve accepted that as your lot in life.  But it is rust on the soul.

It is a constant struggle to live the life you should have had all along.  But it is a noble one…

Later in the documentary when Perry is discussing the discrimination she experiences, she says, while tearing up, “The sad parts [of being an LGBT person], I feel like I’m OK with because I’d rather be who I am today than somebody who never felt challenged and never had to find out who they really were. And I know who I am.”

Oscar Wilde, who suffered his own terrible wounds, once said that we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.  I’d put it differently.  We are all damaged, but we have survived and we are not cowed.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

Message In A Bottle

I really hope you’re okay.  You’re like Schrodinger’s Cat sometimes, except even when you’re observed you’re still in an unknown state.  I really hope you’re okay.

-That Guy In Baltimore

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
May 29th, 2014

Like A Side Of Bile With That Hon…?

Le Dance Pathetique…as choreographed by Big Earl

Un…

Collin Dewberry, who was leaving with his partner, said the waitress told them they do not serve a certain type of person at that restaurant. The word she used was derogatory and targets homosexuals.

Deux…

“We’ve never had that kind of hate displayed to us before,” Dewberry said.

Trois…

They explained that the waitress then recited the following phrase: “Here at Big Earl’s we like for men to act like men and for ladies to act like ladies, so we want you to never return.”

Quatre…

That phrase is posted on a piece of paper on the front door of the restaurant.

Cinq…

The owner told us that sign had been here since the restaurant opened three years ago. He also said they have the right to refuse service to that couple in the future because they didn’t follow that policy.

Six…

That waitress who used a derogatory term is Earl’s daughter.

Sept…

“She’s a young lady, didn’t know what else to say, and they just kept on and she finally said we just don’t like fags,” he explained.

Huit…

The owner said plenty of gay couples eat at his restaurant without hassle and he has no problem with that as long as they follow his policy.

Le Curtian…Applaus a vous…

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
May 28th, 2014

What Fear Steals From So Many

This came across my Twitter stream the other day…

@taramurtha: “It’s incredibly odd how rarely we discuss that women in the U.S. generally can’t feel safe walking alone at night.”

It was accompanied by a link to this…

Campus Killings Set Off Anguished Conversation About the Treatment of Women

ISLA VISTA, Calif. — A deadly attack by a gunman obsessed by grievances toward women near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has touched off an anguished conversation here and on social media about the ways women are perceived sexually and the violence against them.

Years ago, when I was still making a living as a freelance architectural model maker, I worked often for a firm located in a business park located between Rockville and Gaithersburg, two big and growing suburban cities in the massive Montgomery County Maryland sprawl. I had no car at the time but the Metro subway had a stop I could get off at and walk to the firm’s offices easily, if I cut across the King Farm.

Anyone who grew up in the Rockville area in those days will remember the King Farm. Developers ate it some years ago and now it’s all ugly rowhouses, condos, parking decks and a faux town center. Back then it was this wonderful anomaly of wide open green space tucked between a growing busy sprawl. It was so huge that at night, it created its own dark sky. I used to love working late at the firm’s offices and then walking in the dead of night down a little access road that cut across the King Farm to the Metro on the other side of Route 355. There were little worker’s shacks off to one side of the road…four of them I think…and the main farm house and barns not too far from them. You could feel the history of the place. And the sky above was bright with all the stars you never saw at night in the city.

One day while working on a model, I was talking with the architect, a young Turkish woman who designed one of the most beautiful art deco buildings in Silver Spring. This one…

lee

She asked me how I managed to get around without a car and I told her how I did it, and then went off on a tangent about how beautiful the sky was at night over the King Farm, and how lovely it was to walk down that little road at night at the end of the day…just you and the stars and the quiet, peaceful night…

…and she looked at me sadly and said, “I could never do that.”

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
May 22nd, 2014

Wherever the people are as green as the money…

I suppose the first thing most people hitting this blog post over at Towleroad are thinking about is Phil’s knuckle-dragging prejudices.

phil in church

“They were mad at me…You say, why’d they get mad at you? Cuz instead of acknowledging their sin, like you had better do, they railed against me for giving them the truth about their sins. Don’t deceive yourselves. You want the verse? The news media didn’t even know it was a verse! They thought I was just mouthing off. Is homosexual behavior a sin? The guy asked me. I said, ‘do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?’ Don’t be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor the idolators nor adulterers nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

…and so on and so forth.  I’m seeing what a con artist the man is, and what a bunch of rubes his audience are. By now everyone has seen the family dress code before redneck became marketable.

the-robertson-boys-without-beards (1)

Never mind that for a moment. Look at that photo of Phil again. Really look at it. Ignore for a moment the ostentatious shaped like a cross pulpit. Look at that allegedly god fearing man behind it, speaking of his reverence for the Word against the godless secular world outside. See…I actually went to church when I was a kid. I was raised in a Baptist household. I went to Vacation Bible School. Did a mercifully brief tour of duty in the Royal Ambassadors. If I’d tried to walk into a church looking like that mom would have spanked me all the way to next Sunday. If I’d tried to do it on Easter Sunday no less I wouldn’t have been able to sit down for months.

Now look at that shot of the Robinsons before redneck became a business Theme, and look again. That is not a poor old country man coming to Easter worship, in the words of the old Baptist hymn, Just As I Am, this is a millionaire businessman wearing his TV costume, and his act along with it, into a church on Easter Sunday.

I’m telling you friends you’ve got trouble…right here in River City…with a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘G’ and that stands for GAY…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
May 21st, 2014

A Wee Question…

I’ve said this before, much to the distress of some liberal/progressive friends, but here it is again: I have no problem with private gun ownership, I see it as an eminently democratic right, IMO the second amendment does confer a right to individual Americans to own guns, and yes as a matter of fact I own a few myself. And I take responsibility for owning them seriously as I do my automobile. I obey the laws. I concern myself with safety. And I have nothing but contempt for people who use them recklessly, even if they’re not actually breaking the law. That goes for guns, automobiles…anything people use that can do harm to other people.

I’m an American liberal. I believe that public spaces convey public obligations. From respect for the environment to seemingly mundane day-to-day things like traffic safety, the common public spaces we share together are a mutual responsibility…and at minimum that means they are safe to use.   Or to put it another way, the common ground that is too dangerous to occupy is more properly called a Battlefield.  The last time the shared common spaces of Americans became battlefields we called it a Civil War and it killed more Americans than all our other wars put together.

As a liberal I go even further and insist that even the private workplaces must be at minimum safe to occupy too, since we all need to work to earn a living. I grant that some occupations are very dangerous but also very necessary for the good of all.  That said, working in a fast food restaurant, let alone eating in one, does not strike me as one of those occupations.

So I hear Chipotle wants customers to not bring their guns inside their restaurants. So while I’m shrugging my shoulders and and thinking to myself, so much so reasonable, and moving on apparently other people are bursting veins and threatening boycotts.

What the hell is wrong with you? Just…what the hell is wrong with you? No…Seriously. What the hell is wrong with you?

If Chipotle said they wanted gays to stay out of their restaurants because Jesus! you’d be dog piling on it like you did Chick-fil-A. You’re bellyaching that same-sex marriage is going to destroy civilization….

…Does This Fucking Look Like Civilization To You!

They say guns don’t kill people, people do. And that’s true. It’s always the person. The idol is always false. We give meaning to our material objects, they don’t give meaning to us. A weapon, any weapon, finely, skillfully, beautifully made, by a master craftsman, is a noble thing. Until the moment a runt gets their hands on it. Because runts don’t build civilizations, they tear them down so they don’t have to know what runts they are.  But let it be said that, unlike those two, not all runts look like they’ve spent their entire lives in mom’s basement.  These guys for instance, bear a heavy responsibility for the decay of American society…

All these voices on the right bellyaching about Morals and Traditional Values, and Social Decay and really they don’t give a good goddamn about any of it. None of it at all. They get up on their stages in their suits and ties and slicked down hair and they wave the flag and talk about law and order and it’s all bullshit.  Behold the new minutemen at the battle of Chipotle!  I have a question…

Thank you NRA for turning a pastime that brought pleasure and even taught a few values to thousands of Americans into an idol for anti-government troglodytes. Thank you for turning the basic democratic right to own your own gun into a totem for ignorance and hate…the very things that kill democracy. You don’t love this country. You don’t even love guns. What you love is power. You loath the peace and prosperity and brighter future Americans have always sought, if it means everyone can have a share of it too. You’d rather it all came crashing down into anarchy and chaos if it means everyone can dream the American dream too, not just powerful white men.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
May 6th, 2014

The Onion Strikes Again…

This…

soillalwaysloveyou

You’re my son, no matter what. Whether you love women or repress your homosexuality your entire life makes not the slightest difference to me. Why should it? Why should it matter if you’re straight? Why should it matter if you’re gay but pretending to be straight in every conceivable way? Why should I care who you have feelings for as long as I’m always led to believe it’s a woman? Well, I don’t care. And when the time comes to tell me, I promise I’ll hear you out: If you’re straight, great. But if you’re not, and you tell me you are even though it destroys you inside? That’s just fine, too.

From The Onion…America’s Finest News Source.  Actually, I know some people who would probably not find this funny at all…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
May 5th, 2014

Reality Is That Which, When You Stop Believing In It, Does Not Go Away

The charade that persecuting homosexuals was rational and necessary because there is something pathologically wrong with homosexuals should have ended with Hooker’s Adjustment Of The Male Overt Homosexual in 1957.  But human prejudice does not succumb so easily to mere experimental evidence.  It wouldn’t be until decades after the Stonewall riots, after the Personal Computer and the modem made it possible for gay people to speak directly to each other and see ourselves just as we are, not through heterosexual eyes as some strange alien other, for this charade to finally begin to crumble.  Because until we could see the humanity within ourselves, and the legitimacy and righteousness of our feelings of love and desire, we would never have the courage to come out of the closets, and live our lives openly, so that our families and neighbors could see our humanity too. There was never anything rational about homophobia.  It was always about hatred of the Other, inflamed by bigots to rouse the mob and thereby glorify themselves.

The charade is falling apart because it had no basis in reality.  The facade of respectability is crumbling. Sometimes it’s just a brick here and there…parents coming to terms with gay children, friends looking at gay friends and seeing a person not a monster. Sometimes its a whole wall that falls over.  The sodomy laws in 2003.  Same sex marriage.  The proposition 8 trial was a massive earthquake beneath it. Seeing for the first time in an actual trial how little there actually was to support any of it opened a lot of eyes.

So will this…

Ex-Ex-Gay Pride

Far-right groups including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association pooled $600,000 to place ads promising the effectiveness of reparative therapy in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune. Anne and John Paulk smiled from full-page newspaper spreads.

In front of the crowds and cameras, Paulk was the image of certainty. But backstage, he was faltering. More than that, he knew he was lying.

“It’s funny, for those of us that worked in it, behind closed doors, we knew we hadn’t really changed,” he says. “Our situations had changed—we had gotten married, and some of us had children, so our roles had changed. I was a husband and father; that was my identity. And the homosexuality had been tamped down. But you can only push it down for so long, and it would eke its way out every so often.”

It.  It.  It would eke its way out every so often. The human identity is not a blackboard anyone can walk up to and scribble their will upon.  The “It” that was eking its way out of Paulk wasn’t homosexuality, it was Sexuality, an instinct older than the fish, let alone the mammals, let alone the primates, let alone us. What Paulk was trying to suppress was an urge hundreds of millions of years old, that in him and others simply directs its relentless attentions to his own sex, not the opposite one.  Beyond that one minor difference it was still the same force with the same hundreds of millions of years of the history of life on Earth behind it. Unless nature had made him asexual or gifted him with a very very low libido, he had no more chance becoming straight by playing straight than a left handed person does of becoming right handed by playing right handed.

“I would be in hotel rooms, and I would be on my face sobbing and crying on the bed,” he says. “I felt like a liar and a hypocrite. Having to go out and give hope to these people. I was in despair knowing that what I was telling them was not entirely honest. I couldn’t do it anymore.”

One of the first things that leaps out at you when you dig into the history of ex-gay therapy is how little data are ever retained about the clients. No long term follow-ups, no data to give meaning to any of the statistics they like to trot out.  Hundreds have changed…no wait…thousands…hundreds of thousands… But it’s all smoke and mirrors. They have no data to prove any of their claims. They have done no research. It isn’t merely that they have no evidence: what leaves your jaw dropping when you first see it is they haven’t actually sought any evidence. It isn’t an oversight, the object was never to actually change anyone. If pressed, some will admit that change is not likely, but self discipline against homosexual urges can be attained through proper training. But homosexual urges are no different in kind from heterosexual urges; they are just two different expressions of the same ancient and powerful sexual urge we all possess. So the question then becomes at what cost to the individual? And the answer is the damage done to the person is not a cost, it is a benefit.

What you have to understand about Paulks misery is that his changing was never the object his masters sought. His crying and sobbing on the bed was the object. Then, now and always, the point is that we have to hate ourselves at least as much, if not more, than the bigots hate us.

The charade is ending. It is ending because there was never any truth to it. The only thing that kept it going was its monopoly on discussion, enforced by the sodomy laws, and from the pulpit, and because we stayed in the closet: because it was dangerous not to, because in a world where we could be kept isolated from each other we could be made to believe the lies. Those days are over. Now the mindless brutality behind the charade steps out from behind the curtain. Yes, it’s ugly, but don’t look away. You need to see this. What the ex-gay ministries offered to so many innocent people was more poison to add to the poison that had brought them in the door in the first place.

We taught your parents to hate you.  We taught your preacher to thunder damnation at you. Everywhere you turn you see hate reflected back at you. We’ve prepared you nicely for your role in life little scapegoat.  Oh…you’re troubled by your same-sex attractions are you? Good. Now let us dangle some hope for change in front of you, tell you all about how we have helped so many others just like you, and we can help you too, if you are willing to work hard for it. And when you fail to change you can hate yourself even more. 

It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

[Edited a tad, and then some more, for clarity...]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
May 2nd, 2014

Sliding Into The Trench Of Republican Governance

Baltimore got a little rain earlier in the week. And by a little I mean about half a foot over a couple days. It was the same system that spawned tornadoes that killed a bunch of people in western south, and it seems generally part of the same disturbed weather patterns we’ve been having here in North America, thanks to the energy companies and republican reticence to do anything about preventing ecological catastrophe that might take money out of the pockets of needy billionaires.  But lurking in the weather that’s been pummeling us is something else besides the looming effects of global warming.  Ironically, the pulpit thumpers are right, our civilization is crumbling. Well…in a manner of speaking…

baltimore-sinkhole

I point my finger at two culprits, but maybe they’re both one and the same: That Randian-libertarian notion that taxation is theft, plus that government regulation of the marketplace is also a kind of theft and anyone who advocates it is a moocher who wants a free lunch. I swam in libertarian waters for most of my twenties, until Reagan cured me of it, and I’m here to tell you there are a lots of useful tools in that pool who really believe the invisible hand of the marketplace will create a Heaven on Earth if we would only let it. Well…right up there is your Heaven.

My little village made the network news about this one! It’s not like other parts of the city aren’t falling apart too, or for that matter other parts of other cities all over the country, but you can see how something like this unnerves even people who don’t live in the slums. Tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, my God those things can happen to the nice neighborhoods too.  What strikes you listening to the chatter is how the little details that make things make better sense go missing from the conversation of people you don’t live in the vicinity. I saw several people talking about how Baltimore streets are sinking.  Well, yes and no.

One thing to understand about Baltimore is it kinda straddles the boundary between the coastal plains and the Maryland piedmont…those lovely rolling hills of Maryland.  (Our oddly shaped little state is very diverse in its geography, and there is beauty everywhere) Parts of the city are actually way higher up than other parts but you don’t really notice how big the elevation changes are because they are gradual in most places, unlike say San Francisco, and you don’t see the grade change until you get somewhere you can look a distance. The streets and sidewalks gently slope up and down, up and down and the walk isn’t difficult and you look back and you notice the city core off in the distance is now almost entirely below you. The north-western part of the city is in the hills and the rest of it is on the coastal plains. That’s how my house can be something like 60 feet higher than the Jones Falls River even though on the map I look like I’m right next to it.

Which all means laying tracks for a railroad through all this can be a tad complicated, particularly when your running stock are steam engines which don’t do steep grades all that well.  A little history…

In the 1890s what was the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, the first common carrier railroad company in the U.S., dug a bunch of tunnels and trenches through the city including one really big tunnel going under Howard Street, to connect with points north from its Camden station because that was actually the less expensive way to do it, compared with a surface line through the center of the city or going around the city. This is why now you might be walking along a city street and suddenly there’s this deep trench on the other side of a cast iron fence and it’s not one of our little rivers down there, it’s a set of tracks coming out of a tunnel.

Building those tunnels and trenches bankrupted the company shortly after the lines opened up, and it was in receivership for about three years because the economy tanked and all their profit forecasts went down the tubes. It’s tough to run a railroad in bad economic times. It costs money to cut the grades a train can run, and lay some tracks down, let alone cut tunnels and dig trenches out of the middle of a large city. And then you have to maintain all that.

But money is tight these days…for some reason…and everyone in the city who was here when the Howard Street tunnel caught fire in July 2001 knows what is going to happen now.  People were complaining about the retaining wall that collapsed last Wednesday, years before this, and CSX kept telling them there was nothing to worry about.  If it was ever inspected at all in the past decade I’m guessing someone didn’t want to tell the board of directors their yearly bonuses would need to be spent shoring up a hundred plus year old stone wall. Now CSX is probably going to sue the city for damaging its tracks and the city will sue CSX back for damaging its street…and so on and so forth.  And none of it needed to happen. But it did, because what was fifty years ago a reasonable rate of return on investment is woefully inadequate today.  We want our double-digit returns and we want them now.

So the factories close and there is less for the rail companies to carry. So the businesses close because workers don’t make enough to buy things like they use to and there is even less for the rail companies to carry. So the economic heart of the cities shrivels, and with it, the city itself.

Maintenance is expensive. The city has a hard time keeping its infrastructure in good shape because it’s lost the massive industrial economic base it once had like a lot of old east coast cities did.  But look around…the problem is Everywhere…

(Reuters) – More than 63,000 bridges across the United States are in urgent need of repair, with most of the aging, structurally compromised structures part of the interstate highway system, an analysis of recent federal data has found.

Meanwhile the banks and Wall Street keep demanding instant and ever higher returns on investment, and Grover Norquist wants to shrink government to a small enough size he can drown it in a bathtub.  But government is a communal thing as in Community, and what is being whittled down to size is that sense of community, that we are all fellow Americans…neighbors.  It is America Norquist and his pals are drowning in that bathtub, so they can feast without being presented a bill.  And everyone is putting off maintenance because the money done all trickled up and the rising tide didn’t so much lift all the boats as sink the cars. And nature doesn’t care why you didn’t shore up the wall and improve drainage around it.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
April 30th, 2014

Le Dance Pathetique…

We gay folk are in that Some Of My Best Friends Are stage these civil rights struggles seem to always go through.  Le Dance Pathetique is a series I’ve been doing here for years, because sometimes you just gotta laugh.  It’s about the rhetorical dance you see the bigots doing more and more frequently when challenged.  The basic dance goes like this:

The gays are filthy dirty disgusting sexually perverted disease spreading child molesting family and America destroying menaces to civilization and everything we hold dear, and we must fight their gay agenda with all our might or else civilization will collapse and god will smite us all down…but I have a lot of terrific gay friends so I’m not a bigot.

Every dancer has their own style, but the basic dance never changes.  There are so many gay friends of bigots out there you’d think Kinsey got it all wrong and we’re something like half the world’s population.  Either that or there is one magnificent bastard out there who has been fucking with the heads of a whole lot of bar stool jackasses…probably for free drinks.

 

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)
April 23rd, 2014

Love The Sinner, Hate The Love

This link came across my news stream a few days ago…

The Bible says gay sex is a sin. But Christians can still embrace gays.

As they say, “hate the sin, love the sinner”

It’s one of those self excusing bromides that some of us in this struggle have been hearing for decades.  You wonder if the people uttering it even bother to listen to themselves saying it.  Because they sure don’t hear us telling them that to hate our human needs and desires and demand we renounce them or face eternal hellfire and damnation is in fact, to hate us also…

The liberal evangelical Tony Campolo has called on Christians to love their gay neighbors as themselves, arguing that the Bible commands it, even as it similarly commands that gay sex is a sin. Campolo acknowledges the difficulties inherent in this seeming contradiction. Campolo told CNN, “I would say there’s a significant portion of the evangelical community that, for lack of a better word, is homophobic, that is nasty and mean.”

Campolo, like many religious Christians, believes the biblical standard is sex only within marriage between a man and a woman, celibacy outside it. He once recounted, “I can’t tell you how many times people have said, ‘I love your attitude, you’ve got tears in your eyes when you speak to me, you have compassion in your heart, but you’re breaking my heart when you tell me that I am called to celibacy.’”

But it’s not just celibacy they’re demanding of us. Let’s be honest here.  When they say love the sinner, hate the sin, as though having sex was all there was to our human need, they’re tell us us that, after all, our sexuality is a thing easily cleaved from our selves, unlike how it is for heterosexuals, whom God made to join together in a perfect union of souls. Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.  So just stop having sex…that’s all we’re asking, all God is asking.  But that is not all that is being asked of us.  What is being asked of us, Oh So Compassionately, is that we live our lives bereft of love.  And if you want to hear them trivialize our human hearts even more, listen to them say when we tell them this Oh I love my sister, or my brother, or my pet dog too, but I don’t need to have sex with them.

NOM board member Orson Scott Card once said it outright…

“However emotionally bonded a pair of homosexual lovers may feel themselves to be, what they are doing is not marriage. Nor does society benefit in any way from treating it as if it were…”

“They steal from me what I treasure most, and gain for themselves nothing at all. They won’t be married. They’ll just be playing dress-up in their parents’ clothes…”

-Orson Scott Card, Homosexual “Marriage” and Civilization

However emotionally bonded a pair of homosexual lovers may feel themselves to be…  Homosexuals may speak of love, but they don’t really know what that word means. They’re confusing a distorted sexual desire with the higher nobler emotions heterosexuals feel toward their mates.  Sin does that to a person.  We’re only asking them to stop having sex. You’d think we were asking them to cut their hearts out.  The sin of lust has distorted their feelings.  We heterosexuals after all, know that sex does not define a person or a relationship.  Love is about more than sex.

And so it is. It’s often argued that gay couples cannot rise to the level of marriage because they don’t produce children, and marriage is mostly about family life. But this argument is a sham, and it mirrors that other sham argument that being homosexual is not a sin, only engaging in homosexual acts is. If only the homosexuals just didn’t have sex, they could be welcomed into the kingdom of Heaven too…just like the rest of us. But heterosexual couples medically or by age incapable of having sex, are as welcome to marriage as they are the Kingdom and nobody in the love the sinner hate the sin camp is saying that same-sex couples can marry as long as they don’t have sex.  Oh goodness no.

Heterosexual couples that stick together even if they are denied a sex life are seen as vindicating the power of love. That is why sterility among heterosexuals is no barrier to marriage. But the homosexual couple that fights an entire lifetime for the right to marry is waging an attack on God almighty, and on love and marriage and family and all human decency, whether they can have sex or not.

However emotionally bonded a pair of homosexual lovers may feel themselves to be…  In 1983, Sharon Kowalski suffered severe brain injuries in a motorcycle accident leaving her unable to care for herself. Her lover, Karen Thompson, with whom she had exchanged wedding bands and shared a house, had to fight a long and bitter legal battle with Kowalski’s parents, who refused to allow Thompson any contact at all with their daughter. When Sharon, with difficulty, typed her wishes to go back home with Karen on a keyboard provided by a doctor, her parents took the keyboard away. At one point, Donald Kowalski, Sharon’s father, asked a reporter in exasperated frustration “What does that woman want with my daughter…she’s in diapers!” For almost nine years Thompson fought it out in court with Kowalski’s parents, refusing to let the woman she loved be condemned to life in a nursing home where she would be kept isolated from the world outside and denied any therapy that would have allowed her to communicate her wishes to be taken back home to Karen. When she finally won, Donald Kowalski called her an animal.

What does that woman want with my daughter…  We are not the ones who do not know what love truly is, but we know perfectly well what bigots think sin is…they’ve been telling it to us for decades, for generations.  A same-sex couple who cannot have sex would if unrepentant about their desires all the same, be ineligible for the Kingdom of God, let alone marriage. It’s not about the Act, if not engaging in the Act makes no difference. Their crime is that they love, and love is not permitted to homosexuals.  When they say love the sinner but hate the sin, it isn’t homosexual sex that they’re calling sin.  The sin is that we love.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
April 19th, 2014

Message In A Bottle…

…So many things I could tell you about, without breaking security. I know exactly where the lines are. Hubble, James Webb, I could talk your ears off about it and for once know that I wasn’t boring you. The starry nights are something we have in common. Something else. Why is that not surprising? Google WFIRST. I know tons of stuff…I live and breath all the stars in the sky, and the light from near the beginning of time, every day I come to work. I could tell you about it. I could see the stars reflected in your eyes.

But there is never any time. Not now, not when we were kids, not ever. There will never be any time for our generation. So it goes. Maybe someday the work I do will make a difference for somebody. Some astronomer maybe. Or some other kid like the one I was once, entranced by the starry night. But not for me. I could be washing dishes for a living, and still have the stars to look up at, and no one to give them to.

LG
-Bruce

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)
April 13th, 2014

Merely Because I Put A Knife Into Your Heart Is No Reason To Call Me Hateful…

It seems the militant homosexual conspiracy has caused some feelings to be hurt…

A 23-Year-Old Gay-Marriage Opponent Explains Herself

Correspondence from a reader with traditional Christian beliefs

One of the sophistries you encounter early on when you walk (or are shoved) into the fight for gay equality, is that treating bigots like bigots just makes you a bigot too.  And sure as the rising sun they were canting it loudly after Brendan Eich resigned as CEO of Mozilla.  Conar Friedersdorf, took to the pages of The Atlantic to wag his finger at all the militant homosexuals that wouldn’t gracefully forget the multi-million dollar child molester smear campaign Brendan helped to finance, and just let bygones be bygones.  And low and behold, he gets fan mail from someone with sincerely held beliefs…

It’s so rare for me to see gay marriage supporters saying the things you have said, and I desperately wish more gay marriage supporters would say those things. You understand that being opposed to gay marriage does not necessarily stem from hate. Very few people seem to understand that, and I am so sick and tired of my beliefs always being misunderstood. It seems like gay marriage supporters never actually take the time to understand traditional marriage supporters. We’re all automatically labeled as “homophobes,” and that’s an excuse they use to stop listening to anything we have to say.

If only they listened, they would understand that we’re not the evil, hateful bigots they think we are…

Sick and tired are you lady?  This graphic came across my Facebook stream just now…here, let me show you sick and tired…

afraid

I was fifteen when the Stonewall riots happened. This man would have been maybe 5. You’d think the world he grew up in would have been better to him than mine but it wasn’t all that much. And for those gay kids growing up in strongly fundamentalist homes still have this same life ahead of them.

But then, homosexuals don’t love they just have sex…so Friedersdorf’s starry-eyed fan doesn’t have to feel badly that the knife in that man’s heart has her name on it too.  God made sex just for men and women to have in the context of a godly marriage and if homosexuals have their own special burden to bear…well don’t we all?

Everyone sins. Everyone has an innate desire to sin, unfortunately. Some people’s innate desire is for homosexuality. I understand when gay people say that they can’t help having those feelings. I understand that hearing “you can change if you pray and try hard over time” is extremely difficult. Maybe we Christians haven’t talked enough about how we believe that everyone is a work in progress, including ourselves.

This is arrogance disguising itself as humility. The wolf in sheep’s clothing telling itself that it really is one of them and just happens to have a taste for lamb chops every now and then.  Lady, if you really thought you were no better than the rest of us you wouldn’t be treating your neighbors lives like they’re your stepping stones to heaven. Your Gay Neighbor Is Not Your Work In Progress! 

So many desperately lonely people in this world.  But if gay people aren’t lonely, love lorn and despairing then the righteous aren’t being righteous enough.  Jack McIntyre, one of the first clients of the first ever ex-gay ministry, Love In Action, wrote the following just before he killed himself…

I am not asking you to sanction my actions. That is not the purpose of my writing this at all. It is for the express purpose of allowing each one who will read this to know how I weighed things in my own mind. I don’t want you to think that, ‘I alone,’ should have been the perfect person, without sin. That would be ridiculous! It is the continuing lack of strength and/or obedience and/or will power to cast aside certain sins. To continually go before God and ask forgiveness and make promises you know you can’t keep is more than I can take. I feel it is making a mockery of God and all He stands for in my life.

Sick and tired are you lady?  Look at that…a gay man kills himself rather than make another promise god he knows he can’t keep and you are sick and tired of being called a bigot are you?  You wish gay people would just listen to you do you?  We listen all right. Jack McIntyre listened. The roll call of the dead is full of gay adult and teenagers that have listen to the likes of you. Perhaps it’s time you shut up and listened to us. We are not your work in progress. We are not your stepping stones to heaven. Listen to us if your conceits can stand to hear another voice besides your own. Your kind have been killing us for centuries. When you haven’t killed us outright than through that living death prison of the heart you demand we make of our lives so you can go to heaven. Stop. Just stop. The only thing being compromised by letting us live our lives is your hubris. Stop mistaking it for righteousness, it is turning innocent people’s lives inside out, it is killing people and it is dragging you deeper and deeper into the gutter.

Your work in progress needs a lot more work.  Cutting your neighbor’s ring finger off isn’t getting you any closer to being a better person.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off
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