Our first gay president(?)

We hear about a lot of firsts.  Kennedy was our first Catholic president.  Reagan our first actor president.  Obama our first black president.

But did you know that, long ago, we almost certainly had our first gay president?  Yup.  I’ve now read in two scholarly, sourced books that James Buchanan was considered by his contemporaries to be a homosexual.  The giveaway isn’t that he was the only president who was never married.  It’s that he had such an unusually long, close relationship with a male friend that people commented on it:

For fifteen years in Washington, D.C., before his presidency, Buchanan lived with his close friend, Alabama Senator William Rufus King. King became Vice President under Franklin Pierce. He became ill and died shortly after Pierce’s inauguration, four years before Buchanan became President. Buchanan’s and King’s close relationship prompted Andrew Jackson to call King “Miss Nancy” and “Aunt Fancy”, while Aaron V. Brown spoke of the two as “Buchanan and his wife.” Some of the contemporary press also speculated about Buchanan’s and King’s relationship. The two men’s nieces destroyed their uncles’ correspondence, leaving some questions about their relationship; but the length and intimacy of surviving letters illustrate “the affection of a special friendship”, and Buchanan wrote of his “communion” with his housemate. In May 1844, during one of King’s absences that resulted from King’s appointment as minister to France, Buchanan wrote to a Mrs. Roosevelt, “I am now ‘solitary and alone’, having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone, and [I] should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection.”

It is certainly true that Buchanan lived in an age when people used romantic terms to describe same-sex friendships. Likewise, it was not uncommon for bachelors to share quarters or, as was the case with Abraham Lincoln when he traveled with a friend and colleague, to share a bed. Bed sharing goes back hundreds of years.  It’s just that one gets the strong feeling that Buchanan’s one engagement, which ended when the young woman broke it off (and then died soon after), was really his last effort in the petticoat line.  Later references in his life to getting married really didn’t have any steam in them.  His closest relationship, clearly, was with a man.

What’s interesting, really interesting, is the fact that the suspicions around Buchanan’s sexuality did not affect his career.  He was Secretary of State under Polk and, of course, ultimately went on to become president.  His friend/partner William Rufus King, too, had an august career, reaching its apex with his becoming Vice President.  Don’t ask, don’t tell seemed to be a good rule of thumb for the era.

My last comment, a silly one, is that, when one reads about the political scene in America during the mid-19th Century, the names that come up read like a roster of streets in San Francisco:  Stockton, Taylor, Buchanan, Polk, Mason, Clay, etc.  It’s ironic, given Buchanan’s probable sexual preferences, that it was Polk Street, rather than Buchanan Street, that became one of San Francisco’s gay meccas.

Okay, that wasn’t really my last comment.  My last comment is this:  Mr. Bookworm didn’t believe me when I told him about the scholarly suppositions regarding Buchanan’s sexuality, suppositions based on the historical record, because “there were no gays then.”  I had a little giggle, and then started the short list of historic figures who were almost certainly gay (as opposed to historic figures who might be gay, but as to whom the record is too shaky to draw conclusions):  Edward II; James I; Michelangelo; Leonardo da Vinci; Alexander the Great; Richard the Lionhearted; Oscar Wilde; and Emperor Hadrian.

Animal Farm hits Britain in the guise of sexual orientation equality

I’d like to think this is a joke, but modern Britain being modern Britain, I’m actually sure it’s not.  One can only hope that at least some people will give the correct response to such an intrusive, inappropriate question:  “Bugger off!”

Are you straight or gay? Police and nurses to be asked their sexuality in new equality drive

Millions of teachers, nurses and policemen could be asked to disclose their sexuality, religion and race as part of a new Coalition equality drive.

Lib Dem equalities minister Lynne Featherstone says all public sector organisations should consider sending ‘diversity monitoring forms’ to staff to prove they are treating all sections of society fairly.

[snip]

Her plans are suggested in a guide to how public bodies should comply with the Act. Critics fear it will lead to an avalanche of bureaucracy and expense just as jobs are under threat and budgets are slashed.

[snip]

It also says that complying with the equality duty ‘may involve treating some people better than others, as far as this is allowed by discrimination law’. (Emphasis mine.)

Is it just me, or did that last sentence sound purely Orwellian?  “ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.”

My point exactly

When I blogged about Capt. Owen Honors, I made the point that we cannot have delicate flowers in the military.  Moral, decent people — yes.  Delicate people — no.  It turns out that at least some of the gays and lesbians serving on the USS Enterprise fully understood this point.  Kudos to those men and women.

DADT: Now what

1.  Bruce Kesler looks at the ramifications of the repeal of DADT.

2.  The Ivy Leagues say they’ll allow military recruiters back on campus (which at least ends their hypocrisy of taking federal feds but denying the feds access).  See here and here.  I wonder if that will have a measurable effect on future recruitment.

The East Germans would have loved this one

My younger readers, assuming I have any, don’t remember that, throughout the Cold War, the Communists, especially the East Germans, were reputed to be using feminized men to compete in women’s Olympic events.  The benefit, of course, is that, no matter how the feminists try to deny it, men are stronger than women and, in nose to nose competition, they will win.  This is a biological reality.  (I can’t find a link, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that the end of the Cold War revealed that those suppositions were, in fact, true.)

In a move the East Germans and other Soviets would love, the LGPA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) has removed from its constitution the requirement that LPGA members must be female from birth.  It did so in response to a suit filed by a person who started life as a man but, thanks to modern medicine, now has the hormones and external physical attributes of a woman.

Did you notice how carefully I phrased the description of the litigant, who rejoices under the name Lana Lawless?  I didn’t do that to be offensive to transgendered people.  I did it to make the point that, hormones and surgery notwithstanding, Lawless, and others similarly situated, still have a lot of man left in them — which gives them a distinct competitive advantage.  Think of shoulder joints, for example.  Women cannot throw balls the way men can, because women’s shoulders are differently jointed.  This accounts for the bizarre pitching style in women’s softball.

I’m not suggesting that droves of men are going to turn into women simply so that they can shine in women’s competitive sports.  It does seem unfair, however, to allow someone who has a man’s body, no matter how it’s been altered, to compete on equal terms with women.

This is what comes of sexualizing little children

There is a post zooming around the liberal side of the internet, in which a mom says her son is gay . . . no, he’s not . . . yes, he is . . . who really cares?  The genesis for this post was the fact that her 5 year old son wanted to be one of the girl characters in Scooby Doo.  She let him, and some women at the preschool got upset that she’d let him dress up as a girl.  The blogging mom gets the ultimate point right, which is why in the heck are people getting fussed about what a 5 year old wears for Halloween?

Where the post irritates me, and it’s not the blogging mom’s fault at all, because her bottom line is correct, is the title — “My son is gay” — and this paragraph:

If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to ‘make’ him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less.

Here’s where the post gets me:  Why are we talking about the whole gay thing when the subject of our talk is a 5 year old?  I mean, I agree that if my teen or adult child is gay (or lesbian), I will love and support that child regardless.  And I totally agree with the mom (who sounds smart and loving) that cross-dressing 5 year olds, unless they live in a fetish household and are forced to cross dress 24/7, are not at risk of turning into homosexuals.  What I don’t agree with is trying to categorize little kids as gay or straight.

I admit that this is a bee in my bonnet.  Over the course of my medium long life, I’ve known totally “masculine” boys who grew up to become gay, totally “masculine” boys who grew up to become straight, totally “feminine” girls who were ultimately lesbians, and totally “feminine” girls who were straight.  The same holds true for “feminine” boys and “masculine” girls.  People’s sexuality may be innate, but their childhood behavior, unless it’s totally outside any known norms, is, at best, a most inaccurate indicator of the path they’ll choose in life.  And yet I’ve known people to say of their 3 or 4 year old children, “Well, I think he/she is gay/lesbian.”  They may be right, but why are they thinking of such a little child in sexual terms?

Clearly, I’m getting to a larger issue here, which is the way we sexualize children in our culture.  Recall the recent hoo-ha about the seven year old set doing a raunchy dance in stripper clothes.  Certainly every Halloween, somewhere there is an article righteously upset about the hooker costumes offered to the small fry.

Also, think about what “growing up” means nowadays.  Miley Cyrus came to fame as the “clean” pop star whom parents could allow their little girls to watch.  Now she’s grown up (she’s 17) and gone sleazy.  In the old days, “growing up” meant becoming sophisticated or, perhaps, responsible.  Someone who sang little girl songs might have moved to jazz.  Now “growing up” means that kids — at least, famous kids — move to nakedness and public sex.

Anyway, I’m kind of running out of steam and time here.  I agree with the mom whose post is linking that we should love and support our children no matter what path they chose (as long as they live an honorable life, of course), but I just hate the whole notion of a culture that sees us even thinking of 5 year olds in terms of their ultimate sexual choices.

Comparing Islamophobia to Homophobia at the NYT

I’m beginning to get a good sense of the requirements for a writing gig at the New York Times.  Their editorial and employment departments carefully cull all comers for two main traits:  an IQ that doesn’t exceed the double digits, and a complete lack of common sense and logic.  Walk into the door with those, and the ability to type, and you’re in.

The most recent cause of my renewed insight about the lunatics in charge of the Times asylum is an opinion piece trying to draw an equivalence between homophobia and Islamophobia — and then urging Americans to stop fearing Islam, just as they’ve learned to stop fearing gays.  The piece is stupid on so many levels, it’s almost hard to know where to begin.  Let me start with the fact that I always get a good belly laugh out of gays aggressively defending Islamists.  You know, these Islamists:

Gays hanged in Iran

Gay teens hanged in Iran

Gays systematically gunned down in Iraq

A word of advice to those gays who reflexively make common cause with Islamists, simply because gays hate conservatives and conservatives are wary of Islamists:  Maybe the conservatives are on to something.

Having disposed, I hope, of the foolish underpinnings of the whole “I am gay, therefore I stand with Islamists” attitude, let me examine the ridiculous moral equivalence the Times opinion piece tries to draw between people who dislike gays versus people who are scared of Islamists.

A combination of fair use laws, and a desire not to have my blog serve as a forum for stupidity, means that I’ll quote just a snippet of the Times piece, just enough to give you an idea of the direction in which its heading:

As if we needed more evidence of America’s political polarization, last week Juan Williams gave the nation a Rorschach test. Williams said he gets scared when people in “Muslim garb” board a plane he’s on, and he promptly got (a) fired by NPR and (b) rewarded by Fox News with a big contract.

Suppose Williams had said something hurtful to gay people instead of to Muslims. Suppose he had said gay men give him the creeps because he fears they’ll make sexual advances. NPR might well have fired him, but would Fox News have chosen that moment to give him a $2-million pat on the back?

[snip]

When we move from homophobia to Islamophobia, the trendline seems to be pointing in the opposite direction. This isn’t shocking, given 9/11 and the human tendency to magnify certain kinds of risk. (Note to Juan Williams: Over the past nine years about 90 million flights have taken off from American airports, and not one has been brought down by a Muslim terrorist. Even in 2001, no flights were brought down by people in “Muslim garb.”)

You can read the rest here, if you’re interested.

In deference to the last paragraph quoted, which says it’s silly to fear Muslims, because there are so many of them and most aren’t violent), let me counter with a few numbers of my own:

*Number of airplanes that members of the LGBT community have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their sexuality:  0
*Number of airplanes that practitioners of Islam have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their religion:  6 (with a death toll in excess of 3,000)

*Number of trains or subways that members of the LGBT community have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their sexuality:  0
*Number of trains or subways that practitioners of Islam have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their religion:  2 (with a death toll in excess of 2o0)

*Number of military barracks that members of the LGBT community have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their sexuality:  0
*Number of military barracks that practitioners of Islam have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their religion:  1 (killing 299 people)

*Number of schools that members of the LGBT community have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their sexuality:  0
*Number of schools that practitioners of Islam have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their religion:  1 big one (that would be Beslan, killing more than 300, most of them children), plus countless attacks on schools all over Indonesia and the Philippines

*Number of naval ships that members of the LGBT community have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their sexuality:  0
*Number of naval ships that practitioners of Islam have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their religion:  1 (killing 17 people)

*Number of embassies that members of the LGBT community have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their sexuality:  0
*Number of embassies that practitioners of Islam have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their religion:  3 (two in Africa, one in Iran, with the former resulting in hundreds of deaths and injuries, and the latter creating modern Iran)

I won’t belabor my point any further.  I’ll just note the stupidity driving the opinion piece’s snide implication that it’s irrational to fear Islam because a only small percentage of its practitioners do bad things.  That manages to obscure the real fact, which is that a large percentage of the carnage around the world — indeed, the greatest percentage of the carnage around the world — is committed by Muslims.  That therefore makes it reasonable to eye them askance in certain situations, and makes it idiotic to worry about gays in those same situations.

It’s an insult to anyone whose IQ hovers even near the 3 digits, or who exhibits logic skills greater than a small child’s, for a writer at a prestigious paper (although God alone knows why it is still held in such high esteem) to argue that American’s diminishing concerns about an individual’s sexuality should be used as a template to become less worried about Muslim violence.

I’ll tell you one thing that would go a long way to diminishing my fear of Muslims:  To hear them say, loud and clear, “I do not want sharia law in America; I condemn all acts of violence committed in the name of Islam and will do whatever I can to counter that trend amongst Muslims; I support Israel’s right to exist; and I have no intention of imposing my religious views or practices on the people in my community or country.”  This sounds remarkably simply, but you’ll find few Muslims who are willing to say that.  Instead, what you get are generic statements about love for country, but an assiduous avoidance of specific disavowals of the most ugly aspects of Islam.

A question about gays in the military

I’m very conflicted about gays serving openly in the military.  To me, the military is an institution that must function optimally.  It’s mission cannot be compromised to satisfy social experimentation.  Nevertheless, gays have served and will continue to serve with distinction — provided that they keep secret a significant part of their self-identity, a notion that seems un-American.  Frankly, DADT seems like a workable, although somewhat unkind, compromise.

I don’t want to debate the whole issue, though.  Instead, I want to ask one very narrow question about gays being able to serve openly in the military.

I was talking with Charles Martel today about the fact that guys, whether they’re straight or gay, will be guys, meaning that their nature, sexually, is to be the predator.  If gays can serve openly, will that mean that those who have more predatory instincts will be open in their pursuit of other service members, straight or gay?  You have to assume that some will.

Those people who have acknowledged this probable reality, and who support openly gay service people, say that the military already has systems in place for sexual harassment.  These systems, of course, apply to harassment between men and women (again, with the assumption that men are the harassers, and women the harassees).

But here’s my question:  Will men who are on the receiving end of harassment from an openly gay service person complain?  It occurred to me that, for men who are being harassed, it’s not just about sex, it’s about sexual identity.  Will they be afraid to speak up for fear of someone thinking, “Well, they asked for it by sending out gay signals?”  For women, the “they asked for it” is about behavior, which is bad enough, but for men, it’s about identity, which can be a sufficiently frightening issue to stifle the men altogether.  I’m sorry that sounds muddled, but I just wonder if men, especially young men, will have the courage to admit to homosexual harassment, or if they’ll fear that it will somehow make people assume that they are gay.

So I’m curious if straight guys reading this post have been on the receiving end of subtle or overt propositions from other men?  And, if so, would those straight guys have been willing to report those overtures if they came from someone inappropriately using a power position or negligently putting a mission at risk?

Ultimately, I don’t know if this really matters.  One could say that, if men are so insecure about their sexuality that they won’t report abuse, they’re too weak to be in “this man’s” Army anyway.  But I do wonder….

As always with posts on sensitive issues like this, I am not making an invitation to gay bashing, which is an inexcusable and execrable approach to the issue.  I’m simply curious about the dynamic of straight young men, who usually get to be the sexual initiator, who are confronted by gay young men who also want to be the sexual initiator.

It’s all the Republicans’ fault because they hate gays (or so the media would have us believe)

The media is very disappointed that a defense spending bill went down in flames, not over the question of spending, but over the issue of DADT.  The headline at Politico says it all:

Senate Republicans block ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal.

You see, Republicans hate gay people.  Really, really hate them.  Or at least that’s the message the media wants to leave with Americans, the vast majority of whom don’t hate gay people.

But it’s never as simple as the media would have a credulous public believe.  Yes, it’s true that Senate Republicans solidly refused to allow cloture on the bill.  Except that the headline above hides a c0uple of balls:

1.  The most obvious hidden point is that Senate Republicans can’t do diddly-squat without Democratic complicity.  Recall, if you will, that Democrats currently hold a strong majority in the Senate.  What made the bill fail is that two Democrats — Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor — both sided with the Republicans.  Even Harry Reid voted against the bill, although he did so on procedural grounds.

2.  The other little thing that the Politico article that I linked to above entirely ignores is that what should have been a straightforward spending bill to support our troops also included the DREAM Act, which would have given automatic citizenship to illegal aliens who attend college or join the military. I have huge problems with giving citizenship to illegal alien kids who take up space at American universities.  They’re resource hogs — since American kids are finding it hard to get to college, especially since not just classroom space but also money, goes to illegals — and they shouldn’t get reward for that.

I’m okay with giving citizenship to kids who serve in the military, provided that these children came to the US when they were very small.  Putting that condition on their service and their citizenship separates a dependent child from his parents’ illegal acts.  I think this approach address’s VDH’s concern about the DREAM Act, which is that it sets a horrible precedent by letting achievement in one sphere erase sin in another.  That, of course, is a typical Progressive way of thinking.  Jack Abbott is a perfect example:  Because they liked his writing, Progressives readily forgave him his murders, setting him free so that he could kill again.

In other words, contrary to media spin, evil Republicans didn’t block DADT because they hate gays.  Instead, minority Republicans, joined by Democrats, blocked a bill that would have opened the door to citizenship for illegal aliens.  I’m sure that DADT was a factor for some of the Republicans voting on the bill, but I’d bet my money on the fact that the DREAM Act was an even bigger factor — and I also suspect that, if Americans are paying attention, they’re wouldn’t be so thrilled about the DREAM Act either.

The blessings of gay conservatives

Yesterday I mentioned John Hawkin’s post explaining why he is sponsoring HomoCon.  I thought a nice companion piece would be Nick Gillespie’s post reprinting the HomoCon platform, a platform I think that all conservatives will find agreeable.

Remember (as if you, my dear readers, ever forget):  Unlike the statists/regressives/so-called liberals, we are not the party of identity politics.  We are the party of small government and big security.  We welcome those who agree with us on those issues, regardless of their race, color, creed, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or country of national origin.  We also acknowledge that there will inevitably be disagreements on the ideological periphery.  We know, though, that under America’s two party system, we cannot win federal elections if we allow our attention to wander too far from the core issues that currently threaten to destroy the country entirely.

My sense is that, aside from the belief many hold that homosexual activity is sinful, I believe that gay marriage is the single most divisive political issue right now between conservative gays (at least, those conservative gays who support gay marriage) and other conservatives (at least, those other conservatives who don’t support gay marriage).  It shouldn’t be.

As I’ve said before, I am not a fan of gay marriage, since I think marriage is, at its core, a religious issue.    The smartest way to resolve it would be for the state to get out of the marriage business entirely and, instead, limit itself to allowing those “domestic partnerships” that it deems are in the state’s interest.

Right now, we probably all agree that heterosexual partnerships fall in that “state interest” category.  A slight majority of Americans would add homosexual partnerships to that category, something that should be worked at through societal consensus, not judicial fiat.  And if the specter of “dogs and cats, living together” comes up, we’ll deal with that too.  And then let those various partners find the churches that will unite them before their God(s).  End of story.

That’s my view, for what it’s worth.  But my question for those opposed to gay conservatives who support conservatism on the most important political issue of the day is this:  Can you afford to get into a divisive fight over what is, temporarily at least, a less significant issue than saving our entire country from frighteningly potential internal economic collapse and external terrorist and military attack?

Why Elena Kagan’s sexual orientation is irrelevant

I know that much is being said amongst both Progressives and Conservatives about Kagan’s possible lesbianism.  Progressives are mad at her for being in the closet; Conservatives are worried about her orientation affecting her rulings as a Supreme Court judge.  Both are completely wrong.

Regarding the Progressive’s disdain for Kagan’s decision to keep her private life private, I say get out of people’s bedrooms.  This is Kagan’s private life we’re talking about.  She gets to decide how she wants to handle it.  It’s not for political activists to decide what is best for her, her family, and her significant others and friends.

As for Conservatives, even if Kagan is lesbian, it’s irrelevant.  What matters is her unabashed Progressivism.  That will control her thinking on whatever issue comes before her, whether it’s corporate taxes, the death penalty, abortion or gay marriage.  Her decisions will be completely consistent with any other Progressive’s, regardless of hetero- or homosexuality.  Her bedroom behavior is no one’s business because her political decisions are affected by her political orientation, not her sexual orientation.

You and I may have cause to decry the fact that gays and lesbians, as part of identity politics, gravitate almost unthinkingly to Progressive positions, but that’s not the issue with Kagan.  That is, we’re not arguing whether her sexuality decided her politics.  The fact is that she is now, for whatever reason, a Progressive, and it’s her politics, not her sex life, that should be under scrutiny.

England swings wildly between the extremes

In 1931, Nancy Langhorne Astor’s son Robert Gould Shaw III was arrested for committing a homosexual act (in a park, I believe).  This was a continuation of a long-standing British public policy of prosecuting “sodomists.”  Arguably the most famous prosecution was that against Oscar Wilde, for public indecency.  The trial, scandal and imprisonment destroyed the noted Victorian wit entirely, and he died in self-imposed, poverty-stricken exile soon after his release from prison.

How times have changed.  In 2010, Dale McAlpine, a Baptist preacher in England, was arrested for stating in a public place that homosexuality is a sin.

Have the English no sense of balance or proportion?  Do they think that criminalizing people’s thoughts and opinions is the only way to balance the scales for the humiliations they visited on homosexuals in years past?

Anyway, rather than opining more on the subject, let me refer you to my previous post on thought crimes.  I think it pretty much covers anything I want to say.

Identity politics once again runs amok, this time with athletes who aren’t “gay enough”

In my previous post, I talked about the way in which the Left desperately tries to cubby-hole people, events and ideas, without any real understanding of what lies beneath those labels.  Seconds after I finished writing that post, I read this newspaper article, which sounds like a parody, but isn’t:

All Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ wanted to do was to win the championship game at the Gay Softball World Series for their amateur San Francisco team.

Instead, they were marched one by one into a conference room at the tournament in suburban Seattle and asked about their “private sexual attractions and desires,” and their team was stripped of its second-place finish after the men were determined to be “non-gay,” they said in a lawsuit accusing a national gay sports organization of discrimination.

The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, pits the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a San Francisco group backing the men, against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance, which prides itself on barring discrimination based on sexual orientation.

At issue is whether the gay sports alliance violated Washington state’s public accommodations laws by enforcing a rule limiting to two the number of heterosexuals who can play on a team.

Apilado, Charles and Russ were members of D2, a team that was part of the San Francisco Gay Softball League. The squad made it to the championship game at the August 2008 tournament in Kent, Wash.

But another team, the Atlanta Mudcats, which had lost to D2 in a semifinal game, complained that the San Francisco team had too many straights.

Read the rest here.  This is the kind of article that has you giggling madly at the insanity of it all, even though the saner part of your brain is wondering how our society got to the point where people are being denied athletic opportunities because they not “gay enough.”

Identity politics is the antithesis of the individualism that was always the bedrock of the American identity.  I am the sum of my many, many parts, large numbers of which are, and should be, invisible to the public eye.  I refuse to have one of those parts be held as so overwhelmingly important that society forces me into certain belief systems and behaviors antithetical to the whole me.

If you’d like to protest gay activists who support Islam (which wants to kill them)

You and I know the incredible peculiarities of the Leftist world, which sees feminists ignoring sharia’s worst outrages and gay activists who are out in full cry trying to establish a fully Muslim Middle East, a place in which the only good gay activist will be a dead gay activist.  As to the latter, there is a protest in San Francisco, so I’m forwarding this email for those who are interested in attending:

1. Counterprotest this Thursday, April 8, 6 PM, Roxie Theater, 16th and Valencia, San Francisco.

“Out in Israel” is an LGBT cultural festival taking place in San Francisco during the month of April, sponsored in part by the Israeli Consulate, the San Francisco and East Bay Federations, JCRC, BlueStarPR, and Congregation Sha’ar Zahav. “Out In Israel” showcases some of the best of Israeli LGBT cultural creation: art, literature, film, drama, food, dance, progressive thought and intellectual debate. The celebration includes a Hebrew language LGBT film series, theatrical and musical performances by prominent Israeli artists, cooking demonstrations, art exhibitions, literary readings, and panels discussions on LGBT culture in Israel and Zionist perspectives.

This Thursday, April 8 a local anti-Israel group called QUIT (“Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism”) will be protesting outside the Roxie Theater (16th and Valencia Streets, San Francisco) where the festival will have its opening night films. Yes, an LGBT group will be protesting Israel, the one country in the region that does not persecute LGBT individuals and groups. Yes, they will be protesting Israel, a place where LGBT Palestinians flee to seek refuge from the Islamists who harrass, torture and kill them. Yes, they will be protesting Israel, the country that that has openly gay members in its government and military. They will be supporting the agenda of Iran, a country whose leader claims it has no gays– while it publicly hangs them.

They hate Israel so much that they will not say one word about the persecution that they themselves would suffer in Gaza or Ramallah.

StandWithUs/ SF Voice for Israel will be there to stand up for Israel. We will meet at 6 PM in front of the Roxie. Look for the Israeli flags. We will have appropriate signs for this occasion as well as lots of flags. If you bring your own signs, please no signs or graphics offensive to any racial or ethnic group including but not limited to Arabs, Islam, or Palestinians. Signs in violation of our policies will not be allowed.

We understand that some of our members do not agree with Israel’s policies towards LGBT rights. However, we will continue to support Israel in this regard and, at the same time, we look forward to your support in our other activities.

Please note that parking in this area is very limited. The theatre is one block west of the 16th and Mission BART, and 4 blocks from the Church Street Muni Metro.

GENERAL NOTES FOR RALLY BEHAVIOR- PLEASE READ:

Please BE PROFESSIONAL for Israel.

Please avoid signs that are offensive and will alienate press and passers by.

We will have enough signs with strong messages for you to hold, and you can choose from many messages. Please return all signs and flags at the end of the rally.

Please follow police orders.

Please don’t engage the other side.

Please avoid shouting epithets across the street.

They cannot hear you, and it really makes us all look like we are extremists or unreasonable. REMEMBER THAT THEY ARE THE EXTREMISTS– LET’S MAKE THEM LOOK THAT WAY!

At no point should you stand in the street.

If you will talk to press, please be professional and only speak to them if you are very knowledgeable.

We will have designated people prepared to speak to the press, it would be better if you would please refer press to designated

people who will be identified.

At the end of the rally people should leave in groups and avoid engaging those on the other side who may be prone to violence.

GOALS:

To get half of any media coverage that might show up.

To educate people about Israel’s strategic threats, and Israel’s right to defend its citizens.

To specifically educate people about LGBT rights and freedoms in Israel.

To let the other side know that they will not have a free pass as they organize to attack Israel on the streets of the Bay Area.

We will bring educational materials about the Gaza War for distribution as well.

THANK YOU and we will look forward to seeing you this Thursday. Bring your friends!

San Francisco School Board cuts academic programs to fund gay rights at school

Two days ago, I brought to your attention the fact that the San Francisco School Board — despite facing a $113 million dollar budget shortfall over the next two years, despite its admission that it will be cutting summer school and academic programs, and despite the fact that there has not been a sudden outbreak of extreme prejudice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) students in San Francisco’s public schools — was seriously contemplating putting into place a whole new program aimed at tracking discrimination against the GLBT crowd and at educating the San Francisco student population to drop words such as “dyke,” “fag” and “queer” from its insult lexicon (although I’ll just note here that all those words are very “in” with the Queer activist crowd).

I was careful to point out that this program was simply the subject of debate at the Board meeting.  To be honest, I thought it would die on the vine, because even San Francisco politicians can’t be so crazy that they’ll openly undermine academic programs during a budget shortfall while simultaneously creating a whole new layer of costly victim class bureaucracy.  But as Mencken should have said, “No one ever went broke underestimating Progressives’ pathological need to tax the public to obtain reparations for self-defined PC victim groups.”  And so, in a turn of events that appears to have surprised even the SF Chronicle‘s reporter, the San Francisco School Board turned its back on the academic needs of the majority of the students trapped in San Francisco’s mediocre public schools, and pandered:

The San Francisco school board added to the district’s massive $113 million shortfall over the next two years by voting Tuesday night to fund a substantial increase in instruction and services related to gay and lesbian issues.

Though the district is facing layoffs and significant program cuts, board members unanimously agreed that the estimated $120,000 annual price tag was worth it to support gay and lesbian students – children who are more likely to experience bullying and skip school because they are afraid.

The resolution calls for adding a district position to manage “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning” youth issues. It also requires the district to keep tabs on harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and distribute educational packets every year to parents encouraging them to discuss sexuality, gender identity and safety with their children.

The measure, sponsored by the city’s Youth Commission and Human Rights Commission and the district’s Student Advisory Council, requires district staff to seek outside funding to cover the costs, but guarantees at least a half-time position and other services regardless.

About 13 percent of San Francisco’s middle school students and 11 percent of high school students self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, according to a district survey.

Read the rest here.

(As an aside, the last paragraph I quoted has a very high level of self-identification compared to national numbers.  One reason there might be such a high level of self-identification is that GLBT kids in SF do feel fairly safe, despite the fact that they are bullied more than their peers — or, at least, safe enough to explore and recognize their sexuality.  It could also be that gay parents raise gay children, something that does not answer the nature/nature debate about gayness, but that seems to happen fairly often to the extent I’ve observed gay parents.  San Francisco, of course, has a lot of gay — and, I might add, loving and wonderful — parents.  It could also be because the constant focus on gay sex in San Francisco’s schools and streets affects youngsters’ sexuality, pushing them in experimental directions they might sublimate, happily or not, in a slightly more repressive environment. )

But even with a high 13% GLBT self-identification, and even accepting that these kids are less happy than your average teenager (who is often plenty unhappy), and even accepting that GLBT youth are the subject of greater bullying, it strikes me as unconscionable to for a School Board, which is tasked with the well-being of all students in the district, to engage in this type of touchy-feelie programing when the district as a whole is going broke. The fact is that bullying should be unacceptable regardless of the nature of victim.  Heck, I got bullied unmercifully at some rough schools because I was short and wore glasses.  The solution is to de-rough the schools, many of which are worn out and gang-ridden, rather than to focus on a specifically identified victim group.  This is a weird version of the Left’s obsession with equality of outcome, rather than equality of opportunity.  Rather than making a better, safer environment for all, the Progressives are trying to ensure that GLBT students are picked on at precisely the same statistical rate as their non-GLBT peers.

As I pointed out the other day, San Francisco isn’t alone in this desire to appease minority sensibilities at the expense of the majority.  Berkeley, right across the Bay, garnered significant headlines when its school district proposed cutting science programs (that is, solidly academic programs) because not enough minorities were signing up for them.  After an uproar from parents who care more about their children’s education than parading them as sacrificial lambs to Progressive politics, the school district has backed off the plan, at least for now.

Fundamentally, this isn’t about GLBT safety, no matter how the School Board dresses it up.  This is simply the Progressive mindset at work:  minorities are victims; victims need reparations; within the context of public education, reparations come in the form of denying academic opp0rtunities to all students (including, of course, the victims themselves).

That wacky Pashtun culture

I don’t have a comment here.  I just think this story is interesting:

An unclassified study from a military research unit in southern Afghanistan details how homosexual behavior is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns — though they seem to be in complete denial about it.

[snip]

In one instance, a group of local male interpreters had contracted gonorrhea anally but refused to believe they could have contracted it sexually — “because they were not homosexuals.”

Apparently, according to the report, Pashtun men interpret the Islamic prohibition on homosexuality to mean they cannot “love” another man — but that doesn’t mean they can’t use men for “sexual gratification.”

[snip]

The U.S. army medic also told members of the research unit that she and her colleagues had to explain to a local man how to get his wife pregnant.

The report said: “When it was explained to him what was necessary, he reacted with disgust and asked, ‘How could one feel desire to be with a woman, who God has made unclean, when one could be with a man, who is clean? Surely this must be wrong.'”

Hat tip:  Neptunus Lex

Illegal immigrants, gay rights, gun safety, and other stuff *UPDATED*

This is a portmanteau post, filled with interesting things I read today, some of which come in neatly matched sets.

Opening today’s San Francisco Moronicle, the first thing I saw was that an illegal teen’s arrest is causing a stir in San Francisco’s halls of power.  You see, San Francisco is a sanctuary city, and its official policy is to refuse to allow police to notify the federal government when arrestees prove to be illegal immigrants.  As has happened before, one of those nice legal illegal immigrants is, in fact, a cold-blooded murderer.  This particular 15 year old is accused of having held the two victims in place so that his compadres c0uld execute them.  The hoo-ha is happening because someone in City government, disgusted by the legal travesty that encourages people like this to make themselves free of our cities and our country, reported the kid to the INS, which is now on the case.  The liberals in the City ask “How dare a San Francisco employee help enforce federal immigration law?” My question, of course, is a little different:  “Why doesn’t the fed withdraw every single penny of funding from sanctuary cities?”  After all, I was raised to believe that he who pays the piper calls the tune.

As you’re thinking about the above travesty of law and justice (and the two dead kids executed in San Francisco), take a few minutes to read this American Thinker article about California’s self-immolation, a Democratic autodestruct sequence driven, in part, by the state’s embrace of illegal immigrants.  Illegal immigrants place a huge economic burden on California’s already over-taxed individuals and businesses.

The next Moronicle article that drew my eye was about the ongoing Prop. 8 trial taking place in San Francisco.  As you recall, Prop. 8 reflected the will of California voters, who wanted to affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman.  Prop. 8’s opponents are trying to prove that voters had impure thoughts when they cast their ballots, making the entire proposition an illegal exercise of unconstitutional prejudice.  Prop. 8 backers are arguing that you can support traditional marriage (as President Obama has claimed to do), without harboring bad thoughts about the GLBT community.

As you think about the ramifications of that lawsuit, I’d like to introduce you to Chai R. Feldblum, who is President Obama’s nominee to the EEOC.  She has a law professor at Georgetown, who really thinks that people’s brains should be purged of evil thoughts, especially evil religious thoughts:

Chai Feldblum, the Georgetown University law professor nominated by President Obama to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, has written that society should “not tolerate” any “private beliefs,” including religious beliefs, that may negatively affect homosexual “equality.”

[snip]

“Just as we do not tolerate private racial beliefs that adversely affect African-Americans in the commercial arena, even if such beliefs are based on religious views, we should similarly not tolerate private beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity that adversely affect LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] people,” the Georgetown law professor argued.

Feldblum’s admittedly “radical” view is based on what she sees as a “zero-sum game” between religious freedom and the homosexual agenda, where “a gain for one side necessarily entails a corresponding loss for the other side.”

“For those who believe that a homosexual or bisexual orientation is not morally neutral, and that an individual who acts on his or her homosexual orientation is acting in a sinful or harmful manner (to himself or herself and to others), it is problematic when the government passes a law that gives such individuals equal access to all societal institutions,” Feldblum wrote.

“Conversely, for those who believe that any sexual orientation, including a homosexual or bisexual orientation, is morally neutral, and that an individual who acts on his or her homosexual or bisexual orientation acts in an honest and good manner, it is problematic when the government fails to pass laws providing equality to such individuals.”

Feldblum argues that in order for “gay rights” to triumph in this “zero-sum game,” the constitutional rights of all Americans should be placed on a “spectrum” so they can be balanced against legitimate government duties.

All beliefs should be equal, regardless of their source, Feldblum says. “A belief derived from a religious faith should be accorded no more weight—and no less weight—than a belief derived from a non-religious source.” According to Feldman, the source of a person’s belief – be it God, spiritual energy, or the five senses – “has no relevance.”

[snip]

Feldblum does recognize that elements of the homosexual agenda may infringe on Americans’ religious liberties. However, Feldblum argues that society should “come down on the side” of homosexual equality at the expense of religious liberty. Because the conflict between the two is “irreconcilable,” religious liberty — which she also calls “belief liberty” — must be placed second to the “identity liberty” of homosexuals.

“And, in making the decision in this zero sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people,” she wrote.

I don’t think Harry Truman would have understood or appreciated Feldblum’s effort to quash religious freedom in the U.S.  He was someone who was able to separate his acts from his prejudices in all the right ways.  As I like to tell my children, he was a racist who integrated the American military; and an anti-Semite who helped create the State of Israel.

I believe all people should be treated equally under the law.  I do not believe, though, that this means that religions should be wiped out, or that Americans should be subject to the thought-police so that their impure ideology is brought in line with the identity politics of the left.  I believe most Americans are capable of being Harry Truman:  that is, they can recognize that their own personal prejudices against a lifestyle, a skin color or a religion, cannot be elevated to legal doctrine.  One of my problems with Islamists is that they’re no Harry Trumans.  They want to do away with the rule of law and, instead, substitute their 6th Century desert theocratic code.

Moving on, at this weekend’s soccer games, the other moms and I were speaking about a gal who is quite possibly the worst teacher in middle school.  She’s a lousy teacher, which is bad enough, but one can layer over that the fact that she is vindictive, mean-spirited and lazy.  Everyone I know has vociferously complained about her to the school administration.  And yet there is is.  She’s too young to have tenure, so I asked, rhetorically, why don’t they just fire her?  One mom’s answer told everything we need to know:  “The union makes it impossible to fire people.”

At least one union leader, at least, is trying to make it so that the American Federation of Teachers is less of a tyrannical dictatorship holding children as hostage, and more of an institution aimed at helping to educate children.  I don’t think Randi Weingarten is going to turn unions around, nor will she much change my opinion of unions.  Historically, I think unions were necessary and important.  In certain low-wage, low-skill, low-education fields (meat packing springs to mind), I still think they’re potentially useful.  Overall, though, I have a deep dislike for unions that goes back to my dad’s years as a member of the various teachers’ unions controlling California public schools.  The unions did minimal work helping to raise my Dad’s wage (he earned $21,000 annually in 1987, the year he retired), but were excellent at (1) kick-backs to administrators, who got great wages; (2) beginning what became the profound devaluation in the quality of California’s education; and (3) making sure that bad, insane and malevolent teachers were impossible fire.

Other unionized businesses are just as bad.  Hospital worker unions make a certain amount of sense.  The 24 hour a day nature of a hospital makes it easy to abuse nurses and other care givers.  However, when I was a young college student who got a summer job in the virology lab (an interesting time, since AIDS was first appearing on the radar as a series of bizarre diseases in gay men), I took over for a secretary who was leaving on maternity leave.  Although a secretary, she was unionized too, which explained why, despite disposing of old sandwiches in her file cabinet, and being incapable of getting her researcher bosses to the medical publishers (a primary part of her job description), she could not be fired.  This was not for want of trying.  It was simply that the unions had made it impossible to fire people like her.  They’d also made it impossible to fire people like the nurse I had many years later who, the first night after I’d had major abdominal surgery, refused to give me any painkillers and isolated me from any other caregivers.  Apparently I had said something that offended her.  Sadly, this was not her first time playing this kind of sadistic game.  But there she was, thanks to the unions.

On a more cheerful note, guns don’t kill people, guns rescue people from sinking cars.

And lastly, Steve Schippert highly recommends today’s Daily Briefing at Threats Watch, so I do too.

UPDATE:  Please visit A Conservative Lesbian for a thoughtful take on the nexus between religious belief and gay rights.  No knee jerk liberalism here; instead, a good analysis about religious freedom and minority rights.

Reason to be grateful Obama appointed gay porn-purveyor Jennings as Safe Schools Czar

No, my post title does not mean I’ve gone off my rocker and started supporting Kevin Jennings in his role as Safe Schools Czar.  Thanks to Terresa Monroe’s hard work, I’ve known for months exactly what kind of person Kevin Jennings, the “Safe School Czar” is.  He’s a career gay man who is devoted to ensuring that children as young as five or six are exposed to a steady stream of sexual information that may help them get in contact with their homosexual side.  Nor is this merely an academic interest.  As Zombie documented, Jennings has very close ties to NAMBLA, an organization that actively works to legalize pedophilia (see here, here and here for the results of Zombie’s working tying Jennings to NAMBLA and its leaders).

The latest hit against Jennings is a report at Gateway Pundit.   This report details the way in which Jennings’ gay/education/political activism group, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), actively pushes schools to include in their reading lists extremely sexually explicit books aimed at kids in the 7th through 12th grades.  And when I say sexually explicit, I’m not talking about coy allusions to hand-holding, kissing and warm fuzzy feelings.  Gateway Pundit carefully documents precisely the kind of material Jennings’ organization wants your children to read. It is graphic.  No child — gay, straight, confused, whatever — should be reading this kind of material.  The listed books include pornographic pictures, descriptions of sado-masochistic acts, graphic descriptions of sexual acts, etc.

Nor is Jennings’ relationship to this group tenuous:  as Gateway Pundit says:

GLSEN started essentially as Jennings’ personal project and grew to become the culmination of his life’s work. And he was chosen by President Obama to be the nation’s Safe Schools Czar primarily because he had founded and led GLSEN (scroll for bio).

Given what a foul swamp Jennings crawled out of to join the Obama administration, why in the world am I saying that I’m grateful to Obama for his appointment?  Easy.  Before Jennings hit the big time, we — meaning parents and concerned citizens — didn’t have any idea what was going on.  We thought that the politically correct aspects of the gay rights movement, insofar as they intersected with education, simply meant assuring that gay kids don’t get abused or bullied at school.  That’s a goal that I think all civilized people believe to be good.  Sure, there were the books about gay penguins and two mommies, and we weren’t thrilled about them, but even those were painted in warm, fuzzy pastels, aimed at assuring us that it was all about making sure that gay children weren’t ostracized and abused in the “lord of the flies” atmosphere that prevails in so many schools.

Jennings’ appointment, however, has exposed us to the fact that there is a loud, active subset of gay activists who are not concerned simply with ensuring that young boys and girls are safe, but that instead genuinely wants to expose all children to explicit gay sexual activity.  Certainly that’s what the GLSEN  reading list indicates to be the case.  The existence of this material leads to the next question, which is why these activists want children to be primed as fully sexualized gay actors?  Well, Jennings’ involvement with NAMBLA, and NAMBLA activists leads to the logical answer:  pedophiles are using our school system to groom children as their sexual partners.

Without Obama’s idiotic decision to appoint a grooming pedophile as his Safe Schools Czar, all of this stuff would have continued to work under the radar.  It takes the type of prominence Obama gave Jennings to expose the rot in our educational system.  And that’s why we should be very grateful to Obama for appointing Jennings as the czar.  Had he not done so, it’s entirely reasonable to believe that no one — and certainly not a critical mass of parents and observers — would have cared about or noticed what was going on.  To take myself as an example, I know that I don’t have the time to vet every single book on my children’s reading lists.  There are dozens, even hundreds, of them.  I can only hope that the common sense and morality I’ve already inculcated into my children helps armor them against these intellectual and psychic insults.

In a bizarre way, Obama is working out well as a president.  Yes, he’s the first leader in the history of the world intentionally to denigrate and degrade his own nation’s standing.  Yes, he may be the scourge of the military and national security.  And yes, he may be trying to bankrupt our economy.  But he’s also doing something incredibly important:  he’s ripping the smiley-faced mask the left has worn since the Civil Rights movement.

In the 40 odd years since the Left coopted the Civil Rights movement, it has managed to convince Americans that conservatives are evil, narrow-minded, racist, sexist, homophobic crucifix-clutching, oppressors, intent on reinstating a repressive, sharia-like world.  Leftists have simultaneously presented themselves as the good guys, concerned only for the well-being of every oppressed person in the world.

What we’re seeing, though, now that the mask is going, going, gone, is the fact that some people deserve to be oppressed:  pedophiles; radical Islamists who hate women, gays, Jews and Christians; racial grievance mongers who want to keep blacks permanently latched to the government teat; socialists who would rather see everyone suffer under a bad medical system, than allow anyone to benefit under a good one.  And the lists goes on.  Without any restraints, Obama’s hubris, and the hubris of those who surround him, has exposed the noxious cancer lying at the heart of Leftism:  it advances totalitarian deviance at the expense of the decent, free norm.

(Usual disclaimer here:  I am not homophobic.  I am opposed, however, to a gay political agenda, exemplified by Kevin Jennings’ career, that seeks to sexualize our youth, and to make private bedroom behavior an overarching social and political concern that strikes at the central pillars of a stable culture.)

Gay Hillary supporters realize that Bush had his virtues

I’ve now received five emails bringing to my attention a post at Hillbuzz, a blog that (as best as I can tell) is written by two gay Hillary supporters.  (And thanks to all of you who did bring it to my attention.)  What makes the post at Hillbuzz so unusual is that it’s a frank appreciation for . . . George Bush:

We know absolutely no one in Bush family circles and have never met former President George W. Bush or his wife Laura.

If you have been reading us for any length of time, you know that we used to make fun of “Dubya” nearly every day…parroting the same comedic bits we heard in our Democrat circles, where Bush is still, to this day, lampooned as a chimp, a bumbling idiot, and a poor, clumsy public speaker.

Oh, how we RAILED against Bush in 2000…and how we RAILED against the surge in support Bush received post-9/11 when he went to Ground Zero and stood there with his bullhorn in the ruins on that hideous day.

We were convinced that ANYONE who was president would have done what Bush did, and would have set that right tone of leadership in the wake of that disaster.  President Gore, President Perot, President Nader, you name it.  ANYONE, we assumed, would have filled that role perfectly.

Well, we told you before how much the current president, Dr. Utopia, made us realize just how wrong we were about Bush.  We shudder to think what Dr. Utopia would have done post-9/11.  He would have not gone there with a bullhorn and struck that right tone.  More likely than not, he would have been his usual fey, apologetic self and waxed professorially about how evil America is and how justified Muslims are for attacking us, with a sidebar on how good the attacks were because they would humble us.

Honestly, we don’t think President Gore would have been much better that day.  The world needed George W. Bush, his bullhorn, and his indominable spirit that day…and we will forever be grateful to this man for that.

As we will always be grateful for what George and Laura Bush did this week, with no media attention, when they very quietly went to Ft. Hood and met personally with the families of the victims of this terrorist attack.

FOR HOURS.

Please read the rest here.  It’s an excellent post and deserves the attention it’s getting for the honest take it has on George Bush’s solid decency — and the contrast between his low-key, virtuous behavior and that exhibited by the Obami.

Hillbuzz’s post is a reminder that the very loud, politicized gay class tends to make us forget that most gays are just Americans who happen to like people of the same sex.  When things are rosy, they’re happy to trail behind the political guys, since there might be some benefits dropping off that bandwagon.  However, when push comes to shove, and when agitating but scarcely life threatening issues go by the wayside, America’s gays are Americans first — or, at least, most of them are.  That’s very heartening.

I look forward to the day when America’s Muslims figure out that, at some point they have to make a public stand between America’s deep investment in liberty and Islam’s demand that all citizens in all nations should be subjugated to Sharia’s draconian requirements.  Right now, thanks to the politically correct ideology that permeates the media, the government, educational establishes, and the top echelons of the military, American Muslims are getting a pass on having to come to terms with their own patriotism.  If they want to hew to their religion — well, that’s the moral choice they have to make, but we Americans should know, so that we can do what is necessary to protect our Constitutional rights for the vast majority of Americans (gay and straight, Catholic and Jewish, atheist and, yes, Muslim) who believe in those rights.

The march of the thought police

You remember Prop. 8, don’t you?  That was the successful California ballot initiative that said that, in America, marriage is between a man and a woman.  Immediately after November 4, gay rights activists sued.  So far, the courts are being helpful.  A court in the Northern District of California just ordered the Prop. 8 backers to turn over all their documents so that the gay rights activists can see whether there’s any anti-gay basis in the documents:

A federal judge said sponsors of California’s ban on same-sex marriage may not delay in handing over campaign strategy documents to gay-rights groups that are looking for evidence of anti gay bias as they try to overturn the measure.

The sponsors had sought to keep the documents while challenging the order to turn them over in an appeals court.

But in a ruling late Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco said backers of Proposition 8 had failed to show that disclosing internal memos and e-mails would violate their freedom of speech or subject them to harassment.

He said they had refused to identify any documents that needed special protection and noted that he could order their opponents to keep any sensitive material confidential.

“It simply does not appear likely that (Prop. 8’s) proponents will prevail on the merits of their appeal,” Walker said.

He said he doubts that a federal appeals court even has jurisdiction to consider the dispute at this early stage of the case.

[snip]

The measure’s sponsors, a conservative religious coalition called Protect Marriage, said voters were entitled to reaffirm the traditional definition of marriage and that the organizers’ alleged motives were irrelevant.

I suspect that every document will be redolent of anti-gay bias.  After all, if one takes the stand, as the activists do, that it’s anti-gay to want to limit marriage to the western tradition of one man and one woman, every document that strategizes about ways to encourage traditional marriage is, by definition, homophobic.

If you’d like a glimpse into what happens when the government seeks to control, not only what we do but what we think, this story out of Britain gives you the answer:

After witnessing a gay pride march, committed Christian Pauline Howe wrote to the council to complain that the event had been allowed to go ahead.

But instead of a simple acknowledgement, she received a letter warning her she might be guilty of a hate crime and that the matter had been passed to police.

Two officers later turned up at the frightened grandmother’s home and lectured her about her choice of words before telling her she would not be prosecuted.
Mrs Howe, 67, whose husband Peter is understood to be a Baptist minister, yesterday spoke of her shock at the visit and accused police of ‘ wasting resources’ on her case rather than fighting crime.

‘I’ve never been in any kind of trouble before so I was stunned to have two police officers knocking at my door,’ she said.

‘Their presence in my home made me feel threatened. It was a very unpleasant experience.

‘The officers told me that my letter was thought to be an intention of hate but I was expressing views as a Christian.’

Interestingly, even a gay rights group in Britain is worried that the government is going too far (which echoes an earlier report I found in which a Muslim rights group also protested the government’s heavy-handedness):

And homosexual equality pressure group Stonewall has branded the authorities’ response ‘ disproportionate’.

All of this is a reminder that, once government takes over “rights,” the whole concept of rights basically vanishes.  Government control and “rights” are pretty much antithetical to each other.

Orwell was amazingly prescient. For so long it seemed silly that he’d set his nightmare story of complete totalitarianism in Britain which was then, despite a Labour government, one of the freer countries in the world. He must have glimpsed something in his nation’s character.

(This story of the White House inveigling kids to a fair and then giving them heavy-handed lectures about diet somehow fits in perfectly with the above theme, doesn’t it?  H/t:  Sadie.)

The gay agenda

I’m a libertarian and a child of San Francisco in the 1970s.  What this means is that I believe, very strongly, that people should be allowed to engage in same sex relationships.  I also believe that people who are homosexual (and any subset of that, such as lesbian, bisexual, etc.), should not be harassed or discriminated against.

The 1990s and the 21st century, however, have seen something entirely different from the drive to tolerance and individual freedom that I support.  Gay-ness has become part of a larger political agenda that has nothing to do with an individual’s sexuality, and everything to do with breaking down traditional American morality.  This morality is not just window-dressing.  It is the nation’s backbone.

A Reluctant Scribe, who happened to be near ground zero as gay activists expanded their range beyond merely freeing themselves from discrimination and repression, guest posts at Brutally Honest with an insight into the enormous political agenda that underlies the formerly sympathetic gay rights movement.

Zombie decimates attempts to defend Kevin Jennings *UPDATED*

Kevin Jennings, as you recall, is Obama’s Safe Schools Czar.  He’s the one who came under fire because (a) he boasts in his autobiography about giving a 15 year old gay boy safe sex advice regarding a sexual relationship with an adult man, as opposed to dealing with a statutory rape problem and possible child abuse, and (b) he is on the record as admiring Harry Hays, who was not just one of the first leader’s of the gay liberation movement, but was also deeply involved in promoting gay pedophilia.

The Jennings package — youth involvement; looking the other way at a situation that was, at minimum, statutory rape; and his veneration for an ardent, active, activist pedophile — should send warnings signals out to every person who wants to protect young people, whether straight or gay.  Instead, the knee jerk forces supporting Obama have lined up behind Jennings, accusing conservatives of “smearing” him.  (I’m still bewildered by the whole liberal argument that reporting actual facts about someone constitutes a “smear.”)

In the forefront of the pro-Jennings camp stands Media Matters.  They’ve responded by advancing four major arguments (all of which I’ve read and heard in the MSM), which Zombie summarizes as follows:

1. When Kevin Jennings gave his speech praising Harry Hay, he didn’t know that Hay supported NAMBLA.

2. Kevin Jennings was praising the admirable side of Harry Hay, not the reprehensible side of Harry Hay.

3. None of the mainstream media’s obituaries of Harry Hay mentioned his NAMBLA connections, therefore he must not have been a bad guy after all.

4. Harry Hay once said he wasn’t an actual member of NAMBLA.

On their face, those defenses are silly:

1.  Considering that Jennings’ whole life has been dedicated to his gayness (which distinguishes him from people who happen to prefer partnerships with members of the same sex, but who have interests that extend beyond their own sexuality), it’s almost ludicrous to believe that he was ignorant about an important part of Hays’ self-identity (namely, pedophilia).

2.  There comes a point when someone’s reprehensible side is so extreme that simple decency means that you can no longer hold that person up as an example because of his less reprehensible side.  To take extreme examples to make the point, we don’t use Hitler as a poster child for vegetarianism, Mao as a model for physical fitness through swimming, or Ted Bundy to make the point that clean-cut guys can get the girls.  Because reputation matters, when a person’s evil outweighs his good, we toss him from the role model pedestal.

3.  Well, we all know about the media’s in-depth reporting, so their silence on a politically incorrect subject is meaningless.

4.  Even if he wasn’t a dues paying member of NAMBLA, Hay’s active, vocal support for pedophilia pretty much makes formal membership in the organization irrelevant.

Okay, that’s just off the top of my head.  Zombie, of course, went one (one?  a hundred!) better and generated an in-depth document with actual facts decimating the Media Matter’s arguments.   By doing so, Zombie proves, not just that the arguments are foolish on their face (as I was able to), but that they are also factually ridiculous and don’t deserve to be part of the discourse regarding Jennings’ fitness for the job he now holds.

Please understand that my focus on Jennings has nothing to do with the fact that he is gay.  Nor does it have to do with his laudable commitment to ensuring that homosexual youth are not maltreated in schools.  Instead, it has everything to do with the fact that Jennings seems to feel way too comfortable with the notion of pedophilia.  In other words, Jennings’ words and conduct indicate that he doesn’t feel the ordinary human revulsion that comes when normal people think about sex, homosexual or heterosexual, with children.  Since the sexual integrity of our childrens’ bodies is ranks high on the list of every parent’s paramount concerns, it’s ludicrous to have such a man acting as a “Safe Schools Czar.”

Of course, the problem for Obama right now is that gays have become his own personal third rail.  They’re mad at him for his broken promises and double talk about gay marriage and don’t ask/don’t tell.  Although Jennings, perhaps inadvertently, represents an extreme and reprehensible fringe of the gay rights movement (pedophilia), the fact remains that he is (I believe) Obama’s highest ranking gay appoint.  It’s not easy to get rid of someone like that in today’s political climate without a lot of egg left behind on the handsome Obama visage.

(See Noisy Room for more reaction to Zombie’s post.)

UPDATE:  Of course, the question any good gay activist would with regarding to Jennings’ agenda (one he’s stated freely in the years before entering the political lime light) is “what’s wrong with being gay?”  Why should we all want to allow our children, as fulfilled human beings, to experience the full spectrum of human sexuality?

As a parent, of course, I’d have to say that there is a lot wrong with being gay.  Gays have significantly higher rates of depression, drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide, and partner abuse.  And that doesn’t even begin to touch upon the sexually transmitted diseases that are part and parcel of the promiscuity that characterizes the gay lifestyle.  As to that, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about it when I worked in a virology lab in San Francisco back in 1981, right as AIDS first appeared on the scene.  At that time, with about 20 reported cases, researchers thought it might just be an extreme response to the sexual transmitted diseases that were endemic in the gay community.

Whether gays’ vulnerability to so many miseries arises from the same biological wash that resulted in a differing sexual orientation, or traces itself to the hedonistic lifestyle that gay culture has assiduously promoted for 40+ years doesn’t matter.  It’s a statistical fact, and it is true whether gays live in accepting communities (such as San Francisco, where I grew up), or in repressive communities.  In other words, these problems can’t simply be attributed to external repression.  The gay lifestyle is unhealthy, no matter where you live.

I’ve always said that, if one of my children turns out to be gay, I will love my child regardless — and I mean that.  I will, however, be deeply unhappy, because it is such a tough road to hoe.  I would not wish it on my child, not because I think my child would be evil or wrong or immoral, but just because I don’t want any of my children to go down on the path with potential for such a difficult life experience.  To have someone in a position of power in the schools, therefore, who is wishing that lifestyle on my child, and who is working actively to promote it, is unbelievably disturbing.

Somehow it’s hard to imagine the Queen and Prince Phillip being on board with this latest attack of PC insanity *UPDATED*

The Queen and Prince Phillip were born in the 1920s.  They are, I gather, inherently conservative people.  While moving in the British upper classes has no doubt exposed them to a great many gays and lesbians (and I’m sure their manners allow them to take those interactions in stride), I’m not sure that the elderly duo is ready for this bit of PC overkill:

On Tuesday the Metropolitan Police posted an advertisement inviting ‘special groups’ to apply to protect the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral.

Police chiefs ordered the recruitment drive amid concerns that there are not enough officers from minority groups guarding the Queen.

But critics accused the Met of bowing to political correctness.

The advertisement from Scotland Yard’s Royalty Protection Branch, known as SO14, invites armed officers from all backgrounds to apply for the role to ‘deliver residential protection through a combination of fixed posts and mobile patrols’.

The recruitment notice, which was posted internally within the Met, reads: ‘Successful officers can expect to work at London palaces or Windsor Castle and officers are required to perform tours of duty in Scotland.

‘Applications are particularly welcomed from women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and black and minority ethnic communities/people as these are under-represented-within SO14.’ Successful candidates must be trained in firearms and will be expected to work 12-hour shifts.

If it was me, I’d want people who are really good at the actual job: protection. Their sexuality and gender identity should be subordinate to that mission.  End of story.

UPDATE:  From a reader:  “OK, somebody has to say this . . . .  You mean they’re going be the Queen’s QUEENS?!!!”

The inevitable result of identity politics

Identity politics turns people into one dimensional characters, who must act out a set script.  If you’re black or Hispanic, you must be a Democrat, even if you oppose abortion, take a jaundiced view of gay marriage, and want school choice.  If you’re a woman, you must support equal pay for comparable work, even if that will destroy the economy and dramatically lessen the total number of jobs available.  If you’re a white male, you must be the epitome of all things regressive and evil.  Oh, and if you’re gay, you cannot be a principled conservative and must, instead, be humiliated and destroyed:

California GOP Rep. David Dreier and a number of other politicians are the unwilling stars of a controversial new documentary with an explosive premise – it’s time to blow open the closet door on prominent politicians who have hidden their homosexuality while actively working against gay causes.

The film “Outrage,” which opens today at the Embarcadero Center Cinema in San Francisco, presents interviews and documentation charging that a number of prominent legislators – including Dreier, the U.S. representative from San Dimas (Los Angeles County), GOPFlorida Gov. Charlie Crist and former Democratic New York Mayor Ed Koch – have remained closeted while publicly opposing legislation on issues such as same-sex marriage, HIV/AIDS funding, and gays in the military.

Liberals frequently confuse their compulsive need to typecast with hypocrisy.  Let me set the record straight.  Hypocrisy means to advocate one course of conduct or belief for others (usually with a sacrifice to them), while espousing another for yourself (usually to your benefit).

Thus, it’s hypocrisy when Al Gore goes around demanding that we all drive in cars made out of tissue paper, and live in houses that are freezing cold in winter and furnace hot in summer, all the time driving himself in a safe and comfortable SUV, and living in a series of energy-hog mansions.  It’s hypocrisy when Michael Moore demands that we all divest from Halliburton, but invests in it himself.  It’s out and out lying when Bill Clinton says “I did not have sex with that woman” or John Edwards assures the American people he never had an affair.

It is neither hypocrisy or lying, however, when gay men and women have a principled opposition to same-sex marriage, HIV/AIDS funding or gays in the military.  These same gay people, after all, are not being accused of sneaking off to Holland to get married, while denying those rights to American gays; of funneling money to those of their friends ill with HIV/AIDS while denying it to others; or whatever would be hypocritical behavior with regard to gays in the military.

Without any hypocrisy, it is perfectly possible to be gay, but believe that marriage is a specific institution unique to men and women.  You can hold to that position and still colorably demand full civil rights for gay unions that are then recognized nationwide.  Likewise, without hypocrisy, you can be gay, but recognize that cancer or heart disease or some other disease deserves equal access, not just to funding, but to fund raising.  And of course, you can be gay and believe that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is a workable compromise that allows gays to serve in the military without offending the heterosexual sensibilities that currently prevail in “this man’s Army” — all without being a hypocrite who voices one view and acts upon another.

The film “Outrage,” however, typecasts gays, and denies them the right to examine issues through a lens other than their own sexuality.  I say this without knowing or caring whether the men and women named in the movie are actually gay.  What I care about, deeply, is the pressure the gay community imposes upon its members to abjure independent thought, and to march lockstep through a series of complicated and contentious issues.

For a community that, a mere 40 years ago, broke free of the shackles imposed against it, it’s a real tragedy that it now insists upon imposing similar shackles upon itself.

This is one type of institution the recession should harm

I would love to see the recession cut America’s top universities, which have become intellectually polluted institutions that have nothing to do with education.  Heather MacDonald — in a larger article about how Yale, even as it tightens its belt panders more deeply to the LGBT community — sums up perfectly the expensive grievance culture for which parents pay when they send their kids to the nation’s premier schools:

If you’re tempted to ask why students require administration backing in order to form a “community,” [of LGBTQ students,] you don’t understand the codependent relationship between self-engrossed students and the adults whose career consists of catering to that self-involvement. Students in today’s university regularly act out little psychodramas of oppression before an appreciative audience of deans and provosts. The essence of those psychodramas is to force the university to recognize a student’s narrowly defined “identity” through ever more elaborate bureaucratic mechanisms. Rather than laugh the student players off the stage, the deans, provosts, and sundry other administrators willingly participate in their drama, intently negotiating with them and conferring additional benefits wherever possible.

UPDATE: Thanks, Earl, for the spelling correction. You’d think I’d know how to spell recession by know, but sometimes my brain just creates spelling chimeras.

I side with the Muslims (and Christians) on this one *UPDATED*

The article only interviewed Muslim parents, but it’s clear Christians were involved as well.  These were the parents in England who pulled their young children out of school rather than have the children be subject to a month long GLBT indoctrination, er, education sessions — and who are now being threatened with government sanctions.

Let me state here what regular readers already know:  I am a libertarian.  I do not care with whom you sleep or with whom you fall in love.  I do not wish any ill on any people because of their sexuality.  I believe that there is a graduated scale of sexuality, with some people being completely heterosexual and some people being absolutely homosexual (I’ve known both kinds), and many people floating in the middle, amenable to cultural pressures (and I’ve known many of these too).

I am also a parent.  If my children are gay I will love them and wish the best for them, whatever their choices.  However, I don’t want them to be gay.  The gay culture is not a healthy one, with higher rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and partner abuse.  This is something I’ve seen first hand, growing up and living in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most gay friendly environments in the world.  I don’t know why the gay lifestyle seems to carry with it more lifestyle problems, and I won’t hazard any guesses here.  Whatever the reason, it’s not what I hope for my children.

Therefore, while I believe it is extremely important that children are taught to be tolerant of people’s lifestyle choices, I do not believe it is up to the public school system to present a cheery perfect view of homosexual life that, quite sadly, is often at odds with the reality of the GLBT culture.  I’m concerned that, in addition to providing rah-rah cheer to that small number of children who are indubitably at the homosexual end of the sexuality scale, it will also provide a little too much encouragement to those who float in the fluid middle.  Additionally, given that these classes were aimed at 3rd and 4th graders, who have, at best, a hazy view of sexuality, these lessons struck me as teaching way more than the kids needed to know.

P.S. (and warning): This post is about children and education and sexuality and the state assuming the role of parent when it comes to teaching sexual values, especially to very young children .  If you wish to engage in gay bashing, do not do it here.  I will delete any comments I deem threatening or offensive or just plain crude on that subject.

UPDATE:  And, coincidentally, here’s an article from today’s Chron about the fact that lesbians have more health problems, both biological and lifestyle related.

Living in an alternate reality *UPDATE*

I think I’m processing history wrong, and I need your help filling in the gaps.

As you know, Obama invited Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration (a much better choice, I might add, than Wright would have been).  Some in the gay community, however, are very upset, feeling that Warren’s support for California’s Prop. 8 means that his selection is a direct insult to the gay community.  Those are facts.

What confuses me is this statement from Kevin Nash of the Washington Blade (a publication by and about gays):

We have just endured eight years of endless assaults on our dignity and equality from a president beholden to bigoted conservative Christians.

I know that the Bush administration was not a particularly homophilic administration.  Mostly, it was a homo-ignore-it administration — at least, that’s what I always thought.  Naff speaks of “eight years of endless assaults on our dignity and equality from a president….” and I don’t know what he’s talking about.  Again, while Bush preside over a political agenda that showered new rights on gays, I don’t recall anything emanating from the White House that was hostile to gays.

One could point to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but that was a Clinton era relic.  So too was the Defense of Marriage Act.  While gay marriage became a huge issue during the Bush administration, it was an issue at the state level, not the federal level.  What am I forgetting that would see Mr. Naff feel that Bush specifically was responsible for psychic or physical insults to gays?

I should add here that I’m not seeking any input from y’all about the virtues or demerits of the gay agenda, which is a debate for another day.  I’m just wondering if I’m missing anything that the President — not the State, not individual preachers or speakers, but the President himself — did that constituted assaults on gays’ “dignity and equality.”

Hat tip:  Brutally Honest

UPDATERight Wing News has more on the reactions emanating to the Left with regard to Obama’s choice.

When PCs clash

In the world of presidential elections, we’re watching the fascinating spectacle of clashing identity politics.  Neither Hillary nor Obama has a strong resume (or even a medium resume).  Each is distinguished from the other, and from others in the field (remember Silky Pony?) solely because of gender or race.  He’s black (sort of); she’s female (sort of).  It’s hardly been an edifying show, although anyone familiar with the demands of identity politics could have predicted the way in which this particular race would shape up.

Since liberals live for labels and hierarchies  of victimhood, I’d like to direct your attention to another clash, this time in Britain, and this time involving differing groups that have been deemed worthy of homage from the PC crowd:  gays and Muslims.  It turns out that, some time ago, Britain passed a gay rights law mandating school curricula aimed at preventing gay bullying.  Now, I am entirely in favor of preventing gay bullying.  Indeed, I’m strongly in favor of preventing any type of bullying.  If it were up to me, I’d have a strictly enforced, broad-reaching, no-bullying rule in all schools.

The problem in this case arose because the schools at issue felt compelled (either because the law requires it or because that’s how they interpret the law — I’m not sure) to teach 5 year old kids about homosexuality.  Thus, the schools included in their kindergarten curriculum books touting homosexual and lesbian relationships, something that seems a bit premature for the 5 year old set, most of whom are dealing with such intricacies as shoe laces, the alphabet song, and counting to three digit numbers.  Throwing in non-traditional relationships seems a bit much.

As it is, the school picked some rather cute sounding, appropriately make-believe-ish books to make the legally mandated points:

One story, titled King & King, is a fairytale about a prince who turns down three princesses before marrying one of their brothers.

Another named And Tango Makes Three features two male penguins who fall in love at a New York zoo.

I’m that all would have been well if a conservative Christian group stepped forward to object to this curriculum.  We know, after all, that conservative Christians (a) hate gays and (b) don’t have to be listened to because, in the PC hierarchy, they’re victimizers, not victims, thereby invalidating their concerns.  The problem is that it wasn’t conservative Christians who were upset by the indoctrina . . . er . . . education their kids were getting.  Instead, it was Muslim parents:

Two primary schools have withdrawn storybooks about samesex relationships after objections from Muslim parents.

Up to 90 gathered at the schools to complain about the books which are aimed at pupils as young as five.

***

They were intended to help prevent homophobic bullying, it said.

But the council has since removed the books from Easton Primary School and Bannerman Road Community School, both in Bristol.

A book and DVD titled That’s a Family!, which teaches children about different family set-ups including gay or lesbian parents, has also been withdrawn.

The decision was made to enable the schools to “operate safely” after parents voiced their concerns at meetings.

Now, as it happens, I am sympathetic to both sides in this argument, although more so to the parents.  With regard to the schools, they had a legal mandate they had to follow and, as I said, I’m extremely opposed to bullying.  (And to clarify for new readers, I don’t have a problem with adults engaging in homosexual relationships although I’m resistant to suddenly jettisoning 30,000 plus years of human history by suddenly legalizing gay marriage — I may ultimately agree to doing so, but I’d prefer to stop and consider the societal ramifications first, rather than rush of with the trendy idea of the year.)

Having expressed these sympathies, though, I am still troubled by introducing the whole concept of adult sexuality to the 5 year old set, even if that sexuality is cutely dressed up in penguin or prince clothes.  I just think it’s a topic that these little people are neither emotionally nor intellectually ready to deal with, and they don’t need it on their plates as they struggle with the practicalities of learning basic life skills.  For this reason, I hew to the view of the parents, who present themselves in the article as very reasonable people indeed:

Farooq Siddique, community development officer for the society and a governor at Bannerman Road, said there were also concerns about whether the stories were appropriate for young children.

“The main issue was there was a total lack of consultation with parents,” he said.

“The schools refused to deal with the parents, and were completely authoritarian.

“The agenda was to reduce homophobic bullying and all the parents said they were not against that side of it, but families were saying to us ‘our child is coming home and talking about same-sex relationships, when we haven’t even talked about heterosexual relationships with them yet’.

“They don’t do sex education until Year Six and at least there you have got the option of withdrawing the children.

“But here you don’t have that option apparently. You can’t withdraw because it is no particular lesson they are used in.”

He added: “In Islam homosexual relationships are not acceptable, as they are not in Christianity and many other religions but the main issue is that they didn’t bother to consult with parents.

“The issue should have been, how do we stop bullying in general, and teaching about homosexuality can be a part of that.

“This was completely one-sided.

“Homosexuality is not a priority to parents but academic achievement is. This just makes parents think ‘What the heck is my child being taught at school?’.”

I agree with everything Siddique said.  Schools shouldn’t be high-handed with regard to these sensitive matters, parents weren’t given a say, it’s not (in my opinion) age appropriate material, and the school’s decision may well extend beyond the legal mandate.  (I do wonder, though, whether the bulk of the parents were as reasonable as Mr. Siddique.  I’m sure you caught the factthat the school backed down from its position because the school needed to “operate safely.”  That sounds, of course, as if the schools were receiving threats.  The article provides no further information about this cryptic phrase.)

The one thing I can assure you is that this will be an interesting battle, and it won’t revolve around the actual merits at issue:  preventing bullying, respecting the complete sexual innocence of 5 year olds, acknowledging parents’ right/need for input regarding sensitive issues, etc.  Instead, it’s going to boil down to a battle of specially protected classes:  gays vs. Muslims.  One of them will win quickly or the whole thing will get very loud and very ugly.  The only thing you can be sure of is that the children’s age-appropriate educational needs will not be taken into consideration.

Iran admits that it is governing out of the 7th Century

I firmly believe that military force should be the last option in dealing with Iran. But I also believe that, whether we talk with the Iranians, enact embargoes against the Iranians, threaten the Iranians, or whatever else the heck we decide to do vis a vis the Iranians (including an Osirak or Syria approach), we ought to understand that we’re dealing with 7th Century people who are on the verge of possessing 21st Century WMDs:

Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference, The Times has learned.

Mohsen Yahyavi is the highest-ranked politician to admit that Iran believes in the death penalty for homosexuality after a spate of reports that gay youths were being hanged.

***

The latest row involves a woman hanged this June in the town of Gorgan after becoming pregnant by her brother. He was absolved after expressing his remorse. Britain said that this demonstrated the unequal treatment of men and women in law and breached Iran’s pledge to restrict the death penalty to the most serious crimes.

A series of reported executions of gays, including two underage boys whose public hanging was posted on the internet, has alarmed human rights campaigners.

***

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the FCO released papers to The Times about the death penalty being used in Iran for homosexuality, adultery and sex outside marriage.

Minutes taken by an official describe a meeting between British and Iranian MPs at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a peace body, in May. When the Britons raised the hangings of Asqari and Marhouni, the leader of the Iranian delegation, Mr Yahyavi, a member of his parliament’s energy committee, was unflinching. He “explained that according to Islam gays and lesbianism were not permitted,” the record states. “He said that if homosexual activity is in private there is no problem, but those in overt activity should be executed [he initially said tortured but changed it to executed]. He argued that homosexuality is against human nature and that humans are here to reproduce. Homosexuals do not reproduce.”

***

Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Nigeria apply the death penalty for homosexuality, according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

The same article concludes with a helpful list of some of the victim so Sharia law, a law that, when originally enacted, was probably consistent with the law in Western countries as well, during the 7th through 16th Centuries.  The problem is that we in the West have moved on, while those in Iran and other Islamist nations, have not:

2005

— Homosexuals Farbod Mostaar and Ahmad Chooka sentenced to death. Iran said Chooka had kidnapped, knifed and raped a student

— A woman called Soghra was sentenced to stoning for adultery and being an accomplice to her husband’s murder

— Two men executed in public after being found guilty of a homosexual relationship. A newspaper said they were convicted of sodomy, rape and kidnapping

— Zhila Izadi, 13, sentenced to stoning after becoming pregnant with her brother’s child

2006

— Malek Ghorbany sentenced to stoning for adultery

— Leila Qomi sentenced to stoning for adultery and assisting a man who killed her husband. He received 100 lashes

2007

— Jafar Kiana stoned for adultery. His female lover Mokarrameh Ebrahimi sentenced to the same fate.

While I have absolutely no doubt that there are thousands, nay, tens of thousands or even millions of good, decent, humane Iranians, it is patently clear that the country as a whole has embraced a leadership that has no conception of human rights as we understand them in the West.  Iran’s morality and belief systems are entirely different from ours, and we make a terrible mistake if we assume that they use the same decision-making algorithms we in the West do, whether we’re talking about women, gays, WMDs, or the destruction of nations.

The foot tapping problem continues

The Larry Craig story, arising as it did in isolation, sounded almost silly, what with all the foot tapping and shuffling. It turns out, though, that there’s nothing silly about it, and it was such a problem for one local business that it called in the police:

Seven men ranging from 32 to 80 years old were cited in an undercover sting operation targeting sexual solicitation in a restroom at a San Rafael hotel, police said.

The two-day sting – similar to the recent police operation that ensnared U.S. Sen. Larry Craig in June in an airport restroom – was conducted at the request of the Embassy Suites on McInnis Parkway, said San Rafael police Sgt. Dan Fink.

The hotel sought police action after noticing an increase in men around the ground-floor restrooms over the past several months, Fink said. The hotel management suspected that men were meeting there for sex, and investigators found Internet postings that seemed to offer confirmation.

“Just bring it now early morning you know where and what, or after 5 pm today,” someone wrote in a craigs list posting titled, “E suites rigth now – 28 (san rafael).”

Police sent undercover detectives into men’s room stalls from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The detectives were solicited for sex three times Wednesday and four times Thursday either through spoken propositions or signals such as foot-tapping and throat-clearing.

“We had two situations where the suspects would actually put their heads underneath the wall to communicate with the officer,” Fink said.

***

The seven men were released pending court hearings. They include two San Rafael residents, one 36 years old and the other 45; a 42-year-old Novato resident; an 80-year-old Tiburon resident; a 39-year-old Guerneville resident; a 52-year-old Rohnert Park resident; and a 32-year-old San Pablo resident.

Fink said the men were cooperative with police. One said he was married, while others were wearing wedding bands.

“Everybody’s story was that they had a legitimate reason to be in San Rafael,” he said. “Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. It was a nonstop flow.”

News of the bust was posted to Craigslist within hours of the first round of citations.

I consider myself a libertarian when it comes to private sexual activity. I am not, however, a libertarian when it comes to sex in public places, and a men’s bathroom is a public place. I have on many occasions been out with the children and had to send my 8 year old son alone into a public men’s room. I’ve always been worried about kidnapping or assault; apparently I now have something new to be worried about.

May I recommend to you. . . .

. . . . a wonderful opinion piece that Cinnamon Stillwell wrote about the San Francisco drag queens dressed as nuns who took Holy Communion, not as an act of faith, but to ridicule the Church.  Not only does Cinnamon expose the fundamentally anti-Christian attitude behind this attack on the deepest principles of the Church, she also shows the hypocrisy inherent in the attack on an easy target, one that will not fight back, while the same activist groups, for the most part, ignore completely the violently anti-homosexual policies in the Muslim world.

Thinking about Dumbledore

As you recall, people cheered wildly at Rowling’s announcement that Dumbledore is gay, and many in the media have been thrilled.  Certainly Dumbledore is one of the best and most honorable characters in the Harry Potter series.  But think about it:  Dumbledore’s first and only love was a murderous psychopath (clearly meant to remind readers of Hitler).  Even Rowling conceded that this love was disastrous:

She was asked by one young fan whether Dumbledore finds “true love.”

“Dumbledore is gay,” the author responded to gasps and applause.

She then explained that Dumbledore was smitten with rival Gellert Grindelwald, whom he defeated long ago in a battle between good and bad wizards. “Falling in love can blind us to an extent,” Rowling said of Dumbledore’s feelings, adding that Dumbledore was “horribly, terribly let down.”

Dumbledore’s love, she observed, was his “great tragedy.”

After this tragic relationship, which took place when he was a teenager, Dumbledore apparently retreated forever from any other romantic relationships, gay or straight, devoting himself instead to a celibate life.

So should gays really be celebrating this revelation?  It seems to me as if Rowling is saying that, while homosexuals can quite obviously be loving, brilliant, powerful, honorable and brave, their sexuality can blind them and celibacy is the better option.  That seems to be strictly in keeping with the religious doctrine that says that, while gays can’t help being gay, they shouldn’t act on it.  (I actually find this view troubling, since sexuality is such an integral part of the human condition.  I just like bedroom conduct kept in the bedroom, and off the streets and out of politics.)

In any event, if I’m right about the conclusions you have to draw from Rowling’s writing, I doubt that what she’s saying is something gay rights activists really want to support.

Where it’s all going

In today’s Friday Quickies post, I wrote about the rather bizarre sexual identity civil war being played out in Congress now that the Dems are in control, as the different sides to the argument fight over whether “transgendered” individuals should be included in an employment discrimination bill.

By the way, before I get any further in this post, I want to say I want a short persons anti-discrimination bill. Or maybe I want a “looks lousy in pea green sweaters” anti-discrimination bill. What am I saying. How about an “anything that offends my sensibilities is discrimination” anti-discrimination bill. Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964* is, apparently, inadequate to the purpose, despite it’s laundry list of people against whom there cannot be discrimination, and since we apparently need to legislate to the fringe in order to keep Americans behaving decently at work, we’d better line up every single kind of discrimination imaginable and start passing laws like crazy. End of digression. Back to the main purpose of this post, which is transgendered individuals.

If the post RD directed me to is to be believed, the feds are already acting as if transgendered individuals are a protected class. How else to explain this:

James Watson’s forced recantation reminds me of a situation that has arisen at a particular government-administered intelligence program with which I am familiar. One of the employees at this office has decided he is a woman, and has demanded–and so far received–the right to use the women’s restroom. Management has informed the women who work there that if they even voice disagreement, they will lose their jobs on the spot. All employees are required to call him by his new female name, to use female pronouns in reference to him, and to otherwise assent that this very sick individual really is a woman. Again, failure to do so will result in immediate termination, no questions asked. They have been instructed, in other words, that they shall accept as true whatever they are told. Any suggestion that they believe their own eyes over what management tells them shall result in being cast into the outer darkness–this is a very privileged world and once you’ve been expelled, it is nearly impossible to get back in.

What has been astonishing to behold is the number of employees–particularly the functionaries in middle management–who have taken the view that because we humans make our own reality, they now believe–really believe–that this man is a woman. Management has said so. He has said so. To deny it is to commit an act of discrimination. All discrimination is wrong. I believe he is a woman. And so forth.

There are some who have privately reacted with horror, and the thing that horrifies them most is that so many people are willing to surrender their minds to the control of others, and to believe that reality is whatever they are told it is by the authorities. A scene which as always stuck with from from 1984 involves Winston watching his interrogator destroy a piece of evidence that the government was lying. You must remember that such evidence existed, he insists. You yourself held in in your own hands only moments ago. “I do not remember it,” his tormentor replies, and Winston sinks into despair.

Watching men as accomplished as Watson debase themselves and profess not to believe what they know to be true fills me with the same kind of despair.

I don’t think the 1984 comparison goes too far at all. George Orwell, raised in the socialist milieu fully understood would happens when variations of socialism take over.

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* By the way, regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it’s interesting to note the operative language:  “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”  By “sex,” Congress of course meant “gender,” as the legislative history clearly shows.  Nevertheless, it would seem to me that a court can easily expand sex to mean sexuality, as well as gender, without the necessity of enacting brand new legislation.