Fred Phelps Dead

I’d vowed to dance on this person’s grave. When the time came, there was no exaltation. There was nothing. And that was appropriate, for it ended the way it began.

I take no solace or joy in this man’s passing. We will not dance upon his grave, nor stand vigil at his funeral holding “God Hates Freds” signs, tempting as it may be.

He was a tormented soul, who tormented so many. Hate never wins out in the end. It instead goes always to its lonely, dusty end.

More on this topic: See Huffington Post

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Arizona’s New Anti-Gay Law

My cousin wrote me today expressing shock at the Arizona legislature’s passage of a blatantly rabid anti-gay bill. The bill has not been signed by the Governor, and it is not yet law. The bill would allow business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays and others.

If somehow you missed it, you can read about the legislation any most anywhere. But here is The New York Times link.

I wrote back to my cousin:

Thanks for your support! AZ Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill a few years back, and I suspect she’ll veto this one. I understand there are already a very few anticipatory signs up in shop windows. There are so many places to eat and shop in big cities like Phoenix that a merchant with such a sign is just advertising, “we aren’t much interested in staying in business” or maybe even “I hate my plate glass window.” In small towns, and AZ has lots of those, there is bigger potential for harm and hurtfulness.

In the Phoenix Metro area (and in Tucson) there are large Democratic and moderate Republican populations and they are pretty good places for everyone to live. As for the bill itself, if actually passed into law, I think it would be struck down in the higher courts. That is not to say it isn’t dangerous, but that mindset belongs to a shrinking and discredited minority.”

And here, from the New York Daily News, is what one Tucson businessman did in response to the bill: “Arizona pizzeria’s amazing response to state’s anti-gay bill.”

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Judging the Supreme Court on Same-Sex Marriage

From The Atlantic article “History Won’t Be Kind to the Supreme Court on Same-Sex Marriage” by Andrew Cohen, March 28:

Chief Justice Roberts attributed this “sea change” — nine states now recognize same-sex marriage — not to our society’s natural evolution toward empathy and compassion, not to our growing unease about judging our neighbors, not to the libertarian ideal that all consenting adults should be free to enjoy the benefits of civil rights, but to the “politically powerful” lobby and to “the political force and effectiveness of people representing, supporting your side of the case.”

Many commentators notes the SCOTUS performance in the last two days was weak-kneed, lacked conviction and pandered to popular sentiment and stereotypes.

I, one more gay person who is definitely unimpressed with the conservative block of SCOTUS, was nevertheless stunned by the appalling lack of principled legal argument or discussion among the defending and litigating parties, or, most particularly, by the Justices themselves. As far as I could see from media reporting, completely missing were discussions of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, or basic law and  constitutional principles of equal protection and non-discrimination.

Defending parties and some of the justices seemed to be arguing that, well, maybe we ought to let the States decide this — just as the states had decided that with slavery and Jim Crow laws before extraordinary measures had to be taken to stop them.

In Mississippi, it is reportedly still legal for a landlord to evict a gay person, and for an employer to fire a gay person. If this means the states can decide who gets basic civil liberties and how much of them they can get (and it does mean that), then the states are still doling out rights like party favors. Why is anyone waiting for the Supreme Court to put the “all” back into “all men are created equal?”

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“Gay Marriage Polls Not Yet Reflected In Votes”

From David Crary on Huffington Post:

NEW YORK — Poll after poll shows public support for same-sex marriage steadily increasing, to the point where it’s now a majority viewpoint. Yet in all 32 states where gay marriage has been on the ballot, voters have rejected it. … For now, however, there remains a gap between the national polling results and the way states have voted. It’s a paradox with multiple explanations, from political geography to the likelihood that some conflicted voters tell pollsters one thing and then vote differently.

My comment:

“Still not with you people yet, but thinking about doing the right thing.” We’ve seen all this before with the civil rights movement, and then again with women’s rights. “Yes, we’re in favor of liberty and equality, but not just now, and not next door. But we’ll let you know.”

“Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience stands He waiting, with exactness grinds He all.” I think that about sums it up.

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Excerpted Huffington Post Comments

I’ve recently become active in the Huffington Post registered comment community. Summitlake.com readers may find in my comments some good talking points and “intellectual ammunition” on a number of currently topical issues. I’ve mostly commented on news about the dangerous Santorum, the growing extremist religious right political movements, gay issues, women’s reproductive rights, and other recent news show-stoppers. Boldface subtitles are the titles of the HuffPost article being commented upon.

Alexander Forbes’s Comments

Dear America: You Have a Gay Problem
Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 00:50:57 in Canada
“Of course you have a right to your opinion, and we have a right to disagree, as you say. The issue is that statutory law is being used to deprive certain minorities of certain basic rights afforded all other classes of Americans (which you may call huge collections of individuals, or just ‘groups’). The most likely remedy would be the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, but, if you read the text; you’ll see it enumerates what the _States_may not abridge, which of course many states are doing anyway. Hence the push to ban Same-Sex Marriage on the federal level. Constitutional protections deal imperfectly with issues the founding fathers never heard of or anticipated. Many of your all-caps arguments are found in the Libertarian Party Platform. Sounds like your heart is in the right place even if you don’t understand “gay,” anyway.”

Social Justice: Is Marriage Equality a Civil Right?
Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 00:08:43 in Religion
“Outstanding! Thank you! Marriage equality is a civil right and should be protected under the “equal protection” 14th Amendment.”

British Lesbians Denied Valentine’s Rose By Waitress Because They Were Not A ‘Real Couple’
Commented Mar 11, 2012 at 01:18:21 in Gay Voices
“Boo Boo Bob is right; the establishment should have been called out. But, you know, that establishment wasn’t hiring ‘real’ waitresses.”

Chick-Fil-A Speaks Out On Viral Controversial Employment ‘Flyer’ (VIDEO)
Commented Mar 11, 2012 at 00:47:03 in Gay Voices
“Thanks, and you’ve raised great points in the thread too. I was “no preference” in the army, and I was never asked about religion or sexual preference in any of many careers between 1964 and 2009. “4F” draft status could be awarded for flat feet, bad eyesight or disability, not just homosexuality. But you are correct that, empirically, many employers still had covert interest in personal info that was none of their business, and rumor was often as dangerous as confirmation.”

Chick-Fil-A Speaks Out On Viral Controversial Employment ‘Flyer’ (VIDEO)
Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 23:41:19 in Gay Voices
“I’m not counting on it. I read the whole thread and researched this on Kos’ 2007 article (most links broken) and elsewhere. I don’t think I could eat at a place with a name like that anyway. I’m not even religious, but being Christian isn’t on trial here. Practicing discrimination – or trying to enact it into statute – is. The franchisee question seems legit to me until a pervasive pattern of actual discriminatory behavior is shown.”

Chick-Fil-A Speaks Out On Viral Controversial Employment ‘Flyer’ (VIDEO)
Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 22:52:27 in Gay Voices
“Wikipedia has more current info, in more detail, than you’ll find in standard paper references, AND its articles are usually better footnoted. It’s NOT a substitute for doing your own research; your teachers are right. See what you can find on “social conservatism” in Webster’s or Britannica, and then check Wikipedia. Excerpt: “Social conservatism is a form of authoritarianism often associated with the position that the national government, or the state, should have a greater role in the social and moral affairs of its citizens, generally supporting whatever it sees as morally correct choices and discouraging or outright forbidding those it considers morally wrong ones.”” Continue reading

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Rick Santorum Calls ‘Saturday Night Live’ Sketch ‘Bullying’

According to a recent Huffington Post article, Rick Santorum reacted to a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch poking fun at his anti-Gay Marriage Views by calling it ‘Bullying’ … Santorum and Bachmann are the two most rabidly anti-gay candidates ever to float to the surface of the political septic tank. In reviewing this skit, which covered all the candidates, I didn’t think the Santorum segment went far enough. The skit is embedded here, courtesy of Huffington and Hulu. (It’s preceded by a 30-second ad.)

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Michele Bachmann, Immoral and Disgusting?

I’d already had my fill of Bachmann after recent her television gaffes and embarrassingly infantile “rebuttal” of the President’s State of the Union address. I already agreed with most of what the President had to say, but it IS nationally embarrassing when a spokesperson for the loyal opposition makes such an unprincipled hash of principled debate. As concerned Europeans look across the ocean to see how America will handle the largely USA-triggered global financial crisis, when they see creatures like Bachmann announcing for the most powerful executive office in the world, what can they be thinking?

I’d dismissed Bachmann as just another lightweight candidate, but I was wrong there.

Being opposed or strongly opposed to gay marriage is still not specific to just one or more individual candidate or political party. What separates Bachmann from Sarah Palin, that other supermarket tabloid sensation, is the singular intensity of her opposition to gay marriage, gay unions, or anything else to do with gays and lesbians, period.

Not following all the Republican wannabe announcements religiously, I was unaware Bachmann is rabidly homophobic.

From the New York Times comes a Sunday feature article “For Bachmann, Gay Rights Stand Reflects Mix of Issues and Faith” by Sheryl Stolberg. How many things can you find wrong with the following statement?

We will have immediate loss of civil liberties for five million Minnesotans,” Mrs. Bachmann, then a state senator, told a Christian television network as thousands gathered on the steps of the Capitol to rally for a same-sex marriage ban she proposed. “In our public schools, whether they want to or not, they’ll be forced to start teaching that same-sex marriage is equal, that it is normal and that children should try it.”

Off the top, what I come up with is:

  1. Civil liberties allegedly includes the right to deprive others of their civil liberties. Teaching civil rights equality allegedly equals loss of “civil liberties” for people who presently enjoy them.
  2. Schools will allegedly be forced to start teaching equality. Horrors!
  3. Schools will allegedly be forced to start teaching that students should try same-sex marriage. Oh, sure!

For the record, Bachmann seems to actually believe in a homosexual agenda to indoctrinate children into adopting a gay lifestyle — presumably, thereby, swapping sexual identities. Bachmann is said to be a “Christian conservative.”

She stood up as a Christian,” said Bob Battle, pastor of the Berean Church of God in Christ here. “She made her point of view known, and she gave Christians a voice.”

I think it’s time for mainstream Christians to take back the name “Christian,” which has been hijacked by religious conservatives and political bigots hiding behind undebatable religious artifacts. Bachmann may represent the biggest inroad into national politics yet made by prejudiced anti-gay religious fundamentalists, as typified by the homophobic rantings of “God Hates Fags” Rev. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church. But she is not the only one.

We live in a time when respected moderates are vilified as evil, unprincipled and indecisive, when people who fly the American Flag are automatically associated with “my country right or wrong” yahoos, and where people who are different, or perhaps go to a different church, are demonized as disgusting and immoral, and xenophobically branded as “threats to freedom.”

It’s time to take back our flag, our symbols and our language of morality. The folks who are truly immoral and disgusting are people who persecute others, people who deprive others of their civil liberties, and people who twist and hijack American principles toward myopic and exclusionary agendas. For my money, that’s Michele Bachmann in a nutshell.

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Stonewall and the 1960 Decade

The full post of this article was originally intended for my forthcoming BIO project, an autobiography. It’s posted here for space reasons. My post was prompted by the PBS June 8 airing of their “American Experience” special “Stonewall Uprising”.  A video and transcript is available on the PBS website.

“When police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City on June 28, 1969, the street erupted into violent protests that lasted for the next six days. The Stonewall riots, as they came to be known, marked a major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States and around the world.” — PBS special Stonewall Uprising

As the PBS American Experience video “Stonewall Uprising” explains, there was no out in the Dark Ages of 1960’s; everyone was closeted. I had written about going to the library in junior high school and being horrified to find I could be classified as having a “mental defect – maybe even a form of psychopathy.” As the PBS special rightly pointed out, authors of such books “were not writing about people, they were writing about things.” I had no idea how bad it really was. I was in fact an American without civil rights, unprotected by the revered Constitution we all take for granted. Gay men and women were being incarcerated in institutions like Atascadero, California – “Dachau for Queers” – a forensic psychiatric prison facility with a grimly medieval reputation. There they were subjected to medical experimentation, including electrotherapy and other aversion conditioning, “pharmacological water-boarding.” Sometimes treatment included forcible sterilization or lobotomization.

My brother Nickie might likely have been wired into the early gay community in ways I was unaware of. He may well have had knowledge of special hidden dangers of being gay in the decade of the 1960’s. If that were the case, his pending visit to a family “shrink” may have represented not a glorious confrontational opportunity for a profoundly articulate thinker, but the literal beginning of the end. That would add a new level understanding to Nickie’s 1964 suicide, which I had never fully accepted as explicable.

Harassment, abuse and rights violations of the GLBT community only started to change when the NYPD decided to raid a grimy Mafia-run bar in Greenwich Village called “Stonewall.” In 1969 of course, I was still two full decades away from dealing with any part of my own issues with sexual orientation. My summer spent rooming with “Pablo” had instilled in me the fear without the awareness. I decided to add this section to my book after watching the PBS special and realizing that I, an “out” gay man in 2011, still had no idea how bad it had actually been in the 1960’s.

In the video, the words of Martha Shelley: “I don’t know if you remember the Joan Baez song, ‘It isn’t nice to block the doorway, it isn’t nice to go to jail, there’re nicer ways to do it but the nice ways always fail.'”

Or Virginia Apuzzo: “It’s very American to say, ‘This is not right.’ It’s very American to say, ‘You promised equality, you promised freedom.’ And in a sense the Stonewall riots said, ‘Get off our backs, deliver on the promise.’ So in every gay pride parade every year, Stonewall lives.”

I’d long been proud of the men and women who stood up to the politically and culturally biased NYPD at Stonewall. Misuse of law enforcement personnel as “morality police” has long been a cherished part of our American tradition of legally enforceable prejudice and persecution. We are closer to Iran’s secret Savak who enforce Sharia – religious law – than we feel comfortable believing. Watching the PBS presentation reminded me how very American the Stonewall protestors were, and how proud we should be of their brave contribution to the Civil Rights initiative.

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Gay Prejudice

Prejudice is for the few people that cannot be happy unless they hate some other persons conduct, nation, or creed.

Straight persons don’t feel intimated by gay people or desire to put them down. Mostly the insecure and unconfident persons some with gay inclination put down gays.

Gays mostly seek for persons that they recognize by telepathic chemistry. And to have awareness of and seek to attract by the awareness magnetism that their mental conscious and physical body’s language show desires to be honored.

Most seek only those that are for real and trustworthy. Then there are ones with no morals. Gays best watch out for ones that have only spirals of gay weakness and only are seeking for being seduced so as to show revenge and mentally feel like they are proving to society that they have a macho image by raking and slandering gays.

Yet they somewhat secretly crave to feel desired and wanted by the gay victim they try to con or convince to come on to them. They hate their own weakness or feel rejected by not having the quality that anyone desires to seduce them. Scorned persons become angry and slanderous.

A bible quote says that at the end of time two men will be in bed together. One will be taken and one left.

— contributed by Gene Taylor on March 6, 2005, in response to our “Despising Gays” article. Readers may write guest contributors care of this website.

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Insensitive Bastard

Jerry FalwellInsensitive Bastard: If it seems it’s been quiet in La Parola lately, it’s because we’ve been arguing for freedom on broader fronts.

Here at Summitlake.com, we are still in deep shock over the horrible, horrible terrorist attacks on the eastern seaboard. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t kept our eyes and ears open.

If you thought La Parola has always been a little too – well – polite, stiff and formal, you’d better read our remarks on the latest outrageous utterances of the Rev. Jerry Falwell. We chose not to post them here, but (following an increasing pattern), to give them the broadest possible exposure on What’s New, one of the most heavily trafficked pages at Summitlake.com.

Read Insensitive Bastard,in 2001 , on the Front Page of the whole Summitlake.com site, now, rescued from Archives and reproduced below.

Please take care. These are trying times. Hugs and such.

Insensitive Bastard

Gustav Niebuhr, New York Times Friday, September 14, 2001

The Rev. Jerry Falwell said yesterday that the American Civil Liberties Union, along with abortion providers, gay rights proponents and federal courts that had banned school prayer and legalized abortion, had so weakened the United States spiritually that the nation was left exposed to Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.

The conservative Baptist minister said that “the ACLU’s got to take a lot of blame for this,” according to a partial transcript of televised remarks he made on “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson’s religious program.

In the transcript, distributed by the liberal organization People for the American Way, Falwell described the ACLU as “throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools.” Referring to the terrorist attacks, he said he would point a figurative finger at those “who have tried to secularize America” and say: “You helped this happen.”

As if the unthinkably horrible events of this week have not stressed Americans to the limit, once again, the Rev. Falwell has seized upon the moment to demonize those who do not pay homage and tithe to his particular cult, those who defend individual rights, and those who simply happen to be different.

Once again, the Rev. Falwell has gone beyond the pale. He is a disgrace to organized religions, a disgrace to all thinking peoples, and a disgrace to his homeland and birthright, whatever that may be.

Summitlake.com invites thinking readers to compare Falwell to other religious fanatics: Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, the late Ayatollah Khomeini. Our challenge is to find substantive differences, if any, beyond those denied to Falwell merely because they are still prohibited by the laws of our land.

We further invite those who have the opportunity to do so, to speak out vociferously against all such agenda-laden divisiveness, and to repudiate Falwell’s verbal defecation upon the Bill of Rights. If there is to be finger-pointing, we should be looking at the parents who dropped this monster upon the fertile soil of the United States of America. Small wonder that he is opposed to abortion.

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