Texas: A not-so-great state

As Perry eyes the presidency and Dewhurst makes a bid for the Senate, let’s look at the story the numbers really tell

Phyllis Guest | Taking NoteGuest.Phyllis.2

It seems that while David Dewhurst is running for the U.S. Senate, Rick Perry — otherwise known as Gov. Goodhair — is planning to run for president. I wonder what numbers they will use to show how well they have run Texas.

Could they cite $16 million? That’s the sum Perry distributed from our state’s Emerging Technology Fund to his campaign contributors.

Or maybe it is $4.1 billion. That’s the best estimate of the fees and taxes our state collects for dedicated purposes — but diverts to other uses.

Then again, it could be $28 billion. That’s the last published number for the state’s budget deficit, although Perry denied any deficit during his last campaign.

But let’s not get bogged down with dollar amounts. Let’s consider some of the state’s other numbers.

There’s the fact that Texas ranks worst in at least three key measures:

We are the most illiterate, with more than 10 percent of our state’s population unable to read a word. LIFT — Literacy Instruction for Texas — recently reported that half of Dallas residents cannot read a newspaper.

We also have the lowest percentage of persons covered by health insurance and the highest number of teenage repeat pregnancies.

Not to mention that 12,000 children have spent at least three years in the state welfare system, waiting for a foster parent. That’s the number reported in the Texas-loving Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, the Legislature has agreed to put several amendments to the Texas Constitution before the voters. HJR 63, HJR 109 plus SJR 4, SJR 16, and SJR 50 all appear to either authorize the shifting of discretionary funds or the issuance of bonds to cover expenses.

Duh. As if we did not know that bonds represent debt, and that we will be paying interest on those bonds long after Dewhurst and Perry leave office.

Further, this spring, the Lege decided that all voters — except, I believe, the elderly — must show proof of citizenship to obtain a state ID or to get or renew a driver’s license. As they did not provide any funds for the issuance of those ID cards or for updating computer systems to accommodate the new requirement, it seems those IDs will be far from free.

Also far from free is Perry’s travel. The Lege decided that the governor does not have to report what he and his entourage spend on travel, which is convenient for him because we taxpayers foot the bill for his security — even when he is making obviously political trips. Or taking along his wife and his golf clubs.

And surely neither Rick Perry nor David Dewhurst will mention the fact that a big portion of our state’s money comes from the federal government. One report I saw stated that our state received $17 billion in stimulus money, although the gov and his lieutenant berated the Democratic president for providing the stimulus.

And the gov turned down $6 billion in education funds, then accepted the funds but did not use them to educate Texans.

The whole thing — Dewhurst’s campaign and Perry’s possible campaign, the 2012-2013 budget, the recent biannual session of the Texas Legislature — seems like something Mark Twain might have written at his tongue-in-cheek best.

We have huge problems in public school education, higher education, health care, air pollution and water resources, to mention just a few of our more notable failures.

Yet our elected officials are defunding public education and thus punishing children, parents, and teachers. They are limiting women’s health care so drastically that our own Parkland Hospital will be unable to provide appropriate care to 30,000 women.

They are seeking a Medicaid “pilot program” that will pave the way for privatized medical services, which will erode health care for all but the wealthiest among us. They are fighting tooth and nail to keep the EPA from dealing with our polluted environment. They are doing absolutely nothing to ensure that Texas continues to have plenty of safe drinking water.

They are most certainly not creating good jobs.

So David Dewhurst and his wife Tricia prayed together and apparently learned that he should run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat. Now Rick Perry is planning a huge prayer rally Saturday, Aug. 6, at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

God help us.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Drawing Dallas

Even with a big family (3 kids and 5 grandkids), retired schoolteacher Richard John du Pont projects a dandy’s fashion sense

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name: Richard John du Pont

Occupation: Retired elementary school teacher

Spotted at: Kroger’s on the Strip

Colorful and vibrant, Richard was born and reared in upstate New York in a small town on the Mohawk River called Crescent. Retired since 2003, this tireless educator spent 30 years teaching 4th and 6th grades, and continues as a substitute teacher for the Dallas I.S.D (Sam Houston Elementary and Maple Lawn Elementary). He graduated with a bachelor’s in elementary education from the Central University of Iowa and a has masters in education from North Texas State University at Denton.

A man of taste: This silver-haired taste maker owns an exquisite collection of antiques, tastefully chosen to accent his beautiful home. He also lends his skill and expertise as a salesman to two estate sales and as a sales rep for Metrotex at the four large annual shows at the Dallas Trade Center.

Daddy dearest: This proud patriarch of two sons, one daughter and five grandsons sees family as the root of his life. His close-knit clan lives in the area so he is able to spend a lot of time with his children and grandchildren.

His hobbies include volunteer work for DIFFA, Legacy Counseling Center and Fresh, as well as traveling, reading, working out at Gold’s Gym Uptown, dancing and shopping. He collects vintage clothing and jewelry (more than 100 suits at least — he attends the Cathedral of Hope every Sunday in one of them with an antique brooch), and Converse and Vans shoes.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 29, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Pet of the Week: Dean

Dean is a stunning black-and-white tuxedo kitty with olive-green eyes. He’s 2 years old but seldom acts his age. Dean loves people and is great with children and other cats, too. Sometimes he’s playful, sometimes he’s laidback, and he’s always loving. June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and the purrfect time to make Dean a part of the family.

Dean and many other dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from Dallas Animal Services, 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30, just minutes west of Downtown Dallas. The shelter is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sundays noon-5 p.m. The cost to adopt is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats and includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip and more. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV. For more information, visit DallasAnimalServices.org or call 214-671-0249.

—  John Wright

Latin flair

comedy
MUY FUNNY | Dan Guerrero works for laughs while being gay and Latino in his one-man show.

Before he could write ‘¡Gaytino!,’ Dan Guerrero first had to find his roots

rich lopez  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Growing up gay and Latino can be a tough hand to play. In a culture that revels in religion and machismo — hell, the word “machismo” is Latino — coming out poses pitfalls.

But Dan Guerrero lucked out. With some artsy upbringing by a musician dad and a not-so-practicing Catholic background, Guerrero’s closet was easy to open. In fact, it was harder for him just to be Hispanic.

“Los Angeles never made me feel like I was good enough,” he says. “I fell in love with musicals in junior high. I wanted to hear Julie Andrews in Camelot! Who gives a rat’s ass about mariachi?”

His dad might have given one. He was famed musician Lala Guerrero, the father of Chicano music who popularized the Pachuco sound in the 1940s (the beats most associated with Zoot suits and swing dancing). While Guerrero appreciated his father’s legacy, he established his own identity by moving to New York to become an actor. That didn’t work out so much, but becoming an agent did.

“It was kind of by accident, but I ended up being an agent for 15 years,” he says. “I got into producing and I loved it.”

Although he stepped away from performing, Guerrero finds himself back onstage Friday and Saturday at the Latino Cultural Center with ¡Gaytino! The autobiographical one-man show is part comedy, part cabaret, with Guerrero recounting in lyrics and punch lines his experiences growing up gay and Latino, life with father … and having to rediscover his roots after moving back to L.A.

“The main reason I did the show is, I wanted to know more about my dad and my best friend. I was already fabulous,” he laughs. “So I don’t think of this as my story. I wanted to embrace his legacy and celebrate him and our lives, but also tell of being a born-again Hispanic.”

In L.A., Guerrero rediscovered his heritage. While still working in entertainment, he noticed a lack of Latinos behind the scenes. He started a column in Dramalogue to change that, interviewing actors like Jimmy Smits and Salma Hayek and producing shows that spoke to Latin audiences.

And then came ¡Gaytino!

“Well, the word itself hit me first so I trademarked it. Then it was madness as I set about writing it,” he says.

When the show debuted in 2005, Guerrero hadn’t performed in 35 years. He was a different man, no longer a young buck with nothing to lose and untarnished optimism. He was a behind-the-scenes producer and casting agent. He was — gasp! — older.

“I remember thinking, ‘What am I gonna do? What if I forget my lines?’ I’m an old codger,” he says. “But I got onstage and it was like I had did it the day before. Performing is just part of who I am.”

With his successful day job (he once repped a young Sarah Jessica Parker), a healthy relationship (32 years this November) and irons in many other fires, why bother with the daunting task of writing a show and carrying it alone?

“It still feels like I’m breaking into show business. At least when you’ve been around as long as I have, you can get the main cheese by phone,” he answers. “But really, I had something I wanted to say and I love doing it. I’ve been lucky to stay in the game this long but it’s not by accident; it’s all been by design.”

What he loves isn’t just doing his show, but how it pushes positive gay Latino images. He’s dedicated this chapter in his life to that. Guerrero now feels parental toward the younger generation — maybe because he has no children of his own.

“I do feel a responsibility and not just to younger people, but to all,” he says. “For ¡Gaytino!, I first want them entertained, but I hope audiences will leave more educated about some Chicano culture and history and Gaytino history.”

……………………………………

QUEER CLIP: ‘BEGINNERS’

screen

 

Beginners is such a dreadfully forgettable and generic title for what is the year’s most engaging and heartfelt comedy, you feel like boycotting a review until the distributor gives it a title it deserves.

Certainly the movie itself — a quirky, humane and fantastical reverie about the nature of love and family, with Ewan McGregor as a doleful graphic artist who, six months after his mother dies, learns his 75-year-old dad (Christopher Plummer) is gay and wants to date — charts its own course (defiantly, respectfully, beautifully), navigating the minefield of relationships from lovers to parent/child with simple emotions. It’s not a movie that would presume to answer the Big Questions (when do you know you’ve met the right one? And if they aren’t, how much does that matter anyway?); it’s comfortable observing that we’re all in the same boat, and doing our best is good enough.

McGregor’s placid befuddlement over how he should react to things around him — both his father’s coming out and a flighty but delightful French actress (Melanie Laurent) who tries to pull him out of his shell — is one of the most understated and soulful performances of his career. (His relationship with Arthur, his father’s quasi-psychic Jack Russell, is winsome and winning without veering into Turner & Hooch idiocy.) But Plummer owns the film.

Plummer, best known for his blustery, villainous characters (even the heroic ones, like Capt. Von Trapp and Mike Wallace), exudes an aura of wonder and discovery as the septuagenarian with the hot younger boyfriend (Goran Visnjic, both exasperating as cuddly). As he learns about house music at a time when his contemporaries crave Lawrence Welk, you’re wowed by how the performance seethes with the lifeforce of someone coming out and into his own. His energy is almost shaming.

Writer/director Mike Mills’ semi-autobiographical film suffers only being underlit and over too quickly. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to spend more time with these folks.

—Arnold Wayne Jones

Rating: Four and half stars
Now playing at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 10, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

PolitiFact catches anti-gay group NOM in a huge lie about gay marriage and children

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

The Pulitzer Prize winning site PolitiFact just called out the National Organization for Marriage for pushing a misleading statement.

And it's a huge lie – one that is central to the organization's argument against same-sex marriage:

In early January, just days after Lincoln Chafee replaced Donald Carcieri as governor of Rhode Island, advocates on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate ramped up their annual battle.

This year, the fight is taking on new intensity because, while Carcieri vowed for eight years to veto any bill to legalize gay marriage, Chafee supports it.

Recently, a leading opponent, the National Organization for Marriage, mailed brochures throughout the state that included the headline: “Imposing same-sex marriage has consequences.” The brochure listed four “real consequences” of “redefining marriage to a genderless institution.”

We chose to examine one of the claims: “Massachusetts’ public schools teach kids as young as kindergartners about gay marriage. Parents have no legal right to object!”

We contacted Christopher C. Plante, executive director of the Rhode Island chapter of NOM, who told us that many schools in Massachusetts — where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004 — have books on the subject in their libraries.The “poster child,” he said, is a picture book called “King & King,” by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland.

The book tells the story of a queen who decided it was time for her son, the prince, to marry. He rejects every princess she offers. Finally the last candidate enters, and the prince feels “a stir in his heart.” But it was for the princess’s brother, Prince Lee.

The two marry, and the book says “everyone lives happily ever after.” On the last page, the two princes kiss, with a red heart covering their mouths.

PolitiFact said that when they asked for examples of where this book is being taught to kindergartners, Plante referred them to Lexington, MA:

  . . .two couples — David and Tonia Parker and Robert and Robin Wirthlin — filed a federal lawsuit against Lexington school officials. The suit alleged that the Parkers’ son was given a book in kindergarten that depicts various forms of families, including one with parents of the same gender. And, the suit said, when the Wirthlins’ son was in first grade, he was read another book,  ”King &King,” in school.

PolitiFact went on to recount the Parker/Wirthlin lawsuit (a more in-depth version of the David Parker controversy is here) but was still not receiving any answers regarding the claim that “gay marriage is being taught to kindergartners in Massachusetts.”

 

Plante referred PolitiFact to Kris Mineau, executive director of the Massachusetts Family Institute. The Massachusetts Family Institute is another so-called pro-family group. This is what Mineau told Politifact:

Mineau said he has been fighting same-sex marriage advocates for eight years and he is certain their message is being spread in schools throughout Massachusetts.

But he acknowledged he could not cite any examples other than Lexington. “I don’t have documentation of everything going on,” Mineau said. “It’s very difficult to quantify.”

Mineau also claimed that the outcome of the Parker/Wirthlin case (Parker and Wirthlin lost) supposedly “discouraged” parents from complaining.

PolitiFact then spoke with Jonathan Considine of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and Thomas Gosnell, president of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts.

All of these groups and individuals said that they were not aware of any school, classroom, or situation in which gay marriage is being taught to kindergartners.

Politifact concluded thusly:

Bottom line: The National Organization for Marriage mailing says that Massachusetts public schools teach kindergartners about gay marriage. The wording, including the present tense verb, gives the impression this is happening now, in many schools.

But the group’s only evidence is two incidents five years ago. It’s possible that somewhere, in one of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, other kindergartners have been taught about same-sex marriage. But NOM couldn’t cite any other examples. We find its statement False.

PolitiFact is the same site which called out Sarah Palin for her “death panel” lie and also the Republican party for claiming that the Obama Administration was pushing a “government takeover of health care.”

Both of these claims received the PolitiFact Lie of the Year for 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Depending on the reach of its claim, it's obvious that NOM's lie regarding “gay marriage being taught to kindergartners in Massachusetts” may be a front runner for the 2011 Lie of Year.

My bottom line – NOM either needs to back up its claim with some suitable proof or take back what it said and apologize for misleading people.

Hat tip to my online buddy Bob Barnes for pointing the article out to me. I took the liberty in bolding the word “false” in the PolitiFact statement.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

Report – Pope Benedict: Pedophilia Was ‘Fully In Conformity With Man And Even With Children’


Pope graphic by Mike Tidmus

David Badash over at The New Civil Rights Movement delivers this shocking moment of disgusting candor from the head of the pedophile priest protection racket. Via The Belfast Telegraph:

“Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society.

“In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.

“It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than’. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”

…”But outraged Dublin victim Andrew Madden last night insisted that child abuse was not considered normal in the company he kept.

“Mr Madden accused the Pope of not knowing that child pornography was the viewing of images of children being sexually abused, and should be named as such.

David:

It’s important to remember that this is the Pope who has declared that laws which legalize same-sex marriage “contribute to the weakening of the principles of natural law,” and to “confusion about society’s values,” and claimed that same-sex marriage “attacks” the “endangered species” that is mankind. Even befo

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

NOM: So into protecting children, they’ll take one kid’s pic and blast it ’round the web for political purpo$e$

This writer has already said that, if operating on an emotional level looking at the larger movement rather than personal passions, the “FckH8″ video campaign never seemed like the smartest of political strategies. And I’m not gonna apologize for that. Because it didn’t and still doesn’t strike as all that pragmatic, to this site and its writer, at least. (**I recognize and respect that others strongly disagree)

But that all being said: The National Organization For Marriage’s latest effort to exploit and flip the aforementioned video campaign for its own purposes has taken the game to a whole new level of offense. Because look, check out this button ad NOM’s created to promote their own cause:

Nom Banner Protectchildren

The boy in the image? Yea, that would be one of the kids from the FCKH8 video. As in: A kid whose pro-equality parent/s presumably know about his involvement. As in: A kid who never asked for NOM’s “protection.” As in: A kid who is not one of NOM’s children, but rather a young member of NOM’s pointed opposition. As in: A kid who NOM says is exploited via his sanctioned participation in the FCKH8 campaign, yet feels is being “protected” by this unsanctioned, forcible participation in NOM’s own fundraising efforts. How dare Maggie and Brian and company use this kid in this way?!



When I say that the video doesn’t strike me as smart politically, I’m speaking only about the language. The anger, the passion, the sick-of-it tone, the drive to inject humor into the whole thing: That’s of course all 100% understandable. Anger, passion, and sick-of-it-iness that is 100% DIRECTED AT NOM AND ITS SELF-APPOINTED JOB PROTECTING SOCIETY AND ITS CHILDREN! So for NOM, the ones who are always crowing about kids being “indoctrinated” in this way or that, to now further their self-appointment by using this one kid as their little victim in need of saving?! Well forget the political strategy attached to FCKH8: This attempt to flip it and exploit the underage participants is just further proof that the only families NOM cares to “protect” are the ones that SCREW=.




Good As You

—  admin

Religious right doesn’t want lgbt children to have parental support

crosssposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

A new study has come out saying that lgbt youth who receive support from their parents are less likely to engage in destructive behaviors such as suicide or substance abuse.

According to U.S. News and World Reports, the study which appears in Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing:

. . .also found that those adolescents with highly accepting families have much higher levels of self-esteem and social support when they're young adults.

The study included 245 white and Hispanic LGBT young adults, aged 21 to 25, in California who were open about their sexual orientation to at least one parent or caregiver during adolescence.

Examples of positive parental and caregiver support include supporting their gender expression or advocating for their children when they are mistreated because of their LGBT identity.

However, leave it to the folks at the American Family Association's One News Now to object to the study. And what makes the phony news publication's objection more shameful is that it doesn't even try to refute what the study says.

 

Instead, it quotes Dr. Andre Van Mol, a private physician in California. Mol calls the study “indoctrination”:

“This is ideology and indoctrination in high gear, and it carries with it the implicit [threat] 'or else your kid will kill themselves,' which is ridiculous,” contends Dr. Andre Van Mol, a family physician in private practice in Redding, California.

. . . “Love is not the same as enablement and co-dependency,” counters Van Mol. “A parent can fully love and accept their [LGBT] teen, give them a safe home where they know that they as a person are accepted, and still have it be known that their parents feel that acting out on that sexual orientation will be an inherently negative thing,” he suggests. “I don't think that's contradictory.”

The family physician goes on to tell OneNewsNow the study pushes the fruits of a strategy to take over the medical field with the ideology and indoctrination of homosexuality.

I think it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Mol doesn't know what he is talking about.

Apparently One News Now isn't alone in raising an objection about the study:

In a November commentary, Christopher Doyle of the support group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX)calls efforts to scare parents into embracing their children’s sexual behavior for fear of suicide “minority stress” theory propagated by gay activists.

Even in gay-tolerant cultures, the occurrence of suicidal behavior is much higher among homosexuals than heterosexuals,” he explained.

Doyle, an ex-gay and PFOX board member, cited a 2006 study of homosexuals in the Netherlands, which was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. Gay men were five times and lesbian women were 10 times more likely to contemplate suicide than heterosexuals. Another study found that a lower level of social hostility toward homosexuals in the Netherlands and Denmark compared with the U.S. was not associated with a lower level of psychiatric problems among homosexuals in these European countries.

Of course Doyle is inaccurate. The “studies” (actually there weren't two different studies. The article in the Christian Post is inaccurate. There was only one study) Doyle referred to was the work of Dr. Theo Sandfort. In an email written last year, Sandfort objected to how his work has been distorted.

On the whole, this entire needless controversy is a perfect example of how religious right groups operate. Was it really necessary for them to object? Common sense tells one that children who receive love and support from their family tend to have less problems with self-esteem. And we all know that unfortunately in some homes, lgbt children are robbed of that crucial support system because of the real fear that they will be rejected by their parents or even worse, kicked out on the streets.

The study just affirms this. But leave it to the religious right to object solely on ground that the lgbt identity is involved. And according to them, the study has nothing to do with making sure that lgbt children are safe and sound, but some evil plan by “gay activists” to force acceptance of homosexuality.

Such an idea is devoid of not only common sense, but basic Christian decency and kindness.

The sad irony is that without parental support, lgbt children are more likely to engage in behaviors such as suicide and substance abuse, and thereby becoming a statistic eagerly cited by religious right figures such as Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg regarding the so-called “dangers of homosexuality.”

One can't help thinking that the only reason why the religious right objects to parents giving support to lgbt children is due to the cold fact that depressed, drug addicted lgbt youth are of more use to them than happy lgbt youth.

Related posts:

One News Now, Matt Barber dehumanizes recent suicide victims
 
Why can't the religious right stop denigrating gay suicide victims?

Phony Christians shedding crocodile tears over the bullying of lgbt teens

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

NOM is Using Children as Political Pawns… Again

We got an update on a State Assembly race in California from Chris Moore, the President of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento who formerly served as Political Director for Equality California.

This isn’t just any race. One of the candidates is the notoriously homophobic Andrew Pugno, of Prop. 8 infamy. He’s running against Richard Pan, a pediatrician, who has spent his career trying to improve health care for kids.

Chris reports that NOM has weighed into this race by exploiting children, which is one of the most insidious ploys. Here’s the report:

The folks behind the divisive and hurtful Yes on Proposition 8 T.V. ads just couldn’t help themselves — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is once again using children as political pawns, but this time in an attempt to elect one of their own, Andrew Pugno, to the California State Assembly by smearing his pro-equality challenger Dr. Richard Pan. The two are facing off in a hotly contested race for Assembly District 5 in the Sacramento region.

Pugno is the golden boy of the nation-wide anti marriage equality effort. His career sets him apart from your standard anti marriage equality activists and includes such highlights as: Chief of Staff to the notoriously homophobic late Senator Pete Knight, Co-Author of Proposition 8, and lead attorney for the Yes on 8 Campaign. It is no surprise that NOM is spending big to have their go-to California political operative elected to the Assembly.

NOM has spent over 2,000 to air a new television ad in which they warn that Pugno’s opponent, Richard Pan, will support the teaching of gay marriage to 2nd graders. See the ad here.

It is fairly ironic that NOM is divisively using children as political pawns in an effort to smear Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician that has focused his career on building community partnerships to increase children’s health coverage. Dr. Pan co-founded the Healthy Kids Healthy Future program, which secured health, dental and vision coverage for over 65,000 children in the Sacramento region.

Assembly District 5 was drawn as a Republican district in 2000 but has been trending more and more Democratic. The polling for the race shows that Dr. Pan will win as long as his campaign can get the message out about Pugno’s extremist past. In addition to Pugno’s anti-gay past, he has also worked to eliminate all abortions, even in the case of incest and rape.

To learn more about this race and Andrew Pugno’s extreme past, visit www.stopandrewpugno.com.

To help Dr. Richard Pan. His website is here




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Parents are exposing their children to emotional abuse at a local Christian church

It all felt so joyous and loving at first that I almost forgot I was rubbing shoulders with parents who were endangering their own children’s lives.

At 9 am on September 5th at Canyon Hills Community Church, a young man poised drum sticks over a full kit.  Guitarists plugged their instruments into amps as the vocal team lined up behind the song leader.  House lights were dialed down and a 300-strong audience took to their feet.  The house began to rock.  

Giant screens flanking the stage cued up the lyrics and added to the rock concert vibe fostered by deep blue stage lighting.  The auditorium reverberated with fully voiced, energetic praise song.  It really got the blood flowing.

Oh happy day, happy day!

You washed my sin away

Oh happy day, happy day!

I’ll never be the same

Forever I am changed.

Through the applause the band segued into a power ballad, bringing the audience down to a more reverential mindframe.  Many palms were lifted heavenward.  The music and lyrics were emotional.

This is how we know,

This is how we know what love is

Just one look at Your cross

And this is where we see,

This is where we see how love works

For You surrendered Your all …

King Jesus we love You,

For we have been loved,

We have been loved.

This was the introduction to the day’s sermon “Should Christians be tolerant of homosexuality?”  Pamphlets in the lobby and a page on the church’s website state the answer to that question: “no”.  This means that the 20 minutes of joyous song about love that opened the service was a cruel set-up.

I could only guess at the confusion and heartache about to be experienced by the many kids in the auditorium as the pastor used his position of moral authority and the approval of nodding or silent parents to sew into their hearts the seeds of self-loathing and suicide.  I was about to witness raw, deliberate emotional brutality wrapped in the guise of love.  

After a prayer asking God to help teachers lead children to God, one of the pastors angled the congregation for volunteer Sunday school teachers, saying

We as a church, Canyon Hills Community Church, we value children.  If you’ve been in this building, you know that we have an investment in the lives of our children.

“We value our children”?  What a sick joke.
Canyon Hills Community Church is a tenant of the Canyon Park Business Center, a high-tech office park located in the north Seattle suburb of Bothell, WA.  I took notice of the church when the email to the right was circulated company-wide by my wife’s employer, which is also located in Canyon Park.  CHCC’s website made clear that the enterprise angling for new members by offering free lunch is dangerously homophobic.  The hazards of blindly forwarding solicitation emails company-wide was explained to the HR department of my wife’s company, and to their credit they’ve since tightened their policies.

The story would have ended there, but at the time the church’s main web page (left) happened to be advertising a series of upcoming sermons including the one titled “Should Christians be tolerant of homosexuality?”.

I decided I had to witness this service for myself.  Although I’ve heard and read plenty of anti-gay rhetoric from public religious figures, I’ve never attended a service where gays were attacked from the pulpit.  I figured I owe it to the kids here in my own neighborhood to understand as best I can what they are facing.

Pastor Jeff Geise stepped to the pulpit after the opening music and announcements were over.  For over 45 minutes he

* quoted Bible verses

* belied his stated compassion for gays by choosing to use terms like “natural reflexive recoil”, “homosexual” and “gross”

* chastised his gay brother-in-law for leaving a heterosexual marriage rather than recognize that his own sermons compel gay people to pursue false heterosexual lives.

* quoted fake statistics, saying “the consequences often include physical damage, disease and death” and “over a third of professing homosexuals say they would get out of the gay lifestyle”, and

* evilly promised “salvation” through “ex-gay therapy” scams like Exodus International and, even more shockingly, “Pastor Ben’s own thesis that he wrote for his schooling.”.

It was horrible to witness, but well worth the discomfort to experience first-hand the soul-crushing ton of bricks being dropped on children.  I am now even more motivated than before to do what I can to let such kids know they are beautiful, perfect and whole and do not need “saving” a la Pastor Jeff’s cruel and impossible plan.

Sitting a few seats from me was a teenage girl who clearly had been dragged to church by her mother.  The bathroom slippers, sullen slouching and refusal to participate in even the “greet your neighbor” exercise were dead giveaways.  Her brave, defiant presence more than anything else prompted me to question not what the pastor was saying, but to question why children were present in that service at all.

LOVE YOUR CHILDREN TO DEATH

You can watch a video of the sermon here if you’re curious.  I’m not providing a transcript because I don’t think the particular Bible versus cited or arguments made by Pastor Jeff are surprising or even the most important thing.

What is important is that parents are choosing to subject their children to this emotional abuse.  By exposing a gay or maybe-gay child to a church like this, parents make a clear choice to prioritize dogma over their child’s life.  Because make no mistake, for some children the choice between being true to themselves and living up to the impossible heterosexual expectations placed on them by their parents, pastor and church is untenable and so they kill themselves.  Does anyone need reminding what a rocky emotional time adolescence and young adulthood is anyways, without adding to it?

Parents, don’t subject your children to this emotional abuse.  It can kill.

IF YOU ARE IN CRISIS

You are not alone!

* If you live in Washington state, here is a list of places by city and county where you can find help dealing with emotional crisis, get emergency food and shelter, etc.

* The Trevor Project‘s Trevor Lifeline is a national 24-hour free and confidential toll-free suicide prevention hotline specifically aimed at gay or questioning youth, geared toward helping those in crisis or anyone wanting information on how to help someone in crisis. All calls are handled by trained counselors who are familiar with gay and questioning youth. Phone: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386).

* A huge list of other toll-free local, national and international hotlines can be found here at the Safe Schools Coalition website.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright