Category Archives: Politics

This Week’s Number One Douchebag

Pope Benedict XVI in all his Douchebagness

Pope Benedict XVI in all his Douchebagness

Just in case there was ever any doubt, Pope Benedict XVI is the single most out-of-touch person in the world.  And when you consider the other religious leaders and politicians that he is in competition with for that title, this is no small feat.  Congrats!

He secured the title during his trip to Africa this week.  In case you missed it in the news, here is a link to one of the articles covering it.  Here’s my summary of what went down:  The current Pope made his first trip to Africa and proved that he is completely out of touch with reality.  He said that condoms are not the way to stop the spread of HIV, they actually contribute to it.

Seriously.  The use of condoms actually increases the risk of HIV?!  What a jackass.  Someone who is this completely out of touch with reality cannot possibly understand the damage that is done by saying condoms make the problem worse.  He clearly is blinded by his own antiquated dogma.

Obviously, yes, with abstinence there is less risk.  If you aren’t having any sex then you probably are not ever going to come in contact with HIV.  But, that’s not the reality.  People have sex.  A lot of it.  Not only is it unrealistic to expect magnetic couples (one person HIV+, one person HIV-) to abstain from sex, it is also unrealistic to expect single people to not have sex.  All religious mumbo-jumbo aside, people are going to have sex.  Period.  So why would anyone actually take a stance that essentially guarantees the continued spreading of HIV?  Who would do such a thing?  A true douchebag.

If you doubt that condoms are a good means of having safer sex, then you only need to educate yourself.  Do your research. My preferred HIV/AIDS resource is at www.thebody.com.  A specific entry on condom use and efficiency can be found by clicking on this link.  The article may be a little old, but it is still relevant.  There are countless other resources that can be found by searching the web or going to your library.  If it is your own personal religious beliefs that prevent you from accepting the use of condoms, then I say to you, please leave that for your own relationship.  Don’t ever suggest to someone else that they should not use condoms or that their only option is to abstain from sex.

In conclusion, please do yourself and everyone around you a favor by not propagating the myth that condoms contribute to the spread of HIV.  And most importantly, please do not listen to the Pope.  He clearly supports creating an environment where people must hide their sexuality and live under a blanket of guilt and shame.  Coming from one you grew up in such an environment, I can say that guilt, shame, and self-loathing are some of the biggest threats to safer sexual practices.

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A semi-final word…

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have an announcement to make. I am in a relationship. It’s something really special. No, we didn’t make a mad rush to the courthouse to get married before election day. But despite the devastating outcome of California’s Prop. 8 (same-sex marriage ban), my relationship is still valid. I guarantee it is real. I’m not just pretending. Jeff is a real, live person. He and I have been together for over three years. He is a man and I am a man. We are a couple. No amendment to the state constitution can change that.

I first came out about 10 years ago. I came out to friends and family about 8 years ago. Yet, after all this time, I am amazed at how many people still don’t take it seriously. Folks, I’m gay. Sure, I went to Bible College and even “dated” a few girls, but, let me be clear: I am gay.

In reflecting over the last 16 years since I went to college, I felt like many of my friends from that time deserved to know what happened with me. After all, I spent a lot of time in college lying to myself and to them. We all deserved some honesty. Why did I leave the Church? How could I be gay? Over the last several years, I have spent a lot of time explaining myself to my friends from Bible College. For the few that actually read this blog, let me say: I’m moving on. No more apologies for past lies. No more sugar-coating things to make you more comfortable. With the passing of Prop. 8, I’m officially done. I tried to do the right thing and apologize for any hurt I may have caused. I’ve realized that you cannot always trust people to do the right thing. Now, hopefully we can trust the court system to protect us.

I realize that very few of my college friends actually live in California and couldn’t even vote on the proposition. But, many have made their feelings clear anyway. They don’t want equality. They don’t even want to validate gay relationships. They do this every time they call Jeff my “friend,” every time they suggest that I “date Jesus.” Whenever someone whispers “gay” as if it’s an inappropriate or dirty word only to say it loud and clear when they are using it to mean “stupid” or “dumb,” that is offensive.

Please understand that we will eventually have the right to marry. One day it will be considered completely normal for some people to be gay and society will not force that same part of the population to make unrealistic and devastating decisions about their sexuality at such a young age. I hope that when it happens and you feel for the 1,000th time that this country is falling apart; I hope that you remember you contributed to those struggles. I hope that you look up and see your weapon of choice, the Bible, aimed aggressively at me. Maybe then you’ll realize that you can’t make everyone see the world as you do.

Actually, I’m not asking for your acceptance or support. You don’t even need to agree with my beliefs. I’m just asking for you to cease fire. Stop attacking in the name of God, country, and, family. I can’t think of anything that would be more productive to your cause.

I should mention that some of the most supportive and loving people that I know are friends from Bible College. I am so thankful for those few. You right the wrongs with your love and kindness toward the gay community. Thank you.

Please take 6 and 1/2 minutes and watch Keith Olbermann’s eloquent, passionate, and powerful commentary on the passing of Prop. 8.

My Plea

Alright folks. I’ve been a well-behaved blogger this past month. I haven’t wanted to get all political on you. There, quite frankly, is more than enough of that already, everywhere. If you want to read about the presidential campaign, you could go to just about any website. And chances are, there is nothing that I could really say that would get you to change your mind. But, this is my blog and so I’ll write what I think. And, I have to say at least something about the election.

Please don’t vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Seriously. Don’t do it. If you are doing it because you think that Obama is a Muslim, first of all, shame on you, why would that matter? Second of all, um, get a clue, because he has repeatedly said that he is not. If you are voting for McCain because he is white and Obama is half-black, again, shame on you, why does that matter? If you are voting for McCain because you are uncomfortable with the name “Barack Obama,” I have this to say, shame on you, really? If you are going to vote for John McCain, I can’t stop you. You need to vote for the candidate who best represents how you feel on the issues. But I can say this: Please don’t do it. If you are unhappy with the direction George W. Bush has taken this country, please don’t do it. We deserve better as a country. The world deserves better from us.

Please vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Barack Obama is better for the economy.
Barack Obama is better for the future of this country.
Barack Obama is better for the equality of all people.

OBAMA Pictures, Images and Photos

That about sums it up for me. I’ve said it, and now I’m done. I’ll be back to business as usual after I say one more thing to all Californians…

Please vote NO on Prop. 8.

For Californians, Proposition 8 proposes to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. We currently enjoy this right. The state has not fallen into the ocean since marriage became legal for gays and lesbians. God did not send wrath upon the state of California. Please. Regardless of your beliefs about marriage, everyone should have the right to marry. It is wrong to say that two people do not deserve to get married because they are the same sex. Equality, folks. Gays and Lesbians getting married does not give marriage any less value. It does not tear a family apart. It allows a family to be validated. Please vote NO on Prop. 8.

Well, that’s it. That’s all your going to get out of me this election season. I had to say something. Remember to vote on November 4.

no on prop 8 Pictures, Images and Photos

Christians

I’m really going to go out on a limb here. Not one of those thick, sturdy limbs that can handle all of my 190 pounds, OK, fine “200” pounds…whatever. Jeez. Let’s not get nitpicky. This post is going to place me in a not-so-comfortable position. But I’m ready. I think.

Not all Christians are bad. OK, so the uncomfortable part is that I have a very diverse readership (Can you call 30 readers a “readership?”), and a good portion of them are Christians. And, they probably don’t appreciate the backhanded compliment. But, to those readers, the ones for whom I am always trying to soften my anti-religious sentiments, I apologize. I do like you. Most of you, anyway.

It’s been a rough road, leaving the Church. For those of you who are not Christians or religious, try to imagine removing a crucial part of your life–albeit one you’re ready to remove–and the void that remains. For me it was like removing a malignant tumor. It had to be removed in order for me to be healthy, but it created a huge empty space. And the surgery left a prominent scar that easily can be noticed when you talk to me. I work hard at applying a good cover-up. But, at least I can say that the wound is healing nicely.

Since I have left, I have tended to turn Christians into villains. These days I view myself as being pretty far to the left. So, it doesn’t take too much work to find a reason to dislike someone on the opposite side of the fence. Before the age of the internet (i.e. – Facebook, MySpace, Blogging) I would probably never have reconnected with any old Christian friends. I mean, I live in San Francisco and could pretty much segregate myself for the rest of my life here. But, that would be stupid. In order to truly move on in a healthy way, I have to work through it.

So, as a result, 42% of my Facebook friends are from my Bible College days. I’ve spent a lot of time rehashing the last 10 years with them. And, I have to say that I’ve been surprised by the response from most of my old friends. With a few exceptions, my old friends have been supportive. It hasn’t been all accusatory and hateful like I expected.

What got me thinking about all this was Don Miller. Up until 3 days ago, I had never heard of him. He gave the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention on the first night. I pretty much blew him off. Then, my fellow blogger and twitterer Amy Storms (who may never talk to me again after this post), made note of him and I decided to check him out. He’s a Christian author who is supporting Barack Obama. I know that this really doesn’t tell you who he is, but I included a link on his name so you can check him out if you want. My point is–and it has only taken me six paragraphs to get to it–he represents a pleasantly unusual group of Christians that are going to vote for Barack Obama.

It really is more than that, though. I listened to several of his interviews online and found him to be extremely refreshing. He wants to be treated with respect, so he is treating us with respect. I’m not saying that we will see him marching down the street with a rainbow flag anytime soon, but this is one Christian that actually looks at the gay marriage debate through constitutional eyes, not religious eyes. And, the same with abortion. He calls any abortion a tragic decision, and wants to stop needless abortions, but, does not want to take away a woman’s right to choose. Granted, this last item is a summary of what I gathered online, so I hope I’m not overstating it.

So, finally, in conclusion, and I know you are ready for the “conclusion,” I’ve noticed this from other Christian friends. They are great people. I may not agree with their religious and spiritual belief systems, but, that does not mean that we can’t be friends and respect each other. There is more to a person than just their religious and spiritual beliefs. And it would be a shame to shut someone out solely based on those differences. So, since I can’t stand to be lumped into a stereotypical group of gay left-wing liberals (which I am), I’m going to be open minded about Christians. And, to those who continue to insult me because of my beliefs and my sexual orientation, for now I am going to turn the other cheek. Because, quoting Don Miller, “It’s the only way.” We will never be unified otherwise.

So be it.

We have reached a new low. Or high. Depending on how you look at it. I was reading the newspaper this morning when a particular article caught my eye. It was titled: Pray-in at S.F. gas station asks God to lower gas prices. It’s not every day we get prayer meetings in San Francisco. Well, at least not for things like this. We’ve had our fair share of people who have made the trek to the City by the Bay to pray for the worst of all lost souls, the gays. But, this is a new one. I guess if you’re going to pray for gas prices to come down, you might as well come to the place with the highest prices in the nation, right?

I find it very interesting that an east-coast based activist/community organizer/church choir director, who also started a petition to get Oprah nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (which failed), would come to SF for a pray-in. I mean, seriously, Washington D.C. is a lot closer than San Francisco. And, really that’s where he should have gone. I realize that as a “public relations consultant” (he has like 4 jobs) this is his way of petitioning Washington and God at the same time. It’s a publicity move. I get it. Send a message to Washington by praying over the costliest fuel, literally. It’s just funny to me. Someone probably spent hundreds of dollars to fly him all the way across the country to say a prayer that he could have said from D.C., whose prices aren’t cheap either, by any means.

I suppose that I should be glad he is supporting the airline industry by flying. But, let’s cut the crap, I’ll just be honest. I have issues with this kind of prayer. I think the real power in what Twyman did was in the underlying statement he was making: We don’t trust our government to do something about gas prices. If he did, he would have been in D.C. And, honestly, I think our government needs to hear that message: We don’t trust you.

Check out this approval ratings chart from PollingReport.com. (Just click on it for the link) It’s pretty sad, Bush’s approval rating has consistently hovered from 30-35% for over a year. Most people would be fired for that kind of performance. I’m getting sidetracked, aren’t I?

I should get back to my real issue, public prayer. I think personal and private prayer as a means of meditation–focusing one’s mind on something for relaxation or other purposes–can be helpful. If prayer for you is a personal conversation with God, great, that helps focus the mind as well. But, I don’t believe that publicly (i.e.-at a gas station) presenting a request to a higher power has much benefit beyond the obvious benefit of getting your message out to the masses.

This is something I know a thing or two about. I personally have been the subject of these types of prayers before. Prayers that are a means of gossip–getting the message out to the masses. I’ve been mortified more than once to find that a deeply personal experience of mine was shared in a prayer group or at a church. If someone wants to personally pray for me, I can certainly appreciate the heart in that. When someone publicly brings up my private stuff, on no level could I ever appreciate that.

Now, I have to admit that this is a very sensitive subject for me. I have rewritten this post about 10 times over the course of a week, trying to soften my tone. And, I’m glad that I took my time with it, because, it caused me to think about this in a rational way–to come to terms with my real issues. I detest preachy, public praying.

Ultimately, I think that Robert Twyman looked a little ridiculous standing, hands outstretched over the gas pump, praying. I can’t help but think that was part of the point. He got his message out there, though, even if the powers that be weren’t listening.

In the end writing this was therapeutic for me. And, there’s a part of me that feels bad for dragging you through my therapy. I guess that’s just the nature of blogging. Some days this is what you get.

Amen. So be it.