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Wed

17

Aug

2011

“I Pledge to Discriminate and Support Bigotry, So Help Me God…”
Wednesday, 17 August 2011 06:50
by Mel Seesholtz Ph.D.

I’ve been studying and writing about gay and lesbian issues since 2003. What got me started was then Senator Rick Santorum’s comments in an AP interview in which he compared gay sex to bestiality (among other things). Those comments made him the poster-boy for malicious theopolitical rants, an image he reinforced when speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate during its debate of the Federal Marriage Amendment. With histrionic bravado Mr. Santorum proclaimed, “the future of our country hangs in the balance because the future of marriage hangs in the balance. Isn’t that the ultimate homeland security – standing up and defending marriage?” 

Santorum’s dogmatic views on gays and several other issues – in addition to his abrasive personality and “I know everything” attitude, plus his cyber school scandal – prompted Pennsylvania voters to kick him out of office. Apparently Mr. Santorum didn’t learn anything from his ignominious defeat and is still uttering the same nonsense in his run for the GOP presidential nomination:

Santorum: Perry Must Support Polygamy If He’s ‘Fine’ With New York’s Marriage Equality Law

By Igor Volsky on Jul 25, 2011

 

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R) lashed out against Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) for suggesting that he was “fine” with New York’s decision to legalize same-sex message, asking Perry – who is said to be considering his own run for the White House – if he would similarly endorse polygamy or laws against “heterosexual marriage”…

 

On the campaign trail, he has repeatedly argued that marriage equality would “destabilize” society, called for a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and claimed that gay people don’t deserve the “privilege” of parenthood. Allowing gay people to marry is “going to have a devastating impact on our children, it’s going to have a devastating impact on families, and it’s going to have a profound impact on religious liberties,” he said during a campaign stop last month.

Religions have their place, as do politics. Problems arise when they’re mixed and used to play on people fears and promote social unrest and civil discrimination. 

All of today’s major religions evolved a very long time ago by building upon or borrowing from older belief systems. (That’s evolution for you.) The three major Western religions are testimony to that, as is thoroughly researched and documented in Karen Armstrong’s 1993 A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. (A transcript of an interview with Bill Moyers is available here.)

To be sure, they all contain some “truths,” but they also contain a lot of irrational, ill-informed nonsense that simply cannot be accepted as “truth” today. Unfortunately, the truths and the nonsense got blended and then codified as “the word of God” and sanctified as “dogma.” One undeniable truth is that the three major Western warrior sky-god religions, their scriptures and dogma were all created by men a very long time ago in response to a social and cultural realities and a worldview that no longer exist. 

In an October 10, 2004 article “Interpreting the Bible on Gay Unions” in The Detroit Free Press, Susan Ager quoted from an essay by Walter Wink, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City, that appeared on the web site of Bridges-Across. In discussing Leviticus 20:13, “Wink explains that thousands of years ago, people thought men held the seed for life, that women only incubated those seeds into babies. Thus, spilling your seed with another man or alone was ‘tantamount to abortion or murder.’ Leaders frowned on that, too, as they worked hard to build up their struggling tribe” [italics added]. 

No knowledge of how conception or genetics really worked and a very secular prime directive: make more people to “build up their struggling tribe,” thereby extending its religion’s social control and political power through numbers. 

A final comment by Dr. Wink must also be noted, especially by those devout Bible-believers who so object to gay people: “If Christians are to take this verse [Leviticus 20:13] literally, they would demand the execution of all homosexuals. Not only homosexual, but all men who have ever masturbated or otherwise spilled their seed” [italics added]. How many males of all ages – sons, brothers, cousins, friends, passing acquaintances and total strangers – would that condemn to death? What would be the effect on human population civilization? Interesting proposition, is it not? 

If there were only a few “pure” males, they would have to impregnate many, many, many women to keep the population up and at least somewhat genetically diverse. Monogamous one-man-one-woman “marriage” would be distinctly counterproductive. 

From their inception, the three major Western religions thrived on encouraging condemnation – and hatred – of others. Then as now, dogmatic religious zealots use fear-based religion and dogma to maintain control over people’s lives and thoughts and promote hatred of others. Those goals also underwrite the political agendas of some. Case in point, Bradlee Dean of You Can Run But You Cannot Hide ministry and GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann. Mr. Dean used religion to proclaim killing gays is a moral act:

You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit ministry that brings its hard rock gospel into public schools, has been deepening its long-running ties to the Republican Party of Minnesota. Long a cause célèbre for Rep. Michele Bachmann, who has twice lent her name to the group’s fundraising efforts, You Can Run (YCR) had a booth at the GOP convention in April, and the group’s frontman, Bradlee Dean, reports that gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer recently accepted an invitation to visit with him at Dean’s home. But recent controversial statements by Deanthat Muslim countries calling for the execution of gays and lesbians are “more moral than even the American Christians”have drawn the ire of some both within and outside the party.

 

“Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America,” Dean said on YCR’s May 15 radio show on AM 1280 the Patriot. “This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.”

 

“If America won’t enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that,” Dean continued. “That is what you are seeing in America.”

 

“The bottom line is this… they [homosexuals] play the victim when they are, in fact, the predator,” Dean said, before going on to make a claim that has no basis in fact: “On average, they molest 117 people before they’re found out. How many kids have been destroyed, how many adults have been destroyed because of crimes against nature?”

And what did Mrs. Bachmann have to say about this “ministry” and its overt hate-mongering, seeming call for violence “in the name of God,” and blatant lying about the “average gay” (whatever that is) molesting 117 people before they’re found out? Huffington Post documented her position: 

WASHINGTON -- If you thought evangelical preaching needed longer hair, tattoos, nu-metal drumming, and a ton of hate speech directed at gays, then Bradlee Dean is your guy.

 

He's very much Rep. Michele Bachmann's guy. Bachmann, whose district covers Dean's suburban Minnesota headquarters, didn't just endorse Dean, but has prayed for him and his ministry, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, in a clip highlighted recently by City Pages.

 

"Would you keep them from evil?" Bachmann prays. "Would you keep them from pain?" Finally she begs the Almighty to "pour a triple blessing on this ministry" and expand it ten-fold. 

Mrs. Bachmann was, of course, the first to sign The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family.” (Not surprisingly, Rick Santorum also signed and is “courting” Bob Vander Plaats, author of “The Marriage Vow.”) And Mrs. Bachmann’s husband, Marcus Bachmann, does run dog-and-pony show clinics where one can “pray the gay away.” Such “reparative,” “conversion,” – “ex-gay” therapies – have been denounced as ineffective and harmful by every legitimate, science-based, professional medical association in America. 

According to the American Psychological Association, no scientific evidence exists to support the effectiveness of therapies that attempt to convert homosexuals to heterosexuals. According to the American Medical Association, “There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative therapy as a treatment to change one’s sexual orientation,” and the AMA “does not recommend aversion therapy for gay men and lesbians.” 

The American Psychological Association has stated that “Groups who try to change the sexual orientation of people through so-called conversion therapy are misguided and run the risk of causing a great deal of psychological harm to those they say they are trying to help.” The American Psychiatric Association concurs: “gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so.” And according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Therapy directed at specifically changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.” 

All forms of “ex-gay” therapies were publicly decried in 1999 as unethical by both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association. For more on the “ex-gay” ruse (and the Bachmann clinics) see Truth Wins Out and by all means check out this study:

Pat Robertson’s Regent University: Ex-Gays Can Act The Part, But Orientation Doesn’t Change

By Zack Ford on Jul 21, 2011

 

Revelations that Marcus Bachmann’s clinics administer ex-gay therapy have thrust the “controversial” treatment into the media spotlight. There is no controversy among scientists, however, who continue to agree that the therapy is not effective and should not be recommended because it can be harmful. A new study from a surprising source confirms this reality; researchers at Pat Robertson’s Regent University found that “ex-gays” in opposite-sex marriages continued to have a same-sex orientation.

 

The study (PDF) looked at “mixed-orientation” marriages in which at least one member of the couple is not heterosexual. … 

Bradlee Dean, meanwhile, has filed a law suit: 

Bradlee Dean's Ample Antigay Comments

By Andrew Harmon

 

The Minnesota preacher who filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit Wednesday against MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Minnesota Independent reporter Andy Birkey has a long track record of broadcasting antigay comments, Think Progress LGBT's Zack Ford writes.
You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International's Bradlee Dean claims that Maddow and Birkey maliciously took some of his comments out of context while ignoring a ministry disclaimer condemning calls to execute gay people — this to achieve both journalists' end-goal, according to the complaint, of “significantly [harming] the ‘big political prize’ which they loathe, Christian conservative presidential candidate Michele Bachmann,” who has “twice lent her name to [the ministry's] fundraising efforts.”

 

But Ford posted an extensive history of Dean's support for prosecution and incarceration of gay people, as well as assertions that a “homosexual agenda” is infiltrating the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota [“Bradlee Dean Never Calls For The Persecution Of Gays, Except All The Time,” posted July 27, 2011]. … 

Bob Vander Plaats was in the forefront of the right-wing campaign to unseat three Iowa state Supreme Court justices up for reelection because they voted to uphold the state’s constitution’s guarantee of civil equality in relation to the civil institution called “marriage.” (The Iowa’s Supreme Court decision was unanimous.) He ran for governor of Iowa three times, and served as the Iowa state chair of Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign.

These days Mr. Vander Plaats is the point man for The Family Leader which, according to its website, is “is associated with Focus on the Family, an international family-strengthening ministry headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO” and “is also in association with the Family Research Council, a pro-family, nonpartisan public policy organization based in Washington D.C. TFL works cooperatively with FRC President Tony Perkins and in coalition with numerous other state and national public-policy groups.”

These “associations” are not surprising. Focus on the Family has long espoused opposition to civil equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It was founded in 1977 by child psychologist James Dobson. Although he had no formal theological training, nor was he ever an ordained minister, Dr. Dobson became what Time magazine called him, “the nation's most influential evangelical leader.” In his 2004 book Marriage Under Fire: Why We Must Win This Battle, he offered “Eleven Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage.” The first was “The legalization of homosexual marriage will quickly destroy the traditional family.” The last was “The culture war will be over, and the world may soon become ‘as it was in the days of Noah’ (Matthew 24:37).” Dr. Dobson founded the Family Research Council in 1981. Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Family Research Council as an anti-gay “hate group.”

The full text of Mr. Vander Plaats’ “The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family” and its copious endnotes are available here. An article about the document on OutsidetheBeltway.com made a critical observation:

The Family Leader, a prominent Iowa group that promotes Christian conservative social values, said Thursday it is asking all presidential candidates to sign a pledge regarding their personal convictions on traditional marriage. …

 

The organization’s chief executive officer is Bob Vander Plaats, a conservative evangelical leader who was the state chair of Mike Huckabee’s Republican presidential campaign when he won the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. Vander Plaats said the Family Leader will not support any candidate who declines to sign the pledge. [italics added]

The italicized clauses underscore the danger of homogenizing personal religious beliefs and public policies. To be sure, the two will always be involved with each other. We vote for and elect candidates who most closely mirror our views, and for many those views derive from or are shaped by religious beliefs and/or religious dogma. Religious beliefs and dogma are just that: beliefs and concocted doctrine. They’re not based on facts or evidence. They’re base on “faith” which is, by definition, not based on reason, facts or empirical evidence.

From Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition:

Dogma n, [L dogmat-, dogma, fr. Gk, from dokein to seem] 1a: something held as an established opinion; esp: a definite authoritative tenet. B: a code of such tenents <pedagogical ~>. C: a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds. 2: a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church.

“From dokein to seem… established opinion… a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds... formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church” [italics added]. Dogma is the unsubstantiated opinion of someone or some group that must remain as is despite ever-changing social, cultural and political contexts. As one definition in theOxford English Dictionary put it, dogma is “an imperious or arrogant declaration of opinion” which uses itself as its source of authority.

Public policies, on the other hand, must be based on reason, facts and empirical evidence. They must assure the civil equality of all citizens. They need to serve the needs of a diverse population, and they must be in the best interest of the country, not certain religious beliefs or dogma.

The Preamble of Bob Vander Plaats’ theopolitical loyalty oath sets the dogmatic tone. The third and fourth of the fourteen “vows” are theofascist blends. The last one illustrates how good civil ideas can be perverted and used by theopoliticos to protect themselves while harming others.

 The Preamble – “Therefore, in any elected or appointed capacity by which I may have the honor of serving our fellow citizens in these United States, I the undersigned do hereby solemnly vow to honor and to cherish, to defend and to uphold, the Institution of Marriage as only between one man and one woman. I vow to…” – clearly demands politicians actively work to deny gay and lesbian Americans equal rights to the civil institution called “marriage.” Whatever else the Vander Plaats’ document demands, civil inequality based on religious dogma is first and foremost.

When a colleague and I were team-teaching “Religion in American Thought and Life,” one of our guest speakers was a biblical literalist and fundamentalist’s fundamentalist. His views on homosexuality were more than predictable, until someone in the class asked him about same-sex marriage. As long as marriage was deemed a civil institution, with licenses issued by the state, he had no problem with same-sex marriage. I – and more than a few students – almost fell out of our seats. In the follow-up class discussion, even the most religious members of the class had to agree with the speaker’s logic and reasoning. All citizens should have – must have – access to civil institutions.

Vows three and four read:

-- Official fidelity to the U.S. Constitution, supporting the elevation of none but faithful constitutionalists as judges or justices.

 

-- Vigorous opposition to any redefinition of the Institution of Marriage - faithful monogamy between one man and one woman - through statutory-, bureaucratic-, or court-imposed recognition of intimate unions which are bigamous, polygamous, polyandrous, same-sex, etc.

“Faithful constitutionalists.” An interesting designation. A basic dictionary definition of “constitutionalist” is adherence to or government according to constitutional principles; also : a constitutional system of government.” Sounds good, but given the author of the these vows – and his theopolitical motives and social agenda – the “faithful” adjective defines what Harvard Divinity School graduate and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges called “logocide” in his 2007 book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America:

The old definitions of words are replaced by new ones. … Words such as “truth,” “wisdom,” “death,” “liberty,” “life,” and “love” no longer mean what they mean in the secular world. “Life” and “death” mean life in Christ or death to Christ, and are used to signal belief or unbelief in the risen lord. “Wisdom” has little to do with human wisdom but refers to the level of commitment and obedience to the system of belief. “Liberty” is not about freedom, but the “liberty” found when one accepts Jesus Christ and is liberated from the world to obey Him.

The endnote (#11) for the third vow exposes the logocidal definition of “faithful constitutionalists”:

It is no secret that a handful of state and federal judges, some of whom have personally rejected heterosexuality and faithful monogamy, have also abandoned bona fide constitutional interpretation in accord with the discernible intent of the framers. In November, 2010, Iowa voters overwhelmingly rejected three such justices from the state Supreme Court in retention elections. Yet, certain federal jurists with lifetime appointments stand poised, even now, to “discover” a right of so-called same-sex marriage or polygamous marriage in the U.S. Constitution.

Mr. Vander Plaats’ extensive endnotes would seem to suggest sophisticated “research,” but what they really do is offer examples of logocide while exposing his sophistry and linguistic chicanery, as will be clearly seen in Part III. But for now, the definition of “faithful constitutionalists”…

“Faithful,” full of faith in the Bible, as written, as literal truth, akin to the views of Jim Fletcher, Director of Prophecy Matters, a somewhat confusing and confused organization that celebrates Israel and gleefully awaits the “end times.” According to their website, Mr. Fletcher “writes for a variety of publications, including the Jerusalem Post, WorldNetDaily, and OneNewsNow.”

Jerusalem Post is an English-language Israeli paper that was left-leaning, then right-leaning, now currently trying to become centrist by offering pieces by all extremes, in addition to “the news.”

WorldNetDaily (aka WingNutDaily) is run by Joseph Farah:

Farah: United States Should "Break Up" Over Marriage Equality

Submitted by Brian Tashman on July 28, 2011

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah says that he would rather see the “break-up of the nation” than allow marriage equality for gays and lesbians anywhere in the United States. While criticizing Texas Gov. Rick Perry for saying that he believes New York has a right to decide its own marriage laws (although he supports the Federal Marriage Amendment), Farah contends that the country should dissolve itself to stop marriage equality…

OneNewsNow is a propaganda organ of the American Family Association, a rabidly anti-gay organization that features Bryan Fischer’s nonsensical rants. AFA is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-gay “hate group.”

One of Mr. Fletcher’s recent articles was titled “The World as It Really Is.” His latest book was titledIt's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine), with the subtitle “How to stop worrying and learn to love these END TIMES.”

After listing some human miseries he saw while strolling around Austin, Texas, Mr. Fletcher stated:

But even in all this misery, I thought about how it confirms the Bible. If the Bible is true, we would expect to see a diseased and dying world. A physically dying world. Pollution. Corruption. Illness. …

The Bible’s early books contain the history of Earth’s beginnings. Genesis contains the historical account of man’s spiritual and physical fall. In those brief verses, we can know enough to figure out our world. …

If the Bible is literally true, then human misery is “God’s will.” That’s a strange sort of “loving God” who takes pleasure in torturing His creations. But it’s the opening of the second paragraph that speaks to the essence of fundamentalism’s glorification of irrationality and mind-numbing simplicity. Genesis contains “the history of Earth’s beginnings.” That would mean the earth is a flat disk supported by pillars and covered by a dome to keep out all those celestial waters. According to Mr. Fletcher, that’s all we need to know “to figure out our world.” And there in lies the definition of “faithful constitutionalist.”

Faith is foremost. Common sense and reason are not necessary or even welcome. The Bible is a “closed” text, written in stone one might say, after having been cobbled together from sundry Bronze Age “sacred texts,” “gospels” written at least seventy years after the “facts” they report, and the writings of one man, Paul, whose words constitute about a third of The Bible.

No interpretation or understanding of the texts in relation to the historical-cultural realities that produced them, and no exploration of how those BCE and early CE realities might not be compatible with realities in the 21st century is allowed. Doing so is damnable. The same perspective is held by “faithful constitutionalists,” such as originalistAntonio Scalia, whose basic view is that if “a right” is not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution, it doesn’t exist. From that perspective, the Constitution and the Bible are not a living document, but deads one trapped in their own time period

Mr. Vander Plaats also used the phrase “discernible intent of the framers.” The “discernible intent of the framers” was that women should not be able to vote and that African slaves were property. Is that what Mr. Vander Plaats advocates:

Part III considers the “intent of the framer” of The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family.

The ferocity with which some oppose equal civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans can be perplexing. They certainly don’t have the best interests of their fellow citizens in mind, and it’s a real stretch to suppose that they truly believe they’re “doing God’s work” by working to hurt people they don’t even know. It seems are more like that they’re power-hungry megalomaniacs who will use any means to accomplish their personal goals. 

The endnote – number eleven – for the third of fourteen vows in Bob Vander Plaats’ “The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family” reads: 

It is no secret that a handful of state and federal judges, some of whom have personally rejected heterosexuality and faithful monogamy, have also abandoned bona fide constitutional interpretation in accord with the discernible intent of the framers. In November, 2010, Iowa voters overwhelmingly rejected three such justices from the state Supreme Court in retention elections. Yet, certain federal jurists with lifetime appointments stand poised, even now, to “discover” a right of so-called same-sex marriage or polygamous marriage in the U.S. Constitution.

State and federal judges, some of whom have personally rejected heterosexuality and faithful monogamy.” That assertion demonstrates how skilled Mr. Vander Plaats is in redefining and twisting words and concealing straw man arguments. Earlier in the document, he listed his “reasons” as to why “the Institution of Marriage in America is in great crisis.” The final bulleted item reads: 

Social protections, especially for women and children, have been evaporating as we have collectively “debased the currency” of marriage. This debasement continues as a function of adultery; “quickie divorce;” physical and verbal spousal abuse; non-committal co-habitation; exemplary infidelity and “unwed cheating” among celebrities, sports figures and politicians; anti-scientific bias which holds, in complete absence of empirical proof, that non-heterosexual inclinations are genetically determined, irresistible and akin to innate traits like race, gender and eye color; as well as anti-scientific bias which holds, against all empirical evidence, that homosexual behavior in particular, and sexual promiscuity in general, optimizes individual or public health. [italics added] 

The preamble in the endnote for this items reads: “No peer-reviewed empirical science or rational demonstration has ever definitively proven, nor even has shown an overwhelming probability, that homosexual preference or behavior is irresistible as a function of genetic determinism or other forms of fatalism. Furthermore, no peer-reviewed empirical science or rational, scholarly demonstration has ever definitively proven, nor even has shown an overwhelming probability.” It then goes on to list six numbered “points.” Quantity is definitely not quality. Logocide and chicanery are everywhere. 

Notice the words “definitively proven.” Those are very, very big words in science, words not often spoken. Science is based on expanding, evolving knowledge, not static dogma that uses itself as the only source of authority, of knowing. There have been, however, a large number of peer-reviewed, empirical scientific and medical studies that strongly suggest homosexuality is not a choice. For example, “The Psychobiology of Human Sexual Orientation,” a study authored by Drs. Qazi Rahman and Glenn D. Wilson of the Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, was published in the highly respected peer-reviewed scientific journal Personality and Individual Differences (34:8, June 2003, 1337-1382). The abstract reads as follows:

Sexual orientation is fundamental to evolution and shifts from the species-typical pattern of heterosexuality may represent biological variations. The growth of scientific knowledge concerning the biology of sexual orientation during the past decade has been considerable. Sexual orientation is characterised by a bipolar distribution and is related to fraternal birth order in males. In females, its distribution is more variable; females being less prone towards exclusive homosexuality. In both sexes homosexuality is strongly associated with childhood gender nonconformity. Genetic evidence suggests a heritable component and putative gene loci on the X chromosome. Homosexuality may have evolved to promote same sex affiliation through a conserved neurodevelopmental mechanism. Recent findings suggest this mechanism involves atypical neurohormonal differentiation of the brain. Key areas for future research include the neurobiological basis of preferred sexual targets and correlates of female homosexuality.

And then there’s this May 31, 2011 article in the neurology, neuroscience section of Medical News Today, a publication of Medical Education Resources:

Homo Or Hetero? The Neurobiological Dimension Of Sexual Orientation

 

"Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice, it is primarily neurobiological at birth", Dr. Jerome Goldstein, Director of the San Francisco Clinical Research Center (USA) stressed today at the 21st Meeting of the European Neurological Society (ENS) in Lisbon. "There are undeniable links. We want to make them visible to the eye". At the congress he showed how the brains of people of different sexual orientations - gay, straight, bisexual - work in different ways, applying volumetric Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), functional fMRI scanning, and PET scanning.

 

There have been several reports of twin studies indicating the probable genetic link of sexual orientation. Dr. Goldstein has begun accumulating a database of identical twins, whose sexual orientation will be further evaluated by MRI, fMRI scanning, and PET scanning. …

 

"Some of the most striking results were delivered recently by Dr. Ivanka Savic-Berglund and Dr. Per Lindström of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden", Dr. Goldstein reported. The Swedish experts performed volumetric studies, fMRI and PET measurements of cerebral blood flow. Using volumetric studies, they found significant cerebral and amygdala size differences between homosexual and heterosexual subjects. Thus the brains of homosexual men resemble those of heterosexual women and those of homosexual women resemble to heterosexual men. …

 At the end of his extensive endnote, Mr. Vander Plaats cites Robert S. Hogg et al, “Modeling the Impact of HIV Disease on Mortality in Gay and Bisexual Men,” International Journal of Epidemiology, 1997, Vol. 26, no. 3. What he doesn’t cite, of course, is the authors’ subsequent Letter to the Editor of International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 30, Issue 6 (2001), p. 1499:

“Gay life expectancy revisited”

 

Robert S Hogg, Steffanie A Strathdee, Kevin JP Craib,Michael V O'shaughnessy, Julio Montaner and Martin T Schechter

 

Over the past few months we have learnt of a number of reports regarding a paper we published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on the gay and bisexual life expectancy in Vancouver in the late 1980s and early 1990s.1 From these reports it appears that our research is being used by select groups in US2 and Finland3 to suggest that gay and bisexual men live an unhealthy lifestyle that is destructive to themselves and to others. These homophobic groups appear more interested in restricting the human rights of gay and bisexuals rather than promoting their health and well being. … [italics added]

-----

References

 

1.            Hogg RS, Strathdee SA, Craib KJP, O'Shaughnessy MV, Montaner JSG, Schechter MT. Modelling the impact of HIV disease on mortality in gay men. International Journal of Epidemiology 1997;26(3):657–61.Abstract/FREE Full Text

2.            Based on information obtained from the following three websites: http://www.frc.org/ie/important/important0400b.html, http://www.geocities.com/liberalwatch/showtime.htm, and http://www.tcyes.org/page2.html

3.            Based on correspondence with Olli Stålström regarding use of our paper by some Finnish citizens to oppose a proposed to legalize civil unions between members of the same gender (website: http://www.finnqueer.net/juttu.cgi?s=80_10_1).

Mr. Vander Plaats’ TFL is “associated” with the Family Research Council (FRC.org) which is notorious for twisting others’ research and using bogus “research,” such as that by discredited psychologist Paul Cameron, who has been advocating eliminating gays for decades:

Speaking at the 1985 Conservative Political Action Conference, [Paul] Cameron announced to the attendees, “Unless we get medically lucky, in three or four years, one of the options discussed will be the extermination of homosexuals.” According to an interview with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, Cameron was recommending the extermination option as early as 1983.

-- Mark E. Pietzyk, The News-Telegraph, March 10, 1995 

More about Cameron’s “final solution” is available here and here. 

A skilled charlatan to be sure, but Mr. VanderPlaats’ misleading endnote does help clarify his earlier assertion that there is “a handful of state and federal judges, some of whom have personally rejected heterosexuality and faithful monogamy” [italics added]. He believes, as do other dogmatic, ill-informed religious fanatics, that sexual preference is purely a choice, so in his jaundiced view, gays “personally reject” heterosexuality. But what of his claim that these judges have also personally rejected “faithful monogamy”? 

Is Mr. Vander Plaats referring to now retired federal judge Vaughn R. Walker and his Prop 8 decision? Judge Walker has a 10-year relationship with his partner. Hardly a “rejection of faithful monogamy.” Or is he just stereotyping, bloviating, and fear-mongering? 

Mr. Vanders Plaats crowed that “In November, 2010, Iowa voters overwhelmingly rejected three such justices from the state Supreme Court in retention elections.” The decision of the Iowa Supreme Court was unanimous. This was not some conspiracy. It was an upholding of a goal of the state’s constitution by those charged with protecting and guaranteeing the equality of all citizens in civil matters. The fact that Iowa voters removed those Supreme Court justices up for reelection based on their vote for civil equality is not something to celebrate. It’s something to be ashamed of. 

Mr. Vander Plaats claimed “certain federal jurists with lifetime appointments stand poised, even now, to ‘discover’ a right of so-called same-sex marriage or polygamous marriage in the U.S. Constitution.” Wrong again. What courts are repeatedly “finding” is the guarantee of civil equality, of equal access to all civil institutions by every citizens. But civil equality is exactly what dogmatists such as Vander Plaats dread. 

The fourth vow: “the Institution of Marriage - faithful monogamy between one man and one woman.” One has to wonder about what “Institution of Marriage” Bob Vander Plaats writes. “One man and one woman” was not exactly the norm in those good ole biblical days when “marriage” was “bigamous, polygamous, polyandrous” and, above all, arranged. No “love” required. Watch this video of the first couple married in New York. They are what “marriage” is really all about, not some theopolitically concocted dogma, but a loving, lifelong commitment. Predictably, the endnote for the fourth vow cites “Justice Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence v. Texas…” Justice Scalia anti-gay rhetoric and behavior are a matter of record. 

The final vow reads: “Fierce defense of the First Amendments rights of Religious Liberty and Freedom of Speech, especially against the intolerance of any who would undermine law-abiding American citizens and institutions of faith and conscience for their adherence to, and defense of, faithful heterosexual monogamy.” 

To be sure, all the protections of the First Amendment are paramount. But same-sex marriage in no way threatens “religious liberty.” People are still free to believe and practice whatever religion they want. After all, what religion one professes is purely a matter of choice, and that choice is protected by the First Amendment. In relation to marriage, churches, mosques, and synagogues can still refuse to marry any couple transgressing the religion’s beliefs and dogma. 

As for freedom of speech, it’s essential. The concept cannot be abridged, but it is limited, everyday... and for good reasons. The classic example is yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. “Inciting to riot” is another “limitation,” as are speech (or writing) deemed libelous or defamatory. Beyond the laws, it’s the responsible thing to do for conscientious citizens in all walks of life to “limit” their freedom of speech so as not to cause or precipitate harm to others. Dan Savage and Jim McGreevey Discuss the Damage Done by Anti-Gay Political Rhetoric with Joy Behar,” “Michele Bachmann, GOP presidential candidate, plagued by 'teen suicide epidemic' report,” “Media Roundup: The Tragedy of LGBT Teenage Suicide,” “Harms of Anti-Gay Rhetoric Lost as Media Fixates on Bishop Eddie Long Scandal,” Oklahoma Teen Commits Suicide After anti-gay rhetoric City Council Meeting.” 

Finally, the “family values” ruse has pretty much been exposed and widely recognized as a theo-cloak for bigotry and discrimination it was and, thanks to “men of God” such ordained Pentecostalminister and New York State Senator Rubén Díaz, Sr., it still is:

Anti-Gay NY State Senator: It’s ’War’ on Gay Families

by Kilian Melloy, Saturday Jul 30, 2011

 

New York State Sen. Rubén Díaz, Sr., has declared a "war" against gay and lesbian families in the wake of the state’s first legal same-sex weddings, reported The New Civil Rights Movement on July 25.

The article said that Díaz "threatened judges who performed same-sex marriages on Sunday in New York, [and] also literally declared war on same-sex married couples in his state, and threatened to have their marriages annulled. Hundreds of same-sex marriages were performed in New York State Sunday, the first day the new marriage equality law went into effect."

"We’re going to show them next week that everything they did today was illegal," Díaz declared on July 24, the day marriage equality took effect in New York. "Today we start the battle! Today we start the war!"

A war against families spearheaded by a “Christian” minister-politician. What’s wrong with this picture?

 
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