Friday, June 28, 2013

Prepping For Sodom and Gomorrah (San Francisco) - With Rhinestones, Brimstone and Pat Robertson

"So ladies and gentlemen, your liberties are in danger because read the Bible about Sodom and Gomorrah. That's where the term comes from, Sodom."
"Look what happened to Sodom. After a while, there wasn't any other way, and God did something pretty drastic."
Pat Robertson, responding to SCOTUS marriage equality rulings.

Prepping for Gay Pride in San Francisco could be angst-ridden if it weren't for the anticipation of seeing hundreds of thousands of joyous people. What to wear, for example: should we go "trashy" or camouflaged in rainbow colors (in rhinestones, of course, to please the tourists)? Should we bake in the hot sun at the start of the parade down at San Francisco's Embarcadero or should we cool it in the shade of Civic Center buildings? We'll have to wrap up quarters in dollar bills, of course - to thrown onto the rainbow flag for the AIDS Emergency Fund. And we'll have to arm ourselves with cameras for pics of those poor hunks on the floats. (I've been in the parade on a float several times and can tell you that it isn't exactly the joy ride people think it because it can be exhausting waving, smiling, bumping, grinding for up to three hours. Many of the people on the floats just want to go home afterwards.)

But it's not the floats, nor the music, nor the slogans that make the parade, but the people (OK, and the hunks): they are the most fun-loving, joyous, considerate people ever congregated to celebrate freedom and diversity.

And this year there may be an epic turnout: it may reach over one million joyous people.

All because of SCOTUS ... and Pat Robertson.

San Francisco has always been considered the Sodom of America - Castro Street being it's REAL center - so it's natural to relate San Francisco to Pat Robertson's latest comment about the SCOTUS rulings to SF and its annual love fest. Now we have to figure out what kind of outfit goes with fire and brimstone.*

And there will be a great many people this year: estimates range up to one million - numbers energized by SCOTUS' rulings and people wanting to see the great F&B light show Pat Robertson is so hoping will happen. Of course, there are other people and organizations that have chimed in about forthcoming the catastrophic results: hundreds have wailed to the tune of "This is the end of civilization." Prayer rallies to counteract the rulings and pray that Obama will not throw dissenting Christians in jail are all the rage this weekend.

And In The "You've Got To Be Kidding" Category ...

The Family Research just released their new ad for a prayer rally this Sunday (during the parade) to counteract the SCOTUS rulings. The phraseology and symbolism is so lost on the FRC, that it is going viral for laughs. It could actually be a great Pride Sunday poster: just as good as hot, muscular, hairy, sweaty dancing men, it promises a good fellatio time for all:

The most unfortunate anti-gay logo and slogan in the history of politics - Americablog
WTF? Who thought this was a good idea? Are there secretly pro-gay people, maybe clever queens in their midst undermining their anti-LGBTQ message? I only ask because the last hater push using catchy interwebs slang was from NOM and called 2M4M – meaning, “two million for marriage.” Except 2M4M is actually personal ad-speak for a gay couple looking for a menage-a-trois! Ooh la-la! - Firedog Lake

Now, sexually charged print errors have been made in the past,** but this is not a print error. It's still on the FRC site.

Pertinent anecdote: about 50 years ago, there was an ad in the Montgomery Ward catalogue for a toy that would form a Tootsie Roll into a whistle you could blow. The dimwitted buyer thought it was the greatest thing since hula hoops, so he had the catalogue copy (monster two-page spread, of course!) read:

Make It! Blow It! Eat It!

It became a legend in the catalogue industry. 50 years ago and even the mid-century sexual dullards (minus one) knew a sexual connotation when they saw it.

The creator of FRC's campaign ad should certainly be on his knees - begging forgiveness for such a piece of viral humiliation.

So as San Francisco burn with happiness and love, some hearts will burn with righteous indignation (while on their knees, of course) and supplication for America's sinfulness. Both scenes are fitting to a glorious Pride month.

Hope you had a good one.

* It's quite possible that more people went to Disney World's Gay Day after Pat Robertson warned Orlando to expect a meteor.

**Let's not forget the smiling face of female realtor in the blurb for one ranch style house: "It's a wonderfully large house, with a big dick for entertaining."

First, The Righteous Indignation

Then, the sexy joyfulness (courtesy Colossus)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Screams You Hear Are Not God's: Christian Right Enraged That SCOTUS Acquiesced To The Creator, Allowing Gays To Marry.

DOMA is down. Prop 8 is caputt. God is pleased. America is relieved.

And the cult of Tony Perkins is pissed. No, not pissed - ENRAGED! And there is great gnashing of teeth, wailing, and rending of garments at organizations like NOM (National Organization for Marriage), FRC (Family Research Council/Tony Perkins) and the AFA (American Family Association). "Bishop" Harry Jackson, Lou Engle, Linda Harvey, Pat Robertson, Bryan Fischer, James Dobson, Mike Huckabee (and most of FOX News except maybe for Shep Smith) are simultaneously weeping while foaming at the mouth.

It is a theater, a circus, not to be missed.

It is easy to see the progress of righteous indignation: the circus parade will commence with the terms "activist judges" and "powerful homosexual lobby." They will then move agonizingly on to "a nation without God's protection", through "Obama will enslave Christians" then to "the end of civilization as we know it."* They will juggle "it's a choice" with "reparative therapy" and the newest ex-gay ministry (anyone who denounced the demise of Exodus, International). The march of lions (Evangelical Elmer Gantrys), tigers (Catholic bishops) and elephants (Republican panderers) will be long and colorful, the ensuing weeks filling FOX News with Coulters and Malkins and Rushes. Moral acrobats will chant "but we really love them!"

Jesus Wept, Obama Rejoiced

The predictable reactions:

"Today, marriage, children, and the rule of law all suffer." Randy Thomassen, Save California

"The Supreme Court has just abandoned 7 million voters, giving us no justice and no access to the courts. Maggie Ghallagher, NOM. 

In a miscarriage of justice the US Supreme Court has refused to consider the decision of a single federal court judge to overturn the perfectly legal action of over 7 million California voters who passed Proposition 8 defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Brain Brown, NOM.

Friends, today is a shameful day in American history. - Gordon Kingenschmitt, In Jesus Name Project

How long before federal agents haul pastors out of the pulpit? - Todd Starnes, Fox News

Amidst all the protesting hoopla, the Christian Right will miss the possibility that the Creator is actually pleased: God surely approves of anything that progresses to brotherly love. And His Son, Jesus, might actually rejoice along with mortals like President Obama. Such thoughts are heresy, of course, since they go against strict interpretations of a Bible written to instruct sinners, and not to confirm the love of the Creator towards His creation. They will eschew the possibility that SCOTUS believes it as well: denying people the right to confirm their love and form a recognized commitment is not only against the Constitution, but against divinely created humanity. They will certainly dismiss opinions (posts like this) as "absurd," thereby continuing their circus of the absurd.

Yes, the coming months will be very, very entertaining.

The Gifts That Will Keep On Giving

It is no coincidence that the rulings fall on the 10-year anniversary of another landmark ruling, Lawrence vs. Texas (6/26/03) which struck down Texas' sodomy law. The timing of both were planned as gifts to the LGBT community. True, both rulings were 5-4, but those opinions were arrived at months ago. And by a court that realizes it must reflect most of the country:

WASHINGTON — The nation's rapidly changing attitudes toward homosexuality have been reflected in dramatic changes in the views of presidents, the rules for military service and the policies defining families.

And now, in the Supreme Court.

Can A Circus Provoke A War?

One week ago, a coalition of Christian Right ministries and organizations - the ironically named Freedom Federation - vowed to oppose any court rulings with outright non-compliance:

" ...make no mistake about our resolve. While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the true common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross."

There will be a rash of ministers refusing to performs marriages in the coming years, but the impact of such a stance may be moot: fighting a war that has already been lost is futile and will unnecessarily cause casualties - bloody casualties - in the name of God, Family and Marriage.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kids, Cancer, Firefighters and AIDS: 50 Worst Charities Serving Up A Menu of Scam

The Tampa Bay Times has recently come up with a list of America's worst charities. It was compiled using tax records to determine how much was spent on fundraising in comparison to percentage of revenue spent on direct cash aid. The results are incredibly shocking: while watchdog groups say that NO MORE THAN 35% should be doled out to fundraisers, some have paid as much as 98%.

Or more.
And most of them list themselves as aids to children, cancer or AIDS victims.

From the Tampa Bay Times expose:
The worst charity in America operates from a metal warehouse behind a gas station in Holiday.[FLA]
Every year, Kids Wish Network raises millions of dollars in donations in the name of dying children and their families.
Every year, it spends less than 3 cents on the dollar helping kids.
Most of the rest gets diverted to enrich the charity's operators and the for-profit companies Kids Wish hires to drum up donations. In the past decade alone, Kids Wish has channeled nearly $110 million donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors. An additional $4.8 million has gone to pay the charity's founder and his own consulting firms.
Of the worst 50 charities, 13 were ostensibly to help children. (NOTE: the Tampa article did not include links, but I have, so you can see that these organizations look quite professional). The numbers after the links denote the actual percent of funds spent on direct cash aid.

American Foundation for Children With Aids - 0
American Foundation For Disabled Children - 0.8
Caring for Our Children Foundation - 1.6
Children’s Cancer Fund of America - 5.3
Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation 0.6
Children’s Charity Fund 2.3
Children’s Leukemia Research Association 11.1
Children’s Wish Foundation International 10.8
Committee For Missing Children 0.8
Find the Children 5.7
Kids Wish Network 2.5
Operation Lookout National Center For Missing Youth 0
Youth Development Fund 0.8

...and to further tug at the purse strings, don't forget all those service people - policemen, veterans, and firefighters:

American Association of State Troopers 8.6
Association for Firefighters and Paramedics 3.1
Circle of Friends For American Veterans 6.5
Disabled Police and Sheriffs Foundation 1.0
Disabled Police Officers Counseling Center 0.1
Disabled Police Officers of America Inc. 2.5
Firefighters Assistance Fund 3.2
Firefighters Burn Fund 1.5
Firefighters Charitable Foundation 8.1
International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO 0.5
National Narcotic Officers Associations Coalition 0
National Police Defense Foundation 5.8
National Veterans Service Fund 7.8
Our American Veterans 2.3
Police Protective Fund 0.8
Reserve Police Officers Association 1.1
The Veterans Fund 2.3
United States Deputy Sheriffs’ Association 0.6
Veterans Assistance Foundation 10.5
Vietnow National Headquarters 2.9

NOTE: In some instances, investigations like the Tampa Bay expose has actually caused some organizations to remove websites (as in Our American Veterans), while others are limply protesting. And some government organizations are taking a closer look at those organizations as well.

Poor Management or Just Plain Scam?

The Tampa article points out one particularly salient point: all these organizations are considered legitimate charities because of poor regulation. There is no set limit on expenditures for fundraising, executive salaries or perks.* Kids Wish Network, for example, actually admitted to paying enormous sums to for-profit fundraisers.

But others ...

"All In The Family"

James T. Reynolds of the American Cancer Fund has turned the Fund into a veritable cash cow - for his own family. The pdf put out by the Tampa Bay Times shows an incredible network of sons, daughters, in-laws who are syphoning off millions each year. Reynolds himself pockets more than $230k per year while Junior grabs $280k. The charities involved: Cancer Support Services, Breast Cancer Society, Cancer Fund of America, Children's Cancer Fund of America, and American Association for Cancer Support. Tracking $250 million, the Bay Times found out that $156,766,511 was paid to solicitors. Cancer has served the Reynolds family well. 

Caveat Donor

What a donor doesn't know may not hurt him as much as it will hurt the cause he's giving to: scams and ill-run charities are the biggest cause of the wane in charitable donations.Therefore, before giving a penny to any organization, (especially solicited by phone), check with this national database of disciplinary actions, or any number of watchdog organizations.

An excellent source for intelligent giving, for example, is Charity Navigator. Note that most of the aforementioned charities are also on watch at CN and have very low ratings. Youth Development Fund, for example, shows program expenses at a whopping 52% and fundraising expenses at 45%. What goes into "youth development, only the CEO knows. 

Oh, and for Christian "ministries" claiming to perform works of social justice, check out to find out about "transparency" - some of the biggest organizations (e.g. Trinity Broadcasting Network) rate an "F".

Being aware of charity scams kinda makes giving a dollar to that homeless person on the street a lot easier.

... at least you know where it's going.

*Even celebrities are in on the charity game: check out Sean Hannity's Freedom Concert controversy.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

When You Care Enough To Hate The Disabled: E.W. Jackson's "Christianity" Puts A Serious Dent Into The GOP's Outreach

“It is the principle of sin, rebellion against God and His truth which has brought about birth defects and other destructive natural occurrences.”
It's difficult to take "Bishop" E.W. Jackson seriously. God knows we've tried before (OpEdNews, May 27) in warning Virginia and the rest of the country that if he was "the future of conservatism" (as Teabaggers put it), we were all in for very hard times. Perhaps the problem lies not with Jackson himself, but with the GOP's failure to see what they have in hand: a moralizing disaster in the making. From calling Planned Parenthood "worse for blacks than the KKK" to labeling the repeal of DADT a "disaster of epic proportions", the Republican candidate for Virginia's second-highest office makes the GOP's new "outreach" a parody of epic proportions.

Of course, Jackson sees himself as a savior. From the Washington Post:

     “I say the things that I say because I’m a Christian, not because I hate anybody, but because I have religious values that matter to me,” Jackson told reporters at a campaign stop in Fredericksburg. “Attacking me because I hold to those principles is attacking every church-going person, every family that’s living a traditional family life, everybody who believes that we all deserve the right to live. So I don’t have anything to rephrase or apologize for. I would just say people should not paint me as one-dimensional.”
He may, however, have a harder time defending his 2008 statement about birth defects and sin. It was enshrined in his tome Ten Comandments to an Extraordinary Life (see cover below). His one and only dimension seems to be casting aspersions of sin upon everyone, including the disabled. In his interpretation of Scripture, "God so hated the world that ..." He not only made everyone responsible for the sins of their fathers, but sent His "only Begotten Son" to suffer on earth for the world's biggest guilt trip.

Jackson's message of "outreach" is a wondrous negative of parity, a turn-off, again, of epic proportions. The Republican Party will be hard pressed to keep whatever moderates they have.

Then again, maybe there's a new rash of Christian Right-Wing-itis in the Republican Party: it just announced a new Tea Party Southern Baptist to spearhead evangelical outreach:

       The Republican National Committee (RNC) has just announced the hiring of a Tea Party Southern Baptist to strengthen its ties with the Evangelical community, Chad Connelly. Connelly, 49, is a motivational speaker and until his resignation to work for the RNC, was the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party....Connelly, who has been described by a local South Carolina paper as “a chronic liar,” and reportedly believes America is a Christian nation, there is no separation of church and state, and somehow only one person died on the Mayflower — “a sailor who cursed and mocked the Pilgrims’ efforts” — will be the RNC’s director of evangelical outreach.
And people like Cindy Jacobs, while not campaigning for public office, is still kept around as an evangelical mascot for the GOP (via Rick Perry). She certainly agrees with "Bishop" E.W. on the point of ancestral sin:
“If you are, perhaps you’re Mexican and you might have indigenous blood in you or Mayan blood, those who have Aztec blood in any way, you need to repent for the sin of animism before you begin to deal with this spirit.”
Righteously Arrogant Overreach

Jackson's self-assessment as the embodiment of faith, family values and righteous piety is not lost on the rest of America:

The (very conservative) Richmond Times-Dispatch:

     Every time the GOP loses an election, conservatives argue that the party’s mistake was not being conservative enough. If only Republicans tacked harder to the right, these advocates say, they would win more elections. Jackson will soon provide that theory with a perfect test case.
... and Conservative Black Chick:
     Any conservative, who thinks E.W. Jackson winning Virginia’s 2013 Republican Lieutenant Governor nomination is a good thing, needs to have his head examined. A former marine, lawyer and minister, Jackson has made incendiary remarks about gays, blacks and Democrats, which he said “I do not retract anything that I said.”
     This “firebrand” won’t help the Republican ticket of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for Governor and Mark Obenshain for Attorney General in a state that has become more purple than red and in which the race for governor remains rancorous and tight. Jackson referred to gays and lesbians as “sick” and “perverted” people and compared homosexuality to pedophilia. Defending traditional marriage is one thing encouraging hate is another.
Or as one comment put it:
Great news! The GOP were running a bit short on lying, fundamentalist, bat shit crazy, no-brain scumbags. Now they're back up to their quota. Well done.
Yes, it does seem that the righteously arrogant overreach of new evangelical Republicans will offend all but the Radically Religious Right. We can only hope that overreach keeps them out of office.