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Thu

11

Feb

2010

Stupid Statements, Bigotry and Hypocrisy, and America’s New Civil War
Thursday, 11 February 2010 06:02
by Mel Seesholtz Ph.D.

You remember Pope Benedict’s 2009 statement on his way to preach against the use of condoms as a means to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS in the most infected areas of Africa:  

YAOUNDE, Cameroon – Pope Benedict XVI said condoms are not the answer to the AIDS epidemic in Africa and can make the problem worse, setting off criticism … as he began a weeklong trip to the continent where some 22 million people are living with HIV. … 

Benedict also said the Roman Catholic Church was at the forefront of the battle against AIDS. 

“You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms,” the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane heading to Yaounde. “On the contrary, it [condom distribution] increases the problem.” … 

In one way, the pope was correct. Condoms are not THE “magic latex” to stop the spread of the virus, but they sure as hell help, as any and all professional medical associations will attest. And as for the pope’s assertion that “the Roman Catholic Church was at the forefront of the battle against AIDS,” how? All the church does is pontificate against human nature and ignore human realities. But then again, Western religions are based on a fundamental “truth”: humans are inherently flawed and pawns in a battle between a vengeful “God” and his nemesis, the equally malevolent “Devil.” That’s the source of religions’ power over people and what leads the sheeple to believe physical and metaphysical twaddle. 

Did you read Benedict’s latest nonsensical statement: “Pope says gay marriage threat to creation”? Apparently Benedict thinks allowing a loving couple – real-world families, many with children – to enter into the state-sanctioned, state-licensed union called “marriage” is not only a threat to society, but to the very existence of the planet and the human species.  
 

But then again, the pope doesn’t get out much, so I’m sending him a copy of evolutionary psychologist Nigel Barber’s Psychology Today article “Could homosexual genes be naturally selected?

Homosexual genes may have been naturally selected”: 

Scientific discovery has a way of shattering our preconceptions whether we are scientists or not. That is certainly true of homosexuality. As Psychology Today recently reported, biologists, who long ago concluded that homosexuality could not have been favored by natural selection are being forced to revise their views from two perspectives: evidence of gay genes and gay animals. … 

Exclusive homosexuality is puzzling for evolutionary biologists because homosexuals leave substantially fewer offspring. Some marry due to social pressures and end up having children but many do not reproduce. Any genes predisposing to homosexual behavior would thus get excluded by natural selection. Current research implies male homosexuality is a sex-linked trait, although genes are far from being the whole story. (Female homosexuality is also heritable but less is known of the genetic mechanisms). … 

In recent years, evidence has accumulated that a homosexual orientation is inherited. Study of family history reveals that homosexual men have more homosexuals in their family tree than do heterosexuals. But this is true only of ancestors that can be traced through the mother's side of the family and does not apply to paternal ancestors (1,2). This phenomenon is a smoking gun not only for genetic inheritance of sexual orientation but also for considering homosexuality as a sex-linked trait. In other words, it comes from the maternal line because that is how the X-chromosome is transmitted across the generations (male ancestors conveying Y-chromosomes only). Plenty of evidence now implicates the X-chromosome in male homosexuality but the precise genes have not been identified. 

Perhaps it’s that gold miter, the luxurious robes and the palace in which the pope lives that so separate him from reality. Or maybe he’s just a glorified bigot who serves and claims to speak for the same “God” as Pat Robertson: “Pat Robertson: ‘Pact with The Devil’ Brought Earthquake on Haiti.” 

After announcing what “God” told him about 2010 – “Pat Robertson: U.S. under God's wrath, going bankrupt” – good ole boy Pat proclaimed the earthquake in Haiti was part of that vengeful God’s retribution for “a pact with the devil” made on August 14, 1791 by a group of voodoo priests to free Haiti from the oppression of French rule and, of course, the slave trade.  

A quick summary: Robertson’s “God” silently condoned the slave trade and subjugation of a people some of whom eventually turned to “the Devil” (since “God” wasn’t answering) to free them from such oppression – which he apparently did – and that prompted “God” to visit extreme poverty and other misfortunes on Haiti, including the recent devastating 7.0 earthquake. So who’s the “evil” one here, the “God” Robertson chats with or Lucifer?  

Of course the most irrational among the self-righteous defended Robertson’s assessment of the cause of Haiti’s poverty and disaster. Chief among them was Bryan Fischer in his January 15, 2010 Focal Point article, “In defense of Pat Robertson,” on Don Wildmon’s rabidly anti-gay American Family Association website. But then again, Mr. Fischer’s last posting was no less twisted and the subject of my previous article.  

More recently, Mr. Fischer has called for homosexual behavior to be outlawed and gays to be jailed or forced into “ex-gay” therapies that every – that’s every – legitimate scientific, medical, psychological, and psychiatric professional organization in the United States has condemned as ineffective and dangerous. Yet evangelical “therapists” continue to claim “success” – without defining what “success” means or producing any scientific, peer-reviewed studies to support their “success” claims – and have exported their “treatments” to the UK, where journalist Patrick Strudwick went undercover to expose what goes on in the “ex-gay” treatment sessions. 

It must be noted that several American “evangelicals” (some affiliated with American “ex-gay” groups) had a hand in influencing Uganda’s proposed “kill the gays” legislation. Where fundamentalist religion dictates civil law, death follows. Sometimes in public, sometimes in private.  

And then there was the special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. The U.S. Senate seat was won by former Cosmo nude model Scott Brown, who “says nude Cosmo photos helped get him where he is today.” 

The election of that one Republican senator in Massachusetts changed the American political landscape. Universal healthcare was out, the GOP’s party-line agenda was in: “Just Say No” to every change that would help people. The Supreme Court threw gasoline on the fire by ruling that “corporation” can contribute as much as they want to political campaigns.  

Forget “We the People…”

Now it’s “We the Corporations…”  

The GOP and websites such as Joseph Farah’s World Net Daily (aka “Wing Nut Daily”) have been yammering for months about foreign interests dictating American jurisprudence. Funny how they hailed the Supreme Court decision that opens American politics to purchase by international corporations and their agendas.  

On February 1, 2010, one of World Net Daily’s writers, Chuck Norris (yes, that Chuck Norris, the self-proclaimed “black belt patriot”) published an article entitled “God save the U.S. and our courts.” Funny how he the rest of WND’s writers along with the Christian Right were constantly damning the courts and all those “activist judges” whose decisions the self-righteous did not agree with. Ah, the fickled finger of Kung Phooey. 

Like the pope, ultra-conservatives and leaders of the Christian Right are constantly yammering about so-called “traditional values” and protecting the “sanctity of marriage.” A recent article in Daily Kos made some interesting points in relation to those rubric mantras:  

Social conservatives love to bemoan the disintegration of traditional values. Women in the workplace, babies born out of wedlock, a black man in the White House. 

And then, of course, there is the greatest threat of all, the threat that could destroy the sacred institution of opposite marriage forever: gays and lesbians exchanging rings, registering at Macy's, and committing to love each other forever. Horror of horrors! … 

Never mind that, as Nate Silver recently noted, divorce rates are actually higher in states that have banned gay marriage. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country, a divorce rate that has declined 21 percent since legalizing gay marriage in 2004. 

And never mind that Alaska, the first state to ban gay marriage, has seen the highest increase in the divorce rate. … 

It’s touching that social conservatives are so concerned with protecting the sanctity of marriage. Like thrice-married, admitted adulterer Newt Gingrich – who dumped his first wife, while she was recovering from cancer, to marry his mistress, whom he then dumped when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, so he could marry his intern. Despite doing his personal best to drive up divorce rates, Newt knows that the real enemy of traditional marriage is the “gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us.” … 

And then there was this January 13, 2010 report: “Half of Clergy Members View Porn Each Month.” 

But perhaps the crazed state of the Republican Party and its Christian Right supporters were best reflected in a late January 2010 poll conducted among 2,000 self-identified Republicans by Daily Kos and Research 2000: 

• 9% of Republicans want President Obama to be impeached.
63% think Obama is a socialist.
• Only 42% believe Obama was born in the United States.
• 21% think ACORN stole the 2008 election – that is, that Obama didn’t actually win it, and isn’t legitimately the president, with 55% saying they are “not sure.” …
• 53% think Sarah Palin is more qualified than Obama to be president.
• 23% want to secede from the United States.
• 73% think gay people should not be allowed to teach in public schools. This position puts the GOP base well to the right of none other than Ronald Reagan, who helped defeat the Briggs Initiative, a 1978 referendum in California that would have forbidden gays or people who advocated gay rights from teaching in public schools.
• 31% want contraception to be outlawed.      
 

More details from the poll are available here. 

And who could forget the preposterous arguments made by one of the ultra-conservatives’ favorite poster boys: discredited retired colonel, now Fox News contributor (how appropriate), Oliver North. During his February 4, 2010 appearance Sean Hannity’s show on “Faux News,” Ollie North prognosticated in true demented fashion: “Now, here’s what’s next. NAMBLA [North American Man/Boy Love Association] members, same-sex marriages. Are chaplains in the U.S. military going to be required to perform those kinds of rituals? Do they get government housing?” 

More on Mr. North’s statements – pictures are worth thousands of words – appeared in a February 6, 2010 piece by Bridgette P. LaVictoire: 

 
Colonel Oliver North attacked the decision to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He decided that the decision by Secretary Robert Gates to not pursue third party reports turning in gay and lesbian service members, such as Colonel Victor Fahrenbach, was selective enforcement of the law despite the fact that the third part of the law requires that the military not pursue service member’s sexuality unless it came to light by their own admission. … 
Colonel North also, in an opinion piece, also went after the repeatedly debunked notion that homosexuality is linked to pedophilia, and even questioned where the repeal of DADT would lead. He posited that it would lead to the lifting of age of consent laws.
 

Most GOPers and virtually all the leaders of the Christian Right just can’t stand the idea that gay and lesbian Americans are equal citizens and, as such, deserve equal civil rights. They base their arguments on what they call “morality,” a “morality” that Oscar Wilde and Aldous Huxley described quite well: 

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.
-- Oscar Wilde 
Morality is always the product of terror; its chains and strait-waistcoats are fashioned by those who dare not trust others, because they dare not trust themselves, to walk in liberty.
-- Aldous Huxley 

The United States is locked in a political civil war. The two political parties running the Kafkaesque show are constantly at each other’s throat. (And brain-dead Sarah Palin wants to infest the White House.)  

The vast majority of Republicans have become the party of “Just Say No.” No to universal healthcare, no to civil equality for gay Americans, no to anything that would help the average American. But they’re all in favor of big health care insurance companies continuing to screw the American public. They’re all in favor of the bigotry espoused by so-called “religious leaders.” And those leaders of the Christian Right are as crazy as ever: hell bent on denying civil equality to gay Americans and further disenfranchising them, despite Jesus’ message of inclusion and his championing of the disenfranchised and social outcasts.  

The Democrats aren’t much better. They claimed to be the party of “Just Say Know.” They claim to know that everyone should have access to adequate health care. They claim to know that gay Americans are equal citizens and deserve equal civil rights. They claim to know that religion has its place, but not as the dictator of secular, civil society. But they failed to act, and now seem to be running scared.  

Both parties are clearly more concerned about maintaining and/or gaining more power. “We the people” just don’t seem to matter anymore. Only “politics,” as usual…  

Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics.
-- John James Ingalls

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