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Friday, November 21, 2008

Anti-Gay Stephen Bennett Ministries Bought Out by Caldwell Banker?

by @ 7:33 pm. Filed under Stephen Bennett

So, I will be removing the anti-Stephen Bennett Ministries petition off my site as I have gotten exactly what I wished for from Stephen Bennett, he has found a new career that no longer involves hurting gay people.   It appears that Stephen has moved on to real estate.   What is funny for me is that my partner and I will be house shopping and perhaps will give Stephen a call to help us look for a house and now that I have moved to CT, you never know.

I wish Stephen the best with his new career and hope he does well despite this sad economic time.  To celebrate, I have taken down the petition that basically started this blog in the winter of 2005.  I hope he and Irene are done with the spreading of lies and misinformation about gay folk and sell lots of properties.

Stephen still has his ministry page here, but no one has heard much from it in many months.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day of Silence 2008 Part 1

by @ 6:46 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Anti-Gay Bullying, Ex-gays, Exodus, Gay News, hate speech, Joe's Rants, Nonviolence, Stephen Bennett

Part one of my thoughts on the day of silence are really just an exact repost of what I wrote last year. Not much has changed for gay youth. The problems, the bullying and the violence have gotten worse rather than better and sadly, we lost a few beautiful young lives in the process. Below is a repost of what I wrote on Last year’s Day of Silence. I will be writing my thoughts for this year and posting them soon.

Today marks the 11th year of the “Day of Silence“, a day that marks the silence that is forced on those who are being harassed about their real or perceived sexuality. Studies indicate that 1/3 of all students report being harassed over sexual orientation issues. The problem is very real and the silence kids experience is a form of structural violence that does its share of psychological damage.

Currently, a group called “Not our Kids” is asking parents to keep their kids home to protest the protest which is the Day of Silence. The coalition is led by none other than ex-gay, Stephen Bennett and it has been pushed hard by groups like Americans for Truth led by Peter LaBarbera. The actions of this group, pulling kids from school, only highlights the problem and brings more attention to the cause. While this coalition thinks they are making some statement by pulling kids from school, they are actually helping to support the meaning behind the Day of Silence since it is these very groups who create the climate that fuels the hate that causes the silence gay youth are forced to tolerate. The people who support the Day of Silence should send the people who don’t a thank you card since the brouhaha they have created helps bring the problem into the light.

As usual, groups like Americans for Truth, Stephen Bennett Ministries, Faith2Action and others ignore the real problems and offer no alternative solutions to the problems. They claim that homosexuality shouldn’t be discussed in the school, along with an array of issues they have deemed moral issues. I would ask, what gives these folks the power to decide what is a sexuality, science, educational or moral issue?

Homosexuality is not just a moral issue, it has a human face, especially when we are talking about youth. Anti-gay activists are so quick to call any outspoken advocate for gay rights “militant”, “Radical” or “Extreme” when we demand fair treatment or equal rights. The true facts show that these groups are far more militant in action and go to far greater lengths to spread misinformation and untruth than any other political group I have experienced. They claim up and down to be religious groups, but religion plays a small role and politics seems to rule the day.

Gandhi held the belief that each side of a conflict holds a piece of the truth and a piece of the untruth. He believed that nonviolent conflict resolution could be found if each group sat down and pulled together the truths each held and dispelled the untruths. I have personally seen more gays and lesbians willing to do this than I have ever seen from anti-gay groups. I have seen more gay activists willing to compromise for peaceful resolution on the issue than I have ever seen from groups like Americans for Truth or Faith2Action. I see these groups fight, complain and make demands to silence and dehumanize gays but rarely do we see any of them offer solutions to the problems gays and lesbians face and as it has been stated a thousand times in history, if you are not part of the solution, than you must be part of the problem.

The Problem:

  • The reason most commonly cited for being harassed frequently in schools is a student’s appearance, as four in ten (39%) teens report that students are frequently harassed for the way they look or their body size. Right behind was sexual orientation as one-third (33%) of teens report that students are frequently harassed because they are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.

  • LGBT students are three times as likely as non-LGBT students to say that they do not feel safe at school (22% vs. 7%).

  • 90% of LGBT students (vs. 62% of non-LGBT teens) have been harassed or assaulted during the past year.

The Solution from Anti-gay groups:

?

Other posts on the Day of Silence:

Christian Response to the GLBT Youth: Day of Silence?

 

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Stephen Bennett: “Gays Destroying the Nation”

by @ 6:05 pm. Filed under hate speech, Stephen Bennett

I have long said on this blog that I believe money is a motivating factor for many ministries. It appears to be true for Stephen Bennett. He is asking for money again, but this time he is asking for folks to join “club 15” where they help him meet his $15,000 a month ministry habit. Sounds like an addiction more than a ministry.

Read Kevin’s explanation of where Stephen’s money really goes and you will see why no one should give this man anymore money. Thankfully, non-profits need to make their records public.

I feel sad Stephen is in this position, I hate top see people in bad spots, but I don’t think anyone should feed this machine. Stephen should close this ministry and face the facts. He isn’t helping anyone, and in fact he is hurting more people than he has ever helped.

Look at some of the things Stephen Claims in his money scam:

I don’t need to tell you this, but homosexuality is destroying this nation. Our children — your children — are getting trapped and deceived into a lifestyle that is NOW being promoted, celebrated and being marketed as “natural and normal.” Nothing could be further from God’s truth.

Please tell me how this is true? How is my relationship to my partner destroying the nation? Forget about poverty, the mortgage crisis and a war, folks its the homos so give me money. Stephen, these statements are hate speech. Homos area threat to the nation, homos are after the children. What kind of response does he think he is going to get? Money? It won’t be money Stephen, It will be violence against gays and lesbians. You make them a threat, call people to fight them and then claim innocence when we are hurt by hate. Wake up and smell the coffee!

Stephen claims:

I have personally received death threats against myself, Irene and the children (not by Christians, but by homosexual activists.) Why? Because I preach Christ crucified, and new life in Him: freedom from sin — and freedom from homosexuality. That is NOT a popular message with many homosexuals who have been blinded… however, there is ALWAYS hope. The Lord reached me when I wasn’t even looking for Him.

I say prove it. If you are going to make these outlandish claims about gays being a threat and claiming they gave you death threats, then prove it. Show me the evidence.

Needless to say, Stephen’s blog brings out some anger for me. To paint gays and lesbians as the destroyers of the nations is a direct call on Stephen’s part to violence. It is unfathomable to me that Mr. Bennett could be so blinded by his needs to play straight that he would make such irresponsible statements. There is no love, compassion or any other good will in those claims. I can only hope these people come to their senses.

Its All About the Money

by @ 9:59 am. Filed under Americans For Truth, Ex-gays, Joe's Rants, Stephen Bennett

We constantly see these anti-gay preachers and organizations asking for money so they can continue oppressing ministering to those in the gay agenda gay lifestyle.   When I step back and take a breath, I can see this isn’t about the homosexuality or gay people or god.  It is about the money.

I know this isn’t about gays. 

If this were really about gays and lesbians, and homosexuality was really more like alcoholism, or the many other distortions, then I would expect to see anti-gay folks speak of GLBT folks with compassion, empathy, patience, and other redeaming traits.  The reason we don’t see those things is because it isn’t about gay people, it is about the money.

I know this isn’t about god. 

If this were about god, then folks like DL Foster and Stephen Bennettwould have a site and ministry that addressed divorced christians, Scientolgy,  or those who work on the Sabath  or any of the many other distortions that would lead people away from what DL Foster or Bennett and his wife consider the perfect religion.   So, it isn’t about saving people from the wrong interpretations of the bible, or sin.  It is about DL Foster asking for people to buy his book and Stephen Bennnett to continue his anti-gay industry ministry.

Lastly, this isn’t about public health as Peter LaBarbera or Matt Barber would have you believe.  If it was, then these two would be going after all the billboards promoting alcohol, smoking and junk food.   They claim that millions have lost their lives because of how unhealthy (they claim) the gay lifestyle is.   Facts remain that obesity, alcohol and many other “lifestyle” have killed many more people over the years.  I would contest that religion as a lifestyle has killed far more people than homosexuality.   So for both Matt and Peter, it is about the money.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stephen Bennett, Peter LaBarbera, Matt Barbera: Please apologize! Misinformation leads to Fear, Fear leads to Violence, Do the Math!

by @ 4:23 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Gay News, hate speech, Nonviolence, Stephen Bennett

Peter LaBarbera, Stephen Bennett and Matt Barber are all anti-gay rights advocates who have jumped on a story about a very disputed report claiming GLBT folks are 13 times more likely to be infected with what is commonly known as “Flesh eating bacteria” or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).    Since the release of the study done by the University of California there has been much controversey over the findings, but that hasn’t stopped the anti-gay folks from making new comparisons to the days when AIDS was first discovered.

Peter LaBarbera was first to jump on the story releasing an article on his Americans for Truth website, proclaiming:

“More evidence that homosexuality is a public health hazard”

LaBarbera went on in the article to make all sorts of demonizing statements about homosexuality including (blod print is Peter’s):

“Wake up, medical and political establishment: homosexual behavior is unhealthy — no matter how many secular sermons you preach against “homophobia.”  Due to liberal political correctness, which insists on treating aberrant — even deadly — behaviors and lifestyles as a “civil right,” we as a society don’t seem to have learned much from the AIDS pandemic. ” 

Peter goes on to use this story as a platform to dennouce all sorts of pro-gay things, making even further claims that homosexuality is being promoted in schools and that the news media is covering up the dark side of homosexuality.  LaBarbera goes on to paint the picture of all gays and lesbians as sexually promiscuos and sex obsessed. 

Matt Barber and Stephen Bennett have also jumped onto this story using it in similar ways to demonize gays and lesbians.   Both of these men are making the claims that gays are more proned to disease.  Bennett says:

“Sorry… the “answer” is not to throw homosexuals “more condoms.” The answer is for these “men” who are hell-bent on having anonymous sex and/or multiple partners — TO STOP.” 

The problem with Bennett’s comments is that the CDC and the Authors of the study have made it well known that this is spread through skin to skin contact.  It is not a sexually transmitted disease, oh but wait…Bennett knows that beause just before this he says, in the same article:

“Skin to skin contact is all one needs to be infected. Homosexuals are being infected “at the point of skin to skin contact” according to the reports.”

So, let me get this straight, no pun intended, Bennett knew this was not a sexual disease but is calling for an end to public sex to stop it?  Perhaps Stephen doesn’t realize what he has said or can he see that he is a bit more transparent then he thinks. 

Matt Barber is also calling for bath houses and such to be closed, even though this is not a sexual disease.   In an attempt to create the picture that gays are all sex obsessed monsters, He says:

“In light of this behaviorally related MRSA outbreak,” said Barber, “we additionally ask HRC and other groups to call on local health agencies to shut down the many bathhouses and sex clubs around the country where men meet for anonymous sex with other men, often multiple partners, on a daily basis.  These places create the ‘perfect storm’ for infectious disease, including MRSA.”

My question is, why hasn’t Matt or Stephen called on Heterosexual Bath Houses to close?  Like this one?  Why are we only focused on gays?    That wouldn’t be because that is the type of rhetoric that fuels donations of money to your organizations is it?

Even the CDC has come out questioning the findings of the study saying in fact:

“It is important to note that the groups of MSM in which these isolates have been described are not representative of all MSM, so conclusions can not be drawn about the prevalence of these strains among all MSM,” the CDC statement said. 

“The groups studied in this report may share other characteristics or behaviors that facilitate spread of MRSA, such as frequent skin-to-skin contact … There is no evidence at this time to suggest that it MRSA is a sexually-transmitted infection in the classical sense.”

It shouls also be noted that MRSA is also common in schools.  Does Mr. Bennett, Mr. Barber and Mr. LaBabera also  demand we close the schools?  Do they think since this bacteria is also common with 6th graders that we should assume they are having sex?   Of course not, that would be making some irrational assumptions based on little facts.  Right?

From the website Education Portal:

Each day, there are new reports of students being infected with MRSA. Schools in California, New York, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, New Jersey and nearly every other state in the nation have been forced to respond to the outbreak.

So, let me summerize this for ya.   Bennett, LaBarbera and Barber have all jumped on a band wagon demonizing gays as diseased (much like the Nazi’s did to the jews, I would add).   They have used this story to paint enemy images of gays as a threat to the general populations health, therfore invoking fear of gays as they may be carring some disease that is easy to spread.  This is just wrong and Bennett, LaBarbera and Barbera need to publically apologize and set the facts correct so as not to cause people to fear gays and lesbians as diseased.  Such fears instilled by groups like Bennetts, LaBarbera, and Barber are the types of fears that lead people to want to defend themselves and could well lead to violence.  

Information is the safest and best way to combat fear and violence, but the information needs to be accurate.  In this case Bennett, Barber and LaBarbera are spreading lots of misinformation that needs to be corrected as it is already doing harm.   They need to come clean.

Many times people will refuse to admit they have made a mistake because they want to save face.  I would suggest to these men that saving face in light of misinformation is dangerous for others.   You have put GLBT folks in harm’s way with your misinformation and you should correct that immediately.

Additional Coverage:

Good As You  

CDC Statement on MRSA

Box Turtle Bulletin

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Years Resolutions and Wishes of Peace for the World

by @ 4:37 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Gay News, hate speech, Joe's Rants, Nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication, Stephen Bennett

I have been writing about the pro-gay/anti-gay “culture clash” for almost two years. I can see as clear as day how the anti-gay industry is dehumanizing gays and lesbians for the own personal gain for decades. Each and every anti-gay article includes the plea to fight the enemy by donating money. These groups are using the same tactics of propaganda used by the Nazi’s in Germany and the pro-segregationists of the black civil rights movement that continues as we speak. The idea of creating enemy images of your opponent, so they are no longer seen as human but seen as the enemy is paramount to the effort to rally the “troops” against them. Often, military metaphors are used to aide in the process of engaging fear of the “enemy.” (i.e., the “war” on marriage or “defend marriage” or “militant homosexuals”) These tactics take people’s attention off the humanity of this group. They are no longer seen as people, but enemies in a battle.   I have yet to see a battle that did not involve bloodshed and this one has been no different.

At the same time I have been writing about these events, I have been studying nonviolence as an agent for personal and social change. I have read books by civil rights leaders and peace makers like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hahn and Marshall Rosenberg. I have taken a 64 hour training to be a trainer of Kingian Nonviolence, and most recently, 33-hours of training in mediation. I have gone into schools over-run by gangs and violence and taught children about nonviolence. I continue to grow on this quest to live my live free of passive and physical violence. (This includes avoiding violence on TV, Movies or the internet).

I must admit I have been struggling lately with my own writings about the religious right. While I believe strongly that we must address the lies, the dehumanizing tactics, and enemy images created by their propaganda, I also can’t help but notice we all too often fulfill the clichés that the oppressed will inevitably become the oppressor. “Conflicts are seldom managed productively by attention to blame or causality, or detecting the prosecutor and victim. If you tag someone with the “fault” label, you have not managed the conflict; you have only created an enemy. We call this blame process “Putting the black hat on the villain.” (Interpersonal Conflict, Wilmot & Hocker, 2001 Pg. 182) I wonder what “hat” are we putting on the religious right and would it happen to be the one they originally put on us? Are we fighting their attempts to make us the enemy by in turn making them the enemy?

In the process called Nonviolent Communication developed by Marshall Rosenberg, PhD, it is pointed out that calling people “good” or “bad”, “Right” or “wrong” focuses too much on what people “are” rather than what they need. It is not life serving to live from a place of blame and judgment. With that in mind, I can’t help but wonder how we are going to solve anything in this conflict of beliefs and ideas when we are not willing to help the other side find ways to meet their needs. I have yet to see Peter Labarbera offer any suggestions on how to prevent hate crimes against gays and lesbians, but I also can’t say I see that many gay activists trying to help anti-gay preachers stay congruent with their faith, while allowing GLBT folks to have their needs met. Is this even possible? Mohandas Gandhi once said, “The fastest way to win justice for yourself is to render it to your opponents.” A fancy, but beautiful way of saying that if you can meet your opponents’ needs, it is likely they will be more willing to help you meet yours.

All of this causes me to choose my words carefully when talking about Peter LaBarbera, DL Foster, Stephen Bennett or James Dobson.  In my heart, I don’t believe anyone is truly evil. I believe we are all trying to get our needs met. For some that is a need for equality, for others it may be a need to have the world congruent with their faith. While I don’t always understand what the needs are, I notice more so that few are trying to understand at all. So many people have acted in evil ways in a quest to meet their need to live pain free lives in a painful world. I am reminded of the many school shooters whose need to end pain in themselves, came at the expense of others’ lives. I wonder what would have happen if they had seen other options for meeting their needs. In the same way, I wonder what LaBarbera, Foster and Bennett would be doing if we found a way for them to meet their needs without demonizing gays and lesbians as “after the children” or “infiltrating the schools” or “militant?”

Still, as I said in paragraph three above, I am struggling with my own website and the tone I have taken at times.   I wonder how it is possible to point out the damage, the unmet needs, provide more accurate information about GLBT folks yet not demonzie people who are anti-gay as the enemies of those who are progay?  We cannot fight their enemy images with more enemy images.  At the end of the day, we all put our pants on one leg at a time.   We all need to share this planet and I would prefer to do it without the violence, inequality and hatred whether god supports it or not.   We all worship different gods or no gods at all.   We will need to find ways to living together as brothers regardless of religious beliefs or we will end up dying together regardless of religious beliefs. 

Across the planet, thousands die everyday at the hand of religious dogma, millions more are oppressed or imprisoned because of differing religious beliefs.   I can’t help but think that if I did believe there was a creator, would he appreciate all this death, oppression and sorrow in his name?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reversing the Enemy Images

by @ 6:07 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Joe's Rants, Nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication, Stephen Bennett

I have been writing this blog for over a two years now. I started because I wanted a way to speak out against the radio show called, “Straight Talk Radio” with hosts Irene and Stephen Bennett. I had heard their misrepresentations of GLBT folks and realized for myself that someone needed to speak out against the enemy images painted by these folks. I continued to speak out for some time because I wanted the enemy images to stop. I would soon learn I was fighting Irene and Stephen with the same enemy images that I wanted to stop. I was fighting fire with fire, an eye for an eye.

A great man (Gandhi) once said, “An eye for and eye makes the whole world blind.” Another stated, “If we fight fire with fire, entire cities will burn”. Such tactics don’t work, but we seem to be addicted to them as a society. We are programed into the retributive system and have trouble changing because these are the options we know. We need to learn there are other choices to make. There are better ways, we just need to learn them.

I am learning more and more about nonviolence, nonviolent communication (NVC), and conflict resolution. I have spent the past year of my life reading nothing but books about these subjects. I have read all of the works of Gandhi, all of the works of King, short stories from Tolstoy, the writings of Thich Nhat Hahn and a few books from Marshall Rosenberg. I have gone to trainings, workshops and online seminars about mediation, peace making, cultural competency and nonviolence. It is the messages in this that have caused me to rethink my approach to people like Stacy Harp, Peter LaBarbera, Alan Chambers and the hosts of Straight Talk Radio.

I have spent much of my time learning newer and better ways to see those people with whom I disagree. It is not easy to see those who are telling the world you are evil, influenced by Satan, diseased and other colorful things, as human beings. It is much easier and what we have been programed to do, to see them as the opposite side of the war. To see them as they see us, as the enemy. I have to say, even in my own mind, when I catch myself seeing others in this way, I am sad. I have to stop and give some self-empathy. I have remind myself that I am not perfect, just on a journey to rise above the program and be the change for a less violent society.

This is what I hope of others, to stop the enemy images on all sides. I hope others will stop and just think for a moment about why they believe what they believe about other people. What is the evidence? What is the cause of what I believe? Is it based in facts or stereotypes?

Peace will never come in this world if we are not willing to see other people as brothers in conflict rather than divided enemies. It is the enemy images we paint of others that are at the root of violence in the world. We painted people with labels and then decided for ourselves what those labels “deserve.” Are we good, bad, right, wrong, black or white, straight or gay? We have programing on on televisions to help us make choices about who is right or wrong and good or bad. We are taught from a young age that bad guys deserve punishment and good guys deserve reward. We then spend years of our lives trying to avoid punishment and gain rewards, sometimes at the expense of others. Most of the time at the expense of ourselves.

Tonight, I sat and watched the Movie, “Hotel Rwanda”. I had wanted to watch this film for years but avoided it. I wasn’t sure I could handle watching such a blatant display of inhumanity. People divided by labels like “Hutu” and “Tutsi.” These labels were presented to these people by the size of their nose and their height. People did what they were told and killed who they were suppose to kill because they believed in the enemy images the were programed to believe. They did so to avoid punishment or gain reward. In some cases that reward was staying alive. Hutu’s referred to the Tutsi as “Cockroaches.” A simple way of painting them as enemies. It is easier for people to kill someone in cold blood if they see them not as a person, but the enemy.

It is those same enemy images of others that drive so many of our thoughts, actions and beliefs about other people. We see a homeless person and we see a label that triggers in us a set of beliefs, regardless if they are true. Rather than responding to that person as a person with needs and feelings, we see them as a label. Fact is they may not even be homeless at all, but we see people as labels rather than people so anyone dressed poorly and looking dirty must be homeless rather than man who just got off work or a man playing Walt Whitman in a play. We don’t really know the facts, but our mind fills them in anyway.

When I think about why we have enemy images of each other, I can’t help but look at the anti-gay industry and the constant barrage of rhetoric about gay folks. The messages, the false science and the mythological links to evil beings. I think that many of these folks need these enemy images of gay folks to feel better in their fear of god. A need to speak out against “sin” because not speaking out would jeopardize their own salvation. Again, they are stuck in this idea of reward and punishment. Good people are rewarded by god while  bad people burn in hell. Many people live in this fear of god, but call it “god’s love”. I am not sure what kind of a god created beings just to scare the shit out of them for their lives, but it appears others are clear on this. Perhaps someday, someone will have it makes sense to me, but I have my doubts.

I suppose my conclusion is to ask you to think about those who disagree with you on any side of an issue and then ask yourself these questions:

1) What is there to gain from this and at whose expense?

2) Am I enriching life for anyone or just adding more negative, enemy images?

3) Have I just fought fire with fire and how will I escape the smoke and flames when the whole city burns.

Monday, August 6, 2007

New Pro-Naugle Coalition forms

by @ 12:23 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Gay News, hate speech, Nonviolence, Stephen Bennett

A new coalition of old anti-gay faces has emerged to support Mayor Naugle and his already refuted claims of gay public sex in the restrooms of Florida.  The coalition called “Healthy Public Places” consists of no other than Stephen Bennett, Peter LaBarbera and Matt Barber of Concerned Women for America.

The press release for the new group claims there is an epidemic going on, the exact words are:

We have an epidemic on our hands,” said Dr. O’Neal Dozier, HealthyPublicPlaces.com coalition member and Senior Pastor of Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach.

I find this to be utterly baffling that this bathroom sex thing is some sort of epidemic when the police in Florida say this:

A Fort Lauderdale police spokesman said bathroom sex in the city was a “nonexistent problem.” Even Naugle said there have been few arrests over the years.

This is hate speech gone too far.  There are a couple of things these people want you to fear about gays.   They want you to believe that being gay means you have sex in public bathrooms. (yuck), they also want you to believe and fear that all gays will die of Aids (look in the press release).  These are all myths.  For starters, Good As You has already pointed you to Craiglist where you will find ample numbers of heterosexuals looking for quick, public sex with strangers.  What is even more scary is that those people can go give blood tomorrow and me who has had the same partner for years is considered a threat to the blood supply.  That is another post all together.

These people are on a mission folks and it isn’t a good one.   They have a mission to make gays and lesbians look less human, more scary, threatening, diseased and all sorts of stuff that isn’t true.   There is only one answer….Active Creative Nonviolence.  (please click link to learn about the methods and principles of creative nonviolence)

 

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Alan Chambers, Stephen Bennett and Quotes

by @ 3:37 pm. Filed under Ex-gays, Exodus, Gay News, hate speech, Nonviolence, Stephen Bennett

The web is buzzing over recent comments by Exodus International leader Alan Chambers.  Apparently Chambers has implied in his comments that no one really completely changes from gay to heterosexual.  Chamber’s first quote was on CNN:

“For one for someone to simply think that going from straight to gay is like flipping a light switch, that’s something that we want to correct at every turn.” as reported by Box Turtle Bulletin

He followed that the next day with a report in the Los Angeles Times, the article states:(bold print mine)

With years of therapy, Chambers says, he has mostly conquered his own attraction to men; he’s a husband and a father, and he identifies as straight. But lately, he’s come to resent the term “ex-gay”: It’s too neat, implying a clean break with the past, when he still struggles at times with homosexual temptation. “By no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete,” Chambers said.

Well, as the pro-gay world is buzzing about what Chambers meant or didn’t mean as he pretty much states that no one has a “complete” change from being gay and that ex-gays will still face “temptation”, ex-gay Stephen Bennett is calling “misquote.”

Stephen has written on his new igroop daily commentary:

“I have to say with every breath of my being, I believe Alan COULDN’T have said the things the LA Times claimed he did.”

Sadly for Stephen this is not the first time Alan Chambers has made such comments, but it also appears he was not misquoted either.  Jim Burroway reports that Alan made similar. types of comments at the Love Won Out Conference last year. Jim writes on his blog about the “times” interview (bold mine):

This is very much in line with what he told an audience at Love Won Out in Phoenix last February. Alan Chambers gave a workshop, attended by about seventy-five people out of the 700 total attendance, in which he cautioned about setting realistic expectations for change. He also talked about his own struggles, and he candidly discussed the fact that even though he is happily married, his struggles continue.

Stephen doesn’t want to believe that Alan still has same sex attractions.  For whatever reason he has, Stephen feels that Alan has been misquoted.   Bennett states further:

“Our prayers are with Alan and Exodus during this time, and I hope someone will publicly respond to these ludicrous so-called “quotes” the LA Times is claiming.”

I sometimes, actually most of the time, feel bad for Bennett.  I feel Stephen needs to believe, as well as many other ex-gays, the things he does.  He needs to believe that gays and lesbians can just change and that all they need to do is find god.   The fact remains that dozens of men and women, including Alan Chambers, are still homosexual regardless what they call themselves.   The dictionary and science define homosexual as someone attracted to the same sex and Alan has stated more than once that even though he calls himself a heterosexual, he is still “tempted” by his same sex attractions.   In other words, he is still a homosexual.

I too, hope that Alan will clarify his statements as I see this as a very important step towards finding the truth.  I offered Alan Chambers an interview in this site.  I sent him the questions and he replied he would work on them and send the answers back.  I agreed I would post his responses unchanged, unedited and only print a final interview we both agreed on.  He just kept sending me emails with excuses as to why he never filled it out.  Either way, he never filled out the answers and sent them back to me.  I will post the questions sent to Alan at a latter date (there are on my other computer), but knowing how direct my questions were, and knowing I crafted those questions so that it would be hard to avoid answering them directly, I suspect Alan is in the same boat as Stephen Bennett.   Afraid to say the things that really need to be said.

I will add for the record I sent the same invitation to be interviewed by me for a gay audience to read, to Stephen Bennett, Peter LaBarbera, Stacy Harp and others.  Those offers still stand.   It was a chance to increase understanding and try to do away with the “Us vs. Them” mentality that plagues this conflict.  Gandhi believed, and so do I, that we all hold a piece of the truth and a piece of the untruth.   Gandhi believed that if we stripped away the “untruth” which is our greed, fear, power hunger, our desire to control, and mostly our ego, we are only left with that which is truth.   Somehow, we have got to find a way to strip away the untruths.   It takes strength and courage to take such a bold move in such a heated debate, but so many lives are at stake.   So many people are getting hurt, killed, abused, and beaten over this debate.   Finding the truth could change the world for the better.  Alan Chambers appears to be making a courageous move, but the question remains, will Stephen?   Will DL Foster?   Will anyone follow the example?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ex-gay Responds to Ex-gay over Cheney Baby

by @ 4:16 pm. Filed under Ex-gays, Exodus, Gay News, Stephen Bennett

Ex-gay Watch is reporting on Alan Chamber’s response to Stephen Bennett’s response on Mary Cheney’s and Heather Poe’s recent step into motherhood.   Bennett had some crazy notions about gay and lesbian parenting and expressed them in a recent press release.   His comments were hate filled notions that gay parents are pad parents because the child is deprived of a mother and a father.   What Stephen failed to notice or mention to the press is that many children are deprived of any parents at all, let alone the pleasure of two parents.

A recent conversation in my life has been the idea of adopting a child.   A good friend of mine is the Executive Director of the Foster Parent Association of Rhode Island.   When I chatted with her about adopting, she urged me and my partner to consider (which I will consider) adopting an older child.   Many of these kids leave the foster care system with no parents at all, let alone both a mom and dad.  After being released from the system, many have no families to spend the holidays with or parents to celebrate their joys and pains.  Many of these kids would be happy to have any parent or family.  The idea of having two parents, regardless of those parents gender would be awesome for them.   A family to call their own.

Ex-gay Watch’s story zero’s in on Chambers well informed response, as an adoptive parent of two children.  While Bennett claims, I am sure by accident in his fury and knee jerk response to the idea of gay parents, that only the biological parents are good parents, he left out all the adoptive parents who are raising children with great success. I would hope that Chambers’ response will motivate Bennett to do the right thing and issue a correction.

Bennett needs to learn the art of communication.   He has yet to say the things he really needs to say without offending everyone he didn’t intend to offend.   Perhaps if he didn’t make this hateful knee-jerk reactions, he could do it.    His focus is so pinpointed on demonizing gays and lesbians, he occasionally oversteps his bounds and says some very Jerry Falwell type statements.

Mary Cheney and Heather Poe will be great parents.  All the research shows that lesbian parents are good parents.   Little research is available on gay male parents, but what we do have is good.   We spend so much time in this world focusing our efforts on the little causes we have that we tend to forget the bigger issues.   We have thousands of children with no families.  We have thousands of children without any healthcare, we have thousands of children without access to education, we have thousands of children in need.   If Americans for Truth, Stephen Bennett and others would spend as much energy on these issues as they do demonizing gays and lesbians, we could solve some of these problems in the world.   I can only hope for that to happen, as I doubt these men can pull themselves away from the International Leatherman Convention long enough to see that if we could get long term gay couples to adopt more children, we could get more kids healthcare, more kids into families that would celebrate their lives with them, we could work towards a beloved community.

 

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Stephen Bennett Promotes Racism, White Power and Hate

by @ 11:18 am. Filed under Gay News, hate speech, Stephen Bennett

Pam Spaulding is reporting that Stephen Bennett has sent out an email and press release to folks on behalf of Concerned Women for America asking people to look at a YouTube video on the brainwashing of children by gay activists, as if Chase Harper wasn’t evidence of the rights brainwashing but that is another story.

Apparently, the video Stephen Bennett has asked people to watch was posted to YouTube by a White Power Racist who promotes neo-nazism.    I have the feeling that Stephen failed to do his homework on this video or its poster before sending it out to the mass of mailing lists he has.   Either way, the poster that created this video has created other videos like:

– The Black Death (about how Asians nearly killed Europeans by giving them the plague)
– Keep America white
– Hitler
– Blacks are racist
– Homosexuals Brainwashing Children (parts I and II)
– Mexican druglords and human sacrifice
– White Europeans are the first Americans (parts I, II and III)
– Black Crime

Hopefully, When Stephen catches on to what he has done, he will issue a public apology.  But just in case, I would suggest sending Stephen an email asking him to apologize for this mistake and denouce racism.  Please be polite in your request as I am sure that Mr. Bennett had no intention of promoting racism.   Perhaps if we are polite enough, Mr. Bennett will respond in a positive manner.

Call Stephen Bennett today on his toll free “hotline” and request and apology for directing people to such a racist YouTube Poster:SBM Nationwide Toll-Free: 1-800-832-3623

UPDATE: (4:26pm) So, I just hung up the phone with Stephen Bennett Ministries.   Irene Bennett (Irecognize the voice) is claiming that Stephen had nothing to do with this video and did not send people to view the video.  Sadly, we know from the lifesite news  article that she is not telling the truth.

Update: 4/26/07 @ 9:16 am.  It appears YouTube has removed the videos, but that doesn’t change what Stephen Bennett has done.  He should still make a public apology for directing people to watch a video posted by a racist.

 

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thoughts on the “Day of Silence”

Today marks the 11th year of the “Day of Silence“, a day that marks the silence that is forced on those who are being harassed about their real or perceived sexuality.   Studies indicate that 1/3 of all students report being harassed over sexual orientation issues.  The problem is very real and the silence kids experience is a form of structural violence that does its share of psychological damage.

Currently, a group called “Not our Kids” is asking parents to keep their kids home to protest the protest which is the Day of Silence.   The coalition is led by none other than ex-gay, Stephen Bennett and it has been pushed hard by groups like Americans for Truth led by Peter LaBarbera.   The actions of this group, pulling kids from school, only highlights the problem and brings more attention to the cause.   While this coalition thinks they are making some statement by pulling kids from school, they are actually helping to support the meaning behind the Day of Silence since it is these very groups who create the climate that fuels the hate that causes the silence gay youth are forced to tolerate.  The people who support the Day of Silence should send the people who don’t a thank you card since the brouhaha they have created helps bring the problem into the light.

As usual, groups like Americans for Truth, Stephen Bennett Ministries, Faith2Action and others ignore the real problems and offer no alternative solutions to the problems.    They claim that homosexuality shouldn’t be discussed in the school, along with an array of issues they have deemed moral issues.   I would ask, what gives these folks the power to decide what is a sexuality, science, educational or moral issue?

Homosexuality is not just a moral issue, it has a human face, especially when we are talking about youth.   Anti-gay activists are so quick to call any outspoken advocate for gay rights “militant”, “Radical” or “Extreme” when we demand fair treatment or equal rights.   The true facts show that these groups are far more militant in action and go to far greater lengths to spread misinformation and untruth than any other political group I have experienced.   They claim up and down to be religious groups, but religion plays a small role and politics seems to rule the day.

Gandhi held the belief that each side of a conflict holds a piece of the truth and a piece of the untruth.   He believed that nonviolent conflict resolution could be found if each group sat down and pulled together the truths each held and dispelled the untruths.   I have personally seen more gays and lesbians willing to do this than I have ever seen from anti-gay groups.   I have seen more gay activists willing to compromise for peaceful resolution on the issue than I have ever seen from groups like Americans for Truth or Faith2Action.   I see these groups fight, complain and make demands to silence and dehumanize gays but rarely do we see any of them offer solutions to the problems gays and lesbians face and as it has been stated a thousand times in history,  if you are not part of the solution, than you must be part of the problem.

The Problem:

  • The reason most commonly cited for being harassed frequently in schools is a student’s appearance, as four in ten (39%) teens report that students are frequently harassed for the way they look or their body size. Right behind was sexual orientation as one-third (33%) of teens report that students are frequently harassed because they are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.
  • LGBT students are three times as likely as non-LGBT students to say that they do not feel safe at school (22% vs. 7%).
  • 90% of LGBT students (vs. 62% of non-LGBT teens) have been harassed or assaulted during the past year.

The Solution from Anti-gay groups:

?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stephen Bennett Ministries: Money or Mission

by @ 7:50 pm. Filed under Ex-gays, Gay News, hate speech, Stephen Bennett

I have followed Stephen Bennett for over a year and a half now. I check his website every other day, I follow what he is up to and what lies he is spreading about gays. I believe on some level he is sincere, and I say that with a bit of research under my belt, but this latest bit of information questions Stephen’s intentions from profit vs. mission.

It is hard for me, I admit, to be nonviolent when I see this stuff. The knee jerk reaction of lashing out with verbal violence comes up for me, but I squash it since I know it is not productive. I can’t say I am not angry when I see Stephen Bennett paying himself over $74,000 to fight my rights, yet his reports to the IRS that he is taking a loss. What loss? The loss is to LGBT people in rights, fought by lies, yet Stephen paid himself and his wife over $100,000 in salaries to fight my rights. To top off these lies, Stephen and Irene Bennett check off the box that says they in no way tried to influence any legislation in their ministry. That is an out right lie.

While I actually got great grades in math in high school, I struggle with reading tax stuff. Since RTLWT writer, Kevin has done so well with this stuff, and Guidestar.org, I asked him to look at Stephen’s tax reports for Stephen Bennett Ministries…..here are his findings……as he posts on his blog….

Read it all after the cut

(more…)

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I support the Boycott of a Day of Silence

A coalition of anti-gay advocates led by Stephen Bennett, have banded together to urge parents to pull their kids from school on April 18th as a protest of the protest, a “Day of Silence“. I have been pondering this protest of the protest and think it is great! Good for them and good for the protest.

Here are the reasons why:

To start with the only kids left in the schools will be kids who are silent. I suspect, the numbers of kids who will stay home won’t be that big since the youth of today are far more accepting of gays, according to national surveys. The show of solidarity will be a very supportive thing for gay youth to see. The show of silence from more kids will send a stronger message to school officials of the problem at hand. (Read the latest reports on kids being bullied for their perceived sexual orientation, also read what mental health advocates say about the damage that does to youth)

Gay youth will see who their friends are and so will everyone else. Much like the Children’s March of 1963, the world will be watching this one. For one of the first times, many will see who supports violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians and who doesn’t. The community will see the number that support the violence, discrimination the gay youth face is smaller than those who are opposed to the violence. The Day of Silence is a protest for those who can no longer speak since their voices have been silenced by violence. Without the kids who will not participate the percent of kids who will participate will be greater. Rather than 20% of the kids present taking part in the protest 80% will be. This sends a clear message to administrators that lots of kids support the day of silence since the only kids they see will be silent ones.

The best way to be silent, is to not be there at all. So even though the intention is to not participate in the Day of Silence, these kids pulled from school are participating. The absence is their silence whether they know it or not. I guess I should send Stephen Bennett a thank you note for making the Day of Silence more successful by taking the problems out of it, the bullies.

Day of silence is about kids being bullied by other kids who misunderstand, have been mis-educated by their parents and have misguided by their churches. If you are curious who is bullying the gay youth, it will be the absent youth on April 18th. Remember that hate is not born into people. Hate is taught to children by their parents. This action will help identify those kids who are being taught to hate by their parents. At least teachers will finally know who to watch out for!

Again I reminded myself that all tyranny falls. Even Stephen Bennett, one day I feel assured people will look back at him and say what they do about George Wallace or Senator Theodore Bilbo, now.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Propaganda Techniques and the use of the “adjective” in posts about crime

One of the more interesting tactics of fear used by the anti-gay industry is the use of the adjective “homosexual” on a person who has committed a crime, even if that person was not a homosexual.   This is a tactic of fear, not reality and it helps to fuel the climate of violence against gays and lesbians.   The tactic involves this simple technique, when a person commits a crime, simple insert their race, immigration status, sexual orientation or religion.  For example a head line using this tactic would read:

Sentence of fifteen years for (fill in religion, sexual orientation or race here) murderer was pass down today

The object of the game, much like the propaganda of Joseph Gobbels, is to link said group to crime.   They want you to believe the fact they are homosexual, or black, or Jewish (or appear to be) is the reason they have committed the crime.  Have you ever seen a murderer called a “Heterosexual murderer”?   This tactic creates a false image of these groups by linking them to crime thus creating fear, thus creating the license for sick individuals to commit crimes of violence against them (hate crimes).  After all, these groups are the enemy, right?

In the cases I will point out here, I am focusing on GLBT folks, but if you click many of the links, you will see this tactic goes back many, many years.   Generally, this tactic is used mostly by far right groups like the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Americans for Truth and Fred Phelps.   Often they twist the details of the crime to spin it so it seems like the criminals sexuality was cause for the crime.   The simple use of the adjective “homosexual” onto any crime suddenly makes it seem like “homosexuality” is really to blame and not the person.  It is a way of blaming all gays and lesbians for any one crime.

Generally, those who use this tactic are one’s who want you to believe that everything about homosexuality is evil, therefore anything gays do is evil.   Stacy Harp has been fond of this tactic, as well as Peter La Barbera,  and most of the far right Christian Press such as “lifesite” or “World Net Daily“.   Stephen Bennett is another who tends to use this tactic of attaching the adjective to the crime hoping to link the two.  Read this article from Stephen where he claims the criminals were “homosexual murderers”, yet none of them identify as homosexual and were in fact, married heterosexuals.

The reality is simple.   Crimes are committed by criminals and criminals come in all shapes and sizes, but only the anti-gay industry tries to connect the crime to the persons sexuality.   This tactic was often used by the Nazi’s who tried to link Jews to a number of crimes including murder.  This tactic was also used by David Duke’s racist movement against blacks.  Duke used a famous speech by Senator Bilbo of Mississippi who warned of America’s fall should “negro and white blood be mixed” to show how blacks commit crime at a higher rate then non-blacks.   Of course the statistics were skewed and misused to make a false case, but that created fear of blacks, again creating license to commit violence against blacks since they would be seen as the enemy.

This tactic is a license to sick minds to commit violence against GLBT folks because after all “those gays” are bad, evil murderers, predators, etc…. so it is okay to “get em”   This tactic is also license for everyday folks to discriminate against GLBT folks since the barrage of negative information is so great and widely distributed by the religious right.   As long as the anti-gay industry continues to paint GLBT people as evil, criminals, sick, drug addicted, violent, and many other myths they spread, the violence against us will continue.   As long as they fight hate crime laws, one of the few tactics to stop the violence, the violence will continue.     Hate Speech has a direct impact on hate crime.  Words have impact.

Sadly, the religious right refuses to see the damage they cause.  They sadly have little interest in curbing the violence and continue to fight all other efforts to fight the violence against gays and lesbians.    They create the climate of violence by their demonizing (which they say is morally justified) of homosexuality and then deny any part in the violence that happens to gays, the bullying of youth, the discrimination.   We must fight such hate not with more hate, but with unarmed truth and love.

Call your elected officials today and tell them you support hate crime protections for ALL.

See the side by side of anti-gay and anti-Jewish hate speech at hatecrime.org

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