Monthly Archives: March 2013

God Dooms The Fags

I was recently waiting in the checkout line at Michaels holding a spool of bright red ribbon that I was purchasing for a job, surrounded by women and young girls collecting supplies for their craft projects, but I was standing confident because as I tell my daughter, I’m secure in my manhood.

In the line just in front of me stood two men, and for no other reason than the line being slow, I watched them. Then one of the men leaned over and laughingly nibbled the other’s ear.

My immediate reaction was to turn away and repress my need to gag, and if I didn’t need to pay for the ribbon, I would have retreated, because I really was­—well, let’s say uncomfortable. I was also aware of different possible directions the next few minutes could take if my inherent response was too noticeable.

As I later digested my thoughts, I realized that I am going to have to develop a practiced approach to how I react in that kind of situation, because it’s not going away. That horse has left the barn, and is frolicking through the pastures.

I thought about how, if I were confronted by the two men, asserting their right to behave just as straight couples do, (although had I seen a straight couple, save one that looked cute and honeymoon-ish, act that way, I might have gagged too,) I could take two approaches depending on what the opportunity offered.

The first would be an adult variation on the brief back and forth dialogue that we used to have as 6th graders:

“What are you looking at?”

“Nothing—what are you looking at?”

“You better stop looking at me.”

“I’m not looking at you. And I can look at whoever I want.”

And on. The tactic of attrition.

The second would be to take the time and offer a more in-depth dialogue—an opportunity to flesh out, so to speak, the issues in a way that might open up new insights. I might look forward to having a discussion with them.

In preparing for a discussion like that, I decided that I would compartmentalize my views on homosexuality into three areas—personal, social, and religious in any encounter I have with an advocate of gay marriage. I might elaborate how that plays out in my mind another time.

Last week I was listening to TV coverage of the big rallies in front of the Supreme Court building as the deliberations on gay marriage took place. The reporter did his best to present both sides while at the same time highlight supporters of each side as they really got into each other’s grill.

Two men stood feet apart, one shouting “Homosexuality is an abomination before God!”  while the other shouted, “You’re a homophobe and a racist!”

The coverage then showed a wide-angle view of the pretty much behaved and equally-sided but outspoken crowd.

Then, at the front of the pro-Gay supporters, the camera showed a man dressed to the hilt in the kind of outlandish pink chiffon-feather boa-Rio Carnival type of costume that you might see during Mardi Gra, shakin’ it like he’d got, full on for the crowd.

I cringed at him and thought, “I’m not sure he’s a good icon of what the pro-Gay crowd is trying to achieve here, which in their mind is a significant, and righteous change in our culture. I bet they’d love to hide him in embarrassment behind the surrounding trees.

Then the camera showed a woman who screeched out “God dooms the fags! They’re hideous! They’re monsters!”

Really? I wanted to take her over behind the trees too so she could have it out with Elton John guy, and did kind of want to stuff a sock in her mouth. Then I tried to picture Christ stuffing a sock in her mouth, and thought better of it.

In the movie Crash, a drama revolving around racism in Los Angeles, one of the black protagonists says to a black thug who had just high jacked his car, barely escaping a confrontation with the police, “You’re embarrassing me. And you’re embarrassing yourself.”

This woman was embarrassing me. And she was embarrassing Christ.

This morning, ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan “what can the Catholic Church say to gays and lesbians, who feel unwelcomed by the Church, which does not support same-sex marriage”:

“Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, ‘I love you, too.  And God loves you.  And you are made in God’s image and likeness.  And – and we – we want your happiness.  But – and you’re entitled to friendship.’  But we also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that – especially when it comes to sexual love – that is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally,” Dolan said.

It was this he then said that really expressed what the church should do in the face of the same-sex marriage issue, as well as homosexuality in general:

“We got to be – we got to do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people.  And I admit we haven’t been too good at that.  We try our darndest to make sure we’re not an anti-anybody.”

I loved his use of the word “reduced.”  We need to always keep in mind that everything Christ brought to the world revolved not around the theme of reducing, but raising up.

There is a place for confrontation, but it has to be at the right opportunity and done with grace, reason, and humility. Otherwise it will lack the love of Christ and be counterproductive to any possible target audience we are trying to reach, which is pretty much everyone.

There will be plenty of opportunity ahead—we need to figure out now how we’re going to respond on a daily basis because the issue is not going to go away. If the ship of what in our minds has been a Christian America is going down, we need to make sure that at least we’re throwing deck chairs overboard so that some can float instead of just rearranging them.

 

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Run! Run!, Cypriots

Central bank of cyprus

Leading the international news the past week has been the financial crisis in Cyprus. Over the last few years, a number of European countries, primarily Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal have been facing debt crisis’ that dwarf our own fiscal cliff and sequestration issues. The problems in those countries raise the specter of insolvency­, a worst case scenario of bankruptcy in which those countries would basically say to their debtors, “Sorry, I can’t pay you back. Nothing I can do.” This could create a domino affect involving the more solvent countries and spread worldwide.

It’s like you going to the bank that gave you a mortgage loan on your house and saying “I don’t have the money to make the payment.” Eventually the bank comes and takes your house and you are out on the street, unless someone comes to the rescue and helps you make the payment.

In a very complicated not to say convoluted way, a number of those large European countries have been having those issues. To this point, they have been getting bailed out (have you been hearing that word a lot lately? If your name is in the same sentence as the word bailout, it’s not a good thing,) by their healthier European brothers like Germany and France. So far it’s been working, although the European financial pot is simmering. Too much debt, and possibly not enough bailout to go around.

Which brings us to Cyprus which to be honest with you, I wasn’t even aware was a country. I thought it was kind of like Monaco, Hong Kong, or Puerto Rico. But it’s a country sure enough and its banks are in big trouble. Bigger trouble than the larger European countries, and probably because Cyprus is much smaller, that trouble flew at least in the public eye, under the radar.

It’s all surfaced now though, because it was forced to, like a hunted submarine whose cook begins clanging all his pots and pans around, and caused a bit of a panic not only with its citizens, but with the world economic community in large.

Bailouts to Cyrus from the larger countries (which are really loans in themselves that come along with strict controls, and at a high price,) were in question.

The approach that Cyprus chose to demonstrate it was doing all it could to remain solvent was to attempt a tax on the money that citizens held in bank savings accounts, to the tune of 10%. Can you imagine your government coming into your savings and seizing 10%? This is what the citizens of Cyprus faced. (Now it’s true that a lot of savings held in the Cyprus banks is laundered Russian money, but that’s another issue.) The concern of a run on the banks and even riots loomed. Fortunately for now, Cyprus decided to tax only the wealthiest account holders  (which may be some of those Russian money launderers. Don’t think I’d want to be a Cyprus bank regulator right now.)

So now the connection to our Christian mindset.

Over the weekend, I listened to a National Pravda Radio (NPR) news story highlighting the mindset and possible plight of Cypriot savings account holders who are only allowed to make small withdrawals each day to avoid bank runs. Here are some observation from the commentator:

  • The Cypriots have a fractured psyche in possibly having 10% of their savings taken
  • They are nervous about the security of their savings
  • They have been forcedto have only enough money to live day by day
  • The crisis has forced a trimming of expenditures to just the necessities
  • There is complete uncertainty about their future

Are you seeing where I’m going with this? While listening to all this, I was thinking what if Jesus was standing close to the around-the-block ATM lines and the good citizens came to Him in protest? I really can see Him responding – “Yea … so?

More next time.

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John 3:16 Guy – Part 3

rainbowmanFrom http://www.straightdope.com

Recently on your America Online site you posted your old column about Rock’n Rollen Stewart, the guy who used to hold up those “John 3:16” signs at sports events. You may be interested to know that Stewart is now serving a life sentence in jail.

Name withheld, via AOL

 Cecil replies:

Yipes. I lost track of Rollen after talking to him in 1987. At the time he struck me, and I’d say most people, as a harmless if obsessed flake. Shows how wrong you can be. A few years later Stewart went completely off his nut, staged a series of bombings, and wound up in prison after a bizarre kidnapping stunt. The whole story is told in The Rainbow Man/John 3:16, a new documentary by San Francisco filmmaker Sam Green. If you doubt that too much TV is bad for you, you won’t after seeing this flick.

Stewart’s problems started during his childhood in Spokane, Washington. His parents were alcoholics. His father died when Rollen was seven. His mother was killed in a house fire when he was 15. That same year his sister was strangled by her boyfriend. A shy kid, Rollen got into drag racing in high school, married his first love, and opened a speed shop. But his wife soon left him. Crushed, he sold the shop and moved to a mountain ranch where he became a marijuana farmer, tried to grow the world’s longest mustache, and watched a lot of TV.

In 1976, looking for a way to make his mark, Rollen conceived the idea of becoming famous by constantly popping up in the background of televised sporting events. Wearing a multicolored Afro wig (hence the nickname “Rainbow Man”), he’d carry a battery-powered TV to keep track of the cameras, wait for his moment, then jump into the frame, grinning and giving the thumbs-up. Rollen figured he’d be able to parlay his underground (OK, background) celebrity into a few lucrative TV gigs and retire rich. But except for one Budweiser commercial, it didn’t happen.

Feeling depressed after the 1980 Super Bowl, he began watching a preacher on the TV in his hotel room and found Jesus. He began showing up at TV events wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Jesus Saves”-type slogans and various Bible citations, most frequently John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,” etc.). Later accompanied by his wife, a fellow Christian he married in the mid-80s, he spent all his time traveling to sports events around the country, lived in his car, and subsisted on savings and donations. He guesses he was seen at more than a thousand events all told.

This brings us to the late 80s. By now Rollen had gotten his 15 minutes of fame and was the target of increasing harassment by TV and stadium officials. His wife left him, saying he had choked her because she held up a sign in the wrong location. His car was totaled by a drunk driver, his money ran out, and he wound up homeless in LA. Increasingly convinced that the end was near, Rollen decided to create a radically different media character. He set off a string of bombs in a church, a Christian bookstore, a newspaper office, and several other locations. Meanwhile he sent out apocalyptic letters that included a hit list of preachers, signing the letters “the Antichrist.” Rollen says he wanted to call attention to the Christian message, and while this may seem like a sick way to go about it, it wasn’t much weirder than waving signs in the end zone at football games. In any case, no one was hurt in the bombings, which mostly involved stink bombs.

On September 22, 1992, believing the Rapture was only six days away and having prepared himself by watching TV for 18 hours a day, Stewart began his last “presentation.” Posing as a contractor, he picked up two day laborers in downtown LA, then drove to an airport hotel. Taking the men up to a room, he unexpectedly walked in on a chambermaid. In the confusion that followed he drew a gun, the two men escaped, and the maid locked herself in the bathroom. The police surrounded the joint, and Rollen demanded a three-hour press conference, hoping to make his last national splash. He didn’t get it. After a nine-hour siege the cops threw in a concussion grenade, kicked down the door, and dragged him away.

About to be given three life sentences for kidnapping, Rollen threw a tantrum in the courtroom and now blames everything on a society that’s “bigoted toward Jesus Christ.” A cop who negotiated with him by phone during the hotel standoff had a better take on it: “With all due respect, maybe you look at a little bit too much TV.” For info on the Rainbow Man documentary, write Sam Green, 2437 Peralta St., suite C, Oakland, CA 94607.

Cecil Adams.

These words come straight from his website at http://www.straightdope.com

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