aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence: charity & activism
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence started in 1979 as one of the first charities supporting San Francisco’s gay community and has since spread to more than 600 sisters in eight countries.
Mixing street theater, drag-queen elegance and community fundraising, the men of the Sisterhood support AIDS organizations, help combat hate crimes and, as they put it, “promote universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt.”
“We are part of the modern gay rights movement,” said Sister Kitty Catalyst of San Francisco. “We are not ashamed of our differences, we are proud of them.”
Calling themselves 21st century nuns, the sisters have raised more than $1 million in San Francisco alone and have benefited such groups as the Breast Cancer Network, Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic and the Gay Games. The Sisters bring meals to the infirm and fund alternative proms for queer youth.
Now that’s some old-time gay culture, whether they live in the Castro or not.
End of gay culture again
This Halloween, the Glindas, gladiators and harem boys of the Castro - along with untold numbers who plan to dress up as Senator Larry E. Craig, this year’s camp celebrity - will be celebrating behind closed doors. The city’s most popular Halloween party, in America’s largest gay neighborhood, is canceled. [...]
For many in the Castro District, the cancellation is a blow that strikes at the heart of neighborhood identity, and it has brought soul-searching that goes beyond concerns about crime.
These are wrenching times for San Francisco’s historic gay village, with population shifts, booming development, and a waning sense of belonging that is also being felt in gay enclaves across the nation, from Key West, Fla., to West Hollywood, as they struggle to maintain cultural relevance in the face of gentrification.
My argument is not that these neighborhoods will stay or come back or are by any means relevant or necessary. Rather, it’s that a gay culture will continue to exist.
The Castro remains a top tourist destination for gay and lesbian visitors. But Joe D’Alessandro, president and C.E.O. of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, and a gay parent who lives in the Castro, predicted that eventually the neighborhood would go the way of North Beach, “still a historic Italian neighborhood though Italians don’t necessarily live there anymore.”
I began my career working on the film Before Stonewall. The point of it was that there was a gay culture before. There was Mattachine and Daughters of Bilitis and Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde. There will be an after too.
Download and print out the costume then join the parade…
- Thanks Jason!
Professional malware Mac attack
Hackers are reportedly sticking virtual razor blades into Apple computers this Halloween, as a Mac security vendor reports Wednesday that a Mac-focussed Trojan is reportedly loose on the internet costumed as an innocent video decoding file.
Mac OS X users visiting malicious porn sites are told to download a special codec that will let Apple’s Quicktime player to play the porn flicks, but instead of adult treats, users get a malicious trick, according to anti-virus vendor Intego.
The OS X Trojan, which infects a computer after a user chooses to download a proprietary codec, hijacks the infected computer’s DNS settings. Internet-connected applications use DNS settings to figure out how to translate URLs, such as Wired.com, into the physical address of a server, according to Intego’s alert. By hijacking the DNS, the Trojan is able to redirect visits to sites such as banks, eBay and PayPal to fake websites that attempt to harvest user’s logins and passwords to commit financial fraud.
Gadi Evron says:
I can sum it up in one sentence: OS X is the new Windows 98.
The same gang infects Windows machines as well, just that now they also target macs.[...]
This means one thing: Apple’s day has finally come and Apple users are going to get hit hard. All those unpatched vulnerabilities from years past are going to bite them in the behind.
Sunbelt Software’s Alex Eckelberry has screenshots.
Attribution corrected. Thanks, Alex!
Bush: The downside of dynasty
For all the recent talk of “Bush-Clinton fatigue” - The AP’s Nancy Benac says, “The dominance of the two families in U.S. presidential politics is unprecedented.” - Hendrik Hertzberg takes us on a Dynastic Voyage through America’s past that suggest it’s just not so.
But, he concludes, for Hillary there still may be a downside:
Senator Clinton is different, obviously. She is indisputably a wife-of, but it was she, not he, whom Life selected as an icon of their generation when she graduated from college. It was she, not he, who, as a young lawyer, got the coveted job with the House Watergate investigation. She would have gone far, maybe even this far, without him. However much she benefits from the dynasty factor, though, the Economist is right: there’s a downside. The downside’s name is Bush. If, as the voters in 2000 wished, Al Gore, son of Senator Albert Gore, Sr., had been granted the White House, things might be a bit easier-not just for Hillary Clinton but also for her main Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama. George W. Bush has been as poor an advertisement for “inexperience” as for dynasticism. It’s not fair, of course. Bush’s failure to learn much of anything for the past six years suggests a deficit of character, not of experience; his unwillingness to employ his father’s skills and advice on behalf of the nation shows a disrespectful disregard for a dynast’s biggest advantage. He has given both freshness and family a bad name.
Via Raleigh-Elizabeth Smith at Veracifier, where she mourns that there were no Smiths among the American dynasties, “my parents did a lousy job of marrying into the six ruling families that dominate American politics… In fact, the only legitimate dynastic claims my family could hedge would be at the Piggly-Wiggly...”
Sonny’s mixed message on water
Yesterday Gov. Sonny Perdue called the 10% water cutback he ordered was largely symbolic.
Throughout this water crisis, every state official of high standing - not just Perdue, but House Speaker Glenn Richardson and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle as well - has been asked whether overdevelopment is part of the problem.
In each case, the official has said no. Metro Atlanta’s unbounded growth has little or no relationship to the availability of water.
But if you admit that conservation has an impact on water use, then it follows that consumption is an issue that’s more than symbolic. And putting a lid on development would be a next step.
So if you want to keep that growth engine churning, you can’t permit yourself to view conservation as anything more than necessary morale boosting.
UPDATE: Looks like Atlanta businesses are more clued in to the reality than Sonny.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Good news coming for Georgia.
LATER STILL: Not so much.
Do not track list
Most consumers are familiar with do-not-call lists, which are meant to keep telemarketers from phoning them. Soon people will be able to sign up for do-not-track lists, which will help shield their Web surfing habits from the prying eyes of marketers.
Such lists will not reduce the number of ads that people see online, but they will prevent advertisers from using their online meanderings to deliver specific ad pitches to them.
Today the AOL division of Time Warner will announce a service of this type, which will be up and running by the end of the year. Other programs are likely to be articulated soon, as online advertisers prepare for a two-day forum on privacy to be held by the Federal Trade Commission.
AOL says it is setting up a new Web site that will link consumers directly to opt-out lists run by the largest advertising networks. The site’s technology will ensure that people’s preferences are not erased later.
I won’t be opting out; I want the benefits of being tracked. But to have them we need to build an apparatus that ensures our privacy and appropriately safeguards and regulates and access to information and limits how it can be used. This is at least a start in that direction:
AOL executives say they are happy to give people a way to keep their Internet habits private, even though that would undercut AOL’s own behavioral targeting efforts. In July AOL acquired a behavioral ad network company, Tacoda, that has been promoting opt-out options to users for a year.
“We all have to build toward a future where we are delivering ads people want and not just ads we want people to see,” said Dave Morgan, the founder of Tacoda who now works at AOL. “The only way to do that is to listen to consumers.”
LATER: Sweating Through Fog has fun with last year’s AOL search breach.
More straights arrested for lewd conduct at rest stops
I’m really getting sick of this. It’s not the out proud gay people that you find acting out in places like this. CBS:
Almost two dozen men were arrested as a result of a gay sex sting operation in an unsuspecting location off Interstate 684 in Bedford.
Police say the suspects in the operation were getting more than just rest at the highway rest area where the sting took place.
Among them a priest and the president of the rotary club. But here’s the clincher:
Of the twenty men arrested, all were married except for the priest. They’ve been charged with crimes ranging from loitering and public lewdness to trespassing. All are scheduled to be in court on Thursday.
Then there’s the kinky Republican Washington state GOP legislator who picked up a hustler in a sex shop then claimed he was being blackmailed.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Cheney news management skills (reprise)
In honor of today’s incident, a rerun. I wonder will he do better this time...
Dan Bartlett is on the lecture circuit telling insider’s stories about Vice President Dick Cheney:
There was, for instance, the Cheney hunting incident in south Texas, when he accidentally blasted a buddy in the face with birdshot. Years before, Bartlett had faced another bad-news hunting incident when Gov. George W. Bush was photographed shooting a bird, which upon closer examination by the photographer, turned out to be a protected species.
As soon as he got that news, Bartlett sprang into action, and by the time newspaper presses ran that night with the photo, the incident had already been officially reported to state authorities, a fine was paid and Bush had issued an apology. The result: a one-day story that you, in fact, probably never heard before reading this.
The way Bartlett describes the Cheney incident, it took forever to reach anyone with Cheney, and the White House aide discovered to his horror that the hunting party had already been strategizing for 24 hours. They planned to give the story to a Corpus Christi reporter, except that, it being the weekend, no one could find him.
Bartlett finally reached the vice president and urgently presented another option: getting him on the phone with a national press pool to explain the entire incident in his own words ASAP. There was dead silence. Then, the vice president intoned he would handle it his way. Which Cheney did.
And, not coincidentally, his hunting story is still the subject of talk show jokes.
Cheney: hunting with a menu
Al Sharpton’s chiding Cheney for hunting at a private club that hangs the Confederate flag. The fake news boys will no doubt be joining in the chiding tonight.
A couple weeks back Terry Gross replayed an April 2004 interview with Ben Karlin, former executive producer of both The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. In the interview he discussed how they handled Cheney’s most infamous hunting accident:
[W]hat was most scandalous about the story, in our opinion, as we read reports, was not, you know, what happened between Cheney and Whittington, but actually the fact that the vice president goes on these particular kinds of hunts. The more details were revealed, kind of like deep into the story as we were reading them, we’re just like, `Wait a second. People go and shoot like 70 caged birds, and they’re right there and then they’re just released? That’s not hunting.’ And we just couldn’t get our heads around like thinking about hunting as this, you know, pursuit which is involved with has some skill and you have to go out and you’re in the brush all day. And you, you know, it’s cold and you’re up at the crack of dawn. And all this idea that you have about hunting, and we just kind of said, like, this here is really the scandal of this story, that this thing goes on and is anyway--this is the furthest thing removed from hunting you can possibly imagine. So we said, like, let’s actually try to do--this is the closest to I think actual journalism we really go right up to that point. And so we tried to find a place that would let us come on and do one of these hunts.
Here’s the resulting Nate Corddry piece, splendor in the grass:
Bonus video: brother Rob on Cheney the decisive shooter.
Cheney hunting: costume of choice this year
If it wasn’t before, it will be now:
Vice President Dick Cheney is embroiled in yet another hunting-related controversy.
The vice president made a daylong hunting trip on Monday to the Clove Valley Rod and Gun Club, an exclusive mountainside establishment on 4,000 acres in Union Vale, N.Y., about 15 miles east of Poughkeepsie, in Dutchess County. Only members and their guests may hunt on the property; an annual membership is said to cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Reporters who covered Mr. Cheney’s visit on Monday — including Fernanda Santos of The Times — were not permitted to enter the grounds of the hunting estate. But at least one eagle-eyed photographer captured images of a Confederate battle flag — about 3 feet by 5 feet in dimension — hanging in plain view in a garage attached to the club’s headquarters. The Daily News captured images of the flag. The New York Post stoked the controversy today with the headline: “V.P.’s Hunting Gear: Dead-Eye Dick Cheney in Dixie-Flag Flap.”
Water Wars (continued)
Alabama and Florida have a much different view of things than those inside the perimeter:
Georgia officials said the metro area has less than 90 days of water left. The other states say it’s closer to 260 days, and that’s if it never rains. The 90-day level is the “conservation level” for the reservoir, not the end of the supply.
Georgians said Lake Lanier’s water should go to the people of Atlanta, not to preserve endangered mussels downstream. One Alabaman put it this way: “Sturgeon and mussels are not the only thing downstream.” Turns out there’s a nuclear reactor and whole bunch of jobs.
Georgians claim that a two-decade effort to rewrite the rules for water use have never been completed because Alabama and Florida refuse to cooperate. The others noted that Georgians walked out of a mediation session in September - as they have from numerous other meetings over the past 20 years.
Georgians said they’re willing to work with the two other states. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) once sent invitations to three other senators and both governors from Georgia and Alabama to talk. He never heard back from Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Morgan Spurlock: What Would Jesus Buy?
...what really needs to be made clear, and what no one on the national stage is saying, is that the obesity epidemic and climate change are simply two sides of the same coin-overconsumption. We are sacrificing our nation’s natural resources and polluting our air, soil and water on the altar of More: Big Gulps, Monster Thickburgers, and, from McDonald’s--which has retired the phrase “supersize” but not the concept--the Angus Third Pounder.
Who better to make it clear than Morgan Spurlock:
I’m just praying that Morgan Spurlock’s soon-to-be-released documentary What Would Jesus Buy? will do for overconsumption what SuperSize me did for junk food-that is, get people thinking and talking about it. We’ll have to look to the film’s stars, the Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping, to find out what Jesus would buy, but in the meantime, I’m going to go out on a limb and bet that he wouldn’t turn water into a Big Gulp.
Big gulp, bottomless thirst
So do you really think you need a quart to quench your thirst?
People sat down to a large bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup and were told to eat as much as they wanted. Unbeknown to them, the soup bowls were designed to refill themselves (with empty bottoms connected to machinery beneath the table). No matter how much soup the subjects ate, the bowl never emptied. Many people just kept eating until the experiment was (mercifully) ended.
The general rule seems to be, “Give them a lot, and they eat a lot.” Those who receive large bowls of ice cream eat much more than those who get small bowls. If you are given a half-pound bag of M&M’s, chances are that you will eat about half as much as you will if you are given a one-pound bag. The reason is simple: packages “suggest a consumption norm--what it is appropriate or normal to use or eat.” In fact, most people do not stop eating when they are no longer hungry. They look to whether their glasses or plates are empty.
* It’s behind a pay wall; I quote it liberally here.
Apparently that’s a sensitive subject in the UK today because the Brits are getting fatter fast:
Two just-released reports show that the number of obese adults in Britain has tripled since 1980, earning it the distinction of being the fattest country in Europe.
Government officials and health experts are suitably alarmed, and anxious to find ways to turn more Brits from fat to fit. Britain’s health secretary, Alan Johnson, calls the obesity epidemic a “potential crisis on the scale of climate change.”
How fat are they?
Rates as a percentage of the total population:
Czech Republic 14.8
(Source: Health Profile of England 2007, with data from the World Health Organization’s June 2007 Health For All Database.)
The U.S. remains the fat champion of the world. Could it be because we mistake portion size for quality?
Colbert last night on the comeback of absinthe:
“I, state your name, do hereby pledge to practice absinth-tinence by remaining absinth-tinent from absintheÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ since absinthe incidents in many instances induce incipient synesthetic inspiration and sinister synthetic insistence on sin, I sincerely insist I will be absent from instances of absinthe ingestion this instant.”
Monday, October 29, 2007
A first-hand report from outside of the McClurkin concert
BlackTsunami took part in the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement’s vigil that was held outside Columbia’s Township Auditorium:
A black woman who stood in line for the concert marched over to us and declared:
“God made man for woman and woman for man.”
She said a couple of other things of a Biblical nature (how homosexuality is ugly in God’s sight, blah blah blah), but I tuned her out. I have learned that little trick over the years.
The ironic thing is that if this vigil was held in the 1950s, the subject would be about segregation and her role would be played by a white person claiming that the “separation of the races” was Biblically mandated.
Via Stephen H. Miller.
Obama’s slow motion train wreck
It’s really really hard for me to see how this works for Obama:
He approached the subject gingerly at first. Then, just when the concert had seemed to reach its pitch and about to end, Mr. McClurkin returned to it with a full-blown plea: “Don’t call me a bigot or anti-gay when I have suffered the same feelings,” he cried.
“God delivered me from homosexuality,” he added. He then told the audience to believe the Bible over the blogs: “God is the only way.” The crowd sang and clapped along in full support.
The political implications of his performance are not clear. The concert-goers we talked with afterward were generally more focused on making allowances for Mr. McClurkin’s past homosexuality than on anything about Mr. Obama.
The Obama campaign had appeared to be caught off guard by the reaction to inviting Mr. McClurkin in the first place, and it may have been surprised tonight by the degree to which the singer focused on himself. The other speakers and singers had avoided referencing the controversy. Even an openly gay minister whom Mr. Obama had invited after the fact to try to appease his gay and lesbian critics spoke so early that few people heard him.
Adding the white gay preacher was a blunder, but this is how you compound an error:
Aides gave reporters a three-page memo detailing McClurkin’s and Obama’s views on gay rights that noted in capital letters “MCCLURKIN DOES NOT WANT TO CHANGE GAYS AND LESBIANS WHO ARE HAPPY WITH THEIR LIVES AND HAS CRITICIZED CHURCH LEADERS WHO DEMONIZE HOMOSEXUALS,” with quotes detailing those statements from the singer.
I know Obama’s not a homophobe and he has a great record on LGBT rights; the thing is that this whole fiasco has been horribly managed. And it seems to just keep on getting worse.
And while I’m linking Atrios, don’t miss his The Audacity of Homophobia.
Placed on sex offender registry for sex with a bike
A man has been placed on the sex offenders’ register after being caught trying to have sex with a bicycle.
Robert Stewart was discovered in his room by two cleaners at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr, south west Scotland, in October last year.[...]
“The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex.”
Both witnesses, who were extremely shocked, notified the hotel manager, who in turn alerted the police.
Via Boing Boing:
I am wondering how this is different from using, say, a vibrator or blow-up doll? Do people in hostels have no right to privacy?
The real killer paragraph is the last one - apparently someone was jailed in 1993 for having sex with the pavement - or sidewalk in US English.
Pam had this story, too, in a post about a man having sex with an inflatable doll in a Cedar Rapids restroom.
I’m reminded of Bob Barr railing against sex education last week in the AJC. It’s not sex education that causes this kind of dysfunction, it’s the lack of it!
The great hoary myth of arson
You’ll remember that last week California officials said at least one fire was arson and a $70,000 reward was offered to find the arsonist.
Funny, we always hear about arsonists - this time around we even hear about al Qaeda - but never that fires are started by downed power lines. Makes you wonder if downed power lines just don’t make as interesting a television news story.
Certainly there, you know, are arsonists, and anybody who sets a fire with the deliberate goal of killing people and destroying their homes should be in super-max in Pelican Bay.
But this is one of the great hoary myths of the American West. During the First World War, of course, you know, there were German arsonists everywhere; during the Second World War, the Japanese. And my fear today, because there’s an FBI arson investigation going on, is we’re going to find some convenient link to the war on terrorism or to the immigration issue.
What fire scientists will tell you is that the biggest single cause of big fires like this is probably power lines blowing down, as they always do, during big Santa Ana winds. And even if all the arsonists could be identified genetically and locked up, it probably wouldn’t make a bit of difference to the fire pattern.
Sicko opens in UK
And not everyone is singing its praises:
Unfortunately Sicko is a dishonest film. That is not only my opinion. It is the opinion of Professor Lord Robert Winston, the consultant and advocate of the NHS. When asked on BBC Radio 4 whether he recognised the NHS as portrayed in this film, Winston replied: “No, I didn’t. Most of it was filmed at my hospital [the Hammersmith in west London], which is a very good hospital but doesn’t represent what the NHS is like.”
Of course, after 750 words of an unremitting battering, there comes this:
None of these problems mean we should abandon the idea of a universal shared system of healthcare. It’s clear we would not want the American model, even if it isn’t quite as bad as portrayed by Moore. [emphasis mine]
Er, that is precisely Moore’s point!
The author goes on to resort to the now familiar tactic of calling Moore fat (maybe his next movie should be on our industrial food system - I’d like to see him look into the farm lobby and Boss Hog - I’m ready for another Supersize Me).
More substantively, she’d probably not be pleased that I didn’t include what follows her quote above:
It’s clear our British private medical insurance provision is a rip-off. I believe we should as a society share burdens of ill health and its treatment. The only question is how best to do that and it seems to me the state-run, micromanaged NHS has failed to answer it.
But hey, that’s not my point. And it wasn’t Moore’s either. Let the Brits make their own film on the shortcomings of the NHS. Moore’s movie is about the shortcomings of our system and compared to theirs ours stinks! Even she says so.
Everyone wants Moore to make their film. The man is an advocate and a very entertaining one at that. I reveled in every minute of his over the top advocacy.
He could have made a safer, more balanced movie, but why the hell should he? Does anyone imagine that if he had the Right would stop calling him a zealot, propagandist and a demagogue?
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Science news devolved into commercial puff nonsense
The human race will one day split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures, according to a top scientist.
The “scientist” is a political scientist and the debunking is quite complete, but it’s the coda that caught my attention:
More and more, empty “science” stories are being generated by public relations companies, who team up with academics, and commission some spurious piece of “research” that will be attractive to the media, where the company is name-checked. The classic examples are the “equations for” stories. None of Dr Curry’s doubtless excellent scholarly work in political theory has ever generated media coverage like his silly futuristic essay. I spoke to friends on other newspapers (the Guardian didn’t cover the story, mercifully) who told me they had stand up rows with news desks, explaining that this was not a science news story. But the selective pressure on national newspapers is for journalists who compliantly write up this kind of commercial puff nonsense as “science news"Ã‚Â�, while religious fundamentalism of all varieties is conquering the world. Bravo!
Via Boing Boing.
The drought monitor
Historical data for last century. (That looks like global warming to me.)
Via Angry Bear, “California fires have overshadowed the more important long range issue of drought for agriculture and hydrological crisis.”
Colbert campaigns in South Carolina
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Comedian Stephen Colbert brought his mock presidential campaign to the capital of South Carolina Sunday, where he was declared “favorite son” by the mayor of Columbia and given the key to the city.
Colbert, a native of Charleston, told the raucous crowd of several hundred gathered on the University of South Carolina campus that, “I love South Carolina almost as much as South Carolina loves me.” [...]
Mayor Bob Coble also declared October 28th “Stephen Colbert Day.” Coble has endorsed another South Carolina native for President, the Democratic former Sen. John Edwards.
Asked about this apparent conflict, the Edwards campaign said that until Colbert wins the primary like Edwards did in 2004, he cannot claim to be a favorite son.
Edwards spokesperson Teresa Wells also ribbed Colbert for his ties to the snack food industry. Colbert has said his campaign will be sponsored by Doritos.
“What is more troubling than his quest for a status his own mother won’t grant him (favorite son) are his ties to the salty food industry,” Wells said. “As the candidate of Doritos, his hands are stained by corporate corruption and nacho cheese. John Edwards has never taken a dime from taco chip lobbyists and America deserves a President who isn’t in the pocket of the snack food special interests.”
Joshua Green gives a Colbert candidacy some serious consideration. The Colbert fan group on Facebook continues to soar like an eagle. (I was the 1,144,713th to join - it was created by a 16-year-old high school student; way to go Raj!)
A Rasmussen poll found:
In the match-up with Giuliani and Clinton, Colbert draws 28% of likely voters aged 18-29. He draws 31% of that cohort when his foes are Thompson and Clinton. In both match-ups, Colbert has more support with young voters than the GOP candidate.
Editor and Publisher comments, “If he keeps gaining over 10% a week, Colbert should be leading the field before November is out. “
So how about election law? Slate’s Explainer says Stephen’s breaking the law:
Yes. The Federal Election Commission prohibits corporations from making “any contribution or expenditure in connection with a federal election.” A “contribution” includes “anything of value,” including airtime. Thus each time Colbert promotes his candidacy on The Colbert Report, he’ll be accepting an illegal “in kind” contribution from Comedy Central’s parent company, Viacom. The FEC does exempt news programs (including satires like the Report) from the “in kind” airtime ban, but not if a political party, political committee, or candidate (like Colbert) controls the show’s content.
Adam B at DailyKos much more, “Oh, sure, you thought it was all cute and funny that Stephen Colbert is planning a bid for the 2008 presidential nomination of both parties (at least in South Carolina). Then they called in us lawyers, and thanks to us (well, thanks to the law, which we’re trying to explain) it’s a mess.”
Comedy Central has lawyers looking into it too.
RELATED: The Washington Monthly’s Paul Glastris was on the show the night before the announcement. Here’s his Colbert Report report.
The Religious Right: the salt is losing its flavor; it’s sand
The headline is a quote from Mike Huckabee in today’s Sunday Magazine cover story.
For the piece, David D. Kirkpatrick goes to Wichita, Kansas - “as close as any place to the heart of conservative Christian America” - to see “how the world was looking from the pulpits and pews.”
He finds a leadership split along generational and theological lines. He calls it The Evangelical Crackup:
Wondering how those theological and political debates were unfolding in conservative Wichita, I sought out the Rev. Gene Carlson, another prominent conservative Christian pastor who left his church last year. He spent four decades as the senior pastor of the Westlink Christian Church, expanding it to 7,000 members. He was one of the most important local leaders of the Summer of Mercy abortion protests. He tapped Westlink’s collection plate to help finance its operations and even led a battalion of about 40 clergy members and hundreds of lay people to jail in an act of civil disobedience.
Sitting with his wife in a quiet living room with teddy bears on the bookshelves, Carlson, who is 70, told me he is one member of the movement’s founding generation who has had second thoughts. He said he still considers abortion evil. He called the anti-abortion protests “prophetic,” in the sense of the Old Testament prophets who warned of God’s wrath. But Carlson was blunt about the results. “It didn’t really change abortion,” he said.
“I thought in my enthusiasm,” he told me with a smile, “that somehow we could band together and change things politically and everything will be fine.” But the closing of Dr. Tiller’s clinic was fleeting. Electing Christian politicians never seemed to change much. “When you mix politics and religion,” Carlson said, “you get politics.”
In more recent battles, Carlson has hung back. On the Sunday before the referendum on a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, Carlson reminded his congregation that homosexuality was hardly the only form of sex the Bible condemned. Any extramarital sex is a sin, he told his congregation, so they should not point fingers.
“We wouldn’t want to exclude some group because we thought their sin was worse than ours,” Carlson told me with a laugh.