Author archives: Peter Sprigg

Homosexual Agenda is Low PriorityEven for Democrats

by Peter Sprigg

July 13, 2010

Not only are the Obama administration and the Pelosi-led Democrats in Congress out of step with the American public in giving high priority to pushing a radical homosexual agenda, but they are out of step with their own Democratic base. Thats the message of a recent, admittedly unscientific survey conducted by The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC). Heres how they described the survey:

More than 2,000 Democratic supporters offered input, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia… . Respondents were asked to rank how important a series of issues were to them. The issues were: Fully Funding Public Schools, Expanding Environmental Protections and Clean Energy, Strengthening Government Ethics Rules, Promoting Job Growth, and Promoting Equal Rights for the LGBT Community.

The results? All five issues were rated “extremely important” by a majority of respondents—except for LGBT “Equal Rights,” which got that rating from only 47.3%. By contrast, over 80% of respondents rated Public Education as extremely important. The homosexual agenda even had 19.3% of these Democratic activists dismissing it with replies of “not very important” (7.9%), “not important at all” (5.6%), or “no answer” (5.8%). Only 5.6% were as negative toward education as a priority.

We can only hope Congressional leadership will take this into account in determining whether to make homosexuals in the military and ENDA a priority in the tight legislative calendar between now and next January, when the new Congress takes office.

Democrats 2010 Legislative Priorities Survey

Excerpts from proposed Helena, Montana sex ed curriculum

by Peter Sprigg

July 13, 2010

On Tuesday evening, July 13, the Board of Trustees of the Helena, Montana public schools was scheduled to hear public comments for the first time on a controversial new sex education curriculum.

Some people who support in principle the idea of sex education in schools may wonder what the fuss is about in Helena. Just so people know how extreme the proposed curriculum is, here are some excerptsdirect quotations from the outline (available on the websee pp. 45-50):

Kindergarten:

Introduce basic reproductive body parts (penis, vagina, breast, nipples, testicles, scrotum, uterus)

Grade 1:

Understand human beings can love people of the same gender & people of another gender

Grade 2:

Understand making fun of people by calling them gay (e.g., homo, fag,’ queer) is disrespectful and hurtful.

Grade 4:

Understand sexual harassment is unwanted and uninvited sexual attention such as teasing, touching, or taunting, sexting and is against the law. [sic]

Grade 5:

Understand that sexual intercourse includes but is not limited to vaginal, oral, or anal penetration.

Understand sexual orientation refers to a persons physical and/or romantic attraction to an individual of the same and/or different gender, and is part of ones [sic] personality.

Grade 6:

Understand that sexual intercourse includes but is not limited to vaginal, oral, or anal penetration; using the penis, fingers, tongue or objects.

Understand gender identity is different from sexual orientation.

Grade 7:

Discuss the Supreme Court decision that has ruled that, to a certain extent, people have the right to make personal decisions concerning sexuality & reproductive health matters, such as abortion, sterilization, and contraception.

Discuss state laws governing the age of consent for sexual behaviors.

Understand sexual abuse involving touching can include kissing, an abuser touching genitals touching the abusers genitals, being asked to touch ones own genitals, or engaging in vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse. [sic]

Grades 9-12:

Understand erotic images in art reflect societys views about sexuality & help people understand sexuality.

One other item in the high school curriculum, listed under human sexuality even though it has nothing directly to do with that, is this:

Understand seeking professional help can be a sign of strength when people are in need of guidance.

I imagine that after thirteen years of this curriculum, there would be a lot of young people in need of guidance and seeking professional help.

Did Pioneering Pro-Homosexual Judge Have a Conflict of Interest?

by Peter Sprigg

July 9, 2010

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has vetoed the bill to create civil unions that the legislature passed in a last-minute legislative maneuver in April. It was refreshing to see Gov. Lingle declare straightforwardly, I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same gender marriage and find that HB 444 is essentially marriage by another name. Its refreshing mostly because last year, two other governorsNew Hampshires John Lynch and Maines John E. Baldaccicaved to homosexual activists under similar circumstances, and signed bills to legalize same-sex marriage.

However, in reading a news report about the veto, something else caught my eye. Heres what the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said about one of the critics of the veto:

It’s beyond problematic,” said Steven Levinson, a retired associate justice of the state Supreme Court, whose daughter is a lesbian… . Levinson authored the landmark 1993 ruling that held that it was discriminatory for the state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Now wait a second. The author of the very first court decision in American history that was supportive of same-sex marriagehas a lesbian daughter? Doesnt that suggest a little problem of judicial ethics known as a conflict of interest?

Of course, Levinsons landmark ruling was 17 years ago. His lesbian daughter might not have been out of the closet in 1993 (or might not have been born, for that matter). But it raises an interesting question, which iswhy am I the only person asking if this is a conflict of interest? If judges are going to rule on issues involving the supposed civil rights of homosexuals, dont they have a conflict if a close family memberor even they themselvesare homosexual? Shouldnt they be required to recuse themselvesor at least disclose the potential conflict?

Of course, its logically quite possible that a judge could rule objectively on the issue of same-sex marriage even while having a family member who self-identifies as gay. It is liberalsnot conservativeswho assume that there is a contradiction in loving a homosexual person while opposing same-sex marriage. But the way that Levinson spoke out publicly this week suggests that for him, liberal emotionalism trumps conservative logic. So its reasonable to ask whether it might also have trumped judicial restraint back in 1993.

You can only imagine the complaints of bias from liberals if the judge ruling on a case that arose from the Gulf oil spill were found to own stock in BPor even if his daughter did. Given their hostility to religion, the reaction might be even worse if a judge ruling on an issue involving a local churchsay, one of the Episcopal churches whose ownership is disputed by its conservative congregation and liberal diocesewere found to be a member of that same church (or even if his daughter was).

Why are there not similar howls when a judge who has a gay childor is gay herselfrules on issues involving homosexuality?

I guess liberal political correctness includes a lot of double standards.

Hospital Visit Horrors? Heres the Rest of the Story

by Peter Sprigg

April 21, 2010

On April 15, President Obama issued a memorandum to the Secretary of Health and Human Services instructing her to prepare regulations that will protect the right of homosexual partners (and other non-family members) to visit their loved ones in the hospital.

In a series of interviews the next day, I emphasized that the Family Research Council does not have any objection to such visitation in principle, as long as it is premised on the patients personal choice rather than on a redefinition of family or marriage. However, I also pointed out that the main reason this is even a topic of discussion is because it is used as a political talking point by the advocates of same-sex marriage, who see it as a golden opportunity to tug at peoples heartstrings and generate emotional sympathy for their cause.

I further asserted my belief that the frequency with which homosexuals are barred from visiting their partners in the hospital is grossly exaggerated. As I pointed out in an online chat on the Washington Post website,

The idea that homosexuals are regularly denied the right to visit their partners in the hospital is one that has only one source—homosexual activists who want to change the definition of marriage. Where are the media surveys of hospital administrators to determine how many hospitals actually have such restrictive policies?

In the reporting on the Obama memorandum, however, many media outlets cited the case of Janice Langbehn, a lesbian who sued a Florida hospital claiming that she was denied the right to visit her partner Lisa Pond when Pond was dying from an aneurysm. Langbehns story is apparently a familiar one in the homosexual activist community, thanks in large part to a sympathetic New York Times article last year.

In fact, Langbehns story was instrumental in moving Obama to act. According to the Washington Post:

Officials said Obama had been moved by the story of a lesbian couple in Florida, Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond, who were kept apart when Pond collapsed of a cerebral aneurysm in February 2007, dying hours later at a hospital without her partner and children by her side. Obama called Langbehn on Thursday evening from Air Force One as he flew to Miami, White House officials said.

The New York Times story last year did report that the hospital disputes some of Langbehns charges, but media reports on the Obama memo last week, like that in the Post, did not even bother mentioning that. They were content to repeat the storyline of the homosexual activists verbatim, without even stopping to ask if there was another side.

There is, however, another side. On the website of the Miami Herald, I discovered that the hospital which Langbehn accused of mistreating her has sent its own letter to President Obama. Here is part of what the hospital said:

We would also like to take this opportunity to provide you with some clarification on the allegations being made by Janice Langbehn, whose partner was treated at Jacksons Ryder Trauma Center in 2007. From the beginning, JHS has vehemently denied that Ms. Langbehn was denied visitation due to her sexual orientation. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed Ms. Langbehns lawsuit against Jackson Memorial Hospital in September 2009.

Ms. Langbehns allegations and those made by published articles, blogs, etc., are inaccurate and have damaged the reputations and deeply hurt the feelings of the personnel in our trauma center. They have devoted their careers to all who come through our doors, from all walks of life.

JHS grants hospital visitation to all individuals equally, regardless of their relationship to the patient, as long as doing so does not interfere with the care being given to the patient or other patients in the area. With that said, our first priority when a patient is brought to our trauma center is always to stabilize the patient and save their life. As the only adult and pediatric Level 1 trauma center in Miami-Dade County to support a population of more than 2.3 million people, our facility is one of the busiest and most renowned in the nation.

The Trauma Resuscitation Unit in Ryder Trauma Center, where Lisa Pond was treated when airlifted to Jackson, is more like a large operating room with multiple beds separated by glass partitions rather than a traditional hospital floor. Sometimes, visitors are not able to see a loved one in the trauma bay as quickly as they would like or they may have to wait until the patient is moved to the ICU or to another area of the hospital that is better suited for visitation. This all depends on the circumstances of the situation, how busy the unit is at the time and the medical conditions of the patients in the unit at the time. The patients in this area are facing life-threatening injuries or illnesses and are extremely vulnerable.

The most important piece of information to consider from our side of this story is that the charge nurse on duty the night Ms. Pond was in our care and the person who made all visitation access decisions that evening is herself a lesbian with a life partner. In addition, numerous members of the medical team working in our trauma unit are openly homosexual. We can assure you that Ms. Langbehn was not treated differently because of her sexual orientation.

When homosexuals complain that they are denied the right to visit their partners in the hospital, they may give some people the impression (I suspect deliberately) that in some hospitals they are never able to visit their partners, simply because they are not legally recognized as family members. I pointed out that for ordinary patients in ordinary hospital rooms (the vast majority of hospital patients), there are few if any restrictions on visitation. You dont go through security, no one checks your IDyou just walk up to the room and visit. Some hospitals have even done away with the tradition of visiting hours, and instead allow visitors to come in at any hour of the day or night.

I did acknowledge that there might be exceptions to these liberal visitation policies, such as when a patient is in intensive care. But there was one point so obvious that I did not bother making it (until now)and that is that in situations of emergency, trauma, or intensive care, hospitals may sometimes keep away all visitors from a patient for medical reasonsnot for reasons of discrimination. If the hospitals account is accurate, that is what happened to Janice Langbehn.

Is the thought of a person dying without their loved ones at their bedside an agonizing one? Of course. But it is an agony that is probably experienced by many people, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status, every day, for one simple reasontheir beds are surrounded by doctors and nurses fighting to save their lives.

The Obvious (About Men Who Have Sex With Men)Please Do Not Ignore

by Peter Sprigg

March 26, 2010

Men who choose to engage in sexual relations with other men place their health in serious jeopardyand thereby endanger the public health as well.

Unfortunately, like the nakedness of the Emperor in the childrens story of the The Emperors New Clothes, this is a truth that is so obviousyet so politically incorrectthat it is rarely spoken aloud.

When those of us who disapprove of and seek to discourage homosexual conduct speak this truth, we are routinely vilified as hateful. So let me step aside altogether, and let the secular, scientific, non-political experts speak for themselves. Below is a recent press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I reproduce it here, verbatim, in full, and uneditedexcept that I have highlighted in bold what are, in my opinion, the key findings.

I offer only one editorial comment. The CDC spokesman is cited as saying, There is no single or simple solution for reducing HIV and syphilis rates among gay and bisexual men. This is plainly false. There is, for example, a single and simple solution for smoking-related illnesses, and we have all heard itIf you dont smoke, dont start. If you do smoke, quit.

Its long past time for public health authorities to say the same about men having sex with men.

Press Release

http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/Newsroom/msmpressrelease.html

All Findings Embargoed Until: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 4:30pm EST

Contact: NCHHSTPMediaTeam@cdc.gov

(404) 639-8895

CDC Analysis Provides New Look at Disproportionate Impact of HIV and Syphilis Among U.S. Gay and Bisexual Men

A data analysis released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underscores the disproportionate impact of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men in the United States.

The data, presented at CDC’s 2010 National STD Prevention Conference, finds that the rate of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) is more than 44 times that of other men and more than 40 times that of women.

The range was 522-989 cases of new HIV diagnoses per 100,000 MSM vs. 12 per 100,000 other men and 13 per 100,000 women.

The rate of primary and secondary syphilis among MSM is more than 46 times that of other men and more than 71 times that of women, the analysis says. The range was 91-173 cases per 100,000 MSM vs. 2 per 100,000 other men and 1 per 100,000 women.

While CDC data have shown for several years that gay and bisexual men make up the majority of new HIV and new syphilis infections, CDC has estimated the rates of these diseases for the first time based on new estimates of the size of the U.S. population of MSM. Because disease rates account for differences in the size of populations being compared, rates provide a reliable method for assessing health disparities between populations.

While the heavy toll of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men has been long recognized, this analysis shows just how stark the health disparities are between this and other populations,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “It is clear that we will not be able to stop the U.S. HIV epidemic until every affected community, along with health officials nationwide, prioritize the needs of gay and bisexual men with HIV prevention efforts.”

For the purposes of determining rates of disease for MSM, CDC researchers first estimated the size of the gay and bisexual male population in the United States defined as the proportion of men who reported engaging in same-sex behavior within the past five years. Based on an analysis of nationally representative surveys, CDC estimated that MSM comprise 2.0 percent (range: 1.4-2.7 percent) of the overall U.S. population aged 13 and older, or 4 percent of the U.S. male population (range: 2.8-5.3 percent). Disease rates per 100,000 population were then calculated using 2007 surveillance data on HIV and primary/secondary syphilis diagnoses and U.S. Census data for the total U.S. population.

The new analysis is the first step in more fully assessing the impact of HIV among MSM and other populations significantly affected by the disease. CDC is developing more detailed estimates of infection rates among MSM by race and age, as well as among injection drug users. CDC is also in the early stages of planning for estimates among heterosexuals. Ultimately, these data can be used to better inform national and local approaches to HIV and STD prevention to ensure that efforts are reaching the populations in greatest need.

Research shows that a range of complex factors contribute to the high rates of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men. These factors include high prevalence of HIV and other STDs among MSM, which increases the risk of disease exposure, and limited access to prevention services. Other factors are complacency about HIV risk, particularly among young gay and bisexual men; difficulty of consistently maintaining safe behaviors with every sexual encounter over the course of a lifetime; and lack of awareness of syphilis symptoms and how it can be transmitted (e.g., oral sex). Additionally, factors such as homophobia and stigma can prevent MSM from seeking prevention, testing, and treatment services.

Also, the risk of HIV transmission through receptive anal sex is much greater than the risk of transmission via other sexual activities, and some gay and bisexual men are relying on prevention strategies that may be less effective than consistent condom use.

There is no single or simple solution for reducing HIV and syphilis rates among gay and bisexual men,” said Fenton. “We need intensified prevention efforts that are as diverse as the gay community itself. Solutions for young gay and bisexual men are especially critical, so that HIV does not inadvertently become a rite of passage for each new generation of gay men.”

Preventing HIV and STDs among gay and bisexual men is a top CDC priority. CDC provides funding to health departments and community-based organizations throughout the nation to implement proven behavior-change programs for MSM and will soon expand a successful HIV testing initiative to reach more gay and bisexual men. Additionally, CDC is implementing an updated National Syphilis Elimination Plan in cities where MSM have been hardest hit by the disease, and will release an updated HIV prevention strategic plan within the next year to support the President’s upcoming National HIV/AIDS Strategy. CDC officials note that the new analysis released today underscores the importance of the HIV and STD prevention efforts targeting gay and bisexual men recently announced as part of the President’s fiscal year 2011 budget proposal.

For more information on HIV or syphilis, please visit www.cdc.gov/hiv or www.cdc.gov/std.

###

Everything Youve Heard About Dont Ask, Dont Tell is Wrong

by Peter Sprigg

February 4, 2010

One thing I have noticed in the debate over homosexuals in the military is that roughly 99.5% of the American public, including 99.5% of long-time Washington political reporters and 99.5% of members of Congress, believe three key things about the issue.

  1. The current policy regarding homosexuals in the military is governed by a law known as Dont Ask, Dont Tell.
  2. Under current law, homosexuals are allowed to serve in the military as long as they are not open about their sexual orientation.
  3. Doing away with Dont Ask, Dont Tell would allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military.

Each of these three statements is false.

Dont Ask, Dont Tell is not the law of the land. It was a compromise policy announced by the Clinton Administration in July of 1993, after their original proposal to simply open the military to homosexuals was widely rejected.[i]

When Congress adopted legislation on this issue in November of 1993, they did not say that homosexuals were welcome to serve in the military. On the contrary, they declared, The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.[ii]

Doing away with the Dont Ask, Dont Tell policy would only allow more consistent enforcement of the current law against homosexuality in the military, unless Congress were to also repeal the law that they adopted in 1993.

For the record, here are the findings that Congress madeand that President Clinton signed into lawin 1993. This is the current law regarding homosexuality in the military:

Congress makes the following findings:

`(1) Section 8 of article I of the Constitution of the United States commits exclusively to the Congress the powers to raise and support armies, provide and maintain a Navy, and make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.

`(2) There is no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces.

`(3) Pursuant to the powers conferred by section 8 of article I of the Constitution of the United States, it lies within the discretion of the Congress to establish qualifications for and conditions of service in the armed forces.

`(4) The primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for and to prevail in combat should the need arise.

`(5) The conduct of military operations requires members of the armed forces to make extraordinary sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice, in order to provide for the common defense.

`(6) Success in combat requires military units that are characterized by high morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion.

`(7) One of the most critical elements in combat capability is unit cohesion, that is, the bonds of trust among individual service members that make the combat effectiveness of a military unit greater than the sum of the combat effectiveness of the individual unit members.

`(8) Military life is fundamentally different from civilian life in that—

`(A) the extraordinary responsibilities of the armed forces, the unique conditions of military service, and the critical role of unit cohesion, require that the military community, while subject to civilian control, exist as a specialized society; and

`(B) the military society is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs, and traditions, including numerous restrictions on personal behavior, that would not be acceptable in civilian society.

`(9) The standards of conduct for members of the armed forces regulate a member’s life for 24 hours each day beginning at the moment the member enters military status and not ending until that person is discharged or otherwise separated from the armed forces.

`(10) Those standards of conduct, including the Uniform Code of Military Justice, apply to a member of the armed forces at all times that the member has a military status, whether the member is on base or off base, and whether the member is on duty or off duty.

`(11) The pervasive application of the standards of conduct is necessary because members of the armed forces must be ready at all times for worldwide deployment to a combat environment.

`(12) The worldwide deployment of United States military forces, the international responsibilities of the United States, and the potential for involvement of the armed forces in actual combat routinely make it necessary for members of the armed forces involuntarily to accept living conditions and working conditions that are often spartan, primitive, and characterized by forced intimacy with little or no privacy.

`(13) The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.

`(14) The armed forces must maintain personnel policies that exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create an unacceptable risk to the armed forces’ high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.

`(15) The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.


[i] Susan Yoachum and Carolyn Lochhead, Clinton Orders New Gay-GI Policy: He concedes few will like compromise, The San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 1993, p. A1.

[ii] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994, Public Law 103-160, November 30, 1993, Title V, Subtitle G, Sec. 571, Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces (10 U.S.C. 654); online at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c103:5:./temp/~c103HPMAIr:e399464:

Funerals, Domestic Partners, and the Meaning of Marriage

by Peter Sprigg

January 11, 2010

On January 5, both houses of the Rhode Island legislature overrode (by large margins) Gov. Donald Carcieris veto of a bill that would have given “domestic partners” the authority to make funeral arrangements for one another. Providence Journal columnist Bob Kerr was one who took the governor to task (Carcieris heartless, but not surprising piece of work, November 13, 2009).

Toward the end of this article, Kerr says “if you could let me know exactly what traditional marriage is I’d appreciate it.” Perhaps as good a definition as any is that offered by scholar David Blankenhorn in his 2007 book, The Future of Marriage. He writes:

In all or nearly all human societies, marriage is socially approved sexual intercourse between a woman and a man, conceived both as a personal relationship and as an institution, primarily such that any children resulting from that union are—and are understood by the society to be—emotionally, morally, practically, and legally affiliated with both of the parents… . It also reflects one idea that does not change: For every child, a mother and a father.”

Kerr says, “I always thought it [marriage] was a lasting commitment between two people who love each other.” This sentence describes marriage but it does not define it. To say this about marriage, and conclude that same-sex relationships can be marriages too, is somewhat like saying, “An automobile is a wheeled vehicle of transportation—and therefore a bicycle is an automobile, too.”

In the scope of human history, “love” is a fairly recent addition to most people’s concept of marriage. Many cultures have practiced arranged marriages in which “love” is not a prerequisite, yet no anthropologists would suggest that these are not “marriages.” Even “commitment,” while desirable in marriage, is not a requirement for it. Some people who divorce lack commitment, but it does not mean that their marriage never existed.

No, the one essential, irreducible characteristic necessary for marriage is the presence of both a man and a woman. Some cultures have allowed polygamous marriages with more than one man or woman, but never less than one of each.

The reason why the marriage of a man and a woman is privileged over all other human relationships, and treated as a social institution rather than as a purely private liaison, is because it is the only relationship capable of naturally reproducing the human race. This is an essential social function, without which society cannot survive. The male-female union is the one absolutely necessary relationship.

Of course, not every opposite-sex couple has children, or intends to. But it is a mistake to base the definition of marriage on the reasons why individual couples choose to marry. The real issue is why society treats marriage as a public institutionand the answer is because of its role in the procreation and rearing of the next generation.

This legislation was largely prompted by a man named Mark Goldberg and his frustrations following the death of his partner Ron Hanby. These circumstances were sadand almost unique. Few people die without having any living family members (family being defined as people related by blood, marriage, or adoption) to make decisions regarding their remains. It is a cliche in the legal profession that hard cases make bad law. This was a hard caseand made, unfortunately, for a bad piece of legislation. To deal with a situation like Mark Goldbergs by creating an entirely new, quasi-marital, legally recognized domestic relationship (domestic partners) under state law is like swatting a bee with a hammer.

Gov. Carcieri is absolutely right in saying such laws lead to an incremental erosion of marriage. We have seen exactly that process unfold in the states that have moved (either judicially or legislatively) toward redefining marriage in recent years.

Ironically, the explanation for why Bill S 0195 is unnecessary is found in the text of the bill itself. It delegates decision-making authority regarding funeral arrangements to a domestic partner only [t]o the extent that there is no funeral services contract in effect at the time of death for the benefit of the deceased person. In other words, people in same-sex relationships already have the ability to delegate to their partner decision-making regarding their funeral arrangementssimply by preparing a funeral services contract. Such a contract completely does away with any need for a blood relative to make decisions, and indeed overrides any choices that a relative might attempt to make.

If gay rights activists really want to help people like Ron Hanby and Mark Goldberg, they should work at educating people how to complete a funeral services contractnot exploit a tragic situation to create a Trojan horse for the redefinition of marriage.

Persecution for the Brit Hume Witness

by Peter Sprigg

January 6, 2010

The liberal blogosphere has erupted in outrage over comments by Fox News analyst Brit Hume on Fox News Sunday (which he reiterated to Bill OReilly on Monday) suggesting that Tiger Woods life might improve if he were tobrace yourself!become a Christian. Specifically, when asked for 2010 predictions, Hume said:

Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I think is a very open question, and it’s a tragic situation for him. I think he’s lost his family, it’s not clear to me if he’ll be able to have a relationship with his children, but the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal — the extent to which he can recover — seems to me to depend on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist; I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’”

That anyone should be surprisedlet alone shockedwhen a Christian recommends Christianity is itself perhaps an illustration of the depths to which our society, the media (and perhaps American Christianity) have fallen. But shocked they are. Darts of derision should be aimed at Hume, declares the Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales. First off, apologize. You gotta.

Apparently, Humes apologetics require an apology not just because he violated the well-known constitutional principle of the separation of church and television (?), but because he expressed his heretical disbelief in the scientific theory that all religions are equally valuable and effective.

Several things should be pointed out here. First of all, the depth of Woods Buddhism is questionable. When asked directly in a videotaped interview with Reuters in 2008,

Are you a practicing Buddhist? Woods replied, Umm . . . I practice meditation. Thats something that I dosomething my mom taught me over the years. Referring to his Buddhist mother, he added that we have a thing we do each and every year, we always go to temple together. So to call Tiger Woods a Buddhist is like saying that a person who prays and goes to church once a year is a Christian. I think most practicing Christians (and probably most practicing Buddhists) would have a higher standard.

However, even if we assume that Mr. Woods identifies enough with Buddhism to take offense at Humes commentshould he? Has Brit Hume slandered Buddhists by mischaracterizing their theology? Not really. Barbara OBrien, author of Barbaras Buddhism Blog, admits, Mr. Hume is right, in a sense, that Buddhism doesnt offer redemption and forgiveness in the same way Christianity does. Buddhism has no concept of sin; therefore, redemption and forgiveness in the Christian sense are meaningless in Buddhism.

Buddhism is a religion of works, in contrast to Christianity, which is a religion of faith and of grace. Woods himself showed his understanding of this in the same Reuters interview, saying:

In the Buddhist religion, you have to work for it yourself, internally, in order to achieve anything in lifeand, in Buddhism, set up the next life. But its all about what you do and the internal work. So, thats one thing [my mothers] always preached is you have to work for everything in your life, and you get out of it what you put into it.

The problem is, if Tiger Woods now gets out of this life what hes put into his moral life, hes in a heap of trouble. Buddhism is not tolerant of sexual libertinismeven Barbara the Buddhist Blogger agrees that its fairly plain that Mr. Woodss conduct has been falling short of the Third Precept. If Buddhism is true, not only is there no redemption for him in this life, but because of reincarnation, Woods will be paying a price in the next life as well. According to Eerdmanns’ Handbook to the Worlds Religions, in Buddhism, [G]ood works automatically bring about a good rebirth, bad works a bad one.

Brit Hume was simply, and accurately, pointing out the difference between this Buddhist view and the Christian one. Another book on comparative religions notes that in Christianity, [W]hen the commandments are broken and sin is committed, the believer has recourse by repenting and receiving absolution by the Christ who atoned for sin (1 John 1:9). No such recourse is available to the Buddhist.

So it would appear that Brit Hume was accurate in his description of both Buddhist and Christian theology. But did he still do something wrong in suggesting that Woods should accept Christ? The Posts Shales thinks so, asking indignantly, [I]s it really his job to run around trying to drum up new business? He doesnt have the authority, does he, unless one believes that every Christian by mandate must proselytize?

The word proselytize is usually used pejoratively and sometimes with an implication of coercion. But the dictionary definition is simply, to induce someone to convert to ones faith. By that definitionyes, Mr. Shales, it is his job and he does have the authority. According to the Bible, both (the job and the authority) were given by Jesus to his followers shortly before he ascended into heaven. Christians call it The Great Commission:

Go therefore and make disciples of [i.e., proselytize] all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you … (Matthew 28:19-20a, NASB)

Brit Hume has every right to share his faith on television, and he should be commended for doing so, not condemned for it. Tiger Woods, of course, has an equal right to tell Brit Hume to go jump in a lake. Everyone else should lay off.

But Woods would do better to listen to Humes counsel, and heed it.

Media Matters Nixonian Defense of Kevin JenningsHe Is Not a Crook

by Peter Sprigg

December 16, 2009

Several weeks after radical homosexual activist Kevin Jennings was appointed to head the Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools in the Department of Education, FRC released a detailed paper listing seven reasons why Mr. Jennings is unfit for this post. One of those seven charges was, By his own account, Jennings failed to protect the safety of a homosexual student he once counseled when working as a teachera student who told Jennings (according to Jennings own account) that I met somebody in the bus station bathroom and went home with him.

Even though Jennings himself issued a statement in September admitting, I should have handled the situation differently, the liberal website Media Matters seems determined to keep arguing that Jennings did nothing wrong. In particular, they have focused on the very narrow issue (which has been raised by Jennings own account of the incident) of whether Jennings might have violated mandatory reporting laws, which impose a legal requirement upon teachers to report suspected sexual abuse of minors to the authorities.

Media Matters appears to be operating on the assumption that consensual sexual relations between a teenaged boy and a much older adult man can only be considered abuse if they violate statutory rape lawsthat is, if the teen is below the legal age of consent, which in Massachusetts is 16. Media Matters claims to have located the actual boy (now a grown man) involved in the incident, and to have proven that he was 16 years old at the time. This is the very thin reed on which Media Matters is resting its defense of Jenningsan argument, in essence, that the boy was 16 so everythings OK!

Yesterday, they attacked a new video about Jennings that FRC recently released. I would point out that in the narration of the film (as Media Matters even quoted), we said the boy was “believed to be 15 or 16.” But, as was carefully documented in our June paper, the source of the information that the boy was 15 wasKevin Jennings! How do we know he said this? There is a recording of his voice saying that the boy was 15. Jennings has told other versions of the story in which he says the boy was 16, but the fact that his several versions of this story are mutually incompatible proves only one thing with absolute certaintyJennings is a liar (or to put it more generouslyhe has fictionalized the story for dramatic effect). And Jennings has refused to answer questions or clarify the inconsistencies in his accounts of the incident.

As to the mandatory reporting issue—if Jennings believed (even wrongly) that the boy was 15 (as he has been recorded saying he did), then Jennings clearly acted in willful disregard of the mandatory reporting law. The boy that Media Matters claims to have found also says he did not actually have sex with the man he met in the bus station. But Jennings clearly believed he did have sex—otherwise, why would he have told the boy (again, according to his own account), “I hope you knew to use a condom”? And why would the boy himself have responded, Why should I, my life isnt worth saving anyway? (this line is the dramatic highlight in Jennings recounting of the story). Again, the issue here is not what the boy didit is what Jennings believed, what action Jennings took based on those beliefs, how Jennings has described those actions, and what those actions and words reveal about Jennings own ethical standards and commitment to the safety of Americas schoolchildren.

Its also important to note is that the age requirements in the mandatory reporting law do not specifically track the age of consent in the statutory rape law. A teacher is required to report any “abuse” of a child who is under eighteennot just one under sixteen. Now perhaps Jennings believed (and perhaps legal authorities would even agree) that a consensual act by a teen above the age of consent could not be considered “abuse,” but that is a matter of judgment. The mere fact that a child is 16 does not mean that mandatory reporting laws do not apply.

All of what I have said applies even if we accept at face value Media Matters’ claim to have found the actual boy in the incident and his claims regarding his age and what happened. Of course, if this was a legal case, the witness would have to come forward and testify in open court and be cross-examined, not hide behind a cloak of anonymity. Family Research Council, by contrast, has used only publicly available writings, documents, and sources in everything we have said about Jennings.

One final pointMedia Matters quotes one writer who describes psychologist Paul Cameron as founder of the Family Research Council. Camerons organization is called the Family Research Institute, and Dr. Cameron has never been affiliated with Family Research Council.

Its an easy mistake to make, given the similarity in the namesbut its nevertheless a careless one for a column that bears the heading, FactCheck.

What Happens in Vegas…

by Peter Sprigg

December 15, 2009

Prostitution has long been legal and regulated in the state of Nevada, but a technicality in the lawa health code requirement for cervical exams to check for STDshad prevented males from serving as prostitutes. The states board of health has now lifted that barrier (by allowing urethral exams as well), and Bobbi Davis, owner of a brothel called the Shady Lady Ranch, plans to add male prostitutes to her stable of sex workers (in the words of the Las Vegas Sun).

The principal opposition to this step came from an odd sourcethe lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Owners Association, George Flint, whom the Sun describes as a former Assemblies of God minister. Flint went on record despite the fact that, as the Sun reported, the [brothel] industry has previously tried to avoid any controversy.

Flint apparently worries that homosexual male hookers will give the industry a bad name. Weve worked hard for years to make the traditional brothel business in this state socially acceptable [and] something we can be proud of that most Nevadans accept. That struck me as one of the most bizarre quotes of the yearbut apparently there are at least a few hundred people in Las Vegas who agree, since the Suns online poll showed 475 readers (84% of those voting) affirmed that brothels are socially acceptable, while only 85 (15%) disagreed.

Flints specific concern is the risk of transmitting HIV between prostitutes and clientssomething that he claims the traditional brothels have been effective at preventing. Now were getting into an [area] that doesnt enjoy the same track record.

This does not mean that there has never been homosexual prostitution in Nevada. The female prostitutes have long been free to accept either male or female clients, according to the report, and male prostitutes will have the same right.

This raises serious questions about gender equity, however. If a Christian psychologist or a fertility doctor is not free to turn away a homosexual client for fear of discrimination charges, how can a homosexual male prostitute be allowed to turn away a female client? Isnt that discrimination, too? On the other hand, if you require them to take all clients, then maybe that would effectively mean that only bisexuals can work as prostitutes in Nevada. Wouldnt that be discrimination, too?

Such are thickets in which the sexual revolution and political correctness entrap us. In the meantime, if you want to know how to get to Las Vegasjust climb in a handbasket and travel toward the heat as far as you can go.

Las Vegas Sun: New era: Health authorities open brothels to male prostitutes [with poll]

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