Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Of Steers and Queers

Perry and a group of Boyscouts at the Boyscouts Of America
Annual Report Conference.
Is The Gay Community Ready For Another Texan Presidency?
"It shaped my view of the area and taking a hint from Lot’s wife, I vowed never to look back. I felt really bad for the entire state. I couldn’t quite imagine a life without culture, diversity or pride. It seemed to me that even the livestock almost looks down their noses at people in Texas."

 About 12 years ago, I was driving through the portion of Texas known as “the panhandle” and trying in vain to get some decent music on the radio. I was on my way up to West Yellowstone, Montana where I had a job waiting for me. I was going to work at what was advertised at that time as our nation’s only Gay-owned and operated dude ranch – the Bar ‘N’ Ranch.

I didn’t get a chance to visit any metropolitan areas of the Lone Star State but I got quite an education about what kind of media is available in the great big muddy field that makes up the northern part of Texas. There wasn’t much television and internet would have been a fantasy.

On the radio you had two choices: Christian or Country.  If you spoke Spanish, you might have a 3rd choice in some spots. There was no NPR, there was no pop music, rap or hip-hop… I couldn’t even find any recognizable classic rock…just what I now affectionately refer to as “white noise”.

Boy, those radio preachers sure gave me a lecture per mile on that trip - chapter and verse!  I learned that God thinks of me as quite the annoyance and that the end of the world is so close you might be able to smell the sulfur past the stench of cow manure.

It shaped my view of the area and taking a hint from Lot’s wife, I vowed never to look back. I felt really bad for the entire state. I couldn’t quite imagine a life without culture, diversity or pride. It seemed to me that even the livestock almost looks down their noses at people in Texas.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was Rick Perry’s country. Back then, he was thought of as a Democrat, believe it or not.  This seemed to work for people since President Clinton had signed the Defense of Marriage Act and the city of Houston wouldn’t have her first lesbian mayor for another decade.

Perry switched parties from Democratic to Republican in 1989 during a major shift in political discourse, particularly marked by the rise of right-wing radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh and Laura Schlessinger. For a long time, he was able to hedge his bets and win elections by being thought of as a moderate in places with absolutely no moderation otherwise.

Among some of his best moments were the time that he outlawed the practice of issuing death sentences to the mentally retarded and the time that he suggested that every teenage girl get a vaccination against HPV.  Those might be things we take for granted in a secular world but in Texas, these are things that only a liberal would put forward.  Rick Perry was looking for an issue-based position that he could push which would keep him firmly grounded in the new Republican Party. He needed to carve his signature on something and he needed to do it quickly.

Enter The Boy Scouts of America.

He finally found that opportunity in a 2003 federal court ruling which held that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) were a religious organization and as such could not be hosted in public schools without paying standard rental fees and only after school hours.

According to the conventional wisdom of the time, the Boy Scouts had long been plagued withchild molesters in their ranks and this had become a major concern with parents. I was a Cub Scout (the younger version of the scouts) in the 80’s and my parents forbade me to join the BSA (which was the customary graduation at a certain age) for this very reason.  (In my area, there was a scout leader who was rather infamous for having questionable “sleep-over” parties.)

The BSA’s response was to issue a declaration that homosexuals could not join the scouts, thereby confusing the issues of homosexuality and child endangerment. But they even took it a step further than that by disallowing atheists and agnostics as well. This is, of course, what prompted the court decision.

Rick Perry recognized the opportunity to one-up the Federal Courts by painting the Boy Scouts of America as an American institution which was “under attack” by a “left-wing agenda”.  He wanted to amp up the idea that gay pedophiles were trying to use the BSA to mess with your kids.

In fact, he even wrote an entire book on the subject entitled On My Honor, which are the first three words of BSA’s pledge. In this book, Perry went full throttle against other American institutions such as the ACLU (which he calls a mere “group” using “refined tactics” to “impose their will against the court of public opinion”) and even the Supreme Court (which he termed as “nine oligarchs in robes”).

Enter the “Prayer Warriors”.

Rachel Tabachnick, a writer and researcher who has appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air and the popular blog site Alternet, describes the New Apostolic Reformation as a Dominionist Pentecostal group with a “50 state Prayer Warrior network” who make it their business to support politicalcandidates (such as Sarah Palin) who they believe will restore Christianity’s rightful place at the top of the ladder in American Government.

“There’s little doubt that Perry is NAR's candidate,” says Tabachnick, “its chosen vehicle to advance the stated agenda of taking dominion over earthly institutions.”

You won’t find anything favorable to gay rights in the teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation.  In fact, they describe themselves as partaking in “spiritual warfare” against the “dark forces” of the homosexual agenda.  These people believe that they can literally “pray away the gay” and make you straight. They describe their “powers” as “supernatural” and to evidence this claim, they take credit for having ended mad cow disease in Germany. Yes, you read that correctly.

Just like Bachmann and her husband, the NAR “prayer warriors”, believe that gays can change.  But they don’t think of it as science or psychology, they quite literally believe that gay people are possessed by demons sent to America by Satan himself.

These are the people who will be carrying water for Rick Perry in the 2012 election.  These are the folks who will be sending out robo-calls to your church leaders, holding bake sales and leading the Boy Scouts of America in prayer on his behalf.  The question for the gay community is “at what price do these services come to Rick Perry?”  What do we suppose they will want in return from their new President?

1 comment:

  1. Is (fill in the blank) ready for another Texan president? Bush was scary and dangerous, we always assumed someone else made the decisions. But Perry, he’s all the above and a drunk with his own form of crazy!


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