Thursday, December 31, 2009

Atheism is NOT a Religion (Really)

So, YouTube ate my first two videos, but after I recorded this third one, it coughed up the second one also. So, I have two videos that are pretty similar but I like this one slightly more.

Here's the second.

So what's your vote, Anteaters? Which do I keep on my channel?

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Year of the Bible

Remember back in __ when Georgia Rep. Paul Broun introduced a resolution to have Obama say nice things about the Bible & the Christian religion, and pretend these were responsible for America's democracy and prosperity. Broun wanted 2010 to be declared "The Year of the Bible." To that I say....

Bring. It. ON.

You wanna talk about Adam & Eve? I'm ready.

How about Noah or Moses or King David? You got it.

Methusala and Enoch and Job, too.

We can talk about she-bears and blood sacrifice and whether or not rabbits chew the cud.

We can talk about the immorality of substitionary atonement and original sin.

You want every American to *really* read their Bibles this year? I will do my part to help. The year I was 21 I asked my mom for a Bible in One-Year. We went to the Christian bookstore and I picked it out and, what do you know? I still have it.

So I'll be picking a verse from my daily reading & sharing it here with you, Anteaters, by text post or by video. Remember, every time you subscribe to an atheist, an angel loses its wings!

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From my Facebook Inbox

From: [Name Redacted]
Subject: damn

can you change your profile pict because you are just to damn hot, i get little done when your pict is up! lol. happy new year!!!!!! :D
Do you think Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins deal with this crap? I know PZ Myers gets squid porn in his inbox, but I don't know how many come-ons Daniel Dennet has to turn down (or chooses not to, for that matter.)

So, Anteaters, what is your opinion in this? Is my totally-covering all my skin except arms, neck, face, and *gasp* shoulders avatar too revealing? Is it my job to be less attractive so I won't distract him, or is it his job to *turn off Facebook* when he's at work?

This is the same logic, taken to an extreme I'll grant you, that justifies forced wearing of veils and burqas.

Today's image is Lil Kim in her concept of a burqa for One World Magazine.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

God's Plan & Free Will

Here's the briefest explanation I can give for the Christian's duplicitous divine plan vs. free will conflict.

Ahem, when something good happens, it is a sign of the benevolent hand of the Almighty in our daily lives - like when God cured grandma's cancer with the help of modern medicine and a team of doctors, for example, or that time he helped you find your keys when you were stoned & running late to work. When something bad happens, like the Challenger 8 disaster or a landslide in Mexico or Bush getting elected to a second term in office, we're given either fear-mongering & blame (God's doing this because of the liberals & feminists & queers, I tells ya!) or extreme confirmation bias noticing things like how a building full of crossed steel bars could still have a cross standing after having a plane crashed into it, killing more than 3,000 people. When you ask about the Holocaust or slavery or genocide commanded by God in the Bible, you either hear about how God was preventing a worse thing from happening (He had to kill the Amorites! They were bad, bad people & they would have corrupted the Israelites) or about how God never interferes with human free will, except for all those times he makes other people in traffic drive in such a way that I get to work on time despite being stoned and spending all morning looking for my keys.

Oh, and god also appears in pancakes, sausages, and one dog's anus.

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Irrational Responder (VID)

I, Angie Jackson, do solemnly swear to do my best to get an actually written post on this blog within the next 48 hours. Till then, enjoy my first video counter-apologetic :D

Isn't the internet amazing?

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why I Talk About Religion

What do you think, Anteaters? Do you like the scripted Adam & Eve videos better or these rambling memories?

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Last to First

Tomorrow can't come soon enough. Stupid holidays. It took a week between my phone call to the doctor saying, "I'm having bad reactions to these psychiatric medications" till my actual appointment tomorrow morning at 10:30 am. (Trapped in a crappy lobby for hours! Last time I didn't get called till 2.5 hours after my appointment time. Times like these, I seriously fucking miss my company Blackberry.)

Still, a visit is long overdue and desperately needed. I slammed my right temple into a wall stud today, hard as I could. It helped a little, but I still feel panicky and insane. I keep "seeing" visions of me stabbing myself in the chest with a huge kitchen knife, or else breaking the top off a glass and grinding the jagged edges into my jugular. Not pleasant.

I purged in a restaurant bathroom last night over the desert course, after a tablemate jokingly commented on the speed I eat, "like you're afraid I'm gonna take it from you!" I immediately dropped my spoon, excused myself, and shoved a pen down my throat over and over, till the peanut butter pie, cinnamon apples, grilled chicken, and onion rings all came up. A little girl was in the next stall with her mom ("I can do it myself!") and after a few minutes of listening to my retching she asked her mom what was going on. The mom covered for me, "She's not feeling well." I dried my eyes, blew my nose, and wiped the vomit off the seat with toilet paper.

They stood at the sink next to me as we washed our hands. I told the girl, "You're very pretty" and I wanted to tell her mom to never ever ever let anyone tell her daughter otherwise, or else she could end up puking in a family restaurant bathroom at 4 in the afternoon on a Sunday.

This video has imagery that may be triggering for people who binge, purge, restrict, or cut. For me, it just makes me feel like I'm not alone, like someone understands what it's like to be physically skinny or even underweight and still feel too fat to be allowed to exist.

I love you all. Thank you for not abandoning me even when I'm doing something so ugly.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Epic Bible Stories pt. 1

Go up thou, bald head...

The onnest.

Today's image courtesy of (Go there, you will laugh. Tell 'em Angie the Anti-Theist sent you.)

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Adam & Eve, the Snake & the Tree

I promise to be a better blogger as soon as winter break is over & my child leave my house for 7 hours a day again. Till then, make do with this.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

I've been dealing with a lot of depression. I think it's safe to say I need another trip to the doc to check on my meds & see which one of them is making me feel like this (and if it's likely to get better over time or if I should quit taking one/all of them)

And of course, my mother is ... her. I want to call her a cunt or a bitch or detail all the ways in which she failed me - how she neglected me, never protected me, allowed me to be abused for years, for convenience, how she made me feel guilty for being born & inconveniencing her with the burden of my life.

But part of me wishes I was at her house right now, drinking mimosas and eating bagels, opening Christmas gifts with my huge, loud, smiling family (who celebrate on the 24th and not the 25th.)

Happy holidays, right? Bah humbug.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Sorry I Knocked

These videos aren't new. I found them the same week I stumbled across and bought a copy of "God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" by Christopher Hitchens. I found them a month after I realized I'd been raised in a cult, and they were profoundly helpful to me. I think just about everything I've done in the past year and a half can be credited to those sources of inspiration and more. I'm awed by the strength and grace of Aayan Hirsi Ali, of Carolyn Jessop, of Astra & Jenna Miscavige. I'm thankful for the four horsemen, for their thinking and analyzing, for the beautiful words and illustration they've crafted. I'm thankful to the Atheist Community of Austin, for being such a positive example of how atheists, with our disparate views, can work together to provide social opportunities for a marginalized minority.

So here they are, the Sorry I Knocked videos that lit the anti-theist fire in my belly.

I gotta say, the Bengal tiger does sound cool. Also, this poor woman has a ton of JW spam in her comments, so show her some love from ATAT, okay?

Hope everything is going well in Internet World. I'll have my very own wifi connection (instead of the neighbor's hacked one) on the 24th so prepare to be tweeted! (@antitheistangie for those of you not already following)


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Friday, December 18, 2009

Not how I want my story to end

These songs are all about drugs, but they express how I feel about my eating disorder.

I have binged on eggnog and buttered bread multiple times this week. I'm feeling a real loss of control in life, a side effect of all the (positive) changes going on. I've been pushing myself a lot in terms of making hard phone calls and just dealing with hard painful shit and trying not to lose my mind. I don't seem to be winning that battle at the moment. I've slammed my head into the wall twice now. That was something I had really hoped was behind me (although, it is the back of my head that I jerk backwards into the wall.) I know how dangerous and destructive it is, but my anxiety just gets so bad I have to do *something* to bring myself back down to reality, back to a physical reality. I've pinched my arms black and blue this week, and I had muscle tics so bad the other night while running errands I hurt my shoulder from the severity.

I have a feeling everything will be better in a couple weeks. Little Man will be attending his new school; I'll have full internet function (instead of the neighbor's wifi, which I am stealing by sitting in the yard in the rain, with an umbrella between my knees as I type this); I'll be more used to the idea of living with another adult. Specifically a male one.

I don't want to have to talk about my eating disorder with him. It's such an ugly thing. Sometimes I feel very removed.

Goodnight my dear, beloved Anteaters and online friends. I have felt too ugly the past few days to seriously consider a video. I hate what my brain does to my mind. Mental illness fucking SUCKS.

I'm gonna call the doctor and find out if we need to up my pills or change them or *what* but I don't wanna get so skinny I'm ugly again. I don't want to eat through my new dental work with bile. I don't want to exercise till I tear a muscle, or get shin splints, or collapse. I don't want to live on energy drinks, weed, and cigarettes again. I don't want to weigh my worth as a human being on a fucking bathroom scale. But I don't wanna go a pound over 110 either. This blows, but I'm hoping being real about all of this with all of you will help keep me acountable for not screwing up my life again. You can remind me how much I have to live for, and that I'm not just a body, and that I have to stay healthy so I can live, for my kid. You won't be like my mom and just let me starve myself to death in front of your eyes.


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Thursday, December 17, 2009

I am moved into the new house. I'm not done unpacking yet (or reassembling furniture - my dresser drawers are all still in the front room) but I missed you. I'll do a video post tomorrow, but the effort of putting on makeup (or even finding a hairbrush) wears me out just thinking about it.

Let's see, what's going on in the world? Well, Oral Roberts died. When I heard the news I said, "Hallelujah" because really, I don't know of another word that sounds as... well, I was brainwashed. My anxiety has been really bad the past couple of days, I think just from the stress of moving and not having regular, reliable contact with my friends on the internet. We're getting it installed here on the 24th so for now I sit in the backyard to get a signal. (Still, having a backyard again is epically cool. There's even a hammock frame, so I'm gonna get the biggest most comfortable one I can find and be a total bum.)

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2009 Year in Review

I forgot how much the beginning of this year sucked... I'm so glad now that I got laid off, even though I've been really really really really poor the past year. I've gotten to know who I am on some level, and that's priceless for an identity junkie like me.

I can't tell you how amazing this blog experience has been for me - sharing my secrets and my stories with all of you has helped me to forgive myself for what I was most ashamed of. I am human, and it's okay. I helped my baby survive through extreme hardship, with very little outside assistance.

So, here's my year, January to December:

Turned 26 & celebrated 6 months as an atheist
Set up a PlentyofFish dating profile
Went on a series of horrible bad first dates
Continued sleeping with one of my employees
Spent 10 days in jail for contempt of court
Got laid off (not for the sex, though - they shut down my division)
Had car repossessed
Decided to write a book
February through November, tried to have a relationship with my mom
Took 3 months to get approved for food stamps
Shoplifted groceries and diapers
Had to wait till April to reapply for unemployment due to lack of "credits"
Begged, borrowed, stole: somehow kept electricity running
Had IRS refund stalled from February - when I sent in my tax forms - until May
Set up a SugarDaddyforYou dating profile
Started a blog
Spent 6 months battling my ex-bosses for my unemployment benefits
Won the unemployment battle
Took in a Christian preacher's kid, to help her escape the abuse
Got off probation
Got drunk!
Visited an old friend from outta town
Spent a week outta town with the same old friend
Started a social network for cult survivors
Had to deal with unemployment office idiocy & not sending my payments for ten weeks
Set up an OkCupid dating profile
Had my internet turned off; cried like a baby for over an hour (on a date)
Got a boyfriend
Went to the dentist (3 cavities)
Went to my therapist
Went to the dentist (7 cavities, 2 extractions)
Went to a doctor
Went on three medications, four times a day
Skipped Thanksgiving for a family-free weekend trip
Told my mom how I really felt
Upped the medication to five times a day
Got an eviction notice
Slowed down the process a full two weeks
Started a YouTube account
Moved into a nice house :D

Only two left to complete:
Skipped Christmyth.
Celebrated New Years in style

Here's hoping 2010 isn't nearly so rocky!

In honor of the sun rising again after the solstice, the birth of Mithra, the birth of Jesus, the victory of the Maccabees, and the seven principles of Kwanzaa, please consider making a totally not tax-deductible gift to Angie the Anti-Theist via PayPal, or by purchasing a holiday gift from the ATAT Zazzle Store (coming soon!)

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Adam & Eve Sought Morality

Hey Anteaters. At least until after the move and getting myself set up in the new place (and setting up internet service there) I'm going to be sticking to video posts, because they are so much faster to make. Let me know what you think of these, any topics you'd like me to cover, or any tips you have for volume/recording that doesn't require me to buy equipment. (If you want to buy me equipment, I will totally let you.)

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Adam & Eve Never Sinned

I can do video now! Come check out my YouTube channel:

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Angie is Blonde

TokBox - Free Video Chat and Video Messaging

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Coming Out Straight & Other Lies

Because of the strong response I got to yesterday's pro-gay post, and because I'm still pissed that Ugandans are facing imprisonment for the "crime" of being gay, and because that's absolutely ridiculous, I decided to spend more time on This story is from a man who claims the program is helping him to lose his Same-Sex Attraction (SSA or homosexuality for non tards.)
Tom's Story
“Out of the forthright admission of one’s frailties and the determined commitment to go on, comes a laminated strength powerful enough to overcome those who have not made such a struggle.” –from “Fantastic,” by Lawrence Lerner
Who the heck is Lawrence Lerner, another cure-the-gay quack? No, Laurence Lerner is the author of Fantastic but that's not the whole title. It should read Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Somehow I doubt that quote is about coming out homosexuality.
By the time, at age 32, I began to seriously address my SSA, I had been struggling with it for so long I could barely remember life without it. There are no words to adequately express how consuming and crippling it was. As I write this, I am thirty-five and continuing on my journey of recovery, moving toward the reclamation of my true masculine potential which lay dormant for so long. Although two and a half years have passed since I decided to finally confront my SSA, the start of this journey seems like it was a lifetime ago. In some ways, it was.
Maybe you could "barely remember" life without homosexuality because you were born gay, and at 35 you are still gay. Not all men are masculine, and almost no men are entirely masculine (though I can sort of see why a program that lionizes machismo might admire Arnold.) I'm including straight men in this category. Just as I know very masculine gay men, I also know some fairly effeminate straight or bisexual men. I know guys who do martial arts and also get manicures. As one friend put it, "Bunch of pretty girls touching me for an hour while I sit in a massage chair? Hell yeah." There are straight men who like to dress nicely, and there are gay men who couldn't care less. This program is such obviously fake bullshit.
It all began when I was six years old. My father was at that time a raging alcoholic, my older brother (seven years older than I) was rebelling against him, and my mother was desperately trying to hold our family together. At about this time I started school, and I began to see how other kids behaved with their parents and how life appeared to be in their homes. I was and am a very sensitive person, very quick to read the surroundings and underlying mood of a situation. I recognized quickly that something was not entirely right in our home, not only with my father but with our entire family. As the years went on, it was very painful to watch my father deteriorate into his addiction, and along with him our family life deteriorated too.
You grew up in an abusive, dysfunctional home. That sucks. Your brother, like my brother, fell into the rebel role. It's not a fun one, but it is actually the healthiest. Your mom became an enabler, and you became an appeaser. I've loved and lived with an active alcoholic before. It's hell. You had a terrible childhood, and you didn't deserve that. I'm sorry it happened to you, but it did not cause your homosexuality.
When I was 10, my mother gave my father an ultimatum: “Stop drinking or I am leaving you!” He did stop, and never touched a drink again. Still, although the nights of wondering if my father would come home drunk ended, I still never felt comfortable with him. Particularly in the early years of his sobriety, it was as if our family was playing a game of make-believe; as if the turmoil caused by his drinking-or the anticipation of that turmoil-had never existed. To this day, my father has never once acknowledged that he was ever wrong. Even after nearly twenty-five years of sobriety, he cannot speak of his drinking days, and worse, he takes no responsibility for them.
My ex-husband didn't respond to my ultimatum the same way, and I'm glad. I think even if he had quit drinking he still would have been an asshole and that man would have died before admitting he'd made a mistake. He absolutely could not have a conversation about what went wrong and how we were gonna fix it. He's probably still an asshole, but he's not my asshole anymore.
As I’ve grown and come to better understand my father, I recognize that he is in many ways what Alcoholics Anonymous calls a “dry drunk,” someone who is no longer drinking but whose thinking is still distorted by the thought patterns of addiction. I also recognized very early on that I would rather die than be like him. It gives me no pleasure to say that; it is in fact profoundly sad to do so. But it is true. While my father was staying sober, my brother-with whom he never got along-was going his own way. My brother had the unique ability to infuriate our father on many occasions. Why couldn’t he just shut up and keep the peace? I made the decision somewhere around the age of 13 that I was never going to be like my brother, either.
AA calls anybody who's not a member of their cult a "dry drunk" (especially atheists.) Your brother was actually the healthy one. He was "going his own way" and going against your father - of course it caused friction, but that doesn't mean it was the wrong thing to do. I'm glad I rebelled. It was important to get practice making different choices, so that when I became a mom, I was able to be a completely different kind of parent. Now I've found love, and it's nothing like what my family or my ex gave me. But I had to learn to go against them and go against the way things had always been, and rebelling gave me years of practice.
During those turbulent years, the one thing I wanted more than anything else was to protect my mother. In my view, she’d been through enough. My father’s insensitivity to her, the stress she took on mediating between my brother and father, the pain the entire situation caused her-it was too much. I vowed that I would never hurt her. I would be the perfect son. In the process I became her sounding board, in a sense her emotional “husband.” To say I became overly attached to her is an understatement.
My mother tried to make me into her co-victim, too. I fell for it for years, but one day I woke up and I realized she should have done more to protect me. Just as surely as your father hurt you, your mother let him. She is no better than the omnipotent god who sits by and watches as priests rape children and cults poison minds and kill people. Also, you've trapped yourself in with always/never thinking - you'll never be like your dad, never like your brother, never hurt your mother... It's a lot for one kid or adult to handle.
Meanwhile, I was discovering that my extreme sensitivity and lack of athletic ability in a hyper-masculine hometown were crippling me. I did not fit in with the other boys. I was passive, afraid to fight. I liked to dress nicely, and I was weak and overweight. I felt in some ways, really in many ways, crushed by the circumstances of my life. I wanted to be someone else. By this time I was 13, in the spring of the seventh grade, and now my SSA began.
It sounds like you've been getting the message that you "ought" to be more masculine for a long time; that's unfortunate. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive to others' feelings or to dressing with care. While it is of course preferable to be healthy rather than unhealthy, it doesn't determine who you are or how much you matter. Trust me - losing the weight alone, without learning to love yourself, will never make you happy. You hit puberty, and your sexuality woke up. That's normal. For gay teens, that means being attracted to people of the same gender.
The first boy I became attracted to was a year older than I, and he was everything I could have been “if only.” He was smart, athletic, preppy, and seemed very nice. At that point I didn’t consciously think it was weird for me to be constantly thinking about this guy. What I remember asking myself was, How can I be more like him? How can I turn into him? How can I get him to like me?

As I entered high school, I re-experienced those feelings for other boys. They were always the same-lean, preppy, baby-faced, safe. I studied how they dressed and acted, what they liked and tried to emulate them. Above all else, I worked hard to get them to like me and be my closest friends. The tension and excitement that this all-consuming quest caused me cannot be overstated. I often masturbated while thinking about them, trying to relieve the anxiety that all of those feelings caused. Yet I remained in deep denial about the nature of my feelings.
I think probably a lot of us who felt uncool in middle and high school formed these kind of hero-worship infatuations. I certainly followed after a few alpha-females during my years of insecurity. And I'm attracted to woman who I would want to look like - I am pretty femme, and I'm more usually attracted to thin, femme women. It's what I find beautiful both in myself and in other women.* I dated girls and women of all different builds though, just as I've formed meaningful and sexual relationships with people who I didn't necessarily think were gorgeous the moment I met them. However, I most frequently fantasized those women I found most appealing - duh.
In the rare moments when I reflected on what I was doing, I recognized that it was highly unlikely that these boys, whom I so admired, felt the same way about me. But this didn’t stop me-my emotional cravings and need for belonging were too strong. Time after time, no matter what guy I pursued, obsessed over, and longed to be with, every single time I got my heart broken in some way. Nothing ever worked out the way I wanted it to. Before long I would turn my attention toward someone else, and the same thing would happen all over again.
It doesn't sound like you were pursuing mutually satisfying healthy relationships, and you had a poor self-image. That's a terrible combination for early dating years and I remember it well as sucking royally. However, I'm still hearing a lot of "always/never" statements - time after time, every single time, nothing ever worked, all over again - and those suggest to me a distorted image of what was really going on. My grandmother was a monster who led to the deaths of dozens of innocent children, yet even she had moments of kindness. Perhaps the only absolute statement we can make is that nobody is all one thing or another. So it's possible those boys would have liked you, were attracted to you, or would have enjoyed being your friend. It's easy to put someone unattainable on a pedestal - it's much harder to be someone's friend.
My religious tradition was Roman Catholic, and my SSA feelings were a source of guilt and shame to me. I had “girlfriends,” but only because it was what was expected of me. I would never have admitted to anyone that my feelings for guys were stronger and more intense than what I felt for girls. It was an exercise in stamina and required tremendous acting to pretend that I was “normal.”
Ah, now we get to it. The reason you don't want to be gay is because you were taught, brainwashed really, into believing that a Sky Daddy god wanted you to dig chicks. If you had instead come out of the closet, particularly if you'd been in a loving and supportive environment of accepting people, you could have discovered what satisfying emotional and sexual relationships with men could be like. You could have made gay friends and boyfriends and had a full and meaningful life as a gay man. Instead you were a gay man trapped in a straight facade, unable to enjoy the company of women or have the relationship you sought with men. That's heartbreaking. And it's an indictment on religion, not on homosexuality.
In the summer between seventh and eighth grades, a man I had come to trust and tried to emulate offered me a ride home from an event. I was shocked when he started asking me questions about how often I masturbated, how I did it, and whether I liked it. His questions made me extremely uncomfortable, but I wanted his attention too much to say so. Then, after a few minutes of this kind of talk, he softly said, “Show me how you do it.”

It has been twenty-one years since this incident took place and I still cannot adequately explain the fear I experienced in that moment. Why did I accommodate him? Why did I do what he asked? Because I was afraid-too afraid not to. I was afraid that if I didn’t do what he wanted, he wouldn’t like me anymore.

As I complied with his request and pulled down my pants, he took one look at me and then began to mock and laugh. I was humiliated beyond words. Even more confusing, minutes later, as he continued to drive me home, he kept talking about nothing in particular, as if the incident never had happened. In the months and years to come I saw this man frequently and he never again asked me to do such a thing. But what he did, which was perhaps even more devastating, was continue to belittle me as he had done during the incident.
You trusted someone and he exploited your vulnerabilities and your age for his own sick ends. I'm sorry. I used to ask myself, why did I keep going back to Pam's house where her dad would molest me? Because as awful as it was, on some level, I realized that at least someone was paying attention to me. You were starved for love and for attention and this man hurt you, and then mocked you, and never apologized for what he did.
I promised myself not to speak of that event to anyone-never, ever. I tried to put it out of my mind, but for the next two decades I carried it within me, feeling deep shame and confusion. As I got older, I heard about other boys who’d had absolutely horrifying experiences of sexual abuse over long periods of time. I tried to convince myself that my own experience was really nothing-a moment too insignificant to remember. But in my heart I knew that simply wasn’t true.
That was a really unhealthy response. Talking about sexual abuse makes it less shameful, less personal, and less terrible. And it really does no good to compare our pain to someone else's. I remember even as a little girl in group therapy, feeling so grateful that the man who molested was someone else's dad, and not mine. Out of all the girls in there, I was the only one who hadn't been touched by a dad, stepdad, fosterdad, fosterbrother, granddad, uncle, or mom's boyfriend. Yet my pain was sufficient to need help and healing and someone to talk to. There is no minimum threshold for sexual abuse that is okay and not worth remembering or recovering from. Any abuse is destructive and needs to be addressed.
Meanwhile, even as I tried to pursue a normal life, my attraction to guys continued. There were still girlfriends, too, but as soon as our relationships led to intimacy, whether physical or emotional, an automatic barrier closed in around me. Finally, after “fooling myself” for a couple of years, when I was 24 I concluded it was very likely that I was gay.
Ten years after you noticed your first attractions for guys, you concluded you were gay? Okay well then when you look back on the "unhappiness" of your gay life, remember that you were made miserable by religious guilt and pretending to be something you're not. The homosexuality itself wasn't the problem, just how your religion and family made you feel about it, and your decision to try to bury your feelings rather than meet your needs.
Now I actively began to seek out other gays. I wanted to explore my feelings further, even though I felt almost nauseated every time I did so. Gradually my emotional attachments to men turned into physical relationships. Every time it happened, I came away more sad, confused, lonelier than ever, and sickened by my behavior. I tried to convince myself that everything was OK, but something inside me knew very well that it was not.
You jumped into physical intimacy before you had become comfortable with your sexuality. That's bound to cause pain, especially if you've been brought up to believe that homosexuality is somehow evil, unnatural, or wrong. That sense of nausea you describe isn't typical of healthy emotional or sexual encounters.
This pattern of playing straight while having a double life went on for the next three years, until the night I met the man who would ultimately set me on the path to self-recovery. He was the ultimate combination of all the qualities I had sought for the past fourteen years. He was impossibly good looking, preppy, baby-faced, physically unimposing-everything I had ever desired in one package. I fell not into love but into an obsession that I now shudder to think about. I clearly remember thinking, if I could win his friendship, my life would be complete. I was convinced that, with him beside me, my life of longing and loneliness would be over.
The fact that you were "playing straight while having a double life" tells me you never experienced life as an openly gay man, dating other openly gay men and being comfortable with your sexuality. One person can never fill the hole left by our parents. We have to fill that with friends and lovers and therapists over many years, but we can get better. We can't rely on one person to make us happy, though, no matter how much we might admire them and be aroused by them. I have been convinced though, that gaining one simple unattainable thing (thinness) would make me happy. It didn't. It was insufficient to meet my need.
For the next year and a half, I pursued him with sick determination. And every time I went out of my way to prove myself to him, every time I sacrificed, every time I drove past by his house in the middle of the night, I knew deep inside that I was in serious trouble. To the best of my knowledge, he never knew the extent of my feelings. Or maybe he did. The point is my yearnings were never reciprocated. Worse than that, I got the feeling he didn’t really care at all.
Again, this sounds like a very unhealthy way of dealing, although I can recognize you didn't have good modeling of emotional management or wish fulfillment growing up. If you had been an openly gay man in a community of gay friends, you would probably have been protected from some of the worst aspects of this unhealthy obsession and unrequited desire.
The pain was crippling. I could never stop thinking about him, and to alleviate my obsession, I impulsively went out in the middle of the night to hook up sexually with the first guy I could find. This went on for months, until one winter night, I sat down alone in my apartment, lonelier and more isolated than I had ever been. I cried bitterly, thinking of the wreckage my life had become, thinking of all the men I had pursued, especially over the last year. I wrote down a vow that I fully intended to keep, even if I didn’t know how to do so. All I knew was that this emotional torture could not go on. This will never happen again! I promised myself. Of course my SSA desires continued despite my best intentions. For the next few years, I emotionally cut myself off, despite the fact that I occasionally slipped up and hooked up when the craving became too strong. Three years after I made my vow, and after I repeatedly broke it without really wanting to, I admitted to myself that I needed help.
Acting-out sexual behaviors, like hooking up with the first guy you can find because you're unhappy, is unhealthy. Like so many other aspects of your story, it's also understandable. Again, if you'd been openly gay and in supportive friendships and relationships with other gay people (instead of just obsessing over one man and having meaningless sex with others) you probably would not have been nearly so unhappy. You might have had friends or close romantic relationships. You might have been fulfilled, but when you were pretending to be straight, and fantasizing about an unattainable man, you had sex out of misery, not love or desire or intimacy or fun.

I dated a Catholic. He would periodically decide that he felt horrible guilt over his heathen lifestyle (that I quite enjoyed) and would go confess to his priest, and then make vows not to touch beer or women or pot again. These were ridiculous promises for him to make, and only amplified his sense of guilt. Like a perfectionist trying to do the impossible, you were trying to make yourself be straight by sheer force of will. And sexuality isn't a choice; if it was, I imagine fewer people would be gay because Christians in our society so often treat gay people unfairly.
But my fear of seeking help was overwhelming. What would I find out if I actually talked to someone about my life? Was I truly gay? Was there any hope for change? I continued to struggle with these questions for close to a year. At last, shattered by one more intolerable relationship, I finally did a search on the Web for some kind of an organization that could help men like me. I found the International Healing Foundation website, where I read, “No one is born with SSA.”

That was it. I had been right all along. I wasn’t supposed to be gay.
Well, if you'd talked to PFLAG, an SGA, or anybody else who wasn't a quack, you would have found out that about 1 out of 10 American men are gay, and that isn't an insult to their character or anything else; they just happen to like dudes. Instead you found an organization that promised to remove your homosexuality, which is impossible. You weren't right all along. That's okay - I've been wrong about a great many things, more things than I have been right about. But I continue to grow and learn and get healthier. I no longer believe in God, I no longer think I suck, and I am no longer miserable.
Then I read Richard Cohen’s book Coming Out Straight. I identified with so much of what he wrote and recognized in myself several of the causes of SSA that he listed. I learned that I was a classic SSA male-extremely sensitive, with an alcoholic and abusive father, a very close connection to my mother, and a history of sexual abuse. This confirmed what I had always suspected, that my SSA feelings did not happen by accident. After wrestling with my fears a little longer, I made an appointment to talk to Richard.
Your dad's drinking, your mom's enabling, and your unhappy childhood didn't make you gay - they made you unhappy. Richard Cohen is a hack who exploits people's pain and loneliness for his own sick ends, much like the man who took advantage of you as a boy. And I've learned to be suspicious of a cure that "confirmed what I had always suspected" and to instead question what I've always believed. After all, just like you, I grew up in an abusive, unhealthy, dysfunctional home. I didn't get good models of sex, love, parenting, money management, healthcare, or work/life balance. I've had to look for sources that disagreed with the teachings of my family - religious and guilt-laden, like your own - to find real healing.
I thought we could figure all this out in his office, just between the two of us, until he stressed to me the importance of reaching out to other people. Tell other people? He had to be kidding. But he affirmed and reaffirmed this necessity, until I finally agreed to try. “You’d better be right about this!” I warned him.

Before long I discovered that I was blessed with a handful of men in my life with whom I could share the most intimate details of what I’d been through. These men were fantastic. I kept them and Richard captive for hours on end, talking through the heartaches, disappointments and failures I had never talked about to any one before. It was radical for me to open up like this.
Yes, of course you needed to talk to someone. And it makes sense, both as a gay man and as someone who was abused by a man, that you would want to talk about this with men. You were finally open with people about who you were, even though you were trying to change it, and you began to form healthy, strong, intimate relationships with other men on an emotional level, rather than an obsessive or hookup level. If only you'd been doing this in the context of accepting yourself, you could be very far on the path to healing from your horrible childhood by now.
Meanwhile, Richard explained that I had to spend the next year reconnecting to my inner child-the wounded little boy within me. Now at first I thought this was crazy. I did not sense any connection to any child, inner or otherwise. But I slowly realized that it was indeed my inner child who had to be healed, not the 33-year-old adult. This process was not easy, and it took a lot of time for me to connect with my inner child, because “he” had been hurt so deeply. I learned that I had to become a loving father to him-the kind of father I’d never had. Only in doing so could I overcome the lifelong pain, fear and loneliness that had led to my SSA. As I followed this healing path, slowly but surely my SSA feelings started to disappear.
Richard Cohen is a homophobic homosexual, unlicensed and kicked out of the American Counseling Association for ethical practices, who takes respected therapeutic principles and then blends them with guilt, Christianity, and cuddling and hurts people badly by convincing them their natural homosexuality is something that needs fixing.
Other difficult issues arose. Confronting the man who had humiliated me became necessary. Looking back, I am still surprised that I was so gung-ho, because being confrontational has never been part of my nature. When the moment finally came, seventeen months after I started my healing of SSA, I can honestly say that I have never felt God’s power more strongly than I did as I spoke to him. As empowering as that experience was, it was still only a part of the larger process of setting things right.
I screamed "You SUCK" at the top of my lungs at my mom. I called my grandmother and let her know I held her responsible for a little boy's death. I felt an exhilarating rush of relief, excitement, and triumph with both of these, but I did not mistake those feelings for the presence of an omnipotent god.
I wish that I could say the attempts I made in connecting with my father had gone well, too, but I learned something I had never considered: That I had the courage and insight to confront my demons, even if he could not. This process of confrontation, of setting things in order, of dealing with the pain, of listening to my inner child, of sharing with other men, and of embracing what I felt was my true nature, slowly but surely took away the underlying fear I had of “losing myself.” At last I am getting to know the man that I was truly meant to be.
I'm all for confronting demons, seriously. This blog and the book I'm writing are both ways I fight my fears and move behind my tragic past into a bright new tomorrow. It's nice that you've found friends, although the fact that your friends are invested in you becoming straight may place additional burdens on you. It will probably take you even longer to come to terms with your sexuality, as a result of following Cohen's teachings.
As I write this, I am in what Richard calls “Stage Four” of the healing journey. My next step is to speak about these things with my mother and heal my opposite-sex wounds. I am not sure how it will turn out, but I am not worried. I hope to establish a relationship with a woman soon, and believe that I will. The healing process takes a lot of time. You cannot rush something like coming out of SSA. But I can say with certainty that I cannot imagine returning to my past behaviors. I know that change is possible. I am living proof.
You are only proof that brainwashing is possible, and we already knew that. Telling your mom how much she negelcted you, and let your father's alcoholism and rage run your house, is important. It can be cathartic. But it won't make you straight, nothing will. You're a gay man, and the sooner you come to terms with that, the sooner you'll be able to find real love and real peace within yourself. It's sad to think you've wasted two and a half years in this program, and you're still gay. Just accept it - be okay with it. Your religion is nothing but myths, fairy tales, and lies and you are a human, prone to errors, hurt by your protectors, and in pain. Healing those wounds is necessary for happiness, but cannot change your sexual orientation.

That man is 35 years old and has never been in a real relationship. I think this is one of the saddest posts I've ever written. I need ice cream after that. Or at least something humerous to lighten the mood.

* I find lots of things beautiful in women, and think women of every size can be beautiful. I'm only talking about attraction though, and that's naturally a more specific definition.

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All I Want from Xmas

Anteaters, all I want for Xmas is your unwanted (new or second-hand!) Christian books. Send me your apologetics - the Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, CS Lewis, & Ray Comfort books your believing families give you in a well-meaning manipulative attempt to change who you are. (I say this as someone who once gave my husband a Bible & a Big Book of AA for Christmas gifts. I am familiar with the sometimes-loving motivation behind the well-meant gift of guilt.)

This year I actually want all those books, but there's no way I'm spending money on them, to support tax-free churches and pastors. So please, please, if you get one of these books and want to set it on fire, can you lend it to me for a couple months first? I'd love to debunk the bigger names & better known books (I'm looking at you Purpose-Driven Life.

Email me if you get these books & I'll give you a shipping address to send them to. I'll be posting a mention of you by name or screen name (or not if you're still in the atheist closet) along with debunkment series for each book I receive. Do a good deed for an atheist this winter :)

* If you request your book to be burned after reading, I will happily do so on camera & upload the video to YouTube. Just let me know.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cure the Gay

What the hades, Uganda? You've determined that homosexuality is a psychological problem and that people can choose not to be gay if they work really hard at it. Where in the frilly heck did you get that idea?

Damn. Go Rachel for "..if you believe the debunked unscientific claptrap they're selling." I'm so tired of the fake balance we so often see in news (like having Christians on to discuss what being an atheist is like.)

Richard Cohen sucks. His website sucks. Here's a "testimony" from a dad with my comments.
Stuart Saves Stephen’s Life!

In his own words, Stuart shares how he saved his son’s life. He began implementing this plan when his son Stephen was a junior in high school. It is a remarkable journey that gives hope to all. Today Stephen is flourishing in his masculinity and heterosexuality. This proves without a doubt that people are not born with SSA and change is possible!
Wait, how was his son's life at risk - by being gay? That's not actually an illness, you know, and even quacks like you who say that it is don't usually treat it as life-threatening (just eternity-threatening.) "Masculinity" does NOT equal "heterosexuality". Here's a list of Gay Athletes who are quite virile and manly, I am sure. And Mr. Coehn here is worse than a creationist for claiming subjective experience counts as undeniable proof of anything. Let's get into what the dad says about this "journey that gives hope to all" (except people who support equality and an end to the exploitative cure-the-gay industry.)
When Stephen told me he was gay, I thought that it was not my fault, that genetics was really the problem. I thought I was a good dad. So I didn’t say anything at first. I told my wife what he had said, and for the next few nights she’d cry herself to sleep.
"Fault" and "problem" - you've already got it wrong. Some people are born gay; the majority are born straight. The fact that homosexuality is less common does not mean homosexuality is somehow inferior to heterosexuality.
For most fathers, there are probably several ways to look at the problem: (1) ignore it and believe it will just go away; (2) embrace it and join PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays); (3) kick the child out of the house; or (4) find a way to help your child understand what homosexuality is, how it occurs, and how to work with the problem in a loving and caring manner without losing your child.
Yes, and what the hell is wrong with option 2? Or barring that level of immediate acceptance (and perhaps sadness at the perceived loss of some big wedding or grandchildren, although as we extend full rights of citizenship to gays and lesbians, this becomes less of an issue) how about option 5) Take time, ask questions, be supportive, and reassure your child that you will always love and respect him or her. (My mom went with option 1, but that was her default parenting style.) And finally, a child who is gay doesn't have a problem and is not lost.
Now, several years later, I can say I have seen all of the above. I have spoken with parents in the quiet recesses of empty classrooms and at backyard barbecues, and while sitting on benches watching sons and daughters sing and dance. All of them intrinsically know that homosexuality is not genetic, but they don’t know what to do. I was just like them in the beginning. I am good at one thing, and that is planning. But before I planned, however, my wife and I did some research.
*Facepalm* "All of them intrinsically know that homosexuality is not genetic" has to be one of the most painfully stupid things I have ever heard.

We went to the Internet, we went to the library, and we talked. We decided that we would love our son but would not endorse homosexuality or homosexual practices. I bought every book I could on leaving homosexuality. I book marked every website, and I went to see a psychiatrist. Not Stephen, me. I found a doctor who worked with reparative therapy. Dr. Frank was an older gentleman, with whom I spent three sessions learning to understand my son. He told me what he had counseled other parents to do. He also advised me to deal with my own feelings, which I did.
It's unfortunate that this man "bought every book I could on leaving homosexuality" instead of "joined a PFLAG" or "found an online support group for parents coming to terms with their child's sexuality" or "did not try to tell him what he felt or why, just listened." His entire focus from the outset was on "curing" his son. As for having a reparative therapist quack recommend the snakeoil he sells, I'm not exactly shocked. The dad here says he was "learning to understand my son" but as we can plainly see, he was looking for ways to change his son.
After that, armed with books, pamphlets, printouts, and most of all prayer, I built a plan to help my son.
Since neither those books, pamphlets, printouts nor prayer have ever been proved to work, and in fact have been proven not to work, the plan he built "for" his son was a bad one.
I was a lousy Christian. I had read a ton of books, from C.S. Lewis to Os Guiness, but my faith was weak. So, once again my wife and I began to attend church. We studied the Bible and showed our son that faith and belief were part of being a man and part of being a family.
Skipping church did not make your kid gay. Faith is a useless vice, not a virtue. The more secular your life is, in this country, the safer it is. Faith is stupid and puts you at much greater risk of losing your son than his perfectly natural homosexuality does. Also, having faith and belief are not prerequisites to manhood. (Don't believe me? Check out the Guys of Think Atheist calendar!)
So there I was. I read all the books on SSA that I could get my hands on. I talked things out with my wife. I prayed and thanked God for my wonderful son and family. I spoke with Stephen’s older brother and got his input. I implemented a systematic plan to get my son back. And it worked!
Again, he read SSA books, not credible books on homosexuality, on being the parent of a gay teen, on learning to understand and love his son - rather than trying to make him be straight. Anger and threats aren't the only weaponry a father has at his disposal - there are financial strictures, and emotional and guilt-laden ploys.

Where does this idea that he needs to "get [his] son back" come from? Why it's the Bible, the religious wrong, Rebiblicans, "reparative therapy" programs and "ex-gay" ministries: people who profit off the systemic marginalization of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Americans (and Ugandans.)
After two years of implementing my plan, I now have a son who no longer spends thirty minutes in front of the mirror or has to have clothes from a particular shop. He now clomps around and acts like a male adolescent seeking his own independence and not like a sulky, sullen kid. He also plays catch with his male friends and dates girls. Real dates, not shopping with the girls, as he used to. He even gets irritated with girls and says, “I don’t get her. She acts so weird.” He also helps around the house, mows the lawn, changes oil in the car, helps hang shelves, and barbecues with me.

For two years this dad was concentrating his efforts on changing who his son was. That is simply brainwashing and cult indoctrination. I don't see how it could not be. His son has successfully changed his identity in order to gain the approval of his father. Also, it's a shame that the qualities he seems to praise in his son now include slovenliness and irritation with girls. Gay men (and straight and gay women) are all able to mow the lawn, change the oil, hang shelves, or barbecue. In fact, I've done the first three, and my sister has done three of those as well. Or moving beyond my family, Christopher Freaking Lowell* has definitely hung shelves.

Cohen claimed in his interview with Rachel Maddow that the focus of his program was on acceptance and tolerance of those who "chose to lead a homosexual life" while offering "solutions" to people with "unwanted sexual attractions" (gayness). Instead I see ridiculous stereotyping of "appropriate" male and female gender roles. My brother is a much better cook than I am (much better). I have a very analytical thinking style, and have generally had more male than female friends. I know gay men who are in no way effeminate - guys who listen to black metal and work in construction or law enforcement or as teachers or professors. There is no one way that a straight man acts and no one way a gay man acts. Not every lesbian drives a pickup truck (like Rachel Maddow). Despite what a recent Christian commenter left on this ATAT post, I am pretty darn femme in a lot of ways (especially how I choose to look) but also pretty masculine in others. I grew up in a family of all woman and we didn't have the ridiculous gender roles of the Victorian era in our home, even in a fundamentalist Christian cult.
How did we do it? The plan we put into practice was based on a few things:My wife had to go into the background and defer to me. That was probably the hardest part of the plan, because she is strong and willful. She was the head of the household but was willing to abdicate her throne. Easier said than done. But she started saying things like, “Talk to your father first. If he says OK, then it is OK.” She supported my decisions. When I used to say “no,” Stephen would go talk to his mom and she would say “yes.” Well, that became, “If Dad said ‘no,’ well then he’s got his reasons. Did you ask him why he said ‘no’?” And so Stephen would have to come talk to me, and my word would be held up. “No” became “no,” and “yes” became “yes.” In time, when Stephen wanted to do something he would ask me, explain his reasons, and we’d talk. I most often said “yes,” because he was responsible. But I always knew where he was and who he was with.
Ah yes, your son is gay because your wife has access to equal liberties and rights that you are entitled to. That must be it! So far we've got SSA literature, faith and church, and now early-stage misogyny. Remember Anteaters, our politicians and religious leaders support this agenda and they are exporting it to Africa. While the threat of an actual death penalty or life imprisonment for homosexuality has been lifted (at this juncture), this psuedoscience is going to lead to violence against homosexuals in Uganda (a country already torn apart by ritual child sacrifice.) I'm not saying anything against consistency in parenting, but total deferment to her husband just because he is male is practically Quiverfull. Separate but equal is never really equal.
I asked Stephen to forgive me for not including him in the things I did, and for leaving him out. He forgave me in a very tearful scene. Not easy. I am a workaholic, and I also like to find quiet time away from everything. I really like to be outdoors. But I cut my work schedule back from 60 hours to 45 hours a week and cut my activities. And I got Stephen a job at the company I worked with so that I could spend time with him on the way back and forth to work. For two years, in the summer, we went to work together ... and we just had regular chats.
Those sound like changes Stephen's dad needed to make - to put more time and care into his relationship with his son. That's a wonderful impulse; if only it hadn't been coupled with a manipulative attempt to change another person's nature.
I spoon-fed information to Stephen in order to counter the GSA influence and the “innate, immutable” lie. I started by saying, “You know, being gay isn’t genetic. It’s environmental.” Then I would recommend a website to him. Later I would ask, “What do you think?” Usually I’d get, “Well, it was interesting.” And then he’d add, “Well, do you think that change is possible?” I told him, “Yes,” and referred him to websites that contained research that documented change.
This is information control and propaganda. This man "spoon-fed information" that was factually incorrect (totally & completely wrong) to his son in order to change him. He caused his son to think his sexuality was a choice and something he could and should change. The Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) is a wonderful, supportive environment. I was part of a student effort to get a GSA chapter started at my high school during Freshman year and I'm still immensely proud of that.
I would have these types of conversations with him a couple times a month, but not every day. In other words, “being gay” was not the only point of conversation. I was trying to rebuild my relationship with my son.
If you had left it at rebuilding a relationship, I'd wholeheartedly approve.
I also went along with my son to his voice lessons, and he would have to pick me up at the fly fishing shop where I spent an hour or so. I have a great friend there whom I told about Stephen’s SSA and he agreed to help me. So when Stephen came in, this bear of a man would clasp Stephen about the shoulder and ask how his singing went. He, too, used to sing a lot. At first Stephen was a bit uncomfortable, but my friend never relented and in fact, had Stephen baby-sit for his son. He was the first adult male to give Stephen a swat in the butt, I think for good grades.
This is odd, sexual harrassment, and homo-erotic. His friend "never relenting" in being a "big bear of a man" touching his son seems an odd point for him to boast.
I also enrolled Stephen’s brother, who started to call and talk to him. Usually just guy stuff. He also started taking him places like batting cages and rollerblading. This was all part of my plan to incorporate trusted friends and family to help my son. In the beginning Stephen used to hang out with kids from the GSA. When they called, I would not tell him. (So I’m a big meanie here, but Stephen had a lot of schoolwork, outside obligations, and a job as well. We encouraged him to continue to keep his platter full. He still does to this day.) I did not say he could not hang out with these kids. Peer groups can be funny things, and I knew that if I said, “These kids are bad for you,” he’d probably continue to hang with them. So I would answer the phone and tell them he wasn’t home.
Let me get this "straight," Stuart. You lied to your son and his friends, monitored and manipulated his social outlets, kept him too busy to see gay friends, and spoon-fed him misinformation and lies, in a passive-aggressive assault on his sexuality. Am I getting that straight?
A physical relationship was also in order. I began to give him a hug and a kiss as I dropped him off at school. I used Coming Out Straight as a guide for what was appropriate and when it was appropriate. At first Stephen was a little stand-offish. Now he’s hugging a lot of guys when he says good-bye, and these are straight guys. He has also gotten comfortable playing catch, and while I’d like it if he’d take up fishing, I can wait (I’m an avid fisherman)
Because nothing screams completely heterosexual like a man hug. And after all, if you've "cured" your son of being gay in just two years, making him an angler won't take long - you "can wait" to change him even more to your liking.
Nowadays, he seeks me out to give me a hug and a kiss goodnight. It’s like he needs to be reassured that this is OK between father and son. I also crack his back, and we rough-house from time to time. He and his brother also wrestle when the older brother is home. All in good fun. But all important. So I yell at them and tell them to knock it off before they tear up the living room. Or to take it outside if they’re going to do that stuff. My wife sits quietly by during these times and later will express her displeasure over these things but knows that they are important.
Diminishing your wife's role in the home, with the goal of causing rough-housing, is the worst "make your kid straight" plan I've heard since the last stupid "ex-gay" claptrap. (Thanks for that word, Rachel!)
One day my wife said to me that Stephen felt I was crowding him, so she asked me to back off. I told her that he’d have to tell me that. To this date he has not said that I’m encroaching on his territory.
"My wife told me something, but I completely ignored her so I could continue having the same perception. I also give my son a confusing mix of love-bombing and expressed disapproval of his sexuality and support of changing it. Now he feels compelled to keep having a close relationship with me, and doesn't know how to tell me to back off. I am a douche nozzle."
He does include me in his chats, his feelings, to a degree. My family is not big on discussing feelings, but we do talk about moral choices. About God’s absolute rules. We do discuss issues, and we talk about making good choices.
Wow, real loving family that. They talk about God's "absolute rules" in lieu of feelings. How tragic.
These were not easy things to do: Asking my wife to take a backseat, cutting my hours, committing time to my son, rebuilding a relationship, and confiding in friends to help.
Not with the goal of loving his son more, or of becoming closer to him before college started, or of showing him compassion. He was willing to make this effort and sacrifice if the prize was a straight "manly" son.
I did make a mistake by asking a girl whom Stephen had told that he was gay if she would talk to me about the issue, because I believed that she could help him become straight. She said that she would never help someone go from gay to straight, because it would harm them, that she supported all forms of human sexuality.1 To which I replied, rather callously, “Does that include pedophilia, bestiality, and all other abnormal sexual behaviors?” I then apologized and said that I would not talk to her about it again. I also told Stephen what had happened and apologized, asking for his forgiveness. It is something I caution all parents against. Be aware of who you talk to, and if possible, never mention this to other teenagers. It is not recommended unless there is some kid that you can trust implicitly.
Is anybody else crying for Stephen yet? This is the kind of friend his dad stopped him from talking to and spending time with - because she accepted him for who he was, instead of trying to change him.
So at the end of two and half years, what has happened? Stephen is not gay. He has said so. All the gay literature is gone from the house. No gay friends call. He has actually decided not to be in plays and shows, saying he doesn’t need to.
Stephen is gay, and all alone.
He also said that he feels that he likes girls, but not like his friend Tim likes them. Tim has a very steady relationship with a girl, and they are probably sexually active. Stephen has a girl that he likes quite a bit, but he doesn’t want to get too involved. He knows what a morally correct, Christian relationship is, and we encourage him not to get too involved.
Right, wouldn't want Stephen to be close to anyone outside the cure-the-gay strategy team.
He is no longer effeminate. He wears ratty blue jeans, swears on occasion, and lost the girly walk. He calls the GSA group a dangerous crowd, and he’s doing well in school. His older brother says, “Don’t worry, Dad. The plan is working. ... He’s going to be all right.” His brother has come to visit him at school, calls him regularly, and sends him a gift from time to time. Stephen is involved at church, and at school he leads retreats and his new roommates are all jocks of some sort. From basketball to rowing, he’s got three straight guys who whack him on the shoulder, and he whacks them back. His old buddies hang out at the house, and Stephen plays catch with them or goes out to do stuff with them.
Again, masculinity does not equal heterosexuality. There are gay professional athletes in individual and team sports. There are gay and lesbian Americans in our military, but we kick them out if their sexuality is discovered. No one should even have their sexuality investigated - there is nothing WRONG with being gay.
My wife likes me to be in charge of things now. I like it, too. Things became more complete when we put the plan into place. It is not easy. It takes love and dedication, and you feel like you’re pouring all of yourself into this child. But in reality, you’re giving this child what they need: a dad, a male presence, a sense of order, a sense of masculinity. You’re helping to make a new man, and it changes you as a person.
Why make a new man instead of accepting the man he is? Even if homosexuality was a choice, so what? What is actually wrong with homosexuality, in the real world and not Leviticus? (*crickets*) That's what I thought.
Some of their “sweetness” rubs off on you, and your maleness flows into them.
Dude, that just sounds gay.
I must admit that Stephen is a different person from two and a half years ago. He lounges on the furniture, he gives off the attitude of being the dominant male in the household, he is not so sweet and nice, and in all honesty ... well, at times I miss the “nice, sweet” kid. His mother wants to swat him from time to time, and he and I have our disagreements. He gets kind of lazy about his room and clothes, and things get flung around now. He threw a ball at me from the living room to the dining room, he dresses like a refugee from a thrift shop, and he never wears shoes if he can help it. Instead he prefers a pair of ratty flip-flops. He leaves wet towels lying around, and sits around in his boxers watching Saturday morning cartoons or playing video games.
Hey man, you wrote the role. He's just filling it.
Yes, it’s been an interesting time - a great time for Mom and Dad. And now I’ve got my son.
No. You had your son (and apparently a "great time".) Now you have a simulacrum, a doppelganger, a changeling.
God blessed this family as we kept God in the forefront of all we did with daily prayers and hopes and also asking others to pray for Stephen. I know that there are miracles, and this is one of them. God answers prayers in a lot of ways, but I believe that He honors hard work, a changed heart, and a loving family.
You can deny you are a "pray the gay away" organization all you want, Richard Cohen, but as long as you put false promises like this on your site, it's obvious: in the end you expect god to fix the kid, if only everyone will put in a good team effort.

When I found out I was having a boy, I was enormously relieved. I knew a boy was statistically less likely to have an eating disorder, like I do. I wondered if he'd be healthy, if he'd smart, and yes, if he would be gay. I wouldn't be surprised if he came out to me one day, because bisexuality does run in my family, and sexual orientation does appear to be genetic. And I realized I don't actually care if he's gay or straight or transgendered. For his sake, I hope that whatever his sexuality is, he makes good choices, surrounds himself with positive people, and has a strong ethical grounding. It's not up to me who he will love someday.

I don't often use profanity on the blog, but all I can say Richard Cohen, is Fuck You.

* The original queer eye for the straight home.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Objectively Nuts

Today I'm snarking on Those Wacky Evolutionists! Evolutionist Shenanigans & Assorted Darwinalia With Commentary by Dr. Richard Paley. Paley's claims to fame include taking a blurry picture of a real-live dinaosaur and possibly being an elaborate hoax that I have totally fallen for. (If so, Dr. Paley, my hat's off to you. If not, give me back my hat.) Found on the site which was sent to me by a tweeter (let me know who you are so I can thank you properly!)

Evolutionists... You never know what wacky nonsense they'll spout next! On this page, I will collect and dissect the excesses of their unsupportable philosophy and various bits of amusing Darwinalia. While this could be viewed as a humorous, even cruel, endeavor, my intention is not to mock (although sometimes it is impossible not to, given the source material.) Instead, I hope to expose exactly what passes for Evolutionist thought and why it is so flawed, so that the Truth of Creation will stand out even more stark against the background of Evolutionism that our culture has been draped in.
Whoo-boy, this guy is either nuts or a scam artist or both (or a Poe.) Okay, I'm going to try to get all my refutations in and not skip anything. 1) Evolution by Natural Selection (through genetic variability and species pressure) is an explanation for the mountains of evidence suggesting a common ancestor from millions of years ago. 2) Evolution is not a philosophy; it is a scientific fact (supported, if you will, by more facts. 3)Dawrinalia? I know you love making up words, but this is a stretch, even for a theobiologist. 4) Mocking is fun, but much more effective when you're actually right and can support your own claim with data, rather than merely disagreeing with an alternate claim. 5) Even if evolution was revealed by science to be incorrect (highly unlikely), it would not do anything towards establishing that creationism is correct, much less your Christian version of creationism. There have been, of course, thousands of creation myths throughout recorded history. Won't those be worth investigating also, if finding the truth is the goal? 6) Quit saying "evolutionist" and "evolutionism". They are buzzwords used only by you and your cronies; they are not used within the credible scientific community (or, apparently, Chrome's spellcheck.) 7) Using a capital T on Truth doesn't make what you say less ridiculous. It just makes you look like you don't know the difference between a proper and common noun. 8) Backgrounds don't drape cultures. They're backgrounds. (D'uh.)

Propaganada & Word Shystery: evolutionist, wacky, nonsense, unsupported, amusing, flawed, stark, culture (as in culture wars/secular culture and other code words.)
Crazy Darwinist Paranoia
Oh, come on now! You lose the right to even pretend credibility once you go this cartoonish. "Crazy" and "paranoia" huh? What do you call your belief that all of science is some big "evolutionist" conspiracy? Is that "Crazy Creationist Paranoia"? (Yes.) Gee, when you don't have facts on your side I guess just making stuff up always works.
In response to growing Darwinist ravings over a Darwinist urban legend popular among true-Darwinism-believers on the Darwinist fringe, Evolution News & Views offers some reasoned clarifications: How Darwinist Paranoia Fueled an Urban Legend.
Propaganda words: Darwinist, ravings, true-Darwinism-believer, Darwinist fringe, reasoned clarification, paranoia, urban legend.

Let's try this again, in something more akin to the fake-balance found in most American journalism.

"In response to growing statements made by some scientists, our internet tabloid offers some palatable lies: How to Keep Believing in Nonsense Because God Said So."
It seems that Darwinists, unable to scientifically support their Darwinism in classrooms, are instead seeking to incite paranoia among credulous Darwinists.
Buzzword, buzzword, buzzword, buzzword. And here's the thing about real scientists (like Richard Dawkins, Francis Collins, & Paul Gross) would not stand behind evolution if it wasn't supported by the facts, or if the facts materially disproved it. That's what makes science science. I used to tell my now-physicist brother, "I don't believe in science." Mostly I did this because there's this one vein on his forehead that gets all throbby, and I *am* a little sister y'all. But I also did it because I was completely ignorant of how science works - about testing and falsifying and peer-review.

I wish public school had done a better job of teaching me about that, so that by the time I was confronted with science that disagreed with my faith, I would not automatically assume science was the untrustworthy one of the two. (Propaganda words: Darwinists, unable, Darwinism, incite paranoia, credulous) This next paragraph is a true work of art, so I'm going to show it in its entirety, before dissecting it to tiny crushable bits. (emphasis mine)
These fringe Darwinists, lead by Crazy Doc. Barb, are claiming that the "Wedge Document" -- in reality a modest Discovery Institute fundraising proposal -- is part of a vast anti-Darwinian conspiracy to suppress Darwinism and persecute Darwinists. These crazy Darwinists, driven loopy by their Darwinism, are so incapable of separating their Darwinian Materialism from real science -- such as practiced by Intelligent Design theoreticians and theobiologists -- that the reasonable goal of overthrowing materialism and its cultural legacies, errecting in their place a true science consonant with Christianity, becomes an attempt to impose a theocracy on Darwinists.
Now in pieces (but keeping the fun emphasis)
These fringe Darwinists, lead[sic] by Crazy Doc. Barb, are claiming that the "Wedge Document" -- in reality a modest Discovery Institute fundraising proposal -- is part of a vast anti-Darwinian conspiracy to suppress Darwinism and persecute Darwinists.
Ha! Does he not even realize he just called the Wedge Document "a modest proposal?" (Am I the only one who immediately jumped to Irish cannibalism?) But first, let's get past the strawmen. When evolution proponents (ie, scientists & other people without their heads up their bums) talk about an anti-evolution movement or conspiracy, they're talking about you clowns at the Discovery Institute, and your buffoon friends at the Institute for Creation Research.

And are you really going to refer to a professional, adult, respected woman as "Crazy Doc?" Yet you want to be taken seriously, fascinating. In reality, Barbara Forrest co-authored Creationism's Trojan Horse, a book about the Intelligent Design movement and the almost laughably transparent attempts that had been made to simply substitute the words "intelligent design" in place of "creationism" in text books intended for public schools. She also served as an expert witness in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District and her testimony was extremely detrimental to the fools on the side of "Goddidit!"

Since she's right and they can't disprove or refute her premises, instead they go after her sanity. I don't like when people play the crazy card. I remember what Dave Chappelle said after he disappeared to Africa for awhile, "The worst thing to call somebody is crazy; it's dismissive. I don't understand this person, so I'm gonna call them crazy." This is essentially what the author is asking his readers to do - to dismiss Ms. Forrest out of hand, rather than seek to understand what she is saying.
These crazy Darwinists, driven loopy by their Darwinism, are so incapable of separating their Darwinian Materialism from real science -- such as practiced by Intelligent Design theoreticians and theobiologists -- that the reasonable goal of overthrowing materialism and its cultural legacies, errecting in their place a true science consonant with Christianity, becomes an attempt to impose a theocracy on Darwinists.
Let's try this run-on without buzzwords.
'Nuff said, really, but I'll also add this: look in the mirror, buddy? True science doesn't concern itself with whether or not it is consonant with your mythology! *facepalm* And you must actually know that. You're just a propaganda man out to make cash on stupid Christians willing to fork over real money for merchandise and funding your expedition to go find living dinosaurs in Africa. (I'm serious.)
I guess Darwinists have to keep themselves busy waiting for cats to evolve into dogs.
Obviously, pathetically, this is a strawman. No one suggests at all that cats will evolve into dogs (or that what cats will eventually evolve into is even knowable to any degree of certainty.)
As Rob Crowther puts it in the article: Don't Darwinists have better ways to spend their time than inventing absurd conspiracy theories about their opponents? The longer Darwinists persist in spinning such urban legends, the more likely it is that fair-minded people will begin to question whether Darwinists know what they are talking about.
Scientists who use actual science instead of Bibles are keeping themselves plenty busy developing vaccines, finding new treatments for HIV/AIDS, battling cancer, doubling the human life span, mapping the human genome, restoring balance to damaged ecosystems, discovering new species, and looking for life on other planets (to name a few.)

Have you ever noticed that you only hear the phrase "fair-minded people" in weasly ways? Also, in the case of ID there is a clear attempt at painting creationism as an equal alternative theory, and to suggest scientists are being "unfair" for keeping their fiction out of their journals. But science is fair. As soon as Mr. Crowther or Dr. Baley provides evidence, and that evidence withstands the rigorous process of testing, falsification, and peer-review (you know, science) then it can absolutely get printed. But when you're just making things up in a desperate attempt to ignore the world around you and stick to the comforting origin myths of your childhood, then no, you don't get to be taken seriously.
Darwinists! Is there no wacky idea they won't buy into?
Yes. It's called "intelligent design." (You really set yourself up for that one.)

* I got through this whole post and then realized, "This is probably a Poe." But I can't be sure, since this one wasn't a Poe.
**According to Wikipedia, Barbara Forrest also "serves on the board of directors of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), the Board of Trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association (NOSHA)". Now that is my kind of woman! *Total swoon*

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