Thursday, September 23, 2010

Anti-Gay, Opposite-Sex-Married, Baptist Bishop Eddie Long Goes Down in Homo-Sex Scandal

     Another anti-gay, fundamentalist Christian minister is going down in a gay sex scandal.  Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, who once said that "homosexuality is a spiritual abortion," is currently facing three lawsuits from former church members/employees who claim Long forced them into sexual acts.

     A lawsuit filed Wednesday by Jamal Parris, 23, a former member of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, claims Long made Parrish call him “Daddy” and coerced him into sexual acts...
     The suit, similar to two filed on Tuesday, accuses Long of using his power to force the plaintiff into a sexual relationship. In exchange, Long placed Parris and the two other men on the church’s payroll, bought them cars and other gifts, and took them on lavish trips, according to the suits filed in DeKalb County Superior Court. Long adamantly denies the allegations...
     Parris' allegations are similar to claims made by Anthony Flagg, 21, and Maurice Robinson, 20, who filed suits Tuesday.   Robinson and Flagg say Long began having inappropriate relations with them when they were 16. They are seeking a trial by jury and unspecified damages...
     “It is unfortunate that these young men have chosen to take this course of action,” Long's attorney, Craig Gillen, told the AJC Tuesday night...
      Bernstein claims Long abused his pastoral relationship with the men and convinced them that the sexual relationships were a “healthy component of [their] spiritual lives.”   
     The sex acts occurred when the men were 16, which is the legal age of consent in Georgia, Bernstein said. But Bernstein said some of the acts which occurred at hotels in other states could be considered criminal, which is why she contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bernstein said.
     Just a few things:  Sex with one's employees is a form of sexual exploitation and/or sexual harassment.  The media's use of "inappropriate relations" sounds more like consensual sex between two adults, than a bishop preying off the trust and confusion of sixteen-year-old boys under his power.  That is the work of a repeat-offending predator and ephebophile.   It is abuse.  Best wishes to the U.S. Attorney's Office on their investigation into Long's abusing these boys over state lines.

     And how is it "unfortunate" that these young men have sued?  It's unfortunate for Long's facade, yet, but it's very fortunate for the other confused, vulnerable boys of his congregation.

    Speaking of clich矇s, formerly-gay Pastor Ted Haggard rushed to Long's defense saying "Nobody's guilty until the court says he's guilty."  In a court of law, yes.  But with three possible victims speaking up, it's likely that there will be more.  And the pictures of Eddie Long (embedded above) in this post were sent to to one of Long's alleged victims.  How many straight, married, conservative, anti-gay bishops send muscle-shirt photos to the barely legal boys of their congregations?

     For a few more viewpoints on the Long accusations, check out:

Florida Gay Adoption Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

     An appeals court unanimously ruled Florida's law banning gays from adopting children unconstitutional.  Yey--some good news!

     The Miami Herald reports:
     A Miami appeals court ruled Wednesday that Florida's ban on gays adopting is unconstitutional and affirmed the controversial adoption of two foster children by a gay North Miami couple.  The unanimous 3-0 decision deals a critical blow to Florida's 33-year-old law banning adoption by gay men and lesbians, and most likely sends the case to Florida's highest court for resolution.  "Given a total ban on adoption by homosexual persons, one might expect that this reflected a legislative judgment that homosexual persons are, as a group, unfit to be parents," the opinion states. "No one in this case has made, or even hinted at, any such argument.  To the contrary, the parties agree 'that gay people and heterosexuals make equally good parents.' "
  Next stop: the Florida Supreme Court.

Catholics In Minnesota Start Receiving the Church's Anti-Gay Marriage DVDs in the Mail Today

     Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis has taken the Catholic Church's war on LGBT civil rights to a new level.
     Yesterday, in order to "rally the troops" before Minnesota's gubernatorial election, Nienstedt sent DVDs to the 800,000 Catholics in his archdiocese.  The DVDs argue for civil marriage laws to exclude same sex couples.  The DVD was produced by the no-women-allowed, anti-gay Knights of Columbus.

     Without making any assumptions about Nienstedt's sexual orientation or any comments about the church's colossal failure to protect its children from priest-pedophiles, Nienstedt's hypocrisy is evident in his statements to KSTP Eyewitness News that the DVDs are not political:
     Nienstedt spoke to KSTP-TV at the Catholic Defense League's annual Mass and banquet at St. Helena's Catholic Church in south Minneapolis. The archbishop was the keynote speaker at the dinner, delivering a speech to more than a hundred people titled, "In defense of Marriage and Family."  Before the speech, Nienstedt said he hoped the DVD would be a "teaching tool" to parishioners in the 217 archdiocesan parishes.
     "It's not partisan politics in any way. But you know, it's kind of rallying the troops around this issue and pointing out to Catholics that this is an important issue in every election year," archbishop Nienstedt said.
     The DVD will arrive in homes less than six weeks before the Nov. 2nd elections. Candidates for Minnesota governor Mark Dayton (DFL) and Tom Horner (IP) support legalizing gay marriage; Tom Emmer (R) does not.
     "We're not a political force," Nienstedt said, "but we are a religious force. So we think we should be part of the conversation."
     If that is really the case, if the Catholic Church is not a "political force," then why are they pumping money into taking away and denying American citizens' their civil rights?  And six weeks before an election?  Is Nienstedt really so arrogant as to believe his lies that this isn't a political move?  Of course his is.  He's a prince of the church, after all.  This is what he was "formed" to do in seminary and in the priesthood.  

     Yesterday Archbishop Nienstedt was interviewed by Tom Crann of Minnesota Public Radio.  In the interview, Crann challenges Nienstedt and the Catholic Church's inconsistencies hypocrisies surrounding their ever-changing definition of  civil marriage, which for gay is also sacramental, but for straights who want a divorce is only civil.  Crann also confronts Nienstedt on the claim that it is not a political move to call for a ballot initiative to limit same sex couples' civil rights.

     On divorce, same-sex marriage, and the inconsistent distinction between civil and sacramental marriage:
Crann: If same-sex marriage is a 'dangerous risk,' as you put it, in society, wouldn't also divorce, as well, be such a risk?
Nienstedt: Obviously. That's obvious. And it has been a dangerous risk and it is a dangerous risk to our society today.
Crann: And yet there has been no effort from the Catholic Church over the years to outlaw divorce.
Nienstedt: No, the church doesn't permit divorce. I don't know - the use of your word 'outlaw.'
Crann: In a civic sense.
Nienstedt: But divorce is not acceptable. Divorce is not part of our teaching, no.
Crann: No, but in a civil sense. And I suppose what I'm saying is there has been a difference historically in the secular and civil world with marriage and divorce and in the context of the Catholic Church and other churches, too. And I'm wondering if there always will be that difference or do you want to see the civil definition of marriage be more aligned with your church's definition.
Nienstedt: There is no difference between the civil and the religious definition of marriage because marriage comes to us by virtue of creation and our creator. And so the state does not establish marriage. Marriage came long before there was any government. [Then why isn't the church lobbying for laws to outlaw divorce?]
     On Nienstedt's hypocritical claim that his call on the DVD for a ballot inititiative to ban same-sex marriages in Minnesota not being political:
Crann: You also make a political statement at the end (of the video segment) that you feel that this issue should come before the voters of Minnesota.
Nienstedt: Well, that's not so much a political statement as it is saying that, as other states have done, we need to bring this to the people, rather than have it decided by the judiciary or by the legislature... We need to let the people say what the reality of marriage is going to be. I don't see that as that big of a political statement.
Crann: Let's hear that, if we could.
Audio excerpt from Nienstedt's remarks: The archdiocese believes that the time has come for voters to be presented directly with an amendment to our state constitution to preserve our historic understanding of marriage. In fact, this is the only way to put the one man, one woman definition of marriage beyond the reach of the courts and politicians.
Crann: Is that, in fact, a political statement?
Nienstedt: I don't believe so, no. I think that's a reasonable, common sense thing.
Crann: And you're calling for something to be put to a vote. Isn't that a political action?
Nienstedt: That is a political action, yes, but I think it also, in the context of the whole video, I think it makes sense.
     The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is a political action group and should be stripped of its tax exemption status!

     Here is one heterosexual, married, and Catholic Minnesotan's take on the situation:

Saxby Chambliss' Staffer: "All (Gays) Must Die." More on McCain & Don't Ask Don't Tell

     On Tuesday, someone named "Jimmy" posted the comment "All must die" over on Joe.My.God.  Jimmy was referring to all gays.  

     "Jimmy" posted the comment using an email address that was traced back to Senator Saxby Chambliss' (Georgia) office.  Yesterday, Chambliss' office confirmed that the comment came from within.  "Jimmy" remains anonymous, but we now have in writing the bigotry and bullying employed by the virulently anti-gay Chambliss.

     Here's Keith Olbermann interviewing Dan Savage about the Chambliss' staffer's hate speech and Senator John McCain's post-Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell-repeal filibuster meltdown.