Showing posts with label College. Show all posts
Showing posts with label College. Show all posts

Friday, October 8, 2010

Anderson Cooper Interviews U. of Michigan President Chris Armstrong & the Man Bullying Him, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell

     In the video embedded below, University of Michigan President Chris Armstrong speaks up about LGBT bullying, hoping that more children will see a way out of those situations other than suicide.  Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell defends his actions as "free speech" and his "First Amendment Rights."  This video is a week old, but still worth seeing.

     In addition to Armstrong, Shirvell has targetted another student.  The Michigan Review reports:
     But Armstrong is not the only one keeping mum throughout the controversy. Tyler Jones, a writer for The Michigan Daily, was also targeted on Chris Armstrong Watch after his older brother, a journalist for local WXYZ news, reported on Shirvell's blog. Jones also declined to comment.
     From Anderson Cooper 360:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vianney Renewal Center (Club Ped) Exposed, Fr. Mustache Missing

     When priests in the Midwest are accused of sexually abusing children or sexually exploiting adults under their care, one of the places they are sent is Vianney Renewal Center, near St. Louis, Missouri, which is run by the Servants of the Paraclete.

     This center has been the recent target of a news investigation by KSDK, after a previous employee spoke about the center's pedophile residents, many of whom avoided prison by going to Vianney.  These priest-perpetrators are allowed  to wander unsupervised, to hang out in a jacuzzi, and to view the pornography of their choosing.

     After I came forward to my archbishop with sexual abuse allegations, my perpetrator, Fr. Mustache, was quietly sent for a psychological assessment at a place for priests who'd failed in their celibate commitments.  The place was in St. Louis.  

     I know that Fr. Mustache admitted to the archbishop that my accusation was true, but how this was worded, I don't know.  He may have played the perpetrator-tested "the kid seduced me card."  When I inquired about what he'd said, the archbishop barked that it was none of my business.  He had professional boundaries to maintain, of course, in order to protect Fr. Mustache, who'd violated all of my personal boundaries, repeatedly.  

     Fr. Mustache's admission came during the first few days of February 2004.  He was allowed to return to his campus ministry position until mid-March, before he was sent to St. Louis for his assessment.  During those months, he had access to the college boys that I'd seen him grooming just as he had me.   After Spring break, he returned to ministry without anyone knowing he'd been whisked off to St. Louis.  I don't know what the mysterious place in St. Louis concluded in Fr. Mustache's assessment.  I was told by the archbishop's go-between that it was none of my business.

     The last time I saw Fr. Mustache was in May 2004 at the annual archdiocesan summer gathering of priests.  Trapped between two priests in the middle of a pew during evening prayer,  I fought off a panic attack when I saw him leading the gathered clerics in music at the front of the chapel.  At the dinner that followed, Fr. Mustache received a standing ovation from his brother priests when the archbishop thanked him for his campus ministry leadership and promoted him to a position having something to do with being the head of Catholic identity in the schools.  The only priests not standing were those in my priest support group, who knew the truth of what had been covered up.

     This morning, I looked up the phone number of one of my old support group friends on the archdiocesan webpage, where I discovered that Fr. Mustache is no longer in his campus ministry position.  He's currently receiving mail c/o of a religious order in St. Louis, MO.  I don't know where he is or what he's doing there.

     I'm fairly certain that I wasn't his only victim. 

    If you are also a victim of Fr. Mustache, please, feel free contact me at  You are not alone.

Here are the KSDK reports on the Vianney Renewal Center 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

John McCain Throws Graduates Raised and Educated in America Under the Straight Talk Express Because They Are Undocumented

     John McCain, the Republican, Baptist Senator of Arizona, has done it again.  He's contradicted his younger, more principled self in his desperate bid to win reelection in the face of of Tea Party pressure, and this time, the lives of young people, who were raised and educated in the U.S.A., people as American than you and me, are at risk.

     McCain pulled his support from the DREAM Act, which would offer a path to citizenship for young adults who were brought to the U.S.A. as children by their parents, who were raised in the U.S.A, and who have graduated from high school and seek or have received a college education in the U.S.A.  These children were too young to willfully break any U.S. law, when brought over the border.   (You can see which senators voted for or against the DREAM Act last time it was up for cloture in 2007 by clicking here.  McCain, who supported the legislation at the time, was not present for the important vote.)

     In response to McCain's hypocrisy, students dressed in their commencement gowns staged a sit-in protest yesterday at McCain's Tucson office.  As a result, four were arrested.  Three admitted their illegal status and are being held in Pima county jail for immigration agents and possible deportation, under Arizona's McCain-backed papers-please law.  The arrested activists include Mohammed Alibelik-Abdollani, 24, Yahaira Carrillo, 25, and Lizbeth Faviola Mateo, 25.

     These young adults, who have lived their lives in the U.S., now face deportation to a nation of which they have few or no memories, only because they were born there, something they share in common with McCain, who was born in Panama, while his dad was stationed there.

     The students arrested are members of, which is fighting for the rights of undocumented students.  Here is the link to Dream Activist's YouTube channel, where you can hear the stories of undocumented students and learn how to support them.  

     Mohammed Alibelik-Abdollani, one of the arrested activists, is featured in an embedded video below.  His parents brought him here from Iran.  He is gay and faces deportation to Iran where homosexuals can get the death penalty.  (346 were executed in 2008.)  He's risking death to stand up for what is right, to challenge the injustices of the American Dream that have been tainted by fear and racism.

     These young adults are as American and you and me.  Watch the videos below.  As college graduates, they have a far better vocabulary than the uneducated American masses that preach hatred and fear of immigrants.

     In response to the protest and the arrests, Senator McCain's office released this statement:
     Senator McCain understands the students’ frustrations, but elections have consequences and they should focus their efforts on the President and the Democrats that control the agenda in Congress.
     "Elections have consequences"?  Obviously.  We've seen McCain flip-flop on so many issues trying to get reelected.  The consequence should be that McCain be required to legally change his name, because he isn't the John McCain that people voted into office.

     And, to blame the President and the Democrats?  Please.  The Democrats are at the mercy of the filibustering Republican minority.  They don't have the votes for cloture on anything right now, and with moderate Republicans, like McCain, hypocritically opposing legislation they once supported in a desperate wooing of the Tea Party, nothing is getting through the Senate.  But, yes, blame the Democrats, McCain.  Don't take responsibility for your own actions.  The fact is that both Democrats and Republicans have failed these young Americans, who face deportation to a foreign land that they ony know only by birth.

     The DREAM Act would allow the estimated 65,000 undocumented youth that will graduate high school in the U.S. this year to seek a college education and start the path to citizenship, rather than living in fear of being shipped off to a country and culture foreign to them.
     "The DREAM Act would fix one of the clearest examples of America's nonsensical immigration laws," said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, an immigrant advocacy organization. "For too long, high school valedictorians and college graduates have been unable to fully live up to their potential."
     But, John McCain would rather throw them under the Straight Talk Express.

   An editorial in the New York Times challenges both Democrats and Republicans for having failed on immigration reform and failing the hundreds of thousands of youth, who despite their places of birth,  are American.  Here's a piece of the editorial:
     Who else has shown such courage in the long struggle for immigration reform? Not Mr. McCain, who ditched his principled support of rational immigration legislation to better his odds in a close re-election campaign against a far-right-wing opponent. Not President Obama, who has retreated to lip service and vagueness in his calls for reform. Not his administration. The Justice Department has stood by as a civil-rights coalition — the American Civil Liberties Union, Maldef, the N.A.A.C.P., the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and others — has swiftly sued to block the Arizona law.
     Other supposed defenders of immigrants, Democrats in Congress, have lost their voices. Senators Charles Schumer, Robert Menendez and Harry Reid, mindful of November elections and frustrated Latino voters, have unveiled a blueprint for immigration reform that parrots Republican talking points about clamping down the southern border and treating the undocumented as a swelling tide of criminals.
     Good immigration reform needs a good bill, and the administration and the president and Democratic leaders haven’t yet offered or convincingly fought for one. The fight for reform is stalled.
     Perhaps it's time we built a danged fence around the Capital building and locked our politicians in, until they learn the value of cooperation, compassion, and compromise for the benefit of all people living in our nation.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

ROTC Student, Sara Isaacson, Owes Military $80,000 after Don't Ask, Don't Tell Dismissal

     Another honest American has been thrown under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell HUMMER, and it's costing her more than her ROTC scholarship.  Campus Progress Reports:
     Sara Isaacson was an ROTC student at University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill until she came out to her commander as a lesbian. Now 21-year-old Isaacson, who is originally from Wisconsin, owes nearly $80,000 to the U.S. Army for repayment of a scholarship for seven semesters as an out-of-state student.
     In the interview, Sara dismantles the unit cohesion argument that supporters use to argue for continuing DADT.  Sara turns the argument on its side, arguing that DADT actually erodes unit cohesion.
     I think when we talk about arguments about unit cohesion I think that's the most harmful thing you can have to unit cohesion, your platoon in your unit is supposed to be your family, it's supposed to be your support system. If you're putting up walls with your soldiers because you're living in fear every single day that a pronoun's going to slip or that someone is going to somehow find out that you're gay or lesbian or bisexual. If you can't get close to your soldiers who you need to be able to trust with your live, that's really harmful to unit cohesion and to mission readiness because you need to be able to trust everyone implicitly.

Monday, April 12, 2010

LGBT Student Non-Discrimination Act Opposed by "Masquerading" Right-Wing Pediatricians

You've got to be taught to hate and fear.
You've got to be taught from ear to ear.
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear.
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before your are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught.

     Did you know that there is no federal law protecting LGBT students in the public schools from discrimination?

     Following the Prom discrimination stories of homosexual high school students, Constance McMillan in Mississippi and Derrick Martin in Georgia, and the attorney general of Virginia's call for the dismantling of LGBT-friendly student organizations in that state's public colleges and universities, once again we see the flaws in discrimination law concerning LGBT persons.  As with marriage law, the federal government has left LGBT students' rights up to individual states.

     This is hypocrisy, for it's illegal at the federal level for public schools to discriminate against students based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or disability.

     The Human Rights Campaign is currently sending letters to Congress in support of the federal Student Non-Discrimination Act, that would protect LGBT students from discrimination in public schools.  (Religious people, whose religious freedom is protected in public schools, can continue to discriminate in their Private religious schools, like Sacred Heart of Jesus in Boulder, Colorado, refusing to enroll children related to LGBT persons.) 

     The religious right is fighting the Student Non-Discrimination Act.  The Human Rights Campaign reported the following in letter sent out this morning:
     This month, a group calling itself the "American College of Pediatricians" (a name clearly meant to be confused with the reputable American Academy of Pediatrics) sent a letter masquerading as a scientific resource to every public school superintendent in the U.S. – telling them LGBT youth can, and should, change their sexual orientation and gender identity.
     When right-wing lies encourage teachers and principals to tell LGBT kids they can be "cured" by therapy, they foster school environments where bullying, violence – and, well, fake proms – are never far behind.
     Without a federal law, school administrators will continue to decide who to expel or suspend for not fitting in. And unchecked discrimination can lead to violence and suicide. These kids need our help.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Texas' Terleton State University's Life Lesson: It's Easier to Burn than to Learn

     What would Jesus do if he were a Christian Republican in Texas and a student in a theatre class at a public university was doing a private class project composed of scenes from four plays, including the play Corpus Christi, that "tens and tens" of people were going to see?  Why he'd rile up the conservative masses, of course, to the point that rangers have to be called in to protect the students from angry, violence-threatening Christians, and he'd fan the flames of hatred until, for the safety of the students, the teacher cancels the class presentation. 

     This is the news coming from northern Texas and Terleton State University, where advanced directing student John Jordan Otte's choice to use a few scenes from the 1998 Terrence McNally play, Corpus Christi, in which, dog-forbid, Jesus and his disciples are portrayed as gay.  The private, in-class performance was canceled last night "after the school received a barrage of threatening calls and e-mails."

     The Star-Telegram reports the frightening level of hatred and threats that the school received:

     "Our department received calls of a threatening nature," he [drama professor Mark Holtorf] said. "I could not guarantee the security of my students. The administration was truly behind the academic exercise, but I could not justify the risk."  Officials announced Wednesday that the Corpus Christi performance would be moved from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday and staged before a restricted private audience. Campus police planned additional security.  But during the past three days, the threats "ratcheted up to such a degree, it made me nervous," Holtorf said, adding that the identities of those making the threats could not be determined. "One call was a fairly long rant of incredible expletives. It was a scary rant. It was actually frightening."
     So, once again, Christians threatening the sword, rather than offering the other cheek score another victory for their Gospel According to Hate and miss the opportunity to learn something that could have given them a deeper insight into their savior and the experience of those different than themselves.  No!  It's easier to burn than to learn. 

     Here are some politically powerful Texans' responses to the events at Terleton.

     "Every citizen is entitled to the freedom of speech, but no one should have the right to use government funds or institutions to portray acts that are morally reprehensible to the vast majority of Americans."
     Lt. Gov. Dave, does that mean that you support the use of public funding for abortion since the majority of Americans believe that abortion should be legal?  You must have supported the healthcare reform, since 77% of Americans supported a public option, which didn't get past thanks to lying Republicans (like you) and their myth of death panels.  Since the majority of Americans also are against the war in Iraq and want the troops removed, I'm sure you support that, too.  Also, a majority of Americans are against the use of torture, so I'm sure you don't support that.  And finally, the majority of Americans favor letting homosexuals serve openly in the military and they also don't think that consenting sex between two adults of the same sex is morally wrong, nor is it a moral issue.  You agree, right, or are you just a another conservative Republican Christian who doesn't practice what you preach?

     University President F. Dominic Dottavio published an opinion piece in the Star-Telegram in which he explained:
     Although the university had not endorsed the play, it had no legal basis for stopping it. But Dottavio made clear that he didn't like it.  "I see no artistic or redeeming quality in the work," he wrote. "I believe, as many have opined, that it is offensive, crude and irreverent."
     Way to stand by your students and faculty, while still fanning the conservative flames and egging on the threats to your students' safety, Dom!  You might want to recall the etymology of "university," which comes from the Latin universus, meaning "whole" or "entire."  A university education is meant to be whole, entire; universal.  The quest for true knowledge does not come by stifling freedom of speech, academic exploration, and artistic expression.  By fanning the flames of those attacking the universal education of your students, you do your "university" and your post a disservice. 

     Hillcrest Church of Christ Preacher David Harris stated the following in an interview with The 33 News in a segment titled "What would Jesus do?":
     "Evidently they've got an agenda and it's a readical homosexual agenda that is being promoted and I don't know whether Tarleton is gettin it or not but they are using them as a venue for it.  Just leave Christ alone that's all, just leave him alone and quit defaming him."
     Defaming Jesus?  What of the wars, hatred, murder, sexual abuse, slavery, rape, abuse of women, child abuse, and lies committed in Jesus' name? 

     Conservative religious people get mad when Jesus is portrayed as gay, but cultures all over the world have adapted Jesus to be like them. 

     How many different skin colors does Jesus come in?  How many different shaped faces does Jesus have?  How many different cultural styles of clothing does Jesus wear

     Artistic portrayals of Jesus are as diverse as the world's individual Christians.  So, why wouldn't homosexual Christians follow suit and portray Jesus as gay?  But, when that happens it's a sacrilege and blasphemous, "defaming" and "misrepresenting" the white, crystal-blue-eyed, northern European, Soloflex Jesus that so many fundamentalist Christians adore.

     Lost in the political posturing and religious condemnations was the student's reason for choosing Corpus Christi and what he was saying with the work.  In an on-air interview by Tarleton’s Texan News Service, student director Jon Otte said that:
     ...he picked the play because, as a gay Christian man, he could relate to it. He did not feel the script was blasphemous, but he said it was, in fact, tasteful. "Never did I choose this play to attack Christians." 
    He further stated:
     This play deals with [gay] subject matter, I believe in a tasteful way. ... I don't believe in a God who hates me for who I am.  Never did I choose this play to attack Christians. I am one. 
     Imagine what David Harris, David Dewhurst, and their conservative brood could have learned had they listened instead of demanding fagots and flames.

Image Credits:
Photos of police cars guarding the Terleton State event: Whitney Lee, of the Reporter-News
Photo of white Jesus with blue eyes, from the Roman Catholic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.; photo from Notes of an Anesthesioboist

Friday, October 16, 2009

Why I Hate Mustaches, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and PTSD

            I stare at my Reeboks and the grey floor of the rectangular office.  The thin carpeting is immaculate, not a blade of fresh cut September grass, shred of paper, or dust bunny to be found anywhere.  I know, because I’m both janitor and lawn-boy of the red brick Catholic student center.  The extra cash pays rent on my studio apartment ($175/month), and cleaning the church gives me pride; lets me know I have a place at the university, an understanding community of peers and wise spiritual counselors.  The office in which I’m sitting must be spotless at all times, for it’s the campus pastor’s office.  Even the top of the door frame passes the white-glove test.  I know, because Fr. Mustache checks it monthly; therefore, I check it weekly.

            Every item has its place in Father’s office.  Endless volumes line the floor-to-ceiling corner bookshelf.  Next to the shelf is a window, whose vertical blinds are always open to the view of the ΣΑΕ house.  At night, drunken frat brothers can sometimes be seen peeing off the porch in the direction of the church.  On the window sill (and also covering every other empty, flat space in the office), are framed pictures of Fr. Mustache and the couples he’s married during his campus tenure.  Below the window stands a simple table, with a green fabric covering (liturgically appropriate) that holds a wooden stand and Bible, displaying Father’s favorite passage: Sirach 2:1-18, “The Crucible of Humiliation.”  Next to the table is another dustless floor-to-ceiling bookshelf, and in front is a black rocking chair on which I sit, wondering whether I have a place in the Church.

Fr. Mustache listens to my confession from his desk, which runs along the remainder of the wall up to a wall-sized window that looks out onto campus.  On a caster-mounted, padded, and black office chair, he sits and spins around on a transparent plastic floor covering to face his computer desk on the opposing wall.

He’s multitasking, probably working on his coming Sunday homily or a presentation for the archdiocesan building renovation committee; something important.  Really, I don’t know what he does in here for fourteen hours days (even when school is out).  I’d like know.  I’d like to know everything about what it is to be a priest.  But what’s the point?  As soon as I tell him what happened, my vocational journey will end.

Silently, I stare at the dark hair on my forearms, which are crossed in front of my concave abdomen and purple and gold T-shirt.  When did my arms and legs get so hairy?  I pick at the fraying edge of my loose-fitting jorts.  Nothing fits my skinny, boney, wimpy body.

Fr. Mustache's over-sized egg-shaped head and its tuft of salt and pepper hair stare at the computer monitor.  His short legs, small torso, and hanging belly are adorned in their usual black clerics.   His pianist-strong fingers, with their gnawed-to-the-root fingernails, punch away at the keyboard.

“Well, spill it already, Pastrone.”

I hate the nickname that he’s given me, but it does its magic.  I tell him my sin.

Something happened when I visited my childhood priest, Father O’Baldy, last weekend.  He’d invited me down after receiving my “I’m going to be a priest and in large part thanks to your positive influence on my youth” letter.   Fr. O’Baldy warmly welcomed and begged me to tell my life history.  (He was an old family friend and wanted details.)  Wholeheartedly, I trusted him, even with the truth of the sexual abuse I’d endured and about being attracted to males.  Fr. O’Baldy told me there was nothing wrong with my attractions, stripped naked, and invited me to do the same.  Confused and excited, I did.  We gave each other massages, but never touched each other’s genitalia.  (This was celibacy, after all.)  Then we masturbated in front of each other.

Fr. Mustache’s fingers stop typing.  He turns to me, his baggy, brown eyes piercing his glasses.  The plastic floor protector crunches as his chair rolls towards me.  The warm, moist scent of his coffee tongue overpowers my nose, which is now being prickled by his graying mustache.  My body freezes. His stubby fingers dig into my knees. 

“This is appropriate touch.”

His hands slide from my knees, move up my inner thighs, and grasp onto my tighty-whiteys, my soft cock and balls.  Squeezing.  Hurting.

“This is inappropriate touch!”

I’m no longer in the church office celebrating confession.  I’m in another rectangular room, smaller, brighter, purer.  Antiseptic.  The paper under my naked fifteen-year-old bottom crunches against the examination table.  The spicy scented pediatrician’s hand is on my penis.  His salt-and-pepper mustache pricks my clenched lips.  His tongue forces them apart invading my mouth, my soul.  The walls of denial tumble, each movement of the slug-like tongue confirming the truth that I cannot, will not, face: the genital “exams” of the past few years were not standard procedure—they were sexual abuse.  The pediatrician finishes before the nurse and my mother return.  I sit paralyzed, clothed in lies and denial that will protect me from the truth until I’m in college and I trust someone enough to tell the truth.  He’s a mustached priest, my boss, my spiritual director, my confessor. 

Ten months after telling him, I sit in my confessor’s office with his angry, repressed digits collaring my cock and balls. 

I’m paralyzed again, just as I was in the pediatrician’s grasp.  My eyes fill with tears.  Finally, I inhale.

“I’m sorry, Father…please…please let go of me.”

He does. 

And then, he absolves me of my sin.

Code of Canon Law:  Can. 1387 A priest who in the act, on the occasion, or under the pretext of confession solicits a penitent to sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is to be punished, according to the gravity of the delict, by suspension, prohibitions, and privations; in graver cases he is to be dismissed from the clerical state.