Nov 122009
 
Joshua Basso

Joshua Basso

Just when you thought it was safe to go back outside, the craziness has returned with a vengeance. It’s hard to top Washington for lunacy, but we’re trying hard here in Tampa. Hopefully there’s stimulus money for cultivating crazy. We seem to be going for a grant.

We start out this morning with 20 year old Joshua Basso. Now we all know it’s hard times for everyone, and Josh is apparently getting hit by the  economic downturn. He was out of minutes on his cell phone. But Josh was horny and creative (a dangerous combination), so he called the only number that would work from his phone, 9-1-1, asked some very personal questions about the dispatchers body, then asked if he could come to her house for sex (allegedly). When the police arrived at his boarding house Josh was, not surprisingly found locked in the bathroom. They called his cell number to confirm it was him, and he immediately turned it off. Unfortunately, the officer knew how to turn it back on…darn it. As bad as this is, we can only award Josh our runner-up award as creep of the day.

Jasen Bruce

Jasen Bruce

The First prize goes to a Marine Reservist, Jasen D. Bruce. It seems that Jasen was hanging out in the Channelside district here in Tampa when a man with a beard, robe and sandals (and speaking broken english) got out of his car and asked Jasen for directions. Jasen, being a good Marine and immediately recognizing a terrorist threat when he saw one, jumped to action, hit the guy with a tire iron, then chased him down the street and tackled to beat a little more of the fear of god into him (allegedly). Greek Orthodox Priest, Alexios Marakis, is expected to recover, and we’re all safer in Tampa now thanks to the vigilance of Mr. Bruce, and the Judge who let him out on bond.

At various times during his interview by police, Bruce gave the following stories:

  • The man tried to rob him.
  • The man grabbed Bruce’s crotch and made an overt sexual advance in perfect English.
  • The man yelled “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” the same words some witnesses said the Fort Hood shooting suspect uttered last week.
  • “That’s what they tell you right before they blow you up,” police say Bruce told them.

Now normally I’m fine with bond, but it appears Bruce has a violent history. A couple of years ago he pled guilty to beating the crap out of a two truck driver. But the good Jasen went on the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show here in Tampa this morning, where all purveyor’s of violence apparently go for repentance. While admitting to the guilty plea, Jasen says he was just defending himself after the truck driver hit him with a chain. (Witnesses at the time didn’t exactly see the same set of events as our Mr. Bruce though.) Of course Bruce had to set the stage for his defense on this charge, and what better defense is there than the good old self-defense/ gay panic defense. The troubling part of that is, Bruce’s initial story was that he mistook the Priest for a middle eastern terrorist (because they’re all terrorists you know), but after two days and a little time to clear his head…he now realizes that Father Marakis propositioned him and felt him up. And why wouldn’t that be true, we all know about how all the Priests are gay molesters (Oh, yeah…I forgot, that’s the Catholics…oops.)

But as crazy as those two are, the Grand Prize for Pubah of Crazy goes, this week, to the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. This is the group which oh so valiantly carries on the crusade for those oh so persecuted Christians (which have about an 80% majority in this country). They are compelled to challenge to the recently enacted “revisions” to the Hate Crimes Prevention law. Note I said, “revision.” That would be because there has been a hate crimes bill on the books for nearly 20 years…and who did it protect…let’s see, that would be Christians.

So what’s their oh so Christian plan? Well, they are going to get on the steps of U.S. Justice Department and try to incite people to beat the shit out of Gay people, so they’ll get arrested under the “thought crimes provision” of the act (never mind the little problem of there not being one of those in the law). Given that they never wanted to just revoke the whole law. They want the right to kick the shit out of gay people, but don’t want gay people to have the equal right to kick the shit out of them. WWJW (Who Would Jesus Whoop)

Courage In The Face of Hate

 Culture, Featured, Gay Issues, Politics, Religion, Society  Comments Off on Courage In The Face of Hate
Oct 062008
 

Here in Florida there is a ballot iniative to enshrine bigotry in the State Constitution by adding a ban on gay marriage (already illegal here). This is, of course, being spearheaded by an Orlando attorney who most likely has political aspirations, and thinks he’ll gain some points with the Rethuglicans by having this on the ballot, to hopefully turn out the good ole boys down here to vote for McCain. Right now it appears to be a toss up.

A similar measure is on the ballot in California, but unlike in Florida, it is now legal for gay people to marry. Once in a rare while, in the political discourse of this country, there is a flash of courage and clarity of thinking. One such flash has happened in California. Father Geoffrey Farrow of the Saint Paul Newman Center on the campus of the University of California (Fresno) is a courageous cleric. Here is a man who has spoken truth to power, and perhaps ended his career. Below is the entirity of his Homily from this past Sunday.

As most of you know, I was appointed pastor here at the Newman Center on April 15th of this year. When I arrived, I set out to address a series of various projects to repair our facilities. To date, most of these deferred maintenance items have been addressed. In the middle of dealing with contractors, the parish finance committee, the building department of the diocese, neighbors, etc., I received a FAX from the bishop’s office on the 30th of June. It was the bishop’s pastoral letter for the month of July.

This single FAX threw my whole summer, and in fact, my whole life into a turmoil. Recently, I was speaking with some of our parishioners who advocate for the ordination of women. In the course of our conversation, a question arose which has haunted me: “At what point do you cease to be an agent for healing and growth and become an accomplice of injustice?” By asking all of the pastors of the Diocese of Fresno to promote Catholics to vote “Yes” on Proposition 8, the bishop has placed me in a moral predicament.

In his “Pastoral,” the bishop states: “Marriage is much more than simply two persons loving each other. Marriage is naturally, socially, and biologically, directed to bringing forth life.”

Actually, there are TWO ends to marriage: 1) Unitive and 2) Procreative. The unitive end of marriage is simply a union of love and life. The Procreative end is, of course, to create new life. It is important to understand that the unitive end of marriage is sufficient for a valid marriage. The Church sanctions, and considers a sacrament, the marriage of elderly heterosexual couples who are biologically incapable of reproduction. So, if two people of different genders who are incapable of reproduction can enter into a valid marriage, then why is that two people of the same gender, who are incapable of reproduction, cannot enter into a valid marriage.

The objections which are raised at this point are taken from Sacred Scripture. Scripture scholars reveal the problematic nature of attempting to use passages from the Hebrew Scriptures as an argument against same gender relationships. Essentially, these scriptures are addressing the cultic practices in which sex with temple prostitutes was part of an act of worshiping Pagan gods. With regard to the Pauline epistles, John J. McNeill, in his book: “The Church and the Homosexual,” makes the following point: “The persons referred to in Romans 1:26 are probably not homosexuals that is, those who are psychologically inclined toward their own sex-since they are portrayed as ‘abandoning their natural customs.'” The Pauline epistles do not explicitly treat the question of homosexual activity between two persons who share a homosexual orientation, and as such cannot be read as explicitly condemning such behavior. Therefore, same gender sex by two individuals with same sex orientation is not “abandoning their natural custom.”

In 1973, as a result of a greater understanding of human psychology, the American Psychological Association declassified homosexuality as a mental illness. In 1975, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Church’s watchdog for orthodoxy) produced a document entitled: “Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics.” In this document, they made the most remarkable statement. They stated that there are “homosexuals who are such because of some kind of innate instinct.” While these statements are hardly glowing affirmations of gay and lesbian persons, they represent a watershed in human perception and understanding of gay and lesbian people.

These new insights have occurred as a result of the birth and development of the science of psychology and understanding of brain development in the 19th and 20th centuries. The California Supreme Court cited and quoted an amicus brief filed by the APA in the Court’s opinion issued on May 15, 2008 that struck down California’s ban on same sex marriage. Specifically, the court relied on the APA’s brief in concluding that the very nature of sexual orientation is related to the gender of partners to whom one is attracted, so that prohibiting same sex marriage discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, rather than just imposing disparate burdens on gay people.

In directing the faithful to vote “Yes” on Proposition 8, the California Bishops are not merely entering the political arena, they are ignoring the advances and insights of neurology, psychology and the very statements made by the Church itself that homosexuality is innate (i.e. orientation). In doing this, they are making a statement which has a direct, and damaging, effect on some of the people who may be sitting in the pews next to you today. The statement made by the bishop reaffirms the feelings of exclusion and alienation that are suffered by individuals and their loved ones who have left the Church over this very issue. Imagine what hearing such damaging words at Mass does to an adolescent who has just discovered that he/she is gay/lesbian? What is the hierarchy saying to him/her? What are they demanding from that individual? What would it have meant to you personally to hear from the pulpit at church that you could never date? Never fall in love, never kiss or hold hands with another person? Never be able to marry? How would you view yourself? How would others hearing those same words be directed to view you? How would you view your life and your future? How would you feel when you saw a car with a “Yes on 8” bumper sticker? When you overheard someone in a public place use the word “faggot?” Continue reading »