Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"The Family" Values, The P.O.P.E. (a Patriarchal Oppressor Protecting Evil) and The G.O.P. (Grandiose Oppressive P.R.I.C.K.s)

All of the above are massive sexual exploiters and abusers, with no will to create and enforce effective systems of accountability and arrest.

First, from *here*.

As Catholic sex abuse victims publicly criticize Pope Benedict XVI and his alleged negligence in the scandal, Elaine Quijano reports that the Church remains staunchly defensive of their leader.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

The Pope Copes with his Catholic Church of The Systematically Sexual Abused and Silenced; the Raped & Molested Cope with On-going Non-accountability in this White Male Supremacist Christian Church

From the latest news about the current Pope having a known sex offender, under his watch, being moved around, but not ever into a prison or even away from children, to the latest account of the Republican men being "in bed" with pimps we know this much: self-defined "conservative" men across the dominant political spectrum USE and EXPLOIT and HURT women, routinely and usually without accountability and without remorse, regret, or apology... unless and until caught with their proverbial pants down.

What has been documented time and time again is that the GOP--the Republicans, for those who are not USers--is that the Democrats, whose sexual politics are liberal, generally, exploit trafficked and non-trafficked women in systems of prostitution far less than do the Republicans, whose stated politics are far more sexually conservative. This proves to me that those who preach sexual conservatism are likely fucking their children, the children in their churches, or are exploiting and abusing women in systems of prostitution (and men and trans folks too). It also shows us rich white het men will systematically spend money on human wrongs not on human rights, when the issue is engaging with women and girls.

Question: Now that we know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that white het male conservatives have NO CRED on "morality"--and that the sexual liberals have been politically in sync with pimps and child molesters for decades, when will people start looking to radical feminists and womanists for guidance and leadership on matters of sex?

Answer: it would help if white het male liberals stopped assuming that critics of liberalism are pro-white conservatism. It would help if we collectively realised there is an alternative view and ethic to what white het male liberalism and conservatism has to offer society that is pro-sex but anti-sexism, pro-Erotic but anti-pornography, pro-enjoyment but anti-exploitation.

How many times I've seen it written, as if historically/herstorically accurate, that women like Andrea Dworkin was "in bed" with the Right-wing. Because, well, she dared to criticise sexual liberalism and its pornographers and pimps and rapists and child molesters. (As if white conservatism has EVER stood against sexual domination of women by men!!) Anyone who has read any single speech Dworkin has ever written would be clear she did not stand with or for the white Right-wing. EVER.

The myths about radical feminists being "anti-sex" are laughable, and demonstrate how limited and shut down the minds are of liberals and conservatives, who CANNOT IMAGINE sex without sexism, racism, capitalism: from "bondage" themed behavior, to "slaves" as sexy, to white, thin fake-breasted women as THE standard of beauty, to corporate pornography as synonymous with "eroticism", to mass-consumed pimp-gear and pimp-run businesses.

What follows next is from *here*.

Rachel Maddow: GOP Sex Scandal Exposes Secretive Conservative Religious Group -- 'The Family'

Sen. John Ensign's affair has brought unwanted attention on a powerful religious network in Washington.
July 14, 2009  |  

The following is a transcript from The Rachel Maddow Show on Washington D.C.'s "C Street House,"  which is now at the center of a media firestorm. Now GOP Senator Tom Coburn, sex-scandal embroiled GOP leaders Senator John Ensign and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford have been tied to the C Street House, which is registered as a church and provides substantially lower than market rate rent. Coburn and Ensign have lived at the C Street house, while Sanford has participated in its Bible study group.

We start with a mystery -- a mystery that's unfolding alongside the two major political scandals of the summer.  It's a mystery that concerns this house at 133 C Street Southeast in Washington, D.C.  I'm calling it a house because that's what it looks like to me and people do live there.

But if you consult this building's financial paper trail, you will find that it's actually considered to be a church.
That designation makes C Street a convenient tax-free haven for the secretive organization that runs it, an organization known as the Family.  It also makes for some awkward tax and income questions for the at least five, probably seven members of Congress who live at the house, in exchange for what appears to be substantially below market rent.

As explained by our guest last night, Jeff Sharlet, who secretly infiltrated the family to write a book about them, the C Street house is a former convent.  It's used as a sort of subsidized, really upscale dorm for members of Congress who are associated with this powerful, poorly understood religious group.

The Family and the house at C Street have ended up reluctantly in the headlines now because of the two major politicians' sex scandals that are embroiling the Republican Party this summer and that have taken two of their reported 2012 presidential hopefuls out of political contention.

Embattled Nevada Senator John Ensign lives at the C Street house.  The husband of Senator Ensign's mistress says that prominent members of the Family -- this religious group -- including the sons of the group's founder, as well as other members of Congress who live at C Street -- were both aware of Ensign's secret affair and were involved in his efforts to pay off the mistress and her family as the affair was on again-off again ending.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn lives at C Street with Ensign.  He has said he encouraged Ensign to end the affair but he has denied the allegation that he specifically encouraged Senator Ensign to pay the mistress off to the tune of millions of dollars.

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford mentioned C Street by name in his long public statement of regret about his affair with a woman in Argentina.

Video transcript:
Unidentified male: Did your wife and your family know about the affair before the trip to Argentina?
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford: Yes.
Unidentified male: For how long.
Sanford: We've been -- we've been working through this thing for about the last five months.  I've been to a lot of different -- I was part of a group called C Street, when I was in Washington.  It was a, believe it or not, a Christian Bible study -- some folks that asked of members of Congress hard questions that I think were very, very important and I've been working with them.
Maddow: Hard questions.
Governor Sanford said he was working with C Street somehow about his affair for months -- while the affair was ongoing, while it was still secret, and while Governor Sanford continued to lie about it publicly.

This is the first point about C Street and the Family that makes the group more than just a cameo appearance in both of these sex scandals.  In both instances, these powerful family values preaching, conservative politicians who were themselves having adulterous affairs say now that they disclosed those affairs to other members of Congress and other people affiliated with the secretive religious group for a long time while the affairs continued and while they were kept secret from the world at large.  This organization was allowed to know but nobody else was.

Zack Wamp of Tennessee is a Republican member of Congress who says he has lived in the C Street house for 12 years.  Today, he told "The Knoxville News Sentinel" that the members of Congress who live there are sworn to secrecy.

Quoting from the "News Sentinel," "The C Street residents have all agreed they won't talk about their private living arrangements, Wamp said and he intends to honor that pact.  'I hate it that John Ensign lives in the house and this happened because it opens up all of these kinds of questions,' Wamp said.  But, he said, 'I'm not going to be the guy who goes out and talks.'"

When you start looking into this organization and its members' oaths to secrecy and fidelity to one another that "I'm not going to be the one who talks here" theme looms very large.  But last year, when Jeff Sharlet's book about the Family first came out in hardback, the resultant buzz around the secrecy and high level connections of the Family and the C Street spurred NBC's Andrea Mitchell to obtain sermons of the group's long-time leader, Doug Coe, in order to find out more about what this group's agenda might be.

Here's some of what she found.

Video transcript:
Douglas Coe, Leader of "The Family": I've seen pictures of the young men in the Red Guard.  They would bring in this young man's mother.  He would take an ax and cut her head off.  They have to put the purposes of the Red Guard ahead of their father, mother, brother, sister, and their own life.  That was a covenant, a pledge.  That's what Jesus said.
Maddow: That's what Jesus said?

Here's more from the same sermon.

Video transcript:
Coe: Jesus said, you have to put me before other people.  And you have to put me before yourself.  Hitler, that was a demand to be in the Nazi party.  You have to put the Nazi party and its objectives ahead of your own life and ahead of other people.
Maddow: Again, the man speaking here is Doug Coe.  He's the leader of the group the Family, that runs the secretive C Street house that features in the sex scandals of both John Ensign and Mark Sanford.

Doug Coe describing the group's mission here in this next clip through his interpretation of the life and words of Jesus.

Video transcript:
Coe: One of the things he said is "If any man comes to me, and does not hate his father, mother, brother, sister, his own life, he can't be a disciple."  So I don't care what other qualifications you have, if you don't do that, you can't be a disciple of Christ.
Maddow: If you don't hate your father, mother, brother, sister, you can't be a disciple of Christ.

Every American's faith is her or his own business.  It's our constitutional inheritance as Americans.  Now, there is no religious test for public office, there's no official religion in this country, and every American has a right to believe or not believe, to worship or not worship, or as he or she sees fit.  Religion is a private matter in this country.

And religion is the organizing principle of many, many powerful interests in the United States, including this one very connected, sworn to secrecy, ministry only to the powerful, that has had a key role in how two major Republican sex scandals have unspooled this summer, that has a theology of power that is poorly understood, and cites Hitler a lot, and that currently houses at least seven members of Congress in what it calls a church.

Joining us now once again is Jeff Sharlet, who lived among this group as part of the research for his book "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power," which is now out in paperback.

Maddow: I realize when we finished our interview last night there were more questions about the connection between this theology and these politics that I really wanted to ask you.  And when I asked you last night how a group like the family could essentially sanction John Ensign putting his mistress's son on the Republican Party payroll -- you said, essentially, that this group would be solely focused on looking out for John Ensign dealing with it internally.

Well, it now seems like a big part of the way Ensign responded to the scandal was by spreading a lot of money around.  So, I wanted to ask you to talk to me a little bit about wealth and financial power and how that fits into the theology of this group.

Sharlet: Well, to understand the Family's approach to wealth, it's a good place to start is their own label for themselves.  They like to call themselves the Christian mafia at times.  And they mean this in the sense of money moving quietly behind the scenes.

As David Coe -- one of the leaders of the group, the son of the man we just saw, and also John Ensign's spiritual counselor we now know -- as David Coe explained it to me a few years ago, if money moves around behind the scenes through what they call the man-to-man financial method, then we are able to sort of maintain this veneer of privacy, and that this is very important, because when you're dealing with members of the Family, these guys have been chosen by God for leadership and what the Family is going to do is in some ways almost play the role of consigliores, as fixers for these guys.

So, when I heard about the Ensign money, that makes sense as a kind of thing that they might be comfortable with.  But you've got to pull it out into sort of a broader picture.  Doug Coe, the leader of the group has said, he said, "I loan or give money to all sorts of people or I have my friends do so."

Now, Coe takes no salary many years.  All of the money is sort of moving through this man method and when you apply that overseas -- as they do -- you start to see what the idea of this is.  They believe in something called "biblical capitalism," and biblical capitalism is the way they're going to bring the gospel to the already powerful.  Where the money goes they believe God goes.

Maddow: So, biblical capitalism, this idea of the man-to-man financial method, which is one of the more awkward terms of a summer full of awkward terms.  That -- it's not just part of the way that they exert power.  That is part of their theology, that's part of the way they understand how they are, their version of Christianity at least.

Sharlet: Absolutely yes.  It's a theological position.

And when they call themselves a Christian mafia and talk about sort of avoiding institutionalization, talk about avoiding, you know, the books and records and all of that kind of stuff -- all of this stuff allows them to avoid accountability.  What they see it as is avoiding the building up of an edifice.

There is a level in which they're almost antichurch.  They don't like an organized church because it's too democratic.  They like this sort of behind-the-scenes elite approach.

Maddow: Well, you write in the family about how Doug Coe has done political favors for dictators like Suharto of Indonesia and Siad Barre in Somalia, Jonas Savimbi in Angola.  What is the Family doing with these guys?  Why are there so many dictators that Doug Coe and the other members of the Family cross paths with?  How does that work?

Sharlet: Well, you know, we heard in that clip, we heard Coe talking about Mao's China and so on.  And we also hear him again and again using the model of Hitler as an ideal of strength.  And I've heard him -- this is really boilerplate sermon for Doug Coe.

It's not that he's a neo Nazi of some sort.  It's that they fetishize strength.  They look for the leader who they believe is chosen by God.  Evidence is his power, his wealth, and his willingness to align himself with their version of American power.

The dictator Suharto in Indonesia was one such.  They organized meetings for him with American defense contractors, with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the secretary of defense, and most notably, since Indonesia is a major oil producing company with American oil executives, who described their meetings in memos of Congress as great moments of spiritual honesty between themselves and the dictator.

Maddow: Jeff, briefly, we're just about out of time -- but religion is obviously a private matter in this country.  Do you think that the members of Congress who belong to this religious group should feel compelled to tell the country more about the group?  Do you feel that would be appropriate?

Sharlet: I think when you have -- when you have members of Congress who are looking to a particular religious group for a sense of authority, which is explicitly antidemocratic, that explicitly fetishizes strength and dictatorial power, if they want to do that, that it's their choice.  But I think they owe it to their constituents to say, "Here is why I have chosen to leave the mainstreams of American religion and affiliate myself with this sect that is so unorthodox and so really brutal in its theology."

More: Read Bruce Wilson's extended account of 'The Family.'

La Vida Loca is far less Loca as Ricky Martin comes out in peace: blessings to him

[image of Ricky Martin as a child performer in the boy band Menudo, and as an adult celebrity is from here]
A quartet of posts about Ricky Martin:


A woman I knew and still know had her own connection to Ricky Martin decades ago. She, her female friend, and Ricky Martin were all adolescents at the same time in their home country of Puerto Rico. Her female friend knew Ricky Martin (born Enrique Martin Morales), when they were all on the verge of adolescence. She told the woman I know now, back then, that she knew him to not be heterosexual given at least one special connection to another boy.

So for several years, since meeting her as an adult, I've known RM is not heterosexual (and I know this about other actors too, who are not out yet--I know, I'm being obnoxiously coy). But I wanted to hear him speak about this publicly, as it is his life, after all. I'm glad he's at a place with himself that he feels comfortable letting the public know what many have known for a while. I'm glad he's happy. "Homosexual" is the English word he uses. As long as he's happy, he doesn't have to be "gay". I was out as not at all heterosexual well before I chose to be gay-identified. People assume "gay" is a synonym for "homosexual male". It isn't. It's an identification with a community and an alliance with a liberation struggle against heterosexism, for me at least. Ricky can and will define himself as he wishes, in his own time.

I never wanted the sexist stigma of being "a heterosexual male" and was so glad to know I wasn't one "of them". But the pressure is intense of performers to be publicly heterosexual. And one day, that will not be so. Now, perhaps, that day will come a bit sooner. Thank you, Ricky, for sharing with us your truth, in your own way.

From Ricky Martin's website:

News: in Spanish and then in English

Version Español

En los últimos meses me di a la tarea de escribir mis memorias.

En los últimos meses me di a la tarea de escribir mis memorias. Un proyecto que sabia seria uno verdaderamente importante para mi porque desde que escribí la primera frase me di cuenta que seria la herramienta que ayudaría a liberarme de cosas que venia cargando desde hace mucho tiempo. Cosas que pesaban demasiado. Escribiendo este minucioso inventario de mi vida, me acerque a mis verdades. Y esto es de celebrar!

Si existe un lugar que me llena porque estremece mis emociones, es el escenario, es mi vicio. La música el espectáculo, el aplauso, estar frente a un publico me hace sentir que soy capaz de cualquier cosa. Es un tipo de adrenalina y euforia que no quiero que deje de correr por mis venas jamás. Si ustedes, el publico y la musa me lo permiten, espero seguir en los escenarios muchos años mas. Pero hoy  la serenidad me lleva a un lugar muy especial, uno de reflexión, comprensión y mucha iluminación. Me siento libre! Y lo quiero compartir.

Mucha gente me dijo que no era importante hacerlo, que no valía la pena, que todo lo que trabaje y todo lo que había logrado se colapsaría. Que muchos en este mundo no estarían preparados para aceptar mi verdad, mi naturaleza. Y como  estos consejos venían de personas que amo con locura, decidí seguir adelante con mi "casi verdad". MUY MAL. Dejarme seducir por el miedo fue un verdadero sabotaje a mi vida. Hoy me responsabilizo por completo de todas mis decisiones, y de todas mis acciones.

Y si me preguntaran el dia de hoy ¿Ricky, a que le tienes miedo?  Les contestaría - "a la sangre que corre por las calles de los países en Guerra, a la esclavitud sexual infantil, al terrorismo, al cinismo de algunos hombres en el poder, al secuestro de la fe". Pero miedo a mi naturaleza, a mi verdad? NO MAS! Al contrario, estas me dan valor y firmeza. Justo lo que necesito para mi y para los míos, y mas ahora que soy padre de 2 criaturas que son seres de luz. Tengo que estar a su altura. Seguir viviendo como lo hice hasta hoy, seria opacar indirectamente ese brillo puro con el cual mis hijos han nacido. BASTA YA! LAS COSAS TIENEN QUE CAMBIAR! Estoy claro que esto no se supone que pasara hace 5 ni hace 10 años atrás . Esto se supone que pasara hoy. Hoy es mi dia, este es mi tiempo, mi momento.

Que pasara de ahora en adelante? Quien sabe. Solo me puedo enfocar en lo que estoy viviendo ahora. Estos años en silencio y reflexión me han fortalecido y me recordaron que el amor vive dentro de mi, que la aceptación la encuentro en mi interior, y que la verdad solo trae la calma. Hoy para mi el significado de la felicidad toma otra dimensión

Ha sido un proceso muy intenso, angustiante y doloroso pero también liberador. Les juro que cada palabra que están leyendo aquí nace de amor, purificación, fortaleza, aceptación y desprendimiento. Que escribir estas líneas es el acercamiento a mi paz interna, parte vital de mi evolución. Hoy ACEPTO MI HOMOSEXUALIDAD como un regalo que me da la vida. ¡Me siento bendecido de ser quien soy!-



A few months ago I decided to write my memoirs, a project I knew was going to bring me closer to an amazing turning point in my life. From the moment I wrote the first phrase I was sure the book was the tool that was going to help me free myself from things I was carrying within me for a long time. Things that  were too heavy for me to keep inside. Writing this account of my life, I got very close to my truth. And thisis something worth celebrating.

For many years, there has been only one place where I am in touch with my emotions fearlessly and that's the stage. Being on stage fills my soul in many ways, almost completely. It's my vice.  The music, the lights and the roar of the audience are elements that make me feel capable of anything. This rush of adrenaline is incredibly addictive.  I don't ever want to stop feeling these emotions. But it is serenity that brings me to where I'm at right now. An amazing emotional place of comprehension, reflection and enlightenment. At this moment I'm feeling the same freedom I usually feel only on stage, without a doubt, I need to share.

Many people told me: "Ricky it's not important", "it's not worth it", "all the years you've worked and everything you've built will collapse", "many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature". Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth.  Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage. Today I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions.

If someone asked me today, "Ricky, what are you afraid of?" I would answer "the blood that runs through the streets of countries at war...child slavery, terrorism...the cynicism of some people in positions of power, the misinterpretation of faith." But fear of my truth? Not at all!  On the contrary, It fills me with strength and courage. This is just what I need especially now that I am the father of two beautiful boys that are so full of light and who with their outlook teach me new things every day. To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids where born with. Enough is enough. This has to change. This was not supposed to happen 5 or 10 years ago, it is supposed to happen now. Today is my day, this is my time, and this is my moment.

These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn't even know existed.

What will happen from now on? It doesn't matter. I can only focus on what's happening to me in this moment. The word "happiness" takes on a new meaning for me as of today. It has been a very intense process. Every word that I write in this letter is born out of love, acceptance, detachment and real contentment. Writing this is a solid step towards my inner peace and vital part of my evolution.

I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am. 

*          *          *

Julian's note: The last lines can also be translated from Spanish into English to mean: "Today I accept my homosexuality as a gift that gives me life. I feel blessed to be the person I am."

With Ricky speaking both languages fluently, I assume he made the word choices with care. However it is phrased, the meaning is virtually identical: he is happy to be himself, a man who accepts himself as he is.

I am happy for him. The more of us who are out, the better, assuming we can be out in safety. And that's not always the case, for many people, unless they are heterosexual. To all of us who are not heterosexual: Espero que celebremos en paz con alegría.