Harry Hay, NAMBLA and associations

For the last couple of weeks, Kevin Jennings has been at the center of controversy over his handling of a high school boy who came to him for advice about involvement with an older man. More recently, conservative bloggers have been attempting to make connections between Kevin Jennings and Harry Hay. Harry Hay was the founder of the Mattachine Society, the first gay rights organization in the country.

The reason Jennings’ critics want to make this connection is because Harry Hay was a supporter of the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). NAMBLA is widely regarded as a front group for those with sexual interest in children and teens. Currently, NAMBLA has a feature on Hay linked on the front page of the website titled, “Harry Hay and the roots of the gay movement.” As these links document, Hay spoke at their conferences and supported their aims.

Jennings has spoken positively about Hay and wrote about him in a book titled Becoming Visible, which is a gay history book for teens and college aged adults. In this book, Jennings referenced a biography of Hay (The Trouble with Harry Hay, by Stuart Timmons) which mentioned Hay’s support of NAMBLA but Jennings did not disclose this to his readers. Anyone seeking to learn more would find the reference but then learn that Hay was an advocate of boy lovers. Is it fair to fault Jennings for this? Watch this video from Scott Baker at Breitbart.tv where this is laid out in detail.

Below is the picture Scott Baker is referring to with Hay supporting NAMBLA in 1986: 

Harryhaysignnambla

Harry Hay clearly supported NAMBLA even though he said he was not a member. Here (part one, part two) you can read the section of the book by Timmons which references the event where Harry Hay attempted to wear this sign.

This seems to establish that Jennings was aware of Hay’s involvement with NAMBLA. Now the question: is it fair to criticize Jennings for lauding Harry Hay when he knew Hay was a supporter of NAMBLA?

Some related questions come to mind. When is an icon not an icon? In the Timmons book, it seems clear that Hay viewed the gay establishment who tried to silence his support of NAMBLA as “self-righteous.” Was it? Should gay leaders speak out about this now, especially during gay history month? When conservatives refer to someone like Paul Cameron or Scott Lively, they are criticized (and rightly so, to my way of thinking). Should those who laud Hay be questioned about their support for someone who walked with NAMBLA?

Discuss…

Harry Hay describes his coming out as his “child molestation speech.” Describing his sexual debut at 14 with a 25 year old young man, Timmons wrote about Hay (Read it in context here):

When in later years he told his favorite coming-out story, he referred to it ironically as his “child molestation speech,” to make the point of how sharply gay life differs from heterosexual norms. “As a child,” he explained, “I molested an adult until I found out what I needed to know.”

This same story was told in a 1983 speech in support of NAMBLA and is archived on the NAMBLA website.

The point is that I was perfectly capable of handling myself and knowing exactly what I wanted.  But this year I knew that I wanted to find a man to tell me what I wanted to know.  So, at fourteen, you realize, I’m a child molester.  I’m a child, and I’m molesting an adult till I find out what I want to know.  And I found him, and he was shocked. Then he discovered that, rather than being a man, as he suspected that I was from the way I looked—my callouses on my hands, and the way I handled myself, and my clothing—that I was only a fourteen-year-old kid, and if anybody found out about it he’d be in jail for life, or, at least in California twenty-three years in that period.

I’m telling you this story, and I’m saying it tonight, in memory of a man—all I can remember is that his name was Matt. And I send to all of you my love and deep affection for what you offer to the boys, in honor of this boy when he was fourteen, and when he needed to know best of all what only another gay man could show him and tell him.

I also would like to say at this point that it seems to me that in the gay community the people who should be running interference for NAMBLA are the parents and friends of gays.  Because if the parents and friends of gays are truly friends of gays, they would know from their gay kids that the relationship with an older man is precisely what thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old kids need more than anything else in the world.   And they would be welcoming this, and welcoming the opportunity for young gay kids to have the kind of experience that they would need.

So, again, as I said, my offering is not as a member of NAMBLA, but in memory of that fourteen-year-old boy who was handled by Matt so long ago.  And in memorial to Matt, I offer you my love.

Harry Hay is one of the icons celebrated this month by GLBT History Month. His day was October 8th.

  • David Blakeslee

    Martin Luther was an anti-semite…wrong, but not illegal. Everybody knows it…similarly, why would Jennings hide Harry Hay’s “wrong behavior and beliefs?” We can tolerate heros with feet of clay.

    If Jennings is going to be the Safe School Czar…will he encourage a sanitized Harry Hay Day?

    Did Jennings view “Brewster’s” sexual behavior as similar to that of 14 year old Harry Hay; and is that why he didn’t seek to protect him from his adult sexual molester?

  • Debbie Thurman

    When conservatives refer to someone like Paul Cameron or Scott Lively, they are criticized (and rightly so, to my way of thinking). Should those who laud Hay be questioned about their support for someone who walked with NAMBLA?

    Uh, yeah.

  • Mary

    GLBT people should speak out. I am surprised that with all the choices of those who have been positive remarks on GLBT community and thier history – that some would choose the founder of the Mattachine Society as a celebrated figure. There are many others to choose from. Or at the very least tell the whole story.

  • Michael Bussee

    GLBT people should speak out.

    I agree. I don’t think I am a gay leader, not a spokesperson for anything, or a role model, but speaking as an individual gay person, I think child abuse is a horrible crime — and any gay “leader” who thinks otherwise, promotes it or excuses it is evil. Any GLBT person I know would agree.

    Who would you like to be hearing from on this? Did you have specific leaders in mind? An organized efftort of some sort? What kind of response would you like to see from “the gay community”? What form would you like to see it take?

  • Michael Bussee

    I was not aware of this incident and really know nothing of Harry Hay or Jennings, except what I have read here. But it is very distressing. Very distressing. Sounds like the GLBT community — at least those who organized the parade — did “speak out”. They banned NAMBLA — as they should have.

    Even if he did play a pioneering role in gay rights (which is comendable) I am puzzled as to why anyone in the “community” would hold Hay up as an Icon or why Jennings might be sympathetic to him — if Hay was sympathetic to NABLA as it seems and if Jenings was indeed aware of the “Hay Incident”.

  • Mary

    I’d like to hear Wayne Besen speak out about this. He is a big mouthpiece who is always advocating for the protection of gay children and this is definitely in line with that.

  • Mary

    And a broadcast email can be sent to the major GLBT websites and newspapers. Along with an update to Wikipedia (have not checked that source yet but my guess is that it is buried in there instead of being apparent) I’d like all gay affirming churhes to be made aware if they are celebrating GLB T History month and he is on the list.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Who would you like to be hearing from on this? Did you have specific leaders in mind?

    Joe Solmonese, Wayne Besen, Andrew Sullivan, Michelangelo Signorile, the NGLTF and the NLGJA would about cover it for “leadership.” If The Washington Blade and The Advocate spoke up, it would be nice, considering this is GLBT history month and they are having their march in Washington this coming week. Obama is keynoting the HRC fundraising dinner tonight. Plenty of opportunity. Hay already has made one suggested recognition list for the month. Can’t remember which. I’d have to look it up again. He’s still an icon for many.

  • http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/ Thom Hunter

    The GLBT leaders should not only be questioned about their support for Jennings, but should be asked why they are not completely separating themselves from him and demanding that he not be put in a position to have any influence over school children. Their judgment plays into question because of his. If the dots connect and the trail leads from NAMBLA to Hay to Jennings, the trail should end there. If Jennings indeed lauded Hay when Hay was marching with NAMBLA, then it is a simple decision. We’re talking about damage done to children, not philosophies and leadership capabilities, or whether conservatives and GLBT leaders are being held to the same standard. There should be no debate on whether people –GLBT or otherwise — should speak out on this one. There should be consensus. Jennings has the potential to damage all sorts of causes.

  • Eddy

    Like the rest of you, I have serious issues with NAMBLA. Sexual exploitation of children is a hot-button issue and almost always creates a call for some sort of response. But what’s the issue here? Hay was clearly in support of NAMBLA back in 1990 (the lower picture) and NAMBLA acknowledges him as a key player in the gay rights movement currently. So…NAMBLA has been around for several decades…in support of the same message in favor of ‘man-boy love’. Again, what’s the issue here? What is it that we’re wanting to get the gay voices to cry out against?

    Michael noted that the gay community was not in favor of NAMBLA’s inclusion in the parade and has taken efforts to distance themselves from NAMBLA. When you consider how the gay community is famous for acceptance and inclusion, their response to NAMBLA speaks volumes. In short, they have spoken out…they have responded.

    So, what’s the issue here? It’s not NAMBLA…It’s not Harry Hay. The issue is Jenning’s connection to Harry Hay and the fact that Jenning’s hasn’t made clear any distance he has from Hay’s support of NAMBLA.

    We can get all righteous about ‘evil NAMBLA’ and call for action…but we should have been doing that all along for the decades that NAMBLA has been in existence. But the reason that NAMBLA is ‘in our face’ again, fueling our righteous anger, is that Jenning’s may be culpable by association. At the least, he hasn’t clearly distanced himself. That’s the issue before us now.

    So when we cry out for these gay leaders to do ‘something’, to say something–in response to Hay, in response to NAMBLA–what we’re really asking is for them to go to Jennings and appeal to him to distance himself from the message of NAMBLA. That’s the real reason for our current sense of urgency.

  • Rick

    There is nothing in Jennings writings that indicates he supports or condones pedophilia. Harry Hay was an early leader in the gay rights movement, at a time when it was highly dangerous to even admit being gay — which could result in a prison sentence at worst or a mental institute at best — much less advocate for the cause. It is that part of Harry Hays life which Jennings praises. Much later in his life, Hays endorsed NAMBLA, but to say that Jennings therefore automatically does as well is ridiculous. At the most, Jennings could be faulted for not making a distinction between Hays earlier civil rights advocacy and where he went in the later years of his life.

  • http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/ Thom Hunter

    If that is the case, then Jennings should be asked to make that clear distinction. Someone in education like himself should be able to do so. It would not be hard and it would allow people to make decisions based on his statements of belief rather than on supposition. If Jennings indeed does not agree with NAMBLA or with Hays’ support of it, he should just say so and not make people dig it out. If it is that simple, he can clear it up. He can clear up the fault and separate himself from that evil. That’s easy. And while he may not have supported pedophilia in his writings — I have not read them all — he certainly reflected his leanings by suggesting that a teenager use a condom when having sex with adult men.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    October is glbt history month. Notice who was featured on Oct. 8. – Harry Hay.

    Also, if you follow the links to NAMBLA, you will see that Hay’s connections to NAMBLA were not isolated to the parade, nor did he ever indicate his error. His discription of his own experience (“I molested a man…”) is just the kind of cognitive distortion that molesters use to justify their actions.

    Whatever you think of Jennings actions regarding Hay, he is not alone, which I don’t understand.

  • Rick

    Yes, Thom, Jennings should have encouraged the young man — who was 16 and has since come forward to defend Jennings — to have unsafe sex and risk AIDS. That would have been the responsible thing to do.

    For the record, Charles Lindbergh was an American hero and Ezra Pound was a great poet, and in the years following their most famous accomplishments they supported Hitler and Mussolini respectively.

    I don’t believe that either Hannity or Limbaugh think that Jennings endorses NAMBLA, but they want their typically stupid, paranoid, conservative conspiracy-theory addicted followers to think that. I hope that Jennings issues the appropriate clarification of his position.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I hope that Jennings issues the appropriate clarification of his position.

    Precisely. That’s what this tempest is about. He is an educator. Educators are seriously asking students to see Harry Hay as a flag bearer for the gay movement worthy of celebrating. Uh-uh. He was an eccentric.

  • Eddy

    A few facts re Hays: He died in 2002. Had his own first homosexual experience at age 14–with a sailor. His upbringing would fit the Cohen’s stereotypic ‘Reparative Therapy’ model complete with an abusive father and a doting mother. I don’t think it would be fair to say that Hays was seduced by the sailor since it appears that he had already determined that he was gay prior to that experience.

    The Gay History Month link doesn’t mention his support of NAMBLA in any way. Wikipedia brings it up near the end of their biography. They supplied this quote:

    “[I]f the parents and friends of gays are truly friends of gays, they would know from their gay kids that the relationship with an older man is precisely what thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old kids need more than anything else in the world.”

    What’s disturbing is that many gay people see little or nothing wrong with a gay-identified boy in his mid-teens ‘coming out’ under the tutelage of an older male. It’s not often ‘parlor talk’ but it does go on. We need to ensure that Jenning’s doesn’t subscribe to this notion.

  • http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/ Thom Hunter

    Rick,

    The fact that the young man was 16 doesn’t change anything. Jennings was not faced only with a choice of advising the teenager to have protected or unprotected sex. Adults, and particularly adults in positions of authority, do not supersede parental authority and advise teenagers on how to better manage illegal sexual encounters so they can come to school with a smile on their face, as Jennings indicated in his book that the student did, which gave Jennings a sense of satisfaction. I raised five children — four of them sons — and would like to believe that their teachers, even if they were explaining sex in classroom settings were not advising illegal relationships with adults of either sex. The fact that the young man grew up and supports Jennings is irrelevant to the point that Jennings engaged in improper behavior and exercised influence beyond his parameters as a teacher. From my perspective as a parent, he was unsafe.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I don’t think it would be fair to say that Hay was seduced by the sailor since it appears that he had already determined that he was gay prior to that experience.

    I think you meant to say “seduced into homosexuality” rather than just “seduced.” An adult, even a younger one, is generally presumed to be the seducer of a child.

    Relative to your last point, Eddy, Larry Kramer, who founded ACT-UP, wrote in his book, Report from the Holocaust: The Making of an AIDS Activist: “In those instances where children do have sex with their homosexual elders, be they teachers or anyone else, I submit that often, very often, the child desires the activity, and perhaps even solicits it.” I can’t substantiate the quote since his book is out of print, but it is widely reported on the Internet, along with similar quotes from other gay activists. How prevalent is this attitude? Who knows?

    WorldNetDaily reported that Judith Reisman, who spent a good deal of time researching and debunking Kinsey, reportedly did an analysis of ads in The Advocate that revealed an average of 14 per issue that featured erotic boy images. Again, I can’t vouch for the accuracy as we all know WND is a tad extreme. Such things go rabid when they hit the blogosphere and may be only urban legend. They do raise eyebrows, however.

    I am aware of other quotes I can substantiate that are scary. The American Library Association (with close ties to the NEA, FWIW) has had its share of wacko activists who have preached very similar things. And if you Google Virginia Uribe, the namesake of the award Kevin Jennings received that drew criticism from a fellow educator in the Republican Caucus of the NEA, you’ll find some interesting stuff.

    Suffice it to say that both the gay media and public education have their share of skeletons in the closet.

  • Rick

    Well, Thom, from my point as a human being, your approach is extremely naive. “Abstinence education” has proven to be a wholesale disaster, though more than a few of us saw that coming. You can tell a 16 year-old male that he shouldn’t have sex with somebody older than himself, but what are the chances such a message will really stick, particularly when the Thom Hunters of this world would prefer that gay teenagers remain lonely, closeted, ashamed, and isolated — even from each other — precisely the sort of conditions that make them vulnerable to exploitation.

  • Michael Bussee

    What’s disturbing is that many gay people see little or nothing wrong with a gay-identified boy in his mid-teens ‘coming out’ under the tutelage of an older male.

    I guess that would depend on the boyu and the adult. Personally, I would have loved to have the friendship and advice of an trusted adult gay male when I was that age.

    An adult (gay or straight) can mentor a kid (gay or styraight) without molesting him. I am pretty sure you might have meant something else. Can you clarify?

    I am also wondering something: when Jennings advised the boy to wear a condom, did he mean “wear it while your having sex with adult men” or was he speaking more generally of hoping the boy would protect himself against disease?

    I confess I don’t know much of the particulars — Did Jennings know the relationship with the adult was sexual? DId the boy say that it was?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    You can tell a 16 year-old male that he shouldn’t have sex with somebody older than himself, but what are the chances such a message will really stick, particularly when the Thom Hunters of this world would prefer that gay teenagers remain lonely, closeted, ashamed, and isolated — even from each other — precisely the sort of conditions that make them vulnerable to exploitation.

    Rick, that’s an unfair assessment of Thom. You don’t know him. Do you think he doesn’t know how such kids feel? Maybe you’re the naive one. Sorry.

    Who actually wants a troubled or confused teen, gay or straight, to remain isolated or ashamed? Your presumption is that every teenager is guaranteed to experiment with sex. Not so. Should they be taught about HIV and other STDs and the fact that sex makes babies (remember, gay or bisexual youth have a higher pregnancy rate than straight kids)? Absolutely. Should we give them the loaded gun to go play Russian Roulette with? No way.

    Should we ALSO teach and (gasp!) model abstinency outside of marriage for them? Yes. Trouble is too many adults are playing the “do what I say” game, and kids see right through that. Jennings could only model and teach one thing — what he lived. Do you think his supposed Christian faith has really changed him that much? Somehow I find myself doubting it.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I confess I don’t know much of the particulars — Did Jennings know the relationship with the adult was sexual? DId the boy say that it was?

    He said he went home with the man and spent the night or part of it. They played Parcheesi. Gee, Michael.

  • http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/ Thom Hunter

    Michael,

    Jennings knew the relationship between the adult and the teenager was sexual because the teenager went to Jennings for advice regarding having had sex with an adult male in a restroom.

    Rick,

    You don’t know me and you have characterized me falsely. Having been a lonely, closeted, ashamed and isolated young man myself who struggled for many years with unwanted same-sex attraction, I would never wish that on anyone. I am not naive, nor did I suggest abstinence education. I suggested that perhaps it is best to tell young people not to have sex with adults. Are you suggesting that because he might do it anyway, we might as well condone it? Do you have any limits? Do you think the typical teenager benefits from sex with adults or is it because he was a gay teenager? Teenagers should be able to depend on adults for good advice, whether they follow it or not. There are many, many things we teach teenagers not to do, but they do them anyway. Their minds are not fully developed to fully reason. Does that mean we may as well just say “go ahead?”

    I was a “gay teenager.” I am now a post-gay adult. The only sexual activity I had with an adult when I was a child was at the hands of an abuser and it disrupted my life. I personally believe that when adults have sex with children, that’s what it is: abuse. In this case, Jennings condoned it.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    I just added Harry Hay’s coming out story to the main body of the post as well as a link to where he told that story in support of NAMBLA in 1984.

  • Rick

    Yes, Debbie, gay and lesbian youth have higher pregnancy rates because they are under pressure to prove that they are “straight.” Hence, the logical and appropriate thing to do is to eliminate the stigma of being gay.

    Thom raises an interesting issue about sexual abuse. As a veteran of many men’s groups, I’ve known scores of men, both gay and straight, who in their youth were abused or exploited by older adult males. For the genuinely heterosexual men, their same-sex experiences did not in the slightest derail or diminish their love and desire for women. They were straight before their same-sex encounter, and they were straight afterwords, and were not plagued at all by ongoing “temptation” as if they were vampire victims struggling against a sudden craving to turn into vampires themselves. Similarly, the gay guys were essentially gay before, and continued to be gay. It is only the guys who go for the ex-gay trip that claim that they would be straight “if only.” This is not to diminish the gravity of exploitation or manipulation, but I think we should once and for all bury this dubious notion that THAT in-and-of-itself is what makes supposedly otherwise “straight” boys gay. Real straight men don’t spend their entire lives fighting and falling and rising “again to fight against same-sex attraction.” If anything, their major problem is that they lust after women too much.

  • http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/ Thom Hunter

    Rick,

    Citing experiences shared by men in your groups rather than statistical studies makes it easy to be broad without substantial back-up.

    I have been careful to not claim that my struggle with same-sex attraction was attributable entirely to the sexual abuse I was a victim of when I was a young boy or to the fact that my father left when I was seven, or even to the combination of the two. However, both of those issues cause significant damage, whether I was heterosexually or homosexually inclined at the time. What I do know is that homosexuality is not God’s intent for my life and I made a choice to seek to live as He intended for me. Dealing with those earlier issues in my life may have made that choice more complicated, but it still was my choice.

    We all have a tendency to have things in our lives which we fight against, fall and rise again to fight again. Humans struggle.

    You make your statements as if you know them to be fact, yet you do not back them up with anything credible. I do agree with you on one of your own statements: “scores of men, both gay and straight, who in their youth were abused or exploited by older adult males.” As you say, scores have been abused. We should work to stop that abuse and keep those who condone it, like Ken Jennings, from serving in positions of influence.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Yes, Debbie, gay and lesbian youth have higher pregnancy rates because they are under pressure to prove that they are “straight.” Hence, the logical and appropriate thing to do is to eliminate the stigma of being gay.

    How about eliminating the stigma of being parents out-of-wedlock, or has that also gone the way of the do-do bird? It’s a bigger problem that you want to make it out to be. How do you have one standard for the gay kids who can’t get pregnant (but are at greater risk for HIV if they are males, also putting girls at risk if they are bisexual) and another for the straight kids? Gee, aren’t you discriminating against those poor bi kids?

  • Eddy

    I’m glad Rick said this rather than somebody from my side:

    I’ve known scores of men, both gay and straight, who in their youth were abused or exploited by older adult males. For the genuinely heterosexual men, their same-sex experiences did not in the slightest derail or diminish their love and desire for women.

    Let’s see now…that’s ‘scores’ with an ‘s’ on the end. Going with at least two scores (to justify that ‘s’), Rick has known at least 40 men both gay and straight who were sexually exploited by older men in their teens.

    I personally believe that Rick is ‘blowing smoke’…he has opinions and makes up facts to support them. But either way, we need to know. Rick, were you exaggerating to make your point or is the problem as pervasive as your anecdote suggests? This bit of information would serve very well to justify a deeper look at where Jennings really stands and to further explore the moral views of the gay community at large with regard to the sexual exploitation of male teens.

    Michael–

    You asked me to clarify this statement:

    What’s disturbing is that many gay people see little or nothing wrong with a gay-identified boy in his mid-teens ‘coming out’ under the tutelage of an older male.

    I hear what you’re saying about the possible benefits of a mentor but I was indeed referring to a sexual coming out with the older male serving as a sexual guide.

    Debbie–

    You make a good point. Even as I was constructing that sentence, I felt like I wasn’t covering all the bases. You are right. Even if the teen is ‘looking for it’, that doesn’t rule out the notion of seduction and it certainly doesn’t legitimize sex between a minor and someone who isn’t. It doesn’t in the straight world and it doesn’t in the gay world either.

    It’s interesting that, in those times, when I’ve tried to broach the subject of a difference in moral standards between the gay community at large and the straight community at large, the conversation always goes nowhere and there’s the inference that ‘we’re just the same’. I happen to KNOW that isn’t so. I think in this thread we’re beginning to see some examples of that…not only in Hay’s example but also in Rick’s comments. The notion that we’re taking adolescent sex (even with adults) way too seriously seems to suggest a notion that I’ve noted in parts of the gay community. There seems to be a gender-based notion that a guy who has reached puberty is somehow responsible and ‘in charge’ of what he does. If he agrees to it, then he isn’t really a victim. Of course, I don’t agree with that. And getting back to the main topic, we need to hear what Jennings thinks about that.

  • Rick

    So Eddy says I am lying. Whatever. I have been doing men’s work — men’s groups, men’s workshops, et cetera — for over twenty years and I can say that there is at least forty from the personal anecdotes relayed to me from the guys who’ve shared personal stories about their growing up, of which stories I’ve heard hundreds.

    Not once did I ever encounter a guy who was totally into girls until he sexually experimented with another guy — and then suddenly he went totally gay. My own judgment is that neither Eddy nor Debbie have really gotten to know too many men on a deep level; they just parrot any data fed to them by the Concerned Women of America.

    Nice bit of confused logic there, Debbie; equating out-of-wedlock parenting with being gay, great way to cloud the issues.

    Removing the stigma of being gay; educating boys that being gay does not make one less of a man — or merit shame, abuse, rejection, or discrimination — would free gay children from a life of self-hatred, lies, hypocrisy, or bad choices. In terms of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, if you are referring to unwed teenage motherhood, that, like an STD, is unwanted consequence of the conservative agenda’s neurotic resistance to educating the young about the actual facts of human sexuality. An STD is an illness, an unwanted pregnancy is a burden, both of which result from a society that has a shame-based approach to sex.. Being gay is neither an illness or a burden.

    And oh yes, just are there are many young women being exploited, so there are many young men; and just follow Dan Savage’s “Youth Pastor Watch” series at http://slog.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/ to see how an outstanding degree of this sort of exploitation of both genders is being perpetuated by America’s Bible thumpers.

  • Eddy

    Actually Rick, I didn’t say you were lying…I said I believed that you were.

    I personally believe that Rick is ‘blowing smoke’…he has opinions and makes up facts to support them.

    And this one’s a hoot:

    :

    My own judgment is that neither Eddy nor Debbie have really gotten to know too many men on a deep level; they just parrot any data fed to them by the Concerned Women of America.

    I’m betting the regulars who visit this blog are having a good laugh at that one.

    But back to the revelation. Scores or adolescents, both straight and gay, being sexed by older men. Most of us did not know the crisis had reached that level. We appreciate your coming by to sound the alarm. I realize that may not have been your intent but God does work in mysterious ways.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    My own judgment is that neither Eddy nor Debbie have really gotten to know too many men on a deep level; they just parrot any data fed to them by the Concerned Women of America

    .

    Yep, that one’s a hoot. Talk about parroting a party line. Rick, your comments are straight from the liberal, anti-Christian playbook.

    Nice bit of confused logic there, Debbie; equating out-of-wedlock parenting with being gay, great way to cloud the issues.

    Not at all. Rather more like homing in on the issue from a perspective not being considered. Let’s by all means remove all responsibility from parents today and place it on Christian fundamentalism, which creeps into their kids’ bedrooms at night and secretly programs them. Typical liberal hooey.

    An STD is an illness, an unwanted pregnancy is a burden, both of which result from a society that has a shame-based approach to sex.. Being gay is neither an illness or a burden.

    Oh, please. You could never justify that line of reasoning in a million years. Were it not for the, sadly, ever-shrinking role that one’s conscience plays in preventing fornication-at-will, we’d have even more STDs (and messed-up, suicidal kids). Or did the fundies invent those, too?

    And being gay is not a burden? Right.

  • Rick

    The prevalence of STDs is a direct result from a conservative culture’s uptight, neurotic resistance to fully talking about S-E-X.

    And it is people like YOU who create the conditions that make being gay a burden and drive them to take their own lives.

    Yes, the “fundies” (I didn’t say you were one of those, but if you believe that Adam and Eve co-existed with the dinosaurs, that’s your trip) are in fact responsible for all of this.

    A huge amount of sexual abuse, Eddy, against both boys and girls is perpetuated by conservative religious; Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish. The data is rather stunning.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Rick said:

    The prevalence of STDs is a direct result from a conservative culture’s uptight, neurotic resistance to fully talking about S-E-X.

    You are making an empirical claim here and I wonder if you have anything to back it up. My perception that this claim flies in the face of personal responsibility for actions. I suppose I could make claims that a variety of societies ills are because of homosexual values such as promoted by Harry Hay. I don’t make thouse claims but some right wingers do and they sound a lot like you except for a different cause of someone’s elses behavior.

  • Eddy

    A huge amount of sexual abuse, Eddy, against both boys and girls is perpetuated by conservative religious; Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish. The data is rather stunning.

    Rick, I believe you. I also believe that we speak out against this…we expose it as an evil whenever we recognize that it’s going on…if we learn of a perpetrator, we are swift to demand punishment. And, try as I might, I can’t imagine any of these perpetrators embracing the notion of marching in support of the right to make it a legitimate behavior.

    The fact that they have a problem doesn’t lend justification to Harry Hay’s support of NAMBLA.

  • David Blakeslee

    Where are Kincaid, Lynn David and others who could broaden our understanding in this situation?

  • Eddy

    Timothy announced about a week ago that he was taking a break from this blog.

  • Ann

    And I do not miss the polemic tone that was prevelant in his postings.

  • carole

    I think lost in all the confusion about whether Jennings did or did not act appropriately in dealing with “Brewster” and lost in the discussion of Harry Hay is Obama’s appointment of a school czar who seems to be a one-issue pony.

    We can argue all day about whether Jennings’ positions on matters involving gay youth are well or ill-advised and those discussions are relevant and important, I’d agree, but I have been most concerned that the President appointed this man to the position of a “safe school” head as an obvious attempt to placate an interest group and push an agenda specific to that interest group at a time when anyone who has ever worked in the public school system knows that violence and weapons and, in particular, violence related to gangs is the number one threat to the safety of school children and school employees.

    The bullying or demeaning of kids for ANY reason is an issue on all school campuses, and I can assure you that it is not gay-specific. A kid with money on him in the lunch line is often the target of a bully. Acts of violence have increased in even so-called “good schools,” illustrating the increased deterioration of behavior. Years ago, our district began putting an emphasis on the problem, an emphasis which remains, remains because it HAS to.

    Added to this deterioration of civil behavior (which parallels the deterioration of adult behavior they kids see every day) is the overwhelming problem of gangs and weapons, primarily at the middle school and secondary level, but in urban environments, the problem exists even at the elementary level.

    Given this, Mr. Obama’s choice of Jennings as a “school safety” czar is especially troubling to me and most educators I know. Mr. Jennings seems to be no expert in the area that administrators and teachers and parents realize is the number one threat on our school campuses.

    That lobbyists for one interest group wish a seat at the table makes sense to me. However, this particular choice for a “school safety” expert was a cynical one meant only to satisfy the demands of one interest group and was not the act of a President who seems to really give a damn about the larger issues of school safety. If he did, he’d have appointed someone who’s expertise is in another area. While Mr. Jenning’s efforts in making schools safe for gay kids is commendable, at a time when our schools are not safe for a millions of kids, gay or straight, the choice is very disturbing and it illustrates best why most educators hate the intrusion of the federal government into the schools.

  • carole

    Whoops: whose, not who’s.

  • Ann

    Does anyone know if Barak Obama referred to Kevin Jennings last night in his speech to the HRC gathering in Washington?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I think lost in all the confusion about whether Jennings did or did not act appropriately in dealing with “Brewster” and lost in the discussion of Harry Hay is Obama’s appointment of a school czar who seems to be a one-issue pony.

    That was actually brought up nearly a week ago, but not followed up in comments.

    Debbie Thurman ~ Oct 5, 2009 at 8:07 am

    One of the things we all ought to share in common is the understanding that a person serving in a high-level government post — especially one meant to oversee the safety of school children — ought to be well-versed in all the issues facing said children.

    Iowa Congressman Steve King asks us to consider that Kevin Jennings is only one-issue focused, based on his record so far:

    King says Jennings has no background in anti-drug work, and his experience in education has focused not on the issue of school safety but on introducing the topic of homosexuality into the classroom, including in elementary schools. “The totality of his life has been the promotion of homosexuality, and much of it within education,” says King. “He has focused on nothing else during the last two decades, and that is not the focus that our schools need to be on.”

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Does anyone know if Barak Obama referred to Kevin Jennings last night in his speech to the HRC gathering in Washington?

    It appears not, but I would be very surprised if he had mentioned it. I was just over at the NLGJA blog and have looked at AP and some other coverage. It seems DADT (don’t ask, don’t tell) with a little on DOMA were the main highlights. Whoever was doing the NLGJA blogging (a woman, presumably) mentioned the gay “alpha males” (LOL) and the dissatisfaction among gay opinion makers with HRC and Obama.

    I also noticed that George Stephanopoulos did rather poorly in a recent exchange with Sean Hannity over the Jennings-Hay connection and the “Brewster” incident. Not that I’m a fan of either man or talking-head theater.

  • Ann

    ok, thanks Debbie – I appreciate you looking and sending the information. I didn’t think he would mention it, at least not on a microphone, but wasn’t sure.

  • carole

    Debbie,

    Thanks. I don’t know how I missed that post of yours, but it was truly on target. This kind of appointment is the kind of thing that really contributes to the further decline of morale among those who work in the trenches. We know that politicians are all too anxious to please the money-raisers.

  • Michael Bussee

    He said he went home with the man and spent the night or part of it. They played Parcheesi. Gee, Michael.

    Debbie, I honestly did not know that part of the story. I did not know if the boy had told Jennings that the encounter was sexual. I don’t know what the laws were at the time, or whether teachers there were mandated reporters, but that really doesn’t matter. Jennings said he should have sought consultation –and that is exactly what he should have done.

    I am a mandated reporter here in California — and hope that I would have had the common sense to consult proper authorities and would have taken reasonable, proactive steps to protect the boy from possible adult predators.

    Bolstering the boys self-esteem and adivising him to wear condoms would not have been enough.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Thanks. I don’t know how I missed that post of yours, but it was truly on target.

    We’ve had several threads going on the subject as Warren updated, so it would be tough to keep up with every comment. :) Glad you saw that point, too.

    Michael, we’ve also batted around the discrepancies between Jennings’ own statements and the recent disclosure of the person who says he was “Brewster.” He claims he was 16 at the time of the incident, and also said he did not have a sexual encounter with the “older man.” Jennings refers several times to the fact that some 15-year-old student (he apparently used different names at different times and could even have referred to different schools in telling the story) admitted to going home with a man he met in a Boston bus station. Maybe they really didn’t have sex. It is possible, but how many folks are going to buy that? Jennings obviously thought they did or he would not have thrown out his condom comment to the kid.

    My “Parcheesi” comment to you was a tad sarcastic. Sorry. The whole thing has gotten rather tiresome, hasn’t it? Jennings still needs to give an accounting to the public who are going to have children living with his oversight in the schools.

  • Michael Bussee

    It’s all very confusing. Same kid? Two kids? Same incident? DIfferent incidents? Did or did not have sex with an adult? “Brewster” says NO. That’s possible. YES is also possible. Who knows?

    Regardless, just giving condom advice – if indeed that is all Jennings did — is not enough to protect a child — whether the kid was of “legal age” or not. That bothers me.

    What also bothers me more than a little bit — the unspoken suggestion that “gays” or the “gay community” is somehow soft on child abuse, is tolerant of NAMBLA, etc..

    This is part of the underlying fear or belief many people may still have that gay men are into kids. As a anti-gay protestor once yelled at me — “Of course gays recruit kids!!! They sure can’t re-produce!!!”

    We have to be careful to not let Jennings’ apparent errors of judgement play into that ugly stereotype.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    What do you make of Rick’s statement?

    As a veteran of many men’s groups, I’ve known scores of men, both gay and straight, who in their youth were abused or exploited by older adult males.

    He said this in the context of refuting ‘one of us conservatives’ and to make the point that the exploitees don’t all wind up gay. I challenged him that it sounded like an overstatement but he returned and said that he has known at least 40 men who fit that claim. I’m still having a hard time believing it. Your claims are to the contrary and are more in line with what I’ve surmised. Any thoughts?

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy, I guess it is possible, but I have a hard time believing it, too. Almost every gay man I have talked to says he was NEVER molested by an adult — and they resent even the suggestion that they “must have been abused if they turned out gay”.

    In my own case, I have had folks tell me that I “must have been abused” since I engaged in mutual sex play with the boy in first grade. “How could you think that up all by yourself?”, they ask, “you must have been!”

    Nope. I definitely was not. I was curious about what adult males looked like, that’s all, but was never approached or touched by one.

    I also have heard many gay men joke that they wish they had been molested by a man. But, I don’t think understand what a traumatic experience an actual molest would have been. I have counseled a couple of straight men who were and it messed them up big time.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    What also bothers me more than a little bit — the unspoken suggestion that “gays” or the “gay community” is somehow soft on child abuse, is tolerant of NAMBLA, etc…

    We have to be careful to not let Jennings’ apparent errors of judgment play into that ugly stereotype.

    All “communities” have their seamy side that is not representative of the whole.

    Should it also bother us that Obama’s nominee for the head of the EEOC, Chai Feldblum, has tacitly supported polyamory as a signatory to a 2006 petition entitled “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision For All Our Families and Relationships”? One of the items the petition supports is “committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner.”

    I just checked. The statement is still at beyondmarriage.org and so is Feldblum’s name as a signatory. I found the site some time ago in the course of my research.

    What is even more newsworthy are statements Feldblum made at a UCLA symposium on gay rights (not sure yet of the date) which I have just heard and transcribed from the video so as not to rely on the typical misquotes you find in the blogosphere. She speaks of a project she is involved with called Workplace Flexibility 2010 (funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation) and calls for a three-year plan focusing on five gay-rights principles to “change the American workplace and revolutionize social norms.”

    It’s the last three words that folks find most unsettling, given the Beyond Marriage manifesto and Feldblum’s statement at the UCLA symposium that “sex is often a basic building block for intimacy and that intimacy and connections within couples and within families are integral building blocks for a healthy society.”

    So with Jennings in the schools and Feldblum in the workplace, all we need now is someone to be planted within evangelical church leadership for a trifecta. Again, I marvel at the whining going on in gay rights circles. A smokescreen. Obama is the man.

  • Michael Bussee

    I cannot comment on any specifics, since I know nothing of her, but I do not entirely disagree with this:

    “sex is often a basic building block for intimacy and that intimacy and connections within couples and within families are integral building blocks for a healthy society

    ”I think it may very well be a “basic bulding block”. Bonding seems to include sexual bonding for most intimate, connected couples. I know it played a part in my parents’ bonding to each other — and I don’t just mean the actual activity. They were attracted and bonded to each other on all levels.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Sex is not a building block for intimacy, Michael. It is the other way around. All too often, it kills real relationship. Check out the statistics for couples who cohabit. Pretty bleak.

  • hazemyth

    I’m really bothered by this sort of reasoning. Peron A’s statement (or lack thereof) could be inferred to mean X (or lack of X). Person A’s failure to publicly repudiate that inference can, by dint of further inference, be see as a confirmation of X. Which means Person A stands haplessly by as he is maligned or he must allow his dialogue to be redirected by his critics, on the basis of unsubstantiated inference.

    Jenning’s (or anyone else’s) mention of Harry Hay need not be inferred as a) an endorsement of Hay’s support of NAMBLA, b) an indifference to the above, c) an attempt to conceal the above. To borrow from David Blakeslee’s earlier comment, do we accuse speakers/authors of colluding with anti-Semitism if they fail to include a mea culpa re:MLK’s anti-Semitism every time they discuss or laud him?

  • Michael Bussee

    I disagree. I think it is one of the building blocks. It’s not an “either or” — or which came first — or which is more important. It’s the gestalt. It’s the “whole enchilada”. For many, the sexual “pull” (the attraction) happens first, sustains the interest and then leads to emotional bonding and intimacy.

    I think my Dad desired my Mom — sexually — first. Thought she was hot. After they passed away, I read his courtship/love letters to her. Undeniable. He wanted her — man to woman — just on the bio-chemical male/female magnetism of the thing. His body postively ached for hers before he really knew much — if anything — about her…

    It was ONE of the blocks they built on to form a solid marriage that lasted until they passed. In that sense, I think Feldblum is right.

  • Michael Bussee

    I also think Adam thought Eve was hot. And it was one of the blocks that built us.

  • Michael Bussee

    Jenning’s (or anyone else’s) mention of Harry Hay need not be inferred as a) an endorsement of Hay’s support of NAMBLA, b) an indifference to the above, c) an attempt to conceal the above. To borrow from David Blakeslee’s earlier comment, do we accuse speakers/authors of colluding with anti-Semitism if they fail to include a mea culpa re:MLK’s anti-Semitism every time they discuss or laud him?

    I think this point is very well taken.

  • Michael Bussee

    Sex is not a building block for intimacy, Michael. It is the other way around. All too often, it kills real relationship

    As a marriage therapist, I have found that the absence of it often kills the relationship. In fact, I notice that it is often the “thermometer” that tells me if the relationship is still alive — that the heart of love is still pumping.

    I have noticed that some couples need to be reminded of the importance of touch and sex — and once they did it — even if the “feelings” were not there, that — low and behold — the feelings began to burn bright again — and they wondered why they had been avoiding it.

    It reminds me of a cartoon I have. Husband and wife sitting in front of a therapist — holding protest signs and not talking. His says: “No sex, No intimacy!” Hers says, “No intimacy, no sex!” Classic stale-mate in couples counseling. Both are wrong and both are right.

  • carole

    Debbie said,

    Should it also bother us that Obama’s nominee for the head of the EEOC, Chai Feldblum, has tacitly supported polyamory as a signatory to a 2006 petition entitled “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision For All Our Families and Relationships”? One of the items the petition supports is “committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner.”

    Bothers me big time—my husband and I were driving home today and parts of her address at UCLA were played by some radio host. I’d never heard of her before and what I heard I didn’t like.

    Some people I know who voted “yes” on Prop 8 (against gay marriage) feared that the redefining of marriage would eventually lead to those who pushed for polygamy and in so arguing they were called bigots and crazies. Seems this woman is justifying their fears.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Michael, you are juxtaposing two very essential things. You’ve leaped ahead to a point in a relationship (it’s supposed to presume marriage) where sex is a conjugal act. At that stage, intimacy builds on intimacy, and very much includes sex. Is that the way much of society sees it today? No. Sex is what everything is built around, and is the first step to intimacy for far too many. It was never meant to be that way. We’ve been sold a lie from the pits of hell.

    I carry the scars of wounds from that kind of wrong thinking with me to this day. Like you, I came of age in the heyday of the sexual revolution. We were bamboozled.

    Let’s revisit, shall we, the high degree of depression seen in teen girls when they have multiple premarital sexual partners.You can’t give part of your heart away — and sex is tied to an emotional bonding for women — over and over and not be damaged. Are their male partners immune from their own set of problems? Certainly not. They are encouraged to become ever more predatory, the very thing that civilized marriage is supposed to help them keep in check. Look at the ever-growing epidemic of STDs.

    Bothers me big time—my husband and I were driving home today and parts of her address at UCLA were played by some radio host. I’d never heard of her before and what I heard I didn’t like.

    Feldblum thinks government is responsible for “nurturing” what she calls “moral and political units” — her view of families. Just plain weird. I did not mention earlier that she lives with three other women in an arrangement we are meant to wonder about, given all she espouses. She offered her own setup as an example of one of those “units” she speaks of. I presume you already know she is a lesbian.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist kind of person. But I have eyes and ears. And some pretty bizarre stuff is working its way into our government.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    You know that trifecta I referred to in my comment last night? I got to thinking about that. Here’s how I think it wants to happen. The Christian Left (or mushy middle) has been pushing books like unChristian and studies about gay spirituality and lots of talk of bridge-building between gays and the Church. All well and good, to a point. We have to own our past mistakes, but we also have to be careful about how we attempt to rectify them. The pendulum is swinging.

    Lots of concerned Christians — I am among them — hear the message that emergent church leaders like Brian McLaren preach and it sounds really good on a gut level. We conservatives have been too harsh, too focused on certain issues, we are told. We are guilt-mongers because we dare to speak of sin. Never mind that there is a truth-in-love imperative in the Gospels. Let’s go heavy on the love because we have wounded (yes, we have) too many people, especially our gay brothers and sisters.

    I can easily love Michael because he is my brother, but there is an extra bit of guilt that goes along with that when I think of how he has suffered. He knows some of his wounds, same as mine, have been self-inflicted. But he has had real pain inflicted on him by the very people who were supposed to walk with him and help him. Michael, I care about you, as I think you know. But I care enough to go a step farther than many others would, and that is to speak the whole truth. You also have been inadvertently wounded by your gay brothers and sisters who have created a “safe,” politically correct (and spiritually deceptive) bubble for you. And too many folks are afraid to say that.

    We also look inside the Church, where Scripture tells us judgment is to begin, and are embarrassed by our own hypocrisy. How do we focus on cleaning up our own house while pointing out that other dirt exists in the world? We’ve got to remove our eye-logs first. But we do get to judge with God-given authority once we’ve done that. “First remove (yours) … then you will see clearly how to remove (others’). …” Who reads their Bible anymore? How in heaven’s name can we know what the Church is supposed to be and do otherwise?

    So, we are ripe for the picking. If government is seizing on the opportunity to control schools and the workplace (and why again, President Obama, are gay-rights activists in top positions there?), what is to keep the Church from being similarly infiltrated? Government may attempt some faith-based initiative that will come right in the front door, in fact. But for now, it is effectively happening from within.

    I have no innate animosity for gay folks as individuals. I have great compassion for them because I think they are greatly deceived. I think many of them do not even know how their cause is being used to trample on others. We’ve seen it also with the pro-choice lie and feminism that has overreacted to legitimate wrongs — all wrapped up in a mantle that is sex-centric.

    Sex is the Great Idol we bow down to. Some things never change.

    Think about it.

  • Mary

    Sex is the Great Idol we bow down to. Some things never change

    Just look around. We have made sex the most important item. While relationships and intimacy are VERY important – too many have equated sex with intimacy and that just isn’t so. It is Part of it – but not the beginning of intimacy nor the ending – just a part. And intimacy of all kinds exist – between friends, family, etc… and has nothing to do with sex.

  • Rick

    The encouraging news is that despite setbacks like Proposition 8, the forces of darkness are losing. Recently, three members of the NFL spoke up in favor of gay rights, including gay marriage. This would have been unthinkable 25 years ago. An active member of the NFL coming out of the closet may not be too far behind. Increasingly, more young people realize that being gay is No Big Deal, and the gay community has more hetero advocates than ever.

    Meanwhile, traditional religious institutions continue to lose credibility: http://joemygod.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Rick – I am curious – do you think Harry Hay was right and the homosexual norms are different than heterosexual norms when it comes to sex in early teens?

    I ask this because I am wondering if the same kind of conflict occurs in the gay community now as in the past between what Hay called assimilationists and the gay liberation movement. Using a term like assimilationist demeans traditional sexual values whether held by gay or straight people.

  • Eddy

    LOL. I have never looked to the NFL for values clarification.

  • Rick

    Football has traditionally been considered the embodiment of American masculinity, and lately American evangelicals have co-opted the game to push their own agenda; making players pray before a game (as if God were actually taking sides in such matters), et cetera, because football is all about strength, self-discipline, courage, teamwork and Being a Man, right? (I prefer tennis myself) As it is, I personally knew an honest-to-goodness victim of the pressure to live up to the cultural expectations that go along with this game; former Jets linebacker, Ed Gallagher, who spent the rest of his life as a paraplegic after a suicide attempt resulting from his inability to accept himself and his sexuality. His life thereafter was dedicated to counseling self-acceptance to young people, until he died in 2005.

    I must say that “Eddy’s” snickering and sniveling in this context looks especially pathetic.

    Harry Hay was right on some things, and wrong on others. As it is, the Old Testament seems to condone both father-daughter incest, as well as fathers killing their daughters, not to mention killing women who are not virgins on their wedding night. So is anybody who endorses the Old Testament therefore suspect? And what are “heterosexual norms”? Does that Mormon cult in Texas with its brainwwashed women in 19th century frontier dresses and hairstyles pushing their underage daughters into “marriages” with old men define a “heterosexual norm”?

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Rick asked:

    Does that Mormon cult in Texas with its brainwwashed women in 19th century frontier dresses and hairstyles pushing their underage daughters into “marriages” with old men define a “heterosexual norm”?

    No.

    I have not seen any of those folks elevated by any social groups as heros or icons in heterosexual history month either.

    I am asking gay folk in general if someone who supported NAMBLA and endorsed their rationale should be considered a gay icon? I would think that would be a disqualifier.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Rick, your rambling diatribe does not really move the discussion forward. Eddy was pointing out that the NFL is hardly a collective paragon of virtue. It is peopled with some principled men and with some sorry excuses for men. A well-known fact.

    Perhaps those who pray before, during or after a game are as concerned about safety as anything, considering the high incidences of brain injury and impairment many players see in later life. “60 Minutes” had a piece on it last night. That kind of risk is not very smart, in my view, but it is what it is. Macho men being macho. In a country where more than half of us self-identify as conservative, it is not at all surprising to find many conservatives and Christians in the NFL. A gay man in the NFL knows he is going to be swimming upstream.

    Meanwhile, to go back to a question Ann raised earlier about whether or not Obama had addressed Kevin Jennings or the general brouhaha over his gay appointees in his HRC speech, I found this quote at thinkprogress.org:

    And it’s for this reason if any of my nominees are attacked not for what they believe but for who they are, I will not waver in my support because I will not waver in my commitment to ending discrimination in all its forms.

  • Eddy

    Sorry, Rick, your anecdotal wisdom doesn’t fly. As a conservative Christian who was actually against ‘prayer in school’, I took note of the odd places where we prayed. Football teams have had the pre-game prayers for decades…at least 40 years. I remember because it always stuck me as odd…why did God care who won? And weren’t both teams praying to the same God asking for His blessing to be the victor of the day.

    Knowledge is a wonderful thing…’a little knowledge’ is dangerous.

    BTW: I said:

    LOL. I have never looked to the NFL for values clarification.

    Rick commented:

    I must say that “Eddy’s” snickering and sniveling in this context looks especially pathetic.

    I think you can justify ‘snickering’…’sniveling’ and ‘pathetic’ are a genuine stretch.

  • http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/ Thom Hunter

    Rick, for your argument regarding the Mormon cult to have any significance at all, you would need to name any heterosexual leaders — religious or otherwise — who have demonstrated support for the practices of that obscure cult. You’re just trying to dodge and divert, bringing up suppositions to compare to reality. Just as in bringing up the practices from the Old Testament, which also, by the way, was pretty clear on what to do with those who practiced homosexuality.

    Nor have Christians “co-opted” the game of football. Certainly Christians are within our rights to be a part of it and to use whatever means are available to spread the good news. Organized sports create a natural venue for that. It’s not a sinister act. Football players and fans make their choices like everyone else and you have plenty of high-profile football players who do not ascribe to or project the images you claim are becoming mandates. Just as anywhere else, people on a football field can bow their heads and experience nothing if they have no relationship to Christ. They can walk off the field and live lives that reflect nothing Christ-like. I am a man who never played football and feel very much like a man. However, like Gallagher, I certainly had trouble accepting my sexuality. That is common to many environments; his happened to be the NFL. Mine was corporate bureaucracy and the church itself. Regardless, it doesn’t change the fact that we do indeed need to accept our sexuality and live it as God purposed, not man.

    These shadow games aside, Warren’s question remains. Do people who consider themselves gay believe that someone who supports NAMBLA and its rationales should be an icon of the gay movement?

    As a post-gay person, I assure you that anyone who were to come out in favor of the Texas Mormon cult’s practices, would not achieve — or if he or she already has it — retain icon status among heterosexuals.

  • Rick

    Curious, not a one of you addressed the incest-endorsing, killing-your-daughter endorsing, killing-your-non-virgin bride endorsing Old Testament issue. Is this what one calls cowardice? How about this; I will denounce Harry Hay completely if you denounce the Old Testament completely. Deal?

  • Mary

    Rick,

    I am not as well educated on the bible as some of the commenters here however, I think if you read some of these stories carefully, that you will see human error all over the bible. Humans, as you know, are not perfect and don’t live perfect lives. Much of the bible tells us this is the lives of the people. After reading the old testament, you will find the new testament which speaks of redemption. That is for everyone – even those of us who have made some huge errors.

    Since you are relatively new here – I am ex gay, conservative christian who believes in evolution theories (probably not in the same way as many evolutionists), and I support gay rights.

  • http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/ Thom Hunter

    If you are wanting a response, please be specific and quote your scriptures first. I certainly wouldn’t characterize any of the writers on this blog as cowards. I’m also surprised to see that your decision regarding Harry Hay comes down to a simple challenge. It shows that you obviously do endorse him.

    How about Leviticus 18:9? Yes, from the Old Testament: ‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.”

    Hardly an endorsement of incest there.

    The Old Testament and the New Testament work together as the Word of God, though neither contains a complete exposition on the “moral laws.” We are given by God a conscience, which helps identify sin and for which we are held responsible as Christians. That is why we are able to identify sins such as pedophilia, abortion, self-love and pornography. They’re identified by our consciences as sins, even if not directly addressed. The sins you addressed above violate the law of conscience. Even heathens living in rain forests who have never heard a word of the Word of God have God-endowed consciences as a part of creation and can know right from wrong and thus sin by virtue of violating the conscience.

    I can’t believe your personal decision regarding Harry Hay is dependent on someone denouncing the Word of God. I think you just jumped out there and made what you thought is a clever statement, which is, truly, meaningless.

  • Eddy

    Rick–

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed. But no one feels inclined to ‘dance’ to your calls. You’ve been challenged twice by Warren to back up empirical statements you’ve made. We’re still waiting. You’ve stepped right in with a snarky attitude full of presumptions (still chuckling over how far off base your presuppositions were about myself and Debbie). Even your taunt at the end of your recent post reminds me of a playground. Hey, that’s all fine; it flies on some blogsites…but it doesn’t win you any voluntary conversational engagement. So, good luck with all that.

  • Mary

    Rick,

    In addition, although I am a christian I denounce many of the horrific things and ideologies upheld in the name of christianity or “the church”.

    I think that is all anyone is saying here – is that gays activists have long held out how imperfect and hypocritical christians are and then they hold up this guy Harry Hay as an icon of heroic proportions – when he is advocating crimes against children – CHILDREN!

    It’s just sort of – well – the hyprocrisy of the gay community to continue to praise this individual.

    I’m all for gay rights and marriage, but I am not supporting anyone whom it is well known and publicised that he supports a pedophelia ideology – of any kind.

  • Ann

    Meanwhile, to go back to a question Ann raised earlier about whether or not Obama had addressed Kevin Jennings or the general brouhaha over his gay appointees in his HRC speech, I found this quote at thinkprogress.org:

    And it’s for this reason if any of my nominees are attacked not for what they believe but for who they are, I will not waver in my support because I will not waver in my commitment to ending discrimination in all its forms.

    Debbie,

    Thanks for this follow-up. He sure addressed Jennings and the contention in a round about way – not surprised. It has been my observation and is my opinion that Barak Obama is all things to all people and does it really well as long as the teleprompter is working correctly. I saw something over the weekend that went something like this – Barak Obama has done nothing more than every Miss America beauty contestant who says they want world peace, yet he wins the Noble Peace Prize.

  • Ann

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed. But no one feels inclined to ‘dance’ to your calls.

    Eddy,

    You speak for me as well in the above post.

  • Ann

    Curious, not a one of you addressed the incest-endorsing, killing-your-daughter endorsing, killing-your-non-virgin bride endorsing Old Testament issue. Is this what one calls cowardice? How about this; I will denounce Harry Hay completely if you denounce the Old Testament completely. Deal?

    Rick,

    I am not as intelligent or sophisticated or knowledgeable as others here are about this so if they answer, I would pay attention to what they say instead of me.

    My personal answer is that, as someone who believes in Jesus Christ, I believe this is why God sent Him – to have a new covenant with those who believed in the goodness He taught and would follow Him and His teachings. They would turn away from these former ways of believing and be transformed by their new belief in the redemption that Jesus offered us by taking on our sins and allowing them to die with Him which allowed us to be born again spiritually and be given the gift of life as a new person – free from the burden of sin and with guidance to follow a new path to wholeness and peace.

  • Rick

    Lot’s daughters seduce their father — and nothing bad happens to either them or dad.

    Jephthah sacrificing his own daughter because he promised God he would kill the first to greet him upon his return, and unlike the Abraham story, God does not intervene, and this is not treated as a tragedy or morally wrong by God.

    And how about this beauty from Deuteronomy:

    22.20 “But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel, (unmarried women)”

    22.21 “Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die, because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house; so shalt thou put evil away from among you.”

    This is all approved of by GOD; these are not held up as examples of “human error.” Harry Hay looks relatively benign compared the deity on display in these pages that the rest of you revere so.

  • Rick

    Here’s another goodie: God’s morality demands that we kill rape victims:

    Deuteronomy 22:23-24

    “If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.”

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    This is all approved of by GOD

    And God told you this?

    It’s been a fallen world for a very long time, Rick. The Old Testament is not independent of the New. Read the whole book. Then you can report back to us.

  • carole

    Rick said,

    Curious, not a one of you addressed the incest-endorsing, killing-your-daughter endorsing, killing-your-non-virgin bride endorsing Old Testament issue. Is this what one calls cowardice? How about this; I will denounce Harry Hay completely if you denounce the Old Testament completely. Deal?

    I’ve noticed that you, Rick, as well as many other gay posters on this blog plus people deemed leaders of the gay movement, direct their comments and ire at Christian faiths while seeming to ignore Islam, Judaism, etc. Why is that?

  • Ann

    Rick,

    Would you be willing to temper some of your comments and references of and from the Bible with words that Jesus spoke?

  • Ann

    I’ve noticed that you, Rick, as well as many other gay posters on this blog plus people deemed leaders of the gay movement, direct their comments and ire at Christian faiths while seeming to ignore Islam, Judaism, etc. Why is that?

    Debbie,

    This is exactly what I was referring to in many of my posts – why is the Christian religion singled out when other religions are far more punitive, both in words and actions regarding same gender sex.

  • Ann

    oops – the above post is meant for Carole – not Debbie. Sorry.

  • carole

    Ann said,

    why is the Christian religion singled out when other religions are far more punitive, both in words and actions regarding same gender sex.

    I am not sure but I have some guesses. The reasons would be both personal and political.

  • Rick

    This is hilarious; the examples I gave are now interpreted as proof that this is a fallen world, rather than what they were originally conceived of — as example’s of God’s Law.

    I mean, when God says kill your innocent daughter, that is held up as an example of how the world was estranged from God? But I see, the problem is that I am referencing the Old Testament independently of the New (so we can claim that all observant Jews condone incest and child-killing?). Oh I see, the problem is that I not quoting Jesus or Paul — which somehow is supposed to put Jephthah’s God-ordained murder of his daughter in its proper context. But I see, the problem is that I only single out what is wrong with the Old Testament, but not what is wrong with Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, or even Zoroastrianism — which in effect is your saying that there INDEED is something sick and wrong with the Old Testament, it is just that I have not highlighted what is wrong with other world religions.

    I love the logic in all of this.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Rick, Lot messed up. He and his family were spared the destruction of Sodom because of Abram’s petition to God. He offered his virgin daughters to the lecherous men of Sodom (hence the term Sodomites) in place of the angels the men were seeking to “know” (rape). Lot was told to go to the mountains to settle, but he asked God to allow him to go only as far as Zoar.

    You say God did nothing about Lot’s incest with his daughters? Check again. Each daughter had a child whose progeny became the nations of Moab and Ammon:

    “I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the insults of the people of Ammon, with which they have reproached My people, and made arrogant threats against their borders. Therefore, as I live,” says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Surely Moab shall be like Sodom, and the people of Ammon like Gomorrah; overrun with weeds and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation. The residue of My people shall plunder them, and the remnant of My people shall possess them.” This they shall have for their pride, because they have reproached and made arrogant threats against the people of the LORD of hosts. The LORD will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; people shall worship Him, each one from his place, indeed all the shores of the nations (Zepheniah 2: 8-11).

    As for Jephthah, there is no indication in the O.T. that God approved of his vow to make a human sacrifice. Where in the Law did God ever ordain such a sacrifice? God’s judgment was Jephthah’s sorrow at his own stupidity. People did all sorts of stupid and sinful things in the O.T. Yes, Jephthah makes the Hebrews 11 “hall of faith,” along with others who also messed up along the way. The Old Testament is a long history of “heroes and bums,” as one of pastors once said. They either started well and finished poorly or vice versa, for the most part. Imperfect people in a fallen world.

    You ought to know the Bible a tad better if you are going to self-righteously quote it.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    If nothing else, Rick’s defense of Harry Hay’s support for NAMBLA is a creative effort in distraction.

    Bottom line: Harry Hay used the same cognitive distortions to justify his support for NAMBLA that many abusers use (the kid wanted it). Gay rights groups were right to condemn it in the 80s and 90s and they are wrong now to endorse him as an icon, IMO.

  • Eddy

    What’s hilarious is that Rick is almost succeeding in hijacking the blog. He hasn’t answered appropriately to any of the challenges put to him to document his empirical statements. He’s jumped WAY off topic with some of the most stereotypical drivel…if they were serious questions, they ought to be answered but, c’mon folks, the man isn’t here to discuss and he’s certainly not bringing an open mind to the discussion. He learned a few ‘stump the Christians’ questions which is likely about all he knows about the Bible. I recommend that he be called upon to ‘step up’…acknowledge and answer to Warren’s questions…either provide documentation or admit to speaking opinion as fact.

    I, personally, want to see some integrity, if it exists, in Rick’s contributions. Besides the empirical statements, Rick also provided the ‘first person anecdotal’ stuff about knowing more than 40 guys both straight and gay who were sexed by older men while they were underage. That was some heavy stuff. Can’t even begin to weigh it for accuracy though. We don’t know much about Rick except that he’s a tad prone to judgementalism and is definitely anti-conservative. The Old Testament ‘debates’, as fascinating as they are, aren’t helping.

    LOL. But it does mean that we aren’t talking about Hay and were not talking about Jennings…and that may have been Rick’s goal all along.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Rick has no other recourse but to keep quiet or answer the questions put to him at this point. We’ve humored him enough.

    And Jennings is still not qualified to hold the post he’s been given, even without the Harry Hay connection.

  • Pingback: Box Turtle Bulletin » Guilty by Association by Association

  • http://someguysarenormal.blogspot.com Brady

    Debbie and Ann,

    I don’t want to answer for Ric, and I certainly have not singled out the Christian religion in my views or comments, but I see the anwer to your question as two parts.

    First, we live in a predominately Christian nation. Christianity is the majority religion, so the response towards that religion is louder simply because that is the belief system of most Americans. “It’s a man’s world,” or rather “It’s a Christian’s world” so to speak.

    Second, and pretty similar, is that most of the loudest voices against homosexuality (i.e. media, etc.) come from that religion. If the loudest, most publicized voices came from another religion, I’d imagine the attention would be pointed that way.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    ‘Twasn’t my question, but thanks for weighing in.

  • http://someguysarenormal.blogspot.com Brady

    Sorry, that was meant for Carole and Ann.

  • Michael Bussee

    He’s jumped WAY off topic with some of the most stereotypical drivel…if they were serious questions, they ought to be answered but, c’mon folks, the man isn’t here to discuss and he’s certainly not bringing an open mind to the discussion.

    Whew!! I have been away from the ‘puter for a bit and thought for a moment you were talking about me, Eddy! You were right, my friend, it is not always about me. ,:)

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    LOL. No, not about you…in fact, this is one of those rare times when you and I are very close to being on the same page. As a matter of fact, I almost resurrected a post of yours from way back in 2007. (Use Throck’s search and type in Jennings and you’ll find that the blog discussed Jennings way back then…you had an excellent post about ‘mandatory reporting’. I’m not sure, but I’m thinking you could even type in “Jennings, Michael Bussee” and the engine would narrow down the selection.)

  • David Blakeslee

    Timothy Kincaid has decided what anti-gay is and peppers the term throughout his most recent blog.

    He doesn’t address any of the reasonable criticisms of Jennings or Hay. They are attributed to “anti-gay” rhetoric.

    Ad Hominem attacks are made easier with labels such as “anti-gay” it appear to mean something specific, when in fact, it is meant to avoid a specific argument and create polarities.

    It appears we are to be harsh and rigidly denunciating of every error of the ex-gay movement;

    But Jennings and Harry Hay…

  • David Blakeslee

    Example: Abortion

    Bill: “I believe that abortion is morally wrong.”

    Dave: “Of course you would say that, you’re a priest.”

    Bill: “What about the arguments I gave to support my position?”

    Dave: “Those don’t count. Like I said, you’re a priest, so you have to say that abortion is wrong. Further, you are just a lackey to the Pope, so I can’t believe what you say.”

    Example: Kevin Jennings

    Warren: “I believe Jennings gave bad advice to a sexually at risk adolescent, that he lied about doing it and threatened someone who confronted him about doing it. I also think that Jennings idealizes Harry Hay, an advocate for NAMBLA, without distancing himself from some of Harry Hay’s disgusting ideas.

    Timothy Kincaid: Of course you would believe that, you hang out with Christians, who are anti-gay.

    Warren: What about my arguments and documentation that support my position, and my willingness to criticize those who are on my side?

    Timothy Kincaid: Those don’t count, like I said, you hang out with anti-gay people. Furthermore, you are a reactionary and a traditionalist who teaches at a conservative religious school.

  • David Blakeslee

    If Timothy Kincaid won’t come to the mountain, I suggest we go to his blog.

  • Ann

    Hi Brady,

    Thanks for your response and it makes sense to me in several ways. My first thought is that I would prefer a religion be transparent and up front about their beliefs than not. I would venture to say that most religions feel the same way about same gender sex, however, they allow the Christian faith to speak for them. The Muslim faith is very punitive regarding this issue in other countries and often it is of a physical nature intending to harm. I know the Hindu religion is very similar as well. Other faiths choose to ostracize and exclude. I think the Christian faith/religion/belief is by far the most tolerant and the one that can make the critical distinction that having same gender attractions does not always equal having same gender sex. They also can make the critical distinction that an unplanned and /or unwanted pregnancy does not always equate to terminating a life. In other words, they offer alternatives – both spiritually and with resources to those who choose another path than the one given them or that they acquired.

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren, did you actually say

    “I also think that Jennings idealizes Harry Hay, an advocate for NAMBLA, without distancing himself from some of Harry Hay’s disgusting ideas”?

    Idealizes? Really?

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    I just looked it up…and it is a word…and a word that fits very well.

    to make ideal; represent in an ideal form or character; exalt to an ideal perfection or excellence.

    Jennings sees Hay the activist, Hay the spokesman, Hay the risktaker, Hay the visionary…and all those things are things he admires, respects and even emulates in Hay. It’s the ideal image- minus the tarnish of Hay’s support for NAMBLA. We’ve said it a number of times in the past few days: Jennings needs to distance himself publicly from even the hint that he endorses NAMBLA. This goes beyond a ‘guilt by association’ reasoning. His response to Fleming was lacking and the endorsement of Hay–without a public distancing from NAMBLA–just makes his stand all the more ambiguous. It might fly on some lower level but not for the position he’s been appointed to.

  • Michael Bussee

    I get it. Hope, when the time is right, Exodus will distance itself from NARTH.

  • Michael Bussee

    One can “admire, respect and even emulate” someone for certain qualities or contributions they have — and still make it clear that I do not endorse other aspects of them.

  • Michael Bussee

    Exodus still needs to say why they dumped references to Cameron — an it was a lot more than his questionable “science”. They never denounced his anti-gay views and “abhorrent solutions” — as Warren has — publically.

    And since NARTH still seems to “idealize” Cameron, they need to drop all ascociations with NARTH until they do — as Warren has done — publically.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Michael – I think idealize was a paraphrase by David Blakeslee – I cannot find where I said that.

  • Michael Bussee

    I know some folks may take exception with bring up Exodus in this discussion, but I agree that

    “Jennings needs to distance himself publicly from even the hint that he endorses NAMBLA”

    and I think the same principle applies to ex-gay groups and reparative therapy programs as well.

    When I suggested that Exodus should remove “even the hint” that it might be seen as idealizing, admiring or endorsing folks like Cameron, Berger, Schonewolf (since NARTH seems to), I caught all kinds of flak on this blog.

  • http://someguysarenormal.blogspot.com Brady

    Ann- thanks for your response. I certainly understand where you are coming from and see what you are saying.

  • Lynn David

    David Blakeslee ~ Where are Kincaid, Lynn David and others who could broaden our understanding in this situation?

    I read the first 6 comments after I read the feed on this post and gave up right there. This post is silly. One can fairly well compare Harry Hay with the equality movement for gays with John Brown and the equality movement for black slaves in America. And Hay didn’t kill anyone like John Brown. And yet they sing a patriotic, almost ‘godly’ song extolling Brown’s actions.

    This Throckmorton post is silly….

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Silly, Lynn? Warren is reporting an already existing controversy, not creating one. What is silly is that Kevin Jennings asks us to take him seriously, given all the skeletons in his closet.

    What has not even been brought out in these comments yet is Harry Hay’s lifelong Marxist leanings and why Jennings would pay homage to him with that in his background. Warren gave us the links to excerpts from Timmons’ book. Here are a couple pertinent quotes from it:

    Through the years, Harry remained true to his Marxist politics, never once becoming anti-Communist. …

    And a quote from Hay himself:

    “Marxism needs to be revised, based on new scientific knowledge, particularly of human behavior. The underlying methodology will be proved sound.”

    Others have referred to Jennings writing the foreword for “Queering Elementary Education.” Guess who provided the lengthy top cover endorsement. Obama’s old pal, Bill Ayers. Among other things, he called the book “a book for all teachers and parents, indeed, a book for anyone concerned with the healthy development of children and schools.” Here’s the Amazon page. Check it out for yourself.

    Both Ayers and Jennings are vested in educational propaganda and “queering” America through schoolchildren. Jennings recommends a questionnaire for students in his book, Becoming Visible. One of those questions: “If you have never slept with someone of the same sex, how do you know you wouldn’t prefer that? Is it possible you merely need a good gay experience?” Queering education? Nah.

    And let’s talk about Marxist thinking, still embedded in higher education. No doubt folks like Ayers and Jennings silently pay homage to the Columbia University idealists who brought the (Marxist) Institute for Social Research to Columbia back in Communism’s ‘50s heyday. Paul Lazarsfeld, Leo Lowenthal and Marjorie Fiske Lowenthal were heavily involved in researching mass communications as a propaganda tool. Fiske-Lowenthal went on to become highly influential in public library policies expanding “intellectual freedom” to children, i.e., opposing parental authority over what kids could be exposed to in libraries. She and her husband set up shop at Berkley where she went on to craft library policy. The ALA remains in bed with the NEA ideologically.

    This is only a tiny part of the disturbing stuff about Jennings. He is a dangerous wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is banking on the “silly” masses to let him slip right into the pasture.

  • Eddy

    When I suggested that Exodus should remove “even the hint” that it might be seen as idealizing, admiring or endorsing folks like Cameron, Berger, Schonewolf (since NARTH seems to), I caught all kinds of flak on this blog.

    You suggested that Exodus remove ‘even the hint’ that it might have any respect for those folks and then try to liken that to our complaint that Jennings hasn’t provided ‘even the hint’ that he has any distance from Hay’s views of NAMBLA. Except for the words ‘even the hint’, there’s simply no comparison. Exodus did some distancing but it wasn’t enough for you. Jennings has done NO distancing…NONE, NADA, not ‘even a hint’ of distancing from Hay’s more radical beliefs. In short, the complaint against Exodus was that they didn’t go 100% in their distancing while the complaint against Jennings is that he won’t go even 1%. We’re not asking for a rewrite of history; we’re not asking Jennings to renounce everything Hay every did; we’re asking for an ‘anti child-exploitation’ statement. Yes, it took Exodus a long time to come up with the anti-bullying statement but you relentlessly demanded it until they did. There’s your valid comparison. We are demanding an ‘anti child-exploitation’ statement from Jennings. And we don’t intend to give up until we get it.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Timothy Kincaid has decided what anti-gay is and peppers the term throughout his most recent blog.

    He calls the Brewster story an allegorical tale. Interesting. I guess if it works for accepting the Bible, it can work for accepting Jennings.

  • Eddy

    Debbie–

    Back in 2007 when Warren brought the Jennings/Fleming situation up as a blog topic, Dave Roberts said outright that he thought the Fleming story sounded like it was made up…it was a little too perfectly suited to the point Jennings wanted to make. Dave hinted that that is why the story has gone fluid…since it never really happened, it was being tweaked with each retelling based on whatever emphasis Jennings was trying to make.

    I almost subscribed to that belief myself…BUT THEN ‘BREWSTER’ APPEARED. That sure messes with the allegory notion. If it’s an allegory, how do we explain Brewster? Where did he come from? Being non-existent and allegorical, how did he manage to take on human embodiment? Why didn’t Jennings say ‘this isn’t Brewster’? So much defies logic one of the keystones of a good education.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Yes, Eddy, it is all a kettle of smelly fish. Seems to get smellier each day. This is far beyond the “anti-gay attacks” that Kincaid and others allege. It’s one thing to just disagree with someone’s ideology. It’s another entirely to discover lies and heinous acts attached to that ideology and to realize that innocent children will be impacted by it.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    David – Was this intended as a paraphrase of a conversation?

    Example: Kevin Jennings

    Warren: “I believe Jennings gave bad advice to a sexually at risk adolescent, that he lied about doing it and threatened someone who confronted him about doing it. I also think that Jennings idealizes Harry Hay, an advocate for NAMBLA, without distancing himself from some of Harry Hay’s disgusting ideas.

    Timothy Kincaid: Of course you would believe that, you hang out with Christians, who are anti-gay.

    Warren: What about my arguments and documentation that support my position, and my willingness to criticize those who are on my side?

    Timothy Kincaid: Those don’t count, like I said, you hang out with anti-gay people. Furthermore, you are a reactionary and a traditionalist who teaches at a conservative religious school.

    I don’t recall ever having a conversation like this and if a paraphrase, it would be good to make this clear. Also, I am pretty sure Timothy has never said anything like that. He and I disagree on this issue but his criticism was primarily directed at the groups who criticize Jennings because he is gay and not solely due to his policies. At least this is how I read it. I want to keep the discussion to the issues.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    He and I disagree on this issue but his criticism was primarily directed at the groups who criticize Jennings because he is gay and not solely due to his policies.

    Are there any such groups? Seems to me the objections are grounded not in his mere gayness, but in his radical “queering” ideology, which would most certainly inform his policies.

    For those who want to do a bit more digging on Jennings and other influences on his thinking, I recommend this excellent article written by Marjorie King for City Journal in 2003. She mentions Herbert Marcuse, who I can’t believe I forgot to mention in my above comments about the Institute for Social Research as he was the most radical member whose New Left influence on education and his sexual liberation theories are being felt today.

  • David Blakeslee

    Warren,

    You may want to keep the discussion to the issues…but Timothy wishes conflate disagreement with bigotry. Read his posting, there is no way to “make nice” in his assertion that your hard work to document the limitations and dishonesty of Jennings, as well as the legitimate concerns about Hay are disgarded, out of hand. Furthermore, he seeks to align you with anti-gay elements.

    Regarding the above conversation: IT IS AN ALLEGORICAL TOOL in the spirit of Jennings…

    “Anti-gay”…if you criticize Jenning’s judgment and his uncritical support, yes, idealization of Harry Hay.

  • David Blakeslee

    oops…discarded.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    Comparing Jennings and Hay to Narth and Exodus is to inflate any power that Narth and Exodus ever or will ever have.

    Narth and Exodus were never appointed as Special White House Advisors on Safe Schools.

  • David Blakeslee

    Posted at box-turtle:

    David Blakeslee

    October 13th, 2009 | LINK

    Correct me if I am wrong…about the following comment:

    The Mattachine Society was energize by is radicalized beginnings…and made great strides because of that energy and outlook and willingness to take risks.

    It was weakened, internally, by its own wish to be less confrontational (1953) and to seek assimilation.

    If radicalism creates the energy for constructive change…and Harry Hay proved it…then it is reasonable to bring all of Harry Hay’s ideas to the front…especially as some of them may be passively accepted by Jennings (adolescent sex with adults as consensual).

  • Ann

    David,

    I admire and appreciate your certitute and convictions on this and other things you post about.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Just a reminder that Obama said this to the HRC folks Saturday:

    “And it’s for this reason that if any of my nominees are attacked, not for what they believe but for who they are, I will not waver in my support, because I will not waver in my commitment to ending discrimination in all its forms.”

    Memo to the Prez: It’s for what “they” (specifically, Jennings) believe, which also happens to be an integral part of who they are, and for what they do with those beliefs. Gay, in and of itself, bothers fewer and fewer people these days. Contributing to or tacitly approving of the exploitation of young people, whether that is physical or mental “rape,” bothers a lot of people.

  • http://someguysarenormal.blogspot.com Brady

    I’m interested to hear other’s thoughts on the point that Lynn brought up regarding Harry Hay and John Smith (or even Harry Hay and MLK that another poster brought up previously). Is it possible to admire the man’s work in the movement even if you disagree with other parts of it? And, if you admire that person’s work, is it necessary to bring up the negative side/disagreements every time you speak on him?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Brady, we are what we are in totality, and not in isolated parts. That means getting credit where it’s due and taking our lumps when we mess up. Anyone serving in a public office ought to be held to the highest of standards. Inscrutability doesn’t cut it. Being a policy-making public figure demands giving an account of one’s questionable associations.

  • Eddy

    Brady–

    Is it possible to admire the man’s work in the movement even if you disagree with other parts of it?

    It certainly is.

    And, if you admire that person’s work, is it necessary to bring up the negative side/disagreements every time you speak on him?

    No. and no one is asking for that. Jennings has NEVER brought up the negative side/disagreements; that’s where the problem lies. Being appointed as school czar is a situation that demands that he states clearly his beliefs re sexual exploitation of minors–including minors who might be ‘almost of age’.

    Being schooled is a government mandate for all American youth. Jennings has been appointed to a very influential position over the schools. We all have a right to know where he stands since it isn’t clear 1) by his failure to report the Fleming incident 2) by his endorsement of Hay without ever speaking exception to the NAMBLA endorsement.

  • Mary

    When we live in a society or political fishbowl where people are demanding transparency, then yes, we need to disclose the good, the bad, and the ugly. If we are going to demand honesty and thorough conversation and have any hope for peace, then we have to look at all of it.

  • Michael Bussee

    Comparing Jennings and Hay to Narth and Exodus is to inflate any power that Narth and Exodus ever or will ever have. Narth and Exodus were never appointed as Special White House Advisors on Safe Schools.

    I just knew you guys would object to the “comparison” — and you missed my point. I do not see these things as equal — but I think the PRINCIPLE of distancing oneself — and speaking out against the wakco fringe BY NAME — is a principle that applies across the board.

    We ARE known by the company we keep. And Exodus is still cozy with NARTH, who is still cozy with Cameron, etc. Warren spoke out and pulled away — why won’t Exodus?

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    The company we keep….Jennings and Harry Hay. Exodus and Narth.

    The power we have…makes the meaning of who we associate with VERY important.

    Exodus and Narth have minuscule power.

    @ Brady,

    The whole person is always worthy of discussion…discussing the whole person each time his name is mentioned is exhausting…remembering the whole person, when filtering their advice, condemnations and use of science is responsible.

  • Michael Bussee

    The power we have…makes the meaning of who we associate with VERY important.

    Sad that you would think that way, David. It think it matters regardless of the power we have. Does the principle only apply to the powerful? Would you teach your kids that?

  • Michael Bussee

    Would you use that same line of reasoning with principles like honesty? Fairness? Fidelity? Only “VERY important” if you have power? What kind of ethos is that?

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    Never said “only”…

    Power corrupts…absolute power corrupts absolutely…

    Our beliefs are not harmless, but the destructiveness of them is directly proportional to the power we have…

    Quite dodging, Michael…Jennings has extraordinary power, it is right to ask him his views on adolescent sexual behavior.

  • David Blakeslee

    Oops, I meant “quit”

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    I don’t think we missed your point at all. I don’t think you’ve succeeded in making it. Jennings has done ZERO to distance himself and has a few dubious marks against himself personally…not responsible for the comments on fisting delivered to teens at the seminar, not responsible for the shabby way he handled ‘Fleming’, likely not responsible for the questionaire that Debbie cited that Jennings endorsed containing this gem: “If you have never slept with someone of the same sex, how do you know you wouldn’t prefer that? Is it possible you merely need a good gay experience?”, not responsible for lauding Harry Hay as an example without distancing himself from Harry’s more wacked out ideas. Gives new meaning to “Call Me Irresponsible”.

    Yes, Exodus hasn’t completed severed ties with NARTH but they have distanced themselves from the teachings of Cameron–easily found through their home page.. For that, they get a few more points in the distancing department than Jennings has to his credit.

    It’s that old double-standard rearing it’s ugly head again. From Exodus, you demand 100%; from Jennings, zip, nada, nothing, zero. And David’s points are extremely valid…the power Jennings has been given…the responsibility he has been entrusted with…they demand an even higher standard; they call for a higher measure of responsibility and accountability. In those immortal words of Tom Petty: ‘We Won’t Back Down’.

  • http://someguysarenormal.blogspot.com Brady

    Debbie and others- I am not arguing one way or the other on the issue of Jennings in comparison to Smith, King, etc. (I haven’t yet at least). I thought Lynn brought up a valid point that had not been discussed.

    I agree that we should look at all sides of a politician, but I hesitate to draw connections between NAMBLA and Jennings because Jennings spoke well of Hay. I haven’t seen you guys draw direct connections, but there are some that have (or at least have heavily insinuated it). If we are questioning his judgment, that’s one thing, but if we are tying him to NAMBLA, that’s quite another.

  • Eddy

    Brady–

    is it fair to criticize Jennings for lauding Harry Hay when he knew Hay was a supporter of NAMBLA?

    Some related questions come to mind. When is an icon not an icon? In the Timmons book, it seems clear that Hay viewed the gay establishment who tried to silence his support of NAMBLA as “self-righteous.” Was it? Should gay leaders speak out about this now, especially during gay history month? When conservatives refer to someone like Paul Cameron or Scott Lively, they are criticized (and rightly so, to my way of thinking). Should those who laud Hay be questioned about their support for someone who walked with NAMBLA?

    Discuss…

    That’s pretty much the gist of the topic and we’ve stayed pretty close to it. I don’t think we are tying him to NAMBLA as much as we are asking him to tell us how much he isn’t tied. If he’s not connected…not endorsing…not in favor…then it should be a very easy statement to make. Why, in the light of the circumstances I listed in my last post, is there such resistance to this simple request?

  • Michael Bussee

    It’s that old double-standard rearing it’s ugly head again. From Exodus, you demand 100%; from Jennings, zip, nada, nothing, zero.

    Nope. They both should do the 100%. Whether they have great power or miniscule power. That should not matter.

    It’s not enough to for Exodus to quietly distance itself from Cameron’s dubious “science”. To date, NARTH has done zip, nada, nothing, zero about Cameron’s hateful teachings and “abhorrent solution. In fact, they have boldy refused to do it.

    And Exodus is still cozy with NARTH. Why? Warren spoke up and dumped NARTH for this sort of thing– even though he has miniscule power. He wanted to avoid even the “hint” that he agreed with Cameron, Schoenewolf, Berger, et al. Why isn’t Exodus using what little power it has to do the same thing?

    The point I am making is that character counts — regardless of how much power you have. Otherwise, it’s a big double standard — and makes those criticizing Jennings look like it only matters when someone is pro-gay and has power.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Rather than get bogged down into how much one group or another has done, I think it is good to note that Exodus and NARTH have done some things but not enough. NARTH especially still has reference to Cameron’s work and Exodus continues to reference the reparative drive theories as if they were hard science. They have however removed all references to the Pink Swastika and Exodus took a stand over Schonewolf and Berger, and removed the link to Lively’s article…as did Campus Crusade for Christ.

    However, I am surprised that more gay groups have not been clear that Harry Hay was wrong to endorse NAMBLA and say that 13, 14 and 15 year old boys need older gay men to show them what they need to know. Hay did not merely endorse their freedom of speech but rather their mission. This has gone beyond Jennings for me now. I have not been able to understand why the http://www.glbthistorymonth.com/glbthistorymonth/2009/ website, which is promoted to high school and college age kids has declared Hay an icon.

  • Michael Bussee

    If he’s not connected…not endorsing…not in favor…then it should be a very easy statement to make. Why, in the light of the circumstances I listed in my last post, is there such resistance to this simple request

    Why indeed? It would be a very easy statement to make. I agree. He should do it today. And so should Exodus. Today. If morality and character only matter when you have power, then it’s not truly morality OR character. It’s just political posturing.

    Long before this thing with Jennings, I suggested over and over that Exodus and NARTH needed to do this — that if they were not connected (to folks like Cameron, Berger, Shoenewolf, etc) …not endorsing…not in favor.. they needed to say so clearly. I used almost exactly the same words and reasoning you are using here — and was brushed off.

    Double standard.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    We’ve had AMPLE opportunities to discuss the failings of EXODUS and, the fact is, that EXODUS has made some adjustments. They have a statement re Cameron, they have an anti-bullying statement. Simply not going to go there with you when there’s a very REAL, very MAJOR issue with VERY FAR-REACHING impact and a man who won’t give a clue as to whether he has a working moral compass. Exodus has had their day (many of them) on the blog’s examining table and I’m sure they’ll be her again but…this happens to be Jennings’ turn.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    PS – John Brown has not been appointed to the Dept of Education.

    Neither has Martin Luther.

    Given their views and tactics, I would oppose them too if they were nominated.

  • Michael Bussee

    Frankly Warren, I am also dismayed that Harry Hay would be presented as an “icon”. A early pioneer of the gay rights movement and a part of gay history? Sure. Icon? No. Couldn’t they find someone more admirable? What were they thinking? Didn’t they anticipate the backlash?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I have not been able to understand why the http://www.glbthistorymonth.com/glbthistorymonth/2009/ website, which is promoted to high school and college age kids has declared Hay an icon.

    That’s old news. They’ve been doing it for the several years I have known about them. Just flying under the radar. Some guy went on “The O’Reilly Factor” several years ago to tout another Web site that was at that time connected to GLBT History Month. That one had lots of links to gay porn and sex toy shops. It was disgusting, and this man was telling people to go there. Barely anything that resembled history. It did have good old Harry, of course. I sent O’Reilly an e-mail.

  • Michael Bussee

    The fact is, that EXODUS has made some adjustments. They have a statement re Cameron, they have an anti-bullying statement.

    Really? Can you direct me to their official statement denouncing Cameron’s views? Calling him on his “abhorrent solutions”? And the “anti-bullying” statement was 30 years late and took constant badgering by ME to get it done. “Some adjustments” to evil are not enough. They still are friends with NARTH and NARTH still promotes Cameron.

    But I understand and agree — this IS more important because it’s a national matter — whereas Exodus and NARTH have little to no political power. Let’s hope it stays that way.

  • Michael Bussee

    If a political appointee had praised NARTH, would you object strongly?

  • Eddy

    I’d object but not as strongly as I’m objecting here. This appointee (Jennings) has an appointment related to the education and protection of children so a seeming indifference to NAMBLA is particularly alarming. Had his appointment been to the military…to car company oversight…to banking, etc., his endorsement of Harry Hay would mean little to me.

    And, curse me for not being entirely fair and globally minded, but the issue of the exploitation of children ranks higher on my list than a number of other ‘burning issues’.

    If you have more curiosities, we’ll have to take them up at another time in another place. I do not wish to be a party to shifting this discussion away from its stated focus.

  • Michael Bussee

    This appointee (Jennings) has an appointment related to the education and protection of children so a seeming indifference to NAMBLA is particularly alarming. Had his appointment been to the military…to car company oversight…to banking, etc., his endorsement of Harry Hay would mean little to me.

    I undersrand and agree with this. I will not belabor the other point.

  • http://someguysarenormal.blogspot.com Brady

    Warren- thanks for the response re: Brown and King.

    Regarding Hay and being heralded as a gay icon–I’m with you. Until this conversation, I was only under the impression that he had spoken in favor of NAMBLA’s right to free speech. I don’t want anything to do with the organization, but from a legal standpoing, I’d at least see the reasoning. Speaking in favor of their mission…can’t get behind him, at all, for that.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Warren,

    You are now part of the “anti-gay industry.”

    Since the appointment was announced on June 1, efforts have been made by the anti-gay industry to slander Kevin?s reputation and record as GLSEN?s Founder and former Executive Director to his new colleagues at the Department of Education.

    http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/library/record/2448.html

  • Eddy

    I think it’s time we become more industrious. Let’s live up to the hype! Don’t be content with just commenting here or reading up on the issues where you can, let’s live up to the hype! Voice your concerns about this appointment…about the issues that call for clarification…voice them wherever you think it might do some good.

  • David Blakeslee

    They’ll call you anti-gay, or like Timothy Kincaid, mischaracterize your work:

    It is possible that “blocking anti-bullying programs” is not the best description. A better description might be “seeking to overturn a comprehensive, abstinence-inclusive sex-education program and replace it with one that advocated for ex-gay therapy”

    That was his description of this: http://www.drthrockmorton.com/article.asp?id=142

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Thank for the reference, David. Seems to me that white paper certainly is relevant to some of our current discussions. This part, in particular, brings to mind some of GLSEN’s goals and curriculum objectives:

    No discussion of sex education should begin without understanding the developmental situation of adolescents. Consider the following: the adolescent mind is geared toward risk, rather than risk avoidance. This is due to a “profound remodeling” that occurs in the prefrontal cortex of the brain:

    “Almost half of the neural connections in the prefrontal cortex-the daily command center of the brain-are wiped out and decision-making shifts toward the brain regions that are governed by emotional reactivity. These massive changes…predispose adolescents to take more risks—and make them more vulnerable…Along with the brain’s shift from its logic center, the level of dopamine in the amygdala, the brain’s primitive emotional reactivity center, decreases.”

    All of this suggests that adolescents take risks to achieve increasing levels of pleasure, as part of normal development. With adequate guidance and structure, these risks help adolescents understand and develop their skills through successes and begin to identify their deficits through failure. This “developing brain” makes adolescents quite vulnerable to impulsivity and influence from peers and media.

    And Jennings’ weak attempt at doing something positive for whomever Brewster was meant to represent by tossing out “I hope you used a condom” comes off looking more silly after your review of the “Protect Yourself” video. Is that video still being used?

    I became aware of the Montgomery County sex ed flap back in 2006. I recall it going back and forth, but I wonder where it is today. Also, Warren, you proposed an alternate curriculum for schools. Where does that stand now?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Forgive me for referencing the white paper one more time. Warren, we know that you have moderated some of your views since then. But some things still hold.

    Given the statement below (we can debate the actual numbers, but that is mostly a moot point) I am wondering if “safety” in schools extends to helping to protect students from the STDs inherent in their sexually curious and risky behaviors, made more risky by their brain development, as pointed out in the statement I quoted in my above comment. Since there have been several threads here discussing Kevin Jennings and various aspects of his appointment controversy, I am not sure which is the best place to raise this point. But as this one is the current discussion, I am doing it here.

    We do wonder why the risk factors attendant to a gay identity were not more obvious in the health education curriculum. This omission seems particularly troubling since the curriculum is supposed to be designed to help protect children during a vulnerable time. For example, recent research suggests that those at highest risk for HIV infection, young men with many sex partners, appear to be the least likely to have changed their sexual behaviors since the onset of the AIDS epidemic. Despite being just 2-3% of the population, gay and bisexual men accounted for 44% of new HIV cases reported between 2000-2003.

    What we have is folks like Jennings actually promoting or helping to create some of the very problems he is being asked to help solve. It’s been pointed out by critics that “safety” as pushed by GLSEN and Jennings is a euphemism for gay advocacy. And students will be less safe from serious STDs, including HIV, if the prevailing thinking in public schools continues.

    And by the way, the CDC’s estimates now of MSM (males sex with males) new HIV cases is even higher.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    I am not up on HIV/AIDs prevalences now so I can’t comment on that.

    I do think that teens are still teens and while we are making driving ages older (16.5 in my state, 17 in some states) we are expecting sexual activity earlier and earlier to be a norm. Both can be quite destructive in different ways. Call me old fashioned but pretending to be an adult in a car or in a bed is asking too much of a adolescent brain.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Call me old fashioned but pretending to be an adult in a car or in a bed is asking too much of a adolescent brain.

    I call you wise, and an adult!

  • David Blakeslee

    From a posting at Timothy Kincaid’s site, an author there referred to his other opinions which are found here: http://thomaskraemer.blogspot.com/2009/02/nambla-killed-gay-liberation.html

    “It is clear that NAMBLA killed Gay Liberation because gay leaders wanted to avoid being accused of preying on children. Instead, gay rights activists have tried to ape heterosexuals with marriage, etc. Intergenerational love should not be anymore taboo than gay love.”

  • http://someguysarenormal.blogspot.com Brady

    Debbie- regarding your most recent comment. While Jennings’ statement to Brewster was wholly inept, the one thing he actually did do was ask the boy to use a condom.

    I agree with Warren regarding his statement about driving ages getting older while sexual experiences seem to be getting younger (and society seems to be ok with that), but I’m not sure I see the connection that Jennings is promoting sex or is helping to contribute to high STD rates in teens.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Debbie- regarding your most recent comment. While Jennings’ statement to Brewster was wholly inept, the one thing he actually did do was ask the boy to use a condom.

    The point, Brady, was that he needed to do so much more. Condoms are not the magic bullet kids probably think they are, and I went to lengths to show that with my comments. Responsible adults (parents, teachers, coaches, etc.) need to be giving the whole message about “safety” to kids. If safety does not also mean safeguarding oneself from STDs, unwanted pregnancy and emotional distress — a message that also emphasizes the importance of waiting to become sexually active — then Jennings and his ilk are being hypocrites.

    And yes, Jennings’ attitude and activism, as expressed through his collective writings and speeches, do, indeed, promote an unsafe environment in some ways for students by allowing them to believe they are safer than they are.

    There is also the moral element, and that part of it is being neglected, as well. Is it morally right to help proliferate a large public health problem?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Of course, we already have covered the other moral elephant in the living room — winking at adult sex with a student who either was a minor or was still far too young to be playing with fire.

  • David Blakeslee

    Kraemer apparently played some role in Oregon State University’s GLBT month in 2006

    http://calendar.oregonstate.edu/event/8187/

  • Michael Bussee

    I am sorry if we have covered this, but was “use a condom” the only thing he said to the kid? There must have been more to their conversation…

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    I can’t find anything else he has said publicly and he did say recently that he should have called in medical and legal consultation but he didn’t at that time.

  • http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/ Thom Hunter

    The only things Jennings has admitted to and Brewster, the 16-year-old, has corroborated, is that Jennings (1) advised him to use a condom and (2) did not suggest to him that he should end the relationship with the older man. It’s on that point that Jennings later said he should have sought legal consultation.

  • Michael Bussee

    I just find it hard to believe that a teacher (or any sdult) would just leave it at “wear a condom”. There must have been more to their talk. No questions asked? “Do you think it’s wise to be having sex at your age? How long have you felt depressed? I really don’t think you should be having sex with adults…?” Nothing else?

    You would have to be brain dead. Even if he was of “legal age” and even if the kid said he was not having sex with the man… Something else must have happened in their conversations — otherwise the talk would have only lasted a few seconds. “Wear a condom, have a good day, good-bye”?. I find it hard to believe.

  • http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/ Thom Hunter

    I agree with you. There had to be more to the conversation than that, but it appears that Jennings and Brewster agreed to publicly admit only to those two points because they were mentioned in Jennings’ original telling of the story. Of course there was more. Regardless, you end up with an adult educator condoning sex between a teenager and an adult, as long as it is done safely.

    It’s irresponsible and reckless and, considering the time period, Jennings and Brewster are both very fortunate that the kid did not end up the victim of violence or disease. I think most adults who are not brain dead wouldn’t even advise other adults to continue a relationship that began through promiscuous contact.

    Regardless, if there is any record of Jennings asking the questions you mention above — all very reasonable and representative of common sense, regardless of training — he has not produced the record, nor has Brewster.

  • David Blakeslee

    Brewster was also at risk for being brutalized as an “out” gay adolescent…lets not forget.

  • Michael Bussee

    There had to be more to the conversation than that, but it appears that Jennings and Brewster agreed to publicly admit only to those two points because they were mentioned in Jennings’ original telling of the story.

    That makes no sense at all. If they was going to tell the story at all — and I don’t see why they did — why would they agree only to mention the most damaging parts of their conversation?

    Why not say, “A young gay man came to me who was very depressed, did not want to live and was taking great risks with his health. Sadly this is all too common for gay youth who have been brainwashed into believing they are dmaged and unworthy.”

    “We had a heart-to-heart conversation and I helped him to see that his life was indeed worth living, that he did not need to put his life and his health in danger…”

    Why just mention the older man and the condoms? Unless they both agreed that they wanted to look stupid?

  • http://someguysarenormal.blogspot.com Brady

    Debbie- I agree that Jennings needed to do more, which is why I called his response inept. But, telling a kid to use a condom is hardly promoting sex.

    Maybe that’s where we differ. I am of the opinion that sex education that encompasses both absitenence, safer sex, and the risks that come with sex, is the proper way to go about handling the problem with teen pregnancy and STD. You seem to be saying that talking about safer sex, or even telling kids its ok to be gay is advocating sex and spreading STDs.

    if you are saying that Jennings and “his ilk” are “proliferating a larger health problem” by telling people that kids are ok, I’m sorry, but I have huge issues with that. If you are not saying that, then please tell me how else you think he is doing that or how else he is allowing students to be safer than they are.

  • http://someguysarenormal.blogspot.com Brady

    Carole and Ann- this is off topic from the current post, but Carole asked previously why gays often focus their hostility at the Christian faith rather than the other faith.

    This is completely allegorical, but I have a post up on my blog about a Christian friend of mine that recently came out and the response he got from some of his Christian friends. I believe it’s these types of responses that cause some to have such feelings towards the church.

  • Pingback: Is Harry Hay an icon? — Warren Throckmorton

  • Michael Bussee

    But, telling a kid to use a condom is hardly promoting sex.

    That like’s saying telling a person how to use a fire extinguisher promotes pyromania.

  • Eddy

    In all of the retellings, Jennings seems to make it clear that the conversation with “Fleming”, “Brewster”, whoever was very brief. In the scenario where the conversation took place in his office, a female co-worker brought the boy to him and then left. It seems there was an awkward minute or so before Jennings asked ‘So, what’s his name?’ That remark, more than leading to the name, was clearly meant to convey “Let’s cut to the chase…you’re gay.”

    Jennings also did a little fact-finding. He discovered how they met…he learned about the overnights. My sense was that his approach was mostly inquiry and short on advice. But, the advice regarding condom usage is the only advice Jennings cites giving.

    It’s entirely possible that Jennings edited his comments for his audience. Perhaps he did give age-appropriate advice but then realized that a sizable portion of the gay readers would take issue with him ‘going conventional’. And it’s still entirely possible that ‘Fleming’, ‘Brewster’ is pure allegory. Yes, we now have to contend with the ‘real Brewster’ having come forward. But, duh, how easy is that! It was a made up name and info designed to protect anonymity. So, any male who went to that school and was 15 or 16 at the time could make the claim that they were the real Brewster. Even if the story is true, anyone else could step forward and claim to be Brewster as long as the real Brewster could be trusted to keep quiet. (i.e. if Brewster really was 15 at the time, it would be very expedient to have someone who was 16 at the time step forward in his place.)

  • Michael Bussee

    I gave my daughter the WHOLE talk — reproduction, STD’s, safer sex, condoms, love, commitment, marriage, responsibility and the STRONG message that I did not want to be a grandfather until I was 55 or so.

    We had “the talk” many times from early childhood through her adult years — adding more information as she was able to understand it. I think it would have been irresponsible of me to leave ANY of that out.

    She waited. She married. She gave me the wonderful experience of being a grandad. Giving information does not promote irresponsibility.

  • Michael Bussee

    Perhaps he did give age-appropriate advice but then realized that a sizable portion of the gay readers would take issue with him ‘going conventional’. And it’s still entirely possible that ‘Fleming’, ‘Brewster’ is pure allegory.

    That doesn’t make sense either. What possible objection would a “sizeable portion of the gay readers” have with Jennings mentioning that he encouraged the boy to be safe in every aspect of his life– emotionally and physically?

    Why would Jennings edit that out for the audience? What would have been his prupose in only mentioning that he told the boy to use condoms? What would be the point in that?

    IF his only point in bringing up the story was to mention that he told a sexually active kid that it was smart to use condoms, why put in the stuff about the older guy — particularly if the story may not have been real anyway?

  • Michael Bussee

    If you are going to leave something out for your audience — or make up a story to prove some point — why not say:

    “I once met a gay boy (who I will call Brewster”) who was very troubled about his sexuality and other aspects of his life. He felt very alone. He felt frightened. He was taking dangerous risks with him life and his heath. He said he didn’t want to live. I helped to so see that his life was worth living, and I gave him support and advice on how to keep safe emotionally and physically. Such stories are all too common! We need to reach out to kids like “Brewster”.

    What possible objection could a large portion of his gay readers have with that? I can’t think of any reasonable gay person who would. Why only mention the condoms and the old man?

  • Michael Bussee

    The more I think about this the more I am confused. This may be a made up story. “Brewster” may be a composite and the guy who claims he is the real Brewster may not be. I

    If there was a real “Brewster” he may or may not have had sex with an older man. The one who claims he is the real guy says, “No”.

    If the incident is real and the boy is real, Jennings may have given “Brewster” sound advice, but chose to mention only condoms and a possible molest, not wanting to offend his gay readers.

    Huh?

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    We all admit that it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense if it’s real; it doesn’t make sense if it’s made up. There’s some significant stuff missing but it’s from Jennings own telling and retelling. That’s been the point all along…there’s an awful lot that just doesn’t make sense and only Jennings can clarify. I’m afraid, though, that with czar status he’ll consider himself above all that.

  • Eddy

    Also, the Brewster who came forward said that he didn’t have sex with the older man. It does make the condom advice a little strange but it is possible. HOWEVER, Brewster claims to have met this older man in a restroom and that he spent the night with him. A 15 or 16 year old student going out of town to spend the night with a stranger they met in a restroom…against school rules and against personal safety rules…whether they did or didn’t have sex.

    I don’t think it makes too much difference BUT, to be fair, we don’t know the age of this ‘older man’. I remember at 15 that 18 looked old and that 25 looked like the end of life. The mental image we get with ‘older man’ I suspect is 30′ish to 40′ish… I do hope that Jennings got a sense of how old the ‘older man’ was.

  • Michael Bussee

    We all admit that it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense if it’s real; it doesn’t make sense if it’s made up.

    Judge Judy says, “If it doesn’t make sense, it’s not true”. Makes be believe the entire thing is made up. But why would Jennings make up a story that makes him look stupid?

  • Pingback: Memo to Media Matters: Kevin Jennings knew of Harry Hay’s NAMBLA connections · zomblog

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Michael – I think the story has a factual basis, at least I hope this whole thing including Brewster’s defense is not made up. I am pretty sure Brewster is a real person and that Jennings used the story to make whatever point he was interested in making. If you listen to the recording of his description of Brewster in his 2000 speech to GLSEN-Iowa, it comes across as a real event. The details are much different than what Brewster now said they were but he tells it as a story like it was yesterday. What he told is what the fuss is about. His defenders need to remember that we are going on his own words, not guesses.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    PS to Michael – the only person calling it an allegory to my knowledge is Timothy Kincaid. Media Matters takes it literally, Jennings said he should have handled it differently and a possible Brewster has come forward to describe a real event, albeit with details much different than Jennings describes.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Gee. I just got introduced to zombieblog, thanks to this thread. What a trip! Whoever this dude is, he(she) sure has the goods on Jennings. It will be interesting to see how Media Matters responds to the call-out. Word of caution: If you decide to check out any of the photo essays on the zombie’s related site, be advised some images are shocking.

  • Eddy

    Debbie–

    Lots of ‘zombie’ pages and blogs…any help on finding this one? a link…an exact online address?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Eddy, the link is right above our heads in this thread, and I didn’t help by misspelling it. It is zomblog.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am pretty sure Brewster is a real person and that Jennings used the story to make whatever point he was interested in making.

    Which was what? What point was he making? Why would he only mention the condoms and the possibly sexual relationship with the older man — and not the rest of the advice which I am sure he must have given? Why would he only mention things that would make him look stupid?

  • David Blakeslee

    An example of a negative outcome from intergenerational consensual heterosexual sex:

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-abortion-memoir13-2009oct13,0,6943535,full.story

  • David Blakeslee
  • Eddy

    Thanks, David. Is it any wonder that Jennings isn’t answering to the challenges re his appointment? This ‘recommended reading’ is way over the top. I hope more than a few people will take just a little time away from the Uganda mission to take some action on exposing the dangers that Jennings presents. I recommend that anyone who shares this concern about the questionable status of Jennings should send this link (along with a statement of their concerns) to anyone with any type of political status…from the local school board on up.


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