A Spanish clergyman is being investigated by the government of the province of Galicia for counseling parents to encourage masculinity in their sons to help them avoid homosexuality. Marcos Zapata, a protestant minister and president of the Dignity Association, was giving a seminar for the Evangelical Council of Aragon when he made the comments, at a talk titled "How to Raise Heterosexual Children." Zapata reportedly stated that he reinforces his sons' masculinity by watching professional wrestling with them and advised his audience to show affection to their children. He told fathers to "hug your sons as much as you can, because if you don't, perhaps another man will".
The Galician Vice President of Equality and Welfare responded to the reported remarks by announcing that he was initiating an investigation into Zapata's activities to discover "any type of proselytism or homophobic attitude" in his work with minors. Zapata's Dignity organization works in the province's schools to combat drug addiction and other social ills.
Homosexual groups have responded by threatening to sue Zapata. "After so many legal victories in this country, and for the first time people are talking openly about homosexuality in schools, we have to deal with fundamentalist groups which take us back to the Franco dictatorship," the president of the National Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals told The Guardian, a British newspaper. "Of course," he added, "we are going to try to stop this from happening."
The fierce outcry against Zapata belies his very tame views about homosexual behavior. Although sodomy is clearly condemned in the Bible, which is regarded as sacred and inerrant by traditional protestants, Zapata speaks about it in the most delicate terms. "The gospel hasn't destroyed the life of homosexuals, it has made it as sin to assume a sexual condition that is not in the perfect will of God," he writes in an internet article. "I reiterate that the church should be a community that offers its embrace and its love to the homosexual person. The Gospel is something that heals and restores."
When interviewed by local Galician media, Zapata retreated further, denying that he sought to heal homosexuals of their condition. "I speak in schools in the nation's schools on the prevention of drug addiction, youth violence, or, if they request it, also about sexual orientation, but of course I don't dedicate myself to curing homosexuality because it isn't an illness," he said. "I participated in that seminar because they asked me and the title refers to the formation of sexual identity of children, and in this there is a genetic aspect and an environmental aspect over which we do have an influence."
David Rego, the Secretary of the Evangelical Council of Galicia, noted in a separate interview that people "are not born homosexual, but it is a personal decision that is made for various reasons" and stated that "there is no doubt" that homosexuality "is today being promoted by various means."
Under successive socialist regimes, the Spanish government has created a body of "civil rights" legislation promoting homosexuality, including a recent law creating "homosexual marriage" and a program of pro-homosexual indoctrination in the nation's schools. Concern about the future of the Spanish family seems to be growing; between one and two million people recently attended a rally in the Spanish capital of Madrid opposing the government's anti-family policies
Drug-Addled Vietnam Drivel Wins National Book Award-Iraq Next?
Top novel National Book Award winner for 2007 is Tree of Smoke, that USA Today calls a "dark novel about the calamities of the Vietnam War." "Reading it feels like a careening journey into our national subconscious," the judges said.
That "subconscious" is not national, except among our literary and media elites.
Tree of Smoke author Denis Johnson was a drugged-out street-person in the `60's, hardly a background qualifying him to pass judgment on the troops who served in Vietnam, or to be taken seriously by anyone with any sense, or sense of decency. The Washington Post's columnist on foreign affairs, David Ignatius, whose entire career has been within the media, without practical experience, wrote a glowing review of this 600-page novel. It is indicative of what passes for truthiness among these circles. Ignatius finds the drug-addled mind of Johnson as a realistic indicator of our troops' minds in Vietnam, and guide to our troops' minds in Iraq.
To write a fat novel about the Vietnam War nearly 35 years after it ended is an act of literary bravado. To do so as brilliantly as Denis Johnson has in Tree of Smoke is positively a miracle.. to its sheer ambition to be definitive for the Vietnam generation.. This is war as hallucination. It's a story of the decomposition and degradation of the characters and, by implication, Vietnam.. by the end he is a wild outcast running guns in Southeast Asia. "I quit working for the giant-size criminals," he says, "and started working for the medium size. Lousy hours and no fringe benefits, but the ethics are clearer.". "This isn't a war. It's a disease. A plague." That is one of the most powerful themes of the book: Vietnam fed a national craving. We couldn't get out, we couldn't stay in; the war was controlling us rather than the other way around. Johnson's skill in rendering the dialect of war was earned the hard way -- during the years in which he was, by his own account, a drug addict..I had a previous run-in with Ignatius regarding the major media's failure to report for duty in Iraq for Iraq war reporting. Tree of Smoke author Johnson says, in a 2003 interview, he can't even manage to cash a check without his wife's help.
As a serious war novel, Tree of Smoke is implicitly a story about all wars. And a reader cannot travel this journey without thinking about America's current war in Iraq. Officers and politicians speak of the nobility of this war, as they do of all wars. But when you talk to soldiers in Baghdad or Anbar, you know that it is about surviving, counting down the days, believing in the people on your left and right rather than in the loftier mission statements that emanate from the Green Zone. And those are the lucky soldiers who stay sane. For the vulnerable ones, war takes away these human instincts of survival and replaces them with crazy ones..
Something similar must have happened with the mercifully few U.S. soldiers who were involved in America's worst moments in Iraq -- at Abu Ghraib, Haditha and other places we will hear about later. They were damaged people -- addicted to war, feeding on it in a frenzy, being made crazy by it..
It's a war turned upside down. If we could hear the inner voices of soldiers in Ramadi and Baqubah, behind those wraparound shades they would be thinking about coming home. The decent ones, that is. Those corrupted by war would want to stay on forever, as do Johnson's unforgettable, war-deranged cast of characters.
Fourteen years of substance abuse may have affected the writer's mind, so he relies, like Ozzy [Osbourne], on a practical wife to keep him grounded. "Cindy handles all the finances. That's crucial," he says. Last December, for example, he went with her to cash one of his own royalty checks at the bank. "She showed the lady some ID, and I said, 'Shouldn't I show her my ID?' And she said, 'You don't have an account here.'"Johnson's wife picked up the National Book Award for him, as Johnson is currently in Iraq. I'm sure he will find himself in much friendly company among other home-bound pundits like Ignatius and other writers and editors whose conception of Iraq and our troops was shaped by a misinformed myth adopted about Vietnam and our troops. Many such are writing new myths about Iraq and our troops, and are probably looking forward to validation of their imaginings from drug-addled Johnson.
My friend, Thomas Lipscomb (bio), is a Senior Fellow of the University of Southern California Annenberg Center For The Digital Future, was founding President of Times Books, magazine publisher, widely published investigative journalist, and much more. Lipscomb offers his take on this and other National Book Awards:
As a publisher and editor who has had a number of the books I had published over the past 40 years win Pulitzers and National Book Awards, the 2007 NBA award to TREE OF SMOKE is part of a dismal pattern. While NBA winners 30 years ago were often best-sellers, practically none are at present. There is a reason for that. The prize committees have drifted farther and farther from any recognizable American roots.Source
When I went into publishing in the late 60s, there was little doubt that the prevailing left wing politics of the publishing and academic communities influenced the awarding of prizes. But there was also room for well-argued and written books that didn't have to carry clear evidence that a politically correct catechism had been mastered by their authors.
But as time went on, evidence of the catechism has become more important in many cases than the excellence of the book. For example, the last book to win a nonfiction NBA about a Republican was more than a quarter century ago in the 1980 Edmund Morris THE RISE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT. Unless you count James Carroll's 1996 AN AMERICAN REQUIEM (which also won the Lucian K. Truscott IV Ingrate Son Award), IF his CIA father was one of the rare GOPers in the CIA.
And there were no other winners on a Republican in the past 50 years and we don't even need to go near the fiction list. And yet Republicans have held the presidency for the majority of that time. But the list of winners covers the predictable liberal waterfront, from the Great Depression, to FDR, LBJ, Civil Rights, Jefferson, Vietnam, etc., etc.
The problem with political correctness of right or left is that it makes everything so predictable, including literary awards. Talent, the most unpredictable thing of all, diminishes as a major factor in the award.
In the early days of printing in Roman Catholic countries the church's fear of general literacy required the imprimatur of the local cardinal or bishop be included in a printed book to allow it to be legally sold in his community. Having freed literacy from one tyranny, we are heading back where we started.
And what could have been more predictable than that the coveted Bancroft Prize in History should be awarded to a work fraudulent on the face of it to anyone who wasn't living in an academic cocoon, Michael Bellesiles ARMING AMERICA. Before someone spent 10 seconds actually checking Bellesiles research, his central thesis that guns were about as rare in colonial America as astolabes (hence there was no historical basis for the 2nd Amendment) seemed just plain loony to a normal American. There clearly were guns hanging over the fireplace of every American colonial hovel, not peace pipes. At least an embarrassed Columbia University revoked the prize in 2002.
Henri Stendal, as acerbic a critic of social climbers as ever lived, created a scene in which his young Sammy Glick was amazed to be given his first award and ribbon by his patron and employer, the Marquis de la Mole. "But what did I do to earn it?" the young man asked, losing his cool totally. The Marquis was vastly amused. "Awards, my boy, are not earned, They are bestowed."
Many a veteran of shooting wars and literary wars can testify to that.
Ban that became a boon for fox hunting
THE law of unintended consequences is the curse of well-meaning lawmakers around the globe. You set out with high ideals of achieving some lofty goal - and end up doing precisely the opposite. So it is with the banning of hunting with dogs. Almost three years after the ban was imposed in 2005, the sport of fox hunting has never been healthier. This Boxing Day more than 250,000 hunt supporters gathered at over 300 meets around the UK - the numbers apparently swollen by people who previously had no interest in hunting, but who now turn out in protest at what they see as an illiberal and nanny-statist law.
So those people who set out to destroy fox hunting have succeeded only in reinvigorating it. Those who wanted to save foxes from the hounds have engineered a situation where more of them are killed than ever before. You'd need a heart of stone not to laugh.
Before the tree huggers start accusing me of being a bloodthirsty animal killer, I should declare a lack of interest. The only thing I was hunting on Boxing Day was the television remote control that was lost down the back of the sofa.
The only time I attended a meet was as a reporter to cover a noisy protest by hunt saboteurs a few years ago. The passions - and occasional violence - aroused on both sides frankly baffled me. But as a general principle I reckon the state has absolutely no business banning an activity that many people enjoy and which causes no harm to anybody else.
What I do resent is the 700 hours of parliamentary time that was devoted to the hunting ban - more than was spent discussing the Iraq war. I've never seen MPs so animated since the last time someone suggested cutting their expenses. Can anyone honestly argue that at a time when our health and education systems are in a meltdown, Britain is threatened by jihadist lunatics and people's pensions have gone down the tubes, this was the best use of valuable parliamentary time?
The result is a law that is such a mess that it is widely ignored - and the police believe is virtually impossible to enforce. Meanwhile, the net impact on animal welfare of the hunting ban is precisely zero. Farmers still need to control the fox population and more are being killed than before the ban was imposed.
But, of course, the hunting ban was nothing to do with animal welfare - it was all about politics. How else could you explain why other "cruel" pastimes, such as fishing, horse racing or factory farming, have been left well alone? Labour's old Left had swallowed the dumping of Clause 4 and Tony Blair's aping of the Conservatives in order to woo Middle England. As a reward they were tossed a bit of red meat in the shape of the hunting ban so they could imagine themselves sticking it to the toffs.
How pathetic. The hunting ban is as nasty a piece of naked class warfare that has ever disgraced the statute books. Let that be a lesson to other busybodies who want the state to ban everything they disagree with. I for one am glad it has backfired so spectacularly. Tally Ho!
Planned Parenthood Entices Teens with "Mile High Club"
Planned Parenthood Golden Gate (PPGG) has aired a new commercial featuring a stereotyped gay man showering teens with condoms and contraceptive pills aimed specifically at 18 to 24-year-olds. The ads, aired on MTV, VH-1, Comedy Central and TLC, are set to a "Mile High Club" theme, where Stephen, a flagrantly stereotypical gay man "educates" the teenage passengers about 'safe sex' by shoving contraceptives at them. At the end of the commercial, Stephen sits on the pilots lap and hits on him.
"PPGG created this campaign to stress the importance of sexual health in a creative way and one that breaks free from the old ineffective paradigm of relying on fear-mongering tactics to inspire desired behavior changes," said Dian J. Harrison, PPGG's President and CEO in a press release. "We want young people to take control of their sexual health and well-being by using prevention every time they have sex. This ad's message normalizes pregnancy prevention and safer sex in a healthy, cool, and humorous way."
The commercial, which will run through February 2008, is the latest in a series of raunchy sex-obsessed commercials aired by the heavily-tax-funded PPGG and aimed subverting at teens and young adults.
In early 2007, PPGG made a commercial that showed a sloppy-looking male angel eating popcorn at the head of the bed watching a couple having sex. Then his female angel counterpart appeared imploring him to do something. The male angel uses a TV remote and rewinds the scene of the couple in bed. This time the woman asks her male partner if he has any protection, to which he exclaims, "Yeah, of course." The woman responds, "Amen!"
In 2006, PPGG produced a spot depicting a young woman working with power tools who later hops into bed with a man, selects items from a Planned Parenthood "safe sex" tool case and exclaims, "Nice tool!" "The organization's shameless promotion of its attempts to influence teenagers with a morally reprehensible TV spot is just another reason why all taxpayer funding of the group should be yanked immediately," said Jim Sedlak, executive director of American Life League's STOPP International.
According to PPGG's 2006 tax return, $12.2 million of its $22.1 million budget comes from taxpayer sources by means of fees and contracts from government agencies.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.