Wednesday, January 14, 2009

RIP Montalban; No News; Chambers on Haggard

RIP Ricardo Montalban

kahn, originally uploaded by mordicaicaeli.

Scott called me at work today with the sad news that Ricardo Montalban passed away today.

NEWS FLASH!: No Complaints!!!!

The Oregonian's web site reports that an anti-religion billboard has not created controversy, complaints, or outrage in Portland. If I didn't know better, I would suspect The O is trying to create news.

I remember seeing this billboard a while a go. Since the billboard doesn't target a specific religion, I can see why no one really took offense. Also, there are a lot of billboards with odd messages like the saccharine Foundation For A Better Life billboards.

Ex-Gay Leader Uses Haggard Documentary To Reach Right Wingers

I am not sure what the point of Alan Chambers' commentary on a ultra-right wing "news" website publicizing Exodus to a like-minded audience. Chambers uses the Haggard story to relate his own testimony of being a closeted gay church member and, as Mike Airhart at Truth Wins Out notes, makes several negative assertions about gays and "gay life".

However, Haggard's scandal is not a typical closeted-gay-with-a-secret-life story. Haggard founded his megachurch, chose to lead a major national conservative Christian organization, and chose to lead anti-gay political campaigns. As a leader, Haggard was uniquely empowered and responsible to make sure "the church" was a safe and welcoming place for honesty about personal sexuality, beliefs, and doubts for his followers and and himself. His tragedy wasn't just that he betrayed his wife and public image, but that he did not create own church or change the conservative Christian movement to be safe places.

And yet, Chambers' and Exodus' continuing efforts to stigmatize homosexuality as "sexual brokenness", a "hurt" resulting from "underlying wounds", a lonely lifestyle, etc. would seem to further encourage conservative Christian "stragglers" to avoid ever admitting to such a serious and embarrassing condition. If Haggard bought the Exodus understanding that his natural attractions were unhealthy and rooted in sin and abuse, then it may have contributed to his desperate decision to hire a prostitute. After all, if you're going to consider yourself a "sexually broken" sinner then why not do sexually broken sinful behaviors?

REVISED and re-worded 'cuz it's my blog.

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