Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jesse Helms, Friend to Gays. You Have to Read this Hypocrisy to (Dis)Believe It

     By recently lifting the ban on HIV-positive immigrant and travelers, the United States finally put aside ignorance and homophobia and entered the 1990s. 

     For twenty-two years, foreign nationals living and working in the USA who became HIV-positive were deported.

     Here's a bit of the history surrounding the bad, care of The New York Times:
     The ban was imposed in 1987 when H.I.V.-positive foreigners were added to a list of inadmissible undesirables that included prostitutes and felons, said Christian Schmidt, a San Francisco immigration lawyer.  “They didn’t let you in,” Mr. Schmidt said. Those already here were tested. If results were positive, they had to leave.
    The ban grouped H.I.V. — which is infectious and transmitted in blood and through sexual contact — with tuberculosis, a contagious airborne disease.  Critics said that by incorrectly inferring that H.I.V. was spread by casual contact, and equating the sick with criminals, the ban demonized those infected. “It’s really impossible to underestimate the stigma caused by this law,” Mr. Ralls said.
    The ban “set a very bad precedent,” he said. “It undermined H.I.V. awareness and testing.” Foreigners avoided testing, which Mr. Ralls said might have worsened the spread of AIDS. The United States was the only industrialized country with such a policy; the handful of others included Iran, Iraq and Syria.  The policy took effect in the Reagan administration.
     Now that the ban has been lifted, one notorious anti-gay homophobe and bigot is undergoing a PR makeover, from the grave.  The morons, who preach their Gospel According to Hate, have a new savior of gay rights: Jesse Helms.  (I'm not making this up.)

     The Times continues:
     Efforts to lift the ban were blocked by a 1993 Congressional amendment introduced by Senator Jesse Helms, Republican of North Carolina. Those who fought the law say Mr. Helms, who died in 2008, perpetuated decades of discrimination. But just as the ban has disappeared, the curators of Mr. Helms’s legacy are trying to touch up the relevant history. Some want him seen as a savior to those with AIDS and a defender of gay rights.
     Despite Mr. Helms’s storied opposition to “a homosexual lifestyle,” the Jesse Helms Center in Wingate, N.C., is challenging the idea that he was a “homophobe” or obstructive in the AIDS fight.  According to the center’s Web site, “It was Senator Helms who worked most tirelessly to protect the very principles of freedom that homosexuals are denied in many other nations.”
    John Dodd, president of the Jesse Helms Center Foundation, recently disputed an editorial in the British newspaper The Guardian that vilified Mr. Helms for his role in the ban. Mr. Dodd argued that “two million Africans were alive” because of the senator’s work fighting H.I.V.
    Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, whose partner Tim Curbo died from AIDS, said the Helms Center sought to sanitize the record. “It’s spitting on the graves of all the people who suffered,” Mr. Ammiano said, adding, “He was truly evil and very cavalier about it. He should be in the hall of shame.”
     The HIV/AIDS hall of shame, indeed!  Right there beside his buddy and fellow homophobe Ronald Reagan.

    Over the years Helms has declared homosexuality "degenerate," and homosexuals "weak, morally sick wretches." (Newsweek, 12/5/94) In a tirade highlighting his routine opposition to AIDS research funding, Helms lashed out at the Kennedy-Hatch AIDS bill in 1988: "There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy." (States News Service, 5/17/88)
    I leave you with a paraphrase of Kate Clinton's response to the death of Jerry Falwell:  "My mother told me only to speak good of the dead.  Jesse Helms is dead. Good."

Image credit: The Onion




Sinead O'Connor Calls Pope Benedict's Letter to the Irish Church "A Study on the Fine Art of Lying"

     My fellow heretic and survivor of sexual abuse, Sinead O'Connor and I agree about Pope Benedict's pastoral letter to the Irish bishops concerning the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and the cover-up that followed at the hands of the bishops.

    In response to a papal letter apologizing to Irish victims of sexual abuse by priests, O'Connor said in a statement that the Vatican's strategy "is to sell the bishops down the river . . . making it seem (and they will try this in every country) that the Irish hierarchy were acting independently of the Vatican. That is a lie. . . . Yesterday's letter is a study on the fine art of lying and betraying one's own people." Pope Benedict avoided any direct mention of the abuse scandal on Sunday, his first public address since releasing the letter.
     I couldn't agree with you more, Sinead: "Yesterday's letter is a study on the fine art of lying and betraying one's own people."  However, I have no doubt that, in his pure and sacred heart, Hypocrite Benedict XVI believes that he is not lying. 

     When I was in seminary, I was formed in a system where the priests in power told me that it's not lying if you believe that the people who seek the information (about which you are not telling the entire truth) have no right to that information.  For example, if someone has a gun to your head and will kill you if you tell them the truth, they don't have a right to the truth and your life is more important, so it's not a lie to withhold the truth. 

     Here's a more practical example.  If you are gay and you believe you are called to be a priest in the Catholic church, the seminary faculty and bishop think you're golden, and the Holy Spirit is working through your gifts to help so many people find peace, truth, and healing in Jesus, then it's not lying to mislead people about your sexual orientation making them believe you're straight.  Your being gay is privileged information of the "internal forum" that others have no right to, so misleading them is not lying.

     Benny Boy (lover) has a loaded gun to his Christi capitis right now, and he believes that his vulnerable flock would be scandalized by his telling the whole truth.  He's not going to tell them the entire truth, but half-truths, using projection and misdirection, anything to protect his holy dysfunctional mother church and his own hemrroidal hairy Auschwitz.  And the beautiful thing about lying like this is that, Bentadict can lie in a letter on Saturday morning, confess sins of omissionon on Saturday afternoon, and then chew up and swallow Jesus at Mass on Saturday night. 

Rip away!