Kern packs a hot lunch

Why would you need a gun in your legislative office?
Oh, now I get it…

OKLAHOMA CITY – Outspoken state Rep. Sally Kern was turned back by security Wednesday morning when she arrived at the Capitol carrying a pistol in her purse.
Kern, R-Oklahoma City, was nearly as surprised as security when a camera spotted the small handgun when her purse rolled through the camera-equipped conveyer.
The lawmaker, who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, said she routinely removes it before entering the Capitol, but just forgot this time.
Kern said she asked security if she “could put the gun up.” She returned to her vehicle, left the weapon there, and returned to the Capitol for a meeting.
The lawmaker was not arrested.
Department of Public Safety spokesman Chris West said, “We tell security to use their heads,” and assess this kind of situation before taking action.

Court says Texas had no right to keep children

Testing the intersection of religious liberty and child protection, the state of Texas removed over 460 children from a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in April, 2008.
Today, an appeals court said the state of Texas was in error given that Texas law requires imminent danger as a test for removal. The authorities appealed to the “pervasive belief system” of the cult as one reason to take all children. The court indicated that the beliefs of the cult was insufficient basis for imminent danger.
The memorandum is here…
While I have no sympathy for the doctrines or practices of this group, I do think an appeal to the beliefs of the cult as a prime foundation for removal could set a ambiguous precedent for how child welfare professionals regard religious beliefs. There are less dramatic actions that can be taken and indeed probably should be taken to prevent harm to children.

California Supreme Court recognizes same-sex marriage right

If you get Google alerts or some similar service, you already know that the California Supreme Court has issued a ruling recognizing a right to marriage for same-sex couples. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

The state Supreme Court struck down California’s marriage law banning same sex couples from getting married in a historic decision Thursday that declared the law unconstitutional discrimination.
The decision will surely touch off an impassioned political fight.
The 4-3 opinion is the high court’s most important civil rights decision in more than a decade, and it is an epic legal victory for same-sex marriage advocates. California is now the second state in the nation to allow gays and lesbians to be legally married.
According to the opinion, “we determine that the language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union ‘between a man and a woman’ is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples.”

Email alerts reactions from various groups range from “a full win” by gay groups to “a disregard of California voters” from conservative groups. The November ballot initiative will now be considered an effort to overturn this ruling.
Fallout and reactions:
Presidential candidates reactions
New York Times
Schwarzennegger
Associated Press

The APA symposium on homosexuality, therapy and religion has been cancelled

What a difference a day makes.

The American Psychiatric Association program Homosexuality and Therapy: The Religious Dimension has been pulled by chair David Scasta. My understanding is that he was asked (by whom, I am still not clear) to pull the program because of increasing concerns about it. I am still hearing more about the reasons and hope to know something more clearly soon.

Dr. Scasta did tell me that the APA’s position is that the program was not pulled because gay activists were unhappy with it. At this moment, I am skeptical.

More to come…

Follow up on Tucker’s letter to Rep. Sally Kern

Because I was moved by the letter I described here, I have been seeking to verify the authorship (between grading papers, of course).

It is thus far a frustrating pursuit. I can’t find full names of Tucker or his Aunt Elizabeth. In response to the interest in the Tucker letter, someone posting as Elizabeth left this message on March 14, on the KWTV – News 9 forum:

Alex wrote: Hi Elizabeth, I hoping that you follow this forum and will check on this. I’m trying to contact you (and Tucker) in the hopes of getting permission to print his letter in other forums. If you do read this, would you please get in touch with the following site, http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do… .

Thanks.

I don’t check here often but was told of the interest Tucker’s letter has caused. I want to say first that I did not make that post saying Tucker was reading the letter on the Ellen Degeneris show. I don’t know who did that.

Tucker is not seeking national acclaim, he simply wants Sally Kern to know that she is very insensitive to real victims of terrorism and how her words have resulted in the abuse of gay students.

I did gain Tucker’s permission to print his letter and sent copies of it to various media outlets and everyone may do so.

The sole purpose though is for Kern to see the letter and I am quite sure that has happened by now. But she has not responded to Tucker’s emails or made any comment about it at all.

Tucker called McVeigh a Christian extremist in the letter. McVeigh may’ve or may’ve not beein into God, it depended on who asked him whenever. There are times he claims to be with the Christian identity movement and there are other times he claimed to be agnostic. The point in this is calling Islam dangerous is wrong. Most Muslims are peaceful. Most Christians are peaceful. I hear all the time that Muslims hate Jews…well so do the KKK, Aryans, and lots of other Christians too.

Sally Kern insensitively made remarks about gays being worse than terrorists in a city that next month will remember the 13th anniversary of a terrorist bombing in OKC. Kern came to Oklahoma a year after that bombing. The ones of us who were affected by that terror event are offended by her remarks.

Kern is a cold, cold woman. That stone hard heart certainly won’t get her anywhere close to Heaven.

The original post on the News9 forum provided the following context for the letter in a comment dated March 11, 2008                

Today my nephew attempted to deliver a letter to Sally Kern but was stopped by a highway patrol man. With his permission I am distributing the letter to all news stations and thought I would include it here.

Maybe we can all stand to learn a listen from this smart, loving, young man. He more than most has reason to hate. He lost his mother, my sister, in the Murrah Building bombing.

Elizabeth

My efforts to verify this letter have been unsuccessful. I spoke to representatives of three state based gay advocacy groups, none of whom had been able to verify the identity of the author. I then sought to investigate the claim of Elizabeth that on March 11th, “my nephew [Tucker] attempted to deliver a letter to Sally Kern but was stopped by a highway patrol man.”

To do so, I contacted Oklahoma Highway Patrol Information Officer, Trooper Betsy Randolph, who spoke with the Lieutenant on duty at Rep. Kern’s office on March 11. The officer was on duty inside Rep. Kerns office and said he did not stop anyone from delivering a letter to the Representative. According to Trooper Randolph, the office conducted business-as-usual that day with no one on duty remembering any effort by a young person to deliver a letter. The patrolman was there due to reports of threats but did not prevent anyone from delivering a letter. Furthermore, additional security was on the scene from March 10-12, but Trooper Randolph could find no evidence that would verify this story. “It sounds like a false story to me. We can find no evidence that anyone was prevented from giving Rep. Kerns a letter,” she stated.

I asked Trooper Randolph if a constituent might have prevented from entering the area surrounding Rep. Kern’s office and she said this would happen only if there was a disturbance. However, there is no record of this.

If this is a fictitious letter, that would be unfortunate, as the fraud would distract from the issues it raised. I do think the report from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol requires Elizabeth and Tucker to come forward if this letter is to be viewed as credible.

Wichita church scene of Borat-like hoax

Churches beware… 

On Monday night, I received a phone call from a friend who described a surreal event in a Wichita, KS church. My friend heard from another friend on the scene that a group of people posing as a film production company had attempted to disrupt an Easter play at the Central Community Church in Wichita.

A local television station – KAKE – investigated and filed a written and video report documenting the activities of the Longman Parke Production company out of Los Angeles. Here are some excerpts:

Several locations in Kansas are targeted by a film crew claiming to be making a film about culture in America. But their actions have people across the state wondering whether they’ve been part of a “Borat”-like prank.

Pastor Greg Smith of Central Community Church says they were contacted by the film crew and were told they were working on a film to be shown in Europe. Smith agreed to let them film the Easter play being performed at the church.

if (self[\’plpm\’] && plpm[\’Mid-Story Ad\’]) document.write(\’

\’);if (self[\’plpm\’] && plpm[\’Mid-Story Ad\’]){ document.write(plpm[\’Mid-Story Ad\’]);} else { if(self[\’plurp\’] && plurp[\’97\’]){} else {document.write(\’\’); } }if (self[\’plpm\’] && plpm[\’Mid-Story Ad\’]) document.write(\’

\’);However, at some point, Smith knew something was not right. In security camera footage from the church, you can see crew members making preparations to cover the security cameras before attempting to pull off their prank.

The production crew also targeted the airport and another church.

The film crew also visited Mid-Continent Airport. Officials there are reviewing its media policies after the so-called German documentary film crew made a scene inside the main terminal on Friday.

“We were lied to,” says Assistant Airport Director Brad Christopher. “We were duped.”

Authorities say the film crew was not who they said they were. Last month, the group contacted Wichita airport officials about shooting part of their documentary on American culture at Mid-Continent. They arrived Friday and were shown around. Airport employees say they seemed professional.

That is, until the cameras came on and the clothes came off.

Witnesses say it almost looked like pornography. In the middle of the terminal, the film crew began stripping down. They were escorted out of the airport by police, and told to leave…

The crew also made its way to Topeka and contacted another church as well as our sister station, WIBW. One of the reporters there became suspicious after a member of the crew asked if she had seen the movie “Borat.”

I called the phone number the production company gave to the church. A woman answered who hung up on my as soon as I asked about the Central Community Church.  My contact said the men stripped down to thongs at the Wichita airport before they were taken away. The KAKE website has video of the airport story as well.

Shooting in my hometown

There is a lot to write about of late, but I have been following a story out of my home town of Portsmouth, Ohio. Earlier today a man entered a Catholic elementary school and attacked his estranged wife in front of the class. He then holed himself up in his house and eventually shot himself.

It is eerie to read about people and places I know. While I did not know the people well, I know all of the locations in the article and spent some of my growing up years living on Argonne Road, where the attacker died. My prayers go out to all involved…

Is MRSA the new HIV? Open Forum

Lots of buzz the last few days about an Annals of Internal Medicine article noting the increase in MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus) among gay men. MRSA is treatement resistent and is often referred to as a flesh eating bacteria since it can lead to necrotising fasciitis. The San Francisco Chronicle did a story about it that focused on the prevalence among gay men and especially the Castro district. Peter LaBarbera has sounded an alarm which attempts to elevate the issue to the level of HIV/AIDS.

Now I think MRSA is a serious issue and anything that can be done to prevent the spread is important news. Sexual activity is apparently one way to spread the bacteria and so it seems smart to choose wisely when it comes to sex. Whether gay or straight, this seems to be good advice. Broader warnings seem prudent such as offered by Annals of Internal Medicine commenter Arlen J Peterson regarding the article:

First, let me thank the dedication and development of understanding MRSA clone (USA300) from the medical community to the public. I work for a sexual health centre, which includes providing extensive education and treatment of STI’s to sexually active individuals. I understand the relation between how the community of men who have sex with men increases the risk of MRSA infection (risky behaviors, more sexual partners, drugs, etc), Annals article highlights the risk is associated with skin-to-skin contact primarily by unprotected anal intercourse. My concern is the community of men who have sex with men are the only population emphasized in the article when anal intercourse is practiced fluently in men who have sex with women. Men who have anal intercourse with women do so for reasons mainly of pleasure and a form of birth control, usually unprotected for the latter. So, if an average person were to read a synopsized version in the news based on this article, particularly the young, they might get a message of: ‘It’s a risk for men who have sex with men, I am not of this population, therefore I am not affected.’ Can this article emphasize that it is the unprotected anal intercourse causing the risk of MRSA infection and that is not limited to men who have sex with men? I appreciate it and thank you for your time.

This is a volatile issue as indicated by the 600 plus comments the San Francisco Chronicle received on the news report. I am interested in comment here on the topic of MRSA among sexually active people. Is there something inherent in homosexuality that leads to this spread (I know what I think but I am interested in rational comment)? Or is this a matter of sexual practice only and not sexual attractions?

I-35 Light the Highway campaign featured on CNN tonight

CNN’s Gary Tuchman previews a segment to air tonight about the I-35 revival campaign called Light the Highway. I discussed that project in relationship to the James Stabile story. Joe Oden of the Heartland School of Ministry in Dallas tells me that James Stabile’s situation did not come up in the interviews.

Tuchman interviews Cindy Jacobs who is not clear, according to Tuchman, about whether Isaiah 35:8 refers to the Texas to Minnesota Interstate.

The woman who came up with the concept of “Light the Highway” is a Texas minister named Cindy Jacobs.

She says she can’t be sure Interstate 35 really is what is mentioned in the Bible but says she received a revelation to start this campaign after “once again reading Isaiah, Chapter 35.”

Jacobs also points out that perhaps there is a link between the area near this highway and tragedies that have happened in history, such as the bridge collapse on I-35 in Minneapolis last August and the assassination of JFK 44 years ago near I-35 in Dallas. That’s why prayer certainly can’t hurt, she adds.

Sounds like must see TV, tonight at 10pm eastern time on CNN. See video of the segment here.

Ex-gay Donnie McClurkin to tour with Barack Obama

The New York Times political blog (prob a must read for about the next year) is reporting that Barack Obama will woo religious conservatives with a gospel music concert series. I wonder if there will be any GLB fallout from Donnie McClurkin’s presence?

I have no interest in Obama as a candidate, but if I was in South Carolina, I would go. Can I get a witness!?

UPDATE: Some fallout has come from the announcement. Obama has distanced himself from McClurkin’s views. Now gay activists are calling on Obama to drop McClurkin.