Category Archives: Right Wingers

The Millennial Memory…

I was going to defer this commentary until after Dan posted his commentary and addenda to the bowdlerized PBS Whitman hagiography which, while it was a nice attempt, proved once again how subtly Gay people and beautiful same sex love can be written out of history…no sin but omission. But I can’t wait…and since we offered Father John McNeill’s views on things, I feel moved to share my own point of view of this…

The Pope is in America…and everyone is so worked up and excited.

Bush_and_pope Your first clue that this stinks is George Bush is receiving him at the White House. Church and State, once again, cozy at the highest levels. We live in an age of hypocrisy and perhaps the only way to be able to get out of bed in the morning is to at the very least, call it what it is.

I’m particularly taken with the media coverage of it all that, while reminding folks of the “controversy” — that is corporate media’s Mother’s Milk (ka-ching!) — it still manages to gloss over with what is bewilderingly called “balance” these days, with the moony-eyed musings of the “faithful” contrasted with the last seething furious gasps of the thousands of men and boys who have been molested, as though they have equal merit. And somehow they manage to leave out the part where this Pope, in his former job as head of what was the office of the Inquisition in another time, instructed those in charge…those responsible for protecting children (hello Texas!) …to play it out for time so the statutes of limitations would take effect. Bill Maher nails this one beautifully in his recent “Rules.”

But what I am reminded of as we watch the flash and the dash, the pomp and the circumstance, the gold and the satin, the grandeur and the theater of it all, of the Papacy paraded before us as though this was some moral model, is something I was told when I was, years ago, the Parish Council Chairman of Holy Trinity Parish on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

One of my closest friends in those days was a Franciscan priest who was living at the parish (not diocesan, in other words). He shall remain nameless here, because he continues to be a priest…a Gay priest, I might add, who loved his cocktails a little too much…and if reports are true, now the Pastor of a parish in one of the bigger primary states. I loved Michael, and still do, even though I haven’t seen him in years, and I would never want to cause him any embarrassment. Michael was a good friend of the “Saint of 9/11” Mychal Judge, and is the reason I meet Father Judge many years ago.

Anyway…probably the most interesting idea Fr. Michael passed along to me was the idea of the “institutional memory” of the Roman Catholic Church. His point was this: the Church views time in a different way than the rest of the hoi polloi.

I was all ready for some mystical take on time and eternity and what-have-you. But no. WhatGalileo_facing_the_roman_inquisitio  he meant was the Church and its hierarchy view time in a “millennial view.” That was the term he used. A millennial view.  The very long millennial view. In other words: these things shall pass. A century from now, who will remember? Who will be around to remember? The Church will still be there, of course, but generations of regular folks come and go…and they die. They forget. All that is remembered after a while, say a generation…maybe two…ok, three… is the flash and the dash, the pomp and the circumstance, the gold and the satin, the grandeur and the theater of it all. So…a hundred years…a mere blink of an eye, if that, to an institution like the Catholic Church…200 years…what is 200 years to an institution that has been around in cozy bed with the powers of the world for 2000 years? The one thing this millennial view affords is priceless: people will forget. Who remembers the Inquisition? Who, nowadays, even cares? Who remembers what was done to American Indians in the name of Christianity?

Bushcardinallaw And who…a thousand years from now, will remember the hundreds of thousands of boys who were molested, abused? And how the Church worked not to wash it clean with the cleansing light of day, but to hide it away until the secular laws ran out the clock? How does an institution pull off something like an Inquisition and still maintain the illusion of moral probity? How does an institution pull off something like not only the on-going molestation and abuse of thousands of children, but covering it up and paying people off for years…

Sleepy…you’re getting sleepy. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about these matters.

Father will take care of it for you. Rest your head in his satin-covered lap as he bathes you in incense and architecture and unctuous oils and candles…the flash and the dash, the pomp and the circumstance, the gold and the satin, the grandeur and the theater of it all…

And soon you will forget…

On the Occasion of the Pope Coming to Town

Many interesting things come over our transom…this from the esteemed John J. McNeill, on the arrival of Joseph "God’s Rottweiller" Ratzinger (wasn’t this guy on Cheers?) on our shores (traveling under his nom de power "Pope Benedict XVI"):

Toward a Theology of Fallibility

Ratzinger_2When Pope Benedict comes to Ground Zero in New York City he will be greeted byMychaljudgepieta_2 a giant banner with a painting of Michael Judge, the Gay Franciscan priest, whose life is recorded in the documentary, Saint of 9/11. That banner signifies the ambiguous state of many Gay, Lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics toward the Pope. We share the respect and love of the Catholic community for the Vicar of Christ and wish him well. At the same time we are profoundly aware of how wrong he is in his understanding and judgment on Gayness as “intrinsic disorder”. We are deeply conscious that we cannot accept and live out his teaching on homosexuality without destroying our mental and spiritual health. What is bad psychology has to be bad theology. We find ourselves in the same position as children of a homophobic parent, who, while still loving their parent, must separate off and take distance from that parent’s homophobia, if they are to live happy and healthy lives.

We Roman Catholic Gays have found it necessary to undergo the same maturing process in our spiritual lives that Jesus asked his disciples to undergo at the last supper. “I shall ask the Father and he will send you another Paraclete to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth.” (John 14: 16-17) Jesus stressed the point that it was necessary that he should go away in order for the Spirit to come. “Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this. Still, I am telling you the truth; it is for your own good that I am going, because unless I go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go. I will send him to you….However, when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you to the complete truth.” (John 16: 6-13)

Why could the Spirit of Truth only come after Jesus’ death? Because as long as Jesus remained alive and present, his disciples had their center of authority outside themselves and were not totally responsible for their actions. They were striving to meet the expectations of a provident leader. They had not yet become fully creative and responsible adults. But after Jesus’ death, his Spirit became what Paul saw as the source of the “Glorious Freedom of the Children of God”. “The proof that you are sons and daughters is that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries, ‘Abba’, Father; and it is this that makes you a son or daughter, you are not a slave anymore’. Pagans were not free but slaves in relation to their gods because they related to their gods in a spirit of fear. John tells us “Perfect love cast out all fear. It is equally true that perfect fear casts out all love.” Christians are free because their God is a God of love who had adopted them into his family. “All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons or daughters of God, for what you have received was not the spirit of slavery, to bring you back into fear, you have received the Spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:14-17)

With the death of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the apostles received a challenge as well as an opportunity to mature. As Paul expressed it, “…until we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the perfect human, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.” (Eph. 4:13). The apostles had to give up the security of a provident leader; they had to begin to find out what God wanted from them from within themselves and their own experience.

In like manner, in our spiritual life, we Roman Catholic Gay people must pass from a passive, dependent role to an active, creative one. For our survival we have a special need to become mature, self-motivated, autonomous people, no longer dependent on outside homophobic sources for a sense of our identity and well-being. We must not let our enemies outside ourselves define us; we must let the Spirit of love that dwells within our hearts define us. As the Catholic philosopher Maurice Blondel expressed it: “Our God dwells within us and the only way we can become one with that God is to become one with our authentic self”.

It is this understanding of the role of the indwelling Holy Spirit that gives me great consolation during these times when the Catholic Church reacts to its Gay members in ignorance and even downright hostility. We Gays should be grateful to God for creating a humanly fallible Church. We are intensely aware that if our parents had been infallible we could never have matured and become autonomous and responsible adults. God blessed us with finite and fallible parents. It was precisely when and where our parents proved fallible that we were challenged to take distance from their authority, make our own choices and be fully responsible for them.

In a similar way, as Gay Roman Catholics we are dependent on the human fallibility of religious authorities in order to develop an adult freedom of conscience. I believe that we are witnessing the coming into being of what I call the Church of the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. After forty years of ministry with Lesbian and Gay persons, as both priest and psychotherapist, I am convinced that a unique spirituality, special and vibrant, is springing up in the Christian Gay community. It is spirituality totally compatible with a life of Gay sexual love and intimacy. As scripture says “the stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. (Mark 12:18) Gays are leading the way to form a spiritual community based on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s special presence in the Gay Christian community and the unique graces which are enabling Lesbians and Gays to build a mature, autonomous spiritual life are not just gifts meant for the Gay Christian community alone. When God pours out special blessings on one segment of the community, those blessings are meant to flow out and be shared by the human community at large.

Brendan_faye The Church of the Holy Spirit will be a Church in which all are equal, no hierarchy, no clergy as a separate caste, no domination of men over women. Leadership in the Church of the Holy Spirit will be based on careful listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying through the people of God. A recent event makes me believe that God is working overtime to bring about the transformation of the Catholic Church into the Church of the Holy Spirit. President Lech Kaczynski of Poland in a March 17 televised speech to the nation, echoing the Vatican position, warned that the adoption of the European Lisbon Treaty would compel Poland to recognize same-sex marriages, which he linked to the end of “moral order”. To make his point the president used footage of the 2003 wedding of Brendan Fay and Tom Moulton in Canada. As a result of that speech a media frenzy moved Brendan and Tom out of obscurity and they became world famous. Brendan and Tom are devout Gay Roman Catholics who see their marriage as a sacred bond blessed by God. The Holy Spirit is ultimately in charge of the Church and will transform it so that it becomes one with the realm of God. We who are Gay and Catholic pray daily that the hierarchy will hear what the Spirit is saying through the people of God and cooperate with the Spirit’s transformation of the Church.

John J. McNeill John J. McNeill, author of The Church and The Homosexual, Taking A Chance on God, Freedom, Glorious Freedom, and Both Feet Planted Firmly in Midair. The Reverend McNeill can be reached at

Hate in Oklahoma

Interesting to see the poisonous bile that spews forth from elected officials — especially when they think they’re not being recorded. What follows are the opinions of Sally Kern, an Oklahoma State Representative. If you’re disgusted by this elected official’s hatefilled attack against members of her constituency please feel free to send her a message to that effect at

What is especially choice about this clip is the insistence that she doesn’t actually hate Gay people. According to her Oklahoma House webpage she’s married to a Southern Baptist minister. So I shouldn’t be too surprised. Disgusted yes. Surprised not really.

Jesse’s Journal – Folsom Street Blues

Thank God for the religious right.  Often when I suffer from writer’s block, a crackpot comes along with some harebrained scheme and I have something to write about.  The latest loony toon who’s come to save the day (and this column) is Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth, “a newly reorganized national organization devoted exclusively to exposing and countering the homosexual activist agenda.”

According to Wayne Besen, “LaBarbera is notorious for donning leather garb and sneaking into sundry gay S&M bars to take supposedly incriminating pictures of naughty gays.  LaBarbera is obsessive with following the seamier side of gay life, even frequenting establishments where gay sex occurs.  For him, no bahthouses are too remote to discover, and no dark, grimy dungeons not worthy of explorations.  It is no exaggeration to say that the man has probably frequented more gay venues than RuPaul and Mr. Leather USA combined.”

Peter LaBarbera’s latest exposé is of the Folsom Street Fair, a annual gathering of kinky folk in San Francisco that proudly calls itself “the world’s largest leather event.”  Not letting a good thing pass him by, LaBarbera crashed this leather party on September 30 in order to expose the depravity within.  Since the Folsom Street Fair takes place in Nancy Pelosi’s congressional district, LaBarbera gave a detailed description of the Fair’s naughty bits in a letter that he wrote to the Speaker, hoping no doubt that she would be as outraged as he claimed to be: “I was in San Francisco with a videographer on Sunday, September 30 and verified but a small segment of the most immoral and outrageous sexual behavior that ever disgraced the streets of any American city.”

LaBarbera followed his introduction with a laundry list of debauchery; depraved acts that he assured the Speaker were going on in full view of innocent children.  These included “large numbers of men walking on public streets either fully or partially naked; . . . groups of men engaged in orgies on the public street, including acts of oral sex and mutual masturbation; . . . theatrically dramatic sadomasochistic whippings and floggings; . . . ‘Master-slave relationships’ in which one man or woman would ‘walk’ their subservient ‘slave’ with a dog collar and chain” and so on.  LaBarbera saved much of his outrage for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a charitable group of gay men in nun drag that LaBarbera denounced as exhibiting “blatant anti-Christian bigotry.”  LaBarbera closed his letter by demanding that Pelosi “condemn these public perversions and use your great influence to stop them from happening in the future in San Francisco.”

As if that wasn’t enough, LaBarbera held a press conference on December 5 for the sole purpose of denouncing the Folsom Street Fair.  “Americans For Truth will be airing uncensored videotaped footage, documenting public perversions and nudity at the Folsom Street Fair, an open-air, sadistic sex festival held September 30th on the streets of San Francisco,” LaBarbera promised.  Held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., LaBarbera was joined by fellow fundies Matt Barber of Concerned Women For America and Grace Hurley of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX).  Though LaBarbera’s promise of hard-core, gay leather porn seemed sure to attract a crowd, less than ten people attended his press conference, according to Rebecca Armendariz of the Washington Blade, who was there.

The Folsom Street Fair [] is one of four annual events produced by Folsom Street Events, a not-for-profit organization whose mission “is to create volunteer-driven leather events that provide the adult alternative lifestyle community with safe venues for self-expression while emphasizing freedom, fun, frolic and fetish and raising critical funds to benefit local charities.”  Earlier this year, the Fair outraged the Catholic League and other Christian groups with its official poster, an obvious parody of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” where leather folk of various genders and sexual orientations took the place of Christ and his apostles.  [Please visit for the offending poster.] Though Andy Cooper, Board President of Folsom Street Events, hoped that “people will enjoy the artistry for what it is – nothing more or less,” there was such an uproar that the Fair’s primary sponsor, Miller Brewing, asked the Fair to remove its logo from all promotional materials.

By the time Peter LaBarbera called his press conference, the Folsom Street Fair had become a byword for queer debauchery.  The Fair’s infamy reached as far as the nearby city of Vallejo, where openly-gay mayoral candidate Gary Cloutier had to assure a voter that he would not bring a similar leather street fair into their city.  And there is no question that San Francisco’s liberal political climate allows a degree of public nudity and kinky sex unheard of elsewhere in the United States.  (Compared to the Folsom Street Fair, the Leather Masked Ball in Fort Lauderdale is very sedate.)  Using an obvious take on the Last Supper for its official poster was probably a mistake, since it did not do much but give ammunition to the enemy.  And even I was surprised to learn that the Fair has no age restrictions at the gates, though Fair volunteers “do inform attendees of the adult oriented nature of our events.”

On the other hand, nobody is forcing Peter LaBarbera and his friends to attend the Folsom Street Fair, though it seems that LaBarbera had a good time while he was there.  Those who attended the Fair – and there were around 400,000 of them – knew what they were getting into and were willing to pay good money to get into it.  They also raised $350,000 for local charities and contributed millions to San Francisco’s economy.

San Francisco is proud of its liberal political climate, which is why many people hate it.  And the crusade against the Folsom Street Fair is, to a large extent, a campaign against “San Francisco values,” which Street Fair President Cooper (like Speaker Pelosi before him) called “values of community, diversity, education, and freedom of self expression.”  The religious right hates San Francisco for espousing those values.   We only wish that the rest of the USA was more like “the City by the Bay.”

Jesse Monteagudo is a freelance author and gay activist who enjoyed his all-too brief visits to San Francisco and looks forward to his next visit.  Write him a note at