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About tjhammer

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  1. Yeah, I agree with NJCubScouter (wow... it's been a couple of years since I wrote that phrase!)... almost certainly the quote from National about becoming more diverse applies to outreach to the Hispanic market. As for the future of gay marriage, BrentAllen, this chart tells the story better than any words could: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/11/marriage-and-the-generations.html
  2. I'll be home and able to write a thoughtful (hopefully) statement in a few hours... Until then, just a quick post... your religious analogy was not inappropriate... I have no desire to change what you believe, and you should similarly have no desire to change what I believe (which is that I'm going to be just fine with God). But the evangelical conservative movement just can't seem to NOT focus on me... A little insight into the pathologies of the far-right. Here are Conservapedia's most viewed pages http://www.conservapedia.com/Special:Statistics Most viewed pages 1. Main Page [1,894,429] 2. Homosexuality [1,475,437] 3. Homosexuality and Hepatitis [515,993] 4. Homosexuality and Promiscuity [416,375] 5. Homosexuality and Parasites [387,265] 6. Homosexuality and Gonorrhea [327,795] 7. Homosexuality and Domestic Violence [319,073] 8. Gay Bowel Syndrome [305,261] 9. Homosexuality and Syphilis [261,781] 10. Homosexuality and Mental Health [243,293] Obsess much? :-)
  3. The fact that you disagree with my religious beliefs should not lead me to conclude that you hate me... Even if you wanted me to give up those beliefs... I would not take that as hateful... I would assume you want me to change Actually, I couldn't care less about your religious beliefs, nor would I have ANY predilection for expecting you to change them. Why in the world would you think I would want to change you? you are not entitled to ascribe hatred as my motivation since you cannot read my mind or my heart I don't believe you're hateful; I do believe your perspective is driven by a feeling, not an argument, and I believe you prejudge gay people based on those feelings. I also believe gay people (myself, in this case) need to do a better job of educating and relating to you as part of the human condition. It's harder, perhaps, in this passionate issue to separate a wish from an argument, a desire from a denial. I'm busy today, but I do want to give some real thought and a reasoned response to your post, so I promise to do so tonight.
  4. far from hating anyone, we want to convince people that they would actually be happier if they refrained from such activity Ay, caramba! Now I get it! Every single thought or attraction I've had since I was 12 years old, the enormous cultural resistance, fear of rejection from friends, family, church and Scouting... that's just because no one has taken the time to convince me to stop being this "way"! Gotcha. Nice prism you got there, buddy.
  5. I'm not an atheist. But I do agree you shouldn't be concerned about my relationship "with the Big Guy in the Sky".
  6. I find the phrase "not capable of being the best kind of citizens" to be denigrating when talking about me. And apparently that statement wasn't strong enough, so they've also added "immoral" and "not clean" to be sure we get the message. Denigrating enough for ya?
  7. Does this mean that by the simple act of being a leader in the BSA, that I'm guilty of prejudice against one of my scouts? Yes, at least to a degree you and I both are guilty of implicitly endorsing the policy if prejudice. We both might rather focus on great campouts and developing leaders within our unit, and probably do for the most part. But to the kid who is quietly coming to grips with a part of his being that he's unable to change, do you think he's able to understand the nuanced difference between a BSA national policy you may or may not agree with, one that labels him "incapable of being the best kind of citizen", and what Mr. CA_Scouter really believes about him? Just as bad, if you and I disagree with the prejudice, by donating our money and time and adding our name to the membership count, we're lumping ourselves under this very public stance that the BSA has taken. Now we may both decide the overwhelming value of Scouting justifies our involvement, but to the young parents of a Cub Scout age boy evaluating the organization from the outside, they identify you and me and the organization as an agent of prejudice. Clearly, smart people will assume not EVERY leader in the organization believes as the national policy states, but since there's no mechanism for you to set yourself apart from the prejudice (no "local option", no tolerance for members who speak out against the policy, etc), how will you get through your implicit endorsement of the prejudice?
  8. Yeah, I hear you eolesen... it's funny, when I was 18 or 19, one of my friends (who was a couple of years older than me) announced he was gay. It was a complete and total surprise to me and all of his friends (BTW, he was also a very active Scout/Scouter). At the time, very few people knew I was also gay (this fellow had no idea I was either, despite the fact that we were close friends for years, it just wasn't something that we ever discussed). I was still struggling with accepting my own sexuality, and was still deluding myself that "it was just a phase" (one that started when I was about 12, and continued well into my mid twenties before I decided the "phase" was probably not passing ;-)). I remember saying to this friend of mine, when he came out (and without admitting that I, too, was gay... I just couldn't bring myself to announce that)... I told him "listen, it's fine your gay, but just don't be up in people's face about it". Imagine the irony? I haven't seen him for years, but whenever I think about him I regret making that comment. Fact is, this is a guy who surprised every person in his life when he announced he was gay... he had concealed it so deeply, and struggled with it so personally, that not one other person helped him through the process. And when he finally acknowledged the fact to his closest friends (one of whom was too chicken to even admit back that he knew exactly how this fellow felt), the first thing we said was "OK, but don't buy a billboard to brag about it". I understand the frustration over the "thong wearing, in your face crowd", and I can tell you I've personally never felt it necessary to demonstrate like that. But at the same time, I do have some friends (most of them professional, successful people) who do love to join in the parade from time to time, and I think it's fun to watch. I suppose it has a lot to do with the a psyche that was forced to conceal such a basic part of their identity for so long, and the occasional opportunity to proudly declare it must be incredibly cathartic. And I'll also grant you there are quite a few gay people who take the "dramatic flair" well beyond the occasional parade. Like in all segments of humanity, there are also some pretty damaged, screwed up folks in the gay community. But I wonder how much of that has to do with the damage their psyche suffered through years of shame, silence and judgment from others? In that context, it's pretty easy to understand how a person could wind up pretty banged up, and act out in extraordinary ways. That being said, this is a generational thing. Kids are coming out at a much younger age today, than even just a decade ago, and they are making it through the process far less damaged. The result is remarkable... a lot of gays in their late teens and early twenties today are just normal, assimilated kids, with social networks that don't even think twice about their sexuality. Many of them look at gay people in their forties that have spent a lifetime acting out to justify their existence, and just can't relate. As more gay kids come out and are accepted for who they are, there's far less reason for Pride Parades and "in your face" attitudes. In many ways, the "gay culture" is swiftly, definitively disappearing. Sorry for the long post in response... but the point of my rambling is this: I totally get your point, and have even used the very same words as you... "fine, your gay, just don't shove it in my face". And while I don't own a leather vest or rainbow thong, I can nonetheless see where that culture came from, and don't really judge it too harshly. I can also see how that culture is disappearing, and it starts with kids who no longer feel the need to "be in your face" about who they are.
  9. On this Forum, I hope to only give pause to a leader who might not have thought much about this issue, or thinks it doesn't really involve them or their unit. I'd hope my arguments cause that leader to understand they could have a quietly suffering kid in their midst today, coming to grips with their sexuality, and not concerned with interpreting the nuance of their leader's unintended judgment or implicit endorsement of prejudice against that boy. What's so sadly ridiculous about some people believing gays have chosen to be gay, is that the vast majority of gay people will tell you they've felt this way from the first moments of their sexuality. This is not a "decision" that a bunch of bad acting twenty-five-year-olds make... it's a realization that begins with young teenagers, and most spend the next decade of their lives quietly fighting, ignoring or denying this fundamental part of their being. You can guess how that alone damages a person... add to it prejudice from the people around them that they respect, and it becomes nearly unbearable for some. No, I don't expect I'm going to change the hearts and minds of the zealots among us... but I do hope to find a few hearts and minds that are already a little open. And I'd like to cause them to think through their implicit endorsement of the prejudice, and prepare them for the day when this issue does suddenly show up in their unit or family, so they'll be prepared with more than a knee-jerk reaction.
  10. Thanks Ed... Romans is from the same Paul's epistle that supports the oppression of women and accepted slavery as a normal social practice, right? I guess we'll pick and choose his words carefully, like some of the other editors and revisions of the Bible along the way? I read those Romans passages as such: heterosexual men and women left the church, became pagan and engaged in orgies that were unnatural to them (they had group sex with men and women both, when their "natural" state was heterosexuality). Knowing, as I do, that being gay is my natural state, given unto me by God and not of other influence, it seems to me Romans 1:26-27 says I would be wrong to become pagan, commit idolatry and have an orgy with women. Also, many people think the context of Paul's comments in that passage is important. The very next passages are Paul warning Christians not to be self-righteous when they see others fall into sin or to castigate or judge others. Got any scripture where the Bible's condemning me simply for being gay, without rapping it up in a context of rape, prostitution, sex with slaves or children or as part of a group pagan expression?
  11. The part where Jesus condemned BEING gay must have been edited out of my version of the Bible... maybe the editors redacted it since they needed so much room for what Jesus taught about prejudice and sanctimony.
  12. If you disagree with me, prejudge me as an individual because of some erroneous notions, proclaim me unclean, immoral and incapable of ever being "the best kind of citizen", call me out as the ONE kind of person to explicitly label unworthy of association, and implicitly teach the boys in your charge (some of whom are undoubtedly, quietly, discovering they are gay) that all this is acceptable behavior, then yeah, I'd call it hate mongering. Justifying it all based on lies ("watch out, gays are dangerous, wink wink") or sanctimonious interpretations of God's rules, then it's arbitrary hate mongering. But you know what? I have no problem with you hate mongering and prejudging gays. Go right ahead... if the parents that place boys into your unit want to teach that lesson, it's up to them. Most will eventually, painfully, realize their bias was evil, or their kids will some day dismiss it as yet another unfortunate injustice of their forefathers. But why force the parents of my unit to join in your hate mongering and prejudice? If your chartered partner wants to "own" that type of lesson plan, why should mine have to as well? On one count we can both agree... some day, final judgment will be rendered... I'm comfortable my "sin of gayness" harmed no one, debased no one and would jive with the catchy "WWJD" far more than the other side.
  13. On behalf of gays everywhere, I apologize for our role in destroying the sanctimony of these Scouters' marriages.
  14. Day by day, it's easier to see how the GOP of today is about as far away from what I grew up believing was good about the party. So, for those of you convinced Gore is lying about global warming, how do you explain the Bush administration's editing of it's cabinet member's reports to Congress? The CDC director gave Congressional testimony on the health effects of climate change last week. But her statement was cut by the Bush White House from over 3,000 words to 1,500, omitting large parts of her prepared remarks. "She was able to say everything she wanted to say," White House spokesman Dana Perino said. "It was not watered down in terms of its science. It wasn't watered down in terms of the concerns that climate change raises for public health." Take a glance at the 1,500 words that were cut out of the remarks... redacted parts in red. http://www.desmogblog.com/full-version-of-white-house-edited-cdc-climate-report-with-hightlights Who's not to be trusted?
  15. Am I the only one (through obviously biased prism) that thinks this thread stinks of double standard? (1) I wonder why it was moved OUT of the Issues and Politics Forum, where it originated? Divorce pending, hooking up with another leader, fraternization on a campout... all that is just a "Camping & High Adventure" topic, instead of "Issues & Politics", because they at least believe the important parts of the Bible? (This is rhetorical... not trying to be too heavy handed on the moderator that moved it, but pointing out the inconsistency.) (2) In that Forum, the very same people that are saying "no harm, no foul" in this thread, are horrified about who I might be sleeping with outside of Scouting, back at home? This was inside of Scouting, at an event with boys in the neighboring tents, and you want to equivocate about "whether their marriages were 'technically' over by the time they were messing around"? Look, it was poor judgment, shouldn't happen again, but otherwise isn't an offense worth tossing the leaders. But the irony is just too much that some of the same people so adamant against the "immorality" of my "private life" are so quick to give this issue a pass. And lest you think the "no harm, no foul" argument is valid... I promise you the boys in the troop have an idea what's going on. Even without knowledge of this specific incident, they are gossiping about "Mr. Jones and Mrs. Smith are getting divorced and hooking up with each other". When I was a kid, the Camp Director and Camp Nurse both left their families to marry each other... we never saw them slipping into tents, but I can assure you the camp staff got tons of giggles out of that, and so will the boys in this troop, by "filling in the blanks" with their own imagination. In the end, it might be a distraction, and it might not be the ideal role modeling, but I doubt any of the kids will use it as the inspiration to grow up some day and cheat on their own spouses.
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