'Traditional values': Bush and the porn star; Pat Robertson and Charles Taylor
By Mel Seesholtz
Online Journal Contributing Writer
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June 14, 2005�The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) has been a major focus in my research on the Christian Right and their drive toward theocracy. I have also been their target. Fair is fair.
But Andrea Lafferty, TVC�s executive director, was neither fair nor honest in her June 1 remarks on Fox News� Your World with Neil Cavuto. Indeed, once again she confirmed TVC�s enthusiasm for using stereotypes, myths and outright lies to advance its theocratic goals, especially when they concern sex and homosexuals.
In discussing condoms and their use, Lafferty stated, �We know these kids [teenagers] cannot pick up their towels. How are they going to know how to put on a condom correctly, when adults have at best a 15 percent failure rate?�
If �kids� don�t know how to put on a condom correctly, could that be a result of TVC�s and their allied organizations� adamant objection to, lobbying against and suing of any school, school district or organization that produces a sex ed program that teaches the correct method? TVC considers the graphics used in such condom education to be �pornographic� and, of course, �promoting homosexuality.�
In responding to Lafferty�s comments, mediamatters.org pointed out her numerous factual errors and distortions based on those propagated by the faith-based abstinence-only sex �education� programs advocated�and funded�by the Bush administration: more than $900 million to date, despite such programs� failures and their preposterous lies.
The most recent evidence of these programs� failures came from Yale and Columbia University researchers in an article, entitled �After the promise: The STD consequences of adolescent virginity pledges,� in the April 2005 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. The research of Dr. Hannah Br�ckner and Dr. Peter Bearman was also the subject of an Associated Press story: �Teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are more likely to take chances with other kinds of sex that increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, a study of 12,000 adolescents suggests.�
Evidence of their preposterous lies came in December 2004, when the office of Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) issued a scathing report on the failure and dangers of �abstinence-only� sex education programs. From Doreen Brandt�s 365Gay.com report on the report:
The Waxman staff report found that two thirds of the abstinence programs in use in schools distort the facts on the use of condoms.
It also found that the program is teaching teens that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half of the gay male teenagers in the U.S. have tested positive for HIV, and that touching a person's genitals can result in pregnancy. . . . (italics mine)
�Abortion can lead to sterility and suicide� (italics mine). Like any OB/GYN surgically invasive procedure an abortion �can� lead to complications that �can� sometimes lead to sterility. But when performed by a licensed physician in an appropriate medical setting, such cases are extremely rare. Simply saying that abortions �can��without the necessary explanations, qualifications and supporting information�seems little more than a scare tactic.
�Half of the gay male teenagers in the U.S. have tested positive for HIV.� When were all the gay teenagers (in and out of the closet) in America tested? Was this a national event�the �Day of Testing��completely missed by the liberal, mainstream, conservative, and evangelical media?
�Touching a person�s genitals can result in pregnancy.� But that�s not the only lie the Bush administration and the Christian Right call �sex education.� In a �Crossfire� program broadcast on CNN in December 2004, Genevieve Wood of the Family Research Council repeatedly refused�five times, according to the transcript�to disown, qualify, explain, or document her claim that masturbation can cause pregnancy.
Reality Check: most teenagers today, like most of their parents and grandparents and most of their parents and grandparents before them, are going to experiment with pre-marital sex in one form or another. In the age of AIDS, would knowledge of condoms and how to use them effectively be better than no knowledge? Graphics teaching how to use a condom are not pornography, but speaking of which . . .
George W. Bush, the former Texas governor who declared June 10, 2000, �Jesus Day� in Texas, is now the �values voter� president beloved of Focus on the Family, Traditional Values Coalition, American Family Association and the other organizations of the evangelical Christian Right, all of which are rabidly anti-pornography.
Well, apparently Mr. Bush is going to have dinner with a flamboyant pornographer and his porn star date. The June 7 story was spotlighted in a far-right publication that regularly features Ann Coulter and Jerry Falwell and has published articles with titles such as �Throw out all female members of Congress!� From World Net Daily:
Last week, Carl Forti, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, explained to WND that self-described pornographer Mark Kulkis and his date, porn star Mary Carey, will be attending the two-day event, �The 2005 President�s Dinner and Salute to Freedom,� next Monday and Tuesday because their money is just as good as anyone else�s.
�They�ve paid their money,� he said. �No matter what they do, the money is going to go to help elect Republicans to the House.�
For $5,000, Cary and Kulkis will be in the same room as the president one day and presidential confidant Karl Rove another.
World Net Daily ran a follow-up story later that evening in which Mr. Kulkis, president of Kick Ass Pictures, explained that he had been �personally invited� to the dinner. �I�m honored to be invited to this event,� said Kulkis. �Republicans bill themselves as the pro-business party. Well, you won�t find a group of people more pro-business than pornographers. We contributed over $10 billion to the national economy last year.�
Ms. Cary is also very excited and enthusiastic: �I�m especially looking forward to meeting Karl Rove. Smart men like him are so sexy. I know that he�s against gay marriage, but I think I can convince him that a little girl-on-girl action now and then isn�t so bad.�
Will Mr. Rove blush, apologize and excuse himself when Ms. Cary begins her �a little girl-on-girl action� argument? Will the GOP hierarchy have to apologize to Mr. Kulkis and Ms. Carey for canceling their $5,000 tickets?
Not according to another World Net Daily story about an article written by die-hard right-winger Jack Wheeler who advocated America�s foreign policy�and domestic policies�should be governed by a line from a 1948 John Wayne movie: �Never apologize, son. It�s a sign of weakness.� WND and Wheeler claimed �Some members of the Bush administration have taken� the cue. In another follow-up article entitled �The pimp and the president,� WND seemed to think George W. himself is among those �members of the Bush administration� who have taken the cue, now that he can�t be reelected.
Perhaps the most astute comments came from some WND readers:
If you stop and think about it, you can see where Bush might be her [Ms. Carey�s] hero. I can�t think of anyone who has screwed more people in such a short period of time. Especially the veterans.
Why wouldn�t they use porn stars at a fund-raiser? Porn stars are about 10 steps above politicians. At least they are honest about what they do. The real question is why would the porn stars want to degrade themselves?
Former Republican presidential wannabe Pat Robertson is one of the architects and patriarchs of the Christian Right. His self-serving deceptions are legendary.
That�s the choice people have. But to tell them it�s all sweetness and light, you can live the way you want to, I�m okay, you�re okay. If you�re drinking and fornicating and cheating and stealing and lying and greedy and all the rest of it, it�s okay. You�re okay. You�re an American, don�t worry about it. Boy, that, folks, is what you�d call a lie of Hell. And the one thing the devil would like to do is to keep us from believing in him, or believing in any kind of punishment because we don�t like punishment.�Pat Robertson
Aside from the usual litany of sins, how interesting Robertson would include greed. Journalist Bill Sizemore followed Robertson�s political and economic activities for years. In 1999, he published an article in The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reporting that Robertson had signed a development agreement with then Liberian President Charles Taylor, a man frequently criticized by international human rights groups. Robertson established a for-profit corporation known as Freedom Gold, Ltd., based in the Cayman Islands, with himself as president and the firm�s only director. Televangelist Robertson reportedly told President Taylor, �I pray that this investment may become a wonderful blessing to the people of Liberia and will be one of the many significant investments that will be made under your administration in the nation of Liberia.�
According to Sizemore, there are similarities between this venture and an earlier enterprise Robertson was involved in with another African strongman, Zaire dictator Mobutu Sese Siko. In that arrangement, Robertson was wined and dined on Mobutu�s private yacht and established the African Development Company after receiving lucrative concessions to develop timber and diamond reserves. Mobutu�dubbed the �President of Kleptocracy� for his looting of Zaire�s wealth�was driven into exile in 1997, and subsequently died of cancer. It is estimated that he embezzled as much as $2 billion from his nation, but Robertson remained firm in defending Mobutu as �a good Christian.� Mr. Robertson found him a �good Christian� despite the preacher�s own words: �If you�re . . . cheating and stealing and lying and greedy.�
Mobutu is dead, but Charles Taylor is in the news again. Living on his ill-gotten gains in protected exile in Nigeria. Pat�s friend and business partner is wanted by the United Nations-backed war crimes court, where he faces 17 counts of crimes against humanity.
Luke 18:22: �When Jesus heard this, he said to him, �You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.��
Robertson�and all the �leaders� of the Christian Right�live far better than the vast majority of Americans, including those who send them money. On the grounds of his estate, Robertson used to raise thoroughbred horses: not exactly a cheap hobby. Shouldn�t �Christians� be asking their �spiritual leaders� and their faith-based politicians to divest and live as Jesus commanded?
NB: For an analysis of Lafferty�s and TVC�s extensive use of stereotypes and myths to degrade and demean gay Americans, see �America�s New McCarthyism: Homosexual Stereotypes, Myths, and the Politics of Fear� in the August 2005 issue of Popular Culture Review.