Saturday, November 23, 2013

Irreconcilable Differences

Married couples often get divorced by claiming that they have developed irreconcilable differences. But some couples don't even get to the point in their relationships where they get married in the first place. Such was the case with me and my high school sweetie, Cheri Duncan. For years, I have felt guilty for having given her a hard time about a relatively trivial matter, involving a dramatic presentation in which she said the word "shit".

Now I am realizing that it's good that we did not get married. She's tolerant of both homosexuality and legal abortion. The first is something with which I strongly disagree, but the abortion thing is inexcusable in my opinion. Gay sex has few unwilling victims. Abortion, on the other hand, is nothing short of murder in the name of choice. Cheri was a good kisser, but I could get no joy from kissing a person who endorsed legalized murder.

Abortion and the John Wesley Club

When I recently searched the Internet for the name of an old girlfriend, Cheri Duncan, I was thrilled to find her, working at the Public Defender's Office in Houston Texas. I entertained hopes of reigniting my loving relationship with her. I was even willing to cut her some slack when I learned that she was associated with a liberal group called the NALT  (Not All Like That) Christians. (That group believes in tolerance of homosexuality.) But there are certain things which are so important to me that I consider them to be non-negotiable. Protection of the fundamental right to life, in relation to the abortion issue, would be one of those things.

On the web site for the John Wesley Club, of which Cheri is a member, I find a statement which strikes me as nonsensical gobbledegook; "We are pro-choice, often very reluctantly… in fact, almost all of us would describe ourselves as essentially pro-life — but from the legal and practical side, we are pro-choice.  We understand the gravity, risk, and sometimes desperation in the choice to terminate a pregnancy. Many of us are conflicted about this issue, however, but we support Roe vs. Wade."

Excuse me, I've been hearing this kind of crap for years: Describing one's self as "essentially pro-life" while simultaneously defending a legal practice that has resulted in MORE THAN 50 MILLION DEATHS, is like saying that one is "essentially in favor of human freedom" while defending the legal practice of slavery!!! The mind boggles when one considers such a statistic. "Essentially" my ass. There is nothing essentially pro-life about the defense of such actions.

I am not "conflicted" about the abortion issue; nor was Norma McCorvey, the woman whose case made abortion legal in the first place. She repented of the role she had played in America's holocaust.

What a shame. Cheri was a great kisser when I dated her, but it's very clear to me that our thinking has developed along very different lines since that time.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dan Savage and My Old Girlfriend Cheri Duncan

When I lived in Chicago, a column I often saw in the Chicago Reader was one called Savage Love. Written by a gay man named Dan Savage, it seemed to have been created for the express purpose of offending heterosexual people, particularly conservative Christians.

In response to politician Rick Santorum, who had compared gay sex to pedophilia and bestiality, Savage decided to "Google bomb" Santorum, by associating his name with the frothy anal substance associated with gay sex.  I remember reading the specific column in which Savage wrote that, and I seem to recall that it so offended me that I send him an email, via The Chicago Reader, about that subject. (He replied that he couldn't imagine why any Christian would read his column at all. I sent him a reply saying that I thought that people should know their enemies intimately, on order to effectively combat their erroneous ideas.)

While one might have argued that Santorum's comparison was unwise, since sex with other men is neither sex with children nor sex with children, I thought that Dan Savage's retaliatory campaign against Rick was truly vile. Santorum was quoted as saying, "That’s Dan Savage. You know, it’s the lowest debasement of public discourse. It’s offensive beyond anything that any public figure or anybody in America should tolerate, and the mainstream media laughs about it." (To read more, click here.)
Recently, I was Google searching for an old girlfriend, with whom I was passionately in love before she broke up with me, named Cheri Duncan. Cheri appears in a YouTube video, speaking in support of a group calling themselves the NALT Christians. NALT, as in "Not All Like That". The group consists of  Christians proclaiming their belief in full LGBT equality", and seems to equate bias against gay people bias against people based on characteristics such as skin color, height, gender and other things of that nature.

Wow! Talk about obtuse.

Essentially, such people are believers in biological determinism, and in the idea that sexual preference is a matter of genetic programming, not a matter of free will decisions. They argue that the biblical texts which refer negatively to homosexual acts are not talking about the kind of thing done by modern gays, since the gay rights movement is something that got its start only in the 1970s in America.

Like many of the things said by gays and their defenders, I find such an argument to be disingenuous and unpersuasive.

On the web site for the NALT Christians Project, 3 names are listed on the Contact Page, with email addresses: Wayne Besen (, John Shore ( and Dan Savage ( That's right, the same Dan Savage who demonstrated the limits of his tolerance of differing opinions by choosing to "Google bomb" Rick Santorum with an insulting and truly puerile round of name calling.

Cheri Duncan and I broke up because I had unwisely tried to be her conscience, by constantly bugging her about her decision to do a monologue presentation from the play (later turned into a movie produced by Paul Newman) entitled The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds. In that monologue, she said the word "shit", which bothered me because I'd been taught that Christians ought to keep their speech free of profanities and crude words. (In hindsight, I have used words considerably worse in my life, including the "f bomb", in anger.) I should have dropped the matter, after expressing my opinion on the subject while talking with Cheri. But I was young, and I did not yet realize just how fragile relationships could be.

The issue of homosexuality never affected my relationship with Cheri. And I later came to deeply regret the manner in which I'd treated her with regard to her speech monologue. But I think that good relationships ought to be able to withstand disagreements about matters pertaining to morality, politics, etc.

I do not regard my opinions about homosexuality as nearly as important as my opinions about abortion. Abortion has millions of helpless victims. whereas homosexuality does not. But I do think that people ought to take responsibility for the choices they make, instead of speciously blaming genetic programming.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Gary S. Paxton

One of the very first vinyl records I ever owned was a 45 record containing the novelty song "Monster Mash", which was recorded by Gary S. Paxton. It was a fun Halloween song, designed to  appeal to kids or the style of music in which it was performed. For some reason, the version of that song which one can hear on Spotify was recorded by some guy named Don Hinson with a band named The Rigamorticians, which has an MP3 album at entitled "Monster Dance Party".

Later, when I was a young Christian studying at the School of the Ozarks (later renamed College of the Ozarks), I bought a Gary S. Paxton album entitled "Astonishing, Outrageous, Amazing, Incredible, Unbelievable, Different World Of Gary S. Paxton". (No one could claim that it was the most succinct or humble album title!) It had songs with titles like "There's Got To Be More To Livin' Than Just Waiting To Die," "Victim of The System," "Jesus Keeps Taking Me Higher and Higher," and "You Aint Smoking Those Cigarettes (Baby They're Smoking You)". The vinyl LP is obviously long gone, but one can still preview or buy MP3 versions of all those songs at, on this page. Paxton is best known as a country musician, but the album had elements of rock, pop and soul too.

Inasmuch as I bought  that album before the Jim Bakker scandal, it was just a fun album to me, with some fairly good pop/rock Christian songs. Paxton was involved in the production of gospel albums by Tammy Faye Bakker, who was renowned for the ludicrously excessive manner in which she applied her mascara, which tended to run whenever she cried during the broadcasting of The PTL Club. (That seemed to be quite often, since her tears were apparently effective when used in order to persuade people to donate funds they could ill afford to donate.) Tammy Faye became obsessed with Paxton, which apparently played a big role in causing Jim Bakker to have a one night stand with Jessica Hahn (ostensibly because he wanted to make Tammy Faye jealous).

The reputation of Christianity, and televangelists in particular, was seriously tarnished by the shenanigans of Jim and Tammy Faye. (Not that  Jerry Falwell was any better.) Every Halloween, I'm reminded of the Monster Mash, and of the scandal with which Paxton eventually became associated.