Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 8:21 pm

At what point can we officially write off the entire Christian right as psychotic?


George Rekers of the Family Research Council apparently “hires an assistant to carry his luggage” the way Mark Sanford “hiked the Appalachian Trail”:

The pictures on the Rentboy.com [NSFW] profile show a shirtless young man with delicate features, guileless eyes, and sun-kissed, hairless skin. The profile [describes him sexually and] explains he is “sensual,” “wild,” and “up for anything” — as long you ask first. And as long as you pay.

On April 13, the “rent boy” (whom we’ll call Lucien) arrived at Miami International Airport on Iberian Airlines Flight 6123, after a ten-day, fully subsidized trip to Europe. He was soon followed out of customs by an old man with an atavistic mustache and a desperate blond comb-over, pushing an overburdened baggage cart.

That man was George Alan Rekers, of North Miami — the callboy’s client and, as it happens, one of America’s most prominent anti-gay activists. Rekers, a Baptist minister who is a leading scholar for the Christian right, left the terminal with his gay escort, looking a bit discomfited when a picture of the two was snapped with a hot-pink digital camera. …

For decades, George Alan Rekers has been a general in the culture wars, though his work has often been behind the scenes. In 1983, he and James Dobson, America’s best-known homophobe, formed the Family Research Council, a D.C.-based, rabidly Christian, and vehemently anti-gay lobbying group that has become a standard-bearer of the nation’s extreme right wing. Its annual Values Summit is considered a litmus test for Republican presidential hopefuls, and Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter have spoken there. (The Family Research Council would not comment about Rekers’s Euro-trip.)

He has also influenced American government, serving in advisory roles with Congress, the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services and testifying as a state’s witness in favor of Florida’s gay adoption ban. A former research fellow at Harvard University and a distinguished professor of neuropsychiatry at the University of South Carolina, Rekers has published papers and books by the hundreds, with titles like Who Am I? Lord and Growing Up Straight: What Families Should Know About Homosexuality. …

Rekers is a board member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), an organization that systematically attempts to turn gay people straight. And the Huffington Post recently singled out Rekers as a member of the American College of Pediatricians — an official-sounding outfit in Gainesville that purveys lurid, youth-directed literature accusing gays of en masse coprophilia. (In an email, the college’s Lisa Hawkins wrote, “ACPeds feels privileged to have a scholar of Dr. Rekers‘ stature affiliated with our organization. I am sure you will find Prof. Rekers to be an immaculate clinician/scholar, and a warm human being.”)

“Warm human being,” huh? In English that means “self-hating bigot.” Either that, or Lisa Hawkins is failing epically in her ad-copywriting competition with Rentboy.com.

Extra-special ick factor: Rekers has taken in foster children and four years ago adopted a then-16-year-old boy who is now the same age as his rentboy.

These people are totally messed up, and yet they and people like them have real, and pernicious, influence on public policy in this country. And I’m sorry, but governing the greatest country on the planet should not be left to people so heavily in need of therapy.

3 Comments »

  1. amazing how the most homophobic rightwingers tend to be closet gays. I guess they can’t pray the gayness away. Bless their hearts. At least the dems are out and happy.

    Comment by ngee — Wednesday, May 5, 2010 10:34 pm @ 10:34 pm | Reply

  2. Hypocrites are always annoying, but I’m curious to know why this guy needs therapy, since it seems like Rentboy.com supplied that.

    NGEE: “most homophobic right-wingers tend to be closet gays”.

    Kind of a foolishly broad statement but if you can cite some confirmed statistics I’ll believe you. I’m not into the prayer thing but it seems that there are some claims that some have prayed the gay away, but I’m a somewhat skeptical myself.

    Live and let live…. what your orientation is, it is your business and not mine. On a personal level I’m okay with civil unions and same sex partners legal rights and the like, but calling it “marriage” is a bit of a stretch for me, sorry.

    There are two schools of thought. You’re born gay, or you become gay. Despite claims that homosexuality is genetic in nature, unbiased sifting of the data show only partial linkage at this time. And many gays honestly report that their lifestyle is a choice.
    From Web MD

    “Since sexual orientation is such a complex trait, we’re never going to find any one gene that determines whether someone is gay or not,” says Mustanski. “It’s going to be a combination of various genes acting together as well as possibly interacting with environmental influences.”

    Previous studies in male twins have SUGGESTED that between 40%-60% of the variability in sexual orientation is due to genes. The rest is thought to be due to ENVIRONMENT and possibly other BIOLOGIC but nongenetic causes.” (Caps mine)

    Excerpted From the website “EVIDENCE for GOD” Author Rich Deem (sorry Lex) but this guy is a genetic researcher, gives an unbiased evaluation, and suggests research to settle the issue:

    Genetic studies – the “gay gene” An examination of family pedigrees revealed that gay men had more homosexual male relatives through maternal than through paternal lineages, suggesting a linkage to the X chromosome. Dean Hamer23 found such an association at region Xq28. If male sexual orientation was influenced by a gene on Xq28, then gay brothers should share more than 50% of their alleles at this region, whereas their heterosexual brothers should share less than 50% of their alleles. In the absence of such an association, then both types of brothers should display 50% allele sharing. An analysis of 40 pairs of gay brothers and found that they shared 82% of their alleles in the Xq28 region, which was much greater than the 50% allele sharing that would be expected by chance.24 However, a follow-up study by the same research group, using 32 pairs of gay brothers and found only 67% allele sharing, which was much closer to the 50% expected by chance. Attempts by Rice et al. to repeat the Hamer study resulted in only 46% allele sharing, insignificantly different from chance, contradicting the Hamer results. At the same time, an unpublished study by Alan Sanders (University of Chicago) corroborated the Rice results. Ultimately, no gene or gene product from the Xq28 region was ever identified that affected sexual orientation. When Jonathan Marks (an evolutionary biologist) asked Hamer what percentage of homosexuality he thought his results explained, his answer was that he thought it explained 5% of male homosexuality. Marks’ response was, “There is no science other than behavioral genetics in which you can leave 97.5% of a phenomenon unexplained and get headlines.”

    Real genetic studies?
    Within the last decade, genetic analysis of heritable traits has taken a huge step forward with the advent of DNA microarray technology. Using this technology, it is possible to scan large lengths of the human genome (even an entire genome wide scan – GWAS) for numerous individuals, at quite reasonable costs. This DNA microarray technology has led to the discovery of genes that are associated with complex diseases, such as Crohn’s Disease, which is the topic of my research. If homosexuality truly has a genetic component, DNA microarray studies (probably beginning with the X-chromosome) would not only definitively prove the point, but would identify specific gene(s) or loci that might be associated with those who express a homosexual orientation. Why haven’t these studies been done?

    Conclusion
    The question of how homosexual orientation originates has been the subject of much press, with the general impression being promoted that homosexuality is largely a matter of genes, rather than environmental factors. However, if one examines the scientific literature, one finds that it’s not quite as clear as the news bytes would suggest. The early studies that reported differences in the brains of homosexuals were complicated by HIV infection and were not substantiated by larger, better controlled studies. Numerous studies reported that possible hormonal differences affected homosexual orientation. However, these studies were often directly contradictory, and never actually measured any hormone levels, but just used proxies for hormonal influences, without direct evidence that the proxies were actually indicative of true hormone levels or imbalances. Twin studies showed that there likely are genetic influences for homosexuality, although similar studies have shown some genetic influences for homophobia and even opposition to abortion. The fact that sexual orientation is not constant for many individuals, but can change over time suggests that at least part of sexual orientation is actually sexual preference. Attempts to find a “gay gene” have never identified any gene or gene product that is actually associated with homosexual orientation, with studies failing to confirm early suggestions of linkage of homosexuality to region Xq28 on the X chromosome. The question of genetic influences on sexual orientation could be definitively answered by using DNA microarray technology, although, to my knowledge, no such studies are planned or in progress.

    My Conclusion: You are soooooo smug in your claim to spiritual superiority. Quite a blowhard actually.

    Comment by Jon A Firebaugh — Thursday, May 6, 2010 3:10 pm @ 3:10 pm | Reply

    • “soooooo smug”? You talkin’ to ngee or me?

      As for the question of why studies haven’t been done, I’m quite sure it’s for the same reason that many other studies haven’t been done in many other areas of biology: money.

      More importantly, Rich Deem misses a larger point: People who condemn homosexual behavior and even orientation on specifically Christian religious grounds must meet the burden of proving that their outlook doesn’t violate Christ’s second great commandment. And they haven’t done that. At least, not yet.

      Comment by Lex — Friday, May 7, 2010 3:50 pm @ 3:50 pm | Reply


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