Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 10:22 pm

Your tax dollars at work (if you live in Florida or Arkansas)

Shorter Bill McCollum: I’m running for Florida governor when I’m just really lucky I haven’t been indicted yet for suborning perjury; is this a great country or what?

The state of Florida paid George Rekers — the anti-gay leader recently caught with a male escort — $120,000 to testify against allowing gay couples to adopt children, testimony that was deemed not credible by the judge.

Rekers was paid a $60,900 retainer. He also received a $59,793 payment for hourly billing, according to document provided to TPMmuckraker by the Department of Children and Families. That comes out to 402 hours at about $150 per hour. The payments were made by the office of the Florida attorney general, Bill McCollum, which was defending the DCF’s policy.

Rekers, a co-founder of the Family Research Council and a board member of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, testified in 2008 that gay people have a higher incidence of depression, substance abuse and break-ups. Therefore, he said, they’re incapable of providing a safe and stable home to adopted children.

Rekers, who admitted to employing the escort but who denies any sexual contact, has adopted a child.

The escort says Rekers paid for one-hour erotic massages.

Rekers also testified on behalf of the state of Arkansas. A two-year legal battle ensued when Rekers billed the state for $165,00, more than the state wanted to pay. In the end, Rekers received a $60,000 settlement, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

In both Florida and Arkansas, the judges dismissed Rekers’ testimony as too ideological to be credible.

If you approve of McCollum’s stewardship of the public treasury, you may go show your appreciation at his Facebook page. By all means hurry before all the good comments are gone.

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.

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