Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bryan Fischer wants Women to shower with Trans Men

Just this past week, I turned my attention to the American "Family" Association's Bryan Fischer, and showed that he is neither a real Conservative or a real Christian. Thanks to my friend Zoe Brain, I've just been exposed to more of Fischer's inability to understand sacred scripture or science, in a blog essay over at the American "Family" Association's "Rightly Concerned" Blog, entitled "Barney Frank: ENDA is about men showering with women."

Fischer starts out showing his inability to comprehend Christian sacred scripure. His first two very short paragraphs are an attempt at scriptural exegesis:

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27, emphasis mine).

According to both Scripture and biology, there are just two genders, two
and only two, male and female. Period.

The emphasis was Fischer's, but it may as well have been mine. And his conclusion is totally and completely incorrect.

First, as I have pointed out on numerous occasions, Genesis 1:27 has an "and" and not an "or" connecting "male" and "female."

Second, this scriptural passage connotes that the very image of God is "male *and* female." All Fischer needs to do is read about the (allegorical, true, but this is a bigger point for a biblical literalist) creation of Adam. Adam was created in God's image, "male and female" in one being, and then split into two people. This does not mean that every person created by God is "split" in exactly the same way. From the perspective of scripture, transsexual people are created by God with natures that are different - not entirely male, and not entrely female. In a way, we're possibly more "God-like" than most people, though we are not "all male" and "all female" in the way that God's image and likeness is. For more on the image and likeness of God, and how this relates to the Name of God, I'd refer Bryan to Rabbi Mark Sameth.

Third, scripture contains references to people who are male, people who are female, and people who are "other." Those "other" people are called "eunuchs" in sacred scripture. Is Bryan saying that sacred scripture is untrue? That there are no people who are different?

Jesus Christ knew more about transsexual and intersex people that Bryan Fischer. We have one biblical verse in which Jesus mentions us, using the term "eunuchs" but that term is fleshed out. Let's look at Matthew 19:12, which together with passages from Isaiah and Acts constitute a triple reference that should tell Bryan that trans people are specially loved by God.

In Matthew 19:12, we hear the words of Jesus:

"for there are eunuchs which have been born thus from [their] mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs of men; and there are eunuchs who have made eunuchs of themselves for the sake of the kingdom of the heavens. He that is able to receive [it], let him receive [it]."

I've used Darby here, but I could have used any of the literal translations.

So let's examine Jesus' words more closely, since people like Bryan are incapable of taking more than a few words in at once and not making a jumble of them:

"for there are eunuchs which have been born thus from [their] mother's womb; . . ."

In this first phrase, Jesus makes it clear that He, unlike Bryan, understands that transsexual and intersex people are born different.

". . . and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs of men; . . ."
While this second phrase may refer to those who are castrated as punishment for a crime, or to make them sing as sopranos in the Vatican choir, or for those who entered into government service in China or the Eastern Roman Empire, it also refers to things like genital reconstructuin surgery, performed on some trans and intersex people so that they can fit more easily into the artificial societal construct of sex that is imposed on the diversity of nature, to match the way their brains developed.

". . . and there are eunuchs who have made eunuchs of themselves for the sake of the kingdom of the heavens. "
This third category of eunuch has from early Christian times been misinterpreted as referring to priestly celibacy, in a reaction to those Chriistians who took literally Christ's admonitions in Matthew 5:30 and 18:8, and Mark 9:43-45, and, like the theologian Origen, castrated themselves to avoid succumbing to their sexual urges. Paul of Tarsus offered marriage as an alternative to Christians who could not make themselves be celibate - teaching that Christians should be celibate, but those who cannot control their sexual urges should get married. For true Christians, based on Paul's teaching, getting married s an acknowledgment of an inability for the parties to sexually contain themselves. (of course, not everyone is a Christian, and not all Christians are faithful to Paul's teaching, but it is at least a rebuttable presumption that any married Christian is unable to control their sexual urges - otherwise they would have chosen to be celibate, like the Shakers.)

In actuality, the third category of eunuch in Jesus' words, is a reference back to Isaiah 56:4-5, in which the Lord says:

". . . Unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and hold fast to my covenant,

even unto them will I give in my house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off."
Jesus, a great scripture scholar, knew that God has a special place in God's own House for those who are transsexual and intersex.

We already knew that Bryan Fischer fails in his theological understanding of sacred scripture. I just wanted to make it absolutely clear that he is wrong about Genesis 1:27. There can be no doubt of this among reasonable minds.

Let's turn to biology, shall we?

We've clearly established that Fischer nows nothing about scripture; he apparently knows even less about biology.

His third paragraph is a gem:

"Pro-family advocates have from the beginning opposed the normalizing of transgenderism because it does gross violence to any rational view of human sexuality, and, even worse, will force women to share shower, bathroom and locker-room facilities with biological males. "

First, he mischaracterizes his cohorts as "pro-family advocates." That is an utter lie. He and people like James Dobson are about as anti-family as they come. The only families that they support are families like their own. They believe that families that are different are to be feared and hated. That is not pro-family, just like the National Organization "for" Marriage is not for Marriage but is against it.

Second, Fischer does not have a rational view of human sexuality, or biology. He fails to understand that nature is more diverse than society, and that there are people who do not easily fit into societal definitions of male or female. For people who hew to the narrow view of sex assignment, anyone who does not fit into that view perfectly is abnormal, deviant and pathological. It's also why people like Fischer conflate homosexuality, which is a sexual orientation, with transsexualism, which involves gender identity seated in the brain, and its relation to sex assignment. These are different issues, but the T is associated with the LG and B because we are all *different* from the sexuality expected by the majority, and as a result, elements within that majority feel no compunction about singling us out for persecution just because we are different in some way. Bullies like Bryan Fischer have no sense of morality or decency. They lie like snakes in the grass, and strike with their venom, their lies, and their deceit. They delight in whipping up of gullible and ignorant straight cissexual people into a frenzy of fear that is rooted in their fear of people who are not exactly like them, ghoulishly raking in their contributions to fight against justice and decency.

Human sexuality is diverse. It is society that imposes the two-sex view on nature.

If society insists that there has to be two and only two sexes, then society has to accommodate those who are different and do not exactly fit into the narrow view, in a reasonable way.

Forcing women to bathe with men is not reasonable. But THAT is what Bryan Fischer wants! He wants to force transsexual men to use women;s shower facilities. Because Bryan does not recognize genital reconstruction surgery as being effective, he wants men - men with beards, deep voices and male pattern voices, some of whom have larger penises than others, to shower with women, just because those men were born with a developed mullerian duct system and have or had uteruses.

Just because Bryan thinks of women as merely walking uteruses and sperm depositories, does not mean that such a viewpoint is universally shared. I am sure that when Bryan is not busy opposing reasonable treatment for trans people, he must be out there shaking jars of formaldehyde with fetuses at women going to see their doctors for medical treatment. His reduction of women to the mullerian duct system, as mere cows who exist for the purpose of bearing children to the men who think they own them, is shameful.

Then he wants to force women to share showers with trans men. Shame on him! There is no rational basis for his position. He apparently thinks that there are only transsexual women out there for him to degrade and abuse. He does not seem to realize that there are transsexual men, too - and that when he forces women out of the showers and locker rooms, he is forcing real men into those same places!

Bryan does not want those gullible and ignorant followers of his to know the truth - because if they knew the truth, they would realize just how ridiculous his position is. No - Bryan is relying on the idea that trans men will be too afraid to use women's facilities because they would be openly challenged by the women, even though Bryan insists that this is where these men belong.
What he really wants is for trans people to be relegated to the shadows of society and not be seen in the daylight lest we offend people who are afraid of people who don;t fit into their preconceived binary notions of reality.

The reality is that even under ENDA, women-born-female (WBFs) would not be forced to shower with pre-op/non-op women-born-transsexual, at the same time. Women who have, or still have, penises, would either have private showers in the women's area, or if there are only open showers, can be accommodated by way of "time-slicing" so they have access at different times from women who have an objection. Post-op women should not be subjected to any limitation.

When it comes to bathrooms, privacy is at the stall level. Pre-op and non-op women can and dod safely use public bathroom facilities every day without a problem. It's usually the butch lesbians who get hassled by other women in the bathroom because they sometimes get mistaken for men, depending on what they are wearing.

Bryan goes on to paint a distorted picture of trans people:

Transgenders are people who are so psychologically and mentally confused they think they are trapped in a body of the wrong sex.

So we are talking here about biological males - males in every single cell of their bodies, with every strand of DNA male to the core, males according to “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” - who are convinced that they are women trapped in male bodies. Consequently, they want to act as women, dress as women, and use the same facilities women use, including bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.

Do you notice how easily and quickly Bryan makes the inconvenient trans men disappear? That's because he wants to foist these men onto women in women's showers and other facilities.

But that isn't the primary point. Bryan shows he doesn't have a clue about science, much as he proves over and over again that he does not have a clue about Christian sacred scripture.

Trans women are not and never are men. Not even when they got the blue blanket in the nursery because the obstetrician saw an "outie" rather than an "innie." Just because many may have an XY 23rd chromosome pair does not make them male. There has been scientific research that shows that there is an SRY gene that is one of the primary blueprints for male development. There have been genetic situtaions that have been discovered that explain at least some cases of transsexualism. In the past couple of years, a gene has been found that results in a "long androgen receptor." This may explain some of the brain development of trans women as female, while the recepptors work well enough to cause the wolffian ducts to develop rather then the mullerian ducts. For trans men, a gene was found that causes testosterone to be processed much more efficiently - and thiscan have an effect on embryonic and fetal development.

Bryan does not seem to realize that the "default" blueprint for the human body is female, and that any male development is the result of deviance from that default. In essence, before sexual differentiation, embryos are, as the bible points out in Genesis 1:27, "male *and* female." They have the capacity to develop in either direction, depending on how the blueprint reads, and the construction process moves. Transsexual embryos/fetuses get some parts that develop along male lines, and some parts that develop along female lines. Other intersex embryos/fetuses have developmental differences that range from developing fully in accordance with the "opposite" blueprint - complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) is an example, in which an embryos that would be classified as (unsing Bryan's words):

"males in every single cell of their bodies, with every strand of DNA male to the core"
develop phenotypically as female, because even though their bodies are full of testosterone, their cells have testosterone receptors that do not work. Remember, the default development is female, so that explains why the female form is used in the construction when the testosterone does not work.

Returning to trans women, or rather, fetuses that develop along those lines, the long androgen receptors may or may not be sufficient to cause female development in the brain or parts of the brain. The result is likely that not everyone who has this genetic feature will turn out to be a woman-born-transsexual. But enough of us do.

The studies do not claim to have found the only source of these developmental differences, but they point out the fact that who and what we are is biological and not merely psychiatric.

While the APA still classifies 'gender identity disorder" as a mental disorder, Bryan's take on it is pure prejudice and not scientific at all. The only reason for the mental disorder classification is so that trans people can get treatment. There are better models, medical models, that would be just as effective and less stigmatizing. The appropriate treatment, from the standpoint of a society that demands that there be only two sexes, is hormonal and surgical treatment to allow the trans individual to fit into society.

But Bryan and his ilk would have none of this - they'd rather have all trans people just commit suicide for lack of treatment, or push us off to the quacks who still practice electroshock and other "conversion" therapies that have been proven to be ineffective.

The only perversion I would not want to have people exposed to is Bryan's perversion of Christianity into something hateful and malignant.

Bryan quotes from Barney Frank, who, while a member of Congress, and a gay man, is no expert on transsexualism. Barney only showed in what Bryan quoted that even our allies need to be educated. But at least people like Barney Frank are likely to be educable, unlike bigots like Bryan, who perhaps should try electroshock therapy themselves to eliminate their harmful religious delusions. Not all religion is delusional, I hasten to add, and not all religious delusions are harmful. But when people like Bryan twist sacred scripture and science to fit their bigotry and prejudice and genuinely believe that they are right, they prove they are in serious need of professional help.

Incredibly, Bryan has to go back to 1999, when Rep. Frank was even less knowledgeable about trans people than he is now, to dig up his quote. In 1999, the first BSTc study was only four years old and was not widely known outside of specialized scientific circles.

Being gay does not make Barney Frank an expert on transsexual people, even now, but he's better today than he was in 1999, even if he still does not quite "get it."
And even in 1999, Barney was explaining that it was society that he saw as not ready to accept trans women as women. Things have changed - and those people who feel that way are increasingly in the minority.

Even most transsexual people ourselves are not experts on what it is that makes us tick - in part because we've all been educated in the same societal system that expects the sex binary to be a reflection of nature. We just know that the initial sex assignment was wrong. Once we realize that nature is more diverse, it's still difficult to let go of the societal expectations. Indeed, unless society changes, those who transition rather than trying to "gut it out" as something like "genderqueer" may have a better chance at coping with society, provided society meets us part way with reasonable accommodations.

So, when it comes to "protecting our wives and daughters," just remember that it's Bryan Fischer who is the one who really wants us women sharing the facilities with trans men. He just doesn't come out and say it openly, because it would scare away all those pretty donations that line his pockets.

ADDENDUM - August 30, 2010:

For those who want to know more about biological issues in the gray area that the "society" has historically ignored, and Bryan Fischer wants to continue keeping in ignorance, I suggest that readers take a look at numerous entries over at Zoe Brain's blog (you can find it in the column to the right).

Here are some examples of medical scientific studies that Zoe has provided information about:;

There's more in the comments at;
e.g. Frydman, R. et. al. (1988) Pregnancy in a 46 XY patient. Fertil. Steril., 50:813-814. Kan, A.K.S., et. al. (1997)

Two successful pregnancies in a 46, XY patient. Hum. Reprod.,12(7):1434-1435. Selvaraj, K., et. al. (2002)

Successful pregnancy in a patient with a 46, XY karyotype. Fertil. Steril., Aug.; 78(2):419-420.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Skidmarks on the Road: Part III

In the first two parts of this essay, which responded to Mary Kochan’s essay over at Catholic Exchange, entitled “Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Part I,” we took a hard look at Mary’s underlying foundational assumptions and found them to be built on shifting sand.

In my part I, I disputed Mary’s point that sacred scripture is only properly interpreted by the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. I used her proof, that the doctrines of the Church have an “incarnational” aspect, and with the example of the issue of abortion and the point on the continuum of human life that an individual becomes a person, infused with a soul. I showed how scripture inspired the common law “birth and breath” doctrine, and how until fairly recently, while abortion after “quickening” was seen as a serious sin from the 13th century, it was never seen as murder. The Magisterium’s misunderstanding of the science, coupled with its disregard for the lives and health of women, led it into serious error on the subject.

In my Part II, I took issue with Mary’s, and the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy’s, assumptions about the nature of transsexuality. In this, the Catholic Church is not alone in maintaining an essentialist stance on the mistaken notion that the binary of sex, the assignment of human beings as male or female, is a reflection of nature. I showed that it really is not, that it is a construct imposed by society as a way to understand nature, and that nature contains more diversity than the binary. Under the binary, the 99+% that fit into the societal construct are seen as normal, while the rest of us – transsexual and intersex people, are seen as pathological and abnormal.

I pointed out that the “male-to-female” narrative used by Mary’s trans correspondent was based on the societal assumptions that have been drilled into us from birth. The reality is that we are born different. We really do not “belong” to either of the binary sexes.

I also pointed out that Mary, unfortunately, has an enormous sense of guilt, which I attributed (in part) to the unfortunate and adverse influence of Augustine of Hippo on the theological development of Christianity. (While Pelagius was not a perfect theologian either, it would have been better for Christianity to have developed in a more compassionate and less schizophrenic way without the doctrine of Original Sin.)

My final point in my Part II was to emphasize that despite our “otherness,” many transsexual people do want to fit into the binary that we have been inculcated with all our lives, and that surrounds us. I myself want to fit in, even though I understand the fact that I am different. Unless and until society actually develops in a way that respects and honors the diversity of nature, the least that those of us who are different should expect is a humane, decent and understanding society that provides reasonable accommodation to the tiny fraction of people who do not fit into the binary.

With that recap, it’s time to turn to Mary’s "When the Rubber hits the Road: Part II."

Mary starts with a recap of the message she received from her transsexual correspondent.

The correspondent closed her message with a question:

“Is the Church’s heart big enough to embrace me as a woman, or do I, and by
extension my family, simply no longer exist?”

Mary starts out with a sort of feigned sympathy – it’s hard to see it as genuine, particularly considering the manner in which she goes about answering the question.

She writes:

“Let me start first by saying that I don’t think there is any condition so dire
or messed up that a person cannot find a way to be in the Church.”

With the Church in the condition it is in, with a hierarchy that has lost the Truth (if they ever had it), my question is to ask why would anyone actually want to be Roman Catholic?

There are alternatives, after all. For a trans individual, going back to the Roman Church as it is, is like a battered wife begging her abuser to take her back. Any reasonable person would be running away, kicking and screaming – but the trans Roman Catholic, like the gay Roman Catholic, can’t bear to leave the abusive Church. (And by that I mean Church as in the Magisterium, not Church as in your fellow parishioners!)

For those whose theological positions haven’t shifted much on matters of faith, the alternatives include the Catholic Apostolic Church of North America, a Catholic organization with valid orders, but not subject to the pope since 1947. There are also the Old Catholics, who broke away at the time of Vatican I in 1870. There is the Episcopal Church, which is currently part of the Anglican communion, which a lot of people see as “Catholic Lite.” (From what I can tell, Episcopalians are splitting over LGBT issues, so in the near future, when the bad Episcopalians either split off their separate Anglican Church of North America, or just return to Rome, the good Episcopalians will have a better church.) There are even welcoming Methodist and even Lutheran congregations!

There are other alternatives for those who have come to the realization that the Roman Catholic Church Magisterium has erred on so many moral and other issues, including abortion, masturbation, the treatment of women (including ordination), the stridently insistent use of masculine pronouns only for the Trinity (to the extent of voiding baptismal validity!), the treatment of gay and lesbian people, and yes, the treatment of transsexual people. Once one realizes that the Church, which claims the whole Truth, is so wrong on so many moral issues, to the extent of taking purely evil positions on many of them, one may begin to question the “matters of faith” as well. One can count the United Church of Christ and others as welcoming Churches.

At first, when I was asked to leave the Church by the late Rev. David Clifford, the associate pastor of Holy Name of Jesus parish, in August 1999, I decided that the Mystical Body of Christ stayed with me – that this separation of me from the Church resulted with the “true Church” remaining with me. Mostly tongue-in-cheek, and being aware of the proliferation of antipopes, I declared John Paul II anathema and set myself up as Pope Joan II. (Yes, I am kidding, though it still makes me smile. John XXIII took the number 23 to make it definite that the previous John XXIII was an antipope. Before then, there had been some speculation as to whether the first John XXIII was a real pope. What I did was take the Number 2, to assert the legitimacy of the first Pope Joan. Of course I am not serious about this, but I will sign myself as “serva servarum deae” when I feel the need to write “ex cathedra.”)

What happened over time, though was that as I meditated on the errors in Church moral teachings, I began to unravel the faith teachings as well.

I started with rejection of Papal Infallibility and the Assumption and worked my way back through the Immaculate Conception (getting a little Pelagian, jettisoning the harmful and degrading concept of Original Sin), and then to the “Filioque” controversy that split the Western (Catholic) and Eastern (Orthodox) Churches – realizing in stark neutrality that the Eastern Churches were sticking with the original Nicene Creed, and on that basis, concluding that if that Creed was correct, then the Son and the Spirit both proceed from the Father. Given the Roman Catholic preoccupation with Mary, it would make more sense, if they were going to tinker, to have the Son proceed from the Father and the Spirit, and rather than a doctrine of Immaculate Conception, just incarnate Mary as the human embodiment of the Spirit of God. (Then they’d ruin it all and start tinkering with St. Anne as having to have been a "perfect vessel” to have contained the Spirit of God within her.) I can see the medieval minds wrapping themselves around that. If I were still a Trinitarian, I think I’d take a peek behind *that* curtain. It would at least stop the Trinity from seeming like an all boys club. Imagine Mary as a Goddess-Person/human-person like Jesus as God-Person/human-person. (Then again, it might be too close to the Osiris-Isis-Horus Egyptian Trinity.) Though also dropping the ever-virgin schtick would allow for Catholics to have a healthier sexuality than the kind that leads men to impotence with their wives because of the Madonna-whore syndrome.

Eventually, I rejected even the Resurrection, the Trinity, and the Jesus-Godhood thing. I still had Jesus – but as a great teacher, moralist and scripture scholar – not bad for the son of a Jewish carpenter. But not the only teacher.

Then I discovered that Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of the United States, and the author of the Declaration of Independence, had kept a gospel, published long after his death, in which he had razored out all the miracles and unbelievable things. And Jesus still looked good. I learned that Jefferson was a Unitarian.

This bit of serendipity (I was actually looking for something else about Jefferson) led me into looking into Unitarianism, or rather Unitarian-Universalism, since those two churches merged some time ago.

So eventually, my spiritual journey turned in that direction. I may still know a lot about Catholic theology (three years in a Roman Catholic seminary will do that), but for me, it’s no longer a matter of faith. I still have a respect for sacred scripture, but it’s more a matter of it being inspirational writing and a source of teaching, than inspired writing or the unerring Word of God.

When I write critically of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, it’s primarily aimed at things the Church does that are evil or immoral. There are a lot of harmless things the Church does, and a lot of good things as well.

With that as background. Let’s turn back to Mary’s Part II essay:

Informed by her sense of Augustinian sinfulness, Mary tells her correspondent:

“you are not beyond the reach of God’s love or the prayers of your fellow
Catholics, fellow sinners all.”

I don’t mind so much the assertion that we are all sinners. But it reminds me of a speech made by former President George W. Bush’s July 2003 speech on marriage, in which he said:

“I am mindful that we are all sinners. And I caution those who may try to
take a speck out of their neighbor's eye when they've got a log in their own. I
think it's very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome
those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country.

On the other hand, that does not mean that somebody like me needs to
compromise on an issue such as marriage. And that's really where the issue is
headed here in Washington, and that is, the definition of marriage. I believe in
the sanctity of marriage. I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman and
I think we ought to codify that one way or the other. We've got lawyers looking
at the best way to do that."

As soon as someone starts out with the idea that the topic of being a transsexual person involves a sin, rather than a biological difference, it’s a sure sign that one is not dealing with a welcoming person.

Now, Mary does come forth with some reasonable and perfectly fine discussion on judgment and coming up with excuses for sin – which all assumes that the concept of “sin” is relevant. Of course, we can replace sin with something like “behaving badly” and the points still come across – that we should not judge others (citing 1 Cor. 4:4), and that it is easy for “our hearts to excuse our own sins” (citing to Jer. 17:10).

Mary turns to the marriage issue. Her reasoning:

“Either you were really a man, therefore you really got married or you were
really not a man – that was a mistaken identity — therefore you really did not
get married (and you are not married now). “

This presupposes a rejection of marriage equality (much like the “born again” President Bush, and the Magisterium of the Church). However, based on the 2000 sub secretum document leaked to Catholic News Service and published in a 2003 article,

and according to the CNS article,

“Catholics who have undergone "sex-change" procedures are not eligible to marry,
be ordained to the priesthood or enter religious life, according to a source
familiar with the text.”

While I am not absolutely certain as to whether Mary is conversant with either the CNS article, or the underlying sub secretum document (and I would love to be able to see the entire official text of the document, in English), her statement that “you are not married now” if her correspondent is a woman is still factually incorrect. Having been married in the Church, though, an annulment would be speedily granted, since the Church does not sanctify same sex matrimony. (Mary puts it incorrectly as:

“Your wife cannot be married to a woman as there is no such thing as “same sex

There are five states, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Iowa, and a growing number of other jurisdictions, including Canada, The Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Mexico City, where marriage laws are gender neutral, and other jurisdictions, such as New York State, where the state will recognize same-sex marriages entered into under the law of another jurisdiction. So Mary’s reference can only be to Roman Catholic sacramental matrimony, and not to civil marriage where marriage equality is recognized.

Indeed, the legal status of transsexual individuals, because of the fact that we are biologically different and governmental authorities have different criteria for recognizing binary sex assignment for different purposes, can be complicated.

After my nearly-20-year Roman Catholic marriage was annulled (four children later) in 2000 because of my transsexual status, It took me a long time to find new love. Being different does make things difficult. Identifying as lesbian, but finding that many lesbians have no interest in transsexual women as potential partners (thanks to the way the radical feminist lesbian separatists, influenced by Mary Daly and Janice Raymond, are as birth-genital-essentialist as the Roman Catholic Church), the number of potential spouses is fairly small. ButI did find love.

I am legally female for some purposes (including social security (having had the records corrected prior to the Bush regulatory change in October 2002), DMV, and now passport purposes. My birth certificate, which is what counts in New York for marriage purposes, has me still assigned as male. There is no deception in this, it’s just that different governmental authorities have different rules fior different purposes, and some are more enlightened than others. Thus, my sweetie and I were able to get a legal New York marriage license. At the time, I was a recovering Catholic, and she is Jewish. While we had a few problems along the route to our wedding, we managed to get my birth certificate, get a marriage license, and we put together a wonderful, meaningful and beautiful wedding ceremony, incorporating Judaeo/Christian traditions, and had our wedding at the Unitarian/Universalist church that we now attend. We are legally married, in New York, and do not require a Catholic sacrament. There was a time in my life when that would have been meaningful to me, but that time has long passed.

Mary tells her correspondent that her GRS (genital reconstruction surgery):

“was the breaking of God’s law that says that you may not mutilate your body.”

And this, after having written about not being judgmental.

Now, according to the CNS article on the Vatican sub secretum document:

“The Vatican document's specific points include:-- An analysis of the moral
licitness of "sex-change" operations. Itconcludes that the procedure could be
morally acceptable in certainextreme cases if a medical probability exists that
it will "cure" thepatient's internal turmoil.”

It’s fairly clear from Mary’s correspondent’s letter that she was a legitimate candidate for GRS. The only turmoil the correspondent continues to have is in relation to being accepted by the Church. My advice would be to find another church.

Mary does not seem to understand that HRT and GRS are acceptable treatment for those trans individuals who seek to bring their bodies into as close to a binary synchronization as possible. A trans woman, with a female BSTc in her hypothalamus, but born with a wolffian genital tract, will always be different from those born with a female BSTc and a developed mullerian genital tract. The medical and surgical treatments are there to allow the trans individual to cope within the society’s binary construct.

The CNS report indicated that the Vatican document was prepared primarily by Father (now Cardinal) Urbano Navarrete – who also happens to have been the author of the Vatican’s document revoking the validity of baptisms that invoke the Trinity using gender-neutral references rather than the traditional male terms.

One thing about marriage in the CNS report, that the Vatican document contains:

“An affirmation of the validity of marriages in which one partnerlater undergoes
the procedure, unless a church tribunal determinesthat a transsexual disposition
predated the wedding ceremony.”

Mary’s correspondent makes it clear that she has always been a transsexual person, and was clearly transsexual before getting married. A Roman Catholic marriage tribunal would certainly find no reason to not grant an annulment. In fact, one would wonder whether a tribunal might act sua sponte to annul the marriage, based on the admission that was made. Mary is not barred by the seal of the confessional from disclosing her correspondent’s name to Church authorities. I would sincerely hope that she does not.

The transsexual disposition will be present from birth – the only issue is whether and how well the individual transsexual person has been able to delude themselves into assimilating in accordance with societal expectations before it becomes no longer possible to do so.

Mary does go on to ask her correspondent:

“. . . why do you want to be back in the Church? Is it not because it is
the minister of salvation, the very Body of Christ? Either the Church
really has the authority to forgive sins and confect the Sacrament, or
not. If it has that authority, doesn’t it have the authority to tell you
what God’s law is? It is not as much a matter of the Church accepting you
as of you accepting the authority of the Church.”

To be honest, I could not have stated that question better, myself.

However, Mary seriously jumps off the deep end – here are some gems:

“It is better to die than to offend God. It would have been better for you
to have given your life to stay in obedience to God, than to break His law and
to drag along into sin your poor spouse. ”

“For one thing you
have greater physical health — but at the cost of being an example to others
that physical health is worth breaking God’s law.”

“You have
effectively robbed your children of their father — although I know you think you
made the decision to stay in their lives, you didn’t stay on as a father.
You robbed them of the precious example of obedience to God, something
that may have impacted them and the future of your family in positive ways for
generations to come. You may also have robbed them of potential

“You pretend to have what really does not exist — a
“same sex marriage” — causing scandal and confusion. You have effectively
robbed your wife of conjugal relations. If you engage in any sexual
activity at all with her, and if she thinks you are a woman now, then you have
led her into the sin of homosexual activity — at least according to her

“Now a separate issue has to do with society. I
certainly don’t want to see any harm come to you – Goodness knows, what you have
done to yourself is plenty! — but there is a saying that “hard cases make bad
law.” ”

“ I guess you will have to live under a few
restrictions because of what you did to yourself. You can just consider
all that part of your penance.”

“We can neither remake society nor
remake the Church to eliminate every consequence of sin. ”

Shocking! To be fair, Mary is writing from the perspective of the Roman Catholic Church’s Magisterium, or at least her own draconian interpretation of it. We’ve already established that the Magisterium is not a competent source of moral guidance on matters involving morality or the interpretation of sacred scripture.

Mary’s correspondent has not sinned by having her legitimate medical situation treated in accordance with the best medical practices.

It is as if Mary and the Church had suddenly become disciples of Mary Baker Eddy and faith healing, eschewing medical treatment for any “God-Given Condition.” It is as if the Church was holding that, if it’s God’s will that Joe Blow should have a heart attack and die, it is not up to medical science to either attempt to prevent that heart attack or treat Joe in an attempt to stave off God’s call. Really!

He problem is not with Mary's correspondent. The problem is with Mary, the Magisterium, and those evil, malignant, backwards and ignorant parts of society where reasonable accommodation for transsexual and other intersex people is not permitted.

In terms of sacred scripture, there are three interrelated passages that transsexual and intersex persons who are Christian (including those who see themselves as Cafeteria Catholics) can call upon as a source of solace and understanding that we are specially loved by God. They are Isaiah 56:1-7, Matthew 19:12, and Acts 8:35 to the end of the chapter.

On the issue of “mutilation,” that is such a wrong interpretation of what GRS is. The problem with the Vatican’s sub secretum document on transsexual people, is that it is based on bad science. Paul McHugh from Johns Hopkins was reputed to be one of the major medical sources on the subject. McHugh, an Opus Dei fanatic and an eating disorders specialist, gave Church authorities a distorted picture of the science. This, of course, is no excuse, for a Church that prides itself on being the source of all Truth.

As it is on the issues of women’s reproductive rights and the other treatment of women, the treatment of gays and lesbians, and on so many others, the Magisterium is just plain wrong about transsexual people.

To Mary’s correspondent, God loves you. If you haven’t been scared off into atheism altogether, find another church, one that is welcoming and accepting. It’s okay to call on Rome to reform. They may not have listened to Luther, but later the Council of Trent did being some reforms to the bad practices of the medieval Church. They may not listen to me, or to you, but perhaps one day the Magisterium will change direction and find its way to a more enlightened moral viewpoint.

To you, I suggest a reading of Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl. Get it here:

or here:

To Mary, I offer my prayers that the scales may come off and your eyes, too, may be opened to the light and peace of Jesus’ teachings, unfettered by the accumulated barnacles of cantankerous theologians of the past and the blind guides of the Magisterium of today.

To you, Mary, I suggest setting aside the hair shirt and reading German Roman Catholic theologian Uta Ranke-Heinemann’s profoundly inspiring critique of the Magisterium, “Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven.” It has both a Nihil Obstat and an Imprimatur, so you don’t have to worry about being led astray. Get it here:

or here:

To the Magisterium and hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, I offer the words of Jesus, speaking clearly to them, the words of Matthew 23. I need not reproduce the words here, since it’s in the Bible that they do not care to read, but the words are aimed directly at these failed shepherds. May they repent their evil, and see the light, before they are numbered among the goats.

In Justice and Peace,

Joann Prinzivalli
Serva Servarum Deae

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Skidmarks on the Road: Part II

Yesterday, I posted the first part of my response to Mary Kochan’s “Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Part I” that was published over at Catholic Exchange.

In a nutshell, in my first chapter, I took Mary’s foundational points – that sacred scripture is only properly interpreted by the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, and that the doctrines of the Church have an “incarnational aspect” – in whuch the doctrine is incarnated (becomes alive) by an act. Mary used several examples: rituals, sacraments, vows, prayers and acts of penance.

Rather than addressing the treatment of transsexual people directly, I chose to take a completely different social and moral controversy – abortion and the point at which a human being becomes a person – to illustrate how the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church has failed in its interpretations of sacred scripture. The span of personhood on the continuum of human life is scripturally associated with the time between “birth and breath” and “breathing one’s last.” Our breath is the breath of God. This scriptural doctrine is “incarnated” by the sacrament of Baptism. I pointed out how the Magisterium’s current teachings about abortion have changed over the centuries, and that the Church has failed to properly interpret sacred scripture.

The structure of Roman Catholic doctrine is like a house built on loose sand, in the face of an incoming hurricane’s storm surge. By claiming to have all the Truth, the establishment of just one falsehood makes the whole structure subject to question.

With that foundational point firmly in place, let’s turn to more of Mary’s essay, and let's also turn to the issue of transsexual people.

Mary turns to an e-mail message she received from a transsexual woman, which refers to a 2009 article in Catholic Exchange by Dale O’Leary, and Mary’s many comments on that article. We are going to have to look further into the source materials, but for now, let’s turn to this.

At first Mary thinks that the letter might be a prank, but decides to respond to it as if it is genuine.

Mary writes:

“Let me begin with something that is biologically and medically true. The sex of
all infants at birth and of all persons later in life is not unambiguous. There
are conditions — deformities of genitalia, genetic anomalies, intrauterine
interference with normal development, etc. — that can make what is usually a
straightforward identification of someone as male or female problematic. While
these are blessedly rare, they are real medical conditions and the persons
afflicted with them deserve and should have access to medical care that performs
two critical functions: 1. Determining to the best of scientific accuracy what
the sex of the person really is 2. Providing the person with the medical and/or
surgical and/or psychological intervention to promote physically, emotionally,
and socially healthy adaptation to that sex. Where an error has been made
in documentation, due to the person having been misidentified at birth as one
sex while actually being the other, simple justice demands that the records
should be corrected.”

Immediately, Mary falls into the trap imposed by the sex and gender binary.

Dr. Milton Diamond of the University of Hawaii has said it best:

“Nature loves diversity, but society hates it.”

The binary of sex is not a biological reality, but is rather a social construct imposed on the diversity of reality. While it is true that the large majority of human beings will fall unambiguously into one or the other binary sexes (male or female), there is a small minority that does not fit into the social construct hat society imposes on this reality.

Rather than seeing these variations as natural differences, Mary, and many other cissexual people, will see anyone who is different as abnormal. And while the term “abnormal” in and of itself in this situation simply means “not like the 99% who fit into the societal expectation of sex assignment,” the term carries with it an enormous negative baggage. Of course, Mary jumps into this with both feet, gleefully pathologizing people who are different.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t some circumstances that don’t require immediate life-saving medical and/or surgical treatment – but surgeons who operate on newborns with ambiguous genitalia often stray too far from life-saving treatment into genital mutilation for the purpose of defining which of the two societally-expected boxes – and often enough, since it is “easier to dig a hole than erect a pole,” the surgeons will tend to make more of these infants into someone more easily assigned as “female.”

Society has strong expectations from the sex and gender binary. The very first thing anyone asks when a baby is born, is, “is it a boy or a girl?” The assignment of the blue or pink blanket in the maternity ward nursery is perhaps a societal “incarnational aspect” of this binary doctrine.

Yet, when we look at sacred scripture, we see in Genesis 1:27 that:

So God created humans in God’s own image, God created them in the image of God;
male and female God created them.

In nearly all translations of this verse, the conjunction “and” is used – showing us that the image of God is “male *and* female” - and not "male *or* female."

In another essay in this blog, I have mentioned Rabbi Mark Sameth’s writings on the tetragrammaton, revealing that a secret name of God is found by reading the YHWH backward, and it comes out as the Hebrew words for HE/SHE. If we relate this back to Genesis 1:27, it makes it clear that if we are created in God’s image, we are not male *or* female, we are male *and* female.

Scripture is fairly clear on this, but as much as it may inform a Christian’s faith, scripture isn’t science. While the story is an allegory, the underlying truth is undeniable. Looking at other traditions:

In every yin there is a small bit of yang, and in every yang a small bit of yin.

In Plato’s Symposium, we get a very similar yet broader story from Aristophanes, who uses a rather interesting allegory to explain the diversity of sexual orientation.

Biological diversity exists.

In 1995 and 2000, scientists examining the human brain were able to determine that the central strata of the basal stria terminalis in brains of transsexual people resemble the brains of cissexual people who are assigned to the “opposite” sex. Recent studies have shown genetic propensities for the development of transsexualism, a “long androgen receptor” gene for those who are trans women, and a gene that efficiently processes androgens for trans men. These may not be the sole causes, as transsexuality and other intersex conditions involve developmental differences from the standard binary paths. Whether these are based on changes in the blueprint (the genes) or whether they are caused or encouraged by intrauterine hormonal levels at different times during gestation, is not yet fully known.

Mary writes, in reference to her correspondent:

“. . . the writer identifies as a person who has gone from being male –
revealing no ambiguity, genetically or anatomically — to being female. ”

And this is pretty much the way MAry's correspondent tells her narrative.

Many transsexual people have narratives that are based on the binary underlying assumptions that society has foisted on us from the time we were given the wrong color blanket when we were born. We can’t blame the obstetrician, our parents, or others, for believing that we “belonged” to this wrong assignment, because the standard for making the determination works more than 99% of the time.

Considering the fact that the newborn’s brain and coordination are not developed well enough to enable the doctor to ask, and the baby to answer, how the baby identifies, it’s not until a transsexual person is somewhere around four years old that the situation may surface. (And this is complicated further by the fact that there are also children exhibiting similar behavior patterns who don’t turn out to be trans at all, they turn out to be orientationally different – the result of society training small children to be heterosexual. When a little boy, not yet aware of his sexual orientation, is absolutely sure that he wants to marry another boy when he grows up, he may, given the lack of information and appropriate role models, assume that he “should have been a girl.” From what I have read, this may be the case with the majority of children who present with gender differences at an early age. But even if trans kids are actually In the minority, we are still different.)

At around this time, the trans child may be insistent about her or his identity, or may learn to cope by hiding their identity and attempting to assimilate. For trans kids who take the hide and assimilate road,, the experience is often one that involves a great deal of inner turmoil. Puberty will often bring the inner conflict between societal expectations and inner reality back into a sharper focus.

At this point, coping strategies may change.

Some, often those trans kids oriented to what would be the opposite of their identified sex, are likely to transition earlier. Others, often those trans kids who are oriented toward those who would be the opposite of their incorrect assigned sex, will go through a further “hide and assimilate” route. This is how strong the societal expectation of heterosexuality is. It’s also an explanation or the bimodal emergence of transition – a much more accurate interpretation of the experience than that imposed on us by cissexual outside observers (examples: Blanchard and Bailey), and even some trans people (Anne Lawrence, as an example, an adherent of the “autogynephilia” pathology).

If we take into account the evidence for biological diversity in the human species, rather than pathologizing transsexual and other intersex people who do not fit squarely within the confines of the “male *or* female” binary construct created by society, it is better to acknowledge merely that we are not-male, not-female, but other, and that our initial assignment was incorrect, rather than forcing us into the assignment that does not match our brrain development.

So, essentially, Mary’s correspondent is not properly “male-to-female” (MTF or M2F), not having really been fully biologically male in the first place, but is rather “transsexual-to-female” (T2F) or a “woman born transsexual (“WBT”). The identification as MTF in the correspondent’s narrative is based on an acceptance of the initial societal parameters of the binary.

In her letter to Mary, her correspondent wrote:

“When we married, I wanted desperately to believe her love would cure me, and so
I didn’t tell her.”

Such a narrative is often told by trans women who adopted the “hide and assimilate” strategy. It pretty much echoes my own experience with my ex, over thirty years ago. And we had five priests concelebrating our nuptial mass.

Still, the biological fact is that transsexual people are biologically different. We do not ever belong in the sex assignment we were given at birth. Our genital tract may have developed along one of the standard blueprint paths, but our brains, or at least a critical part of them, developed along the other standard path. We are, perhaps, made more in God’s image and likeness than cissexual people. In some cultures, there has been a recognition of these differences, and trans people have been shamans, priests and priestesses, and spiritual leaders, precisely because as we were made by God we have aspects that are both male and female.

Yet, once the Roman Empire became Christianized, western society engaged in a pogrom against the various Greco-roman mystery religions and their eunuch (who in most cases would be seen as trans in modern eyes) priest(esse)s. Much like the victorious Muslims erected a mosque on the site of the Temple of Jerusalem, and on the site of the Temple of the birthplace of Rama in India, the Christian Church erected the Vatican on the site of the Phrygianum of Cybele, Magna Mater, a mystery religion that was served by gallae, who were eunuch priestesses. Augustine of Hippo was an ardent foe of the Cybele-worshippers and their gallae priestesses.

Augustine is also responsible for the Manichean influence on Christian theology. This is clearly evidenced by Mary’s “basic point to get out of the way” at the outset:

“where the rubber meets the road we all have a blowout. We all sin and fall
short of the glory of God. We are all wretches saved by His amazing grace. When
I think about my own besetting sins, I am sickened. That I go to confession with
the same stupid black marks on my own soul week after week, is just pitiful. I
must be boring Jesus to death with my petty selfishness. Actually I am not
just boring Jesus to death; I am really putting the nails in His sacred hands
and feet. We all are. We are such a mess — everyone of us.”

I feel sorry for Mary and her guilty self-flagellation, whether it is literal or merely figurative. (If Mary is involved with Opus Dei, it might well be literal, but we’ll assume the best and hope not.) But this attitude of wretched sinfulness is a mark of the Manichean influence on the development of Christianity. Indeed, there is evidence that Augustine’s Manichean background contributed to his thinking and thus further influenced the development of Christian theology. The Augustinian teachings with regard to sin, and particularly Original Sin, are based in Manichean teachings.

Augustine was also a rather despicable person, particularly in the manner in which he engineered the decision that his rival Pelagius and his teachings, which rejected Original Sin, were heretical.

It looks like it’s time to wrap up this essay. So, we’ve pretty much gotten to the end of Mary’s Rubber Meets the Road: Part I, and in our next essay we’ll start to tackle her Part II.

In this essay, we’ve pointed out that Mary’s view of biology isn’t accurate. She thinks transsexual and other intersex people should be pathologized solely because we don’t fit into the standard societal binary of sex, or rather, because she believes we should be shoe-horned into that binary in accordance with societal expectations, rather than recognizing the diversity of nature.

Before I end this essay chapter, I have one more thought. Even though we are made by God as different and diverse, transsexual and intersex people do live in a society that expects us to fit into the mold of being male or female. Otherness is societally unacceptable. So many of us seek to fit into the binary as best as we can – which includes hormonal and surgical treatment to make things so that we fit better into the sex assignment that fits us best. The acknowledgment that we do not belong to our initial assignment also comes with the understanding that we do not fully belong in the other assignment, either, except by way of reasonable accommodation. If society cannot recognize the diversity of reality and insists on the imposition of social constructs of binary sex, a humane society would do well to be accommodative to the tiny fraction of people who do not fit the constraints of the construct.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Skidmarks on the Road: Part I

I have been reading a two part essay that largely relates to the treatment of transsexual people in the Catholic Church. I decided to address a number of the points made by the author, in some detail. This first essay is foundational – the premise is that The Magisterium of the Catholic Church is in error on at least some moral issues, and since it claims to be the holder of all truth, if anything can be proven false, the entirety of the magisterial teachings and interpretations come into question.

In this first essay, we find that in author Mary Kochan’s first two paragraphs, there are issues already – so let’s explore them, shall we?

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Part One
By Mary Kochan

“I once had an interesting debate regarding “sola scriptura” with a Protestant apologist. I insisted scripturally and historically on the Catholic position that 1. Scripture could not interpret itself anymore than it could read itself and 2. that the task of authoritative interpretation belonged to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. My clever interlocutor rejoined with a great question: Who then interprets the interpretation? Doesn’t this just become an endless loop?

My answer was that this question missed the incarnational aspect of the Catholic faith. Everything does not remain on paper, or floating up in the rarefied air of theological theory. Every doctrine comes down to earth, becomes incarnated by an act: a ritual is performed; a Sacrament is received; a vow is made and kept for life; a prayer is made by human lips and ascends to God; an act of penance is performed. This is where the rubber meets the road. We act on, pray on, live, what we believe.”

Mary's first two paragraphs are designed to establish that the Church's Magisterium is authoritative on matters of scriptural interpretation. It isn't to far to go from there to matters of "faith and morals."

After many years of examining the failures of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church in interpreting sacred scripture on numerous moral issues, I have come to the conclusion that the problem is in part with the fact that the Magisterium is made up of fallible men, and even the Pope’s claim to infallibility when officially speaking on matters of faith and morals, officially confirmed by the First Vatican Council in 1870, is suspect.

In this essay, I am going to explore one area where the Magisterium misinterprets sacred scripture, and has used its interpretation in a less than moral manner to interfere with secular affairs involving people who don’t agree with Church teachings, and the law as it relates to everyone and not just Roman Catholics. My point of view is that of a cradle Catholic who was asked not to come back to Church over ten years ago, and who has evolved a theological perspective free from the constraints imposed on the faithful, using my informed conscience, right reason, sacred scripture, law, science, and history.

Let’s start with the whole idea of ensoulment as imaged in sacred scripture, and then incarnated in the Sacrament of Baptism, and how that relates to the Church’s current teaching on women’s reproductive rights.

Here’s a snippet of something I wrote on this topic to New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan, when I challenged him on his claim, made in a speech, that the Roman Catholic Church is “unchanging.” I wrote:

The Church’s initial teachings on “ensoulment” and abortion are based on writings of Aristotle, St. Jerome, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas – all of whom believed that “ensoulment” occurred several weeks after conception. Pope Innocent III, to whom one might ascribe “infallibility” (though there is the story of one Pope trying and condemning a deceased predecessor – try sorting *that* out), made it Church doctrine around the 13th century that abortion was permitted until fetal animation (called “quickening” – Aquinas posited that girl souls were implanted at 90 days after conception, while boys got souls after only 40.

Of course, this medieval and Aristotelian-based philosophical stuff ignored the majestic message of Sacred Scripture, in which the infusion of the soul (and the soul’s taking leave of the body) is inextricably intertwined with breathing – the soul itself involves the “breath of God” or “the breath of life.”

It was not until the 19th century that the Church started to change its position on abortion – and, of course, we have Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae that is largely responsible for the Church losing its moral compass on the ideas and concepts of ensoulment and what constitutes a human being. Human life is a continuum, but a human being does not exist until birth and breath. Humanae Vitae prohibited Catholics from the use of any sort of artificial birth control.

It’s clear what the current Church hierarchy teachings are on abortion and birth control – I submit that while these may be binding on those Roman Catholics who accept the apostasy of the Church hierarchy in its misguidance of the flock, it is in no way appropriate for the hierarchy, and that means you, your Excellency, to take action as the agent of a foreign power to interfere with the constitution and laws of the State of New York and the United States as they apply to those citizens and inhabitants of the United States and the State of New York who do not subscribe to your hierarchical apostasy.

So, let’s look at some examples of the “majestic message” of the breath of life I noted:

Genesis 2:7 -
the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Job 7:7 -
Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again.

Job 27:3 -
as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils,

Job 33:4 –
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Psalm 39:5 –
You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. Selah

Ezekial 37:5-6 –
This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: “I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.' "

Revelation 11:11 -
But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.

Death is described in scripture as occurring when one takes a last breath – See:

Genesis 25:8 –
Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.

(Also Gen. 25:17, 35:18, 25:29, and 49:33)

Job 14:10 –
But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more.

Jeremiah 15:9 –
The mother of seven will grow faint and breathe her last. Her sun will set while it is still day; she will be disgraced and humiliated. I will put the survivors to the sword before their enemies," declares the LORD.

Mark 15:37 –
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

Luke 23:46 –
Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.

It is reasonable for a Christian to conclude from passages like these in sacred scripture that from a Christian perspective, the span of our lives runs from the moment we are born and take our first breath, and lasts until we die and take our last breath – that our soul enters and leaves as the breath of God.

Now, Mary Kochan wrote, as we quoted above:

“Every doctrine comes down to earth, becomes incarnated by an act: a ritual is
performed; a Sacrament is received; . . .”

If I understand this correctly, the Sacrament of Baptism, for Christians, is the incarnational embodiment of the act of birth and breath, and relates this event to ensoulment. While the Roman Catholic ritual allows for pouring water over the initiate, the Church still permits, and many Protestant denominations (mostly those that reject infant baptism) insist, on the original sacramental ritual, which involves immersion of the initiate in a body of water, holding them down just long enough, and then raising them up to take that first, new breath of air. The immersion is symbolic of the state of being prior to birth, the raising up is a re-enactment of birth, and the “first breath” is symbolic of the initiate’s new life as a believer in Christ’s message. The initiate is given a white garment, also symbolic of the new life.

In the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S.Ct. 705, 35 L.Ed.2d 147 (1973), Justice Blackmun’s majority opinion delved into the origins of the English common law, which, prior to 1776, is the source of American jurisprudence. For those who haven’t read the decision, I will excerpt it here:

3. The common law. It is undisputed that at common law, abortion performed before "quickening" - the first recognizable movement of the fetus in utero, appearing usually from the 16th to the 18th week of pregnancy - was not an indictable offense. The absence of a common-law crime for pre-quickening abortion appears to have developed from a confluence of earlier philosophical, theological, and civil and canon law concepts of when life begins. These disciplines variously approached the question in terms of the point at which the embryo or fetus became "formed" or recognizably human, or in terms of when a "person" came into being, that is, infused with a "soul" or animated." A loose consensus evolved in early English law that these events occurred at some point between conception and live birth. This was "mediate animation." Although Christian theology and the canon law came to fix the point of animation at 40 days for a male and 80 days for a female, a view that persisted until the 19th century, there was otherwise little agreement about the precise time of formation or animation. There was agreement, however, that prior to this point the fetus was to be regarded as part of the mother, and its destruction, therefore, was not homicide. Due to continued uncertainty about the precise time when animation occurred, to the lack of any empirical basis for the 40-80-day view, and perhaps to Aquinas' definition of movement as one of the two first principles of life, Bracton focused upon quickening as the critical point. The significance of quickening was echoed by later common-law scholars and found its way into the received common law in this country.

Whether abortion of a quick fetus was a felony at common law, or even a lesser crime, is still disputed. Bracton, writing early in the 13th century, thought it homicide. But the later and predominant view, following the great common-law scholars, has been that it was, at most, a lesser offense. In a frequently passage, Coke took the position that abortion of a woman "quick with childe" is "a great misprision, and no murder." Blackstone followed, saying that while abortion after quickening had once been considered manslaughter (though not murder), "modern law" took a less severe view. A recent review of the common-law precedents argues, however, that those precedents contradict Coke and that even post-quickening abortion was never established as a common-law crime. This is of some importance because while most American courts ruled, in holding or dictum, that abortion of an unquickened fetus was not criminal under their received common law, others followed Coke in stating that abortion of a quick fetus was a "misprision," a term they translated to mean "misdemeanor." That their reliance on Coke on this aspect of the law was uncritical and, apparently in all the reported cases, dictum (due probably to the paucity of common-law prosecutions for post-quickening abortion), makes it now appear doubtful that abortion was ever firmly established as a common-law crime even with respect to the destruction of a quick fetus.

In point 4, Justice Blackmun examines English statutory law – but I note only that the first English criminal abortion statute came in 1803. That statute made a distinction between pre-“quickening” (quickening being when the pregnant woman can feel the fetus moving) and post-quickening abortions.

The permitting of abortion until quickening, which Justice Blackmun indicates may have been a part of the received common law of the United States, is ultimately based on Christian teaching dating back to the time of Thomas Aquinas and Pope Innocent III. However, Justice Blackmun indicates that some early American cases that followed Sir Edward Coke’s treatise that erroneously indicated that post-quickening abortion was a “misprision, but not murder” put

“reliance on Coke on this aspect of the law was uncritical and, apparently in all the reported cases, dictum (due probably to the paucity of common-law prosecutions for post-quickening abortion), makes it now appear doubtful that abortion was ever firmly established as a common-law crime even with respect to the destruction of a quick fetus.”

It’s clear that by the 13th Century, Roman Catholic teachings on abortion involved a retreat from the “birth and breath” concept. Even at the time, this did not have an effect on the concept that the human being becomes a person at “birth and breath.”

On the concept of “when life begins,” Justice Blackmun’s opinion in Roe v. Wade delves into many sources, including religious ones:

It should be sufficient to note briefly the wide divergence of thinking on this most sensitive and difficult question. There has always been strong support for the view that life does not begin until live birth. This was the belief of the Stoics. It appears to be the predominant, though not the unanimous, attitude of the Jewish faith. It may be taken to represent also the position of a large segment of the Protestant community, insofar as that can be ascertained; organized groups that have taken a formal position on the abortion issue have generally regarded abortion as a matter for the conscience of the individual and her family. As we have noted, the common law found greater significance in quickening. Physicians and their scientific colleagues have regarded that event with less interest and have tended to focus either upon conception, upon live birth, or upon the interim point at which the fetus becomes "viable," that is, potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid. Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks. The Aristotelian theory of "mediate animation," that held sway throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Europe, continued to be official Roman Catholic dogma until the 19th century, despite opposition to this "ensoulment" theory from those in the Church who would recognize the existence of life from the moment of conception. The latter is now, of course, the official belief of the Catholic Church. As one brief amicus discloses, this is a view strongly held by many non-Catholics as well, and by many physicians. Substantial problems for precise definition of this view are posed, however, by new embryological data that purport to indicate that conception is a "process" over time, rather than an event, and by new medical techniques such as menstrual extraction, the "morning-after" pill, implantation of embryos, artificial insemination, and even artificial wombs.

Blackmun continues with this:

In areas other than criminal abortion, the law has been reluctant to endorse any theory that life, as we recognize it, begins before live birth or to accord legal rights to the unborn except in narrowly defined situations and except when the rights are contingent upon live birth. For example, the traditional rule of tort law denied recovery for prenatal injuries even though the child was born alive. That rule has been changed in almost every jurisdiction. In most States, recovery is said to be permitted only if the fetus was viable, or at least quick, when the injuries were sustained, though few courts have squarely so held. In a recent development, generally opposed by the commentators, some States permit the parents of a stillborn child to maintain an action for wrongful death because of prenatal injuries. Such an action, however, would appear to be one to vindicate the parents' interest and is thus consistent with the view that the fetus, at most, represents only the potentiality of life. Similarly, unborn children have been recognized as acquiring rights or interests by way of inheritance or other devolution of property, and have been represented by guardians ad litem. Perfection of the interests involved, again, has generally been contingent upon live birth. In short, the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense.

That may have been true in 1973, but there have been developments in some parts of the United States, perhaps inspired by Justice Blackmun's opinion, to legislate personhood as beginning with conception. Let's look at one recent state law that illustrates the absurdity of the idea.

In late February, the state of Utah passed a law that reportedly criminalizes "a woman's 'intentional, knowing, or reckless act' leading to a pregnancy's illegal termination. It specifies that a woman cannot be prosecuted for arranging a legal abortion."

On news article went on to state:

Some Senate Democrats attempted a last-minute amendment to remove the word
"reckless" from the list of criminal acts leading to miscarriage.
The ACLU of Utah sent a letter in the attempt to convince the Governor to veto:

The actual bill text, as enrolled (passed) is at:

There is some convolution, including at least one double negative, in the bill (not put in quotes here to preserve the line numbers):

68 (3) A person is not guilty of criminal homicide of an unborn child if the sole reason
69 for the death of the unborn child is that the person:
70 (a) refused to consent to:
71 (i) medical treatment; or
72 (ii) a cesarean section; or
73 (b) failed to follow medical advice.
74 (4) A woman is not guilty of criminal homicide of her own unborn child if the death of
75 her unborn child:
76 (a) is caused by a criminally negligent act of the woman; and
77 (b) is not caused by an intentional, knowing, or reckless act of the woman.

So, to eliminate the double negative, let's rephrase 4, option b:

(4) A woman is guilty of criminal homicide if the death of her unborn child: (b)
is caused by an intentional, knowing or reckless act of the woman.

There is an "or" in there - so a "reckless" act might be one that is unintentional, or one that without any knowledge that the act is reckless. All that would be necessary would be for a court to determine that whatever it is that the women has done that is deemed to be the cause of fetal "death" - courts might presume that any act of a woman that could result in the "death" of a fetus would be by definition "reckless" if it results in the "death" of a fetus. Perhaps the only situation that might allow an escape from conviction would be if someone else's act caused the fetal "death" and the woman did not put herself in harm's way in any way. If she stupidly walks down a dark alley at night and gets mugged, and has a miscarriage because of that unintentional, unknowing, but potentially reckless act of walking into that alley, she could be held criminally liable.

It will depend on what is meant by "reckless." My thought on this is that the mens rea standard of "reckless" requires only an attitude of "I don't care what the result might be."

The mugging example could be determined to be reckless.

The following acts, if they result in the "death" of her fetus?

Drinking while pregnant? Reckless.

Taking illegal drugs while pregnant? Reckless.

Driving while pregnant? Maybe not.

Speeding while pregnant? Reckless, as far as harming or causing the death of a fetus. The speeding in and of itself may or may not be inntional or unknowing as well.

Disobeying traffic laws or driving in a negligent manner, causing a traffic accident? Reckless.

The law here is scary for a lot of reasons, but perhaps the scariest reason is the inclusion of "reckless" as a part of the standard, and the principal sponsor's reckless disregard for the concerns of those few Democrats who sought to have the word removed.

While the bill excludes "failing to follow medical advice" it remains to be seen what may fall under the umbra of "reckless."

Utah legislators seem to be comfortable with the idea of elevating the rights of fetuses to new heights, as long as the law adversely affects only women, or reduces pregnant women to the status of criminally responsible baby machines.

If women are ultimately to be reduced to chattel property in Utah and stripped of their rights as citizens and human beings, the Utah legislature might at some time in their dystopian future seriously consider amending the law so that the man who is legally in charge of the woman as property - her husband, father (grandfather or uncle), eldest son, or nearest male relative, would be held criminally responsible for allowing such an "intentional, knowing or reckless" act to take place. Why not? In their world, women would be reduced to the status of incompetents in most other ways, so that perhaps criminal responsibility should be transferred to their owners.

--- NOTE: The word "death" is in quotes as it relates to a fetus because a fetus does not have a life independent of the pregnant woman, and until birth and taking a first breath, is not a human being, regardless of Utah law. In Utah, one becomes a human being at the point at which the fertilized ovum is implanted in in the uterine lining - which insanity results in laws like this as their logical progression.

From the Wikipedia entry on "reckless" as used as a legal standard:

Black's Law Dictionary defines recklessness in American law as "Conduct whereby the actor does not desire harmful consequence but...foresees the possibility and consciously takes the risk," or alternatively as "a state of mind in which a person does not care about the consequences of his or her actions." Black's Law dictionary 1053 (Bryan A. Garner ed., 8th ed. abr. 2005). In American courts, a wrongdoer who recklessly causes harm can be held to the same liability as a person who intentionally does so.

In my above analysis, I made use of the alternative definition.

The reason for this is that the in phraseology "intentional, knowing, or reckless" it would appear that "knowing" would include within its ambit the first definition from Black's. All of this would be subject to the definitional usage in the courts of the State of Utah.

Still, some jurisdictions that are in the grip of reactionary right wing religionists have begun to hange their definition of when a human personhood begins – abandoning the time-honored and scripturally-based “birth and breath” doctrine. Down the road. If laws like these catch on, there will be major changes in the way the laws of descent, distribution and inheritance are interpreted. Birthdays may be abandoned in favor of conception days, and people will (in most cases) all get 9 months older. Absurd, but the logical consequence of the Utah law and the Roman Catholic Magisterium’s teachings.

The doctrine that life begins at birth and breath was firmly established under the common law – and that establishment is based largely on the biblical soul as “breath of life” doctrine. The distinction between legal doctrines that hold that life begins at birth and breath, and legal doctrines that criminalized abortion as a crime (in violation of the woman’s constitutional rights as a person, are more likely to be based on misogyny than anything else – the idea that an abortion denies the party who provided the sperm of any rights to the potential child.

Now, returning to the point – the Roman Church’s current doctrine on things like abortion and artificial birth control have changed over time. The current teachings are based on the July 25, 1958 encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae.

Paul VI makes it clear that Catholics cannot deny that the Church is

“competent in her magisterium to interpret the natural moral law.”
Mary Kochan certainly concurs in this view, though the feelings of many Catholics with regard to the magisterium’s teachings on numerous issues has eroded greatly since 1968. Way before I was tossed out of the Church, I had become a “cafeteria Catholic” with regard to Church teachings I felt were at best wrong, and at worst, immoral.

In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI wrote:

"With regard to man's innate drives and emotions, responsible parenthood means that man's reason and will must exert control over them."
It appears that the pope was not mindful of 1 Cor. 7:8-9, where St. Paul proclaims that marriage is reserved for those who cannot control their passions and remain celibate. The degree of self control the Pope expected of married lay people certainly went beyond the capacity of many married lay people.

Thankfully, the pope left at least a recourse to “lawful therapeutic means,” which allows for “impediments to procreation” if necessary to cure bodily diseases. This reasoning has also been available to Catholic moralists for justification for removal of an ectopic pregnancy.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addressed abortion in its Declaration on Procured Abortion, promulgated November 18, 1974. In this document, the Congregation rewrites the history of the Church’s position on abortion, though it acknowledged that, “It is true that in the Middle Ages, when the opinion was generally held that the spiritual soul was not present until after the first few weeks, a distinction was made in the evaluation of the sin and the gravity of penal sanctions.”

The Second Vatican Council found that Life must be safeguarded with extreme care
from conception; abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. Gaudium et
," 51. Cf. 27 (AAS 58 [1966], p. 1072; cf. 1047).

Of course, references to the writings of 19th and 20th century popes seems to reflect the changes in thinking about abortion that were reflected in the common Western culture of the times. While secular society has recovered from this, the Church has only dug in deeper.

The Congregation, in considering human life before birth and breath to be the same as human life after birth, made a grave error. Abortion was never deemed to be murder, even when it was a felony, even after quickening. The crime was rooted in the idea of the property rights of the party that provided the sperm.

The Congregation confused the blueprint with the home. The Congregation confuses the house under construction with the home, stating:

“From the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor of the mother, it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already.”
The human person becomes a person at birth, when God breathes life into the infant. Sacred scripture is clear on that, even if medieval thinking made an issue over “quickening” and 19th century legislators were focused on male property rights and sometimes the danger of the surgical procedures of the time, which were often a threat to the woman.

The Congregation claimed to base its thinking on science, and yet ignored the science that Justice Blackmun struggled with, when he sought to extend a “state interest” in the potential life, in which he analyzed the fetal potential for breathing during the 3rd trimester. Science also understands that there is insufficient myelinization within the brain until the 3rd trimester, for a claim to “brain life.”

Having drawn itself into a corner by misunderstanding the science and confusing the home with the blueprint, the Congregation took a draconian position against the lives and health of women who would be affected:

“The gravity of the problem comes from the fact that in certain cases, perhaps in quite a considerable number of cases, by denying abortion one endangers important values to which it is normal to attach great value, and which may sometimes even seem to have priority.”
Endangered values? Such as the life and health of a woman who is already certifiably alive, breathing and has a soul? The Congregation exhibits a callous disregard for a female human life in being, by trumping up the portion of the continuum of life that involves the construction of the human body for the soul to enter, and placing that portion of the human existence on an equal plane with a human life already in personhood.

Chillingly, the Congregation writes:

“We do not deny these very great difficulties. It may be a serious question of health, sometimes of life or death, for the mother; it may be the burden represented by an additional child, especially if there are good reasons to fear that the child will be abnormal or retarded; it may be the importance attributed in different classes of society to considerations of honor or dishonor, of loss of social standing, and so forth. We proclaim only that none of these reasons can ever objectively confer the right to dispose of another's life, even when that life is only beginning.”

Unfortunately, the magisterium’s irresponsible disregard for the lives and health of women, in favor of fetuses that have not yet received the breath of life, flies in the face of scriptural authority. What makes it easier for the Congregation to so cavalierly treat women, is the fact that not one of them is capable of getting pregnant. It has been said that if men could ge pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

The evolution of magisterial teaching on the subject of abortion and on ensoulment cannot be hidden by de-emphasizing the teachings of the past. The invocation of science without a scientific basis, as a justification for teaching that a human being is a person from conception, or that the soul is infused before birth and breath (as found in scripture), with the “incarnational aspect” that Mary refers to, found in the Sacrament of Baptism.

The Church’s confusion of the blueprint with the home, and even the foundation and framing with the home, does not justify ignoring the foundational scriptural authority.

From the 13th century, Aquinas, Innocent III and others, propounded a doctrine of “mediate animation” – by taking the perception of fetal movement into consideration, the idea of prohibiting abortion thereafter was a huge leap from the scriptural birth and breath. We do note that this “mediate animation” idea was not used in the secular law to change the understanding that a human becomes a person at “birth and breath,” only to decide the point at which abortion would become considered a gravely sinful act.

The perceptions of the 19th and early 20th century lawmakers and the culture of the times dictated unfair treatment of women in favor of the rights of the providers of sperm, with perhaps some mind being paid to the risks of surgical abortion. Yet when secular society became more enlightened on the issue of women's human rights, the Church decided to intrude on the secular law, and retreat from real science in favor of pseudo-science. Once basing its stand on erroneous principles, the conclusions that proceed are like a house built on loose sand and not on a firm foundation, magisterium or no magisterium.

Vatican II was the Church's brief encounter with the Modern World, a world from whose reality the Church has been retreating ever since.

When the Church further intrudes its doctrine of sin into the secular world, where society has in many places become more civilized in the treatment of women’s reproductive rights, the Church has transformed itself into a powerful force for evil.

While I do respect the right of the Roman Catholic Church to bind the faithful to follow its teachings at the peril of excommunication, I do not respect the Church’s unwarranted intrusion into secular matters, by its opposition to laws protecting women and their rights against the intrusion of those who would enslave them or treat them as human beings whose lives are subordinate to lives not yet in being. Having shaken their dust from my sandals, It is a wonder why I care so much to comment and point out the Church's failings - perhaps I wish to inspire it to reform.

We hope to have more to write based on Mary’s two part essay, but this essay has become overly long already. My final conclusion today is that the concept that “the task of authoritative interpretation belonged to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church” relates solely in relation to the spiritual guidance of the faithful, and where that “authoritative interpretation” flies in the face of science, reason and the reasonable beliefs of those who disagree with the Magisterium, the Church has no business dictating to Caesar.

With that in mind, and from the perspective of a transsexual woman who has rejected the immoral teachings of the Magisterium in other ways, I hope to address more of Mary’s writing in my next essay.

Monday, August 23, 2010

AFA’s Fischer proves he is Neither Conservative nor Christian

On August 21, 2010. Bryan Fischer of the American “Family” Association, writing in an article entitled “Coulter, Beck go AWOL in culture war” published on the WorldNetDaily (Sheesh! they can’t even spell WorldNutDaily correctly!)website has the most amazing effrontery to claim that there can’t be any such thing as a gay conservative, or a conservative “endorsing homosexual behavior.”

He writes:

“Let's be clear: Endorsing homosexual behavior is not a conservative position, period.”

Now, lawyer Ted Olson is perhaps one of the brightest *real* conservatives in the United States, and he has volunteered himself as one of the co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging California's Proposition 8. Perhaps the best clip I have seen on the issue of marriage equality from a conservative position came from, of all sources, FOX NEwschannel:

I am just letting Ted Olson speak for real conservatives!

Then Fischer says:

“Supporting special rights based on aberrant sexual behavior is not conservative, period.”

The first thing wrong with this lying sentence is that Fischer does not understand nature. Homosexual behavior is natural and not aberrant, for persons who were created by God with same-sex attraction. Even Paul the Apostle, in Romans 1, makes it clear that it is sinful for people to act against their natures – the passage refers to ordinarily straight people acting against their orientations during orgiastic Greco-roman religious rituals involving consumption of large amounts of wine. One can read that passage with understanding and realize that it is not a condemnation of homosexual behavior, in and of itself, but only when it involves a person acting against her or his nature.

Real conservatives oppose supporting special rights – that’s REAL conservatives, like Ted Olson.

Immediately, Fischer continues with yet another whopper (he's on a roll, or should I say, buns):

“Supporting either civil unions or marriages based entirely on using the alimentary canal for sexual purposes is not conservative, period.”

My first observation about this whopper is that Fischer assumes that marriage equality involves relationships “based entirely on using the alimentary canal for sexual purposes.” It’s fairly clear that Fischer has no idea about what same-sex couples in a sexual relationship might do with each other, sexually, and he does not seem to have any idea about the diversity of sexual behavior, regardless of sexual orientation. Neither same sex, nor opposite sex relationships are based solely on using the alimentary canal. Presumably, Mr. Fischer has never kissed a woman, or perhaps does not understands that mouths are a part of the alimentary canal, and that they figure prominently in “Straight” sex as well.

“Alimentary canal” is a term that is defined as:

n. The mucous membrane-lined tube of the digestive system through which food passes, in which digestion takes place, and from which wastes are eliminated. It extends from the mouth to the anus and includes the pharynx, esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Also called digestive tract.

About the only sexual act I’d consider engaging in that exclusively uses the alimentary canal is mouth-to-mouth kissing, though I understand it is entirely possible that a panderer like Mr. Fischer would have on his mind some kinkier activities that might involve oral contact with the other end of the alimentary canal. I think Fischer has a dirty mind. That’s what I think.

Kissing is an often but not exclusively sexual act that involves the mouth but the mouth can be used to kiss a lot of other palces that are not part of the alimentary canal. There are many other sexual activities that use the mouth, and I don’t believe that any of these are exclusively the province of same-sex relationships. Similarly, while I am not aware of any sexual activities “exclusively using the alimentary canal” that involve anus to anus contact, I am sure Mr. Fischer must know of something along those lines, though I am sure that he can’t really be so dim that he thinks that is what gay people do.

On the issue of what *real* conservatives might believe, I again refer to the Olson clip.

Fischer's last lie (well not the last one he wrote, just the last that I’ll comment on here):

“Even Darwinian evolutionists know better than to believe there is something healthy about homosexual conduct. They know it cannot lead to the propagation of the species, which, after all, is what evolution is supposed to be all about.”

Fischer shows how little he understands about evolutionary theory. This is not surprising, considering that it’s likely from his affiliations that he could be some sort of Creationist. I’d recommend that Bryan (and anyone else wishing to learn about sexual selection) read “Evolution’s Rainbow, “ by Dr. Joan Roughgarden.

Get the book here:

or here

So, once we examine the facts, it appears that Bryan Fischer proves in his own words that:

a. he is the one who can’t be a real conservative; and

b. he really does not know much of anything at all that is in the least factual, that he isn't afraid to substitute really weird lies for the truth.

There is some consolation for Bryan Fischer. There are all sorts of right wingnuts out there, ranging from isolationist and hawkish neo-cons, to the Christianist Dominionists who want to create an American theocracy. It’s likely that Mr. Fischer may be one of the latter, but it’s not clear from this particular article. Those are the sort of people who might take him seriously. Unfortunately there are too many gullible and ignorant people out there, in addition to people like Fischer who bear malicious intent toward people who are different.

Many of the right wingnut sort of “conservative” types like Fischer are pandering to the disgruntled “Tea Partiers” who have emerged since the election of Barack Obama – a formless movement of largely ignorant and gullible people who were previously not motivated enough to care about politics. Many of these tea partiers are driven by the words of lying demagogues who can’t seem to accept the idea that America elected an African American (yes, of the half-blood, but still African-American based on both their “one drop of blood” racial purity thoughts, and the way the president identified himself on the 2010 census) president. Many tea partiers have become “birthers” - they have been gulled into believing that a Hawaii birth certificate can’t be a real birth certificate, and many of them inexplicably believe that the president is a Muslim. Apparently those aren’t even familiar enough with Presient Obamas embarrassing longstanding association with the “Chriatian” church of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who is himself a Christianist with rather wingnutty beliefs.

Bryan Fischer is not only not a *real* conservative, he is also a false Christian, and he and his organization are the sort that taps into the religious bigotry of other false Christians, who wrap themselves in the flag and cross like wolves wearing the skins of sheep, without understanding the principles of the Constitution or the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The context of his WorldNutDaily article is an attack on Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter. You will note that I am not actually defending either of them, just pointing out that Bryan Fischer, at least, makes absolutely no sense at all. Read from that what you will.