Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Family Research Council founder travels with a 'rentboy' - scandal brewing in religious right circles

Unless you are an lgbt blogger who has been under a rock for the past couple of hours, you are aware of the BIG SCANDAL.

The man on the right is George Rekers, a Baptist minister, former University of South Carolina professor, and a founding board member of the anti-gay Family Research Council.

He is also a board member of NARTH, an organization espousing scientifically inaccurate beliefs that gays can turn straight.

He is also a board member of the American College of Pediatricians, a shell group attempting to bring a level of credibility to anti-gay distortions.

He also has a lucrative career as an unsuccessful witness against gay adoption in recent trials. Unsuccessful because usually his testimony actually helps the case of gay adoption, but lucrative because he still gets paid even if he has to sue for his payment, which sometimes can reach $60,000.

Lastly and most importantly, Rekers is also the man who, according to today's issue of the Miami New Times  recently took a European vacation with a "rentboy," or a male escort:

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

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

Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (Medical problems didn't stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)

Yet Rekers wouldn't deny he met his slender, blond escort at Rentboy.com — which features homepage images of men in bondage and grainy videos of crotch-rubbing twinks — and Lucien confirmed it.

Since this news broke, there's been a bit of quiet madness online. According to the article, the Family Research Council, the group Rekers helped to found, had no comment.

Perhaps Rekers should have learned to follow this example. Blogger Joe Jervis (Joe.My.God) sent a facebook message to Rekers and he answered back with a mixture of piety and phony amusement. But his answer to Jervis's email only raises more questions because Rekers contradicted his earlier explanation as to why he and "Lucien" were together. In the Times article, Rekers said that he did not know that "Lucien"'s profession.

However, he told Jervis that he seeks out folks like "Lucien" in order to "minister" to them:

I have spent much time as a mental health professional and as a Christian minister helping and lovingly caring for people identifying themselves as “gay.” My hero is Jesus Christ who loves even the culturally despised people, including sexual sinners and prostitutes. Like Jesus Christ, I deliberately spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them. Mark 2:16-17 reads, “When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." In fact, in a dialogue with hypocritical religious leaders, Jesus even stated to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him. " (Matthew 21:31).

In fairness to Rekers, he repeated the assertion that he and "Lucien" did not have sex. But it does not explain how they met. "Lucien" was more forthcoming in the Times article as to how they met:

In his interview with New Times, Lucien didn't want to impugn his client, but he made it clear they met through Rentboy.com, which is the only website on which he advertises his services. Neither Google nor any other search engine picks up individual Rentboy.com profiles, any more than they pick up individual profiles on eHarmony or Match.com. You cannot just happen upon one.

Jervis has sent out a message to "Lucien" for his side of the story. Even if he does not respond, this story isn't going away because it is not the simple story of a man who is using the services of a "rentboy." Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out said the following to the Times:

"While (Rekers) keeps a low public profile, his fingerprints are on almost every anti-gay effort to demean and dehumanize LGBT people. His work is ubiquitously cited by lobby groups that work to deny equality to LGBT Americans. Rekers has caused a great deal of harm to gay and lesbian individuals.”

Bottom line - Rekers has a lot of explaining to do and his explanations so far have only made the situation worse.

 The irony of this entire thing is despite our supposed sophistication in fighting the lies of the religious right, the old belief that those who preach the most fervent against homosexuality are really gay themselves may be the case here.

In other words, Paul Cameron should know that he is probably going to be watched the next time he makes an overseas "trip" to Poland and maybe our friend Peter LaBarbera should stay away from those "leather conventions" for awhile.

Editor's Note - Truth Wins Out has an excellent breakdown of the background of George Rekers and why this story is highly important to those who care about exposing the lies of the religious right. It's definitely recommended reading.

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Anti-gay folks caught being disingenuous liars Parts 1 & 2 and other Tuesday midday news briefs

Forget the fox we have in this hunt -- PFOX's constant half-truths & misreps are reason enough to rescind D.C. honor - Anti-gay folks caught being disingenuous liars Part 1.

Engle Offers Tactical Support For Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill - Anti-gay folks caught being disingenuous liars Part 2.

Gay couples as fit to adopt as heterosexuals - No surprise to anyone but welcomed news anyway.

Partner violence more likely if gay - I read this article and, while it's a very important issue, there are some things about it that make me uncomfortable. The title is highly irresponsible, there is no link to the study in the article, and the researchers supposedly only looked at gay and lesbian couples in California. One thing is for sure - expect religious right groups to exploit it - the article AND the study.

Cross-Dressing Teen Sparks Prom Debate In NJ - And he WON!

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Irony alert! Janet Porter dropped from VCY America

For Janet Porter, the hits keep coming.

According to People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch, she has been dropped from VCY America, which carried her daily radio program, because of her "increasing involvement with dominion theology." VCY America's Vic Eliason reportedly said Porter had been warned about this sort of thing on more than occasion. He also said:
Because of the long standing of Faith2Action on VCY America, which has provided satellite services, air time, production, and line fees without charge, we know there will be many who will question its discontinuance.

VCY has been wrestling for months with the drift of the program toward "dominion theology" and ecumenism.

The following links bring up articles which describe the issues in detail

The Coalescing of the Religious Right with Apostolic Dominionism
May Day Prayers: What Repentance?

This has not been an easy decision, but a line has been crossed that VCY America cannot ignore. Faith2Action has chosen to go in a direction that is not consistent with the biblical position of VCY America.

This announcement comes at the heels of a huge flop of an event, "May Day 2010: A Cry To God For A Nation In Distress," which Folger was in charge of. She and other organizers expected close to 8,000 attendees, but only a few hundred showed up.

Dominion theology, by the way, is the belief that Christians must take over world institutions in order to create conditions that would lead to the return of Christ.

Porter had espoused this belief not only during Saturday's failed event but also earlier during a prayer in which she demanded that God give Christians control of the media.

The irony of her being dropped from VCY America proves one thing - the Lord does move in mysterious ways.

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