Thursday, June 25, 2015



The other day I had a conversation with a distraught psychiatric patient. She was concerned that she would be unjustly "punished" by her therapist for breaking a facility rule. This patient has repeatedly broken this rule over the last few months and has zero trust with her therapist on this matter.

As I discussed the situation with her, she weaved together a fairly believable story in her defense wherein another patient with an equally nefarious track record was actually responsible for the infraction. I don't know who the instigator was, but I was willing to give this patient the benefit of the doubt, if only for the sake of argument.

As I pointed out to this girl, she had broken this rule so many times in the past that even though she may not have intended to do so this time, it would be very difficult for anyone--especially her therapist--to believe her. I shared with her the story of another patient who had been in a similar situation a couple months earlier. This other patient rather maturely responded to the accusations, "I didn't do it. But I have done it several times before, so I understand why no one believes me. That's why I'm not fighting it."

In these situations, even mentally unstable teenage girls understand that when trust is lost it can be difficult to earn back. Sometimes, due to repeated poor decisions, one just has to bite the consequential bullet and suck it up. If these teenage mental patients can grasp this concept, why is it so hard for a grown man like Glenn Beck to wrap his head around it?

In the wake of the recent shooting in South Carolina (a young male white-supremacist shot and killed several black people in a church), many vocal conservatives have expressed their view that this atrocity was an attack against religion, rather than manifest racism. Fortunately, many people seem to be quick to point out that this bigoted monster did what he did for purely racist reasons, as he shouted these purely racist reasons just before he opened fire.

This seems pretty straightforward. But when someone sees everything that happens on the world stage as an affront against their group, or a sign of the times, or some grand-scale conspiracy (I'm looking at you, Mr. Beck) it can be hard to see the nose on Plain's face (you're welcome, AD fans).

You see, Glenn is preparing to "call the attorneys" because he feels that a newspaper in Miami has "smeared" his good name. The article in question has accused Beck, along with several other conservatives, of shying away from the heart of the issue: racism. Quotes from a surprising number of pontificating pundits seem to indicate a fear of talking head on about the real issue. Claims of conspiracy, anarchy and attacks against religion, all avoiding the racism at the core. The quote from Beck indicates a similar misunderstanding of the motives behind the attack:

“I don’t know why the shooter shot people. He might shoot people because he’s racist. He might have shot people because he’s an anarchist. He might have shot people because he hates Christians.”

Beck defends himself by claiming that his statement was timestamped a mere 12 hours after the attack, which he claims was too soon after the attack to have any reliable information about the shooter--not even his name. As soon as information was provided, Beck clarified his position and called the shooter a racist.

Because he was lumped together with other narrow minded conservatives (gasp!), presumably over a clerical oversight or just sloppy journalism, Beck is claiming intentional slander and is rounding up the attorneys. Seriously? This is what tipped the scale for Glenn? This straw broke his camel's back? Really?

I have heard many far worse indictments against Glenn Beck, some go so far as to accuse him of faking his positions in order to dupe gullible and rich patrons.

It occurs to me that the only reason Beck is making a fuss this time is because he can actually prove this detractor to be wrong. He never threatens legal action against Jon Stewart or MSNBC or the countless other newspaper writers who have accused him of pulling thoughts directly out of his anus; this reporter writing this article in this obscure newspaper has crossed the line against this freedom-of-speech toting, hypocritical self-made victim.

As with my patient, who found herself caught in an awkward situation of mistrust and perhaps being forced to face the music for something she didn't do, Glenn Beck is facing his own music for years of crying wolf. No one trusts Beck outside of his close-knit group of equally persecuted conspiracy-minded donors--a "woe is me" circle-jerk.

At times I am tempted to accuse Beck of "faking it," as others do. I have made similar comments about some of Beck's contemporaries on Fox News (which I don't consider a legitimate news source, and even they have distanced themselves from the inane yapping of Beck). I hesitate to lump Beck with other conservative charlatans for one very simple reason: everything I have heard Beck say, being as fatuous as the mental-diarrhea of a retarded dingo, all falls in line with Mormon thinking.

A convert to Mormonism who literally wants to build a large libertarian compound as a sanctuary from the tyranny and oppression of the Obama administration, Beck placates to the worst-case-scenarios of Mormon theology. He sees today--the worst day since yesterday--as a sign that Mormon Armageddon is coming and that Mormon Jesus will soon be ushering in the Mormon millennium along with a host of posthumously baptized Mormons (and you thought the Mormons were just playing around by baptizing all those dead people; during the thousand year long Mormon millennium, baptized dead people will come back to Earth to help baptize more dead people—zombies baptizing zombies).

Mormons are masters at rationalizing the craziest of religious beliefs, because, you see, anything that god commands is necessarily good and must be defensible. The next time you watch Mr. Beck draw up patronizing tears of joy or turmoil, pay close attention to the spinning wheels in his superstitious mind as he spitballs conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory. And know that, while I believe he is sincere, I also believe he is bat-shit crazy mothballs. 


Glenn Beck argues against Gay Marriage:

Glenn Beck counters Glenn Beck on Gay Marriage:

Is Glenn Beck Completely Nuts?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


"Their leader, Mahmoud al-Zahar, has announced that all inhabitants of the Islamic state of Palestine will be expected to conform to Muslim law. In Bethlehem, it is now proposed that non-Muslims be subjected to the al-Jeziya tax, the historic levy imposed on dhimmis or unbelievers under the old Ottoman Empire. Female employees of the municipality are forbidden to greet male visitors with a handshake. In Gaza, a young woman named Yusra al-Azami was shot dead in April 2005, for the crime of sitting unchaperoned in a car with her fiance. The young man escaped with only a vicious beating. The leaders of the Hamas "vice and virtue" squad justified this casual murder and torture by saying that there had been "suspicion of immoral behavior." In once secular Palestine, mobs of sexually repressed young men are conscripted to snoop around parked cars, and given permission to do what they like."
--Christopher Hitchens, god is not Great.

The discussion of gay marriage started to take off while I was attending BYU (a Mormon university) in the mid 2000's. By the time the infamous "Prop 8" scandal exploded, as it became known that the Mormon Church had milked millions of dollars from members to fight against gay marriage by changing the California state constitution, several arguments for and against gay rights began to circulate around campus.

Those advocating for gay rights (the minority) usually came from a place of equality and agency and the "right to choose." Those against gay rights, in particular gay marriage, usually argued from godly mandates, ill-defined morals and that "butt sex" is gross. As the issue has progressed through each passing presidential election, and now that over half of the states in the US have legalized gay marriage--including Utah--I hear Mormons crying out one argument more than ever: "We have a right to vote according to our conscience."

Yup, you do. Much like the equally vacuous idea that atheists have taken god and prayer out of schools, no one can stop you from doing so. 

While I would prefer a world wherein everyone just agreed with me on every point (seriously, the most peaceful societies are those which produce mass conformity; or so I hear...), I have to concede that voting according to one's conscience is a basic right. But so is abstinence before marriage and suppressing the urge to masturbate--neither of which reflect a healthy attitude towards sexuality, and both are preached by Mormons. Just because someone is exercising a right does not mean they are good at making decisions.

My concern with the argument that one should vote their conscience is that the conscience of these religious fundamentalists (and Mormons are certainly fundamentalists) is telling them that it is OK to impose their religious restrictions on to people not of their faith. Interestingly, Mormons also prohibit the consumption of alcohol, and some would call it immoral and damaging to families (a much stronger case can be made for this than the notion that gay marriage will destroy the family unit); and yet, I don't see any Mormon leaders raising money to universally prohibit alcohol. Their conscience, it seems, only imposes itself on to others selectively and when it is politically advantageous. 

The legal precedent known as the "Lemon Test" requires that all laws must serve a secular purpose (meaning, any given law must be religiously neutral, not favoring or advocating one religion over another, including non-belief). And since all arguments against gay marriage of which I am aware stem from religious prohibitions and serve no established secular purpose, any laws restricting gay marriage are illegal. This is the whole point of the current Supreme Court hearings concerning gay marriage. 

The issues of bigotry, ignorance, sexual repression (which is a form of abuse when forced on to minors), and the moral quagmire of using the argument of "voting one's conscience" to oppress unwilling people not of a particular faith, are all dismantled through education. Teaching people how to process a moral situation (by evaluating potential harm and benefits), rather than listing vague or arbitrary restrictions, will always better serve society. Education is always better than perpetuated ignorance. 

I understand the way many Mormons feel about gay marriage. They are in a tough spot. On the one hand Joseph Smith famously said that he teaches his people correct principles and lets them govern themselves, implying that people--even god's people--should have the ability to make a good or bad choice. 

On the other hand, Mormons are taught to follow their leaders and to not openly criticize or challenge the Church on important matters--even if the criticism is valid. So, when a leader asks members to help fund a campaign to make gay marriage illegal in another state, members are expected to comply and give as much money as possible. Remember, the more a sacrifice hurts, the more god will reward you (look up the documentary "8: The Mormon Proposition" to see what I am referring to). The Mormon principle of agency is being challenged by Mormon leadership and members are caught in the crossfire. 

My own struggle with this led to my leaving Mormonism. I suspect that as the Church continues to take the hard stance that gays should not be allowed to get married, and as the general population of the US and members of the Church “come around” to legalized gay marriage, more and more people will question and leave the Church. And when their pocketbooks are hit hard by declining member donations, the leaders of the Mormon Church will be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century and, much like the issue of blacks and the priesthood in 1978, they will find a way to be "inclusive" of homosexuals. When this public relations move finally happens, they will call it a revelation from god.


Gay couples watching anti-gay ads: