Being Gay, Killing People — Same Difference

As Hittman, my fellow Moral Compasser, pointed out in this blog post about Senator Portman’s gay son last Saturday, Traditional Values Coalition president Andrea Lafferty equated being gay with driving drunk.

Not to be outdone, Bryan Fisher, a policy warrior for the American Family Association, corrected Lafferty and wrote that being gay is really more akin to robbing banks.

Today we find that that still wasn’t le mot juste for WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah, whose standout contribution to the debate is that actually, being gay is just like being a serial killer.

Lafferty, Fisher, and Farah: Spreading God's love

Lafferty, Fisher, and Farah: Spreading God’s love

Tune back in tomorrow, when I suspect we’ll hear that Harvey Milk was a homegrown Stalin, and Matthew Shepard a wannabe Pol Pot.

[images, from left, via Fortress of Faith, 10thousandcouples, and Media Matters]

Pastoral Care — In a Teenager’s Panties

The youth pastor of a suburban Chicago church had his bond set at $300,000 today. Darin Evans is accused of sexually grooming a teenage girl under his pastoral care, ultimately committing sex acts with her in

…his vehicle, in parks, cemeteries and men’s restrooms, and during a religious retreat in Wisconsin.


Evans is charged with 11 counts of criminal sexual assault and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. He is married and the father of three children.

[Image via Huffington Post]

Well, If You Put It Like That…


Pope_fashion[image via Photobucket]

Bill O’Reilly Unweds Wife, Douches Up the Divorce

Fox motormouth Bill O’Reilly is a devout Catholic and a fairly generous contributor to the Church (at least $65,000 in 2011 alone). His views regarding marriage couldn’t be more public. O’Reilly has blustered on TV that the institution of holy matrimony will be harmed, and families destabilized, if gay people gain the same rights as straight people. He equates same-sex relationships with beastiality and frequently mocks European countries where marriage equality is seen as perfectly normal, claiming falsely that in the Netherlands, “You’re allowed to marry a duck.

But the talkshow host’s own marriage, to the equally hardcore Catholic Maureen McPhilmy (photo), has been on the skids for at least a couple of years. Now, courtesy of Gawker, there’s confirmation that the two got a divorce — a no-no according to the Pope — and that O’Reilly subjected their kids to a nasty custody dispute.

Entertainment Weekly 8th Annual Academy Awards Viewing Party

The first public evidence of strains on the marriage came in 2003, when Falafel-gate broke out. Andrea Mackris, a member of O’Reilly’s production staff at Fox, claimed that her boss had subjected her to a sustained barrage of sexual innuendo. She said he frequently referred to threesomes and the size of his manhood; talked of vibrators he wanted her to buy; invited her to phone sex with him (she declined); and initiated business calls during which he appeared to be masturbating. According to Mackris’ 23-page complaint, O’Reilly also informed her that he’d love to take her on a Caribbean vacation, where he would massage her “spectacular boobs,” and do exciting things involving a “falafel” and her “pussy.”

O’Reilly and his lawyers decided to pay off Mackris — that is, they persuaded her to take a settlement, reportedly in excess of two million dollars — a move that  allowed the Fox celebrity to deny any wrongdoing.

Presumably, through it all, O’Reilly’s wife (who in 2003 was pregnant with the couple’s youngest child) was not amused.

When she and O’Reilly finally split up for good, they worked out a shared-custody arrangement for Spencer, then about 8, and Madeline, then about 13. A family therapist, they agreed, would “act as a neutral mediator to help them resolve any parenting disputes.” Gawker now reveals that O’Reilly immediately set to rigging the deal: Unbeknownst to McPhilmy, he offered the therapist they picked, Lynne Kulakowski, a six-figure salary to work long hours in his home, with his kids — and incredibly, Kulakowski accepted. Naturally, this made a mockery of the therapist’s so-called “neutral” status.

O’Reilly now has his icy heart set on erasing his entire marriage — not just from his memory, but from the Catholic books, Gawker says:

He is … seeking an annulment of his 15-year marriage, which produced two children. Null and void. Invalid in the eyes of God. Never happened. This despite his manifest belief in the “stability” that straight marriage brings.

The Catholic Church can choose to nullify if an ecclesiastical tribunal determines that the sacrament of marriage was invalidly contracted, which would make the marriage retroactively invalid from its very first day. The standards for such a decision are strict and relatively precise, however. To a layman like me, O’Reilly doesn’t seem to qualify.

Then again, there’s no telling what another sizable donation may do to induce a little extra flexibility in Catholic church authorities.

If the annulment comes through, there’s every chance that O’Reilly will see it as further proof of God’s existence. Marriage comes, marriage goes; you can’t explain that.

[image via The Hollywood Gossip]

The World’s Tallest JPEG?

And to think, it could easily have been a thousand times taller. Still, pretty impressive (enlarge the picture by clicking on it after it loads).

Faith’s Epic Fails, Now on Video

If you prefer sitting back and watching the (ahem) less successful societal contributions by people of faith, get some popcorn and prepare to be dazzled by the YouTube channel of Conversation With A. Every month or so, the people behind Conversation With A upload an eye-opening new video that’s very much along the lines of Moral Compass — a collection of news stories about, as we say, “faith’s epic fails.”

Here’s their latest. Enjoy!

[Hat tip: Hemant Mehta]

Seduced By Not-So-Holy Men

The author and history professor Garry Willis is both a practicing Catholic and one of Catholicism’s most ardent critics. To his great credit, Willis has been at the forefront of the movement to finally shine a spotlight on child abuse by clergy.

After I read about the exploits of Baptist preacher Jack Schaap, who had sex with a troubled teenager entrusted to his pastoral care and then told her that their extramarital affair was blessed by Jesus, I went looking for something Willis wrote eleven years ago. This is the passage. Emphasis mine.


Priestly pedophilia is … set apart from other varieties by the fact that the seduction technique employs religion. Almost always some form of prayer has been used as foreplay. The very places where the molestation occurs are redolent of religion — the sacristy, the confessional, the rectory, Catholic schools and clubs with sacred pictures on the walls. One of the victims of Father Paul Shanley, of the Boston archdiocese, says that his ordeal began in the confessional, when he confessed the “sin” of masturbation. The priest told him that masturbation could be a “lesser evil” and that he would help him work out his problem. He did this by taking him to a cabin he kept in the woods, where the priest taught the boy how they could masturbate each other.

This pattern occurs over and over — a conjunction of the overstrict sexual instruction of the Church (e.g., on the mortal sinfulness of masturbation, even one occurrence of which can, if not confessed, send one to hell) and a guide who can free one of inexplicably dark teaching by inexplicably sacred exceptions. The victim is disarmed by sophistication and the predator has a special arsenal of stun devices. He uses religion to sanction what he is up to, even calling sex part of his priestly ministry.

Schaap is a Baptist, not a Catholic — but we see the exact same scenario play out, full of faux-holy lecherousness and the kind of betrayal that makes Judas look like a saint. These are kids, for fuck’s sake: many times more vulnerable — and infinitely more susceptible to claims of authority — than those of us who have safely crossed into adulthood.

Willis lays out the ink-black perfidy of this behavior just about as well as anyone could. And for that, regardless of our own God-belief or non-belief, we all ought to thank him.

[image via Catholic Crime]

Steve Katz, Assemblymon

Assemblyman Dr. Steve Katz of New York is a Tea Partier who campaigned on a platform of law and order, gun rights, religious freedom, and sanctity of life. He presents himself as a ramrod-straight model citizen; as such, he naturally has an aversion to the use of illicit drugs — and this brave man isn’t afraid to come right out and say so.

Loved ones noticed subtle changes in Assemblyman Steve King (R-NY) after the devil weed began taking over his life.

Friends and family members noticed subtle changes in Assemblyman Steve Katz (R-NY) after the devil weed began taking over his life.

Katz is a member of the Assembly’s Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee. Last year, he voted against a bill to legalize medical marijuana. In a recent mailer to constituents, he decried “an increase in drug use and drunk driving” by New York’s godless yoot.

You can probably guess what’s next.

The other day, Katz was pulled over for breaking the speed limit (80 miles in an 65-mph zone). The trooper who asked for his license and registration detected a strong odor of marijuana and asked Katz about it; the politician then produced a small bag of marijuana. He was charged with speeding and unlawful possession.

An hour later, Katz took the Assembly floor to argue — a bit woozily? — against a bill that would make it easier for trained and qualified medical personnel to administer pain relief (we must fight the scourge of drug abuse, people, amirite?). He seemed less than coherent and addressed a female colleague as a man.

Dr. Katz is due in court on March 28, to receive some of that old-fashioned law and order he loves so much.

Gay is Now OK Since My Son Turned Out That Way

Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has a long history of opposing gay rights. He was a co-sponsor of DOMA, the bill that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage. In 1999, he voted to prevent gays from adopting in Washington DC.

In 2011 his son came out. A year went by. Another year went by. And finally, Senator Portman decided that it was time to stop treating gays as sub-human, and announced that he now supports same-sex marriage.

His conversion has received praise from many quarters. Personally, I’m not impressed. While it’s always good to see politicians change their positions in light of new information, Portman only changed his mind when the results of his anti-gay stance affected him personally. Even then it took him two years wake up. His decision was purely emotional, instead of being based on logic or reason. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.


The reactions to his change of heart have been predictable and entertaining. Most of his hard-right Republican colleagues are doing a jittery side-stepping dance, trying to support him while avoiding any appearance of favoring human rights for those icky gays.

The fundamentalist world is, of course, in an uproar.

One of the most appalling and amusing responses to date has been from Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition. Her ham-fisted parody of Sen. Portman’s announcement changes “gay” to “drunk driving.”

He is a drunk driver and has been driving drunk regularly since college. 
I have taken several days to reflect on this and I have decided to reverse my earlier opposition to drunk driving.

My child is a drunk driver and I love him. It is a part of his identity, who he is.

You can read the senator’s article here, and Lafferty’s failed attempt at humor here.

We should be delighted with the responses from the fundamentalists. The more they speak, the more they reveal how ridiculous, silly, and hateful their positions are.

[Image via ABC News]

Obey the Lord and Beat Your Kid to Death

The little girl was beaten for seven hours until she died. Her parents stopped only for short prayer breaks.


Pchyolki: Take Back Alaska From the Gays!

Personally, I don’t think I’ll miss it.

A fundamentalist Russian Orthodox group has filed a lawsuit claiming President Barack Obama’s support of gay marriage invalidates the 1867 sale of Alaska. The Pchyolki are a group best known for advising its members to use violence if necessary to protect churches from “blasphemers” like the rock group Pussy Riot. …

In court papers, the Pchyolki said the U.S. purchase of Alaska was not legal because the contract specified payment in gold coins and the United States wrote a check for $7.2 million, which would be a far larger sum in today’s dollars. The Pchyolki or Bees, organized in 2008, have a stated goal of protecting orphans’ rights. They campaign against sex education in schools and advised, after the Pussy Riot arrests, that the faithful could protect churches by damaging equipment used by “blasphemers” with holy water, although they said “bloodshed” was only acceptable away from church property.

Drop Cloth Jesus

When Jesus was done with toast and shower mold and bird poop as a medium, he moved on to something more conventionally artistic: Paint.

You could call it a divine sign: a Saugus man said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw Jesus Christ on a drop cloth at his home. “My heart went a million miles an hour. I was hyperventilating,” said Brian Krantz.

Facepalm-worthy stuff, but at least we get a new exclamation out of it; here at Moral Compass HQ, our future expression of frustration or astonishment will be “Sweet Jesus Christ on a drop cloth!” Thank you, Mr. Krantz.

For fun findings on the human brain’s face-detection proclivities, see here. Cliff Notes version: the more gullible people are, the more they’ll “recognize” random patterns as meaningful images.