Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood 'Crucifies' Opponents, Attacks Secular Media

May God have mercy and bring justice



Muslim Brotherhood 'Crucifies' Opponents, Attacks Secular Media

by Raymond Ibrahim
Investigative Project on Terrorism
August 15, 2012
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Last week in Egypt, when Muslim Brotherhood supporters terrorized the secular media, several Arabic websites—including Arab NewsAl Khabar NewsDostor Watany, and Egypt Now—reported that people were being "crucified." The relevant excerpt follows in translation:
A Sky News Arabic correspondent in Cairo confirmed that protestors belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood crucified those opposing Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others. Likewise, Muslim Brotherhood supporters locked the doors of the media production facilities of 6-October [a major media region in Cairo], where they proceeded to attack several popular journalists.
That there were attacks and violence—both in front of Egypt's presidential palace and at major media facilities—is well-documented. An August 9 report by El Balad, a widely read Egyptian website, gives the details:
Last Wednesday, August 8, "thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood's supporters" attacked 6-October's media facilities, beat Khaled Salah—chief editor of the privately-owned and secular Youm 7 newspaper—prevented Yusif al-Hassani, an On TV broadcaster, from entering the building, and generally "terrorized the employees."
El Balad adds that the supporters of Tawfik Okasha, another vocal critic of President Morsi—the one who widely disseminated the graphic video of a Muslim apostate being slaughtered to cries of "Allahu Akbar"—gathered around the presidential palace, only to be surrounded by Brotherhood supporters, who "attacked them with sticks, knives, and Molotov cocktails, crucifying some of them on trees, leading to the deaths of two and the wounding of dozens."
Far from condemning these terrorists, Al Azhar, Egypt's most authoritative Islamic institution, has just issued a fatwa calling for more violence and suppression, saying that "fighting participants in anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations planned for 24 August is a religious obligation."
Most of the aforementioned Arabic sites point out that these attacks are part of the Muslim Brotherhood's campaign to intimidate and thus censor Egypt's secular media from exposing the group's Islamist agenda, which Youm 7, On TV, and Okasha do daily. [Note: the latter's channel was recently shut down, despite Morsi'sprevious reassurances that "no station or media will be shut down in my era."]
These threats are not new; back in April, an organization called the "Jihad Group to Cleanse the Country" threatened these media with "painful and severe punishments." Apparently now that Morsi has become master of Egypt, threats are becoming reality, just as promises are being broken.
And the threats are taking their toll. Sky News, which was first to report about the crucifixions, has taken down its original article (though the URL still appears in the address box with the Arabic words "protesters-crucified-in front of-egypt's-presidential-palace").
While one may argue that Sky News removed the article because it was found false, one can equally argue that it censored itself for fear that it would be next in the terror campaign against the media.
In reality, there is little reason to doubt this crucifixion story. Militant Muslims crucifying their opponents is a regular feature of the Islamic world—recent cases coming from the Ivory Coast, where two Christian brothers were crucified, similarly by supporters of a Muslim president who ousted a Christian; Indonesia, where Islamic separatists crucified a fellow Muslim for being a military informant; and in Iraq, where Muslim militants crucified Christian children.
Moreover, those alleged to have been crucified in Egypt certainly fit the Koran's description of who deserves to be crucified. According to Allah, "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this: that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off…" (Koran 5:33).
"Making mischief in the land" is precisely what the secular media is being accused of, by constantly exposing the Muslim Brotherhood and prompting the people to protest. Even the Jihad Group to Cleanse the Country, which threatens to "liquidate" many secular media, accuses them of "creating chaos to implement the American and Zionist agenda."
Finally, it is telling that only a few months ago, and for the first time in Egypt's modern history, an Egyptian MP proposed to institutionalize Sharia's most draconian punishments—including crucifixion.
Under the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the bottle has been uncorked and the Islamic Genie set loose. Expect much worse to come.
Updates:
Aug 19: Investigative reporter Patrick Poole has just send me a cache of the original Sky News Arabic report, titled "Protesters Crucified in Front of Presidential Palace in Egypt."(view here), in response to an American Thinker post citing the lack of the Sky News article as reason to doubt the veracity of the story.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Related Topics:  EgyptRadical Islam  |  Raymond IbrahimThis text may be reposted or forwarded so long as it is presented as an integral whole with complete information provided about its author, date, place of publication, and original URL.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

welcome home? and Project IC


Been avoiding posting on Malaysian politics for a long time but since I will be back later this year for a couple of weeks ... here's a link below that brings up some old information a friend shared with me over 10 years ago .. now updated in a nicely written piece.

I am a Malaysian citizen with New Zealand PR status. What is sad is that often I feel more welcome in NZ with my PR than in Malaysia. 

I feel this way whenever I arrive at the KLIA and Auckland airports immigration counters respectively.
Even with my Malaysian passport and using the auto-gate at KLIA, I cannot avoid noticing the poor way many immigration officers treat non Malay looking Malaysian passport holders who for one reason or another do not use the auto gates ... Ok, maybe these have just been coincidences but have been my impressions ...

But when I arrive at AKL airport, the atmosphere is so different despite my having to queue up at the long non NZ passport lines. The officer will check my passport, look at my PR sticker and say with a smile something like "welcome home" ...

I am crossing my fingers and hoping that when I arrive back in Malaysia, I will experience (as I pass through airport immigration) a "welcome home."

Project IC

http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/guest-columnists/51123-project-ic


Sabah possesses the largest number of migrant workers in Malaysia, exceeding even Selangor. One simple question, “Why would the poorest state in Malaysia have such a large number, even to the extent of eclipsing the richest state in Malaysia”? Are there so many ongoing projects in Sabah that the state requires so many migrant workers? If yes, why is it still the poorest state in Malaysia? 
Hakim Joe
As the name implies, this is a clandestine project that involves the alleged citizenship drive to naturalize illegal migrants for political purposes, which started in the 1990s, and was targeted against the two East Malaysian states, especially Sabah.
By introducing new elements into the concoction, one adulterates its overall effect and by integrating migrant Muslims from Indonesia and the Philippines into Sabah as Malaysian citizens, it dilutes the concentration of the indigenous people there. By the same token, this does not automatically mean that these new migrants will vote BN but the odds are pretty high that they will and it is a risk worth taking.
The population of Sabah in the early 70s was about 655,000 and the major ethnic groups comprise of 32% Kadazan/Dusun, 23% Chinese and 4.9% Muruts (total 59.9%). These are majority non-Muslims but either Christians or Buddhists. Henceforth, should Umno set up its branches in Sabah during the 70s, they will be in the minority as Malay Muslims only made up 0.4% and Bajaus (also Muslims) made up 13.1% of the Sabah populace (total 13.5%). Lousy odds.
Fast forward it to 2006 and the demographics have been utterly distorted. The ethnic composition of Sabahans are now 17.8% Kadazan/Dusun, 9.6% Chinese and 3.3% Muruts (total 29.7%) whereas Malay Muslims increased to 11.5%, Bajaus increased to 13.4% and “Other Bumiputras” comprised of 14.6% respectively (total 44.5%).
What and who the Hell are “Other Bumiputras” anyway? Let’s not even get into how these new migrants are accorded Bumiputra statuses whilst non-Muslims that have been here for a couple of generations are deemed second class citizens.
In a normal society, the number of the majority ethnic group will increase in tandem with the population increase. Since the Kadazan/Dusun were prominent back in the 60s and 70s comprising 32% of Sabahans, this ethnic group should make up approximately 40% to 45% of Sabah’s population in the 90s. However, this is not what actually transpired. In fact the number of ethnic Kadazan/Dusun almost halved from 32% to only 17.8%.
Sabah’s population increased to 1,307,582 in 1980; 1,736,902 in 1991; 2,449,389 in 2000 and 3.21 million in 2010 making it the state with the highest population growth rate at 3.1% compared to the national average of 2.3%. As per indicated in the previous paragraph, the total number of Kadazan/Dusun declined drastically. Does this mean that the majority of Kadazan/Dusuns in Sabah owns VCD & DVD players whereas most of the Malay-Muslims do not (hence finding other nocturnal activities to entertain themselves)?
Project IC or “Project M” is an ominous long term plan to modify the demographic pattern of Sabah to make it more favorable to the ruling government and certain political parties, especially with regards to changing the electoral voting patterns. In West Malaysia, we have frogs and gerrymandering. In East Malaysia, we covertly change the demographics. It is therefore not surprising that Umno calls both Sabah and Sarawak their “fixed deposits” as in “you will still vote for us regardless of how we abuse and mistreat you.” Example, Sabah was the second richest state after Selangor in 1970. Now it is the poorest state. Even Perlis with only 317 square miles of real estate to call its own and without a single drop of oil in its soil is richer than Sabah.
Any Sabahans out there? Does reading this makes you want to puke?
Let’s discuss migrant workers now before going on to Project IC. Sabah possesses the largest number of migrant workers in Malaysia, exceeding even Selangor. One simple question, “Why would the poorest state in Malaysia have such a large number, even to the extent of eclipsing the richest state in Malaysia”? Are there so many ongoing projects in Sabah that the state requires so many migrant workers? If yes, why is it still the poorest state in Malaysia?
When asked, the top official of the federal Ministry for Women, Family and Community,Dato Dr. Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur said that 27.7% out of the 3.21 million in Sabah comprised of migrant workers with a large majority of them being Indonesians. Furthermore, the immigrant population in the Kinabatangan district in 2010 has already surpassed the local population (73.8% immigrants & 26.2% locals). What this basically means is that there are more Indonesians and Filipinos in a Malaysian district, on Malaysian soil, than Malaysians.
In the 70s, there was no such thing as migrant workers in Sabah. Nowadays they make up more than a quarter of Sabah’s population. In an earlier interview, TDM said that these migrant workers, regardless of whether they overstayed or entered the country illegally, qualify for Malaysian citizenship “if they spoke Bahasa Malaysia”. Does this mean that nothing else really mattered except for the mastery of the language? Does this mean that a convicted murderer or child molester qualifies for Malaysian citizenship should he or she is capable of speaking fluent Bahasa Malaysia?
So, how could anyone get away with it unless it has been sanctioned from up above? An illegal immigrant would first need his history cleansed and that involves the Immigration Department. Then he needs to be “made” a citizen and that involves the National Registration Department. Finally, he needs to register as a voter and that involves the Election Commission. Fortunately (for someone), only one ministry is involved as the Immigration Department, the National Registration Department and the Election Commission all comes under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

If the government of Malaysia is allegedly giving citizenship to anyone who spoke fluent Bahasa Malaysia, then hypothetically there should then be a mixture of Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Hare Krishnas and atheists coming in from all around the world. How then does one justify that only the majority of these immigrants are all Muslims from Indonesia and the Philippines? This is however purely a conjecture as the NRD would not confirm or deny it. Hell, they even said in advance that they would consider not attending any Parliamentary Select Committee if indeed the department were called upon to testify. Basically, it is a subtle way of telling the Sabahans to fuck off. Additionally, the NRD would seriously only consider attending if a Royal Commission of Inquiry is initiated, that is if the RCI really happens.
Should all Sabahans take it as it is? Certainly not! Are all Sabahans taking it as it is? Absolutely so! Sometimes I wonder if you people across the straits have your head properly screwed in. Don’t blame the West Malaysians. We delivered five states in the last general elections (it is just that they took one back no thanks to the Jelapang female dog). Five out of eleven over here is not too shabby. Zero out of two across the sea definitely is.
Anyway, the RCI failed to materialize but in 2007 a PSC was initiated to investigate the existence and functions of Project IC. Bernard Dompok was selected as its chairman but he soon quit as the NRD lived up on its promise and informed everybody that the department will not be appearing before the PSC.
On the first of June this year, our dearly beloved PM announced that the federal government has (finally) agreed to set up a RCI to investigate problems related to illegal
immigration in Sabah. Then nothing happened until Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing, formerly UPKO’s Deputy President, Beaufort MP Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin,
formerly an Umno supreme council member and Senator Datuk Maijol Mahap, a Vice-President in BN’s Sabah-based United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO) defected from BN’s fold. Suddenly the federal government officially announced the formation of the RCI including the members of the commission and the Terms of References. Now we wait (again).
Anyway, the members of the commission include Steve Shim (Chairman), a former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak; Saripuddin Kasim (Secretary), the Secretary General of the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry; Kamaruzaman Ampon (Commissioner) the vice-chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sabah; Herman Luping (Commissioner) the former Sabah State Attorney General; KY Mustafa (Commissioner) the former Sabah State Secretary; and Henry Chin Poy Wu (Commissioner) the deputy chairman of the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation.
The eight Terms of References include:
1) To investigate the number of foreigners in Sabah given blue Malaysian ICs or citizenships;
2) To investigate if the award of such ICs or citizenships were according to the law;
3) To investigate if those given blue ICs, temporary identification receipts or citizenships through unlawful means have been registered in Sabah’s electoral roll;
4) To investigate if the authorities have taken any action or made improvements to standard operating procedures (SOPs), methods and regulations to prevent any
irregularities in accordance with the law;
5) To conduct a deeper probe into the SOPs, methods and regulations on the award of blue ICs or citizenships to foreigners in Sabah by taking into consideration international norms and standards that are applicable to Malaysia, and to recommend amendments or changes to improve current practices;
6) To investigate the reasons behind Sabah’s population growth according to the following categories:
 a) Sabah citizens residing in the state, including those given blue ICs or citizenships through birth certificates (late registration);
 b) foreign workers (including family members);
 c) illegal immigrants (including family members); and
 d) fugitives
 and to study their impact on the number of those registered in the electoral roll;
7) To investigate the social implications on the Sabah community following the award of blue ICs or citizenships to foreigners in the state; and
8) To investigate the number of “stateless” foreigners in Sabah given blue Identity Cards or citizenships.
In conclusion, Project IC or otherwise known as “Project M” first begun in the early nineties when Umno decided that they are unable to depend on Sabahan politicians to win their elections for BN. United Sabah National Organization (USNO) was formed as a result of this long term planning and later BERJAYA took over the reins to spearhead BN’s charge to take total control of the state by means of mass immigration and migrant naturalization processes.
Between 1970 and 2000, Sabah’s population increased by 285%, whilst Malaysia's population increased by only 113%. Furthermore, the Kadazan/Dusun/Murut people
increased by 236% as compared to the increase of “Other Bumiputras” by a whopping 631%.
Fact: “Senior citizens (in Sabah) who lose their MyKads are given the MyPR as replacement”…as quoted by NRD Kota Kinabalu.
Fact: Senior citizens in Sabah who has to mandatory change their blue ICs (to MyKads) will sometimes be given the MyPR as replacement. NRD Kota Kinabalu fails to specify under what circumstances or situation will this occur.
Fact: 65,000 Filipino refugees were issued the IMM13 refugee documents in the 1970s.
Fact: In 2008, the federal government stated that 65,000 Filipino refugees were again issued the IMM13 refugee documents that year (coincident?)
Fact: Children of intermarriages between local natives are classified as sino-indigenous and not indigenous people. However, children of marriages between “Other Bumiputras” and foreigners are automatically Bumiputras.
Fact: Any foreigner qualifies for the MyKad if he or she exhibit mastery of Bahasa Malaysia.
These foreigners should however show evidence that they qualify to be classified under the “Other Bumiputra” category first…
If Malaysians of Chinese descent who is born here are called Pendatangs, what do you call those who were born elsewhere but just obtained their MyKads because they can speak BM?

How do you listen to a sermon?

Pastor's notes for the 19th August 2012 bulletin

To read, click HERE

Thursday, August 9, 2012

some thoughts on Galatians 5:22-23 Fruit of the Spirit (part one)

Pastor's notes for the 12 August 2012 bulletin

To read click HERE

Growing Up With Two Moms: The Untold Children’s View

From: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/08/6065


Public Discourse: Ethics, Law and the Common Good

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com
view article in original form 

Growing Up With Two Moms: The Untold Children’s View
by Robert Oscar Lopez
August 6, 2012

The children of same-sex couples have a tough road ahead of them—I know, because I have been there. The last thing we should do is make them feel guilty if the strain gets to them and they feel strange.

Between 1973 and 1990, when my beloved mother passed away, she and her female romantic partner raised me. They had separate houses but spent nearly all their weekends together, with me, in a trailer tucked discreetly in an RV park 50 minutes away from the town where we lived. As the youngest of my mother’s biological children, I was the only child who experienced childhood without my father being around.

After my mother’s partner’s children had left for college, she moved into our house in town. I lived with both of them for the brief time before my mother died at the age of 53. I was 19. In other words, I was the only child who experienced life under “gay parenting” as that term is understood today.

Quite simply, growing up with gay parents was very difficult, and not because of prejudice from neighbors. People in our community didn’t really know what was going on in the house. To most outside observers, I was a well-raised, high-achieving child, finishing high school with straight A’s.
Inside, however, I was confused. When your home life is so drastically different from everyone around you, in a fundamental way striking at basic physical relations, you grow up weird. I have no mental health disorders or biological conditions. I just grew up in a house so unusual that I was destined to exist as a social outcast.

My peers learned all the unwritten rules of decorum and body language in their homes; they understood what was appropriate to say in certain settings and what wasn’t; they learned both traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine social mechanisms.
Even if my peers’ parents were divorced, and many of them were, they still grew up seeing male and female social models. They learned, typically, how to be bold and unflinching from male figures and how to write thank-you cards and be sensitive from female figures. These are stereotypes, of course, but stereotypes come in handy when you inevitably leave the safety of your lesbian mom’s trailer and have to work and survive in a world where everybody thinks in stereotypical terms, even gays.

I had no male figure at all to follow, and my mother and her partner were both unlike traditional fathers or traditional mothers. As a result, I had very few recognizable social cues to offer potential male or female friends, since I was neither confident nor sensitive to others. Thus I befriended people rarely and alienated others easily. Gay people who grew up in straight parents’ households may have struggled with their sexual orientation; but when it came to the vast social universe of adaptations not dealing with sexuality—how to act, how to speak, how to behave—they had the advantage of learning at home. Many gays don’t realize what a blessing it was to be reared in a traditional home.

My home life was not traditional nor conventional. I suffered because of it, in ways that are difficult for sociologists to index. Both nervous and yet blunt, I would later seem strange even in the eyes of gay and bisexual adults who had little patience for someone like me. I was just as odd to them as I was to straight people.
Life is hard when you are strange. Even now, I have very few friends and often feel as though I do not understand people because of the unspoken gender cues that everyone around me, even gays raised in traditional homes, takes for granted. Though I am hard-working and a quick learner, I have trouble in professional settings because co-workers find me bizarre.

In terms of sexuality, gays who grew up in traditional households benefited from at least seeing some kind of functional courtship rituals around them. I had no clue how to make myself attractive to girls. When I stepped outside of my mothers’ trailer, I was immediately tagged as an outcast because of my girlish mannerisms, funny clothes, lisp, and outlandishness. Not surprisingly, I left high school as a virgin, never having had a girlfriend, instead having gone to four proms as a wisecracking sidekick to girls who just wanted someone to chip in for a limousine.
When I got to college, I set off everyone’s “gaydar” and the campus LGBT group quickly descended upon me to tell me it was 100-percent certain I must be a homosexual. When I came out as bisexual, they told everyone I was lying and just wasn’t ready to come out of the closet as gay yet. Frightened and traumatized by my mother’s death, I dropped out of college in 1990 and fell in with what can only be called the gay underworld. Terrible things happened to me there.
It was not until I was twenty-eight that I suddenly found myself in a relationship with a woman, through coincidences that shocked everyone who knew me and surprised even myself. I call myself bisexual because it would take several novels to explain how I ended up “straight” after almost thirty years as a gay man. I don’t feel like dealing with gay activists skewering me the way they go on search-and-destroy missions against ex-gays, “closet cases,” or “homocons.”
Though I have a biography particularly relevant to gay issues, the first person who contacted me to thank me for sharing my perspective on LGBT issues was Mark Regnerus, in an email dated July 17, 2012. I was not part of his massive survey, but he noticed a comment I’d left on a website about it and took the initiative to begin an email correspondence.

Forty-one years I’d lived, and nobody—least of all gay activists—had wanted me to speak honestly about the complicated gay threads of my life. If for no other reason than this, Mark Regnerus deserves tremendous credit—and the gay community ought to be crediting him rather than trying to silence him.

Regnerus’s study identified 248 adult children of parents who had same-sex romantic relationships. Offered a chance to provide frank responses with the hindsight of adulthood, they gave reports unfavorable to the gay marriage equality agenda. Yet the results are backed up by an important thing in life called common sense: Growing up different from other people is difficult and the difficulties raise the risk that children will develop maladjustments or self-medicate with alcohol and other dangerous behaviors. Each of those 248 is a human story, no doubt with many complexities.

Like my story, these 248 people’s stories deserve to be told. The gay movement is doing everything it can to make sure that nobody hears them. But I care more about the stories than the numbers (especially as an English professor), and Regnerus stumbled unwittingly on a narrative treasure chest.

So why the code of silence from LGBT leaders? I can only speculate from where I’m sitting. I cherish my mother’s memory, but I don’t mince words when talking about how hard it was to grow up in a gay household. Earlier studies examined children still living with their gay parents, so the kids were not at liberty to speak, governed as all children are by filial piety, guilt, and fear of losing their allowances. For trying to speak honestly, I’ve been squelched, literally, for decades.
The latest attempt at trying to silence stories (and data) such as mine comes from Darren E. Sherkat, a professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, who gave an interview to Tom Bartlett of the Chronicle of Higher Education, in which he said—and I quote—that Mark Regnerus’s study was “bullshit.” Bartlett’s article continues:

Among the problems Sherkat identified is the paper’s definition of “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers”—an aspect that has been the focus of much of the public criticism. A woman could be identified as a “lesbian mother” in the study if she had had a relationship with another woman at any point after having a child, regardless of the brevity of that relationship and whether or not the two women raised the child as a couple.

Sherkat said that fact alone in the paper should have “disqualified it immediately” from being considered for publication.

The problem with Sherkat’s disqualification of Regnerus’s work is a manifold chicken-and-egg conundrum. Though Sherkat uses the term “LGBT” in the same interview with Bartlett, he privileges that L and G and discriminates severely against the B, bisexuals.

Where do children of LGBT parents come from? If the parents are 100-percent gay or lesbian, then the chances are that the children were conceived through surrogacy or insemination, or else adopted. Those cases are such a tiny percentage of LGBT parents, however, that it would be virtually impossible to find more than a half-dozen in a random sampling of tens of thousands of adults.

Most LGBT parents are, like me, and technically like my mother, “bisexual”—the forgotten B. We conceived our children because we engaged in heterosexual intercourse. Social complications naturally arise if you conceive a child with the opposite sex but still have attractions to the same sex. Sherkat calls these complications disqualifiable, as they are corrupting the purity of a homosexual model of parenting.

I would posit that children raised by same-sex couples are naturally going to be more curious about and experimental with homosexuality without necessarily being pure of any attraction to the opposite sex. Hence they will more likely fall into the bisexual category, as did I—meaning that the children of LGBT parents, once they are young adults, are likely to be the first ones disqualified by the social scientists who now claim to advocate for their parents.

Those who are 100-percent gay may view bisexuals with a mix of disgust and envy. Bisexual parents threaten the core of the LGBT parenting narrative—we do have a choice to live as gay or straight, and we do have to decide the gender configuration of the household in which our children will grow up. While some gays see bisexuality as an easier position, the fact is that bisexual parents bear a more painful weight on their shoulders. Unlike homosexuals, we cannot write off our decisions as things forced on us by nature. We have no choice but to take responsibility for what we do as parents, and live with the guilt, regret, and self-criticism forever.

Our children do not arrive with clean legal immunity. As a man, though I am bisexual, I do not get to throw away the mother of my child as if she is a used incubator. I had to help my wife through the difficulties of pregnancy and postpartum depression. When she is struggling with discrimination against mothers or women at a sexist workplace, I have to be patient and listen. I must attend to her sexual needs. Once I was a father, I put aside my own homosexual past and vowed never to divorce my wife or take up with another person, male or female, before I died. I chose that commitment in order to protect my children from dealing with harmful drama, even as they grow up to be adults. When you are a parent, ethical questions revolve around your children and you put away your self-interest . . . forever.

Sherkat’s assessment of Regnerus’s work shows a total disregard for the emotional and sexual labor that bisexual parents contribute to their children. Bisexual parents must wrestle with their duties as parents while still contending with the temptations to enter into same-sex relationships. The turbulence documented in Mark Regnerus’s study is a testament to how hard that is. Rather than threatening, it is a reminder of the burden I carry and a goad to concern myself first and foremost with my children’s needs, not my sexual desires.

The other chicken-and-egg problem of Sherkat’s dismissal deals with conservative ideology. Many have dismissed my story with four simple words: “But you are conservative.” Yes, I am. How did I get that way? I moved to the right wing because I lived in precisely the kind of anti-normative, marginalized, and oppressed identity environment that the left celebrates: I am a bisexual Latino intellectual, raised by a lesbian, who experienced poverty in the Bronx as a young adult. I’m perceptive enough to notice that liberal social policies don’t actually help people in those conditions. Especially damning is the liberal attitude that we shouldn’t be judgmental about sex. In the Bronx gay world, I cleaned out enough apartments of men who’d died of AIDS to understand that resistance to sexual temptation is central to any kind of humane society. Sex can be hurtful not only because of infectious diseases but also because it leaves us vulnerable and more likely to cling to people who don’t love us, mourn those who leave us, and not know how to escape those who need us but whom we don’t love. The left understands none of that. That’s why I am conservative.

So yes, I am conservative and support Regnerus’s findings. Or is it that Regnerus’s findings revisit the things that made me conservative in the first place? Sherkat must figure that one out.
Having lived for forty-one years as a strange man, I see it as tragically fitting that the first instinct of experts and gay activists is to exclude my life profile as unfit for any “data sample,” or as Dr. Sherkat calls it, “bullshit.” So the game has gone for at least twenty-five years. For all the talk about LGBT alliances, bisexuality falls by the wayside, thanks to scholars such as Sherkat. For all the chatter about a “queer” movement, queer activists are just as likely to restrict their social circles to professionalized, normal people who know how to throw charming parties, make small talk, and blend in with the Art Deco furniture.

I thank Mark Regnerus. Far from being “bullshit,” his work is affirming to me, because it acknowledges what the gay activist movement has sought laboriously to erase, or at least ignore. Whether homosexuality is chosen or inbred, whether gay marriage gets legalized or not, being strange is hard; it takes a mental toll, makes it harder to find friends, interferes with professional growth, and sometimes leads one down a sodden path to self-medication in the form of alcoholism, drugs, gambling, antisocial behavior, and irresponsible sex. The children of same-sex couples have a tough road ahead of them—I know, because I have been there. The last thing we should do is make them feel guilty if the strain gets to them and they feel strange. We owe them, at the least, a dose of honesty. Thank you, Mark Regnerus, for taking the time to listen.

Robert Lopez is assistant professor of English at California State University-Northridge. He is the author of Colorful Conservative: American Conversations with the Ancients from Wheatley to Whitman. This year he will be publishing novels he wrote in the 1990s and 2000s.
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Is the Egyptian 'Military' More Democratic than the 'ballot'? (Tawfik Hamid)

Another excellent article by Tawfik Hamid
and ... what scares me on a too close and personal level is point number 3 below which I have highlighted in bold red!



Is the Egyptian 'Military' More Democratic than the 'ballot'?
By Tawfik Hamid

Traditionally, the ballot is seen as the best way to achieve true democracy. Recent experience in some Muslim countries such as Egypt, however, demonstrate that there are exceptions to this widely held belief.

Some of the basic values that are inherent in the word democracy include:
  • People as the source of power.
  • No group or faction or leader can impose their will, ideology, religion, or desires on anyone else (as articulated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton).
  • Equal rights for all citizens of the country.
  • Rule of law.
  • Respect for religious rights of citizens.

Here are five observations based on the military leadership of Egypt over the last few decades:

  1. The constitution was clear that people were the source of power.
  2. Different groups such as liberals and conservatives coexisted in a way that allowed them to live together in a manner that did not allow any faction or group to force their way of life on others. Egyptians were allowed under the military regime to pray and fast. They were also allowed to drink alcohol, and wear clothing as they deemed appropriate. For Egyptian women, this could range from wearing the Hijab and Niquab to a western-style bikini.
  3. Despite the existence of personal discrimination against non-Muslim minorities - who are predominantly Christians - and to a much lesser extent the Bahai community, the constitution was clear that all citizens had equal rights.
  4. Generally speaking, and despite the existence of corruption, major institutions of the country never dared to publically challenge the rule of law. For example, In the 1990s the Supreme Court decided to dissolve parliament. Mubarak himself, who was unhappy with the ruling, could not break or reject it.
  5. 'Non-Muslims' to include Christians, some Jews, etc. were allowed according to the constitution to apply their religious rulings in personal and social matters such as marriage and divorce.

The Islamists who came to power via the 'ballot' would create a very different society based on the following five observations:


  1. The predominantly Islamist panel that is supposed to create the new constitution of the country is considering changing the phrase, "People are the source of power" to "Allah (God) is the source of power."
  2. Since they started to gain power, Islamists have been trying to force their beliefs and religion on others. On several occasions, statements by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood indicate that the government plans to banthings that are "un-Islamic" such as alcohol and bikinis.
  3. The Muslim Brotherhood has said it would not accept a Christian or a woman as president of the country. In fact, a few years ago, Mahdi Akef, the Muslim Brotherhood's former supreme guide, said clearly that he would prefer a Muslim from Malaysia to rule Egypt than an Egyptian Christian. The new president - who belongs to the MB - has not distanced himself from such comments.
  4. After the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that the parliament was unconstitutionally elected - and thus must be dissolved - the new president in an unprecedented move challengedthe court ruling and reinstituted the dissolved parliament. This created a political uproar that made the president ultimately surrender to the court ruling. The fact that the new president initially rejected the ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court is frightening by itself as it indicates that the president himself does not genuinely believe in respecting the rule of law. In other words, without the external pressures that included objections by the military and threats to impeach him, the president would have broken the rule of Law.
  5. Additionally, unlike the case of the former constitution under military leadership, the new Egyptian constitution is being created predominantly by the Islamists-allowed ONLY minorities who follow one of the Adian Samaweia (Religions that are revealed from God) to apply their religious values in social and personal matters. This was meant to deprive the Bahia from their equal rights as citizens.
The above points may illustrate how the foundations of democracy were more respected under the "military" than the "ballot" that brought Islamists to power.

This situation could also explain why Saad Elldin Ibrahim who is considered one of the main pro-democracy figures in the country after spending years fightingthe military leadership (and who received tens of millions of dollars from the U.S. to establish democracy in Egypt via his Ibn Khaldun Centre for Development Studies) ultimately decided to openly support General Shafik - who clearly represented the military-backed Mubarak regime - in his candidacy for president

This is not meant to say that the Mubarak regime was faultless, but rather to emphasize that the ballot that brought Islamists to power could also create a less democratic system than under the military.


 
This Op-Ed was originally published at: