Friday, May 07, 2010

Curious George and the Case of the Long Stroke

I have already covered the initial revelations about anti-gay fundamentalist Baptist minister George Rekers. As I suspected this story has more to it than meets the eye, and none of it is good for Rev. Rekers.

First, let me make clear that Rekers is a proper subject for scrutiny. You will remember I did a post on why I would have nothing to say about the sex life of Tiger Woods. I wrote:
Mr. Woods does nor take it upon himself to try to arbitrate the morality of others, as do the Catholic hierarchy and fundamentalist Christians. Mr. Woods does not attempt to pass laws to control the sex lives of others as do the Republicans and various conservatives. Mr. Woods has, to my knowledge, never publicly expressed an opinion attacking others for their sex lives. In other words, Mr. Woods has basically respected the rights of others to live their own lives according to their own values.
Rekers is precisely a legitimate target for the very reasons that Woods was not. Rekers does attempt to pass laws to control others, he does publicly denounce the private lives of others, he doesn't respect the rights of others to live their own lives according to their own values. He attempts to force his values on others. And Rekers uses tax fund to push his bigotry and prejudice (and apparently self-loathing). Rekers was a paid "expert" brought in by the Republican Attorney General of Florida to testify as to why gay people should be forbidden by law to adopt children. Rekers and an associate were paid a total of $87,000 in tax funds to legitamize anti-gay legislation. Now we know how he can afford to put a male prostitute on the clock for ten days.

The judge in the case dismissed Rekers' testimony saying: "Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court can not consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy."

In another case Rekers was the "professional" witness brought in to testify against gay adoption. He says he "has treated gay patients to try to change their sexual orientation, some of such patients being minors brought in by parents." He said he "would not allow openly homosexual people to spend time with [children] unsupervised" and that "a homosexual household is an inferior family structure." But the judge wrote that:
It was apparent from both Dr. Rekers' testimony and attitude on the stand that he was there primarily to promote his own personal ideology. If the furtherance of such ideology meant providing the court with only partial information or selectively analyzing study results that was acceptable to Dr. Rekers.
The judge also said Rekers "was either unable or unwilling to directly answer questions" and sdaid his "willingness to prioritize his personal beliefs over his function as an expert provider of fact rendered his testimony extremely suspect and of little, if any, assistance to the court in resolving the difficult issues..." Even after this fiasco the Republican Attorney General was still willing to hire Rekers to be an "expert" on why gay people shouldn't be allowed near children.

Along with another thoroughly discredited and dishonest fundamentalist nutter, Paul Cameron, Rekers created a fake "academic" journal (available on-line only) called the Empirical Joural of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior. And he wrote a piece for a right-wing group entitled: An Empirically Supported Rational Basis for Prohibiting Adoption, Foster Parenting and Contested Child Custody by Any Person in a Household that Includes a Homosexually-Behaving Member. Wow! He seems to be saying that in custody cases all gay people should be excluded automatically. But he is saying more since he would deny custody to a straight person if that person lives in household with a "homosexually-behaving member." So, if a couple divorces and the custody rights to the youngest child are disputed, and if that household includes a gay sibling, then Rekers would automatically grant custody to the parent who doesn't allow the gay child in the house. This man is a nasty piece of work.

What Rekers is saying is that parents who want custody of one child must throw out of the house any other child who is gay. He is literally encouraging making gay adolescents homeless. I quote the introduction to his article:
There is a strong rational basis for laws or regulations prohibiting adoption or foster parenting of a child by any person engaged in sexual behavior with another individual of the same sex and to any person living in a household in which there resides an adult or adolescent household member who engages in sexual behavior with another individual of the same sex.
If Rekers' recommendation were made law it would give all parents of gay children an awful choice in any custody battle. His regulations would require them to expell their gay child or lose custody rights to all their other children. He would put a real Sophie's-choice scenario into effect.

I should note that teens thrown out of their home for being gay are far more likely to end up in street prostitution. No doubt Rekers would see that as a win-win situation for himself.

Rekers is not the proper object of pity as he is an adult who chooses to believe fundamentalist garbage. His problems are self-inflicted. He has testified that the believes the Bible is the inerrant, inspired word of some deity. That is his problem alone. The self-hatred he suffers from, and which he then has tried to inflict on others, is the direct result of beliefs Rekers has chosen for himself. Rekers has been a long-time professional bigot who goes out of his way to try to make the lives of gay people miserable. That he himself was secretly gay explains the extremity of his bigotry.

Rekers has given several conflicting stories as to how he met the young male prostitute. In one scenario he claims he never knew the young man sold sexual services until after he hired him to carry luggage for him. In another he claimed he was merely "ministering" to prostitutes the way that his "hero Jesus Christ" had done. He was gone between the two stories even though they don't jive with each other. The claim that he was "ministering" to a prostitute would at least explain why he went to a website for male prostitutes to hire a luggage handler. But if he went to the site to hire the man, he can't claim he found out he was a prostitute at a later date.

But his ministering to prostitutes doesn't seem to correspond with what the New Testament describes Jesus as doing. As I previously noted Jesus didn't minister while paying the prostitute's hourly rate. But even more damning is the fact that the young man has spilled the beans.

According to the male prostitute Rekers required him to "provide body rubs once a day in the nude." I suggest you will find that means both Rekers and the young man were in the nude. Did Jesus have nude body rubs with the prostitutes he ministered to?

But, of course, it didn't end there. Rekers wanted more and preferred a technique referred to as the "long stroke" where the young man was asked to caress "across his penis, thigh, and his anus over the butt cheeks." The young man said: "Rekers liked to be rubbed down there." No doubt he did. The young man was reffered to as Lucien in the original story. That is not his real name but one the newspaper assigned to him to protect his identity. However, Lucien's real name was easily found but I see not reason to reveal it. The Miami New Times says:
Lucien decided to speak out after a heart-to-heart with a friend, Michael, who alerted him to the grim realities of his client's anti-gay activities. Lucien, who had originally declined to speak about the trip, now says he can do little good by protecting his erstwhile, fundamentalist client.
The paper promises to reveal documents that Rekers prepared for Lucien to sign to deny that anything sexual happened on the trip. No doubt they will drip-fed the information. Rekers, however, does have a chance, if he can present a reasonable explaination as to how he met this young man. So far he has refused to do so. Lucien says he was contacted through the Rentboy web site. All Rekers will say is that he interviewed several young men and won't say where he found them. My guess is that he can't say. And, if he used the website then smoking guns may exist in the form of emails Rekers sent to Lucien via the Rentboy website.

Curious George is a nasty piece of work but he is being hoisted by his own petard. And all I can do is enjoy the spectacle.

This raises the issue that many have noticed: antigay prejudices continually arise in individuals who are themselves later found to engage in same-sex activity. This matter was actually studied and confirmed to be true. The American Psychological Association published a study done at the University of Georgia. Men were asked to reveal their feelings toward gay people and then dived into two groups: those who were highly prejudiced against homosexual and those who were not. A press release from the APA describes the study and the results:
Each participant was exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual and lesbian videotapes (but not necessarily in that order). Their degree of sexual arousal was measured by penile plethysmography, which precisely measures and records male tumescence.

Men in both groups were aroused by about the same degree by the video depicting heterosexual sexual behavior and by the video showing two women engaged in sexual behavior. The only significant difference in degree of arousal between the two groups occurred when they viewed the video depicting male homosexual sex: 'The homophobic men showed a significant increase in penile circumference to the male homosexual video, but the control [nonhomophobic] men did not.'

Broken down further, the measurements showed that while 66% of the nonhomophobic group showed no significant tumescence while watching the male homosexual video, only 20% of the homophobic men showed little or no evidence of arousal. Similarly, while 24% of the nonhomophobic men showed definite tumescence while watching the homosexual video, 54% of the homophobic men did.

When asked to give their own subjective assessment of the degree to which they were aroused by watching each of the three videos, men in both groups gave answers that tracked fairly closely with the results of the objective physiological measurement, with one exception: the homophobic men significantly underestimated their degree of arousal by the male homosexual video.
The researchers do say the antigay men may have been anxious and that caused the arousal. But given the consistency of antigay closet cases like Rekers I'm not so sure that the most obvious explanation is the correct one. George Rekers is just another example of that theory. And while he may be in denial about his trip at the moment, the evidence is accumulating at such a pace that he will no longer have any place to hide. But, no doubt, he will eventually "repent" and claim to be cured of the attractions he now claims not to have had, in spite of paying a young man to give him the "long stroke."

One fascinating thing about the Rekers case is that we may have just witnessed the birth of a new euphemism. Previously individuals who wished to describe activities that sexual aroused others would use a euphemism like "whatever floats your boat." Perhaps, thank to Rev. Rekers, we can add to that list, "whatever lifts your luggage."

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