Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The sex-ed question

QUESTION: Hi. My name is Anne, and I work at a Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania.
My question is, we here at Planned Parenthood support comprehensive sex education and I'd like to know if any of you as candidates have talked to your children about sex and used medically accurate and age-appropriate information?

COOPER: Senator Edwards?
EDWARDS: Well, Elizabeth and I have had sort of an unusual experience for parents, because Elizabeth likes to say that was made a member of AARP when she was pregnant with Jack, our last child.
We have had four children. Our two youngest children are now nine and seven. So we have been through the whole experience, including kids who have grown up.
Yes, the answer is we have taught our younger children when they were young how to look for the signs of wrong touching, any kind of what would be sexual abuse, inappropriate touching. And we have taught our children as they got older, all -- I think, using medically appropriate terms -- all that they needed to know to be properly educated.

COOPER: Senator Obama, Mitt Romney has accused you this week of saying that 5-year-old children should be getting sex education. Was he right?
OBAMA: Ironically, this was actually a proposal that he himself said he supported when he was running for governor of Massachusetts. Apparently, he forgot.
And it makes the exact point that John made. I've got a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old daughter. And I want them to know if somebody is doing something wrong to them, encroaching on their privacy, that they should come talk to me or my wife.
And we've had that conversation, but not every parent is going to have that conversation with their child, and I think it's important that every child does, to make sure that they're not subject to the sexual predators.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Exchange on homosexual "marriage"

COOPER: Our next question is on a topic that got a lot of response from YouTube viewers. Let's watch.
QUESTION: Hi. My name is Mary.
QUESTION: And my name is Jen.
QUESTION: And we're from Brooklyn, New York. If you were elected president of the United States, would you allow us to be married to each other?
COOPER: Congressman Kucinich?
KUCINICH: Mary and Jen, the answer to your question is yes. And let me tell you why.
(APPLAUSE)
KUCINICH: Because if our Constitution really means what it says, that all are created equal, if it really means what it says, that there should be equality of opportunity before the law, then our brothers and sisters who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered should have the same rights accorded to them as anyone else, and that includes the ability to have a civil marriage ceremony. Yes, I support you. And welcome to a better and a new America under a President Kucinich administration.
(APPLAUSE)
COOPER: Senator Dodd, you supported the Defense of Marriage Act. What's your position?
DODD: I've made the case, Anderson, that -- my wife and I have two young daughters, age 5 and 2.
DODD: I'd simply ask the audience to ask themselves the question that Jackie and I have asked: How would I want my two daughters treated if they grew up and had a different sexual orientation than their parents? Good jobs, equal opportunity, to be able to retire, to visit each other, to be with each other, as other people do. So I feel very strongly, if you ask yourself the question, "How would you like your children treated if they had a different sexual orientation than their parents?," the answer is yes. They ought to have that ability in civil unions.
I don't go so far as to call for marriage. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. But my state of Connecticut, the state of New Hampshire, have endorsed civil unions. I strongly support that. But I don't go so far as marriage.
COOPER: Governor Richardson?
RICHARDSON: Well, I would say to the two young women, I would level with you -- I would do what is achievable. What I think is achievable is full civil unions with full marriage rights. I would also press for you a hate crimes act in the Congress. I would eliminate "don't ask/don't tell" in the military.
(APPLAUSE)
If we're going to have in our military men and women that die for this country, we shouldn't give them a lecture on their sexual orientation. I would push for domestic partnership laws,
nondiscrimination in insurance and housing. I would also send a very strong message that, in my administration, I will not tolerate any discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation.
(APPLAUSE)
COOPER: This next question is for Senator Edwards.
QUESTION: I'm Reverend Reggie Longcrier. I'm the pastor of Exodus Mission and Outreach Church in Hickory, North Carolina.
Senator Edwards said his opposition to gay marriage is influenced by his Southern Baptist background. Most Americans agree it was wrong and unconstitutional to use religion to justify slavery, segregation, and denying women the right to vote. So why is it still acceptable to use religion to deny gay American their full and equal rights?
(APPLAUSE)
EDWARDS: I think Reverend Longcrier asks a very important question, which is whether fundamentally -- whether it's right for any of our faith beliefs to be imposed on the American people when we're president of the United States. I do not believe that's right.
I feel enormous personal conflict about this issue. I want to end discrimination. I want to do some of the things that I just heard Bill Richardson talking about -- standing up for equal rights, substantive rights, civil unions, the thing that Chris Dodd just talked about. But I think that's something everybody on this stage will commit themselves to as president of the United States.
But I personally have been on a journey on this issue. I feel enormous conflict about it. As I think a lot of people know, Elizabeth spoke -- my wife Elizabeth spoke out a few weeks ago, and she actually supports gay marriage. I do not. But this is a very, very difficult issue for me. And I recognize and have enormous respect for people who have a different view of it.
COOPER: I should also point out that the reverend is actually in the audience tonight. Where is he? Right over here. Reverend, do you feel he answered your question?
(APPLAUSE)
QUESTION: This question was just a catalyst that promoted some other things that wrapped around that particular question, especially when it comes to fair housing practices. Also...
COOPER: Do you think he answered the question, though?
QUESTION: Not like I would like to have heard it...
(LAUGHTER)
COOPER: What did you not hear?
QUESTION: I didn't quite get -- some people were moving around, and I didn't quite get all of his answer. I just heard...
COOPER: All right, there's 30 seconds more. Why is it OK to quite religious beliefs when talking about why you don't support something? That's essentially what's his question.
EDWARDS: It's not. I mean, I've been asked a personal question which is, I think, what Reverend Longcrier is raising, and that personal question is, do I believe and do I personally support gay marriage?
The honest answer to that is I don't. But I think it is absolutely wrong, as president of the United States, for me to have used that faith basis as a basis for denying anybody their rights, and I will not do that when I'm president of the United States.
(APPLAUSE)
COOPER: Senator Obama, the laws banning interracial marriage in the United States were ruled unconstitutional in 1967. What is the difference between a ban on interracial marriage and a ban on gay marriage?
OBAMA: Well, I think that it is important to pick up on something that was said earlier by both Dennis and by Bill, and that is that we've got to make sure that everybody is equal under the law. And the civil unions that I proposed would be equivalent in terms of making sure that all the rights that are conferred by the state are equal for same-sex couples as well as for heterosexual couples.
Now, with respect to marriage, it's my belief that it's up to the individual denominations to make a decision as to whether they want to recognize marriage or not. But in terms of, you know, the rights of people to transfer property, to have hospital visitation, all those critical civil rights that are conferred by our government, those should be equal.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Overcoming Addiction to Masturbation and Pornography

From Father James R. Searby, parochial vicar at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, Va.

In all of our lives we desire, more than anything, to be loved and to love. As we grow up we learn how to do that more and more, or at least we hope we do. During early adolescence and adolescence a young man learns how to give himself to others by watching his parents, family and friends. During this period in life, however, new circumstances and temptations enter into life and many, dare I say most, young men are unprepared to handle these. You go to school (or at least get involved in new activities with people your own age), your body changes and sexual desires become strong because of hormonal changes and you begin to see yourself not only as the only person in the world but as part of the whole, as part of a larger world. During this time, due to technology, images and thoughts are more easily acquired from the internet. One of the biggest sources of images that satiate a young man’s curiosity of the opposite sex is pornography. Once this becomes part of the images in the mind it becomes increasingly difficult to see women, and yourself, in a healthy sexual way. With all of this comes the temptation to masturbate and act out the fantasies that are artificially created in the mind. When the desire to give yourself and get to know others mixes with increased sexual desires and pornography, masturbation can quickly become a habit that is really hard to break. At this point it is really easy to turn in on oneself rather than outward toward self- giving to people.
On a physiological level the mind becomes easily hooked on the release of epinephrine (Adrenaline) and serotonin that is released during sexual arousal and orgasm. The more this happens the more hooked your mind and body become to it and the harder it is to stop. It is as addictive, if not more so, than heroine. After a while you crave it, looking forward to that release, that feeling. After a while it can become not only a way to find sexual satisfaction and satisfy sexual curiosity but it can become an outlet for other emotions. Suddenly boredom, loneliness, anxiety, stress, etc. can be transferred to masturbation as an outlet. This is where the habit begins to really take control and you can get to the point where you begin the cycle without even realizing it.

This is by no means an intensive study or explanation of the problem of Masturbation but I hope, by writing some things down, it might help you in understanding it and help you to conquer it.

Masturbation, you could say, is the “lonely problem.” At its core it seems to fulfill a desire but it ends up leaving a man lonely, dulled and unable to really love himself properly and therefore, anyone else. If sexuality is made to unite a man and woman in love and self gift, then masturbation is the opposite. When we take self giving to another and make it a solo act where there is no self giving then the action has the trappings of something good but it is used wrongly. It is a turning in on oneself rather than a giving out of oneself. That is why there is such a let down and so much guilt after the act is completed. When it becomes a habit it can be safe to assume that the problem is not the actual masturbating but a need for love. This need for love, for meaning, and for wholeness is a deeper problem and requires a deeper answer. As with so many other problems, the choice comes before you when the temptations arise- “Am I going to do what is right and good for me that takes work and effort, or am I going to do what is quick and easy?” The quick and easy of masturbation gives immediate pleasure, a sense of love (since you use the tools for it) and an escape, but once finished you feel lonely, numb, dull and more alone than before. The pleasure glosses over the deeper need for love, friendship and a hunger for God. It is an easy, predictable way to find what you long for on a deeper level but it always comes up short. That is why, when it is all said and done, there is usually a vow of some sort where one says, “That’s it! That is the last time! I’m tired of this!” and that lasts for a little while until the temptation arises again and the cycle starts again. I will discuss this cycle later on.

Lets really look at what is underneath our sexual desires and consequently, the temptation to lust. When the temptations come on they can come on for a variety of reasons:
  1. They occur because of unmet needs in growing up: Perhaps there was a time in your past where your emotional needs were not met. Perhaps, even for a short time, you did not get the loving embrace of a parent, joy in the home, etc. Perhaps you were ignored or pushed too hard or there was no tenderness in an important relationship (like from father or mother).
  2. It can come from your spiritual needs not being met: Perhaps you never learned to really have a relationship with God or that one is even possible. Maybe you cannot comprehend that you are loved by God and therefore never feel it. Perhaps you just don’t pray or try to have that relationship to God yet you have a desire to give yourself to him but cannot figure out how. Perhaps you have a vocation and do not fully get it and with that call you have a strong desire to give yourself but do not know how to or which outlet to take so you find an easier one that glosses over it.
  3. There is healthy sexual desire: Perhaps you have the normal, healthy sexual desires that a male has but never learned to deal with them properly or perhaps you learned that they were dirty desires to have (rather than beautiful and amazing) so you repressed them rather than deal with them in a healthy way. As you repressed them more and more eventually they just burst out uncontrollably.
  4. Habit- perhaps from an early age you developed a habit of masturbating before you even really knew what it was or what your sexual powers were and you are simply physically addicted to the act and the pleasure and as you have grown that has influenced other areas of your life beyond the physical.
  5. Then there is true lust: this is simply where you put yourself into temptation by purposely not caring about another person or their dignity and you simply desire them as an object. This can come from simply not caring or from something in your past which made you look at people that way and you consciously decided to subjectify people to your own pleasure. This is the hardest one to overcome since it is a real deficiency in the soul.
These five areas are important to understand and to meditate on in order to attempt to figure out where you are in your habit and in how you view yourself and the world.

Finally we can look at the cycle of habit (or you could say, the cycle of addiction). This cycle comes and goes over and over and over again. It is strengthened (as is a virtue as well as a vice) by repetition. Something becomes a habit through repetition and only can be broken through repetition. So this is the basic cycle and can be applied to many things but we will look at it here specifically regarding the habit of masturbation (and pornography):
  1. There is a visual or emotional trigger: this is what begins the cycle again. In this first stage something triggers the habit cycle back into action. It could be an image on a wall, a TV show, someone making a comment, a scantily clad woman on campus, a memory of a past sexual encounter, etc. It can also be stress, anxiety, hunger, a feeling of loneliness. It sets off the interior desire for relief from these. Ultimately it is the desire to be with another person and have meaning in that relationship- be it with a friend or with someone you can give yourself totally to in marriage.
  2. Repression of pain with immediate sexual longings: As the habit has grown it has become an outlet for dealing with the first stage. As you begin to long for greater meaning, deeper relationship, etc. you repress that feeling- stuff it deep inside, and begin to desire the easier fix- the more predictable outcome- you begin to long for sexual fulfillment and gratification.
  3. As that happens you begin to fantasize. The images start to come back. The memories of past sexual encounters with someone else or with yourself come back and you begin to plan (and it might even not be fully conscious planning) to masturbate or look at porn. Here is where you resign yourself to the fact that a fall will most likely happen. This is also where you begin to rationalize it. It might be a struggle but it is often a halfhearted one that leads to resignation.
  4. The hunt is on: it might be on for finding good porn, a good site. It might even be a hunt for someone to hook up with at a party since you still have that inward desire to unite with someone and you might even be convinced that, “well, at least it would be with someone else”. This hunt could last for days, hours and even minutes.
  5. The connection is made: you have found the porn, the memory or image you want to conjure up. Perhaps it is a memory of an image or a person, either way- you have the fantasy now in full swing and it is arousing you and preparing you.
  6. The act: you masturbate. It is as though you eyes have rolled back into your head and you are on auto-pilot. You are no longer thinking or morally deliberating. This is where you feel, in some way, like your needs are being fulfilled and you feel good. The endorphins are flowing and the hormones are doing their job.
  7. Then you reach fulfillment: you have an orgasm. You might hope and wish for a great one, the best you have had and you wish it could last forever. In a few seconds all of your desires meet in a bang and you are fulfilled.
  8. But it does not last forever and you experience the Letdown: At that moment, once the orgasm is complete, almost immediately you experience the crash, the letdown. All of the promises of fulfillment you hoped for are out the window and you feel empty, lonely, tired, exhausted, morally empty and guilty. Then one of two things happen:
  • You have become numb to it and you don’t care that it happened. You still feel guilty but you say, “well, I already sinned, I might as well keep going for a while until I can get to confession”
  • Or, you make the vow: you ask God for forgiveness and promise that this was the last time- you’ve had enough, no more!” And you move on and get to confession quickly.
Then, unless the cycle is broken- it all eventually begins again.

This basic cycle is how it normally goes. The key in winning, the key in really achieving freedom from this habit is to break the cycle and learn that you do not have to be a victim to it. There are two things to do.

The first is to always remember, when the temptation comes on, to remind yourself that it is the habit speaking- not you. Sometimes it feels as though there are two of you in your head. Sometimes it can feel like you’re Gollum, arguing with yourself over and over- always deliberating whether or not to give in. The key is to remind yourself that your habit will speak to you but you do not have to give into it.

When you begin in the cycle your adrenaline will kick in and you will climb more and more up the ladder of anxiety until you hit a peak. This peak will be the point where you feel like you are going to explode if you don’t act on the temptation. This is where you are super sensitive to touch and to thought. As the ladder of anxiety rises remind yourself that you can get over that hump. Once you do your body will naturally kick in and stop the anxiety and the major temptations. Know then that you will be calmed down and you do not have to masturbate to stop the anxiety and major physical temptations. The more you do this the more you train your body to not get as anxious (and aroused) and the easier it becomes to say no to the physical need to masturbate.

Where the first is more physical the second is not. Secondly, you must break the cycle. The more you break up the cycle the more the habit will decrease and you can find freedom, joy and happiness and, above all, self worth and proper pride in yourself. Breaking the cycle must happen in the beginning stages (stages 1-2). Any further along and it will take amazing willpower to overcome. In stage one you must do EVERYTHING in your power to avoid the things that trigger you. Desperate times call for desperate measures. This will not be easy but if we are radical in our efforts and in your love, God will be equally so in his grace and help. I suggest some of these measures:
  • Get rid of the internet in rooms where you are, or can be, in private for long periods of time. This will cut down on internet usage. At least get a blocker and have a good friend code you out. Get one that cannot be hacked easily.
  • Stop watching all TV. I know, I know, radical but if you watch TV with a discerning eye you will see the millions of ideas and images of a sexual nature that they show- ALL of these get stored in our mind for conscious or subconscious access later on whether you know it or not.
  • Change your conversations with friends if they are of a sexual nature. Don’t become a big prude or anything or be unnatural but just try to steer conversations away from that area. You will feel more dignified as well.
  • Make it a game or competition with yourself to see if you can not sit and stare at the beautiful girl that walks by you all the time. Notice and then turn away or better yet, thank God for them and then say a little short prayer for them.
  • Have a plan, a schedule and hold yourself to it. Never let boredom be an option- even on breaks. Resting does not mean doing nothing, it means doing something different and interesting. The more you live this the more of a habit it becomes and the more you get done as well.
  • Spend plenty of time with friends. Become good friends with them, challenge them in good ways to really think about life’s big questions and to delve into them with you. Study in groups. Even if you are all silent you are not in a semi-lit room alone with a computer in front of you. Study in the library or find a place where you can study quietly but around people.
  • Be accountable to someone, perhaps a priest who can hear your confession regularly. Have someone you can call or talk to about this. Someone you can always rely on to keep it secret and who can help you talk through it. Regular confession and spiritual direction is absolutely key as well.
  • Most importantly, mediate and pray on what emotional, spiritual and social needs you have that were not, have not and are not being met. Ask God to fill your lack with his love and to show you where the root of it all is. He will. This is where you face the need rather than repress it. Think rationally, explore your soul, your past and present. Remind yourself that it is the habit speaking, not you and then engage the need in yourself as you- not as the habit. Try to begin to go to Mass more often. Try to find a close daily Mass in the morning. This is the most powerful way to overcome any vice. At least make visits to the blessed Sacrament somewhere and spend silent time with him. Even there you might have temptations (since being alone is hard in silence) but do it anyway and offer the temptations to him as acts of love. You are overcoming the temptations then with his help.
  • Go to Our Lady. She is most pure, most chaste and is totally in love with you, her little son.
These are just a few thoughts and recommendations. Ultimately, purity and true freedom from this takes time, patience, great humility and the constant grace of the sacraments, especially confession and the Eucharist. Go to them a lot. As much as you can. Without a strong, radical prayer life it is not possible to over come anything, let alone this temptation. Remember this, you want to stop, and God wants to help you because he loves you, has a plan for you and wants you to be truly free.

Some Practical Steps for Overcoming Impurity

From Father James R. Searby, parochial vicar at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, Va.


The following ideas and steps are some practical steps to beginning the struggle for purity. They are not in any order and should not all be done at once. Remember, it is not quantity but quality of the tasks we undertake that lead us to perfection and holiness.

As you undertake the real fight, the real struggle, the real battle, to overcome impurity and the habits of masturbation and pornography there is an important question you must ask yourself: “Do I really want to change?” If the answer is “yes” then ask “what is holding me back?” or “what is going on inside that needs to change in order for me to not be attached to this habit?”. If the answer is “not really?” then you have to ask why. Be totally sincere with yourself and with God. Without sincerity, be it in prayer, thought and confession, there can be no faith, hope or love. God cannot penetrate where we do not allow him. He respects our freedom too much. Be transparent to him. Let him see where you hurt, where you are weak, where you need him the most. Beg him constantly to open you up more and tear down the walls around your soul, to tear off the mask you wear.

When you wake up every morning, after you get ready for the day, plan to have 10 minutes to sit down in quite, have a cup of coffee or something, and quiet your heart. Ask Our Lord to help you to listen to Him today, to be aware of Him in the ordinary tasks of the day and then ask Him to help you to have peace of heart. This is important to do because a lot of times impurity and temptations come from having a lack of peace, a lack of quiet and then they are able to sneak up on you from out of nowhere and take you by surprise.

Order your life: Clean and organize your room, your car. Make a detailed schedule of your week and then, at the beginning of every week take time to go over it and plug in the specifics of that particular week. Disorder leads to more confusion and the “I don’t really care attitude” that leads to openness to temptation. Don’t get caught off guard with idleness.

The absolute, sure fire way to combat habits of impurity is through giving yourself. The habit of masturbation is a habit based on focusing on yourself and your own pleasure- combat it by giving yourself, by focusing on others before you think of yourself.

Plan good works:
  • At home
  • At school
  • At work
  • For family
  • For friends
  • Those in need (like the person who is ignored or misunderstood, or not as popular or attractive)
  • For your Church.
Plan out (every night)- one person that you are going to focus on helping, (praying for or serving) in a particular way. Plan out how to grow in a relationship with that person. Really learn to listen to them and serve them. Plan it out, set goals.

Have a workout plan. Set goals, don’t just say “I’m going to get in shape”. Say you are going to train for a particular event or toward a certain goal. Then make a plan on how and when you are going to begin to accomplish that goal.

Develop a “3 Month Interest Plan”: Think of things that interest you, which you would like to learn about. These should be things that you are personally interested in and that you personally want to learn about. It could be learning more about how cars work, how to work on them. You might be interested in archeology or marine studies. Are you interested in particular wars, how to make movies, photography? Do you want to someday climb a mountain or travel to another country where you will need some knowledge of another language? Is there a license or a certification you are interested in getting for the future? This “3 month interest plan” allows you to learn. Make a list of the things that interest you then, every 3 months begin to work on that interest. Take a class, do research online, go to the library and look up books on the subject, talk to specialists. These areas of study are not necessarily academic areas. They should be practical and things that capture your personal interest.

Get regular spiritual direction and weekly confession. This is a battle and you need to constantly hone yourself and grow in perfection. It is also necessary to have accountability to someone. You will be a little less likely to give in to temptations if you know that you have committed to honestly telling someone when you have fallen. The grace of the sacrament of confession is THE most powerful tool in the battle for purity.

Be aware, (through an examination of conscience every morning, afternoon and evening), of what triggers you. What are your weak points? What happens in your day that possibly triggers your thoughts to lead you to falling? Are there ads that you see in the paper or on buses? Idleness in front of the computer or TV? Conversations that you have with particular people? Be honest and take stock of them and then ask God to purify your imagination and memory. Awareness is half the battle.

When the temptations do occur be aware of what is going on around you. Make a challenge to yourself to really be aware of what is going on. Know what time of day it is, the mood you’re in, the situation you’re in. Be aware of how stressed you are, how anxious, how angry, hungry, etc.
Here is a little exercise that is fun that will help develop your ability to be aware. Go to the refrigerator. Open the door and look at the contents for 10 seconds. Then, close the door and try to name all the contents and their location. Open the door and check yourself. Then try to bring your time and accuracy down. It might sound silly but it is actually fun and it trains your mind to be more aware and more noticing of your surroundings and how your mind is effected by them. (It’s also really great mental training if you ever want to be a detective.)

Ask yourself:
  • Am I lonely?
  • Do I have close friends (I mean really close friends) that I can confide in?
  • Do I have confidence in who I am?
  • Do I have a good self image?
  • Am I accepted by my peers?
  • Do I distrust God and his help?
  • Is there a hidden pain in my life that I am trying to cover up with physical pleasure and softness?
  • How do I deal with stress and anxiety?
  • Am I secretly afraid to let go of this habit? Of this pleasure? Why?
Have a daily mortification. Do something everyday that you can offer to God that makes you a little uncomfortable, something that helps you not give into your body’s desire for comfort. Give that to God and ask him to make you stronger not only in body but in soul as well. “Esto Vir!” (Be a man).
  • Look at your relationship with other people.
  • Do you really care about them?
  • Do you REALLY listen to them actively?
  • Do you care about what they have to say and how they are REALLY doing?
  • Do you ask them questions about themselves and what they think about particular topics?
  • In other words- do you really care about others out of charity as this is the only way to overcome yourself.)
  • Learn to laugh at yourself. Sometimes the devil tries to tear you down and make you feel like you are worthless when you fall and that causes sourness. Laugh, enjoy life, be joyful. Above all- you are loved by God, you are his son and he does not let sons go.
The final point and the first and most important is PRAYER. You must have a plan of exactly what you will do everyday to pray and make God the absolute, radical center of your life. I propose this plan to begin with. It is challenging but simple. It places God at the center of your day by keeping him involved in every part of it, yet it is not too challenging so as to be impossible. Remember, it is not quantity but quality. Will to do it, with love. Prayer is about growing in a relationship, in a relationship with God.

Wake up and have that conversation with God (then plan out your day):
  • Get to the Blessed Sacrament everyday and spend 15 minutes with Him in silence, talk to him. He wants to hear from you. If you cannot get to a church at all (and you should try to push yourself) at least go to a quite spot or to a statue or picture of Our Lady and pray there in peace.
  • Go for a walk and say the Rosary. It might seem hard but it only takes 15 minutes to say the Rosary but those little flowers to Our blessed Mother are always responded to with love. She ALWAYS listens and helps. Go for a walk, don’t sit still daydreaming. Walk and talk to her (also gets some energy out in the middle of the day).
  • Read the Gospels for 10 minutes in the evening. To get to know Jesus we must meet him and spend time with him. We do that through His Word, in the story of his life where we literally meet him and walk with him.
  • Weekly confession or as much as needed. If you have a moment of weakness and fall, don’t wait to go to confession, get right back up and keep moving. Don’t ruin the momentum and make excuses and continue to slump further away.
  • Go to Mass as often as possible. It does not take long and having Our Lord that close can’t help but change you. If you are in the state of mortal sin and cannot receive then try to go and ask the priest a few minutes early to hear your confession quick. If that is not possible then make a good spiritual communion and remain in the pew telling Our Lord how much you want him in your life. It WILL change you.
  • Ask people to pray for you. You don’t have to tell them why, just say “for a special intention,” but ask for their prayers. Intercession of others is powerful. Put the struggle into the hands of Our Lady and your Guardian Angel.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Liberal love and tolerance

Here is some comments from a combox at the site Joe.My.God, which was one of the first sites to pick up the Sanchez story. (As I started, it had 230 comments; this list is entirely from the first 140.)


Dirty Sanchez (explanation here ... added by CM; with warning)
homer | Homepage | 03.07.07 - 5:35 pm | #
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"I've moved forward a lot and this past stuff is not something I want to drag into my future." - Isnt that what Hitler said when he invaded Poland?
GD | 03.07.07 - 5:39 pm | #
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Wipe the santorum off your lip, Joe. (explanation here ... added by CM; with warning)
kusala | Homepage | 03.07.07 - 5:41 pm | #
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oh so he's not gay?
Let me guess he made a choice to be gay and didn't work out for him.
Total freak. Total asshole. Is deserving of all the shit we can dig up.
Princes' Penis | Homepage | 03.07.07 - 5:50 pm | #
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"i'd say i'm pretty bad at being gay"?
why? cause you asked 2 women to marry you and talked one into accepting? you seemed pretty good at being gay in front of the camera. now you seem pretty good at being republican in front of the camera.

"the sad part of this whole conroversy..."
it's fairly obvious to those of us gay men and women reading this what the sad part of this "contoversy" is -denial, betrayal, self-deception and vigorous adventagous use of you by the venemous right wing might be places to start.

"I'll be able to address these issues seriously and with some authority."
yeah, ask jeff gannon how that worked out.
hughman | 03.07.07 - 5:50 pm | #
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You know, in so many ways this story is bigger than the guy himself--which makes it kinda weird to question him. He's never going to answer to reason, or understand why his porny past has so much traction as a story given his political affiliations.
And are we to understand that he is married?
Also, the bitch goes to Columbia yet seems to have serious problems with basic subject-verb agreement.
I could go on...
Tep | 03.07.07 - 5:54 pm | #
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Trust me ... this guy is VERY good at being gay ..
and I didn't have to pay !!!!
anon | 03.07.07 - 5:55 pm | #
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your next interview with Matt should be titled, "Matt Sanchez, UNCUT!"
Brett Pellicone | 03.07.07 - 5:55 pm | #
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Good that your going to be on MSNBC.
I just realized today that I have two videos from his previous career. Not very good at being gay? Well, if that's the case off camera, he is a hell of an actor in those two pieces of evidence from the past. It's kind of a challenge imagining his tongue and other appendages doing the same with Ann Coulter. Ew, it's painful to imagine anyone doing that to Coulter!
JunkThief | Homepage | 03.07.07 - 6:03 pm | #
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What bugs me is the comment "I, personally wouldn't have used the word faggot in public like that."
So...he'd use the word in private? He's straight (now, lol) and is OK with the word, just not in public where you can be caught on tape saying it. Makes his money on gay for pay porn and now decides he wants to put this behind him and not drag it all into the future.
I agree with above posters-he deserves the s***storm he's in.
Lee | 03.07.07 - 6:04 pm | #
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The book I'm really looking forward to reading is the one he'll write after the whole ex-gay/republican thing doesn't work out. I expect it'll come out right before he goes on stripper tour.
David | 03.07.07 - 6:09 pm | #
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He's bad at being gay because he's A TOP! Only bottoms are gay! Being a top and asking women to marry him and being in the military makes him 100% MAN!
"Bad at being gay" is probably best reserved for describing a guy who can't get an erection in naked man-on-man situations and who quickly realizes he should stick to naked man-on-woman situations. It's a pretty laughable way to describe a man with an 11" uncut list of gay porn titles under his belt and an escort site filled with pictures of his cock and emphatic declarations that he's only a top.
Jake | Homepage | 03.07.07 - 6:16 pm | #
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Two words: Rough trade.
Mikeprov1 | Homepage | 03.07.07 - 6:16 pm | #
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What a pathetic joke.
If you can make money by having sex with other men on film AS YOUR CAREER, then you are "pretty good" at being gay, Sanchez.
The misunderstanding of free speech from simpletons like this dumbass always amaze me.
Newsflash to Matt:
Free Speech only pertains to the GOVERNMENT not being able to tell you what to say.
The rest of us are (through free speech, you twit) free to express our agreement, disgust and even at times ambivilence towards what others have said.
Accountability is about being able to stand by your words and not hide behind bullshit like "it was just a joke" or "what about free speech?".
You are an embarrassment to your uniform in more ways than one, Sanchez.
Pete | 03.07.07 - 6:17 pm | #
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With those pussified answers, let us please refer to him as Snatchez from now on.
johnny | Homepage | 03.07.07 - 6:20 pm | #
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Maybe those "liberals" should start bringing huge signs at future public appearances, with the picture being him engaged in sex acts with men LOL
Scott | 03.07.07 - 6:18 pm | #
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Wow...what happened to "candid and thought-provoking"?
Sounds like a dirtbag trying to avoid losing his wingnut friends.
rodger | Homepage | 03.07.07 - 6:31 pm | #
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Okay, I have a problem with this guy. His dick is not 11 inches. Maybe 8 and thick but c'mon. We're not that stupid!
J-Bone | 03.07.07 - 6:32 pm | #
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This loser is just lucky he didn't have to go through the hell those poor paratroopers at Ft. Bragg went through when it was dicovered they were making gay porn films.
My guess is that he's milked gay men for all he can get out of them. He's moved on to women and Ann Coulter is his new favorite john. It can't be too much fun being buttfucked by her.
JC | 03.07.07 - 6:33 pm | #
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"The sad part of this whole controversy, is that if your readers had heard that I had died of a drug overdose or some STD, they probably would have written a lot of nice comments, but no one would have been surprised."

This is supposed to be an argument? If he'd died, yeah, we'd have gotten all mushy and fuzzy warm about some of the hot porn he did. But he didn't die. He went on to became a self-serving shill for the Republicans. Why is this a surprise to him?
Mike | 03.07.07 - 6:48 pm | #
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"Ann made a joke and that's just what she does."

Really? Very sad.
Matt Sanchez, why don't you just drop dead of a drug overdose? It's just a joke; we know that this would only offend you if you were actually a drug addict.
And I don't buy the bull that he is straight. The argument that he's had wives and fianc├ęs only reiterates that he is a big closet case. How very, very sad.
And what a waste of an 11" dick - This is really a joke
rey | 03.07.07 - 7:09 pm | #
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This guy tells us how many "finaces" and wives he's had. What about the number of tricks he's turned over the years? Did prostitution and porn help put him through Columbia U.? Was money earned from gay prostitution ever turned over--as contributions--to the Republican Party? He lacks the moral authority of Mike Jones.
And will someone please find "Mrs. Matt Sanchez" and get her take on all this?
JC | 03.07.07 - 7:33 pm | #
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A Datalounge sleuth reports that he last checked into his manhunt.net profile 12 days ago. manhunt.net is a (non-prostitute) hookup site for gay guys. Looks like our boy gives it out for free too.
Personally, I think it's tremendous.
Patsy Ramsey | 03.07.07 - 8:39 pm | #
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"But in my reality, the people around me including the many conservatives I've met this weekend have been extremely kind and supportive."
Of course they were. They probably didn't know (yet) that you fucked men in the asshole during gay sex. Oh, and also hustled for money for a living with men. How's that for "crude and radical"?
"Flaming" liberal?
You gotta be kidding.

"There's something about the beleaguered gay psyche that wants to prove to the world that everyone is just as messed up as they are."
Guess we don't have far to look. do we? Gay porn for years, escort services. suckling to the very group that would have us destroyed? Who's messed up?

This sickens me. To my core. Sanchez doesn't deserve the dignity of having Joe call him or ask him to explain himself. I hope he reaps what he deserves. Although I usually have no moral stand about porn or hookers, this is one instance in which he deserves the title of a whoring, cash obsessed shill.

Good riddance to him. And Rich Merritt is twice the man this ass will ever be.
hughman | 03.07.07 - 8:47 pm | #
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I'M KIND OF DUMB STRUCK. THAT OUR FRIEND THINKS THAT NOT GOD OR JESUS HAS HELP HIM STRAIGHTEN UP HIS LIFE BUT THE CONSERVATIVE RIGHT WING REPUBLICANS HAVE. HUH! I THINK HE IS GREAT ALL NAKED AND GOING DOWN ON ANOTHER GUY BUT NOW HE HAS FOUNDED SALVATION WITH ANNE AND HER FUNNY SENSE OF HUMOR, NOT. THE ONES THAT SINK THE LOWEST ARE THE ONE SHOW THE MOST PRIDE IN BEING ALMOST NORMAL. LET'S SEE HOW WONDERFUL THE PEOPLE ARE TOMORROW. SOLDIER BOY MIGHT BE A LITTLE SURPRISED.
Gary Hill | Homepage | 03.07.07 - 9:16 pm | #
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Dirty Sanchez is sucking Ann Coulter's cock!!! Duh, people!
Quit giving this coward publicity and a venue to actually put his delusions out in the open!
Oh no...I've just had an epiphany..it's the "Gay Republican" version of Ann Coulter...SCARY!
Cody | 03.07.07 - 9:19 pm | #
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matteo is lost, and is trying to be 'normal' and this is where he's ended up... the gay scene, community can be hard and destroy you a little bit, and now he's turned to this as solace..
clearly, he's not straight and never will be and he can go to all the fundraisers and whatever, but cmon, he likes ass and that's that ...
guess being celibate is his way of being 'normal' huh? i bet he's had sex with 1000 men in his life... yeah, he's straight!! lol
Tim | 03.07.07 - 10:14 pm | #

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sullivan on outing

Andrew Sullivan, “Sleeping with the enemy,” Washington Diarist, The New Republic, 9 September, 1991.


In all the recent brouhaha over the “outing” of alleged homosexuals, one fallacy has remained virtually unchallenged. It’s the notion of a simple “closet” and the crude assertion that one is either in it or out of it. I know of no one to whom this applies. Most homosexuals and lesbians whose sexualities are developed beyond adolescence are neither “in” nor “out.” They hover tentatively somewhere in between. And most outings are not essentially about dragging someone out of anything. They are crude assertions about invariably complex people, which have very little to do with the nature of someone’s sexuality, and all to do with who controls the disclosure of it. Properly understood, outing is not a resolution of something, a final act. It’s when the intricate steering of self-disclosure, with which every homosexual is intimately familiar, is suddenly seized by someone else, when one’s ability to describe oneself, one’s freedom to say who one is, is peremptorily taken away.

Most gay lives, by virtue of the culture we live in, know dozens of such moments of powerlessness. I remember in my early 20s being casually asked in the back seat of a car by an open-minded acquaintance “are you gay?” and not being able to answer yes or no. The question was as benign as it comes, but the effect was temporarily terrifying. The panic, for most homosexuals, periodically returns: when the subject comes up and the throat becomes intolerably dry; when the insult is hurled across the street, and shame mysteriously returns. What’s worse is that one is complicit in such moments: without a sense of embarrassment, there would be no loss of power, no handing over of control. But the trauma is real nonetheless. It is the sense of asphyxiation you feel when someone defines you without your consent.

This element of uncontrol, of course, is not exclusive to homosexuals. The racial slur has a similar effect. It demeans a person because it defines him against his own particular self-image. The word “nigger” stings because it hammers an intricate human achievement into a communal blur. It erases dignity because it denies individuality. But with homosexuals, this expression of contempt can find a way of sounding legitimate. Because homosexuality is largely invisible, the act of control can often be disguised as an act of revelation. Declaring someone gay can come in the guise of news; it can be sanctified with the mantle of a fact. And what, after all, can be wrong with a fact? And who can oppose it, except those who are themselves “homophobic,” who choose the hypocrisy generated by shame over the liberation afforded by fact?

In the world of intimacy, however, there are few such facts. Human sexuality is too mysterious and too fluid to be reduced to such simplicities. Honesty can destroy relationships; candor in the affairs of the heart is almost always a means to assert some sort of control. And there is little moral difference between a straight person forcing one to hide one’s identity and a gay person forcing one to declare it. But the most disturbing element of the outing craze is not simply that it is initiated by gay people, whose lives, one might think, would be testimony to the cruelty of others’ control, but that it is done in the name of political conformity. All the targets have been gay people at odds with the agenda of fringe activists. All have been justified as ways of exposing “hypocrisy,” but have, in fact, been ways of enforcing control. A recent outing, for example, was of a congressman who had a 100 percent legislative record from a leading gay group, but who still failed to please one particular activist. In New York a politician felt obliged to declare he was HIV-positive, after a mounting whispering campaign to that effect. In another case, a man was outed for whom there was no proof of his hostility to homosexuals, and some evidence that he may have been doing good, but who was employed by an institution that is anathema to the outers -- the Pentagon -- and so was fair game. No crimes were cited, except an imputation of cowardice. Regardless of his own motives, the taint of collaboration (he is a civilian in the Defense Department) was enough. In one last-resort defense of the outing, a leading gay activist actually said “[His] silence in the last couple of years has hurt us. And I think his silence now is hurting us.” His silence?

There are times and places, to be sure, when silence is indeed a culpable act, and the way in which the Pentagon treats gay and lesbian soldiers in its ranks is a disgrace -- brutal in its bigotry, callous in its effect, as this magazine has repeatedly pointed out. But the sacrifice of another gay man, deemed “guilty” before proved “innocent,” as an indirect means to undermine the policy requires an ethic of a peculiarly twisted kind. One is reminded of Orwell’s remark about the morality of those “always somewhere else when the trigger is pulled.” One is also reminded of all those other political movements around the world in which silence is invariably an unacceptable form of conduct. They demand an active, even eager, participation in a particular politics, a mouthing of certain words, a performance of certain actions. Inaction is the same as treachery; weak souls in the ranks are treated with greater viciousness than any putative enemy. But they have rarely been sympathetic to a liberal society. And they have never been tolerant of homosexuals.

Not so long ago I thought this was an exaggeration about some fringe elements in the gay movement. Whatever the differences among gay men and lesbians, there was always a sense that everyone was essentially on the same side. Now I’m not so sure. It’s not so much that, within the gay world, there are now those who have assumed the rhetoric of the historic enemy. Nor even that, in the heat of battle, some have taken to desecrating others’ religious beliefs and practices, embracing the very forms of intolerance that homosexuals, of all people, have historically shrunk from. It is that they have attacked the central protection of gay people themselves. They have assailed the ability to choose who one is and how one is presented, to control the moment of self-disclosure and its content. They have declared that the bonds of common sympathy must be sacrificed to ideology, that the complexities of love and loyalty and disclosure can be resolved by the uniformity that is the classical objective of terror. The gleam in the eyes of the outers, I have come reluctantly to understand, is not the excess of youth or the passion of the radical. It is the gleam of the authoritarian.