THE DRESDEN FILES Reading Challenge

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I belong to several discussion groups on Amazon, and we really have some lively discussions. Right now, one of our own is suffering his way through a semi-famous urban fantasy/paranormal writer’s latest “book”, if you can call it that (it’s hard cover, it’s got a cover and it’s filled with the English Language, sort of – must be a book), and one of the scenes spawned an interesting take on fundamentalism as it regards whole human bodies (one of the characters MIGHT be facing an amputation to save his life) and, predictably, the fundies are objecting to that because their version of God will not accept anybody that is not whole of body into their version of heaven.

There was a lot of discussion about how on earth or anywhere else that these folks could be so cruel. Nobody could believe it, so I’m offering an explanation. Feel free to disagree; after all, while I’ve researched the topic, the conclusions are my own opinion – and I DON’T like fundies very much.

Fundies are all practical Darwinists. Fundies also hate humanity, to put it mildly.

Darwinism, which is a term coined by Thomas Huxley, among other things, argues that survival serves as a core value of life. Lived out practically, one who takes risks, lives on edge, and attempts radical endeavors would struggle to survive when compared to those who live a more stable, safe, and risk-free existence.

So, a practical Darwinist is a person that believes Darwin's law of survival of the fittest applies to EVERYTHING. If someone gets sick or is hurt in an accident, they shouldn't be helped. If their bodies aren't whole, they are no longer to be considered fit to survive. If there's a catastrophic event, like an earthquake or a disaster like Hurricane Sandy, no aid should be sent and nobody should try to help the survivors. They prove that they're fit to survive by their own efforts. If a vicious disease (like smallpox or SARs) breaks out, only those that are found to be free of the disease should be inoculated; the ones that are already sick should be isolated and left alone to live or die as the case might be. No medical aid whatsoever, and no attendants.

A practical Darwinist hates the very idea of man-made limbs because the person needing those limbs has proven that she/he is not worthy to survive. Paraplegics should be left alone to live or die on their own. Quadriplegics should be allowed to die of their injuries, and if they survive them, they should be left strictly alone. No help.

One of the participants asked "What happens if the person, or a loved one, gets gangrene or develops a twisted bowel? What then?" In answer to your question about what happens if the practical Darwinist is diagnosed with a twisted bowel, gangrene or, say, blocked arteries, said practitioner is expected to live with the condition, NOT seek help for it, and either live or die as their version of god wills it. Someone who is blind or deaf, same thing. No aid of any sort, not a cochlear implant or a Seeing-Eye dog. NOTHING.

After all, faith moves mountains, heals the sick, raises the dead . . . well, I'm sure you get the idea. Yes, if your body is less than perfect IN ANY WAY, it means that you are no longer one of the fittest. This injunction applies to diabetics, people with heart conditions, people that have chronic, life-threatening diseases like multiple sclerosis, those that need transplants, even people that have had cataract surgery aren't exempted.

DO NOT mention logic and reason in the same breath as religious fundamentalism. Being a true-blue, dyed in the wool fundie means that the very first thing that you WILLINGLY throw away is the art of critical thinking and reasoning. Look at the Heaven's Gate cult, for a fairly horrid example. Or the Branch Davidians, for another. A practical Darwinist is ready to die for her/his beliefs. The worst thing, she/he is willing to let *YOU* die for them as well.

Pretty contemptible, don’t you think?

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Once upon a time, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we all flew to school on pterodactyls, I was a licensed psychotherapist. I worked mainly with the GLBT community here in TedCruzLand aka Texas. Back in those days, it was RonPaulLand but that’s a tale for another time.

I was a thumping liar in those days. Here I was, presuming to deal with GLBT problems, and I was so far into the closet that not only was the door nailed shut, but it was bricked up and concreted over. It took the collapse of my 3rd marriage to make me face the truth that I’d always known and pretended didn’t exist: I was a lesbian then, and always had been. My earliest memory of knowing that I was different came when I was 5 years old, and my daddy picked me up – and I slapped at him and told him, “Put me down, I don’t YIKE boys!” Needless to say, that hurt my daddy’s feelings.

When I was 16, my folks caught me fooling around with my best girlfriend – nothing serious, just a lot of kissing and feeling each other up – and they took swift and direct action. They put me into a mental institution in Ohio to “cure” me of being gay. I underwent several different kinds of “therapy” – salt shock therapy, insulin shock therapy, electroshock therapy – all to cure me of being a sexual deviant. I was lucky at that; back in those days, a lot of “queer cures” also involved prefrontal lobotomies. I escaped from there, and I mean that literally. I climbed down from a 3rd floor secured wing and ran away.

Eventually, after some trials and tribulations – and getting married for the first time trying to prove that I was NOT a pervert but “normal”, I got educated and wound up in private practice. I also got married again, and, in the process, discovered that sex with a man under any circumstances still made me throw up. That marriage ended in divorce too.

And I was still in serious denial about what I was born as, what I was hard-wired to be: a lesbian.

Third marriage: utter failure from the get-go. It lasted 5 years and ended because he found a woman that was more of a woman than I ever could be. I sat down and took a long, hard look at myself at that point, and decided that it was time for me to quit lying to myself and everybody else, and quit being afraid that my folks would put me BACK into a mental institution because I was gay. Needless to say, my folks completely rejected my coming out, and it was many years later that we reconciled. My mother and I wound up being able to talk to each other about who and what I was before she died. That’s a memory that I’ll always treasure.

My 4th marriage has lasted almost 14 years. I am legally married to a woman in the state of Texas. We are in love, we love each other dearly, and we are completely well-matched to each other. The only happiness that I’ve known in my entire adult life has been with WonderWife. I just wish that we were going to have a lot more time together.

However, that’s not the purpose of this column. I wanted y’all to know where I was coming from, who I am and have been, and why yesterday was such a monumental surprize, blessing and vindication.

Yesterday, EXODUS INTERNATIONAL, the largest and more harmful of all the ex-gay ministries, ceased to exist. I DID live long enough to see it, after all.

The closure of this contemptible organization comes less than a day after EXODUS released a statement apologizing to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for years of undue judgment, by the organization and from the Christian Church as a whole. “Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism. For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical," said Alan Chambers, president of Exodus (full text of the apology can be read here:

In April, John Paulk, former chairman of Exodus and the co-author of "Love Won Out: How God's Love Helped Two People Leave Homosexuality and Find Each Other," renounced his past involvement in the "ex-gay movement," and expressed remorse for his actions. “For the better part of 10 years, I was an advocate and spokesman for what’s known as the 'ex-gay movement,' where we declared that sexual orientation could be changed through a close-knit relationship with God, intensive therapy and strong determination," Paulk said. "At the time, I truly believed that it would happen. And while many things in my life did change as a Christian, my sexual orientation did not." He added, He added: "Today, I do not consider myself 'ex-gay,' and I no longer support or promote the movement. Please allow me to be clear: I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people."

Reversing himself like this is an act of high courage on Mr. Paulk’s part, and I honour him for it.

I’ve been yelling about “reparative therapy”, so-called, for the better part of 25 years. It does not work. It has never worked. It CANNOT work. “Therapists” of every ilk and so-called “christian” persuasion have, basically, tortured people into nervous breakdowns and even death because of the guilt that they laboured under through not being able to be “normal”. To be heterosexual. I understand that. I’m glad beyond anything that this sickening, shameful chapter in the evolution of GLBT rights is OVER.

{{As an aside: GOT to wonder what Michelle Bachman’s husband is going to do for a living now. SURE hope that they’ve saved SOME of the money that he extorted from all of the miserably unhappy and desperate GLBT people that he tortured over the years}}.

Sic Semper Tyrannus – Bonus Riddance.

{{** TRANSLATION: So passes tyranny – and GOOD RIDDANCE}}