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Confusion or coercion?

Anti-gay researcher and Regent University prof Mark Yarhouse is at it again. He’s released several studies and what not exploring “ex-gays” and human sexuality. His most recent release is a survey of 104 “sexual minority” youth at Christian colleges.

In a “study” of the (extremely undersampled) surveys, Yarhouse (and a host of other researchers: Stephen Stratton, Janet Dean, and Heather Brooke) find:

  • Awareness of same-sex feelings (about age 13 by 70% of the sample)
  • Confusion about same-sex feelings (age 14-15 by 71% of the sample)
  • Intimately/romantically kissed by someone of the same sex (age 17 by 34% of the sample)
  • Been fondled by someone of the same sex (age 14-15 by 42% of the sample)
  • Fondled someone of the same sex (age 14-15 by 42% of the sample)
  • Same-sex behavior to orgasm (age 16-17 by 29% of the sample)
  • Initial attribution that I am gay (age 17 by 35% of the sample)
  • Took on the label of gay (age 18 by 14% of the sample)
  • First same-sex relationship (age 18-19 by 19% of the sample)
  • First opposite-sex relationship (age 15 by 58% of the sample)

A few figures immediately jumped out at me: By age 13, 70 percent of the students said they were aware of their same-sex feelings. Seventy-one percent said they experienced “confusion” about those feelings at ages 14-15.

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albert-mohlerDr. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ken., says the Southern Baptist Convention is in danger of collapse.

The Associated Press reported today on a recent Mohler speech on the campus of the seminary. He told students, faculty and staff that Southern Baptists must either change and grow or die out.

“The Southern Baptist Convention is either going to become younger or dead. Here we have a big issue; we’re losing at least two-thirds of our young people somewhere along the line between adolescence and adulthood,” The AP reported Mohler saying. “A generation that has reduced religion and Christianity to what is called moralistic, therapeutic deism — believing that God basically wants them to do well and to do right and to be happy.”

The impending death of the Southern Baptist Convention should come as no surprise. For at least the past decade, if not two, the denomination has been on a death march as they forget, ignore and erase any semblance of traditional Baptist principles, faith or heritage from its ranks.

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Gays, gays and gays… Oh My!

cal_screenshotEveryone knows the radical right is, for whatever reason, absolutely fixated on anal sex. Everything they do and say always seems to come back to the “homosexual agenda.”

This week, the Christian Action League of North Carolina takes the cake. In their weekly email newsletter, the group sent out summaries of their four latest “news stories.” The group isn’t just an anti-gay group, they’re pretty much an anti-everything group. It usually isn’t surprising to see “stories” ranting against tobacco and alcohol use, supporting higher tobacco and cigarette taxes and other prohibition-like sentiments. But, this week, it was all about “teh gays.”

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On Aug. 14, I posted briefly about the continuing controversy down in North Carolina’s coast. Democratic State Sen. RC Soles has been accused of molestation.

In the piece on Aug. 14, I incorrectly stated two young men had accused the senator of misconduct. Only one has. Twenty-seven-year-old Stacy Scott has claimed Soles attempted to fondle him when he was 15 years old, that he objected and that Soles paid him not to tell anyone. Seventeen-year-old Allen Strickland, whose house was paid for by Soles, denies a sexual relationship between him and Soles.

News channel WWAY has found that Soles has financial connections to several young men.

I’m not sold on the allegations. In fact, I’m starting to think RC Soles might be the possible victim of gay and pedophile baiting.

I’ll let you make up your own mind:

WWAY: Interview with Soles
Star-News: Allen Strickland interview
Star-News: Soles denies molesting teen

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N.C. state senator accused of molestation

rcsolesWhere in the hell have I been?

For a couple of weeks, TV news down on the North Carolina coast has been reporting of sexual misconduct allegations thrown toward 74-year-old Democratic N.C. State Sen. R.C. Soles.

It seems there are two men, a 17-year-old and a 27-year-old, who claim the senator had a sexual relationship with them. See updated Aug. 17 post.

The 17-year-old’s house just burnt down. The house, it seems, was bought and paid for by Sen. Soles, who says the teen was merely a “good friend,” and the house a part of an “agreement” the two had. The 27-year-old says Soles fondled him when he was 15.

News channel WWAY reports:

Seventeen-year-old Allen Strickland has been in the news for weeks, ever since his new house in Tabor City caught fire in an apparent arson. On July 1, a few weeks before that fire, Allen and a few of his friends, all clients of State Sen. R.C. Soles, sat down with WWAY’s Ann McAdams to discuss problems they were having with the Senator. They told Ann about being called to testify before the FBI, about possible misconduct on the part of the Senator. Ann asked Allen what they testified about. “About molestation, about prostitution,” Strickland said.

“I went to Raleigh and went before the grand jury and they questioned me for about six-and-a-half hours,” said Jackie Jordan, one of Soles’s clients.

This wasn’t the first time we’d heard stories like this. A year ago, another one of Sen. Soles’s clients named Stacey Scott talked to us about his testimony before the FBI. His recollection of the line of questioning was very similar.

“The FBI is investigating him, as far as I know, for embezzlement, arson, child molestation,” Scott said. “He (Soles) did try to molest me when I was 15 years old, and I have not told the feds that. He tried to grab by my genitalia and I backed off and I said, ‘You know my dad would kill you.’ He said, ‘Please don’t tell nobody,’ and he gave me a thousand dollars.”

Shortly after Scott testified for the grand jury, he says he was picked up by two private investigators for Soles, who spent hours asking him questions.

“‘Has R.C. Soles ever molested you?’ ‘Has he ever paid you to do certain things like burn down Dewey Hill’s grocery store and everything,’ which is what I was questioned about in federal court,” Scott said.

Sen. Soles is the state’s longest serving senator and permanent chair of the Democratic caucus.

I’m in Pittsburgh for the Netroots Nation conference, of course, so I really haven’t had the time to look at this in-depth more later.

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Bill Clinton and me

I don’t know Bill Clinton. I’ve never met him. I’ve only seen him speak live once — last night when he gave the opening keynote at Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh. Nonetheless, I do feel like I know good ol’ Bill. He was my president as a child growing up in little Winston-Salem, N.C. He’s a fellow Southerner, a good and respected leader around the world and someone who understands the needs of all Americans.

In 1992, I was six. For whatever reason, I knew I liked Bill Clinton. I saw him on the news when my parents watched at night and, immediately, I knew I should be on this guy’s side. I begged my mother to let me stay up late and watch the election returns. My first grade class in the morning be damned, I was going to watch Bill Clinton become president. I pleaded with my mom at dinner, after my bath and before I climbed into bed. She finally relented.

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From Prop 8 to full equality

Pam Spaulding at the NN Prop 8 panel

Pam Spaulding at the NN Prop 8 panel

The small workshop room is almost full for one of the first morning panels at Netroots Nation. The panel is “From Prop 8 to full equality,” and the panelists are Julia Rosen, online director for the Courage Campaign; blog mistress extraordinaire Pam Spaulding; Michael Wilson from Americans for Democratic Action; Monique Hoeflinger, from the LGBT Mentoring Project.

Marriage equality and other LGBT equality issues are showing themselves to be the definitive civil rights issue of our day. To win equality across America, in all 50 states, we’ll have a lot of work to do, including organizing and strategic action. But we’ll action from more than just LGBT folks. We need allies, Michael Wilson says.

“The LGBT movement can’t win this alone and shouldn’t have to,” Wilson says. “We will be an ally and will help to corral other allies and join effort to help advance the cause.”

Wilson added, “Prop 8 will be seen as the Dred Scott decision of our time.”

Click down below the fold for a run-down of the some of the conversation. Don’t want to have my face in my laptop the whole time, I’m folding it up. Look for updates on Twitter.

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Hello Pittsburgh

From my hotel in downtown Pittsburgh

Good morning America, live from Pittsburgh. Today is the day. Thousands of progressive bloggers, journalists, activists and politicians gather in the Steel City for four days of networking, conferencing, workshops, education and more at this year’s Netroots Nation.

I’m here, too. Completely excited and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of everything to be taken in. I have no idea where to go, what to see, who to talk to. My ADD is kicking in. But it is a good thing.

I spent yesterday evening mixing in with LGBT bloggers and friends I haven’t seen since last December’s LGBT blogger summit in D.C. It was a fun evening. I managed to grab a quick pic on my phone (before the battery went dead), of Bilerico’s Jerame chatting it up with National Equality March organizer Kip Williams. I gotta give it Kip… not many other folks would walk into the “lion’s den.” Despite our minor disagreements over strategy and the March, Kip’s goals of a nationwide grassroots movement sound great and I have every intention of learning more as the weekend goes by.

I’ll try to score some good interviews, photos and more through the weekend and bring them to you here. Be sure to pop back in this evening, tomorrow morning and through the weekend!

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A new South Carolina secession?

It seems Palmetto State Episcopalians aren’t too happy with their national denomination. Will the Diocese of South Carolina pull out of the Episcopal Church and join ranks with The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), or will they stay in the church as “loyal opposition”?

A new commentary at VirtueOnline.org asks this very question:

Is the Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence planning to take his diocese out of The Episcopal Church? Word has it that Lawrence has been in “substantive talks” with Archbishop Robert Duncan of The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). But Lawrence has commented (in the past) that he is concerned about whether ACNA has a sufficient “catholic ecclesiology” — by which he means that he is not sure it is sufficiently united. It looks to him more like a loose federation than “one body”.

It is not, apparently, the direction he is expected to take the diocese. Sources tell VOL that when Lawrence meets with the clergy of his Diocese on Thursday, he will propose that his diocese push to be on the first level of the “two level, two tier” approach advocated by the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Anglican Communion. He will also advocate closer ties with the Anglican Communion Institute’s (ACI) approach of staying in TEC as the denomination’s loyal opposition.

Despite what you might think, South Carolina isn’t as conservative as you’ve been led to believe. Don’t get me wrong: The Palmetto State is pretty anti-gay. But, there are liberal and progressive pockets. I can’t imagine Episcopalians in Columbia — one of only a few cities across the South banning discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of gender-identity and sexual orientation — being opposed to LGBTs living a full life of worship, fellowship and leadership in their church. (Update: I’ve learned South Carolina is comprised of two Episcopal dioceses. Columbia is in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina.)

Even in conservative, aristocratic Charleston, I imagine there are liberal pockets of Episcopalians and folks from other religious faiths.

Perhaps the South Carolina bishop’s reticence to pull out isn’t based so much on loyalty to the national church, as it is loyalty to his local parishioners, many of whom might be divided on the issue?

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Christie Hefner’s famous last name

Did anyone else see Christie Hefner on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday? She provided her input on Hillary Clinton’s outburst at a press conference in the Congo and talked about the pressure of having a famous last name.

I’m sure Christie knows how that feels. I can’t imagine living life with her father’s name.

Maybe I was just completely ignorant — seeing as though I have no reason to pay attention to Playboy — but I never knew a woman used to be CEO of the company. She’s smart, she’s intelligent, she looks highly professional. Those aren’t necessarily the first adjectives that come to mind when you hear the names “Hefner” and “Playboy” in the same sentence.

That just blew away so many misconceptions. Wow.

I wonder how many feminists don’t take kindly to Ms. Hefner?