Friday, April 06, 2007

FBI Agent Killed, Pet Food Investigation, And What Is A Christian (Thursday's First Hour)

Hi everybody. Your blogger is enjoying a three day weekend. Yay, for the strict Catholic boss! John Roberts continues with his hosting duties and we kick it off with some BREAKING NEWS. In a Randi Kaye piece we learn that an FBI agent that was attempting to arrest some bank robbing suspects was shot dead...possibly by a fellow agent. Yikes. Oh, and if this is so BREAKING how did they have time to file a package already? Uh huh. Just gotta use those graphics, don't you? Anyway, they don't really know much yet, so moving on.

Next up we've got more info on the contaminated pet food story in the form of a "Keeping Them Honest" piece from Joe Johns. Okay, apparently that wheat gluten has done some traveling. We learn that, "recall of the products manufactured by Sunshine Mills pet food company was delayed, because Sunshine apparently got its Chinese wheat gluten from a middleman distributor that had purchased the wheat gluten from another U.S. supplier, a company called ChemNutra." Geez. No wonder it's so hard to track this stuff. On the plus side, it seems the human food supply will not be effected. However, there's also the possibility that this was all done on purpose. What! The FDA is looking into whether or not melamine was put in the wheat gluten on purpose in order to raise protein levels, thus raising the costs. Unbelievable. I don't put that past them AT ALL, but I do think it's important to remember there is no proof of this yet. So let's hold off on our freaking. For now. Oh, and still with the horrible sound effect. Sob.

Transitioning now to the Anderson-hosted "What is a Christian?" series, tonight focusing on "Sex and Salvation." During the last one I forgot to mention that they put up a related Bible verse before each piece. I thought that was a nice touch. We begin with a Joe Johns piece on evangelicals who go to Spring Break to preach abstinence. Oh boy. Now that's a challenge. I never ventured out of St. Louis on my spring breaks (no money), but if the commercials I've seen on late night tv are any indication, there are many scantily-clad girls (and boys). And many of them "go wild." But the evangelical kids are determined, even throwing a pancake breakfast for the revelers and using the opportunity to plead their cause. Aw, nobody tell them the breakers are just there for the free pancakes. Anyway, even though a Yale study has found that 9 out of 10 kids who take abstinence pledges eventually break them, the Bush administration has still poured $204 million a year for abstinence-only education. Ridiculous. Hey, I'm all for abstinence education, but you have to teach them how to protect themselves too and no, it's not going to make them run out and have sex. When parents teach their teens how to properly handle a gun do they fear it will make their kid run out and shoot up a school? Of course not.

On now to a Gary Tuchman piece on the 'Love Won Out' conference. It's not as nice as it sounds, people. First off, it's put on by Focus on the Family. Yeah, those guys. And basically the whole premise is that homosexuality is a treatable disorder, a thesis that is BTW rejected by the mainstream psychiatric communtiy. People not in the mainstream seem to think male homosexuality is due to abuse or not getting enough attention from their fathers. We hear from a couple of speakers who claim to have had their gayness cured. We also meet a 16 year old gay kid that was dragged to conference by his gay-fearing father. The kid's really a good sport about it though, which I think breaks my heart even more. And to make it all even sadder, the dad speculates that maybe his son is gay because he wasn't a good enough father. So not only do the conference people make gays feel horrible, they make their manipulated parents feel like failures. Feel the love! Anyway, Gary is able to wrangle an interview with the very reluctant Joseph Nicolosi, president of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, but it doesn't go so well. Gary notes that it's a pretty strong statement to say if a father and son have a strong relationship, that son will not be gay. "You want to debate? Do you want an answer or you want to debate?" says Nicolosi. It's an interview dude, calm down. Than Gary says, "So, there are some stereotypes you talk about, how, you know, if a child's effeminate, if he's creative, he's artistic, those are things to look out for. Is that fair to say?" and Nicolosi is all, "Goodbye. You're confusing effeminacy with artistic. I didn't say artistic." Then he rips off his mic and leaves. Damn! What a jerk. And why are people always so mean to Gary?!! Do they not know he's the nicest guy in the world? CNN needs to put out a press release or something. Oh, and for the record, "artistic," is right there in the homophobe's literature.

Moving on to another Gary Tuchman piece on basically the same subject, this time focusing on Christian ministries that try to exorcise the gay right out of people. The majority of this piece is about Shawn O'Donnell, who knew he was gay as a child. Then he became born again and that's when his life got hard because he believed he was going to hell. To deal, he started the self destructive activity of cutting himself and even attempted suicide. At 18 he came out to his pastor, who sent him for therapy. After five years he was still gay, so he tried to kill himself again. From there he started a live-in program for gay men trying to turn straight. He was very committed to the program, but then one day had a slip up with one of his house mates. Who didn't see that coming? Seriously, that must happen all the time. Not that I believe you can change someone's sexuality, but why would you put gay men together in a live-in situation if you're trying to make them not gay? After his slip up and then a one night stand, Shawn gave up on the program and is now living an openly gay life. Good for him. It's sad that he had to go through years of pain to get to this point.

For discussion on this topic, Anderson has an interview with anti-gay Ken Hutcherson and Reverend Joe Hudson, pastor of a predominantly gay and lesbian church. As usual with this stuff, my commentary will not include the elephant in the room, but yes people, I know it's there. Anderson begins by asking if a church can cure homosexuality. Joe doesn't think it needs to be cured and believes sexuality is a gift from God. Then Anderson wonders if God really wants people to suppress their feelings. Ken throws out the straw man argument of alcoholism, which I should point out is a disease. He believes homosexuality is a sin and a choice that can be cured. Joe disagrees, saying that there are passages that point to that, but it is a "text that points to a history and a culture and a very different kind of people that lived then, as do we now. " Next Anderson brings up the fact that Jesus never talked about homosexuality, but Ken doesn't think that matters. According to him, it's still unnatural. Anderson then allows Joe to talk a bit about her congregation and the rejection some of them have felt at other churches. That's sad. Finally, Anderson asks Ken if he thinks gay people are going to hell. Ken then surprises me a bit by saying it's really all about believing in Jesus. Hmmm. If it doesn't matter, why is he getting bent out of shape about gays then?

Next up we have a David Mattingly piece on porn! Well, really what churches are doing to combat porn addiction. But don't think CNN didn't use this opportunity to show us all the slutty footage they have. So what are some of the ways porn is being combatted? Well, there are super strict porn addiction live-in programs and tattle tale software that notifies someone when you surf on a porn site. That is so Big Brother. Churches are also trying to get the issue out in the open by organizing 'Porn and Pancakes" breakfasts. Tee hee. Now I've got the song "Sex and Candy" in my head. Our next piece is a repeat from Ted Rowlands about selling God with sex.

The Shot tonight is some idiot kid walking across a partially frozen lake. Yeah, he falls in. Don't worry he's okay. John notes his friends were making fun of him and proceeds to say the word "dude" in a surfer guy voice. Bwah! Oh John. John then gives us The Shot speech, adding, "But don't stage it. Because we have a way of knowing that. All right? " Oh, really? We'll see about that. Again, the show was pretty good, though I wasn't thrilled with leading with a story they hardly had any info on- B.


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