Preaching from the converted 

Ranger Rich

Potential 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie, R-Dunkin' Donuts, has long been an object of fantasy for gays and lesbians. Specifically, they fantasize about using him as a waterbed.

But the popular New Jersey governor may have lost some ground with those groups the other day when he began to waffle — hey, was that another food joke? — about whether he supports a proposed ban on so-called gay conversion therapy in that state.

You remember gay conversion therapy, right? It was a big deal back in the 1990s for our very own Focus on the Family ("In Our Cafeteria, Even the Curly Fries Are Straight"). Back then, Focus hired a self-proclaimed gay convert, John Paulk, to spread the word.

But Paulk got caught in a well-known Washington, D.C. gay bar, and the best defense he could muster was to claim he only went in because he had to use the restroom. (The name of the bar? Mr. P's. Go figure.)

In the ensuing decade or so, the idea of converting gays and lesbians through prayer became little more than a joke. Most experts believe such therapy can even be dangerous.

Which brings us to current events. Last week, New Jersey legislators pushed forward a bill that would make it illegal to keep a dead guy in the trunk of your car for more than a week. No, seriously, the law would ban gay conversion therapy.

(It took Christie a couple days to say, via a spokesperson, that he "does not believe" in such therapy. Whether he'd sign the bill was still unclear.)

Meanwhile, here in Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a civil-union bill, giving same-sex couples some of the rights of marriage. Surveys show most Americans now approve of such unions. (In another survey, most Republicans said babies are brought by the stork. Except for progressive Republicans, who point to new research showing babies are actually found in a cabbage patch.)

And Focus on the Family? As if striving to be even more irrelevant, the evangelical panhandlers have decided to stick by their eye-of-newt, wing-of-bat cures for whatever they find incongruent.

Assisting Focus in its battle to cling to the 19th century is our local Gazette (motto: Delivering the News to Your Door by Horseless Carriage). Last week, it ran a story about 6-year-old transgender Coy Mathis of Fountain, who made the news when her parents demanded she be allowed to use the girls' restroom at her school.

From the G: "... there are two primary views on transgenderism. Perhaps most prominent is the belief that transgender individuals can and should strive to live as the sex God assigned them in the womb."

Well, well. There's some objective reporting. God assigns a sex in the womb for every baby. With some 7 billion people, this would seem to leave little time for God to perform his other important tasks: sticking a foot in Mitt Romney's mouth; making U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn appear a few tacos short of a Fiesta Platter; and bumping the barber's arm when giving El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa his last haircut.

More Gazette: "CitizenLink, an affiliate of Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family that explains policy issues from a biblical perspective, is concerned by laws that allow transgender people to use the restrooms of their choice in public places."

With all of the issues facing humanity these days, I think I speak for the group when I say, "Yup, that's the one we should be concentrating on, or the next thing you know Ellen DeGeneres is going to start leaving the toilet seat up."

Turns out CitizenLink, as the Gazette puts it, "encourages people to seek counseling to work their way out of transgenderism." It even has a brand-new version of John Paulk. His name is Jeff Johnston and he's CitizenLink's "gender issues analyst" and, well, stop me if you've heard this one: "Johnston," the Gazette reported, "said he used to struggle with same-sex attraction but was able to overcome being gay through prayer and counseling."

It's enough to make you want to jump off the edge of the Earth. Which is, by the way, a feeling that can be overcome if you stand on one leg at midnight, face the moon, stick a miller moth up your nose and swing a young raccoon over your head seven times.

Rich Tosches (rangerrich@csindy.com) also writes a Sunday column in the Denver Post.


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