Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Summer 2004

Warren Allen Smith

Stateside Gossip

by Warren Allen Smith

When Jesus’s father phoned me from Canada, asking if I wanted to see his son that night in a telecast, I religiously complied. Alan Scarfe’s son, Jonathan, was excellent. As Jesus in Judas, he played the role handsomely, dramatically dying in the plot that S&M-ers so enjoy.

Scarfe, a Canadian who wrote an autobiography (sic) of Jack the Ripper and also is an actor, thinks, as does his son, that ethical humanism is universally imperative, that organized religion is bunk. Both should have been included in my Who’s Who in Hell (Barricade Books, 2000) listing of more than 10,000 non-believers, for which I have profusely apologized. Now, I await a similar call from the Holy Ghost’s father or, maybe, its mother.

Pat Tillman, who walked away from a $3.67 million football contract to enlist with his brother Kevin, then was accidentally killed by someone in his own unit during an ambush in Afghanistan, had a California memorial during which mention was made of his being with God. “Pat isn’t with God,” his youngest brother Rich swore into the microphone with the TV cameras rolling. “He’s fucking dead. He wasn’t religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he’s fucking dead.” Few newspapers included the outburst, but televiewers could not have missed it. At the ceremony, Tillman’s coach spoke, saying Pat once had asked him, “Could you coach gays?” The coach said yes, he could, and he had. Another speaker said the football player had read the Bible, the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Yet another said that, at a wedding party when the bride was without a maid, Pat donned a dress and thoughtfully played the role. Sounds, doesn’t it, like this major footballer was a non-believer and a non-card-bearing humanist?

Svend Robinson, the first openly gay member of the Canadian Parliament, is a non-theist. Sorry to report that, in what he has described as a moment of “utter irrationality”, he pocketed an expensive piece of jewelry and has taken medical leave from his duties as an MP. He had been fighting for same-sex marriage, charter protection of gay rights and Palestinian autonomy.

“God Bless America”, a favourite song of believers, was written by Irving Berlin. It now turns out that Berlin was an agnostic. In Freethought Today (Madison, Wisconsin, Freedom From Religion Foundation, May 2004) Dan Barker documents that Berlin, the son of a Jewish cantor, was an agnostic, that “patriotism was his religion”. The song he wrote was a peace anthem, not a pro-war song as it sometimes now is performed. Also, his “White Christmas” was not about Christ but about the coming of a season.

In 1944 at a USO show in Chicago, just before I got shipped off to Omaha Beach, Berlin surprised a large group of us GIs with his unannounced appearance. He came onto the stage, dressed in an army uniform, and sang “Oh How I Hate To Get Up in the Morning”, which originally he had composed in 1918 for a patriotic World War One show. Had I known about his agnosticism, I’d have tried to go backstage to show him my dog tags, which read that my religion was “None”.

In June, a gay safari to Manhattan’s Central Park Zoo was arranged to meet Silo and Roy, the two homosexual penguins that had been featured in The Times. Visitors saw them coo, cuddle and cavort.

Central Park had two other exhibitionists who recently performed. One was a 17-year-old schoolkid, the other his 32-year-old preoperative transsexual lover. Together they climbed 32 feet up a tree, shed all but their shorts, engaged in oral sex, refused to come down and taunted the police for more than three hours. When one cop gave them a shirt to cover up, the older of the two put it on, then dropped his underwear. The boy’s parochial school had kicked him out, the police learned, and what triggered the event was that his mother was about to send him to a boarding school for unstable teens. From a prison psychiatric ward, the boy’s lover exclaimed, “Over my dead body!” As I advised a visiting African who had just arrived as I was leaving, having shown him around the large park, “Be careful, it’s a jungle out there!”

The star of Jumpers on Broadway is Simon Russell Beale, three-time Olivier winner in London. In an interview, and asked about his being gay, Beale said, “Just because I’m single [people] think I must be lonely. I’m not particularly. I’m sort of a gentleman who lunches.”

All the following have something in common, but only one is peculiarly different from the rest: Janet Jackson, Voltaire, Mazzini, Garibaldi, Haydn, Goethe, von Schiller, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington, and fourteen other presidents.

Jackson’s recent clothing malfunction allegedly was accidental. But all the others were Freemasons, one of the secret lodge rituals of which is that of having each initiate expose his bare breast and his left leg, after which he is presented with a white cloth meant to symbolize innocence. The Grand Lodge of England dates back to 1723, when there were then thirty lodges. The first in America was in 1730. Freemasonry rests upon deistic rituals, and to become a Mason one must say one believes in a Supreme Architect of the Universe. You don’t have to define the phrase, so Jews, Christians and even humanists are known to have joined.

In 1738 Pope Clement XII issued a bull against any Catholic’s joining the secret order, and under fascism and Nazism Freemasonry was forcibly eradicated in Italy, Austria and Germany. Today lodges are found from Iceland to Africa, India to Australia, Cuba to Japan, and all points in between. The basically deistic rituals are about ethical subjects and appeal, says a Manhattan wag, to rationalists and husbands eager to get away from the missus for a game of pool on a weekday night.

Many of us Yanks cannot believe the damage a religious Texan fundamentalist and his appointees have done to make our country so deeply divided in such a brief time! To hear them, either America is God’s favored nation and we as a Christian country can do no wrong, or the country is an un-Christian pit of unrepentant sin, for which we are being punished. Meanwhile, the majority of us feel a deep shame about the abuse of enemy prisoners, our leaders’ arrogance and their clear failure of leadership. In the November election, we’ll do our damnedest to vote against the bad guys in the Executive and Legislative departments! Meanwhile, don’t be surprised to hear that when we travel abroad for the rest of the year many of us are claiming to be Canadian.

“Go ahead, talk about same-sex marriage,” observed a Manhattan wag. “Just give me plenty of some-sex marriage.”

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Created : Sunday, 2004-08-15 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
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