Published in: March-April 2018 issue.

Easy Marks   Residents of Waco, Texas, couldn’t help but notice that the city’s Christmas lights had a different look this year, a certain flair, a je ne sais quoi. The arrangement of colors from red to violet created the effect of a giant rainbow stretching endlessly down the corridor. Did someone say rainbow? So, before you knew it, people were whispering that the lights carried a hidden gay message. Some folks noticed a blinking cadence that left men “feeling virile and yearning for the musk of other men” (according to “”—yikes!). The Christian Defense League of Texas got involved, and soon enough they figured it out: this must be an attempt to recruit the young men of Waco into the gay lifestyle! Indeed, they noticed that men near the display were already “clustering around the coffee stands, ordering elaborate hot-spiced frappes, and rubbing one another to stay warm” (ibid.)—you know, things guys do when they’re going gay. Clearly the recruitment efforts were working! And yet… once again one is struck by the fragility of male heterosexuality, as if some Christmas lights are all that’s needed to lure straight men over to the other side. But if that’s all it takes, whatever is over there must be pretty good!
Sky Rockets in Flight The U.S. Navy has admitted that one of its aircraft was used to create this sky drawing last November. Originating from the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island, Washington, the plane was being operated by an unnamed pilot who’s in a bit of hot water. Officials issued a statement declaring that “we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value, and we are holding the crew accountable.” Uh oh. In his defense, someone should point out that the drawing was executed with a high level of precision by a pilot who clearly has an eye for human proportions.
Take It, Kid A new statue of St. Dominic was unveiled at the Blackfriars Priory School in Adelaide, Australia, and it wasn’t long before the pupils were clamoring to be photographed next to it. The subject was the miracle of St. Dominic for providing the children with a constant supply of bread. The real miracle is that no one noticed the visual double entendre until the kids started taking selfies with it. A spokesman said that the statue design was approved because it looked different in the two-dimensional plans. Sure, perspective can trick the eye—like the statue of William Penn in Phila-delphia that appears to have a hard-on when viewed from just the right angle. Still, in light of recent scandals involving priests, it might be advisable for artists to keep any and all cylindrical objects out of the immediate proximity of underage boys. Just sayin’.
They’re Back! The sins of the pious and the anti-gay have been been visited frequently here over the years. Often it’s the sheer folly of the deed, or the hypocrisy, that gets noticed, but sometimes it’s the offender’s stature as a public figure that widens the eyes. Two cases in point:

  • Harry Thomas, Jr., has been called the “grandfather of Christian music festivals,” having founded in 1979 the annual Creation Festival, which attracts some 100,000 people to two U.S. locations (in Pennsylvania and Washington). Thomas was arrested in December on several charges of child molestation from 1999 to 2015, including three counts of sexual assault and one of aggravated sexual assault. Formerly pastor at the Come Alive Testament Church in Medford Township, New Jersey, Thomas was last in the news when he testified on behalf of two parishioners who were accused (and later convicted) of starving and abusing their four foster children, including a nineteen-year-old boy who weighed under fifty pounds.
  • Paul Pressler was once a mover and shaker in Republican and evangelical politics—an architect of their effective merger starting in the 1970s. A former Texas legislator and a key figure in the Southern Baptist Convention, he is now being sued by one Duane Rollins, who says he was molested and raped by Pressler on a regular basis for several years. It all started when Rollins was fourteen and enrolled in Pressler’s Bible study class. Pressler convinced him that he was a “special” boy and that their sexual encounters were part of a “God-sanctioned secret.” Rollins is claiming that the abuse led to a life of drug abuse, crime, and imprisonment. His criminal record is being used by Pressler’s defense to discredit his claims, but several other men have come forward with similar stories. Also named in the lawsuit is Pressler’s wife, who allegedly knew of his crimes but did nothing. Ah, those traditional family values—like not squealing on your child-abusing husband.

“Me Too” Times Two Male celebrities and politicians both left and right have been exposed as sexual predators, from Roy Moore’s flings with underage girls to President Shithole’s compulsive groping of women (among other crimes). Even a few liberals have been accused: Louis CK, Charlie Rose (!), Al Franken, and (in 2011) good old Anthony Wiener. A pattern begins to emerge. With Republicans, it’s all about the assertion of raw power: sex with teenage girls or women under their control—vile but familiar games of sex and power. But when liberals get caught, it often involves something strange, tentative, sexual but not quite, things they’re embarrassed about both during and after the encounter. Anthony Wiener was into sexting with minors and talking about his junk; Louis CK liked to masturbate in front of women; Charlie Rose just wanted women to see him naked. Al Franken was more conventionally creepy, though there was often a jokey side to his overtures, and he quickly apologized and resigned. Republicans, in contrast, are more likely to subscribe to the adage that power (not love) means never having to say you’re sorry.