The Religous Right Created Ex-Congressman Foley
If you have been camping in Kansas for the past few weeks and haven't kept up with the news, I'll fill you in...
Mark Foley is a REPUBLICAN U.S. Congressman who recently resigned after being confronted by ABC News about his emails & instant messages to underage male congressional pages.
He's recently admitted being gay and to being an alcholic. The news media and all the pundits are focusing on two things:
1. The despicable act of a grown man, an elected official, preying on teenage boys.
2. The lengths the Republican party went to in order to keep Foley's "indiscretions" a secret.
I think both of these things are worthy of the time and energy being devoted to them, but I think there is something else that is being missed.
The immediate conclusion of most people, myself included, was that he was simply a predator. But today, as I was reading the news that several more boys came forward about Foley's advances towards them, something else occurred to me.
Foley is exhibiting the behavior of a teenager because that is where he is at--in terms of normal socialization or dating skills. Being a closeted gay man and not getting to experience a normal, healthy dating process as a young man, he is now acting out on his sexual urges in a very immature and irresponsible way.
What on earth would cause a gifted, smart, attractive man to be so socially immature?
And everyone's eyes should be turning to look at the self-righteous, bigoted fundamentalist sitting in the corner... pulling the strings of the Republican party.
Meet Mrs. Betty Bowers, "America's Best Christian." In her words... "You see," says Betty with patience that never betrays her annoyance at her Savior for postponing the Second Coming - again, "Baptists hate anyone who does not take the time to be exactly like us --- not because we are afraid of missing out on the fun --- no, no, no, but because we love you enough to fix the Lord's careless errors and re-create you to conform to our, more exacting, specifications." This is why Betty started her ex-gay ministry BASH: Baptists Are Saving Homosexuals. "Although the so-called former-fairies always --- I mean, good gracious me, always --- lapse. Baptists still try to use the sweet love of Jesus to BASH them every chance we get. As long as we can convince everyone that being a homo is just a silly choice --- like picking a vulgar tie after one too many Manhattans --- then we can successfully marginalize fruits as humans." (from http://www.bettybowers.com/baptists/betty.html
Of course, Betty Bowers is just a spoof character representing fundamentalists. Take out the satire, though, and what do you have? A twisted and manipulative theology that mandates control and conformity. It expels, condemns and excommunicates anyone who doesn't conform.
Because the Republican party sold it's soul to the likes of James Dobson and Jerry Falwell years back in their quest for power, they have themselves become the puppets of fundamentalism.
Now we have Mark Foley, who in anyone's eyes (before this happened) would be a dream husband, going around taking advantage of young immature teenage boys because he didn't have the chutzpah to come out when he was a kid and deal with dating & sex issues the way other kids do.
Do we blame him for not being responsible for coming out and dealing with his sexuality?
Do we blame fundamentalism for terrifying glbt kids into hiding who they are, limiting their normal development... causing them to grow up and make irresponsible & immature choices that harm themselves and others?
Yes, Mark Foley messed up big time.
What about all the thousands of young people who grew up in similar environments that cause similar issues in their lives? How many gay men who have died of AIDS might have valued their lives and taken care of themselves if they had been given a chance to grow up with an equal opportunity to love themselves and discover what it means to "be" them? How many people continually put themselves at risk through substance abuse, unsafe sex, violent relationships because they don't truly love themselves?
Where does the blame for all this really lie?
Take another look at fundamentalism, my friends. If you have been hurt by it, you need to know there is another way to believe. If you are caught up in it, you need to know the damage it causes.