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10/25/2002

 

ex-NFL player comes out of the closet but he's no hero



esera tuaolo played in the national football league for nine years, except that it really wasn't esera tuaolo.

"They didn't know who Esera Tuaolo is," [Tuaolo] said in the interview with HBO. "What they saw was an actor."

mr. tuaolo, a defensive lineman with the panthers, vikings, jaguars, and falcons, hid the truth about his sexual identity from his teammates throughout his 9 year/4 team run. there would be the inevitable homosexual jokes in the locker room, and mr. tuaolo, unable to come forward with the truth, was driven into shame and depression. the strain was taking its toll, to the point where he even considered suicide.

now that mr. tuaolo has left football, he is at liberty to tell his tale. in an interview on HBO's real sports, he finally opens up. former teammate sterling sharp empathizes

"[had he done so while playing] He would have been eaten alive and he would have been hated for it."

a few thoughts.

the NFL, like the military, country clubs, or any other of the few remaining bastions of undiluted masculinity, has been coming under increasing fire of late. according to johnny cochran, it's a racist institution that discriminates against black head coaches. thanks to andy rooney, football fans will no longer judge female sideline reporters on how good they look in those skirts, rather, they will think of them in terms of sexual politics. (ain't progress a kick in the pants?) now we'll have homophobia charges to go along with racism, sexism, and any other -ism i happened to forget.

i don't know what was said in front of mr. tuaolo but as a Christian i can plainly tell you that had Jesus been there, He would have never participated in anything that ridiculed or demeaned any class of person, or condoned such actions from others. that said, if you happen to be a man who's ever played football or participated in the whole team locker room scene, you've likely got a pretty good idea of what goes on in there. having played football in high school, i can attest first hand to the fact that a bunch of naked he-men in close proximity will produce homosexual jokes as a tension breaker. some of it is good-natured, but it can cross lines. i'm not defending it, i'm not saying it's right, i'm simply saying that it's a part of every locker room everywhere and it probably always will be for ever and ever amen. hell, i bet if you went back to ancient greek baths you'd find the epicureans snapping the stoics in the butts with towels and the stoics taking it all in stride. this isn't an NFL thing.

second thought. mr. sharpe certainly has a lot more first-hand experience with the NFL than i do, but the fact remains that he doesn't know what the response would have been had mr. tuaolo come out of the closet while playing because mr. tuaolo never did. we may judge people on making crude, insensitive jokes, but we can't judge them for bigotry and harassment they never even had the opportunity to commit. some would say that the former is evidence of the latter, but crude jokes about who is whose sniveling little prison--uh--"life partner" do not a bold, confrontational hatred of homosexuals make.

which brings me to my final thought. i'm not one hundred percent sure, but i'd be willing to bet that it wasn't exactly comfortable for jackie robinson on that first day with the brooklyn dodgers. i'd also give you ten to one that rosa parks probably got more than a few not-so-politically-correct complaints whenever she refused to move to the back of the bus. you might be thinking that they couldn’t hide like mr. tuaolo could, but that’s only half-true: they could have hidden behind submission the same as most of those who had come before them. as a born-again Christian, i'm routinely ridiculed for my beliefs by unsaved peers, and i see those beliefs ridiculed almost daily by popular culture.

it takes guts to change things.

mr. tuaolo clearly did not have an easy go of it, but it was the strain, the lie, that was killing him. the truth may or may not have set him free--we’ll never know. having lacked the courage to stand up then, he tattle-tales to the cameras now. that isn’t brave or heroic, and it sure isn’t going to change anything.

oh, it'll change policy. it'll get league-wide crackdowns and public apologies and sexual harassment codes and lots of great PR. but it won't earn you the respect of that man sitting across from you in the locker room berating your choice of lifestyle since he isn’t aware he’s doing it. and if mr. tuaolo would have told the truth, and been laughed at or ridiculed even harder, so what? i know: easy for me to say, right? well people who aren't big, strapping defensive linemen in the NFL have risked a lot more than ridicule for refusing to lie about who they are. mr tuaolo will have the media do for him that which he could never do for himself, and if it changes things for the better then that’s good. but a single, courageous individual standing up in a locker room has more power to change the hearts of those around him than all the television interviews and review boards combined.

locdog’s $0.02




10/24/2002

 

so should we still be on the lookout for a twenty year old white guy driving a moving van?



i won't bother linking to any stories on the arrests made in the sniper case since you probably couldn't avoid the topic even if you wanted to. it is sufficient to say that most likely police have the sniper and his accomplice in custody and that the terror has ended.

this morning my wife woke me up around five thirty to tell me that police had caught the guy. as i turn on the news, the pundits (military, ex-law enforcement, forensic experts) are gushing over mr. moose and his fabulous investigative work. the basking, i predict, will be short lived and i'm going to do my part to put an end to it right this very instant.

the police knew absolutely nothing in this case that the killer himself didn't first tell them. if he hadn't been a foolhardy blabber-mouth intoxicated with his own god-like self-image, he'd probably still be out there plinking away at this very moment. my guess is that he could have done so indefinitely. i'm not saying that the police are incompetent, i'm not saying that they didn't work very hard on this case, i'm not belittling the effort they put in to nabbing this guy, or the effort and sacrifices that are made daily by law enforcement personnel everywhere.

i'm simply saying that at no point in this investigation did police have any clue what the hell was going on.

and maybe they never would have.

the big break in this case wasn't a "break" at all. the killer calls the tip line and all but turns himself in by telling them that, oh by the way, he'd killed before in alabama and, wouldn't you know it, the credit card he wants his ten million dollars transferred was stolen from a woman slain in a liquor store hold up in the yellowhammer state back in september. this isn't csi, here, folks. this isn't dr. moriarty with a 200 IQ trying to outwit sherlock holmes. if these two clowns had a combined IQ of 200 i'd be amazed. with the leads they threw to the police a well-trained chimp probably could have done just as well.

what's my point? these guys got caught because they were stupid amateurs who couldn't help but taunt the authorities. these weren't cold-blooded professional killers, they were children--even the 40 year old--throwing a bloody tantrum and sneering at society. so what happens if they aren't? what if they don't want to get caught? what happens if they don't deliberately slap the investigators in their befuddled faces with major leads?

in the coming days, stories will come out telling us all about mr. muhammad's religious and political views. my hunch is that it will become increasingly apparent that he was not a direct al qaeda operative, but that he may have had some connections to affiliate groups and/or he was highly sympathetic to terrorist goals. should this be a surprise? unless you took the cops baffling insistence on the gunman as a young, white psycho seriously, no, it probably shouldn't be. one can't help but wonder if the cops weren't stifled in their investigation for fear of anti-defamation league types who would have raised the roof with howls of racism had the cops come out and said "there's a good possibility this guy has some political or religious motivations, possibly islamic extremist in nature" or "we've been getting reports of dark-skinned suspects, so be on the alert". maybe they were afraid of starting a nationwide panic over another terrorist attack and decided to downplay the possibility just like they did whenever the anthrax mailings were the big scare of the day. any way you slice it, the fact that we've spent the last three weeks looking for killer/vehicle types that were pretty much the exact opposite of what eventually turned up demands an explanation. i'm sure the political angles will be discussed ad nauseam in the coming months, with no small amount of the spin coming from yours truly. plenty of time for that. but the first thing we need to know is why were the cops so clueless, and are our law enforcement agencies truly as powerless as they would seem to be in the face of a real terrorist threat?

in some ways, these snipers getting caught doesn’t make locdog feel any safer




10/23/2002

 

maybe the most important reason marian doctrine is worth debating



this was emailed to me by a roman catholic friend. i usually boldface passages like this but i'll just use quotation marks here for easier readability.

"Catholic invocation of Mary as an intercessor is not a matter of praying to
the dead or equating her w/Christ. No serious, devout Catholic believes that
she is equal to Christ. However, I believe these invocations are a sign of
fear and an expression of spiritual co-dependence. Fear of what? Fear of a
Christ that the Church has made so distant, awesome and stern that average lay
people cannot relate to Him. If Christ is depicted as such a figure, who would
want to approach Him? Mary and the saints are safer because they seem more
human, less likely to condemn. This is truly sad.

About three years ago, I went to a youth group meeting at a Catholic Church.
The speaker used the following story to describe the relationship between
Christ, Mary and the Church:

The king was having a great feast and people were expected to bring gifts. The
only gift a poor man could give was an apple, and a dirty one at that. The man
felt that his gift was unworthy. When he asked for advice, one of the king's
courtiers suggested that he go to the king's mother, which he did. The mother
polished up the apple so it was nice and shiny, and presented it to the king
at the feat. The king was so enthused that he asked, "Who brought me this
gift?" The king's mother pointed out the poor man to him, and the king invited
him to his table. That story says more about how Catholics view themselves,
Mary and Christ than most would care to admit."

extra-Biblical marian doctrines have consequences that are real and sometimes harmful. food for thought.

locdog hopes you'll consider the possibility that not all intra-faith debating is motivated by the smallness of the debators




 

perpetually virginal mary, mother of several



i sometimes wish i put half the amount of energy into debating atheists that i expend in debating catholic bloggers. can't we all just get along? in essentials, unity, in non-essentials, cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war? ah well, that's why we blog.

see here this blogger mark shea, who scratches his head innocently and asks in his best eddie haskell voice why it is that protestants are so all-fired angry over mary. what can we say? ben stiller had it right: there's something about mary. let slip the terriers of war!

never having been much of a shrinking violet, i respond (see number five) by giving several reasons including sole scriptura, trouble with mary's overly-exalted status, sexual issues, and obvious ulterior motives on the part of rome which explain their oft bizarre dogma much more succinctly than any tortured Biblical or tradition arguments ever could.

mr. shea (henceforth known as mr. haskell) somehow misconstrues (that was an accident, right?) a list of reasons why protestants would take issue with the doctrine of perpetual virginity as an argument against perpetual virginity itself, and proclaims me to be an example of the "odd fury that anything Marian seems to provoke in the breast of some Protestants (who often seem to speak as though they were thereby anointed the oracle of all Protestants)". i am then dealt with as an ilk, an example of a particularly goofy class, rather than an individual. this, as mr. haskell is well aware, is a demeaning but highly effective rhetorical gimmick. mr. haskell goes on to contribute to smoothing those tensions on marian dogma he doesn't understand by offering an 1820 word rant in response to my 131 word list of reasons in which i/protestants are described as "mariophobic", sayers of "numerous silly things", "hyperventilating", etc.

and so we have an argument that mr. haskell does not understand, seeks clarification as to why it would be worthwhile, receives that clarification mistakenly as an argument itself, then returns fire with relish, and all under the pretense of handing protestants a chill pill. in the future, i'll assume that when mr. haskell asks questions like

"if a Catholic holds it as dogma, why sweat about it?"

he doesn't really want an answer, and any answers offered will merely be used as excuses to launch into rhetorical flights of fancy. unfortunately, if i am to finally offer the sort of argument that mr. haskell doesn't understand/needs good reasons for/doesn't want good reasons for/mistakenly thought i offered, then i'll have to assume that he is capable of far better than he has shown up until this point. i'll give him his shot by responding to his rant.

Luther, Calvin and Wesley had no trouble with [mary's perpetual virginity]. And I know Protestants today who don't have much problem with it either. Opposition to the PV of Mary is not really a sine qua non of Protestantism.

never said it was, but when you ask protestants why they argue with you over something it is assumed, mr. haskell, that you are referring to those protestants who do, in fact, maintain a disagreement. i, as such, respond and am promptly blasted as a self-appointed "oracle of all Protestants".

One of the silly things said is "Extra-biblical equals anti-biblical". But, of course, as I point out in [gratuitous book plug] Protestants treat all sorts of extra-biblical tradition as revelation.

--actually, no, we don't.

It's only when the extra-biblical tradition is about something to which they have a phobic response that some Protestants suddenly talk as though it's sinister.

what mr. haskell's surprisingly brazen statement translates to, of course, is the claim that the most fundamental of the soles of the reformation, sole scriptura, is a fraud that not even protestants believe in. since mr. haskell offers no examples of protestant extra-Biblical revelation, and since i have no intention of reading his book and wouldn't recognize him as an authority even if i did, i'll ignore this remark altogether except to point out two things:

1. extra-Biblical does not mean anti-Biblical, but when the extra-Biblical material in question disputes the plainest reading of the Biblical text (that mary was indeed mother of james and several other children) it should be met with the strictest skepticism. no catholic, if he's intellectually honest, will allow church tradition to supercede the Biblical text. in any conflict, the Bible wins. the earliest church fathers frequently screwed up the doctrine of the trinity, for instance, but it was eventually straightened out in the end. so if extra-Biblical does not mean anti-Biblical, neither does old necessarily mean correct.

2. mr. haskell, true to form, would rather speculate ad hominem and impugn protestants' motives as being "phobic" than face the possibility that someone might actually read the Bible and think to themselves "you know, this doesn't say what they say it says." if one is to accept his paradigm, not only do protestants offer up "odd fury" in place of debate, it's all they are capable of since no reasonable dispute is possible.

the point still remains that there is no particular reason we can't say that Jesus "brothers" were half-brothers by a previous marriage. Since the whole early Church remembers Mary to have been a virgin, and since there's nothing particularly contrary to Scripture in that, I think the burden of proof is on the person who charges the early Church with "tortured" exegesis.

one would think that the burden of proof lies on those who wish to say that "mother" really doesn't mean mother and "brothers" really doesn't mean brothers, but no, says mr. haskell digging up st. jerome, that is not the case. more on jerome and the church fathers in a bit. continuing, in response to the following reason for an argument offered by myself

"the perception that there's a not-so-subtle effort to promote mary, sinner and mother of *several* children, to the Fourth Member of the Trinity."

mr. haskell argues

there have, I confess, been efforts to deify Mary. One notable one occurred in the 5th Century, among a sect called Collyridians. But, shazam!, they were condemned as heretics by the Catholic Church...Indeed, if locdog could stop hyperventilating for a moment, it would be worth asking himself how on earth virginity makes one a God?

if mr. haskell were capable of reckoning the opposition as anything other than a collection of hyperventilating, phobic silly-sayers, he would have realized two things:

1. only an idiot would argue that perpetual virginity makes someone God

2. locdog was probably using humor here, as he is wont to do

but then, if i am an idiot as mr. haskell conveniently assumes, he can safely swing at straw men. while it has been shown that offering mr. haskell clarification is an utter waste of time, i'll try anyway: i was making a rhetorical point about the concerns of certain protestants over the exalted role mary plays in the roman catholic faith, which, by the way, is a perfectly valid reason to debate something. i have made a similar quip with evangelical friends who elevate paul to the "Fourth Member of the Trinity." do i sincerely believe that either they, or rome, boldly deny the essential doctrine of the Trinity and thus descend into rank heresy? no. do i believe that they, or rome, somehow feel that the object of their affections, while not technically a member of the Godhead, is nonetheless deserving of esteem and authority that rightfully belongs to members of the Godhead alone? absolutely.

moving on, one might read the following

"maybe we all feel bad for joseph who, let's face it, must have been a rather frustrated chap"

and conclude (rightfully) that i was making an attempt at humor. to mr. haskell, however, this innocent remark betrays a deep pool of fear and resentment which churns away just below the surface.

I wonder if this is really where the heart of the objection lies. Is virginity threatening perhaps?

no, mr. haskell, i've not lived under the threat of virginity since i was a teenager. locdog was not always a Christian. but since you've gone and gotten all freudian on me, i'm sure you won't mind if i turn the tables and ask you if the doctrine of perpetual virginity doesn't have something to do with the oh-so-trite catholic sexual hang-up you may well be suffering from? after all, wasn't it jerome in the late-fourth century who argued for perpetual virginity partially on the grounds that virginity was somehow holier than marriage, that mary's "marriage" to joseph was supposed rather than factual, and that had it not been so mary would have somehow been less fit to serve as the "Mother of God" despite the Bible's problematic contention that "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled"?

lastly, i suggest as a final possible grounds for argument that perhaps the doctrine of perpetual virginity, like so many of the extra-Biblical doctrines of rome, had more to do with political expediency than it did Divine Revelation--a suggestion which altogether mystified mr. haskell. i'll try again using small words:

sometimes, rome makes stuff up not because it's true, but because it helps them get what they want.

there, all bi-syllabic or smaller. as one reader pointed out in the comments to mr. haskell's rant, thomas more used the doctrine of perpetual virginity against his hated contemporary tyndale's sole scriptura views by arguing that while tyndale accepted the doctrine, the Bible didn't. more went on to advocate first the burning of tyndale's books, and then later the burning of tyndale. rome happily obliged, cooking up the "heretic" to whom modern Biblical translations owe perhaps their greatest debt, and sainting the man who was perhaps most responsible for his martyrdom. i would say that this is more of a politically expedient usage of an existing doctrine rather than a politically expedient invention, but i think it amply demonstrates the point that the truth of the doctrine was of secondary importance. what really mattered was getting rid of an uncensored translation of the Word of God and its bothersome author. moving on.

Some, as Luther, Calvin, and Wesley demonstrate, believe in it and think it quite biblical (as I do). But for those suffering from Mariophobic Response Syndrome, the mere mention of Mary always seems to elicit these sorts of shrill abrasive reactions.

T'wasn't always thus. Many early Protestants had little trouble with Mary. The big break with Marian piety came a century or two after the Reformation began.


really? then why did jerome write a defense of the doctrine in the fourth century against helvidius--whose own assault had been based on the even earlier work of victorinus from around the late third century and tertullian from around the late second century? one of those three dissidents would even appear on the glorious Church Fathers All-Star Team. anyway, the point isn't whether or not there's always been unity over this issue (there plainly wasn't) it's whether or not the Bible teaches it. it's whether or not mother means mother and brother means brother. once again, by the way, opposition to mr. haskell's position is motivated by insanity, not principle. are we noticing a trend here, people?

One nice way to recover your roots, locdog, would be to recover their ability to honor her. It is biblical after all: "From now on all generations will call me blessed." Ask yourself: when was the last time we, or I, called her blessed?

i don't dispute that mary was blessed by God. i don't dispute that she was uniquely blessed by God since she was selected from all of the women who ever have or ever will exist to be the mother of Jesus Christ. but nor do i accept what was plainly offered as an observation to be a Biblical injunction to work beads and chant prayers.

well, that's it. a bit longer than i really wanted it to be, but mr. haskell left me little recourse. i hope it wasn't excruciatingly dull. cheers.

locdog has now offered an actual argument; let's see what mr. haskell does with it




10/22/2002

 

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE or THREE DEGREES OF NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR ARMS



a former clinton aid is calling upon the government to release classified UFO information gained through military research. mentioned in the article are the millions of americans who have claimed to see UFOs, including one *cough* u.s. president/nobel laureate jimmy carter.

carter, diplomat errant and defender of all that is holy and pure, assisted on the 1994 fuel-for-arms deal which has done a smashing job at bolstering one of the few remaining communist regimes on earth while providing them with nearly a decade of diplomatic cover behind which their atomic weapons program could flourish.

the north koreans recently admitted the existence of their nuclear program despite the '94 agreement after being pressured by u.s. diplomats with intelligence that was apparently weighty enough to render denials futile. and while it was never exactly contrite, pyongyang's line has now gotten downright belligerent:

"If the U.S. persists in its moves to pressurise and stifle the DPRK (North Korea) by force, the latter will have no option but to take a tougher counteraction," the ruling Workers Party daily Rodong Sinmun said.

"The only way out for the U.S. is to opt for reconciliation and peace, not strong-arm policy," said the article, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).


on behalf of americans everywhere, let me assure the DPRK that we are peeing our collective pants at the very thought of awakening the Sleeping Midget that is the north korean war machine. we can only hope that our government soon begins rationing tires and paper so that we will have rubber-bands and spitballs aplenty when the day of reckoning with the workers party hard-liners and their "no way out" policy finally comes.

in the meantime, the conclusion to all of this: carter's geo-political philosophies were heavily influenced by his rapport with our little space friends--i'm talking shirley maclaine here, people.

locdog knows why the government won't declassify those UFO reports: they'd give away all of carter's trade secrets




 

hell on earth



is anywhere more dangerous than sudan? if you are a Christian, probably not. your sudanese brothers and sisters in Christ are facing roman-esque persecution at the hands of the muslim government in the north who has now cut off all humanitarian aid in an effort to crush the mostly Christian south. want to help provide food and medical care to people who are at this moment facing torture, imprisonment, or death on account of Jesus? check this out.

locdog hopes you'll keep them in your prayers as well





10/21/2002

 

pretty please with sugar on top!



north korea has agreed to open talks with the u.s. on the state of their nuclear program, but only on condition of our being extra nice.

According to South Korea's YTN news network Kim said that the communist state...was ready for dialogue with the United States if the country "does not treat us as an enemy."

"We consider the recent situation seriously," pool reports quoted Kim as telling the chief South Korean delegate, Jeong Se-hyun.

"If the United States is willing to withdraw its hostile policy toward the North, the North also is ready to resolve security concerns through dialogue."


i'm no diplomat, of course, but my parsing of pyongyang's latest renders something very much akin to nuclear extortion. not treating someone as an enemy means more than speaking softly, after all, it means carrots instead of sticks. but i wouldn't go digging up the garden just yet. in fact, i'd speak even louder and go get the longest, thickest club i could find--not merely because i'm a blood-thirsty paleo-conservative who daily prays for war. there's also common sense to it: cheese without the trap produces a fat, brazen rat, and as soon as his friends catch on we'll have a whole herd of plump rodents to deal with. put another way, appeasement never works. washington needs to let north korea know that it doesn't discipline bratty children by giving them candy, it spanks them swift and hard. these are lying, murderous communists with imperial ambitions and a nuclear program that they are counting on to pay big dividends one way or the other. let's show them that, one way or the other, crime doesn't pay.

locdog suggests we stop treating north korea like an enemy when she stops acting like one




 

maureen's meltdown



looks like dowd has finally reached critical mass. referring to george w. bush as a "boy emperor", she manages to dig up every dubya cliche uttered since the last presidentials: dubya is stupid, dubya is incompetent, dubya is a pawn in the hands of his controllers, dubya is a rampaging dictator who could care less about the american voter, dubya is going to drive us to world war III...she also manages to lay the blame for more or less every ill to befall americans since the civil war on his highness' shoulders.

reading something like this actually makes me pity the left. this is what passes for analysis over there? to the slammed-shut, dead-bolted minds of dowd's target audience, dubya (harvard grad and fighter pilot) really does have the intellectual wherewithal of a chimp. he (of the record job approval ratings) really has bobbled every task he's ever been given. he (who has slapped christine todd whitman and colin powell back into line with the ferocity of a mama bear robbed of her cubs) is a well-meaning boob who has his strings yanked by those snidely whiplash corporate fat cats who, they are convinced, control the republican party. he (who toppled uber-politician john mccain and derailed the third term of the clinton presidency) is an illegitimate despot who seized power in a vicious coup that was a triumph of racist, fascist, even (dare i say it?) nazi ideals. he (who witnessed a pre-emptive, unilateral slaughter of three thousand of his citizens not one year into his presidency) is greatest threat to world peace extant. i suppose that if i, like dowd, the times editorial staff, and the howler-monkey left, sincerely believed all of the above, i'd probably be pretty upset with bush, too. i'd probably invest a great deal of ink, and more than a little of my own personal frustrations into discrediting him as well.

locdog finds dowd amusing, but she's no dorothy parker