‘This House Has People in It’ is a big clue to understanding Pizzagate

I am a huge fan of the horror genre, of short films and of metamedia, all of which converge in the short found footage masterpiece This House Has People in It. The film, put together by Alan Resnick and the video art collective known as AB Video Solutions, is the unholy offspring of Mark Z. Danielewski’s brilliant postmodern novel House of Leaves and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks television series, as well as a host of other media. I’m not going to examine it in detail here, but I wanted to bring it to my readers’ attention because I think it is relevant to understanding how things like Pizzagate can flourish.

Now, in order to make sense out of the film, I highly recommend watching YouTuber Night Mind’s thorough examination of it in his video Explaining: This House Has People in It. If you look there now, you’ll see that the video is nearly one hour and forty minutes long, far longer than the film itself which clocks in just under twelve minutes, but there’s a lot to unpack and I assure it is well worth your time. Watch the film, and then the Night Mind video.  You may also want to watch another supplemental video from the same team first, The Sculptor’s Clayground, which is around fourteen minutes and can be enjoyed as a humorous bit of satire on public broadcasting shows just on its own but is actually relevant to the film.

In fact, in addition to this video, a whole crapload of supplemental materials can be found at the website AB Surveillance Solutions (not the same thing as AB’s main site), not to mention clues to understanding the film everywhere around that site, including this quote I pulled from the site’s About Us section:

We are patriotic Americans. We believe that all people, if they can afford to, should have an equal opportunity to discover the secrets of others, while keeping their own personal secrets.

Much of this is passed off as absurdist humor, but there is, I think, a serious message behind the film, which I believe Night Mind pretty much captures. If it seems like the video is going nowhere, please stick with it. I know it’s long, but trust me on this.

Republicans do not care about young people

Last week, on Valentine’s Day, our country dealt with yet another mass shooting, just the latest in a long line of disgruntled Americans, Far Right sympathizers more often than not, who decide to pick up the deadliest firearms they can find and take out a bunch of people. Frequently their target is a school. After the smoke had cleared, seventeen human beings, most of them high school students ranging in age from fourteen to seventeen, lay dead, and several others were injured. These tragedies have become so common now that after a couple of days of media coverage we tend to forget about them and go back to our lives. Many Americans have become numb to these horrendous outbursts of violence, just as the NRA and Republicans have counted on.

These days the Far Right even engages in the most heinous types of black propaganda to discredit the survivors and anyone demanding action. Initially they started labeling these events as false flag operations done by the government as part of an overarching operation to take all guns away. This began mainly under Obama, which fit the Far Right’s false narrative of a hostile Leftist government. Now that Trump, a politician who is friendly to the Far Right, is in office, they can no longer get away with labeling these shootings a government operation so they’ve switched tactics, and mainly that amounts to calling anyone who speaks out as a survivor of these shootings paid actors. This is absurd on its face, as anyone can verify these kids are indeed students of this school and were present at the event. But the people making these accusations count on the fact that most people will not bother, so they keep spreading these lies to sow doubt among the masses, and far too many people buy this line of BS. Because of that, any potential progress to be made on this issue usually grinds to a swift halt, with society freezing up with uncertainty, and those who genuinely care realize they are up against a massive wall and give up again and again.

But something is different with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting. It is the kids themselves who have taken to the streets in outrage and horror, demanding that those in Washington do something about this ongoing problem instead of continuing to accept this state of affairs as the inevitable status quo. Of course, the Far Right has employed its usual tactics of trying to discredit them, calling them paid actors. These are kids who went to this high school and were there that day when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student who had been expelled and wasn’t even old enough to purchase alcohol, walked into the school with a military-grade weapon he had bought himself and killed nearly twenty people, including three members of the school staff. This time these tactics aren’t working though, as it’s pretty clear to anyone with half a brain that these students are not fakes. High school students on the whole are not good actors, and if these were actors, then their performances would be considered Oscar-worthy. For example, anyone who can watch 17-year-old Emma Gonzalez’s speech and not be moved by it has, at best, a heart of stone. If that’s acting then Emma is wasting her skills. She needs to be in Hollywood, where she could make big bucks with that talent.

Of course, she’s not an actress. She is a genuine survivor of a real shooting who has become mobilized by this tragedy, as are many other students from this school. These kids are tired of being sacrificed on an altar of blood-soaked cash. They have been pushed to the breaking point, and their cries of pain and rage are finally being taken seriously by everyone. Everyone, that is, but the Far Right. This is no surprise to me. The people who have been harassing and threatening me by-and-large are from the same crowd, and I’ve known for awhile that they don’t really care about kids. Their campaign to silence and destroy MAPs, even those of us who are non-offending, has never really been about kids. It’s about what it’s always been about for their kind: creating a common and highly vulnerable enemy with which to channel their desire for a violent purge that would, if actually implemented, extend much farther than us. They will get their foot in the door by appealing to society’s fears of pedophiles and Islamic terrorists, but given any amount of real power, they would never stop there. You know it and I know it. History bears this out.

Thus, even kids have now become targets of harassment and threats for these people. Outside of their own, their claims of caring about kids have never been true. Sure, they’re anti-abortion, but that isn’t about kids and never was. It’s about increasing their numbers, because most Far Right people are poor, and abortion is mainly an issue for poor young women, who opt to abort instead of raising kids they know they can’t really afford to take care of. And honestly, if you could interrogate Far Right people with absolute certainty as to the truth of their answers, I’ll bet dollars to donuts most of them support abortion for minorities. They just won’t openly admit it. As usual, members of the modern Far Right are generally outright hypocrites on pretty much everything. Oh, they’re against murder . . . except for the people they support murdering. They’re against religious discrimination . . . except for any religion other than Christianity. And they’re against child abuse . . . except when those children are victims of gun violence and are speaking out in favor of gun control. Then all bets are off, and you can harass the hell out of them, threaten them, whatever it takes to shut them up.

This is the reality of the Far Right, and it’s why they can never be trusted to run this country ethically. Their track record is horrendous. They may claim to care about kids, but unless those kids are white and Republican, they don’t actually give a fig about them. If given the power to execute sex offenders and pedophiles, do you think they would stop there? Of course they wouldn’t. It’s not in their nature to be moderate. That’s why they’re the Far Right and not just the Right. Given the ability to do away with anyone they feel is a threat to their belief system, they would take it in a second. Pay attention to what they say to each other, not just what they say to their enemies.

But in terms of what they say to their enemies (which now includes teenagers who have been victims of horrendous mass shootings and have the gall to air their pain on national TV), even there they’ve gotten much bolder. They don’t honestly care about kids and never did. What they care about is putting forward their own political agenda, and they will happily steamroll over anyone who gets in their way, kids included. That’s where we are as a society now. I care about kids, period. I will not throw any of them under the bus for political expediency, not even kids like Nikolas Cruz. As vile as his belief system is and the horrendous actions he took on Valentine’s Day, I still do not support executing him, and I empathize with the losses he experienced. I do not believe he should be killed. I do believe he should be locked up for a very long time, maybe the rest of his natural life. I believe we need to do a better job of not letting kids like Cruz fall through the cracks of our system. I don’t believe Cruz really wanted to kill people. I believe he wanted love and attention he wasn’t getting, and this was simply his way of acting out, like a small child throwing a tantrum. Only, he had access to deadly weapons he should never have had access to.

So, I’m a MAP and I empathize with kids, even the not so good ones. I mean, sure, Cruz was 19, by law no longer a child, but he strikes me as someone who was fundamentally immature, not someone well on his way to becoming a responsible adult. Legally he was grown up but emotionally he was still a young teen, a kid who never progressed beyond his junior high school bully mentality. The problem is, their are millions of kids like Cruz in America today, and we can’t help them all. Nor can we stop them all from getting hold of assault weapons like the AR-15 he used to shoot up his old school. Not the way things are right now. We need to enact sensible gun legislation.

Gun advocates often bring up cars as an example of how we are hypocritical about the things that kill us, but actually they are the ones being hypocritical. First off, to drive a car you need a license, and training to get that license. That is required of every American who wishes to drive. Then, every single vehicle that goes on the road has to be registered and insured, annually. Before we can even purchase those cars they are subject to multiple safety regulations, and there are certain vehicles we simply cannot buy, at least not for use. Like military tanks. At the very least these have to be decommissioned before they can be owned by civilians. So why not place the exact same regulations on guns? Make certain guns and gun accessories off-limits right off the bat. Then, regulate the crap out of them, just as we do cars. And force owners to buy insurance on them. Given how often they kill people, it makes absolute sense to demand gun owners insure their firearms.

It’s time we stopped relying on Republican politicians and conservatives to do anything about this. They won’t. There’s too much money in it for them. It’s a sad statement on America that we’ve left it to kids to stand up for themselves, and that survivors of school shootings have now become political fodder for gun advocates. Imagine if they did this to survivors of sexual abuse. Imagine if they were saying things like, “These kids are just paid actors for the anti-abuse industry. We should listen to kids who weren’t molested and have them represent the issue of sexual abuse instead.” People would rightly be outraged. Why are these survivors’ suffering and outrage any less relevant than that of sexual abuse survivors? Why is their voice less valid than that of sexual abuse survivors? They’re kids too, and they’re also survivors. Attempting to silence and demean them is no different than attempting to silence and demean abuse survivors. It’s twisted and self-serving. We should be listening to them. They are the ones who will inherit this country. They will become our leaders some day. If we don’t listen to them then they will move on without us, and I can’t say I’d blame them. As adults, it is our job to look out for them, to protect them, and we’ve failed. Miserably. We need to remedy that now.


Reports of my downfall have been greatly exaggerated

So, in case you haven’t heard, my Twitter account was suspended about a week ago. Twitter claimed I violated their TOS, though when I asked for specifics I heard nothing back. I think ever since they got called out by a British tabloid for supporting “peeeeedos”, they have been culling our accounts slowly, looking for any little reason to suspend us. Meanwhile, the people acting as Twitter’s hall monitors—because, honestly, they have no life and need to feel like they’re accomplishing something to feel remotely good about themselves—are calling themselves the “unBEARables”, but what they are really is just the same old white supremacist jackasses that harassed us before, only because they were themselves getting suspended, they regrouped and came back pretending to be better people than they really are. They’re no longer billing themselves as hateful bigots anymore because, as it turns out, most people can see through that right away and know that if you’re rocking the swastikas and KKK emblems, you’re probably kind of a douche. Go figure. So now they’re just standard-grade ignorant ultra-cons with an ursine fetish, I guess. Whatevs. 😉

Anyway, these buffoons are having a field day thinking they have taken me down in some important way, as if removing my account from one social media platform somehow equates to silencing me forevaaaaahhh. Hey, I look at it like this: if they feel even an eency weency bit better about their pathetic little lives at the thought that they have felled some kind of Pedo Goliath, than more power to ’em. Logic would suggest they would be much more successful at shutting me up if they just ignored me, as I tend to come back swinging even harder, but hey, who cares about logic when you’ve got righteous indignation on your side, huh? For everyone else, I’m still on Facebook and Skype, I still have the same email account I’ve had forever and a day (starkroth@yahoo.com), I’m still on VirPed and I obviously still have this blog. I am not hard to find if anyone wants or needs to contact me. Sorry, haters, but I don’t go down that easily.

And you know what? I wasn’t even upset to lose my Twitter account. I view it as a blessing in disguise. Twitter is such a time-suck anyway, and I have gotten so much writing done over the last few days. Sure, I’ll set up a new account eventually, but honestly, I’m in no hurry to do that. I’m rather enjoying hearing through the grapevine about the absolute circus that has been left in the wake of the Twitter Pedo Pogroms, everything from claims that I am moping around the house in a blue funk because Twitter was just that important to me (it wasn’t) to rumors that my foreign girlfriend who still lives in her native country is a secret US federal agent and I’ve been busted for unspecified offenses. I promise you, my baby girl would cut you if you had the unmitigated gall to say to her face that she was working for the Americans. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but just barely. She’s Slavic, and Slavs don’t screw around.

So, all I want to say to you haters is, go on with your bad selves. You do you, guys. As for me, I am having a blast watching from a distance while the monkey house goes completely bananas, no pun intended. Have a good one, folks. Peace, out.




My present situation

Something insidious is going on in my family right now. Two of my relatives, whom I will not name here because I don’t want to give them undue public attention, are engaged in a campaign of spreading lies and rumors about me. They are also participating in a terror campaign to try to stir up local resentment against me, and they are doing this by contacting everyone they know, including all of my dad’s friends and co-workers, and informing them about me and my documentary and my activism. Knowing their political and social views, I also suspect they have ties to white supremacy groups. They’re purpose is thus: they are attempting to have me murdered without it coming back to them.

I want it to be very clear—these two relatives have never liked me, even well before I came out as a MAP, due to our strong political differences. In fact, I suspect none of their current activities are ultimately about my sexuality. Not really. This is all politically motivated, and is likely being brought on by the failure of Roy Moore to get elected—someone they both supported (thus proving my point about the hypocrisy of the far right)—and whom I obviously strongly condemned.

But I have connections too, and I have already arranged that if anything does happen to me, those two will be the first two people investigated, and I guarantee anyone else who is involved in an attack or attempt on my life in this area will have ties to these two relatives if you trace it back. I want to repeat that this campaign is purely political. These relatives—especially the older of the two—are unrepentant racists and supporters of the far right, and they are doing their best to try to turn my own father against me. These two people are immoral and have a long history of bad behavior, engaging in acts of arson, theft and insurance fraud, among other crimes. I would not be surprised to learn they had engaged in murder for hire either. Short of that, they may attempt to frame me somehow. Just exactly how they might do that I don’t know, but it is a distinct possibility.

I wanted this message to get out there so authorities and others know what is going on here. Like I said, if anything does happen to me, I have already arranged for it to be investigated, but I also urge my fans and readers to follow the Jackson Sun newspaper for the next few months, because it will certainly be in that paper. I’ve already made sure of that. And if it does happen, I urge you to contact the FBI and send them the link to this post. I will be leaving the names of these relatives with several individuals.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Roy Moore proves the hypocrisy of the political right on sexual abuse–is anyone shocked?

As a non-offending pedophile who has been open about my sexuality for years, to the point where I wrote a couple of now famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) articles that were published in Salon—later removed because of pressure from advertisers, who were themselves no doubt pressured by thousands of Breitbart and InfoWars followers, and maybe a few hardcore feminists—I am constantly subjected to vile verbal attacks by people on Twitter, YouTube and elsewhere. Most of these people are predictably “alt-right”, often barely concealing their hateful racist and anti-gay sentiments on their Twitter pages, if at all. The rest fall just short of that, though almost all of them seem to be Trump supporters.

Oddly, they will sometimes make room for people like Milo Yiannopoulos, an outwardly flamboyant gay man who has in the past voiced his support for men and boys as young as 13 being allowed to sexually experiment with each other. Ahem. Yiannopoulos, I think, is something like a court jester to these people, tolerated simply because he’s somewhat amusing to them and they find him useful at the moment, but I’m as certain as death and taxes that if the “alt-right” ever came into real power in the US, he would, at the very least, be cast out of “polite” society just as quickly as any other LGBTQ member. There was certainly enough outrage at the time of the discovery of Yiannopoulos’s controversial views on men and boys to topple him from his prominent editorial position at Breitbart Media, though not enough to kill his book deal with Simon & Schuster, apparently.

Speaking of which, while I have not read it and almost certainly never will, I was told by a friend that he had criticized me personally in the book. Of course he did. He would be unceremoniously dumped from his current position as precious darling of the far right if he admitted what he no doubt knows to be true: that pedophilia is as much of an unchosen condition as homosexuality or any other sexual orientation. Honestly, who the hell would choose to have the most unpopular sexual preference ever? It is definitely not a choice, and anyone who claims otherwise is either profoundly ignorant or they’re lying in order to justify their position. Anyway, he did what right-wingers typically do when they’ve been found to have a morally questionable past: he pointed the finger elsewhere.

As I said earlier, as an out (and outspoken) minor-attracted person, I am frequently harassed by these far right trolls. Several of them have threatened physical violence against me, thinking they can intimidate me into silence. But I’ve been through and survived the worst existence had to offer: years of horrible depression and social anxiety, which was not unlike living in a war zone at the time, constantly fretting that this might very well be my last day on the planet. Before my depression I would never have put myself out there for the barrage of insults and ridicule, much less the real danger of violence against me. But something happened when I came out the other side of that depression—it changed me fundamentally, to the point where I no longer fear being murdered. Or anything, really. My capacity for terror has been burned out of me.

I digress. All of this leads me to a question: had my article been published in a right-wing publication, or had I positioned myself as a right-winger in general when I wrote it, would the far right have embraced me as it did Yiannopoulos, and mostly continues to do even after he was revealed to have said what he did? I will go out on a limb here and say I believe it would have. Why? Because, unlike the left, which has a tendency to overcompensate when criticized on a point of moral pride (hence the removal of my stuff from Salon, and the recent resignation of Al Franks for that matter), the right has mainly given up any pretense of morality for its own sake and simply embraces anyone that it feels will further its agenda. The Ends Justify the Means philosophy has swept through the modern conservative movement in a big way. Of course, if you point out to them that this is ultimately just another form of moral relativism, which they claim to hate, they will just flat out deny it. And that in itself reinforces my point.

Which brings us to Senate candidate Roy Moore. It’s one thing to look past bad beliefs one might’ve once held. That much I get, and I don’t fault Milo Yiannopoulos for that. I would be a hypocrite myself if I did, given that I too embraced the pro-contact viewpoint for a time, mainly from late 2006 to sometime in 2007, when I finally woke up and realized the pro-contact perspective was, shall we say, problematic. I waffled a bit on it over the next few years, but essentially I realized my error and corrected for it. Yiannopoulos now appears to have done the same, and good for him. But then you have people like Roy Moore—and there seem to be a lot of them on the right—guys who position themselves as some sort of uncompromising moral anchor in a sea of immorality while behind the scenes they are anything but.

If the allegations against Moore are true—and I have every reason to believe they are—then it is a moral travesty of the first order that, not only are the Republicans allowing him to continue running, most of them appear to actually be endorsing him! I can’t help but think that this is going to be the ultimate legacy of the Republican Party, the thing that will finally bring down their glass house of cards (and yes, I know I’m mixing my metaphors, thank you very much). The problem is, this is likely going to get much worse for everyday Americans before it gets better. This is a government official we’re talking about, someone we are supposed to look up to and mimic. If Trump now sets the agenda for how an American can be expected to behave—at least a right-wing American, because if a leftie behaved the way Trump has in office, you know very well he would already have been impeached—then we have no reason to doubt that Moore too will have his adherents. Think about that for a minute.

I want you to keep in mind that many on the right did, and continue to, suggest that the goal of the left has been to work towards destigmatizing not just pedophilia but actual sex with minors. When my articles came out, media personalities on the far right, including YouTube-based demagogues like Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson, railed against me and claimed I and Salon were attempting to do precisely that, even though nothing could’ve been further from the truth. My articles and later the video interview I did for Salon were my attempt to demonstrate that not all people who are cursed with these attractions wants to act on them, and that anti-contacters like me actually understand and agree with society’s perspective. My position is that pedophiles, at least ones with an exclusive attraction to kids, should remain sexually abstinent. For hundreds and hundreds of years abstinence was a conservative Christian value, and it is still the practice for clergy in the Catholic church. And yet, not long after the revelation of Moore’s “indiscretions” with teenage girls, Watson released this video in which his defense of the clearly guilty Moore is couched in a larger commentary about how the left has gone crazy with its “sexual puritanism.” While he is careful not to say it outright, Watson is planting the idea here that people like Moore—you know, otherwise decent, right-thinking folk who just happen to enjoy the company of teenage girls a little too much—are getting caught up in the left’s widely cast net of sexual misconduct accusations.

Of course, Watson claims he is all for punishing those who are actually guilty of molesting minors, but that’s easy to say when so much time has passed and there is simply no way to prove definitively that Moore is guilty, even though Watson knows damn well he’s guilty as hell. If Moore—whom you’ll remember was the district attorney at the time all of these offenses “allegedly” took place—could be brought to justice today, Watson would have changed his message entirely to something along the lines of what other Republicans who know Moore is guilty have said. Things like, this is actually biblical (so was slavery) and it doesn’t matter because God uses bad people to do good things (but we’re not God, are we?) In other words, the Ends Justify the Means.

The sad thing is, all of these justifications for Moore’s sexual abuse of teens are going to have an effect. Outside of the conservatives who are outright denying that this abuse happened—and there are plenty of those too—there have been attempts to suggest that Doug Jones is somehow more evil than Moore simply for being a Democrat. This is the guy who helped prosecute the white supremacists that bombed a black Birmingham church in 1963 which resulted in the deaths of four little girls. Yes, there are now actually conservatives who are claiming that Democrats are categorically worse than child molesters. Even weeks ago, before the pro-Moore propaganda really ramped up, posts like these on Twitter were not hard to find:

What are we to make of this in the end? Even after Donald Trump was elected, I thought the one line in the sand that even conservatives would never stoop to was looking past the sexual abuse of minors. I should’ve known better. It’s been my experience that much of the outrage I’ve endured from these “alt-right” haters has never really been about protecting kids. It’s just that minor-attracted people—at least those of us who have had the courage to admit it openly—are easy targets for their hate. Gays and minorities are protected classes now, but MAPs are not. We are scapegoats for the far right’s rage, even as they look the other way for their own molesters. But that’s always been the case, hasn’t it? In Nazi Germany, Julius Streicher, a Nazi Gauleiter and publisher of one of the party’s main propaganda organs, Der Stürmer, was, among other things, a notorious abuser of teen girls. Hitler and the Nazi elites ignored his excesses for awhile, until Streicher finally became too much of an embarrassment even for them and was removed from power.

Knowing the conspicuous hypocrisy of the majority of the Republican Party now, consider carefully what is going on here. While the right attacks people like me—MAPs who are determined to never offend—it is also openly endorsing actual abusers like Moore, often by defending that behavior as biblical and/or historic. And therein lies the real danger. While the right accuses the left of trying to break down society’s taboo against sex with kids, it is now doing precisely what it has been accusing the left of doing. And there is ample reason to be concerned. During my years at the “child love” forums, one thing I noticed was that most of the pro-contacters were not leftists, as one might expect. No, most were actually feminist-hating right-wingers, which, in light of the Moore/Jones election, now makes perfect sense. Think about it. If you were a pedophile looking to soften society up to the idea of lowering age of consent, which tactic do you think would have a better chance of success: appealing to liberalism and the idea of pedophiles deserving the same status and rights as gays, or appealing to biblical and historical tradition, the domain of conservatives?

Mark my words: there are a bunch of pro-contact pedophiles watching this election carefully and hoping for a Roy Moore win, because they know that if society can be won over to the idea of going back to a time when victims of sexual abuse were largely ignored and kids were a much less politically protected class, then they will have a far better chance of achieving their goal than they ever would in a liberal society where non-offending MAPs are distinguished from offending ones and all sexual activity with minors, regardless of who does it, is viewed negatively while all offenders, regardless of their political affiliation, are brought to justice.

And so, if Roy Moore wins this election, and I have a strong suspicion he will, many pro-contacters will be celebrating. Not only do they, like Roy Moore, hate feminists, many also dislike LGBTQ people because they feel like that crowd have thrown them under the bus in order to win respectability in the eyes of society. With Trump—another sexual predator who has never been brought to justice—as president, and Roy Moore set to take a prominent spot in the Senate, they also see a long-term opportunity to get what they want by positioning themselves as members of the burgeoning far-right. In such a society all they’ll really have to do is gain a little power, say whatever their constituents want to hear, and deny everything, and they’re golden.

How I lost my faith in Christianity

I grew up mainly in the rural South, the stronghold of conservative Christianity, and while my parents and other relatives were not regular churchgoers, our family identified as Christian. My maternal grandmother in particular was a woman of faith, and my earliest memories of her are associated with Christianity: a massive, profusely illustrated Bible that sat on her coffee table (ironically, this also provided my first exposure to the nude human form in art, as nudity was quite common in early paintings of biblical scenes); a framed image of Jesus hanging in her bedroom with a built-in nightlight; listening to gospel records on the Sylvania turntable cabinet that hunkered in her living room; and, of course, watching her favorite program, The PTL Club, on television. This was well before Jim Bakker was involved in a sex scandal, or he and his wife were exposed as greedy tax cheats, but even after the Bakkers’ fall from grace my grandmother remained a fan, and she was not alone.

My grandmother was an amazing woman in many ways and I loved her dearly, but she was far from perfect. Her legacy is stained by her lifelong tendency to overlook my grandfather’s many infidelities as if they never happened, and also by what she did after I informed her about my molestation. Right after it occurred I reported the incident to her. I did not do so because I was upset by it; rather, I simply included it as part of my description of what I and my abuser had done over the last half hour since she asked me about it. Her reaction, however, should have been different. First, she told me to stay away from “Hans” as I call him—that part I get. The problem was that she also asked me not to tell anyone what happened, not even my parents. I, being loyal to the adults in my family as I was taught to do, obeyed, but I continued to wonder why long after the fact. It was only after many years that I began to piece it all together.

On the one hand, I think my grandmother’s motivations were altruistic. My father had a reputation in those days of being hotheaded, and my molester being an acquaintance of my aunt and uncle, she probably suspected Dad would react badly to the news, to the point where it might cause a rift in the family. Looking back, I can’t say she was entirely wrong. On the other hand, I think she was also covering her own behind to some extent, as she realized that if this came out it would reflect badly on her. After all, she was the one who sent me outdoors alone with this man neither of us knew very well. I had only just met him that day! For the longest time, then, she and I were the only family members who knew what had happened, though eventually the rest of my family learned of it too. A secret that toxic cannot be contained forever.

Through it all, while the actuality of it could not be denied, my grandmother had managed to repress the details of what had happened even as I held onto them. To this day I can remember the specifics fairly clearly. This is because I never allowed myself to forget them, from the funny thing I said to Hans as he was molesting me right down to the spot on my grandparents’ property where it took place. My grandmother, meanwhile, was a woman in deep denial about many unpleasant things, her complicity in my abuse being only one of them. I should state for the record that I do not hold this against her. She was a simple country woman and it was the late seventies in the rural South—to my thinking, she did what she thought was best, at least in part. In a time and place where even homosexuality was still extremely taboo, she understood that what had happened to me might not be something that should be out there in the open. Besides, back then people—and kids especially—did not talk about sexual things in polite company. Anything like that got swept under the rug.

Though she’s gone now, I still love my grandma. Even so, it’s clear to me that her religious views impacted how things turned out for me. As I’ve discovered time and again in my interactions with hardcore Christians, such denial is a hallmark of right-wing religion, and it only seems to be getting worse. Over the course of my life I went through several periods in which I embraced Christianity and tried to live that life, most notably during my late teen years and in my mid-twenties. Not coincidentally, both of those time periods in my life are marked by problems.

It was at age eighteen that I took on a babysitting job initially offered to my sister and then offered to me after she turned it down. The five-year-old girl I was sitting for was at the time the youngest child of a single working mom. Her and her then-boyfriend were biker buddies with my parents. Although I was certainly aware of my desires by then, I “gave them to God” as the phrase goes, and prayed on the matter. After doing this, I believed that God had dealt with it and removed this issue from my life. Besides, I strongly identified with people who were actively fighting sexual abuse, mainly Andrew Vachss, whose books I read with fervor. How could I be a pedophile if I was doing such things? That was my thinking. Thus, when the girl I was watching began to do things that tempted me—trying to grab my crotch, trying to get me to touch her, and running around the house naked—I was ill-prepared and had no idea how to handle it. I faced a degree of temptation I had never before (or since) experienced. I had let my defenses drop, believing I was protected. Obviously I wasn’t.

Not only had I come very close to acting out with this girl who seemed to me all too eager to participate in such forbidden games, I out-and-out fell in love with her. My head was a mess, and I knew I needed to get out of that situation or I would eventually give in. Ergo, I moved away from my hometown for a few months, living with my best friend in Port Huron, Michigan while I got over my feelings for “J”. When I returned to Hastings, the very same day, with her mother’s help, “J” called me. I still don’t know how she found out I was back. Maybe it was purely coincidental. Whatever the case, she wanted to see me. I was pleasant but explained that I was just too busy to come visit her anymore (a lie). After that I didn’t see for several years. She was about 8 or 9 when I saw her again—she was by herself selling candy bars for some school thing or other. The last time I saw her she was 10. This was at a local park, where I’d gone to snap some photos of ponds for an art project. She asked me for a hug, which I gave her . . . reluctantly. To this day I still have feelings for her. She was my first real love, and as they say, you never quite get over those.

The second time I threw myself into religion was around age 23. I had again moved to Tennessee and was living with my grandparents. I attended church faithfully with them every Sunday morning and evening, and sometimes on Wednesday nights too. I participated in a Christmas play, and even gave a lecture one night. I started working for the church’s treasurer at his used car lot. He was a corrupt and greedy man who exploited his costumers and kept two sets of books. One of his good friends was a racist who once told his daughter to bash a small black girl in the head with a rock. He and my grandfather regularly went out together and met up with poor women for sexual liaisons. My grandmother knew of these things and looked the other way, as did I at the time. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, as the saying goes. That’s the justification many Christians make to themselves for such things. Had I adopted the same philosophy, I likely would’ve wound up in prison. Thank God I didn’t.

Right about that time is when I began to actually read the Bible, to recognize and think about its many inconsistencies. It was that questioning of things I had long taken for granted which eventually led to me losing my faith, but that alone would not have caused it. I could always come back to the comforting notion that, while there were many errors and problems in the Good Book (it was recorded by men, and men were fallible), the essential truths were solid. But I quickly arrived at another problem, and it was this which finally did in my faith for good. That was a growing awareness of the fact that most of Christians I knew had long rejected the actual teachings of Jesus Christ in favor of a growing political ideology which posited pretty much the exact opposite of everything Jesus taught. As much as I tried, I could not write off this trend as a mere fad, and indeed this philosophy has only become more dominant and entrenched with time, culminating in the election of a man who clearly embodies none of the traits of Jesus or his immediate followers and yet somehow has come to be endorsed by the religious right. There was all the evidence I needed that Christianity was false, for how else could so many of Jesus’s purported followers get it so wrong?

This, of course, is nothing new. Many Christians of the Medieval era somehow came to believe that God wanted them to torture and murder anyone who didn’t conform to whatever the official teachings of the church was at the time when nothing in Christ’s gospel suggests anything of the kind. Later the church broke apart, forming Catholicism and Protestantism, and then the Protestant faith shattered into about a thousand different branches, all disagreeing on some matter of doctrine or other.

What has bubbled to the top of that mess over the last couple of decades is the vilest, most selfish and most hateful aspects of religion, and it shows no signs of stopping or slowing down. It all makes me very thankful that I will never have kids, because I would be terrified for the future of my descendants now if I did. Fascism and ultra-conformity are on the rise, and I should not be surprised to see the United States becoming the evil empire that must be defeated by the rest of the civilized world in the next world war. I have seen far too many supposed Christians endorsing what would amount to genocide against a number of groups, especially my own.

That might very well be the ultimate culmination of current trends, and there are plenty of signs pointing in this direction, but the biggest one to me is the outright rejection of Jesus’s teachings. Jesus endorsed the renunciation of worldly goods and a life of service to the poor. Modern Christianity has tacked in the other direction, as people like Joel Osteen and other prosperity preachers have never been more popular. As was demonstrated by Osteen’s behavior in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, these guys care more about their bottom line than about actually helping people as Christ charged them to do. Likewise, Jesus taught pacifism, telling his followers not to retaliate if attacked but rather to turn the other cheek. Modern conservative Christians, meanwhile, have embraced and endorsed nearly every possible form of violence—not just self-defense, which I could understand, but hawkish military offensives, capital punishment (remember that Jesus stopped a legally ordained execution in progress), the violent removal of illegal immigrants, corporal punishment of children, you name it.

Most disturbingly, racism and bigotry of all sorts are coming back into fashion amongst these so-called Christians. Where Jesus hung out with criminals and outcasts of all sorts, the new stripe of Christian are sanctioning more and more the radical displacement and oppression of anyone not like themselves. Muslims who have caused no harm are being banned from entering the US, and the children of illegals, many of whom have never known anything different, will be deported soon as DACA comes to an end. Last year during the election I saw many people, including my own sister, claiming that Trump was the “godly” candidate. I was stupified, as anyone who knows anything about Trump—hell, anyone with half a brain who has ever watched him speak—knows there is nothing even remotely godly about Trump. Donald Trump’s only god is Donald Trump. As he continues to prove what a morally bankrupt individual he is with every passing day, even a great many of the people who voted for him can no longer stomach his incessant lying, hateful policies or his obvious treachery against America. And yet, somehow much of the religious right remains faithful to this vulgar demagogue, either because they are woefully self-deluded like my grandmother was or they simply don’t care.

During president Bill Clinton’s sex scandal the religious right proclaimed loudly and obnoxiously that they could never countenance a man of such low morals who would cheat on his wife. Less than twenty years later the religious right’s priorities have shifted drastically, so that it was nothing for them to welcome Trump, a man known to denigrate and even sexually assault women, to cheat on his wives often, to reject those same wives when they no longer suited him and to remarry a younger, more attractive one. And that’s not even getting into all Trump’s other problematic behaviors with respect to Christian doctrine. Clearly the Christians who were surveyed back in the late nineties were either lying or conservative Christianity has changed so radically in twenty years’ time that it’s no longer recognizable as the same belief system. Either way, it points to a huge problem with Christianity itself. If the religion is indeed so malleable that it can be twisted completely out of shape for the sake of convenience, then its central tenets, including everything that Jesus Christ taught, are completely meaningless in the end. Simple and unshakable truths do not change.

Personally, I love Jesus. That may sound like an odd thing for a politically liberal non-Christian to say, but if you examine Christ’s teachings they line up far better with my core beliefs than they do with the modern conservative Christian’s. Christ was about loving other people, including those you don’t understand. He was about self-sacrifice and living a life in service to those in need. He was about peace and love and renouncing worldly things. Basically, if Jesus were alive today, he would be rejected by his own supposed followers, labeled a bleeding-heart liberal and a social justice warrior (SJW), a term that seems to inspire revulsion in the far right, as if helping the downtrodden and persecuted was somehow synonymous with rape and murder.

I’ve seen these so-called Christians on the internet explain why LGBT folks should be imprisoned, tortured or killed while in the same breath they claim that these actions somehow demonstrate their love for gays and lesbians. With us MAPs they don’t even bother to claim their will to torture and murder is about love—they just openly endorse our destruction, even if we’re guilty of nothing but fantasizing. Modern Christianity seems to have no problem embracing Orwellian doublespeak and thought policing. Anyone with an ounce of human compassion is and should be horrified by what Christianity has become.

My sister claimed before the election that God wanted Trump to be president. If He did, then it was to teach His followers a lesson about putting politics above Him. They don’t seem to be getting the message though. Over the last few decades modern conservative Christians have sold out, trading in the purity of their faith and all that was good about their religion for political expediency. They have sold their souls to the devil of politics, to the point where their beliefs no longer have any resemblance to what Jesus actually preached. When I was a kid the going Christian craze were wristbands with WWJD? on them. WWJD? equals What Would Jesus Do? I’m not sure exactly what he would do if he were alive today, but I know what he wouldn’t do: he wouldn’t have endorsed a person of such low moral character as Donald Trump for president, let alone voted for him. He wouldn’t have been slow to condemn the white supremacists and bigots who are starting to get bolder and more aggressive. He wouldn’t give Joel Osteen and his kind, people who get rich off of exploiting the faith of others, the time of day. Never forget what he did to the moneylenders in the temple. And he certainly would not be advocating violence against anyone.

That, in a nutshell, is why I am no longer a Christian. Now, you might argue, “Yes, but you shouldn’t judge God’s worthiness by His followers.” I agree to an extent. If it were only a matter of a handful of crooked and wayward souls claiming the faith, then I would make some allowances for that. The problem is, it is not a small minority. There are far too many people who have renounced Jesus but still somehow claim they are following his ways. How so many people can seemingly reconcile such disparate philosophies with no trouble indicates that there has to be something wrong at the heart of things. A decent and loving God would never allow so much hate and nonsense to flourish in His name. It is exceedingly clear to me that Christianity is a dying ember, and its ashes are bitter. Too many of the people who claim to believe in it are being dishonest. You know it and I know it. They are aware that their faith is empty, and in their resentment over that fact they are using their religion as a weapon to take down as many of the people they hate as possible before it fizzles out for good. That is what’s going on, and it is a tragedy of epic proportions.

I love Jesus still, but I could no longer abide the majority of his followers. That was the road to my loss of faith in Christianity. As for Jesus, I still have faith in his message. Maybe someday his followers will come back to it, but I’m not holding out much hope for it.

Best article yet on pedophilia

The South African branch of the Huffington Post just published an outstanding article on pedophilia written by Dr. Marlene Wasserman (a.k.a. Dr. Eve), called It’s Not A Popular Subject, But The Latest Research About Paedophilia May Help Us Protect Our Kids, and I have to say, I can’t find a single fault with it.  That may be a first.  Bravo to all involved!