But first . . .

TOWARD A MORE PERFECT UNION

‘Christian, gay groups unite on school conflicts; Issue guidelines stressing civility.’ Civility is a great start. Click here for details.

AND ONE STEP BACK

‘Less than two weeks after a conservative Christian organization complained to a top government official about a federal website that contained health resources for gay men and lesbians, the information disappeared . . .

BUT THEN TWO STEPS FORWARD

Jacob Reitan, 23, is riding for equality with 35 other young gay Christians. It’s a great story, as Christians try to decide what Jesus would have done.

One approach:

[B]efore Jacob came out, their Mankato home was egged and spattered with pink paintballs. “Fag” was chalked on the driveway. A brick was thrown through the window of Philip’s law office, and Jacob’s car windows were smashed.

Reitan’s approach (from the same story):

Reitan purchased Google ads to garner nationwide attention for this ride. Every time someone Googled one of 80 religious schools, an ad for Equality Ride popped up with the school’s policy on gays.

That created a buzz at Christian colleges. Last fall White and Reitan got a call from Andringa, asking them to meet with the CCCU advisory group that deals with human sexuality, gender equity and the disenfranchised.

“They said, ‘What are you doing with this Equality Ride? It seems pretty militant.'” Reitan recalled. He told them that he had studied CCCU schools’ policies, talked with closeted students and concluded that the way their schools treated gay people was “immoral.”

For two hours the two sides had a “great” discussion, Andringa recalled. He found Reitan bright, passionate, articulate and self-confident. “We agreed to support Jacob’s desire for constructive dialogue. After all, we are in the business of learning. We also agreed that gay and lesbian students should not live in fear or experience hatred.”

When he rides onto the Christian campuses, Reitan said he will speak from a heart wide open. He hopes that those he encounters will listen from theirs.

“There’s this wonderful moment when Jesus is talking to the Pharisees about all the laws they follow,” Reitan said. “He says, in essence, ‘You know the law by heart. But you have forgotten the heart of the law.’ “

And while we’re at it . . .

A 0% CREDIT CARD OFFER

I knew a guy who loved women but felt – either for real or to be amusing – that he was a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.

This credit card is for him.

It boasts no annual fee and 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles – and offers an airline mile with no blackout dates for every dollar spent. You may even get $100 off your next Olivia cruise.

I haven’t checked the fine print – some of these 0% deals apply any payment to the balance transfers first, so until you pay those off, you’re carrying a balance on your actual charges (so unless you’re sure, just don’t charge anything) – but if you’re a woman who likes women, or just gay-friendly and in the market for what may be a good credit card deal, take a look. [Update: one important caveat, a 3% fee for balance transfers. So it’s 0% only after you’ve paid 3%.]

And now . . .

THE MAN WHO ATE FIVE DEMOCRATS

A friend sent me the story of a man who had been dead at his desk in the office for five days, but no one noticed until Saturday when the cleaning lady found him. ‘He was always the first in to work and the last to leave,’ one of his coworkers was quoted in the story (or words to that effect), ‘so nobody noticed.’

Now, please. Guy slumped over his desk, motionless – possibly not smelling so fresh – for five days and no one notices? This hard-bitten reporter was skeptical. It reminded him (me) of a sitcom plot he couldn’t quite place. (Maybe one of you will remember it?)

What was my friend’s source? I gently challenged.

Back he shot with not just the source but a scan of the article itself, straight from the pages of Weekly World News, a journal of flying saucers, Satan’s supermodels, and novel political reporting (‘WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bush Administration has a daring new plan to house the growing number of homeless people in the country – clown cars!‘)

I was excited by this, because I have had a copy of Weekly World News on my desk for more than three years, waiting for a chance to use it. It’s the November 12, 2002 issue – ‘Three New Commandments Found’ runs the cover headline (‘and you’ll be shocked to learn what they are!’) – with a small inset of Osama Bin Laden at bottom left (‘Osama Bin Laden’s goat captured by U.S. Marines!’).

I had bought it because . . . well, OK, it was because I wanted to find out what the three new commandments were. (XI. Thou shalt not partake of the forbidden herbs. [Maui Wowie?] XII. Thou shalt not covet thine own brother. XIII. Thou shalt not take cloth and water to thy person on the seventh day.) (All this etched into a single stone miraculously discovered at the foot of Mt. Sinai, possibly buried by Moses. ‘It may be the tablets were too heavy for him to carry, or perhaps he disagreed with some of the rules listed on the thirds stone,’ speculated an expert quoted in the article.)

But – and now, finally, are getting to the point – it was in paging through the World Weekly News to find those commandments (‘School Teaches Deaf to Read Minds’ . . . ‘Caffeinated Soap a Real Eye Opener’ . . . ‘Boy Gets Frog in his Throat – Literally!’) that I came across this chilling headline: THE MAN WHO ATE FIVE DEMOCRATS.

‘Wait,’ I said to the cashier as she was getting ready to ring up my groceries – ‘Add this.’

And it was $2,79 well spent, because how else would I have know that ‘Alferd G. Packer [showed] up fat, sassy and loaded with money at the Los Pinos Indian Agency near Saguache, Colo., on April 16, 1874?’ Or that, ‘after satisfying a prodigious thirst for whiskey, Packer broke down and admitted surviving for 60 days by dining on his employees.’

A lynch mob apparently formed, but Packer escaped, finally recaptured in Wyoming eight years later. Sentenced to hang, he wound up serving just 18 years in prison. ‘But the first trial remained the most dramatic because of a memorable quote by District Court Judge Melville Gerry during sentencing. ‘Stand up, Alferd Packer, you voracious, man-eating, son-of-a-b-,’ Gerry ordered. ‘There were seven Democrats in Hinsdale County, and you ate five of them.”

☞ It’s a little dated, but you see what we’re up against.

 

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