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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rich Scherber from MN Teen Challenge States They Aren't an Anti-Gay Organization

Several weeks ago, Rich Scherber from MN Teen Challenge called me to correct the record on several stories I'd written about MN Teen Challenge. He stated that the organization was Christian, but not anti-gay (many Christian Churches are open and affirming, and so are the non-profit organizations affiliated with them), however I remain skeptical about MN Teen Challenge. I asked why MN Teen Challenge invited Janet "between 80 and 85% of lesbians were raped" Boynes to speak. In his first conversation with me he stated that Janet Boynes had never spoken at MN Teen Challenge. After I reconfirmed that Janet Boynes stated she had spoken at MN Teen Challenge in her press kit (pdf), the story changed to state she had spoken at one of their women's groups. Rich Scherber sent a note to his staff letting them know that Boynes should not receive a repeat invitation. Scherber forwarded me a copy of that note. Scherber also insisted that he could link me up with a number of gay people who were supportive of his program.

I also told him that having Michele Bachmann listed as giving a testimonial to the program was a red flag to gays that suggested the program was anti-gay. He claimed to be unaware of her legislative history on the single issue politics of the Bachmann amendment. I told him about the 2004 State Capital rally, which she headlined and organized including signs such as "Death Penalty for Homosexuals as prescibed [sic] in the Bible" and "No Homos as Leaders". The rally clearly was all about hate and nothing about defending "traditional marriage." He asked me whether I would advise him to take it down. I said he'd have to make his own decision on his site.

Dump Bachmann reported on Michele Bachmann speaking at a MN Teen Challenge sponsored recovery day celebration in October of 2008. At that time, Avidor, post author, linked to this page and quoted Michele Bachmann's testimonial.

MN Teen Challenge provides an environment that truly fosters spiritual growth and positive change. I had the opportunity to listen to the Teen Challenge choir and speak to the group, the whole experience was moving. Teen Challenge fills a great need in the community.

Now the Michele Bachmann testimonial has been scrubbed from the page as has President George Bush's. However Bachmann's testimonial remains on the adult section of the website.

Rick Scherber told me that MN Teen Challenge had been awarded $400,000 of the $500,000 requested by Amy Klobuchar. Scherber told me that he had been informed by his lobbyists that typically a group can expect 20% of what they request. Andy Birkey from Minnesota Independent had told me that he had heard from both Klobuchar and Scherber that Rep. Keith Ellison had supported this earmark - and that this came from Scherber's letter to Minnesota Independent disputing the accuracy of Birkey's piece about the Klobuchar earmark. From the letter:

It is important to note that the federal earmark sponsored by Congressman Ramstad – approved with bipartisan support by many other lawmakers, including Senator Amy Klobuchar (D) and Congressman Keith Ellison (D) – was designated for Minnesota Teen Challenge’s Know the Truth drug and alcohol abuse prevention program.

At a recent town meeting in Fridley, Congressman Ellison told me he had no recollection of supporting the earmark, but left some weasle room saying he was not 100% sure. When I talked with Rick Scherber about this, he said he didn't remember whether or not Keith Ellison had supported the earmark, but Congressman Jim Ramstad had been involved.

I also asked Scherber about the articles in the MN Teen Challenge October 2001 and October 2002 newsletters [accessed April 18, 2009] that suggested that Harry Potter and Pokemon are gateways into drug abuse. Scherber insisted that he had fired the staffers involved. The problem is that Scherber himself wrote a "letter from the Executive Director" on this topic (see below for screen shot). I will be following up with him for additional comments.

Rick Warren's Employees Scrubbing Wikipedia of him

Read all about it here.

A couple of months ago I looked up “Rick Warren” on Wikipedia to see what the entry said about Warren and Prop 8. I clicked on the discussion page tab and discovered a Wikipedia War that has become my favorite soap opera.

The discussion about how to present Warren’s position regarding Prop 8 begins here:

One editor, Benccc changed a portion of the Warren article to say that Prop 8 "amended the state constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry." It had previously said that Prop 8 "amended the state constitution to ban same-sex marriages."

Then another editor, CarverM changed Benccc’s edit to read that Prop 8 "amended the state constitution to read, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Benccc went to the article's discussion page and pointed out that the original line and CarverM's edit “omits an essential fact. Thirty states ban same-sex marriage; Prop 8 is unique for having rescinded it. Readers aware of that fact may better understand why Warren's support for Prop 8 was the subject of protests”.

And thus began an epic Wikipedia War that has resulted in Wikipedia officially “locking down” the Rick Warren page with a banner that warns “The neutrality of this article is disputed” and “This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved.”

The two sides have been sharply drawn from the beginning, with one side calling for inclusion of controversies surrounding Warren, and the other side trying to strip anything but the most cursory mention of Warren controversies from the article.

Among the contentions made by the Warren Wikipedia Whitewashers:

- Warren did not compare same sex marriage to incest, polygamy and pedophilia during his notorious Beliefnet interview.
- Gay and lesbian people have never had the right to marry in California.
- Controversies surrounding Warren's position on gay marriage are, according to CarverM, "a tempest in a teapot" and unworthy of more discussion than a link to Wikipedia's Proposition 8 page.

After weeks of voluminous and sometimes heated debate, it was uncovered that CarverM is in fact Mark Carver, the International Director of Purpose Driven Ministries.

Here is Carver's bio from one of Warren’s websites : "As executive director for Purpose Driven Church, Mark Carver oversees the ministry of Purpose Driven in every region of the world except North America. His vision is to see a worldwide community of healthy churches working together to fulfill the Great Commission. Toward that end, Carver and his team are developing tools to train pastors worldwide and creating curriculum to support the spiritual health of individual church members."

Unfortunately for Mr. Carver, Wikipedia has a strong policy in regards conflict of interest. Once it was learned he is one of Warren's closest buddies, he was banned from the discussion for three months, along with another Warren Wikipedia Whitewasher who inadvertently revealed he was a member of Saddleback Church.

There is no way to ascertain if the remaining Warren Wikipedia Whitewashers are also closely linked to Warren, because although Wikipedia forbids conflict of interest, they also protect the anonymity of their editors (???).

The “discussion” has been sent to “Wikipedia mediation” in which experienced editors attempt to get the parties to settle on language acceptable to both sides. So far, the mediation has been an abject failure with the remaining Warren Wikipedia Whitewashers attempting to block inclusion of Warren controversies at every turn.

One of the highly frustrated Wikipedia mediators recently declared “Frankly, I don't see what this mediation will accomplish if editors cannot sit down at a table together and discuss things rationally. I'm giving it one more chance, but if I have to withdraw again I will not return.” Two parties to the mediation, both openly gay, have already dropped out of the mediation in exasperation.

Will the Warren Wikipedia Whitewashers succeed in re-writing history? We shall see.

So far, it appears that the Warren Whitewashers have succeeded. CarverM's exposure is here.

Susan Boyle

This is a wonderful story of a talent show. Watch it live.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

MSNBC's Scarborough To Norm Coleman: "You Lost, It Is Over"

The Peter Freaks Out Over Rick Warren

It sure took him a while.

NOTE: Watch the Rick Warren-Larry King interview at the bottom of this article, or read a transcript HERE. You can write Pastor Warren at Saddleback Church at:, or call: 949-609-8000.

Folks, Rick Warren’s recent interview with Larry King (view the YouTube at bottom or go HERE to read the transcript) was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to watch as a pro-family advocate. To behold Mr. Warren cravenly playing down his role in helping Proposition 8 pass in California – and tell how he “apologized” to his “gay friends” when if anything he should be apologizing to Americans for not doing more for Prop 8 and more to defend marriage nationwide – was pathetic and disheartening. And what’s up with Warren claiming that he was “oblivious” to the Iowa supreme court’s homosexual “marriage” ruling? “Oblivious” to liberal judicial elites who unanimously imposed sodomy-based “marriage” as a constitutional “right” in America’s heartland? And of course, there’s the lesson from the playground: by rewarding the “gay” activist bullies who savaged him for supporting Prop 8, Warren has now guaranteed that they will step up their bullying against other pastors and churches. (And they won’t be lovin’ you, either, Rick, unless you complete your capitulation by: denouncing “homophobia”; embracing “same-sex marriage” and “queer parenting”; lobbying for a federally-observed “Harvey Milk Day” in honor of LGBT Americans; and declaring homosexuality and transgenderism special “gifts from god” that should be taught as normal to all schoolchildren.)

Nobody expects Pastor Warren – a man of amazing accomplishments — to lead the charge against the homosexualist juggernaut. But Christians should expect him to stand tall for marriage as God ordained it rather than shrink back in embarrassment for the evidently reluctant role he DID play in “protecting” the sacred union between husband and wife. Sadly, if Warren doesn’t repent and reverse course, he will become only the latest prominent opinion-maker to be intimidated into silence by the militant and very powerful “queer” movement. Remember “Dr. Laura” Schlessinger, who also (needlessly) apologized to homosexuals for speaking her mind about deviant homosexual behavior – after “gay” radicals tried to get her knocked off the air? (They succeeded in getting her TV show cancelled.) Remember Anita Bryant, who was hit with a pie in the face by a homosexual activist as she was giving a press conference? And Rush Limbaugh, who scaled back his rhetoric against the homosexual agenda after “gay” activists “zapped” him while he was guest-hosting a talk show? When will a courageous leader rise up who will take a situation like the “gay” campaign against Rick Warren after Barack Obama chose him to give the inaugural prayer — and use it to rally people in defense of God’s truth, rather than run away from it? God bless. — Peter LaBarbera,

I wonder what the deal was with Rush Limbaugh? My question is what took Peter so long?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wall St Journal Covers the Amazon DeRanking Gay/Health Books Story

Wall St Journal: Inc. was hit by criticism from authors of books with gay themes after the sales rankings of their titles disappeared from the company's Web site.

Amazon blamed the problem on an internal cataloging error and said it wasn't limited to books with gay themes but affected books in other categories such as health, mind and body, and reproductive and sexual medicine. Amazon also said the problem made it harder to find the titles through general searches.

"This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection," said Drew Herdener, Amazon's director of communications. The glitch affected 57,310 books, and the company is fixing the problem, he said.


Blogs and Twitter Coin "AmazonFail"
"We intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future," he added.

Blogs and Twitter Coin "AmazonFail" (WSJ):

Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, says in a statement: “GLAAD has reached out to and they indicate this was an error, so we expect to start seeing evidence of its correction immediately, and any loss of visibility of gay-themed books as a result of this error will be made right by Amazon … When people learn about the lives of gay and transgender people and the common ground we share, the culture changes and advances. It is so important that stories about the lives of our community are available, and that companies like Amazon promote these titles in an equal fashion.”

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bravely Bold Rick Warren

Rick Warren was scheduled to be on This Week. At the last minute he cancelled.

Amazon Deranks Gay Books

LA Times:

One of these books has been removed from Amazon's sales rankings because of "adult" content; the other has not.

"American Psycho" is Bret Easton Ellis' story of a sadistic murderer. "Unfriendly Fire" is a well-reviewed empirical analysis of military policy. But it's "Unfriendly Fire" that does not have a sales rank -- which means it would not show up in Amazon's bestseller lists, even if it sold more copies than the Twilight series. In some cases, being de-ranked also means being removed from Amazon's search results.

Amazon's policy of removing "adult" content from its rankings seems to be both new and unevenly implemented. On Saturday, self-published author Mark R. Probst noticed that his book had lost its ranking, and made inquiries. The response he got from Amazon's customer service explained:

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Probst is the author of a novel for young adults with gay characters set in the old West; he was concerned that gay-friendly books were being unfairly targeted. Amazon has not responded to the LA Times request for clarification.


But as troubling as the unevenness of the policy of un-ranking and de-searching certain titles might be, it's a bit beside the point. It's the action itself that is troubling: making books harder to find, or keeping them off bestseller lists on the basis of their content can't be a good idea.

I'd urge people to go to Barnes and Noble and Borders instead. I've given Amazon alot of business in the past. I will no longer do so unless they change this policy - and apologise to the victimized authors.

More at: Pam's House Blend and Americablog.

Response to "Gathering Storm" Ad

Jeremy at Good as You did a "just the facts ma'am" rebuttal, shown above.

There are a number of other spoofs. The ad gets mixed with "It's Raining Men".

Jeremy's compiled a collection here.