Himes Rants Against…, well, Everybody

The Missoulian today reports Harris Himes is ranting that gays, pro-abortionists and even State Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen probably got him thrown in jail.

Wow. If we gays were that powerful, I can think of a lot of other things we’d probably do first…

Excerpt:

Himes was charged with six felonies in Ravalli County Justice Court Wednesday after turning himself in to authorities. He said he’ll hire an attorney and posted bail of $10,000 shortly after the hearing.

Himes was required to surrender his passport and will next appear in District Court on either Oct. 6 or Oct. 20.

He didn’t keep a low profile after leaving the Ravalli County jail, though.

Peter Christian of KGVO radio’s “Talkback” show mentioned the charges against Himes on Thursday morning and Himes called in to respond. He told Christian he is an attorney, but knows better than to represent himself.

Himes went on to claim that gay and pro-abortion activists may be behind the charges against him and co-defendant James “Jeb” Bryant, another self-proclaimed pastor.

Himes further claimed that State Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen may also be behind the charges because of political disagreements they’ve had in the past. Other callers quickly, and forcefully, called him out for making groundless accusations.

This could get interesting. I’ve had a friend say this may prove that he is clinically mental- just as I wondered yesterday. Or maybe he’s playing that card early.

Hmmm.

Full story here.

The Bittersweet Ballad Of Harris Himes

As I pointed out yesterday, Harris Himes, preacher of anti-gay hate, Christian Pastor, Montana Eagle Forum President and lobbyist, has been charged with six felonies, including theft, fraudulent practices and conspiracy to commit same.

Himes turned himself in yesterday. No word as of yet about the other named pastor, “Jeb” Bryant.

It’s a bittersweet moment for me.

Harris Himes has a long history of opposing human equality- and democratic process. He was a constant figure at the legislature last Spring. He consistently showed up to publicly bristle at any mention of gays or discrimination or equality. I testified against HB 516, introduced by Rep Kris Hansen of Havre, which would disallow any city ordinances prohibiting discrimination. Himes testified for it. I found his logic deeply disturbing, his scripture scholarship crude, his arrogance and obvious multiple phobias clinically amazing. I found myself wondering how we both met Jesus and came away with two very different understandings of his message.

I now think I know.

If Himes is guilty, it means that he separates personal and public morality in a way that’s of personality disorder proportions. If he’s guilty, it means that he has a narcissistic ability to separate himself from the message of morality he presents as a pastor in the Christian tradition. He’s exempt. If he’s guilty, it’s more than simple hypocrisy- it means that the Ten Commandments have not been internalized- they don’t apply to him. Arguably, there are many interpretations to the scriptures, but most scholars agree that when it is written,”Thou Shalt Not Steal” there’s really not much wiggle room.

It’s a lot like the bully in Glee- he pounds away at the thing that he’s most afraid of- the gay part of himself. We hate most in others what we fear most in ourselves.

Now I’m not suggesting Himes is gay- not by any means. But I am suggesting that, again, if he’s guilty, his displaced guilt about his own immorality was redirected toward hate and intolerance of LGBT persons and any legislation protecting them. A deflection from his own dubious morality.

If he’s guilty.

Now here comes the bittersweet part: I also feel sorry for the guy. I can’t help it.

If he’s able to separate himself so completely from his message, then he probably has a mental illness. He probably hasn’t formed life-giving attachments in his life. He probably never progressed very far developmentally- the tormented kid on the playground who becomes the bully when he has a little bit of power- and religion gives pastors more than just a little bit. The cycle of abuse, continued.

It’s sad.

Part of me wants to sing “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead”, dance in the street and gloat over the obvious ridiculousness and hypocrisy of the downfall of a vocal bigot. Another part of me is appalled at the very idea of that. Mostly because Harris Himes would probably do that very thing if (God forbid) it was someone from the ACLU or MHRN who was charged with six felonies.

And I want to be better than that. I really do. That’s why it’s bittersweet for me.

Because if I lose sight of the humanity of my adversaries, there is little hope of them ever gaining sight of my humanity. And we need to see each other as human beings- as difficult as it is sometimes.

That’s how we win.

All of us.

Presence

People often ask me how I listen to other people all day long and not go crazy. First of all, I don’t really ever look at what I do as “listening to people’s problems”. Yesterday, I was asked for some words to describe what I do, and my philosophy for doing it, and I came up with this:

Other people’s problems are exactly that.
Making them your own is not only arrogant- it’s unhealthy, exhausting and robs people of the creative pain that makes a life rich.
Being with them as they go through it is a privilege, but it is not always a call to action.
Presence is worth more than all the advice in the world. 

Works for me…

Feds to Release 1.89 Billion for ADAP, HIV Care

From The Michigan Messenger:

The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

According to an HHS press release, $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues. The additional money is designed to help those programs reduce or eliminate their waiting lists. They also released an additional $40 million to assist states and territories currently refusing coverage for people in need to reduce the number of people waiting.

ADAP provides access to the costly anti-retroviral medications that have turned HIV into a more manageable disease since its appearance 30 years ago. The drugs can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year in the U.S. The program also assists in paying for drugs to treat opportunistic infections that HIV positive persons can suffer as a result of diminished immune functions.

The ADAP Advocacy Association shows that as of Sept. 22, 10 states had waiting lists totaling nearly 9,000 people awaiting access to the life saving medications:

ADAPs with Waiting Lists
(8,785 individuals in 10 states*, as of September 22, 2011)

Florida: 4,098 people
Georgia: 1,732 people
Idaho: 37 people
Louisana: 1,112 people
Montana: 28 people
North Carolina: 354 people
Ohio: 9 people
South Carolina: 367 people
Utah: 59 people
Virginia: 989 people

In addition to funding ADAP programming, the feds also announced millions in funding for direct medical care as well as programming to assist minorities — who are particularly hard hit by the epidemic — in accessing medical care for the infection.

Kudos to all the activists and HIV care advocates who worked hard for this- and for those of you who signed our petition….

Hans Kung: “Pope as Putin?”

Yes, the question is asked- among many other (to me) more fascinating things in the Swiss theologian’s interview with Der Spiegel. Excerpt:

SPIEGEL: More than a year ago, you wrote an open letter to all bishops in the world, in which you offered a detailed explanation of your criticism of the pope and the Roman system. What was the response?

Küng: There are about 5,000 bishops in the world, but none of them dared to comment publicly. This clearly shows that something isn’t right. But if you talk to individual bishops, you often hear: “What you describe is fundamentally true, but nothing can be done about it.” It would be wonderful if a prominent bishop would just say: “This cannot go on. We cannot sacrifice the entire Church to please the Roman bureaucrats.” But so far no one has had the courage to do so. The ideal situation, in my view, would be a coalition of reformist theologians, lay people and pastors open to reform, and bishops prepared to support reform. Of course they would come into conflict with Rome, but they would have to endure that, in a spirit of critical loyalty.

SPIEGEL: That’s what led to the Reformation 500 years ago. But at the time, the Roman system was incapable of understanding the criticism from within the ranks.

Küng: After 500 years, we are surprised that the popes and bishops of the day did not realize that a reform was necessary. Luther didn’t want to divide the Church, but the pope and the bishops were blind. It seems that a similar situation applies today.

This man occupies a secure place in my pantheon of heroes…. Full, fascinating interview here.

New Microbicide May Block HIV From Entering Cells

H I V

More good news on the HIV research front.

From Science Daily:

University of Utah researchers have discovered a new class of compounds that stick to the sugary coating of the AIDS virus and inhibit it from infecting cells — an early step toward a new treatment to prevent sexual transmission of the virus. 

Development and laboratory testing of the potential new microbicide to prevent human immunodeficiency virus infection is outlined in a study set for online publication in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

…”Most of the anti-HIV drugs in clinical trials target the machinery involved in viral replication,” says the study’s senior author, Patrick F. Kiser, associate professor of bioengineering and adjunct associate professor of pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Utah.

“There is a gap in the HIV treatment pipeline for cost-effective and mass-producible viral entry inhibitors that can inactivate the virus before it has a chance to interact with target cells,” he says.

As scientists learn more about how HIV attaches to CD4 cells, there will be more and possibly less problematic ways to treat and prevent HIV infection.

Full story here.

Unpacking “Class Warfare”

Whether you believe that asking those with more to share a greater part of the public burden is socialism or simply good citizenship, you can’t deny that there are heated feelings on the topic. I am of the persuasion that greed and selfishness- if further assisted by government, will be the demise of this country.

Paul Krugman has some excellent points in today’s New York Times. Among them:

As background, it helps to know what has been happening to incomes over the past three decades. Detailed estimates from the Congressional Budget Office — which only go up to 2005, but the basic picture surely hasn’t changed — show that between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted income of families in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. That’s growth, but it’s slow, especially compared with the 100 percent rise in median income over a generation after World War II.

Meanwhile, over the same period, the income of the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent. No, that isn’t a misprint. In 2005 dollars, the average annual income of that group rose from $4.2 million to $24.3 million.

So do the wealthy look to you like the victims of class warfare?

….On one side, we have the claim that the rising share of taxes paid by the rich shows that their burden is rising, not falling. To point out the obvious, the rich are paying more taxes because they’re much richer than they used to be. When middle-class incomes barely grow while the incomes of the wealthiest rise by a factor of six, how could the tax share of the rich not go up, even if their tax rate is falling?

Full story here.