Friday, October 26, 2007

Professor Dumbledore and Unrequited Love

"Don't join the book burners. Do not think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed."
American general and 34th President of the United States (1890–1969)

The J.K. Rowling fictional series regarding a young male wizard and his adventures during his school years while attending a school of magic remains the most challenged books of this century. J.K. announcing at Carnegie Hall that Dumbledore was gay may not help her books remain on the shelves of sectarian libraries everywhere. Nor does it do much in my opinion to further [or detract from] the issues that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersexed, queer, and questioning deal with in everyday living. With gay bashings and hate crimes flourishing in a nearby county and the continued assault on civil rights for non-heterosexuals in the United States, I find it difficult to care that a fictional character is a homosexual. Nothing in the books themselves-- aimed at a primarily juvenile audience-- addressed Dumbledore's sexual orientation. There were no mentions of a lover and no steamy sex scenes. When I was engrossed in the books and the movies, I spent zero time analyzing which characters might not be straight. I didn't care. Perhaps that makes me less of an activist for the variety of causes for the community of which I am a part. So go ahead, try to rip my radical identification card out of my pagan bisexual hands. It won't work yanno. But don't despair just yet. After all, the hetero-or-die crowd can still rejoice that both hockey and Iran are safe from the likes of us. Bully for them!

An article appearing in the Boston Globe yesterday indicated that a parochial school priest removed the Harry Potter book series from the school library. An article in the Salt Lake Tribune drew a distinction between the ability to rightly decide between reading material that may or may not be appropriate for oneself and one's legal charges [read: children] and the allergies that public institutions [read: public libraries] have to folks challenging reading material for all patrons of the public institution. St. Joseph's School in Massachusetts is not a public institution and so the priest was acting within his office to do as he wished with the Potter books.
If a priest wishes to believe that Hogwarts accurately portrays what witchcraft is about, he obviously is vastly *unfamiliar* with real circle work. Young Harry Potter fans everywhere can sleep at night comfortable in the knowledge that reading a book or watching a movie cannot convert one to either witchcraft or to *falling in love with someone who happens to share the same gender* that they do.
Kinda makes one wonder about the priest though.

Did a chord resonate deep within when young Harry's wand picked him at Ollivander's in Diagon Alley? Or was there a sort of crush on the fictional Dumbledore who for all his cavorting with Harry demonstrated not one molecule of misplaced pedophilic affection? Or a fantasy of the old tottering wizard showing up at the rectory to rectify some misunderstanding regarding the difference between pedophilia and gay love, between fictional and human children [something which those who run Live Journal still show evidence of confusing], between the transfiguration of Professor McGonagall from a feline sitting on a desk and the transubstantiation of blood to wine and body to wafer? Alas, how does one measure accurately the differences between fantasy and reality?

Dumbledore is gay [and dead too], unlike the entire country of Iran and all hockey teams where nary a gay can be found. Hatred is real and has direct and sometimes bloody consequences. J.K. is worth a cool four mil and pedoheads will continue to gather in chat rooms strung out across electronica. In comparison to the news of the day, the announcement of Dumbledore's gayness is hardly worth all the fuss it has been stirring up. I remain a staunch advocate of civil rights for all civils. The vids on YouTube will continue to amuse me at random intervals. No real or imaginary children were harmed in the typing of this blog post.

radical sapphoq

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Think of the CHIL-DREN

In Missouri, orphanages and homes for the children of immigrants were started up because of need in the late 1800s. Children of immigrants-- some who were half-orphans-- were at increased risk for placement in these places because of serious illness of a parent or because the family could not financially afford to take care of all of its' members. Religious organizations were at the forefront. There were orphanages for children of German immigrants being run by several sects. Girls were taught to cook and sew. Boys were taught to chop wood.

Missouri is the stomping grounds for many religious homes for children today although for different reasons. Thanks to some ultra-religiosos, there is a popular but mistaken belief in allowing religious homes to govern themselves in some states without a need for any real oversight or state licensing. The thing is, state regs would force the hiring of more staff who are better qualified, some increased supervision of their charges, and the adoption of regs that they are reluctant to kowtow to. Specifically, in the growing industry of sending troubled teens away for treatment, corporal punishment. Corporal punishment is allowed in the Bible, according to these places. The folks in charge invoke a higher authority when challenged-- no less than the personage of the Divine White Heterosexual Male Master himself.

When Brother Lester Roloff opened the Rebekah Home for Girls in Texas, state requirements had been relaxed due to Governor-at-the-time [now President] Bush's interest in perpetuating the de-regulation of regulations over religious outfits and the Rebekah Home could engage in paddling the girls, denying them reading materials and the basic right to practice the religion of their choice, putting girls in isolation rooms for up to several weeks on end without allowing them to wash or bathe, monitoring their correspondence, and chaining them to pipes. Most religious outfits had already gone along with the state regs in Texas. The Roloff homes [there were several at the time] and a few other radical fringe groups celebrated the ruling. Waco happened and H.R. 2482 expired which meant once again that homes such as Roloff's would have to be licensed and regulated.

Roloff moved his homes to Florida, Mississippi, Georgia. He placed them under the auspices of the Independent Baptist Church-- a sect which he founded. That was on the advice of his attorney. Brother Roloff was killed in an small aircraft crash in 1962. His successor, Reverend Bobby A. Wills moved the homes to Missouri because Mississippi wanted licensing.
There are currently six or so homes existing today which have ties to Brother Roloff. These homes all train troubled teens in the Bible and the knowledge of the necessity of getting saved. They also believe in corporal punishment, restricting or supervising correspondence with those outside, and physical isolation from the temptations of the world. The Rebekah Home for Girls is still in Texas-- an empty campus with an eye for re-opening awaiting the favor of President Bush once again. Bad enough to have all these faith-based programs paid for by our taxes methinks. Even worse that they do not have to play by the same rules as the rest of us.

The school possessing the most notoriety was perhaps the one run by Bob Wills. There are entire websites devoted to the Mountain Park Baptist Boarding School and its' legal woes. Driven from Mississippi, the school and three others settled in unregulated Missouri. Several former students have begun lawsuits alleging abuse. September 2007's Free Thought Today newsletter out of Madison, Wisconsin contains an essay by one of the plantiffs-- Carrie Louise Nutt. Her essay on page 12 is titled, "Christian Schools for the Damned." She paints a severe picture of censorship, fear, and punishment. Mountain Park was closed in 2003. It's sister school is alive and well in Florida.

Survivors of Mountain Park and other places like the infamous Elan School in Poland Springs, Maine are speaking out. A websearch will bring you to a Fornits Board where Elan folks commiserate on the things endured during their stay. As it turns out, the school itself is not quite the hang-out-in-the-rugged-wilderness that its' website advertises. Elan also has Group Meetings and also a note about the humiliation practiced there on the teens. Group Meetings, called G.M.s by the initiates, are feared. Residents "get their feelings out" on the assigned scapegoat of the day by the dorm mates conducting an open group physical attack followed by staff haranguing with the kids joining in. A G.M. can last from 4 hours to 24 hours. Total brutality was reserved for the runaways. The "splitters" are hunted down in the woods [the Evan School is surrounded by woods] by physically strong teens and beaten most severely.

Supporters will say that the harsh discipline gave them their child back or that their child got Jesus or is now living a decent life. Detractors tell different harsher stories. The harsh stories are not limited to Independent Baptist Churches' schools/homes for teens. Most folks are familiar with the wilderness camps that are advertised for the emotionally deranged teen. Some may even recall teen boot camps which were popularized by teevee talk show host Jenny Jones and others. Boot Camps and Wilderness Camps also do not have to follow some of the more peskier regs-- like staff qualifications. Nowadays a desperate parent can send off their troublesome teen to such faraway places as Samoa and Jamaica. Places outside of the U.S.A. definitely do not have to follow our rules. And there is something else too. The kid may come back dead or maimed. Websites set up by "consultants" who "recommend" the perfect program for children to go to are partially to blame. And then one also has to wonder why a parent would trust an electronic stranger to know where their kid should go without ever meeting said "consultants."

I have never faced having to put my child on a PINS petition or watch them go off to prison in handcuffs. I have never had the experience of unmitigated hatred by my offspring or the heartbreak of having to place my child in residential treatment. I don't have any kids. It wasn't for lack of trying. It just didn't happen. I don't know the anguish of having to make a decision that must be heart-breaking. I do know survivors of institutional abuse. The troubled teen industry has become an industry. Sure there are good folks out there. There are indifferent folks out there too, desperate folks, dangerous folks. Children are our future. But please don't tell me to Think of the CHIL-DREN and then turn around and support yet another faith-based initiative which adds up to improper treatment of kids in order to skirt some regs and oversight, beat the hell out of them in accordance with the dictates of some book, and censor their every breath.

radical sapphoq

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Rhonda Gruber

Rhonda Gruber is an agnostic witch living in Horry County, South Carolina. She and her husband were recently arrested for allegations of harassment and child neglect. She has a sixteen year old son who may or may not be on a prescription drug for A.D.H.D., guns in the house, and an affinity for illegal drugs and extra-marital sex by her own admission.

When she was arrested, she self-described as a witch. That appeared in the police report because she said so, not because the cops down there really care much about those things. [Horry County includes Myrtle Beach, a really neat place which I have been to-- not your typical southern small town at all]. She used this "as a witch" statement to claim that she is being persecuted as a witch.

Her son was arrested for threatening to shoot some kids at school with one of the guns in the house. Verification of his alleged R.O.T.C. "with marine boot camp" status could be neither verified nor disproved. Her sixteen year old son is allegedly being held in juvie for his alleged threats [until trial?]. The booking site for Horry County does not list the names of minors. What it does show is that Rhonda Gruber's bail was set at 5,000 dollars and her husband's at 500.

Rhonda Gruber has been rather busy. She has sent her appeal all over-- it asks for donations as well as advice and protective energy-- and she has now taken her cause to the A.C.L.U. To date, the A.C.L.U. has not decided if it will be involved or not. She claimed to at least one blogger that Al Sharpton is defending her. She has also been cleaning up her risque myspace profile and naughty pictures; and no longer publicly displays a list of her myspace friends. [She has two myspace blogs-- one for herself and one for her mail-order witch business].

The search warrant was written for items such as child porn, computers, thumb drives, illicit drugs and paraphernalia, and guns. No witch tools were listed for seizure. Rhonda Gruber was not arrested for anything to do with witchcraft. The concern of Horry County is not with what spiritual path she professes to practice.

radical sapphoq's current verdict: NO money for Rhonda Gruber. NO sympathy for someone hiding behind religion in order to excuse bad behavior. And the following advice: take some responsibility for your actions lady.


Below is one e-mail from Rhonda Gruber which was sent to an incredimail witch group I frequent. Spelling was left alone.
Following that are the sources I used for this post.

radical sapphoq

> >
> > My name is Rhonda Gruber AKA Wicked Lil Witch and I am a Proud Witch. I
> > am currently being persecuted as a Witch by a Lt. Kevin Duke of the
> > Horry County Police Dept. My life and the lives of my family and
> friends
> > are being threatened and destroyed by this man with the backing of
> > countless other officials.
> >
> > I was arrested Monday Sept 10th '07 by Lt Duke for Breach of Peace,
> > Child Endangerment/ Neglect and 1st degree Harrassement.
> >
> > This all began around the end of May '07 from many false police reports
> > from a neighboring family, The Luisettis, who also seemed to think I
> > deserved to be arrested for my religious beliefs. They stated such in
> > their police reports. When this began to become a pattern of filing
> > false reports, we began seeking Police protection FROM them. We were
> > told numerous times that we had no reason to receive their protection,
> > just to ignore them. Yet they continued to file their reports on us. We
> > were told the only we could do is file a Civil Suit. This wouldn't fix
> > the problem for quite awhile if ever.The Police Dept on numerous
> > occasions, even refused to file any reports for us.
> >
> > We had at one point searched out help from Magistrates in the area. One
> > told us that filing these reports was most definitely something the
> > Police could do something about and that they should but he was fairly
> > certain that they wouldn't. He went on a 10 min rant about it to us. He
> > even took the time to gives us copies of the laws on filing false
> > reports, which we took to this Lt Duke, who after realizing we weren't
> > going to leave his office too easily, Then wrote us report stating that
> > the report from the Luisettis was investigated and the allegations were
> > unfounded and seemed to be stemming from harrassement from the
> neighbors.
> >
> > Now Monday, my 16 yr old son was targeted for their harrassment . In
> the
> > morning the Luisetti's daughter had a young man assualt him at the bus
> > stop. We filed a report that morning. That afternoon another allegation
> > from their daughter that he beat her up Friday on school property which
> > led to his suspension since the school wouldn't investigate it other
> > than her statement and her 2 friend's statements. She would have been
> > getting on the bus at the time while he was on the other side of the
> > building getting a ride from one of his friends. Then as we were
> sitting
> > in my garage workshop working on getting the suspension investigated by
> > the school board, waiting to see if the death threat my son received
> was
> > going to take place. The threat came from the Luisetti's daughter
> > getting a young man to "kill" my son due to the beating she received
> > from him. He was supposed to be coming to our house after school. We
> > were then visited by an irrational Lt. Duke as he whipped into our
> > driveway screaming that Spencer was reported to be brandishing and
> > pointing an assault rifle at the Luisettis. Which isn't even close to
> > what he was doing. Duke then stated that is is tired of all this and
> > someone is going to jail. He didn't care to hear anything we had to to
> > say about our side. Anytime I was trying to say something I was told to
> > shut up or be arrested. He was VERY aggressive and yelling. He
> seemed to
> > trying to provoke an altercation. I freely admit I was upset and a
> > little loud but I was trying to defend my son. I was never violent or
> > out of control. I was just pissed and trying to make some sense out of
> > the situation. When I was told to shut up I did which seemed to further
> > anger Duke. I was only arrested after they put the cuffs on my son. I
> > then told my Husband to find a attorney and quick. This was
> when
> > they arrested me.
> >
> > I was never read my Miranda Rights to this day but the questions they
> > asked me were used in my arrest. Doesn't seem legal to me...
> >
> > My charges of Child Endangerment were due to the fact that we have
> > several legal weapons around a minor. I must inform you my son is an
> > ROTC member with Marine Boot Camp training in weapons, can disassemble/
> > reassemble an M16 on the field. He was also on the Rifle Team last year
> > and is Athletics Team Commander. He also knew our weapons, from target
> > shooting and cleaning. He even pointed out to the Police Weapons Expert
> > how to release the clip and open the bolt chamber as they couldn't. He
> > is very safe and well versed in weapons. I must point point that is
> > legally old enough to have a hunting license. He is also looking to
> join
> > the National Guard on his 17th B-Day, Oct 3rd this yr. Upon his 18th
> > B-Day he was planning a Military career. We are proud of him and is a
> > really good person. We are very upset with all the things being alleged
> > about him.
> >
> > To summarize:
> > We are being persecuted because of my spiritual choices, not being
> > Christian. Lt. Duke has a web page stating his religious beliefs and
> > infertility and adoption problems which leads us to the belief that he
> > can no longer separate his personal feelings from his ability to do his
> > job in an objective manner. He seems to have appointed himself as a
> > personal victim's advocate for allegedly neglected and abused children.
> >
> > The fact that I am a practicing witch is being noted in complaints and
> > warrants against me and my family. It has even been voiced in court
> > along with allegations stating I have cast spells on 2 cops and the
> > luisetti family by the solicitor during proceedings. My familiar
> > pyewacket seems to have been mishandled during the search of our home.
> > She was running and flinching from us the day after. I am very hurt by
> > this. Though this can't be proven, I know my animal and this is not her
> > normal behavior.
> >
> > We have always tried to help others and be good people, so this is very
> > hard for us to deal with. I am lucky to have a very strong supportive
> > circle of friends and family or we would still be in jail. My in-laws
> > had to take the majority of their retirement fund for some 20 thousand
> > dollars to hire a powerful law firm to help us. Though I will never be
> > ashamed of being a witch, I am so very sorry for all the trouble and
> > loss of money it has cost them to stand up for us.
> >
> > The reason for this letter is that we need all the help we can find to
> > fight this. Whether it is positive protective energy, advice, or
> > donations to help pay for this. I will not rest until I have made a
> > difference for all that believe in freedom of religion. I don't want
> > this to just disappear, I want to make a stand for all free thinkers
> > against persecution. We all know the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
> >
> > For all that believe in freedom of choice, please stand behind me or
> > even beside me in court while I fight. I am not a quitter and I have a
> > loud voice. I always stand up for what I believe in, all I ask is to
> not
> > have to stand alone in this. It's time to fight for what we all believe
> > in, not just lie down and take it. I have enclosed the papers that are
> > in my possession to prove my claims. I will include more as they come
> > into my possession. I am not easily scared although they are trying to
> > intimidate us. Threatening phone calls have been made to family and
> > friends even now. In supporting us, you are also supporting yourselves.
> >
> > We are looking to get this story out to as many places as possible. The
> > more people who are aware the harder it will be for them to get aware
> > with it!
> >
> > We NEED your help!!!
> > Blessed be.
> > Rhonda Gruber
> > AKA wickedlilwitch@ <>
> > 843-997-7558 or 843-602-0160 (happy to answer questions)
> >

If you do not think that the ACLU should support someone who is using the word "pagan" and "witch" to hide bad behavior then please please, please email them at:

Same letter as above reproduced in scads of other places including:

Doubts being expressed:

From Stacey's myspace:

No appearances of this story on any news site that I can find, however:
Rhonda and Steven [husband] were both arrested for harassment and for unlawful
neglect of a child...

Rhonda Gruber's tame myspace profile and blog: