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Give Him A New Nib to Right His Life: Thoughts on George Alan Rekers

My readers might be surprised that I often draft The (who knows if it will ever live up to its name) Daily Dose of the Good (And Not So Good) Words by hand, with a fountain pen. Writing longhand is a sensual, sometimes mystical, experience for me. Sometimes it is close to a religious rite. Ideas flow as my hand slides the instrument across the page. My wand makes a magic of letters strung together into words strung together into sentences; sentences that have strung up a little bit of meaning.

The nib of my fountain pen is broken, and I cannot get into the groove. To misquote a Bo Carter blues song, “my pen won’t write no more.” I had to switch from the frustrating fountain pen to a pencil, and while I know it is good to not caught in ruts; that I should be able to work some magic with any number of instruments, I must admit that it isn’t quite the same. I want my pen to work. I want my words to flow.

The broken nib of my pen makes me think of George Alan Rekers, the anti-gay ex-gay gay scholar and “activist” recently caught traveling with a “Rent Boy.” In true Southern Hyperbole round-about storytelling style, I won’t come back to the image of the broken nib until (much, much) later on. Many of you know the details of the story: Rekers goes on a trip with a “Rent Boy,” claims that he hired “Lucien” to carry his luggage and when Lucien comes clean about what he was hired to handle- “the long stroke” is not in the porter handbook, though we could argue that Lucien is a type of pullman- Rekers is caught with his “liar, liar, pants on fire” down.

I encourage any readers who are not up on male escort services to give the Rent Boy website a peek. I think there can be no doubt that Rent Boys are expert baggage handlers.

Though jealousy may be a sin, I’m jealous as hell. I want some Rent Boys to join my ever growing (I wish) Army of Alter(ed) Boys. Why should preachers who are against hot bi and homosexual men get to hire them?

Let us pray.

(On your knees).

Please god-that-we-may-or-may-not-believe in, pretty please with sugar on top, send a sugar daddy or momma (or multiples in any combination) Bishop Bishop’s way so she may hire hotties to carry the metaphorical luggage of Bishop Bishop’s Mission to save the whole wide world and little old you.

Perhaps, I should pull an Oral . . . Roberts and claim that god will suck me (excuse me while I fan myself) up to heaven if y’all don’t give me enough money to hire a couple of Rent Boys to go on tour with me. Operators are standing by. (Seriously, y’all give me enough money, I’ll finally go on a super-fantabulous revival tour, and I promise- cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my . . .- I’ll hire some Rent Boys).

But enough about me, back to Rekers. With a slew of abbreviations for academic degrees behind his name, Rekers is a co-Founder, with the infamous James “Focus on the Family” Dobson, of the Family Research Council, an organization known to be pro-beat-your-children-to-prove-you’re-the-boss-and-‘cause-god-gets-off-on-it and against anything and everything about homosexuals getting married, having/adopting children, having rights, breathing.

Rekers also is an officer of NARTH (National Association of Research & Therapy on Homosexuality), which has a gay old time trying to turn the gay into the ex-gay and trying to take the Les out of Bos. He has testified in court against gay adoption in Florida, against gay Boy Scout leaders and published lots of articles about how to correct “gender disturbance” using what some have called aversion therapy.

Rekers is up to his armpits in that famous river in Eygpt, the one that you can, without a doubt, step into twice, denial. Rekers is quotes in a Salon.com article saying,

If you talk with my travel assistant that the story called “Lucien,” you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse, and I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him in great detail.

Of course the old saw “Jesus spent time with sinners” is, in this case, more of the plaintive whine “Jesus made me do it.” It is easy to be angry about the hypocrisy of this man who has done so much harm. It is easy to mock him as Stephen Colbert did, which, truth be told, I found laugh aloud funny. And I think that the George Rekers Luggage Carriers, Inc. Facebook Fanpage is genius.

It is easy to be angry; it is easy to mock. I have done both. I’d like to suggest that we also let ourselves see and feel the heartbreak of his fucked to hell life.

The Family Research Council, motivated by the unsurprisingly unChristian desire to not be associated with anyone “tainted,” promptly put up a message disavowing any connection between Rekers and the Family Research Council. And NARTH, while not as cold blooded as Family Research Council, is awkwardly shifting away from the splash that Rekers has made “falling on the baggage carrier.” As of May 11th, Rekers has resigned from NARTH.

I imagine that right now, in between spates of self-righteous sputtering of denial, he feels lonely and ashamed.

Part of me grieves for how twisted up with hate and confusion Rekers must be. He has put a nib on his life that won’t let his ink flow. The ink still is there but all he gets from his pen are ugly scratches and jagged words. He marks up his life page, he marks up our collective pages with poor penmanship.

But he is not solely responsible for the broken nib on his pen. There were/are forces beyond his control that screwed on that broken nib and make it difficult for him choose a new one. He is a 61 year old Southern Baptist. When has it been safe for him to be who he is?

I am not absolving him of responsibility, but I think it is important to remember just how fucked up we still are about anyone who does not follow the straight and narrow. I knew people, back in the early 1990’s, who tried to commit suicide when they realized they were gay. Many young people, because life unfortunately isn’t an Ugly Betty dramedy, don’t have a Marc St. James in their life to help them accept who they are. And considering how many LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) youth still try to commit suicide, too often successfully, specifically because they are afraid of what it means to be LGBTQ, perhaps we can, for a moment, be sad that the combination of a cruel culture, a lack of supporting allies and something in his personality meant Rekers hated himself enough to write that hate in big bold letters on other people’s lives.

George Alan Rekers cannot flow.

I mourn for the man he could have been. I mourn for the man he will not be. Perhaps he will find some redemption. Perhaps he will realize that his pen doesn’t write, that his ink doesn’t flow, that it is time to put a new nib on his pen.

Replacing his broken nib would not erase all the marks against him. It cannot erase all the harmful marks he has made. We write our lives with indelible ink. We cannot erase our pasts, but we can make new sentences for ourselves. If he chose to fix his pen, if he chose a new nib, it might set an example for other young men and women poised to take up pens with broken nibs with which to write their lives.

He could help write a new story for all of us. I doubt that he will, but I pray that his does.

Please god that I may or may not believe, please let George Alan Rekers accept who he is, in all his horrible and wonderful complexity. Give him and us a new, never completely clean slate to write on. Help him repair the awful damage he has done to others. Heal the awful damage done to him. Give him the strength to take off the broken nib, to put a new nib on his pen. Let him right his life. Please let his life flow.

Amen.

Awomen.

Pretty please with sugar on top?

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