Saturday, January 8, 2011

Civil discourse can still take a stand on bigotry

Jennifer Roberts wants you and me to honor Bill James’ opinions.

That’s what she said Tuesday night, near the beginning of a Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners meeting at which Roberts and her fellow commissioners voted on a resolution pledging their support for diversity and tolerance in our community.


The resolution was drawn up in response to James, a District 6 commissioner who last month called homosexuals “sexual predators” in an e-mail to his colleagues, then happily affirmed his remarks in subsequent communications and on his web site.


This is the same Bill James, of course, who has compared illegal immigrants to drug dealers and prostitutes, the one who also said that urban blacks “live in a moral sewer.” If nothing else, his broad brush doesn’t discriminate.


All of which needs to be respected – even honored, said Roberts, who explained to commissioners and gathered citizens that she teaches her children to separate actions and people. As if the voicing of opinions is somehow an involuntary act, like sneezing.


But that respect is what’s necessary, Roberts said, “to keep the discourse a civil discourse.”


Maybe it’s time to get a just a bit less civil.


What did politeness accomplish Tuesday night? We got a thoughtfully worded resolution that opposed, in principle, speech that could hurt others. We also saw several members of Charlotte’s gay community speak eloquently on the issue and remind everyone, with their presence, that there’s pain at the other end of the arrows people fling.


But then, after all that, James mocked the night and his fellow commissioners. He told everyone he had no problem with the resolution because he wasn’t named in it – and besides, “it won’t really accomplish anything.” Then, to prove his point, he brought up the sexual predator thing all over again.


A couple of caveats here: Civility is important, of course, and none of us should devolve into name-calling, nastiness or violence. And Roberts is correct, somewhat, about opinions – James has a right to believe and say that he believes homosexuality is immoral.


But when James declares that homosexual acts run counter to North Carolina’s Crimes Against Nature laws, as he did Tuesday, might one of his colleagues note that the U.S. Supreme Court trumped the law eight years ago by ruling that states can’t arrest adults for what they consent to do privately in their bedroom?


And when James holds up a 23-year-old study that showed 86 percent of men who molest boys say they were homosexual, might one of his colleagues note that the American Psychological Association, in a study of more recent research, concluded that homosexual men are no more likely to abuse children as heterosexual men are? James, avid researcher that he seems to be, surely would find this information handy.

But other than Dumont Clarke reading an email from a local therapist about heterosexual predators, no one challenged what James presented as facts. Yes, it’s easier to be affirmative instead of confrontational, easier to declare the good things we believe instead of condemning the bad things someone says. I understand, too, the commissioners’ reluctance Tuesday to square up and tackle James’ remarks, which have received nationwide play. No one wants the next snapshot of Charlotte to be public officials getting muddy at a public meeting.


But that’s the thing with bigotry: There’s always a good reason not to confront it. Doesn’t matter if it’s a county commissioner or the racist uncle at the holiday table. It’s easier – for all of us – to look away at that moment, to shrug inside, because nothing we might say would change the behavior, right?


That’s what commissioners did Tuesday night. One, Republican Karen Bentley, managed to call James remarks “out of line.” Another, Vilma Leake, lamented James’ history of inflammatory behavior. But they concluded, ultimately, that a formal censure wouldn’t stop Bill James from being Bill James.

Maybe they’re right. Maybe, too, this was a topic that never should have reached the agenda of a board meeting. But it did, and Tuesday was an opportunity to make it worthwhile. It was a chance to send a different message to the gay kid who gets called a slur or worse, to the two women who were told last month at a Charlotte bar that “We don’t want to serve lesbians here.”


And also, send a message to the people on the giving end of that bile, the ones who don’t merely disagree with someone’s behavior, but demonize it.


That’s what Bill James did last month – and again Tuesday. And once again, his colleagues sat civilly quiet, content to raise their hands for what they think is right, but not point their finger at what they know is wrong.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's called freedom of speech and the right to have an opinion... whether you like what that person has to say or not. It's a double-edged sword at times, but that's one of the good things that makes America work. Just because you don't like the message doesn't mean any one of us should resort to being less civil towards that individual.

pstonge said...

Anon, 11:35: Thanks for the comment. I'm not saying we should be rude to Bill James or anyone who deals in bigotry - just that we shouldn't be so civil that we decline to confront it.

Also - now that we're asking for a little less civility, a reminder about comments here. No nastiness or namecalling, please. This is a sensitive topic for many. Let's keep it thoughtful. Thanks.

Peter

Cedar Posts said...

Extremely odd timing calling for "Less" civility considering today's events in Arizona.

wiley coyote said...

I disagree. It DID include James.

Whether you agree or disagree with his comments, Roberts for once, got it right.

Pete, you , like many, want to twist the definition of diversity to fit YOUR mold, YOUR opinion.

The definition of diversity these days depends on who you ask.

I personally believe many in the NAACP are just as racist as some whites like James,they vilify, but they have a right to be bigots as well.

Here's a perfect example of politically correct diversity for ones gain -

When Maurice Bessenger refused to recant his stance on the Confederate Flag and literature he had available in his restaurants, Wal Mart seized an opportunity to make some headlines by deleting all of his products from their stores, citing that "diversity is one of their core values and thus will no longer carry his products.

All major retailers followed suit less they be labeled bigots as well.

Food Lion said this: "core beliefs is respect and diversity and we felt like this issue went against that".

Many people disagree with Mr. Bessenger's views, but to hijack the word diversity and use it in some warped way to gain headlines is just as pathetic as what they say Mr. Bessinger believes.

The same holds true for James, whether you like it or not.

Lance said...

Peter,

I agree with the concept, that bigotry should be confronted. Jennifer Roberts near capitulation of Bill James' bigotry is one of many reasons why she (and he) should have never been re-elected.

Unfortunately, confronting a bigot like James achieves little in the grand scheme of things. That sad little man will never change his mind. If I were in his district, I'd probably run against him every election year, just to be that gnat in his ear, even though the voters of that district are too dumb or 'tolerant' to accept a primary challenge against such a small minded person.

Anonymous said...

well said. It is an outrage that this kind of vitrol is tolerated in a public official. His peers had a responsibility and they failed, now there is a taint on all of them regarding effectiveness and ability to navigate difficult situations that call for action.

pstonge said...

Cedar Posts: You make a point I thought about a lot today, and I want to be clear, as I was in the column, that in no way does being less civil mean resorting to name-calling, nastiness or violence. It means pointing out bigotry when we see it.

Thanks,

Peter

Anonymous said...

Bill James is making fools out of the entire board. He is making Charlotte appear as though it were some red-neck, po-dunck, backwoods side show with his bigoted remarks toward to citizens of Charlotte. I suspect though his remarks will bring much needed attention to the gay community from the rest of the nation in the favor of the homosexuals. Bill you are your own worst enemy!

Anonymous said...

I personally think homosexuality is immoral. Now it seems we are bin bombarded with it. Look at the TV shows Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters. Or Grey's Anatomy. It is being shoved down our throats. Every other episode of House Hunters seems to involve gays. Enough is enough already.

In schools like CMS "gay is good" is being taught and applauded at young ages in the name of diversity. I have not found posted in schools here like some districts but they are coming. Parents have no idea that this is being taught is some classes. I have seen Christian students criticized by teachers and fellow students for their beliefs and asked to leave the classroom.

I don't like discrimination but I still consider homosexuality as immoral and deviant behavior. And media, like the left wing Charlotte Observer, is the champion of this. Hopefully as their subscription rates fall they will go out of business soon.

robert said...

It is "freedom of speech" but remember "the meek shall inherit the earth". To many "Christians" fail to realize Christ came to set us apart from the Draconian BS of the Old Testament

Anonymous said...

As a conservative, I hope that Republicans, or conservatives, remove Mr. James in the next primary. He is making it harder to promote conservative positions or principles, hurting the same causes he claims to support. He has a responsibility to act like a leader or not expect to remain one.

The point he should have been making is how inappropriate it was for Jennifer Roberts to use her tenuous leadership position in such an inappropriate manner. She put even her own party's members into an awkward situation.

And to anyone trying to make a point in these comment sections, you waste your ideas when you use extreme or harsh language. Through your lack of civility (and often grammar) you end up proving the point of your opponents.

Anonymous said...

Someone should have asked Bill James if he was molested as a child, because he has a complex against gays and lesbians or he may be gay and hiding it. It wouldn't be the first time.

Bob said...

Bill James has a right to his opinions and a right to express them in his role as Commissioner. He does not have the right to slander, which is what he did. He used his public office to spread damaging lies about a whole group of citizens. He repeatedly name calls and puts down whole groups of people. He should be censured. Bullies must be confronted. The board backed down. The status quo in this town is preserved. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the truth is a hard pill to swallow.

However you define it, trying to make all people equal to one another, is the most losing proposition this country has ever forced upon its citizenry.

Politeness and political correctness are one of the many lubricants helping slide this country into a oneway downward spiral.

When you lose that defining edge of what should be, and what should not be...you lose the barometer of standard measure from which to make decisions.

Ultimately reproduction is the only purpose we have, something homosexuals just cannot do. Darwin that.

ThaQueenCity said...

I have to say even though I agree with James politics, most of the time, I do not agree with the way he goes about it.

But I have top be honest, the DADT doesn't affect me one way or the other. I am not in the military and I really think those who are in the service should have decided this, not a bunch of suits in Washington. Just my opinion.

I also think Roberts had no business bringing up sending a letter to any federal agency about a law that has nothing to do with BOCC business. Just proves a little power can really go to some one's head.

I hope next election the people get it right and get her out. As far as James, not a lot anyone can do there unless someone decides to run against him, maybe now someone will?

We need a lot more balance and we need the parties to STOP dividing the country and citizens! Both of these folks I mentioned ENJOY keeping people divided!

The shooting in Arizona should be a lesson to us ALL!

Anonymous said...

The County Commissioners have denounced his remarks many times.
Maybe what you are indirectly saying Pete. is you want the censure. (Right?)
The commission continues to delay censure due to the their beliefs that 1st amendment rights are sacred. They are.
The voters should determine who represents them not the commission. The voters elected him and the other commissioners don't want to look like they are playing politics by eliminating an 'adversary'.
Censuring him is essentially taking his district's voter's voice away. They don't want to deal with the backlash for censuring him.
I personally believe they are letting him dig himself a hole here. If he didn't sign the diversity statement, they could have justified censuring him. Because he did sign it, next time he says something offensive, they pull out the agreement which has set a higher standard of conduct that he agreed to. Whamo! Censure.
Jennifer Roberts is incredibly gifted at political strategy as she has proven time and again (regardless of what anyone thinks of her agendas).

Anonymous said...

A public official who exercises his right to speak to hurt other human beings is just plain and simple WRONG. since moving here I have come to realize that our local leaders are bad about challenging their colleagues on many issues. the commissioners and School Board members are so in to public image that they are ineffective when it comes to thoughtful debate on issues.

Anonymous said...

In response to Wiley Coyote January 8, 2011 11:53 PM
- I read you post. I agree with the opinion that 1st amendment rights should be protected.
Separately - you listed some controversial statements and unjust things committed by the NAACP and Maurice Bessenger.
First of all, last time I looked 2 wrongs don't make a right.
Second, the NAACP and Food Lion are not the government, and are not elected to speak for all of the people in their jurisdiction.
There is an implied expectation that a person holding the seat will maintain a certain level of respect
for those they represent.
Food Lion and the NAACP are large private organizations not individuals officially serving the public and a distinction needs to be made there.

Anonymous said...

Wilma Leak is worse than Mr. James however when you call her out she calls you a racist.

If The Observer would quit giving Mr. James all this publicity he may just go away. Ignore him would be the best option.

Anonymous said...

Annonymous January 9, 2011 12:19 AM:
It is obvious that you don't think homosexuality is morally acceptable, and you feel like society is being eroded by pressure to accept/become homosexuality.
Regardless, can't Bill James and others who feel threatened by homosexuality and it's growing acceptance of it in our society, express their ideas in a respectful civilized way? is that too much to ask?

ThaQueenCity said...

To: ANON JANUARY 9, 2011 12:47 AM

Well put, and I totally agree!

Anonymous said...

In response to Annonymous: January 9, 2011 12:06 AM

"Bill James is making fools out of the entire board. He is making Charlotte appear as though it were some red-neck, po-dunck, backwoods side show with his bigoted remarks toward to citizens of Charlotte."
----
- Just an FYI. Bill James does not live in Charlotte and he sits on the County Commission (not Charlotte City Council)

Anonymous said...

I understand completely what Jennifer Roberts is attempting to do and I understand what you are saying Peter. In fact, I agree with all of it. My concern is simply that, regardless of Bill James' religious feelings or moral opinions, he was elected under American guidelines to be a representative of all the constituents of his district. That means he represents them regardless of race, age, gender or SEXUAL ORIENTATION. What Mr. James is effectively saying is that it is perfectly okay for him to disregard a federal law which makes him ineffective to be a public official. Mr. James can speak his opinions to family and close friends along with church members all he wants, all day and night long. But when it comes to stepping into his public and political office, he MUST remember that, regardless of how his constituents lead their personal lives, he is there to represent them in the political ring. That's what is so concerning to me over this whole situation. Mr. James is not upholding the rules of his office. He should, in the least be reprimanded but at most be asked to step down and give his office over to someone who can fairly and equitably represent all in his district, regardless of their private, personal lives.

Anonymous said...

All Bill James could have said is that he dissaproves of homosexuality and DADT repeal. End of story. Instead he decided to be nasty and personal.

Mark said...

There are several points already stated that I agree with including the essences of Mr. St. Onge's article (and to misquote Daniel Moynihan): individual's are entitled to their opinions and beliefs, no matter how abhorrent they may be; however, what they are not entitled to is their own facts.

Civil discourse resides in being able to understand the line between the two and discuss the facts without one's personal opinions interfering.

Being humans, I think we are emotional beings that have issues with that. Being American's we have a strong sense of pride and value in personal beliefs that further blurs the line in our minds between what is fact and not.

I think this is why we love calling ourselves a law-abiding nation, for where there is a law the debate is somewhat easier to call on what is fact and what is opinion. Obviously one may disagree with the law and their reach, but in the end it is something that more cleanly divides in people's mind what side of the issue they fall on (fact or personal belief). For an example see the above story with James citing the NC statue and the counter point in the article about the Federal law.

So what are we to do?

Obviously I think the most important thing is to remind ourselves with every issue that we face that we have a personal responsibility to examine if we are feeling strongly about a fact or a belief.

On a less theoretical basis, I think we should force ourselves to own our opinions.
Which makes it harder to fight so strenuously (and sometimes maliciously) for them when we know the facts may not necessarily support them.

One way to do this is to place your name in every comment you make on a site. If you are hesitant to make statements that are not "anonymous" or with a non-identifying user name then ask yourself if the statement is worth making in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Real ignorance bigotry and racism exists with these closed minded bully pc libs intolerant of any who reject or challenge their perverse view of morality else they threaten to censor 1st amendment free speech.

Civil law is based on the commandments and OT where homosexuality is an abomination and where Soddom and Gomorrah was destroyed.

Liberalist perversion views have absolutely zero biblical support but rather the opposite. Lucky for them they do have the 1st amendment of free speech so they better thank the conservative christian Founding Fathers who could have easily called for the execution of liberals such as homosexuals and other immoral acts as Muslims practice with their Quran.

Thank you again conservative christian Founding Fathers who created America in spite of all these ungrateful closed minded bigoted liberals from the dark side underworld who take their privleges and rights for granted and even try to bastardize the Constitution and ancient laws on morality. Ignorance is as ignorance does.

pstonge said...

Good morning, and thanks for the thoughtful discussion. A few thoughtful comments also were sandwiched around some namecalling, so they didn't make it. Let's keep that in mind please.

Anon, 7:22: I think we disagree on how frequently or strongly the commissioners have condemned James' remarks, and I don't see censure as having an impact on his district's voice (unless that voice is inflammatory, I suppose.) But you have an interesting theory.

Thanks...

Peter

Anonymous said...

Roberts tried to "bully" the commission as if she owned them. James responded with an email voicing his opinion. He then took it to the next level and played the fools. I don't agree with his nor her position. A typical waste of time for the commission. The circus came early this year to Charlotte.
Tom

Larry said...

Peter: I thank the Observer and everyone for helping us in Charlotte and the surrounding area for already deciding this issue.

It sames us so much brain power, which some in the media and Government must think we have little of today.

All the Media made sure the National Groups opinions were on the pages every day, and Jenniiffer, and any one who had a utterance against Bill was quoted ad infinitum.

However we folks here in District Six who voted in Bill and Support him, oh and who were called some of the most horrid names you can imagine in the comment section, were not asked and were not called back by your writers at the Observer for even a shout out.

The www.Minthill.org www.MatthewNC.org and www.SouthCharlotte.org sites are just a few examples of the groups which have fully supported Bill James in the past and will do so now. We do not always agree with what he says and how he says it but the same is true with other Commissioners who get by with less time in the media over things they say that just as divisive to the community.

Just to review, Jenniffer and her gang did not want to do a debate last year because the group doing it this time around was not a liberal group? The Observer shamed them into doing it. Now they are back on top with their moral compass for the community both liberal and conservative?

What is this the race to the Democrat party like it still 2009 in Charlotte convention in 2012 and we have to make them look good not matter what?

Larry said...

A tale of two cities:

Go to www.Ettolrahc.com

If you missed the live discussions:

And see how the Observer waited for Jennifer to type out her long winded responses and they treated her differently before they let the next comment come on.

Even later when the Moderator asked comments they make sure you knew it was their questions.

Then on Bills day they just let them rip so it appeared as they wanted and I knew they would a flood gate. But we have a few people from District six supporting Bill and the getting the real comments in.

So see how the Observer spins go to www.Ettolrahc.com and see how fair this so called fair Observer really is to us.

Anonymous said...

8:32 wins.

Thank you , Peter, for the article.

tony capranica said...

Tons of, he said, she said, and no work gets done in a time of financial crisis.
The board can pass two proposals; Bill, gays aren't going away, deal with it.
Rest of board, Bill's not going away, deal with it.
Now, stay on point and get to work.

Anonymous said...

Bill James is right about one thing for sure.

Stupid "resolutions" don't mean a thin.

He is right to mock them.

Anonymous said...

Can an individual not have an opinion? Why can a business owner not decide who he chooses to serve? The rights of the not politically correct are being forgotten. It is my decision whether to let someone on my property or in my home; it should also be a business owner's rights.

wiley coyote said...

Anon 7:35...

I know Food Lion and the NAACP are not government entities and that two wrongs don't make it right.

James however has a right to his opinion and if the people in his district don't like his opinion, they can vote him out of office.

That's the way our government works.

I feel Vilma Leake, Roberts, Clarke, Cogdill and Dunlap are just as lousy BOCC reps as James and would like to see all of them take a hike. Unfortunately, my vote can only affect change with two of the at-large reps which don't include James or Leake.

Coaltown Lioness said...

"Maybe it’s time to get a just a bit less civil."

Perhaps an unfortunate use of words, just as Bill James.

In fact you have passed beyond an opinion to a call to action.

Look deeply in the shaving mirror & examine your conscience.

Zon said...

Tolerance is not a two-way street. Either a person tolerates and respects a diverse set of people they may not agree with or understand, or they don't. And we should have no tolerance for the latter. Being intolerant of intolerance is our responsibility as human beings.

And those of us who do have respect, or at least try to, are too nice to the lunatic fringe that clings to their bigotry and hatred, their backwards thinking that keeps us mired in the past. Those individuals have forfeited their rights to have people tolerate their opinions and hateful speech. I would have more respect for Jennifer Roberts if she stood up on the concil floor and called James what he is, a lier, a racist, a bigot, and a homophobe. And then called the voters that put in him office out for supporting such a backwards hate-monger.

Anonymous said...

The truth hurts, but God bless brother Bill James

Meckcommish said...

I was asked a question I responded with specifics (and a study). Now, liberals are mad I stated my opinion with clarity. The only 'bullies' I have seen around here are the homosexual activists making threats.

To Peter:

“But when James declares that homosexual acts run counter to North Carolina’s Crimes Against Nature laws, as he did Tuesday, might one of his colleagues note that the U.S. Supreme Court trumped the law eight years ago by ruling that states can’t arrest adults for what they consent to do privately in their bedroom?”

Um…………….. I never said they could arrest them in private did I?
Lawrence V Texas did NOT overturn NCGS 14-177 – just prohibited the prosecution of acts in a ‘private’ setting (you alluded to this in your quote).

There is a big difference however between the US Supreme Court eliminating a law and the US Supreme Court narrowing enforcement of a law. In NC it is still a criminal act and therefore Homosexuals are viewed as… (well you know).

Of Course, I am not a lawyer (but I do have friends that are). From what I have been told repeatedly (even by homosexual activists who begrudgingly agree) is that while someone can’t be prosecuted for a consenting act done in private – that doesn’t mean that North Carolina says it is legal (or that the US Supreme Court requires us to). The act is still illegal in NC and therefore the behavior is not considered ‘normal’ under NC law. The law stigmatizes homosexual conduct in much the way it stigmatizes prostitution.

Another Court Case (1998 I think) – Pulliam V Smith from the NC Supreme Court determines that homosexual men should lose their parental rights because homosexual behavior is illegal and prurient.

Ultimately, perhaps the reason some on the board didn’t banter back and forth is that they knew I was correct and had the facts to back up what I said (even though they disagreed with it).

I could have had 500 studies and 1,000 PHD’s but the reaction from those reactionaries would have been the same.

If folks think it is unfair that homosexual conduct is still illegal or stigmatized by the State of North Carolina – go to Raleigh and change it. Propose legislation that changes Pulliam V Smith. I am not in favor of doing it but you and others should have the right to propose it. People have been doing it for decades and even with the D’s were in charge – they got Bubkis.

Heck – even the D’s locally could have supported ANY of those things the last 14 years in their legislative package or even a ‘non-discrimination’ ordinance to protect sexual orientation in public accommodation. It is interesting to me that in Charlotte, NC it was brought up in 1993 and killed and the City Council went GOP for the first time in a long time. A non-discrimination ordinance would prevent a landlord from removing a renter because of their behavior (now done).

Ultimately – they (and you) talk a good game about ‘diversity’ but that is about it. Unless of course you are going to start some rallies to get this stuff changed up there. Otherwise – just hot air (or hot ink).

The article was a fun read however inaccurate in spots it might have been.


Bill James, BOCC, R

Anonymous said...

To Tom (8:36) and Larry (8:49), since we are speaking here of getting facts straight--let us do so. 1)Jennifer did not try to "bully" the Commission. She wrote a letter--a personal letter from herself alone. It was never intended to be a formal proclamation on behalf of the board. Commissioner James does the very same thing all the time.2) The cancellation of the debate had nothing to do with the venue but it had everything to do with the fact that the debate organizers behaved in a very unprofessional manner and changed the terms and conditions of the debate constantly. They misrepresented many of the conditions. When the campaigns' staff members made some calls to news outlets and others to corroborate what the debate organizers stated and found the statements to be bogus, the brakes were put on the debate until the campaigns and the candidates could all be fully briefed. The candidates decided to go ahead with the debate despite the deliberate misinformation. The Observer did not "shame" the candidates into it. The candidates were chomping at the bit to debate. Facts matter.

Mark said...

@ "Anonymous" 8:32 May I ask where you stand on clean-shaven men? How about cotton-polyester blend cloth? Am I correct in assuming your literal belief of the bible that you are also waging a campaign against the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden for their Orchid Conservatory?

If you have any confusion about my questions, see my previous comment.

I think you are arguing selective facts which is quite disingenuous of you.

Anonymous said...

Inflamed comments, what ever the subject, without facts are what has myself, and many others so infuriated with politics all together

Anonymous said...

Bigotry is a two way street that cuts both ways. St Onge is clearly an intolerant closed minded liberal bigot.

pstonge said...

Folks,

Sorry for the delay in moderating comments. Just got back from church.

To Bill: The thrust of your comments, here and in the past month, is that homosexuals are sexual predators and, according to N.C. law, are behaving criminally. If I have that wrong, please tell me.

The study you cited regarding predatory behavior has long been declared fundamentally flawed because of sample size and methodology, and as I said in the column, the American Psychological Association concluded after reviewing years of research that heterosexuals are just as likely to be child predators.

As far as N.C. law goes - I'm also no lawyer, but people much more knowledgeable in the law than either of us say that homosexuality is not illegal in North Carolina, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Public acts, both homosexual or heterosexual, are against the law. Also, the Crime Against Nature statute you cite does not say anything specifically about homosexuality - in fact, it's vague enough that it's been used in prosecuting heterosexual acts, including solicitation of prostitutes.

So, while anyone can disagree - or even struggle with homosexuality - demonizing homosexuals as criminals and predators is not only dangerous, but inaccurate.

Peter

Anonymous said...

James. Throw a few rocks into a pack of dogs and the ones who get hit yip the loudest.
roflmya

Anonymous said...

Dear Annon:

When I sent the e-mail to Jennifer and the other Commissioners I did have 'facts' to back up what I said.

In particular a scientific study refered to as 'Erickson' that showed that 26% of the boys (14 and under) were molested by 'men' and of those men molesting boys, 86% were self-described homosexuals.

Since studies show that male homosexuals are 2% of the population (2008 election exit polling) but account for about 1/4 of the molestations of boys - this seems like a pretty clear trail of predation (predatory behavior).

Basically that means that for every 10 male homosexuals you meet, one is likely to have molested a boy if the scientific study is correct.

This predatory factor (to me) means that the repeal of DADT requires that the military brass protect young men and women from predatory behavior in much the same way that Commissioner Pendergraph outlined a predator that went after him when he was drafted years ago at the age of 19 (his company clerk I believe).

Of Course, he referred to it as a 'bad scene' so it would be up to him to provide the details of what exactly the clerk did (or tried to do to him and others).

Either way - I had the facts to back up what I said to Jennifer in my response.

Here is a challange to the D's - CHANGE THE LAW, gather the stats on Mecklenburg molestations of boys and lets see if there is a predatory problem.

If 2% do 1/4 of the crime then that group should be closely examined and watched and procedures put into place to protect children. Everyone knows this.

The only 'sin' I am guilty of is discussing the matter in the open, angering homosexual activists and liberals in general around the US.

That isn't 'bigotry' (a liberals fav word) but the truth. In a PC world, the truth is the most offensive thing a politician can utter.

Bill James
BOCC R

Anonymous said...

Here is the problem Peter - you want to assume that 'Lawrence' overturned the law yet the law is still used by the police to make arrests.

You assume that 'Lawrence' overturned the statute but that is not the case. If it were, why are very liberal legislators in Raleigh introducing bills to overturn NCGS 14-177 well after 'Lawrence' was issued?

In addition, the solicitation statute for homosexuals includes verbal solitication of an act even without money. While a guy soliticting a girl without money (is legal); a guy soliciting a guy without money is illegal. This is something that homosexual activists have been upset about for some time and have been pusing the D's in Raleigh to change.

Yet, even with the D's in control of EVERYTHING until this year - no bills could be passed.

It is insulting to readers for you to claim the law isn't in force while homosexuals are in Raleigh trying to get the D's to change the law you claim is dead (and therefore doesn't need changing).

If I had 50 PHD's and 1,000 studies the same objections would be raised.

This isn't about the study which is perfectly valid. This is about you and others trying to silence me because you don't like what I had to say even though I had proof for my commentary.

But hey - take up the challange Peter - let's start gathering the info on who really molests boys in Mecklenburg. The County has (or can get) all the info. Let's start a study and find out if that Erickson study is as 'flawed' as you and others claim.

I am game - are you?


Bill James
BOCC, R

Anonymous said...

Commissioner Bill: I thought you said the law is not enforceable? What is it 250 arrests each year or unenforceable?

James wrote: “Homosexual conduct is illegal in NC (even after Lawrence V Texas). We arrest 250 homosexuals each year in Mecklenburg alone for either a ‘crime against nature’ or ‘solicitation of a crime against nature’. Unlike prostitution (exchanging money), even suggesting homosexual sex is a criminal offense in NC. If we were all that ‘progressive’ would we be arresting 250 homosexuals a year? Setting up sting operations to de-infest areas where they congregate? Point is, if you want to delude yourself that homosexual conduct is ‘ok’ go ahead. The law, the police and the DA however have a different view.”

pstonge said...

Bill,

14-177 is being used to make arrests of sexual acts in public, both heterosexual and homosexual. It's wrong to say it's being used to prosecute homosexuality.

Let's also be clear on something: I'm not trying to silence you. In fact, you have a forum right here. I'm pointing out which comments of yours are inaccurate and, I think, harmful in their inaccuracy.

As far as Meck County numbers go, I agree with you: I would like to see numbers about predatory crimes against children in Mecklenburg.

Thanks,

Peter

Anonymous said...

Pete-

Here is a link to the arrests in Kilbourne Park (Charlotte, NC). You will note that most all (except I think 5) are males arrested for solicitation of a crime against nature of other males.

http://billjames.org/ListBuilder/2004/2004-3-23-County%20Parks.htm

Point being - the County has had to de-infest our parks and the Police run sting operations to arrest homosexuals who use parks as hook up point.

Following that is an article from the Observer from 2004 (an excerpt) outlineing how homosexuals are making County parks unusable (predatory behavior).

Today they want to spin the Erickson study to be somehow out of date without actually doing a study of what is going on here in Mecklenburg.

Then there are the folks that claim that Lawrence overturned NCGS 14-177 and at the same time introduce legislation to fix that law. Clearly, if it was overturned by Lawrence there would be no need to give it another thought.

The stats show that about 250 homosexuals are arrested each year in parks for solicitation of a crime against Nature (or engaging in one).

We also passed an ordinance prohibiting those on the sexual predator 'list' from having the right to even enter a park (something the NC Courts have upheld over liberal objections).

Bill James
BOCC R

The Charlotte ObserverPosted on Thu, Mar. 18, 2004
Neighbors complain of sex in public park


MELISSA MANWARE AND EARNEST WINSTON

A day before a citizen committee planned to discuss complaints about men having sex in Kilborne Park, police on Wednesday made two arrests there and said public sex is a problem in several Mecklenburg parks.

Police say they've been dealing with public sex in various parks for years, but neighbors and patrons of east Charlotte's Kilborne say they fear their park has become distressingly popular in recent months for men seeking anonymous sex with other men.

Mecklenburg commissioners disagree about how to approach the issue, and gay activists warn that county leaders and police should be careful not to label sex in public parks a gay problem. Activists say it involves many men who don't openly live a gay lifestyle.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say many big cities across the country deal with the same issue. They were not immediately able to say how many people have been charged with sex crimes in Mecklenburg County parks in recent years, but said they are compiling the data, which the Observer requested on Friday.

Capt. Tim Jayne said the most complaints come from Kilborne, Reedy Creek, Freedom and Park Road parks, but no park is immune. He said most of the charges are for misdemeanor soliciting crimes against nature, a term used when someone offers or asks for oral or anal sex. Most of those arrested are men.......

Truncated because of posting limit

Anonymous said...

Interesting that we are calling for civility yet Charlotte is hosting the American Reniassance conference this year

pstonge said...

Thanks, Anon 12:31. I'm not saying that Lawrence overturned NCGS 14-177. It said that states can't prosecute what consenting adults choose to do in private settings. So the result of Lawrence in N.C. is that homosexuality is not illegal.

That said, Lawrence does not deal with public acts, which is what the Observer story you cited was about. Public sexual acts, whether homosexual or heterosexual, are prosecutable.

Thanks,

Peter

Anonymous said...

Let's try to remember that Bill James is elected because of his opinions. So, when you disrespect them, you are disrespecting the electorate that votes him into office.

Secondly, Jennifer Roberts intentionally provoked this statement from James with her meaningless vote to applaud the repeal of DADT. Don't try to tell me she didn't know what she was doing.

Anonymous said...

Peter -

I guess this is our core disagreement:

"So the result of Lawrence in N.C. is that homosexuality is not illegal."

To me the result of Lawrence in NC is that illegal acts can't be prosecuted if they occur in private.

If the acts were 'legal' as you assert - liberals in the Legislature would not be trying to change the law over the last 5 years or so. Why change a law that no longer valid or was over-ruled?

You seem to conflate 'not prosecuting certain acts' with the idea that Lawrence make the acts 'legal' (or the law illegal) which is not the case.

Still, this is hardly an issue that demands this much attention. Had Jennifer not sent the BOCC a note I would not have felt required to provide my opinion on an issue that has nothing to do with the County.

We have bigger issues to fry - not the least of which is that Jennifer wants to do reval and leave the tax rate the same.

Doing so will leave most of Mecklenburg County homeowners with a 20% tax hike when the dust settles.

Now that is a real crime against fiscal nature and family budgets.


Bill James
BOCC, R

Anonymous said...

with the right of free speech comes the responsibility of free speech - that is not to use speech to intimidate, threaten, imply or condone violence or make anyone feel unsafe or threatened.

pstonge said...

You're right, Bill. That's where we disagree. The result of Lawrence isn't that illegal acts can't be prosecuted in N.C. if they're done in private. There are plenty of legal acts that still can and are prosecuted, public or private. The result of Lawrence is that these specific private acts are not illegal.

But we do agree on several things. I also think the BOCC has larger fish to fry - and that Jennifer Roberts made a mistake in making her feelings on DADT an issue for the board.

And yes, I also have my eye on the reval/tax issue.

Thanks,

Peter

Anonymous said...

"
It's called freedom of speech and the right to have an opinion... whether you like what that person has to say or not. It's a double-edged sword at times, but that's one of the good things that makes America work. Just because you don't like the message doesn't mean any one of us should resort to being less civil towards that individual."

Right, and the more civilized of us have the same free speech right to point out his bigotry.

Anonymous said...

Peter, This is a big overreaction by some gays, some supporters of gays, the County Board, and the Observer. Bill James is not swaying any minds with his ignorant remarks. IMO he loves the attention. Just let it pass. But then that would be hard to do because some of those crying out against James also love attention. - B.

Anonymous said...

Bill James can keep ranting all hew wants and still think we can round up homosexuals for being what they are. Luckily, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and North Carolina have taken great strides in departing from the persona of the b ackwoods Bible belt and are assimilating with the rest of the free thinking parts of the country such as the Northeast and West Coast. It only takes one moderate republican in the southside to stand up and run in a primary against James. I know there are many more sansible republicans, and conservatives, in that district that could knock him off the pedistal. What are they waiting for? Charlotes is not a hick town anymore. Why do we continue to allow such folks to be in such leadership positions? May the blue county get bluer and shed the backwood vermin making us all look bad.

Anonymous said...

"I think you are arguing selective facts which is quite disingenuous of you.

January 9, 2011 10:49 AM"

"Woe be to those who call evil as good and good as evil ..."

The gist of the entire argument centers around homosexuality and how liberal bigots try to turn G-ods word upside down bastardizing morality and what the OT commands in Levi.
Having a clean face or unshaven beard will not send your soul to hell but was for ancient religious conformity in society.
Immorality issues such as homosexuality however will send your soul to hell eternity. Big difference.
G-d gave man a brain to comprehend his meanings and frivilous challenges are insignificant.

There are the 10 commandments and 7 deadly sins. Read up. Ignorance is no excuse. Intelligent humans understand what they read or are taught.
Follow his rules and commands and you can never go wrong.

Lets commend Roman emperor Constantine in 321 AD who converted the entire Roman empire to a universal one and thus sealed the only true divine truth eternally. Constantine was forever rewarded for his divine actions and so can all mankind who obeys the omnipotent omniscient ones requirements.

Dr. Horrible said...

"Civil discourse"?

Pete, have you seen one tenth of what your fellow leftists are posting about the Arizona shooting?

Civil discourse takes two parties. I see no evidence of a desire for civility from most any leftist. Maybe Howie Kurtz, but that's about it.

On the right, James is the exception. On the left, he's the rule.

Anonymous said...

Pete,
Boy you kicked-up a big one.
I guess you get your "writers bonus" for the week?

Larry said...

I am glad getting civil and kind to each other is finally getting in favor now from the liberal crowd.

Discourse seemed to have been ushered in with that hanging chad thing and suddenly it seems this year people want that civility thing again, I wonder why?

Anonymous said...

All of this begs the question of why Roberts thought the Don't Ask Don't tell policy was part of the portfolio of the County Commission.

Anonymous said...

Mr. James would you please pacify these cry babies, and wash your mouth out with soap. Don't you understand they have absolute knowledge, everyone in the world agrees with them, except you and God.

Anonymous said...

So based on your comments, should I dare say your coming out of the closet Peter?

Anonymous said...

LIBERALS ARE THE ABSOLUTE WORST KIND OF IGNORANT ARROGANT BIGOTED BULLYS.

Anonymous said...

When people are rude, nasty or make unfounded accusations, whether against an individual or a group (or when they laud other people who make such statements):

a) they have a right to voice their opinions (although they can run into slander laws if they get specific enough);

b) people should not hesitate to confront them, and to call BS what it is;

c) people should shun them, and treat them as not fit for civil discourse until they change their approach. Have only formal communication and otherwise treat them like someone you want nothing to do with.

That's what I do with co-workers and acquaintances who say the sort of things as Bill James or proclaim support for him.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's time for you and Mr. Batten to stop taking your homosexuality so seriously. It wastes a lot od editotial space