First published at 365gay.com on May 7, 2010
So, we have a new line to add to the file labeled “Seriously?!?”—alongside Reverend Ted Haggard’s “I bought the meth but didn’t use it,” ex-gay leader John Paulk’s “I had to use the bathroom and had no idea it was a gay bar,” Rep. Eric Massa’s “I’m just a salty old sailor,” and Senator Larry Craig’s “I have a wide stance.”
Now add Reverend George Rekers’ “I hired him to lift my luggage.”
As a co-founder (with James Dobson) of the conservative Family Research Council, a board member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), and an author of numerous anti-gay works, Dr. Rekers is a major right-wing figure.
And so he did what any straight, family-oriented Baptist minister would do when looking for someone to carry his luggage on a ten-day European excursion. He went to rentboy.com and hired a prostitute.
I can’t make this stuff up.
The Miami New Times broke the story [http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2010-05-06/news/christian-right-leader-george-rekers-takes-vacation-with-rent-boy/1] this week, complete with details from 20-year-old blond Puerto Rican rentboy “Lucien’s” profile: his “smooth, sweet, tight ass,” his “perfectly built 8 inch cock (uncut)” and the fact that he’ll “do anything you say as long as you ask.” These are important attributes for travel assistants, no doubt.
A blogger at Unzipped.net [http://blog.unzipped.net/2010/05/meet-homophobe-george-rekers-rentboy-fuck-slut-lucien.html] quickly uncovered the rentboy’s profile, which identifies him as Boynextdoor/Geo and was purged of some of the earlier sexual content; the profile has since been removed from the site to protect the young man’s privacy.
(Incidentally, we SHOULD protect the young man’s privacy. 20-year-olds don’t typically go into prostitution because it’s the best among many excellent job opportunities.)
Lucien/Geo is the same age as a son that Rekers adopted four years ago, which might not be relevant were it not for Rekers’ vigorous opposition to adoption by gays. Rekers testified in favor of nasty homosexual adoption bans in both Arkansas and Florida. Indeed, on the blog page [http://professorgeorge.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/misleading-internet-reports-about-professor-george-rekers/] where he repeats his lame luggage excuse, there’s a link labeled “Should homosexuals be allowed to adopt children?” This leads to a page full of outright falsehoods, including:
“Large research studies consistently report that a majority of homosexually-behaving adults have a life-time incidence of one or more psychiatric disorders, while a majority of heterosexually-behaving adults do not suffer a psychiatric disorder…. So my professional conclusion that homosexually-behaving adults should not be allowed to adopt children is based on research and logic.”
And perhaps personal experience.
This is not funny. It is not even sad. It’s disgusting. And I’m tired of feeling sorry for these people.
As the Gay Moralist, I like to give all people the benefit of the doubt. It’s not a strategy so much as a matter of empathy. I was once a closeted homosexual conservative myself, and I came close to entering the Catholic priesthood. I often wonder whether, had my life gone slightly differently—different influences, different opportunities, different choices—I’d be missing truths that seem obvious to me now.
I even wonder whether I might have acted out sexually in inappropriate ways—hiring male prostitutes privately while railing against homosexuality publicly, or hitting on college seminary students (not children) in my priestly care. While I’m no longer a believer, the phrase “There but for the grace of God” still resonates with me.
I am not denying that we’re responsible for our choices and actions. I’m simply saying that there are often mitigating factors beyond observers’ ken. I don’t know Rekers personally, and I can only make an educated guess at what demons he wrestles with.
But I know from hard experience that the best way to tame demons is to start being honest with yourself and others. That, instead of using self-respecting gays as a proxy for whatever internal foes you’re fighting.
Unsurprisingly, not even Rekers’ religious-right buddies are buying his “lift my luggage” line, or his more recent claim (in a message to blogger Joe.My.God) that he spent time with the youth in order to share the Gospel: “Like John the Baptist and Jesus, I have a loving Christian ministry to homosexuals and prostitutes in which I share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them.” [http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2010/05/dr-george-rekers-patron-of-male.html]
Lift his luggage? Share the Good News? These lines make great double-entendres for late-night comedians (“Is that what the kids are calling it these days?”) but they don’t get Rekers a whit closer to addressing his real baggage.