Sunday, 27 September 2009

That Elephant Is So Gay!

While other bloggers have posted on the elephant-statue silliness at the Calgary Zoo, at first I wanted to post about it too because I love the photo.

Short recap: Kristian nutbar group complains that the statue -- which has been there for two years -- demonstrated 'selective religious partiality' on the Zoo's part. Zoo says: Nertz to you. Must have been a slow news day or maybe photo editors liked the photo too because this silliness gets media coverage.

But who is this Kristian nutbar group? It is Concerned Christians Canada.

From its website (extraneous semi-colon included):
Concerned Christians Canada (CCC) is; working at preserving Christian and parental freedoms, standing as a voice for the unborn and the afflicted, encouraging traditional family values, and pressing for moral leadership in all positions of authority and influence. CCC is also involved in speaking out for Christians who are being persecuted in Canada and speaking out for the rights of the poor.

OK. Now let's hear from wiki:
The group is actively opposed to same sex marriage and operates under a for-profit funding framework.

While the outfit is now fronted by a man named Jim Blake, it was founded by Craig Chandler, whose present connections to the group, according to wiki, are unknown.

Craig Chandler, Craig Chandler. Why does that name seem familiar?

More from wiki:
Chandler, who is from Ontario, caused controversy in August 2007 for comments stating, "You came to here to enjoy our economy, our natural beauty and more. This is our home and if you wish to live here, you must adapt to our rules and our voting patterns or leave. Conservatism is our culture. Do not destroy what we have created.". This statement was strongly criticized by some, including the Premier of Alberta, Ed Stelmach.

Lightbulb! The 'we-don't-need-no-steenking-libtards-in-Alberta' guy.

But wait, there's more.

Chandler also ran for the leadership of the Conservative Party, but there were 'concerns'.
One concern was Chandler's association with a conservative Christian organization (the Concerned Christian Coalition), a group vocally opposed to homosexuality and gay rights. Chandler had been CEO of the organization when a letter was published in the Red Deer Advocate in 2002 by a member of that organization (Stephen Boissoin). In that letter ("Homosexual Agenda Wicked") Boisson suggested that homosexuals were as immoral as pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps, and that gay activists were "perverse, morally deprived individuals who are spreading their psychological disease". After numerous complaints the matter was referred to the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC). During the Commission's hearing in July 2007 Boissoin testified that Chandler was aware of the letter and supported him. On November 30, 2007, the AHRC ruled that the letter broke provincial human rights law and exposed gays to hatred and contempt. In the 81-page decision, Lori Andreachuk of the AHRC wrote "In my view, it is clear that the letter expresses hatred or contempt for a group of persons on the basis of their sexual preference". Prior to the decision and as part of a settlement with the AHRC, Chandler agreed to remove the letter from websites he controlled and further agreed to "cease and desist" from posting messages on the internet stating that homosexuals conspire against society, are sick, diseased or mentally ill, and want to have sex with children. As part of the settlement with the AHRC, Chandler was required to post a formal apology on his website as well as the terms of the settlement.

So, it seems that Concerned Christians are mostly obsessed concerned about teh Gay.

Why then the concern over Ganesha?

I read that wiki entry and found that Ganesha is a pretty groovy god, patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. OK, I can see how a god who cares about arts, science, wisdom, and intellect would get up the collective nose of a bunch of pig-ignorant fundies, but I couldn't find any connection to homosexuality.

Until I hit the bit about how he came to have an elephant head. There are several variants to the tale, including this one:
Another story says that Ganesha was created directly by Shiva's laughter. Because Shiva considered Ganesha too alluring, he gave him the head of an elephant and a protruding belly.

'Nother lightbulb!

He found him alluring??!!!?!1? Off with his head!

Ya think this is the connection between raving homophobes and a joyous statue at a zoo?

Nah, me neither.

BONUS! My sweetie, who is a sculptor, was curious about the piece. I found a link with lots more photos. No mention of the sculptor.


jj said...

That sculpture is full of win! I'd love to have something like that by my front door.

fern hill said...

Check the bonus link, JJ. It's yours for a mere $25,000.

Anonymous said...

That's not gay, that's John Travolta's Saturday Night Fever pose!

Bina said...

Craig Chandler...I think some friends of mine knew him from way back when. I just sent my buddy the link, maybe he can fill us in on this clown. The name rings bells with me...

Bina said...

Hoo-wee, I was right. I just checked Chandler's wiki page, and sure enough, he WAS the Reform-a-Tory candidate in Hamilton, Ontario at the time my friends were living there. They had several unpleasant run-ins with him--not surprising, considering Chandler's obvious and open homophobia.

My friend describes him as your basic self-promoting smarmball. Sounds about right!

Ben Gruagach said...

Back in the 1990s Craig Chandler was at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario. My (same-sex!) spouse was attending McMaster, and I was working in Hamilton. We were pretty involved in the GLBT community at McMaster and helped run the weekly GLBT radio show.

Chandler was pretty well known on campus as a conservative crackpot. He was always up to some scam or other, always involving him becoming Supreme Conservative Leader Who Must Always Be Obeyed. He didn't have many friends.

We did an interview with him for the GLBT radio program once during an election period. He bragged to us off-air about how he had all this financial backing (daddy) so that he'd be able to devote himself completely to working on his political goals rather than having to hold a "real" job.

Craig was more than willing to jump to whatever conservative-themed group seemed to be most likely open to his stepping in and taking over. When we did the interview with him he was all about the Reform party (Preston Manning's little gang). I wasn't surprised to see him try to jump into the federal Conservative party a few years later when it got devastated after a federal election (remember the jokes: "Conservatives: party of two"?) Craig probably saw it as perfect for his little takeover attempts.

It was also inevitable that Craig would migrate to Alberta as there is just too much diversity in Ontario for dear old Craig. It makes it hard to sell the borderline racist scaremongering political snakeoil that Craig is always peddling.

And it doesn't surprise me that Craig might have a connection with an extremist Christian group with nothing better to do than to complain about a statue of a dancing elephant.

By the way -- back when Craig did the interview for our GLBT radio show in the 1990s, he promised us that he would push for GLBT rights. None of us on the radio team (or in the GLBT community in Hamilton) believed his promise would ever be kept of course. That's Craig -- promising everything to whoever he's with at the time, all to try and get some sort of limelight and maybe a spot as Dear Leader.

k'in said...

What? The wingnuts got tired of "the war against purple teletubbies" and have decided to take on elephant statues? Jerry "dirt-napping" Falwell would be so proud.

Gordie_Canuk said...

Well well...I'm not gay, but look at that sexy pachyderm (sp?)mmmmmmm. Thank god the fundies are there to save me from myself, I wouldn't have even known its a sin.

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