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Susan Deily-Swearingen Headshot

Raiding the Closet

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Seems the closet isn't just for homosexuals who fear societal and familial disapproval anymore. It's also for hypocrites who don't want to lose their soap boxes and megaphones. According to a February 28th NOLA.com article, Grant Storms was taken into custody in Metairie Louisiana this past Friday after two women reported seeing him masturbating in his van.

While not a pleasant story, there is nothing particularly remarkable about it until you begin to add in the details. You see, Grant Storms is the Reverend Grant Storms, best known perhaps for his bullhorn rants against the sins of homosexuality. Storms is well known to many New Orleanians as the Christian fundamentalist who condemns the "sinful" participants of Southern Decadence, an annual gay pride celebration in New Orleans' French Quarter. He was caught masturbating in the parking lot near the carousel of a park while "looking at the playground area that contained children playing, with his zipper down..." He was arrested on the charge of obscenity. Pause to let the hypocrisy wash over you.

According to the article, Storms is also a "self-styled 'Christian patriot'" and host of "The Reformer Radio Show" on WSHO. His rants are not limited to homosexuals, but extend to the Catholic Church who he calls "satanic" and "demonic." So virulent are his rants and tactics that, according to the article, "The amplified antics of Storms and his followers [who often carry their own bullhorns] prompted the New Orleans City Council to adopt ordinances banning the use of megaphones and other such devices in the French Quarter, though the law requires a certain decibel meter reading before it can be enforced."

I bring this story to attention not because it is particularly unique or especially surprising. The news of recent years is littered with the stories of those who condemn the behavior of others as "deviant" while they lurk in the shadows committing acts contradictory to their public protestations. Here's a sample from the hit parade, in no particular order:
  1. Mark Foley, one time chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children who sent suggestive emails to Congressional teenage page boys for a period of over 10 years.
  2. Bishop Eddie Long of the mega church Newbirth Missionary Baptist Church in Gainesville Georgia who, true to form, preaches against the sin of homosexuality. His ministry even includes programs to "cure" homosexuals of their affliction and encouragement of his parishioners to support anti-gay legislation. However as reported by The New York Times a law suit filed by one of Long's parishoners, a 20-year-old man named Maurice Robinson, "Defendant Long has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship," and plying them with gifts such as cars and vacations.
  3. Mark Souder whose website declares "The family plays a fundamental role in our society.... I am committed to preserving traditional marriage, the union of one man and one woman... I am committed to fighting the assault on American values" but who couldn't have believed in a marriage with only one woman that much since he had an affair with one of his staffers and subsequently resigned.

[I could go on ad nauseum, but space considerations prevent it. You get the idea...]

For all their alarmism about "deviant" behavior (i.e. two people who happen to be of the same gender marrying and creating a family), they are the ones who end up getting caught engaged in behavior that is actually deviant and often criminal (i.e. fetishistic sexual acts, coercion of the under-aged, use of illicit drugs, forsaking of marriage vows etc.).

Perhaps this crowing over the downfalls, or "errors in judgment" as these men would have it, wouldn't be as necessary if they would accept that regulating people's private lives, for example who they can love and marry, who they can dance and celebrate with, is none of their business. Why is it that people like Mr. Storms who stray so far from the very real strength that faith and patriotism can hold are the people who stretch it so thin in an effort to hide what they are really up to? Of course it's going to rip down the center exposing him for the fool, and, as it turns out, criminal that he most likely is.

I sincerely hope something is done to keep 'Mr. Bullhorn' far, far away from small children. However, equally as important, I hope something will be done to keep him away from that microphone and bullhorn as well. Just as I wish Messrs Foley, Long, and Souder would now understand how much damage they did during the days when they still had their various pulpits and used them to hurl intolerance and absolute correctness on those of us located downhill now that they no longer have their positions of exalted stature.