Archive for the Category » Ministry «

The Apology: The Church could start by asking for forgiveness.

The following article titled 'The Apology' is pulled directly from Dr. Stewart Edser's Website 'Being Gay, Being Christian'. I felt compelled to reproduce his wonderful article for posterity, if, for some reason, his should go off-line. Please do not read it here. Click on over to his site Being Gay, Being Christian

The Apology

Here is the apology that the Christian Church needs to offer the gay people of the world. It doesn't seem to be forthcoming at the moment from the Church, so I have penned one myself on the Church's behalf to give it an idea of how this might go. To give credit, there are some in the Church who do feel this way, but still not enough. So share it with your Christian friends. Share it with your pastor, your priest, share it with your bishop. The church needs to change its view of gay people and its treatment of gay people. We too are part of God's incredible human family.

The Church could start by asking for forgiveness. It could start with an apology.

To Gay People the World Over

We the Christian Church, while professing that our reason for existence is to spread the knowledge of God in the manner of Jesus of Nazareth and to show God's love and compassion for all humanity by our lives, with Jesus as our exemplar, most especially to the down-trodden, the weary, the sick, the old, the widow, the orphan, the prisoner, the weak, the oppressed, the poor and the marginalised, acknowledge that we have fallen so far short in our attitudes toward and our treatment of one marginalised group – gay people – that our actions can only be described as sin. And sin of the gravest kind. We have called that which God has created good, evil. We have contaminated the worth of your lives with toxic shame and presented you to the world as reprehensible and filthy, as the epitome of moral repugnance.

We know that one of the earliest words in the Scriptures for sin was an archery term, the Greek word hamartia (ἁμαρτία) describing an arrow 'missing its mark.' As the Church of Jesus Christ, we freely acknowledge that we have completely missed the mark regarding gay people from the very beginning and that two thousand years of history has not seen us grow any more enlightened. To this very day, we continue to judge you, deny you, reject you, pillory you, vilify you, denigrate you, condemn you, besmirch you, denounce you and exclude you and we do this for one reason and one reason only – your sexual orientation.

We do humbly and abjectly apologise for our actions. We acknowledge our mistreatment of you. We ask for your forgiveness even though we know we do not deserve it.

We own this great transgression of Jesus' first and only commandment of love. We have been anything but loving. We have been the antithesis of loving. We have been an organ of hate.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We have clung to out-dated interpretations of Biblical passages. We have refused to openly explore modern scholarship that brings to light so much about the Bible, Jesus and his teachings that we never knew before. We have been openly belligerent towards you and have acted in pride as we shot you down in flames and pronounced judgment over your lives as an abomination. We have behaved towards you in dialogue from a place of hubris where we haughtily saw ourselves as the saved and you as sinners. We have ignored your feelings as if they did not matter; that only our precious pronouncements mattered.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We have told the world that your life is not natural, that you are set against nature and in so doing, you are set against God. We have told the world that you are sick and disordered and sinful, that you are deviant and that your love is not real but is only lust. And we have told the world that lust is evil. We have told the world that your whole lives are 'inclined to moral evil,' a statement so grandiose in its language and so all-encompassing in its reach that you gay people are left reeling because such language is usually reserved for despots and tyrants, the cruellest of the cruel.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We have pitted parents against their gay children. We have caused untold damage in families. We have stopped you from ministering in our churches. We have sacked and dismissed you from legitimate posts because of your sexual orientation. We have impeded your promotion and even put up barriers for your housing. We have refused the communion service to you. We have forbidden you to remain in our fellowships because of your lives. We have persisted in calling your life a ‘lifestyle’ and your orientation a ‘preference,’ knowing full well that those words are not only illegitimate but are also heavily loaded emotionally and politically.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We have ignored the wisdom of science. We have refused to acknowledge that you are born gay. We stubbornly declare to the world that your 'sexual preference is a choice,' despite knowing the fact that science has been able to show definitively that there is a substantial genetic component determining all human sexuality. But we haven’t cared about that. That does not fit our ancient world or mediaeval worldview, so we just ignore the research and dismiss it out of hand, acting as though it does not exist. And we continue to trot out our worn-out arguments and pronouncements with divine certitude while we argue with one another as to which of us has faith the most right. And while we're busy arguing among ourselves, we trample you underfoot with carefree abandon as we pour out rejection and judgmentalism from our bile-filled mouths.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We set up our own idols. Men usually. We follow their every pronouncement and treat them as celebrities. Hatemongers who are either ignorant, prejudiced or have some personal axe to grind about sexuality. But also the Church. We construct its systems as though they are set up by God and use the weapon of bureaucracy against you. The Bible. Some of us worship the book instead of seeing it as a pointer to the One.

Idolatry. Ecclesiolatry. Bibliolatry. We listen to homophobes and misanthropists and share their words while we worship a book instead of the God that it speaks of. And we hide behind church governance instead of relating to you as fellow human beings. And from our book and from our churches and from our God, we exclude you. We other you like we have othered no other group in history. We have resolutely painted the picture as us and them. We have done this for centuries. We are the us. And you are the them.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We have even told you that you had to change, even though we know in our heart of hearts that there is no change. We have set up ministries to lie to you to tell you that your lives are worthless as they are. You must change, that you are not good enough as you are. You must turn yourselves into heterosexual people. Against all evidence, we have told you that you can do this by the power of God and with our support. We did not tell you that should you succumb to our ministrations you would forever be in limbo, a no-man's land where you will never be straight and you cannot call yourselves gay. And even if you do marry an opposite sex partner and even have children, we will still never quite accept you. We do never quite go the full distance to full acceptance. We have ignored the signs from around the world after some of you have committed suicide because you couldn't cope with what we did to you in these ministries. However despite the deaths, we have continued on, referring young vulnerable gay people, mostly brought up in the church and in Christian families, to these ministries at a time when they are emotionally defenceless and the power differential between them and us is gargantuan. We have harmed you. We have killed you. We are responsible.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

In our realisation of the grotesque distortion of the Christian Gospel that we have offered the world, a distortion that the world rightly rejects, we abjectly apologise to you. We have debased the Good News and driven people away from God and from life in the Spirit. We have put before the world a false dichotomy between the sacred and the profane and we have put sex and desire in the profane. It is no wonder we have rejected you for you have had to go on a spiritual and emotional journey to be able to accept yourselves at the sexual level. We are frightened of this. We are frightened of sex, of desire. We always have been. We fear you and your comfort with sexuality. We have placed celibacy as the zenith of human conditions and even mandated some of our clergy to live this way against all inclination for the rest of their lives. And we tell young gay people that they too must be celibate and deny an integral part of their identity for the rest of their lives too.

For these sins we are truly sorry.

We are mortally and grievously at fault here. Like the old Latin words we say contritely, 'mea cupla, mea cupla, mea maxima culpa – through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.' We are stripped and laid bare and our transgressions are unveiled for all to see.

Our sins have been grievous and manifold. We have not acted like Jesus at all. We have not shown love or compassion. We have been quick to occupy the divine judgment seat and speak with hubris as if the plank in our own eye were not big enough already.

In apologising and asking for the forgiveness we do not deserve after perpetrating so much hurt and so much harm, we seek to redress our sinful actions. We need to make recompense. We need to change.

We will be the followers of Jesus we were always meant to be. We will have love and charity as our foremost test of everything we do and everything we say. We will seek out and ask for your views and value your opinions. We will include you in our liturgies and as part of our clergy. We will happily employ you. We will desist from calling you unclean, disordered and evil. We will abandon such language forever. We will stop using the Bible as a weapon against you and start reading the scriptures in the light of modern scholarship. We will be big enough and strong enough in our faith in God to say where we think the peoples of the ancient Biblical world got it wrong, such as with slavery, women, the death penalty, and gay people, among other issues. We will have a strong and robust faith that is partnered with reason so that our God and our faith are not mocked and laughed to scorn by an educated, literate, post-enlightenment humanity. We will speak out for equality for all human beings and denounce homophobia specifically. We will be strong advocates for gay people so that you feel welcome, valued and loved as part of the family of God.

We will do our best to make up for the centuries of trauma. We do not know how long it will take for you to trust us and to forgive us. But we openly and honestly offer you our sorrow, our contrition, our apology for our actions past and present.

For these and all our sins against you we are truly sorry.

Pax et Amor – Stuart

Read More

    The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality [video]

    Matthew Vines speaks on the theological debate regarding the Bible and the role of gay Christians in the church. Delivered at College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas on March 8, 2012.

    Rachel Maddow Interviewing David Bahati, the Sponsor of the “Killl the Gays” Bill in Uganda

    As a follow up to my previous post on this topic titled “Ugandas Death Dentence Legislation for LGBT Peoples and the ‘Christians’ Who Counseled Them Towards This End ” – I just recently found this link from WATCH: RACHEL MADDOW INTERVIEWS UGANDAN MP DAVID BAHATI, AUTHOR OF THE ‘KILL THE GAYS’ BILL. It is actually is disturbing to know that this sort of blind zealotry still exists. I do really know that it does, but it really saddens me to hear of it.  Please take the moment to watch it. Something interesting to note is that I do not think that this interview would have happened if MR. Bahati knew that Rachel Maddow was a lesbian.

    Interview with David Bahati – Part 1

    Interview with David Bahati – Part 2

    Interview with David Bahati – Part 3

    Prop 8 Appeal to be Televised

    If you have not followed California’s Prop 8 trial please take the moment to watch the district court appeal which should give you an ideal and a great summary as to what this is all about and both sides’ views. One of the places it is available is via C-SPAN and it all starts at noon (CST). There is also a live BLogging of the district court appeal available at Prop 8 Trial Tracker in case you cannot watch the video at work… like me.

    Please watch/read it. This really matters.

    The “It Gets Better” Project – a Message to LGBT Children

    Here is the “It Gets Better Project” and other associated It Gets Better videos on You Tube to which Obama, Jewel, Chris Colfer from the Glee cast, Prince Poppycock from America’s Got Talent, Zachary Quinto from Heroes and the New Star Trek movie, and many, many more participate to show their support for gay children who are suffering and may potentially commit suicide due to ignorance,  intolerance, and bullying.

    Also, Cindy McCain and some Hollywood friends create An Anti-Bullying Message From the NOH8 Campaign.

    Our children need to know that they are loved and that bullies are not the norm, or even right for that fact. The rest of the world, especially once you get out of high school, is not necessarily filled with ignorant assholes. Shocking and hard to believe, I know, but there you go. Please watch these and spread the word, for this is a really important topic.

    The Fundamental Essence of Religion is Humanism

    In a previous post about Biblical/Theological Humanism that I had written a while back  titled “Theological Humanism? A solution to the divide?” I mention that religions need to start approaching their theology from a more humanistic perspective otherwise they will, at some point, find themselves irrelevant and ignored, but my primary focus was the fundamentalist and orthodox ideologies and their methodologies and rhetoric. These religions find their dogma more important than the people and that was really my primary focus for that post.  Now, having recently read the following two books, which were awesome by the way,  :

    I find my approach towards Theological Humanism solidified, but changing in a very fundamental way to which not everyone will like, and some may label it as heresy.  For that I apologize, but for me this makes a lot of sense. After reading these two books  I was  inspired to write my Personal Creed v1.0 which helps to codify my current beliefs and will also help you to see where I am going with this. In there my first 3 points are as follows:

    1. I hold that the world’s religions have organically developed and evolved based on the political values and socio-cultural conditions of their times. Religion is a method of perpetuating cultural history, mythology, and morality as has been determined by their relative and distinct histories.
    2. I hold that there are many parallels between the world’s religions’ morality that when distilled down to its essence they reflect humanism at its core. Religion and Humanism is about humans and the relations between us as individuals, and humanity as a collective and interdependent society.
    3. I hold that the potential wisdom from the world’s religions can inspire us in our ethical and spiritual life, and provide an impetus for the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. I also hold and accept that each individual’s journey towards spiritual growth is personal and unique, and worthy of respect, inquiry; as well as being a potential place where I may learn and grow in my own journey.

    In essence I am saying that the fundamental essence of all religions is humanism which just happens to be steeped in the culture, mythology, politics, and history in which it was formed; in other words at its very essence  all religions teachings and their morality is truly Humanism with a cultural, mythological, political and ideological skewing and dressing them.

    With this knowledge choosing the religion that is appropriate for you becomes which flavor of mythology, ideology, and culture do you like your humanism. The ideological, cultural, and mythological choice you make will become defining of how much of what I shall call truth will be taught. The more orthodox or fundamentalist the religion the less truth you will get, since they care more about slavish adherence to their dogma than they do how what they say and do affects humans.

    Now some religions really find themselves skewed far from this precept and they emphasize their mythology and dogmas more than they do the moral and humanistic values and this is why the orthodox and fundamentalist religions are harmful. They have forgotten what religion is really all about….. you and me – humans and our relations with one another. Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, and all other prophets’ teachings at their very essences were about us, humans, and our interdependent relations, although some may approach it from an theistic point of view. Religions need to return to the humanistic essence of their theology.

    My stance changed from ‘orthodox and fundamentalist religions need to change their approach to their theology’ to ‘they need to return to the humanistic roots of their theology’. A subtle but very important difference. Just an idea for you to ponder. =)

    Personal Creed – v1.0

    I know not everyone will agree with my beliefs or find this suitable for them, but I have been, as of the last 4+ or so years, engaged in a lot of reading and reflection on religion and science and so on to try and figure out where I stand. The following is  a work in progress and is the current culmination a personal creed for me:

    1. I hold that the world’s religions have organically developed and evolved based on the political values and socio-cultural conditions of their times. Religion is a method of perpetuating cultural history, mythology, and morality as has been determined by their relative and distinct histories.
    2. I hold that there are many parallels between the world’s religions’ morality that when distilled down to its essence they reflect humanism at its core. Religion and Humanism is about humans and the relations between us as individuals, and humanity as a collective and interdependent society.
    3. I hold that the potential wisdom from the world’s religions can inspire us in our ethical and spiritual life, and provide an impetus for the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. I also hold and accept that each individual’s journey towards spiritual growth is personal and unique, and worthy of respect, inquiry; as well as being a potential place where I may learn and grow in my own journey.
    4. I hold that I should neither accept nor reject ideas proposed as truth without recourse to knowledge, reason, ethics, and justice. I shall build my opinions and knowledge of the world on the basis of facts, scientific inquiry, and logical principles, independent of the intellectually limiting effects of authority, conventional wisdom, popular culture, sectarianism, tradition, urban legends, and all other dogmatic principles.
    5. I hold the interdependent web of humanity of which we are ALL a part of imbues all humans with inherent worth and are all deserving of life, dignity, right of conscious, justice, equality, compassion, and a pursuit of happiness. This interdependence of humanity with itself necessitates a noble goal of the world community to work towards peace, unity, liberty, equality and justice for all.
    6. I hold that the interdependent web of ALL existence implores finding a balance and innate understanding for the nature’s laws and how we impact it is vitally important so we can maintain an ecological balance and preservation to prevent damage and promote flourishing plants and animals on earth and where ever we migrate to as a species.
    7. Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    Informed Resources

    There are many books and articles that have really affected and informed my beliefs. Some are as follows and this is not at all an inclusive list:

    Books from Amazon

    Other Important Sources

    Review “Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality” – A+++

    I recently finished the book Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality. It is an excellent and life altering book. It really ties together a lot of what I have read about evolutionary psychology and evolutionary biology. If you have not read this book, or even if you have never read an evolutionary psychology book at all, read it. It may change the way that you see the world, and I mean that in a good way. It covers topics such as monogamy, swinging, infidelity, and polyamory in it.  It truly covers the wide spectrum of human sexuality. Wow is all I can say.

    If you do not know what polyamory is I have written a primer on polyamory for those who are curious.

    9th Circuit STAYS Judge Walker’s Ruling Pending an Expedited Appeal

    California’s Appellate Court granted a stay on Judge Vaughn’s ruling pending appeal. This was, in my opinion, to be expected since this is such a high profile case and precedent setting case,  so nothing drastic there. However, there is some good news as far as this process is concerned as is covered here BREAKING: 9th Circuit STAYS Judge Walker’s ruling; Appeal scheduled December 6 on Prop 8 Trial Tracker:

    • the appellate court is expediting the the appeal of the ruling of the unconstitutionality of Prop 8 and set the date for the week of 6 December, which is awesome. The sooner the, hopefully, better.
    • they are also specifically asking the Prop8′ers: In addition to any issues appellants wish to raise on appeal, appellants are directed to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing. which is huge. Judge Vaughn said that they do not have standing for a stay or appeal, if I remember correctly, and the appellate court obviously pretty much agrees with them, but are giving them a chance to sound at least a little rational and try to retain some self respect.

    In the scheme of things this is pretty huge. The appeal process could end up being pretty short (comparatively speaking) since they do not have standing for appeal, so this may most likely get dismissed with prejudice, which would prevent a Supreme Court Appeal. This will be a massively huge win and precedent for gay rights all throughout the US if this does happen, since there will be a court ruling stating that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional and they have no standing.

    If  the Supreme Court does not dismiss out of hand due to lack of standing, which would rock, then the appellate court’s decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court.

    Cross your fingers everyone. History and justice is happening. =)

    Excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from Birmingham Jail that is quite pertinent to todays gay-rights movement

    In light of the ignorance spewed here by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s  niece, Alveda King, below, I feel compelled to publish the following excerpt while Dr. King rolls in is own grave in embarrassment and furious anger.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from Birmingham Jail (more info at Wikipedia) that is quite pertinent to todays gay-rights movement:

    We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

    We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

    California’s Proposition 8 Ruled Unconstitutional by Judge Walker

    Holy thank God! =)

    As I fully expected, and if you followed the transcripts you will know what I mean, California’s proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional via Prop 8 Trial Tracker (full decision)! Judge Vaugh Walker dropped the big metal hammer of constitutional justice upon this sordid issue. Happy Days!

    Now the long process of appeals begins for the Prop8′ers.

    “Why I finally joined a church” – a Salon article

    Here is an interesting article titled “Why I finally joined a church” on Salon about why a family finally joined a church after not having gone for so many years, and why they chose a Unitarian Universalist church.

    Theological Humanism? A solution to the divide?

    OK, so I was reading a post on Prop 8 Trial Tracker where the following quote was rendered which spawned the creation of this post:

    There’s two lenses here. One’s a biblical world view and the other is basically more of a secular humanist world view, and that’s why there never seems to be agreement,” said the Rev. Pastor Brad Cranston, of Burlington’s Heritage Baptist Church. “They’re not going to be reconciled with one another.”

    Iowa – One Year Later (Proposition 8 Trial Tracker)

    Now, my recent post A problem with conservative religions is that Dogma and tradition is more important than People really touched upon this, but having read that quote I realized that I realistically could take this a step further. I have stated before quite a bit, perhaps not specifically on this BLog, that modern (fundamentalist and Conservative) Christianity is not really “Christian”. They have lost their way. Jesus’ teachings were about love, compassion, mercy, and acceptance and many of the contemporary Christian teachings, especially fundamentalist and conservative Christian teachings, have nothing to do with these ideals, and in some way are antithetical to them, which saddens me greatly. In that post I also state flatly that for them dogma is more important that humans which is something that they need to move on from, especially if they are to remain relevant and not part of the problem.

    Now, the above thought brought me to the create the idea of Biblical Humanism. Fortunately, I am not the only one to ever have considered this possibility. It was first (as far as my currently limited research shows) was thought up in the late 1400′s with Erasmus of Rotterdam’s’ writings. Erasmus was a monastic Catholic priest of sorts and was heralded in his time for his enlightenment and writings. He was, shall we say, the father of contemporary Biblical/Christian/Theological Humanism.

    A more humanistic approach to religious practice and teachings less zealous, blind, irrational, and tyrannical. The heaven hell model and the extreme religious tyranny are why Christianity is slowly dying and why people for many years have been defecting from Catholicism and other orthodox religions to other more humanistic faiths. These conservative or fundamentalist faiths enforce their dogma with fear – fear of going to hell, fear of sinning, fear of not getting presents on Christmas, fear of not being saved. This sort of fear based propaganda stresses the psyche and emotions and eventually there is going to be a break down, and we are seeing that, especially in Europe an Asia, and also here in the United States. These religions are killing themselves and they are too proud and arrogant to see it. Historically they have changed only when they see that they have had no real choice, but perhaps this time… they may not be able to fully recover, unless they embrace a more humanistic view of Christianity – a view that is more “Christian” than what is being taught in many churches today. A Humanism Theology may be the only way to save contemporary Christianity.

    Resources

    Prop 8 Trial Testimony and Coverage

    The more I read of the Proposition 8 Trial Tracker BLog‘s account of the trial’s testimony the more I believe that there is really no valid argument against gay marriage.  Their Questioning, and their expert witnesses are crushing the pro- Prop 8 people. It is a blood bath in there. The historical evidence supporting the homosexuality has been to subject to demonizing, discrimination, and bigotry throughout history is huge and painful to recount, but consistent. There is also plenty of historical evidence of changing marital laws with slaves, interracial marriage, etc…  I am impressed with the legal work here.

    I see good things to eventually come.  Yea!

    I just received word the the Supreme Court has affirmed a block on televising the Prop 8 court proceedings. I am saddened by this. Transparency to the public in such a high profile case is important, especially to let the world see the bigotry and lies that are spread by the pro Prop 8′ers. They want to keep this as hidden as possible so they do not look so bad. They are trying to keep as much of their commercials and other propaganda and so on from being admitted for similar reasons.  They hate to have their own work used against them.

    New York Times Coverage