Tuesday's intriguing people
December 7th, 2010
12:49 PM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Navi Pillay

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights says she has a good reason for not attending the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Friday’s ceremony coincides with Human Rights Day, and Pillay is scheduled to host a meeting with human rights defenders in Switzerland, spokesman Richard Colville told Foreign Policy.

Yang Jianli, another Chinese dissident who represents Liu before the Nobel committee, isn’t buying it. He called Pillay's decision not to attend “a clear and unequivocal abdication of her responsibilities as high commissioner.”

He also blasted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for failing to raise Liu’s case when he met with Chinese President Hu Jintao shortly after the Nobel committee’s announcement.

Though Yang claims that the U.N. is buckling to pressure from China, Colville said Pillay – a South African lawyer who got her start defending opponents of apartheid – simply couldn’t bow out of the Swiss event.

According to BBC, 19 countries including China will not attend the ceremony in Oslo, Norway. Forty-four will attend.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu told the BBC that China would not change because of “interference by a few clowns.”

China has mounted a campaign to dissuade nations from attending the ceremony and said through its state-run media that 100 countries back its stance. Xinhua further cited a professor as saying that Liu was a “Chinese criminal [who] challenged China’s judicial authority and interfered in China’s internal affairs."

The Nobel Committee, of course, sees it differently and applauds Liu’s calls for multi-party democracy and human rights reforms.

In other developments this week: Liu’s lawyers said they were prevented from appealing their client’s charges; they say they were also prevented from visiting Liu’s wife, who has been under house arrest since the Nobel announcement; and an Australian-based Chinese dissident was detained in Shanghai en route to Oslo, The Australian reported.

Richard Davis

The bishop of Orlando, Florida’s Church of Healing and Prosperity is done with the black church's own “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

After being dismissed by another Orlando church in 2003 following accusations of sexual misconduct, Davis said, he felt alone, and only one person came to his assistance: Trish Duncan, a lesbian, who told him, “Now you know what it’s like to be gay in the black church.”

Homophobia exists in several facets of society, but it is especially prominent in the black church. Researchers from Trinity College to Penn State University to Vanderbilt have long addressed the plights of gays in the black church.

Vanderbilt sociologist Richard Pitt has compared the black church’s stance on gays to the military’s policy banning openly gay and lesbian service members. He has also examined how gay black men negotiate conflicts between their religion and sexuality.

“Gay men attend churches for all the same reasons anyone else might,” he told the Vanderbilt View this month. “They come for the messages and community that doesn’t denigrate them and ignore the occasional messages that pointedly might be antagonistic toward them.”

Not only has Davis apologized to gay members of his church, he has conducted a series of forums this year titled, “Gays in the black church: Is it time to come out of the closet?” He promotes "the gospel of inclusion for gays, lesbians and down-low brothers and sisters."

The Orlando Sentinel described the meetings, which pitted church members and gays against each other, as heated. Gays felt rejected and abused by their church and community, while church members said homosexuality was immoral and bad for children and the country, it reported.

Davis told the paper that some of the best musicians, orators and preachers are homosexual, and the black church has had no problem so long as they keep it to themselves.

“We were hypocritical because while gays were amongst us, worked and died, we never recognized them, never gave them the love that Jesus would give them,” Davis told the Sentinel.

Christopher Hester

The youth soccer coach from Madison County, Mississippi, is suing former U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering over a December 2009 fight at a soccer game.

Police were called to a youth soccer match after the two got into a tussle in the parking lot after the game, according to the Clarion Ledger.

Hester, 39, who was wearing a neck brace from previous surgery, told CNN affiliate WAPT-TV last year that the Republican ex-congressman accused of him of saying something to his son before pulling him out of the vehicle.

Pickering, who became a lobbyist after 12 years in the House, countered in a statement that Hester made his 11-year-old son cry uncontrollably. The Ledger elaborated, saying that Pickering accused Hester of calling his son “pathetic.”

When he confronted the coach, he said, Hester began “attacking and assaulting me, and I was forced to defend myself by restraining him,” WAPT-TV reported.

Both men initially filed assault charges against the other but withdrew them so the child witnesses would not have to testify, according to WLBT-TV.

Hester’s lawsuit claims that he lost income and suffered permanent scarring and disfigurement from the altercation, WLOX-TV reported.

Pickering’s attorney, Mike Malouf, told the Ledger that he was surprised by the suit because he had not heard from Hester’s attorneys in a year. He said his client would have paid any reasonable medical fees as a good-faith gesture but remained adamant that his client was not at fault.

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Ceecee

    Who wrote this?? Maybe you should proof read it before you publish it.. You think?

    December 7, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Andreas Moser

    We should seriously rethink our economic engagement with China: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/liu-xiaobo/

    December 11, 2010 at 6:07 am | Report abuse |
1 2