The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted 9-2 in favor of a nonbinding resolution urging the U.S. Navy to name a ship after onetime city politician Harvey Milk, an open homosexual who was gunned down in 1978 by former colleague Dan White.
Milk also notably was a strong advocate for Jim Jones, who led hundreds of his church parishioners to Jonestown, Guyana, where they died in a mass suicide-murder.
When Barack Obama in 2009 gave Milk, posthumously, the presidential Medal of Freedom, then-spokesman Robert Gibbs said he was uncertain if the briefing material given on Obama included Milk’s well-documented advocacy for the late Jones, the leader of the massacred hundreds in Jonestown in 1978.
WND’s correspondent at the White House, Les Kinsolving, had asked the question at the time.
Jones led a cult to the “Peoples Temple Agricultural Project” in the 1970s in Guyana after an extended career leading the religious organization in San Francisco.
The cult became notorious when on Nov. 18, 1978, 918 people died – mostly from cyanide – in the settlement. The deaths were described as a “revolutionary suicide” by Jones and other members on an audio tape of the event.
The poisonings, including those of many children, followed by hours the murders of five people by Temple members at a nearby airport. One of the victims was Congressman Leo Ryan, the only member of Congress ever to die in the line of duty. He was investigating complaints about the cult.
Kinsolving, a journalist for the San Francisco Examiner during Jones’ ascent to power and influence there, shortly before he moved his cult to Guyana, recalled in a column at the time the relationship between Jones and Milk.
His writing concerned the Sean Penn movie, “Milk.” Kinsolving cited columnist Dan Flynn’s concerns about “how Gus Van Sant could have made a film about Harvey Milk without casting a ‘Jim Jones’ role.”
The Flynn column accused Harvey Milk and “the San Francisco left” of allowing Jones to conduct his “criminal enterprise in San Francisco with impunity.”
“When veteran journalist Les Kinsolving penned an eight-part investigative report on Peoples Temple for the San Francisco Examiner in 1972, his editors buckled under pressure from Jones and killed the report halfway through,” wrote Flynn. “Kinsolving quipped that the Peoples Temple was ‘the best-armed house of God in the land,’ detailed the kidnapping and possible murder of disgruntled members, exposed Jones’ phony faith healing, highlighted Jones’ vile school-sanctioned sex talk with children and directed attention toward the Peoples Temple’s massive welfare fraud that funded its operations.
“Unfortunately four of the series of eight articles were jettisoned after Jones unleashed hundreds of protesters to the San Francisco Examiner, a programmed letter-writing campaign and a threatened lawsuit against the paper. The Examiner promptly issued a laudatory article on Jones. … ” wrote Flynn.
Kinsolving’s column revealed reports that after Milk was killed, all mention of connections between Milk and Jones “were intentionally obscured.”
Cited was the fact Milk “was a strong advocate for Peoples Temple and Jim Jones during his political career, including the tumultuous year leading up to the Jonestown tragedy. Milk spoke at the Temple often, wrote personal letters to Jim Jones…”
Milk also has been documented as a “sexual predator” as well as a “public liar,” argues SaveCalifornia.com, which advocates for traditional family values and marriage.
On its website, the group points to a “favorable and sordid” biography of Milk by Randy Shilts, a homosexual San Francisco Chronicle reporter, “The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk.”
“According to this reputable biography Milk repeatedly engaged in adult-child sex, advocated for multiple homosexual relationships at the same time, and told a very public lie because he thought it would get him ahead,” the website explains.
SaveCalifornia.com also is opposing California’s requirement that public school students honor Milk on one day each spring.
The report says Shilts’ 1982 book has accounts of Milk’s sexual relationships with a 16-year-old, a 19-year-old and other young men.
Some of the descriptions include:
- “Sixteen-year-old McKinley was looking for some kind of father figure … at 33, Milk was launching a new life, though he could hardly have imagined the unlikely direction toward which his new lover would pull him.'”
- “The phone rang. As soon as Harvey heard the voice, he rolled his eyes impatiently at Jim. ‘It’s Jack McKinley,’ he said. He paused and listened further. ‘He says he’s going to kill himself.’ … ‘Tell him not to make a mess,’ Harvey deadpanned.”
- “It would be to boyish-looking men in their late teens and early 20s that Milk would be attracted for the rest of his life.”
- “Harvey always had a penchant for young waifs with substance abuse problems.”
The documentation about the “public lie” also comes from the book:
“He had not suffered this disgrace [being removed from the military], he told a later campaign manager, but he knew the story would make good copy. If anyone said something to Harvey about his fondness for such stunts, he would gesture wildly as [he] launched into a lecture. “Symbols, symbols, symbols,” he insisted. Sure, he had not been kicked out of the military … The point of the story was to let people know that service people routinely do get kicked out. Besides, he once confided, “Maybe people will read it, feel sorry for me, and then vote for me.”
According to a report in the Chronicle, city supervisor Scott Wiener said: “We must support our LGBT soldiers past and present. I can think of no better way to do that than to name a vessel for a Navy officer who went on to become one of the most important civil rights leaders in history.”
Milk reached the rank of lieutenant, junior grade, during the Korean War.
Supervisor Christina Olague told the Chronicle she voted against the Milk resolution because “there are more appropriate ways to honor somebody who in their last days of their life was opposed to war.”
It was supervisor John Avalos who created an additional stir about the debate, claiming he and others turned to a Ouija board to ask the deceased Milk for his opinion.
The group “put our hands on the Ouija board and the letters g-o-o-d-r-i-d-d-a-n-c-e-d-a-d-t came out. We asked Harvey, and Harvey gave us these letters: ‘Good riddance don’t ask, don’t tell.’ It was quite clear that Harvey Milk would have been opposed to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,'” he told the Chronicle.
The Associated Press later reported that Avalos said he was joking about the Ouija board consultation.
Thomasson of SaveCalifornia.com said in a statement that Milk was “a predator of teen boys, a sexual anarchist, and a public liar who showed callous disregard for people’s lives and health.”
He said Milk “should not be honored” with a special day set aside in public schools.
“‘Harvey Milk Day’ is one of eight state laws teaching children to support homosexuality, bisexuality, cross-dressing, and heterosexual fornication, all without parental notification or consent. Because California public schools have become sexual indoctrination centers, morally sensitive parents are saying ‘enough is enough,’ and are choosing to take charge and rescue their boys and girls by homeschooling them or enrolling them in church school.”
He said the RescueYourChild.com website helps those parents.