Wednesday, May 30, 2012
A gay couple and their childen are being harassed in Gilbert, Arizona. Gilbert is not exactly your typical town. According to the Census, Gilbert has a higher percentage of "families" than any other city in America. But it is also heavily Mormon, with 10 Mormon churches in the area and one of their Temples just north in Scottsdale with a second Temple being built in Gilbert itself. Of course, they had no trouble get zoning regulations waved. The new Temple looks something like a power plant with an upside-down ice cream cone on top with a gay trumpet player on the very tip. Inside they will conduct their "secret" ceremonies that are meant to guarantee that each Mormon will become a god in the afterlife and be given their own planet to run like the millions of other gods.
Now, Mormons are vehemently anti-gay. Since the millions of Mormon gods are supposed to have sex through eternity with their multiple wives (Mormons still believe polygamy will be practiced in the alleged afterlife) there is no real room for homosexuals in their theology. Joseph Smith didn't think to invent a doctrine on gays when he was making the rest of it up. That neglect on his part means lots of gay Mormon youth have a very rough time of it, with many killing themselves when faced with the tidal wave of disapproval that the church brings down on them. Mormons also run programs in an attempt to "cure" gay people.
Given the intensity of anti-gay attitudes within the Mormon sect, Gilbert would not be a good fit a gay family. In recent years I've only been subjected to one anti-gay slur, and that due to having a "No on Prop 8" bumpersticker. For that reason a car drove past and the occupants screamed "faggots" at the the top of their lungs. It was in Gilbert.
The couple say they have called police nine times but that police indicate that they are have a problem because they are gay and have hispanic children. The children have gone to stay with an Aunt out of fear.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Zach Wahls on his new book My Two Moms. And below, Dutch singer Terence Uphoff (with the help of English subtitles) sings about his Two Fathers.
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"They should be put to death. That's what happened in Israel. That's why homosexuality wouldn't have grown in Israel. It tends to limit conversions. It tends to limit people coming out of the closet. — 'Oh, so you're saying we should go out and start killing them, no?' — I'm saying the government should. They won't but they should. [You say], 'oh, I can't believe you you're horrible. You're a backwards neanderthal of a person.' Is that what you're calling scripture? Is God a neanderthal backwards.. in his morality. Is it his word or not? If it's his word, he commanded it. It's his idea, not mine. And I'm not ashamed of it."Notice the claim that gays are "converted" to being gay. When fundamentalists claim that gays recruit, and that they are ought to indoctrinate children, these people are actually describing their own tactics. They really do go out and try to convert and they set up fundamentalists "schools" in order to indoctrinate children. Every Sunday they hold special indoctrination classes they call Sunday School. Every week they go out harassing neighbors, door to door, "witnessing" to them, whether they like it or not. Unlike gays they will stand on street corners with bullhorns screaming at traffic going by about the need to "repent" and join their little cult.
Fundamentalists actually do seek out converts. Heterosexuals can't be "converted" to being gay. Gays can't be converted to heterosexuality. There is no need to "indoctrinate" people into being gay—either they are, or they aren't. But fundamentalism does rely on conversions and indoctrination.
Here is a little video from a fundamentalist church, I still need to track down which church. A very small child is brought onto stage to sing for them. The lyrics are:
The Bible's rights, somebody's wrong
The Bible's right, somebody's wrong
Romans one, twenty-six and twenty seven
Ain't no homos going to make it to heaven.
Watch the reaction of the fundamentalists in the audience. As soon as the kid uses the term "homos" and says they aren't going to heaven, the congregations starts cheering and applauding and jumping to their feet. Fundamentalism has always been driven, not by love of God, but by rabid hatred for someone else. Over the years the objects of fundamentalist hatred have evolved. It was blacks, Catholics, Jews and evolutionists. Visit a fundamentalist bookstore and you will see entire sections that are nothing but attacks on other religions and people. Book after book will tell you why everyone, who isn't a fundamentalist, is basically evil. Gay people are just the latest of groups to be on the list of groups hated by the alleged Godly. Update: The church in question goes by the name Apostolic Truth Tabernackle and is in Greensburg, Indiana.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
As you may remember this "pastor" wanted all gay people rounded up and incarcerated in concentration camps with electric fences, on the assumption that if this were done all homosexuals would die and cease to exist.
The sermon below is another one preached by Pastor Worley. In that sermon (below) he said:
I’m God’s preacher. I just believe the book. Living in a day when, you know what, it saddens my heart to think that homosexuals can go around, bless God, and get the applause of a lot of people. Lesbians and all the rest of it? Bless God, forty years ago they’d have hung ‘em, bless God, from a white oak tree, wouldn’t they? Amen.
That sure sounds like approval of lynching people for being gay. People who have not experienced these churches do not realize precisely how hateful they are. Over and over I have heard them saying that gay people should be killed. So-called libertarian Gary North, a Christian reconstructionist, says gays should be stoned to death and argues this is consistent with libertarianism because the executions will be conducted by the community, not the state.
The reality is that Christian fundamentalism, like Islamic fundamentalism, is an inherently intolerant, violent faith.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The so-called Defense of Marriage Acts is one of the most blatantly discriminatory pieces of federal legislation around today. Until DOMA marriage was defined by the states, not by Congress. Republicans, pretending to uphold the powers of the states, changed that. Now state definitions are ignored for all federal matters.
What this means is that billions in extra taxes on imposed on gay couples that are not imposed on straight couples. A widow who inherits her husbands estate is taxed at a very low rate compared to the surviving partner in a gay relationship. A straight American can sponsor their legally-wed, foreign-born spouse. A gay American can NOT sponsor their foreign-born spouse even if they are legally wed. In this piece at the Moorfield Storey Institute blog, we explain how DOMA imposes massive costs on private businesses and punishes them economically if they hire gay employees.
This video highlights another result of DOMA. We all know that the odious Don't Ask, Don't Tell legislation, that discriminated against gay people in the military, has been repealed. But DOMA mandates that the military pretend that the gay people they know exist, are not in relationships, even when they legally marry. That impacts the spouses of gay military personnel in various ways.
Consider the case of a service member who is sent to Afghanistan. If he, or she, is killed while on duty, the military will inform the surviving spouse, but ONLY if the spouse is of the opposite-sex. DOMA mandates that the military ignore all marriages, no matter if they are legally entered into, between same-sex individuals. If the service member is killed the military will not call the spouse of a gay service member as they are NOT considered next-of-kin.
If the service member comes from an anti-gay family, they, not the spouse, will be informed. And they have the option of whether or not to inform the surviving partner about the death. Sadly, there are bigoted families that will refuse to allow the spouse to know. That is the point this commercial brings home. Only the gay spouse of a service member could be the last to be told their partner is dead. They are the mercy of the family of the service member. If that family is fundamentalist Christians they may well choose to have the body sent home to them for burial. They can decided to bury the deceased without ever informing the spouse of the arrangements, the place of burial, or even that their partner has died.
THAT is what DOMA does. Spinning this as a defense of "states' rights" is not going to change the nature of DOMA. It is FEDERAL legislation, that ignores the states when it comes to defining marriage. That is not protecting their rights, it is stripping them of those rights. It imposes billions in regulatory costs, subsidizes discrimination against gay people (see the Storey blog post on this) and mistreats millions of gay Americans.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
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The host of the show, Felicia Mabuza-Suttle was an Oprah wannabe without either the personality or the intelligence. I had been on her show a couple of times and this was the last time I agreed to be there. The debate was on the rights of LGBT people and I was seated in the front row to participate in the "debate."
The room was hot, very hot. The TV lights were a bit much. And the problem was Felicia kept flubbing her comments, even while reading from a teleprompter. Over and over, the short introduction was repeated until she got it right, or until they could at least splice together something that made her look good.
She was no better during the show itself. And they taped far longer than anything they aired as they spliced bits together to make the show look coherent.
I was getting tired sitting there while she made one mistake after another. Even when she wasn't flubbing her questions or comments, she was inane.
I remember her walking up the aisle in the audience, waving her microphone and then coming up with the "profound" question of the day. She polled everyone as to what God thought about gay people.
I kid you not. Apparently, this creator-of-the-universe type being, was being subjected to an audience poll.
She literally asked the audience to vote by a show of hands. "All those who say God approves of homosexuality raise your hands." And then, "All those who say God doesn't approve of homosexuality raise your hands."
That was when I lost it and yelled out: "And all those who don't care one way or another raise your hands." I threw my hand in the air.
Even if I were to grant the the existence of such a being, which I do not, exactly what would an audience poll prove? Surely, if God were in favor, he wouldn't change his mind to become opposed, lest he offend Felicia's audience.
Surely, what such a being thinks is entirely unrelated to any hands-up poll. Nor do we mere mortals learn anything about what such a being may or may not think on the basis of such a poll. If 51% of the audience said God was peachy-keen with gays, would the other 49% suddenly realize they were wrong?
Instead of discussing actual issues, as they exist here and now, she wanted to spend precious time speculating about what a speculative being may be speculating on his own. Of what use was such a question other than to burn up time for a talk-show host who was in over her head.
When the rights of real people are hanging in the balance I suggest it is best to keep our feet on the grounds and look at the evidence. I sincerely doubt that if there is a God, that any of us actually speak for Him/Her/It/Them, whatever. Those who claim to do so are mere pretenders, acting as if they have divine sanction for their own beliefs. What we really need is facts and evidence, not faith.
A few months later I get a phone call from the South African Broadcasting Commission. They were taping another show with Felicia at their Auckland Park studios and asked me to participate.
I asked for a fax number to send in a written reply—yes, this was when faxes were still in use. I simply explained that while I was happy to participate on any other show, I couldn't possibly endure another marathon session waiting for Felicia to get her lines right. I noted that her questions were inane and that she wasted the time of her audience, her guests and her crew. And, I said, she was out of her depth when it came to discussing issues.
One of the virtues of faxes is they have a physical form, not just an electronic one. I was later told by someone at the SABC that this fax was widely photocopied and distributed throughout the building by staff who were glad someone finally said it. I just couldn't take her, or her show, seriously. The two things I will never forget were the endless retakes inflicted on everyone and her walking up the aisle, microphone in hand, taking a poll as to what God thinks. Even worse, she seemed to think that poll actually meant something.
Human rights, including those of LGBT people are serious issues. And there is a need for reasonable discussion. But those discussions have to be rooted in facts and reality.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Randall Paul is letting the Christian Right know he is one of them, not a libertarian. He starts with his desire to impose State control over every uterus because all life starts at conception. He brags about the multiple new laws he has tried to push through at the federal level to control abortion.
Then he ridicules Obama for, in fact, taking a position on marriage that doesn't differ from his own father's views about leaving the issue up to the states. Randall made the remark "I didn't think his views could get any gayer." He then invokes the Bible against it and then says that all gays are sinners and this is sin (you may as well be deemed a sinner for having brown eyes). He falsely claims we have 6,000 years of tradition, presumably on marriage. That indicates he knows as little history as his father. The kind of marriage Randal has with his wife didn't exist 6,000 years, 1,000 years ago, or even 200 years ago.
He invokes anthropology, which if he knew a tiny bit about it, would show that the structure of family and marriage has changed multiple times in history, and he implies that allowing gay couples to form marriage contracts is magically anti-family. I have never heard any one, including fake libertarians, explain how gay marriage contracts destroy anyone else's family.
Then Paul leaves politics to preach the need for a fundamentalist revival in America, apparently thinking he is elected to preach religion, not freedom.
Ron Paul has always been weak on social freedom issues, especially gay issues. Randal is even weaker, he is a full-fledged, out of the closet, social authoritarian who believes government should control moral issues like abortions and gay rights. He will not support deregulation of marriage laws to allow same-sex couples to enter marriage contracts. Every indication is that he would want more social regulations on marriage, not less.
Friday, May 11, 2012
How crazy can an religious anti-gay nut be? Watch this. Try to follower her logic. And just remember, the choice is between Jesus, a celibate, and Judas, a homo. I kept waiting for Rod Serling to order me to not touch my TV dials.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
It's been a year since Tom Bridegroom died. Shane Crone and Tom were life partners, but not allowed to marry. When they told their parents they were a couple, Tom received nothing but grief from his parents, including being assaulted by his father. Tom's mother came and claimed his body, cutting his partner out of all arrangements. He was not allowed to attend the funeral, though he was told he should pay the costs for transporting the body. He was not mentioned in the obituary. He was told that if attended the funeral that these good Christian relatives intended to harm him. Something as simple and inexpensive as a marriage license would have changed this. It wouldn't bring Tom make to life, but it would mean his husband couldn't be cut out by a vindictive, bigoted family.
Friday, May 4, 2012
State Senator Peter Brunstetter is one of the Republicans who drew up the anti-gay Amendment One that is on the ballot in North Carolina. His wife, Jodie, recently made comments as to why Amendment One was necessary to save the white race and claimed this is what motivated her husband.
According to two participants in the conversation Brunstetter that "my husband wrote Amendment One ... because the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to reproduce." A second witness said she said: "The Caucasian race is diminishing. The reason that's a problem is that it was white people that founded this country."
When questioned about this Brustetter gave contradictory answers. Asked if she just told someone that the measure was to preserve the Caucasian race, Brunstetter replied, "No." But then asked if the woman was lying Brunstetter responded: "No. It's just that same sex marriages are not having children."Brunstetter then said she had not made it a racial issue at all. She was then asked: "You didn't say anything about Caucasians?" Her reply: "I probably said the word."
When the person recording the interview told Brustetter he was finding her answers confusing she claimed: "Right now I have some heat stroke going on. Um, there has been lots of confusion." Once again asked if she invoked "Caucasians" in her comments she said: "If I did it wasn't anything race related." (How is that possible?)
This illustrates the "any argument in a storm" mentality of the Religious Right. On one hand, they denigrate marriage equality saying that it will harm the children in these families. Yet, here Mrs. Brunstetter is arguing that the problem is gay people don't have children. She also seems to believe that gay people are all white. And that stopping gay people from marrying will magically increase white birth rates. (Actually, in the nations that allowed gay marriage all birth rates tended to go up slightly afterwards.)
Mugisha, who was speaking at Georgetown University, stated a basic principle that libertarians would agree with: "If I'm doing something that's not hurting someone, then it is my right to do it. If I'm doing something that that is hurting someone, then maybe that's when we need to draw the line and bring the rule of law. My sexual orientation does not hurt anyone."
In a related event Libertarian presumed candidate Gov. Gary Johnson was invited to speak at at Tea Party event in Boston, Massachusetts. Tea Party officials made sure to invite Rick Santorum and Scott Lively as featured speakers as well—Lively has no public history of being involved with tax issues or economics, his ONLY campaign has been an obsessive hatred for gay people.
Johnson did the honorable thing by withdrawing from the event. His office wrote: "With all due respect to the organizers and their right to invite whomever they wish, he has decided that participating would not be consistent with his strong support for marriage equality and gay rights."
Sadly, libertarian activist Carla Howell, did not make the same decision. While she is not a bigot, she did appear on stage on them foolishly mixing her own reputation with theirs.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
He says if you son acts "girlish" you have "squash it like a cockroach." Apparently telling the boy to go "dig a ditch, because that's what boys do" will solve the issue. If you don't, this "dude, this kid, will be acting out childhood fantasies that should have be squashed." "Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up, give him a good punch." "When your daughter starts acting too butch, you reign her in." So, when it comes to children his images are squashing cockroachs, cracking a boy's wrist and punching him."
Is it any wonder that fundamentalist sects are so often involved in child abuse cases. In this case Harris is suggesting that if a child appears to be gay or transgendered that the parent should use violence against the child. Would you trust that man near your kids?
If you don't believe me, listen to this part of his sermon yourself.
Harris is now backtracking as his comments have become public. He now pretends it was all a joke. Apparently the doesn't think "thou shalt not lie" is part of the Bible anymore.
Harris does say "The word of God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly." Apparently he finds that in the Bible but the part about lying doesn't seem to ring to a bell. Actually, the Bible doesn't mention effeminate behavior as ungodly. Fundamentalists like to make shit up.
As you can hear in the sermon above, when he calls for hitting children who appear "effeminate" he is cheered on with "Amens" from his Troglodyte congregation. When one suggests punching children for appearing gay it not only upset s"gay activists" but people who are concerned about child abuse as well. Rosie Ryan, president of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina said: "This pastor is telling his congregation to harm their children." True, that is precisely what he was doing.
The church actually does support parents hitting their children but says "we reject the idea that bruising is ever the objective." Notice how carefully that is worded. It doesn't say that children don't get bruised from the beatings, it just says the beatings have objectives other than bruising.
He also claimed that there was "not an ounce of hate being communicated" in his sermon. Welcome to the Newspeak of fundamentalist Christianity. If you express hateful things about people you are doing so out of love because only you "love them enough to tell them the truth."
Fundamentalists tend to preach that hitting children is godly and ordained by scripture to protect them from turning to evil. So, Harris can tell the media that the teachers in his Christian school "never touches a child, other than to protect the child from harm" and mean it. There are entire books written by fundamentalists to explain how beating children protects them from harm and is necessary to help save their soul. They even give tips on how to conduct the beatings so as to not leave physical evidence, and why it must be done hidden from public views so others don't know of the abuse.