Posts Tagged As: American Family Association
May 12th, 2012
Jan van Lohuizen is a Republican pollster who worked on President George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign. He is also the GOP’s Daniel reading the writing on the wall when he sent memo out yesterday to Republican operatives with an overview of poll numbers on marriage equality and suggestions on how the GOP should address same-sex marriage if it wants to stay relevant. You can read the entire memo here.
Van Lohuizan notes that through 2009, the uptick in support for same-sex marriage was at a rate of about 1% per year. Beginning in 2010, there was a noticeable elbow in the curve, with support for marriage equality increasing by approximately 5% per year on average. And while that support is greater among Democrats and Independents than Republicans, support is growing in GOP ranks as well, with a majority of registered Republicans supporting a growing list of protections for gays and lesbians.
Van Lohuizan has a come up with a list of talking points which he thinks that Republican candidates ought to adopt if they want to stay relevant, beginning with:
“People who believe in equality under the law as a fundamental principle, as I do, will agree that this principle extends to gay and lesbian couples; gay and lesbian couples should not face discrimination and their relationship should be protected under the law. People who disagree on the fundamental nature of marriage can agree, at the same time, that gays and lesbians should receive essential rights and protections such as hospital visitation, adoption rights, and health and death benefits.”
This is somewhat similar to Gov. Mitt Romney’s talking points following President Barack Obama’s announcement that he supports full marriage equality. The main difference is that Romney reiterates his opposition both to marriage equality and to civil unions which would approximate marriage equality. Van Loguizan’s suggested talking points addresses neither. But he does explain to the GOP under the guise of another talking point why the party is going to have to change it’s approach to gay people sooner rather than later:
“As more people have become aware of friends and family members who are gay, attitudes have begun to shift at an accelerated pace. This is not about a generational shift in attitudes, this is about people changing their thinking as they recognize their friends and family members who are gay or lesbian.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Rick Santorum has some very different advice for Romney. Santorum told an Arknsas television station that Romney needed to “tep up and take advantage of a president who is very much out of touch with the values of America.”:
“Hopefully Governor Romney will continue to stand tall for his position on this issue and understand how detrimental it would be for society for it to have this changed,” Santorum also told the Arkansas station.
“Governor Romney has to talk about his values,” he added. “That’s the most important thing.”
AFA’s Bryan Fischer expands on that advice here.
This post has been updated with more information from the New York Times and Talking Points Memo
May 3rd, 2012
Or did he just simply let go?
On April 19 when Gov. Mitt Romney named Richard Grenell, a longtime GOP communications strategist as his national security and foreign policy spokesman, conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan hailed the announcement as “a real outreach to gay Republicans” while Karen Ocamb said is marks “the day Romney pivots to appeal to mainstream voters for the general election.”
But if that was a pivot, it ended Tuesday when Grenell resigned from the campaign. His very brief announcement hinted at why he left such a high-profile post in a national presidential campaign: “My ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign.”
What “hyper-partisan” discussions was he referring to? At first, some speculated that it may have been related to the initial criticisms from pundits and bloggers over provocative Twitter posts that he made about Rachel Maddow’s appearance, Newt Gingrich’s wife Calista’s appearance, Hillary Clinton’s appearance, Michele Obama’s accent, and other snarky tweets. But it quickly seemed unlikely that those criticisms led to Grenell’s sudden departure. Most of them came from left-of-center and beyond, which Republicans tend to wear as a badge of honor (as many Democrats do with criticism from the right). And besides, by April 22 when Grenell deleted some 800 tweets and took his personal web site offline, those criticisms were already loosing traction. The world quickly moved on to the next outrage.
Well, most of the world anyway. One key component of the restive GOP base didn’t. SPLC-certified hate-artist Bryan Fischer of American Family Association called Grenell’s appointment “a deliberate poke in the eye” to Christian conservatives, and mounted a campaign for Grenell’s removal with a six-point list of demands for Gov. Romney. Family “Research” Council warned that Grenell’s support for same-sex marriage would have him lobbying “for foreign policy more in line with the current administration than the last Republican one.” National Review’s Matthew Franck wrote that Grenell supported marriage equality “with a kind of unhinged devotion that suggests a man with questionable judgment.” He even suggested that Grenell’s gayness would cause him to turn traitor to the Republican cause and switch teams if Obama were to come out for same-sex marriage.
Those criticisms apparently spooked and paralyzed the Romney campaign. Andrew Sullivan did some “actual reporting from yours truly” and got to the bottom of Grenell’s resignation:
It seems clear from sources close to Grenell and reporters on the foreign policy beat that his turning point came last week. He’d been part of organizing a conference call to respond to Vice President Biden’s foreign policy speech, now known best for the “big stick” remark. So some reporters were puzzled as to why Grenell, a week into his job as Romney’s national security spokesman, was not introduced by name as part of the Romney team at the beginning of the call, and his voice completely absent from the conversation. Some even called and questioned him afterwards as to why he was absent. He wasn’t absent. He was simply muzzled. For a job where you are supposed to maintain good relations with reporters, being silenced on a key conference call on your area of expertise is pretty damaging. Especially when you helped set it up.
Sources close to Grenell say that he was specifically told by those high up in the Romney campaign to stay silent on the call, even while he was on it. And this was not the only time he had been instructed to shut up. Their response to the far right fooferaw was simply to go silent, to keep Grenell off-stage and mute, and to wait till the storm passed. But the storm was not likely to pass if no one in the Romney camp was prepared to back Grenell up. Hence his dilemma. The obvious solution was simply to get Grenell out there doling out the neocon red meat — which would have immediately changed the subject and helped dispel base skepticism. Instead the terrified Romneyites shut him up without any actual plan for when he might subsequently be able to do his job. To my mind, it’s a mark of his integrity that he decided to quit rather than be put in this absurd situation. And it’s a mark of Romney’s fundamental weakness within his own party that he could not back his spokesman against the Bryan Fischers and Matthew Francks.
This confirms what the Washington Post learned shortly after Grenell’s resignation, when Jennifer Rubin wrote: “The ongoing pressure from social conservatives over his appointment and the reluctance of the Romney campaign to send Grenell out as a spokesman while controversy swirled left Grenell essentially with no job.” She later reported that many members of the campaign privately reached out to Grenell over the weekend to try to persuade him from resigning, but they were unsuccessful. She then reiterated the root of the problem: “Despite the controversy in new media and in conservative circles, there was no public statement of support for Grenell by the campaign and no supportive social conservatives were enlisted to calm the waters.”
[Update: The New York Times this morning has more. During that foreign policy conference call:
It turned out he was at home in Los Angeles, listening in, but stone silent and seething. A few minutes earlier, a senior Romney aide had delivered an unexpected directive, according to several people involved in the call.
“Ric,” said Alex Wong, a policy aide, “the campaign has requested that you not speak on this call.” Mr. Wong added, “It’s best to lay low for now.”
For Mr. Grenell, the message was clear: he had become radioactive.
After interviewing more than a dozen aids and advisers, The Times describes the episode as “halting attempts by the campaign to manage its relationship with the most conservative quarter of the Republican Party.”
“It’s not that the campaign cared whether Ric Grenell was gay,” one Republican adviser said. “They believed this was a nonissue. But they didn’t want to confront the religious right.”]
This leaves many wondering if there is any room for gay Republicans in visible positions. GOPRoud’s Jimmy LaSilva said, “This was an opportunity to send an important message that Mitt Romney wants everybody to get behind him and to support his campaign. They let that opportunity pass.” [Update: Go Proud’s Christopher Barron added, “It doesn’t bode well for the Romney campaign going forward if they couldn’t stand up to the most outrageous attacks about him being gay.” Fred Karger, who ran against Romney as an openly gay candidate told TPM,
“It’s going to be difficult for Romney to take other steps like this. And that’s what’s really frightening to me. It’s just too tough to stand up to these groups because they have a lot of money and power. You’ve got to be able to do that, that’s leadership.”]
Sullivan was more direct:
So if all gay Republicans who support marriage equality are banned even from speaking on other topics entirely (like Iran or Afghanistan, where Grenell is a fire-breather), who’s left? The answer, I’m afraid, is no one. Grenell was prepared to stay silent on gay issues entirely and do his job. But that wasn’t enough. Romney’s anti-gay agenda is therefore deeper and more extreme than Bush’s.
Meanwhile, AFA’s Bryan Fischer is declaring Grenell’s resignation a huge win. With continued silence from the Romney camp, this leaves likes of Fischer to operate as the de-facto gatekeepers of acceptable members of the Romney campaign — and perhaps even of a Romney administration.
March 16th, 2012
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of all contributors to Box Turtle Bulletin.
Update: OnMillionMoms has posted a new alert claiming that “most of last week’s sponsors…did not sponsor this week’s episode.” While the reasoning behind any change in advertising is unclear, GCB’s ratings did drop from 7 million to 6.33 million viewers and to a share of 5 in the 18-49 demographic. By comparison, the highest rated show last Sunday evening was “Once Upon a Time,” which attracted 8.6 million viewers and an 8 share of the coveted 18-49 demographic. Given the content of “Once Upon A Time,” which includes witchcraft, murder and adultery, I’m surprised OMM hasn’t targeted it as well. However, since the show does not poke fun at the hypocrisy of the religious right, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised…
One million moms are on the march again. Well, not literally.
The conservative group OneMillionMoms (OMM) has abandoned its unsuccessful attempt to oust Ellen Degeneres as the spokesperson for JC Penny, targeting the advertisers for ABC’s new hit show, “GCB.”
According to the group, “OMM is disgusted with the new program…which is blasphemy at its worst! It is based on the book “Good Christian B*tches”…[and]…blasphemes God…”
Blasphemy is the act of speaking sacrilegiously. If the definition fit, OMM would have good reason to target GCB. Freedom of religion is a human right that should be protected from defamation, whether Christian- or any other faith-bashing.
However, the devil is in the details for the fundamentalists at OMM, who are missing a critical difference: GCB does not mock Christians. It mocks those who blaspheme Christianity, abusing it as a justification for hypocrisy.
This may be hitting too close to home for OMM, a subgroup of the American Family Association (AFA), an organization on the “frontlines [sic] of America’s culture wars.”
Labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the “sins” perpetrated by AFA’s spokespeople include calling Islam “the spirit of Satan,” claiming that “homosexuality gave us Adolf Hitler,” and stating in a recent Twitter post that efforts to mandate insurance coverage for contraception are “totalitarianism on hormones.”
Like the wealthy characters in GCB, the AFA ignores the commandment to “love thy neighbor” in exchange for a religion that not only justifies defamation, but also is very profitable. AFA reported over $19 million in revenue in 2010.
ABC is clearly luring its “Desperate Housewives” audience with a neighborhood populated by wealthier, Texas socialites. These ‘Christians’ are still angry about how they were treated in high school by Amanda, the protagonist, who returns home to live with her mother after her Ponzi-scheming, adulterous husband dies.
This “come to Jesus” experience converts Amanda to a life that honors real moral values like supporting her children through hard, honest work—even if it’s in a Hooters-like restaurant called “Boobylicious.”
Despite Amanda’s genuine efforts to make amends, her neighbors respond with anything but forgiveness. Altered by plastic surgery and dressed in the finest stereotype of gold-plated, gun-wielding, Texas couture, these characters use Bible verses like bullets to rhetorically inflict vengeful wounds that, while not mortal, are always aimed at the heart.
The Lord saith “vengeance is mine,” but these Texans have selectively forgotten that verse, which is precisely the point.
Trading gun for Bible verse slinging, the ladies attempt to “out-Christian” each other, leading to outrageous displays of hypocrisy. For example, After Amanda revealed during ‘prayer’ before the congregation that Boobylicious is actually owned by Carlene, GCB’s villainess, Carlene is too bedridden with embarrassment to attend church the following Sunday.
Holding his Bible, her husband offers spiritual support. “There is nothing in this book that says you can’t own a boobie bar.” Paraphrasing Proverbs 31, he continues, “You are a virtuous woman, priceless beyond rubies.”
After a friend offers to sing this week’s choir solo in her place, Carlene is far more motivated to go to church, jumping out of bed and yelling for her maid, “Carmelita get in here! The show must go on! Where are my rubies?”
While OMM is blind to its hypocrisy, the abuse of religion that occurs at the intersection of faith, money, and politics is obvious to many Americans and to GCB’s heroine. “God, she’s such a Pharisee,” laments Amanda, comparing Carlene to the legalistic religious leaders chastised by Jesus.
“Well, someone’s been reading her new testament,” replies her mother.
“No, I just googled ‘hypocrisy,'” quips Amanda.
As the series progresses, I think Amanda will continue to struggle with what it means to be a real Christian, while Carlene demeans salvation into an excuse for behavior that is anything but loving.
In the mean time, OMM continues to target the show’s advertisers. In a recent update, the group claimed “victory,” including a purported direct quote from Kraft foods. “Philadelphia [cream cheese] has decided to pull its advertising from GCB … We have received complaints from consumers and their opinions about our advertising are important to us.”
However, Kraft’s response to a GCB supporter was entirely different. “The brand has decided to redirect advertising to other programs with an established audience…. [T]his decision was not linked in any way to the content of this particular show.”
So much for the commandment to not bear false witness.
GCB puts religious hypocrisy on display before over 7 million viewers, according to the show’s latest ratings. Perhaps that’s the real reason OneMillionMoms is so upset. GCB lifts the proverbial choir robe worn by these modern-day Pharisees, and what’s underneath ain’t pretty.
March 2nd, 2012
So much for the American Family Association’s futile boycott by its couple hundred moms. Issue number 16 of the comic book Life With Archie featuring a same-sex wedding on its cover has completely sold out, according to a blog post on archiecomics.com:
“Kevin will always be a major part of Riverdale, and we’re overjoyed, honored and humbled by the response to this issue,” said Jon Goldwater, Co-CEO of Archie Comics. “Our fans have come out full force to support Kevin. He is, without a doubt, the most important new character in Archie history. He’s here to stay.”
One wonders how much the AFA’s boycott actually helped the comic book’s sales.
February 8th, 2012
February 1st, 2012
You know how anti-gay activists like to tell the world that they aren’t opposed to gay people, just to gay behavior, or rights, or social acceptance of homosexuality or fill in the blank. They’re lying. We know it, you know it, they know it.
So I guess they decided to just be upfront with their latest whine. The American Family Association’s amusingly named One Million Moms don’t want Ellen DeGeneres to be the spokesperson for JC Penny’s for one reason: she’s gay.
Recently JC Penney announced that comedian Ellen Degeneres will be the company’s new spokesperson. Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families. More sales will be lost than gained unless they replace their spokesperson quickly.
Seriously, there’s not a single reference to “lifestyle” or “agenda” or anything Ellen has said or supported. Nope, she’s gay and thus “the majority of JC Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there.”
Wow. That’s just plain ol’ blatant bigotry.
Fortunately, the handful of moms who hate gay people so much that they wouldn’t go to JC Penny (or use Cover Girl cosmetics) are increasingly few and really showing themselves to be far outside the mainstream.
January 16th, 2012
When the collection of social conservatives met, the public perception was that the purpose was to coalesce around one Republican candidate, shifting support from a variety of ‘non-Mitt’s to just one not-Mitt in hopes of having a social conservative as the Republican candidate. In reality, they met so each could try and convince the others to support they guy they supported. And just a few days after the white smoke went up, it now seems that all that was really accomplished was a sharp division into two not-Mitt camps.
Which is not very surprising. The collection of “leaders” who met are not known for their humility; in fact, they mostly exist for the purpose of being disagreeable and opposing things they don’t like. Concession is not part of their vocabulary.
But what is a bit surprising is that the conservative evangelical theocratic alternatives are narrowed down to Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Neither really seem to be ideal choices. They are both Catholic, you see. Papists, devotees in the cult of Mary, the tools of a foreign dictator, and worshipers of Mystery Babylon the Great Harlot. While that cultist polygamist Romney might be completely unacceptable, the pagan idolaters Santorum and Gingrich should be only marginally more acceptable – and that simply because Catholicism is a cult more familiar than the secretive Mormonism cult. *
(It is rather amusing when people who hate each other find common cause only in hating someone else even more.)
But it didn’t take long for the American Family Association to set the record straight. (OneNewsNow)
“The Evangelical community still holds a divergent opinion on who the nominee should be,” Rick Tyler, senior advisor to Winning Our Future PAC, a pro-Gingrich group, told OneNewsNow.com. “Rick Santorum won a straw poll that had a questionable methodology.”
“Rick has a very good record on evangelical issues but has no ability to beat Mitt Romney and less so for Barak Obama,” said Tyler. “Endorsing Rick only serves to help Romney who has a terrible record on the issues evangelicals care about.”
Tyler added that at least nine Gingrich supporters did not attend the meeting. He also said such notable evangelicals like Don Wildmon, American Family Association founder, Beverly LaHaye, founder of Concerned Women of America, Pastor Tim LaHaye, Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church and Prop 8 organizer, leading Christian researcher George Barna, former congressman JC Watts, Thomas Sowell, a conservative thought leader, Richard Lee, founding pastor of First Redeemer Church in Atlanta, Georgia and Mat Staver, dean of Liberty Law School have all endorsed Gingrich.
It’s hard to say why they are so devoted to Gingrich. Maybe it’s because his background is Protestant and they have doubts about the sincerity of his devotion to the Catholic Church. Maybe it is because they suspect that Rick Santorum truly would take any position or do without question any action directed by the Vatican. Or maybe they recognize that in a debate with a box of rocks, that Gingrich has hope of coming out on top.
But whatever the reasons, the advocates of theocracy are demonstrating what many of us have known for a while: their supposed influence and power has long been more theater and bluster than substance.
[* I’m not expressing my views, but the views of many evangelical fundamentalist Christians who view both the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church as being heretic.]
December 2nd, 2011
November 16th, 2011
Now I know that here at BTB we have readers from diverse places and a wide variety of beliefs. Some, like me, have a belief system that includes the divine while others are skeptical or dismissive about claims of supernatural beings that cannot be substantiated. From orthodoxy to atheism to skepticism and uncertainty, BTB accepts us all.
But let’s try a thought experiment. Let’s all suppose that there is one god, and that his name is “Fred”. (Fred either has six arms or two and is either inordinately fond of fried chicken livers or finds chicken repulsive – depending on which Order of Fred you ask. The ascetic monks of Outer Urboo even claim that Fred has tentacles and flies. But none of that is material to our story.)
We also assume that Fred is omniscient and that he has established a code of behavior. And, for sake of our experiment, let’s assume that within that code, Fred highlights ten specific things that humans are forbidden to do. And finally, let’s agree that in this hypothetical situation, that one of the ten forbidden behaviors is “bearing false witness”.
To be clear: often for simplicity’s sake, people talk about deities banning lying. But Fred is very specific. He forbids any instances in which you present yourself to others as a witness about a matter (as one who has information that others lack) and then give testimony about that matter that is false or intended to deceive. That is a really big no-no in Fred’s book.
With me so far?
Okay, now – within that context – consider a hypothetical email message sent out by Fred’s Followers in response to the effort to repeal the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (which prohibits the Federal Government from recognizing same sex marriages). They warn their readers, as FF tracks such things and are better informed, of what the consequences would be of this bill passing. They are, in the words of our deity, “bearing witness” about the bill.
The repercussions are enormous:
- States laws protecting marriage as between “one man, one woman” will become null and void – including the 31 states who have voted on constitutional amendments.
- The military will be thrown into complete chaos and disarray, as Department of Defense leaders try to figure out housing, benefits, and “same-sex spouse” sensitivity training regimens.
- Churches will come under fire from radical homosexual activists. Ministers and churches will be sued for “religious discrimination” for refusing to perform or allow gay “marriages.”
- Public schools will be forced to indoctrinate our children, teaching them that homosexual marriage is both natural and acceptable.
Let’s take a quick look at these claims to see if Fred would approve. The relevant language from S 598 is as follows:
Sec. 7. Marriage
(a) For the purposes of any Federal law in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual’s marriage is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.
So how do the claims of Fred’s Followers match up to reality? How did FF do?
Claim 1. As we can see, nothing in S 598 addresses state laws at all. Not only are they not made “null and void”, they aren’t even up for consideration.
This bill only would define the federal government’s rules of recognition and further would actually recognize and honor the restrictions on marriage imposed by those 31 states. While a soldier in Alabama might have her marriage recognized on base, it must have been conducted in one of the states in which she could marry and there’s no requirement that the Fred-fearing people of Alabama not point at her and scream “single, single, single brazen hussy of the leeeeesbian variety” if they so choose.
Now it is possible, even likely, that the various state DOMA amendments will be found by the United States Supreme Court to be in violation of the US Constitution. But until such time as the Supreme Court steps in and reminds the states that “any person” does not have an asterisk, states will be free to continue to be as exclusionary and unfair as AFA’s readers wish them to be.
Conclusion: claim 1 has no truth whatsoever.
Claim 2. Currently the Department of Defense leaders are experiencing a small amount of disarray as they try and comply with the provisions of DOMA that prohibit them from treating gay service personnel the same as straight personnel. Like most employers, they would prefer to just have one set of rules that apply to everyone.
But recent efforts to simplify (e.g. applying chaplain marriage structure equally) resulted in outcry from folks like Fred’s Followers and congressional meddling and a lot of back-peddling to please those who do not wish for gay people to be accorded the same rights and privileges as heterosexuals. And Defense officials are still not entirely certain how to apply (or, actually, deny) benefits for gay soldiers. Ironically, rather than throw them into disarray, it would be a tremendous relief for the military if DOMA to no longer intruded into their obsession for procedure and order and equal application of rules.
Conclusion: not only is claim 2 false, the opposite is true.
Claim 3. This claim is deceptive in its wording and deliberately so.
The US Constitution provides churches with the freedom to conduct such rites as they choose and to set whatever parameters they like for refusal. That is not in question. So FF says that churches will be “under fire”. And, indeed, they will. From their own members.
Gay and Lesbian and equality-loving heterosexual Presbyterians will pressure the Presbyterian Church (USA) to allow clergy to conduct same-sex weddings and to establish standard language by which to do so. But that has nothing at all to do with S 598. They are already doing so. In denomination after denomination and congregation after congregation, churches are seeking wisdom and discernment over how same-sex attracted congregants fit into the body of faith and “radical activists” of all inclinations are telling their stories and sharing their insight.
And the idea of gay couples suing churches over “religious discrimination” is so obviously false as to be laughable. The whole point of denominational autonomy – and surely there is no one who does not acknowledge that the First Amendment protects denominational autonomy – is to discriminate between rites, beliefs, and practices. The Church of Fred has no obligation to provide a venue for marriage ceremonies to anyone and the Fredite priests have no obligation to perform them. And nothing in that will change with S 598.
Conclusion: claim 3 has no kernel of truth whatsoever.
Claim 4. This one is similar to Claim 1. Schools and their curriculum are under state and local control; nothing in S 598 will or could force public schools to teach anything at all about marriage – gay, straight, natural, acceptable, or in accordance with the Ancient and Most Holy Broom-Jumping, Hora Dancing, Egg Stomping, Henna Painting, Dowry Gifting Rites of Connubial Bliss established by the Good and Gracious Fred, himself.
Conclusion: not only is claim 4 a flat out lie, it’s a rather obvious one as well.
Fred’s followers may be fools who lack the intellectual capability of distinguishing between an apple and a pineapple. They may be so mind-numbingly stupid, so tragically impeded, or so hopped up on Delphic vapors that they actually believe what they wrote.
And Fred, being gracious, just might look at his followers sadly and wonder, “how did I end up as the god of a bunch of idiots?” Perhaps their simple-mindedness would incline Fred towards mercy. And being fictional, after all, Fred’s Followers aren’t hurting anyone.
But, as I’m sure you guessed, this story isn’t really fiction. And the American Family Association, the real organization who crafted the above email and sent it out to all of those on their email list, is hurting people. And they are not fools. The AFA knew that they were disseminating false witness. Those who receive and respond to an AFA Action Alert may be so divorced from the law and how it works that they could believe that S 598 will result in their pastors being sued or the Military devolving into chaos, but the Wildmon family and their employees are not.
So this raises a most peculiar conundrum.
The American Family Association claims that they believe in a deity. They state that they believe in God and promote virtue by upholding in culture that which is right, true and good. The god they talk about is a holy and righteous god that cannot abide sin. Their god has provided forgiveness but he also demands repentance and change. Their god intends to throw all liars into a lake of eternal punishment for willfully breaking his commandments.
And yet the American Family Association has borne false – blatantly, inarguably, false – witness. Again.
So how can this be? If the God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked, then how can you, one of his followers, flagrantly and repeatedly defy a commandment so important to God that it made it into his top ten list?
If Don and Tim Wildmon and the others who pay their bills though anti-gay activism at the American Family Association believe in the god they preach, why then don’t they fall on their knees in fear and trembling and beg their god for mercy? Why don’t they dedicate their remaining days to recanting their lies and healing the damage they have caused?
Because they don’t believe. They couldn’t. And that’s their biggest lie of all.
November 2nd, 2011
I’m not a fan of abortion. If you are a pregnant woman who wants my opinion (though why would you?), I’d advise against it.
But as a gay man I have so little at stake in the debate that my opinion is of little consequence. So, as I prefer to err on the side of freedom and in recognition that those who seek stricter abortion laws generally want to enact social sanctions on my existence, I fall into the ‘conditionally pro-choice’ category.
There are probably some restrictions on abortion that folks like me are willing to accept. But Mississippi’s proposed amendment is extreme and if they are trying to appeal to people like me, this has to be the least effective pro-life message possible. (AFA)
Ashley Sigrest claims that thirteen years ago she aborted a pregnancy that resulted from rape. Now, “after accepting Jesus as her Savior through a crisis pregnancy center”, she’s made an amazing discovery.
“My rape was nothing compared to what I did to my child,” she stated to the gallery. “What my rapist did to me does not compare to what I chose to do to my baby … out of shame, out of guilt, out of fear because of what a man did to me. Rape is no excuse for abortion.”
Rape is no excuse for abortion? Because pregnant rape victims are looking for an excuse?
The idea of forcing a rape victim to bear the child of her rapist is abhorrent. And the thought that a man could rape a woman and then have the legal right to bring claims against that woman and the resulting child sends chills down my spine. And to spin this as consistent with the demands of God is sickening.
If you nutcases on the right think that rape is just an “excuse”, then you are callous, cold, evil people and I want nothing to do with any deity you serve.
October 14th, 2011
At least he’s not just picking on gay people:
These are behaviors that can be made illegal, and should be made illegal: those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral – that means it’s perfectly appropriate to have laws against what the law calls fornication, absolutely appropriate to make that illegal; men who practice homosexuality, perfectly permissible – in fact, we’re directed, we’re told in the Scriptures that it’s a good idea, this is the purpose of the law, it’s for the lawless and disobedient to engage in homosexuality – it’s perfectly appropriate for that kind of behavior to be against the law.
October 9th, 2011
Bryan Fischer, who followed GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to the podium during yesterday’s Values Voter Summit, delivered some of that poisonous language which Romney denounced. Right Wing Watch has posted his entire talk here. During this portion of his speech, Fischer denounced “the homosexual agenda” as the “greatest greatest immediate threat to every freedom and right that is enshrined in the First Amendment”:
I believe we need a president who understands that just as Islam represents the greatest long range threat to our liberty, so the homosexual agenda represents the greatest immediate threat to every freedom and right that is enshrined in the First Amendment. It’s a particular threat to religious liberty….
We need a president who understands that every advance of the homosexual agenda comes at the expense of religious liberty. We need a president who understands that we must choose as a nation between homosexuality and liberty, because we cannot have both. A president who understands that we must choose between homosexuality and liberty, and who will choose liberty every time.
October 9th, 2011
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who has stated that the First Amendment’s religious freedoms should only apply to Evangelical Christians and not to Mormons or Muslims, was given a very visible speaking slot at yesterday’s Values Voter Summit immediately following GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Romney just happens to be one of those Mormons that Fischer believes isn’t protected by the First Amendment. Romney took his turn at the podium to call out Fischer on his “poisonous language.”
Our values ennoble the citizen and they strengthen the nation. We should remember that decency and civility are values too. One of the speakers who will follow me today, has crossed that line I think. Poisonous language does not advance our cause. It has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind. The blessings of faith carry the responsibility of civil and respectful debate. The task before us is to focus on the conservative beliefs and the values that unite us. Let no agenda, narrow our vision or drive us apart. We have important work to accomplish.
A very mild rebuke, given to very mild applause — all of which serves to illustrate Romney’s difficulties in retaining his frontrunner status in the Republican race for the nomination. But as timid as that rebuke was, it certainly elicited a howl from the bully who is now outraged of the “public attack,” and like all bullies who get caught, he responds screaming that someone else started it:
Dr. Robert Jeffress started the fracas on Friday by referring to Mormonism as a “cult” in interviews with reporters after he introduced and endorsed Gov. Rick Perry on Friday.
According to MSNBC, Gov. Romney’s people got in touch with Bill Bennett and they decided to tag team – Bennett would kneecap Dr. Jeffress first and then Mitt would kneecap me right before I took the podium after his speech.
Here’s how Politico reported it:
“Rather than answering Jeffress directly, Romney came to the summit on Saturday and rebuked another hardline social conservative: Bryan Fischer, a controversial official at the American Family Association who has disparaged Mormonism, as well as homosexuality, Islam and more.
And there’s this nice touch:
I spoke immediately after Romney, who apparently was goaded into attacking me by the New York Times, the Boston Globe and other media outlets who wrote eagerly about the anticipated brawl. Here’s the breathless headline, for instance, from the Deseret News: “Mitt Romney vs. Mormon critic Bryan Fischer: Showdown Saturday?”
Ya see? The reference to The Deseret News conclusively proves that the Mormon Church put Romney up to the “attack.”
Bullies typically scream the loudest when they are startled by their target rising up to defend themselves, no matter how tentatively. Romney mildly suggested that Fischer went too far in a timid half-dozen sentences. Fischer’s cri de coeur goes on for more than nine hundred words. That means that Romney’s mild slap stung Fischer pretty hard. And I have a feeling Fischer still isn’t done crying.
October 8th, 2011
TODAY’S AGENDA (OURS):
First Openly Gay Ordination for the Presbyterian Church, USA: Madison, WI. Last May, the Presbyterian Church USA became the fourth mainline Protestant Church to allow the ordination of openly gay clergy. Today, that promise becomes a reality as Scott Anderson is ordained at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wisconsin. The Princeton Theological Seminary graduate had served as Co-Moderator of More Light Presbyterians before moving to Madison to become the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches.
Anderson’s ordination will mark his return to a ministry he was forced to abandon twenty-one years ago. In 1990, while working as a parish minister in Sacramento, he was threatened with exposure by a couple who wanted him to help raise money for a cause they were advancing that he disagreed with. Rather than submit to the couple’s threats, he outed himself instead, and in keeping with the church’s rules he stepped down as minister and embarked on the long process of working to change the church’s stance toward ordination of openly gay people. Anderson will be supported by his partner of twenty-one years at today’s ordination. Anderson is being ordained by the John Knox Presbytery, which consists of 60 congregations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Also This Weekend: Iris Prize Film Festival, Cardiff, UK.
TODAY’S AGENDA (THEIRS):
Values Voter Summit: Washington, D.C. Whenever the Family “Research” Council and the American Family Association team up to put on their annual Values Voter Summit, you can pretty much guarantee that they will more than live up to their reputation for being on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-gay hate groups. Yesterday, we saw GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum give his most bizarre qualification yet for the presidency, when he told the conference that voters should “look at who they lay down with at night and what they believe.” That will be hard to top, although Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver gave it his best shot by saying that gay equality will lead to the destruction of Western Civilization.
Today’s lineup will be about as crazy as yesterday’s. The AFA’s Bryan Fischer, whose sheer lunacy knows no bounds, will be a featured speaker, along with FRC’s Tom McClusky and Tony Perkins, National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, American Values’ Gary Bauer, AFA’s Ed Vitagliano, Alliance Defense Fund’s Alan Sears, Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly, Glenn Beck and Bishop Harry Jackson, among many others. GOP Presidential candidates speaking today will be Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).
And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?
October 7th, 2011
Mat Staver, head of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University’s law school, appeared on an American Family Association radio program this morning just before introducing GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum at the Values Voter Summit. Staver told AFA Radio that “the sexual anarchy with the agenda of the homosexual movement” threatens the survival of Western Civilization:
Staver: We are facing the survival of western values, western civilization. And I think those survival, whether they win or lose, what will the future of America be will be determined in our lifetime…. One of the most significant threats to our freedom is in the area of sexual anarchy with the agenda of the homosexual movement, the so-called LGBT movement. It does several things, first of all it undermines family and the very first building block of our society, but secondly, it’s a zero sum game as well and it’s a direct assault on our religious freedom and freedom of speech.
Do you really want to know what threatens the survival of Western Civilization? Well, if one of the great pillars of Western Civilization is the rule of law, then Staver’s Liberty Counsel and law school pose a far greater threat to Western Civilization than treating all people equally. Members of Staver’s organizations have been implicated in facilitating the kidnapping of then- seven-year-old Isabella Miller-Jenkins, in defiance of a court order ordering Isabella’s mother, Lisa Miller, to turn custody of the child over to her other mother from a civil union, Janet Jenkins, after Miller refused to follow to previous court orders granting visitation rights. There is considerable evidence that Miller may be following the advice of legal counsel in defying the courts’ rulings. Teachers at Staver’s law school presented a case study that was remarkably similar to the Miller-Jenkins case, and taught students that, as future lawyers, they should encourage their clients to chose “God’s law” over “man’s law” and defy the legal system. Students who responded on an exam that the client should follow the court order were given bad grades, while students who responded that the client should be urged to break the law got A’s.
If there is a threat to Western Civilization, it’s posed by those who would impose legal anarchy to further their narrow religious agenda in open defiance of the law.
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.