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Posts for October, 2014

Working Through the Five Steps of Grief

Jim Burroway

October 6th, 2014

The first step in the Kübler-Ross model is denial and the second step is anger, but leave it to anti-gay activists to go through the steps in the wrong order. They hit anger first, but now they’re backtracking to denial:

And Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance:

“It is important to note that the Supreme Court has not ruled on the constitutionality of same-sex ‘marriage.’ They have merely declined to address the issue at this point in time, and that is actually better than imposing their view of marriage on the whole country. Americans are having a robust debate on this important issue, and for the Supreme Court to interrupt that debate and decide the issue for the country would be disastrous.”

And then there’s this, from the Family Policy Institute of Washington:

However, this is certainly not the final word on this subject either in the courts or in the culture. In the courts, there are several other cases working their way up through the system. The Supreme Court could be waiting for one of those cases to delay their final decision a couple of years. Culturally, the conversation over this issue is just getting started. In one sense, proponents of redefining marriage are just finishing their opening argument. Time will afford the chance for a rebuttal.

…In thirty years, it is the children of same-sex relationships who will be arguing most forcefully on our behalf. That is not because those children will hate the same-sex couples who raised them but because they will be immune to the argument that the only possible reason to support natural marriage is because you hate gay people. They will also have a perspective that those who deal only in theory and never in practice will have no response for.

The other steps are bargaining, depression and acceptance. I’m not sure where delusional falls into the scheme of things.

Not reacting according to Culture War sides

A Commentary

Timothy Kincaid

February 16th, 2012

Unfortunately, in today’s Culture War driven political climate, one’s political affiliation and group identity often dictates their response to issues and situations.

And our community is not immune. We make excuses for those who kinda may support us – or are, at least, affiliated in some way with our supporters – while holding to ridicule and derision proposals and ideas by those who oppose us on matters of equality whether or not those proposals or ideas have merit or impact our community uniquely in any way.

At BTB we try hard to be thoughtful rather than reactionary. We don’t always succeed, but we try. And it is in that context that I declare my agreement with Gary Bauer and Concerned Women for America on a situation.

The matter is trivial, a foolish mistake made by an overzealous government worker who turned off their brain and placed tick-boxes on a clipboard as being far more important than the purposes for those tick-boxes.

According to the Carolina Journal, an agent with the Department of Health and Human Services came to West Hoke Elementary School to inspect the lunches of pre-schoolers and make certain that they were eating an approved meal. The school decided that one four year old girl’s lunch – consisting of a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice – was not adequately nutritious and so she was informed that Mommy’s lunch was bad and it was replaced with a cafeteria meal. [UPDATE: DHHS has issued a press release stating that the child was not told that Mommy’s lunch was bad, that they do not inspect home prepared lunches, and that besides she was simply offered milk to supplement her meal. To date (2/17) there is no information on exactly how she came to the impression that her lunch needed additional nutritional elements or why whomever noted the lack of compliance with federal guidelines missed that the lunch the girl actually ate was not something that a nutrition-focused parent would select.]

For lunch that day, the girl ate three chicken nuggets.

Now, the right wing is delighted. Here is an example of government at its worst, lurking in your child’s classroom and making her eat chicken nuggets. And the opportunity to attack their enemies was too good to pass up.

Dr. Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America sees Michele Obama as to blame.

I think our state legislators [and] our federal legislators have to get involved in this because regulation is coming from the top, and quite frankly, a lot of this stems from the first lady’s emphasis on nutritional requirements that the government has to certify that each child has the appropriate nutritional requirements.

Gary Bauer (who isn’t running for President this year) sees communists in the bushes.

The girl’s grandmother, who often makes her granddaughter’s lunches, asked rhetorically, “This isn’t China, is it?” Not yet, but welcome to Obama’s brave new world. If the government can force us to buy specific products, force religious institutions to violate their values and send lunchbox inspectors to sort through our kids’ food, Chinese-style “commissars” are in our future.

It’s tempting to leap to the defense of the Obamas and the federal program, isn’t it? Considering that it’s Crouse and Bauer our instinct is to disagree and insist that federal guidelines are necessary to protect the health of children. This can’t be blamed on Obama because this was never their intent and besides this error was on the part of the school. Let’s get our excuses in order and blow these right wingers out of the water…

Except that in this case they are right. Not about the ‘blame the Obamas’ part, but about this being an example of a federal government that has exceeded all reasonable boundaries and has insinuated itself much too far into the minutia of our daily lives.

If we stop for a moment, we will all agree that three chicken nuggets are not a healthier choice than a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice. Some of us snort at the notion that a government which approves of chicken nuggets – about as close to poison as you can get and still call it food – has any business making any valuations about nutrition.

Some of us go further, questioning why it is that any government official, at any level, is inspecting the lunch bags that parents send with their children. Why the federal government is dictating standards at local schools for home-brought lunches, at all? When did the Senator from Alabama and the Representative from Pascagoula get the right to decide what my kid eats for lunch, anyway?

Some of us hold to the principle that a child’s health and nutrition are primarily the responsibility of that child’s parents and if they are lacking in knowledge or concern then their community – relatives, neighbors, teachers – can offer counsel. Ultimately if it raises to the level of abuse or abandonment of care, the state can step in as protector.

But to abdicate our own responsibilities as parents and community members to a federal bureaucracy is to invite lunch bag inspection. If our desire to control others and force them to do what we know is best rules the day, then control and force will be the result.

And we need not use the examples of “forcing religious institutions to violate their values” to illustrate our point. (And he’s right, as long as they are using their own money and not administering taxpayer funded programs, the Catholic Church should not be forced to pay for contraception, abortion, or any other procedures they find morally objectionable. Nor should the Gay and Lesbian Center be forced to pay for insurance that includes ex-gay counseling, for that matter.)

It’s not the poor abused conservative Christians that are the real victims of governmental excess. Rather, our own community is the very poster child for federal abuse, most of it instigated by political allies of Gary Bauer and Janet Crouse.

The State of Massachusetts is suing the federal government because the Feds refuse to honor the centuries old right of states to determine marriage (so long as they are constitutional determinations). Residents of that state – and five others – are victims not of federal lunch inspectors but of federal crotch inspectors. If there are not the right amount of penises in the relationship, then the government box-tickers will not approve. “No, don’t eat that – not enough penises. Have a chicken nugget.”

Federal legislators are actually proposing a bill that would ban equality-supporting chaplains in the military from offering the rites of their faith to military members at their own chapel if those rites affirm the commitment of a same-sex couple.

And, in a policy that every ‘small tax conservative’ and every ‘pro-business conservative’ and every ‘fewer-restrictions conservative’ should each use as example number one – but for some unknown reason they never ever seem to bring up – our Federal Government has dictated that if a business wishes to offer to its employees health insurance coverage for their spouses, the business must track gay employees separately from straight employees and report this coverage to the Federal Government so that it may tax the gay employees – but not straight employees – on their health benefits.

But Crouse and Bauer aren’t interested in government intrusion on those issues. They lobby for increased federal crotch inspection and further appropriate orientation requirements. “Don’t tell me what to do, but here’s a list of laws that we think should restrict the freedoms and equalitites of gay people.”

I think that the question we should be asking is not “Why is this program anti-gay?” or “Why is this program anti-religious?” or even “Why is this program anti-parent packed lunch?” but rather the question should simply be “Why is this program?”

If we stop fighting and hating each other enough to think, surely we can agree that we all could use a bit more liberty and independence and a little less bureaucracy in our lives.

Google vs Bing vs Yahoo! in the Search for Santorum

Jim Burroway

September 25th, 2011

That’s the claim that GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum made last week, and Concerned Women for America’s Peggy Young Nance is working to spread the smear with the help of Fox News. Yesterday, she published this op-ed on Fox News claiming:

Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) is the father of seven children, a devout Catholic, and current GOP presidential candidate.  But when someone types his name into the Google search box, the very first result that appears is a website detailing a sex act “by-product” named after the senator.  In fact, the Senator’s own website is the fourth result. By contrast, Rick Santorum’s website is the first result that both Yahoo and Bing give the user.

…Sen. Santorum said that he suspects “if something was up there like that about Joe Biden, they’d get rid of it. … To have a business allow that type of filth to be purveyed through their website or through their system is something that they say they can’t handle, but I suspect that’s not true.”

I tend to agree with the senator.  Why does Bing know that Rick Santorum’s own website is a better match than an explicitly sex-related site?

Nance might want to re-Bing and re-Yahoo! “Santorum”again. First up, Microsoft’s Bing, where you have to go all the way down to #8 before you find Sen. Santorum’s campaign web site:

Bing's search results as of 8:30 a.m. PDT on September 25 (Click to enlarge)

On Yahoo!, Santorum’s campaign web site made #7, including the obligatory news summary at the top. That news summary takes up a considerable amount of real estate, which pushes Santorum’s official web site nearly below the fold:

Yahoo!'s search results as of 8:30 a.m. PDT on September 25 (Click to enlarge)

Meanwhile, Google places Santorum’s campaign web site at #9, just below the fold. Which means that all three search engines place Santorum’s official campaign link within one position of each other:

Googles search results as of 8:30 a.m. PDT on September 25 (Click to enlarge)

Which means that in the world of Search Engine Optimization where it’s understood that the first couple of slots are where 70% of searchers click, Santorum’s Yahoo! problem and Bing problem are hardly better than his Google problem.

Prop 8 Supporters React

Jim Burroway

August 4th, 2010

First, we go to Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which represented the losing side in today’s decision:

“Today’s ruling is clearly a disappointment. The judge’s invalidation of the votes of over seven million Californians violates binding legal precedent and short-circuits the democratic process. But this is not the end of our fight to uphold the will of the people for traditional marriage, as we now begin an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“It is disturbing that the trial court, in order to strike down Prop 8, has literally accused the majority of California voters of having ill and discriminatory intent when casting their votes for Prop 8.

“But the reality is that Prop 8 was simply about restoring and strengthening the traditional definition of marriage as the unique relationship of a man and a woman, for the benefit of children, families and society.

“At trial we built a solid record to show that marriage has served as the foundation of the family and society as a whole, has universal functions and features attributable only to unions between a man and woman, has been defined in both law and language as a union between a man and a woman, and acts as the predominate relationship in which to create and support children.

“We are confident that the trial court record we built will help us ultimately prevail on appeal and reverse today’s ruling.

Newt Gingrich, who believes in the sanctity of marriage between on man and three consecutive women, warns that this should be another knock against confirming Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court:

“Judge Walker’s ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife. In every state of the union from California to Maine to Georgia, where the people have had a chance to vote they’ve affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Congress now has the responsibility to act immediately to reaffirm marriage as a union of one man and one woman as our national policy. Today’s notorious decision also underscores the importance of the Senate vote tomorrow on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because judges who oppose the American people are a growing threat to our society.”

Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America stomps her foot and demands that the decision be overturned immediately:

Judge Walker’s decision goes far beyond homosexual ‘marriage’ to strike at the heart of our representative democracy. Judge Walker has declared, in effect, that his opinion is supreme and ‘We the People’ are no longer free to govern ourselves. The ruling should be appealed and overturned immediately.

“Marriage is not a political toy. It is too important to treat as a means for already powerful people to gain preferred status or acceptance. Marriage between one man and one woman undergirds a stable society and cannot be replaced by any other living arrangement.

Robert George of the American Principles Project, sees this as ensuring “additional decades fo social dissension and polarization”:

Another flagrant and inexcusable exercise of ‘raw judicial power’ threatens to enflame and prolong the culture war ignited by the courts in the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade,” said Dr. Robert P. George, Founder of the American Principles Project. “In striking down California’s conjugal marriage law, Judge Walker has arrogated to himself a decision of profound social importance—the definition and meaning of marriage itself—that is left by the Constitution to the people and their elected representatives.”

“As a decision lacking any warrant in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution, it abuses and dishonors the very charter in whose name Judge Walker declares to be acting. This usurpation of democratic authority must not be permitted to stand.”

…“The claim that this case is about equal protection or discrimination is simply false,” George said. “It is about the nature of marriage as an institution that serves the interests of children—and society as a whole—by uniting men and women in a relationship whose meaning is shaped by its wonderful and, indeed, unique aptness for the begetting and rearing of children.

…“Judge Walker has abandoned his role as an impartial umpire and jumped into the competition between those who believe in marriage as the union of husband and wife and those who seek to advance still further the ideology of the sexual revolution. Were his decision to stand, it would ensure additional decades of social dissension and polarization. Pro-marriage Americans are not going to yield to sexual revolutionary ideology or to judges who abandon their impartiality to advance it. We will work as hard as we can for as long as it takes to defend the institution of marriage and to restore the principle of democratic self-government,” concluded Dr. George.

Focus On the Family’s Judicial Analyst Bruce Hasknecht (he apparently didn’t get layed off last week) warns that this could have repurcussions for the other 49 states in the union:

“Judge Walker’s ruling raises a shocking notion that a single federal judge can nullify the votes of more than 7 million California voters, binding Supreme Court precedent, and several millennia-worth of evidence that children need both a mom and a dad.

“During these legal proceedings, the millions of California residents who supported Prop 8 have been wrongfully accused of being bigots and haters. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, they are concerned citizens, moms and dads who simply wanted to restore to California the long-standing understanding that marriage is between one woman and one man – a common-sense position that was taken away by the actions of another out-of-control state court in May 2008.

“Fortunately for them, who make up the majority of Californians, this disturbing decision is not the last word.

…“We do want Americans to understand the seriousness of this decision, however. If this judge’s decision is not overturned, it will most likely force all 50 states to recognize same-sex marriage. This would be a profound and fundamental change to the social and legal fabric of this country.

Tony Perkins at the Family Research COuncil anticipates that the decisionwill be upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (“the most liberal appeals court in America”), and will only make the anti-gay rhetoric “more volatile”:

“This lawsuit, should it be upheld on appeal and in the Supreme Court, would become the ‘Roe v. Wade’ of same-sex ‘marriage,’ overturning the marriage laws of 45 states. As with abortion, the Supreme Court’s involvement would only make the issue more volatile. It’s time for the far Left to stop insisting that judges redefine our most fundamental social institution and using liberal courts to obtain a political goal they cannot obtain at the ballot box.

“Marriage is recognized as a public institution, rather than a purely private one, because of its role in bringing together men and women for the reproduction of the human race and keeping them together to raise the children produced by their union. The fact that homosexuals prefer not to enter into marriages as historically defined does not give them a right to change the definition of what a ‘marriage’ is.

“Marriage as the union between one man and one woman has been the universally-recognized understanding of marriage not only since America’s founding but for millennia. To hold that the Founders created a constitutional right that none of them could even have conceived of is, quite simply, wrong.

“FRC has always fought to protect marriage in America and will continue to do so by working with our allies to appeal this dangerous decision. Even if this decision is upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals-the most liberal appeals court in America-Family Research Council is confident that we can help win this case before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Randy Thomasson, of Save California thinks the oath of office should be updated to force judges to only issue conservative rulings:

“Natural marriage, voter rights, the Constitution, and our republic called the United States of America have all been dealt a terrible blow. Judge Walker has ignored the written words of the Constitution, which he swore to support and defend and be impartially faithful to, and has instead imposed his own homosexual agenda upon the voters, the parents, and the children of California. This is a blatantly unconstitutional ruling because marriage isn’t in the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution guarantees that state policies be by the people, not by the judges, and also supports states’ rights, thus making marriage a state jurisdiction. It is high time for the oath of office to be updated to require judicial nominees to swear to judge only according to the written words of the Constitution and the original, documented intent of its framers. As a Californian and an American, I am angry that this biased homosexual judge, in step with other judicial activists, has trampled the written Constitution, grossly misused his authority, and imposed his own agenda, which the Constitution does not allow and which both the people of California and California state authorities should by no means respect.”

Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association goes further, and calls for Judge Walker’s impeachement:

“This is a tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional display of judicial arrogance. Judge Walker has turned ‘We the People’ into ‘I the Judge.’

“It’s inexcusable for him to deprive the citizens of California of their right to govern themselves, and cavalierly trash the will of over seven million voters. This case never should even have entered his courtroom. The federal constitution nowhere establishes marriage policy, which means under the 10th Amendment that issue is reserved for the states.

“It’s also extremely problematic that Judge Walker is a practicing homosexual himself. He should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual proclivity. The fundamental issue here is whether homosexual conduct, with all its physical and psychological risks, should be promoted and endorsed by society. That’s why the people and elected officials accountable to the people should be setting marriage policy, not a black-robed tyrant whose own lifestyle choices make it impossible to believe he could be impartial.

“His situation is no different than a judge who owns a porn studio being asked to rule on an anti-pornography statute. He’d have to recuse himself on conflict of interest grounds, and Judge Walker should have done that.

“The Constitution says judges hold office ‘during good Behavior.’ Well, this ruling is bad behavior – in fact, it’s very, very bad behavior – and we call on all members of the House of Representatives who respect the Constitution to launch impeachment proceedings against this judge.”

Richard Land demands the revival of the Federal Marriagae Amendment

“This is a grievously serious crisis in how the American people will choose to be governed. The people of our most populous state—a state broadly indicative of the nation at large demographically—voted to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, thus excluding same-sex and polygamous relationships from being defined as marriage.

“Now, an unelected federal judge has chosen to override the will of the people of California and to redefine an institution the federal government did not create and that predates the founding of America. Indeed, ‘marriage’ goes back to the Garden of Eden, where God defined His institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

“This case will clearly make its way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court of the United States, where unfortunately, the outcome is far from certain. There are clearly four votes who will disagree with this judge—Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito. The supreme question is: Will there be a fifth? Having surveyed Justice Kennedy’s record on this issue, I have no confidence that he will uphold the will of the people of California.

“If and when the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court, then the American people will have to decide whether they will insist on continuing to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people, or whether they’re going to live under the serfdom of government by the judges, of the judges and for the judges. Our forefathers have given us a method to express our ultimate will. It’s called an amendment to the Constitution. If the Supreme Court fails to uphold the will of the people of California—if we are going to have our form of government altered by judicial fiat—then the only alternative left to us is to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.

“Many senators who voted against the federal marriage amendment the last time it came up said publicly if a federal court interfered with a state’s right to determine this issue, they would then be willing to vote for a federal marriage amendment. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to vote.

Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition is losing his creativity. In fact, his statement is rather boring. I won’t bother posting it. But TVC state lobbyist Benjamin Lopez thinks this will motivate the Tea Party Movement even more:

“If folks think that the Tea Party movement is a force to be reckoned with now, wait until the silent majority of pro-family voters flex their political muscle once again. Judges beware, you will go the way of Rose Bird, stripped of their robes and kicked off the bench,” Lopez added.

Oops! Lopez’s statement appears to have been deleted, which just leaves Sheldon’s uncreative outrage.

Another Criteria for Marriage

Jim Burroway

August 3rd, 2010

Late last night, Timothy Kincaid posted a great list of NOM’s criteria for marriage. Concerned Women for America’s Janice Crouse last week added another: If you’re Methodist, your spouse cannot be Jewish.

Anti-Gay Group Sells Snakeoil

Jim Burroway

March 19th, 2010

Okay, in the interest of full accuracy, I cannot vouch for the ingredients of Concerned Women for America’s “exciting liquid nutrition discovery and a new program at CWA,” but hawking a new elixir as “a single, liquid ultra-premium formula that provides the vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed for optimal health*” (all-important asterisk in the original) seems be a good fit for an organization that has a long history of selling political snake oil.

Wingers On Parade: Reactions To Iowa

Jim Burroway

April 3rd, 2009

Today’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling, which struck down the portion of that state’s marriage law restricting marriage to heterosexuals, has provoked an entertaining assortment of reactions from the usual characters. Here are just a few examples.

First up, Matt Barber. He now has a title that is longer than the queen of England (“Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with both Liberty Counsel and Liberty Alliance Action, and Associate Dean with Liberty University School of Law”). I like his reaction because it fits perfectly with other ridiculous arguments which inspired the very name of this web site. Barber blathers:

U.S. Supreme Court long ago rejected the untenable notion that ‘equal protection’ requires two biologically incompatible persons to be permitted to ‘marry.’ Marriage, of course, by its very spiritual, historical and biological nature, requires binary compatibility. It is no more discriminatory to disallow two men from marrying each other, than it is to prohibit a man from marrying his house plant.

That’s right. We now have the potted plant argument, which I guess is appropriate coming from him. Since the Box Turtle reference may be getting old, maybe we should rename this web site “Pansies for Pansies.com” in Barber’s honor.

Next up, Randy Thomasson. He’s demanding the most rigorous constitutional amendment ever devised by man or beast:

…Iowans should write a rock-solid marriage amendment, one that is much stronger than amendments in California, Oregon and Washington, which still allowed counterfeit marriages and immoral policies forcing insurance plans and private businesses to subsidize pseudo-marriages. Iowans should also take care to prevent the civil institution of marriage from being someday abolished, and must biologically define a man and a woman to ensure that the distinct, God-given genders of a husband and wife cannot be perverted.

owa Rep. Steve King (R-Kiron) wants more than just a constitutional amendment. He also wants to prevent Iowa from becoming a “gay marriage Mecca”:

Along with a constitutional amendment, the legislature must also enact marriage license residency requirements so that Iowa does not become the gay marriage Mecca due to the Supreme Court’s latest experiment in social engineering.

Concerned Women for America aren’t interested in tinkering with laws or constitutions. Instead, they call for the establishment of a theocracy:

Until we rightly handle these issues in God’s house, we will continue to fail in the court house, the state house and the school house. George Washington warned us it would be impossible to rightly govern without the Bible, until we repent and return to those same principles, we will fail to properly govern and succeed as a nation.

And finally, our favorite. Peter LaBarbera gets a two-fer. First, there’s this post on his web site:

Today Iowa becomes the first state not on either of the nation’s two liberal coasts to impose counterfeit, homosexual ‘marriage’ or its mischievous twin, ‘civil unions’ on its citizens through judicial tyranny. To call this decision bankrupt is to understate its perniciousness. The evil genius of the pro-sodomy movement is that it targets noble institutions like marriage and adoption in the name of ‘rights,’ and then perverts and uses them to normalize aberrant and destructible behaviors.

In LaBarbara’s mass email which also included the above statement, he added:

If the people do not respond in righteous anger coupled with effective action, the downfall of our beloved nation is assured — because God (who invented marriage) is not mocked.

Iowa protester Craig Overton (Rodney White / Des Moines Register)

Iowa protester Craig Overton (Rodney White / Des Moines Register)

You know, there’s a reason we have an award named for him. One excellent nominee for that award might be one Craig Overton, whose sign was so embarrassing to gay rights opponents that they urged him to put the sign down. It read “Same sex animals don’t mate. God Bless. Culver man up.” Overton refused to put the sign down.

Newsweek Essay Draws Howls of Protest

Jim Burroway

December 9th, 2008

Anti-gay activists are pulling their hair out over Lisa Miller’s essay in Newsweek, in which she lays out a religious case for same-sex marriage. She opens her essay by saying, “Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side.”

As you can imagine, that didn’t go over well with one particular segment of Christianity. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a member of the Focus on the Family Board of Directors, wrote:

Many observers believe that the main obstacle to this agenda [of allowing same-sex marriage] is a resolute opposition grounded in Christian conviction. Newsweek clearly intends to reduce that opposition.”

That was one of the calmer reactions. Tony Perkins of the Family “Research” Council denounced it as “yet another attack on orthodox Christianity.” The Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association called it “one of the most biased and distorted pieces concerning homosexual marriage ever published by any major news organization.” Not surprisingly, he also is calling on his followers to inundate Newsweek with emails.

And Peter LaBarbera, not one to be outdone, called the essay a “scandalous hit piece” and an “embarrassing attempt to make a Biblical case for sodomy-based ‘marriage.'” (See why we have an award named in his honor?) And Peter’s pal, Matt Barber responded, “You know, scripture says woe to those who call evil good and good evil, and I say woe to Newsweek for even printing this drivel.”

Part of the outrage stems from the fact that anti-gay activists have tried for years to couch their opposition to same-sex marriage on sociological research to make their point — research that, as we have pointed out many times, they have distorted with amazing consistency. But by calling on science instead of the Bible, they seek to inoculate themselves from charges of trying to impose their religious views on others. “See? We’re not religious zealots. Science supports us,” they like to say. Richard Land, of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, repeated this line in saying, “The arguments that are used are often not biblical arguments. They are secular arguments, arguing about marriage as being a civic and a social institution, and that societies have a right to define marriage.” And Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, claimed, “We’re not trying to take the Bible and put a bill number on it and legislate it.”

But when they are talking among themselves, religious arguments are firmly at the fore, whether it’s LDS Elder M. Russell Ballard speaking of the “central doctrine of eternal marriage” or Richard Land himself explaining with an apparently straight face that what he calls the global warning “hoax” is simply due to “cycles of nature that God has allowed in the cosmos.” Neither of these positions sound very scientific to me.

But the religious face is not the public face that these religiously-motivated leaders want to present. And by having to respond to Lisa Miller’s essay, they are forced to publicly defend the religious basis for their beliefs, which annoys a few of them to no end.  Watch how Concerned Women for America’s Janice Shaw Crouse pivots when asked about the Newsweek essay:

“Beyond the Scriptural distortion, the article distorts the pro-marriage and pro-family movement that is solidly grounded on sociological research about family structures that contribute to the well-being of women and children.”

She then goes on to mischaracterize what “experts agree.”

But the other part of the outrage also seems clearly aimed at someone who really did intrude onto their home turf. After all, in the same-sex marriage debates, only one small group of Christians are presumed to be allowed to use the Bible — when they think nobody else is looking. Anti-gay activists behave as though the Bible is solely their possession and no one else’s — including other Christians who read the same Bible and come to different conclusions. It’s okay for anti-gay opponents to turn outside their own sphere of authority — science — to make their point. But now that Lisa Miller has taken them on in their own home turf, they’ve let loose with their persecution complex and complained that they– and by extension all of Christianity, since they presume to speak for all Christians — have been “attacked.” 

Which reminds me of a great and appropriate graphic making its way around the Internet:

Mohler Sees the Bigger Picture

This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Timothy Kincaid

October 17th, 2008

In the world of anti-gay activism, there are those who will say or do anything to advance their anti-gay agenda. Integrity has long since been discarded and honesty always take a back seat to insinuation, innuendo, and sometimes blatant lies.

Take, for example, a recent outing by first graders to celebrate the marriage of their teacher to her wife. The bare facts, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, are these:

  • The lesbian teacher had not requested that her students attend the ceremony.
  • A parent decided that it would be good for the students to go congratulate their teacher and came up with the idea for the outing.
  • The interim director approved the trip as a “teaching moment”.
  • Parental permission was required and two families opted not to have their children attend. They remained at school with another class.
  • The children went at noon, rode a public bus, and walked one block to the courthouse. The trip did not significantly diminish their scholastic endeavors.
  • The children did not attend the wedding, but waited outside the courthouse and threw rose petals when the teacher came out. She was surprised and pleased.
  • At least one child wore a “No on 8″ button which reflected the political views of her parents.

This story has delighted the anti-gay industry. Writers have distorted the story and passed it on for others to take it even further from the truth.

OneNewNow falsely states:

For the school-sponsored trip, 18 first-graders — ages 5 and 6 — were taken to San Francisco City Hall to witness the wedding of their teacher and her lesbian partner.

Yes on 8’s Chip White told CNSNews:

“The other side claims that we’re lying (when we say) that same-sex marriage will be taught in schools. This field trip shows not only will same-sex marriage be taught in schools, but it already is being taught in schools,” he said.

Concerned Women for America’s Leslie Smith claimed

Conservative and liberal critics alike are decrying the use of taxpayer money to bus the students to the ceremony under the auspices of “education.”

CWA’s Wendy Wright went beyond getting the facts wrong and blatantly lied when she said

And it didn’t take long for activists to go straight to children to advance their agenda, as if other people’s children are merely pawns.

Consistent through out the repeating and retelling of this story is a need on the part of anti-gays to create a situation that did not occur. Their desire to win an election has vastly overpowered any instinct towards telling the truth.

But there are some individuals with whom I sharply disagree but who also try to keep their claims this side of fraudulent. They may take positions that I find contrary to both Christian principle and American philosophy, but their words are not generally dishonest – or at least not blatantly so.

One such person is Albert Mohler, the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Mohler has also reviewed the story about the San Francisco children and found it disturbing. But Mohler’s distress is not based in bogus taxpayer bus expenses or in the pretense that the will of parents was disregarded. He does not rant about “exposed to the ceremony” or other misstatements of fact. Dr. Mohler has a broader concern.

Human society is a complex reality, but certain constants have framed that reality for human beings. One of those constants has been the institution of marriage. The respected status of the heterosexual pairing, set apart for exclusive rights and respected for its functions for the society, is among the most important of those constants. Even where deviations from this pattern occur, they are of interest merely for the fact that they are deviations from this norm.

The legalization and normalization of same-sex marriage undermine that constant. What had been a clear picture now becomes confusing. Marriage had been universally understood to be heterosexual. Now, it is something else. The picture is further confused by alienating the heterosexual breeding and parenting function from marriage. Not only does marriage appear now to be what it never was before, the essential functions of marriage are up for grabs.

The pictures in the mind change.

What Dr. Mohler rightly notes is that this battle is not truly over first grade field trips. It isn’t really over parental rights or churches being sued.

What the battle over the legal recognition of same-sex marriage is about is the cultural recognition of same-sex unions as part of the definition of marriage. It’s a reflection of a society that no longer views gay persons as objectionable or inferior and which no longer gives preference and privilege to the institution of heterosexuality.

Those of us who favor equality emphatically state that the State cannot treat citizens dissimilarity. And that marriage is a civil right which cannot be eliminated to meet the demands of some churches’ doctrines.

But although Mohler is talking about Proposition 8 and encouraging its passage, that isn’t really at the heart of his complaint. It isn’t so much that a state has allowed marriage as it is that a society has rejected his moral argument.

The battle over Proposition 8 is a struggle over some of the most fundamental principles of life, society, and meaning. In the eyes of same-sex marriage advocates the battle is for equality, dignity, and respect for homosexual relationships. In the eyes of same-sex marriage opponents, the battle is for the preservation of an institution essential for human happiness and thriving.

Both sides in this debate understand that issues right at the core of human dignity are at stake. Each side understands that the decision on this question will shape the future of our civilization.

And though Mohler writes his piece to rally the troops, I think he knows that even if he wins the battle that is this proposition, he has lost the war. Mohler knows that his church, and many others, have for years appealed to the people. They have preached sermons. They have staged rallies. They have knocked on doors and done good works and even reverted to cries of hellfire and damnation.

And society has listened to their “good news” and found it neither good nor news. Their appeal to tradition and a literal interpretation of Genesis, their insistence on sexual rules that seem to be based on nebulous morality rather than on pragmatic approaches to pregnancy, disease, and emotional health, their conflation of religion and partisan politics, and their efforts to control those around them have caused conservative evangelical Christians to become viewed with hostility and distrust.

If their brand of Christianity is to be relevant to the world around it, they need to find a message that most will find to be helpful and useful to their lives. Because today’s youth have access to more information and shared experiences than ever before, appeals to ignorance or baseless dogma will doom a church for future generations.

Insistence on anti-gay dogmatism in a culture that is coming to value and respect their gay neighbors may alienate an entire generation. And I find within Mohler’s writing a suggestion that he may on some level recognize that Southern Baptists run the risk that it may be too late.

As he noted:

It turns out that parents had the right to use an “opt out” provision to keep their children at the school, and not at the ceremony at City Hall. According to the paper, two families did just that. Two. Eighteen students participated in the field trip. This, you must understand, is the new normal.

Racists Gain More Allies from the Anti-Gay Movement

Timothy Kincaid

May 12th, 2008

The defense of homophobic violence that started with an article by Ted Pike on David Duke’s virulently racist and anti-Semitic website has now been taken by Peter LaBarbera to his fellow anti-gays: Concerned Women for America (CWA)’s Matt Barber, and Bob Knight of the Culture and Media Institute.

Bob Knight and Peter LaBarbera are old friends from when they were part of Concerned Women, but I really don’t know if either Barber or Knight also share Pike and Duke’s racist and anti-Semitic agenda. They may just have been brought into the alliance by LaBarbera.

We Be Jammin’

Timothy Kincaid

March 18th, 2008

jammin2.bmpNatalie Bell is a Concerned Woman for America (yes, they do have women in that organization). And she has lept to the defense of fellow Concerned Woman and LaBarbera Award winner, Sally Kern.

In an article titled Jamming and the ‘Gay’ Agenda – What is the truth?, Ms. Bell ignores all of Kern’s factual errors – and even the dangerous mindset that places “terrorism and Islam” as less of a threat to our country than gay people who contribute to campaigns – and jumps straight to “the truth”:

Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) has taken a Biblical stand against homosexuality, and she is being maliciously attacked by militant homosexual activist groups. Representative Kern has exercised her right to free speech, and the “jamming” has begun.

The “jamming”, you ask?

Merriam-Webster online has no idea what Bell is talking about. And the Urban Dictionary seems to think jamming is relaxing, playing music, or (the closest I could find) engaging in some sort of foot-fetish sex act.

Surely Ms. Bell isn’t claiming that Kern’s rant is causing an outbreak in fetishist sex?

No. Ms. Bell clarifies for all her non-militant-homosexual-activist audience just exactly what us militant homosexual activists mean when we are jamming.

The term “jamming” refers to the public smearing of Christians, traditionalists or anyone else who opposes the “gay” agenda.

But alas, poor Ms. Bell is a victim of her own organization’s propaganda. You see, Ms. Bell heard all about the book After the Ball and she actually believes that it is “the homosexual lobby’s blueprint for success in what is regarded as the handbook for the ‘gay’ agenda”. And because the term “jam” was used in the book in 1989, Natalie thinks she has discovered a secret word used by gay activists.

Poor funny little Natalie Bell.

I did read that book back in the late 80’s or early 90’s. I thought it was interesting and worth discussion, but I also know that at no time has any gay organization considered Madson and Kirk’s book as some blueprint or handbook. And to my knowledge, no gay group uses the term “jamming” or even knows what it’s supposed to mean.

So now we know why CWA usually leaves the anti-gay rants to Concerned Person Matt Barber. While he never hesitates to make wacky proclamations that bring shame on the organization, he usually gets the words right.

I leave you now to enjoy your Tuesday evening with the lyrics from Club Nouveau:

Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Till I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

We be jammin’
We be jammin’ hey yeah
We be jammin’

See also:
Sally Kern Is a Little Confused
Sally Kern’s Economic Fallout
Sally Kern’s Meeting with PFLAG on Tape
Exodus’ Local Ministry Aligns with Sally Kern
Certified Cameronite: Sally Kern
Kern Speaks to College Republicans
Sally Kern: Out of Context? The Complete Transcript
We Be Jammin’
Muslims and Gays United
OK State Rep. Sally Kern’s Son is “Straight and Not Gay”
Sally Kern Exaggerates Death Threats
A Letter to Sally Kern
LaBarbera Award: Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern

Why Does Matt Barber Hate the Bill Of Rights?

Jim Burroway

February 29th, 2008

Concerned Woman Matt Barber is outraged that homosexual activists are engaged in the political process:

The Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute is teaming up with homosexual groups such as the Human Rights Campaign, the Stonewall Democrats, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for an initiative called the “Presidential Appointments Project.” It is being billed as a “talent bank” for openly homosexual professionals who want to “set or influence” policies of a potential Obama, McCain, or Clinton administration. …

Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues at Washington, DC-based Concerned Women for America, says the project puts to rest the notion that there is no “gay agenda.” He says the homosexual lobby is committed to infiltrating the executive branch with people who define their identity based on changeable, sexually deviant behavior.

“The ultimate goal, of course, being to have people who engage in these aberrant sexual behaviors in a position of power to influence public policy in such a way that they gain more power,” he explains.

Shocking indeed. Because there’s certainly no evidence that Exodus, Focus on the Family or even Concerned Women like himself would ever do anything to influence public policy and “gain more power,” is there? But I suspect that real problem Barber has is that gay Americans are participating in a fundamental American right:

Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Why does Matt Barber hate freedom?

Close the San Francisco and Boston Bathhouses!!!

Timothy Kincaid

January 23rd, 2008

Update for Peter LaBarbera’s readers: The post you’re really looking for is here: Is MRSA The New Gay Plague? It’s the post he doesn’t want you to see.

sm-bathhouse.jpgAs we reported earlier, the usual crowd of anti-gay activists jumped all over the faulty stories about outbreaks of MRSA in San Francisco and Boston. Although subsequent reporting (and our indepth analysis) clearly shows that the anti-gays were completely wrong in their accusations, rather than repent of their false accusations, they simply changed directions.

Concerned Women for America issued a press release quoting their own Matt Barber “inviting” the gay community to join his campaign against bathhouses

Therefore, these groups should publicly condemn those specific ‘high-risk behaviors’ which this study has concluded are responsible for spreading MRSA among homosexuals.

“In light of this behaviorally related MRSA outbreak,” said Barber, “we additionally ask HRC and other groups to call on local health agencies to shut down the many bathhouses and sex clubs around the country where men meet for anonymous sex with other men, often multiple partners, on a daily basis. These places create the ‘perfect storm’ for infectious disease, including MRSA.

Peter LaBarbera printed Concerned Woman Barber’s press release with the heading

CWA Invites Homosexual Groups to Work to Curb Spread of MRSA

and put in his own support for the effort

Well, folks, I’m not exactly expecting Human Rights Campaign and the rest of the “gay” lobby to hop on this request for cooperation from my good friend Matt Barber of CWA, but it sure would be progress if they did.

So will Box Turtle Bulletin join the cry to close down those bathhouses in San Francisco and Boston that were so integral to the spread of MRSA? Well, we might consider the question, if they existed!

What the anti-gays failed to notice is that neither San Francisco nor Boston has a single public gay bathhouse. San Francisco closed down bathhouses in 1984 at the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic and the closest bathhouses to San Francisco are in Berkeley and San Jose. Bostonites can head down to Providence.

So yet again we see that the claims of anti-gays have no basis in reality.

Do These Folks Agree With Cameron’s “Solution”

Jim Burroway

May 14th, 2007

Dr. Warren Throckmorton has also posted about Paul Cameron’s disturbing views expressed in Cameron’s article, “Gays in Nazi Germany.” Dr. Throckmorton concludes:

Suffice to say that Dr. Cameron is not simply ideologically opposed to homosexuality, he is fixated on “solutions” that I find abhorrent. I call on fellow social conservatives who still refer to the Camerons’ work to take a hard look at these posts and reflect on whether someone with such extreme animosity could possibly approach social science data with sufficient objectivity to be trusted.

When Ex-Gay Watch pointed out that Exodus was using Cameron’s research, Exodus finally responded by removing those web pages from their web site. On the other hand, NARTH has so far failed to act.

I wonder how many of these individuals, organizations and publishers agree with Paul Cameron’s Solution for those who live “parasitic lives”?

E-mail me or leave a comment if you find someone who is using Cameron’s “science” and I’ll add them to the list.

Publications:
American Family Association:
Americans For Truth:
Courage:
Concerned Women For America:
Ears To Hear:
Evergreen International:
Family Research Council:
International Healing Foundation (Richard Cohen):
Lifesite News:
National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH):
One News Now:
Renew America:
Virtue Online:

Let me know if you find any others.