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Posts for February, 2009

LaBarbera Award: Utah State Sen. Chris Buttars

Jim Burroway

February 18th, 2009

This is what LGBT people in Utah and in the Mormon church are up against. Utah State Senator Chris Buttars has joined Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern in citing gays as the greatest threat to America, in a comment he made in an upcoming documentary about Proposition 8. In late January,

Buttars sat for an interview with documentary maker and former ABC4 (KTVX, Salt Lake City) reporter Reed Cowan, in which he cited gays as possibly the greatest threat to America, and compares LGBT leaders to radical Muslims:

Homosexuality will always be a sexual perversion. And you say that around here now and everybody goes nuts. But I don’t care.”

…”They’re mean. They want to talk about being nice. They’re the meanest buggers I have ever seen.”

And just seconds later, Buttars draws a comparison between some gays and radical Muslims. “It’s just like the Muslims. Muslims are good people and their religion is anti-war. But it’s been taken over by the radical side.”

…Buttars: “What is the morals of a gay person? You can’t answer that because anything goes.”

And finally, this is how senator Buttars refers to the “radical gay movement.” “They’re probably the greatest threat to America going down I know of.”

Butters also claimed credit for killing every gay rights bill in the state legislature for the past 8 years.

Just one year ago, Buttars became the center of controversy when, during a debate over an education bill, he said, “This baby is black…this is a dark, ugly thing.” That drew condemnation from the NAACP. In this interview, he wasn’t much better, saying “the ACLU — bless their black hearts…”

Buttars was the director of the Utah Boys Ranch, (now West Ridge Academy), a Mormon reeducation camp located in West  Jordan, Utah, for fifteen years before retiring in 2005. Described by critics and former staff members as a Mormon Gulag, the LDS-affiliated camp has come under charges of sanctioning and promoting abuse among its inmates — err, clients:

Upon arrival, children are changed out of their regular clothes and into either a wool blanket – to be worn like a dress, with a rope leash to be tied around the waste – and t-shirt, or a t-shirt and Army pants. They are then delivered to what is called the “work crew” which, interestingly enough, is entirely missing from the Gulag’s marketing material and program description.

On Work Crew, despite the name, a lot of the time is spent standing completely still, facing a wall. Talking of any kind is certainly out of the question, as is moving – including scratching your nose – without permission. When children aren’t being forced to stand with their noses against a wall, they are often led around the facility – those donning Army surplus store wool blankets are led by their rope leashes – to do inane, demeaning types of labor. For example, gathering hundreds of rocks and boulders in a pile – just to move the pile to another location immediately after. Or digging ditches, and filling them back in, with plastic spoons.

Once a child is released from work crew – which could be weeks or months – they are given a pair of blue jeans to go with their green t-shirt. As a “green shirt” there is a considerable amount of time that is no longer spent facing the wall, but there is still no talking whatsoever. In order to earn the privilege of monitored verbal communication a child must carefully read the first book of the Mormon scriptures – First Nephi – and prove they have done so by “passing it off” to one of the Mormon missionaries on staff.

The child must also confess their sins to a Mormon Bishop in a “bishop’s interview” before changing into a “blue shirt” – which is as good as it gets in the Gulag. Green shirts are not allowed to sit on furniture or read anything besides Mormon canon.

Among specific allegations:

Chris Buttars ordered two large men to violently rip my clothes off, shave my head bald and made me walk around naked (my underwear was torn in struggle) with nothing but an army blanket for 2 weeks. My room mates whom I was locked in with were there for sexually molesting their younger brothers. I was 13 and I never recovered from my experiences there.

It was much worse than that but I can’t stand to describe it. I’d give anything to ask him ‘why?’

He allowed mentally ill children to grow up without any psychological treatment (mental illness in the boys ranch was defined as “the crazy act for attention”) He also turned a blind eye to prison justice against these kids in his boys ranch.

Update: We have the entire transcript of Buttars’ award-winning remarks here.

LaBarbera Award: Scott Lively

Jim Burroway

January 27th, 2009

It doesn’t get any more disturbed than this:

Repealing the ban on open homosexuals serving in the U.S. military would be a mistake of historic proportions.” warns a Massachusetts attorney and pastor who authored a book on homosexuality in Nazi Germany….

Certainly there would be a mass exodus of normal men from a homosexualized military,” said [Scott] Lively, “probably leading to the reinstatement of compulsory service. (Watch the anti-war Lefties become supporters of the draft when it’s used to remedy “homophobia”) And yes there would be severe morale problems for normal men forced to live as the objects of sexual interest of other men with whom they share close quarters. However, the much bigger, longer-term problem is the threat of a homosexual takeover of the military branches.

Most people don’t realize that male homosexuality does not always lean to the effeminate. Historically, male homosexuality was much more often associated with hyper-masculine warrior cults which were usually very brutal and very politically aggressive. The most recent example was in Germany. Hitler’s initial power base when he launched the Nazi Party was a private homosexual military force organized and trained by a notorious pederast named Gerhard Rossbach.

We usually use this award to mock and laugh at the crazier things that are said about us. But unlike LaBarbera, Scott Lively is no mere buffoon. His influence is actually quite dangerous.

Scott Lively is the author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, in which he claims that “the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” In other words, it was gay people who brought World War II to Europe and killed twelve million people in the gas chambers. This book has been particularly popular among the Slavic immigrant communities of Sacramento, San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest, and it is gaining influence in Russia as well.

Scott Lively is one of the co-founders of the virulent hate group Watchmen On the Walls, along with Seattle pastor Ken Hutherson, Latvian pastor Alexey Ledyaev, and Sacramento anti-gay agitator Vlad Kusakin. Lively’s message has been received especially well among audiences in the former Soviet Union, many of whom are eager to blame gays for the horrible suffering many of their relatives faced during the Nazi invasions of their communities in World War II.

The Watchmen’s rhetoric has been particularly violent, tinged with the talk of war and the influences of evil forces. At a Watchmen conference in Latvia, Lively described gays as “followers of the Father of Lies.” He further described gays being sick, claiming that we don’t want to be gay but that the militant homosexual leadership has us somehow in their grip. When the Watchmen On the Walls held a rally in Novosibirsk, Scott Lively excused Satander Singh’s murder in Sacramento. Singh was a gay man from Fiji who was murdered by Russian immigrants. Lively went on to describe the broader confrontation between “civilization and homosexuals” as the design of the Devil to destroy civilizations:

There is a war that is going on in the world. There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It’s been waging in the United States for decades, and it’s been waging in Europe for decades. It’s a war between Christians and homosexuals. … Now, the homosexual movement has been winning this war in the United States, and it has been winning this war in Europe. And we’re looking at the future collapse of Western civilization.

Lively’s style fits in well with other Watchmen figures. Vlad Kusakin evoked Nazi imagery during a Watchmen meeting in Sacramento, saying that California’s anti-discrimination laws “opened furnaces which are even worse for our children” than those of Nazi Germany. Latvian Pastor Alexey Ledyaev lent his support to demonstrators who pelted Riga Gay Pride attendees with rotten food and feces. At the Watchmen conference in Latvia, Ledyaev prayed, “let a stone, without the assistance of a hand, come off the rock and hit this homosexual idol right on its legs!” Several members of the Latvian government are members of his New Generation evangelical church.

LaBarbera Award: Gary Cass

Jim Burroway

January 17th, 2009

We’ve talked about Gary Cass before. He’s the Christian Reconstructionist who has a computer keyboard he calls the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. He’s put out another doozy of a press release, warning parents that — gasp! — President-elect Barack Obama’s Inauguration will be among the “most perverted in history”:

Barack Obama’s inauguration will have the dubious distinction of being the most perverted in our nation’s history. Obama is not being subtle about either. One of America’s most radical and destructive homosexual activists, “Bishop” Vickie Eugene Robinson of New Hampshire, in official inaugural activities will be offering the invocation at the Lincoln Memorial.

Oh dear, and the “perversion” doesn’t end there. There’s the parade:

To ensure no one misses the perversion, the Inaugural parade will include a homosexual marching band with their rainbow flags flying proud with millions of our nation’s children watching. This is the same band that proudly advertises that it will march in the homosexual Southern Decadence parade, known for its vulgarity and lewd acts in public.

This is where His Pornstachiness lets his fantasies get the better of him:

“In order to be consistent in using this kind of reasoning, Obama ought to have a stripper lead off the inaugural parade followed by the Hell’s Angel’s Motorcycle Drill Team followed by the Crips Precision Handgun Corp. and the Transvestite Fashion Police. Just because something exists in society does not mean it is good and is to be paraded in front of everyone, especially children,” said Dr. Cass.

LaBarbera Award: Firpo W. Carr

Jim Burroway

December 12th, 2008

Have you heard of him? It didn’t register with me. But if his name is familiar to you, it might be because he was once the spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson. He’s a columnist for the Los Angeles Sentinel, one of the oldest and most influential African-American newspapers in the Western United States.

He signs is name “Dr. Firpo W. Carr,” although I have no idea what kind of a doctor he is supposed to be. He’s certainly not a medical one. That should be evident with this column which appeared just yesterday:

Lesbian Legacy: There is discussion masquerading as debate as to whether or not lesbians get the virus that causes AIDS. Here’s what makes it a pseudo argument: prostitutes infected with HIV have in turn infected their johns through vaginal fluids, especially if menstrual blood is present. Now, if this same HIV-infected prostitute was to service a female client through vagina-to-vagina sex, and menstrual blood was present in the prostitute, bingo, the female client is exposed to and may well have been infected. Don’t let anyone tell you that lesbians cannot get HIV/AIDS from each other.

In my previous article published last week I listed some diseases associated with gay men. Well girls, it’s your turn this week. The following is a list of “lesbian” maladies and infections and the practices that spread them. Thrush: A disease where there is an overgrowth of yeast causing vaginal itching and soreness, often with a white discharge. It is contracted through lesbian sex, both vagina-to-vagina and oral sex. Bacterial Vaginosis (Gardnerella): This disease is characterized by an overgrowth of vaginal bacteria causing a smelly discharge, which lesbians often experience, some believe exclusively. Genital Warts: These are unsightly bumps or warts on the vulva, in the vagina, on the cervix or round the anus. They can be passed through lesbian sex, and by touching, rubbing or sharing “sex toys.” It is possible that non-genital warts on the hands of one female can be transferred to the vagina of another during fondling. HPV (Human papillomavirus) causes genital warts in both men and women.

Good lord, he goes on and on, listing all of these diseases which actually are quite common among heterosexual women. The medical literature is filled with examples.

And what about that “previous article last week”? Well in addition to his list of “diseases associated with gay men” (the vast majority of which are actually illnesses which were associated with AIDS before effective treatment became available in the mid 1990′s), he included this incredibly paranoid gem:

Domestic violence among gay men is particular heinous and cruel as compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Oh, and let’s not leave out lesbians. Law enforcement agencies are struggling with a new phenomenon. “Butch” lesbians who physically abuse “lipstick” lesbians can easily penetrate the defenses of women’s shelters where victims seek refuge since they, too, are women. The original purpose of the shelters was to provide safe haven for women abused by men.

Where does he get this stuff?

Jasmyne Cannick gave Carr the Negro Please Award (Notice: her web page has embedded sound, to the tune of “If I Only Had A Brain”):

I don’t know which is worse, racist white gays or Bible thumping homophobes who are intellectually challenged like Dr. Carr.

Dr. Carr, you are my official ‘Negro Please Award’ recipient of the week…and believe me, you earned it with this one.

We don’t have that award at BTB, but we do have the LaBarbera Award which is just as appropriate. And believe me, he earned that one as well.

[A very big hat tip with a sweeping bow: Pam Spaulding]

LaBarbera Award: Rabbi Nachum Shifren

Jim Burroway

December 10th, 2008

We’ve been predicting that somebody, somewhere would compare the peaceful, First Amendment-protected protests against the passage of California’s Proposition 8 to the Nazis and the Holocaust. Well, here it is:

We are dealing with the equivalent of a moral takeover of the country that has as its bedrock a belief in G-d and His promise for humanity. They don’t want civil rights! What they desire is quasi Gay/Lesbian hegemony, where a huge “bookburning,” reminiscent of the Nazis, will purge any remnants of the “Christian, White, mainstream America” that has given ALL AMERICANS the most profound scope of freedom, liberty, and justice that Mankind has yet to experience.

People have perhaps wondered: why the Mormons? Answer: they are a small, yet vocal Christian minority. They have been selected by the mobs as vulnerable, a group that might not have such massive support among America’s Christians.

We who are friends of the Mormons, their patriotism, their family values, will not falter in our continued support of these dear Americans. Let us recall the Christian minister Niemoller, whose admonition during those dark years of Nazi Germany moved us to our core:

“When they came for the gypsies, I said nothing, because I wasn’t a gypsy. When they came for the homosexuals, I said nothing, because I wasn’t a homosexual. When they came for the Jews, I said nothing, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I said nothing, because I wasn’t a Catholic……then they came for me, and there was no one left to defend me.”

That was penned by Rabbi Nachum Shifren in a piece he titled “We are all Mormons.” Jeremy Hooper was especially puzzled by Rabbi Shifren’s recognition in the last quoted paragraph that gays have, in fact, been persecuted:

But the really interesting thing for us? That Niemöller poem that Rabbi Shifren quotes did not, in its original form, even mention gays, yet here he has made a point of including homosexuals as one of the persecuted groups. Does he not see anything odd about that? Here he is going ballistic about the “immoral” gays and their “licentiousness,” yet he fully admits they have been (/still are) a persecuted minority? It just seems odd.

Very odd indeed. And it’s that strangeness which makes Rabbi Shifren a perfect candidate for the LaBarbera Award.

[Hat tip: Good As You]

LaBarbera Award: Seamus Hasson

Jim Burroway

December 10th, 2008

Yesterday we gave the LaBarbera Award to Pat Boone for comparing the peaceful protests against Prop 8 to Mumbai terrorists who killed 163 people in what is now being referred to as India’s 9/11. That was the day after the Becket Fund placed a full-page ad in the New York Times falsely characterizing these same peaceful protests — protected by the First Amendment’s peaceful assembly clause — as “mob violence.” Now we have a new LaBarbera Award winner in Seamus Hasson, the founder and chairman for the Becket Fund itself.

On yesterday’s “The Morning Show” on KPFA, host Aimee Allison spoke with Hasson about the New York Times ad, and asked him about the broad brush characterization of the movement as violent:

Aimee Allison: So, Rev. Russell was commenting, there may be a few individuals, but not a movement. Seamus Hasson, your response to that: if there are individuals, why are anti-Prop 8 movement folks being painted with that broad brush?

Seamus Hasson: Well, whether it’s an organized movement like Al Qaeda or whether it’s the Al Qaeda-like, um, inspired acts of terrorism elsewhere, people are right to be concerned about, um, radical Islamist violence –

First it was Mumbai terrorists, now we’re Al Qaeda-like. You know, the people who flew planes into buildings and killed more than three thousand people. That Holocaust analogy is just around the corner…

[Hat tip: GLAAD Blog]

LaBarbera Award: Pat Boone

Jim Burroway

December 9th, 2008

Pat Boone has definitely gone over the edge. In his latest outrage at WorldNetDaily, Boone tut-tuts the recent massacres at Mumbai, and draws a direct line of connection between that terrorist operation and demonstrations against Prop 8:

Thank God, it couldn’t happen here. Could it?

Look around. Watch your evening news. Read your newspaper.

Are you unaware of the raging demonstrations in our streets, in front of our churches and synagogues, even spilling into these places of worship, and many of these riots turning defamatory and violent? Have you not seen the angry distorted faces of the rioters, seen their derogatory and threatening placards and signs, heard their vows to overturn the democratically expressed views of voters, no matter what it costs, no matter what was expressed at the polls? Twice?

… Assuming you have become aware of all this, let me ask you: Have you not seen the awful similarity between what happened in Mumbai and what’s happening right now in our cities?

When terrorists launched their attack on Mumbai two weeks ago, they killed 163 people in a shocking carnage which is now being referred to as India’s 9/11. Contrast that to the demonstrations which have broken out all across American against the passage of Prop 8 — not riots, as Boone calls them, but demonstrations — which have all been remarkably peaceful. In fact, I challenge Boone to name a single riot on American soil since election day.

Boone isn’t the first to falsely characterize these peaceful protests as “violence” and “riots,” but he is the first well-known figure to claim that peaceful marchers are equivalent to militant Islamists with automatic weapons and grenades. Boone succeeds in raising the false “violence” charge to a whole new and disgusting level. All that’s missing now is a holocaust analogy. I’m sure we’ll see that before too long.

LaBarbera Award: Mike Huckabee

Jim Burroway

November 18th, 2008

The LaBarbera AwardFormer Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is our latest LaBarbera Award winner for suggesting that gays haven’t been beaten enough to earn the right to marry.

Huckabee appeared on ABC’s “The View,” where he had this exchange with host Joy Behar about same-sex marriage:

HUCKABEE: It’s a different set of rights. People who are homosexuals should have every right in terms of their civil rights, to be employed, to do anything they want. But that’s not really the issue. I know you talked about it and I think you got into it a little bit early on. But when we’re talking about a redefinition of an institution, that’s different than individual civil rights.

BEHAR: Well, segregation was an institution, too, in a way. It was right there on the books.

HUCKABEE: But here is the difference. Bull Connor was hosing people down in the streets of Alabama. John Lewis got his skull cracked on the Selma bridge.

Huckabee appears to suggest that civil rights must meet some sort of minimum violence test. If so, then gays and lesbians certainly meet that test, all too sadly. In the most recent set of hate crime statistics released by the FBI, there were nine murders logged as hate crime incidents in 2007. Of those, five were attributed to sexual orientation, two to race, and two to ethnicity/national origin.

And that toll continues unabated this year with the murders of Lawrence King, Simmie Williams, Jr., Tony Randolph Hunter, and Angie Zapata. Just last Friday Moses “Teish” Cannon was shot and killed with a .22-caliber rifle.

It is beyond outrageous and disgusting for Huckabee to suggest that violence is a determining factor on whether any group deserves equal rights. Which is why he is now a two-time winner of the LaBarbera Award.

LaBarbera Award: Newt Gingrich

Jim Burroway

November 17th, 2008

More than three hundred cities were host to remarkably peaceful protests Saturday as people demonstrated against the passage of California’s Prop 8. Protesters were polite, calm, law-abiding. That’s quite an accomplishment.

Not one that Newt Gingrich is willing to acknowledge. He seems to think that ambling down the boulevard, holding signs in front of a Temple or gathering in front of city hall constitutes a violent act. The sight of homosexuals on the streets, parading openly in their, you know, street clothes was just too much for him. American citizens exercising their First Amendment right to free speech and lawful assembly, well that’s just downright fascist! –

Look, I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion. And I think if you believe in historic Christianity, you have to confront the fact. And, frank — for that matter, if you believe in the historic version of Islam or the historic version of Judaism, you have to confront the reality that these secular extremists are determined to impose on you acceptance of a series of values that are antithetical, they’re the opposite, of what you’re taught in Sunday school.

Well at least he acknowledged that we brought “historic versions” of Christians, Muslims and Jews together. Maybe there’s hope for peace in the Middle East after all.

LaBarbera Award: This Guy

Jim Burroway

June 17th, 2008

Anonymous protester

The LaBarbera AwardWe’ve never given the LaBarbera Award to an un-named person before, but we don’t know the name of this particular anti-gay protester in front of San Francisco City Hall yesterday. All we have is this photo, and this lovely example of a “Christian” witness.

“God killed him for loving fags!!”

According to Storm Bear (yes, that’s his name) at the Bilerico Project, a marriage supporter was playing a guitar when he “suddenly dropped like a tree” of an apparent heart attack or cardiac arrest. Police immediately swooped in and began administering CPR.

And while that was going on, one of the “loving” Christian protesters was chanting, “Satan Got You!” and “What is the Devil whispering in your ear about now?”

Storm Bear takes it from there

I yelled at the guy, “If you are such a Christian, why aren’t you praying for the guy dying on the concrete?” The protester replied, “God killed him for loving fags!!” The cops even stepped in and told the guy to shut his mouth.

I have no idea what the ultimate fate of the guitar player is. I have high hopes he will live to sing another day.

We are still waiting to hear whether the guitar player is okay. We hope and pray that he is. (Update: We have learned that the man did suffer a cardiac arrest and he is in guarded condition at St. Mary’s hospital.)

I have no idea whether this anonymous “Christian” (and I’m using quotes here deliberately to distinguish this “gentleman” from real Christians) is a fan of Peter LaBarbera’s or vice versa. But we do know that LaBarbera is a huge proponent of confrontational forms of “witnessing,” and he’s accused this web site of “anti-Christian bigotry” when we call him on it.  But we’ve challenged him to find a single post anywhere in which, even by the stretch of his wild imagination, we’ve engaged in the practice. Unsurprisingly, he hasn’t taken us up on the challenge.

And I think there’s a reason for that. We well understand that the confrontational, emotional, hyperventilating, panic-inducing style of “witnessing” that people like LaBarbera and this anonymous “loving Christian” perform is deeply embarrassing to millions of truly loving Christians the world over. This is why these extremists remain on the lunatic fringe. They see their failed efforts being eclipsed by the forward march of reason and sanity.

We recognize that those who think this sort of “witnessing” is constructive are not a reflection of Christianity. It’s only reflective of its lunatic fringe. It’s not anti-Christian bigotry or Christian bashing to say that. In fact, we can’t even come close to bashing Christians as badly as those who hijack the faith to serve their own perverted brand of self-described ”love.”

Update: We have a name. It’s Kevin Farrer.

Kevin Farrer

[Hat tip for the name: Scott H.]

John Gibson Update

Jim Burroway

January 24th, 2008

John Gibson continued to heap more insults on yesterday’s radio broadcast. But today, his tune has changed considerably for the better. “I’m sorry that some took my comments as anti-gay and insensitive. … Once again, to anyone offended by my comments, I’m sorry. But I’m also sorry that Heath Ledger is no longer alive and with us.”

We gave John Gibson the LaBarbera Award this morning for his comments mocking actor Heath Ledger’s untimely death. But now, even with this half-hearted non-apology “apology,” it looks like John Gibson has demonstrated himself to be a much bigger man than Peter LaBarbera, in whose honor the award was christened. I don’t think I’ve ever seen LaBarbera actually apologize — not even half-heartedly — for  much of anything.

Update, 1/26: Now that it’s a nice Saturday morning, I’ve had time to re-read this post and agree with the commenters. This isn’t much of an apology. I’ve updated the post accordingly as shown in italics.

LaBarbera Award: John Gibson

Jim Burroway

January 24th, 2008

The LaBarbera AwardWhenever misfortune befalls anyone in the gay community, there is a small band of anti-gay extremists we can count on to exploit that news to make cheap political points. When tragic news comes around, we know we will be hearing from these demagogues in very short order. It’s not a matter of if, but when. They’ve shown themselves to be pretty reliable that way. No “Oh gee, we’re sorry” or “How can I help?” but a parade of press releases and media appearances saying “A-ha!” while friends and families grieve.

As Timothy Kincaid observed in a recent comment, it’s hard to imagine a better definition of evil than finding joy in other people’s suffering. And on seeing the behavior of some people over the years, it’s hard to believe that deep in their hearts that they did’t experience a moment of abject glee upon hearing the news.

If there is a smidgen of a silver lining, it’s that most of these demagogues remain on the fringe and their yawps are often nothing more than pathetic attempts to draw attention to themselves. But not yesterday. Yesterday, we heard a major media figure, John Gibson, whose programs appear on radio and television coast-to-coast, find glee in the death of a young actor and devoted father.

John GibsonOn Tuesday, Fox News host John Gibson opened his radio show with funeral music, followed by callous jokes about the death of actor Heath Ledger, who played the role of Ennis Del Mar in the landmark 2005 movie Brokeback Mountain. Gibson played an audio clip of Ledger’s famous line from a pivotal scene, “I wish I knew how to quit you,” and replied, “Well, we found out how to quit you.” He laughed then played another clip of Ledger saying “We’re dead,” followed by his own mocking “We’re dead,” followed by Ledger’s clip again. (Think Progress has the audio.)

What fun he must have had making fun of dead gays — no, not dead gays, but dead straight actors who portray gay characters. You see, the level of discourse in this country has plummeted so badly that you don’t even have to be gay to be targeted. The sad fact is that LGBT’s can be treated this way and too often the outrage doesn’t go much beyond the LGBT community. But today, you don’t even have to be gay to be singled out for abuse.

We all should be outraged when someone mocks another person’s suffering, no matter who’s suffering. But if our greater society cannot find a way to be outraged over the abuse heaped upon the grieving family, friends and the young daughter of a straight man, then we’re far worse off than anybody has wanted to admit publicly so far.

You can register your outrage at Fox News. Let’s hope they listen.

Update: John Gibson continued to heap more insults on yesterday’s radio broadcast. But today, his tune has changed considerably for the better. “I’m sorry that some took my comments as anti-gay and insensitive. … Once again, to anyone offended by my comments, I’m sorry. But I’m also sorry that Heath Ledger is no longer alive and with us.”

LaBarbera Award: Mike Huckabee

Jim Burroway

December 19th, 2007

The LaBarbera AwardWe reported earlier on former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s 1992 remarks on AIDS, in which he called for the “isolation” (thus avoiding the “q” word) of “AIDS carriers” — presumably all 253,448 people with AIDS known to exist in 1992. When asked about those remarks last week, Huckabee refused to back down. That storm barely had time to blow over before other outrageous anti-gay comments began to emerge. Some of these comments border on the harmlessly ill-informed, like this one from the New York Times:

The governor regards 1968 as the dawning of ‘‘the age of the birth-control pill, free love, gay sex, the drug culture and reckless disregard for standards.’’ The Rolling Stones album ‘‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’’ provided the soundtrack for that annus terribilis. But Mike Huckabee wanted me to know that he believes in the separation of church and stage.

But others, like his AIDS comment earlier, have a ring of menace to them. David Corn at Mother Jones found this gem in Huckabee’s 1998 book, Kids Who Kill:

In lamenting the “cultural conflicts” besetting the country, he wrote, “Abortion, environmentalism, AIDS, pornography, drug abuse, and homosexual activism have fragmented and polarized our communities.”

Why was he lumping environmentalism with activities he considered sinful? He did not explain further. A few pages later, Huckabee complained, “It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations—from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia.”

Gov. Mike HuckabeeInstitutionally supported pedophilia and sadomasochism? Institutionally suppored necrophilia? What “institional support” could he possibly be talking about?

Huckabee said his views on AIDS haven’t changed much since 1992. What about his lumping homosexuality with pedephilia and necrophilia? Joe Carter, Huckabee’s director of research, tried to clarify Huckabee’s remarks:

“He’s not equating homosexuality with necrophilia,” Carter told us. “He’s saying there’s a range of aberrant behavior. He considers homosexuality aberrant, but that’s at one end of the spectrum. Necrophilia is at the other end.”

So homosexuality is in the same class as necrophilia, but we’re just not as bad. As with his AIDS comment, Huckabee stands by this one too. And for that, Gov. Mike Huckabee is today’s LaBarbera Award winner.

The LaBarbera Award: Tony Perkins

Jim Burroway

December 10th, 2007

Good Lord, what should we make of this? I received an FRC Action E-mail from Tony Perkins, as I often do. There’s an article praising Mike Huckabee, there’s another one chastising Congress, and then at the bottom, Perkins says this:

An Assault On Faith
It is hard not to draw a line between the hostility that is being fomented in our culture from some in the secular media toward Christians and evangelicals in particular and the acts of violence that took place in Colorado yesterday. But I will say no more for now other than that our friends at New Life Church and YWAM are in our thoughts and prayers.

It looks like Perkins has been chomping at the bit to pin the blame for the Colorado shootings on somebody he doesn’t like. When it comes to culture wars, nobody is safe, and no tragedy is off-limits for exploitation. Here he chose the old familiar bogeyman, “the secular media.” We’re lucky I guess. It could have just as easily been anyone else.

I’m not sure how Perkins found it so easy to “draw a line” between the secular media and Matthew Murray, the Christian-raised guy who actually did the shooting. Unlike the FRC, we won’t imagine any lines where none exist. (Update: The most direct line so far may be mental illness.) And we call on the Family “Research” Council to live up to its name and do a little research before releasing statements that are so patently moronic. Why, they’re beginning to sound like someone else we know…

Here is a screenshot of the E-mail. Click on it to see the full-size version.FRC Action E-mail

See also:
Colorado Gunman Scared Co-Workers, Heard Voices
The LaBarbera Award: Tony Perkins
Prayers and Condolences for Arvada and Colorado Springs
Four Shot At New Life Church
Two Christian Missionaries Killed, Two Injured Near Denver

Why We Have A LaBarbera Award

Jim Burroway

December 5th, 2007

Peter LaBarbera invited the world to attend a news conference at the National Press Club today to premiere his documentary on the Folsom Street fair. Fewer than ten people showed up, and most of them appeared to know LaBarbera or Concerned Woman Matt Barber. There were maybe two journalists, one of whom was the Washington Blade’s Rebecca Armendariz. Amazingly, Rebecca lived to tell about it. This part was my favorite:

And Peter REALLY hates the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who were a prevalent force at Folsom Street. …LaBarbera, though, said that even though the Sisters do charity work, “We wouldn’t tolerate a Nazi charity fund.” NEWSFLASH: The Nazis killed millions of people. This gay rights organization raises money for AIDS research, breast cancer and the arts, among countless other charities. When he made that comparison, my mouth dropped.

You see, statements like that are why we have a LaBarbera Award. There are many imitators and pretenders, but Peter’s the real deal.

LaBarbera Award: PFOX’s Gabriel Espinosa

Jim Burroway

November 7th, 2007

The LaBarbera AwardIt’s been a long time since I gave one of these out. I almost thought I’d have to retire it. What was I thinking?

Another PFOX member is the latest proud recipient of the LaBarbera Award. This time, it goes to Gabriel Espinosa, who is PFOX President Reginna Grigg’s right hand woman and PFOX webmaster.

The Montgomery County (Maryland) Council is considering a new gender identity nondiscrimination bill, which has generated a lot of heated debate. JimK at TeachTheFacts.org has published a couple of letters from the far-right fringe in opposition to the proposed measure. The sticking point is over men’s and women’s restrooms — who should be allowed to go into which one. Gabriel joined in with her cahrming little note, reportedly done up in about a 40-point font. Please exuse the French:

Bill 23-07

Allowing men who think they’re women into women’s bathrooms and locker rooms?

ARE YOU PEOPLE OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MINDS?

Hopefully, it will be one of your daughters who gets raped first!

Sincerely Yours,
Gabriel Espinosa
President
Furryllama Media Productions

Congratulations to PFOX’s Gabriel Espinosa, today’s LaBarbera Award winner!

The LaBarbera Award: PFOX’s Regina Griggs

Jim Burroway

September 5th, 2007

The LaBarbera AwardParents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) Executive Director Regina Griggs has long co-opted the status of a persecuted minority by describing a strange parallel universe where homosexuality is perfectly accepted and it’s the ex-gays who experience “discrimination.” Her organization works aggressively against gays and lesbian families at all levels, but if anyone expresses any opposition to her efforts they are labeled as engaging in “discrimination against the ex-gay community.” She’s even positioned “ex-gay” as another kind of orientation. To support this line of argument, Griggs has a long history of blowing criticisms out of proportion to prop up the idea that the so-called “ex-gay community” is a persecuted minority under constant siege.

In her most recent example, Griggs claimed that members of her PFOX organization were “attacked” at the Arlington, Va County Fair:

As happens every year, gay activists disrupted our booth activities. They screamed obscenities, threw our materials from the exhibit table to the ground, insisted we recognize their same-sex “spouses,” demanded that PFOX leave, and hit a PFOX volunteer because he is ex-gay.

One gay man went so far as to hit our ex-gay volunteer because he refused to recant his ex-gay testimony. We summoned a police officer, who ejected the gay man off of the fairgrounds. Our ex-gay volunteer decided not to press assault charges against the gay man because he wanted to turn the other check as Jesus had done.

This is not the first year that PFOX has had to summon the police for protection from gay activists.

This story was picked up all around the anti-gay circuit, including Focus on the Family’s Citizenlink webzine and Family News In Focus radio program. But it appears that this incident didn’t really happen. Ex-Gay Watch’s David Roberts did some digging and has the story:

Since PFOX stated that the police were “summoned” and that they “ejected the gay man off the fairgrounds” we decided to check with the Arlington County Police Department…

We contacted the Arlington PD and ended up speaking with John Lisle of the Media Relations/Legislative Affairs Office. He had no initial knowledge of such an incident. After checking briefly, he again said that no one was aware of such an incident. So we sent a copy of the PFOX statement to him at which time he agreed to check more thoroughly. After over two days of research, there was nothing he could add to his statement; no report exists and no one recalls such an incident.

David Roberts also learned that Arlington County Fair officials hadn’t heard of any problems either. In a follow-up story, he reported:

Yesterday, we spoke with Jackie Abrams, Vice Chair of the Arlington County Fair. According to Abrams, no physical altercation occurred, police were never called and no one was ejected from the fairgrounds – she was emphatic and certain. “I was in radio contact with the other board members during the Fair, and definitely would have known if the police had been summoned. It did not happen [her emphasis],” said Abrams. She added that her calls to PFOX, and specifically to PFOX president Regina Griggs, had gone unanswered.

David Roberts also spoke with two eyewitnesses who worked at nearby booths. Each reported an incident of a heated discussion, but neither of them saw anything physical — no shoving, no hitting, no police or fair officials escorting anyone off the property.

In other words, there is no shred of evidence that anything happened the way Griggs describe it. In fact, all evidence suggests that this is just another one of her many attention-grabbing stunts.

This isn’t the first time Griggs has claimed victimhood status for ex-gays. It’s been a long-running theme of hers, and she’s been very diligent in coopting the experience and the language of the gay rights movement. One of her best examples can be found in this letter she sent to the APA last March:

The ex-gay movement is a civil rights movement to ensure the inclusion of former homosexuals in all realms of society and to support the ex-gay community’s equal access to schools on the same level as gays currently enjoy. Ex-gays and their supporters should not have to be closeted for fear of other’s negative reactions or disapproval. They do not think something is wrong with them because they decided to fulfill their heterosexual potential. Nor do they believe others should condemn them for the personal decision they have made for their lives. Because of the abuse heaped upon them by society, former homosexuals experience discrimination at every level.

The PFOX website’s “About” page has more examples where the “ex-gay community” experiences “abuse heaped upon them by society.” And in the most amazing turn of logic, they go so far as to claim that anti-discrimination and hate crime laws which identify sexual orientation as a factor for protection somehow “legitimize intolerance against former homosexuals” — a notion that is both ludicrous and blatantly false. The fact is, these laws protect everyone regardless of sexual orientation — including non-gays of all stripes, ex-gays among them.

But it’s the last point which makes Grigg’s hysterical notions of “discrimination at every level” so particularly outrageous. Terrance Heath recently began a huge undertaking with the LGBT Hate Crimes Project, and if Grigg’s really wanted to understand the face of intolerance, she should look at a few of these examples:

Real victims of discriminationMichelle Abdill and Rhonda Ellis of Medford, Oregon were shot execution style on December 4, 1995 by Robert Acremant, who wrote a letter to his hometown newspaper saying that it was easier to kill them knowing they were lesbians.

Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder of Redding, California were murdered on July 1, 1999 by white supremacist brothers Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams, who confessed to killing the couple because they were gay.

Author Warren, a developmentally disabled gay man from Grant Town, West Virginia, was murdered on July 3, 2000 by two teenagers. After kicking and beating him, they drove him to the edge of town ran over him four times to disguise his death as a hit-and-run.

Guin “Richie” Phillips disappeared on June 17, 2003. His body was found on June 25, 2003, stuffed in a suitcase in Rough River Lake. During Joshua Cottrell’s trial, Cottrell’s aunt and cousin testified that he planned to kill Phillips because he was gay.

Michael Sandy died on October 13, 2006 after being hit by a car while trying to escape four attackers. His attackers later said they targeted Sandy because they were seeking gays to attack and rob.

Griggs might do well to consider that a little bit of perspective is in order. There were 1,171 hate crime incidents in 2005 based on sexual orientation. Twenty-three of those crimes were anti-heterosexual. It’s quite possible that a few ex-gays might be caught up in that mix. If so, those crimes are every bit as deplorable as the other 1,148. But to try to compare the “ex-gay community’s” experience with the very real discrimination and harassment that gays and lesbians experience across the country is beyond offensive.

If the “ex-gay community” has experienced abuse and discrimination “at every level,” where are the ex-gays who were kicked out of the military for being ex-gay? Where are the ex-gays who have been fired from their jobs because they were ex-gay? Where is their answer to Daniel Fetty?

The “ex-gay community” should consider themselves blessed that they have no such answer.

But Regina Griggs isn’t interested in counting blessings. Instead, she’d rather count something else. Notice how she ends her rant about the Arlington County Fair:

… Almost every day we are on the front lines suffering harassment and injustices merely because we demand our equal rights.

The public eats up our information because they have never been exposed to factual truth about same-sex attractions. Teens especially are eager for our educational literature. But our brochures and flyers cost money to print. We also have to pay for exhibit fees and travel. If you would like to help with costs, please make a tax deductible donation to …

Nice. Milking a non-event using hysterical hyperbole to raise money. The LaBarbera Award was created to highlight “the most outrageous, offensive, malevolent, crazy, or excessive statement or claim.” Regina Griggs more than earned the award just on her latest drama-queen antics alone. Capping them with a fundraising appeal is just the rhetorical equivalent of running up the score. Congratulations, Regina. You’ll be a hard act to follow.

PFOX is an Exodus member ministry.

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