Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Posts for April, 2009

Carrie Prejean’s New Career: Anti-Gay Activist

Timothy Kincaid

April 29th, 2009

When Carrie Prejean, Miss California, bumblingly told the Miss USA audience that she chooses “opposite marriage” and believes that “a marriage should be between a man and a woman”, I mostly ignored the situation. We tend to pay less attention to the ignorance of the misinformed and focus more on the deliberate deceptions of anti-gay activists.

However, as the story lingered way beyond its freshness date I wrote a commentary noting that Prejean was startlingly ignorant on a number of issues surrounding sexual orientation. Yet still I thought the story was but momentary and not particularly relevant to our efforts.

But now it seems that Prejean may be taking steps to turn her moment of foolishness into a career of hostility and bigotry.

And that brings her into our spotlight.

What Carrie Prejean believes

To understand Prejean’s motivations, we have to understand what she believes.

We know that she opposes marriage equality and believes that homosexuality is “a behavior that develops over time”. But her opinions have been developed in a stew of bigotry that goes far beyond misinformation about the bases of orientation.

Carrie Prejean attends a church that has strong opinions on the subject of sexuality and marriage. Miles McPherson, a football player turned pastor, was one of the driving forces behind the evangelical support for Proposition 8. In addition to anti-gay rallies at his church, McPherson was a proponent of the notoriously untruthful website for youth, iProtectMarriage.com.

Miles McPherson, one of Prop 8′s proponents and senior pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego, says the site aims to reach out to all young voters, especially those who support same-sex marriage for the wrong reasons.

“Right now they’re driven by the wrong information and a lot of emotion,” said McPherson, a former NFL player with the San Diego Chargers. “They’ll say, ‘I don’t want to be called a bigot. I don’t want to discriminate,’” said McPherson.

It seems that McPherson falls into the camp of Christians that believe that honesty and truth are optional and far subsidiary to “fighting the homosexual agenda”. In a message in February 2008, he said,

The homosexual agenda is being pushed upon this nation, to the point where it may become illegal for pastors to preach against homosexuality from the pulpit, that is where even such preaching is deemed a crime. In some countries this is already the case. Keep in mind this battle is not about gay people, rather it is a spiritual battle in which we are fighting the devil!

And it was in this imagery of spiritual battle against evil that Prejean formed her “biblical correctness”. And it is among his youthful warriors (the average attendant’s age is under 30), that Carrie takes her place.

And McPherson is not hesitant to equip his warriors with the tools of political victory, with unvarnished lies a chief weapon. In addition to the blatant falsehoods on the Prop 8 website, McPherson’s church, The Rock in San Diego, says the following about gays in a piece written by McPherson entitled Sodom and Gomorrah, A City Inflamed

Consequences of a Homosexual Lifestyle

God’s Word tells us differently and He provides us of the evidence that homosexuality is not natural or normal. There are physiological repercussions from homosexual behavior; male homosexuals are 430 times more likely to contract HIV than a heterosexual, while heterosexuals have a 1-in-750,000 chance of contracting the virus responsible for HIV, a male homosexual has a 1-in-165 chance of getting HIV. A 20 year old gay male has a 30% chance of either dying or contracting AIDS before the age of 30. They are also 23 times more likely to get other sexually transmitted diseases than a heterosexual.

There are also moral repercussions stemming from homosexual behavior as evidenced by the fact that one third of all sexual crimes against children are committed by homosexuals even though they are representative of only one percent of the population. Pedophilia has even been called central to the gay lifestyle. The agenda of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) is to lower the age of consent so that sex with children will be legal.

I wrote to several pastors at the church earlier in the week to inform them that their claims about AIDS were mathematically impossible and in conflict with the literature and statistics provided by health organizations. I also corrected their false claims about child molestation and informed them that equating the gay community to NAMBLA is comparable to equating all of Christianity to the Phelps family.

I’ve not received a reply.

The website is unchanged.

The Cultivation of a Victim Image

Since losing the crown on the 19th, Prejean has been seeking every opportunity to discuss her story in the media and to craft an image as a Christian victim of vile homosexual activists.

The essential premise of this image is that Carrie was the front-runner and that her dream of being Miss USA was stolen from her when she bravely stood up for her faith. Prejean set up that premise in an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC Today,

Ms. PREJEAN: … You know what, Matt, I was on that stage that night and I was so excited to be there. I was competing for Miss USA, and I was called into the top 10 and to the top five. And I was standing there and, you know, I was ready for my question. And when I heard it from him, I knew at that moment after I had answered the question, I knew that I was not going to win because of my answer.

LAUER: Because you had spoken from your heart.

Ms. PREJEAN: Because I had spoken from my heart, from my beliefs and for my God.

Prejean further fed that perception in an interview with FOXNews

FOXNews.com: Before “the question,” did you think you would win Miss USA?

Carrie Prejean: There was a lot of talk about me, people saying I was the frontrunner. During the whole two-week experience leading up to the pageant, I was very confident and relaxed. Not too nervous.

However, that premise does not appear to fit the facts. In viewing the final competition scores, it appears that Prejean was not the front-runner going into the question. In fact, unless Kristen Dalton, Miss North Carolina, flubbed badly and Prejean was brilliant there was no way that she could win.

As Brook Lee, a former Miss Universe who was at the event and spoke to the judges, put it, “for her to go in the press and say she lost the crown because of her answer is playing with the truth.”

She has also been pushing the story that the Miss California franchise tried to manipulate her into recanting her testimony.

Prejean said Sunday that her state sponsors urged her to apologize afterward but she rejected the advice and says officials from the Miss California USA pageant were worried that her comments would cost their contest financial backing and tried to prepare her for a string of post-pageant media interviews by discouraging her from discussing her religious beliefs.

“You need to apologize to the gay community. You need to not talk about your faith. This has everything to do with you representing California and saving the brand,’” Prejean recalled being told. “I was representing California. I was representing the majority of people in California.”

This accusation was soundly denounced by the Miss California pageant officials.

[P]ublic relations representative Roger Neal today called those claims lies. Neal says he was one of the people who attempted to advise the Prejean. According to him, Prejean was urged to reiterate she didn’t mean to offend anyone, and to use the national spotlight “to heal some wounds.”

Even Prejean’s claim that her sister is “a gay rights activist” who “supports gay marriage” appears to be a fiction.

McPherson’s Influence

But perhaps we should not be surprised that truth has played so small a part in the establishment of her martyr myth. She is being coached and guided by her religious mentor, Mile McPherson.

The Rock’s site claimed that the Rock’s Senior Pastor Miles McPherson “spent time with Prejean in the critical hours following the pageant”. This coaching was further confirmed when Rex Wockner asked if she’d be willing to have coffee with Perez Hilton, the gay blogger who asked her the question in the pageant.

Carrie: Um, I’m not sure if I would have coffee with him. If I did, I’d bring Miles with me.

And McPherson’s influence may be directing Prejean in a new and troubling direction.

If anything, Prejean has solidified her stance in the last week. McPherson, who preaches against homosexuality, has been acting as her adviser and encouraging her to use her newfound fame to persuade other evangelical Christians to share their views, even if they are unpopular.

“I learned that God has a bigger crown than any man can give you,” she said.

Prejean Joins the Anti-Gay Activists

I’m not sure why conservative Christians would be so anxious to align their movement with a young woman whose sole claim to fame is to walk her fake breasts down a runway hoping that her appeal to vanity and lust will result in adoration and personal gain. But the political operatives of that movement often leave me shaking my head in wonder.

Nevertheless, they have welcomed Prejean with open arms, and she has leapt at the opportunity to turn her beauty queen status into the face of anti-gay activism.

Prejean has been lauded by some mainstream conservative leaders for standing for her beliefs. She was commended by the Alabama state legislature and today she made a special appearance at Liberty University’s convocation.

But it is troubling that Prejean has decided to align herself with the most extremist and demonizing of professional anti-gay activists. Later today she will be join Mat Staver and Matt Barber in a radio interview, both of whom are known for their virulent homophobic positions.

And Prejean is willing to go further than give interviews. Yesterday Maggie Gallagher, the head of National Organization for Marriage (of Gathering Storm fame) had breakfast with Miss California. Maggie had plans for the meeting.

And I would like to nominate Miss California as the new face of the marriage movement. Much better than mine! “Truth and love will prevail over lies and hate.”

But beauty never hurt.

And, indeed, Gallager’s nomination was accepted. The National Organization for Marriage has announced that a new NOM ad will feature Prejean. And a source close to the group says the campaign includes ads that “will focus on how standing up for marriage elicits attacks from the left and homosexual rights activists.”

My Predictions

The Miss California pageant almost certainly will remove Carrie Prejean’s title and take her crown. They cannot afford to have Miss California headlining political ads that seek to criticize “the left and homosexual activists”. Indeed, the negative publicity she’s already generated – along with demonizing the organization – probably has the administration thinking ahead for the best time to let her go.

Surely this ad seals the deal.

And Prejean will get another round of playing the martyr when that happens.

However, her expected attempt to exploit the removal of her title will likely not elicit the same sympathy. While folks can feel badly for a girl who just “spoke her opinion”, they aren’t as inclined to think that running anti-gay advertising is in line with her duties as Miss California. In fact, any attempt to play the victim may well turn against her those who currently see her as such.

Which is ironic, because Carrie Prejean truly is a victim. She’s the pawn of those who want to use her 15 minutes of fame to advance their own anti-gay agenda.

The whirl of controversy – coupled with anti-gay activism – has killed any sponsorship or modeling career she may have been seeking. No one will want their product associated with a woman who is reviled by half the population.

And, unlike Matt Barber who lost his job for tying his employer’s name to his anti-gay screeds, Prejean does not appear to have the qualifications required to become a full time paid anti-gay activist. She’s not articulate and she isn’t passionate.

At most, she can for a brief while show up at anti-gay functions as a token of ‘homosexual intolerance’.

In the long run, Carrie Prejean’s decision to join anti-gay ranks is not to her benefit.

McPherson will go on with his church and Maggie Gallagher will go on with her activism. But when Carrie’s usefulness has run out, she’ll find herself without a title, a crown, a career, or the respect of her peers.

Wingers On Parade: Reactions To Vermont

Jim Burroway

April 8th, 2009

We did this following the Iowa Supreme Court decision. Now it’s time to look at reactions to the Vermont legislature’s decision to allow same-sex marriage. Wouldn’t it be great if this could become a regular series?

Anti-gay activists pounced immediately with their talking points when the Iowa Supreme Court released their opinion, but Right Wing Watch noticed that it took quite a while for anti-gay activists to react to the Vermont vote. Probably because couldn’t reflexively blame “activist judges.”

But several hours later, reactions slowly began to trickle in. So guess what? It’s not “activist judges,” it’s a breakdown in democracy. Focus On the Family detects a “mysterious” conspiracy afoot:

Thanks to several legislators who mysteriously changed their votes over the weekend, Vermont has become the first state to radically change the definition of marriage through the legislative process.

Sounds nefarious, doesn’t it. Like it’s some sort of threat to destroy democracy or something. The Liberty Counsel’s Matt Staver is also reading from the same playbook, calling a vote by two legislative chambers made up of duly elected representatives of the people “tyranny”:

By redefining marriage, the Vermont legislature removed the cornerstone of society and the foundation of government. The consequences will rest on their shoulders and upon those passive objectors who know what to do but lack the courage to stand against this form of tyranny.

The Catholic League’s reaction defines the word “apoplectic.” Vermont’s exercise in democracy apparently doesn’t count because it’s Vermont:

Vermont is a lily-white state populated by left-wingers who are anti-traditional marriage and anti-family. Exactly what we would expect of a population where more people believe in nothing than anywhere else in the nation.

But not everyone was on the same page. Austin R. Nimocks, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, took a different route.

The institution of marriage has predated the legislature and government and the United States, and it’s not the prerogative of anybody to redefine it. It is the prerogative of every state and U.S. citizen to uphold the institution as it has always been defined, as one man and one woman.”

As it was always defined? I think Nimocks needs to study up on his Bible, because just off the top of my head I know that King David, who unlike Nimocks was divinely appointment, had eight wives. Solomon had seven hundred.

Matt Barber isn’t thinking representative democracy either. He labors under the mistaken impression that we’re in a theocracy:

“How long can a nation founded on the laws of nature and nature’s God expect to find favor in his eyes when we continue to mock God?”

…”I believe that the purveyors of evil around the country feel emboldened right now with the current political climate in Washington, DC,” Barber states, what with both the Oval Office and Congress inhabited by “people who are bent on thumbing their nose at God.”

But at least we can count on Peter LaBarbera to know exactly where to lay the blame. It’s not activist judges or rogue legislators. It’s the American people:

A northeastern state, Vermont, has voted in homosexual “marriage” — through an override of the governor’s veto, no less.  This profane legislative act cannot be blamed on reckless judges or “unelected courts.” No, this instead is reckless, godless liberalism in action…

Most Americans have gotten too comfortable with same-sex perversion (we at AFTAH reject the activist concept of innocuous, innate “sexual orientation”) and extramarital sex. … It’s asking too much of God to “bless America” when America is blessing the counter-Biblical idea of state-sanctioned, homosexually-redefined “marriage.

LaBarbera Award: Mat Staver

Jim Burroway

February 27th, 2009

Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver spoke before the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where he charged that allowing same-sex marriage would lead to an epidemic of criminality:

Same-sex marriage sets forth a fatherless policy. It will deprive children of ever having the opportunity of being raised in an environment where mom and dad are present. You don’t have to read thousands of sociological research studies to know that marriage matters and moms and dads and genders do matter to the well-being of children. You can go to any violent jail or crime area within the jail or a prison, and go to the men’s section of the prison or the jail and ask where the violent offenders are housed. And when you go there, ask them one question. And the one question is this: what was your relationship with your father? Universally, the answer will come back “I had no father.” There is a correlation between fatherlessness and and why these young men are behind bars for committing violent crimes.

YouTube Preview Image

If that were true, then I guess we shouldn’t allow lesbians to marry. But men on the other hand, who would provide two fathers, would double-inoculate their children against criminality.

But of course, this is nonsense. Staver says “you don’t have to read thousands of sociological research studies,” but he should perhaps read a few of them rather than remain in willful ignorance. Because none of those studies comparing families comprising of two lesbian parents or two gay men as parents to families headed by two heterosexual parents have been able to discern any measurable differences in the general outcome of children — and most certainly not in the criminality of children.

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics — who know a thing or two about children — conducted a wide ranging review of the vast professional research literature, and they concluded that:

A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with 1 or 2 gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual. Children’s optimal development seems to be influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family unit than by the particular structural form it takes.

In other words, good parents, very broadly speaking, make for good children. Inadequate parental relationships or adverse family dynamics lead to a greater risk for negative outcomes. And that’s true regardless of the parental makeup.

So we award this latest LaBarbera Award to Mat Staver, because no one needs to remain mired in willful ignorance rather than acknowledging what the research actually says.

Liberty Counsel Needs Refresher Law Class

Timothy Kincaid

June 6th, 2008

staver.jpg I’m not an attorney, nor do I play one on the internet. However, even I can see through the latest claim by the Liberty Counsel.

Liberty is the ugly stepchild of the anti-gay legal badgering movement. Alliance Defense Fund gets all the big headline-grabbing cases, leaving the offshoot of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University playing second fiddle. And perhaps this latest play by Mat Staver, Liberty’s founder and spokesman, illustrates just why.

In a fundraising plea disguised as an “alert”, Staver responds to the California Supreme Court’s decision to deny a stay or reconsideration of their decision.

Today, the California Supreme Court denied the Petition for Steay and for Rehearing in the California marriage cases.

The 4-3 decision was split along the same lines as the original May 15 ruling with Chief Justice George and Justices Kennard, Werdegar and Moreno in the majority. Justices Baxter, Chin and Corrigan dissented.

But a less casual look at the ruling suggests that Staver is either careless in his reading or is being deliberately deceptive.

Though Staver rails at “a handful of judges”, it appears to my reading that the stay had no support at all. While three judges were of the opinion that rehearing should be granted, there is nothing in the ruling that tells me that the decision to deny stay was anything less than unanimous.

While that declaration of Staver can be forgiven as perhaps inattentiveness, what he says next seems to be downright ridiculous.

The cases now will return to the California Court of Appeal for the Supreme Court’s order to be implemented. Liberty Counsel is considering filing a petition with Court of Appeal requesting a stay pending the outcome of the November vote on the state marriage amendment. The Court of Appeal panel previously upheld the state’s marriage laws.

Staver seems to be implying that the Court of Appeals can override the decision of the California Supreme Court. I find it difficult to fathom that a dean of a law school – even one catering solely to conservative religious adherents – can suggest such a thing.

The role of the Court of Appeals at this time is not a contemplative or judicial one. It is an administrative role to facilitate the decision of the state’s Supreme Court. The state’s highest court has stated that its decision will become final on June 16th at 5:00 p.m. and no inferior court has the authority to use administrative delaying tactics to thwart its will.

Should the Court of Appeals fail in its duties – a highly unlikely possibility – County Clerks would simply go ahead in issuing licenses and recording marriages as directed by the decision of the highest court.

If Staver thinks this will be a successful tactic, he needs to take some refresher courses in constitutional law. If, on the other hand, he is simply creating artificial hype so as to give him a reason to beg his donors for money, he needs to retake a course in ethics.

California’s Same-Sex Marriage Author

Jim Burroway

May 19th, 2008

Chief Justice Ronald M. George is an unlikely figure to write such a thoroughly pro-gay opinion as the one released last Wednesday that brought marriage equality. The 68-year-old moderate Republican appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson surprised Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel. “His change from where I thought he would be is baffling,” Staver told the Los Angeles Times yesterday. Nobody expected such a sweeping decision to go even beyond the arguments of same-sex marriage:

The court was poised 4 to 3 not only to legalize same-sex marriage but also to extend to sexual orientation the same broad protections against bias previously saved for race, gender and religion. The decision went further than any other state high court’s and would stun legal scholars, who have long characterized George and his court as cautious and middle of the road.

But as he read the legal arguments, the 68-year-old moderate Republican was drawn by memory to a long ago trip he made with his European immigrant parents through the American South. There, the signs warning “No Negro” or “No colored” left “quite an indelible impression on me,” he recalled in a wide-ranging interview Friday.

“I think,” he concluded, “there are times when doing the right thing means not playing it safe.”

Ex-Gay Gadfly Stephen Bennett Asks Question at Values Voters Debate

Timothy Kincaid

September 17th, 2007

The “values voters” seem (so far) to be obsessed about homosexuality. And the candidates that showed up to pander are playing right along. They all weighed in on how to oppose “the homosexual agenda” with only Ron Paul hedging his anti-gay attitudes in terms of libertarianism.

Every single candidate present would veto ENDA, would support a federal marriage amendment, and would support healthcare policies that would reward a “moral” lifestyle.

So it’s not too surprising that Stephen Bennett was trotted out to ask the following question:

Would you support legislation ensuring that schools would lose federal funding if they exposed children to homosexual indoctrination?

They all said yes.

UPDATE: Peter LaBarbera appeared to ask a “question” to Mitt Romney… who wasn’t there to answer. What miniscule credibility this circus of the extreme had was completely abolished by allowing questions to non-present candidates. Those candidates that showed up should be ashamed.

Mat Staver “asked a question” of Fred Thompson comparing gay marriage to slavery.

UPDATE: A straw poll took place following the debate in which this slick bar-graph declared Mike Huckabee the winner. Janet Folger (left) gesticulated wildly.

“Value Voters” Presidential Debate

Jim Burroway

August 30th, 2007

Mark your calenders. Here’s a presidential debate you won’t want to miss:

A Values Voter Presidential debate will be held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, September 17th at 7:30 p.m. The majority of the Republican candidates have confirmed their attendance at the event.

The venue is in Ft. Lauderdale, home of mayor Jim “Robo-Toilet” Naugle. The press release doesn’t say which candidates will attend, but the Value Voter Debate web site tells us who’ll be asking the questions:

Questions will come from 40 of our nation’s leaders including: Paul Weyrich, founder and President of the Free Congress Foundation, Phyllis Schlafly, founder and President of Eagle Forum, Don Wildmon, founder and Chairman of the American Family Association, Judge Roy Moore, with the Foundation for Moral Law, Rick Scarborough, Vision America, and Mat Staver of Liberty Council

Sounds like a perfectly lovely evening.

Newer Posts