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 February, 2010

Four Senators Introduce Resolution Condeming Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

Jim Burroway

February 4th, 2010

Four U.S. Senators — Russ Feingold (D-WI), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) — have introduced a bipartisan resolution calling on the Ugandan Parliament to reject the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Sen. Coburn’s involvement is particularly notable and especially laudable given his membership in the Family and his otherwise unfriendly positions on LGBT issues. He also gave a convoluted condemnation of the proposed legislation last December. But still, a condemnation is a condemnation, and he’s following that with a co-sponsorship of this Senate resolution. It just goes to show that those who solidly oppose LGBT Americans can still recognize the grossest forms of injustice when they see it.

Of course, that observation doesn’t apply to everyone

Click here to read the bipartisan Senate resolution.

Sens. Feingold, Coburn, Grassley Denounce Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill

Jim Burroway

December 14th, 2009

The past week has seen a number of Senators and Congressional Representative issue statements on the Anti-Homosexuality Act that is before Parliament in Uganda. First, let’s go to Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), to show us how such a statement ought to be done:

Sen. Russ FeingoldI share the outrage of many political, religious and civic leaders in Uganda and around the world about the “anti-homosexuality bill” before the Ugandan Parliament.  If enacted, this inhumane bill would sanction new levels of violence against people in Uganda based solely on their gender or sexual orientation.  Its passage would hurt the close working relationship between our two countries, especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  Over the last month, I have conveyed these concerns to the State Department and directly to President Museveni, and I urge Uganda’s leaders to reject this bill.

So notice what he did: 1) He put his statement on his Senate web site for everyone to see, 2), he relayed his concerns to the State Department, 3) he contacted Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni directly about his concerns, and 4) his statement is free from any political baggage. It’s simply a straightforward statement of right and wrong. And as far as I can tell, he did it without having to succumb to major media pressure, which makes his statement all the more believable.

Now contrast that with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who has been identified as being a member of the secretive Evangelical group known as “The Family.” He released his statement through an email sent out by aGOProud, the LGBT Republican group that formed after former members of the Log Cabin Republicans thought it became too liberal. Coburn’s statement wasn’t put on his Senate web page, he didn’t contact the state department or Ugandan officials, and he  cloaked his statement in some very odd political wrappings:

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)“Over the past two decades, political, religious, and community leaders in Uganda have united to promote a rare, winning strategy against HIV that addresses the unique and common risks of every segment of society. Sadly, some who oppose Uganda’s common sense ABC strategy are using an absurd proposal to execute gays to undermine this coalition and winning strategy. Officials in Uganda should come to their senses and take whatever steps are necessary to withdraw this proposal that will do nothing but harm a winning strategy that is saving lives.”

Strange, isn’t it? Who does he suggest is “opposing Uganda’s common sense ABC strategy”? Might it be Tom Coburn himself — the man who wants to undermine ABC so that only AB remains by dropping condoms from the Abstinence/Be Faithful/Use Condoms trilogy? It seems that Cobern’s concern is not toward people who would be directly affected by Uganda’s attempt to legislate LGBT people out of existence, but the embarrassment it brings to those who want to meddle in Uganda’s AIDS strategy by imposing abstinence only education.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) who has also been identified as being a member of The Family, had initially refused to comment when asked on , using the excuse that he isn’t in the Ugandan parliament and was unfamiliar with the law. But on Friday (Dec 11), he decided to tell us he’s against it.

11_grassley_600Based on what I’ve been able to learn about the legislation and from the stand point that I’m a born again Christian, I can tell you that I don’t agree with this un-Christian and unjust  proposal, and I hope the Ugandan officials dismiss it,” he said.

After hemming and hawing, Grassley ended up doing considerably better than Coburn. At least he didn’t try to entangle his statement with strange partisan attacks. Plus, he issued his statement through the Iowa Independent, and not some special interest group’s email to members where it might not get noticed so easily. Now if only he could get it to Museveni’s eyes and ears…

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of the past year’s anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Rachel Maddow: Should US Politicians Try To Stop The “Kill Gays” Bill?

Jim Burroway

December 5th, 2009

Rachel Maddow last night reviewed the role that Rick Warren has played in Uganda, including his siding with the Ugandan Anglican Church against the U.S. Episcopal Church over the ordination of gay clergy and bishops even though Warren’s background is Baptist.

Maddow also reviewed the role that several U.S. politicians — specifically Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) — in their own meddling in Uganda’s political affairs, mostly in changing Uganda’s previously successful fight against AIDS by insisting on abstinence only education. These politicians, it should be noted, are also all members of the secretive Evangelical group The Family, which seeks to “take over” (in Family leader Doug Coe’s words) the political, business and other power spheres around the world in a sort of “trickle down” national salvation plan, as opposed to focusing on individual salvation that is at the core of orthodox Christianity.

Rachel’s panel last night consisted of Congressman Anthony Wiener (D-NY); Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University; and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. She asked them a very pertinent question:

“Is it reasonable to expect that American politicians who have been, frankly, pretty interventionist in Uganda in the past, should be trying to stop the ‘kill the gays’ bill there?”

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

The Guardians Of Marriage

Jim Burroway

July 10th, 2009

Sens. John Ensign, Tom Coburn, the secretive Christian cult known alternately as The Family or The Fellowship, and the House on C Street:

YouTube Preview Image

I used the term “cult” to describe The Fellowship. How else does one describe an outfit founded by a man who had a special visitation from Jesus who told him that Christianity got it wrong for the past two thousand years?

Jeff Sharlet’s book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power examines this strange organization in greater detail.