What do supporters of ‘The Response’ have to say about LGBTs? Here are a few examples

Rick Perry

As the Dallas Voice cover story, “Responding to ‘The Response,” points out, there are a lot of people around the state — and around the country — who are angry over Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to partner with The American Family Association to present his day of prayer and fasting Saturday at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. The list of people supporting and endorsing the event — like Pastor John Hagee — also has some people upset.

But what is it about the American Family Association and people like Hagee that has people so angry? As the Southern Poverty Law Center points out, it’s not because they believe homosexuality is a sin. It’s because of the hateful, discriminatory and outright false things they say to stir up fear and anger against LGBT people, Jews, Muslims, Catholics — in short, against anybody who isn’t just like them.

What kind of things? Well, here are a few examples.

This is an actual trailer for a video called They’re Coming To Your Town. The video, produced by the American Family Association, warns that gays and lesbians are trying to take over city governments across the country, using Eureka Springs, Ark., as an example.

Here’s one where AFA’s Buddy Smith reports to Bryan Fischer, AFA’s director of issues analysis, on a gay Pride parade in which Home Depot participated and why Home Depot is wrong to promote diversity. In this clip, Smith says that “homosexuals are in Satan’s grasp.”

Here’s Fischer again, explaining how the Nazis — including Hitler — were all gay and how Hitler chose to surround himself with gay soldiers because the straight soldiers were not “savage and brutal and vicious enough” to carry out Hitler’s orders, whereas the gay Brown Shirt soldiers were happy to do so:

In this one Fischer explains that tribal reservations are “mired” in poverty and alcoholism today because the Native American won’t convert to Christianity.

One more quick one from Fischer. In this clip, taped in the aftermath of the shooting at Fort Hood, he says Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the U.S. military and that they probably shouldn’t even be allowed to immigrate to the U.S. at all.

Here’s one with Pastor John Hagee explaining that the Anti-Christ is coming and that he is partially Jewish (“as was Adolph Hitler”??) and he is gay AND he is fierce! Oh yeah, and the Anti-Christ will come from Germany.

Pastor Hagee, by the way, has also called the Catholic Church “a great whore” that “thirsts for the blood of the Jews.” And after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Hagee said in 2006 it was because New Orleans was a sinful place that was planning a gay parade (the annual Southern Decadence party over Labor Day Weekend) and, basically, that the hurricane was God’s punishment on the city. He later recanted.

We tried to find other videotapes of Hagee making these stories, but many of the videos containing some of his more controversial comments have been removed due to claims of “copyright infringement” according to notices posted on websites where the videos previously were displayed.

Want more evidence? Go to YouTube and do a search for American Family Association, specifically Bryan Fischer. Pastor Hagee might have had second thoughts about some of his more vitriolic statements and removed those videos, but Fischer’s videos are there for everyone to see.

Of course, Hagee, Fischer and the Wildmons aren’t the only ones on the list of those endorsing “The Response.” Go here to read an earlier Dallas Voice post that includes videos of “Response”  supporter Mike Bickle who claims that Oprah Winfrey is a harbinger of the Anti-Christ, and of “Response” supporter C. Peter Wagner who teaches that Japan is cursed because the emperor of Japan had sex with a demon.

Then there’s David Barton, president and founder of “WallBuilders,” who said opposes anti-bullying legislation, claiming that laws and policies to prevent bullying actually indoctrinate children into homosexuality. And he uses info from the American College of Pediatricians — a right-wing group that broke away from the American Academy of Pediatricians because the AAP supports gay and lesbian parents  — to back up his claims. Read about that here at RightWingWatch.org.

—  admin

What’s Brewing: Gov. Perry may not speak at day of prayer; trans widow Nikki Araguz files appeal

Nikki Araguz

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. CNN reports that Texas Gov. Rick Perry may not even speak at his own day of prayer on Aug. 6 in Houston. Eric Bearse, a spokesman for the American Family Association, the anti-gay hate group that is funding Perry’s day of prayer, told CNN: “There will be a handful of speakers, in addition to a number of folks leading prayer, plus some time for praise and worship music. … Whether the governor will speak has not yet been decided at this point.” Seems like this could be another example of Perry trying to tone down the religious rhetoric and distance himself from the whackos who’ve endorsed the event.

2. Texas transgender widow Nikki Araguz has appealed a district judge’s ruling denying her death benefits to the 13th Circuit Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi. Araguz also announced that if she wins the case, she’ll deposit the death benefits into a trust fund for her deceased husband’s two children. “I am pursuing this appeal to defend my marriage, not to obtain any financial benefit,” said Araguz. Read the full press release here.

3. A group led by anti-gay El Paso pastor Tom Brown this week filed notice of its intent to recall the mayor and two council members after they voted to reinstate domestic partner benefits for city employees. The group now has 60 days to collect enough signatures — 6,100 for the mayor and 650 each for the two council members — to trigger a recall election. If they are succesful, the recall election would cost the city $150,000, in addition to the cost of holding another election to replace the three if they are recalled.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Senate DOMA hearing; Gov. Perry’s Religious Right trifecta; NY marriage

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, has been named a chairman of Rick Perry’s Aug. 6 day of prayer.

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The Senate Judiciary Committee this morning will conduct the first-ever hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. The DOMA repeal legislation was endorsed Tuesday by President Barack Obama. Today’s historic hearing begins at 9 a.m. Central time. You can watch live on the committee’s website by going here.

2. We’ve long known that Gov. Rick Perry’s Aug. 6 Day of Prayer is being funded by the American Family Association, but now it looks like Perry has achieved the trifecta of Religious Right involvement. The AFA announced Tuesday that Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America have been named co-chairmen of the event. From Right Wing Watch: “Even though Perry and the AFA are adamant that the prayer rally is apolitical, the fact that leaders of three of the most prominent Religious Right political groups in the country are hosting the event along side a potential presidential candidate makes us think otherwise.”

3. Fearing overwhelming demand this coming Sunday — the first day same-sex couples can marry — New York City officials have announced a lottery system that will guarantee 764 couples access to one of the city’s five clerks offices.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Gov. Rick Perry tries to distance himself from wingnut day of prayer partners

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Texas Gov. Rick Perry — perhaps fearing they could hurt him in the presidential election — appears to be trying to distance himself from the extreme views of groups and individuals with whom he’s partnering with for The Response, his day of prayer and fasting on Aug. 6 in Houston. “I’m sure that through my elections in the past that there have been some groups that have endorsed me publicly, that I appreciate their endorsements, but their endorsements of me doesn’t mean I endorse what they believe in or what they say,” Perry said Monday, according to The Dallas Morning News. “I appreciate anyone that’s going to endorse me, whether it’s on The Response or whether it’s on a potential run for the presidency of the United States. Just because you endorse me doesn’t mean I endorse everything that you say or do.” Sorry, governor, but nice try. Being endorsed by someone in a political race is a little different from partnering with them and selecting them to foot the bill for an event like this.

2. The U.S. Senate for the first time ever on Monday confirmed an openly gay man to serve as a federal district judge, The Washington Blade reports. J. Paul Oetken, nominated by President Barack Obama in January, was confirmed to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by a vote of 80-13 (Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was among those who voted against Oetken’s confirmation). Oetken is not the first openly LGBT person to be confirmed as a federal district judge, as this distinction belongs to U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts, an out lesbian appointed by President Bill Clinton. And of course he’s not the first non-openly gay man, as we’ve had Judge Vaughn Walker and undoubtedly others. But Oetken’s confirmation is still a pretty big deal: “It wasn’t even two decades ago that openly LGBT people had a hard time even being considered for a presidential appointment, and some who got nominated faced fierce opposition in the Senate,” said Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. “Today, more than 200 LGBT Americans have been appointed by President Obama, and more than 25 of those were nominated for Senate-confirmable positions.”

3. Towleroad has posted bios of those scheduled to testify during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing Wednesay on repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. The lack of diversity among witnesses has drawn criticism from the likes of Lt. Dan Choi and prompted an online petition calling for the Human Rights Campaign to “Wake up from white privilege and diversify!” But The Washington Blade reports that witnesses were actually selected by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., in consultation with outside groups, and Immigration Equality, a group focused on DOMA-related immigration issues, isn’t concerned about the absence of binational same-sex couples from the witness list.

—  John Wright

Members of FW church heading to Houston to protest outside Perry’s prayer meeting

Fort Worth First Congregational Church, UCC

Another North Texas group has announced plans to travel to Houston next month to protest outside Gov. Rick Perry’s day-long prayerfest, and this time it’s a (not gay) church.

Members of Fort Worth First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ held a congregational meeting Sunday, July 10, and voted unanimously to endorse congregants’ plans to travel to Houston on Aug. 6 to protest outside Reliant Stadium where Perry and company will be holding “The Response.” Some 15 to 20 people from FW First Congregational Church are expected to go to Houston to protest, according to a press release from the church, along with “others from Christian churches throughout Texas.”

The press release says protesters will gather outside the stadium gates while folks are arriving for the prayer meeting, expressing their feelings about the event through posters, fliers and “silent witness.”

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last two months or so, you already know that Texas’ governor is teaming up with the decidedly anti-gay American Family Association, a right-wing conservative Christian organization that has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, to present “The Response.” The purpose, Perry says, is to pray for our nation in crisis. (Others have suggested that perhaps it’s just a play for publicity as Perry gets ready to kick off his 2012 presidential bid.)

The folks at FW First Congregational are like most people speaking out against the event: They have no issue with the idea of holding a prayer meeting. What bothers them is that the governor is teaming up with the American Family Association to do so, especially since AFA is footing the bill for the prayer party.

“We certainly respect the governor’s call to pray and fast for the welfare of our country, but we strongly object to doing that in collusion with a group that engages in hate speech and, therefore, misrepresents the gospel,” said FWCC deacon and protest organizer Marvin Vann.

—  admin

Trans activist Kelli Busey on Forward Blitz Radio tonight to talk about Perry’s ‘Response’

Kelli Busey

Local trans activist Kelli Busey is among those who are stepping up to respond to Gov. Rick Perry’s “The Response,” the day-long prayer meeting and fast Perry has scheduled for Aug. 6 in Houston. And Busey is taking to the Internet radio talk show Forward Blitz tonight to talk about Perry’s event, the people and organizations (like the anti-gay American Family Association) with whom he is partnering to present the event, what it means to the LGBT community, and how the community can respond.

From a posting about “The Response”on Busey’s blog, Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies: “Now, we don’t care that a bunch of fundamentalists are getting together to pray for the country. That’s the freedom that makes us unique. What we DO care about is the fact that he has teamed up with the American Family Association and a bunch of bigoted hateful people who are anti-gay and anti-every other religion.”

She also includes this passage from an AFA email that, Busey points out, explicitly dis-invites everyone but Christians: “This is an explicitly Christian event because we are going to be praying to the one true God through His son, Jesus Christ. It would be idolatry of the worst sort for Christians to gather and invite false gods like Allah and Buddha and their false prophets to be with us at that time. Because we have religious liberty in this country, they are free to have events and pray to Buddha and Allah on their own. But this is time of prayer to the One True God, through His son Jesus Christ, who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.”

Busey will be on Forward Blitz Blog Talk Radio tonight from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Listen here. You can call 424-675-8317 to join the conversation.

Busey has also pledged to organize a protest over The Response, although I haven’t seen any details on that yet.

—  admin

WATCH: AFA’s Alex McFarland says NY marriage vote shows why Perry’s Day of Prayer needed

Right Wing Watch reports:

During his radio show on the AFA’s American Family Radio with Marvin Sanders, McFarland lauded the Perry/AFA rally as “a very wonderful thing” to help America “turn back to God.” McFarland, who last said that homosexuality is “a learned response to emotional pain and sometimes molestation,” went on to say that the marriage equality vote in New York was a warning sign for the nation, noting: “righteousness exalts a nation, lifts up a nation, blesses a people, but sin is a reproach, and literally means an undoing, and we need to pray and I think Governor Perry.”

—  John Wright

Perry’s association with hate groups nothing new

Gov. Rick Perry’s planned Aug. 6 day of prayer and fasting, “the Response,” has garnered a range or reactions over the last month, from Houston clergy expressing concern about the blurring of lines between church and state, to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force decrying the rally as “profoundly harmful.” What almost every denouncement of “the Response” has in common is shock that the governor would align himself with the American Family Association, an organization listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

For those who’ve followed Perry’s political career closely, however, his connections with a notorious hate group are just par for the course.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a pro-bono legal firm and civil rights advocacy group. Since shortly after its founding in 1971 the SPLC has declared certain groups “hate groups” based on the groups’ perpetuation of inaccurate and harmful information about communities fighting for their civil rights. In the case of anti-gay groups the SPLC places organizations on the list of hate groups for “their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.”

Perry publicly aligned himself with the AFA as early as 2005, when AFA founder Don Wildmon was invited to participate in a signing ceremony celebrating the passage of Texas’ constitutional amendment defining marriage as between “one man and one woman.” The governor’s signature is not required on constitutional amendments. In fact, the executive branch of Texas government can neither propose nor approve constitutional provisions. That didn’t stop Perry from conducting a media event designed to take credit for the amendment’s passage. Perry selected Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Worth as the venue for the event, despite concerns that holding an (albeit superfluous) government ceremony in a religious facility strayed dangerously close to violating the separation between church and state. Also invited to the ceremony was former Louisiana State Rep. Tony Perkins, president of another group on the SPLC’s list, the Family Research Council.

—  admin

What’s Brewing: President Obama to nominate openly gay man for U.S. attorney in Texas

President Barack Obama

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. President Barack Obama is expected to nominate an openly gay man for one of four vacant U.S. attorney positions in Texas. The San Antonio Express-News reports that Obama will nominate U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Lee Pitman of Austin as U.S. Attorney for the Western District, which includes San Antonio, Del Rio and El Paso. Interestingly, Pitman’s nomination is supported by anti-gay Republican Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison. Pitman, a Fort Worth native and graduate of Trinity Valley School, would face a confirmation vote in the Senate. He would not be the first openly gay U.S. attorney, but he would undoubtedly be the first in Texas. Read a detailed profile of Pitman here.

2. In the wake of reports about a Southwest Airlines pilot’s offensive rant over an open cockpit microphone, one California lawmaker is calling on the state to sever its contracts with the airline. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma says she’s not satisfied with the Dallas-based airline’s “slap on the wrist” of the pilot, but as Instant Tea reported Friday, the airline isn’t expected to revisit the disciplinary action.

3. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has released a video invitation to his Aug. 6. Day of Prayer funded by the American Family Association, the anti-gay hate group. Perhaps Perry is getting desperate since only one of 49 governors had RSVP’d affirmatively to his invite for the Day of Prayer as of last week. Watch his video invitation below, and then tell us whether you think “people adrift in a sea of moral relativism” is Perry’s new euphemism for gays.

Gov. Perry’s Invitation to The Response from The Response USA on Vimeo.

—  John Wright

Gov. Perry may be the answer to some people’s prayers, but will it earn him a gay glitter-bomb?

Tom Schlueter (via Twitter)

Right Wing Watch reports that one of the groups that’s endorsed Gov. Rick Perry’s Day of Prayer believes Perry is actually an answer to its prayers. In an article defending the event funded by the American Family Association, an anti-gay hate group, the AFA’s own OneNewsNow quotes Tom Schlueter of the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network:

“One of the things that we have been asking the Lord for many, many years has been a time when one of our political leaders will rise up and make this kind of a call to the state or to the nation,” Schlueter told OneNewsNow.

Right Wing Watch goes on to note that Schlueter, pastor of Prince of Peace Church in Arlington, once tied Hurricane Rita to the vote on Texas’ constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. So you can add Schlueter to the long list of whackos who’ve endorsed Perry’s Day of Prayer. But here’s our question: Will Perry’s love for anti-gay bigots be enough to earn him a glitter-bomb?

In case you missed it, GOP presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann became the latest victim of a gay-rights glitter-bomb at a right-wing convention in Minneapolis on Saturday. Bachmann joins Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty among members of the Republican presidential clown car who’ve fallen victim to the latest fad in activism. And although Perry hasn’t officially declared that he’s running for president, Karen Ocamb at LGBT POV raises the possibility that Perry could be next.

There’s been quite a bit of debate about the effectiveness of these glitter bombs — which are now apparently being coordinated by “glitteratti” from GetEQUAL — in advancing LGBT equality. We won’t wade into that debate here, but if someone does decide to glitter-bomb Perry, we just hope they do a better job than they did on Bachmann in the video below.

—  John Wright