Why do I attract all the crazies?

I got the follow press release recently:

GREENVILLE, NC. – CHRISTIANITY: Soon to be illegal? …. That’s exactly what author Bill Arcand predicts in his inspiring fictional story that gives readers a look into the near future of Christianity in the United States.

Sometimes all it takes is one man’s divinely inspired written word to make the much-needed changes to society. Arcand’s fictional story, The Recurring Dream, is a cautionary tale of what could happen if America continues down the treacherous road it is on. This divinely inspired book gives readers hope and provides direction to Christians throughout the United States.

Author Bill Arcand received literary direction from God, which resulted in his book, The Recurring Dream. The book warns readers about the repercussions of taking Christianity out of American’s everyday lives through an intricately weaved story highlighting both real life and a character’s dream.

“In 2008, as I was praying and very concerned on where our country was heading, I asked God to have mercy on America and asked what I could do to help,” Arcand says. “That’s when I was inspired by God to write a book. I said ‘Okay Lord,’ and I just started writing.”

I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say, if there is one religion that doesn’t need to worry about being outlawed in the U.S., it is Christianity. But the way they Far Right has usurped the discussion is frightening. The argument is: We have radical ideas (often not biblically based, but try tell them that) which preach hatred, bigotry and bias against those who feel differently, and have an absolute right to have to government condone our hatred with tax exemptions and other benefits. Then, when some of the non-partisan citizens of this country complain that we are hate-mongers and shouldn’t be entitled to discriminate, we are labeled the “bad guys.” But since our hatred is religiously centered, denying us these biases destroys who we are!

Funny thing is, these are the same folks who pass laws in Oklahoma forbidding the recognition of Sharia law in any context, and who want to use the (secular) marriage licensing function of the state to deny public benefits to gays. The irony is, no one on the (so-called) radical left wants to do away with any religion — in fact, it’s a precept of liberalism to live and let live, and to allow people their First Amendment right to practice their religion… just not to force that religion on others who disagree.

To these kinds of Christians, disagreement is subversion, equality is anti-God-communism draped in tolerance and anyone who opposes the fire-bombing of abortion clinics hates Jesus. Have we entered the Middle Ages — no, the Dark Ages — again? Would God really tell this moron to write a book condemning secularism? As I understood my catechism, God loves all His children, believers and non-believers alike. What could it possibly matter to Him if America goes down one “path?” Aren’t we saved no matter what?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Teacher accuses TC College of discrimination

Gill says English Department chair at Northeast Campus told her the state and the school ‘do not like homosexuals’

Jacqueline “Jackie” Gill
Jacqueline “Jackie” Gill

TAMMYE NASH  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

HURST — Jacqueline “Jackie” Gill filed suit Wednesday, Sept. 7, against a professor and a dean at Northeast Campus of Tarrant County College in Hurst, claiming that she was denied the opportunity to apply for a permanent, full- time teaching position there because of the English Department chair’s bias against what he perceived her sexual orientation to be.

Tarrant County College adopted a nondiscrimination policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation on March 9 of this year.

Frank Griffis, director of public relations and marketing for Tarrant County College, said it “would not be appropriate” for school officials to comment on pending litigation. He also said school officials had not yet been served with papers and therefore had not read the complaint.

Gill said she had worked as a full-time temporary English professor for about a year at the Northeast Campus. But when the position was to be made permanent, English Department Chair Eric Devlin refused to allow her to apply for the permanent position.

Gill said when she complained about Devlin to Northeast Campus Humanities Division Dean Antonio R. Howell, he initially seemed to side with her, but after speaking to Devlin, Howell refused to communicate further with her. Gill said although she is a lesbian and has never tried to hide that fact, she had never talked about her orientation with Devlin or anyone else at the school.

Both Devlin and Howell are named as co-defendants in the lawsuit.

Gill is represented in the lawsuit by Lambda Legal South Central Region staff attorney Ken Upton, joined by pro bono counsel Benjamin D. Williams from the law firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher.

Gill and Upton held a press conference Wednesday to announce that the lawsuit had been filed earlier that morning in U.S. district court in Fort Worth. The press conference was held at a Hurst hotel located just a few blocks from the Tarrant County College campus where Gill had taught.

According to the complaint filed Wednesday, and statements Gill made during the press conference, Gill was first hired on a full time, temporary basis as an English professor on Aug. 21, 2009. A little more than a month later, at the end of October, a female “dual-enrollment” student — a high school student who was also taking college classes — in Gill’s distance learning class cheated by stealing an exam and skipped some classes.

The student’s high school counselor told Gill that the student has a history of disruptive behavior, and when the student dropped the class, Gill was told the situation was closed.

On Nov. 9, however, Devlin called Gill into his office and told her the student had accused Gill of “flirting” with female students. Gill denied the accusations, noting that there was always another teacher in the class at the same time.

That’s when Devlin responded with “a lengthy diatribe about homosexuals and how the Texas public views them,” according to the complaint. Gill said Devlin went on to say that Texas is a conservative state and TCC is a conservative school, and that “Texas and Tarrant County College do not like homosexuals.”

Gill continued to teach at TCC, receiving high praise and compliments from students and staff alike, including from Devlin. Then in May 2010, she and other full-time temporary professors were told by Howell that all seven temporary full- time positions were being made permanent, and that they were being re-designated as adjunct faculty until the permanent positions were filled.

Gill said Howell also encouraged her and the other temporary professors to apply for the permanent jobs. Gill applied for all seven but was the only one of the seven temporary professors not hired for the permanent positions. Gill said that she was, in fact, not even allowed to interview for any of the positions, even though her experience and credentials were as good as or better than those who were hired.

Gill said she met with Howell and told him about Devlin’s anti-gay comments and refusal to allow her to interview for the permanent positions. She said Howell promised her to discuss the situation with Devlin immediately, but that he never got back in touch with her.

She said she also got no response when she tried to discuss the situation with the vice president and president of Tarrant County College.

Gill continued to teach as an adjunct professor at the campus through December 2010, although, she said, Devlin’s attitude toward her became “even more hostile.”

And she said that although she was originally assigned classes for the 2011 spring term, as she was preparing for those classes she discovered she had been removed as the professor. When she inquired about the status of the class, Gill said, she was told that Devlin had specifically instructed that those classes be taken away from her.

Upton said that Devlin and Howell violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by refusing to allow Gill to apply for the permanent teaching position. He said Gill’s suit is asking that she be allowed to complete the application process and that she be compensated for the time she has been unemployed.

Gill, who is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas at Arlington, said she would love to get a teaching job with TCC, and while she would prefer to work at another campus, she is willing to go back to the Northeast Campus and work again in Devlin’s department.

“I worked hard. I earned it,” Gill said of the permanent position. “I have nothing to be ashamed of. If it [her working in Devlin’s department again] would be awkward for anyone, I think it would be awkward for him [Devlin] because he is the one who was in the wrong.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

10 countries now allow same-sex marriage

Associated Press

NEW YORK — A leading rights group says 10 countries have legalized same-sex marriage in the past decade.

But Human Rights Watch said in a survey released Monday that bias continues against people who want to marry people of the same gender in those 10 countries and many others.

Boris O. Dittrich of the group’s gay rights program says that the growing number of countries legalizing same-sex marriage demonstrates progress in sexual equality around the world.

The first same-sex marriages took place in the Netherlands on April 1, 2001. The countries that followed were Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland and Argentina.

—  John Wright

Fort Worth Police Department bans ‘bias-based policing’ against LGBT people, other groups

Chief Jeffrey Halstead

The Fort Worth Police Department has a new policy prohibiting “bias-based policing” — including bias against LGBT people — and officers who violate the policy are likely to be fired, according to FWPD officials who spoke to the Star-Telegram.

A police spokesman said the policy is not a response to any specific incident, but acknowledged that the department’s raid of the Rainbow Lounge gay bar in June 2009 was “on our mind.”

FWPD suspended three officers for a total of five days for their actions related to the raid, but determined that they didn’t use excessive force.

Jon Nelson, a founder of Fairness Fort Worth who once called the suspensions “absolutely inadequate,” praised Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead for the new policy.

“This policy would not exist but for the chief of police,” Nelson told the Star-Telegram. “He sets the tone and he made this decision and I think that this Police Department is significantly different because of his leadership.”

Halstead signed a special order enacting the new policy on Friday. It will be distributed to employees next week and takes effect immediately.

The policy specifically prohibits bias based on “race, color, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, economic status, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, membership in a cultural group or other individual characteristics or distinctions.”

—  John Wright

Study Finds “Pervasive” Antigay Bias in Utah

Poll x390 (Photos.com) | Advocate.comA new study to be distributed to state lawmakers in Utah shows that employees face significant discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Questions arise over FW trans ordinance

Double negative included in addition to protections adopted last year could bar trans from using gender-specific restrooms

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Lisa Thomas
Lisa Thomas

FORT WORTH — A double negative in one sentence of an addition to the nondiscrimination protections in the Fort Worth ordinance would enshrine one form of bias against transgenders.

Proposed Section 17-48 (b) says “It shall not be unlawful for any person or any employee or agent thereof to deny any person entry into any restroom, shower room, bathhouse or similar facility which has been designated for use by persons of the opposite sex.”

Fort Worth assistant attorney Gerald Pruitt confirmed that, as written, the clause allows anyone to deny a transgender person presenting as one sex entry into a restroom if that person has not completed transition.

The concern among members of the transgender community stems from an incident in which a transgender woman was arrested in Houston for using a women’s restroom in a public library.

Earlier this year, Mayor Annise Parker issued an executive order that prohibited that form of discrimination, allowing transgenders to use whichever restroom they feel is appropriate in any city facility. The library would have been included in Parker’s order.

The November arrest contradicted the order but the action was against earlier laws already on the books.

“We have a number of transgender employees in Fort Worth,” Pruitt said. “I have no knowledge of any action like this ever being taken.”

He said that a situation arose about five years ago when someone began transitioning on the job. Someone who had been male was suddenly presenting as female and began using the woman’s room, he said.

“I think that’s where most of the angst is,” he said, explaining that someone everyone knew as a man began using the women’s restroom.

Pruitt said that the solution that satisfied everyone was that a bathroom convenient to the trans woman’s office was designated as her private restroom.

But he denied that this particular clause was in reaction to the Houston case, which he said he had not heard about before. And he said that as far as he knew, the wording was correct.

Tom Anable at Fairness Fort Worth was concerned about that one clause. He wondered why, if something was described as “not unlawful,” it would have been listed under the heading “unlawful acts.”

“I have sent it to staff at [the Human Rights Campaign] to ask for input on this,” Anable said.

Lisa Thomas, appointed to Fort Worth’s Human Rights Commission by Councilmember Joel Burns, said she had been “made aware of this discrepancy.”

“I’ve asked the chair and administrator of the commission to investigate what is the intent of these words, knowing it is not the intent to bar admission to restrooms,” Thomas said.

She said that in all discussions in the city, the intent has been not to discriminate.

“But we have to make sure we are all in alignment and right now it doesn’t seem like we are,” she said.

Tom Anable
Tom Anable

Section 17-48 (a) (1) adds language that bars discrimination against transgender persons. “Sexual orientation, transgender, gender identity or gender expression” are added to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and age as protected categories.

No “person, employee or agent” may deny anyone “advantages, facilities or services” that Section states. So section (a) (1) contradicts Section (b) since the second section does deny admission to facilities.

Section 17-48 (a) (2) makes it illegal to deny anyone admission or expel someone from a place of public accommodation “for alleged non-compliance with a dress code.”

Exemptions to the ordinance include any facility whose services are restricted to members and their guests, religious organizations, private day cares, kindergartens or nursery schools.

But that exemption applies equally to ability to discriminate based on race or religion as sexual orientation or gender identity.

Again, section (a) (2) contradicts Section (b) because admission is denied.

Violating any provision of the code is a misdemeanor. So presumably, any person discriminating against a transgender person by refusing to allow them to use a specific restroom would be charged with a misdemeanor.

The word “not” may have been placed in the sentence by mistake. If so, these additions have not been adopted yet and may be changed before the city council votes on them.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Suspended Cop Sues N.J. on Bias Claim

New Jersey State Police logo X390 | ADVOCATE.COMA lesbian police officer is suing the state of New Jersey, claiming that
authorities suspended her for sexually harassing another officer
because of her sexual orientation.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

In country still sickened by bias, will MD help cure what ails us?

MD-flagIt’s looking more and more likely that Maryland will soon provide headline writers with phonetically easy puns:

A majority of senators on a key committee in Maryland now favor legalizing same-sex marriage, making it increasingly likely that the state will join five others and the District in allowing such unions.

KEEP READING: Md. appears poised to approve same-sex marriage next year [WaPo]




Good As You

—  admin

Ruben Díaz: Sugar is sweet and so is marital bias

6A00D8341C503453Ef0120A6Fe6D02970BNew York state senator Ruben Díaz (D-Bronx), one of the most known anti-LGBT state lawmakers in the country, is lashing out against NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg for backing a prohibition against food stamps being used to purchase soda and other sugary beverages while at the same time supporting the right for gay couples to embrace their own marital sweetness:

“Last week, Mayor Bloomberg released a video wherein he stated his support for marriage equality ‘Because government shouldn’t tell you who to love or who to marry’.

“Today, Mayor Bloomberg sought permission from the Federal Government to prohibit New York food stamp recipients from using their food stamps to purchase soda and other sugary beverages.

“Mr. Mayor, will you please make up your mind? It is hypocritical to say on one hand that the government should not be involved. Today, however, that is exactly what you did.

Either the government should or should not be involved in telling people what or what not to eat, drink, and smoke, or who they can or can’t marry. You can’t have it both ways.”

Senator Díaz to Mayor Bloomberg: Mr. Mayor Will You Please Make Up Your Mind? [Ruben Díaz]

Uhm, okay — but here’s the thing: The government already puts limits on food stamps, based on what are seen as public health interests. Cigarettes. Alcohol. Medicines and vitamins. All banned. As are pet foods, prepared foods, and a number of household items, the latter of these not for health, obviously, but still a way for the government to streamline the program. So this Bloomberg plan (a 2 year ban accompanied with a study) would just be one more limitation: One that is obviously designed to combat a demonstrable health issue, in a situation where there are logical alternatives (natural juices, water, etc), and in a way similar to other anti-obesity initiatives (like school lunch regulations, for instance).

But marriage equality is the apple to the food stamp issue’s (organic, approved, juicy) orange! In this case, the demonstrable harm comes from denying certain couples of a freedom to which they are more than entitled by virtue of citizenship. Supporters of marriage equality are not “nanny stating”: They are rejecting the self-appointed governessing that the social conservatives have injected into the nuptial nursery!

If we are forced to choose a hypocrite here, it’s undoubtedly Sen. Ruben Díaz. On one hand he is saying that the public good that is marriage equality should not be governmentally supported in a way that benefits all citizens, while on the other saying that the public hazard that is childhood/adult obesity should not be governmentally combatted when talking about citizens who utilize public benefits. In both cases, Diaz is rejecting the heart-healthy option.

***

**SEE ALSO: Andrés Duque criticizes Diaz for putting issues like the above before the disgusting anti-gay attack that’s stunned his community: Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr.’s response to the anti-gay attacks in the Bronx [Blabbeando]




Good As You

—  John Wright

D-NY to DOJ: Military bias merits no appeal!

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is wrong for our national security and inconsistent with the moral foundation upon which this country was founded.  For months we've worked together to repeal it.  Last month, we experienced an important victory.  A federal court judge in California declared the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy unconstitutional, saying it has had a "direct and deleterious effect" on our military.  I couldn't agree more.  That's why I teamed up with Senator Mark Udall of Colorado to write a letter to the Department of Justice urging Attorney General Holder not to appeal this ruling in court.  Now I need you to stand with us and call on Attorney General Holder not to appeal this ruling.  Because of the work we've done together over the past year and a half, we are closer than ever to repealing this dangerous policy.  This ruling only gets us closer and it's imperative that it stand.  Click here to help repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  Senator Udall and I are urging the Department of Justice to let the court ruling stand, and we need your support.  "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is an immoral policy that hurts our military readiness.  Since DADT began in 1993, we've lost more than 13,000 men and women to this policy.  That's 13,000 too many.  We must not lose one more brave gay or lesbian service member to this destructive policy.  It is unconstitutional and the federal court ruling should stand.  Click here to help repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  Senator Udall and I are urging the Department of Justice to let the court ruling stand, and we need your support.  Stand with us and urge Attorney General Holder not to appeal this important ruling. While Congress will still need to repeal DADT, this is an extremely important step forward in affirming the civil rights of gays and lesbians. Our government should not be challenging it.  Thanks for your ongoing support on this issue.  Sincerely,  Kirsten Gillibrand

Tell the Department of Justice: Don’t Defend “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”! [Senator Gillibrand]




Good As You

—  John Wright