Indiana’s new “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” aka “License to be a Hateful Homophobe” has triggered a big backlash from the business community, but it’s not hopeless as this parody commercial demonstrates.
AFA President Tim Wildmon explained in a written statement, “Families and businesses that express a Christian worldview on social issues often face vicious retaliation from anti-Christian zealots, and it’s time to call them out for their intolerance.” And so, they created the “Bigotry Map.”
The AFA Bigotry Map website explains: “The American Family Association has identified more than 200 groups and organizations that openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith and is educating Americans about these groups through an online map.”
The interactive map “identifies groups whose actions are deeply intolerant of the Christian religion.” These groups strive to “silence Christians and to remove all public displays of Christian heritage and faith in America,” usually through lawsuits and threats of lawsuits demanding that prayer be removed from schools and city council meetings, that 10 Commandment monuments “be stricken from courthouses and that memorial crosses be purged from cemeteries and parks.”
Wildmon claims, “Because of anti-Christian bigotry, private business owners have been sued and forced to close their businesses. Families and businesses that express a Christian worldview on social issues often face vicious retaliation from anti-Christian zealots, and it’s time to call them out for their intolerance.”
He also claims that some members of the groups targeted by the “Bigotry Map” have “committed violent crimes against Christians and faith-based groups,” and that they also target Christians with physical and “profane verbal” assaults in an effort to intimidate them.
The “interactive map” on the website is dotted with markers indicating where these groups are located and what kind of groups they are. Rainbow-striped markers denote groups with a “homosexual agenda” that “advocate for the legalization and promotion of same-sex marriage and viciously attack Christians who exercise their First Amendment right to voice support for God’s plan for marriage as between one man and one woman.”
There is a red marker with a white A for the atheist groups, a gray marker with a white cross marked out by a red X for “anti-Christian” groups which “actively engage in the complete eradication of the Christian faith from society, government and private commerce. These groups file lawsuits and use intimidation to silence any reference to Christianity from the public square.” And then there is the blue marker with the white outline of a human form to denote the “humanist” groups that believe “critical thinking and physical evidence are the sole basis for beliefs. Humanists believe science triumphs faith in issues of morality and decision-making.”
I checked the map and it only lists four “homosexual agenda” groups in Texas: HRC Dallas/Fort Worth, HRC Houston, HRC Austin and HRC San Antonio. Dallas Voice is not listed; I don’t know whether to be relieved or insulted.
Resource Center in Dallas isn’t listed. Neither is Fairness Fort Worth. Nor Equality Texas, Tyler Area Gays, … . The list of what isn’t listed goes on and on.
There are five atheist organizations listed for Texas, two anti-Christian groups (both of them Americans United groups), and five humanist groups. We LGBTs need to get busy! Those atheists and humanists are outnumbering us!
I want to say thanks to whoever emailed me the YouTube link to the video below, which was posted online by RightWingWatch.org.
The video is basically audio of a rant by Bryan Fischer, host of Focal Point on the AFA (American Family Association) Channel, in which Fischer explains why “Homosexuals are Nazis.” Never mind that the Nazis targeted the gays and lesbians in Germany for extermination along with the Jews and other groups. Never mind that gays and lesbians — and transgenders and bisexuals — are targeted daily by bigots and homophobes who deny us equal treatment under the law, who deny us protection against discrimination in housing and employment, and who way too often get away with harassing us verbally and physically attacking us, leaving many of us seriously injured if not dead.
Never mind all that, Mr. Fischer says. Because we refuse to sit idly by and allow their hatred against us to go unchallenged, we are Nazis. It makes my blood boil!
So why would I want to listen to this homophobic jerk’s rant? Why would I post it here on Instant Tea? Because the best advice in any battle is, “Know thine enemy.” So here you go. Now, where did I leave my jackboots?
USED TO BE FUNNY | Victoria Jackson speaks during a tea party rally in Buffalo, last year (David Duprey/Associated Press)
Well she isn’t anymore, and she definitely isn’t as ‘Christian’ as she claims to be, either
HARDY HABERMAN | Flagging Left
I am older than I think — at least that is what I found out when I made the comment that I remembered Victoria Jackson when she was funny. My companions at lunch looked at me blankly and said, “Who?”
Years ago Jackson was the comedienne who “killed” on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show when she did handstands and recited poetry. She was the personification of the blond airhead doing what might have passed as “talent” in a beauty pageant.
She was very funny then, and it launched her career, which included a gig on Saturday Night Live for several years.
Lately, Ms. Jackson has gained notoriety by her rants denouncing the romantic kiss between actors Chris Colfer and Darren Criss on Glee.
Her diatribe against homosexuality, delivered in her trademark squeaky voice, sounds almost like a joke — until you find out that she claims to be a devout Christian.
So, I have no problem with her saying whatever she wants about fictional characters on Glee, or for that matter expressing her views on what is right and what is wrong in general.
My problem is her declaration that she is a devout Christian.
As someone who calls himself a Christian, I figure I have a little skin in this game, and frankly, I am sick and tired of the hijacking of one of the world’s great religions by a bunch of loud-mouthed bigots.
The Fred Phelps and Victoria Jacksons of this world have given my religion a really bad name. Heck, I even have a straight friend who has stopped calling himself Christian and now prefers “follower of Jesus,” since that makes clear the distinction between him and the hate-filled voices that dominate the media.
Victoria Jackson is just the latest person that somehow figures that the collection of books and stories that we have come to call the Bible were handed down from on high, written in 17th century English prose.
They claim to take every word as the literal word of God, and as such, the scripture for them is a handy rulebook to gaining a seat in heaven.
Jackson herself says, “Basically, the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin.”
Though the word “homosexuality” was unknown until the 19th century, Jackson like so many of her ilk indeed re-interpret the “literal word of God.” They selectively twist it to their own ends.
While wearing her acrylic and cotton blend fabrics, and most likely eating pork and shellfish, she forgets other verses that would declare her an abomination, no interpretation needed.
Now, I am not a theologian — far from it — but I do understand a few basic truths about trying to condemn people you don’t like using Bible verses. It’s dangerous and, quite frankly, about as close to blasphemy as I can imagine.
To try to take the feeble words of people who tried to wrestle onto paper something so great they could not even speak its name, and to then say that those few words were the end-all-and-be-all of the divine? Well, that belittles both the scriptures and God.
It is equally silly to just dismiss humankind’s struggle to find the meaning of existence as merely superstition and myth. Just because a story isn’t literally true doesn’t mean there isn’t an abundance of truth beneath the words.
Who can’t see the lessons behind the fables of Aesop or the poetry of Homer? That same truth exists in the parables of Jesus and the stories of the Patriarchs.
For that matter it exists in the recitations of the Prophet Mohammed, in the tales of the Gita.
So, let me just make myself clear. I am a Christian; I am gay; I am politically liberal and sexually more than a bit kinky.
Why am I telling you this? Because I don’t want people like Victoria Jackson to be defining what it means to be a Christian.
Let this be my personal witness, and you can take it or leave it. But I really prefer you consider it. Think about what you believe; don’t just mouth the words.
Rabbi Hillel, one of Judaism’s great teachers, who lived around 30 BCE, was asked to give his full understanding of the Torah while standing on one foot. He is quoted as saying, “Do not unto your neighbor what you would not have him do unto you; this is the whole Law; the rest is commentary.”
Sounds like something another Rabbi named Jesus said, doesn’t it?
In one recent interview Victoria Jackson stated, “This culture is affecting our children and making them run away from Jesus Christ.”
I say no, Ms. Jackson. Our culture is not the reason. It is the intolerance and bigotry of people like you claiming to be Christian that is making children run away from Jesus.
Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. His blog is at http://dungeondiary.blogspot.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 1, 2011.
The removal of sexual orientation from an anti-bullying bill didn’t stop anti-gay groups from opposing the measure during a Texas House committee hearing on Tuesday afternoon.
Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affiars for the Plano-based Liberty Institute, told the House public education committee that even though sexual orientation and other enumerated categories were removed from Rep. Mark Strama’s HB 224, Saenz fears the categories will be restored to the measure at some point.
“It is about the gay rights, the homosexual community, the transgender community, and an effort to create special categories and special rights in our law that don’t currently exist, and really carve off protections for some groups and not others,” Saenz told the committee. “It’s not about bullying, and it’s not about solving this problem. It’s about creating new classes of people and giving special protections to some categories and not others.”
Strama said during the hearing that he has no plans to restore the enumerated categories to the bill.
“We took all those classes out so we wouldn’t have to have this discusssion,” said Strama, D-Austin. “It’s not my intention to put any of that list back in the bill. At this point I’d like to keep it the way it is if we can get this bill moving through the process.”
Representatives from Equality Texas, which supports the bill and testified in favor of it on Tuesday, have said the enumerated categories were removed to improve the bill’s chances of passage and de-politicize the issue.
Also testifying against Strama’s bill were both the anti-gay Texas Eagle Forum and the normally pro-equality American Civil Liberties Union.
ACLU representatives say Strama’s bill, which would allow school officials to crack down on cyberbullying that occurs off campus, creates concerns about free speech and parental rights.
The bill was left pending in the education committee. To watch video of the committee hearing, go here.
A group of conservative Christians set out to block El Paso, Texas, from granting health-care benefits to same-sex partners of city-government employees. But the ballot measure they helped pass in November may also end up stripping benefits from others, including retired policemen and firefighters.
The measure was aimed at gay workers and their partners. The wording of the proposal, however, was vague, asking El Paso residents to endorse “traditional family values” by limiting benefits to “city employees and their legal spouse and dependent children.”
So when 55% of the voters approved the measure on Election Day, they eliminated coverage for some 200 people who don’t fit that description—among them elected officials, who aren’t technically city employees, and many former city workers, the city says.
Why didn’t the Pentagon’s DADT survey consider the question of should, not could the military handle openly gay troops — like John McCain wanted? Because, says Pentagon chief counsel Jeh Johnson yesterday to CNN, that wasn’t what they were asked to do. (Which is one of McCain’s big “problems.”) And thus explains the lack of rationale behind McCain’s central argument. The senator continues to say the military isn’t ready to repeal the law. Except tens of thousands of troops just told the Senate they are, in fact, ready to do just that. But should they? Should they?, is McCain’s continued (rhetorical) question. And at this point, with all that is known about the professionalism of servicemembers and their ability to follow orders and adapt accordingly, McCain’s core question can only be answered with this: Should the military continue needlessly enforcing discrimination? Or not?
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was on TV last night. It’s a tradition even older than I am to watch this mid-1960s bit of Americana, and it reminded me how much of Christmas is really gay — and also how some of the older shows are quite closed-minded and politically incorrect now. Consider this:
• The story of Rudolph is the story of someone who, because of his flamboyance (literally — he’s a flamer) is immediately ostracized by his family and community, and bullied by not only his peers but adults. Worse among these bigots: Santa Claus, who is portrayed as judgmental and in today’s world would probably have advocated “don’t ask, don’t tell” and would condemn its repeal.
• The Isle of Misfit Toys is a collection of gay-ish creatures, from Charlie in the box, who lisps more than Chris Krok on a rant, to the polka-dotted elephant to Dollie, who seems to have nothing on the surface wrong with her (implying she may be damaged in a deeper way, i.e., she’s lesbian. Read the signs, people!).
• Hermie and Yukon Cornelius are clearly gay lovers. The Abominable Snow Monster strikes me as a sloppy bottom, especially once his teeth are pulled (that’s when he takes up a career as a decorator).
• Santa’s transformation (and that of the others) only occurs once Rudolph proves he has some value — a skill no one else has. This strikes me as having cognates in the stop-loss policy that kept useful gays in the military only until suitable straight replacements could be found.
And this isn’t the only one — don’t even get me started about Snow Miser, Heat Miser and Prof. Hinkle.
Ultimately, I think shows like Rudolph are empoweringly pro-gay, despite employing stereotypes to achieve a message of inclusion. But I worry that the messages may be lost to some. Just remember: You heard it here first.
A publicist for a troupe we (let’s put it this way) “recently profiled” called to ask for a change online to the story: Seems like we referred in the headline to the person we interviewed as “gay.” She wanted it removed.
“I’m sorry — is that not true?” I asked.
“No, it’s true. He’s gay. He would just prefer you not mention it.”
The conversation continued like this for a long time.
Now, I’m happy to correct errors, especially ones caused by us. But this person was pitched to me as the “gay head of this troupe,” and I assigned the story accordingly. If he had not been gay … well, let’s just say the troupe was not on my radar enough such that I would have been all that interested in the story without a hook, an angle. That was his.
Part of the mission of this newspaper is to draw our readers (many of whom are straight) to what’s going on in and by the gay community. Sometimes it’s homophobes attacking us and our rights. Sometimes it’s our allies who embrace us for who we are and treat up as equals. Sometimes it’s just celebrities who have an interesting perspective on their gay fans. Sometimes it’s openly gay people who are victimized by bigots, or leaders who step up to improve the lot of the community.
But a lot of the time, it’s just ordinary gay folks doing something out in the world we think people might want to know about. A trans woman who continues to be a personal trainer. A musician who wants to save the Great American Songbook. An auto mechanic who runs a garage and offers his gay clientele a friendly environment. An actor who steals the show in a national tour of a terrible musical. A museum curator who brings his unique perspective to a major art museum. Maybe being gay doesn’t directly affect what they do too much. But maybe it does. And it’s good to have a sense of pride knowing the vast landscape of opportunities out there — and that being openly gay, bi or trans is not a hindrance to success.
So when someone who is gay — and claims to be out — asks me to hide that fact … well, it angers me. You don’t need to do an interview with me. You don’t need to discuss your sexuality if you do agree to the interview. You don’t even need to be gay for me to write about you. But don’t come to me with the pitch that our readers might be interested in reading about you and then leap back in the closet. Because there are a lot of people out there proud to be called gay. I’m one of them.
On Thursday we reported that longtime activist Phyllis Randolph Frye had become the first transgender judge in Texas, after being appointed by Mayor Annise Parker. Well, just leave it to the Houston Area Pastors Council and the Fox affiliate to make an issue out of it:
The Houston Area Pastoral Council, which represents about 300 churches, has a big problem with the appointment. Executive Director Dave Welch says for years Frye has been undermining Texas marriage laws. He says the appointment confirms Mayor Parker, who is openly gay, is making her lifestyle a central part of her policy agenda.
“This is not just a benign act. This is someone (Frye) who is very well known as an aggressive activist on sexual diversity issues and very much against the mainstream of most of the people….As we all know municipal court judges are the first step in the elevation of different judgeships. They typically go on to civil district court judges or family court judges and beyond, so this is not a benign appointment. It’s a statement. It really is. We’ll be calling on the churches to stand up and be involved,” said Welch.