Good Christian belle

Gay ally Kristin Chenoweth talks about her new country music CD (she adores Dolly!), queers … and the right way to be a Christian

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO KRISTIN | The performer has conquered stage, recording, TV … and uniting gay rights with her faith.

Kristin Chenoweth doesn’t get miffed very easily. But when she does, watch out. Last year, after Newsweek published a commentary on the inability of gay actors to play straight roles, she wrote an extensive letter to the magazine, calling the article “horrendously homophobic.”

But Chenoweth’s allegiance to the gay community goes back to growing up in Oklahoma — a place she returned to for her latest album, Some Lessons Learned, the first of four where the opera-trainer singer fully embraces her country roots.

We had lots to talk about when we caught up with Chenoweth, on a dinner break from shooting her upcoming series, Good Christian Belles. She discussed her history of dating gay men, her opinion on Michele Bachmann’s support of gay conversion clinics … and being a little bit wicked.

— Chris Azzopardi


Dallas Voice: Your character’s name on Good Christian Belles is Cockburn — Carlene Cockburn. Chenoweth: I can’t wait for my family to hear that one. Are you kidding? I was like, “Wait a minute…!” But I just think the most important thing for me as an actress, because of the lines that come out of my mouth, is to just have to speak them and keep going, because they’re so funny and her name is so funny and the whole thing is just so great. I love it.

Does your character have anything in common with April Rhodes, who you play on Glee? Probably not on paper, but they’re both pretty outlandish people. Carlene, though, is the antithesis of April.

You grew up in Oklahoma, so country music is your roots. How is your new album a reflection of that? It’s so funny, because I get asked, “Why a country album now?” But that’s how it all began for me. Of course, why would anyone know that? It’s not something I’ve been talking about a lot, but it’s the music I grew up listening to. One of my biggest influences is Dolly Parton, and when you look at the history of songs in musical theater and in country, they’re both usually great storytellers.

I know just how lucky I am to do this kind of music. Getting to go to Nashville and sing this music that feels like home to me was a real gift, and one that I don’t take lightly.

The song “What Would Dolly Do?” reminds me a lot of Dolly herself. I co-wrote that. [Producer] Bob Ezrin asked, “Who’s had the biggest influence on you country music-wise?” I said, “Dolly, without question.” And he said, “How would she approach it? Let’s think: What would Dolly do?” I said, “Bob, why aren’t we writing that song?”

There’s something about her that I feel very attuned to. There’s only one Dolly. I’m not comparing myself, but I’m just saying her spirit and the way she looks at life is pretty similar to me. And the cover I did of hers [“Change”] is actually a very emotional thing and it reminded me — of course, how could I ever forget? — what an amazing songwriter she is. You know, I didn’t do a lot of covers. I did two covers, one of Carrie [Underwood] and one of Dolly’s, and I just love both of them. I love their music, I love their spirit — everything they stand for.

It makes total sense, because, to me, both you and Dolly epitomize happiness. Oh my god, thank you. That’s the biggest compliment you could give me.

So, being so happy… what pisses you off? Oh, gosh! I don’t really get mad that often. But I’m not going to lie: When I do, there’s a quiet that comes over me that is a little like whoa, and that happens when I don’t feel other people are prepared or doing their job or pulling their weight. I come from a family where my dad came from nothing and worked hard to get where he is, and he said, “Work hard, play hard, Kris,” and I guess that’s kind of been my motto in life. So when I see people squandering opportunities or having a sense of entitlement, that really makes me crazy. Because I don’t understand it. It’s not a world I get.

One thing that does make you upset is homophobic people. I don’t like that, you’re right.

Your letter in response to that Newsweek column said it all. Why was it important to address your feelings on that issue? To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for what was going to happen. I was on Broadway doing Promises, Promises, and I read the article and I actually thought it was pretty irresponsible. I’m not even talking about whether a person agrees with being gay or not, I’m talking about artistry and gay

actors trying to play straight. It just made me mad, because I thought, “Well, I’ve played a prostitute, does that mean I am one? No.” I just thought it was a little bit of a bullying thing, and I honestly prayed about it — no kidding, I prayed about it.

And by the way, I’m a big fan of the magazine, which is why I was so bummed. But I think that they felt bad and hopefully there’s been some discussion about it and some learning, because that’s what we’re here to do on this Earth, to learn our purpose. Well, one of my purposes in this life — since I’m a believer and a Christian — is to help people realize that not every Christian thinks that being gay is a sin.

To reinforce your point, you made out with your Promises, Promises co-star Sean Hayes at the Tonys last year. It might’ve been a little jibe. It might’ve been a little one! Ha!

What was it like to make out with a gay man? Was that your first time? Well, let’s face it, my high school boyfriend is gay, so I don’t think it’s my first time making out with gay men! I bet a lot of women don’t even know they’ve done it! And Sean Hayes is just a darn good kisser, what can I say?

Wait, so you dated a gay man in high school? Yeah, and I’m like, “Well, that’s why we were such a great couple!” He didn’t pleasure me in any way but he helped me pick out my prom dress!

Was he one of the first gay people you knew in Oklahoma? Yeah. I want to tell you something I know about myself: When I was in the second or third grade, I first heard the word “dyke,” and it was in reference to a girl in our school who was very, very tomboyish. I didn’t really understand what the word was, but I knew I didn’t like the way it was said. And for some reason I’ve always been drawn to the person that was alone, and I don’t mean to make me sound like I’m Mother Teresa, because I’m not. But I’ve always been drawn to people who felt left out or different, and maybe it’s because, I too, felt different and unique. People would not think this of me, because there’s this perception of me that, “Oh, life’s been perfect and things have come so easily.”

But let’s face it: My speaking voice is very interesting. Yes, I was a cheerleader but I also wanted to do all the plays, I was in renaissance choir, and, I too, felt a little bit like an outsider. I was always drawn to people who felt that way, too. And sure, some of them were gay and I never did understand — I guess the word is fear.

God made us all equal. He made me short, he made someone gay, he made someone tall — whatever it is, it’s not a sin; it’s how we’re made. And that’s the way I feel about it. It flies in the face of a lot of what Christians believe, but as I’m finding out there’s a lot of Christian people who think the same as me. So that’s my deal, and I think we should not be careful of the unknown but rather accepting and loving of it.

As someone who’s Christian and supports the gay community, how do you feel about the pray-away-the-gay program that Michele Bachmann supports? [Long pause] You know what, you can have your opinion. One of the great things about being in this country is we get to freely say what we believe. I just don’t happen to agree with that. Though I like the “pray” part!

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

News: Virginia, Henry Cavill, TSA, Michele Bachmann, Hubble

Road Marines set date of MAY 31 for completion of 'DADT' repeal training.

Spiral RoadHubble shows off beautiful new shot of spiral galaxy.

RoadThe hat toss is the real killer here.

RoadVirginia House panel kills non-discrimination bill: "Opponents of the bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond), argue that there is little evidence gay state workers face discrimination and that the governor's executive directive provides sufficient protections. Proponents note that without a change in law, employees cannot sue if they have faced discrimination." Idaho non-discrimination bill won't get hearing.

RoadTrial of Lawrence King's killer, Brandon McInerney, delayed again: "I'm really shocked that the judge has allowed it to drag on for so long. It frustrates us. It tears on us emotionally. We'd like to see things finally get resolved so we can get some closure and justice for our son," said King's father, Greg King.

RoadAdam Lambert and the guy he denies is his new boyfriend arrive at LAX together.

RoadJoseph Gordon-Levitt turns the big 3-0.

Quincy RoadAn 18-year-old Alabama frat brother tells his "it gets better" story to We Are The Youth.

RoadParliament House gay nightclub in Orlando getting million-dollar renovation. "In a tangled financial web best described by a Houston lawyer as a 'complicated situation,' the Parliament House's foreclosure and its debt with Compass Bank of Alabama is expected to be resolved within the next two weeks."

RoadFOX News replaces audio in CPAC straw poll segment. Calls it "mistake".

RoadEdmonton soldier jailed for anti-gay attack: "An Edmonton soldier who bragged on Facebook that he had 'Superman-punched' a gay man on the dance floor of a city nightclub has been put behind bars. Cpl. Michael Tscherkassow, 25, was sentenced to 12 months in jail Tuesday in provincial court after earlier being convicted of aggravated assault."

RoadGeorgia's Gay-Straight Alliances to gather for summit this weekend.

RoadKellan Lutz launching line of jeans.

Cavill RoadHenry Cavill discusses suiting up for Superman.

RoadTSA Agents stole $ 160,000 from checked bags: "Perad and Webb would screen bags looking for loot, then swipe the cash once the luggage was opened in a private screening room, sources said. The men will be charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property and official misconduct."

RoadMichelle Bachmann still working birther angle.

RoadJustin Timberlake's role as singing booger on The Cleveland Show is apparently still intact.

RoadLog Cabin Republicans to seek equal protections for LGBT service members: “The one claim in our lawsuit that we did not win was a claim for a violation of the Equal Protection Clause in the Constitution. The judge dismissed that claim in our case early on, based on existing 9thCircuit precedent. We are, on behalf of Log Cabin, appealing that ruling and trying to obtain a change in the law so that this would be considered a protected class of individuals, protected by the Equal Protection Clause.”

Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

Bring it on — Michele Bachmann mulls 2012 presidential bid

Minnesotans of the 6th district like to send this woman back as comic relief – it certainly can’t be for her skills as a legislator. Praise, be — we need Michele Bachmann in the 2012 Presidential Clown Car! The batsh*ttery and entertainment level will make the GOP primaries a must-cover event.

Michele Bachmann, yes, Michele Bachmann is considering a presidential run, according to several of her aides who suddenly started talking about this with Minnesota reporters.

In fact, the Iowa native (Waterloo) will travel to her home state later this month to talk against the massive spending of you-know-who at a fundraiser for the Iowans for Tax Relief PAC in Des Moines.

Bachmann, now starting her third House term, has proven a media magnet like her like-minded fellow Republican conservative Sarah Palin; both are often quoted, often derisively. This fall Bachmann was targeted by numerous prominent Democrats but proved adept at raising both many dollars and votes.

…And even if Bachmann’s purported pondering does not result in presidential primary competetion with pal Palin in 2012, it will raise Bachmann’s national profile, not normally an easy thing to do for a representative from just any Sixth Congressional District.

Here’s a Blend rewind of some of Michele’s finest moments.

* Michele Bachmann: don’t pay taxes if ObamaCare passes

* Video break: Michele Bachmann – “Sex Clinics” In Schools Will Result From Health Care Reform

* The Stupid continues: Michele Bachmann says health care reform is unconstitutional

* Bush face hugger Michele Bachmann: no interest in kissing Obama at SOTU

* But was there Bachmann tongue?
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Video: Antonin Scalia to teach Michele Bachmann’s Constitution class

Thank Right Wing Watch for this Looney World offering…would you like to be a fly on this wingnut wall? Watch Minnesota’s gift to the U.S. House tell Lou Dobbs about her guest lecturer…

Dobbs: You’ve got a terrific idea that you’re going to implement with the new Congress: a course on the Constitution for incoming Congressmen and women. Tell us about that.

Bachmann: We’re going to do what the NFL does and what the baseball teams do: we’re going to practice every week, if you will, our craft, which is studying and learning the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

Justice Scalia has graciously agreed to kick off our class. The hour before we cast our first vote in congress, we’ll meet in the Capitol, we’ll have a seminar on some segment of the Constitution, we’ll have a speaker, we’ll have questions and answers, we’ll wrap our minds around this magnificent document [and] that’ll set the tone for the week while we’re in Washington.

I think it’s great and I’m hoping all the members of Congress will partake; it’s bipartisan.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Michele Strobel plays dumb over anti-gay attack ad

Recall if you will Michele Strobel, the anti-gay candidate who is challenging Representative Norm Johnson (R-Yakima) for his seat in the Washington state Legislature because Johnson co-sponsored the domestic partnership expansion bill in 2009.  Rep. Johnson has two gay sons.  Strobel announced her candidacy with this statement:

“It was a slap in the face to Christians,” Strobel said. “It was a slap in the face to traditional values.”

Strobel soon publicly linked herself to anti-gay crusader Larry Stickney, affirming her reputation as a single-issue, anti-gay candidate.  In an early effort to counter the single-issue reputation, she diversified by trying to “save” some bikini baristas from their employment, and made a public display of her opposition to a strip club in a city she in which she does not reside.  But attention has returned to Strobel’s core value of anti-gay activism with this ad attacking Rep. Johnson for his co-sponsorship of the domestic partnership law.  The ad ran in the Sunday and Thursday editions of the Yakima Herald-Republic.


Legend has it that an ancient British king, Canute, overly impressed with his legislative power, set up his throne on the edge of the sea and commanded the tide to cease its ebb and flow.

Mother Nature, who alone commands the tide, ignored him.

Although Canute might have been a good king in every other respect, his one effort to command Mother Nature earned him the derision of centuries.

More recently, a groups of politicians in the Washington state legislature decided that the natural condition of marriage between members of the opposite sex is discriminatory, so they proposed a new law that recognized same-sex partnerships, a law that State Representative Norm Johnson co-sponsored.

Johnson now hopes that 14th District voters will share his Canute-like delusion and re-elect him in November.  Instead he deserves the same response that rational people have always given those who try to abolish Nature – derisive laughter.  Johnson should be not only voted out of office, he should be laughed out of office.

Fortunately, a more rational candidate, Michele Strobel, is running for his position and deserves the support of realistic voters.

Paid for by CORAL (Committee for Rational Legislation), PO Box 531, Yakima WA 98907

The ad got the Canute story completely wrong (Canute sought to prove that he couldn’t command the tides.).  But the real story here is how Michele Strobel responded to the outcry this ad caused.  According to the Yakima Herald-Republic Strobel claimed to have no prior knowledge of the ad.

Calling the ad “divisive, derogatory, in poor taste and mean-spirited,” Strobel said Thursday she would have told its creators thanks but no thanks.

“If these people want to be supportive of me, this is not the way to do it,” she said. “Unfortunately for me, I can’t control what people do.”

She sounds pretty darn decent there, doesn’t she?  But her claim loses credibility when the details surrounding the ad are examined. (link added)

[The controversial ad] included text indicating it was paid for by the Committee for Rational Legislation (CORAL) and listed a Yakima post office box as the committee’s address. CORAL registered earlier this month as a political committee with the state Public Disclosure Commission, listing Philip Brendale of Yakima as its treasurer. The financial backing for the committee, according to the PDC, came entirely from Kwik Lok Corp., an international business founded and based in Yakima. The company donated ,241 to CORAL to pay for news-paper advertising, according to the PDC.

Kwik Lok, which is owned by Jerre Paxton, also has donated ,600 to Strobel’s campaign. Kwik Lok’s sales director, Lorne House, who said Thursday that he wrote the copy for the ad, has donated ,000. Brendale’s wife, Sandi Belzer Brendale, has donated to Strobel.

Strobel, however, said she doesn’t know Paxton or House. She also said she didn’t know anything about Kwik Lok until she found out, after the fact, that the company funded the ads.

“In fact, I had to say, ‘Kwik Lok? Kwik Lok? Who is Kwik Lok?'” Strobel said.

This despite taking ,600 in campaign money from the company.

The maximum donation any company or individual can make to a candidate’s legislative campaign in Washington is 0 per election.  So ,600 translates into Kwik Lok and its owner Jerre Paxton each maxing-out their donations for both the primary and general elections.  It just isn’t credible that Strobel wouldn’t know who her major donors were, especially since Strobel only has a total of 6 donors who donated the maximum for both elections.  Unless, of course, she is thoroughly disengaged from her campaign.  Neither explanation is particularly flattering.

Then the article goes on to report this disturbing news. (link added)

She does know Sandi Belzer Brendale, who has long been involved in far-right political causes in the Yakima Valley, including being the section leader of the local John Birch Society chapter. Strobel said she has seen no need to distance herself from Brendale.

“I don’t know her well enough to say that she’s someone I want to distance myself from,” Strobel said.

Both Philip and Sandi Brendale were listed as Strobel endorsers in an official campaign ad that ran Sunday. So was House.

Either Strobel isn’t at all bothered by the John Birch Society connection (the Strobels have rubbed elbows with JBS before), or she didn’t do due diligence on her endorsers before publishing the list in the newspaper and simply didn’t know that Sandi Brendale was a member.  Again, neither explanation is flattering for Strobel, although the former seems most likely.

The value set of the John Birch Society is hardly distinguishable from that of the Tea Party on matters of taxes and immigration, and Michele Strobel is without a doubt a Tea Party candidate.  No surprise that the John Birch Society was a co-sponsor of the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference.

Vigorous opponents of the Civil Rights Act back in the day, today JBS works to stoke anti-gay sentiments and to counter “the homosexual agenda“.  A search on the JBS website on the term “homosexual” yields 100 hits.  Here’s an excerpt from the essay “Stop the Homosexual Revolution” written recently by JBS president John F. McManus.  Given Michele Strobel’s strident anti-gay stance and Tea Party affiliation, there is a lot for her to sympathize with in the John Birch Society.

[W]ould a homosexual seek to join the military because the close quarters associated with the military life would present him or her with a source for desired liaisons? The answer is an emphatic yes.

Acceptance of homosexuals is a severe departure from long-standing practice. It makes more likely the acceptance of other fundamental departures from military discipline and the proper function of the military. Moral relativism, a feature of homosexuality, spawns the attitude that all military orders and practices are relative and not to be acted upon swiftly or carried out without question. …

Congress should not only be urged to cancel the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, all members should be asked to reinstitute the ban on homosexuality.

Michele Strobel also just received ,320-worth of in-kind support in the form of campaign mailers from Family Policy Action.  Family Policy Action is clearly an arm of Family Policy Institute of Washington, the local affiliate of Focus on the Family and Family Research Council; the address and telephone number for FPA and FPIW are one in the same.  FPA has spent over ,000 this election on mailers on behalf of anti-gay candidates, according to the Public Disclosure Commission.  

For someone who doesn’t like ads that are “divisive, derogatory, in poor taste and mean-spirited”, she sure does attract the assistance of people who do.  The Yakima County Republican Party has endorsed Rep. Norm Johnson.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Fake Michele Bachmann Is Chillaxin’

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Michele Bachmann’s First 2010 TV Ad

Michele Bachmann’s first TV ad of the campaign season introduces us to “Jim, the election guy,” who promises “I’ll be back later,” presumably in follow-up commercials. Maybe Crazy Eyes knows how grating her voice is.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Rep. Michele “Crazy Eyes” Bachmann Signs Resolution Condemning Judge Walker

(Via – Good As You)

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright