Reaching industrial-strength level of crazy

As right-wing anti-LGBT rhetoric  gets further ‘out there,’ we must step up to counter it

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association

 

Hardy Haberman
Flagging Left

I guess it wasn’t enough that the right-wing crazies tried to equate homosexuality with pedophilia, now they have come up with the argument that giving LGBT people equal rights is an assault on freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Funny, I never remember asking anyone to change their religion or to stop speaking, no matter how crazy they are.

I hold freedom of speech very near and dear to my heart. In fact it is one of my core values.

And religious freedom? Well you have the right to preach and believe anything you want, until you begin advocating violence against other citizens.

That is where the whole issue of LGBT rights breaks down for the far right. If they are not “free” to advocate outright physical assaults on LGBT Americans, they somehow feel it is impinging on their freedom.

Does this sound a lot like the anti-abortion crowd who advocate murdering doctors and blowing up clinics? Though they would be the first to deny it, they are cut from the same cloth.

Funny how these same folks are among the first to point fingers at all Muslims and cry “Terrorists!” In fact our friend from north of the border, Rep. Sally Kern of Oklahoma, has actually said that LGBT people are more dangerous than terrorists.

I really see all this as another attempt to re-frame the issue of LGBT rights by the right wing. They know that opinions in America are changing, and as a recent poll showed, even here in Texas an overwhelming majority of registered voters support expanded civil rights for LGBT Texans.

It is a rising tide and it scares them, and so they crank up the rhetoric.

Bryan Fischer, a mouthpiece of the American Family Association drove the point home with this gem delivered at the recent AFA-sponsored Values Voters Summit, attended by all of the main Republican presidential candidates:

“I believe we need a president who understands that just as Islam represents the greatest long-range threat to our liberty, so the homosexual agenda represents the greatest immediate threat to every freedom and right that is enshrined in the First Amendment. It’s a particular threat to religious liberty… .”

Now, if you have trouble understanding this strange equation, “LGBT rights = no religious liberty,” then let me explain the twisted logic.

The far right believes:

• We are a Christian nation, but only the fundamentalist, fire-breathing born-again variety of Christian.

• “Free speech” means “the right to attack, abuse and in general deny rights to anyone other than predominately white Christian Americans.” (See above for definition of “Christian.”)

• Limiting the ability to discriminate against LGBT people, particularly in areas that involve legal representation and equal rights, is a limit on free speech.

• Granting LGBT people equal legal rights “will end Western Civilization.” (That is a quote from Liberty Council’s Mat Staver.)

And so with this kind of logic it’s easy to see how we LGBT folks are such dangerous threats.

Now, take it a few steps further — which Bryan Fischer is more than willing to do — and go after the recent “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal. Fischer’s vivid imagination comes up with this whopper:

“And so, I’m predicting that things are about to get very ugly in the United States military for people of faith. We are going to see principle-driven officers, one after another, are going to become victims of systematic hate crimes. This is going to be a pogrom; this is going to be virtual genocide, military genocide, career genocide for people of faith in the military, perpetrated by the homosexual lobby.”

Now we have indeed reached the level of “industrial-strength crazy,” and it’s time we take a stand against it.

First of all, the idea that the American Family Association (a recognized hate group) can actually somehow have a lock on what it means to be “people of faith” is beyond laughable. It’s time liberal, progressive Christians came out of the closet and began reclaiming the word “Christian,” before it is too late.

Secondly, the idea that all the major candidates for the GOP presidential race showed up at an event staged by a hate group should put to bed forever the idea that the Republican Party is a big tent, unless that tent is for a fundamentalist revival.

Third, it’s time we realized that not only are these folks nutty, they are dangerous, and though it is easy to laugh at them, we need to take them seriously.

To do otherwise is just plain crazy.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a board member of the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at DungeonDiary.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Association of British Muslims criticizes UN for removing sexual orientation protections

The Association of British Muslims is calling on the United Nations General Assembly “to reverse its vote on the exclusion of sexual orientation from the Resolution on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.”  As previously reported, on November 16th the Social, Humanitarian Cultural Affairs Commitee (Third Committee) of the General Assembly voted 79 to 70 to remove “sexual orientation” from the UN resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

This resolution is reviewed every two years, and in 2008 it had been amended to mention specifically those killings that take place because of the sexual orientation of the victims. The 16th November vote removed that special mention.

The Association of British Muslims views this decision with considerable concern. It is the duty of the UN’s Human Rights Committee to uphold the rule of law, so it should vigorously oppose any extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions by whatever party and for whatever reasons.

It should also act to preserve the human rights of all vulnerable communities.

Removing this clause at this time will send quite the wrong signal to those regimes that indulge in these barbaric practices, implying as it does that United Nations is no longer concerned at the maltreatment of people because of their sexual orientation or considers it to be a lesser matter.

Referring to the Nazis, Paster Martin Niemoller once wrote, ‘First they came…’. Have we not learned anything since the tragedies of World War 2? Niemoller started out by saying, ‘First they came for the communist’s, and I did not speak out, because I was not a communist’ Then, the socialists, trade unionists, Jews and other groups until finally he writes, ‘Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me’.

The Committee vote is to be ratified in December. The Association of British Muslims calls on member states of the General Assembly not to endorse the decision of its Third Committee, and to reinstate the deleted clause.

Founded in 1889, Association of British Muslims is the oldest Muslim organization in Britain.  This announcement is higly significant in light of the barbric treatment of sexual minorities in doctrinaire Muslim countries like Iran.

Two youths were executed in Iran in 2005, reportedly for homosexuality.

December 10, 2010 is Human Rights Day at the United Nations.  Unless the General Assembly reverses the Third Committee’s vote to strip sexual orientation from the resolution, all I can say about Human Rights Day is what a joke.

Event Name: Human Rights Day

Event Description: The promotion and protection of human rights has been a major preoccupation for the United Nations since 1945, when the Organization’s founding nations resolved that the horrors of The Second World War should never be allowed to recur. Respect for human rights and human dignity “is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”, the General Assembly declared three years later in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, all States and interested organizations were invited by the General Assembly to observe 10 December as Human Rights Day. The Day marks the anniversary of the Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Over the years, a whole network of human rights instruments and mechanisms has been developed to ensure the primacy of human rights and to confront human rights violations wherever they occur.”

UN Sponsor: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

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—  admin

Standing Against Islamophobia with Muslims for Progressive Values

There is enough love for you and for me, there is enough for the straight and the gay, there is enough for the people who were born in America and the new immigrants, there is enough for the blacks, there is enough for the whites, there is enough for the Latinos, there is enough for the Asians, there is enough for the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Hindus. There is enough for everybody.

- Rep. Keith Ellison speaking at the Unitarian Universalist National Convention, 2010

Listening to the news recently you might wonder if Rep. Ellison, the Muslim Congressman from Minnesota, is right.  Such an inclusive love is put to the test by stories of a New York cab driver stabbed after a passenger found out he was Muslim, of an Islamic center in Tennessee terrorized by a pipe bomb explosion, and most recently by the threat of a pastor in Florida  to commemorate 9/11 by burning copies of the Qur’an on his church’s front lawn.

We in the LGBT and allied community know what it feels like to be the recipient of hostility and threat.  And in HRC’s Religion and Faith program we have heard too often the painful struggle of LGBT Muslim Americans dealing with homophobia and transphobia.  This struggle is only exacerbated for LGBT and allied Muslims by the incessant, life-numbing effects of Islamophobia.

In the midst of an alarming rise in anti-Islamic rhetoric, it is spiritually rejuvenating to showcase HRC’s partnership with Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV).  MPV, an inclusive community rooted in the traditional Qur’anic ideals of human dignity and social justice, promotes accessible and theologically-sound frameworks for progressive Islamic thought.

Most recently, HRC sponsored Tynan Power adaptation of a chapter from Dr. Scott Siraj al-Haqq’s recent book, Homosexuality in Islam. This adaptation is part of a larger web resource, Literary Zikr, designed for a younger Muslim audience searching for an alternative perspective on such topics as Shari’a law, pluralism, women’s rights and sexuality.   There is nothing on the web quite like Literary Zikr and HRC is privileged to play a role in bringing this accessible yet theologically rigorous perspective on Islam to a whole new generation of Muslims.

MPV is a powerful anecdote to the violence and intolerance so omnipresent in recent public discourse around Islam. They are indeed living into Rep. Ellison’s words –“there is enough love for everybody.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Cal Thomas: We Must Purge The Evil Muslims From America

“We are doing a poor job of fighting the terrorists at home if we continue to allow Muslim immigrants, especially from Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, into America. We won’t win this war if we permit the uncontrolled construction of mosques, as well as Islamic schools, some of which already have sown the seeds from which future terrorists will be cultivated. We won’t win this war if we continue to permit the large-scale conversion to Islam of prison inmates, many of whom become radicalized and upon release enlist in al-Qaida’s army. We must purge the evil from among us, or else. ” – Wingnut columnist Cal Thomas, writing for Townhall. Thomas is the former vice president of the Moral Majority.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Bryan Fischer’s new bigot eruption: Muslims are violent, dangerous, & stupid because of inbreeding

Remember that Bryan Fischer works for a “Christian” organization called the American Family Association. It is based in Tupelo, Mississippi. He has made it clear that his tolerance for difference fails to exist when it comes to LGBT Americans, and now he’s unleashed a level of public religious bigotry toward Muslims that boggles the mind.

The level of dehumanization is ghastly and foments the spread of a vile, narrow image of America to the rest of the world. WWJD, Bryan? (via Right Wing Watch):

Lowered intellectual capacity is another devastating consequence of Muslim marriage patterns. According to Sennels, research shows that children of consanguinous marriages lose 10-16 points off their IQ and that social abilities develop much slower in inbred babies.

The risk of having an IQ lower than 70, the official demarcation for being classified as “retarded,” increases by an astonishing 400 percent among children of cousin marriages.

In Denmark, non-Western immigrants are more than 300 percent more likely to fail the intelligence test required for entrance into the Danish army.

Sennels says that “the ability to enjoy and produce knowledge and abstract thinking is simply lower in the Islamic world.” He points out that the Arab world translates just 330 books every year, about 20% of what Greece alone does.

In the last 1,200 years years of Islam, just 100,000 books have been translated into Arabic, about what Spain does in a single year. Seven out of 10 Turks have never even read a book.

Sennels points out the difficulties this creates for Muslims seeking to succeed in the West. “A lower IQ, together with a religion that denounces critical thinking, surely makes it harder for many Muslims to have success in our high-tech knowledge societies.”

Only nine Muslims have every won the Nobel Prize, and five of those were for the “Peace Prize.” According to Nature magazine, Muslim countries produce just 10 percent of the world average when it comes to scientific research (measured by articles per million inhabitants).

In Denmark, Sennels’ native country, Muslim children are grossly overrepresented among children with special needs. One-third of the budget for Danish schools is consumed by special education, and anywhere from 51% to 70% of retarded children with physical handicaps in Copenhagen have an immigrant background.

Learning ability is severely affected as well. Studies indicated that 64% of school children with Arabic parents are still illiterate after 10 years in the Danish school system. The immigrant drop-out rate in Danish high schools is twice that of the native-born.

Mental illness is also a product. The closer the blood relative, the higher the risk of schizophrenic illness. The increased risk of insanity may explain why more than 40% of the patients in Denmark’s biggest ward for clinically insane criminals have an immigrant background.

The U.S. is not immune. According to Sennels, “One study based on 300,000 Americans shows that the majority of Muslims in the USA have a lower income, are less educated, and have worse jobs than the population as a whole.”

Bottom line: Islam is not simply a benign and morally equivalent alternative to the Judeo-Christian tradition. As Sennels points out, the first and biggest victims of Islam are Muslims. Simple Christian compassion for Muslims and a common-sense desire to protect Western civilization from the ravages of Islam dictate a vigorous opposition to the spread of this dark and dangerous religion. These stark realities must be taken into account when we establish public polices dealing with immigration from Muslim countries and the building of mosques in the U.S.

Let’s hope America wakes up before a blind naivete about the reality of Islam destroys what remains of our Christian culture and our domestic tranquility.

This is complete and utter bullsh*t. What does Islam have to do with inbreeding? The United States has a good portion of its population in various regions — where Christianity in one form or another — that also had inbreeding. And the point is? How is the religious practic itself responsible for that? And what about the inbreeding of the ruling classes in Europe? How does that fit into this ridiculous paradigm?

The fact that the American Family Association would endorse and publish Fischer’s crap only confirms that junk science is a diet that this organization — and others like it — must consume and regurgitate into the public discourse. None of these people can or should be taken seriously or deserve time on the airwaves to gin up the anti-Islam irrational fervor that has taken over a slice of the public. That the AFA sees a benefit from going down this path after losing ground fighting The Homosexual Agenda shows how sick and craven Fischer and the Wildmon’s are.

UPDATE: A wealth of information about Bryan Fischer and his anti-gay, bigoted activities in Idaho is at independent journalist Jody May-Chang’s “The Fischer Files.”

Since leaving Idaho in mid 2009, Fischer has been catapulted into the national spotlight by ratcheting up his racist and homophobic hate propaganda on his American Family Association radio show and blog.

Had it not been for a complacent, lazy and negligent Idaho news media, perhaps Fischer would not now be the national poster boy for anti-Muslim racism, criminalizing gays and an embarrassment to Idahoans.

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—  John Wright