A reminder that all rights are human rights

Last week was International Women’s Day, which I had meant to write about, but frankly became distracted and forgot. I’m not a woman, of course, but my feeling is that pioneers of human rights — women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights for African-Americans — should be part of our consciousness, if we expect the populace to treat our cause with respect. (I’m often frustrated by those who deny that gay rights are the equivalent of rights for women or blacks. “They don’t choose to be black/women,” indicating an entirely appalling misunderstanding of the nature of sexual orientation.)

Then I saw this on Facebook: A link to a story in the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper about a Twitter thread showed the depth of inequality out there (as well as many people who are satisfied with ignorance, with characterizing the “new freedom” as a right to be a bigot — I’m looking at you, Piers Morgan!). (“What gives you the right to criticize anyone, you dumb queer?” is a message I have gotten many times after posting a review. I think, “At least every criticism I’ve ever posted of someone had my name attached; your hate mail is always unsigned.”)

Just yesterday, Phyllis Schlafly was on NPR stating categorically that feminists hate men and always have. Well, I’m a feminist, and I love men. Feminism isn’t a movement, it’s a belief in the equal rights of all people. Feminism is humanism.

Anyway, here’s the link to the Guardian story. Read it. And think about what it means that 40 years after the ERA NOW slogan, we all still have a very long way to go. (In other news, Mad Men starts up next month. Can’t wait.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Person in media I hate most today: Piers Morgan

By now you’ve certainly heard the comments made by irrelevant-former-sitcom-star-cum-bad-all-around-Jesus-freak-actor Kirk Cameron about gays. That he was even given a forum on a national show kinda surprises me — what could Cameron have to say about anything at this late date that could be of even passing intellectual/entertainment/political relevance? They might as well book Squiggy.

But what I really find distasteful is Piers Morgan defending Cameron for being “brave” in saying what he thinks.

Hmmm. Now, Piers: I know you’re not an American. I know you think a gossip peddler like Rupert Murdoch defines good journalism (which, in England, it probably does). I know with a name like Piers Morgan, you probably have some Frenchman in ya, and thus are unaffiliated with what bravery really is. But please, spouting off ignorant bigotry doesn’t make you brave; instead, it makes you — what’s the term? — oh, yeah: An ignorant bigot. I wonder if you would describe James Earl Ray for being brave for assassinating a man he really didn’t agree with. Or Orville Faubus for being brave for bullying black teenagers and defying the U.S. Supreme Court for wanting to end segregation. Or how about those kids in Wyoming who beat Matthew Shepard to death because they sincerely felt it was inappropriate for him to hit on them. We, sir, have different definitions of bravery.

For instance, I don’t consider you brave in defending Cameron. I consider you a moron. I guess it’s brave for a moron to go on TV every night and hope people don’t see through his ignorance. But I prefer to save to term brave for my grandfather, who ran up the beaches of Normandy on June 3, 1944 to stave off the exact kind of hatred and misinformation that, 70 years later, Cameron and his ilk seem to still believe. You disgust me, Piers Morgan, if you think spouting off homophobia is anything other than pathetic and misinformed.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

George Michael offers Royal Wedding download


Singer George Michael returns to classic form with his latest online offering. He covers Stevie Wonder’s “You and I” specifically as a gift to Prince William and princess-to-be Kate Middleton. But he’s letting us download it for free from his site. I’m never gonna turn down a free song, but Michael hopes that for every download, listeners might contribute to the Prince William & Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund.

The song itself is a crisp, lush cover and brings Michael back from his adventures in auto-tune. He debuted the song last week on Piers Morgan Tonight.

I just wonder if the royal couple will dance to it at the wedding.

—  Rich Lopez

HRC calls out Pastor Joel Osteen, who will again promote gay teen suicide on CNN tonight

Above is video of the Houston megachurch pastor’s latest remarks, which are scheduled to air tonight on CNN. And below is a press release that just came across from the Human Rights Campaign:

HRC to Joel Osteen:  Use Your Pulpit for Good, Not Hate

Televangelist’s Hateful Remarks Before a National Audience are Dangerous

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, today called on Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX and well-known evangelical preacher with a syndicated television following of over 7 million viewers, to immediate apologize for his remarks on national television that “the Scripture shows that [homosexuality] is a sin.” Osteen made the remarks on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight. The full show will air tonight.

“It’s a real shame that someone of Joel Osteen’s prominence and life experiences would repeat this tired and dangerous statement. It furthers ignorance and discrimination by some Americans and adds a burden to those already struggling to accept their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “One would hope Mr. Osteen would use his pulpit, with an audience of over 7 million people, to tell all human beings that they are loved just the way they are. Instead he chose to send a dangerous and irresponsible message.”

The American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association have both concluded that same-sex attraction is normal.

Mr. Osteen’s position does not reflect the views of many religious leaders and denominations. Mainline denominations such at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Episcopal Church, see God’s divine presence working across the spectrum of human sexuality. Many Baptists also dispute Mr. Osteen’s stance.

“Joel Osteen is certainly entitled to his opinion, but America needs to know that he doesn’t speak for all Christians, he doesn’t even speak for all Baptists,” said Rev. Dr. Miguel de la Torre, a Baptist minister and member of the HRC Religion Council. “As a Southern Baptist and an ethicist I believe that we can’t follow Jesus’ commandment to love God and our neighbor as our self if we start with the premise that homosexuality is sinful. Starting with the belief that people are sinful doesn’t allow us to get to know them, let alone love them.”

HRC encourages young Baptists who are struggling with their identity to contact the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (AWAB) for resources on the church and sexuality. AWAB’s website is http://www.wabaptists.org/. AWAB partnered with the Human Rights Campaign in 2010 to honor several Washington, DC area Baptist pastors who were instrumental in passing marriage equality legislation in the District of Columbia.

—  John Wright