Calling all homophobic florists, bakers and photographers

Taffet,DavidFlorists, cake bakers and wedding photographers across Texas will be called upon to violate their religious principles by performing their chosen secular professions next week, if the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the side of marriage equality. Never before have Christians been asked to put aside their beliefs in order to double, maybe triple their incomes. But, of course, it’s not about money.

I do find something odd, however.

After the recent massacre at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., a memorial of flowers appeared outside the church. I’m willing to bet some of the same homophobic florists who are trying to martyr themselves as victims of same-sex marriage are also racists. Yet none complained of the extra business generated as a result of that act of terrorism by a white, Christian thug.

Nor among the racist rants following Trevon Martin’s slaughter did we hear complaints from racist florists in Florida who defended the murderer’s right to shoot an unarmed teenager. No, they took the money and sent the bouquets.

Why?

Because florists do business two ways. In one model of their business, someone comes in, picks some flowers, pays for them, takes them with them and leaves. In another, a florist receives an order for a certain floral arrangement or a number of arrangements. Then, the florist fills that order and delivers them.

One’s Christian beliefs do not enter into the transaction — even when one calls himself a Christian, yet maintains racist attitudes and despises the victim.

Let’s take another example and talk about how Christian bakers have never compromised their religious principles to bake a cake.

A bar mitzvah is a Jewish rite of passage. A child, usually at the age of 13, is called to read from the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, for the first time. The religious service is often followed by a party.

I’ve never heard of an anti-Semitic cake baker refusing to bake a cake for a bar mitzvah.

“I’m not baking for that bar mitzvah,” these good Christian bakers should exclaim. “They do same-sex weddings at that synagogue.”

Or when I’ve gone to Kroger to pick up a cake for an after-Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) reception, I’ve never had a cake decorator refuse to write “L’Shanah tovah tikatevu,” meaning “May you be inscribed in the book of life for good year,” a convoluted way of saying happy new year.

“Why that’s for a synagogue of mostly gays right here in Oak Lawn and I bet they do same-sex weddings,” the Christian Kroger cake decorator should indignantly declare.

I’ve had to write down the spelling, but I’ve never been refused. Or called an anti-Jewish epithet.

Yet, I’m sure some of those racist, homophobic bakers we’ve been hearing so much about in the news are also anti-Semitic. I’m sure some of them might even attend First Baptist Church right here in Dallas, Texas — the same church whose pastor made such horrific statements about the Holocaust recently that the Dallas Holocaust Museum invited him to visit so he could learn some actual history.

Why, doesn’t the very concept of a bar mitzvah or a religious year that doesn’t coincide with their religious year fly in the face of their version Christianity?

It certainly does, as much as my synagogue continuing to perform marriages between two people that may soon be recognized by the state of Texas and the federal government.

But I’ve never heard of an outcry among Christian bakers to boycott Jewish cakes. Instead, I’ll bet my cake decorator went home and had a funny story to tell.

“I decorated a cake today that said ‘Happy New Year’ in Hebrew! In September!” I’ll bet she said.

For wedding cakes, the average price in Dallas is $2-3.50 per slice. For an average-sized wedding of 100 guests, that a $200-350 sale. Sorry to burden your religious principles by having to write “Adam and Steve” rather than “Adam and Eve,” to put it in words you’ve repeated so many times you’ve become a boring cliché. And the gays don’t like to skimp. I think the average cake sale will be higher than that.

Then there are those homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic wedding photographers. Photographers get a little trickier, and it has nothing to do with their religious beliefs. The photographer will actually be at the event.

At an interracial or black wedding, the couple wouldn’t want a photographer who despises them. Photography is an art and it will show in the finished product with lousy photographs. A Jewish or interfaith couple wouldn’t want a photographer spewing anti-Semitic rants at the guests or one who didn’t understand and embrace the customs.

A Jewish couple wants a great photograph of breaking the glass and needs the photographer to know that when everyone dances around the couple and parents hoisted on chairs, it is a big deal. The photographer needs to know how to get the memorable shots.

Same thing at a same-sex wedding. In states that have marriage equality, photographers have learned that shooting a same-sex wedding is its own art form. One groom won’t be coyly posed on the other groom’s lap. Nor will one throw the bouquet. There may not be bridesmaids wearing gowns designed to make an ugly bride look better, but there may be a whole bevy of groomslesbians. Two women may both be wearing dresses. One or both may be in tuxedos. Its just formal wear. No need to freak out.

For a photographer looking to avoid weddings between same-sex couples, there are easy and polite ways to avoid them. It’ll take some work and something called courtesy. These suggestions won’t work for someone looking to start screaming, “I’m Christian and I’m being discriminated against because you’re getting married. It’s the same thing as the Holocaust.”

Here’s how to do what you’re comfortable doing in a way that insults no one and avoids charges of discrimination.

“I have no experience doing same-sex weddings,” a photographer might say, honestly.

“Thanks for letting us know,” the gay or lesbian couple should respond and look for someone who does have experience or is eager to gain that experience. The couple will be happier with the results. The unwilling photographer will lose out on a big, new market.

Or the photographer might say, “Oooo, June 14 you say? I’m sorry, I’m booked for every weekend in June next year.”

That photographer was polite and avoided covering something that will be uncomfortable for him or her. The gay or lesbian couple finds someone who wants the business. Everyone’s happy. No one is charging discrimination. No one’s religious convictions are violated.

Do these versions of politeness cover up bigotry? I’m not sure they really do, because I don’t think any homophobic baker, florist or photographer will be able to use them. They’re so blinded by the idea that somehow my civil wedding, which will allow me to file joint taxes with Brian, add him to health insurance policy entirely at my cost if we decide to do so and about 1,000 other special rights heterosexual couples have always enjoyed, interferes with their Christianity demeans and degrades their own religion.

It can’t be on religious grounds that they actually object, unless they’re saying they object to Jewish religious practice. Nothing changes in Judaism. Our rabbis continue performing weddings for same-sex couples, and Israel continues to recognize our marriages.

As one last desperate measure, I have another way to avoid lawsuits and embarrassment for those good Christian bakers, florists and photographers.

If any and all homophobic wedding-related businesses — and that includes venues, restaurants and homophobic Indiana-style pizzerias — will leave their company information here, we’ll make sure a list of those wedding-service providers in the Dallas area who do not want to participate in our joyous occasions is widely distributed. As a caution, some straight people may not want to deal with you either, but why would you want anything to do with those heathens either?

—  David Taffet

WATCH: Perry’s ‘Brokeback Mountain’ encore

Below is Rick Perry’s latest ad from South Carolina, entitled “President of Honor,” which is apparently designed to pander appeal to the state’s large military population. We noticed that Perry appears several times during the ad in the same jacket he wore in his infamous anti-gay ad “Strong” — which, as we all know, is quite similar to the jacket Heath Ledger wore in Brokeback Mountain. It’s interesting that despite all the parodies featuring the jacket, Perry hasn’t abandoned the tan Carharrt. Maybe the governor and his campaign are just completely oblivious, as would be suggested by this tidbit out of South Carolina from Politico:

As if Rick Perry didn’t have enough problems.

The Texas governor was greeted at a restaurant in Anderson, S.C., by a young woman who posed for a photo with the Texas governor while saying it is “good to see someone as homophobic and racist as you.”

He smiled, took the photo and moved on.

—  John Wright

GOP hopefuls pledge to investigate gays if elected

Is this what a gay Republican looks like?

We all know that good traditional GOP values include family and limited government. So of course it makes sense to demand of GOP presidential candidates that they insist on pursuing a divisive family issue by creating needless bureaucracy. (Insert sarcastic eye roll here.)

I think that’s what frustrates me the most about Republicans: Not that we have disagreements over policy (I hardly walk lock-step with Dems on all issues, for that matter), but that the astounding hypocrisy of their positions goes unnoticed by their followers.

The height of hypocrisy this week is a demand by those bigoted hatemongers at the National Organization for Marriage that GOP presidential candidates sign a pledge to investigate the gay community for making their malicious members feel bad for being homophobes. Well, sorry, but I think you should feel bad for being a racist or a hater, though you certainly have a right to do it. That’s what America is about.

What’s remarkable is, three frontrunners — gay closet-bride Michele Bachmann, gay-sex by-product namesake Rick Santorum and politically desperate flip-flopper Mitt Romney — have signed the pledge.

You can read more about it here, but really, that’s all you need to know.

Who’da though Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry could look like progressives next to these morons?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DTC’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ tonight at the Wyly

Masterpiece theater

There’s much to like about Dallas Theater Center’s current production of this stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. (It’s a co-production with Casa Manana; its version closed last month, and while this one has almost the same cast and crew, it’s strikingly different.) Act 2 is the money, with an unparalleled courtroom scene and a profound coda about the mysterious Boo Radley.

Several of the performances are indelible as well. Anastasia Munoz, as a clucking society lady but mostly as the white girl who accuses a hapless black man of rape, quakes with such nervous ferocity, you fear she’ll shake loose a light fixture. Akron Watson as the victim of her prejudice and James Dybas as her racist father are equally good, and solid work comes from Bob Hess, Denise Lee and Morgan Richards as the precious tomboy Scout. But the production is all but stolen by Aiden Langford as the moppet Dill, a charming kid who could spread diabetes with his sweetness.

—  Rich Lopez

City manager in Lorena, Texas, apologizes for anti-gay, racist remarks on Facebook

Billy Clemons

I was on vacation last week and out of touch with Internet news for most of that time, so I missed it when the uproar started over comments that Billy Clemons, city manager for the city of Lorena just outside Waco, made on Facebook.

According to the text of a story published in the Waco Tribune-Herald (subscription required) and emailed to me, Clemons made several Facebook posts that angered some folks, such as “If you think homosexuality is normal, you just might be a Democrat.”

In another example, while discussing television coverage of assaults that occurred recently at the Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee, Clemons wrote, “The perpetrators are black and all the victims are white. If this were reversed, would the media have any doubt as to whether it was racially motivated?”

The comments were made public last week by KWTX-TV, which posted this brief story online on Tuesday, Aug. 15, quoting Clemons as saying there is no policy against him posting whatever he wants on his Facebook page, that he was “just talking about my ideology, my politics with the people with whom I’m friends,” and that anybody who didn’t like it could just “get over it because that’s my First Amendment right.”

—  admin

Colorado: officer resigns – posted hundreds of racist, homophobic comments on news sites on the job

It must be really difficult for someone to handle their own racism and homophobia that is so intense that you can’t think straight, as it were. A 13-year member of the Douglas County (Colorado) Sheriff’s office resigned for posting bigoted statements on public news sites while on duty and on a county computer.

Lt. Jeff Egnor resigned Tuesday after Douglas County officials confronted him about hundreds of postings on the 7NEWS website, www.thedenverchannel.com, and the KUSA-TV website, according to Undersheriff Tony Spurlock.

Posting under the screen name “Abu Mybutt“, Egnor commented on various stories from police shootings to the elimination of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that will let gay soldiers serve openly in the military. “New miltary slogans: The few, the queer, the Marines! Butt Rangers lead the way! Be as gay as you can be! Aim for a high hard one, Air Force! Join the Navy, see naked men!” Egnor posted on Dec. 20, 2010, misspelling military.

Two similar posts: “Now we have a new weapon against our enemies: the sissy slap! :-P ” and “I hear the Army is forming a new division: The Rump Rangers! :-D .” Egnor also made comments about religious figures and attacked liberals, saying Democrats are ruining the United States.

Egnor made it clear that he worked in government and when other readers of TheDenverChannel.com complained, 7NEWS filed an open records request to determine who was using the Douglas County Internet Provider address linked to the postings. After the 7NEWS request, Spurlock said superiors confronted Egnor Tuesday morning. He resigned that afternoon.

He also commented on stories about sports figures like the arrest of Parrish Cox for sex assault.

“Another member of the ‘thug’ culture that the NFL promotes. You can take the player out of the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of the player! Hey I’ve got a great idea, let’s take a gangbanger from the hood, throw millions of dollars at him, worship him as a god, kiss his butt night and day, let the media slober all over him! Then they are all suddenly shocked when the thug acts like a thug!”

I think this shows you that many news sites (that often times are not moderated), are  havens for some of the most, um, unbalanced extreme commenters, who like to hide under the cloak of anonymity. That this ass disclosed that he worked for the taxpayers in Douglas County, saved everyone the trouble of purging Abu Mybutt/former Lt. Jeff Egnor from the comments. For now. Abu can now look for work.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

Virginia Beach GOP chairman agrees to resign after hitting ‘forward’ and ‘send’ on a racist e-mail

When will they ever learn? I’m not just talking about moronic Republican bigoted politicians like this Virginia Beach Republican chairman (remember NC State Rep. Larry “Fruit Loops” Brown?), but people who think that somehow your randy/racist/homophobic emails to your “friends” may lead to forwards to “friends of friends” and then eventually to the MSM?

But back to this brain-dead pol — David Bartholomew, now the former chairman of Virginia Beach’s Republican Party resigned after sending this out to friends:

MY DOG

I went down this morning to sign up my Dog for welfare.

At first the lady said, “Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare”.

So I explained to her that my Dog is black, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and has no frigging clue who his Daddy is.

So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify…

My Dog gets his first check Friday.

Is this is a great country or what?

Yes, the mask comes off easily these days for the GOP politicians. As Monica Roberts said on my Facebook wall…

VA has a GOP governor and a GOP AG, so the bigots feel comfortable enough to KKKome out and play.

But wait, it does get better (as these stories often do). Look at the statement in the Virginia Pilot.

The city’s Republican chairman agreed to resign late Monday night, just hours after a racist joke sent from his e-mail address surfaced.

David Bartholomew is not a racist and agreed to resign because the e-mail had become a distraction to the Nov. 2 election, said Gary Byler, the 2nd Congressional District GOP chairman, after meeting with Bartholomew.

The e-mail was dated March 15 and sent from the address that Bartholomew uses as party chairman. Bartholomew forwarded it without reading the contents when “he was first getting familiar with the Internet,” Byler said.

Oh. My. F*cking. Dog. Is that not the most ridiculous excuse you’ve heard? OK, first, any disclaimer that starts off with “he’s not a racist” should just go into the circular file pronto. But “getting familiar with the Internet” makes the guy look like a moron. Perhaps Bartholomew’s “forward” and “send” buttons in his email client must be inordinately larger than the rest of the commands, and his hands uncontrollably moved to hit them on that one missive.

Come on, go with the simplest explanation, since Republican bigots are a dime a dozen. Bartholomew just wanted to share his tasteless humor with people he thought were his friends. Now who’s going to fess up to sending to the media? I’m sure he wants to know.

The Maddow blog has more, with the hat tips going to Daily Kos diarist @lowkell and Blue Virginia.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

The MOST RACIST anti-Obama pitch you will ever see – Operation Black Storm

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

I'm still a little lightheaded after seeing this:

This is from Operation Black Storm. You won't believe it but it's a pitch to elect black conservatives to Congress.

From People for the American Way:

Patriot PAC has unveiled Operation Black Storm, a national coalition effort to unite the nation behind the 15 black conservative congressional candidates running in key districts around the country as Republican nominees for the upcoming November elections.

Helping to lead the charge among the Tea Party and Patriot movement in America for substantive political reform, Operation Black Storm will fight to fundamentally reshape the makeup of the U.S. Congress on November 2, 2010.

 . . . This coalition has put its collective weight behind these highly qualified conservative black candidates to provide the resources and exposure they need to win on Election Day. Coalition members helping with voter education and candidate scorecards include Break the Bonds of Tyranny, Unite in Action, The ConservativeMESSENGER, The Frederick Douglass Foundation, and The Black Sphere, among others.

And the kicker? On the website under the above videos are the pictures of the 15 black conservatives wanting to be elected behind this mess. Call it what you want, but I say it's an endorsement of the insane, paranoid message in the video.

And by the way, this isn't a joke. There are legitimate organizations pushing this. The Frederick Douglass Foundation claims to be

 . . . a public policy and educational organization which brings the sanctity of free market and limited government ideas to bear on the hardest problems facing our nation. We are a collection of pro-active individuals committed to developing innovative and new approaches to today's problems with the assistance of elected officials, scholars from universities and colleges and community activist.

Black Sphere is an extreme right-wing blog/organization.

And Conservative Messenger seems to be an organization run by one man, K. Carl Smith, who “claims” to espouse the free labor system of government

Quite simply, this is the most God-awful piece of crap I have ever seen in my life. It goes beyond the ideas of respecting black conservatives simply because they have a difference of opinion when it comes to the majority of the African-American community when it comes to the ballot box.

It's like a mad scientist crossed the DNA of a stereotypical Uncle Tom with that of a stereotypical House Negro, made clones, weaned them all on Fox News and then sent them out loose in the world.

I think we need holy water and 15 copies of The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

If that doesn't work, nothing will.

 

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

If the tea party isn’t racist, why warn against racist behavior?

A link to this WaPo piece by David Weigel came bumping along my twitter trail today.  “Five myths about the ‘tea party’” challenges the notion that “The tea party is racist”, saying

It’s a phenomenon that some activists call “nutpicking” — send a cameraman into a protest and he’ll focus on the craziest sign. Yes, there are racists in the tea party, and they make themselves known. But tea party activists usually root them out. …

Liberal critics of the tea party argue that conservative opposition to social spending is often racially motivated. That’s not new, though, and it’s not the basis for the tea party.

I was just mulling over the “logic” of how the purported economic basis for the tea party movement could somehow magically rule out an increased presence of racists when the following email arrived in my mailbox.  It’s from The Tea Party of Spokane (WA).  I’ll highlight the interesting part.

Subject: Tea Party ~ Obama coming to Seattle. Action Alert

Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2010

Bothered by Patty Murrays Policies!

Date: August 17, 2010

Time: 10:00am – 2:00pm

Westin Hotel, 1900 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, WA

President Obama is coming to Seattle to fund raise for Patty Murray and “the People” will be there to protest Patty’s re-election .Please remember this protest is against Patty and her economic policies so keep your signs related. Don’t give the media any reason to racially profile us. Do not engage hecklers, please ignore them.  Above all be safe! Take pictures and video of any trouble for evidence! …

For the sake of Liberty,

The Tea Party of Spokane

and Volunteers

Now David Weigel might respond by saying “see, they’re weeding out the racists among them!”.  But I’m not so sure it’s that simple.  I think that if you have to remind your whole membership not to carry signs that are racist, it’s a tacit admission that there’s plenty of racist propensity in the ranks.  I’m not saying that all tea partiers are racist, but what I have seen of the local t.p. tells me that the economic complaints are partly genuine, partly a proxy reason to rail away at the black man who has usurped the Office of President.  But that’s just my take on the local manifestations of the party.  Maybe it’s all interracial brotherhood where you are.  You know, those local tea party groups whose black, Latino and Asian membership equals or exceeds the population percentage?  Yeah.  Right.

A reality check from Think Progress is after the fold.
Unlike Mr. Weigel and myself, who are relying on opinion or personal non-randomized observation, several research groups have gone out and methodically polled tp-ers.  Think Progress gives us a synopsis of the results.

National surveys of the Tea Party have found that explicit racist sentiment is a strong component of the tea-party make up, in addition to economic conservatism and strong Republican partisanship. The April, 2010 New York Times/CBS News national survey of Tea Party supporters found that they are:
  • More than twice as likely as the general public (25% vs 11%) to believe that “the policies of the Obama administration favor blacks over whites.”
  • Half as likely as the general public (16% to 31%) to believe that “white people have a better chance of getting ahead in today’s society.”
  • Almost twice as likely as the general public (52% to 28%) to believe that “too much has been made of the problems facing black people” in recent years.

  • In a broad study of adults in Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and California conducted between February and March, the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Sexuality (WISER) asked a number of questions about “racial resentment” – such as whether blacks don’t try hard enough or have gotten more than they deserve. Conservatives are 23 percent more likely to be racially resentful, and Republicans 15 percent more likely than Democrats. However, the institute found that this racial sentiment isn’t simply a byproduct of white conservativism:

    [E]ven as we account for conservatism and partisanship, support for the Tea Party remains a valid predictor of racial resentment.

    It is untrue, as political commentator Dave Weigel argues, that racism in the Tea Party is merely reflective of its conservatism. The WISER study found that compared to other conservatives, Tea Party supporters are:

  • 25 percent more likely to have racial resentment.
  • 27 percent more likely to support racial profiling.
  • 28 percent more likely to support indefinite detention without charges.

  • Tea Party supporters are also significantly more likely to hold racial stereotypes, with a majority believing blacks are not hard-working, intelligent, or trustworthy.

    But there is a silver lining on this dark cloud.  The tp-ers have finally transcended the old American black-white dichotomy!  ”Their fear of others transcends race, however – the WISER study found that a majority of tea party adherents distrust Latinos, Asians, and other whites as well.”  This is progress, right?  Right?  Oh.
    Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

    —  John Wright