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

PHOTOS: Response to ‘The Response’ begins

Riki Miller, Zombie McZee and Britney Miranda.

The responses to “The Response” are under way in Houston. First out of the gate was Friday night’s LGBT Texans Against Hate Rally.  Despite temperatures that had barely come down from the triple digits, Houstonians thronged to Tranquility Park in downtown. Beyond commenting on the temperature, the common theme of most of the speakers was that the American Family Association and Gov. Perry’s rally is not representative of Houston and is not welcomed.

Robert Shipman, president of the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats, said: “I kinda think Rick Perry chose the wrong city!”

He continued “They are the bigots, we are not … we are Houston.”

“I guess we should take comfort in the fact that, except for some of his staffers, [Gov. Perry] couldn’t find enough homegrown bigotry in the state of Texas to put on the event himself,” said Mike Craig, co-chair of Out & Equal Houston. “He had to bus them in from Tupulo, Miss., and Colorado Springs, Colo.” Craig was referring to American Family Association (based in Tupulo) and Focus on the Family (based in Colorado Springs), both co-sponsors of “The Response.”

State Rep.  Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, provided the closing address. He criticized Gov. Perry for using divisive religious rhetoric for political gain. “Being here today I’m proud that we are fighting back against a narrow, theocratic view of the world that we live in and of our country that says that people are not welcomed — that says that people are bad because of who they are. That is not America,” said Coleman. “That is what is dividing our city, our state and our country.”

Stay tuned to Instant Tea for more coverage of the LGBT community’s response to “The Response.” More photos from the LGBT Texans Against Hate Rally below (click to enlarge):

—  admin

What’s Brewing: Ugandan gay activist murdered; Ark. store unshields magazine; Ted Haggard

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A prominent opponent of Uganda’s “kill gays” legislation has been beaten to death at his home in the African country, according to Human Rights Watch. Gay activist David Kato’s murder comes a little more than three months after he was outed on the cover of a tabloid magazine that called for him and others to be hanged (above). Then again, violent rhetoric shouldn’t be blamed for murder, right? So this item is probably just another example of “blood libel.”

2. Speaking of magazine covers, Harps Food Stores issued a statement Wednesday saying it has removed a shield that was placed over a magazine cover depicting (gasp!) gay parents at one of its stores in Arkansas. The company says it removed the shield from a US Weekly cover featuring Elton John and his family in response to complaints received at its corporate office. Watch Anderson Cooper discuss the controversy with Dr. Phil below.

3. Disgraced televangelist Ted Haggard says he’s “bisexual” in a new GQ interview but claims he only used the meth he bought from escort Mike Jones for masturbation. C’mon, does Haggard really think he can get into Heaven with that lame excuse?

—  John Wright

Plano woman records bullying PSA

Janet Dowell, left

With the national prominence brought to the anti-bullying movement by Joel Burns, it’s only appropriate that another North Texan is hoping to make an impact.

Plano-based Janet Dowell is one of five finalists in a competition sponsored by the Logo Network to create a brief (25 seconds or shorter) public service announcement video to squelch anti-gay rhetoric.

Dowell’s is among the best, but all are good and deserve a look-see. You can view all the videos here, and vote for your favorite — Dowell of course hopes her fellow Texans support her, but just voting is a good idea. The contest runs through Jan. 25.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Born this Way’ photo essay blog is charming as hell — and has nothing to do with Lady Gaga

Thanks to Brad over at Gilley’s for tipping me off to this (albeit inadvertently through Facebook). He linked to this new photo essay/blog titled Born This Way. In it are images submitted by people who, in hindsight, can see the gay coming in their childhood photos. By the looks of it, the first post was published on Sunday, and already there’s a pretty impressive collection.

Born This Way is Paul V.’s project (and yes, Gaga’s next album title). Paul V. is a DJ based in Los Angeles, but I’m really hoping he sticks to this project. There’s such a heart to the pictures that makes it so super charming and even funny — but in a good way because you’ll likely relate to it.

Paul V. was inspired, if you will, by the recent teen suicides as well as the political movement and rhetoric around Prop 8 and DADT. Initially he thought his idea would be great as a book, but after sitting on it for a while, he told me he just wanted to get it out there. And it’s caught on — like wildfire. “I’m a little inundated but it’s great,” he said. “The first photo (above) was from a MySpace friend. I just thought if any pic ever proved that we feel what we feel and it comes through, this was it. I was heartbroken by the suicides and if  young people find this blog and realize there have been gay kids forever, they see they aren’t alone.”

—  Rich Lopez

HRC Denounces NC Rep’s Hateful Rhetoric

In an interview yesterday with the Winston-Salem Journal, North Carolina State Representative Larry Brown said that the government should not spend money to treat adults with HIV or AIDS who “caused it by the way they live.” According to the newspaper, he went on to say he thinks the government shouldn’t spend money to treat HIV among people “living in perverted lifestyles.” Brown’s extremist remarks and prior anti-gay statements show that he is not fit to serve in elective office. The Human Rights Campaign is demanding that Rep. Brown apologize for his hateful statements.

“Rep. Brown’s ill-informed comments are not only hateful rhetoric, but they are also extremely dangerous,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said today. “Hysterical, judgmental and inaccurate statements like Brown’s create an environment that prevents many from getting tested and seeking treatment, thereby furthering the spread of HIV and AIDS. Larry Brown’s conduct reflects poorly on his constituents and other elected officials. The people of North Carolina deserve better.”

This isn’t the first time that Brown has made anti-gay remarks. Last October, according to the Winston-Salem Journal, Brown sent a derogatory email to House Majority Leader Paul Stam regarding the presentation of a legislative leadership award given to then-Speaker Joe Hackney by Equality North Carolina. He wrote, “I hope all the queers are thrilled to see him. I am sure there will be a couple legislative fruitloops there in the audience.”

“Larry Brown’s views are out of line with the fair-minded people of North Carolina,” Solmonese added. “Sadly, he won a fourth term in November unopposed. Expressions of such bigotry and ignorance have no place in the North Carolina Legislature.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

What’s Brewing: Sarah Palin, Westboro Baptist Church, The Advocate’s gayest cities

1. Sarah Palin released a video statement (above) this morning in response to the Tucson shooting, saying her decision to put rifle crosshairs on a map over Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ district had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the incident at all. How could it have, right? But why so defensive then? And what better way for Palin to address a shooting that targeted Giffords, who’s Jewish, than by using an anti-semitic metaphor? Palin says those who link the tragedy to her violent rhetoric are committing “blood libel” — which refers to an accusation from the Middle Ages that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to make matzoh for Passover. Palin is right, this incident was more about mental illness than rhetoric — until you consider the fact that the ones spewing the rhetoric are mentally ill. (Politico)

2. The governor of Arizona signed emergency legislation to prohibit Westboro Baptist Church from picketing within 300 feet of the funeral for a 9-year-old girl who was killed in the Tucson shooting. The legislation was initiated by openly gay State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Tucson, who said this: “I’m a strong advocate of the First Amendment and the bottom line is this, Fred Phelps and his group of people can still spew their hate if they want. They just don’t get to do it close to the families that are grieving. They have to be farther away.” (ABC 15)

3. The Advocate lists Minneapolis as the gayest city in America, and Texas is shut out of the top 15. Have we mentioned that The Advocate sucks?

—  John Wright

Video: Let’s tone down rhetoric, says man who suggests gays be deported and/or criminalized

The Christian Broadcast Network needed someone to pundi-gelize on the topic of political rhetoric. So who do they get? The man who has contributed some of the most jaw-droppingly incendiary media bites in recent years, the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg:

Right, Peter. Don’t demean people as individuals. Just export or criminalize them:



*SOURCE: Gays seek immigration reform [Medill Reports]



*SOURCE: MSNBC

CBN FAIL.




Good As You

—  admin

Why the Right has to run from its rhetoric

As Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) fights for her life along with the other survivors of the bloodbath today at a Tucson public forum, we also mourn those who died today.

The federal judge who was killed, federal Judge John Roll becamea hate figure for the US right last year after he presided over a law suit brought by immigrants against a ranch owner. He had had death threats issued against him.”

Giffords’ father, Spencer Giffords, 75, said:

when asked if his daughter had any enemies said: “Yeah, the whole Tea Party.”

The discussion of this horrible event doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Giffords herself made the connection in an interview:

“…for example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district, and when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action.”

The violence in the language perpetrated by the right wing has consequences. As the Free Republic tries to scrub its boards of anti-Gifford violence screeds (and possibly that of the shooter Jared Loughner, 22), and Sarah Palin tries to retool her “targets” in the cross hairs, let’s look at just one example of the rhetoric that the right uses that leaves nothing to the imagination.

Michele Bachmann, 2009:  I Want People “Armed And Dangerous” Over Obama Tax Plan:

Now most people of any political stripe would not take this bombastic lunacy seriously, but the eliminationist fringe that the right wing pretends doesn’t exist in its ranks when it’s not convenient is populated by gun-toting, unbalanced people who are pumped up by this rhetoric in ways that lead them to act out. As I noted earlier, one has to ask why all the site scrubbing  if the right wing thinks the shooter isn’t one of “their own?”

Palin and Co. need to own the rhetoric and leave it up for all to see. Do they feel that they have anything to be ashamed of? If the shooter is some lefty gay crazy (as some wingers set up fake Facebook pages tried to do), there’s no need for the scrubbing, no?

UPDATE: I stand corrected. Daily Kos scrubbed this diary by a constituent of Giffords. It should be left up (see below the fold.  
This is what is/was out there.

 
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin