What’s Brewing: Gov. Perry’s Day of Prayer linked to Uganda bill calling for execution of gays

(From “Protest of Rick Perry’s Prayer Event” on Facebook.)

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The Human Rights Campaign is calling on members to write letters to their governors asking them to decline Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s invitation to a Day of Prayer at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Aug. 6. The Day of Prayer, dubbed “The Response,” is being bankrolled by the American Family Association, designated an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In addition, HRC notes that David Lane, who’s listed as fundraising director for the Response, played a major role in last year’s recall of three Iowa state Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of major equality. HRC also says the Day of Prayer involves leaders associated with the International House of Prayer and Lou Engle’s TheCall, which “played an active role in supporting anti-gay sentiment in Uganda, where legislation under potential consideration would make homosexuality a crime punishable by death in some circumstances.” HRC’s full press release from Wednesday afternoon is after the jump. To take action, go here.

2. Also issuing a statement Wednesday about Gov. Perry’s Day of Prayer was Michael Mitchell, executive director of National Stonewall Democrats: “If there is a worse partner than the American Family Association for Texas Governor Rick Perry’s day of prayer event, I certainly can’t think of one,” Mitchell said. “As a certified hate group hell-bent on rolling back every bit of progress lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have made, this is certainly not going to be an uplifting event for LGBT Texans, especially those of faith. Rick Perry’s presidential aspirations seem to be getting the best of him. Rather than organize an event worthy of all Texans, he has chosen to ally himself with the deep pockets of the AFA. Let’s hope the 49 other governors he has invited turn down their invitations. We would urge all Texans who care about the rights of LGBT people to steer clear of this event.”

3. Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, acknowledged in an interview with the Houston Chronicle that one of the purposes of the Response is to pray for an end to the increasing acceptance of homosexuality in American society:

Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, rejected the label of “hate group” and characterized his organization’s position on homosexuality as representative “of a lot of people who have traditional values.”

“They want somebody to speak for them,” he said. “We try to do that. We are reaching the Christian community with the truth about what is going on in our country.”

He acknowledged that a stated purpose of the August prayer event initiated by Perry – to pray for an end to the “debasement of our culture” – refers to the increasing acceptance of homosexuality by American society.

—  John Wright

Opposition is apoplectic over Prop 8 ruling

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker

Sometimes it’s fun to see what the opposition is saying, especially when they lose.

Tim Wildmon is one of the most vociferous anti-gay crusaders in the country as president of the American Family Association. He wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Times about the Prop 8 case in that state.

The argument in his letter is that U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker nullified the vote of the people and that the judge imposed his personal opinions.

Here’s the problem with Wildmon’s position. Judge Walker ruled based on the evidence presented at trial. The defense of Prop 8 presented only two witnesses who were completely discredited. Wildmon, himself, would have been a better witness.

One defense witness admitted that the information he gave in testimony was given to him by the attorneys and said that the facts he presented he found on the Internet. The other even admitted under oath that same-sex couples were indeed being discriminated against.

The problem with Wildmon’s argument about the will of the people is that the defense never presented that as an argument in the case. They presented false studies, hearsay and Bible quotes as evidence that same-sex couples should not be treated equally under the law.

Wildmon also argues that the judge is rumored to be gay and so should not have been allowed to hear the case. I’m not sure if that means that heteroseuxal judges should be disqualified in all cases affecting other heterosexuals.

Under his ruling, however, the LGBT community will not have standing to put a proposition on the ballot to invalidate straight marriages either. His ruling protects everyone.

The judge could have ruled that despite all evidence in the trial, the voters do, indeed, have a right to vote on this issue and that they have a right to impose laws that are discriminatory. And the higher courts may rule exactly that way.

Talking to attorneys from Lambda Legal and National Center for Lesbian Rights, two organizations that filed briefs in the case, an evidentiary ruling such as this, is harder to overturn than one based principally on law. In other words, the higher courts will not hear any new evidence and no evidence in the trial supported Prop 8. But the higher courts could rule that despite all the evidence, states have the right to discriminate against same-sex couples and voters have the right to deny equality.

—  David Taffet

Will Phillips speaks at Pride parade

Will Phillips may be only 10 years old, but he is a young man with a lot of courage and a unique voice — and a lot of fans and supporters in his hometown of Fayetteville, Ark.

When it was first announced last week that Will had been named grand marshal of the Northwest Arkansas Gay Pride Parade, right-winger Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, claimed that it was “a form of child abuse” and suggested that Will had been “brainwashed” into supporting LGBT equality, and that he was doing nothing more than “parroting the nonsense he has been told by manipulative adults.”

Well, watch this video of Will speaking at the parade in Fayetteville, and it’s pretty obvious that he definitely has a mind of his own, and that he is perfectly capable of forming his own well-reasoned opinions.

—  admin

AFA says allowing 10-year-old to be Pride parade grand marshal is 'child abuse'

Will Phillips
Will Phillips

Yesterday, we told you about 10-year-old Will Phillips being chosen as grand marshal of the Northwest Arkansas Gay Pride Parade in his hometown of Fayetteville. Phillips is the young man who made news last fall when he refused to stand in class to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, because the pledge promises “liberty and justice for all” and, as he says, it’s a lie because LGBT people aren’t given equal rights in this country.

Well, leave it up to our old buddy Tim Wildmon over at the American Family Association to say something egregiously stupid and outrageous about Will being given this honor.

—  admin

Home Depot draws protest from AFA over Southern Maine Pride sponsorship

Sponsors for Southern Maine Pride
Sponsors for Southern Maine Pride

As a parent few things piss me off the way the right wing’s insistence that LGBT are dangerous to children does. So my blood pressure went up a few notches this morning when I saw the e-mail in my Inbox from the American Family Association warning me that “Home Depot is a willing participant in exposing children to unhealthy and risky homosexual activities.”

According to the e-mail message, signed by AFA President Tim Wildmon, the Southern Maine Pride website lists Home Depot as a major sponsor of its 2010 Pride activities. But even worse, Wildmon rages, is the fact that Home Depot has signed on as a festival vendor and will be “conducting Kid’s Craft Workshops for children in the midst of loud and boisterous gay activities.”

Wildmon writes: “To this end, Home Depot is basically encouraging the attendance of children at events which openly expose them to transvestites, cross-dressers, and homosexual activists.”

He then goes on to urge his sheep — uh, I mean, followers — to send an e-mail to Home Depot to let them know just how you feel about the company sponsoring Pride events.

Well Mr. Wildmon, I would MUCH rather have my kids learning how to build birdhouses at Home Depot’s Pride festival booth than have them exposed to the kind of hatred, bigotry and all-around idiocy that you and others like you are always spouting.

And that’s why I took advantage of the link to send an e-mail. But instead of leaving in the pre-prepared message criticizing Home Depot, I erased that and typed in my own message, thanking the company. I hope Home Depot — and AFA — get that message loud and clear.

—  admin

Constance wins her lawsuit, but still loses her prom

Constance McMillen wins, but still loses
Constance McMillen wins, but still loses

U.S. District Court Judge Glen H. Davidson on Tuersday, March 23 ruled that the Itawamba County Agricultural High School in Mississippi violated Constance McMillen’s cosntitutional right to free speech by refusing to allow her to attend the senior prom with her girlfriend and to wear a tuxedo to the prom.

But Constance still doesn’t get to go to the prom, because school officials canceled the event rather than let her attend in a tux with her girlfriend. Judge Davidson did not order the school to reinstate the event.

A private prom has been scheduled. But Constance isn’t invited.

Judge Davidson, in his ruling, wrote that being able to attend with a girlfriend and wear a tuxedo to prom is “the type of speech that falls squarely within the purview of the First Amendment.”

But Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, disagrees. Tim, who recently took over the AFA when his father Donald retired for health reasons, delcared in a statement released today: “This is not about speech at all, but about the homosexual agenda. It’s about the schoolyard bullies at the ACLU using an activist federal judge to force schools to normalize sexually aberrant behavior.”

Tim continued: “It’s absurd to accuse the school of violating her free speech rights. She’s been talking to anybody and everybody who will listen and the school has made no effort to stop her.”

(Interesting to note that these are the same folks who complain that hate crimes laws that include LGBT people violate their free speech rights to incite violence against gays and lesbians and trans people.)

And Bryan Fischer, the AFA’s director of issue analysis, breaks out the same old tired “same right to be straight” argument used against marriage equality efforts. He said: “The school had one policy that applied to every student equally. If Ms. McMillen wanted to bring a date to the prom, she had the same right every other student had, to bring a date of the opposite sex. She already had equal rights, but that wasn’t enough for the thugs at the ACLU. They want special rights for homosexuals, not equal rights.”

Wildmon urged other schools in similar situations as Itawamba to fight back against those ACLU thugs and promised that AFA “stands ready to help schools stand their ground,” and warned that the ACLU “is out to demolish the Judeo-Christian value system on which this nation was built, and they’ll get away with it unless we rise up to stop them

—  admin

Wildmon resigns as head of American Family Association

Donald Wildmon

Donald Wildmon

The American Family Association has announced today that the organization’s founder and longtime leader, Donald Wildmon, has resigned after more than 30 years as chairman of what has long been one of the leading anti-gay organizations in the country.

According to a press release, Wildmon has resigned due to ongoing health concerns caused after he was bitten last summer by a mosquito carrying the St. Louis encephalitis virus. Wildmon said that he will continue to work with AFA, and that his son, Tim, who has been with the organization for 24 years, is expected to succeed him as chair.

According to the press release: “The retired United Methodist minister [Donald Wildmon] began AFA in 1977 in his dining room with a typewriter and a used offset press. Today the ministry operates on a $20 million annual budget with 175 employees.  The ministry owns and operates 180 radio stations, a monthly magazine with a circulation of 170,000 and an internet presence of 2.5 million supporters.”

Here are just a few examples of how Wildmon has used his budget and his influence to try and stall LGBT rights:

• Wildmon is first national religious leader to call on GOP officeholders to purge their staffs of LGBT people after the Congressman Mark Foley scandal in 2006.

• Wildmon calls on his supporters to take action against McDonald’s after the fast food chain joins the National GLBT Chamber of Commerce in 2008.

•Wildmon and his AFA troops worked to pass Proposition 8 in California in 2008.

• Wildmon called for a boycott of PepsiCo because the company supported gay rights.

The list goes on and on. Just do an Internet search for “Wildmon” and “gay” and see what pops up. I did, and got hundreds of results.

So, is Donald Wildmon’s resignation from AFA cause for celebration in the LGBT community? Probably not. I am sure his son will follow in the father’s footsteps. But I guess we can always hope that Tim Wildmon isn’t as charismatic (or whatever) as his father, and AFA’s influence and network of followers might diminish. It’s a slim chance, probably, but even slim hope is better than none.

—  admin