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

Family values: son arrested for running over 85-year-old mom after she ‘fell’ out of car

I’m sure that Steven Molin, 58, thought that ludicrous “fell out” story would fly, especially after he backed up and ran over her repeatedly. The problem is he already had a history of elder abuse. At what point was he SURE she was under the vehicle, hmmm?

Steven Molin, 58, of Darby is charged with murder in the death of his mother, 85-year-old Emily Belle Molin.

Police say Molin picked up his mother from the Sterling Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center Nursing home in Media, Pa. and drove her to Maryland on Tuesday. Then, just before midnight, the Worcester County, Md. Sheriff’s Dept. responded to a reported vehicle accident on Carey Road in Berlin.

Emily Molin was found to be injured and was rushed to the hospital where she died from her injuries.

During the investigation, police say Steven Molin told them his mother fell out of the vehicle, so he then backed up after discovering she had fallen. The elder Molin was run over two to three times, police said.

Police say they investigated Molin, and decided his story didn’t match up with the evidence. He was then charged with murder.

Hat tip to Jonathan Turley, who said: “I must say that it would help if the mug shot showed a tad more grief at the fact that he had just turned his mother into road kill.”
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

The AFA: Taking the “Family” Out of Family Values

To say the folks at AFA have a ton of time on their hands is an understatement. While the economy continues to tank, the deficit skyrockets and the Middle East remains tumultuous, those at the AFA have time to be worried about Home Depot Homos.

Always wanting to fill their Christian coffers, AFA President Tim Wildmon never misses an opportunity to play the fear card (otherwise known as the ATM card of the religious right). This time it was bombastic mix – kids, gays, parades and power tools.

In his email alert Mr. Wildmon warns Home Depot is tirelessly advancing the always dreaded, but never defined, “homosexual agenda.” What is Home Depot’s crime against humanity? They actually have workshops at gay pride events for the children of gay parents. Outlandish!

Bowing to the altar of pettiness, AFA is even upset the Home Depot – gasp – had its mascot on the scene.

At issue is the Central Pennsylvania Gay Pride Parade. Armed with what AFA believes to be damning photos, the organization blasts Home Depot for allowing individuals sporting Home Depot T-shirts for walking down the parade route with children.

To AFA’s credit, the photos do show children walking with folks in the parade and they do show a Home Depot kids workshop. But what is wrong with that?

Not one of the three pictures produced show children being exposed to questionable behavior, unless home improvement is now a sin. And while AFA alleges children were exposed to things such as nudity and cross-dressers, there is no evidence to back up the claim.

Rather, AFA’s smokeless gun evidence shows kids at a parade, most likely with family, having fun. Even more disturbing is the fact that AFA did not take into consideration that these children may have gay parents. The organization, due to its rose-colored glasses, cannot see what is right before its eyes – a family.

This small-mindedness exposes the truth behind AFA’s man-made perversion of Christian values. AFA is only worried about the families who drink their homemade moral Kool-Aid. As for other “families” outside their narrow box, forget about it. How Christian of them.

AFA would rather deprive and embarrass the children of gay families than to honor the very thing the organization claims to advocate – the family unit. Mr. Wildmon, because of his obsession with gays, is more of a threat to these kids than any Home-Depot children’s workshop.

And no AFA Action Alert – issued to benefit humanity – would be complete without the organization asking for money. Has AFA confused the love of Christ with the actions of the Pharisees? One would think so.

See the full ad — and the beg for cash — below the fold.

American Family Association

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The Home Depot shock factor – We found more Kids Workshops at more gay events

Children exposed to transvestites, cross dressers and nudity

September 8, 2010

Dear Joe,

When Central Pennsylvania holds its annual gay pride festival each year, The Home Depot doesn't just set up Kids Workshops. It also marches children down the parade route.

For the past couple of years, The Home Depot has sponsored and participated in the annual Central PA gay and lesbian pride parade and festival.

AFA has found these photos of the event. In one photo, The Home Depot employees actually take children down the parade route. In another, an “OK Gay Daddy” works The Home Depot Kids Workshop.

The Home Depot is so proud of its support for homosexuality that the company mascot was on hand to promote the company’s endorsement at a recent Chicago parade.

The Home Depot is committed to promoting the homosexual agenda. It is also committed to supporting groups that are pushing for homosexual marriage.

TAKE ACTION

1. Sign the Boycott Pledge at BoycottTheHomeDepot.com
2. Call your local store manager. 
Let the manager know that you will not be shopping at The Home Depot until the company stops supporting the homosexual agenda. You can find the number here. (click “Store Finder”)
3. Print the paper petition and distribute it at Sunday School and church.

It is very important that you forward this alert to your friends and family members.

Sincerely,

Tim

Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

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  2011 Holy Land Tour
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Join Tim and walk where Jesus walked. Tour dates are March 11-19. Direct from Atlanta.

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Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

New Ad From NOM Attacks “San Francisco Values” And Judge Walker

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Catholic Values: Same-Sex Love Worse than Brutal Murders

After Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City must be recognized in other states and that same-sex couples could adopt, the Archdiocese of Guadalajara claimed that same-sex marriage was worse than Mexico's drug war.  

People who cannot tell the difference between cold-blooded murder and two people building a family are not fit to be a part of any normal, human, ethical discourse in the twenty-first century.  They have no moral compass at all.   

And it gets better.  In response to the Court's adoption ruling, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara added, “Would you want to be adopted by a pair of faggots (maricones) and lesbians?”  “His Eminence” further claimed, without evidence, that Mexico's Supreme Court justices were bribed by the Mexico City mayor.  Making things up also seems to be a Catholic value.   

The Archdiocese's comparison and Iniguez's hateful rhetoric should not be seen as abberations.  They are an extension of Pope Benedict's hyperbolic, fear-mongering characterizations of same-sex marriage and homosexuality.  Benedict has called same-sex marriage as among “some of the most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good today” and a threat to creation.  

Rome has criticized neither the comments by Iniguez, nor the comments by the Archdiocese.  And the Bishops' Conference of Mexico stands by them:  

We lament that in manifesting these concepts to the public, there exist those who respond with recriminations and threats, claiming this is intolerant, when tolerance is supposed to ensure that we call all express our opinions and positions.  For this reason, we express our solidarity and our feelings to Cardinals Norberto Rivera Carrera and Juan Sandoval Iniguez about this delicate issue.

Iniguez refers to gay men as maricones and an Archdiocese spokesperson says LGBT people are worse than murderers, and they're the victims of “intolerance”.  We're familiar with this kind of “flip-of-the-script” in the United States, as well.  It is always significant when the Roman Church hierarchy does not respond to a hateful comment (or gives implicit support, as in this case), because they would certainly censure a supportive comment from a prelate very quickly. 

Most importantly, comments like these are a reminder that despite desperate claims to the contrary, opposition to gay rights is fundamentally about bigotry and hate.  

Brian Rainey (MDiv) is a PhD student in Religious Studies at Brown University.  His areas of focus are Hebrew Bible and Assyriology. 
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Family values: OH man rapes teen who bears his daughter – then accused of molesting the daughter

As I’ve Tweeted, this is beyond heinous, and the obvious question here is how was this man allowed to be anywhere near the teen after the rape? (WHIOTV.com):

Richard Stephson, 55, is in jail and facing multiple charges after what investigators describe as years of abuse. Authorities said the incident started in the mid 80s when Stephson began sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl who was staying with him at his Springfield home. Soon, police learned that the teen was pregnant with his child.

Now, 10 years after his daughter was born, authorities said Stephson offered her money to have sex with him and molested her during family visits.

He has pleaded not guilty, but has confessed to committing the acts in an interview.

H/t Jonathan Turley.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright