RECENT  POSTS:  » What most people aren't getting about the fake non-troversies of the anti-gay right » 'Weekly Standard' asst. editor equates Tim Cook with man who pits God against him » Michigan pastors make unfortunate lifestyle choice; say they'll go to jail rather than not discriminate » PFOX's Quinlan says SBC leader's opposition to 'reparative therapy' is cruel » That Idaho wedding venue posts new 'rules and regulations'; will still perform non-Christian weddings » Another deceptive thing about NOM's duplicitous anti-Hagan ad » NOM trying to shape Arkansas politics without even learning state's abbreviation » Video: Focus on the Family staffer who calls homosexuality 'particularly evil lie of Satan' hangs out in Chicago's Boystown » Video: Another new NOM ad targets Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR); uses James O'Keefe video as source » What the heck is 'NOM Victory Fund'?  

10/31/2014

What most people aren't getting about the fake non-troversies of the anti-gay right

by Jeremy Hooper

I was just reading a local news report from Houston's KHOU about the non-troversy involving Mayor Annise Parker, subpoenas she never saw before their preparation, and the outrage machine that followed. The first line reads like this:

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 At 8.42.35 Am
[KHOU]

The reporter surely thinks this line is benign. As best as I can tell, there is no agenda at work. To most, presumably including this reporter, this sounds like nothing more than an introductory sentence.

In truth, this framing is completely and utterly wrong. What most people do not realize is that this non-troversy, like virtually all of the non-troversies that the anti-LGBT far-right keeps trying to drum up in order to make LGBT people, nondiscrimination ordinances, and same-sex marriage look bad are actually manufactured and messaged out from national organizations and media figures that often have no ties to the area in question. Groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council are working in tandem with media figures like Fox News' Todd Starnes to take half-truths, or sometimes no-truths at all, and drum them up into these big, explosive, supposedly revelatory incidents which they overplay as having national, if not global, implications. Which is easy to do in this polarized day and age, where so many people seem to just lie in wait of the next thing to be angry about and at least one major cable news network is willing to tell them where that anger should be directed. All these groups and media figures have to do is convince their most ardent supporters that their freedoms and/or country are being taken away from them and, within minutes, they'll fill Twitter with armchair activists who are just looking for a reason to #SCREEEEEEEEEAM.

Sure, these national figures involve locals. Usually, however, this comes second. The main enterprise is concocted from on high involving a consortium of activists and biased reporters who are itching to score points against a movement that they cannot defeat any other way. With this Houston situation, the whole thing started when the ADF, the anti-LGBT legal group that would like nothing more than to kill the equal rights ordinance at the heart of this matter, began telling people that the fairly standard (if somewhat broad) legal documents were making some sort of unreasonable request. If you read the angry headlines that the professionally anti-gay began issuing within seconds, you would swear the out lesbian mayor of Houston was going to local churches and interrupting services so that she could snatch printed sermons from innocent ministers' hands.  You would think that because that is exactly what organizations like the Family Research Council and commentators like Fox News' Todd Starnes (who labeled her an "anti-Christian bigot" on day one) have been working overtime to get you to believe.  Armed with many bad twists on the phrase "houston we have a problem," the conservative media gave a full buy-in to the idea that mean ol' Mayor Parker is at war with Christians and that more rights for LGBT people will mean battered and besieged churches. Spin that is 99.9% nonsense.  The .1% that is based in fact is stripped of all rational consideration so that these opportunistic activists can sell the crude narrative.

Even some conservatives who believe this mayor has an "agenda against all morality" fully admit that these subpoenas were "basic court procedure." But that sort of pause-and-breathe rationality, even through sharp disagreement, wouldn't benefit the opportunistic national "culture war" profiteers who need a fight. Have you ever wondered why it's the same people at the heart of every one of these things? Duh! It's because they—Tony Perkins, Todd Starnes, Mike Huckabee, the Benham brothers, ADF, et al.—have become like a traveling circus, or perhaps band of self-victimizing performance artists, who have determined that biblical condemnations against false witness matter not, so long as your lies are knocking LGBT people and servicing your own political agenda. That's why you will find these same people at Sunday's rally in Houston. Mayor Parker has even completely rescinded the subpoenas in order to quell the nonsense (which is the subject of the local news story at the beginning of this post). But the good faith effort from a mayor who has been nothing but attacked—a cruelly so—is not good enough for those who refuse to have a conversation. They want to shout at us. They want to tell us who and what we are. They want to take away our rights. This is their game; it's what they do.

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10/31/2014

'Weekly Standard' asst. editor equates Tim Cook with man who pits God against him

by Jeremy Hooper

Jim Swift, assistant editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, thinks Tim Cook, in coming out as a proud gay man, sounds just like another newsmaking company leader:

A southern-born CEO invoking religion regarding his views on homosexuality, lobbying for what he believes in, and using his company to financially and publicly support those views?

Indeed, we have a heard a story like this before.

Before Tim Cook, this perfectly described another CEO and son of the south: Daniel Truett Cathy of Chick-fil-A.
Apple CEO Sure Sounds a Lot Like Chick-fil-A CEO [Weekly Standard]

Ooh, totally! Except, you know, for the fact that in his now infamous words, Dan Cathy voiced a view that accused Tim Cook's love life of bringing forth the judgement of God:

DAN CATHY, president and COO of Chick-fil-A:"It's very clear in Romans chapter 1, if we look at society today, we see all the twisted up kind of stuff that's going on. Washington trying to redefine the definition of marriage and all the other kinds of things that we go—if you go upstream from that, in Romans chapter 1, you will see that because we have not acknowledged God and because we have not thanked God, that we have been left victim to the foolishness of our own thoughts, and as result, we are suffering the consequences of a society and culture who has not acknowledged God or not thanked God—he's left us to a deprived mind. It's tragic and we live in a culture of that today.""

AUDIO SOURCE: Dan Cathy event at Hope Community Church [Vimeo]
DAN CATHY: (1:05)"…I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say 'we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage' and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about"

AUDIO SOURCE: Dan Cathy [Ken Coleman Show]

I mean, I guess you can technically say that both men are just expressing their religious views about God and life and humans and what it all means. But if you're going to strip merit out of the equation, you could just as fairly add Westboro Baptist, extremist jihadists, fringe cult separatists, earth-worshiping communes, self-determined deities, or any number of faith-driven folks to that same mix. People do, in fact, say things and then add the word "God" to those sentences.

But when you add merit back into the picture, things shift a bit. When you consider the value of the two views expressed by the two CEOs, you get diametrically opposed ideas: one that encourages acceptance of millions human beings that happen to be part of the spectrum of normalcy and one that suggests all those millions of people are making God angry, judgement, and ultimately Armageddon-ish. It's totally fine to rally behind either one of those ideas. But let's not pretend these two positions mean the same thing.

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Michigan pastors make unfortunate lifestyle choice; say they'll go to jail rather than not discriminate

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 At 8.13.31 AmA group of Michigan pastors, working under the moniker of "No Gay Civil Right," has declared that they will not comply with any LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination law that might pass in their state. Pastor Stay Swimp, a humorously over-the-top activist preacher, explains it like so:

"Let there be no doubt that, if you should decide to go forward with this grave injustice, I, every born again believer I know, as well as every pastor you see here today, shall disobey your unjust law,” ....“Here we stand, Black and White together, ready to go to jail!"
FULL: Hundreds of MI pastors: Stop ‘gay’ civil rights or send me to jail [ONN]

Um, okay. But to remember that you are making this unfortunate choice to go to jail; not us.

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10/30/2014

PFOX's Quinlan says SBC leader's opposition to 'reparative therapy' is cruel

by Jeremy Hooper

At this week's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission conference, Russell Moore, top dog of that Southern Baptist enterprise, came out against so-called "reparative therapy." Then he and his allies proceeded to spend a large percentage of that conference telling gay people they can't be gay (celibacy was their main suggestion). Because let's be clear: the Southern Baptist Convention is light years away from accepting us; they are just increasingly willing to admit that the barbaric attempts to "change" people, which they have supported and emboldened for years, are, in fact, wrongheaded and even dangerous.

But the change in stance was more than enough to tick off professional "ex-gay" Greg Quinlan. In fact, Quinlan says Moore's words were "cruel":

Russell Moore, director of the ERLC, also spoke at the conference. He said Southern Baptists don't support "reparative therapy" for homosexuals based on psychological counseling and don't believe people can necessarily eliminate same-sex attraction.

Greg Quinlan of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays) considers that statement an affront to people who have been successfully treated through the psychological therapy.

"There are thousands of us who have left homosexuality and many of us went through therapy for those of us where it was available to do so," he shares. "So to make that suggestion is just cruel. It was a cruel thing to say – and I would hope that these good men would get educated on the facts about therapy."
FULL: Where are Southern Baptist leaders headed re: homosexuality? [ONN]

Thousands and thousands and thousands. You just never see any of them. Or meet them. Or talk to them. But there are thousands. Trust Greg.

Look, when you have Southern Baptist leaders and Republican governors like Chris Christie admitting your snake oil is just that, it's time to move on and apologize, not double down. This game is over.

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That Idaho wedding venue posts new 'rules and regulations'; will still perform non-Christian weddings

by Jeremy Hooper

The Hitching Post, that for-profit Idaho venue that has repurposed itself as a solely religious enterprise in order to exclude same-sex couples, has posted the new policies for who can and who cannot marry there. The gist: Even though they are claiming that they are waaaaaaaaay to Christian to every marriage same-sex couples (or polygamists or bigamists, which they say in the same breath), they will totally marry people who ascribe to faiths other than Christianity. Because let's get real here: it was always just gay people they wanted to exclude.

Oh, but don't worry, gay people—you can still "stand with brides and grooms" at their own weddings. Oh, and you can obtain resources about weddings. You just can't solidify your own perfectly legal bond (state and federal), even if you yourself are very much a Christian.

Here's the new rule sheet for who does and does not get a stone cast in their direction:

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 At 11.55.29 Am
Screen Shot 2014-10-30 At 11.55.35 Am
[Hitching Post]

Ya know, acceptance (or even just basic tolerance) requires far fewer bullet points. Just saying.

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10/29/2014

Another deceptive thing about NOM's duplicitous anti-Hagan ad

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 At 7.29.25 PmYesterday I showed you the increasingly desperate National Organization For Marriage's new ad targeting incumbent US Senator Kay Hagan, and I mentioned how her Republican colleague, Sen. Richard Burr, also praised and approved of the federal judge that NOM is faulting Hagan for supporting. I also noted how that judge, Max Coburn, was ultimately confirmed by a unanimous vote in the Senate.

But I just thought of something else: There was a second U.S. District Judge, one William Osteen, who also ruled for marriage equality in North Carolina just days later. And this Judge Osteen? He was appointed by none other than President George W. Bush, the man who championed NOM's beloved federal marriage amendment and who supported the NOM agenda in every way. Moreover, both of the Republican US Senators at that time, Elizabeth Dole and the aforementioned Richard Burr, spoke highly of Judge Osteen and recommended his immediate confirmation, which did follow—unanimously.

So even without "Hagan's judge," as NOM likes to call him, North Carolina's marriage amendment, which NOM so ardently championed, would've come down. "George W. Bush's judge" would've seen to it.

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NOM trying to shape Arkansas politics without even learning state's abbreviation

by Jeremy Hooper

This is the official YouTube copy of NOM's new ad attacking incumbent US Senator Mark Pryor and advocating for his GOP opponent:

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 At 6.48.38 Pm
[YouTube]

A title that would be great if Mark Pryor was running in Alaska. But considering Arkansas' abbreviation is AR, NOM might want to go for a rewrite.

Then again, the organization has absolutely no ties to this, a state that they are simply carpetbagging. Why should anyone expect the anti-gay opportunists to know anything about the state, its voters, or its representation, two-letter or elected?

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10/28/2014

Video: Focus on the Family staffer who calls homosexuality 'particularly evil lie of Satan' hangs out in Chicago's Boystown

by Jeremy Hooper

Glenn Stanton, a longtime anti-LGBT activist is somewhat notorious for his claim that homosexuality is a "particularly evil lie of Satan" (a claim that still runs on Focus on the Family's website, by the way). Stanton also believes same-sex marriage "actually deconstructs humanity itself" and that same-sex parenting turns children into "human guinea pigs." To name just some of his many slights.

But he loves us, natch. And he wants to be our friend, of course. And to prove it, he's spending his afternoon in one of America's most famous gayborhood for what appears to be little more than a book trailer:

Grace. Right. Is that why you added the word "particularly" to your belief about where our sexual orientations rank on Beelzebub's evil lie chart, Glenn? Just so overflowing with grace that you had to make it clear that scared gay teens are not only created by the Devil's evil fibbing, but by one of his worst fibs ever?

Ugh. I hope he at least bought something and gave back to the local economy. Though knowing the way the ever-entitled and self-victimizing anti-LGBT community works, Stanton likely thinks the locals owed him something.

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