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09/03/2009

Audio: Gettin' Sirius

by Jeremy Hooper

Hooper-SignorileYours truly just did the Michelangelo Signorile Show. Topics: Steven L. Anderson, talking to your opposition, and why our side always wins with transparency. Fun times:




*For those unfamiliar with Steven L. Anderson: Our complete Anderson archive

**Credit where it's due: It should be noted that blogger Matt Algren was on to Anderson back in March of this year, when he discovered some of Steven's writings. Unfortunately this site and many others missed it when Matt had it.

**Rockstar G-A-Y friend and commenter LOrion took the initiative to transcribe the interview. Here's the text:

MAS: If you have been listening to the show for the past week and a half you have been listening to a lot of clips from SLA, the pastor from Tempe, AZ who wishes Pres Obama would die. Thinks that all gay people should be executed and
we talked a lot about him, and played a lot of his clips, and then he came on the program.and I actually talked to him as well, a lot. and that is when he told me I should die like Ted Kennedy with brain cancer:

The man who is responsible for us knowing about SLA, who really did that digging to find a lot of his audio clips and put them up on the Web so a lot of us could access them, is Jeremy Hooper. He is the editor of Good As You.org, it is a blog we go to all the time. does a lot of work at sleuthing out these religious right zealots,
and a lot of hatemongers. And he is someone I realized I had never had on the program, so I thought I would have him on so you can all meet him and say hi and talk about it...all this stuff we have been focusing on this last week and half or so.
so Jeremy Hooper, now joins me. Welcome to the program.

JH Hey Mike, thank you for having me.

MAS: Now is editor what we should call you?

JH: Yeah thats fine, I'm the jack of all trades at the site.

MAS: So it is true, you are the guy who found all of these, who went out and found ...Tell us just how it is that you wound up posting so much audio from SLA.
I mean, eventually it would be talked about on CNN and MSNBC, I think Olbermann gave him WORSER PERSON in the world award the other night, but it really started with putting all this audio up there correct.

JH: Yeah Its a very interesting part actually, I have an RSS feed that everytime anyone posts a video marked homosexual or gay. I get a note telling they've done so, and every so often I go through that feed, just when I'm bored and there's nothing else to write. and if something jumps out, just by the headlines, because there are thousands and thousands of videos in that category, and I guess Steven has hosted the videos himself, and I can't remember what the headline was, but whatever it was it really got my attention, so I clicked it 'aw lets see what this is,'
and I had never heard of the guy before....and obviously I was just appalled. It was so..it would be.. It was the Barack Obama one and the one about Barney Frank.

MAS:(interrupts) The one where he says he prays for Obama to die,
JH Right
MAS: I want to play that one...... and he says Barney Frank is a pedophile.
JH: Right those were the first two I came across, and because they were
so out of line I took the initiative to actually record the audio, because I knew that they would be pulled from YouTube. Thats sort of the double edge sword of YouTube whenever they get put up there, they inevitably get pulled that so many people flags them YT often pulls them them itself through its automated system. So I knew that would happen So thats when I started searching the attention because a lot of people have YT's up but then when the YT were pulled everyone was very curious as to what this guy really said, and I had the raw audio file. So then people went to me and I got a lot of attention for it, So I thought ok I'll dig a little further
Turns out this guy at 3-4 years of MP3's on his website, There are so many not discovered yet, because everyone of his sermons are 45 minutes to an hour long.
MAS: So you'd have to sit though hours and hours of stuff,
JH: Exactly, and I am a masochist, but not...
MAS: You do sit though a lot.
JH: I do sit through a lot, So I pulled 5 or 6 of them, But not only are they crazy off the top, but just like they accused BF, he did it to many others e.g. Harry Shearer ?
a voice actor on Simpsons, he called him gay, and he's not gay. He just pulls all this stuff out of his butt about saying whatever about anybody. So there's some really crazy rants. and I posted em and it just took off from there, and I think that really thinks that speaks to the power of what we can do when we find this stuff that probably would have gone unnoticed or at least unnoticed for some more time until
he did something, who knows even worse.
MAS: Yes and you posted it on your blog, and then about the same time this Wylie Drake, this other pastor in CA came to uh some other peoples attention, I think it was Alan Colmes on his radio show..and He said he was praying for Obama to die, so now you had between what you got and that, you had a trend.
JH: Exactly
MAS: And thats when I think it really blew up then, more so into the MSM, to the extent that this kind of stuff does get out there it got further. But then with Anderson it was the really virulently anti-gay stuff that had a lot of gay bloggers, a lot of bloggers, focused on it and linking to you and then had us talking about it on the show. That was what really shocked people. I have been getting emails from people every day
JH: What's interesting too is that, the more you pulled the thread, the worse it got, theres the guy who brought the gun to the Obama rally.
One thing I think has been very unreported is that he spoke at two of his areas teaparties, he spoke at one in Gilbert AZ and one in Phoenix, and that says that someone from the Conservative establishment in that area had to have invited him
and he had years and years of stuff, not just about gays, but any liberal...just crazy things so I am wondering why he was on anyones radar and who invited him to this Republican rally
MAS: and well he also has a business in which he sells firearms? Right
JH: Right [ed note: I'm actually not sure that this is factual. Ws kind of caught off guard here]
MAS: and then he's got the guy who was a congregant who brings the assault weapon to the Obama event, He's obviously very much tied in to that whole
right wing radical teabagger establishment.
JH: and another interesting thing is that we know, once we find this opposition
they clam up, whether they have handlers or whatever. He's getting worse.
and he came and your show and was the worst. I don't think we've seen the last of it yet so it's a little frightening.
MAS: Yeah, so what do you say to people who say, because I certainly got it from some people who were listening to the show, and callers, from posting on blogs, and I'm sure you've gotten it too. Who say, why are we giving any attention to this guy? Why focus on him? Aren't we giving him more power, by focusing on him and bringing him a larger audience,.. in essence, if we just ignored him he'd be a nobody. Since a lot of it started with you, I wanted to ask you about that.

JH: I get that a lot of that, especially with groups such as Westboro Baptists, I'm a firm believer in that with more transparency and more attention to that movement we win, I don't think we ever lose with more attention going to either side.
All of our goals we will put right out there, whereas I think they want to hide them a little more they want to mask them, they want to twist them.
I think that there is never anything bad that can come of us saying this is what they are saying about us.
You know for years these groups, the ones that I challenge, in order to hear what they were saying about us you had to be on their newsletters, you had to get actual physical copies of what they were distributing about us. Now they put it out there, we are just catching it and saying here it is judge for yourself. Now I don't really tell anyone what to think, but when you put it out there it just sort of speaks for itself oftentimes. I do get a little of that. People who read GoodAsYou regularly know that that is what I do, I directly challenge. and even like you I talk to them directly I talk to many of the people that I challenge. and if I need an answer from them I don't speculate I just flatout write them and get an answer.
So I think we can only win. Maybe I will be stopped dead in my tracks with logic that is rock solid, but I have yet to come across that.

MAS: My guest is Jeremy Hooper. He is the editor of the blog GoodAsYou.org.

You mentioned how you do actually reach out to these people and talk to them.
It's kind of what you define your blog as, you kind of monitor these very under the radar, very creepy dangerous people, and bring them to light. And you also do communicate with them, which a lot of bloggers don't do.

JH: One of my primary founding goals was to always focus on the message rather than the messenger. To me a lot of the messengers, even the very extreme ones are kind of just empty shells to me, meaning that I don't care what is going on in their personal life, I don't have any desire to harm their families, I don't have any desire to have any relationship with them.. but its their work I care about and that is all that counts. I find that sets me apart in a way, but also keeps me focussed in that I can take their message and phewwwwt, stomp on it, slobber on it , piss on it., but I can do so without it turning personal towards them. They cant really accuse me of something, they cant say well you called me a bigot because I didn't, I never used that word. I think that that is something I really focused on, and it does work well and it does make them more eager to talk to me.
I mean you've had Shirley Phelps Roper on the the program, she writes me all the time.I mean to a bizarre degree she writes me, she seems to enjoy talking to me, and its weird because i end up getting straight information her, other people might be speculating and I just say, okay Shirley whats the deal. It the same I talk to Peter LaBarbera a lot.

MAS: He's from the Illinois Family Institute (ed. note: Pete's actually now with Americans For Truth), hes the one that goes undercover in leather to these leather events, and we've talked to him a lot. He's actually screwed us over many times in terms of coming on the show. He'll say
that's he's going to be on, and then he doesn't show up.

JH: Yes, and also even the more mainstream. I twitter back and forth with a high communications guy with Focus in the Family, but it came to my advantage one time I got him to admit that ?a third of the poll that the Family was passing around was false, he just flat admitted it, which you know they don't typically do.

So building these relationships and saying hey look I'm not going to attack you,and we're never going to agree, but I have no desire to come against you personally, which actually, going back to the Anderson point for a second, I have been very vocal about why has the right, why have the Focus on the Families of the world, why have they not said anything about SLA. If this were a gay activist saying the same about a Christian host as he said about you, not only would they have come out so strongly against us but we would have done the same thing. We would have said, Yeah, that's pretty messed up what this guy said about one of yours, and its an area where we could find some common ground, yet when I approach them with it they see no need to acknowledge.

MAS: Now I was going to ask you about that, because I did see that you have questioned that on your blog. You've actually now asked them for statements on this? Some of the mainstream groups.

JH: So I chatted with a guy at Focus on the Family about it, and I sent some emails out to some others but I think that the more attention it gets. It's something that they typically would acknowledge, it's something they would write about if it applied to any of their other pet causes. So I have heard some theories floated about, that maybe they dont want to be associated, or bring attention to him themselves.

MAS: Have they all condemned Fred Phelps? He's gotten a lot of attention.

JH: Yes but they do so with a cutting comment. I know one time PLaB told the Advocate well FP is like our movements ? Nambila? They have to say, well on your side there is this. Thats always what there was.
There was this one piece on Baptist Press, they actually wrote a piece about
SLA, but rather than say how messed up it is, it's all behind a long winded explanation.. and I think back.. a few years back, one of our colleagues, Pam Spaulding, one of her commenters left an attack that could be construed as personal against PeterLaB and not only did they come out against it, but so did all of us, even Pam said this guy is out of line he shouldn't have said this on my site.
And they don't do that, they don't ever join forces with us on anything even these issues where we can find a little common ground.
i find that a big difference between our movements.

MAS: Absolutely, well this is really great having you on, and talking about the work that you do, also able to well let people know where all of this came from, that we have been talking about for a week and a half, You listen to this show.

JH: Everyday

MAS: ..you've heard us talking about all this. and I want to thank you for doing all this great work. you do.

JH: I'm a big fan, you are one of my first gay heroes

MAS: Thank you. You are a hero too.

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Your thoughts

Great interview Jeremy.

One question though, I'm not sure but did I hear the popping noise a Mac makes when you adjust the volume towards the end of the recording? (14:50)

Posted by: Sam | Sep 3, 2009 4:49:25 PM

Oh yea. That was on my end (from my local recording), not on the Sirius feed.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Sep 3, 2009 4:54:50 PM

Good job, Jeremy. I don't necessarily agree with everything you say on this blog, but I very much respect you and your views.

By the way, I'm wondering how many of the churches on the directory Mr. Anderson supplies (http://www.faithfulwordbaptist.org/page10.html) know they're on that list. I just e-mailed the one near me.

Posted by: Brian | Sep 3, 2009 6:35:14 PM

I feel like such a slacker. I knew about Steven Anderson (been reading his wife's blog for masochistic entertainment) for over a year before you broke all this stuff.

Bad me.

Strangely enough, I found out from a Christian community where I occasionally go to dialogue (friendly gay agnostic!), and they were sending the YouTubes around to each other (in horror...don't worry, we were all on the same page on the subject, and this community ranges from liberal to evangelical conservative).

Posted by: Evan | Sep 3, 2009 6:44:57 PM

I, personally, am not nearly masochistic enough to sit through much of Anderson's manic hate spewing, but we are quite fortunate to have you to do it for us. We owe you a great debt of gratitude for exposing the hatemongers. We do win, and the lying liars do lose, when everything is brought out into the open.

Did Signorile say that Anderson's "business" is selling fire arms? I looked at his website when you first mentioned him, and I thought he was installing alarm systems (maybe I misread), but I wasn't aware that he was selling fire arms. That could make his evasion of the border patrol checkpoint somewhat more poignant! I wonder how many illegally acquired weapons he had hidden in that vehicle when he was finally arrested?

Posted by: Dick Mills | Sep 3, 2009 7:20:17 PM

Wow, two of my favorite supergays at the same time. If only Pam were on the line too. It would have been the gay trinity.

Posted by: Jake | Sep 3, 2009 11:46:55 PM

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