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Attacks like this one on Autumn will lead to Pete's Fall

by Jeremy Hooper

One thing many of us who cover these so-called "culture wars" frequently find startling about Peter LaBarbera, and a big reason why many of us suspect that the "Americans For Truth" leader recently caught the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center when they were making their "hate sites" list, is his willingness to take one certain member of his socio-political-religo opposition and engage in a campaign to personally smear them on the basis of who they are, not what they have said or done. This writer has experienced it firsthand, most notably when Mr. LaBarbera sent me an unsolicited email in the days leading up to my wedding, attacking my forthcoming nuptials as "not real" and "perilous to my mind, body, and soul." But that's not the only time I've seen it. There was also the time he publicly mocked a six-year-old girl and her family, as a way of making a point about Iowa's marriage ruling. Or there was the instance when he asked readers to send emails to an underage teenager so that the young gay man might "find and receive godly counsel and escape the clutches of a sin movement that endangers body and soul." And those are only a few instances where this man has crossed an unfair line, taking his battle directly into homes in a way that would lead him to instantly self-martyr if such were to happen to his own family.

Today Pete has turned his attention to Pam's House Blend writer and transgender activist Autumn Sandeen, using a personal photograph of Autumn to highlight a piece that has absolutely nothing to do with anything that Autumn herself has written. Pete simply uses Autumn as a transgender stand-in for all who might be protected in the workplace under Employment NonDiscrimination Act in general. Check out what he says:

Screen Shot 2010-04-09 At 8.48.15 Am-1

Unbelievable. Again: The piece where this image is used is not in direct response to any piece that Autumn has written -- it's simply a link to an interview that Pete gave a Christian radio station on the subject of ENDA. But why should Pete care? He's aware that Autumn exists, so why not use her "twisted 'transgender' dream" to attack any and everyone who's part of a population that he refuses to understand?

But wait, there's more...

It seems that Pete was actually planning an even stronger editorial comment against Autumn's mere existence. Check out this uploaded but ultimately unused photo that we found in his image directory:

Autumn Sandeen Wrong
Autumn_Sandeen_Wrong.jpg [AFTAH]

Yes, that's right: His first instinct was to write "WRONG" on a human being's personal photograph. A human being who has done nothing more to Peter LaBarbera -- NOTHING MORE! -- than to stand up against his undying onslaught against certain kinds of people, and who has refused to have her life defined by a man who prides himself on closing his mind whenever certain consonants (LGB or T) ask demand to breathe the same oxygen as he does.

It's cheap, personal attacks like this one that have increasingly separated Peter from the movement that he has dedicated his adulthood to serving. But for now, he still gets love from groups like Focus on the Family. He still gets booked on shows alongside mainstream "pro-fam" peeps like Maggie Gallagher. So we have no choice but to keep pushing back. And if the other side doesn't start repudiating, then we will feel 100% free to use Peter's ad hominem editorial comments as their movement's official ENDA standpoints.

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