Print This Post
Today is the 13th annual “Day of Silence,” an event organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to call attention to the bullying of sexual minorities in schools. And the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) is mad.
So mad, in fact, that it put up a ham-handed propaganda video on its website Wednesday, complete with a wicked teacher (who it suggests is a member of the National Education Association union) tossing a Bible in the trash, miserable kids with taped-over mouths forced to participate in the “Day of Silence,” and references to how school calendars have replaced Patriot’s Day and Easter vacation with “Earth Day and spring break” (“a day honoring the bravery of our forefathers and a time marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ supplanted by political correctness and radical environmentalism”). It goes on to describe how homosexuals have worked to be seen as “victims” even as they insidiously promote “tolerance“ and suggests that all is not what it seems.
“Hiding beneath this glossy veneer is the truth that in nearly every study, it is the homosexual who is more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, to accept abusive relationships, to acquire and spread sexually transmitted disease, to suffer in depression and doubt, even to view suicide as a solution. The median age of death of the homosexual man is 42. Only 9% live past age 65,” the narrator says.
Make that said.
Within hours of putting up the attack video, the IFI had snatched it down. First off, it had suggested the video was produced by a Baptist church in Arizona, but that church notified IFI that it was not the author and publicly denied being in any way involved. IFI fixed that up pretty quickly, attributing the video to another church, this one in Illinois, when it put back up the revamped video a few hours later. But there was one other little-noticed change, too.
When the video reappeared on the IFI website, two lines of narration had been mysteriously edited out: “The median age of death of the homosexual man is 42. Only 9% live past age 65.” What’s up with that? ( continue to full post… )
Print This Post
The California-based Ruth Institute (RI), a former project of the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund, split off from NOM and became independent on Nov. 1. Like NOM, while ostensibly working to strengthen marriage (for heterosexuals), it works against marriage equality. And like NOM, the RI has tried to soften its anti-LGBT image through tactics like selectively quoting from virulently anti-gay sources and claiming to support LGBT individuals while simply opposing their right to marry.
The RI’s founder and president, Jennifer Roback Morse, whose academic background is in economics, has mostly steered clear of the kind of vicious anti-LBGT rhetoric employed by some on the religious right. She has, for example, referred to “our brothers and sisters who experience same-sex attraction” as victims of the “sexual revolution.” Nonetheless, she has earned an entry in GLAAD’s commentator accountability project for anti-LGBT statements she has made over the years.
The RI claims that it is “Making Marriage [for heterosexuals] Cool.” The tagline on its website banner states “One Man One Woman For Life.” Thus, heterosexual marriage is the only “proper” context for sex and childrearing. The RI encourages “respect of contributions of men to the family” and using “lifelong spousal cooperation” as a “solution to women’s aspirations for career and family.” ( continue to full post… )
Print This Post
Today at noon, a group of the nastiest gay-bashers in America plans to hold a press conference in front of the Montgomery, Ala., offices of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which publishes this blog. Claiming that the SPLC is engaged in a “campaign to demonize adherents of traditional Judeo-Christian morality,” the white organizers of the press conference are bringing along a set of black pastors in a presumed bid to embarrass the SPLC, a 40-year-old anti-racist civil rights organization.
The irony is that SPLC has named five of the participating organizations as hate groups precisely because they demonize LGBT people, using a series of well-worn lies to paint gays and lesbians as perverts, pedophiles and worse. Despite the claims of the groups, the SPLC is not attacking anyone’s morality. Instead, our hate group listings reflect the fact that they regularly propagate known falsehoods. ( continue to full post… )
Print This Post
More than a little rhetorical contortionism is required to follow their logic, but according to several better-known leaders of the religious right, responsibility for the recent wave of suicides of gay teens rests largely with… gay-rights activists.
The argument goes something like this: Young homosexuals who are relentlessly bullied and taunted commit suicide because gay-rights advocates (eager to “recruit” new homosexuals and to make the world gay-friendly) encourage acceptance of homosexuality among normal (meaning straight) children, which confuses them about their own sexual “preference.” That, added to gay-rights activists’ purported efforts to “bully” Christians to prevent them from condemning homosexuality, creates an intolerable level of emotional stress, leading to tragedy.
Five teenagers nationwide committed suicide during a three-week span in September after being bullied, taunted or outed as homosexuals. Seven student suicides — at least four of which apparently involved anti-gay bullying — rocked a single Minnesota school district during the last year. On Tuesday, a 19-year-old Oakland University student who had reportedly been bullied since revealing that he was gay, took his own life. (Earlier this month, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a 40-minute documentary on the subject, “Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History,” that is being offered free to schools around the country.)
But even the occasion of these young suicides — something that has horrified most Americans and received intensive media attention — has been taken by some right-wing commentators as merely one more opportunity to bash gays. ( continue to full post… )
Print This Post
Conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter’s decision to be the featured speaker next month at a “Homocon” gathering of homosexual conservatives has gotten her axed as a keynote speaker at a meeting of prominent far-right personalities. Joseph Farah’s decision to cut Coulter from his Taking America Back National Conference in Miami next month is only the latest pushback by some on the far right who are incensed and worried by recent gains made by the gay rights movement.
Print This Post
In the hours since a federal judge struck down California’s ban on same-sex marriage yesterday, religious-right organizations have sent up an angry howl of protest, accusing the judge of doing everything from overruling the Constitution to laying the groundwork for a contemporary version of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Tim Wildmon, leader of the American Family Association, called the decision “tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional” and said it “cavalierly trashed” the votes of some 7 million Californians who voted to approve Proposition 8 in 2008. “It’s also extremely problematic that Judge [Vaughn] Walker is a practicing homosexual himself. … His situation is no different than a judge who owns a porn studio being asked to rule on an anti-pornography statute.” Wildmon went on to demand that the U.S. House of Representatives impeach Walker.
Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, which worked to support the proposition during the 2008 campaign, sounded a similar theme, saying that the ruling dealt a “terrible blow” to the country and that the “biased, homosexual judge” had “imposed his own homosexual agenda.” Bishop Harry Jackson, leader of Stand4MarriageDC, called the judge’s ruling a “slur” against those who had voted for Prop 8. And former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the judge’s “notorious decision” showed “outrageous disrespect for the Constitution.”
In fact, Walker found that Proposition 8 merely asserted “the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples” without any rational basis. “The Constitution cannot control private biases, but neither can it tolerate them.”
But that’s not the way most religious-right organizations and activists saw the decision. On the contrary, they seemed to believe that it was them who were being discriminated against. Maggie Gallagher, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, for example, said that the decision would lead the government, “almost Soviet-style,” to reeducate American children. Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund that represented supporters of the proposition, said the judge had “literally accused the majority of California voters of having ill and discriminatory intent” in voting for it. Robert George of the American Principles Project said his decision was a “usurpation of democratic authority” and described same-sex marriage supporters as having a “revolutionary sexual ideology.” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council blamed “the far Left” for pushing judges to such decisions, and said that “this dangerous decision” had to be appealed. And David E. Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, said that “radical forces” and “tyrants who threaten to destroy this country” were to blame. ( continue to full post… )
Print This Post
So you thought McDonald’s was a huge fast-food restaurant chain making huge profits and reaping some criticism in the process over the healthiness of its food?
Well, think again. The company whose 31,000 outlets serve nearly 47 million people a day actually is a full-fledged font of evil. It is “hell bent on using its resources to promote subversive moral, social, and political views about homosexuality to our children.” It “hoists high the rainbow colors of the homosexual movement that points to the substitution of the worship of man for the worship of God and leads to depravity and destruction.” McDonald’s, in a phrase, “promot[es] the homosexual agenda.”
Or so says Laurie Higgins, the slightly mad director of the “Division of School Advocacy” at the Illinois Family Institute, a particularly virulent anti-gay, religious-right organization. McDonald’s, the intrepid Higgins insisted in a furious “Call to Action” issued last Friday and entitled “McDonald’s Promotes Homosexuality, Again,” “has once again revealed it true colors.”
And what’s all the fuss about? Ms. Higgins, you see, is mad, really, really mad, because McDonald’s is airing an ad in France, entitled “Come as you are,” that depicts a teenage boy talking to his boyfriend on a cell phone at the restaurant. The whole scene is just, well, a little too normal-looking for the “school advocate.”
“[P]lease,” Higgins implores, “do not use your resources to support McDonald’s.”
Of course, this is Laurie Higgins speaking — the same woman who, in one of her rabid weekly rants, recently fumed about President Obama’s “commitment to radical, subversive change.” In a white-hot lather over Obama’s proclamation of June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, Higgins raged about the proclamation, fulminated about Obama’s signing of the 2009 federal hate crimes bill — a statute that many religious-right leaders falsely claim could lead to pastors being jailed for merely condemning homosexuality as unbiblical — and concluded angrily that the president is “implicitly … embrac[ing] heresy.” ( continue to full post… )
Print This Post
In the days leading up to yesterday’s Senate approval of far-reaching federal hate crimes legislation, religious right anti-gay groups were ramping up their rhetoric in a last-ditch attempt to defeat it.
But while their tone was shriller, their tune hadn’t changed: As they’ve done for months, these organizations were falsely claiming that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act would protect pedophiles and inhibit religious expression. Many of the religious right groups issuing alerts in recent days — including the Illinois Family Institute and the Liberty Counsel — seem not to have read the bill at all.
An E-mail sent Tuesday from Rick Scarborough, head of Vision America, exhorted supporters to “KEEP THE HATE CRIMES PRESSURE ON!” It referred to the bill as the “Pedophile Protection Act” because of its “inclusion of pedophiles as a protected class under the proposal that protects homosexuals from hate crimes.” In fact, while the law would allow prosecution of crimes motivated by bias against gays or transgendered people, it would not extend hate crimes protections to pedophiles.
The next day, the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) posted an “urgent” message on its website telling supporters to contact their senators. The proposed legislation was “anti-Christian, pro-LGBT [lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender]” and “threatens religious liberty, free speech and makes at least 30 different sexual orientations into federally protected minority groups.” According to the TVC, these sexual orientations include incest, voyeurism and bestiality. That’s false; “sexual orientation” refers only to heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality. The TVC, in fact, has been listed as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for years, largely because of its routine promotion of known falsehoods to demonize homosexuals.
Not to be outdone, long-time anti-Semite Ted Pike of the National Prayer Network posted an update yesterday on his website urging followers to call Senate offices. Earlier, he’d lamented that “patriots” weren’t doing enough to defeat the “homosexual lobby.” But if they don’t act, he wrote, “Let me remind you how infinitely more wearying it will be to exist night and day, year after year, shivering and starving in the gulags of the New World Order. If we allow this bill to first take away our free speech, then all other freedoms are going down the drain. Once that happens, there will be nothing to restrain mass arrest, imprisonment, deportation, and murder of probably millions.” In fact, the bill has no bearing on speech. ( continue to full post… )
Print This Post
A proposed new federal hate crimes law would allow prosecution of crimes motivated by bias against homosexuality or “gender identity,” among other characteristics, and provide funding for the feds to go after hate criminals who local authorities fail to investigate or prosecute. But in their alternate universe, religious-right anti-gay groups have seized upon the act’s language protecting Americans of all “sexual orientations” to claim that it’s all a stealth operation aimed at legally protecting people with deviant sexual fetishes, including necrophilia and bestiality.
On May 5, for instance, the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) issued a claim that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act would extend legal protections to pedophiles and necrophiliacs — those who are sexually attracted to children and human corpses, respectively — along with people with 545 other paraphilias. (Paraphilias are psychosexual disorders, typically involving sexual interest in non-human objects, non-consenting partners, or pain and humiliation. They do not include homosexuality, which is not considered a disorder by the American Psychiatric Association or any similar association of medical experts.)
The act says no such thing. After being contacted by writers at BoxTurtleBulletin, a blog that fact-checks anti-gay propaganda, the group issued a May 12 correction, though it did not bother to edit or delete the offending article on its website.
They weren’t the only ones. Exodus International, an “ex-gay” umbrella group that advocates so-called “conversion therapies” for homosexuals, formerly claimed on its website that the “APA [American Psychological Association] recognizes 30 human sexual orientations” including, among others, incest, prostitution and “telephone scatalogia.” That message appeared as a pop-up any time a reader scrolled over the word “orientation” on the Exodus website. After being reached by Ex-Gay Watch, a website that critically monitors the ex-gay movement, Exodus silently corrected pop-ups on its website to note, like IFI, that “sexual orientation,” in fact, refers to heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality. Period.
Other anti-gay groups simply keep on lying. The Liberty Counsel, a legal advocacy firm founded by the late Jerry Falwell, still claims that “[t]he hate crimes bill does not limit ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity’ and, thus, includes all these disorders and fetishes.” The far-right news site World Net Daily published a May 4 article headlined, “Next on Senate agenda? ‘Pedophile Protection Act’/‘Hate crimes’ law definitions would protect 547 sex ‘philias.’” Citizenlink, the magazine of the Focus on the Family, the nation’s largest Christian Right organization, didn’t mince words: “Even more concerning, the legislation could create special protection for pedophiles.” James Dobson, the group’s founder and president took the smear one step further, saying in a broadcast: “We have to assume that protection under the law would be extended to the 30 sexual disorders identified as such by American Psychiatric Association.” Dobson then went on to read a list that included incest and voyeurism. “I have to ask,” Dobson fulminated. “Have we gone completely mad? We’re going to protect all 30 of these forms of sexual perversion?” ( continue to full post… )
Print This Post
Peter LaBarbera has spent more than 20 years on the hard edge of the religious right, ranging from a stint as a reporter for The Washington Times to a whole career as what he calls a “conservative critic of the homosexual activist movement.” He has been an official of far-right groups like Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, the Illinois Family Institute, and Accuracy in Media. The founder of the gay-bashing Lambda Report, LaBarbera is now president of Naperville, Ill.-based Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.
LaBarbera is no friend of gay people, whose lifestyles he characterizes as “aberrant” and whom he accuses of working diligently to “penetrate” the schools. But up until now, he hasn’t relied on the help of radical anti-Semites.
That ended the other day when LaBarbera — who claims to operate “in a spirit of love and truth” — posted portions of an article by one Ted Pike (right), the Oregon-based reverend who heads the National Prayer Network and who was described by LaBarbera as simply a “pro-family advocate.” (Pike’s article described an April 12 encounter in Champaign, Ill., which ended with one college student charged with an anti-gay hate crime for attacking another.) Pike may or may not be pro-family — but he is most definitely anti-Jew, as reflected in his endless rants about the “Jewish origins of bolshevism, Jewish dominance of Hollywood and the media, [and] Jewish control of Congress.” Last year, Pike said that the Jewish holy book, the Talmud, “is full of moral filth” and attacked mainstream Christian evangelical leaders for “carefully concealing the Jewish identity of those who corrupt Christian culture.” ( continue to full post… )