Pols, Nativists Make Common Cause With Gay-Bashers

Religious Right

The religious right has produced a stream of invective directed at homosexuals in recent years, much of it shocking in its virulence. But that hasn't stopped elected officials, nativist leaders and others from jumping on a bandwagon marked by gross intolerance and false propaganda.

Rosanna Pulido cut her political teeth on bashing undocumented immigrants, but she took her message recently to a different sort of group — the vehemently anti-gay Illinois Family Institute (IFI). IFI has made the preposterous claim — based on the completely bogus work of anti-gay ideologue Paul Cameron — that the median age of death for homosexual men is 42, and that only 9% live past the age of 65 (the claim was removed earlier this year after public criticism from the Southern Poverty Law Center). This June, IFI official Laurie Higgins declared that fast food behemoth McDonald's is "hell bent on using its resources to promote subversive moral, social and political views about homosexuality to our children." Inflammatory claims such as these, however, didn't deter Pulido, a fairly well known nativist who earlier had shown no interest in issues other than immigration, from addressing the IFI at a monthly breakfast meeting in June.

Pulido was the Republican nominee in a special election last year for Illinois' 5th congressional seat, but was trounced in the general election by her Democratic opponent. She founded the Illinois Minutemen organization in 2005 and has worked as a regional field coordinator for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an anti-immigration group with ties to white supremacy. Pulido, who is of Mexican descent, once told a reporter, "We are drowning in illegal aliens."

Pulido's coziness with the gay-bashing IFI was no more notable than that of some Minnesota elected officials' with You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Intl. Inc., a music ministry that brings punk rock evangelism into public schools in the Midwest. On a May 15 radio show, the ministry's front man, Bradlee Dean, applauded the call of some Muslims for violence against gay people. "Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America," Dean said. "This just shows you … they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians… . They know homosexuality is an abomination."

After Minnesota Independent writer Andy Birkey reported his comments, Dean backpedaled, saying he does not favor the execution of homosexuals. Despite those remarks, Republican State Rep. Tom Emmer defended the ministry as a "pro-traditional marriage group" composed of "nice people." And last November, Minnesota congresswoman and Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann was the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for the ministry.

Nobody made more jaw-dropping comments, however, than Bryan Fischer of the self-described "Christian" group, American Family Association. (The AFA's founder, the Rev. Don Wildmon, has made dozens of highly controversial statements, including the claim that "anti-Christian" material on TV is a result of the media being largely controlled by Jews who work to undermine Christianity.) In May, Fischer related on his radio show the Biblical story of Phineas, who "found an Israelite in flagrante with a Philistine woman" and ran his spear through both of them. "God is obviously looking for more Phineases in our day," Fischer declared in offering a bloody solution for "promiscuity."

Fischer followed that assertion with a blog post in which he claimed, "Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews." Fischer conceded that gays were persecuted by the Nazis — in fact, thousands were sent to concentration camps — but said this was "almost exclusively the effeminate members of the gay community in Germany, and … much of the mistreatment was administered by masculine homosexuals who despised effeminacy in all its forms."