Friday, January 30, 2009

Christian Bashing Fumbrage*

A federal judge has refused to exempt Prop 8 backers from the law mandating disclosure of contributors. As you recall, Proposition 8 was a voter initiative designed to roll back the civil rights of California GLBT resident. The campaign to get it passed was highly dishonest and hateful and was heavily funded by religious groups, particularly Mormons and Roman Catholics.

U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. ... said California's campaign disclosure laws are intended to protect the public and are especially important during expensive initiative campaigns.

"If there ever needs to be sunshine on a political issue, it is with a ballot measure," England said.

He said many campaign committees have vague names, obscuring their intent. The public would have no way of knowing who is behind the campaigns unless they can see who's giving money, he said.

I think we can expect the so-called "Christian Anti-Defamation Commission" to make another attempt to push their ridiculous Top 10 Christian Bashing Incidents in America, 2008 again.

Poor things ... they want to act like bigots, but they want to be able to do so in secret so nobody knows who they are. Get set for another round of Fumbrage* from the religious-based hatred crowd now that the court ruling won't let them crawl back under their rocks.

But this time there is a brilliant response available to put their pathetic whining to rest.

H/T Lee Weiser

UPDATE 01/30/08: And so it begins, courtesy of Faux Noise: Anti-Gay Marriage Donors Fear Increased Threats After California Judge's Disclosure Ruling

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Amazing Mel White

OK, it's time to make a confession. I'm hooked on the TV show, Amazing Race. And what a delightful surprise I had finding an e-mail from Soulforce this afternoon announcing that Mel White and his son, Mike, will be participants in the next edition of the show.

Once ghost writer for Jerry Falwell, author of Stranger at the Gate, and founder of Soulforce, Mel White is now going to star in a television reality series!

There's a clip of Mel and Mike in this video.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Vindictive Hateful Cardinal Roger Mahoney and Other Roman Catholic Hierarchy

This has been quite a week for the Roman Catholics. First the Vatican affirms a Holocaust denier, and now this.

Father Tony has posted news of a disgusting development regarding the Roman Catholic hierarchy's vindictive persecution of Father Geoff Farrow, the priest who came out against rolling back the civil rights of GLBT California residents.

You must read all of Father Tony's post, but here's a bit to get you started.

Today I spoke with a member of CLUE's board of directors, Rev. James Conn, a Methodist minister and Director of New Ministries for the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church. Reverend Conn had been directly involved in the recruitment and interview process involving Father Geoff.

I asked him if CLUE had denied Father Geoff a second interview specifically because the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles threatened to cut off all its significant funding for CLUE should Father Geoff ever be offered the position in question.

As incredible as it may seem, Reverend Conn confirmed the truth of this and expressed his heartfelt disappointment over the fact that CLUE had to choose between continuing the interview process with an extremely promising and qualified candidate or risk losing the financial support of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles that is critical to CLUE's work.

The entire post is here.

UPDATE 01/30/09: The U.S. attorney in Los Angeles has launched a federal grand jury investigation into Cardinal Roger M. Mahony in connection with his response to the molestation of children by priests in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the case.
H/T TomTallis in the comments.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama's Disappearing Gay Bishop

UPDATE: Contacted Sunday night by concerning the exclusion of Robinson's prayer, HBO said via email, "The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show."

There's lots of "equality talk" coming from Obama. Will Rick Warren be treated equally?

Note: Bishop Gene Robinson will be a guest on Jon Stewart's Daily Show Tuesday night, January 19.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Right Wing Huffery Puffery and the Fate of Pro-Equality Lawmakers

I'm sure you all remember the threats of retaliation against lawmakers who vote for equality. The religious right and wingnut anti-gay organizations have all made very loud noises that these votes would signal the end of politicians' careers.

But as we now know, the threats were just more blasts of hot air from angry hateful people.

But ... do your legislators know this?

If not, we now have an important tool to educate them thanks to one of my all-time heroes, Evan Wolfson of Freedom To Marry. As most of you have probably read, earlier this week Evan Wolfson released the results of a study of re-election rates of pro-equality legislators. I have to admit that the results were a surprise even for me. Perhaps I have overestimated the effectiveness of the hot air blasts, and perhaps I have underestimated the basic fairness of voters in today's America. In any event, the study shows that virtually 100% of lawmakers who vote for equality go on to win re-election in all regions of the US (and yes, this includes Texas, see page 4 of the full document).

With this information we can help defuse the fears of well-meaning but timid lawmakers. Perhaps even more importantly, we can help stop lawmakers from using the threats of retaliation as an alibi for their own bigotry. They really don't like it when their cover is blown. They don't even have the excuse that their states "are not like Massachusetts or California," as the figures from Bible Belt states including Texas show us.

I don't think I can overestimate how important this study is as tool for educating lawmakers. Please save a copy of the study and send it to each of your representatives before any vote for equality issues. This will help you make a difference.

Thank you, Evan Wolfson, for giving us this very important information.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The De-Evolution of Barack Obama

A Windy City Times article gives us a glimpse into Barack Obama's de-evolution regarding equal treatment under the law.

In 1996 Obama was unequivocally in support of equal treatment under the law for GLBT citizens. “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” (see full-size version of document to left)

In 2004 he opposed gay marriage with the qualifier that his position was a matter of strategy rather than principle.

In 2008 he opposed gay marriage on the basis of religion.

There is a second article in the Windy City Times attempting to put "context" on all of this, but I am not convinced.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Letterman Remembering the Bush Years

Rick Warren's Africa Problem

In light of all the pious claims that Rick Warren's work with AIDS in Africa somehow proves that he doesn't hate gays, Max Blumenthal decided to do a little research into what Warren has done over there ... and what he found is not pretty.

... a web of alliances with right-wing clergymen who have sidelined science-based approaches to combating AIDS in favor of abstinence-only education. More disturbingly, Warren’s allies have rolled back key elements of one of the continent’s most successful initiative, the so-called ABC program in Uganda. Stephen Lewis, the United Nations’ special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, told the New York Times their activism is “resulting in great damage and undoubtedly will cause significant numbers of infections which should never have occurred.”

This article is a must read, particularly for Episcopalians horrified by intensely anti-gay African Anglicans.

Here's another snippet.

With safe sex advocates on the run, Warren and Ssempa trained their sights on another social evil. In August 2007, Ssempa led hundreds of his followers through the streets of Kampala to demand that the government mete out harsh punishments against gays. “Arrest all homos,” read placards. And: “A man cannot marry a man.” Ssempa continued his crusade online, publishing the names of Ugandan gay rights activists on a website he created, along with photos and home addresses. “Homosexual promoters,” he called them, suggesting they intended to seduce Uganda’s children into their lifestyle. Soon afterwards, two of President Yoweri Museveni’s top officials demanded the arrest of the gay activists named by Ssempa. Terrified, the activists immediately into hiding.

Warren, in his effort to dispel criticism, has denied harboring homophobic sentiments. “I could give you a hundred gay friends,” he told MSNBC’s Ann Curry on December 18. “I have always treated them with respect. When they come and want to talk to me, I talk to them.”

But when Uganda’s Anglican bishops threatened to bolt from the Church of England because of its tolerant stance towards homosexuals, Warren parachuted into Kampala to confer international legitimacy on their protest. “The Church of England is wrong and I support the Church of Uganda on the boycott,” Warren proclaimed in March 2008. Declaring homosexuality an unnatural way of life, Warren flatly stated, “We shall not tolerate this aspect [homosexuality in the church] at all.”

Friday, January 2, 2009

Prayers for Bobby Airs January 24

I think it's interesting that this film about a real-life tragedy is being aired soon after Rick Warren's appearance at the inauguration. I hope it reminds people of the severe harm people like Rick Warren inflict on young gay people.

In an earlier post I put up the full text of Mrs. Griffith's original essay, A Child is Listening. It is a moving and powerful piece.

Bush's Torture Czar Can't Find A Job

Poor Alberto Gonzalez. It seems the poor guy can't find a job these days, and he just can't seem to understand why people think so poorly of him.

Beans (Dubya's nickname for him) just can't seem to let go of the amnesia that overcame him during the congressional investigation into his politically motivated firings of a number of US attorneys.

Now he's forgotten all about how he gutted the Defense Department's civil rights policies and practiced widespread employment discrimination. Oh .. and that torture thing. He's forgotten all about his role in it. And then there was that thing about harrassing a hospitalized John Ashcroft into signing an order to continue legalization of warrantless wire tapping.

Raw Story
writes : The one-time Bush Attorney General admitted Tuesday that "skittish" lawfirms won't hire him after his departure under fire from the Justice Department surrounding his role in the political firings of nine US Attorneys.

Sounding dumbfounded, the 53-year-old former judge and corporate lawyer told the Wall Street Journal, "What is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?"