The Protestant Christian Right (and their allies) are
wringing their collective hands and forecasting doom. Why? Because
President-elect Barack Obama is including gay people in his administration and
has vowed to work toward equality for all
The chronically hysterical Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel and a
frequently cited spokesman for the Protestant Christian Right, recently wailed to the Baptist Press, �I would consider him [Obama] to be the biggest threat to religious
liberty we�ve ever had because he will push the homosexual agenda.� Mr. Staver was commenting on one of the President-elect�s statements:
we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot
of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those
seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as
Americans. It�s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding
promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect. --Barack Obama, June 1, 2007
Mr. Obama�s �we�
refers to all Americans, but
especially those who have been discriminated against by an oppressive majority.
History is very clear. Ever since �Christianity� divorced itself from
spirituality and became a socio-political institution -- whether it be Catholic
or Protestant -- it has always been
the oppressor. From the extermination of the Cathars through the Inquisition
and on into the Salem witch hunts, from the Vatican�s silent consent of the
slave trade, Pope Pius XII�s �complicity� in the
holocaust, and the Protestants� Bible-thumping support of segregation,
opposition to interracial marriage and today�s campaigns against gays,
self-appointed spokesmen for �Christianity� have always been victimizers and
advocates of discrimination. The Vatican and the Church of Jesus Christ and
Later-day Saints recently made that abundantly clear. More about that in a
Staver invoked the
battle cry of the Christian Right: defend against the dreaded �gay agenda.�
What a farce: the victimizers� pathetic attempt at self-justification and to
cast themselves as victims. U.S. Representative Barney Frank expressed the
so-called �gay agenda� very well at the 2004 Democratic National Convention:
On behalf of the Stonewall Democratic
Federation, the national organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and
transgendered Democrats, I want to apologize to some people whose peace of mind
we seem to be disturbing.
I want to apologize to the various self-proclaimed divine messengers who appear
deeply troubled by a dark plot they label the �gay agenda.�
Troubled as I am by the prospect of these pious men denied a good night�s sleep
by their need to be eternally vigilant against us, I have decided to break the
silence, decode the cryptogram, unravel the mystery, and tip our hand. We have
an agenda, and we hope to achieve it through the Democratic Party.
Specifically, we want all people in the United States to enjoy the same legal
rights as everyone else, unless they have forfeited them by violating the
rights of others. We believe this should include some things that are,
apparently, very controversial.
They include the right to serve, fight, and even die on behalf of our country
in the military; the right to earn a living by working hard and being judged
wholly on the quality of our work; the right for teenagers to attend high
school without being shoved, punched, or otherwise attacked; and, yes, the
right to express not only love for another person but a willingness to be
legally as well as morally responsible for his or her well-being.
We also believe that we -- and all Americans -- should enjoy full access to
health care; that strong environmental protection is fully compatible with
economic prosperity. We know that the free market is the best way to generate
our national wealth; and that we need cooperation between the private and
public sectors to be sure that we as a society and as individuals get the
maximum benefit from the wealth by the quality of all our lives.
We are also convinced that America must not only remain the strongest nation in
the world, but that our strength is magnified, not diminished, when we work
with other nations and institutions for common goals.
Some of these things are especially important to us because we are gay,
lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. All are important to us as people.
victimizers hate idea of �quality for all.� Therefore it�s not surprising that
when they perceive that they�re losing their privileged position and ability to
encourage others to hate and discriminate, their rhetoric gets more perverted,
more preposterous, and more toxic, as Hendrik Hertzberg noted in his article �Eight is Enough� in The
a polluted swamp, anti-gay bigotry is likely to get thicker and more toxic as
it dries up. Viciousness meets viscousness. �Look,� Newt Gingrich, the former
House Speaker, said the other day (on the air, to Bill O�Reilly), �I think
there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its
will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence. . . . I think that it is a
very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion. And I
think if you believe in historic Christianity, you have to confront the fact.�
For diversity�s sake, he added that �the historic version of Islam� and �the
historic version of Judaism� are likewise menaced -- which is natural, given
that gay, secular, fascist values are �the opposite of what you�re taught in
This sort of sludge may or may not prove to be of some slight utility in the
2012 Republican primaries, but it is, increasingly, history.
Newt Gingrich�s gay sister
had the most appropriate response to her brother when she spoke with Keith Olbermann. She began with, �I must say, after years of
watching you [Newt] build your career by stirring up the fears and prejudices
of the far right, I feel compelled to use the words of your idol, Ronald Reagan
-- �There you go, again.� See and hear the rest of what she had to say, here.
You can view Mr.
Obama�s equality agenda that Staver was whining about here. It includes Expand Hate Crimes Statutes, Fight Workplace
Discrimination, Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples,
Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage, Repeal Don�t Ask-Don�t Tell,
Expand Adoption Rights, Promote AIDS Prevention, Empower Women to Prevent
How is any of that a threat to �religious liberty�? Unless,
of course, one is using �religious liberty� as a rhetorical cover for bigotry
and discrimination. And speaking of bigotry and discrimination . . .
The �holy� Roman
Catholic Church sponsored the Inquisition, sanctioned its use of torture and,
more recently, covered up decades of child abuse by its priests . . . and then played victim.
The Vatican�s latest:
week [December 1, 2008] the Vatican�s permanent observer to the United Nations,
said the Holy See would oppose a resolution that would protect gays from being
killed, just because they are gay, because it would �add new categories of
those protected from discrimination� and could lead to reverse discrimination
against traditional heterosexual marriage.
The French resolution, scheduled to be proposed this week, recommends
protecting Gays and Lesbians from being jailed or killed because of their
sexual orientation and is being introduced to the UN on behalf of the European
But Archbishop Celestino Migliore said, if adopted, the resolution would create
�new and implacable discriminations,� and also said that states which do not
recognize same-sex unions as �matrimony� will be pilloried and made an objects
However, the French resolution, which is supported by all 27 members of the
European Union, says absolutely nothing about gay marriage; it is about ending
jail and death penalty sentences gays yet face in more than 85 countries
including Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen where you can still
be killed for being gay.
An editorial in Italy�s mainstream La Stampa newspaper said the Vatican�s
reasoning was �grotesque.� Another editorial in Rome�s La Repubblica newspaper
said the Vatican�s position �leaves one dumbstruck.�
. . .
They have also said that the Vatican�s reasoning smacked of �total idiocy and
madness� and what the Vatican really feared was a �chain reaction in favor of
legally recognized homosexual unions in countries, like Italy, where there is
currently no legislation.�
A Vatican spokesman said yesterday �no-one wants the death penalty or jail or
fines for homosexuals� but defended Archbishop Migliore�s comments, adding that
the Vatican was in the majority on the issue . . .
�The Vatican was in
the majority on the issue.� Yes. The oppressor is, by definition, always �in
the majority.� They�re usually leading it.
Have another look at
the Vatican�s excuse for once again advocating oppression and discrimination:
�the Holy See would oppose a resolution that would protect gays from being
killed, just because they are gay, because it would �add new categories of
those protected from discrimination� and could lead to reverse discrimination
against traditional heterosexual marriage.�
Beyond the obvious
question -- �Shouldn�t everyone be protected from �discrimination�?� -- if you
try to find any semblance of logic in the Holy See�s �thinking,� especially
given the Vatican�s longstanding opposition to the death penalty (except when
they were issuing it, of course), you�re brain will probably implode.
And then there�s the
equally inert non sequitur statement
that the U.N. resolution -- which says absolutely
nothing about marriage -- �could lead to reverse discrimination against
traditional heterosexual marriage.� HOW? With all �due respect� -- and little
is due -- to Archbishop Migliore and the Holy See, that�s a preposterous
statement and an insult to every thinking human being on the planet. The
Vatican and its henchmen have been twisting the truth -- and Christianity -- to
suit their own socio-political purposes so long that perhaps they don�t realize
that people in the twenty-first century as not as uninformed or as uneducated
as those in the Middle Ages when the Church ruled with an iron, Inquisitional
The Protestant Christian Right has been claiming to be
victims for years and have now begun calling for protection form �hate crimes�
even though they have passionately opposed all hate crime legislation. A November 20, 2008 article by Charlie Butts in
Don Wildmon�s American Family Association OneNewsNow propaganda organ makes the
activists engage in �hate crimes� against Christians
Homosexual militants have
been conducting legal demonstrations in opposition to Proposition 8�s victory
in the election; however, one Christian believes the increased attacks and
harassment of supporters of traditional marriage are illegal and should be
treated as such. . . .
Dr. Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC) is calling on
law enforcement to provide protection . . .�Had the same level of violence and
rhetoric been directed toward homosexuals or their groups, there would be
accusations of hate crimes,� he suggests. . . .
Wildmon�s American Family Association, James Dobson�s Focus
on the Family, Tony Perkins� Family Research Council, and �Lucky
Louie� Sheldon�s Traditional Values Coalition have vehemently argued
against hate-crime legislation that included gay and lesbian Americans. Their
partyline has always been all crimes should be treated equally, and that gay
people don�t deserve �special protection� since, they argue, sexual orientation
is a choice. Virtually all legitimate medical and scientific research strongly suggests homosexuality is not a
choice. On the other hand, �religion� is clearly �a choice.� One can change
religions on a daily basis. But now, those who chose to be Christian fundamentalists or Bible literalists and used
their �religion� as a means to deny some American citizens equal civil rights
want what they call �special protection� when it involves gay Americans.
The Mormon Church is
also now also claiming to be a victim. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum
of the Twelve Apostles recently moaned that �the right of free expression of
people of faith has come under attack.� The hypocrisy is glaring, as this writer noted:
a church tries to legislative its religious views and turn them into laws that
force others to abide by [their religious] beliefs, then they lose the ability
to claim their �right of free expression of people of faith has come under
attack� when people object to their strong arm methods.
It is simple: the Mormon Church can teach and tell its members to do what their
faith requires. But when the Mormon Church -- or any other Church -- tries to
compel others to live by [their] religious standards, then that church is fair
game in the rough and tumble world of politics.
Individuals who use politics to impose their religious beliefs on others can
fairly be opposed, and that opposition can include boycotts, demonstration and
the like. You can�t make money off the LGBT community, work to make the LGBT
people second class citizens and then expect the LGBT community to continue to
support your business.
Odd that Elder Ballard never complained when his Evangelical allies launched boycotts
[against] companies that were �pro-gay.� . . .
It�s difficult to use
the word �hypocrisy� and not immediately think of Louis P. Sheldon of
the Traditional Values Coalition, or �Lucky
Louie� as Jack Abramoff called him:
Washington Post reported in October how Sheldon helped gambling interests who
did business with Abramoff -- and Sheldon. In 2000, eLottery, an Abramoff
client, sent a $25,000 check to the Traditional Values Coalition, as per
Abramoff�s instruction. Then, the anti-gambling Sheldon lobbied
enthusiastically against a bill to curb online gambling. At Casa Sheldon, grease
is a traditional value.
Sheldon recently ranted
that �Every state should ban adoption of
children by unmarried couples -- especially homosexual couples (married or
not).� It�s not surprising that Lucky Louie couldn�t give a damn about what
parentless children might want or need. After all, following the terrorist
attacks of 9-11 Sheldon argued against giving aid to the surviving members of gay and
lesbian partnerships, more than a few of whom were now single parents.
In his call to make
even more children parentless, Sheldon cited the work of Dr. George Rekers,
�one of the world�s foremost experts on sexual orientation and gender issues.�
The ACLU�s �George Rekers Fact Sheet� exposes why Lucky Louie would claim Rekers
was �one of the world�s foremost experts�:
is one of the founders of the Family Research Council, a notoriously anti-gay
Rekers relies on the discredited research of Paul Cameron, an anti-gay �researcher�
who was kicked out of the American Psychological Association for misrepresenting
the research regarding homosexuality.
Rekers has suggested that gays are unsuitable to serve as foster parents
because they�re at higher risk for AIDS and other sexually-transmitted disease,
ignoring the fact that there is a physical examination required of all foster
parent applicants in Arkansas that would weed out any applicants with health
conditions that could jeopardize a foster child.
Rekers says that children are best served when raised by both a mother and a
father, but doesn�t favor excluding single heterosexual single women from
Rekers is an ordained minister in the southern Baptist convention. He has
strong religious beliefs about homosexuality and the role of men and women,
including the belief that married women should be submissive to their husband�s
leadership in the home.
Rekers practices �conversion therapy,� the attempt to �cure� people of being
Rekers has said he favors pulling children from long-term placements with gay
foster parents if the opportunity arises to place them in homes headed by
straight parents even though, as he acknowledges, research shows such
transitions are traumatic for children.
�Rekers relies on the
discredited research of Paul Cameron�:
At the 1985 Conservative Political
Action Conference, Cameron announced to the attendees, �Unless we get medically
lucky, in three or four years, one of the options discussed will be the
extermination of homosexuals.� According to an interview with former Surgeon
General C. Everett Koop, Cameron was recommending the extermination option as
early as 1983. --Mark
E. Pietrzyk, News-Telegraph, March 10, 1995.
Dr. Rekers is affiliated with the National Association for Research and
Therapy of Homosexuality, one of the leading proponents of �ex-gay� (aka �reparative therapies)�:
therapy unnecessarily tampers with the mind
therapy, the psychotherapeutic process pioneered by Joseph Nicolosi and Charles
Socarides [of NARTH], is widely condemned by the vast majority of mental health
professionals, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American
Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American
Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association. In addition,
the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of
Social Workers and the Royal College of Nursing also have renounced it. . . .
But the harmful
pseudo-science of �ex-gay therapies� is not enough for Sheldon. He suggests exorcisms:
�Lou Sheldon suggested
exorcism is necessary to �release� a person from homosexual lifestyle.�
However Sheldon does have his supporters, especially in Florida which boasts the
nation�s most discriminatory adoption laws:
group of conservative preachers representing the Christian Coalition said they
support removing adopted children of gay parents from stable homes . . .
The group, led by Rev. Paul Carbalho, [included] the leaders of three other
churches including Nathaniel Wilcox, among the most vociferous anti-gay
agitators in Miami-Dade County.
. . .
In support of their position, the conservative preachers upheld many of the
same homophobic stereotypes that were refuted in the trial, including
suggestions that gay people are likely to be pedophiles. . . .
Why are these �Christians� so willing to lie? As Kathryn Conroy,
assistant dean of Columbia University�s School of Social Work, pointed out in a
New York Times piece
following the Vatican�s �gay priests� witch hunt,
What is forgotten in all of the
hysteria about priest sexual abuse is that pedophilia is about a sexual
attraction to children (most often, regardless of their sex) and about access.
. . .
Reliable studies show that pedophiles (those adults who sexually abuse
children) are overwhelmingly heterosexual. In fact, homosexuals are
statistically underrepresented as those who sexually abuse children. . . .
Hendrik Hertzberg was
indeed correct: �Like a polluted swamp, anti-gay bigotry is likely to get
thicker and more toxic as it dries up.� Hysterical statements, fear-mongering,
and overt bigotry exemplified by people such as Mat Staver, Newt Gingrich,
Archbishop Migliore, Lou Sheldon, George Rekers, and Paul Cameron are testimony
to that process. But an ever-increasing number of Americans have had enough of
the hypocrisy, the malicious stereotypes, the hysteria of divisive politics, and
bigotry hiding behind religion.
If you haven�t seen
it, please do: Proposition
8: The Musical.
Some have criticized it because at the end of the video,
Proposition 8 supporters �give up their religious objections when they learn
they can make money from gay weddings.� To be sure, there are those who have
�religious objections� to marriage equality, but then again, those �religious
objections� are based on selective reading of the Bible, as Proposition 8: The Musical points out,
Aside from the fact
that Lucky Louie Sheldon certainly seems to have �ignored� his faith-based
objection to on-line gambling when he accepted and didn�t publicly return -- with
the self-aggrandizing fanfare he used so often in the past -- the donation from
an Abramoff gambling client, similar faith-based organizations have been using
�save traditional marriage� as a fund-raising windfall for years.
Organized religion has always been a business. It sells
�redemption� and �salvation,� as long as you do what you�re told to do by its
spokesmen. It also keeps those spokesmen living in the lap of luxury. The
Vatican is a monument to that.
let�s not confuse �spirituality� that would inexorably lead one to want
everyone to have the same civil rights and the same chance at happiness, with
the socio-political institution of �religion� that�s predicated upon an US vs. THEM mentality and, therefore, needs
someone to condemn . . . and raises fund to help publicize and carry out that
condemnation in the real world. The latest incarnation: Proposition 8.