Showing posts with label Discrimination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Discrimination. Show all posts

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Response to Donald Trump's Racism and Disregard for the Dignity of Every Black American

     Baratunde Thurston's heartfelt response to the undying Gospel According to Hate and Racism that fueled the release of President Obama's birth certificate to Donald Trump's Tea Party.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Will Right-Wing Christians Go after Interracial Marriages Next?

     46% of these hardcore Republican voters believe interracial marriage should be illegal, while 40% think it should be legal.
     No, this isn't 1966 when interracial marriage became legal in Mississippi.  This is 2011.   

     But who are these "hardcore Republicans"?

     The PPP poll also revealed that [Sarah] Palin has more support among voters who believe interracial marriage should be illegal than among those who are OK with it. Mitt Romney's numbers reveal just the opposite. He has a higher favorability among Mississippi Republicans who want interracial marriage to remain legal.
     Interesting.   

     One thing I hear all the time from well-intentioned supporters of marriage equality is "Just be patient.  The next generation is more accepting. Things will change in another ten or twenty years."  Well check out this result from the poll:


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

President Obama Finally Comes Out Against the Defense of Marriage Act & Refuses to Defend It in Court

     This is a huge and long-fought victory in the fight for marriage equality and to repeal the hateful discrimination that is the Defense of Marriage Act.  The National Journal reports:
     President Obama believes that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and will no longer defend the 15-year-old law in federal court, the Justice Department announced today.  The decision, which stunned and delighted gay-rights activists, means that the administration will withdraw its defense of ongoing suits in two federal Appeals Courts and will leave it to Congress to defend the law, known as DOMA, against those challenges. It will remain a party to the lawsuits. The law itself remains in effect.  DOMA, signed by President Clinton in 1996, allows states not to recognize same-sex marriages preformed in other states and provides a federal definition for “marriage” that excludes same-sex couples.
     In a statement, Attorney General Eric Holder said, “After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the president has concluded that, given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny”. . .
     The decision means the Justice Department will cease to defend two suits brought against the law. The first was a summary judgment issued in Gill et al. v. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services last May by the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of the law’s definition of “marriage” as a legal union between a man and a woman.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The GOP's War on Women's Rights and Poor Children; Democratic Representatives Moore & Speier Fight Back

     Do you remember October and November, when Republicans said that the election was about job creation?  Well, the past month has shown their true agenda.  One of the groups they are targeting is women.  How is this for the Gospel According to Hate?

     MoveOn.org compiled the following report:

Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP's War on Women

1) Republicans not only want to reduce women's access to abortion care, they're actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven't yet. Shocker.
2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to "accuser." But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain "victims."
3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that couldmake it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)
4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids. 
5) In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life. 
6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids' preschool program. Why? No need, they said.Women should really be home with the kids, not out working. 
7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.
8) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.
9) Congress just voted for a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.
10) And if that wasn't enough, Republicans are pushing toeliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can't make this stuff up).

Sources: 

1. "'Forcible Rape' Language Remains In Bill To Restrict Abortion Funding," The Huffington Post, February 9, 2011http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206084 
"Extreme Abortion Coverage Ban Introduced," Center for American Progress, January 20, 2011http://www.moveon.org/r?r=205961 
2. "Georgia State Lawmaker Seeks To Redefine Rape Victims As 'Accusers,'" The Huffington Post, February 4, 2011http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206007 
3. "South Dakota bill would legalize killing abortion doctors," Salon, February 15, 2011http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2011/02/15/south_dakota_abortion_killing_bill 
4. "House GOP Proposes Cuts to Scores of Sacred Cows," National Journal, February 9, 2011http://nationaljournal.com/house-gop-proposes-cuts-to-scores-of-sacred-cows-20110209 
5. "New GOP Bill Would Allow Hospitals To Let Women Die Instead Of Having An Abortion," Talking Points Memo, February 4, 2011http://www.moveon.org/r?r=205974 
6. "Republican Officials Cut Head Start Funding, Saying Women Should be Married and Home with Kids," Think Progress, February 16, 2011http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/16/gop-women-kids/ 
7. "Bye Bye, Big Bird. Hello, E. Coli," The New Republic, Feburary 12, 2011http://www.tnr.com/blog/83387/house-republican-spending-cuts-pell-education-usda-pbs 
8. "House GOP spending cuts will devastate women, families and economy," The Hill, February 16, 2011 http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/144585-house-gop-spending-cuts-will-devastate-women-families-and-economy- 
9. "House passes measure stripping Planned Parenthood funding," MSNBC, February 18,2011 http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/02/18/6080756-house-passes-measure-stripping-planned-parenthood-funding
"GOP Spending Plan: X-ing Out Title X Family Planning Funds," Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2011http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/02/09/gop-spending-plan-x-ing-out-title-x-family-planning-funds/ 
10. Ibid. 
"Birth Control for Horses, Not for Women," Blog for Choice, February 17, 2011http://www.blogforchoice.com/archives/2011/02/birth-control-f.html
    Here's Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI) speaking out against #9 on the above list, from her own experience of becoming a teenage mother in poverty.  She calls the GOP out on their claim that they are helping black babies and both parties for the gutting of support programs for low income mothers.


     Here's Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives calling the Republicans out for their hypocrisy of speaking about job creation while attacking people's private medical decisions.

Monday, February 14, 2011

St. Valentine, Patron Saint of Gay Marriages

     Happy feast day of the god Lupercalia!  He's the reason for the season of love that we celebrate today.  Back in ancient Rome (before Christianity), February 13-15 were spent in festival, performing rites to purify the city for health, fertility and love.  In ancient Greece, Lupercalia was known as Pan.  Of course once, the Christians took over, this "pagan" feast was eventually syncretized into St. Valentine's Day.  And thank goodness, because flogging one's self bloody is not very romantic.

     As straight Christian couples around the world glorify their heterosexual love in name of St. Valentine's Day, homosexual couples continue to fight for their right to be civilly married.  The financial disclosure of political donations has shown that the vast majority of the funding for the campaigns to crush same-sex couple's civil rights comes from Catholics, Mormons, and Fundamentalist Christians.  What these "good" Christians don't realize is that they are repeating the history of their very own St. Valentine.  But now, they are the oppressive majority.

     Contemporary celebration of St. Valentine's Day is associated with the romantic legend of a third century Christian priest named Valentine, who broke the Roman marriage laws by performing banned marriages for young Christian men and women.  Yes, he was fighting for the the rights of his young flock to be married.  But don't blame the Roman majority.  Emperor Claudius II's Defense of Marriage Act was only trying to preserve the sacred and historically-founded unions of those who worshiped within the established Roman pantheon (and to keep those peace-loving Christians from dodging the draft).  

     Thus, when Christians gained control of the Roman Empire and usurped the right to marry, they changed what they now claim is the unchangeable institution of marriage.  [If you don't believe me or if you disagree, that's okay.  This is all according to Christian legend, and as I learned in my Catholic scripture classes, it doesn't matter if the scriptures are historically accurate, its the interpretation of the truth within the myth that matters.]

    For losing his life in the name of marriage equality and giving "straight" men everywhere an excuse to wear pink, St. Valentine should be the patron saint of marriage equality.  

Plus, the name, Valentine, is so gay.

Image Credits
  

Monday, January 31, 2011

Inhospitable Christian Sodomite Elder Bobby Harries Denies Entry of LGBT Homeless to Church Shelter

     Elder Bobby Harris is the head of the House of Mercy homeless shelter in Columbus, Georgia. If you're homeless or in need, his religious shelter is there to offer you refuge. Unless, of course, you happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. If that's the case, Elder Bobby Harris has a few short words for you: "[Homosexuality] is not tolerated here at all."
     So much for that Christian obligation to help all who are in need. At the House of Mercy, there's apparently a sexual orientation and gender identity litmus test.
      Elder Harris spoke to WRBL in Columbus this week, after numerous activists (including over 1,000 Change.org members) wrote the shelter criticizing the House of Mercy's policy to deny gay homeless people shelter. Harris stuck to his guns, and reiterated his previous statement that the reason LGBT people weren't welcome at his center was because "of the Bible."
     In an irony of Biblical proportions, when I studied the Old Testament in seminary, I learned that mainstream scripture scholars concur that the actual "sin of Sodom" was failing to provide hospitality to those in need of a roof over their head.

     Thus, Elder Bobby Harris has revealed himself a true Sodomite.

     Many will argue that it's freedom of religion for Christians to discriminate against LGBT persons, the separation of church and state.  True.  They can use their money to be as cruel and mean to people in their pews as they want to be.  But guess where Elder Bobby Harris gets some of his funding?  You guessed it.  He's using U.S. tax dollars to discriminate.    Change.org continues:
     But as Alex Blaze uncovered at Bilerico, the House of Mercy sure looks like it receives some federal grant money, at least according to its 990 form. Moreover, Georgia's government approved a measure last year that earmarked $75,000 for the House of Mercy, via the state's Special Housing Initiatives program. That's an awful lot of taxpayer money to be giving a shelter that refuses to serve and shelter all who are in need.
     Harris' tax exemption should immediately be revoked.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lesbian Granted Temporary Reprieve from UK Deportation to Uganda; How "Gay" Someone Needs to Be to Seek Asylum Is Also a U.S. Issue

     Here's an update on my last post.  The BBC reports:
     A Ugandan woman who says she is a lesbian has been granted an injunction temporarily preventing her deportation.  Brenda Namiggade says she fears for her life if she is returned from the UK to Uganda, where gay sex is illegal.  Her initial asylum application had been refused. The Home Office said a court had ruled she was "not homosexual" and therefore did not have a genuine claim....  Ms Namiggade's case will now go to judicial review.
     Ms Namiggade's legal team asked a judge to grant an injunction against her deportation, which was due to take place on Friday evening.  The 29-year-old's lawyer told the BBC his client had already boarded her flight at Heathrow airport when the injunction was granted.  Her lawyer, Abdulrahman Jafar, said he would argue that Ms Namiggade should be allowed to remain in the UK regardless of her sexuality.  "The press coverage about her activities certainly expose her to a real risk if she is to be returned to Uganda," he said.
     Ms Namiggade, who was held at a detention centre just outside London, has told the BBC's Network Africa programme she was "shaking" with fear at the prospect of returning to Uganda.  She said she fled to the UK in 2002 after being beaten and victimised because of her sexuality.
     Before you conclude that the United States treats homosexuals, who seek asylum from their native states where LGBT persons are murdered or imprisoned, any better than the UK, read on.  The New York Times reports:
     Amid international outcry over news of the Czech Republic’s testing the veracity of claims of purportedly gay asylum seekers by attaching genital cuffs to monitor their arousal while they watched pornography, some gay refugees and their advocates in New York are complaining that they can be penalized for not outwardly expressing their sexuality. While asylum-seekers and rights groups here expressed relief that use of the so-called erotic lie detector is impossible to imagine in the United States, some lamented in recent interviews that here too, homosexuals seeking asylum may risk being dismissed as not being gay enough. 
     The very notion of “gay enough,” of course, or proving one’s sexuality through appearance, dress and demeanor, can be offensive — and increasingly androgynous fashions and the social trend known as metrosexuality have blurred identities in many people’s minds.
     “Judges and immigration officials are adding a new hurdle in gay asylum cases that an applicant’s homosexuality must be socially visible,” said Lori Adams, a lawyer at Human Rights First, a nonprofit group, who advises people seeking asylum based on sexuality. “The rationale is that if you don’t look obviously gay, you can go home and hide your sexuality and don’t need to be worried about being persecuted.”
     So basically, U.S. policy is if you can pass by lying about who you are and living in the closet, then you should.  So much for equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ugandan Lesbian to be Deported from UK and Possibly Face Death; David Kato, Ugandan Gay Rights Leader, Assassinated

     From an email I just received from Get Equal:
     Brenda Namigadde, a Ugandan lesbian in the UK, faces deportation TOMORROW back to the life-threatening persecution she fled eight years ago.
     We just found out that one of the leading figures in the LGBT movement in Uganda, David Kato, was murdered yesterday in his home. This awful tragedy makes clear what's at stake for Brenda if she is forced to return.
     Will you join more than 10,000 people in 85 countries and sign this urgent letter pressuring U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May to stop Brenda’s deportation?
     Click HERE to sign the letter.

     There was tragic news out of Uganda today.  The Guardian reports the murder of David Kato, gay civil rights pioneer and leader:
     He was known as the "grandfather of the kuchus", as gay people in Uganda call themselves, a brave and fiercely committed activist who led the struggle for gay rights for more than a decade. David Kato went to jail for his beliefs, and to court, winning his greatest victory three weeks ago against a newspaper that had called for him to be hanged.
     But early on Wednesday afternoon he appeared to have paid the ultimate price: he had been battered to death with a hammer in his home in Kampala, shocking the gay and human rights communities locally and abroad.
     Kato's friends and colleagues believe his sexuality and work are likely to have played a role in his murder. Oloka-Onyango said Kato did not appear to have been involved in "shady business or party politics, the things that normally lead to this kind of attack".
     "This is a very strange thing to happen in the middle of the day, and suggests pre-meditation," he said.
     A joint statement from several civil society organisations in South Africa, where Kato lived in the 1990s, paid tribute to "our courageous queer African martyr", and said that certain politicians and religious leaders in Uganda were "at least in part responsible for this callous murder" due to their "fostering of prejudice and homophobia".

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hypocrisy Today: Iowa's Republican House Goes after Same-Sex Marriages AND Anything Resembling a Domestic Partnership

     When the Religious Right and their anti-gay Republican (and sometimes Democrat) allies repeatedly claim that they're not against same-sex couples having equal civil rights as long as it's not called "marriage," they are lying.

     A proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution in the newly-elected Republican-controlled Iowa House is proof.

     The Des Moines Register reports:
     The Iowa House Judiciary Committee approved a proposal Monday to amend the Iowa Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages.
     The vote was 13-8, with Rep. Kurt Swaim, a Bloomfield lawyer, the only Democrat to join Republicans in supporting it. The resolution is now eligible for debate by the full House
     The amendment would not only prohibit same-sex marriages but also would deny state recognition to arrangements such as civil unions and domestic partnerships.
     The resolution reads, "Marriage between one man and one woman shall be the only legal union valid or recognized in this state."
      Once again, it's okay to lie and hit people with your god-stick, as long as Jesus is on your side.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Russian Orthodox Archpriest Calls for National Dress Code

     When absurdity rules...

      A top official of the increasingly powerful Russian Orthodox Church has triggered a storm of outrage by calling for a "national dress code" that would force women to dress modestly in public and require businesses to throw out "indecently" clad customers.
     Women, said Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, can't be trusted to clothe themselves properly.
     "It is wrong to think that women should decide themselves what they can wear in public places or at work," he said Tuesday. "If a woman dresses like a prostitute, her colleagues must have the right to tell her that."
     "Moreover," Archpriest Chaplin added, "if a woman dresses and acts indecently, this is a direct route to unhappiness, one-night stands, brief marriages followed by rat-like divorces, ruined lives of children, and madness."
     One could substitute any number of things for "if a woman dresses and acts indecently" in that statement and it would make more sense from what we've seen repeated throughout history.  For example, try the sentence substituting "a political career" or "celibacy" or "a nasty goatee" or "religious power" or "Christianity."  The list could go on and on.

     "Archpriest Chaplin's comments sound absurd," says Irina Shcherbakova, head of youth programs for Memorial, Russia's largest human rights organization. "Instead of dealing with real social issues – such as the rise of ethnic hatred – and teaching tolerance, they busy themselves with this nonsense. Most women will ignore this but, especially since Islamic religious authorities are in support, it does threaten a serious attack on women's rights."
     Chaplin's remarks have not generated the groundswell of public fury that would erupt in a Western country, but that doesn't mean it's likely to gain much public traction either, says Masha Lipman, editor of the Moscow Carnegie Center's Pro et Contra journal.
     "The average Russian woman will just shrug this off and regard it as having nothing to do with her life," she says. "In post-Soviet times the church has enjoyed much more success at winning concessions from the state than it has in winning souls.... Polls show that the majority of Russians respect the church as a traditional institution but not as a moral authority over their lives."
     Though Russians have for centuries been told what to do and how to behave by clerical and state authorities, Ms. Lipman argues that those days are past.
     "One big difference between today's Russia and the USSR is that, though the state is politically authoritarian, it no longer attempts to interfere in peoples' private lives," and it's not likely to empower the church to do so either, she says.
     If only the United States, the greatest nation on earth, where all are supposedly created equal, could practice such separation of church and state. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

South Carolina LGBT Youth Are Bullied at Twice the National Average

     Q Notes reports:
     South Carolina Equality, the Palmetto State’s LGBT education and political advocacy organization, has released a landmark survey of 1,000 LGBT residents. The survey exposes several needs and challenges currently facing the state’s estimated 117,000 LGBT citizens, advocates say, particularly among LGBT youth in the state’s public schools.
     Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents indicated they’d experienced bullying, harassment or discrimination in South Carolina’s public education.
     “The survey clearly shows that S.C.’s gay and transgender youth experience more than twice the average amount of bullying and harassment,” SC Equality Director Christine Johnson said in a release. “2010 saw a rash of teen suicides as a direct result of bullying. We should be more motivated than ever to enact legislation that promotes safe learning environments for all our children. We look to our elected officials to lead the charge against bullying.”
     The results of the survey are being distributed to all Palmetto State elected officials, including those in the legislature and the governor’s office.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Justice Scalia Justifies Discrimination Against Women and Minorities Using the Fourteenth Amendment

     When it comes to the rights of women (and, by default, LGBT persons and racial or religious minorities), Roman Catholic Supreme Court Justice Scalia has voiced his biblical understanding of The Constitution of the United States.

In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don't think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we've gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?
Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. ... But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that's fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don't need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don't like the death penalty anymore, that's fine. You want a right to abortion? There's nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn't mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it's a good idea and pass a law. That's what democracy is all about. It's not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.
What do you do when the original meaning of a constitutional provision is either in doubt or is unknown?
I do not pretend that originalism is perfect. There are some questions you have no easy answer to, and you have to take your best shot. ... We don't have the answer to everything, but by God [sic] we have an answer to a lot of stuff...
     "By God [sic]" indeed.

      Here is one response as reported in The Huffington Post:
     For the record, the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause states: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
     Marcia Greenberger, founder and co-president of the National Women's Law Center, called the justice's comments "shocking" and said he was essentially saying that if the government sanctions discrimination against women, the judiciary offers no recourse.  In these comments, Justice Scalia says if Congress wants to protect laws that prohibit sex discrimination, that's up to them," she said. "But what if they want to pass laws that discriminate? Then he says that there's nothing the court will do to protect women from government-sanctioned discrimination against them. And that's a pretty shocking position to take in 2011. It's especially shocking in light of the decades of precedents and the numbers of justices who have agreed that there is protection in the 14th Amendment against sex discrimination, and struck down many, many laws in many, many areas on the basis of that protection."
     Greenberger added that under Scalia's doctrine, women could be legally barred from juries, paid less by the government, receive fewer benefits in the armed forces, and be excluded from state-run schools -- all things that have happened in the past, before their rights to equal protection were enforced.
     "In 1971, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that they [women] were protected, in an opinion by the conservative then Chief Justice Warren Burger," Adam Cohen wrote in Time in September. "It is no small thing to talk about writing women out of equal protection -- or Jews, or Latinos or other groups who would lose their protection by the same logic. It is nice to think that legislatures would protect these minorities from oppression by the majority, but we have a very different country when the Constitution guarantees that it is so."
     From a well-articulated editorial in The New York Times:
     Justice Scalia is now getting attention for his outlandish view, expressed in an interview in the magazine California Lawyer, that the promise of equal protection in the Constitution’s 14th Amendment does not extend to protecting women against sex discrimination. Legislatures may outlaw sex discrimination, Justice Scalia suggested, but if they decided to enact laws sanctioning such unfair treatment, it would not be unconstitutional.
     This is not the first time Justice Scalia has espoused this notion, and it generally tracks his jurisprudence in the area. Still, for a sitting member of the nation’s highest court to be pressing such an antiquated view of women’s rights is jarring, to say the least.
     No less dismaying is his notion that women, gays and other emerging minorities should be left at the mercy of the prevailing political majority when it comes to ensuring fair treatment. It is an “originalist” approach wholly antithetical to the framers’ understanding that vital questions of people’s rights should not be left solely to the political process. It also disrespects the wording of the Equal Protection Clause, which is intentionally broad, and its purpose of ensuring a fairer society.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Southern Poverty Law Center Adds NOM, FRC, & AFA to List of Hate Groups; Congressional Republicans Protesting

     The Christmas spirit of love and peace has failed to reach the Republican and right-wing leadership in our nation's Christian community.  On Top Magazine reports:
     The Republicans have joined an online petition protesting the claims of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).  The SPLC recently added the Family Research Council (FRC), the American Family Association (AFA) and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to the same list of hate groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the Nation of Islam and the Aryan Nations for their opposition to gay rights.
     Republicans aren't pleased.  They are fighting back calling the SPLC "slanderous" and "hateful," saying "Our debates can and must remain civil - but they must never be suppressed through personal assaults that aim only to malign an opponent’s character."

     These are hypocritical words of the greatest degree.  For the right-wing and Christian rhetoric used to strip LGBT persons of their rights been anything but civil.  Ask those in Iowa, Maine, California, and in every other state where the political commercials funded by FRC, AFA, and NOM have maligned the character of LGBT persons, their families and their allies.

     To see the letter of those who support these hate groups click here.  You will find that the Republican leadership in Congress is well represented, so are the leaders of most anti-gay Christian groups.  Some of the signatories include: Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor, House Speaker-elect John Boehner, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Mike Hukabee, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Michele Backmann, Rep. Steve King, Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Joe Pitts, Bill Donahue (Catholic League), Lou Engle (of Uganda's Kill-the-Gays bill), Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Sen. David Vitter.

     To see how "civil" any of these signatories is when it comes to gay rights, just Google search his/her name with the words "gay," "anti-gay," "homophobic," or "hate," and see what comes up.  You might also try substituting "Muslim," "black," "immigration," or "woman" for gay to see what happens.

     In response to the right-wing's letter accusing the SPLC of  being anti-Christian, the SPLC responded:
     Booth Gunter, a spokesman for the SPLC, on Friday rejected the allegations.
     “The bottom line is it's simply not true that we attacked them because of their Judeo-Christian beliefs or their opposition to gay marriage,” Gunter told Fox News. “It's because of their continued propagation of falsehoods about gay men and lesbians that have the effect of demonizing them.” (Via On Top Magazine)
      Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Passes, DREAM Act Dies; So Much Farther to Go in Christian America

     The Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal passed the Senate over the weekend.  This a great milestone on the way to LGBT equality.  Tragically, the DREAM Act failed, which I'm sure pleased Bigot McCain and our nations' other racist xenophobes.

     But things remain a bit confusing, so let me get straight.  Here's the Christmas-state of the union:  

     The ruling Christian class has now given me the right to kill many men, but still withholds the right to love just one.

     The ruling class did not include transgender soldiers in the DADT repeal.  So these individuals are free to civilly marry a person of the same biological sex (as long as the individual has had his or her legal sex changed), but this person is not allowed to kill transgender people in foreign lands.    


     In some of the United States, I'm forbidden to adopt and care for a child, but in foreign states I can use our tax-funded bullets and bombs to blow children apart.

     All praise and glory be to the just and compassionate god of the Christians, for He is a wonderful counselor, a prince of peace, wisdom and understanding, who wears righteousness as His belt, and cares for the poor, the widow and the orphan (unless they are a different color, religion, orientation, or nationality).  Thank dog that he came into the world roughly 2010 years ago (depending upon the heavily redacted and religiously syncretized source of your choosing).  Dog bless America, where the currency, 90% which is in the hands of the upper 10% of the U.S. population, reads: "In God [sic] We Trust."  No doubt.

     The fight for equality continues.  ENDA died in Congress this year.  Obama's justice department is still fighting to overturn the Federal Court ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional.  We've scored victories on DADT and Hate Crimes legislation, but there's much more to be done in the Land of the Free Institutionalized Homophobia, Hatred, Bigotry, Racism and Xenophobia.

Postscript:
     Update on Lt. Dan Choi; his response to the DADT repeal; how PTSD landed him in the hospital.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Live Telecast This Morning: Oral Arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger

     From Chad Griffin, the American Foundation for Equal Rights:
     I’m about to enter the courthouse with AFER’s lead attorneys, Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, where the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing oral arguments in our challenge to Prop. 8.
     Witness this historic moment. Visit afer.org for broadcast information including special coverage of today’s event. Whether you watch the hearing online or on TV, listen to it over the radio, or follow it over our Twitter-feed, this is an extraordinary opportunity to hear our legal team make the case for equality.
     The hearing is expected to last about two hours, and will address two questions. Starting at 10 a.m. PST, both sides will first address the issue of standing. David Boies will face off against the proponents of Prop. 8 and Imperial County, arguing that they lack the requirements necessary to appeal the Federal District Court decision.
     After the hour allotted to the standing question, there will be a short recess, followed by arguments on the merits of the case. Theodore B. Olson will argue that marriage is a fundamental right, denying that right to gay and lesbian Americans harms them and their families, and that Prop. 8 violates our nation’s promise of equality for all.
Watch it live on CSPAN or the California Channel.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Donatism Alert: Pope Benedict's Back on the Banning-Gay-Priests Bandwagon

     The big  news last week was that, in his new book, Pope Benedict said condom use to prevent HIV-infection is okay for male prostitutes.  The scientific world responded with a resounding, "It's about time.  But it's not enough."

     But there's much more to the book, in which Pope Ratzinger's bigotry shines through, like a sunbeam splitting the clouds and illuminating a dove flying over a pair of hands locked in prayer.   

     Once again, Ben's promoting his "theology" of celibacy and priesthood, which claims celibate gay men are so intrinsically disordered that they can't properly image Jesus and should therefore not be ordained.  

     What he is saying is that the priesthood must consist of men who have renounced the love of women, not those for whom it has never been a major temptation:
     "Sexuality has an intrinsic meaning and direction, which is not homosexual...The meaning and direction of sexuality is to bring about the union of man and woman.  And, in this way, to give humanity posterity, children, a future. This is the determination internal to the essence of sexuality. Everything else is against sexuality's intrinsic meaning and direction ... Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation.  Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation. It would be extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into the priesthood who don't want to get married anyway."
     This is ironic in view of the widely held view that he himself is not a man for the ladies (as a gay catholic once said to me). It's also obviously unworkable. But his reasoning is interesting, for it shows that he understands one of the problems that compulsory celibacy has brought to the church in the West. As it became less and less common for men not to marry – and perhaps this was a result of increasing prosperity as much as anything else – the church was one of the few professions in which a gay man could remain "respectable", even to himself.
     Furthermore, Ben's viewpoint, if promulgated, will create a dilemma of Donatist proportions: Are gay priests who have already been ordained validly ordained?  If not, what does that mean about all the sacraments that they performed?  Does that mean my child wasn't really baptized?  Have I only been eating bread and wine all these years and not Jesus' body and blood?  Are my confessed sins really forgiven?  Is my marriage invalid?  Are my children bastards?  Am I going to hell?

     No need to worry, conservative Catholics.  That line of thinking is Donatism; a heresy. (Had you lived in the fourth century and believed that sinful priests' sacraments were invalid and did not confer your god's grace, you would have been excommunicated or put to death.)  

     A priest, who lives in a state of mortal sin, will someday leave the priesthood, or is later found to have an invalid or illicit ordination, still performs valid sacraments.  Why?  Because the Catholic god provides, where sinful gay priests (like me) failed.

     Confused?  I'll try to clarify Ben's anti-gay and anti-Donatist logic with a few "hypothetical" situations. 

     1.  A heterosexual priest hears the confessions of his nine-year-old students.  Unbeknownst to the children's parents and (maybe) teachers, the priest has been feeding the children more than Christ's body for the past two years.  Even though the priest is raping these children, the sacraments of Confession and Eucharist that he performs for the children still shower them with god's grace and love, because the priest, in spite of his moral failure to stop using the children for his sexual gratification, is still a vessel of god by virtue of his ordination.  To believe that that abusive priest's sacraments fail to confer grace upon the children he's raping is Donatism.

     2.  A gay priest, who has never had sex (this includes with children), retires at age 73 after forty-eight years of faithful ministry.  If Pope Benedict's anti-gay-ordination theology is promulgated, this closeted and celibate gay priest's ordination could be invalidated.  All of the sacraments performed by this gay priest would remain valid.  But, after a lifetime of sacrifice and service, this priest is thrown out, because being gay is just so evil.

     That's the logic of Pope Benedict.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pentagon's Report on Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell Released; Guess Who's Still Not Coming to Dinner

     Yesterday, the Pentagon's Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was released.  Read it by clicking here.  The Pentagon's conclusion is that DADT should be repealed.

     Secretary Gates wants the Senate to pass a graduated repeal, before the scary "activist judges" force an immediate full repeal (see the second video below).  Why is "activist" considered a bad word by so many on the Right?  If it weren't for activists who challenged their generations' affronts to civil rights, we wouldn't have women's suffrage, the abolition of slavery, religious freedom, child labor laws, etc.  We wouldn't have the United States of America.



     But not everyone in the military that was polled in the report wants gays and lesbians to be able to serve honestly and openly.   A military minority is dissenting.  Guess who's most opposed to the repeal?  Military chaplains.  I was in seminary with someone who is now a military chaplain.  Rumor was that he hit on guys left and right (and I do mean that politically).  It's okay for priests to sleep with liberals, but not to agree with them politically.  It's okay for priests to sleep around (even with men), as long as nobody knows about it.  Don't Ask, Don't Tell indeed. 

     Imagine if the Pentagon did a study of whether Female or Muslim soldiers in the military has a negative impact on "unit cohesiveness," etc.  My guess is that there would be just as vocal a minority against these groups as there are against gays and lesbians.

     The military has already integrated persons of color and women.  People of all religious beliefs can serve.  Gays and lesbians are already serving in the military.  I find it revolting that it took 267 pages for the the military and many of our tax dollars for President Obama and the Pentagon to finally conclude that honest soldiers won't destroy the integrity of the armed forces.  Apparently, in twenty-first America, honesty and integrity cost.
     Now the question is whether the Senate's Republican minority will block the military's request for repeal.  Flip-flopping hypocrite and leader of repeal's opposition, Sen. John McCain called for more hearings and study, just weeks ago.  Apparently, he's more interested in spending more of our tax dollars on preserving discrimination and bigotry than on the 9.6% of Americans who are unemployed (but remember he's for deficit reduction and is on the side of the middle class, blah, blah, blah).  As of this morning, McCain's was already making a preemptive strike against the DADT report, criticizing its parameters and accusing the Pentagon and Obama administration of not being objective.

     My prediction: the Republican minority will again block a vote on the repeal in the Senate.  Over the past two years, they have consistently shown us that they are not concerned with what is best for the people of this nation, but only with what is best for their political careers.  Right now, they are more concerned with opposing anything that President Obama supports and exposing his ineptitude than with doing what is right and good for the American people.
  

     In this video, Rachel Maddow discusses the report and names numerous Republican senators, who over the past year said they were waiting for the military's report and green light before repealing DADT.

     In this video, Keith Olbermann interview Dan Savage about the report and whether McCain will again block the repeal.