Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The religious right and the power of transference

A few minutes ago, I had a say what moment.

A say what moment is when someone says something so unbelievable that it renders you silent for a few minutes with your mouth open in shock.

Who was the culprit of this say what moment? Why my and your favorite anti-gay spokesperson, Peter LaBarbera. In a piece he wrote about the recent Creating Change conference, LaBarbera complains about a speech by Rea Carey of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

One of his points:

. . . thousands of left-wing, grassroots activists attend these annual “Creating Change” conferences; there is no parallel on the social Right for this scale of people and groups working closely together toward common goals. There are precious few organizing and political “how-to” conferences for pro-family conservatives. The Left eats and breathes politics; the Right is more distrustful of government, worse at politics, but more oriented toward God, family and church (the latter is obviously a good thing).

And thus, my say what moment.

Did LaBarbera actually say that there is no parallel on the social Right in terms of conferences and groups working together for their own agenda and the like?

Then what the hell were the Justice Sunday events in which religious right organizations whined about the courts?

Or Vision America, where pastors are "organized" to fight supposed "Godlessness,"

or those unbelievable Values Voters summits.

It's nice that LaBarbera seems to be fearful of lgbt power but his whining about organizations on his side of the so-cultural battle having no power is patently false, or to be less polite about it, a blatant lie.

At any rate, its a perfect segueway to what I wanted to write about today.

It always amazes me when I hear religious right spokespeople and organizations claim that lgbts are following some type of pragmatic plan to take over the country.

We should be so fortunate to be that organized.

I've come to the conclusion that whenever they accuse us of playing James Bond villian games, it's only to cover up just how skillful they plan and organize.

Follow me now:

The Supreme Court rules favorably for lgbts in a certain case.

One News Now, owned by the American Family Association, prints an article (biased, of course) against the ruling and quoting only so-called “pro-family” leaders such as Gary Bauer who claim that the ruling is a travesty on the country.

Other talking heads such as Michelle Malkin write columns falsely claiming that the Supreme Court ruled against them because of alleged biases of the justices. These columns are filtered
to other right-wing publications and blogs.

James Dobson (Focus on the Family) criticizes the ruling on his radio program, as does Tony Perkins (Family Research Council). Other articles are written trying to prove how the ruling will hurt America. More articles are written digging up speeches that the judges made, hinting on flimsy correlations between their ruling and so-called personal biases.

The blogs begin smear the reputations of the judges. Religious right code words (i.e. "activist judges") is repeated in columns, articles, and books.

The Traditional Values Coalition, the Family Research Council, and other so-called “pro-family” groups solicit donations making the claim that either the ruling will doom Christians and will lead to homosexuality being taught “as normal” to children or it will lead to criticizing homosexuality as being designated as a hate crime. They get people of faith who are gullible enough to believe their lies to write letters to their local newspapers (using a script of anti-gay industry talking points.)

Backdoor meetings are held and suddenly, Congressmen friendly to religious right causes begin to cite religious right talking points in speeches and on the floor of Congress.

So-called news programs (Fox News) begin debating whether or not judges have a bias against people of faith.

Talk show hosts such as Mike Huckabee have religious right spokespeople as the sole guests on their shows where they spew talking points unchallenged.

Events such as Justice Sunday fill the airwaves, scaring people of faith about a supposed plot to take away their liberties and their ability to worship.

And then they really begin to organize.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how planning and organizing is done. And folks like Peter have cornered the market on it.
How to write an anti-gay tract courtesy of Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle Bulletin is a highly useful site that doesn't get all of the props it deserves.

From a complete listing and refutation of Paul Cameron's lies to a break down of how the religious right distorts legitimate studies, Box Turtle Bulletin should be required viewing for all those interested in countering religious right lies.

I ran across something from the site that I think needs more attention.

You ever notice how almost all anti-gay tracts and talking points seem to have the same theme to them? And also how people with no credentials (i.e. Peter LaBarbera, Laurie Higgins, Linda Harvey, Matt Barber) can suddenly be considered "experts" on sexual orientation?

You too can become an "expert" on sexual orientation by following Box Turtle Bulletin's How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps

People should not only read this report, but study it for future reference.

But allow me to break down its main points:

Step 1: Set the stage

Step 2: Talk about sex. A lot.

Step 3: Use plenty of references.

Step 4: Cite authoritative sources, such as national probability-sampled surveys or governmental statistics.

Step 5: Slip in other less reliable “random” surveys.

Step 6: Cite casual surveys.

Step 7: Add behavioral statistics using convenience samples from clinical research, especially STD/AIDS and other medical studies.

Step 8: Manipulate the data.

Step 9: Use your opponents’ words and actions against them.

Step 10: Get really kinky.

Step 11: Cite a threat to marriage and the family.

Step 12: Cite a threat to health.

Step 13: Cite a threat to children.

Step 14: Cite a threat of a societal breakdown.

Step 15: Close on a compassionate note.

Oh sure, there is so much more you can do once you put your imagination to work. There are rhetorical flourishes to explore, strawman arguments to knock down, red herrings to catch and release. You can add guilt by association, urban myths (gerbils anyone?), religious condemnations — these and more, depending on the audience you’re trying to reach. With a little work and creativity, you too can become an “authority” on just about anything.

I tell you, it's easier than baking a cake!
Black History Month - did you think that I would forget

First Michael Phelps, now Christian Bale.

Somedays I am so glad that I'm not famous. You can't get away with anything these days with all of the cellphones and the like that tape your every move.

Somewhere, George Orwell must be laughing his head off.

Anyway, February is Black History Month so rather than dividing identities (which is done so often, unfortunately), I want to take this time to demonstrate just how the lgbt and African-American identities intersect by spotlighting key lgbt of color figures.

You can see a list of figures on the right of this blog, but with this list, I'm adding more detail:

Paul Winfield - Oscar nominee and Emmy award winning actor who portrayed Martin Luther King, Jr. in a 1970s miniseries. Amongst other things, had a successful 30-year relationship with his partner, Charles Gillan, Jr. - something you aren't allowed to hear about when it comes to lgbts of color and relationships.

Barbara Jordan - Congresswoman from Texas from 1973-1979, proving that sometimes good things do come to Washington from Texas. If it weren't for bad health, she would have been the first African-American female and lesbian U.S. Supreme Court Justice. She wasn't open about her orientation but who can blame her with how things were back then? Had a successful 20-year relationship with her partner, Nancy Earl.

Peter J. Gomes - Harvard theologian and author of The Good Book. When people say that there are no visible lgbts of color, Gomes's presence serves as a reminder of just how lazy they are. Visible lgbts of color are out there - you just have to look for them (i.e. that message is for you, BET, Ebony, and Essence magazines).

Wanda Sykes - I've liked Ms. Sykes since the Chris Rock Show and even through the debacle of her own show. Funny though, I haven't heard anything else about her since she came out. Where is the Advocate, if not Ebony. Proof yet again of selective visibility.