Monday, June 01, 2009

'Fistgate' and President Obama - religious right pushes a pitiful attempt of guilt by association

Members of the religious right are upset today over the appointment of GLSEN(Gay Straight Lesbian Education Network) founder Kevin Jennings as Assistant Deputy Secretary in the Office of Safe Schools.

This means a huge smile has crossed over my face. Anything that drives the religious right nuts is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. And for the longest time, Jennings and GLSEN has been the unremovable pebble in the religious right's shoe.

GLSEN deals with the safety of lgbt students and also helped to found the Day of Silence, an annual event commemorating the struggles of our lgbt youth in America's schools.

The Day of Silence has been an annual humbling event for the religious right. They have tried many times to undermine the event from creating an unsuccessful counterpart event (the Day of Truth) to encouraging parents to keep children out of school during the Day of Silence; a bigger flop than the Day of Truth.

Today, One News Now published an article criticizing the appointment via the words of anti-gay activist and Mission America head Linda Harvey:

A conservative activist says the appointment of the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network to head the U.S. Education Department's Office of Safe Schools is the equivalent of putting O.J. Simpson in charge of women's safety.

Harvey, who by the way is a former advertising executive before forming Mission America - meaning she has no credibility to make any comments about Jennings's appointment, referred to an alleged event that took place under the auspicies of GLSEN:

Harvey finds it ironic that President Obama's new "safe schools" czar is a leading proponent of an extremely unsafe, destructive lifestyle.

"They are the people involved in the infamous 'Fistgate' programs in Massachusetts where public health officials were describing dangerous, high-risk behaviors to very young teenagers," she says. "Again, this was a GLSEN-sponsored program."

Our favorite anti-gay spokesperson, Peter LaBarbera, made a comment about the same event:

GLSEN founder who presided over ‘Fistgate’ scandal; Jennings’ group has corrupted and endangered students by exposing them to “queer” perversions

I've heard about this "Fistgate" several times when trolling anti-gay sites. Apparently religious right supporters reference the event as proof that gays are allegedly trying to lead children into dangerous acts.

Like all claims of the religious right, "Fistgate" is a huge lie.

The first thing you need to know is that this situation was blown out of proportion by a familiar person - Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance.

Mass Resistance was the group behind the David Parker controversy, in which a parent, David Paker, falsely claimed that he was arrested for trying to keep his son from being taught homosexuality.

The truth was a bit more complicated. If you want to read the full story, go here.

But the story in a nutshell is that Parker and Camenker worked together to orchestate a situation in which Parker was arrested and Camenker was there to take pictures and spread his version of the story.

"Fistgate" was not as complicated but it is still a nasty situation.

First of all, Jennings did not "preside over" the so-called "Fistgate" scandal. He wasn't even there.

In 2000, Mass Resistance, entered unauthorized in a state conference, "Teach-Out," that was sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, and the GLSEN. This conference was held at Tufts University.

Included among the conference-goers were preadolescents, some as young as 12, who were (like the rest of Teach-Out's attendees) allowed to ask questions about sex in a safe environment.

One student asked what fisting was, and was answered with an explanation. This led the incident to be dubbed "Fistgate" by Camenker and others. A person working for Camenker's organization, Scott Whiteman, taped some of the students without their knowledge. As a result of the outcry that was generated when parents heard tapes of the event, Margot Abels, a state employee who participated in the discussion, and two other state employees were fired.

Abels later sued the Massachusetts Department of Education, Camenker, and Whiteman for "violating her civil rights and the state's antiwiretapping law."

In 2001, she was not only reinstated but was also given back pay via arbitration. The arbitrator, Marc Greenbaum ruled that:

Abels was not acting on behalf of the Department of Education, but said the department had knowledge of and "supported" her participation in the presentation.

He also said:

that her participation was "authorized by her superiors, and her conduct, while controversial, did not violate then-established department guidelines."

And here is my favorite part, regarding the tape:

He also said that the tape was "misleading" because portions of it, which contained "important messages about AIDS prevention, abstinence, postponement, alternative forms of sexual intimacy and the need for students to enforce their own boundaries of personal security," were missing.

So what this all boils down to is a case of guilt by association perpetrated by members of the religious right on Jennings. And if you don't pardon me for saying so, a very bad case of guilt by association.

Pitiful, pitiful, pitiful.

Is this the best they can do?

Bookmark and Share

Monday midday news briefs

Hey Maine: Do you really want to lend your name to gay 'conversion'? - As soon as we win Maine, here come the wolves.

Compromise reached on NH gay marriage bill - Sometimes you have to chop a tree a few more times before it falls.

Lawmakers reject veto of partnership bill - Two words - HOT DAMN!

Join Us! Today Is Blogging for LGBT Families Day - Let's celebrate and support our families.

George Tiller and the DHS Report - Maybe it wasn't such a good idea for the religious right to raise hell about this report after all.

GLSEN founder overseeing safety of nation's schools? - Based on the first sentence of this piece, One News Now hasn't learned anything from George Tiller's murder: "A conservative activist says the appointment of the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network to head the U.S. Education Department's Office of Safe Schools is the equivalent of putting O.J. Simpson in charge of women's safety."

Bookmark and Share

Hatred never rests

I received this lovely bit of trash in the mail this weekend via the Family Research Council. I took the liberty to bolden a few words:

Stop the Attempts to Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act
May 29, 2009 Share with Friends

"If You and Others Protect This Law, National Same-Sex Marriage Is Impossible . . ."

Dear Alvin,

In the past few months, the Left has launched an angry, intolerant rush to try to destroy America's resolve to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

They've attacked a Christian young lady in a beauty pageant for speaking out for marriage. They've been whipped into a frenzy as radicals on the Iowa and Connecticut supreme courts and in the Vermont , Maine and New Hampshire legislatures have moved to legalize counterfeit marriage in those states.

They rejoiced when the Washington , DC city council voted to recognize same-sex "marriages" from other states.

They're trying to make homosexual marriage seem "inevitable."

But it's not inevitable.

That's largely because of a 1996 law called the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). With leadership from Family Research Council and our allies, it passed Congress with 85 percent majorities and was signed by President Clinton.

Please stand with FRC Action to stop President Barack Obama and radicals in Congress from their attempt to repeal or weaken the Defense of Marriage Act.

The Defense of Marriage Act stops radical judges from forcing all of America to accept counterfeit marriage just because extremist officials in five states have legalized it.

But if the President Obama and extremists in Congress like Nancy Pelosi abolish or weaken DOMA, then counterfeit marriages will spread and become the law of the land-whether you and a majority of Americans like it or not.

They don't want to awaken pro-family Americans, so they may not use one bill to destroy DOMA. They may dismantle it piece by piece via stealth tactics such as amendments to other bills or federal regulations. There are no less than 15 bills currently in Congress that seek to undermine DOMA, many of them have been fastracked.

That's why I'm asking you to send a donation to support FRC Action's tireless efforts on Capitol Hill to stop Barack Obama and his extremist allies from repealing or weakening DOMA.

And I need to hear from you immediately.

Pro-family Americans like you passed DOMA. It was your victory-for your values. Don't let the angry forces of the fringe Left take it away.

If DOMA is abolished or weakened and counterfeit marriage is spread nationally by radical judges, then:

Children in elementary school will be required to learn that homosexual marriage and same-sex behavior are normal and good ... and that their parents or pastors are bigots if they oppose it. It's happening where counterfeit marriage is legal.

Religious charities that oppose homosexual marriage could be forced to close -it happened to Catholic Charities' adoption services in Massachusetts because they refused to hand over innocent orphans to "married" same-sex couples.

Their goal is to silence the moral voices of America. Our social fabric will unravel.

With your donation, FRC Action will work faithfully to protect marriage in Washington and the states. We'll also remind members of Congress that

the vast majority of Americans oppose homosexual "marriage"

30 of 30 states where citizens have voted have upheld marriage as between a husband and a wife

45 states currently favor keeping marriage between a man and a woman

even the radicals in Iowa , Vermont and Maine could be overruled by voters.

But we must act now to counter the propaganda. Thank you for your prayers, petitions, and contribution to stop this immediate threat.

Standing (Ephesians 6:13),

Tony Perkins

This email was sent out before the murder of Dr. George Tiller, but it still is food for thought. True Christians don't need to stoop to such ugly rhetoric to get their points across.

Bookmark and Share