Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Perry's prayer event will put Christianity's worst on display

Texas governor, Rick Perry
Texas Governor Rick Perry will be holding a huge prayer event in August because apparently America is suffering a "moral crisis:"

PERRY: Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.

Now the optimist in me says what heck. Prayer never hurts. And I have prayed many a minute after last year's mid-term election.

However, the cynic in me has several problems with this.

First of all is this the thousandth "moral crisis" America has been in? To hear some conservatives tell it, we are always in some sort of moral crisis. What are we - a country or a character in Biblical soap opera?

Secondly, what's the deal with Rick Perry anyway? Wasn't he all gung-ho a while back with talks about tea parties and secession?

Just when did he start waxing philosophical about God and prayer? Probably the same time folks began to figure out just how bad of an economic shape Texas is in. And I haven't even talked about the teachers' protest which recently took place.

But I am most reticent about Perry's "let's all come to Jesus" moment because he is partnering with the American Family Association.

That's the organization designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group due to its penchant for demonizing and passing propaganda about lgbts, Muslims, and others who don't fit into its narrow definition of Christianity.

NOM contradicts itself on gay parenting

Today, some Catholic Charities in Illinois (the dioceses of Springfield, Peoria and Joliet) announced that they are suing the state of Illinois for the right to exclude gay and lesbian couples from adopting and becoming foster parents even though they receive taxpayer funds for these services.

Naturally the National Organization for Marriage (NOM)'s blog is trumpeting the news as a case of "religious liberty."

As a matter of fact, in posts about gay adoption and foster care vs. religious groups receiving taxpayer dollars while discriminating against gays and lesbian, NOM has been careful in its attempts to portray the issue as one of "religious liberty," rather than religious groups discriminating on the taxpayers' dime (i.e. gays and lesbians do pay taxes).

This seems to be par for the course for NOM. According to Equality Matters, the organization has posted several pieces that speaks against same-sex parenting -  the implication being that a same-sex household supposedly" robs children of a chance to have a mother and a father:"

But here is the interesting part about NOM's position on gay parenting: Maggie Gallagher, chairwoman of NOM, said during a recent Congressional hearing that "there are some gay people who make wonderful parents." She also said she thinks its unfortunate that people misinterpret things she says as a condemnation of "gay people" and their parenting skills."

This is a heavy contradiction.

If Gallagher thinks that gays make wonderful parents, then why does her organization go out of its way to undermine gay parenting?

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Harvey Milk Day turns kids gay? and other Tuesday midday news briefs

Save California: Harvey Milk Day Releasing A "Tsunami Of Perversity" In Order To Make Kids Gay - Sometimes the only thing you can do is to just let members of the religious right speak. It's highly entertaining.

Minn. For Marriage's chief lobbyist: Gays 'live in conflict with how we are made'
- More homophobia from those wanting a "civil conversation" about marriage equality in Minnesota.

BTB Original Investigation: The True Story of George Rekers And “Kraig”
- If only the George Rekers scandal took place BEFORE the homophobe ruined this young man's life.

More on Rekers here:

AC360 special report: "The Sissy Boy Experiment"

Rekers Responds In CNN’s “Sissy Boy Experiments” Tonight

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Alleged incident of gay violence in New York looks contrived and phony

I was all prepared to write something about Texas Governor Rick Perry's phony call for the nation's governors and "Christian" leaders to pray for America because apparently we are in a "moral crisis" (again) but something from my "favorite" anti-gay activist caught my eye.

Apparently, Peter LaBarbera is promoting a video from a bizarre anti-gay group the TFP (The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property) Student Action - for info about that group, go here -  which supposedly shows the group protesting marriage equality in New York when a "pro homosexual activist" came rushing up to destroy their banner. LaBarbera prefaces the group's press release about the incident by saying the following:

Folks, we’ve seen this nasty brand of homosexual bullying and intolerance so often that we’re no longer shocked by it. Watch the TFP Student Action video as peaceful TFP members shout “Aggressor!” as this troubled man walks up and destroys their banner, in Fairport, New York. Imagine if a bunch of pro-family activists did this to a pro-”gay banner” banner! (CBS, ABC, NBC, and CNN would be lining up to tell the story.)

The press release itself says the following:

As young TFP volunteers stood at the corner of Main Street and Church Street with signs, a pro-homosexualist hurled himself against the group’s thirteen foot long banner inscribed with “God’s Marriage = 1 Man & 1 Woman.” The banner, held by three volunteers, was knocked down and violently torn to pieces.

Watch video footage of the attack HERE.

The assailant also threatened to destroy the group’s cameras used to document their campaigns for moral values. “I’ll smash your camera,” he said.

Approaching another TFP volunteer who was holding a sign that read “Honk for Traditional Marriage,” the aggressor said: “Are you going to give me your sign, or do I need to rip it up too!?”

In a separate incident at the same demonstration, another supporter of “gay marriage” threw a beer bottle at TFP volunteer Michael Shibler from a moving vehicle. The glass bottle hit him on the forehead, causing it to swell and bleed. Local police are investigating both incidents.

“These bully tactics do not even slightly dampen my resolve to continue promoting the truth about marriage in charity. Our cause is noble and we will win,” said Shibler.

There are just a few things I have a problem with. First of all, while the video shows someone rushing up and ripping the banner, it has not made clear who this man is.

We don't know if the man is a "pro-gay activist" or just some random nut who doesn't like the group's outfits.

The second problem I have is the alleged incident with the beer bottle. This what the press release said:

In a separate incident at the same demonstration, another supporter of “gay marriage” threw a beer bottle at TFP volunteer Michael Shibler from a moving vehicle. The glass bottle hit him on the forehead, causing it to swell and bleed. Local police are investigating both incidents.

But look at the video at 1:37 when Shibler first announces that he was hit. Maybe it's my vision, but it doesn't look like to me that Shibler's forehead is swelling or bleeding. And the only thing we see of the incident is a bottle lying on the ground.

Now it could be that members of this group are being truthful about the incident.

But then again, look who is promoting it.

Peter LaBarbera does have a track record for trying to create moral panics about rampant homosexuals which turn out to be nothing more than incidents either set up by him or blown out of proportion by his fevered imagination - such as when he falsely claimed that GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) was promoting "gay sex" to teens on Facebook.

It's not accidental that the Southern Poverty Law Center declared his organization, Americans for Truth, to be an anti-gay hate group.

And  religious right groups have on occasion manipulated incidents of public chaos to demonize the entire lgbt community.

In 2008 after the Prop 8 vote in California, a video of a elderly woman getting a styrofoam cross ripped out of her hand during a protest of this vote was played continuously through conservative or right-wing channels as an example of how "violent" and "intolerant" gays were. Mike Huckabee even mentioned the incident on the ABC talk show "The View."

However, no one gave the entire story, i.e. the violence occurred after the woman, Phyllis Burgess, had knocked down a disabled man  in an attempt to get on camera.

By the time the entire story did come out, the religious right had gotten enough mileage to paint the entire lgbt community as mean-spirited and aggressive.

And that sounds like what's happening now. We don't know what exactly happened in the incident regarding the marriage equality protest. It could have been a incident of violence by a gay man. But then again, it could have been just random. And then again, it could have been staged.

And the beer bottle claim is extremely specious as far as I am concerned.

Folks should reserve judgement until the police investigation is done. That is if there is an investigation. According to TFP Student Action's press release, the police were called.

That's something we don't know for sure. But thanks to the press release, we do know for sure where to donate money (preferably $79 or more) to the group.

I'm just saying . . .

UPDATE - I left a message on the group's page asking for details. Naturally it wasn't posted.

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