Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Religious right spokesman tells deliberate lie on Obama appointee

Robert Knight deliberately smears Chai Feldblum
Robert Knight is a longtime stalwart in the religious right, fighting against lgbtq equality in organizations such as the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and the Coral Ridge Ministries.

He also has a reputation of either relying on junk science or making stuff up and doubling down when questioned on it. I witnessed this last year during a short brouhaha between he and I over a speech President Obama made after that awful shooting in Arizona.

Yesterday, Knight wrote a piece attacking marriage equality in Maryland. His argument was that marriage equality would lead to attacks on so-called "religious liberties."

Knight lists a few examples, but one caught my eye:

Georgetown University Law Prof. Chai Feldblum, whom President Obama appointed to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is one of the more honest gay activists.

Feldblum writes that when it comes to civil rights, "we are in a zero-sum game: a gain for one side necessarily entails a corresponding loss for the other side."

I once asked Ms. Feldblum at a seminar if it bothered her that a Christian club would be thrown off a college campus for not having gay leaders or others who reject basic Christian doctrine. She shrugged, smiled and said, "Gays win, Christians lose." I did admire her candor.

It was at that time that a warning signal buzzed in my head. That quote sounded familiar.

Feldbum never said "Gays win, Christians lose."
As it turns out, that quote was a talking point used by religious right groups when they opposed President Obama choosing Feldblum as head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Media Matters pointed out that the claim of what Feldblum allegedly said began as an unsubstantiated rumor in an opinion blog post at the Christian Post on October 26, 2009:

When asked about the rights of employers to follow their religious beliefs in hiring people, she replied, "Gays win; Christians lose."

Media Matters goes on to say that this rumor was picked up by several religious right sources including the Family Research Council. However, none of these sources said where the rumor came from.

But notice how the rumor changes.

Knight claims Feldblum made the statement when he asked her about Christian clubs on college campuses. The other religious right sources claimed that Feldblum allegedly made the statement when it came to employment.

I was able to talk to Feldblum on twitter. She said that there was a conversation with Knight after a talk she gave to the Family Research Council. Feldblum said that the following is what took place:

I said to him -- just like the govt correctly requires religious people in commerce to serve black people, the govt can require religious people not to discriminate against gay people. HE transformed that into "Gays win, Christian lose."

It's a huge stretch between what Feldblum said and what Knight alleges she said. I feel safe in saying that Knight's condensing of Feldblum's statement to him had less to do with him mishearing what she said and more to do with him deliberately distorting her words.

It certainly would be par for the course in regards to Knight.

And it is also par for the course for religious right groups to take Knight's phony claim and attribute it to other situations in order to suit their agenda.

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Paul said...

between he and I over ...

should be:

Between him and me over....

Keep up the good work exposing the lies and the liers who tell them.

Kaoru Negisa said...

The thing is, the manufactured statement is accurate, at least in regards to Knight's idiotic form of Christianity. And if Christianity stands for discrimination and bigotry, they should lose.

The people who react to that are poised always on the precipice of indignation. It is their drug, it is their life, and they are just waiting to be indignant about something, anything, to feed their smug sense of superiority. What they don't realize is that by embracing that statement, getting angry about it, they admit that the faith they adhere to is one of bigotry, making it incumbent on them to demonstrate why they shouldn't lose.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, guys, but you will loose in the end. Last time I checked, the Sun was still coming up in the East. You are perverts not because of your sexual proclivities but because of your mentality. Zero sum game, as Chai said. Normal people win, you loose

BlackTsunami said...

Oh I can hardly stand your "intelligent" and "witty" repartee. Seriously, I don't see how we are going to "lose" when you can't even address the subject of the post - i.e. religious right groups and spokespeople crafted a lie against Feldblum. Now I don't know where you come from but where I come from, those who stoop to such levels of dishonesty rarely win. One more thing. I also find your focus on our supposed "sexual proclivities" amusing, seeing that nothing in this post had anything to do with sexual proclivities or intercourse. Are you trying to tell me something about yourself and the things you dwell on?

Anonymous said...

Perverts? Says WHO? That affirmation just BEGS for some clarifications. The problem with anti-gays these days is that they can't just go out and about spewing lies about gays and lesbians, who honestly havn't done anything to them personally. People don't buy such blatant hatred anymore. Every year we gain some precious gays allies who find it horrible that the Westboro Baptist Church, for instance, is allowed to say such things as "God Hate Fags" (like they knew what God hates or not... As someone pointed out to me, how many gays will God have to create before we realize he wants them around? Anyaways).

At the end of the day, the homophobic post by Anonymous actually helps us. Because people are opening their eyes to the discrimination which the LGBT community is subjected to, and more and more people are not ok with this.

In any case, keep up the wgood work of exposing lies, hatred and bigotry!

Rob P. said...

Anonymous, allow me to quote Pee Wee Herman. "I know you are, but what am I?"

darkyn said...

No, bigot, it is you who will lose. Society is leaving racism behind and we will do the same with homophobia. You can try to catch up or you can be left behind. Your choice.

Marco said...

Sorry, Anonymous but 'Right' is the new 'Wrong'

Autumn vanetten said...

We all need to stop for a moment and look at the fact of thE matter. Since marriage equality has started to become more popular, NO ONE has been hurt(except maybe in gay divorce). Molestation of children hasn't skyrocketed and people are trying to marrying their dog. In fact, no depravity has come from these rulings! Wow!
Now, on a side note, why is everyone so fixated on this issue? Why is it 'all or nothing'? Why do conservatives tout 'if gays can marry, then basic civilization will shut down!'? Tell me how or why it matters that they can't procreate? By that mentality(marriage is for procreation and families), then couples who choose to not have children should be void. Or women that get married after menopause. Or men with vasectomies. So, why don't we look at it from a different standing point besides 'the bible-ey one'?

David said...

To Anomymous: You're right, the sun still comes up in the east... even though gay couples can marry in 10 countries and 6 states. Giving gay people their civil rights hasn't caused the world to implode.

...and I'm guessing by your firm grasp of the English language, you're either Rick Santorum or Rick Perry, trolling on gay websites. Which begs the question, do "normal" people troll gay websites?

Mykelb said...

Maggie Srivistav's posting under Anonymous just shows how right we are to continue the zero sum game until they are silenced by our government's upholding of the 1st, 9th and 14th Amendments to our Constitution.

JesterKatz said...

I've come to a conclusion that anyone whom deems themselves normal is doubletalk for flawless-paramount.

Pardon my Shakespeare, but is it not a coincidence that a man who but deems himself "normal" seems unusually dauntless that he can do no wrong; to the point where he may, nay, will gain victory?

Jason Dabrowski said...

Anonymous, The fatal mistake that you make, something you'll never quite grasp is that this isn't gays vs. normal people. Sorry to burst your bubble, but by and large "normal" people are on our side. Because, the thing you don't get is that LGBT people don't live in LGBTville. We live here, there, and everywhere. There is LGBT activity in 99% of US counties. We have friends, coworkers, neighbors, sons, daughters, cousins, uncles, sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, grandparents and even grandchildren --most of whom are straight, and see first hand the discrimination we face.
And they are sick and tired of seeing it. You're not going to convince the 40+ in my family that I'm a monster, or that some "tradition" is more important than my liberty. Or that my relationship, my spouse that everyone has met and loves is the wrong person for me.
Sorry, more and more each day, people like you are shifting yourself further and further away from "normal" people.

The world has moved on without you. You are no longer "normal".

woodstock said...

Expanding the rights of some does not automatically curtail the rights of others. Allowing women to vote did not alter men's right to vote, allowing black people to vote did not alter white people's right to vote. Allowing gay people to marry will not alter straight people's marriages. Why is this concept so difficult for some people to understand?

b-chica said...

What does the sun coming up in the east have to do with equality? Allowing gay people the same rights as straight people and not allowing people to use religion as an excuse for discrimination has nothing to do with the fact the earth rotates in the same direction it always has.

Daniel said...

Anonymous just doesn't make sense. Marriage equality and equal rights for LGBT people (and for everyone, period) is a win for all people, not a "zero sum game". The pseudo-religious idea of keeping some people in a state of discrimination and oppression to "benefit society", results in "us/them" mentality that prevents people from sharing their joys and grief, successes and failures, talents and needs. Discrimination degrades people, including the person doing the discriminating. Inclusion does not take away rights, it elevates everyone. When energies are devoted to exclusion and discrimination, we lose the contributions of devoted and talented people who make the world a better place, and we waste energy and resources to maintain barriers of hate. The only people who "Lose", when we have equality, are bullies and bigots, and then only because their dishonesty is a crutch, that they are too addicted to, to do without. Equality is not "zero sum", but more "the rising tide that raises all boats".

Rosemary Welsh said...

'Anonymous' - It's such a pity you don't have the courage to sign your name to your comment. Just as the sun rises in the east, just as I have blue eyes, so gay people are perfectly normal. There really isn't anything to be so afraid of, you know. We're all part of nature's rich tapestry. As a Christian, I know God created us all, just as we are, whether straight or gay, short or tall, black or white. But ignorance and bigotry - now they are man-made inventions and choices. As for LGBT rights, well, they are civil rights and they are human rights, and once we all have equality, then everybody wins. Best wishes to everyone! xx

Amy Lacombe said...

Ah, Anonymous. Congratulations on a well-said post, done in your full right and in the most spectacular legality. I especially wish to congratulate you on your obvious lack of cowardice - Anonymous is a great name, the name of someone secure and firm, who has nothing to hide and certainly not their identity. I especially love the point you make. Such sense, such strong quotes.. it is almost a shame you ignore the facts and reality, and seem to show a total lack of understanding. It is allright, in the end, you will be a survivor! Like I Am Legend, you will be the last of your kind in a world of happy people who embrace their nature! Surely you do not believe in Darwin, for whom does not evolve is bound to disseapear.. and in this case, you indeed are not evolving. I am sure it is the only reason that prevents you from posting your name. Such a proud, brave bigot who assumes his sub-intelligent point with a fiery grammar and eloquent vocabulary. The world thanks you.

No, seriously. Why are you behaving with the very mentality you shun in others? It is wrong for gay people to want to be gay? Should the mentality of a gay man be, "I'll marry this girl and Anonymous will not troll me." Hm, you made your point clear. Congrats.

But uh, it's so true. You're Anonymous. So in the end..who the hell gives a damn about your witless point?

PS. Learn what's a zero sum game.

wendy equal leigh said...

Dear "Looser",

It would appear that since the sun indeed still rises in the east and sets in the west, that we have ALREADY won, scientifically and otherwise, this zero-sum-game. You 'maroon.'

Jay said...

Anonymous: your arrogance is exceeded only by your ignorance. I can only echo our host: "Lies in the name of religion are still lies." Your lies will continue to be called out and your bigotry will be rejected.