Thursday, September 29, 2011

Teacher in the middle of 'suspended for being anti-gay' scandal exonerated, may seek further legal action

Editor's note - What is the deal about this week? First the controversy about James Forrester, then NOM's phony new victim, and now this:

According to The Dallas Voice, Kristopher Franks, the German language teacher in the middle of the controversy involving a student who was suspended for allegedly "merely stating that homosexuality is a sin" has been exonerated after an investigation and is set to go back to work on Monday:

Franks is the teacher who was became the target of ire from the religious right after he sent a student in his German 1 class to the principal’s office for saying in class that as a Christian he believed “homosexuality is wrong.” The school’s assistance principal then suspended Ary, setting off a controversy that made headlines around the country.

That student, freshman Dakota Ary, and his mother enlisted the assistance of Liberty Counsel attorney Matt Krause in fighting the suspension on the grounds that Franks and the school had violated Ary’s right to freedom of speech.

District officials quickly reversed their decision, lifting the suspension.

But Steven Poole, deputy executive director for the United Educators Association of Texas, a teachers union, said Tuesday, Sept. 27, that the allegations leading to Franks being put on leave were unrelated to the incident with Ary.

Franks, who had not spoken to the press previously on the advice of his union representative, said Thursday afternoon that he had just met with Fort Worth Independent School District administrators, who told him the nearly weeklong investigation had determined that the allegations against him were unfounded. He did not elaborate on the substance of those allegations.

Franks also said administrators had given him the option of returning to teach at Western Hills High or transferring to another school in the district.

When the controversy began, Ary's family and Krause started a media blitz, going on multiple news programs to claim that Ary's First Amendment rights were violated.

NOM's newest 'victim' of alleged 'gay intolerance' is another dud for the organization

Jerry Buell,  NOM's newest 'dud' in its attack on marriage equality
The National Organization for Marriage has posted a video of another supposed "victim" of the "intolerant gay agenda" in accordance to the new group it has helped to found - the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance.

This week the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance is featuring another brand-new interview with another American hero: Jerry Buell, the 2010 Teacher of the Year in Florida who was disciplined by a public school district for posting to his private and personal Facebook account his personal objections to gay marriage in New York.

I will spare you the video (you can see it here). But in NOM's defense, the story is pretty much true. Buell was disciplined for rude comments he wrote on his private and personal Facebook account about marriage equality passing in New York. And he was reinstated.

Of course NOM conveniently omitted the fact that the controversy shined a light on a lot of other questionable things that Buell did which he could not defend, such as comments he wrote on his syllabus and his webpage:

On his school webpage, Buell wrote that he tries to "teach and lead my students as if Lake Co. Schools had hired Jesus Christ himself."

His syllabus also offered this warning to students: "I teach God's truth, I make very few compromises. If you believe you may have a problem with that, get your schedule changed, 'cause I ain't changing!" On a separate document, he also said the classroom was his "mission field.

. . . the webpage was since removed and Buell has been instructed to remove some parts of his syllabus.

And then there were the former students who came forward with stories of Buell's anti-gay behavior in class. One former student, Bryan Blaise, told the following story of what Buell said about gays in the military:

Bryan Blaise tells The New Civil Rights Movement blog that during 11th grade at Mount Dora High School, Buell was asked by a student what he thought about gays in the military.

"I tensed, knowing full well the point of view to follow in Mr. Buell’s response," Blaise said in the interview. "I looked up when he said he supported gays in the military, stunned by the answer. He immediately followed that comment with the statement that we should then put them on the front lines, and pull back. Disgusted at the thought of violence and murder of humans being vocally supported, I shut my book and walked out of class, the only time I would ever do this during my educational career."

So basically like its first example of alleged homosexual intolerance - Frank Turek, NOM's newest example is a dud.

But not a total dud. You see, the entire purpose of NOM's Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance is to pinpoint examples of how those who favor marriage equality supposedly bully/"persecute" those who don't.

But based on NOM President Brian Brown's rendition of the Buell controversy, many folks who defended Buell were those who support marriage equality (emphasis added by me):

Hundreds of Americans, even many who disagree with Mr. Buell's views on gay marriage, turned up to express support for fundamental American civil rights: to speak, to donate, to vote, to write, and to organize without fear of losing your job.

So if many folks who agreed with marriage equality supported Buell during the controversy, wouldn't that make NOM's claim of "alleged pro-gay persecution" inaccurate? Wouldn't that make the purpose of the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance moot?

Of course it would, as it should. But why should NOM let inconsistencies get in the way of making up a good story?

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Does Mitt Romney want to be president THIS BADLY?

Earlier today, I made mention of the fact that soon, several Republican presidential candidates will be sharing the stage at a right-wing conference with Bryan Fischer - a man who has said vile, homophobic things about the gay community

I also said that I am sure that these candidates are aware of the things Fischer has said but will ignore them if no one in the media brings it to their attention.

However in the case of one candidate, Mitt Romney, I am not sure that bringing Fischer's homophobic comments to his attention would do any good. This is because of the fact that Fischer has made equally awful comments about folks of the Mormon faith, which is the religion Romney practices:


My argument all along has been that the purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the free exercise of the Christian religion.

One evidence that [the Founding Fathers] were not dealing ... they weren't even intending to deal with non-Christian religions is what they did with Mormonism in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Mormonism - they call themselves by the name of Christ, but it is not an orthodox Christian network of churches, it just is not. Mormonism is not an orthodox Christian faith. It just is not. They have a different Gospel, they have a completely different definition of who Christ is and so forth, I mean, the list could be multiplied endlessly.

And it was very clear that the Founding Fathers did not intend to preserve automatically religious liberty for non-Christian faiths, so when Mormonism came along, they practiced polygamy, they believed in polygamy, just like Muslims do today. It was a part of their revealed religion. God had commanded Joseph Smith to have multiple wives and commanded Joseph Smith to go tell your wife Emma, look you gotta room, I want my son Joseph to be able to have as many wives as he wants so you're just going to have to accept it. So God is telling Emma through Joseph Smith, look you're just going to have to live with this deal. So multiple wives in the Mormon Church until 1890 when the Mormon Church told their folks to obey the law.

The Mormon Church, by the way, has never denounced the practice of polygamy. It has not. What it did in 1890, if you go back to the Doctrines and Covenants, what the Mormon Church did is they advised - it wasn't even an order - they advised the members of the LDS Church to obey the law which said one man, one woman, period. So my guess is that if those that are trying to legalize polygamy, and they are working on it right now ... [Fischer cites court case pushing for recognition of polygamy and says it the same as using courts to push for gay marriage] ... If there is some activist court that says you have to recognize polygamous marriages in your state, you're going to start seeing the LDS church, I believe go back to the exercise of polygamy. If it's legal, because all they told their folks is obey the law, if the law says you can have multiple wives, I believe the LDS Church will be out in the front of the pack.

I mean, not everybody in the LDS Church is going to do it any more than all the members of the LDS Church ever did it. It was a minority even in Joseph Smith's day - I mean, Brigham Young set some kind of world record for number of wives, I mean he was up there in Muhammad territory frankly. But most Mormons didn't do it, it was just a small percentage that had the resources to be able to do it. But I think it will come back, it will come back pretty vigorously in the Mormon Church, again, because all the church fathers said in 1890, just obey the law. Well, if the law says you can have multiple wives, they'll be back.

As far as it is known, Romney is still going to share the stage with him, nor has he said a word about Fischer's comments regarding the Mormon faith.

The question here is how can the gay community ask Romney to call Fischer out for disrespecting us when he won't even say a word about Fischer disrespecting his religion?

Damn, Mitt. I know you want to be President, but is getting the religious right to vote for you worth losing integrity or self-respect?

Hat tip to Right-Wing Watch.

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'Republican presidential candidates sharing stage with hateful Bryan Fischer' and other Thursday midday news briefs

According to People for the American Way, several Republican presidential candidates will be sharing the stage at the "Values Voters" summit with Bryan Fischer. Now we all know Bryan Fischer. He is probably the singular reason why the American Family Association was declared to be a hate group:

Let's be honest here - the GOP presidential candidates are probably aware of Fischer and his history of hate. However, since no media or anyone else has pressed them on the issue as they should be pressed, they are going to continue to avoid the subject. You see what happens when the gay community and those concerned with our issues don't make it a point to speak up about them?

And in other news . . .

Breaking: anti-gay N.C. Senator Forrester falsifies credentials – and an open letter to the lawmaker - Days after an embarrassing interview with Michelangelo Signorile, anti-gay North Carolina legislator James Forrester is exposed as a fraud.

Councilwoman Kimberly Daniels Goes On Rant About Human Rights - Truth Wins Out warned us about crazy Kimberly "Demon-Buster" Daniels and look what happens when no one paid attention.

Judge Rules Illinois Can End Contracts With Discriminating Catholic Charities - For all of their whining about religious persecution, not one person defending the Catholic Charities brought up a defense for them using taxpayer money to discriminate against the gay community.

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Daily Show calls out Fox News for making fun of Chaz Bono

Much has been said about Chaz Bono's appearance on Dancing with the Stars, with the most egregious being comments from folks on Fox News. Jon Stewart of The Daily Show takes the network to task for its hypocrisy in attacking Bono:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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