Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Ignoring Barrett's relationship with anti-LGBTQ hate group is a mistake by the media

The media is trivializing SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett's (top photo) relationship with hate group the Alliance Defending Freedom (bottom photo).

There are so many issues which the media can pull from the Amy Coney Barrett hearings.  But sadly, one is being overlooked. Barrett has a relationship with anti-LGBTQ group the Alliance Defending Freedom. and the media is being rather lackadaisical about exploring it. 

One prominent publication, Mediaite, framed it as such:

Barrett spoke five times beginning in 2011 to students participating in the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a program operated by the Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, The group has successfully litigated cases before the Supreme Court including Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado, in which the court ruled that a Colorado baker could not be legally compelled to make a cake for a gay wedding.

Democrats widely disdain the organization and have sought to raise doubts about Barrett’s qualifications in connection with her past speeches. Hawley suggested Democrats were seeking to make Christians “second-class citizens.” 

“Are you aware of anything in the Constitution or our laws that say that it is a disqualification for office for a believer of religious faith to go and lecture to law students of a similar faith, in her area of expertise?” Hawley added, addressing Barrett. “I want to be careful that I’m not veering into answering hypothetical questions, but I certainly don’t think there was anything wrong with my going to speak to a group of Christian law students about my expertise,” Barrett replied.

The article is missing a lot of context and comes across as dismissive. Here are details it should have included.

For one, ADF was designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group for the following reasons:

Founded by some 30 leaders of the Christian Right, the Alliance Defending Freedom is a legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ adults in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has contended that LGBTQ people are more likely to engage in pedophilia; and claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy Christianity and society. ADF also works to develop “religious liberty” legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBTQ people on the basis of religion.


 There is also an entire webpage devoted the war the ADF has waged on LGBTQ people:

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a powerful legal and advocacy group that raises $50 million a year to push anti-LGBT policies in courts and legislatures across the country and around the world. ADF opposes LGBT equality and advocates for measures intended to make LGBT people second-class citizens. ADF is trying to legalize discrimination against LGBT people in health care, wedding services, the workplace, and public accommodations. ADF has actively supported measures domestically and abroad that would — and have — put LGBT people in jail for being open about their sexuality. Most disturbingly, ADF targets transgender kids, leading efforts to deny their existence, prevent them from using the restroom at school, and subject them to conversion therapy and other harmful practices known to increase depression and suicidal ideation. ADF has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

And according to online publication, The New Civil Rights Movement, Barrett may not have been truthful about her knowledge of and relationship with ADF.

With all of this information available, one has to ask why hasn't there more emphasis on Barrett's relationship with ADF. My personal opinion of why comes from my 14 years of writing about the homophobic lies of the religious right. Members of the media frankly don't take the time to explore these lies or how they are framed. There seems to be a laziness about the situation. It's a laziness which I've seen rear its ugly head time and time again. The media tends to frame the situation as a simplistic battle of sexual orientation versus religious beliefs. That way, they can easily dismiss the issue and move on to what they feel are more important items.

This shortchanging is a mistake because in reality, the issue is more complex and very sordid

This fight between sexual orientation and religious beliefs is in actuality a multi-faceted, decades-long campaign of malice against LGBTQ people. It's a campaign so strident that many of the proponents are willing to violate the tenets of their own faith which speak against lying and bearing false witness. These groups and their supporters will claim that their position is all about protecting faith and morality. But they eagerly and unapologetically worship at the altar of "the ends justifies the means."

It goes way beyond  Barrett's relationship with the ADF. 

This campaign was present in the late 1970s when Anita Bryant defeated a pro-gay ordinance in Florida by falsely claiming that gays "recruit" children to supposedly "refreshen our ranks." 

It was present in the 1980s when Gary Bauer (still seen as a major voice in the religious right) worked in the Reagan Administration and reportedly undermined the fight against the AIDS crisis because he felt that it was a judgement from God against the gay community. 

It was and still is present in every homophobic horror story, reliance on cherry-picked science and junk science (some from a discredited researcher who claimed that gays stuff gerbils up our rectums) that emanates from groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association which work to undermine our self-esteem and health.

It was present during the National Organization for Marriage's failed campaign to stop marriage equality when it spewed factoids about children's innocence being taken and black people's rights being undermined.

And it's present now during the religious right's double scam of making the LGBTQ community seem like anti-Christian aggressors while simultaneously reframing their deceptions against gays to specifically denigrate transgender men and women.

What also continues to be unfortunately present is the media's need to trivialize this campaign. They are blinded by the false religious entitlement and privilege of evangelical groups who claim to oppose our rights as strictly a matter of faith. Ironically, it's the same entitlement and privilege they exploit in their attempts to batter our rights, safety, and humanity into oblivion.

While these religious right groups have gotten together time and time again to plot strategy and plan action which they hope will be detrimental to LGBTQ people, the media has framed all they have done as acts of earnest,  and sometimes misguided, defenses of their faith and values.

That's the big lie. And it's way past time for that lie to be exposed.

1 comment:

Frank said...

I do not understand why other Christian religions and people of faith are not coming forward to disassociate themselves from these radical evangelicals. The silence of these denominations and religious bodies is nothing short of complacency and concurrence.