Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sen. Sam Brownback (R Kansas), ponders the criminalization of same-sex attraction.

The Rachel Maddow Show, Re Uganda, December 14th, 2009

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it‘s appropriate to criminalize homosexual conduct anymore?

BROWNBACK: I can‘t - I don‘t know the specifics of the bill. I‘ve learned you need to know what‘s actually -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, just in general terms?

BROWNBACK: Well, I‘m not going to comment on something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Well, thanks, senator.
"Do you think it‘s appropriate to criminalize homosexual conduct anymore?"

Brownback took it in his mind to respond to "the specifics of the Bill" in lieu of addressing the most pertinent part of the issue---the criminalization of homosexuality.
The use of the death penalty would be greatly expanded, when the Hebrew Scriptures' laws are reapplied. People will be executed for adultery, blasphemy, heresy, homosexual behavior, idolatry, prostitution, evil sorcery (some translations say Witchcraft), etc. The Bible requires those found guilty of these "crimes" to be either stoned to death or burned alive. Reconstructionists are divided on the execution method to be used.

Bishop Harry Jackson loves like a rusty gate.

Re; DC votes to legalize gay marriage. Tip from Right Wing Watch.

RWW links to an article that addresses the DC's City Counsel's vote to legalize gay marriage.

From that article:
Opponents, however, said the issue is far from settled. Members of a group called Stand4Marriage, led by local pastor Bishop Harry Jackson, have met with members of Congress to urge them to oppose the bill...

..."If it gets to the vote, we win," he said, referencing the other states where residents overturned same-sex marriage laws.
One of the Biblical passages [1 Corinthians 13:1] Stand4Marriage quotes is thus:
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
Stand4marriage then goes on to state the rest of the verse that explains the 'true' meaning of love, (essentially, that it's unconditional).

This coming from a man who asserts in his book---The Truth in Black & white---that homosexuality is a choice [p147].

This chosen belief about LGBT persons is a common excuse to justify the non-passage of pro-equality laws.

I vote that his love is of the "rusty gate" kind.
Much more on Jackson here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Conservatives have no voice in the media.

Keith Olbermann: There is no liberal media. The media, which is, after all, owned by corporations, naturally leans to the right. Corporations, by definition, lean to the right, towards the status quo.

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Transcript update:

And to paraphrase something from the web from several years ago, written by a fellow identifying himself as Bart-cop, if Mr. Beck disagrees or Mr. Goldberg disagrees or Mr. O‘Reilly disagrees or Mr. Breitbart disagrees, and they think they‘re being crushed under the weight of this vast left-wing media conspiracy, they can go on the Orly Tate‘s Limbaugh show, where Orly will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on the Sean Hannity show, where Sean will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on Cluster Fox and Friends, where Brian Kilmeade will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on Mike Huckabee‘s show, where Mike will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on G. Gordon Liddy‘s radio show, where G. will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on Michael Medved‘s show, where Michael will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on Mark Levin‘s high pitched radio show, where Mark will insist conservatives have no high pitched voice in the media.

Or go on the Neil Boortz show, where Neil will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on the Lou Dobbs radio show, where Lou will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on the Laura Ingraham radio show, where Laura will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on the Neil Cavuto show, where Neil will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on the John Stossel show, where John will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get David Horowitz to write a column in which David will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Bill Kristol to write a column in which Bill will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Coulter-geist to write a column in which Coulter-geist will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Peggy Noonan to write a column in which Peggy will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Jonah Goldberg to write a column in which Jonah will insist his mom told him conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get John Fund to write a column in which John will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Brent Bozell to write a column in which Brent will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Cal Thomas to write a column in which Cal will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Charles Krauthammer to write a column in which Charles will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get George Will to write a column in which George will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Sarah Palin to post something somebody wrote for her on Facebook in which Sarah‘s ghost writer insists conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Matt Drudge to steal somebody else‘s column in which somebody else will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or pay Armstrong Williams cash to write a column in which Armstrong will insist conservatives have no voice in the media, and then he‘ll expense it.

Because, to conclude where we started, with Dick Wolf and “Law & Order,” “in the right wing dominated media system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the right-wing media who instigate crime, and the right-wing media who prosecute the imaginary liberal media.”

Absence makes some hearts grow colder.

TRMS, December 14th, 2009

Katy Parker, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina, explains how there could be any legal basis for removing an atheist from public office for not believing in God.
Rachel Maddow: Article six of the north carolina state constitution, includes a list of things that disqualify a person from public office in the state. Things like…

…Sec. 8 Disqualifications for office first, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

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Make sure not to let Him out of the box though, He's been known to blow a mind or two.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow addresses situation in Uganda, and she’s naming names.

Maddow's coverage on Ugandagate (to my recollection) began this Monday 11-30, and has been ongoing since. I have included the video clips of these segments as well as their corresponding transcripts for the sake of full coverage and ease of quotation.

I wish to emphasize the point that we often feel that we are “preaching to the choir” in regard to pro-gay watchdog sites.

What we may not remember is that the “choir” still needs to be preached to. Too many in the LGBT community are CLUELESS as to the threats we face in the political arena.

I was talking with a friend of mine (gay) from high school awhile back, about the threats we face from mostly, the religious right, in regard to marriage equality. He replied, paraphrased: “I think all they really want is to keep the name ‘marriage’.” A ridiculous assertion to those of us who are actively engaged in the current culture war.

I also attended the recent Anti-Heterosexism Conference in West Palm Beach and spoke with several activists who organized the nearby NARTH conference protest and this past march on Washington, and they told me stories of how difficult it was to get support and involvement with not only LGBT persons, but also with pro-LGBT groups. So this kind of apathy seems to be epidemic.

My point being, in regard to this post, is that the importance of in depth MSM coverage like this should not be underestimated. The Rachel Maddow show, I suspect, has an almost exclusively liberal/progressive audience, and so it’s expose´s like this that may help to waken some of those in our community, and allies, who continue to slumber.

A point of note, you can now edit the portions of the Rachel Maddow clips you wish to embed. I don’t know if that extends to all MSNBC shows, but it was a welcome discovery in putting this post together.

And with that...

Rachel Maddow clip from Monday November 30th, 2009

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MADDOW: The government of Uganda is considering passing a law to execute gay people. Execute as in by hanging a, quote, “serial offender” or an HIV-positive person who commits same sex act. If enacted, this law would also impose a three-year prison sentence on anyone who knows of a gay person in the country but doesn‘t report that gay person to the government within 24 hours.

Who is supporting and promoting this legislation? Well, one of the proponents is a minister named Pastor Martin Ssempa. He was a familiar face to American conservative Evangelicals, because Mr. Ssempa has been a frequent guest of Pastor Rick Warren at One Saddleback Church in California.

Do you remember Rick Warren? Him being selected to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama‘s inauguration was the little black cloud that crawled inside the silver lining that day for a lot of Americans who support gay rights.

Given with Rick Warren‘s deep involvement with Pastor Ssempa on matters including gay rights and AIDS issues in Uganda, “Newsweek” magazine asked Pastor Rick Warren his opinion of this proposed “kill the gays” law in Uganda.

Mr. Warren responded by distancing himself from Martin Ssempa, but also by refusing to condemn the proposal saying, quote, “It is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.”

In a moment, we‘ll speak with Jeff Sharlet who has written extensively about the secret of Evangelical religious organization called The Family. We first started discussing The Family on this show when it emerged as a player in, not two, but three Republican sex scandals - those of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, Nevada Senator John Ensign and the alleged sex scandal involving former Mississippi Congressman Chip Pickering.

The Family, among other things, provides well-below market rent housing for a select group of members of Congress at its, until recently, nearly tax-exempt church on Capitol Hill - a house called C Street.

Jeff Sharlet is now reporting that there aren‘t just ties between American Evangelical Rick Warren and the “kill the gays” bill in Uganda. He reports that, in fact, the president of Uganda and the legislator who introduced the “kill the gays” bill are more than just supported by American Evangelicals. They are both members of The Family.

Joining us now is Jeff Sharlet, author of “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.” He is also a contributing editor to “Harper‘s” magazine. Jeff, it‘s nice to see you again. Thanks for joining us.

JEFF SHARLET, AUTHOR, “THE FAMILY”: Good to be back, Rachel. Thanks.

MADDOW: So who introduced the “kill the gays” bill and what‘s his connection to The Family?

SHARLET: It‘s a member of parliament named David Bahati who has been very involved with a sort of conservative Evangelical revival in Uganda, very involved with a lot of American Evangelical groups and has also taken a leadership role in The Family‘s Uganda operation through something called the African Student Leadership Program at the Uganda‘s National Prayer Breakfast, which is an offshoot of the prayer breakfast The Family hosts every year here in the United States.

So he‘s got this leadership role that puts him not just at the sort of the margin of things, but functioning as one of their key men on the ground in Uganda.

MADDOW: In the big picture, why is The Family interested in Uganda? Why are they interested in operating there? And what are their goals there?

SHARLET: Well, The Family has always viewed its religious outreach, its worldwide spiritual offensive, as they describe it, in very clear geopolitical terms. Uganda, right now, is an incredibly important country for world politics. It‘s functioning in many ways as a U.S. proxy with Sudan, with Congo, with Rwanda.

There‘s oil in that general region and The Family needs to have a presence out there. They‘ve had that presence in Uganda since 1986 when they sent over a man to recruit Museveni who was then the new leader. Didn‘t look like a bright Democratic spot in African leadership. And they recruited him to be one of their main brothers, as they put it, for the whole continent.

MADDOW: So President Museveni in Uganda - he‘s not explicitly backing this horrendous bill. But it is thought that he tacitly supports it, at least as far as I can tell, and that the ethics and integrity minister in his government is vocally in favor of this thing. You‘re saying he has Family connections that go back decades.

SHARLET: Yes, to 1986. And it‘s hard to call it passive support when he‘s coming out there and saying that homosexuality is a plot that‘s sort of being imposed on Africa by Europe and that this is a time for Africans to rally together against sort of the foreign influence of homosexuality.

Now, Museveni is - the thought in Ugandan politics is that he‘s sort of letting other guys take the lead on this. But through his ethics minister, who is the main organizer of the National Prayer Breakfast in Uganda and it‘s his right-hand man - he‘s got a direct involvement.

And just last week, in fact, Museveni responded to questions from Uganda‘s main newspaper, is he a part of The Family. And his press secretary said, “Well, I can‘t answer that.” But it certainly sounds like an organization the president would like to be a part of but only if they really, really hate homosexuals.

MADDOW: Wow. That bastardization of that Groucho Marx quote is running through my head right now. Back in July, Jeff, you uncovered a video and we played it on the show, of Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, a Republican senator in the United States. He‘s got admitted association with C Street and The Family.

We played video that you found of him talking about his trips taken to Africa on the urging of leaders of The Family. I just want a real quick clip to remind folks here.

SEN. JIM INHOFE(R-OK): If you‘re a member of the United States Senate, in Africa, they think you are important, so you can always go to see the kings.

MADDOW: You always get in to see the kings. Is Sen. Inhofe or any other American politician powerful enough among Ugandan politicians that they could derail this legislation if they wanted to?

SHARLET: Well, working with colleagues, I‘ve reached out to Inhofe‘s office and he refuses to say a word about it despite the fact that he likes to boast of his incredibly close relationship with Ugandan politics. He‘s attended the Uganda National Prayer Breakfast. He says, in fact, he has adopted the nation and he regularly travels over there in behalf of The Family. Yet, he‘s refused to condemn it. Does he have the influence? We don‘t know because he‘s not exerting it. It‘s just like Rick Warren. Could Rick Warren, who has designated Uganda a purpose-driven nation, make a difference?

We don‘t know because they‘re not trying. And I think that‘s the kind of the bottom line with the American involvement. There‘s been a lot of American support for the guys who are promoting this bill and no pushback against this incredibly hateful piece of violence put in the legislation.

MADDOW: Jeff Sharlet is author of “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.” Thanks, as always, for joining us, Jeff. I really appreciate it.

SHARLET: Thanks, Rachel.
Onto the clip from December 1st, 2009:

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Rachel Maddow: [T]oday is world AIDS Day. And for that occasion, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced a ground-breaking Obama administration policy which, awkwardly enough, reverses a policy implemented during the Reagan administration that was codified into law during the Clinton administration. It‘s a law that banned HIV positive people from traveling to the United States. The Obama administration has finally dropped that inexplicable ban and one immediate consequence of that is that the world‘s largest AIDS conference can once again be held in the United States. For the first time since 1990, when you might recall Paula Abdul‘s “Opposites Attract” was the No. 1 hit.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Today, I‘m pleased to announce that with the repeal of the ban, the International AIDS Society will hold the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.


MADDOW: Secretary Clinton also using World AIDS Day to make a legacy-defining statement that the United States would not tolerate homophobia on the international stage.


CLINTON: We have to stand against any efforts to marginalize and criminalize and penalize members of the LGBT community, worldwide. It is an unacceptable step backwards on behalf of human rights.


MADDOW: And if that sounded to you like an oblique reference to the Kill the Gay‘s bill in Uganda which we covered last night on this show, yes, it sounded like that to me, too.

We are learning more today about anti-gay extremism in Uganda and its connections to American extremists. Last night, investigative journalist, Jeff Charlotte, laid out for us the web connecting the author of the bill, calling for the death penalty for so-called “aggravated homosexuality” in Uganda. The connections between him and Pastor Rick Warren. And to our favorite denizens of “C” Street, the family.

But three other Americans are also closely linked to the proposed Kill the Gay‘s law. They are members of the so-called, “Ex-gay Movement,” who back, in March, spoke at a conference in Uganda, and riling up anti-gay fervor in that country.

The direct result of that conference, according to in-depth coverage in London‘s “Guardian” newspaper, was this bill that‘s now before the Ugandan parliament. So, who were the Americans who went to Uganda to stir up anti-gay fervor? And why are at least two of them now distancing themselves from the harsh consequences of their rhetoric? We‘ll have much more about them on tomorrow night‘s show, you may want to clear your schedule.
And finally, the most recent clip from December 2nd, 2009:

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Transcript mine:

Rachel Maddow: Bill number 18, The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, section 2, subsection 2: A person who commits the offense of homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.

Section 3, subsection 2: A person who commit’s the offense of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to suffer death.

Section 4, subsection 1: A person who attempts to commit the offense of homosexuality commits a felony, and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for 7 years.

If you attempt to commit aggravated homosexuality, that’s life imprisonment.

Then there’s Section 13, subsection 1B: A person who funds or sponsors homosexuality is liable on conviction to a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 7 years imprisonment.

Then there’s Section 14: Where if you know if someone who’s gay, you can get 3 years for not reporting that person to the authorities.

Then there’s section 16, where they will extradite their citizens from anywhere in the world, back to this country for prosecution if that citizen commits any of these crimes of homosexuality, somewhere else on God’s green Earth.

This is Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 [PDF, courtesy Warren Throckmorton, via the Rachel Maddow show]. It was introduced this fall after 3 American evangelical activists, who proclaim that homosexuality can be cured, traveled to Uganda this spring to lead an anti-homosexuality inspirational seminar. The more we investigate, the more Americans we’ve turned up with links to this, so I will warn you that you can expect some continuing coverage from us on this issue.

But tonight, we’ve obtained some reactions from the three anti-gay American activists who’s travel to Uganda is credited with inspiring the kill-the-gays legislation.

They are Don Schmierer of the group Exodus International, a group that claims that Christianity can cure you of being gay. Also, Caleb Lee Brundidge of the group The International Healing Foundation, which also says that it tries to change gay people into straight people. And there’s Scott Lively, president of a group called Defend the Family, and author a book call The Pink Swastika.

These are the three American anti-gay gay-people-can-be-cured speakers who traveled to Uganda earlier this year, and who are credited with having inspired the kill-the-gays bill that is being considered in that country now.

Mr. Schmierer has said the he is opposed to the kill-the-gays legislation, and he says that he’s signed onto a letter to Uganda’s president, against it.

The group with which Mr. Brundidge is associated, first, denied knowing anything about the bill’s existence, and asked us for a copy of it. After we emailed them the legislation, they issued a statement that quote “We condemn any harsh and extreme punishment of persons who identify as homosexual or engage in homosexual behavior. Instead, we advocate education and counseling for those who experience unwanted Same-Sex Attraction.”

Education and counseling to cure you of ’the gay.’

Then there’s the last one, Mr. Scott Lively, the Pink Swastika guy. He told Lifesite that the law is too harsh, but quoting “Dr. Lively explained that the impetus for the bill was "a lot of external interference from European and American gay activists attempting to do in Uganda what they've done around the world - homosexualize that society." One of their main concerns, explained Mr. Lively, "are the many male homosexuals coming in to the country and abusing boys who are on the streets."

So I mean, can you really blame them? I mean, of course Uganda wants to execute people for being gay. May be a little harsh, but it’s a normal reaction to all this pressure they’ve been getting. Can you blame them?

We thank Mr. Lively, Mr. Schmierer, and Mr. Brundidge, for giving us their reactions to the bill they reportedly inspired, to the extent that they responded to our calls for comment.

If American anti-gay activists inspired this bill, are there other Americans who have the clout to stop it from passing? You bet there are, and it turns out that a lot of them are household names. And so far, as far as we can tell, they have done nothing. We continue to investigate this, our next segment on the kill-the-gays bill tomorrow will familiarize you with some of the Americans who probably could stop this, who apparently don’t want to. That’s tomorrow.
So stay tuned. Literally, The Rachel Maddow show airs on MSNBC @ 9E 8C

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When Goodness is a Sin

Citizenlink 11-30-09: Humanist Group Wages War on Christmas
The American Humanist Association has launched a nationwide promotion to undermine Christmas. The "National Godless Holiday" campaign includes a series of bus and rail ads that take a swipe at the Christmas celebration, exhorting people to "Be Good for Goodness' Sake."
Oh the humanity. What a bad thing it is to "Be Good for Goodness' Sake." Unlike those who need to be told by the Bible to be good. How ever will supremacist Christians regain their monopoly on goodness?

According the The American Humanist Association, they are "driven by a desire to meet the needs of people in the here and now, and "The positions we hold and the actions we take are not simply for our own benefit, but for the betterment of all of society."

Pretty ominous, eh?

Back to the Citizenlink article:
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, said the ads are insensitive and mean.

"It is wrong to belittle Jews for celebrating Hanukkah during the holiday season, and it is wrong to offend all religions during Christmas."
Of course, Jews and the members of all other religions are going to burn in a lake of fire for all eternity---by a loving god no less. But that doesn't discourage Staver and Focus on the Family from exploiting them--No doubt for goodness' sake.

And as far as “insensitive and mean” goes, that’s quite rich coming from Matt Staver. This is a man who argued in front of the California Supreme Court to deny marriage equality.

One of his arguments was thus:
Same sex relations will not accidentally, unintentionally, in an unplanned fashion, produce children.
This is also a man who penned a book called “Same-Sex Marriage: Putting Every Household at Risk." A book that contains some of the most hateful and vile rhetoric and slander that I have ever read in an anti-gay book.

In Chapter 3: Our Children At Risk, he had this to say on p46:
Another study found a significant increase in the risk of incest among children raised by homosexual parents. “A disproportionate percentage---29 percent of the adult children of homosexual parents had been specifically subjected to sexual molestation by that homosexual parent, compared to only 0.6 percent of the adult children of heterosexual parents having reported sexual relations with their parent…Having a homosexual parent(s) appears to increase the risk of incest with a parent by a factor about 50.” (92)
And what does footnote 92 list as its source, you ask. *drum roll please*…The long-time discredited lord of virulently anti-gay fake studies, Paul Cameron.
Psychopath: A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.