20 May 2010

...and The Truth Spills Forth...

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a HUGE Melissa Etheridge fan. Since the first time I saw her on the big screen TV in the bar of the Jolly Roger restaurant, I was hooked. I was a 19 year old gay girl who didn't really feel like I fit in anywhere, and as she wailed about burning alive and needing some water, I felt an instant connection. Since the Jolly Roger Restaurant was located inside the local mall, I immediately got up and walked to the nearest music store to purchase her first CD. I took it home and listened to it over and over. It was amazing...here was someone who's music described EXACTLY how I felt and who I was. It was as if she KNEW me...the real me - deep down inside. For awhile it was like I had my very own passionate scribe...jotting down the intimate details of my life, feelings and all, and setting them to this amazing hard edged, rocking music...it was true love.

I have remained a fan throughout the years, amassing every CD I could get my hands on, and seeing her in concert no less than 9 times over the course of our 20 year one-sided relationship. Through her music, I've been able to watch from afar as she has come out publicly, become involved with a director (sweeping her off her feet and right out of the arms of Lou Diamond Phillips, no less), co-parent two children, suffer a painful break up with the director after many years, after time become involved with a much younger actress, become an advocate for marriage equality, get cancer, beat cancer, and co-parent two more children with said actress. I have been proud to call her my favorite artist and proud that she has unabashedly stood up and used her voice to push for equality.

Now, after nine years she is leaving the actress and I have to admit, my faith in Melissa is...well, shaken. Small peeks into the mind of the actress have shown me that Melissa may not be the woman I have always thought her to be. Consider this: for the last few months the actress - Tammy - who maintains a public blog (here's a link to her most recent post: http://hollywoodfarmgirl.blogspot.com/2010/05/no-more-censorship-for-me.html) she uses to write cute little anecdotes about her children, create sometimes good, sometimes not so good poetry, and pen the occasional post with references to her rock- star-wife-who-shall-remain-nameless, has begun writing posts that truly appear to be from her heart. Granted they are somewhat vague, filled with innuendo and angst and often make her appear somewhat bi-polar, but nonetheless, they appear genuine. She is a woman who has been smacked in the face with the reality that her wife is no longer in love with her, and has sought life elsewhere. As someone who has been through the earth shattering pain of a non-mutual break up, my heart hurts for her. It is difficult to observe that kind of pain and not feel a little heartsick.

In public statements and interviews, Melissa has claimed 'it's a mutual thing,' 'Tammy is a wonderful woman and mother', blah, blah, on and on. On her blog, Tammy indicates that there is nothing mutual about it, and I'm not sure which I think is worse...leaving your wife and children for someone else, or lying about it. I'm not so sure I want an advocate for marriage who isn't willing to make her marriage work, has chosen to cheat on her wife, and then lies to the public about it. It sounds too much like the people who's opinion I completely discount - the vocal anti-equality advocates who think they have a right to decide if I am worthy of marriage. It's not the multiple marriages and indiscretions that are public and on display for all to see that bothers me so much as the fact that THEY are the ones who yell the loudest about 'protecting the sanctity of marriage' and base their opinions on their so-called 'family values' that truly enrages me. I think people should walk their talk and right now, Melissa, YOU are not walking your talk...

Sorry Melissa...your star has become a bit - tarnished.

01 December 2009

The War on Those Who Don't Support the 'War on Christmas'

I got this in an email earlier today:

Pass this on to your church, co-workers, family, and friends. What do you have to lose but 44 cents, what do you have to gain ----------- more than you will ever know.
What a clever idea!
Yes, Christmas cards. This is coming early so that you can get ready to include an important address to your list.

Want to have some fun this CHRISTMAS? Send the ACLU a CHRISTMAS CARD this year.

As they are working so very hard to get rid of the CHRISTMAS part of this holiday, we should all send them a nice,

CHRISTIAN card to brighten up their dark, sad, little world..

Make sure it says "Merry Christmas" on it.

Here's the address, just don't be rude or crude. (It's not the
Christian way, you know.)

125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York , NY 10004

Two tons of Christmas cards would freeze their operations because they wouldn't know if any were regular mail containing contributions. So spend 44 cents and tell the ACLU to leave Christmas alone. Also tell them that there is no such thing as a " Holiday Tree". . ... It's always been called a CHRISTMAS TREE!

And pass this on to your email lists. We really want to communicate with the ACLU! They really DESERVE us!!

For those of you who aren't aware of them, the ACLU, (the American Civil Liberties Union) is the one suing the U.S. Government to take God, Christmas or anything Christian away from us. They represent the atheists and others in this war. Help put Christ back in Christmas!

I've noticed that Christians just LOVE to hate the ACLU, until it's THEIR rights that the ACLU is defending. Have any of the people who continue to forward these chain emails around even checked out the ACLU? They defend all kinds of freedom issues, including a Christian's right to free speech. Check these links out:



I really don't believe that it is about 'getting rid of the Christmas part of the holiday'...that is an extremely limited view of the freedom of religion 'debate,' designed to divert attention from the real issues by stirring up negative feelings - it's kind of like asking 'Why do you hate America' to a person who is against the war - dramatic and emotionally baiting, but not really truthful, if you think about it.

In reality, it's about respecting everyone's right to practice the religion of their choice, even no religion at all. There ARE countries in the world where there is government-mandated religion and the laws are made based on that religion...I believe we're at war with a couple of them, and I for one would hate to live in a place where I could be executed for violating the religious rules, wouldn't you? In America, civil law should not be dicated by any one groups' religious beliefs, and when it is, groups like the ACLU are there to defend our rights.

As for me...thanks, but I'll keep on supporting groups like the ACLU who fight to protect my civil liberties, and protect the personal freedom to choose my religion.

10 June 2009

Wayne Besen: Love Won Out, What's the Point?

I'm a huge fan of activist and author Wayne Besen, who devotes himself to exposing the lies told by proponents of  so-called 'ex-gay therapy' and countering them with truthful, factual information.  Here's his most recent Weekly column:

Weekly Column
June 9, 2009

Really, What's Their Point?

I'm on my way to Grand Rapids, Michigan to give a presentation at Grand Valley State University on the harm caused by the "ex-gay" industry. My speech, followed by a panel discussion, is in response to Focus on the Family's traveling road show, Love Won Out, which will be in town on Saturday. Having countered several of these conferences, I must confess, I still don't understand what point they are trying to make.

If Focus on the Family's goal is to convert gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people into evangelical Christians, they are doing a lousy job. It seems convincing gay people to end their relationships is a far higher priority to this ministry than having gay people develop personal relationships with Jesus Christ.

For every guilt-ridden homosexual who temporarily falls under their spell, they lose hundreds, if not thousands, of gay people who view their conversion program as intolerant. If your ministry causes many gay people to write off not just Christianity, but all religion, by what measurement can you consider your evangelizing a success?

At Love Won Out, speakers go to great lengths to profess their deep concern over the mental and physical well being of homosexuals. It turns out, however, that the anti-gay sentiment expressed at these conferences may be hazardous to the health of GLBT people.

A new Emory University study concludes that the bans on same-sex marriage pushed by Focus on the Family c a n b e tied to a rise in the rate of HIV infection. The scientists found that a constitutional ban o n marriage equality raised the rate by 4 cases per 100,000 people.

"We found the effects of tolerance for gays on HIV to be statistically significant and robust, they hold up under a range of empirical models," says Hugo Mialon, an assistant professor of economics. "Intolerance is deadly," Mialon said. "Bans on gay marriage codify intolerance, causing more gay people to shift to underground sexual behaviors that carry more risk."

Earlier this year, a study by San Francisco State's Caitlin Ryan concluded that "teens who experienced negative feedback (when they came out) were more than eight times as likely to have attempted suicide, nearly six times as vulnerable to severe depression and more than three times at risk of drug use."

So, if Love Won Out is truly concerned about the health of gay people, particularly teenagers, it will transform into a gay affirming ministry. To continue down their destructive path of judgmental condemnation is senseless and significantly harmful to the very GLBT people that Focus purports to want to help.

Of course, Focus on the Family will insist that they love gay people and just want to help those who are unhappy. But, isn't it a conflict of interest when you lobby to pass anti-gay laws that make gay people miserable and then offer yourself up as the panacea to the pain? Is it not hypocritical to sponsor a conference supposedly about love, where the main speaker is Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International?

Chambers hosts a Christian television show, Pure Passion, which pollutes the airwaves by repeatedly calling gay people "sexually broken" and "perverse." Exodus also sells "Pursuing Sexual Wholeness" a book authored by Andy Comiskey that says, "Satan delights in homosexual perversion." Such pronouncements are often accompanied by exorcisms given by churches affiliated with ex-gay ministries. Obviously, such extreme actions are anathema to creating a welcoming church environment for GLBT people.

Focus on the Family also claims its conferences are for parents, friends, family members or ministry leaders who want to "lovingly reach out with uncompromised faith."

Genuine love, of course, requires making the very compromises and sacrifices that Love Won Out is telling people are unnecessary. Rejecting a friend or family member's innate sexual orientation as sinful and defective, rarely leads to a healthy relationship based on trust and mutual respect.

Finally, the investigative reporter Thomas Maier just released a groundbreaking book, "Masters of Sex." In it, he reveals that the famed sex research team, Masters and Johnson, had fabricated claims of curing gay people in their 1979 book, "Homosexuality in Perspective." Given this vital new information, why hasn't Focus on the Family taken the opportunity to review and question the validity of its program? Wouldn't that be the moral course of action to take?

The hard truth is, Focus on the Family's leaders are only capable of loving people exactly like themselves, which explains their tremendous efforts to remake gays in their image. While their splashy road show may get high marks for good theatre, it's ultimately futile because their transparent version of "love" rarely wins converts and succeeds only at convincing most gay people to run out of the church door.

© 2009 Wayne Besen. All rights reserved.
Anything But Straight | www.waynebesen.com

27 May 2009

Won't Back Down!

Thanks for posting this video on your blog, Sarah!

One More Reason Why I LOVE my Church:

PSR faculty and staff arrested following Prop. 8 decision

Written by Wire Reports
May 27, 2009
Four clergy members on the faculty and staff of the UCC related Pacific School of Religion (PSR) were arrested near City Hall in San Francisco in acts of civil disobedience following the California Supreme Court's decision to uphold a constitutional amendment that denies the full equality of same-sex couples under the law.

Those arrested were the Rev. Jeffrey Kuan, associate professor of Old Testament at PSR; the Rev. Deborah Lee, program director of PSR's PANA Institute (Institute for Leadership Development and Study of Pacific and Asian North American Religion); the Rev. Nicole Naffaa, director of recruitment and admission for the multidenominational Christian seminary; and the Rev. Roland Stringfellow, who serves as a program coordinator at PSR's Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS).

The four, along with other PSR faculty, staff, students and alums, had marched behind a banner stating "Faith demands justice! Marriage Equality Now!" at a rally held in advance of the court ruling.

"Just over a year ago, the California Supreme Court ruled that the right to marry the person of one's choosing, regardless of gender, is one of the fundamental rights embodied in the California Constitution," said Bill McKinney, president of PSR. "Now the court has declared that this fundamental right can be overturned by a simple majority vote. This has grave consequences for all Californians, who must now wonder if their fundamental rights can be voided at the ballot box. This is a situation that cries out for justice to be restored."

Mary A. Tolbert, executive director of CLGS, said, "The court has done a grave injustice not just to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people but to all the people of California. We continue to pray for the prophetically predicted day when 'justice rolls down like water, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.' "

PSR encourages clergy and worship leaders to address the theological, social and emotional effects of the court decision during upcoming worship services, and encourages all faith communities to continue to work to affirm the civil rights of all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals.

"There's a critical difference between marriage as a civil contract and marriage as a religious covenant," Tolbert said. "Every faith community, regardless of stance on religious recognition of same-sex relationships, has a stake in securing equal access to the benefits of this civil contract. California should not tolerate second-class status for any of its citizens. Neither should people of faith. Ultimately, it's a question of equal rights, not religion."

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at PSR provides training and education to help faith communities that work for full inclusion of same-sex couples in religious celebrations of marriage.

A number of faith traditions currently bless same-sex relationships, including Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the United Church of Christ, the Metropolitan Community Churches, some congregations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), some Episcopal churches and some Baptist churches. The web-based CLGS Marriage Project is designed to assist religious communities in these efforts.

05 May 2009

Maine and Washington, D.C.

Today, Maine's House passed the Marriage Equality Bill by a vote of 89-56. It's now on it's way back to the Senate (who voted to pass it once already) for a quick review and vote. After that it heads to the Governor's desk. He hasn't indicated whether or not he will sign it, but he does apparently have a strong history of LGBT support.

Also, the Council in Washington, D.C. voted today 12-1 to recognized ALL marriages performed in other states, including states who practice marriage equality. It now moves to the LGBT friendly Mayor's desk for approval, and will be presented to Congress, as D.C.'s laws are subject to a 30 day congressional review period. The lone dissenting vote? Former Mayor Marion Berry. You know, the one who has been married four times, caught on camera with a prostitute while smoking crack, evades his taxes and spent some quality time behind bars for his crimes? He has now come out and called himself a 'moral leader' at a recent anti-marriage equality rally. Nice.

04 May 2009

Where is the shock, moral condemnation and outrage?

Dear EmailNation Subscriber,

Forced child marriage is a pervasive human rights violation that puts young girls around the world at terrible risk. To combat this our friends at CARE are sponsoring a campaign to ensure passage of the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act. Please follow the links below for more information and to implore your elected reps to support this bill.

All best,
Peter Rothberg
The Nation

This came to my email today. It got me thinking...I see all those groups who claim to want to 'protect marriage and families' by demanding that we deny same gender couples the right to marry based on 'tradition' and 'biblical values.' But tell me this - where is the outrage when we hear things like this? Where was the moral condemnation and activist actions when the courts in another country denied an 8-year-old girl's petition to have her arranged marriage annulled? Where was the outspoken condemnation when a group with a certain religious affiliation was found to be practicing polygamy and 'marrying' off multiple teen girls to one 'husband' in the name of God? Where was the complete and utter freak out when the catholic church actively sought to cover up the repeated sexual abuse of young children? In fact, where was this outrage when the Pope actually ADMITTED this, and apologized for it? Sure, they may make statements about it, maybe mention what a shame it is that this is happening in the world and even in our own country, but do you see them actively working to change these atrocities with the same ferocity that they use while focusing their attention on enacting marriage bans and such?

Imagine what would happen if these groups who say their goal is only to 'protect marriage' and 'strengthen families' actually DID want to protect it...wouldn't the focus be on things that actually DAMAGE marriage and HURT children, like divorce, domestic violence, or the abuse of young people in a variety of ways while hiding behind the name of God, and not on two people who love each other and just happen to be the same gender wanting to marry?

Maybe these groups should put just HALF of the energy they spend trying to deny the right of a qualified, ordinary, tax paying American citizen to be married to the qualified, ordinary, tax paying American citizen of their choice into combating these problems. Wouldn't that really be protecting marriage and supporting families?

It baffles me. Truly.

Just have to share this graphic from Pam's House Blend

How can a religion who claims to have the most followers in America turn around and claim they are being oppressed?  It makes no sense, and makes people like Stephen Baldwin, who has designated himself the poster child for biblical correctness, look like a total idiot. 

01 May 2009

From GA Equality: Hate Crimes Passes Congress- How GA Lawmakers Voted

Hate Crimes Passes Congress- How GA Lawmakers Voted-

This week, an historic Pro-LGBT Hate Crimes bill passed in the
US House of Representatives by a vote of 249 to 175. It now
moves to the Senate and then to President Obama, who has stated
that he fully supports it. If passed, this bill would create the
first federal protections for LGBT Americans by adding sexual
orientation, gender identity, gender and disability to existing
federal hate crimes law.

Here is a list of how Georgia Representatives voted - please
thank those who voted Yes on this important legislation.

Yes Representative Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D - 02)

Yes Representative Hank Johnson (D - 04)

Yes Representative John Lewis (D - 05)

Yes Representative Jim Marshall (D - 08)

Yes Representative John Barrow (D - 12)

Yes Representative David Scott (D - 13)

No Representative Jack Kingston (R - 01)

No Representative Phil Gingrey (R - 11)

No Representative Paul C. Broun (R - 10)

No Representative Nathan Deal (R - 09)

No Representative John Linder (R - 07)

No Representative Tom Price (R - 06)

No Representative Lynn Westmoreland (R - 03)

28 April 2009

Walt Whitman High Students in Maryland Respond to WBC's Message of Hate

This is the counter-protest by students in response to the arrival of 7 protesters from the Westboro "Baptist Church." It's a shining example of what happens when young people aren't taught from day one that being LGBTQ is a shameful thing they must hide. When young people who are LGBTQ are accepted for who they are by those who are closest to them - parents, friends, teachers - they stand up for themselves and put hateful bigotry in it's rightful place - silenced.

Kudos to Walt Whitman High School and it's students, faculty, parents and friends.

27 April 2009

One more reason why I love the UCC: JPANet: Support Vital Hate Crimes Prevention Laws!

Home: Justice and Witness Ministries

A hate crime occurs when the perpetrator of the crime intentionally selects the victim because of who the victim is. Hate crimes rend the fabric of our society and fragment communities by targeting a group of people, not just the individual victim. A law protecting all of our citizens against senseless hate violence is long overdue.
Current hate crime statutes offer no federal protection against bias motivated crimes rooted in sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability. The Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1913) would include these categories and permit federal authorities to help investigate and prosecute cases when local authorities are unable or unwilling to do so.
Tell Congress that now is the time to ensure protection for all people and all communities against bias motivated crimes!
The sacred scriptures of many different faith traditions speak with dramatic unanimity on the subject of hate. Crimes motivated by hatred or bigotry are an assault not only upon individual victim’s freedoms, but also upon a belief that lies at the core of our diverse faith traditions - that every human being is created in the image of God.

A vote is just days away. It's up to us to demand that Congress help protect our communities from the terror and brutality of hate-driven violence.
Some critics of this legislation have erroneously asserted that enactment of the measure would prohibit the lawful expression of one’s deeply held religious beliefs. These fears are unfounded. H.R. 1919 does not in any way violate the First Amendment protections of offenders. Hate crime laws do not restrict free speech. They target only violent criminal activity motivated by prejudice.
Make sure Congress hears from you. Email here or Call 866-346-4611 (TOLL FREE)* and tell your member of Congress to vote for the Matthew Shepard Act.
* Phone number made available Monday-Wednesday, April 27-April 29 by our friends at LCCR

Fight Hate Now part 2: Response From Congressman David Scott

Unlike Saxby Chambliss, here is an example of someone who gets it...
Thank you, Congressman Scott! 

From: Congressman David Scott <imaga13@mail.house.gov>
Date: Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 9:08 AM
Subject: Response From Congressman David Scott

 Dear Kristi:


Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. I am honored to have the opportunity to respond to you on such an important issue.


I recognize your concern with respect to hate crime legislation. I personally, along with all of my fellow Democratic colleagues, support preventing acts of crime in all circumstances. I also feel strongly that a responsible society must identify and strive to protect individuals and groups most vulnerable to bias-motivated crime. In the past, I have co-sponsored bills to end hate crimes against gays and lesbians and supported a policy to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, religion, or race. You recently expressed a concern for H.R. 1913, which would provide federal assistance to states, local jurisdictions and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes. We must do what we can to promote a society that values liberty and free expression and where all Americans possess equal protection under the law. As you may already know, H.R. 1913 is under review by the House Judiciary Committee. Though I am not a member of this committee, please be assured that should this legislation come to the House floor, I will be sure to keep your views in mind while voting. 


I appreciate that you contacted me to share your thoughts. I hope you will continue to give me the benefit of your opinion in the future. Also, I encourage you to visit my website at http://davidscott.house.gov, where you can view the latest news and obtain information on issues and legislation that are important to you. You can also sign up for my electronic newsletter, and receive periodic updates on my activities as your representative in Washington. I thank you again for contacting me, and I look forward to continuing to serve you.



David Scott

Member of Congress


"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."  - Anne Lamott

23 April 2009

Fight Hate Now

Angie Zapata
On July 16, 2008, in Greeley, Colorado, Angie Zapata, 20, was fatally beaten after her date discovered she was transgender. Her body was discovered on July 17th, by her sister.

Jose and Romel Sucuzhanay
The two brothers from Ecuador had attended a church party and had stopped at a bar afterwards. While walking home arm-in-arm, a car pulled up and three men came out of the car shouting anti-gay and anti-Latino epithets at the brothers.

Lawrence King
Lawrence King, a 15 year old junior high student, was shot and killed on school grounds on Tuesday, February 12, 2008. King, who self-identified as gay, had recently been harassed at school by students for having painted nails and wearing feminine accessories.

Ryan Skipper
Ryan Keith Skipper, 25, was brutally stabbed to death in Eloise, Florida. The suspected killers, 20 year old David Brown and 21 year old Joseph Bearden, are in custody and the investigation is proceeding as a hate crime.

Sean Kennedy
Sean William Kennedy was punched in the face by Stephen A. Moller as he used anti-gay slurs. The blows caused Kennedy to fall and strike his head on the pavement and he died later in the hospital.

Duanna Johnson
Duanna Johnson was arrested on charges of prostitution and was sitting in a chair in a holding area at the Shelby County Jail at 201 Poplar Avenue when an officer walked up and punched her several times.

David Ritcheson
David Ritcheson was viciously attacked by two individuals because of his heritage as a Mexican-American. Ritcheson was sucker punched and knocked out, and dragged into the back yard for an attack that would last for over an hour.

The U.S. Department of Justice—Federal Bureau of Investigation released a Hate Crimes Statistics Report in October 2007. It noted the following:

An analysis of data for victims of single-bias hate crime incidents showed that
• 52.0 percent of the victims were targeted because of the offender’s bias against a race.
• 17.1 percent were victimized because of a bias against a religious belief.
• 15.9 percent were targeted because of a bias against a particular sexual orientation.
• 14.1 percent were victimized because of a bias against an ethnicity/national origin.
• 0.9 percent were targeted because of a bias against a disability.

Of those bias, or hate, motivated crimes, the only group of victims not protected by Federal hate crime laws are those victims who were targeted based solely on their percieved sexual orientation.

On that note...here is the response I received when I sent an email to Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) urging him to support H.R. 1913:

"Dear Ms. Wright:

Thank you for contacting me regarding your thoughts on hate crime legislation. I appreciate hearing your concerns on this matter.

There is little evidence that indicates that violent crimes motivated by "hate" go unpunished in the United States. Most states already have criminal laws that prohibit the anti-social behavior addressed by hate crime legislation - including laws against murder, rape, arson, assault, and battery.

I oppose the creation of Federal hate crime legislation for a variety of reasons. First, I do not believe the Federal government should interfere with the criminal laws already on the books in our states. Second, many hate crime bills attempt to establish a "protected class" of crime victims who would receive special protection under the law. And finally, we already have laws to prosecute individuals who commit violent crimes. Those people guilty of violent crimes against anyone should be prosecuted under existing law."

Senator Chambliss is missing the point.

Bias crimes committed against one person tend to have the effect of terrorizing an entire group of people, whether they are motivated by race, color, religion, sexual orientation or any other class. There are already federal protections for race, color, religion, national origin. These federal protections enhance the penalties for violent acts committed as a result of bias.

H.R. 1913 (or The Matthew Shepard Act, as it is commonly known, named for the gay Wyoming college student who was severly beaten, tied to a fence and left to die by his attackers) would strengthenalready existing federal hate crime laws in three ways:

1) Expand the law to authorize the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute certain bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Current law only includes race, color, religion or national origin.
2) Eliminate a serious limitation on federal involvment under existing law which requires that a victim of a bias-motivated crime was attacked because he/she was engaged in a specified federally-protected activity such as voting, serving on a jury or attending school.
3) Add "gender" and "gender identity" to the Hate Crimes Statistics Act

11 March 2009

Wayne Besen: Religion and Republicanism Losing Converts

Fantastic article by Wayne Besen...check it out:

Religion and Republicanism Losing Converts

In pandering to the fanatical and the fearful - both religion and Republicanism may have compromised their future.

First, the Republican Party seems in an awfully big rush to implode with Rush Limbaugh as its mercurial mouthpiece. The GOP's other savior, Michael Steele, is just a big mouth who seems more suited to Limbaugh's talk show gig than chairman of the Party. The GOP's first African American leader, Steele, promised a "hip hop makeover" that would attract even "one armed midgets." It is Steele, however, who is the incredibly shrinking chairman, with his promised "Big Tent" turning into a circus act.

This carnival of "conservatives" has led the once-mighty Republican Party to O.J. Simpson-like popularity levels. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll this past week put Republican approval at just 26 percent, compared to Barack Obama's 68 percent.

The state of the modern GOP was best captured on CNN's D.L. Hughley Show, when the host interviewed Frank Schaeffer. A former member of the Religious Right and author of Crazy For God, Schaeffer said the GOP had created a "hard-assed neo fascist kind of direction in America."

He went on to say, "The Republican base is now made up of religious and neoconservative ideologues and the uneducated white underclass with a token person of color up in front of the TV to obscure the all-white, all reactionary, all backward, and there is no global warming, rube reality."

The Republicans Schaefer is referring to have lately come out of the woodwork in Utah, where State Sen. Chris Buttars called GLBT advocates, "the meanest buggers". A right wing organization, America Forever, placed full-page ads in the Salt Lake dailies comparing gay men and lesbians to "druggies" and "hookers." Of course, Utah Republicans might know about these things. A new study reveals that the conservative state leads the nation with 5.47 Internet pornography subscribers per thousand.

Similar to the Republican Party, religious organizations have catered to the crazies for far too long. The "ex-gay" organization, Exodus International, is a perfect example. It travels the world to proclaim its "love" for homosexuals. Yet, a Board member, Don Schmierer, spoke at a Ugandan conference that pledged to "wipe out" gay practices. Schmierer joined Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively to urge Uganda to continue its persecution of gay people, including life prison sentences for the "crime" of homosexuality.

Last week, the Vatican defended the excommunication of a 9-year old Brazilian girl's mother and doctors, who helped abort the pregnant child's twins. The procedure was recommended because delivering these babies might have killed the 80-pound girl. The local Archbishop, Jose Cardosa Sobrinho, justified this despicable decision by saying, "God's law is above any human law."

Such transparently vindictive versions of "love" is why Christianity has lost followers in Europe and is now draining them in the United States. A new survey by researchers at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. documents that the percentage of Americans identifying as Christians has dropped to 76 percent of the population, down from 86 percent in 1990. Fifteen percent of Americans now say they have no religion at all.

It may be that socially conservative churches and their anti-gay pastors are directly responsible for much of the erosion of Christianity. Sure, their mega-churches may be growing. But, for every new person they attract, they likely turn off ten others to all religion with their vituperative sermons.

Focus on the Family's "ex-gay" road show, Love Won Out, is a perfect example of how the radicals are ruining the image of Christianity. The conference may lure a few self-loathing dupes who briefly claim they have "prayed away the gay." But, for every temporary convert (It rarely, if ever, lasts a lifetime) they turn off thousands of gay people to all religious belief. How does Focus on the Family justify this as a "win"?

Even as the Religious Right rapidly contracts, conservatives are foolishly demanding that Republicans veer further right. Come to think of it, Rush Limbaugh may be the perfect leader for a party intent on alienating the majority while talking endlessly and aimlessly to itself.

© 2008 Wayne Besen. All rights reserved.
Anything But Straight | www.waynebesen.com