Category Archives: Catholic

FACT: NOM Wants To Start A Race War

nom-logoI would not want to be a follower of the National Organization for [Straight] Marriage (NOM) right now. Last night we learned that yes, what we suspected for the past several years is true: part of NOM’s strategy has been to engender and exploit racism in their fight against civil rights. The revelation comes from NOM’s own internal documents, released by HRC’s NOM Exposed project, which were used as evidence in their failed attempt to get around campaign finance laws in Maine.

MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts had the story this morning.

Two of the passages in question:

The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots…

The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity – a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.

Understand, we’ve known through simple observation that this was part of Maggie Gallagher’s strategy. The only surprise here is the hubris and stupidity in putting it down on paper. Jeremy Hooper of GoodAsYou has offered a long list of evidence of Maggie’s racist strategy from the past couple years. And Alvin McEwen of Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters offered his analysis this morning (more at the link):

In addition, all of those other awful speeches and statements by pastors and black leaders pushed forth by NOM now take a more nauseating semblance. None of what they were doing had anything to preserving the black community or helping the black community.

It was just a game. A nasty, hate-filled game. The only thing that could possibly be worse about this situation is if the exchanging of money between NOM and these black leaders was involved.

As Joe Sudbay said this morning over at AmericaBlog:

This scandal creates a number of questions. For me, the first one is: Who saw NOM’s plan to start a race war and agreed to fund it?

There are some likely suspects who have close ties to the anti-gay industry, led by NOM, including the Catholic Bishops, Mormons and the Knights of Columbus. Someone needs to ask each of those groups if they saw this racist plan and if they funded it.

There are many more questions to be asked. It’s going to take days, if not weeks, to unpack a document dump this large. But this one’s big. No more can NOM claim their desire for racial harmony. No, their own papers expose exactly the opposite agenda.


NOM’s Magic Half Hour — Are They Lying About #DumpStarbucks Signatures?

Last Wednesday, the National Organization for [straight] Marriage sent several people to the Starbucks shareholders’ meeting to challenge chairman and CEO Howard Shultz about the company’s views on civil marriage, namely that it shouldn’t be restricted to straight people only. As expected, Mr. Shultz handled the publicity stunt wonderfully, reaffirming the company’s commitment to treat their gay employees and customers fairly.

Also as expected, NOM immediately began a petition campaign against Starbucks. It’s not going very well. Really, really, not very well. At all.

In the five days since NOM’s petition at went live, they’ve managed to amass nearly 19,000 signatures for their petition. That’s not horrific, though pretty not-great in terms of heavily pushed international social media campaigns. On Sunday evening, NOM crowed through their DumpStarbucks twitter account about a new signature count.

Sunday bragging
Sunday bragging

I challenge their reporting. See, I’ve been checking in on NOM’s signature updates over the weekend, and they don’t pass the smell test. Something…fishy happened around noon on Saturday. At 11:57, their automated tweeting application announced 8,048 signatures.

Saturday, 11:57 am
Saturday, 11:57 am

A mere 23 minutes later, the automated tweeting application announced 15,157 signatures.

Saturday, 12:20 pm
Saturday, 12:20 pm

So NOM claims that they trucked along at a steady pace of about 2,500 – 3,500 signatures per day from Wednesday through Saturday morning, had a burst of 7,100 signatures in a half hour, then abruptly returned to their previous rate. In 23 minutes, according to NOM, they got almost as many signatures as they had in the previous three days combined.

That kind of sudden increase and identically sudden reversal are, to be polite, unlikely. Factoring in that the burst of support supposedly happened on one of the slowest internet traffic days of the week, it becomes even less likely. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume for a moment that the claimed sudden burst of support happened. Why would it happen?

NOM has been pushing their DumpStarbucks Twitter account pretty hard, so it’s reasonable to figure it’s coming from there. The problem with that is that their Twitter campaign has been, in a word, horrible. They currently have a grand total of 137 followers. Even worse, a Topsy search for the auto-filled DumpStarbucks tweet you’re given after signing the petition turns up only 63 tweets so far (Monday 3:00 AM), and that includes people deriding the campaign. Saturday morning before NOM’s magic half hour? A whopping two tweets. The burst, if it were true, simply couldn’t have come from there.

There’s surely some traffic from Facebook, and Maggie Gallagher’s NOM post on Friday afternoon was shared on Facebook over a thousand times by Saturday morning (Thanks to Jeremy at GoodAsYou for the Saturday morning screencap.) But are those thousand shares enough to explain 7,100 new signatures in a magic half hour? I don’t think so. If they did, how would you explain the precipitous drop at the end of the half hour? It just doesn’t add up.

What happened? It’s worth noting that the Saturday tweets during the magic half hour were automated and Sunday’s were manually tweeted. (See the notation under the tweets.) In fact, the 15,157 tweet was the last from the automated application. It’s not unreasonable to consider that NOM’s automated system may have malfunctioned in its reporting before it was caught and shut down. Come to think of it, we know it malfunctioned on Friday; in two separate tweets it reported zero signatures.

Another possibility is that the system under-reported for three days, corrected itself during the magic half hour, then started under-reporting again. (Remember, the sudden drop is as suspect as the sudden increase.) That seems even less likely.

Then there’s the third option. Someone saw that NOM’s campaign was a dismal failure, knew they’d need something to brag about at the start of the week, and thought doubling the count over the weekend would do the trick.

And make no mistake, NOM’s campaign is a failure. By comparison, the PumpStarbucks petition at SumOfUs, which thanks Starbucks for supporting civil rights, has 12.5 times more signatures than NOM’s corporate-backed petition. At 3:00 am on Monday (I should really be in bed, you guys), their independently tallied signature count is sitting at 222,043 to NOM’s 18,725.

A One Image Response To Schwarzenegger’s Hypocrisy

You’ve probably heard by now that former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) admitted on Tuesday to an affair with an employee that resulted in a now-ten-year-old child. This revelation only comes after leaving politics when it can’t hurt his livelihood and after the employee retired earlier this year.

Oh, and after vetoing marriage equality laws in California twice. TWICE.

All day I’ve been trying to figure out how to best respond to this most recent Family Values Lying Sack Of Crap with an R behind his name who couldn’t keep his religious (Catholic, by the way) marriage vows but decided that thousands of Californians shouldn’t even have the right to make civil vows at all.


My first instinct was to swear a lot, but tonight I saw this picture on my facebook wall, and it does a better job than my ranting ever could.

Thank you, Courtney.
Thank you, Courtney.

(But I do reserve the right to swear a lot at a later date.)

Louis Marinelli’s Surprise Conversion Reaffirms Harvey Milk’s Message: COME OUT

By now you’ve probably heard about (former) NOM Strategist Louis Marinelli‘s conversion to the side of equality. Here are two links in case you haven’t.

First, Jeremy Hooper of Good As You broke the story with a detailed post and interview:

While still not in full support of homosexuality on some levels (where he needs our help to correct misinformation), Louis is now [a] repudiating virtually all of the vitriol that he put on the public record; [b] is owning up to the major role that he’s played with NOM, including admitting that he was the impetus behind the whole summer tour; and [c] is coming out in full support of the civil marriage rights that gay people are seeking.

From there we go to Marinelli’s own blog:

Ironically, one of the last tour stops added to the itinerary was Atlanta and I bring this site up because it was in Atlanta that I can remember that I questioned what I was doing for the first time. The NOM showing in the heart of the Bible-belt was dismal and the hundreds of counter-protesters who showed up were nothing short of inspiring.

Even though I had been confronted by the counter-protesters throughout the marriage tour, the lesbian and gay people whom I made a profession out of opposing became real people for me almost instantly. For the first time I had empathy for them and remember asking myself what I was doing.

It seems to me that what we have here is tangible proof of what LGBT leaders have been saying at least as far back as Harvey Milk.

We must destroy the myths once and for all. Shatter them. We must continue to speak out, and most importantly every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family, you must tell your relatives, you must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends, you must tell your neighbors, you must tell the people you work with, you must tell the people in the stores you shop in, and once they realize that we are indeed their children and that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and for all. And once you do you will feel so much better.

Arisha Hatch, who led the Prop 8 Trial Tracker team that documented last summer’s bus tour, got to the heart of it in her post about Marinelli.

Out of all the people on the NOM Tour, I could never quite understand why Louis cared so much about the freedom to marry. I got why Brian Brown was there, even “understood” Maggie Gallagher’s motivations, but Louis’ attachment to the issue always seemed puzzling to me. In part because he’s agnostic, in part because he’s so young, figuring Louis out became sort of a daily obsession for me – a daily dialogue between the two of us – many times off-camera.

I can remember saying to him at one point, “I just don’t get it. I just don’t get you.”

Once he got to know LGBT people Louis didn’t get it either, and that’s what made him question the lies.

Never let yourself forget: Living our lives with integrity is the best tool we have in the struggle for civil rights.

Andrew Sullivan: ‘I came out first to God.’

Last year, Big Think did a special video series called Coming Out: Stories of Gay Identity. There are some wonderful stories in the series, led off by gay conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan‘s coming out to God and his parents. There’s some terrific insight here.

I really believe it is my moral responsibility as a Christian to tell the truth, because I do not believe that the truth can ever be in conflict with God. And I think a lot of people are afraid the truth is in conflict with God, and are unable to let go and let the truth of the world… I mean, as John Paul II put it, the one thing Jesus tells everybody he ever meets in the gospels, the most common thing that he ever says is, “Be not afraid.” And homophobia, whether internalized or externalized, is really fear; it’s not hatred, it’s fear. It’s fear of the truth about ourselves.

… All these things that are supposed to be contradictions within me and within many other people are not. They are actually just things we just don’t yet fully understand.

Big Think has plenty more from Andrew Sullivan. The rest of his wide-ranging interview is below.

I Can’t Make You Love Me: A Message to Christians

If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you may have noticed that I don’t talk about being a Christian as much as I used to. That’s not an accident. There are several reasons I’ve been quiet on the issue, but the biggest is that I’m just so tired of being disappointed by Christians and most branches of the universal Church.

The problem was perfectly illustrated when author Anne Rice recently announced that she was leaving corporate Christianity. Here’s what she posted on her facebook page on July 28, 2010:

For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.

As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.

Certainly some Christians were charitable and understanding, even eager to confront the problem she pointed to. But those people were shouted down by the painfully predictable commentators who miss the point and change the subject. Here’s a quick sample of comments on two blogs that I have generally found to have thoughtful comments sections.

  • “It is unlikely Anne Rice was ever truly a Christian.”
  • “It seems to me that Anne Rice is immature in her faith. … She doesn’t have the personal discipleship to see the arguments from a deeply biblical perspective.”
  • “She is simply young in faith and still lacking in coorperation (sic) with the gifts of the spirit.”
  • “How quickly can the fickleness of our flesh be exposed on Facebook. … I can’t image the battle that is going on around this sister, or lost sheep.”
  • “Anne’s own ‘return’ to faith some 10 years ago was only a return to the apostasy of the Catholic church – and that, at the same time, accompanied by a public renunciation of clear tenants of the true gospel.”
  • “…she never really embraced the whole teaching of the Church, that she would experience profound conversion or leave altogether. Surely she has done much to harm the faith of many that are weak in spirit and prayer and faith in the gospel.”
  • “Yes, Anne Rice should be loved … but Anne Rice’s actions in denouncing Christianity must certainly not be condoned.”

I could say a lot here, but I think I’ll just let this song speak for me.

NOM Strategist Louis Marinelli’s Hate Speech Moratorium Not Going So Well

First, a screencap taken early this morning. Then we’ll get into the WTF of it.


Brittney Hansen: We need this injustice to stop but the only way to do so is to put ALL gay people on an island with a weekly drop of food and supplies and let them all die off. We dont have to deal with them and they dont have to deal with us.

On Monday, Good As You’s Jeremy Hooper published a killer post concurring with me that Louis Marinelli III can reasonably be identified as an agent of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). To use Marinelli’s term, he is a “NOM Strategist,” and his rhetoric is wildly off-message for NOM.

Now that someone with a higher profile than mine has called Marinelli and NOM out on the connection, Marinelli’s been trying to hide what he’s been saying for the last few months since NOM aligned themselves with him. A few hours after the post went up, most of the group’s youtube videos, including the ones I embedded here in early May, joined the group’s twitter account on the scrap heap.

What was Marinelli trying to hide? I’ll let Jeremy tell you:

So once we had that confirmation that Mr. Marinelli is, in fact, in NOM’s inner circle, we started considering all of the eye-opening things that he had seen Marinelli tweet over the past few months. And frankly, we were shocked. Because in addition to the “gays have shorter life spans” one, there was a retweet that declared all gays to be single. There was the time that Mr. Marinelli said that Peter LaBarbera and his fringe “Americans For Truth” group merely “tell the truth about homosexuality.” There was the determination that marriage equality is “a mockery and a hijacking of the civil rights movement.” There were times when he flat-out called us an abomination, citing Leviticus. There was this one: “Deviance” describes actions or behaviours that violate cultural norms – homosexuality is far from a cultural norm. Therefore, it is deviant.” And this: “Homosexuality and gay marriage are wrong and harmful to society.” And this: “#iaintafraidtosay that there shouldn’t be any recognition of homosexual relationships because that is saying that homosexuality is OK.” There was this one, accompanied by a smile: “What they do is blantantly [sic] immoral. 🙂” There were times when Mr. Marinelli compared our unions to that which might exist between a sterile brother and sister. And other times when our very character was assaulted: “#nevertrust activists of the homosexual agenda – they are deceitful people who care only about themselves and not what’s best for society.And so on and so on.

After Marinelli tried to erase evidence of that paragraph and more, he took to his group’s facebook page and made this request (link to the thread and a screencap from about 2:00 AM EST):


Protect Marriage: One Man, One Woman: No hate speech, no derogatory comments against homosexuals. Show your support for one man, one woman marriage. That’s what this page is about. If you’ve got something negative to say, bite your tongue. Just play nice, please.

A good suggestion, even if Marinelli was just trying to save face because people were connecting him with NOM. But as I showed you at the top of the post, it’s nigh impossible to rein people in after you’ve spent so much time and effort teaching them how to, you know, go nuts with hate speech and derogatory comments.

By the way, Marinelli’s been actively involved on the NOM facebook page since this message was posted, and that usually includes deleting posts that he considers off-message. And yet we have Brittney Hansen showing the world what she’s learned from NOM Strategist Louis Marinelli III.


Brittney Hansen: We need this injustice to stop but the only way to do so is to put ALL gay people on an island with a weekly drop of food and supplies and let them all die off. We dont have to deal with them and they dont have to deal with us.

The Religious Right’s “Manhattan Declaration”

A group of well-known anti-gay activists released their “Manhattan Declaration”, a treatise on their stance against civil rights causes, with a special focus on The Homosexuals. I’m not going to dirty my blog with the whole 4,732 word screed. For that you can go to Jeremy Hooper at Good-As-You, who got his hands on a copy before it was released.

Signers (so far) include:

  • Chuck Colson, convicted felon and long-time foe of civil rights, who helped write the document
  • Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, who last week threatened to shutter all Catholic charities in Washington, DC if a gay-marriage law is passed by city council
  • Jim Daly, Focus on the Family’s new president, who misrepresented the science of anthropology earlier this year in order to make a false point about Homosexual “Marriage”
  • James Dobson, Focus on the Family founder and long time opponent of civil rights, not to mention truth and integrity
  • Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president, who earlier this year said that the United States should stand with George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil”
  • Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr., colleague of Leroy Swailes in the fight against a potential gay marriage law in Washington, DC
  • Catholic Bishop Richard J. Malone, whose diocese in Maine raised over half a million dollars to remove civil rights by passing the plate during worship services three times
  • Alan Sears, Alliance Defense Fund president, who for some reason failed to rush to the defense of Louisiana’s Keith Bardwell when he refused to marry an interracial couple, even though doing so was clearly mandated by a statement earlier this year
  • Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, which bribed (or attempted to bribe) United Methodist General Conference 2008 delegates from Africa and South America to vote against gay-positive measures
  • Gary Bauer, president of American Values and standard go-to bigot for FOX News
  • Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage and Liar-in-Chief for the anti-equality movement
  • Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Church, who says that Democrats are Nazis
  • and many more

Seriously. It’s like a Who’s Who of Religious Right leaders. It’s nice to have them all in one place, I guess.

I do want to pull out one significant line from the final paragraph of this long, rambling tome:

… nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.

Attention signers of this nonsense and their followers:





You’re Christians. Start acting like it, for God’s sake.

Catholic Church Threatens to Leave Homeless Out in the Cold

If you weren’t convinced that the Catholic Church considers charity an expendable nuisance before, maybe this will do it.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington [D.C.] said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.

Important distinction here: This bill would affect religious organizations, not churches. So, for example, if the United Methodist Church wanted to keep LGBT people from being ordained or mopping the kitchen floor, they’re allowed to do that. A religious organization, or an organization that is managed or maintained by a church but that also receives funding from the government, has to abide by discrimination laws.

This isn’t a new law, by the way. This is the way it’s been for ages. It’s why a Methodist organization in Ocean Grove, New Jersey couldn’t refuse to allow a lesbian couple to use its pavilion in 2007. The boardwalk was run by a religious organization, but received property tax breaks in exchange for the property’s legal classification as public.

In short, if you’re receiving funding from the government, your business ceases to be a strictly religious business. Likewise, in some states if your commercial business provides services that are considered “public accommodation”, you aren’t allowed to discriminate just because you call yourself a Christian.

Okay, back to it:

Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.

“If the city requires this, we can’t do it,” Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Wednesday. “The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that’s really a problem.”

Not at all. The city is saying that in order to receive government funding, you need to be secular. It’s that whole establishment of religion thing in the First Amendment. If you want to provide social services on the government’s (and therefore the people’s) dime, you have to follow the government’s rules like everybody else.

Catholic Charities, the church’s social services arm, is one of dozens of nonprofit organizations that partner with the District. It serves 68,000 people in the city, including the one-third of Washington’s homeless people who go to city-owned shelters managed by the church. City leaders said the church is not the dominant provider of any particular social service, but the church pointed out that it supplements funding for city programs with $10 million from its own coffers.

So the Archdiocese of Washington is saying that they’re going to leave a third of the district’s homeless literally out in the cold because they might have to give a gay man’s spouse the same health insurance (for example) benefits as a straight person’s spouse would get.

I wonder: What is the the policy of Catholic charities toward people who cohabit outside marriage? Are they turned away from the bread line? Does the archdiocese regularly quiz social services employees about their sex lives? If a straight woman divorces and doesn’t seek a Catholic annulment, is she fired?

Or do they just get their vestments in a knot when they get to target The Homosexuals?

I know that many Catholics disagree with the Archdiocese of Washington’s threat. I personally know many Catholics who, like Mother Teresa, consider charity of utmost importance to the Church. If you’re one of those Catholics, this is your chance to make a difference.

Here are some important phone numbers for you to call and politely but firmly voice your disapproval.

ALL of these services will be closed if the archdiocese follows through with its threat:
James Cardinal Hickey Center general information: (202) 772-4300 or (202) 772-4308
Denise Capaci, Adult and Family Services: (202) 635-5900
Regine Clermont, Housing and Support Services: (202) 772-4300
Meha Desai, Children Services: (202) 526-4100
Daphne Pallozzi, Developmental Disabilities Services: (202) 281-2700
Fr. Mario Dorsonville, Immigrant and Refugee Services: (202) 939-2400
Scott Lewis, Catholic Charities Enterprises: (202) 635-5900
Erik Salmi, Communications Manager: (202) 772-4390

Archdiocese staff:
Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop: 301-853-4500
Rev. Adam Park, Secretary to the Archbishop: 301-853-4500
Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington: 301-853-4500
Most Rev. Francisco Gonzalez, S.F., Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General: 301-853-4566
Most Rev. Martin D. Holley, Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General: 301-853-4563
Bishop Barry C. Knestout, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General, Moderator of the Curia: 301-853-4520
Jane G. Belford, Chancellor: 301-853-4520

The Catholic Church Seeks Allies in its Political War Against Gays

Immediately after the Episcopal Church’s acceptance of LGBT priests in July 2009, some of the more conservative churches began talking about breaking away from the Anglican Communion. That possibility increased two weeks ago when the Vatican announced that it had “worked out a way” for those Anglican churches to join the Catholic Church.

This is important because Anglicans permit their priests to marry, which the Vatican has said it would allow to continue. National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen has pointed out that Eastern Rite Catholic churches in eastern Europe have allowed married priests for quite a long time, so the move isn’t entirely without precedent.

It is, however, unusual and would certainly be more complex than it would seem at first blush.

For one thing, the Eastern Rite rules are a bit more complicated than “priests can marry.” In fact, that statement is technically false. Men who are already married may become priests. They must be married before their ordination and may not remarry if their wives pass away. (Must married priests be celibate? I’d think not, but I can’t find the answer.) In addition, Eastern Rite priests who are married may not be elected bishop.

Would rules comparable to these apply to the Anglicans? We don’t know.

Regardless, the purpose is clear. The Vatican’s overture to the disgruntled Anglicans is a direct result of their need to form a stronger confederation of ultra-conservative congregations to push an ultra-conservative public policy agenda in the halls of government.

Jon Stewart hosted a segment on The Daily Show about this issue last week. It goes off on a tangent pretty quickly, but I never turn down a chance to post Jon Stewart’s work.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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UPDATE! A few hours after I published this article, the NC Register announced that the Great Britain province of the “Traditional Anglican Communion” has accepted the Vatican’s proposal. The unanimous vote was apparently taken on October 29th.