Category Archives: Christianity

David Barton Says AIDS Is God’s Punishment For Being Gay. Julia Sugarbaker Disagrees

Last Friday, Glenn Beck’s favorite Pretend-Historian David Barton took to his WallBuilders radio show to declare that AIDS hasn’t been cured because God really wants to kill gays. Right Wing Watch has the audio clip. Here’s the quote.

There’s a passage that I love in Romans 1 – I don’t love what the topic is – but it talks about homosexuality and it says that they will receive in their bodies the penalties of their behavior. And the Bible again, it’s right every time, and studies keep proving that and that’s why AIDS has been something they haven’t discovered a cure for or a vaccine for, because it’s the fastest self-mutating virus known to mankind. Every time they just about get a vaccine discovered for it, it transmutes into something new and they have to start over again. And that goes to what God says, hey you’re going to bear in your body the consequences of this homosexual behavior.

I could spend a few hundred words ranting about how this jackass is an appalling embarrassment to the human species, but instead I’ll defer to Julia Sugarbaker. She knocked the David Bartons of the world on their collective keisters 25 years ago on an episode of Designing Women called Killing All The Right People.

Give him a wig and a pair of shoulder pads, and David Barton is Imogene.

Tell on, sister.
Tell on, sister.

Imogene, get serious! Who do you think you’re talking to?! I’ve known you for 27 years, and all I can say is, if God was giving out sexually transmitted diseases to people as a punishment for sinning, then you would be at the free clinic all the time!

And so would the rest of us!

[full episode here]

The “God’s punishment” garbage was popular among “Christian” Republicans in the 1980s. That David Barton still holds this narrow, hateful, mean-spirited, small view of both God and gays is sad and more-than-a-little infuriating.

One might even call it an abomination.

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Focus On The Family’s Slightly More Polite Game Of ‘Smear The Queer’

The 16th annual Day of Silence is upon us. On April 20, 2012, students across the world will take a one-day vow of silence to remember LGBT kids who died by suicide this year and more broadly draw attention to the effects of homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism.

Day of Silence 2012

As you might guess, anti-gay groups are none too happy about people being reminded that their anti-gay rhetoric has a real human cost, and they’re sending in their kids to give the homos a smackdown.

Anti-gay group Alliance Defense Fund initiated Day of Truth back in 2005, built on the knowledge that the gay kids wouldn’t be able to respond verbally during the Day of Silence. It was horribly unpopular, and in 2009 ADF passed it to “ex-gay” group Exodus International. It became even less popular after the wave of LGBT suicides in late 2010, so EI passed it on to hate-group-affiliated Focus On The Family. Focus then rebranded the event as the Day of Dialogue.

Whatever they want to call their official anti-gay response, it’s remarkably similar to Smear The Queer. For those who missed that bit of playground violence in their youth, here’s a pretty good explanation from The Crow’s Eye.

The objet de jeu was simple, compared to baseball or lacrosse: do violence to the “Queer” with the ball. If you are wondering if the Queer was just an odd fellow, within game play, ponder no further. The Queer was certainly the Fag. And he had a handicap, which was the ball. The Queer had to have two hands on the ball, unless he was throwing it away. The point of the game, from the vantage point of the ball clasping Queer, was to get rid of the ball and become not-Queer. Because the only person who could be struck, tackled, knocked down or done violence to was the Queer with the ball.

In this slightly more polite version of the game, anti-gay groups arm the children of anti-gay churches to spread their anti-gay message to gay kids (and some straight allies). Then they present the anti-gay “Hey, we’re just having a conversation, man” model of sermonizing, full of coded words like “struggle” and “God’s best plan.” The goal is to get a gay kid alone and give him a good old-fashioned spiritual attack until he relents and goes back in the closet, or at least doubts himself enough to stop talking about it.

Last month, Friendly Atheist posted this spot-on response to the weird Day of Dialogue cards Focus are asking their kids to pass out to Day of Silence participants. Original is on top, response on bottom.

Click for Friendly Atheist's post
Click for Friendly Atheist's post

Last Saturday, Kenneth Weishuhn completed suicide after he came out a month ago and endured death threats by exactly the type of kids Focus On The Family has recruited to hand out these cards. He was 14. Austin Rodriguez attempted suicide in March at the age of 15, after coming out late last year. Thank God, Austin was not successful, and Asterisk exclusively reported earlier this week that he is slowly regaining his strength.

Jamey Rodemeyer. Rafael Morelos. Matthew Chance. Jacob Rogers. And the list goes on. Below is the map I’ve been keeping up of LGBT suicides in the United States.

(View LGBT Suicides in the United States in a larger map)

This year, we will remember that the anti-gay groups don’t want truth, and they don’t want dialogue. They want us to cease to be, to disappear. Above all else, they want to end us. The children and adults — their campaign’s damage lasts a lifetime — on this map are their success stories. (And yes, I’m saying what you think I’m saying. It’s long past time to stop sugar-coating it.)

This Day of Silence, we will remember.

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 DumpStarbucks.com 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.

Why Values Voter Summit 2011 Should End Presidential Campaign 2012

Last weekend, every Republican Presidential candidate with a chance of winning (plus Rick Santorum) appeared on stage at the Values Voter Summit, a meeting sponsored by two certified hate groups on par with (and one with ties to) the Ku Klux Klan and the Council of Conservative Citizens.

Family Research Council and American Family Association have both been considered hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center for some time now, and with good reason; both groups push their shared agenda with dangerous propaganda and outright lies about LGBT people.

To repeat: Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum all accepted the invitation of these hate groups (as they have for years), hoping to get their endorsements and the votes of like-minded individuals.

Do you really need more information before you cast your vote in the 2012 presidential election? What stance on which issue could possibly make it okay to vote for a candidate who has actively courted bigotry?

choice-highway-sign

Three Days Before Autumn: In Memory Of Jamey Rodemeyer

Jamey Rodemeyer 1997 - 2011
Jamey Rodemeyer
1997 - 2011
I haven’t said anything about the death of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer yet. I’m working on a post, but it’s not quite ready yet, and to be candid, I haven’t been in the best of mental states to be talking about this sort of thing lately.

But before we get too far away from Jamey’s death, I want to share this song with you. It’s from Christian singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson and was written after the untimely death of influential (and possibly gay) Christian folksinger Rich Mullins 14 years ago.

Mullins died on September 19 back in 1997, the same day Jamey died this year. This lament is poignant and emotional on its own, but that connection makes it even more poignant. When I heard of Jamey’s passing, my mind immediately went to the line “And I swear I heard thunder at the sound of his name.”

It’s a rough live cut and the audio could be better, but turn up your speakers and listen.

I’m sorry, Jamey. I’m sorry it hurt too much. I’m sorry they couldn’t understand. I’m sorry you couldn’t find another way through it.

I’m just so sorry.

[box]Note: Three Days Before Autumn is currently available only on Peterson’s live album Appendix A. That’s probably not the best place to start out with his music; if you’re inclined to hear more, consider getting one of his studio albums. His 2003 album Love And Thunder is a particular favorite of mine.[/box]

An Important Civics Lesson For North Carolina’s Legislature

I could say so much about the anti-marriage constitutional amendment that the House and Senate of North Carolina approved this week. There are so many avenues, so many little bits of information that needs to be remembered now that the bill has been passed and placed on the May 2012 ballot.

I could talk about how the Republican majority in the House snuck the amendment onto the floor, disguising it as a bill on an unrelated and uncontroversial issue until the last minute on Monday afternoon, when the bill changed chambers, committees, bill numbers, content, and ballot date in less than 75 minutes. (Fortunately someone leaked the actual text late Friday.)

I could talk about how the Republican House Majority Leader Paul Stam refused to allow public comment before the vote, openly breaking North Carolina’s open meeting laws, saying that people would get to comment at the polls next May, so, you know, fuck ’em.

I could talk about how Senator James Forrester, the major Republican sponsor in the Senate, went to a church last Thursday night and perpetuated the lie that gays live 20 years less than straight people, after which he said, “We need to … get them to change their lifestyle back to the normal lifestyle which we can accept,” as if he’s Big Daddy on the plantation.

Oh, and thanks to ThinkProgress, it’s on tape.

I could talk about how UNC Law Professor Maxine Eichner told the North Carolina Legislature that the vague language of the amendment endangers laws against domestic violence involving unmarried straight couples. Apparently that human collateral damage is okay with the Republican majorities, because both bodies voted the amendment through anyway, with eight Democrats joining the Republicans.

I could talk about how Community College instructor Johnny Hunter stood up in a press conference last Wednesday and banged two locks together to show how weird gays having sex is. That’s on tape too. (Don’t worry, it’s cued up.)

(And I’m sorry, that’s nowhere near as poetic as Dr. Camilla Bowner’s electric socket analogy.)

I could talk about how Republican House Majority Leader Paul Stam had such contempt for the process and for the American taxpayers whose rights he was taking away that he literally snacked on popcorn during Monday’s brief debate.

I could talk about all those things, but (378 words later) I won’t.

Instead, I’ll share some unfortunately relevant words from Rachel Maddow. It’s a quote that I’ve had in rotation over there on the right since she said it last year. (Image shamelessly stolen from Brian Gets Clarity.)

What part of that don't you understand?

Feel free to pass it on.

[box]Major thanks and sympathy to North Carolinian Pam Spaulding, who’s been on top of this whole mess from the start, saying a whole lot so I wouldn’t have to. You should definitely follow Pam’s House Blend to its new home at Firedoglake.[/box]

Hate Group AFA’s Frank Turek Can’t Figure Out Gay ‘Pride’

Last week, corporate trainer Frank Turek’s speaking contract for a Bank of America (BoA) training event was canceled when an employee brought it to their attention that in addition to his corporate training work, Turek is also a conservative christian pamphlet writer and American Family Association (AFA) weekly radio host. Apparently BoA didn’t think bringing in an employee of an SPLC-certified hate group was a good idea.

Anyway, the story’s been making the rounds, and this bit of audio from an interview Turek did with AFA’s Tim Wildmon and Tony Perkins (leader of the Family Research Council, another SPLC-certified hate group).

[wpaudio url=”http://blog.mattalgren.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/frank-turek-gay-pride-9-2-11-part-1.mp3″ text=”Frank Turek Can’t Figure Out Gay ‘Pride'”]

It's not that complicated, Frank.
It's not that complicated, Frank.
Anytime you have to call something “pride,” there’s a problem with it, particularly when it comes to behavior because you don’t hear people walking around saying “heterosexual pride” … Although I think there was some parade down in Brazil or something recently…

Pride? Pride? Pride is, as we all know, really the root of all sin; we want to do it our way rather than God’s way.

Laying aside for a moment the tried-and-true false “homosexuality is just behavior” rhetoric, I want to bring Turek’s fixation with the word “Pride” to your attention. That’s a common problem people (usually anti-gay people) have with the LGBT-rights movement.

(To make this post simpler, I’ll also lay aside the troublesome parallels between the concepts of Heterosexual Pride in response to Gay Pride and White Power in response to Black Power. Oh wait, I guess I won’t.)

Fortunately for us, British comedian Dick Coughlan recently addressed the issue of pride, covering it quite well. He even talked about the Straight Pride Parade in São Paulo, Brazil that Turek mentioned.

Coughlan begins the video (NSFW, by the way) with some comments on completely heterosexual Republican Indiana State Rep. Phil Hinkle’s Craig’s List problem, which I still haven’t gotten around to bringing up here, before segueing into the portion quoted below.

Gay people tend to be a group, who, within a great deal of, unfortunately, so-called “civilized society” are made to feel ashamed and embarrassed for what they are. They are told that they are wrong, they are immoral, what they are and what they do is disgusting, and they should be ashamed.

And so in response to that, they decide to say, “Fuck you, we’re not ashamed, so we’re going to have a Pride March.” It’s not really a pride march, because you are born this way, there is no pride in being born a certain way, but what they’re actually saying is “We are not ashamed.”

That’s what it’s about, yeah? “We are not ashamed.” You can’t really call it a We Are Not Ashamed March; It doesn’t have the same ring to it.

That about says it. Any questions, Frank?

[box]AFA audio from Right Wing Watch, which has more audio that I didn’t include. If you aren’t reading every RWW post every day, you’re missing out. Seriously, y’all, they’re not to be missed.[/box]

Ex-Gays Meet, Hilarity Ensues On ‘Web Therapy’

web-therapy-lisa-kudrow-meryl-streepLately I’ve been re-watching Lisa Kudrow’s acclaimed improv series Web Therapy. The previously internet-only series relaunched on Showtime last month, so a whole new audience is being introduced to Dr. Fiona Wallice’s brand of psychological help.

Michelle and Marcus Bachmann (and other closet homosexuals/ex-gays) have been all over the news lately, so what better time to showcase my favorite episodes of the series, which skewer the subject quite expertly. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Meryl Streep guest stars.

Here’s the final of the three ex-gay episodes, in which the inevitable happens. Oh yes it does. As Camilla says, there is a lot of backsliding, literally.

Part 1 | Part 2

[box]Reverse Psychology: In the final installment, Fiona gives Camilla a hands-on demonstration of the effectiveness — or otherwise — of Camilla’s therapeutic techniques when she arranges a meeting with Camilla’s husband.[/box]

Special Bonus Outtakes!

More Hilarious Mockery Of Ex-Gay Therapy From Lisa Kudrow & Meryl Streep

web-therapy-lisa-kudrow-meryl-streepLately I’ve been re-watching Lisa Kudrow’s acclaimed improv series Web Therapy. The previously internet-only series relaunched on Showtime last month, so a whole new audience is being introduced to Dr. Fiona Wallice’s brand of psychological help.

Michelle and Marcus Bachmann (and other closet homosexuals/ex-gays) have been all over the news lately, so what better time to showcase my favorite episodes of the series, which skewer the subject quite expertly. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Meryl Streep guest stars.

Here’s the second of the three ex-gay episodes. I have to say, Kudrow is a wonderful straight man. (So to speak.)

Part 1 | Part 3

[box]Healing Touch: Fiona is eager to join Kip in his recovery, but discovers that his treatment with Camilla has progressed quickly — and alarmingly — beyond the usual talk and aversion therapy.[/box]