Wednesday, January 17, 2018

'Religious freedom' is a quiet way of normalizing homophobia

Editor's note - With the news today that the Trump Administration is trying to shield healthcare workers who deny care on the grounds of "religious liberty," it is imperative that we don't continue to allow people to lie about what "religious liberty" is. In the hands of the anti-LGBTQ industry (groups and personalities of the religious right), religious liberty is less about protecting personal beliefs and more about being a weapon to undermine LGBTQ equality and safety. With that in mind, I am reposting a piece from 2014 (and slightly altered) which best explains what I am talking about.

In the 50s and 60s, they said we were perverts who ought to be jailed.  
In the 70s, they said we recruit children.
 In the 80s, they said we were diseased freaks who run around catching AIDS. 
 In the 90s, they said we wanted "special rights." 
 In the 2000s, they said we wanted to redefine marriage. 
 Now they claim we are trying to put Christians out of business and jail them.

The more I think of this bogus argument of "religious liberty" or "religious freedom," the more angry I become about how the entire debate is being conducted with no perspective. "Religious liberty" is merely a new anti-gay buzzword. It is the latest in a long line of concepts and claims used to justify anti-gay animus and discrimination. It's nothing new and it shouldn't be debated as if it is a new concept. Allow me to elucidate with the use of words and visuals from various anti-gay spokespeople and groups in debates throughout the years:

 1970s: Gays are pedophiles - "As a mother I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children. Therefore, they must recruit our children." - Anita Bryant


1980s: Gays are diseased -   ''The poor homosexuals -- they have declared war upon nature, and now nature is extracting an awful retribution.'' - columnist and Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan during the early days of the AIDS crisis




'Trump Administration wants to shield healthcare workers who deny care on grounds of 'religious liberty'' & other Wed midday news briefs

The Trump Administration wants to shield healthcare workers who deny care on grounds of 'religious liberty.'

Trump to shield health care workers who claim moral objections - We warned this could happen when the anti-LGBTQ industry began its "religious liberty" lie:

The Trump administration is planning new protections for health workers who don't want to perform abortions, refuse to treat transgender patients based on their gender identity or provide other services for which they have moral objections. Under a proposed rule — which has been closely guarded at HHS and is now under review by the White House — the HHS office in charge of civil rights would be empowered to further shield these workers and punish organizations that don’t allow them to express their moral objections, according to sources on and off the Hill.

Trump will give healthcare workers the right to refuse to treat LGBT people - The ENTIRE LGBTQ community could be negatively affected by this. It's bad enough for our transgender brothers and sisters. That automatically puts the LGB community into this fight from the get-go.

The solution to this? Don't put all of your eggs in an "impeachment basket."Raise hell, get LGBTQs to run for public office, support positive candidates,  vote, register people to vote, break down Trump's power by helping to elect blue candidates later this year, then unite behind a 2020 candidate. ABOVE all, show unity, trust, and discipline.

Senior DHS adviser Frank Wuco claimed "societies and nations for millennia have suffered greatly" for LGBTQ acceptance - Meanwhile the hint of homophobia and transphobia taints other parts of the Trump Administration.

Gay Couple Sues Printing Company Over Homophobic Wedding Pamphlets - Mess like this only happens because we are winning. The other side is pushing back HARD. Keep the momentum going.

Alabama Senate Passes Bill To End Marriage Licenses - THIS is interesting.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

MSNBC's Ari Mebler takes the evangelical right to church over their defense of Trump's racist comments



All I can say when I see this clip is "it's about time."

 For a while there, I felt like a lonely voice in the wilderness pleading to folks to not allow the anti-LGBTQ right and religious conservatives to walk away proverbially smelling like a rose after the controversy over Trump's vulgar words about immigrants from Africa, Haiti,and Central America. I was "collecting receipts," i.e. noting how Trump's religious conservative allies were either conveniently ignoring or defending his words. But it seemed that hardly anyone else, particularly folks in the LGBTQ community were.

 Our problem is that we are too damned jaded. We as a community have been hit constantly by these so-called Christians with their dehumanizing venom and lies that we've become desensitized to a degree by it. Call it a survival technique, if you will. The only problem with this is that when these folks are in a situation such as this which unmasks their hypocrisy, we can't amass enough anger, righteous indignation, and desire for payback to give them the verbal thrashing they deserve.

In other words, we can't be petty, if you will, when pettiness is the appropriate response to the situation.

Thank goodness Ari Mebler from MSNBC handles the business quite well. And he breaks the hypocrisy of the right wing quite nicely.

'Transgender kids: we are being discriminated against, Trump Administration: we don't think we can help you' & other Mon midday news briefs


Trump Admin To Transgender Kids: We Won’t Deal With Your Civil Rights Complaints - That the Trump Administration is attempting to ignore the complaints of transgender kids should surprise no one:
 In Texas, a transgender teenager said his high school discriminated against him for almost two years. He was not allowed to use the bathroom that corresponded with his gender identity. When he traveled overnight with one of the school’s teams, he wasn’t allowed to room with his male peers, he alleged. But Donald Trump’s Department of Education did not think it could help this student. 
The teenager’s case is one of at least three involving transgender students’ experiences navigating school bathrooms or gender-specific sports teams that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has dismissed in the past several months, with the explanation that these issues do not fall under its jurisdiction, according to documents obtained by HuffPost and a source familiar with the matter. The Trump administration’s view of these cases diverges sharply from that of the Obama administration, which contended that Title IX ― the federal law that deals with sex discrimination ― included discrimination based on gender identity. 
The Obama administration issued guidance holding that schools should allow students to use the facilities that align with their gender identity. But a month into Trump’s presidency, the Department of Justice and Department of Education rescinded this guidance, saying that these issues should be decided at the local level and that the original guidance did not contain enough legal analysis. Since then, it has been unclear how exactly the Office for Civil Rights, or OCR, would handle these cases. An internal OCR memo from June directed employees to still take the complaints of transgender students seriously. It said employees may dismiss complaints related to bathroom issues, but it did not specifically direct them to do so.

Republicans block hate crime law for LGBT people in Virginia - A hate crimes law already exists in Virginia. They just don't want to add LGBTQs to it.

Ann Coulter says US should refuse entry to people with HIV - Begging y'all's pardon, but Ann Coulter can go to hell on this one.

No Mr. Perkins - You don't get to appropriate Martin Luther King's legacy - Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council won't comment on Trump's recent racist comments, but have the nerve to appropriate King's legacy simply because his niece is a poseur. Oh no you don't!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Cowardice of conservative evangelical leaders should always be remembered

It's both fascinating and sad that on a day in which we honor Martin Luther King, Jr., a religious man who became the moral voice of where America should be in relation to the treatment of its poor and minorities, we see other religious figures failing to a righteous stand  by their own choice.

In the aftermath of Trump's racist comments regarding immigrants from Africa and Haiti, one would think that the evangelical conservative leaders who support him would step up. Very few have and those who haven't stand out for their lack of courage and desire to defend or distract.

James Dobson once excused Trump's excesses by calling him a "baby Christian." According to the Washington Post, he has refused to comment on Trump's words.

Franklin Graham also refused to comment, but he did send out the following ridiculous tweet instead:



Then on Monday, he sent the following ironic tweet:



Robert Jeffress, Trump's supposed evangelical advisor, sent a tweet which supported Trump's comments while attempting to underplay its racist tone.

The Family Research Council chose to focus on attacking transgender children instead of addressing Trump's comments. Meanwhile, Ken Blackwell, a member of the group, attempted to defend Trump by completely distorting comments Obama once said about Libya.

These cowardly actions by conservative evangelical leaders shouldn't be forgotten. It really doesn't matter if no consequences will come of their words. It doesn't matter if they don't lose the support of their followers or that the media still regard them as "religious leaders."

What matters is that the truth be told about these leaders constantly and that truth never be far from the conversation about the things they do choose to take a stand on.

Or to speak plainly - the next time any of these jokers attack the LGBTQ community, I intend to say a couple of things about their embracing or ignoring Trump's racism.



Friday, January 12, 2018

Family Research Council chooses to attack transgender children instead of Trump's racism

No surprise here, but let's make it official and mark the Family Research Council as the latest conservative evangelical Trump-supporting bloc who have refused to comment on his recent racist statements about Haiti and Africa.

Instead, here are just two items the group decided to focus on today:





From what I hear, neither James Dobson nor Franklin Graham will be commenting about Trump's comments either.

No surprise here, but just consider what I'm doing now as "receipt gathering."


'Conservative evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress defends Trump's racist comments' & other Fri midday news briefs

Conservative evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress praised Trump's racist comments.

And we have our first conservative evangelical leader defending Trump's racist comments. Who else but Robert Jeffress:


What's missing in Jeffress' statement is how he can hold his breath with his head so far up Trump's ass. But I did hear that he has a special Bible which tells us that when the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus's robe, Jesus turned to her and said, "Get away from me, you dirty bum."

And wouldn't you know it? Jeffress is a homophobe. A BIG one:

No fan of the gay community, Jeffress believes that gays and lesbians are “perverse” people who are either pedophiles or likely to abuse children in the future; compared homosexuality to bestiality and called it “a miserable lifestyle”; accused gay people of using “brainwashing techniques” to have homosexuality “crammed down our throats”; said that gay people “are engaged in the most detestable, unclean, abominable acts you can imagine”; predicted that the gay rights movement “will pave the way for that future world dictator, the Antichrist”; and labeled homosexuality a “filthy practice” that will lead to the “implosion of our country.”

Related post:  Dear conservative evangelicals, we notice your convenient silence about Trump's racist comments


In other news:

Within 1 Week, 4 Black Lesbians Were Murdered - THIS is downright spooky.

LGBT candidates hoping to ride Democratic wave - Damn right. Now is not the time for bickering.

Gospel singer leaves industry & comes out as bisexual - Good for you, my brotha!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Dear conservative evangelicals, we notice your convenient silence about Trump's racist comments

With Trump's racist comments today, one wonders if Franklin Graham regrets this ridiculous tweet from last year.

As hard as it is to believe, Donald Trump has sank lower than ever today with comments about African and Haitian immigrants:

President Donald Trump reportedly asked lawmakers during a meeting in the Oval Office on Thursday why so many people from “shithole countries”—referring to Haiti and countries in Africa—immigrate to the United States, The Washington Post has reported. 
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump reportedly asked seven members of Congress present at the meeting. Trump also reportedly followed up the remark by asking why “people from countries like Norway” don’t migrate as much to the U.S. 
In a statement released on Thursday, the White House did not deny Trump made the remarks. Instead, the statement restates the president’s stance on curtailing family-based legal immigration. ending the visa lottery program, which aims to bring more immigrants from low-represented countries around the world.

To no one's shock, our Orange Menace is getting deservedly blistered in the media and online, while being defended by some folks on Fox News. But I think the conservative evangelical leadership, i.e. the bunch of folks who supported Trump and declared that he would be a great defender of Christianity and that he gave his heart to Jesus, should say a word or two about the situation.

So far, they have been silent, no doubt hoping that this thing will blow over or someone will craft a reasonable defense which they can latch onto.

Sorry guys, I see you. All of you

Most specifically, I would like to see folks like Robert Jeffress, James Dobson,  Franklin Graham, the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, and all of the other evangelicals who have been kissing Trump's ass like it's sugar actually do something moral for a change. Call this man out with as much energy as you attack the LGBTQ community for not accepting second class treatment or with as much vigor as you specifically stigmatize transgender men, women, and children as predators for merely attempting to live their authentic lives.

Come on guys. Trump just said something viciously racist. It shouldn't be so difficult to take on the mantle of morality and call him out on it.

But then again, who am I kidding? These so-called Christian leaders wouldn't dare call out Trump. Knowing how he likes to throw tantrums,  he probably wouldn't give them more any "access."

And they certainly can't have that.

'Hate group working with Trump administration to take protections away from trans inmates' & other Thur midday news briefs

The primary goal of the Alliance Defending Freedom is to undermine or eliminate LGBTQ equality and safety.

Recent reporting on violence against trans inmates illustrates the dangers of Trump administration rescinding protections - The Trump Administration is seriously considering rescinding protections which keep trans inmates from being exposed to prison violence. And guess what hate group is behind it - the Alliance Defending Freedom. This is the SAME group which is fighting to keep trans children from being protected in America's schools and pushing for homosexuality to be illegal in foreign countries. More proof of the point that there are organizations out there geared to undermining LGBTQ equality and safety. We not only had better recognize, but we need to proverbial yell from it from the mountaintops until the fact is drilled into people's heads. No matter what they tell you, the primary goal of the Alliance Defending Freedom is to undermine or eliminate LGBTQ equality and safety.

More info on the Alliance Defending Freedom (for you to digest, educate yourself and other folks on, put to memory):

Six key takeaways from The Nation's investigative report on Alliance Defending Freedom’s “legal army”

The many ways Alliance Defending Freedom is fighting against transgender student equality

A compliant press helped bring Alliance Defending Freedom's anti-LGBTQ hate back into the mainstream in 2017

In other news:

Williamston school board members who voted for transgender policy face recall effort - I bet if you scratch deep enough, you'll find the Alliance Defending Freedom in the middle of this mess, too.

New Hampshire Lets Debunked Gay Conversion Therapy Remain Legal - For some of the dumbest reasons, I might add.

How to Cope When You're Gay and Lonely - A MUCH needed article.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Remember the anti-marriage equality 'Gathering Storm' ad?

All of you folks who were as deep into the marriage equality fight as much as I was, do you remember the controversial "Gathering Storm" ad which officially brought the National Organization for Marriage and the group's fight against marriage equality into the nation's view:



It's hard to believe that it's been eight years since the ad premiered. But is it wonderful to watch it again knowing that NOM and its fight to keep marriage from us failed miserably.

'School district will pay transgender student $800,00 to settle lawsuit' & other Wed midday new briefs


A School District Will Pay A Transgender Student $800,000 To Settle A Discrimination Lawsuit - And a Wisconsin school district is the latest to learn the lesson of what it costs when you don't treat our transgender children fairly. And I tremendously approve.

This court just issued a sweeping LGBTQ victory for the Western Hemisphere - Just like that, marriage equality will expand across Central and South America. 

Take Five Minutes To Look At The Happy Same-Sex Couples Who Got Married Today - Speaking of marriage equality, it is officially legal in Australia and these just-married couples are all for it.

India’s Gay Prince Opens His Palace To Vulnerable LGBTQ People - THIS is pretty damn awesome.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Trump renominates dishonest and homophobic Sam Brownback as religious freedom ambassador



I refuse to believe that the LGBTQ community and the religious community do not intersect. I do not believe in the idea that there should be a gay vs. religion argument. As a black gay man, my faith is very important to me and it was my relationship with God which contributes to my honesty as an out-of-the closet gay man. It's not anyone's place to question what I believe in relation to Biblical Scripture or traditional church faith.

Unfortunately, there are some folks determined to push the false idea that being and LGBTQ means that you oppose religion and vice versa. And leave it to Trump to put a spotlight on one.

From The Advocate:


Sam Brownback, the intensely anti-LGBT Republican who’s been Kansas’s governor and a U.S. senator from the state, has been renominated by Donald Trump as ambassador at large for international religious freedom. 
Trump nominated Brownback for the post last year, but since the Senate failed to take action and Senate Democrats refused to allow the nominations to roll over into the new year, he had to be renominated, The Kansas City Star reports. His is one of numerous renominations announced today, several of which are problematic for LGBT people. 
Brownback has a long anti-LGBT record, and during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in October he refused to answer Sen. Tim Kaine’s question on if there were “any circumstance under which religious freedom can justify criminalizing, imprisoning, or executing somebody based on their LGBT status could be deemed acceptable because somebody asserts they are religiously motivated in doing so,” notes the Human Rights Campaign. HRC and several other groups opposed his confirmation. (Editor's note -see above video)

The article goes on to say:

'LGBTQ community need not freak out because SCOTUS allowed Mississippi anti-LGBTQ law to stand' & other Tue midday new briefs

SCOTUS turned back a challenge to Mississippi's anti-LGBTQ 'religious freedom' law. BUT for a good reason and it doesn't negatively affect attempts to overturn it.

Supreme Court allows Mississippi anti-LGBT law to stand - I deliberately held back from posting this because I can't stand needless hand wringing. In actuality, the court refused to hear a case in which a lower court turned down a challenge to this ugly law. The challenge was turned down because the law had not taken effect as of yet, therefore the plaintiffs could not show how it damaged them. Unfortunately, this makes sense. When people attempt to use this law to discriminate will be a perfect time to challenge it, and not before. It WILL be struck down eventually.

Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Early Challenge To Mississippi’s Anti-Queer Law - More details about this situation.

Chechnya's LGBT Muslim Refugees Struggle To Cope In Exile - The LGBTQ community in America have problems, but not as bad as this. Keep these folks in your prayers and if you can do something for them, do it.

2 trans people ask Utah Supreme Court to grant gender changes a judge denied them - Kudos to them for fighting for what should be theirs.

Brian Brown: Gorsuch Confirmation Was Step Toward Overturning ‘Illegitimate’ Marriage Equality Decision - Yeah. Whatever. We don't take lightly attempts to steal away what we earned. You got a fight on your hands, Brown.

Why We Need More Latinx LGBTQ Representation in Pop Culture - Amen. As a start, too.