Sunday, December 10, 2017

British pastors, MPs want Franklin Graham banned from entering England

His vocal support of Putin's crackdown on gays in Russia, which led to widespread anti-gay violence (first picture), is one of the reasons why some British pastors and MPs don't want Franklin Graham (second picture) to visit England in 2018.

Islamophobic comments and vocal support of Putin's persecution of the Russian gay community is now causing American pastor Franklin Graham much trouble. British pastors and politicians are undertaking an effort to keep him out of England.

From the Huffington Post:

Several British pastors and politicians are voicing concerns about a controversial American evangelist’s plans to preach in the U.K. next year. 
Franklin Graham, a prominent evangelical pastor who has made blatantly homophobic and Islamophobic statements in the past, is scheduled to headline the Lancashire Festival of Hope in Blackpool in September 2018. Graham’s three-day event — similar to the “crusades” once led by his famous father, Billy Graham — is reportedly taking place with the blessing of more than 300 church leaders and members in England.

But not all residents of the area are enthused about Graham coming to town. Some have urged the U.K.’s home secretary Amber Rudd to ban the preacher from entering the country altogether, the Guardian reports.

Nina Parker, the pastor of a church in Blackpool, told HuffPost in an email that she’s worried that Graham’s visit could embolden those who are prejudiced toward Muslims and queer people to express that hate.

In addition, according to the Huffington Post, Parker is involved with an online petition asking the home secretary to keep Graham away from England. Presently, the petition has over 6,000 signatures.

The Guardian also reports:

 Paul Maynard, a minister at the Department of Transport and a Blackpool MP, has written to Amber Rudd urging caution over Graham’s visit to the UK. 
Gordon Marsden, another Blackpool MP who has called on the home secretary to consider refusing Graham entry, said the evangelist may have broken UK legislation on hate speech. 
“I think frankly the evidence is piling up that his visit to the UK … would not be a good thing and not probably in my view a very Christian thing.” Graham’s statements were “incompatible with what Jesus said in the Bible”, he told BBC Radio Lancashire. 
Afzal Khan, the Labour MP for Manchester Gorton, said he was concerned about the prospect of Graham sowing division in the UK. “His views are not welcome, and I will make representation to the home secretary if it looks like he is intent on coming,” he told the Guardian.

Both The Guardian and Hufffington Post list past comments by Graham which are the basis for the concern over his visit.

The Guardian:

The evangelist, who backed Donald Trump in last year’s US presidential election, has described Islam as “an evil and very wicked religion” and has equated the actions of extremist groups such as Isis with the faith. He claimed that Barack Obama was “born a Muslim” and had allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate the US government at the highest levels during his presidency. He also said the Obama administration was pushing “a gay and lesbian agenda”, and he has spoken out against LGBT rights, saying Satan is behind same-sex marriage.

The Huffington Post:

Graham proposed a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. in July 2015, months before Trump did the same. Graham has also suggested that allowing LGBTQ people into churches or Christian homes is allowing the “enemy,” or Satan, to “devour our homes.” Graham praised Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014 for protecting Russian children from the “damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.”

Photo of anti-gay violence in Russia taken from MotherJones.

Related post:

Franklin Graham Endorses Vladimir Putin’s Anti-Gay Crackdown

Friday, December 08, 2017

'By encouraging trans activist, Obama upstages Trump yet again' & other Fri midday news briefs

Barack Obama gave an inspiring reply to this transgender activist’s question - Even when he is as far away as India, Barack Obama reminds us AGAIN why he is a better president in his sleep than Donald Trump could ever be. And I'm not posting this just for folks to bellyache about how they miss Obama. Obama is not in the White House anymore, but we should still be inspired by his words and candor. We are still citizens of this country and we still have the power and means to fight. And that doesn't mean with desperation.

Anti-LGBTQ hate group fundraises for its UN work with swastika over a rainbow flag - Tacky, but not surprising from C-Fam 

Yesterday The Supreme Court Jolted LGBTQ People With A Frightening Reality - Even though I am hope that even if the baker wins the recently heard SCOTUS case, it won't be as far-reaching as feared to be, this piece my Michelangelo Signorile outlines the fears long after the case came to court. We need to stop being so quick to celebrate victories that we forget how they can come with caveats. This is a war over LGBTQ equality and every battle always leads to a new one. 

Trump seeks emergency court action to block transgender people from joining the military - Good luck with THAT one, fool!

America Needs Another 21,307 LGBT Elected Officials to Achieve True Equality - We only have 448 elected officials in this country. More is always better. It's a step towards success. Encouraging good LGBTQs to run for public office, then helping them to win.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Religious right Congressional ally Trent Franks resigns because of talk of surrogate motherhood

Trent Franks
On the same day that Democratic Senator Al Franken resigned over charges of sexual harassment (and I am so not happy about the entire situation),  the religious right and the GOP are now seeing an equal resignation:

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) announced Thursday he is resigning from Congress next year. Several news outlets reported Franks’ impending departure from the House earlier Thursday. In a statement, Franks said the House Ethics Committee is investigating his “discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable.” “I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress,” he said. “In the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation.” Franks said he has informed House leadership he will resign effective Jan. 31. In a separate statement, the House Ethics Committee announced it will investigate Franks to determine whether he “engaged in conduct that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment.”

. . . The eight-term congressman is a social conservative and one of the most aggressive anti-abortion legislators in Congress. He has led the charge, year after year, to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy nationwide and to limit abortion in the District of Columbia. Residents of D.C. protested his efforts in 2012 by lining up outside the Arizona congressman’s office with plastic rats and photos of pot holes, suggesting that he try to fix more pressing problems in the city than women having abortions.

According to Franks's statement, the situation seems to have stemmed from him asking two female aides to be surrogates for him and his wife:

'Anderson Cooper uses the power of 'shade' during wild interview with Roy Moore's spokesperson' & other Thur midday news briefs

Watch Anderson Cooper challenge Roy Moore's spokesperson to defend his past comments about "radical homosexuals," 9/11, and Obama birtherism - It's the interview just about everyone on twitter, etc. has been talking about. Janet Porter, the extreme right-wing spokeswoman of even more extreme right-wing GOP Senate candidate from AL, Roy Moore is interviewed by Anderson Cooper and frankly there should have been admission charged. Cooper, remaining calm throughout the interview and apparently borrowing extra powers to throw shade from the rest of us gay men,  basically annihilated Porter. He peppered her with questions regarding Moore's outrageous past comments and positions, leaving her befuddled and practically speechless many times. Let me put it this way - when a charge that transgender girls are carrying camera phones in locker room showers seems to the least memorable part of an interview, we are in pretty wild territory. 

My favorite part:

Porter: "May I finish . . " 

Cooper: "No." 

Marriage equality law passes Australia's parliament in landslide vote - By the way, THIS happened. Isn't it awesome! 

Gays, pedophiles, Nazis, and the Alliance Defending Freedom - My post from last night because as of this week, I have a special hatred of the anti-LGBTQ hate group the Alliance Defending Freedom and I intend to throw the truth out about this lying, bigoted group every chance I get. Every. Chance. I. Get.

Voucher Schools Championed By Betsy DeVos Can Teach Whatever They Want. Turns Out They Teach Lies. - This affects us too. You can just imagine what these "schools" are teaching about the LGBTQ community.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Gays, pedophiles, Nazis, and the Alliance Defending Freedom

What do gays, pedophiles, and Nazis have in common?  The Alliance Defending Freedom has on occasion connected them all together. As I said in an earlier post, the organization of religious right lawyers  who on Tuesday defended a baker's supposed religious freedom to deny gay customers, have a history of  opposing LGBTQ equality so vicious that it's a wonder how it wasn't mentioned at SCOTUS as an example of possible .anti-gay animus.

If you have seen the video below (it's from last year and Alan Sears is no longer president of the ADF), see it again as a refresher course and send it to other friends and allies. I have a feeling that we are going need to remember what it contains:

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

'Old enemy of LGBTQ community becomes more prominent in Trump era' & other Wed midday news briefs

ADF hides its anti-LGBTQ animus. It's our job to rip the cover away from it.

How This Anti-Trump Evangelical Is Quietly Taking Advantage of The Trump Presidency - My dear LGBTQ brothers and sisters, an old enemy is now taking a more prominent role in undermining our equality. The Alliance Defending Freedom has done a lot of damage to us behind the scenes, but with yesterday's SCOTUS case, the group is front and center. As this article by Dominic Holden of Buzzfeed points out, I think it's time for us to start thinking more strategically. This group is pushing a "kinder, gentler" form of homophobia, showcased by figureheads such as the baker in yesterday's case. And they are doing things that I have said for the longest that WE need to do. They are studying our community and methods. And they are taking advantage of our anger to make us look like we are attacking Christianity. Marching or screeching at this group online will only fuel its narrative.  This group is more skilled than the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, the American Family Association and more methodical and patient. We can defeat its efforts but at the very least, we need to challenge our old ways of doing things. Emphasize more education about this group. Demand that the media not simply call it a group defending Christians. Demand that the true and ENTIRE story about ADF be told. And above all, tell the true and ENTIRE story yourselves. There is enough information out there and I've included a few links. ADF has skillfully hid its anti-LGBTQ animus. It's our job to rip the cover away from it.

It's not just Masterpiece Cakeshop: Alliance Defending Freedom is attacking nearly every aspect of LGBTQ equality - A reminder that ADF isn't simply about "defending Christians." That can be seen as a cover for the group to undermine LGBTQ equality. 

Alliance Defending Freedom profile from SPLC - The SPLC has called ADF a hate group but according to the Dominic Holden article from above, the organization struggled with giving ADF this label. That only goes to show how skilled ADF is in hiding it's true nature.

Ben Shapiro doesn't understand the facts of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case - I'm a bit more pessimistic about Shapiro. I believe he knows fully well but will spin it how he wants. 

Lawmaker Patted On Arm By Male Colleague Fears He Won’t Be Seen As Straight Anymore - Don't nobody want this fool. Lord! 

LGBT immigrants fear deportation as Congress debates whether to take up DACA - This is affects all of us.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

LGBTQ equality vs. 'Religious liberty' has its court date

The SCOTUS oral arguments about the Colorado baker attempting to use religion as an excuse to discriminate took place today and I have to tell you honestly:

Like they always do, people overemphasize  and underemphasize what the Justices said, what questions they asked, what points they made. People are looking for the smallest clue as to how they will rule. But I don't know what the ruling will be. Of course I also said that about marriage equality and probably have said that about every court case about LGBTQ equality even if I were sure. I do know that a lot of folks on our side freaked out - as they always do.

My advice is that we have a long time from now until the case is publicly decided - spring of 2018. Let's not flip out. That includes no constant insane speculation. But I will say that the best article I read on the case was from Chris Geidner and Dominic Holden of Buzzfeed.

I found it to be precised, not opinionated - which was very needed - and inclusive of many details other articles didn't contain, like the following:

Waggoner walked a fine line between saying she wanted a ruling for her client but not a decision that creates a slippery slope, thereby possibly eroding civil rights laws for other classes of people or protecting an endless type of service providers. And yet, she sought a decision open-ended enough that other creative businesses that sell wedding services could turn away same-sex couples. Waggoner drew this line by insisting she wasn't asking to protect tailors and chefs, for example, but rather the baker's cake, which is inherently a message. 
Justice Sonia Sotomayor questioned why — even if there is a line to be drawn — the cake baker should be on the exempted side of the line. "The primary purpose of a food of any kind is to be eaten," she said. "There are sandwich artists," she said, but a sandwich-maker does't claim to create a First Amendment-protected lunch. 
Kagan synthesized the these scenarios into three "axes" of questioning, each one exploring how ruling for the baker opens further questions in a different direction. Many questions centered around which sort of business would be afforded the right to refuse service, and at what point their wares became a constitutionally protected form of expression. "A second axis is, well, why is this only about gay people?” she said, touching on questions about how a ruling could apply to racial discrimination, sex discrimination, or even, as raised at one point, disability discrimination. "Why isn't it about race?" Finally, she questioned how a decision could be confined solely to products for weddings. "What else counts?" Kagan asked — saying a funeral, bar mitzvah, or birthday could be affected. 
"So there are all three of these that suggest like, whoa, this doesn't seem like such a small thing," Kagan concluded.

Give it a read. It will calm your nerves. Also, remember that whatever the outcome, we will use it as an advantage. We will not give in to fear or despair if we lose or excessive giddiness if we win. Regardless of either outcome, this isn't over by a long shot. And when it is over, we will win because we will strive to win.

Monday, December 04, 2017

'Religious liberty' is merely the newest weapon in the 'war on the gays'

And here we go again with what I like to call "the eternal struggle." I call it that because we've been through this before and we'll probably go through it several more times in the future.

The anti-LGBTQ industry will meet us yet again at SCOTUS combat with the stakes being our equality. More specifically, a Colorado baker, with the assistance of groups who live to rip away LGBTQ equality, will see if he can use his religion as an excuse to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. The case has far reaching implications.

Don't be fooled by the spin pushed forth by anti-LGBTQ industry groups such as hate group the Family Research Council and the baker's lawyers from another hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom. This case is not about a simple Christian being attacked or persecuted by pushy gays (which is always the spin that side puts out there) nor is it about a cake. It's not about religious freedom or religious liberty, What it's about is the same thing as the fight for marriage equality, the sodomy laws, or even the fight over adoption has been about.

It's about groups with lots of money and influence who are willing to hide their animus against the LGBTQ community behind a religious veneer while constantly working to deprive us of equality. When you pull back the phony religious layer, you will see that we are talking about decades of ugliness.

In the 70s, they said the children must be protected from "recruitment" since gays supposedly can't reproduce.

In the 80s, they exploited the ignorance regarding the AIDS crisis to make lgbts seem like deserving pariahs.

In the 90s. it was all about keeping us from receiving unfair "special rights."

And in the early 2000's, it was all about "protecting marriage."

So now we are in the middle of yet another con job propagated by slick verbiage, straw man arguments, junk science, and anecdotal stories taken out of context - i.e. "religious liberty."

'Will SCOTUS allow 'religious liberty' to send America back to the bigotry of the past?' & other Mon midday new briefs

This week's SCOTUS case is not just about a cake, but a question of have we learned anything from history?

A Supreme Court ruling in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop would destroy discrimination law. - Will a supposed adherence to a form of the Christian religion allow discrimination against LGBTQ customers and bring in an era in which anyone - particularly African-Americans, people of the Jewish faith, the Latino community, and the rest who are considered as "the other" - can be put at risk for the idea of "religious liberty." It's never been about a cake.

The Trump administration could cost the anti-LGBTQ cake baker a victory in the Supreme Court - Oh really? Do tell. 

Roy Moore: Immorality Is At A New Low - Get a load of this liar.

Democrat appeals decision striking down his order banning discrimination. - Louisiana Gov. Bel Edwards goes to bat for the LGBTQ community. 

Transgender rights: Los Angeles families complain of insensitive treatment during court hearings - This is a mess. Judges should carry themselves with a form of objectivity, particularly when dealing with children and especially OUR children.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

When 'religious liberty' puts children at risk

The video below says it all when it comes to children up for adoption. Should decisions about their well-being be based upon the personal religious beliefs of the childcare worker instead of the best interest of the child?

That question shouldn't even be up for the discussion, but thanks to the anti-LGBT right's argument about "religious liberty," a lot of money behind their cause, and a heavy dose of propaganda from them and other folks in conservative think tanks and media (i.e. Fox News, The Daily Caller, One News Now), here we are:

Editor's note - LGBT adoption in no way harms a children.In addition, the Child Welfare League of America has affirmed this  as a fact.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

'Christian' organization prays for anti-LGBT discrimination, raised taxes, wrecked healthcare, and religious/political corruption

It's rather sad that the Family Research Council, an organization which claims to be devoted to Christianity, morality, and values, prays to God for the legal right to discriminate against the LGBTQ community while knowing fully well how this could devastate the LGBTQ community, particularly our children:

May God preserve and protect the freedom of Christians and other Americans whose consciences say, "God made marriage between a man and a woman." May He powerfully anoint the briefs and arguments presented to the Court on behalf of Jack Phillips. May He specifically intervene to guide each member of the Supreme Court to uphold religious freedom for every American and to stop the widespread recrimination of LGBT activists against Christians. 

 What the Family Research Council is asking God to give them the ability to do:


But what about the GOP tax plan currently in the Senate, you ask? The one, if passed, would raise taxes on middle class Americans in order to give a tax break to the wealthiest earners? The one which also contains provisions devastating Obamacare, thereby robbing millions of healthcare and repealing the Johnson Amendment, thereby insuring that churches would be traffickers of unethical dark money campaign funds?

FRC  is encouraging its supporters to pray for its passage.  So in essence, this supposed Christian organization is praying to God for the legal right to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, including children; for taxes to be raised on middle class Americans; that healthcare be taken away from Americans; and for churches to be able immerse themselves in the corruption of the political system.

And the sad irony is even after this, FRC will be still be thought of and referred to as a Christian organization by members of the mainstream media.

No wonder people are wanting to #EmptyThePews . It's the only way they can keep from getting covered with the stench of hypocrisy.

'Roy Moore blames LGBTQ community for his sexual misconduct allegations' & other Thur midday news briefs

Roy Moore

Roy Moore Just Blamed His Sexual Misconduct Allegations On Lesbians, Gays, And Socialists - You know, should he become a Senator - and I really am hoping that he doesn't - Roy Moore would actually be a benefit to the cause of LGBTQ equality. I'll give him six months before he says something to get his own party exasperated.

In 2008 audio, Roy Moore compares marriage equality to Nazism and pines for sodomy laws - See news brief 1.

Mat Staver: Roy Moore Election About Whether We ‘Have Same-Sex Marriage For The Rest Of Our Lives’ - Those who are thinking that the religious right won't attempt to get the SCOTUS decision on marriage equality overturned, come here and let me slap some sense into you.

South African Court Rules a Gay Couple Can’t Adopt Because One of the Men Is Closeted - I agree with this decision as a condemnation of how homophobia in society makes it difficult for the LGBTQ community to lead normal lives.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A 'license to discriminate' shouldn't be excused by false religious arguments

In a few days, the United States Supreme Court will be hearing the case of a Colorado baker who claims that his religious beliefs should allow him not to serve a gay couple. On it's face - and in the hands of the anti-LGBTQ industry - it is a simple case about a baker supposedly having the right to choose his customers.

But it's so much more:

The bakery’s claims are constitutional ones (free speech, freedom of religion), meaning if they win, they will gain a constitutional right to discriminate that can’t be undone with a legislative fix.
A win for the bakery could extend to any kind of business with a creative or custom element—hair salons, restaurants, florists, uber drivers, school counsellors, etc. So it won’t just be that refrain we sometimes hear about “why don’t they go to another bakery?” it will be that throughout people’s lives, they will have to live in fear of discrimination and humiliation, across a whole range of circumstances, and we won’t be able to pass laws to stop it because this will be legal even when nondiscrimination laws are in place. 
A win for the bakery could allow for discrimination against many types of people, not just LGBT people but people of color, religious minorities, women, etc. Many assume that existing legal protections against racial discrimination and other forms of discrimination won’t or can’t change. But think about the fact that we are in a country considering a wall, a Muslim ban, where the Supreme Court gutted part of the Voting Rights Act, where white supremacists kill protestors and the protestors are blamed, etc. Once we start chipping away at the foundations of nondiscrimination laws, we are in danger. If a bakery can refuse a gay couple, what’s to stop a florist refusing service to an interracial couple celebrating a wedding anniversary? 
We know people support freedom of religion, so that makes them conflicted. But that freedom doesn’t give any of us the right to impose our religious views on others, to harm people, or to discriminate. The bakery owner is still free to believe what he believes and go to the church he goes to. 
. . . if the bakery loses, this does NOT mean a Jewish bakery would need to make a swastika cake (or similar examples). Businesses can decide WHAT to sell (wedding cakes but not swastika cakes) but once they sell something (e.g., wedding cakes) they can’t refuse to serve certain kinds of customers in violation of nondiscrimination laws.

In the context of a nation rocked by racial discrimination at levels unseen in decades, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on December 5th in a case that could gut not only state nondiscrimination laws but also erode the Civil Rights Act—and turn back the clock to a time when businesses could tell people, “we don’t serve your kind here.”

In response, a broad coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), civil rights, racial justice and allied organizations have launched Open to All, a national campaign to focus attention on the far-reaching, dangerous risks of the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case.

'Hate group working to rig the federal court against the LGBTQ community' & other Wed midday news briefs

'In the name of God,' the Alliance Defending Freedom is attempting to create a federal court with an anti-LGBTQ bias.

The Christian Legal Army Behind ‘Masterpiece Cakeshop’ - By far the scariest article about the anti-LGBTQ industry I've ever read. While we are busy mocking the 'Fred Phelps' gang or laughing at people like 'Porno' Pete LaBarbera, a hate group of lawyers have quietly trying to rig our court system against the LGBTQ community by instilling themselves in state attorney general offices and becoming federal justices. And with the Trump, they just got a shot in the arm. The Alliance Defending Freedom is truly the most dangerous group we ever faced because the effects of its acts is like a nuclear cloud - highly destructive and lingering for decades. These are some points you need to remember:  
 Trump's solicitor general "one of its allied attorneys in an establishment-clause case that Francisco helped ADF litigate in 2016"-- a fact he neglected to list on the Senate questionnaire he filled out for his confirmation hearing.   
 "At the state level, at least 18 ADF-affiliated lawyers now work in 10 attorney-general offices; all of them were appointed or elected in the past five years." "in just one year, 
Trump has nominated at least four federal judges who have ties to ADF—Amy Coney Barrett, recently confirmed to the Seventh Circuit; Kyle Duncan, nominated to the Fifth Circuit; and Jeff Mateer and Michael Joseph Juneau, both nominated to district courts."

The Movement To Remake ‘Religious Liberty’ Is Taking The Courts - Speaking of which, one of the hearings is today.

At rally against Roy Moore, fears about future of LGBT rights - Moore possibly being the US Senator from Alabama was always a huge reality. However while his side will celebrate should he win, we should be planning. His unearned Christian image has been knocked down a peg and the LGBTQ can attach his "fall from grace" as an albatross around his neck.

Australian Senate Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill In Historic Vote - THIS happened in Australia and the chance of the bill becoming law looks very good right now.

Trump saying 'Merry Christmas' does not make him a better president than Obama - Reposting my piece from last night cause some Trump lovers have been trying - but not succeeding - in giving me grief over it. It just shows how the anti-LGBTQ industry will abandon their values to kiss the behind of a known liar if he can give them a little power.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Trump saying 'Merry Christmas' does not make him a better president than Obama

Trump is a disaster of an embarrassment of a president. But one thing about him I will consider a positive is how the religious right and anti-LGBTQ industry have no compunctions about publicly humiliating themselves to figuratively kiss his feet.

A perfect example is the following from anti-LGBTQ hate group and faux Christian group the Family Research Council:

There've been a lot of wise men in the White House. But this Christmas, there are three more in the East Room, where the Trumps are highlighting a larger-than-life nativity scene. That's just one of the ways the First Family is separating itself from the Obamas, who came dangerously close to ditching the 50-year-old display in 2009. There wasn't room for Jesus at the inn -- and for eight years, there wasn't much room for him at 1600 Pennsylvania either. 
The Obamas famously wanted a "non-religious Christmas" (which makes about as much sense as a vegetarian barbeque). But they were outed by their social secretary, Desiree Rogers in an eye-opening profile piece for the New York Times. "The lunch conversation inevitably turned to whether the White House would display its crèche, customarily placed in a prominent spot in the East Room. Ms. Rogers, this participant said, replied that the Obamas did not intend to put the manger scene on display -- a remark that drew an audible gasp from the tight-knit social secretary sisterhood. (A White House official confirmed that there had been internal discussions about making Christmas more inclusive and whether to display the crèche.) 
Ultimately, the Obamas caved to pressure and included the nativity in its décor. For two terms, that was the extent of Christmas in the White House. There were no mentions of Christmas on official cards -- and only a smattering of references in eight years of greetings and special events. After eight years of making political correctness a state religion, it's really no wonder Americans flocked to a man who isn't afraid to call the season what it is. 
"You go to stores, you don't see the word Christmas," Donald Trump argued on the campaign trail. "It says 'happy holidays' all over. I say, 'Where's Christmas? I tell my wife, 'Don't go to those stores'... I want to see Christmas." Thanks to the president and First Lady, Americans are seeing Christmas. The White House is alive with tradition, from the "Merry Christmas" on the White House card to its official hashtag #WHChristmas. To the Trumps, it's just another way of keeping their promise. 
"Something I said so much during the last two years, but I'll say it again, as we approach the end of the year, you know we're getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don't talk about anymore," the president said at last month's Values Voter Summit. "They don't use the word Christmas because it's not politically correct. You go to department stores, and they'll say 'Happy New Year,' and they'll say other things. It'll be red. They'll have it painted. Well, guess what? We're saying Merry Christmas again."
The crowd erupted in cheers -- completely baffling the media. Like most liberals, they couldn't understand why the issue resonated so much with conservatives. Other reporters almost mocked the line, latching on to it as another silly soundbite on an issue they consider so trivial. But to every Christian in that room, the president was talking about a lot more than the war on Christmas. He was speaking directly into the fight for religious liberty in America. 
Maybe the mainstream media didn't notice how stifled Christians were under Barack Obama's government -- how everything they said or wore or posted was scrutinized (or worse, punished). After two terms of the most hostile administration to faith the country has ever seen, I guarantee no one takes the simplest expression -- "Merry Christmas" -- for granted. To the people who elected Donald Trump, this isn't just about putting Christ in a day. It's about putting faith back in American life.

First of all, let me make a quick sidebar here. I for one, am so sick of people like Tony Perkins bogarting the word "Christian" as if God gave them the patent to it. If you asked another group of Christians, say African-American Southern Baptists, about feeling stifled under Obama, they would have a totally different reaction.

But back to the subject at hand -  Perkins isn't the only conservative celebrating over this nonsense, but it is the height of shallowness that he refers to a 2009 article spotlighting former Obama social secretary Desiree Rogers (and probably truncated by his group) to attack the former president.

It is even more shallow, more ridiculous, and just downright sad that Perkins seems to be implying that Trump is a better president than Obama because his Christmas decorations include a Nativity scene or that he makes it a point to say "Merry Christmas."

'GOP hoping anti-LGBTQ religious right will help lobby for awful tax bill in exchange for political power' & other Tue midday news briefs

The GOP is hoping that 'religious leaders' such as Tony Perkins of FRC will help get tax bill passed. 

Senate Republicans Will Give Christian Right an Easy Victory in Exchange for Tax-Bill Lobbying - If you see organizations like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association and people like Franklin Graham lobbying for the GOP tax bill or urging their followers to do so, it's not because they think it will benefit Americans. It is because the tax bill will give these so-called religious entities more power in endorsing candidates and funneling campaign donations through churches. They don't give a rip about how damaging this bill would be for the country.

The GOP’s effort to let churches endorse candidates is deeply unpopular - And even though the idea of churches becoming more politically powerful (while most likely keeping their tax-exempt status) is unpopular, it won't stop these folks. It was never about morality or values. It was always about power and the forcing of their views on the country because of their sense of entitlement. 

 And if you think this won't cause havoc for the LGBTQ community, think again. 

The Ultimate LGBT Glossary: all your questions answered - It includes the phrase "baby gay," but not "pocket gay." I like "pocket gay." 

$100 million for gay purge victims as PM apologizes for LGBTQ discrimination - Canada is making amends to military members and federal employees whose careers were destroyed because of a "gay purge." 

The Senate Just Voted Down All The Conservative Amendments To The Same-Sex Marriage Bill - WOW! Go Australia!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Federal judge- military must move forward with plans to allow trans recruits

Transgender men and women who want to fight valiantly for our freedoms shouldn't have to go through all of this mess. And if it weren't for a certain incompetent, mistake of an obtuse-minded, error of space residing in the White House right now, they wouldn't be.

Hopefully this obnoxious journey will end soon.

From Buzzfeed:

A federal judge ruled on Monday that the military must move forward with plans for allowing transgender military recruits starting on Jan. 1, 2018. The ruling clarifies an earlier injunction against President Trump's memorandum halting Obama-era policies allowing for transgender service — the first of two injunctions against Trump's order. The Trump administration already has said it is appealing the injunction from US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in DC, which was issued in October.

Check back at Buzzfeed for more details as this is a developing story.

'GOP tax package has potential to give evangelical, anti-LGBTQ right more political power' & other Mon midday news briefs

The GOP tax package contains an insidious provision that would ruin the separation of church and state - Imagine anti-LGBTQ pastors such as Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress having the power to mobilize their followers by actively endorsing candidates with tweets and on their Facebook pages. Imagine their churches - and other right-wing churches - becoming become bastions of dark money by entities like the Kochs and Mercers. It would be legal in the House version of the GOP tax package. Besides other disasters the tax package has for the American public, it also includes a provision which would make such things as I've described as legal. And don't even count on the followers of people like Franklin and Jeffress to show any disagreement. As we have seen in the case of Roy Moore, they are sheep willing to follow these leaders over a cliff.

The many ways Alliance Defending Freedom is fighting against transgender student equality - Naturally groups like this one are for that tax package. It would tremendously help them in their war against out LGBTQ kids. This brief is spooky because someone actually sat down and thought up these methods to harm trans children. Ignoring them or simply calling them bigoted on Facbook isn't enough here. 

Chechnya's Leader Says He's Ready to Resign - What's the matter? Too many LGBTQs in Chechnya for you to persecute? 

Successful Aging Among LGBT Older Adults: Physical and Mental Health-Related Quality of Life by Age Group - Wonderful common sense study which talks about the importance of social networks.

Australian conservatives hope to corrupt marriage equality with ‘religious freedom’ exceptions - Ah yes. We are so familiar with this.

How to hide anti-LGBTQ discrimination in 'religious freedom'

I run with this video accompanied with a serious lecture to my LGBTQ brothers and sisters. On December 5, the Supreme Court will be hearing a case which could potentially codify anti-LGBTQ discrimination as lie. The anti-LGBTQ industry has disguised this mess as "religious liberty" and subsequently has also filled the airwaves, news media, and youtube with videos and the like making it seem that they are merely "protecting Christians."

In reality, "religious liberty" is a code word for homophobic discrimination.  Our side hasn't been so eager to seize the narrative. The most I could find which is remotely on the level to what the other side has been doing is this video from two years ago. It speaks wonderfully, but is rather dated.

I'm hoping that the Supreme Court will not rule for LGBTQ discrimination.  But should they, I intend to join the community in anger and fighting against it. However, forgive me for rolling my eyes every now and then at yet another time we aren't weren't proactive and have to catch up on just how potentially dangerous things happening around us are:

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

'Other evangelical right members knew of Wes Goodman's secret gay life' & other Wed midday news briefs

Evangelical right leaders knew Wes Goodman had a secret gay life.

Conservatives knew 'family values' pol had secret gay life - Under the noses of America, the Wes Goodman sex scandal is shaping up to be the incident which shows the so-called evangelical (and anti-LGBTQ right) as they actually are. Let's bring things up to date - Goodman, a Ohio legislator and a religious right favorite who opposed marriage equality was secretly going buck-wild by having a secret gay life in which he is alleged to have sexually harassed over 30 young men. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council knew of one incident which had to do with the alleged sexual assault of an 18-year-old, but did not alert authorities. And now this - Perkins wasn't the only evangelical right leader who knew about Goodman's secret dalliances: 

 The nation's leading anti-gay marriage organization, Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values, was among the Christian conservative groups that knew of Goodman's extramarital sexual contact with other men before his election last year, The Associated Press has learned. 
Board member Seth Morgan said the group discovered — after it had endorsed him in last year's legislative primary — that Goodman had engaged in consensual gay activity. Goodman faced no general election opposition and was said to be "dealing with it," Morgan said, so the issue was set aside by CCV and another group that was briefed, Ohio's Conservative Republican Leadership Committee. 
Morgan said he sees no hypocrisy in the values movement's support of Goodman, adding "we're not perfect people." 
"From our perspective, we look at this and say, this hits close to home, but it's another example of why we stand for the things we stand for," Morgan said. "It's not something that causes us to shrink back. It causes us to, sadly, move forward with a greater sense of determination."

What a load of "cover your ass" bullshit. Goodman wasn't "dealing with it." He was still getting some on the side and they knew about it. AND they still let him get away with pushing himself off as a "champion of morality and values." It's never been about preserving morality and "traditional values" with Perkins and that bunch. It was and still is all about power and control. But still, why should we be surprised. For decades, the evangelical right cited research they knew was discredited & fake to smear the LGBTQ community. With Roy Moore, we see that they have no problem supporting a suspected child molester. With Goodman, we see that they have no problem supporting a man whom they know is having secret gay affairs. Just as long as he tows the line and votes their way.

Related post - ‘Christian values’ leader helped cover up alleged assault committed by closeted anti-gay lawmaker

11 lives were lost in 11 days. For the LGBTQ community in Utah, enough was enough. - It shouldn't have taken 11 suicides for this Utah community to get it together, but thank God they are working to get it together.

Trump’s ban on transgender military service just took another blow - Another well-deserved "pimp slap" for Trump's supposed ban on transgender military service.

Republican lawmakers abolish gender so they don’t have to call trans politician Danica Roem a woman - Just petty.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Conservative writer calls out FRC head Tony Perkins for role in Wes Goodman scandal

FRC head Tony Perkins

Well at least we have one religious conservative in America with a shred of integrity.

Rod Dreher in yesterdays edition of American Conservative diidn't play favorites as he scolded Family Research Council president Tony Perkins for his "judgement" in the Wes Goodman sex scandal.

Goodman, a former Ohio state legislator and a religious right favorite, recently resigned from office after getting caught while "dallying" with a young man in his office. After his resignation, over 30 men have come out accusing him of harassing them for sex. In addition, it also came out that in 2015, Goodman allegedly sexually assaulted an 18-year-old as he slept and that FRC president Tony Perkins knew of the incident but didn't alert authorities.

Perkins and FRC have refused to comment on the situation.

And Dreher took Perkins to task:
I spoke this afternoon to a Christian source well-placed in DC conservative political circles. He told me that it’s emerging in conversations among Washington conservatives today that a lot of young conservative men knew about Goodman’s proclivities — he was rather indiscreet — but none of them said anything. 
Again, neither did Tony Perkins, so why should they have? Remember, it was only two years ago that Perkins, in his capacity as head of the Family Research Council, got sandbagged by the Josh Duggar scandal. What, if anything, did he know about Duggar’s sex life before he signed Duggar up to be an FRC national leader? Maybe nothing, but the Goodman fiasco is the second prominent example of Perkins’s bad judgment — and in the Goodman case, we have documentation (in the form of a letter from Perkins) that Perkins knew about Goodman’s homosexuality and habit of coming on to young men, and let him go into politics as a conservative, pro-family Christian anyway. 
To be clear, Perkins did say in that private letter to Goodman that he (Perkins) cannot endorse his entering politics, given that he had not shown that he (Goodman) had dealt with his sexual disorder. But why did Perkins remain silent when Goodman entered an Ohio statehouse GOP primary — and won?  . . . As an Evangelical pastor friend texted today, in deep frustration, “This is what people think Christianity is.” Yes, that is what people think of it: overlooking or excusing serious personal sin for the sake of advancing power. . . .

Huge hat tip to Joe Jervis

'Family Research Council head Tony Perkins refuses to address alleged role in Wes Goodman sex scandal' & other Tue midday news briefs

Why so quiet, Tony Perkins?

‘Christian values’ leader helped cover up alleged assault committed by closeted anti-gay lawmaker - Wes Goodman is a former state lawmaker who claimed to espouse "family values" and "natural marriage." Recently, we learned that over 30 men has accused him of sexual misconduct. We also learned that Family Research Council president Tony Perkins possibly knew of an incident involving an alleged assault on an 18-year-old but helped to cover it up. And the biggest thing we've learned based thus far? Perkins and FRC refuses to comment about the situation.

The Christian Post reached out to FRC and Perkins for comment, but was told the organization will not be releasing a statement on the issue.

This means Perkins and FRC will probably get away with not addressing the situation and all the while standing on the mantle of "Christianity, family values, morality, and Jesus." 

Violence Against Transgender People Has Gotten Worse - This means we have to do better to protect our own.

Delaware schools anti-bias proposal under fire - Particularly our trans children. Here we go again with THIS particular fight. 

Anti-LGBTQ hate group kicked off its conference with an amazing interpretive rainbow flag dance - Hate groups are so stupid. It's the same group which pushed that "Hazards of Homosexuality" crap at the Values Voter Summit 

The FCC has unveiled its plan to repeal its net neutrality rules - This is an LGBTQ issue. It could potentially devastate our power to get the news and facts out as well and our ability to unite the community.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Roy Moore supporter tries to move conversation away from underage girls

Left to her own devices, religious right talking head Janet Porter (yet another person affiliated with the the anti-LGBTQ industry whom I really don't care for) tends to go haywire.

However, she is rather savvy in media interviews, as shown by this recent one on MSNBC with hosts Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle. Watch how she bogarts the conversation about the controversy by attacking Gloria Allred, the attorney of one of the women accusing Moore of impropriety.

The hosts generally let her go on her tangent, but then when they break to ask questions about Leigh Corfman, the woman who claimed Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 14 (or Moore and underage girls in general), Folger isn't so quick to speak all that confident.

And the confidence she does display in talking about Moore's supposed Christian stance should scare you. Particularly when you take a gander at the video below taken from 2010. If anything should make you aware of what Folger and folks like her want via supporting Moore, it would be this video.

This is the real face of Moore; the one she didn't show in the above interview:

'Transgender Day of Remembrance 2017, how Roy Moore is taking down the evangelical right' & other Mon midday news briefs

OutFront: 'We need to keep fighting,' Transgender Day of Remembrance founder pleads - Today is a sad day but let's use it as motivation to make our futures better. 

This powerful film about being a young trans person is a must-watch - Wonderful film. We need more things like this to tell our stories. 

Lucy Meadows was a transgender teacher who took her own life. Her story must be remembered - Speaking of which, this is a power and sad story. 

 On Transgender Day of Remembrance, These Are 25 Trans People Killed, So Far, in 2017 - We have to do better in order to protect our own.

Roy Moore And The Dangerous Rise Of Christian Nationalism - Yep. It's been like this for years.

Why evangelicals are again backing a Republican despite allegations of sexual misconduct - Take what you will with this quote from the article: 
"Allegations that Roy Moore sexually assaulted teenage girls decades ago have turned many Republicans against their party’s Senate candidate in Alabama, but one bloc of conservative leaders is standing by their man: evangelicals. It is the latest example of a shift in attitude among Christian conservatives, who polls show are increasingly willing to overlook sexual misbehavior if a political leader is firmly committed to opposing abortion, gay marriage, and transgender rights. In today’s hyperpartisan environment, ideology trumps personal transgressions for these religious leaders, who years ago called on President Clinton to resign over his liaisons with White House intern Monica Lewinsky." 

The danger of the #MeToo movement on the presumption of innocence

Something a little different for this morning.

The #MeToo movement is a wonderful tool to highlight the havoc which sexual harassment plays on people's  lives. However, I've had a fear that it could cause us to veer from one extreme to another i.e. from ignoring or belittling the victims of sexual harassment to presuming that everyone accused is automatically guilty.

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one, as this wonderful piece by Brendan O'Neill proves:

The “Weinstein contagion,” as a Guardian columnist refers to it, has seen members of Parliament branded sexual predators for such small fare as a fleeting hand on a female journalist’s knee or flirtatious letters written 20 years ago. Earlier this month, a Welsh Labor MP, Carl Sargeant, committed suicide. He stood accused of sexual misconduct. His party refused to tell him what the allegations were, and yet he was suspended from his job as a Welsh minister on the basis of them. Sargeant’s lawyers said the mysterious accusations had plunged him into black turmoil. Although people refer to #MeToo as a progressive movement, it is starting to look like an exercise in public shaming, a rash extrajudicial application of stigma to supposedly wicked individuals. We need to recover the benefit of the doubt, just like Piven said. 
Some have argued that the presumption of innocence is a legal standard that does not apply in everyday life. The law must not prejudge someone, but we can. In fact, that’s how Mitt Romney framed his condemnation of Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate who stands accused of molesting teenage girls. 
“Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections,” Romney wrote on Twitter. 
In a narrow sense, that’s perfectly true. But Romney’s line of argument can lead us astray. Legal standards aren’t cold, abstract ideas. They embody what communities over time have agreed is a more civilized way of doing things. People are brushing aside the presumption of innocence as mere legalism so they don’t have to feel bad when they tweet: “George Takei is a pervert.” They’re saying that while judges should exercise restraint, mere mortals don't have to. What spectacularly low self expectations.

Definitely something worth thinking about.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Franklin Graham's defense of Roy Moore exposes the lie of conservative Christianity

Franklin Graham is a cyst on Christianity.

Let me skip to brass tacks about a certain American so-called religious leader.

Franklin Graham is an ignorant, self-righteous fool who exploits his family name and the word of God to suit his own ego. He is a repulsive mockery of an Christian and a prime example of how conservative white evangelicals of the religious right are sad cases who, for all of their talk of God and morality, are willing to sacrifice what little integrity they have for positions of power. If Jesus came back, Graham wouldn't know it because he would be busy tweeting out lies regarding the LGBTQ community to his gullible followers or wearing an expensive suit while sitting in a row of fellow ecclesiastical fat cats awaiting his turn to scare throngs of wealthy, well-to-do sycophants with lurid tales about how they are treated worse than the Nazi treated people of the Jewish faith.

All without any shred of humility or shame.

What set me off? The following tweet he just sent about Roy Moore:

To people like Graham, nothing else matters more than conservative judges making decisions and conservative legislators making laws, both of which putting their version of Christianity above all other concepts and ideas.

 If there is any positive which comes out of Trump being in the White House, it will be the realization  by many that folks like Graham have reduced the grace, sincerity, and sweetness of Christianity into vile swill which they ingest, swallow, and spew  like rutting hogs wearing necklaces made of crosses, hoping to put on a facade of holiness, and thereby deceiving people to their true greedy natures.

'Trump trying to stack federal courts by choosing anti-LGBTQ activists as judges' & other Fri midday news briefs

Thanks in part to fools like this, Trump is in a position to pack the federal judiciary with anti-LGBTQ activists

Trump’s Judicial Picks Call Trans Children ‘Satan’s Plan,’ Says Gays Are ‘Brainwashing’ Kids, and More - Knowing that the LGBTQ equality is virtually undefeated in the courts, there seems to be a move to game the system by appointing people with homophobic biases to be federal judges. Disastrous and happening under our noses. Imagine someone who believes that transgender children are a part of "Satan's plan" or another person who says that gays are brainwashing children being federal judges and deciding cases about our rights, children, and community. This may not end well.

Conservative group with major role in picking Trump judicial nominees proposes court-packing scheme - And this is one of the groups doing it. 

Rick Wiles: There Is A ‘New Nazism’ Rising In America That Is Dedicated To Killing Christians - This is why we are where we are in this country. Rhetoric like this is preposterous and inexcusable. But it resonates with some folks.

LGBTQ Activists Amplify Their Plea For A Global End To Conversion Therapy - Yep, some countries do engage in "ex-gay" therapy such as injections and electric shock treatments. It doesn't work. 

Roy Moore: A History of Bigotry, Extremism and Contempt for the Rule of Law - An appropriate read about a disgusting man.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Roy Moore supporters blame 'gay terrorists,' 'lynch mob media,' etc for his troubles

Today, supporters of Roy Moore held a press conference offering support for the beleaguered senate candidate. Moore is facing allegations that he sexually harassed seven women, some under the age of consent.

It went as well as one would expect:.

From Right Wing Watch:

Anti-abortion activist Janet Porter drew a gaggle of Religious Right activists to Birmingham this afternoon for a press conference praising Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, a portion of the more than 200 people she said have signed a new letter standing up for Moore after a spate of allegations that he made sexual advances on teenage girls. 
The press conference, which Moore and his wife Kayla attended and Moore spoke at, featured effusive praise for Moore’s character and record and vehement denunciations of the “character assassination” Moore’s supporters say is being waged by his enemies. Speakers identified these enemies not only as the women accusing him of sexual misconduct (“lies” and “vile calumnies”), but also the “lynch mob media,” “gay terrorists,” “communist Democrats,” “anti-God Republicans,” and other enemies of life, liberty and the Ten Commandments. 
Speakers included anti-abortion extremists like Flip Benham and Operation Save America’s Rusty Thomas, long-time Religious Right fringe figures and like Alan Keyes and Gordon Klingenschmitt, right-wing internet personalities like Activist Mommy, local pastors, and even Janet Porter’s mom, who is still furious about the way Republicans treated her daughter when she ran unsuccessfully for the Ohio state senate last year. Also speaking was Steve Hotze, a Texas activist who has been a major funder of Moore’s campaign, who Porter said had helped to organize the event.

It got even more interesting as the video above shows:

 One standout—both for being a non-Christian and for the intense ugliness of his anti-gay rhetoric—was Rabbi Noson Leiter, who denounced the “abomination” of marriage equality and “homosexualist gay terrorism and blackmail” and praised Moore for taking on “immoral Bible-hating millionaires” including “anti-god Republicans like McCain and Romney.” He said Noah’s flood “was triggered by societal recognition of same-gender marriage—so-called marriage.” Letier said, “We need Judge Moore to stand up to the LGBT transgender mafia, which legislates sins that the Bible brands abomination into public policy, thereby advancing laws that result in state-sanctioned abuse of children and adults alike.”

Then, believe or not, it got crazier.

'Family values' Ohio state legislator resigns after 'same-sex tryst' in his office' & other Thur midday news briefs

Former  legislator Wes Goodman becomes a part of a story as old as the hills.

Christian GOP lawmaker who pushed ‘natural marriage’ resigns after same-sex tryst at Ohio office - He used to push "natural marriage." Apparently he got caught pushing something else. Or pulling . ..

Meet the powerful group behind Trump’s judicial nominations- The group is the Federalist Society, and they aren't pro-LGBTQ by any stretch of the imagination.

Okla. lesbian latest to claim victory against GOP in 2017 election - The victories from the Nov. 2016 elections get an exclamation point. 

Gay Australian Senator Chokes Up Introducing Marriage Equality Bill into Parliament - This is wonderful! 

From Liz Smith To Kevin Spacey: How The Hollywood Closet Endured And Caused Harm - Sad tale of the hazards of being in the closet in Hollywood.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

'Star Trek' franchise features its first gay kiss

I'm not a big fan of Star Trek but I am a very big fan of any positive visibility which tells our LGBTQ kids that they shouldn't feel excluded or omitted. This is merely a start in what I hope to be a plethora of more LGBTQ images being seen in our motion pictures and television shows. Showing people's lives is by no means forcing anything on anyone.

 From The Huffington Post:

 In a first for the beloved science-fiction franchise, Sunday’s episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” featured a kiss between Lt. Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz). The two men had been building their romantic relationship all season, but this was their first on-screen smooch ...

'Roy Moore's wife fighting dirty against charges' & other Wed midday news briefs

Australians overwhelmingly expressed support for marriage equality. Now what? - Yesterday's victory doesn't mean marriage equality is a given in Australia. There are things needing to be done.

30 Fearless, Hilarious, And Gay AF Signs From The 10th Delhi Pride Parade - These are some brave folks here.