December 2011

Concerned Women for America Claims LGBT Rights Initiative Promotes 'Destructiveness'

Cindy Asmussen of Concerned Women for America’s Central Texas chapter pleaded with the organization’s members to boycott Macy’s over the company’s LGBT rights policy and to protest the Obama administration’s directive to combat discrimination against the LGBT community abroad. Macy’s has faced a torrent of criticism from Liberty Counsel and the American Family Association because the company fired a worker in San Antonio, Texas, who refused to abide by the company’s guidelines on LGBT customers. Asmussen said that members should stop shopping at the store until they rehire the employee:

As I strive to finish my Christmas shopping this season, the stores I choose to shop at are in the forefront of my mind. There are some companies that are actively supporting the lesbian, "gay," bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) agenda in our nation; therefore, they will not be getting my business. In the past week, one more store has been added to my list - Macy's (also their affiliate company Bloomingdales).

The Macy's store in San Antonio, Texas, fired Natalie Johnson after she noticed a cross-dressing man wearing lipstick coming out of the women's dressing room; she politely told him the rooms were for women only. The man, and several friends who were with him, began shouting profanities at Natalie and demanded to speak with her supervisor. After the management of the store assured the man that Macy's was indeed a LGBT friendly store and transgender men could use the women's dressing rooms, the supervisor then summoned Natalie into an office where she was forced to choose between upholding the company policy or job termination. Natalie chose to defend her values and the belief that it is a dangerous precedent to allow men to change in a women's dressing room also used by young girls. For that, she was fired.

But Asmussen wasn’t just concerned about “the lesbian, ‘gay,’ bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) agenda in our nation” (apparently only the word ‘gay’ warrants scare quotes), as she went on to rail against the Obama administration’s efforts to fight both legal and social discrimination against LGBT people around the world, which she said infringed on the rights of people who don’t support LGBT rights and undercut ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy:

On December 6 at the United Nations, Hillary Clinton championed LGBT "rights." She claimed that members of the LGBT community are born that way, and it is something they cannot change. We know from all of the facts and testimonies of those who have come out of LGBT lifestyles that this is simply a lie. They can and do change all of the time. It is a behavior and a choice, and this is why there are several nationwide ministries helping those who want to be free from this lifestyle.

Statistics and facts already prove the destructiveness of these behaviors (such as the high numbers of sexually transmitted diseases in the homosexual community). Yet despite that, LGBT activists want to alter OUR lifestyles by intimidating us into accepting what we know is not of God, by trying to inhibit our free speech rights and abilities to speak out against it, and by forcing us to use the same dressing rooms (and, in many cases, bathrooms) with the opposite sex.

Evidently, while Concerned Women for America wants their members to pressure companies that developed progressive policies regarding their LGBT customers, the group condemns the U.S. for pushing back against countries that criminalize homosexuality and discriminate against their LGBT communities.

Justice Department Charges Anti-Immigrant Hero Joe Arpaio with Long List of Civil Rights Violations

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is something of a hero to the anti-immigrant Right. He was one of the most outspoken proponents of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant law last year, in a large part because he had already been using the racial profiling tactics it authorized for years. He delighted in punishing prisoners –including protestors of his tactics – by making them wear pink underwear, a practice he commemorated last month by giving Sarah Palin her very own pair. He briefly had his own reality TV show. He was courted by the Tea Party. GOP presidential candidates, including Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain vied for his endorsement, which he ultimately gave to Rick Perry before joining the candidate on the campaign trail.

Arpaio’s reckless flair for self-promotion and disregard for civil rights have been well-known for as long as he has had national fame. But today, the Justice Department released a long and scathing report detailing the Sheriff’s record of civil rights violations, including his discrimination against Latinos and non-English speakers, “excessive use of force” and “unlawful retaliation against individuals exercising their First Amendment right to criticize MCSO’s policies or practices.”

The AP outlines some of the most shocking allegations in the report:

The civil rights report said Latinos are four to nine times more likely to be stopped in traffic stops in Maricopa County than non-Latinos and that the agency's immigration policies treat Latinos as if they are all in the country illegally. Deputies on the immigrant-smuggling squad stop and arrest Latino drivers without good cause, the investigation found.

A review done as part of the investigation found that 20 percent of traffic reports handled by Arpaio's immigrant-smuggling squad from March 2006 to March 2009 were stops - almost all involving Latino drivers - that were done without reasonable suspicion. The squad's stops rarely led to smuggling arrests.

Deputies are encouraged to make high-volume traffic stops in targeted locations. There were Latinos who were in the U.S. legally who were arrested or detained without cause during the sweeps, according to the report.

During the sweeps, deputies flood an area of a city - in some cases, heavily Latino areas - over several days to seek out traffic violators and arrest other offenders. Illegal immigrants accounted for 57 percent of the 1,500 people arrested in the 20 sweeps conducted by his office since January 2008, according to figures provided by Arpaio's office.

Police supervisors, including at least one smuggling-squad supervisor, often used county accounts to send emails that demeaned Latinos to fellow sheriff's managers, deputies and volunteers in the sheriff's posse. One such email had a photo of a mock driver's license for a fictional state called "Mexifornia."

The report said that the sheriff's office launched an immigration operation two weeks after the sheriff received a letter in August 2009 letter about a person's dismay over employees of a McDonald's in the Phoenix suburb of Sun City who didn't speak English. The tip laid out no criminal allegations. The sheriff wrote back to thank the writer "for the info," said he would look into it and forwarded it to a top aide with a note of "for our operation."

Federal investigators focused heavily on the language barriers in Arpaio's jails.

Latino inmates with limited English skills were punished for failing to understand commands in English by being put in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day or keeping prisoners locked down in their jail pods for as long as 72 hours without a trip to the canteen area or making nonlegal phone calls.

The report said some jail officers used racial slurs for Latinos when talking among themselves and speaking to inmates.

Detention officers refused to accept forms requesting basic daily services and reporting mistreatment when the documents were completed in Spanish and pressured Latinos with limited English skills to sign forms that implicate their legal rights without language assistance.

The agency pressures Latinos with limited English skills to sign forms by yelling at them and keeping them in uncomfortably cold cells for long periods of time.

These allegations are disturbing enough in themselves. But what’s even more troubling is that the person behind them has been not only held up as a hero by the Right, but has served as an inspiration for immigration legislation around the country. In a report last year, we examined the ways the anti-immigrant Right has worked to dehumanize immigrants in order “to inflame anti-immigrant sentiment and build political opposition to comprehensive immigration reform.” It should come as no surprise that Sheriff Joe is the movement’s figurehead.

Cross-posted from PFAW Blog

Huckabee Stumps for Candidate who Wants Homosexuality Criminalized

We have long marvelled at how Mike Huckabee manages to use his folksy "aw shucks" charm to craft a reputation as a rather reasonable moderate rather then the anti-gay Religious Right ideologue that he is.

Huckabee regularly associates with all sorts of radical Religious Right figures and promotes the same agenda but, for some reason, these connections never seem to damage his reputation with the media or the general population.

Nothing better demonstrates this disconnect then the fact that today Huckabee is in Michigan headlining a fundraiser for radical anti-gay activist Gary Glenn as he makes a quixotic bid for the US Senate:

Fox News host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will be making a pitch for U.S. Senate candidate Gary Glenn at the Birch Run Expo Center.

Huckabee will appear Thursday at the free rally and a $1,000-per-couple reception for Glenn, one of at least eight Michigan Republicans running for the chance to take on Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow.

Glenn, in his capacity as head of the American Family Association of Michigan, has been a vicious anti-gay activist, saying companies should not to hire gays on the grounds that "individuals who engage in homosexual behavior given all of its severe medical consequences [do not] constitute the best and the brightest."

Glenn has also openly advocated the criminalization of homosexuality:

Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, has added his voice to a growing course of American leaders calling for the re-criminalization of homosexuality in the U.S.

In an e-mail to Michigan Messenger, here’s how Glenn responded when asked if he supported the criminalization move proposed by the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg’s comments last week on Hardball:

“The short answer to your question is yes, we believe that states should be free to regulate and prohibit behavior that’s a violation of community standards and a proven threat to public health and safety — including, as most of the United States did throughout its history, homosexual behavior.”

Huckabee has a long history of supporting Glenn, even filming a message for an AFA of Michigan banquet in 2009 in which he heaped praise upon him, saying that "if we had leaders like Gary Glenn across America, our work wouldn't be so hard":

Now, Glenn is seeking to take his radical anti-gay views with him to the United States Senate and Huckabee is proudly raising money to help him accomplish that. 

'Ex-Gay' Leader Claims Christian Pastors who Support Gay Rights are like Nazis, Disobeying God

Joe Dallas, the former leader of Exodus International and speaker at Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out conferences, appeared yesterday on The Janet Mefferd Show to attack Christian figures who support equal rights for gays and lesbians. Dallas claims that he is an “ex-gay” and runs his reparative therapy group, Genesis Counseling. He has also endorsed the work of the immensely discredited Joseph Nicolosi, an officer of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality and who jokes that it is better for a child to have brain damage than to be gay.

While the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Psychiatric Association all deny the effectiveness, safety and ethics of ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy, Dallas in his book When Homosexuality Hits Home claims that people can change their sexual orientation. He lists the “causes” of homosexuality, including “unmet needs for bonding with the same sex” and “early sexual violation” like child molestation. He also argues that Satan has a role:

Satan’s strategy is leading humans astray, whether the arena is doctrinal or moral, is to deceive an individual into thinking that what God has forbidden is not really wrong or destructive, but is, in fact, life enhancing. So it was I the garden when Satan tempted Eve; so it may well be with your loved one. The sin of homosexuality is human nature, but the belief that sin is not really sin comes not from human nature alone but from an ancient and evil messenger.

Dallas told Mefferd that church leaders who are gay, such as Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, or who support gay rights are all asking for God’s judgment. “So I really tremble for Bishop Robinson and the many other leaders who are in essence perverting the truth that they have been commissioned to speak,” Dallas said, “and I don’t want to be anywhere near them when they stand before God.” He went on to compare Christians who back gay rights to cultists and Nazis who distort scripture:

That causes me to wonder when Bishop Robinson says he’s going to evangelize, what exactly he means by evangelizing, of course I would love to see anyone preaching the gospel to homosexual people or heterosexual people anywhere but I’m not sure what gospel he will be preaching to put it plainly and I’m not sure what his concept of evangelism is going to be, I suspect that it will be a message to young people stating that homosexuality is legitimate, therefore they can embrace their homosexuality and do so with God’s approval.

I am reminded of the warning to those who call good evil and evil good and darkness light. There is a particular judgment, and this is the heart of the matter, there is a particular judgment that is placed biblically on leaders who teach falsehood, it is of course serious when any Christian goes into error, whether moral error or doctrinal error, but you remember James said, ‘my brethren let us not be many teachers because we will receive the greater judgment.’ Shepard’s in the Old Testament who misrepresented God and misrepresented truth were in a terrible position and had serious judgments placed on them. Jesus was death-on-wheels when he talked to religious leaders who proclaimed falsehoods.

So I really tremble for Bishop Robinson and the many other leaders who are in essence perverting the truth that they have been commissioned to speak, and I don’t want to be anywhere near them when they stand before God.

And as you know, if you took the Bible hard enough you could make it say whatever you want it to, cults can do that, Nazis did that and I’m afraid it’s being done today under the guise of civil rights and gay liberation.

Linda Harvey Claims LGBT Rights Initiative Will Lead to 'Tyranny' and 'Destruction' by Turning the World into Sodom

Mission America president Linda Harvey today echoed the arguments of other Religious Right leaders that the Obama administration’s directive to support LGBT rights abroad will encourage “perversion and deviance” and “lead to destruction.” On her radio show, Harvey accused Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of trying to demonize religious beliefs and defying God. “We can read in Genesis 19 about how predatory and abusive people became in Sodom,” Harvey said, “I think the message is very clear that these behaviors do not benefit society but lead to destruction.” She concluded her radio show by asking viewers whether they “believe Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on this, or Almighty God”:

Harvey: In their vigorous defense of perversion and deviance they have declared war on people of faith and families, particularly Christians, Hillary equated religious objections to homosexuality with being “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices toward women like honor killings, widow burning or female genital mutilation.” So let’s understand, that those of us who believe men with men or women with women are unnatural or immoral relationships, we are being lumped in with murderers and mutilators. This is such unsupportable and childish reasoning, it’s almost worthy of satire if the results weren’t so destructive and unjust. Hillary highlighted the practice of criminalizing homosexual conduct in some countries, she didn’t name them, but she made no distinction between the most harsh and unnecessary penalties and those who simply speak out in a free society to discourage homosexual behavior. What about those who don’t want these behaviors promoted to kids or don’t support legalizing same-sex marriage? It’s apparently all the same to her and Barack Obama.

There’s a problem, more than one actually. This new declaration of gay rights as human rights is not backed by U.S. law, homosexuality is not a civil right in our country, so once again the Obama administration is inventing policy and acting unilaterally. I hope that Congress will respond soon to restrain this tyranny. Homosexuality is not opposed only in modern times and not only by Christian conservatives, it was part of antiquity and we can read in Genesis 19 about how predatory and abusive people became in Sodom. I think the message is very clear that these behaviors do not benefit society but lead to destruction. We have a choice; we can believe Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on this, or Almighty God. I know what my choice is, what about you?

Future of Ohio Heartbeat Bill in Doubt as Senate Postpones Hearings

After months of campaigning through prayer rallies and television, radio and even aerial advertisements, proponents of Ohio’s extreme anti-choice Heartbeat Bill finally inched the process forward this week as the Senate president Tom Niehaus and Health committee chairman Sen. Scott Oelslager held committee hearings on the legislation. But now, the bill’s future is in doubt after Niehaus abruptly postponed hearings on the bill, first proposed by Janet Porter and State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, over intense infighting among anti-choice activists and last-minute changes to the bill:

Senate President Tom Niehaus, R-New Richmond, pulled the plug today on House Bill 125, the so-called heartbeat bill that would have been the nation’s strictest anti-abortion law. He suspended hearings on the controversial legislation until 2012.

Oelslager had planned to only take testimony on HB 125 and not make amendments to it. That indicated the bill would not get passed this year as Porter said she was promised by Niehaus.

Niehaus said he doesn’t remember making that promise only that there would be hearings before Christmas. He again blasted Porter and bill supporters for suggesting changes Tuesday after saying the Senate should pass HB 125 just as it was passed by the House in June. He discounted Porter’s contention that the changes were technical in nature.

“After five months of berating us and criticizing us, with no explanation they hand me a four-page document with 20 plus changes,” he said. “Where were they? It underscores how complicated and contentious this legislation is.”

The Dayton Daily News reports that the National Right to Life Committee’s James Bopp testified against the extreme legislation, which is also opposed by the Ohio Right to Life Society:

The bill has divided abortion opponents, and James Bopp Jr., general counsel to the National Right to Life Committee, testified against it Tuesday. He said in his prepared testimony that he believes the ban on abortions after a heartbeat would be unconstitutional under current court rulings and would not stand a U.S. Supreme Court challenge.

He said that the “informed consent” requirement in the bill — that a woman be informed that a heartbeat was detected — would be useful legislation that would be constitutional.

Porter, however, rejected Bopp’s argument and said taking the ban out of the bill would “take the heart out of the Heartbeat” bill. Ohio Right to Life does not support the bill for reasons similar to those outlined by Bopp, but Porter and supporters say now is the time to mount a challenge.

Christian Bookstore Pulls Pink Bibles Over Distant Ties to Planned Parenthood

Back in 2008, Lifeway Christian Bookstores, which is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, made news when it pulled a magazine from its stores for featuring female pastors on the cover because it was "contrary to what we believe."

Now Lifeway is making news again for having pulled from its stores pink Bibles that were designed to promote awareness of breast cancer, with proceeds going the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for breast cancer screenings. 

It turns out that some Komen funding had gone to Planned Parenthood for exams and mammograms in the past and that was enough to set off anti-choice activists at Bound For Life and the American Life League, so now Lifeway has pulled the pink Bibles :

To promote breast cancer awareness, supporters buy pink shirts, pink shoes, pink mouse pads and a host of other pink products.

Until Wednesday, there was even a pink version of the Holman Christian Standard Bible on store shelves. That’s no longer the case.

Southern Baptist-owned LifeWay Christian Resources is recalling its pink Bible because it benefited a charity with ties to Planned Parenthood. The “Here’s Hope Breast Cancer Bible” was sold at Walmart stores and other major retailers, with a dollar per copy going to the Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

LifeWay decided to recall the Bible after receiving complaints that some of the breast cancer charity’s local affiliates donated funds to Planned Parenthood. Thomas Rainer, president of LifeWay, called the project a mistake.

“Though we have assurances that Komen’s funds are used only for breast cancer screening and awareness, it is not in keeping with LifeWay’s core values to have even an indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood,” Rainer said in a statement.

Kayak Joins Lowes in Caving in to Bigotry

Last week, Lowes made an enormous blunder when it pulled its advertising from TLC’s reality show “All American Muslim” after a Religious Right group complained that the show portrayed Muslims as ordinary Americans, not radical terrorists.

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Now, the travel website Kayak has apparently decided that it too would like to alienate millions of potential customers.

Yesterday the company, citing concerns about “specific content” (which it didn’t identify) admitted that it had joined Lowes in pulling ads from the show.  Kayak later posted an explanation of its actions, but instead of simply apologizing and reinstating the ads, Chief Marketing Officer Robert Birge decided to keep digging, claiming that the blame should go to TLC, which “wasn’t upfront about the nature of the show.”

Since the complaints from the Florida Family Association are that the show portrays Muslims as ordinary, peaceful Americans, it’s hard to take Birge’s explanation seriously.  The name of the show is, after all, “All American Muslim.”  What exactly did Birge expect?  Did he want more stereotypical anti-Muslim caricatures, like the FFA did? 

Birge goes on to say that he’d never actually watched the show before, but now that he’s seen it, he insists that, “The show sucks.”  Those are pretty big words from a Chief Marketing Officer who spent his day earning a cascade of bad press for his company.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • You know what you don't see very often?  A defense of Japanese internment.
  • Christine O'Donnelll has endorsed Mitt Romney.
  • Bill Dononhue, of all people, blasts Lowe's for pulling its advertising from "All-American Muslim."
  • I can think of nothing less interesting then listening to Timothy Goeglein explain what makes him tick.
  • Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life says "legal abortion itself institutionalizes in the law the discrimination based on age."
  • Finally, it looks like Janet Porter's "Heartbeat Bill" effort in Ohio has hit another snag.