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CNSNews Discovers More Yuletide Gays at the Smithsonian

CNSNews’ Penny Starr caused an uproar in 2010 when she published a story titled, “Smithsonian Christmas-Season Exhibit Features Ant-Covered Jesus, Naked Brothers Kissing, Genitalia, and Ellen DeGeneres Grabbing Her Breasts.” Starr’s story, a breathless review of a groundbreaking National Portrait Gallery exhibit on the gay and lesbian experience in American art, started a textbook case of the right-wing controversy machine, ultimately resulting in the Smithsonian’s removal of a work from the exhibit.

Apparently encouraged by last Christmas’s triumph, Starr is at it again. Her new target: a National Portrait Gallery exhibit on Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. That the Smithsonian would twice in a row acknowledge the existence of gay people during the winter months is too much for Starr:

For the second year in a row, the federally funded National Portrait Gallery (NPG), a part of the Smithsonian Institution, held an exposition during the Christmas season focused on the homosexual lifestyle.


“Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories,” an exhibition appearing at the NPG from Oct. 14, 2011 through Jan. 22, 2012, focuses on lesbian activist and writer Gertrude Stein.


The exhibit, set up in five rooms at the taxpayer-funded museum, highlights Stein’s lesbian relationship with Alice B. Toklas and Stein’s “second family” of homosexual men, some of whom collaborated with Stein on various projects.


On the wall at the entrance to the exhibit, Stein is described as “one of America’s most famous writers.” It gives brief descriptions of each of the five stories, including “Domestic Stein,” which “looks at the lesbian partnership of Stein and Alice B. Toklas, focusing on their distinctive dress, home décor, hospitality, food and pets.” The “Art of Friendship,” the introduction says, “explores Stein's relationships and collaborations after World War I with the neoromantics, a circle of international artists who were young, male, and gay.”
 

Candidate Rick Perry to Speak at 'Apolitical' The Response: South Carolina

In the lead up to The Response in Houston back in August, organizers of the prayer rally and Rick Perry himself said the event had absolutely nothing to do with politics, even though the Texas Governor was actively preparing his presidential campaign at the time and announced his bid seven days after The Response.

Now, The Response is holding events in early Republican primary states, including one last month in Iowa and two prayer rallies in the next major GOP contests, South Carolina and Florida, and presidential candidate Rick Perry will be the special guest at the event in Greenville, which will take place just days before the primary vote:

Of course, having a presidential candidate who has made South Carolina the last stand of his campaign address the prayer event flies in the face of everything The Response organizers and Perry said about the “apolitical” nature of The Response. Perry’s office said in a statement publicizing The Response, which he headed along with the far-right American Family Association, that it was decidedly “apolitical”:

Gov. Rick Perry has proclaimed Saturday, Aug. 6th, as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation to seek God's guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states and nation. He has invited governors across the country to join him on Aug. 6th to participate in The Response, a non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting hosted by the American Family Association at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Gov. Perry also urged fellow governors to issue similar proclamations encouraging their constituents to pray that day for unity and righteousness for our states, nation and mankind.

Don Wildmon, the founder of the AFA even claimed that “no political candidates will be speaking” at The Response, and organizer Doug Stringer, who called the September 11th attacks divine punishment, said he wouldn’t participate if it advanced anyone’s “political aspirations”:

"The Response is an open event. Anyone who wants to pray to Jesus for a nation in crisis is welcome to attend. Next, The Response is a prayer event, not a political event," Wildmon says. "No political candidates will be speaking. Finally our critics say The Response violates the separation of church and state. The event will be held at a public stadium which has no connection to a religious body."



“I didn’t want to officially be a part of The Response if there was any inkling that this would be anything political or that preaching pontificators would use this as an agenda for their individual denominations or political aspirations,” Stringer says. “But the governor said it’s going to stay pure. You can’t buy your way or influence your way to the platform.”

But Luis Cataldo of The Response and the International House of Prayer today told the Christian Post that he is bringing the prayer rally in primary states so the campaign can “reflect the values of the evangelical church”:

The Response Director Luis Cataldo acknowledged to The Christian Post that its schedule is intentionally aligned to that of the primaries. And The Response, he said, is definitely about influence.

“We are trying to influence the primary race in that the [current] moral climate, the legislation doesn’t reflect the values of the evangelical church,” Cataldo revealed.



“That was one of the things we most said at the beginning that we’re not political people, we’re praying people,” said Cataldo. But he added, “Prayer must be followed by action.”

Many of the original organizers of The Response had high hopes for Perry, with Lou Engle even saying that Perry’s presidential campaign announcement caused God to end the drought in Texas, but as his presidential bid has badly floundered, even Wildmon, the official host of The Response, has abandoned him.

Candidate Rick Perry to Speak at 'Apolitical' The Response: South Carolina

In the lead up to The Response in Houston back in August, organizers of the prayer rally and Rick Perry himself said the event had absolutely nothing to do with politics, even though the Texas Governor was actively preparing his presidential campaign at the time and announced his bid seven days after The Response.

Now, The Response is holding events in early Republican primary states, including one last month in Iowa and two prayer rallies in the next major GOP contests, South Carolina and Florida, and presidential candidate Rick Perry will be the special guest at the event in Greenville, which will take place just days before the primary vote:

Of course, having a presidential candidate who has made South Carolina the last stand of his campaign address the prayer event flies in the face of everything The Response organizers and Perry said about the “apolitical” nature of The Response. Perry’s office said in a statement publicizing The Response, which he headed along with the far-right American Family Association, that it was decidedly “apolitical”:

Gov. Rick Perry has proclaimed Saturday, Aug. 6th, as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation to seek God's guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states and nation. He has invited governors across the country to join him on Aug. 6th to participate in The Response, a non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting hosted by the American Family Association at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Gov. Perry also urged fellow governors to issue similar proclamations encouraging their constituents to pray that day for unity and righteousness for our states, nation and mankind.

Don Wildmon, the founder of the AFA even claimed that “no political candidates will be speaking” at The Response, and organizer Doug Stringer, who called the September 11th attacks divine punishment, said he wouldn’t participate if it advanced anyone’s “political aspirations”:

"The Response is an open event. Anyone who wants to pray to Jesus for a nation in crisis is welcome to attend. Next, The Response is a prayer event, not a political event," Wildmon says. "No political candidates will be speaking. Finally our critics say The Response violates the separation of church and state. The event will be held at a public stadium which has no connection to a religious body."



“I didn’t want to officially be a part of The Response if there was any inkling that this would be anything political or that preaching pontificators would use this as an agenda for their individual denominations or political aspirations,” Stringer says. “But the governor said it’s going to stay pure. You can’t buy your way or influence your way to the platform.”

But Luis Cataldo of The Response and the International House of Prayer today told the Christian Post that he is bringing the prayer rally in primary states so the campaign can “reflect the values of the evangelical church”:

The Response Director Luis Cataldo acknowledged to The Christian Post that its schedule is intentionally aligned to that of the primaries. And The Response, he said, is definitely about influence.

“We are trying to influence the primary race in that the [current] moral climate, the legislation doesn’t reflect the values of the evangelical church,” Cataldo revealed.



“That was one of the things we most said at the beginning that we’re not political people, we’re praying people,” said Cataldo. But he added, “Prayer must be followed by action.”

Many of the original organizers of The Response had high hopes for Perry, with Lou Engle even saying that Perry’s presidential campaign announcement caused God to end the drought in Texas, but as his presidential bid has badly floundered, even Wildmon, the official host of The Response, has abandoned him.

Daniel Lapin Attacks Harvard's 'Barbarism' and the 'New Secular Liberal Male'

The Religious Right’s favorite rabbi and Jack Abramoff partner Daniel Lapin railed against emerging “barbarism” and the “new secular liberal male” at David Barton’s Pro-Family Legislators Conference. Lapin, who propagates his own version of the Prosperity Gospel, said that those protesting Wall Street, not the Wall Street bankers who triggered the financial crisis, are “barbarians” who want to “obliterate” civilization. He bemoaned that “the spiritual heirs of Bach and Beethoven” at Harvard University “are now banging bongo drums” and claimed “degeneracy” dominates the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations:

Now please understand when I say barbarism, I’m not only talking about the wiles of Asia and Africa, I’m talking about Harvard. You’ve got to remember, please, for those of you who have visited Boston lately, you’ve got to remember, that the spiritual heirs of Bach and Beethoven are now banging bongo drums in Boston. Have you been to Harvard Square? That’s what’s going on. If you take a look at the cooks and cranks now occupying Wall Street parks, who are these people? Civilized or barbarians? Let’s be candid about it. if you doubt my words please just walk through one of these encampments and see the squalor and the filth and the degeneracy, that’s all you’ve got to see, and then just recognize that in the great struggle of our age all you have to do is ask yourself, are they on the side of civilization or are they on the side of barbarism? It’s as simple as that. Do they want to sustain civilization or obliterate it? That’s easy to see, they want to obliterate it.

Lapin later lashed out against the “new secular liberal male” whom he said is either a “thug” or a “hideous hermaphrodite.” According to Lapin, the proper role of men is only found in the Bible:

Take a look at what’s going on around us, basically what happens I believe is that if you strip away the biblical blueprint, then males fall into one of two categories: they either become thugs and treat women with brutal callousness, or they become hideous hermaphrodites lacking the charm of women and the masculinity of men. Welcome to the new secular liberal male in America. Those are the two kinds you get, thugs or wimps, because the gifts of masculinity with all its traditions of honor and respect, commitment and responsibility, and yes treatment of women, spring directly from the pages of the Bible.

Harry Jackson and Apostles Waging Spiritual Warfare in Maryland

When we last saw Bishop Harry Jackson, he and Cindy Jacobs and others were gathered at a church in Maryland raising money for the fight against marriage equality in Maryland and preparing to wage spiritual warfare against "the ruling principality over this region that has created perversion, collusion and division" in legalizing marriage equality in Washington DC.

Today, Jackson tweeted a link to a recent sermon he delivered "on the role of the Apostle in today's culture" that was tied to this same issue.  Jackson, who considers himself to be a modern-day apostle, discussed his role in fighting gay marriage in DC, explaining that he really did not want to get involved even though God had ordered him to do so.  As such, Jackson challenged God to provide him with the money and resources he would need to take on this issue and said he'd need a large donation as proof within the next 36 hours.  When he work up the next morning, he checked his email and learned that someone had sent him a donation for $50,000 overnight.

The point, Jackson explained, is that God has made preparations for his agenda well in advance and that people just need to do as God commands and will find that everything they need is already put in place.  As such, God made preparations for the fight against marriage equality in Maryland "before the foundation of the world."  Jackson went on to explain that if anyone is "crazy enough" to try and stop apostles like Jackson from carrying out God's will, those enemies have "doomed themselves to spiritual defeat" with the end result being that "they have just signed over all their stuff to you":

Divided Religious Right Leaders may ask Presidential Candidates to Withdraw

Divided Religious Right Leaders may ask Presidential Candidates to Withdraw With Religious Right leaders set to meet in Texas about the GOP presidential primary, divisions within the movement may hinder efforts to put on a united front. Just as in 2008, when many social conservatives were divided and John McCain was able to win the Republican nomination, it looks like discord and delay will doom any chance that this meeting will be a game-changer.

Elizabeth Dias of TIME reports that Don Wildmon, the founder of the American Family Association who was an early supporter of Rick Perry but has since endorsed Newt Gingrich, told invited guests that they must be prepared to switch which candidate they support so as not to “not divide our strength.” Dias also reports that there “is a rumor among several invitees that the leaders may ask a candidate to withdraw” from the race:

Some 125 evangelical leaders and their spouses will gather this weekend at a Texas ranch to discuss the latest iteration of Operation What To Do About Mitt Romney. While organizers say it is not a meeting to stop the GOP front runner, the invitation is urgent: “This coming election could prove to be the most critical of our lifetime,” it reads. The real kicker: Event sponsor and former American Family Association chairman Don Wildmon has asked invitees if they would be “be willing to compromise and change your choice to one that the body as a whole supports in order to not divide our strength,” according to someone who has received the invitation. The implication? Time’s running out to anoint a consensus candidate for social conservatives.

Getting all the members of this group, let alone the voters of South Carolina, behind this proposition in the middle of January will likely require an act of God. Evangelical votes and donations are already splintered between Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. (Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, despite their second and third place finishes in New Hampshire, will not be under consideration at the ranch outside Houston this weekend.) There is a rumor among several invitees that the leaders may ask a candidate to withdraw, but entrenched loyalties will make it difficult to settle on one or possibly two contenders to take to the fall. Wildmon financed Perry’s “Response” prayer rally this summer, and event organizer Gary Bauer, a former Family Research Council president and a U.S.-presidential hopeful in 2000, endorsed Santorum at a South Carolina campaign event this past Sunday.

Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times found that Religious Right leaders are trying to make sure that they don’t come across as hostile to Mitt Romney as he inches closer to winning the nomination, noting that Romney’s evangelical supporters will be present:

Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values and one of the organizers, said Tuesday in an interview, “We’re not forming some alliance to stop somebody else that’s competing for the nomination,” adding, “the only person in that room the people want to stop is Barack Obama from having a second term.”

Mr. Bauer, it happens, will be supporting Mr. Santorum, whom he endorsed and campaigned with last week. But Mr. Bauer said the meeting would include advocates “for all of the candidates, including Romney.” Mr. Romney’s advocates are expected to be working the room aggressively.

For some insider knowledge, AFA spokesman and Perry-cheerleader Bryan Fischer urged his allies to all rally around the Texas governor despite his extraordinarily low place in the polls and beyond-terrible debate performances:

The only alternative to this scenario is if social conservatives are able to rally around Rick Perry. Newt Gingrich is fatally flawed and bleeding from too many self-inflicted wounds, including morphing into Michael Moore in his attacks on free enterprise. Rick Santorum, despite his unapologetic and vigorous social conservatism, does not have the infrastructure, the organization, or the money to run a nationwide campaign. He will not even be on the ballot in four or five states.

Only Rick Perry combines effective executive experience, a proven record of economic vitality, a consistently conservative set of social values, and the structure and fund-raising capacity to defeat Romney in the primary and Obama in the general. He or Santorum could blunt some of the Ron Paul mania and keep many conservatives from defecting to Paul. But Perry finished fifth in Iowa, was barely a blip in New Hampshire, and is polling at five percent in South Carolina.

Gary Glenn Still Suing Over Hate Crimes Legislation

Early in 2010, Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan and three Michigan pastors filed a lawsuit against the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. The group was represented by the ultra-right wing Thomas More Law Center, which argued that "the sole purpose of this law is to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin."

The lawsuit was dismissed in September of that year and that was the last we had heard about it, though Glenn continued with his anti-gay activism and then decided to make a bid for the US Senate.

You'd think that with Glenn focusing on this Senate race and rounding us support from leaders like Mike Huckabee, the last thing he'd be interested in would be resurrecting this two year-old lawsuit ... but that is exactly what is happening:

A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati is taking up the claim of three Michigan ministers that a federal hate crime law infringes on their First Amendment rights and should be declared unconstitutional.

Oral arguments are scheduled Wednesday.

The law expands federal hate crimes to those committed against people because of sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

The ministers say they could be targeted for their sermons against gay behavior. The law's supporters say it's aimed at acts of violence, not speech by clergy.

A lower court judge dismissed the lawsuit last year.

The ministers are Jim Combs of Waterford, Rene Ouellette (oo-LET') of Bridgeport and Levon Yuille (YOOL) of Ypsilanti. Another plaintiff is Gary Glenn, head of the American Family Association of Michigan.

President Obama signed the legislation in October 2009 and, to date, not one person has been charged for preaching against homosexuality ... but that obviously is not going to stop anti-gay activists from filing lawsuits claiming that is exactly what will happen.

NOM’s Favorite DC Council Candidate Changes Mind on Marriage Equality Law

In 2010, Right Wing Watch reported that the National Organization for Marriage was pouring tens of thousands of dollars into D.C.’s Ward 5 city council race in an effort to punish one of the proponents of the District’s 2009 marriage equality law. The beneficiary of NOM’s largesse was Delano Hunter, a candidate who supported putting a referendum to undo the new marriage equality bill on the ballot. Despite NOM’s efforts, Hunter lost fairly badly to incumbent Harry Thomas.

Now, Thomas has been forced to resign after being charged with embezzling more than $350,000 in city funds, and Hunter is again angling for the Ward 5 seat. But, perhaps recognizing that opposition to gay rights is not a winning issue, Hunter has changed his tune on marriage equality, saying he would leave DC’s marriage law as it is, reports Lou Chibbaro of The Washington Blade:

An outspoken advocate for placing D.C.’s same-sex marriage law on the ballot in a voter referendum in 2010 says he no longer holds that view and will express “respect” for the law as a candidate for the City Council in a special election this spring.


Civic activist Delano Hunter has announced plans to run for the Ward 5 Council seat that became vacant last week when incumbent Harry Thomas, a Democrat, resigned after pleading guilty to federal theft and tax evasion charges.


“I do not seek to overturn the Marriage Equality Act when elected,” Hunter told the Blade in a statement released on Tuesday.


“I will, however, continue to establish working relationships within the LGBT community to focus on issues that affect the quality of life for all residents of the District of Columbia,” he said.

Religious Right Activists Plan Protests of Democratic National Convention

Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition and Terry Gensmer of the Charismatic Episcopal Church today announced their plans to lead demonstrations against the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Mahoney is an anti-choice stalwart whose gimmicks include photoshopping Scarlett Johansson in a Klan robe and protesting the inauguration of President Obama, who Mahoney says is lying about his Christian faith. The two activists say that their protests against the convention will include “live ultrasounds throughout Charlotte” in order to have “the pre-born children of America ‘speak’ to President Obama,” along with “rallies with African-American leaders” to bolster their claims that legal abortion is a surreptitious way to commit black genocide:

Rev. Mahoney is the Director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C. and Father Terry Gensemer is the Director of CEC for Life based in Birmingham, Alabama.

The group hopes to see thousands from Charlotte and around the nation participate in the event which will include: prayer vigils and rallies seeking God for the healing of our nation, calls for repentance from the Christian community, reaching out to the needy in Charlotte with love and service projects, major public events around the City of Charlotte, calling on President Obama and praying for him to embrace life, family, marriage, religious liberty and human rights and justice for all.

A major focus will be on the pro-life issue and will include such things as: leaving 3,300 flowers at the Time Warner Arena to remember and honor the 3,300 children who die every day from abortion, prayer at local abortion clinics, "Voices from the Womb" which will perform live ultrasounds throughout Charlotte having the pre-born children of America "speak" to President Obama and rallies with African-American leaders focusing on the high rate of abortions in the black community.

Porter's Latest 'Heartbeat Bill' Stunt Involves Little Children and Teddy Bears

Janet Porter has pulled out all the stops in her effort to pass her radical anti-choice "Heartbeat Bill" in Ohio.  Over the last year, she has filled the Ohio House with heart-shaped red balloons, re-written the lyrics to an 80's pop tune, brought in prophets and apostles to push for passage, and even had multiple fetuses "testify" in favor of the legislation.

But still her bill remains stuck in the Ohio Senate, which is why she held another press conference yesterday to push for its passage; this one featuring children with teddy bears advocating on its behalf:

Christian Harrington didn't mince words during his moment at the Statehouse Tuesday.

The 8-year-old wants the Ohio Senate to take action on the Heartbeat Bill, legislation that would ban abortions within weeks of conception.

"I'm here to save babies with beating hearts," Christian, barely tall enough to peer over a podium, told a packed committee hearing room. "And I want to tell the senators to pass the Heartbeat Bill right now. And when I mean right now, I mean right now."

The youngster was one of more than 50 children who were in Columbus Tuesday as part of the latest attempt by backers of the Heartbeat Bill to convince lawmakers to pass the legislation.

They had a press conference with reporters, held a faux committee hearing showing lawmakers how to vote in favor of the bill and delivered Teddy bears, complete with real heartbeat sound chip, to all 33 Ohio senators.

"Do not believe the stuff the people tell you at the abortion clinic," said 11-year-old Sydney McCauley. "The just say it's a blob of tissue, and that is not the truth. That blob of tissue is actually forming into a baby."

Porter posted video of the event on her website yesterday where she explained that legislators had already heard from babies, national and local anti-abortion leaders, and the residents of Ohio ... so now it was time to hear from the children, like Noah who Porter held up to the microphone so he could explain that "I am 4 and I have a heartbeat":