May 122008

A while back John Stemberger, leader of the Anti-Gay Amendment 2 group here in Florida, was quoted in an Orlando Sentinal article discussing those opposed to Amendment 2 saying, “We’re going to confront deception and we’re going to expose them wherever they are.” Strong words, until one has to eat them.

It seems Stemberger’s been going around the state debating opponents of Amendment 2, and stating it is absolutely false that there is any intent to take away domestic partner benefits. You can listen to the dishonest claims here.

So what makes his claims dishonest? Continue reading »

James Dobson Too Big a Coward to Debate Evangelical Agenda

 Gay Issues, Politics, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Science, Society  Comments Off on James Dobson Too Big a Coward to Debate Evangelical Agenda
Mar 132007

From LA Times

Evangelicals battle over agenda, environment

A struggle for control of the evangelical agenda intensified this week, with some leaders declaring that the focus has strayed too far from their signature battles against abortion and gay rights.

Those issues defined the evangelical movement for more than two decades — and cemented ties with the Republican Party. But in a caustic letter, leaders of the religious right warned that these “great moral issues of our time” were being displaced by a “divisive and dangerous” alignment with the left on global warming.

A new generation of pastors has expanded the definition of moral issues to include not only global warming, but an array of causes. Quoting Scripture and invoking Jesus, they’re calling for citizenship for illegal immigrants, universal healthcare and caps on carbon emissions.

The best-known champion of such causes, the Rev. Jim Wallis, this week challenged conservative crusader James C. Dobson, the chairman of Focus on the Family, to a debate on evangelical priorities.

“Are the only really ‘great moral issues’ those concerning abortion, gay marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence?” Wallis asked in his challenge. “How about the reality of 3 billion of God’s children living on less than $2 per day? … What about pandemics like HIV/AIDS … [and] disastrous wars like Iraq?”

A Focus on the Family vice president, Tom Minnery, said he would be happy to take up that debate. Dobson himself, Minnery said, is busy writing a book on child rearing.

“Without question,” Minnery said, “issues like the right to life for an unborn child concern evangelicals far more broadly.”

The public dispute began with the release of a letter signed by several men who helped transform the religious right into a political force, including Dobson, Don Wildmon of the American Family Assn. and Paul Weyrich of American Values.

The signatories — most of them activists, not theologians — expressed dismay that an evangelical emphasis on global warming was “contributing to growing confusion about the very term ‘evangelical.’ ”

In religious terms, an evangelical is a Christian who has been born again, seeks a personal relationship with Christ, and considers the Bible the word of God, to be faithfully obeyed.

But Dobson and his fellow letter-writers suggested that evangelical should also signify “conservative views on politics, economics and biblical morality.”

The letter took particular aim at the Rev. Richard Cizik, a prominent evangelical lobbyist who has promoted environmental protection as a moral imperative. Citing the creation story in the Book of Genesis, he has called the fight against global warming a directive “straight from the word of God … no doubt about it.”

The letter accused Cizik of “dividing and demoralizing” Christians by pushing this agenda and called on his employer, the National Assn. of Evangelicals, to silence him or to demand his resignation.

“This is, in some ways, a defining moment,” said Randall Balmer, a professor of religion at Columbia University in New York. “It’s the old guard trying to hold on.”

The renewed debate on moral priorities came as the National Assn. of Evangelicals – which represents 45,000 churches and 30 million Christians – gathered for a board meeting Friday in Eden Prairie, Minn.

The board declined to censure or silence Cizik. Moreover, it appeared to embrace a broad view of the evangelical agenda, endorsing a sweeping human rights declaration.

The board also reaffirmed its support for a 2004 Call to Civic Responsibility that urged evangelical engagement on seven key issues, including religious freedom, the sanctity of life, justice for the poor, and environmental protection.

Those advocating a broader agenda insist that they’re not trying to downplay – much less back away from – traditional evangelical positions on abortion and sexual morality.

White evangelicals are more united against abortion than any other religious group, including Catholics, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. A 2005 poll found 15% in support of a total ban on abortion and 53% in favor of only narrow exceptions. By contrast, global warming is deemed a “very serious” problem by less than 30% of white evangelicals, according to a 2006 Pew Forum poll. Less than 40% accept the scientific consensus that human activity, such as burning coal for energy, is responsible for the Earth’s rising temperatures.

“It’s a mistake to think that we’re all becoming liberal Democrats. That’s not true,” Wallis said.

But he asserted that his followers – especially young people – no longer want the old guard of evangelicals to define their priorities.

When he preached recently at a conservative evangelical college, Wallis said, he was besieged by students furious at the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who recently described global warming as a satanic plot to divert Christians from more pressing moral issues, such as spreading the Gospel.

“James Dobson and the religious right are outside the evangelical mainstream. That’s just a fact,” Wallis said. “That doesn’t mean they have no power…. But their monologue is over. Their control of the agenda is over.”

He and others have sought to re-brand traditional slogans of the religious right, such as “pro-life,” to encompass a range of programs, from working with AIDS victims in Africa to helping illegal immigrants achieve legal status so they can continue to live with their U.S.-born children.

The Rev. Jim Ball, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, has worked global warming into his definition of pro-life; he argues reducing carbon emissions will cut back on air and water pollution and that in turn will improve the health of pregnant women and unborn generations.

“We’re saying we can be pro-life and take care of global warming,” Bal said. “There’s a strong connection there.”

Friday’s board meeting advanced that view, but the debate is not over.

“The NAE is at a crossroads,” board member Jerald Walz said.

“You won’t find an evangelical who will say ‘I’m for poverty.’ Of course not,” Walz said.

But when it comes to helping the poor, ideas vary; some prefer to work through private charity, while others want government intervention.

Since there’s no consensus, Walz argued, “we ought to be reticent about speaking with force and clarity” on such issues.

Instead, he will keep pressing to focus the agenda on issues he considers “home runs” – namely, restrictions on abortion and bans on same-sex marriage.

Some on the board who share those views are already working on a second letter criticizing Cizik for his environmental activism.

Balmer, the religion professor, says he senses an unstoppable momentum for the new generation of social-justice evangelicals. But though he criticizes the traditionalists for “moral myopia,” he’s not willing to write them off yet.

Dobson and his allies still wield considerable clout; their radio shows, newsletters and e-mail alerts reach millions of conservative Christians.

“They’re still very powerful,” Balmer said. “And they’re not giving up.”

We can only hope these goobers break apart and wind up devouring themselves.

Fighting Gays and Abortion More Important Than Saving the World

 Gay Issues, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on Fighting Gays and Abortion More Important Than Saving the World
Mar 072007

You heard right. Apparently conversative Christian leaders are mad at the Government Affairs guy for the National Association of Evangelicals (yep, the one Ted Haggard used to head). They seem to think fighting against equal rights for gay people and opposing abortion are more important than saving the world from blowing itself up. From NY Times

Leaders of several conservative Christian groups have sent a letter urging the National Association of Evangelicals to force its policy director in Washington to stop speaking out on global warming.The conservative leaders say they are not convinced that global warming is human-induced or that human intervention can prevent it. And they accuse the director, the Rev. Richard Cizik, the association’s vice president for government affairs, of diverting the evangelical movement from what they deem more important issues, like abortion and homosexuality.

The letter underlines a struggle between established conservative Christian leaders, whose priority has long been sexual morality, and challengers who are pushing to expand the evangelical movement’s agenda to include issues like climate change and human rights.

“We have observed,” the letter says, “that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time.”

Those issues, the signers say, are a need to campaign against abortion and same-sex marriage and to promote “the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children.”

The letter, dated Thursday, is signed by leaders like James C. Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family; Gary L. Bauer, once a Republican presidential candidate and now president of Coalitions for America; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; and Paul Weyrich, a longtime political strategist who is chairman of American Values.

They acknowledge in the letter that none of their groups belong to the National Association of Evangelicals, a broad coalition that represents 30 million Christians in hundreds of denominations, organizations and academic institutions. But, they say, if Mr. Cizik “cannot be trusted to articulate the views of American evangelicals,” then he should be encouraged to resign.

Mr. Cizik (pronounced SIZE-ik) did not respond to requests for an interview yesterday, and the association’s chairman, L. Roy Taylor, was unavailable. But the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the association, said, “We’re talking about somebody here who’s been in Washington for 25 years, has an amazing track record and is highly respected.”  Continue reading »

Anti-Gay Email Sparks Furor with Houston Landscaper

 Gay Issues, Society  Comments Off on Anti-Gay Email Sparks Furor with Houston Landscaper
Nov 092006

According to a Reuters report, Houston-based firm Garden Guy sent an e-mail on October 18 turning down a prospective customer by saying: “I need to tell you that we cannot meet with you because we choose not to work for homosexuals.”

The recipient, Michael Lord, forwarded the e-mail to dozens of friends and it spread across the Internet.

Garden Guy co-owner Sabrina Farber seems to be offended that Mr. Lord didn’t feel compelled to keep her behavior secret. “When we sent (the e-mail) we intended it for the client. We did not intend it to be some sweeping political statement for the world. That’s it,” she said.

She goes on to say, “We felt that it was our right as an American small business to choose who we do business with.” Guess what, I completely agree with her, but she has to, in turn, respect Mr. Lord’s right to let anyone he wants know of how he was treated by this business. It happens to cut both ways, and it seems it’s always the Am-Taliban that thinks they have a long laundry list of rights that don’t extend to everyone else.

This should come as no surprise, their website says they also do work in Sugar Land…home to disgraced House leader Tom Delay.

Go on Sabrina, please, by all means, here in America pick and choose your clients. I’ll defend your right to do so as a matter of free speech. Just remember, the rest of us get the same right to free speech. We get to let the world know what we think of you too. Grow up.

Dobson Says More Gay Congressmen to be Outed

 Congress, Election, Gay Issues, Politics, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on Dobson Says More Gay Congressmen to be Outed
Oct 182006

And who would know better than the expert on all things gay, James Dobson. [From Ethics Daily]

Dobson said a congressman has told him that several other gay Republicans will be “outed” in coming days. He said he doesn’t know who they are, but, “They say it is going to be worse than anything that has happened so far.”

“They are dribbling this bad news out so eventually the values voters will get to the point so they will say a pox on both your houses; I’m staying home,” Dobson said. “Folks you cannot afford to do that.”

So let’s get this straight: Dobson wants his followers, the “values voters,” to not be deterred by news of closeted homosexuality in the GOP. Isn’t opposing homosexuality a core issue that defines them as “values voters?” Sounds like a mixed signal to us. Especially when the GOP leadership are apparently drunk on the liberal Molotov cocktail known as “Tolerance And Diversity” and are guilty of “shielding” GOP Congressman from being outed.

As Defcon has been reporting, Dobson’s words were reported from a “Justice Sunday” event to a crowd that was “substantially smaller than a ‘Justice Sunday’ event held two years ago in the same church.” His get out the vote tour is tanking.

"Christian Group" Now wants Desperate Housewives Off The Air

 Culture, Gay Issues, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on "Christian Group" Now wants Desperate Housewives Off The Air
Mar 012006

The radical religious right group, the American Family Association, has become the book burners of the new century. They don’t simply have a gripe with a few things in our culture, a few companies, a few TV shows. They want America to be forced to live under their warped, minority view of an extremist Biblical lifestyle that doesn’t even comport with the majority of mainstream American Christianity.

And now they’re trying to kill the hit show “Desperate Housewives.”

You’ll recall that this is the same group that “boycotted” Ford, then lost, after we exposed the organization as gay-hating, having a terrible record of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim writings, AND the fact that the AFA actually promotes the “Nazi Germany era” science of known hate groups on their Web site.

It’s hard to believe that any American company, or politician, would want to be associated with such fringe haters.

Let me share with you, and the folks who run Desperate Housewives, the exact message the American Family Association is promoting:? Continue reading »

Rightwing Christian Protesting at Soldiers Funeral

 Religion, Society  Comments Off on Rightwing Christian Protesting at Soldiers Funeral
Jun 292005

Here’s the Christian Right Wing the Republicans are so interested in catering too.

WCBV Boston reports a “right-wing Protestant Christian church group from Topeka, Kansas is planning to demonstrate” at the funeral service of a soldier who recently died in Iraq. Why? The group, from Westboro Baptist Church, claims “U.S. soldiers like Piper are dying because the country is being punished for its tolerance of what they see as immoral behavior, such as homosexuality.” The group staged a protest several weeks ago “carrying signs depicting homosexual sex, with slogans such as ‘Pope In Hell’ and ‘God Hates Fags,’ and ‘God Hates The U.S.'”