Legitimate Rape?

 Election, Featured, Politics  Comments Off on Legitimate Rape?
Aug 212012
 
Photo fo Todd Akin

Rep. Todd Akin (R-DB)

So there’s tons of furor over Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-DB)(Doucebag) comments about how, in the case of a “legitimate” rape, a woman can’t get pregnant. There’s plenty there to be furious over, but he’s vowed to stay in. And he’s still leading his opponent. That’s because lots of people (even some of the ones who have distanced themselves from Akin) actually believe some of the bullshit he’s let slip out.

Now Akin’s started out claiming he misspoke. Today he went on Mike Huckabee’s radio show again, and now he’s saying he just put, “misspoke one word in one place on one day.” He referred to the reaction of Republicans as an overreaction to him getting one word in the wrong place.

So let’s dissect what he said. First off, he pulled a classic Republican tactic. He tried to support his claims by trying to give it a scientific imprimatur. He claimed he heard his craziness from “some Doctors I’ve talked to.” Of course, when he was called out on it, he refused to say which doctors he talked with. Make no mistake, he knew what he was saying. He’d planned this at least his own mind, because he had given it enough thought to add-on this attempt to support his position with “science.”

As bad as that part of the statement may be, it really comes as no surprise. The Republicans have, for years, used this tactic to support their off-the-wall theories and positions. If the science doesn’t support their position, they either buy a study, or just make it up…use that old saw of saying, “some scientist,” “some doctors,” “some experts in that field.” The sad thing is, lots of people buy that crap, and they know it.

The worst part of his statement was use of the phrase, “legitimate rape.” The keyword there is “legitimate.” These are code words for the Tea Bagger Party and religious wingnuts of the party. Akin knows this too, and he was throwing them some red meat. The idea here is that most women aren’t really raped. They really, secretly want it, but turn on the man later if they feel bad about it afterwards. This is part of the male superiority that Republicans expect, and it fits with the subservient position of women so often found in the various religious texts.

Republicans decry “Sharia Law,” but make no mistake, there are parts of it they like, and the parts that make women subservient to men, they are all over, and doing their best to put that into American law…hence their strong efforts to outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. That’s in the party platform as they prepare for their hate fest here in Tampa next week. Akin slipped up and spilled the beans, but when you go to vote, you need to understand that Republicans believe that a woman should be required in incubate and deliver the baby of her rapist…you know, because it obviously wasn’t a “legitimate” rape after all. She was really wanting it.

Rev. Mike Huckabee, in defense of Akin and the rest of the Republicans, says we should definitely allow for rape babies. Some of them might turn out to be good Christians. Here’s the transcript of what he had to say about the topic:

“Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape,” Huckabee said of the late American gospel singer. One-time presidential candidate Huckabee added: “I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s, he leads a large Christian organization. He, himself, was the result of a forcible rape. And so I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things.”

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designated hate group, The Family Research Council (FRC), is giving Akin it’s full-throated support:

“This is an effort to try to direct attention away from … Claire McCaskill, who has been supportive of Planned Parenthood — an organization that’s been under investigation for criminal activity,” FRC President Tony Perkins said in between meetings of the RNC platform committee.

Perkins is also claiming authorship of the Republican Party platform plank that doesn’t offer any exceptions. And just so we’re clear about where Tony Perkin’s sympathies lay, four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America’s premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list.

See, it’s because they don’t really believe in rape. They believe they have the right to screw anyone/anything they want. Brian Fischer (of another SPLC designated hate group, the American Family Association) claims that Akin has been raped himself by the media and other politicians. After all, he was just telling the truth (obviously).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7hWztSaUYU[/youtube]

NPR Embraces Hate Groups

 Culture, Featured, Gay Issues, Media, NPR, Radio, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on NPR Embraces Hate Groups
Jan 192012
 

Edward Schumacher-Matos
Ombudsman
National Public Radio
635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Mr. Schumacher-Matos:

Last October during the fundraising campaign for my local NPR station, WUSF, the host of NRP affiliated shows “World of Opera” and “Soundprint” was fired from those shows based largely on objections by Fox News personalities due to her involvement in the occupy movement. I spoke with people at the local station as I reconsidered my support of the station. I do not support Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News network, and if NPR was going to allow Murdoch’s organization to make programming decisions, then you were effectively acting as a Fox News affiliate. That would be something I could not tolerate.

I was encouraged to write NPR at the time, but elected to let that one pass without further comment. However, two recent stories aired on NPR raise far more serious concerns in my mind about reporting decisions at NPR.

Let me start by saying I have been a listener/member/supporter of NPR and local NPR affiliates for twenty-five years or more. I listen throughout the day, into the evenings, and most certainly on the weekends. The voices of NPR have been a comforting, stable presence in my life as I’ve moved from the Greensboro/Winston-Salem, NC area, to Tampa, FL, to Dayton, OH and back to Tampa. Through some good times and dark times in my life, I’ve been able to tune in to find outstanding reporting, thoughtful analysis and commentary, and wonderful music. As both the federal and state governments have moved to cut funding for public radio, I have always been a person who writes and calls my congressional representatives and legislative representatives insisting they support this very worthy cause.

Unfortunately, last Friday I heard a report on Morning Edition by Barbara Bradley Haggerty concerning the confab by religious conservatives in Texas. Ms. Bradley-Haggerty interviewed Brian Fischer of the American Family Association (AFA) for the story. The AFA has recently been designated a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) due to some extremely vile and often violent language used against gays and lesbians, women, and Native Americans. Most of this language come directly from Mr. Fischer.

I called and talked with Ms. Bradley-Haggerty about the story. This conversation raised even more concerns about Ms. Bradley-Haggerty’s ability to report impartially on Christian-based stories.

First, I recognize she needs someone to interview. According to her account, she was on deadline, had put out about 20 calls and Fischer was the first to return her calls. This strikes me as a poor way to select interviewees. I went on to question her use of Mr. Fischer pointing out that the AFA was an SPLC designated hate group, and that she had never identified the AFA as such. She got rather prickly at this observation, and responded that it would be ridiculous because, “The SPLC names many organizations as hate groups.”

Well yes, I suppose they do, but the word, “many” is somewhat relative. Had I been the judge of what constitutes a hate group, the AFA would have been on the list long ago, and there would most likely be many more on this list. I believe this shows that the SPLC gives thoughtful consideration and accumulates adequate supporting evidence prior to issuing such a designation.

But here’s where I think Bradley-Haggerty tipped her hand. She claimed the AFA was a large and influential organization (lots of people would question that), and their status with the SPLC was not the issue. I pointed out that she had never reported, as a separate story, that the AFA and the Family Research Council (FRC) had received the designation at the time it was announced; despite her assertion they were “large and influential” organizations. Her response was to raise her voice, making clear she was angry, and state, “Of course not, because they’re religious organizations.” She then said I was being abusive (I never raised my voice, never made demands, I merely asked questions she was obviously uncomfortable answering), and that she was ending the conversation.

I think it is clear that Bradley-Haggerty brings a belief system to her journalism. It is not appropriate for her reporting to be clouded by her affinity for particular “religious” groups, and her belief they must always be right since they are “religious” in nature. I don’t think I need to remind you that many of the worst atrocities of history were perpetrated by “religious” organizations (yes, even many that claimed to be Christian), and many atrocities have been aided and abetted by so-called religious organizations.

So I believe Bradley-Haggerty is not able to impartially report on religious news. Certainly, if someone is unfit to host a show about Opera because of their beliefs about society writ large, then Bradley-Haggerty’s clear bias renders her journalistic judgment suspect.

That said, I’d like to take some time to point out the primary reason any reasonable and fair-minded person would object to NPR given any legitimacy to Bryan Fischer. Below is just a small sampling of some the public statements Fischer has made:

  • “Homosexuals in the military gave us…six million dead Jews;”
  • “Homosexuals should be disqualified from public office;”
  • Has called on Christian conservatives to breed gays and progressives out of existence;
  • Has called gay sex a “form of domestic terrorism;”
  • He has said only gays were savage enough for Hitler;
  • Has compared gays to heroin abusers;
  • Has directly compared laws against gay soldiers to those that apply to bank robbers;
  • He once invoked a Biblical story about stabbing “sexually immoral” people with spears, saying we need this kind of action in modern day;
  • He has spoken out against gays serving as public school teachers;
  • He has questioned why Medals of Honor are given to people who save lives (rather than take lives), saying we have “feminized the Medal of Honor;”
  • He has said that open service will “assign the United States to the scrap heap of history;” He commiserated with Bradlee Dean, and who has blamed gay activists for dead gay kids, saying that: “If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, we want fewer homosexual students;”
  • He said the only acceptable “culture war” truce would have gays giving up their demand for equality;
  • He painted Native Americans as innately cursed because they “cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition;”
  • He says men always get the final say in a male/female marriage and that women are only fit to be President if an equally-abled male candidate is unavailable;
  • The guy who said “homosexuality represents an evolutionary degrade”…”evidence of a species devolving;”
  • And most recently he’s been claiming HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. ((List from the Good As You website))

 

As if that whole incident weren’t bad enough, the very next day, Joel Rose did a story on All Things Considered about the results of this meeting. His “go to guy” for a quote, none other than FRC head, Tony Perkins. Mr. Perkin’s and his group (also designated by the SPLC as a hate group) has said some of the following:

  • Perkins has sought to position gay and lesbian Americans as a kid-threatening disaster in need of “ex-gay” therapy;
  • They have published and distributed brochures that compare same-sex marriages to those bonds which might exist between a man and a horse (complete with horse photo);
  • He has likened LGBT people to terrorists, calling LGBT rights a battle of “good versus evil;”
  • He has claimed that DADT repeal proponents are “willing to jeopardize our nation’s security to advance the agenda of the radical homosexual lobby;”
  • He has said the gay activists who challenge FRC are “held captive by the enemy;”
  • He has written that same-sex marriage will be “opening the door to all manner of moral and social evil;
  • He has tweeted that gays don’t need to “be a slave to feelings;”
  • Peter Sprigg of the FRC has called on U.S. gays to be either “exported” or criminalized. ((List from Good As You website))

 

But maybe most egregiously, Perkins has claimed that, gay teens kill themselves because, “they know that they are abnormal.”

When you put people like this on the air when attempting to cover legitimate news stories, you infer on them an air of legitimacy. My question to NPR is this (and I want you to please think seriously about it), substitute the word “black” or “African-American” in any of these sentences, and tell me if you would invite these people on your shows for anything other than a report on their extreme beliefs? I don’t believe the NPR I know would. Bradley-Haggerty herself conceded in our conversation that she would most certainly not call the Grand Wizard of the KKK for a quote on this story, but somehow, NPR has decided that LGBT people are the last group open to such vile name-calling and baseless accusations, and you lend your hard-earned credibility to these hate groups when you seek out their comments on legitimate news stories.

I believe in this Republic and the great American experiment. I respect the right of Mr. Perkins, Mr. Fischer, the AFA, the FRC, and Ms. Bradley-Haggerty to believe however they wish. I would defend their right to go into the public square and say these things, hateful and hurtful though they are, but what I will NOT do is help them purchase their megaphone.

So when the next pledge drive comes around, I won’t be calling in, and the next round of letters and phone calls I make about NPR to State and Congressional legislators will not be in support of NPR because neither do I don’t want my tax dollars lending legitimacy and acceptability to such groups and people.

This is a difficult and painful decision for me to make. I love NPR, but there comes a time when lines of responsibility have to be drawn, and you all have acted irresponsibly by presenting only one side of these groups. You seem to be taking a “Foxian” view that all things Christian must be good, and LGBT people are out to destroy society.

I hope that someday Ms. Bradley-Haggerty will no longer be reporting for NPR, and that NPR will make decisions about who they host on their reports based on more than just who returns their calls first. Until then, I must bid good-bye to this important part of my life.

CC:      Gary Knell, President and CEO, NPR
Joyce MacDonald, Vice President, Member and Audience Partnership, NPR
Margaret Low Smith, Acting Senior Vice President, News, NPR
Sheila Rue, Program Director, WUSF
JoAnn Urofsky, General Manager, WUSF

Tony Perkins’ Head Explodes After New York Marriage Vote

 Gay Issues, Politics, Religion, Society  Comments Off on Tony Perkins’ Head Explodes After New York Marriage Vote
Jul 062011
 

I admit to being a little late on this one, but head of SPLC designated hate group Family Research council, Tony Perkins, is just all atwitter about marriage equality passing in New York State. Get this, he’s deeply concerned the law doesn’t “protect” deeply religious “divorce lawyers.” If, as Perkins and the other haters claim, they are just in this to “protect marriage,” why would there be any such thing as a “deeply religious divorce lawyer.” Wouldn’t their deeply held beliefs prohibit them enabling any divorce?

Here’s Ms. Perkins’ entire statement (I did exclude the obligatory solicitation for a contribution…you know, to save the children):

Ms Tony Perkins in her pulpit“[The law] does not protect individuals. It does not protect private business owners. It does not protect, for example, a bed and breakfast owner who is using their own private personal property in the type of intimate setting that a bed and breakfast is. It does not protect licensed professionals. For example, it does not protect counselors. It also does not protect lawyers–you may have a family law attorney who does not want to do a same-sex divorce because of their deeply held religious beliefs. It does not protect fertility doctors who may have a strict belief and only want to help [heterosexual] married couples because they believe a kid deserves both a mom and a dad. The dominos from this decision are just starting to fall. One newspaper is reporting that the New York Department of Correctional Services is already rewriting its rules for inmates’ ‘conjugal visits,’ which will now be open to homosexual ‘spouses.’ Prisons will provide the condoms!” – Hate group head Tony Perkins, via press release.

I left the following snark comment on another blog:

I couldn’t agree more with Ms. Perkins. I think we need to carve out religious exemptions to all these kinds of laws. I should have the absolute right to deny a room in my B&B to those darned Baptists, and Catholics…well there’s no way I should be required to let them eat at my lunch counter, no handicapped people in my pool, and black folks, well they can get a drink out of the water hose out back.  

I’m glad the FRC and Ms. Perkins are on my side on this one. You go girl! Let’s beat back all these equal rights laws and rules.  

[/snark]

Apparently, Ms Perkins is all upset because calling yourself a ‘Christian’ is not a get out of your legal obligations free card. And gay couples might get exactly the same legal rights and government recognition as “opposite-married” ones.  I think I’ve eaten yogurt that had a higher IQ.

The more America expands equal rights to all people, the crazier these haters get. It would be funny if they weren’t dangerously close to cracking in a serious way.

The 22nd Street Santas

 Culture, Featured, Holidays  Comments Off on The 22nd Street Santas
Dec 282010
 

It’s been called Miracle on 22nd Street. A gay couple started getting hundreds of letters addressed to Santa Claus at their address on 22nd Street in New York City. They’ve been unable to figure how it was their address that got circulated as Santa’s address, but the miracle of it grew. While many so-called Christian organizations spent millions of dollars to defeat gay marriage initiatives and support themselves…FRC, AFA, Christian Family Coalition of Florida, Catholic Diocese of Minnesota, Bill Donahue of Catholic League who pays himself $400k per year, just to name a few…these two guys enlisted the help of friends and co-workers and went to work answering letters and helping children.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t71til7wVn4]

Ghees, sounds like what that left-wing liberal hippy for 2000 years ago told us to do, doesn’t it:

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Oct 222010
 

I haven’t been posting much lately. Partly it’s work, but it includes a general mallaise on my part. I monitor blogs that call out the supposed “Christian Leaders” whose vitriol against gay people just grows in leaps and bounds. It this sort of environment that leads gay teens to become so despondent they give up all hope, and we’ve seen the results of that all too many times recently. Yet these so-called Christians only use these situations to ramp up their hate speech, and absolve themselves of all culpability. I am sorry, but they have blood on their hands.

An activist, Dan Savage, started a Youtube Channel, It Gets Better, where people can post videos telling young gay people that they are not alone, and that there is light on the other side. Some have been quite moving, and here’s one that brought me to tears.

On October 18, 2010, members of Dallas’ Turtle Creek Chorale joined singers from over 30 area religious institutions and students from Southern Methodist University in a performance titled, A Night For Peace. WIth just three rehearsals to prepare, the 300+ “Partners In Harmony” massed chorus offered a full-length concert, which concluded with Bach’s DONA NOBIS PACEM (Grant Us Peace) from his Mass in B Minor. All stories are real. Featured speakers are current members of the Turtle Creek Chorale.

As a society, we no longer tolerate racist language and behavior from community and religious leaders, but for some reason, we continue to sit passively when the hate speech is directed at Gay people. It is time to start calling out these false religious people. Enough is enough.

Republicans Naked Fear of Single Party Government

 Election, Politics, Presidency  Comments Off on Republicans Naked Fear of Single Party Government
Jan 112008
 

This is a clip of Chris Matthews talking with Club For Growth’s Pat Toomey and Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins about the divisions within the Republican Party. All they seem to able to discuss is how most of the Rethug candidates aren’t conservative enough.

Most interesting though is early in conversation when Perkins and especially Toomey are fretting over one-party rule in Washington. Gosh, it was so good an idea when it was the Republicans. Not so much when it’s the Democrats.

[youtube]Tz4e7MwAtEI[/youtube]

Religious Right Uses VA Tech Killings to Slam Gays

 Crime, Gay Issues, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on Religious Right Uses VA Tech Killings to Slam Gays
Apr 302007
 

From Pam’s House Blend 

Special place in hell for these homophobes. Ex-“American Family Association” attorney Joe Murray rips the religious right for their un-Christian level of hate. Joe’s article is brilliant and difficult to excerpt, so here’s a large chunk – read the entire thing:

A few weeks back, writing on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (LLEHCPA), a measure that would expand existing federal hate crimes law to include classes such as sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, this author noted that the type of debate emanating from those organizations laying claim to Christian morality was quite disturbing.

Specifically, concern was raised about the tone of the debate. Christian groups were sending out “action alerts” scaring supporters into believing that passage of the hate crimes bill, a piece of legislation that has clear First Amendment safeguards, would result in preachers arrested from the pulpit and Christians shipped off for an indefinite stay at the Hanoi Hilton….

Just when it was thought that the hate crimes debate had hit rock bottom, some pro-family organizations opted to capitalize on tragedy and politicize the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech to score political points.

“Under this legislation, the crimes at Virginia Tech, which some are calling one of the deadliest rampages in U.S. history, would not be punishable to the level of these so-called ‘hate-crimes’,” wrote Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council (FRC), in an email alert sent out to FRC supporters. Perkins’ analysis, however, was far from over.

Explaining why the hate crimes bill is not good for America, Perkins wrote, “If the House approves H.R. 1592 and the Senate follows, a homosexual would have more federal protection under the law than the 32 victims of last week’s massacre.”

Words cannot describe how disheartening such a comment, from a man who champions the values of Christianity, is.          Continue reading »