Rev. Harry Jackson is such a remarkable bigot, that he doesn't think gay bashing is a "real hate crime." In USA Today, he lied for the Lord, mischaracterizing federal hate crimes legislation, saying it would muzzle his right to free speech. What he conveniently omitted is that there are protections for religious speech (and other speech) in the bill.
It seems Jackson is so consumed by blind hatred, that he is afraid an unbalanced member of his congregation might take his words the wrong way and go on an anti-gay violence spree.
"Lets say a congregational member has a diminished (mental) capacity, goes out and hurts somebody or threatens to hurt somebody and is arrested and says, 'Pastor Jackson told me to do this.' Under the laws of the land, I could be implicated and brought up on charges as an accessory to that crime," Jackson says.
For Jackson to even conceive of this, one wonders what he is telling his congregation when no one is looking. I've been countering the extreme right for more than a decade, yet, I have never worried that a member of my organization would hurt somebody. That is because my rhetoric doesn't incite people to violence. If Jackson is worried that his preaching might lead to brutality or even murder, maybe he ought to reevaluate what he is spewing in his sermons.
Even more ridiculous, is when Jackson says the number of incidents involving gays "don't rise to the level of murder and lynchings that happened to black people." Yeah, tell that to Matthew Shepard's mother. Jackson tries to justify his religion-based bigotry and raw hate on the false notion that gay people can change. Once again, the ex-gay ministries are shamefully used to rationalize opposition to hate violence.
"I'm outraged by the fact that they get to ride on and hijack the civil rights movement," Jackson says. "I believe that much of the gay movement is a matter of choice vs. what my father went through. He couldn't change the color of his skin."
The truth is, one can change the color of his or her skin much easier than one can alter sexual orientation. Indeed, in countries where lighter skin is more favorably viewed, people do conform to social pressure and change their skin color with a degree of success much greater than that of the failed ex-gay myth.
I think society would be much better off if people accepted their differences and got out of the ugly business of "changing" others for no good reason other than prejudice.
A proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was defeated today by a joint session of the Legislature by a vote of 45 to 151, eliminating any chance of getting it on the ballot in November 2008. At least 50 votes were needed to advance the measure.
Because fewer than 50 of the state's 200 lawmakers supported the amendment, it will not appear on the 2008 ballot, giving gay marriage advocates a major victory in their battle with social conservatives to keep same-sex marriage legal in Massachusetts.
Opponents of gay marriage face an increasingly tough battle to win legislative approval of any future petitions to appear on a statewide ballot. The next election available to them is 2012.
Parents of Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) has always been somewhat of a oddity. It was founded by the eccentric Anthony Falzarano (Roy Cohn's former houseboy), who fronted the group for the Family Research Council - which funneled PFOX tens of thousands of dollars. After Falzarano ratted out the right, saying they did not truly support ex-gay ministries (just ad campaigns to pass anti-gay laws) the right wing drove him out of Washington.
Falzarano was to be replaced by a feckless minister, Rev. Earl Fox, but Falzarano refused to leave the office, staging a sit-in worthy of Comedy Central. Finally, he left and started the failed Parents And Friends Ministries. After Fox's unmemorable reign, the organization was taken over by Regina Griggs, a mother who was embittered because she had an openly gay son. Most mothers struggling to accept a gay child seek therapy - Griggs sought to punish her son by passing anti-gay laws through her work with PFOX. Nothing like family values!
To help her with the operation, Griggs enlisted discredited therapist Richard Cohen, who was booted from the American Counseling Association. Like Falzarano, he was also chased away by the Religious Right in 2007 after a series of humiliating television performances.
Now, Griggs is on her own and clearly hasn't done her homework. The blog, Good As You, discovered that in a radio and print interview supporting Surgeon General nominee James Holsinger for One News Now, a Christian media outlet, Griggs blatantly (or ignorantly) twisted the policy of the American Psychiatric Association to fit her anti-gay agenda. According to Griggs:
"The official position of all medical and mental health organizations and the American Psychiatric Association is that there is no biological or genetic cause or replicated study for homosexuality," she declares. "So, why as a doctor should he not be allowed to interpret and support the fact that change is possible? That's what medical science says."
The truth is,the APA has no official position on the causes of homosexuality. The APA however has made many policy decisions which would support the view that the scientific studies of homosexuality do, in fact, support that there is some biological component to homosexuality.
"Griggs flat out lied to this Christian news organization today, disrespecting its audience and the members of her own organization," said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. "Distorting science and medicine in defense of a Surgeon General nomination, certainly is not going to help James Holsinger's case for confirmation."
The Israeli Knesset is about to make a tragic mistake with far reaching consequences if it votes to ban Gay Pride rallies. This anti-democratic action will alienate secular Jews - gay and straight - worldwide and force stalwart defenders of Israel to rethink their allegiance. American Jews overwhelmingly reject the intolerance of our homegrown Christian Right, so the notion that we will blindly support Jewish Pat Robertsons in Jerusalem is a dangerous miscalculation.
Recently, the Knesset proposed one amendment that would empower the Jerusalem mayor to prohibit Gay Pride and other parades based on religious sensitivities or alleged threats to public order. A first reading of this bill passed 40-23. In a second, more far-reaching bill, the Shas Party called for a ban on all pride parades throughout the country. This measure - which threatens freedom of speech and assembly - was approved by a vote of 41-21.
According to Ynet News, final passage of the bills requires two more votes - which are unlikely to come prior to the June 21 Pride march in Jerusalem. Last year, authorities did not sanction the rally, claiming that they couldn't guarantee the safety of Pride marchers. The event was finally moved to an alternative, secured indoor location after right-wing zealots threatened participants.
This year, march organizers again have been met with threats of violence and intimidation by ultra-Orthodox Jews, who seem like Jewish versions of Fred Phelps. One extremist group even put a hex on would-be participants and the police.
"To all those involved, sinners in spirit, and whoever helps and protects them, may they feel a curse on their souls, may it plague them, and may evil pursue them; they will not be [acquitted] of their transgressions from heavenly judgment," reads the curse from Eda Haredit rabbis.
Unfortunately, the actions of the Bush administration may have emboldened Israel's religious right and offered a fundamental misreading of American Jewry. The President has created a dangerous marriage between conservative Jews and the Rapture Right, who want to usher in the Second Coming. The point man for this unholy alliance is Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, leader of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. The Rabbi recently referred to the late Rev. Jerry Falwell as a "mild mannered and wonderful person."
Israel's real power base in America, however, does not come from the outspoken Rabbi Eckstein, but from the quiet majority of moderately religious or secular Jews. Many attend synagogue. Some don't. Others follow kosher diets, while some eat bacon without so much as a pang of guilt. The Israeli right probably would not even consider them real Jews.
Still, American Jews, like myself, have long defended Israel's right to exist in bars, campus protests, over office water coolers and on talk radio programs. Without fanfare, we have battled against Anti-Semitism in rural America - sometimes with our fists. We have challenged misconceptions and fought stereotypes and in the process brought support and understanding for Israel.
Most of us would like to see peace, including a Palestinian state - but not at the expense of security. However, we fervently reject Messianic Jews that believe God intended for Israel to have all of the land. To us, this sounds very similar to extremists in Saudi Arabia who say God forbids "infidels" from intruding on Muslim lands.
To the secular majority, Israel is an emotional home, as well as an insurance policy. Each time we see an up tick of Anti-Semitism in Europe or America, we thank God for the existence of Israel. But most of all, we see the Jewish State as an oasis of liberty and hope in the Middle East. It is a nation where there are elections, a free media, and where people openly debate key issues.
Continued support, however, is contingent on Israel remaining a modern nation that respects human rights, diversity and religious freedom. If the ultra-Orthodox think for one second that American and European Jews have any intention of supporting the Jewish version of Iran, they've got another thing coming. It is inexcusable that people, who have felt the sting of persecution, now mimic the tyrants who drove them to the shelter of Israel.
While the Knesset humiliated itself debating this draconian measure, an estimated three million people celebrated Gay Pride in Brazil. Perhaps, my Israeli "insurance policy" has expired, as I now feel safer in Sao Paulo than Jerusalem. If Israeli conservatives ultimately pass these bills, they may relish their small-minded victory, but they are about to find out what a small minority they truly are. If I can't march at Pride, maybe it is time for people like me to march on.
A Berkeley watchdog organization that tracks military spending said it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting.
The documents show the Air Force lab asked for $7.5 million to develop such a chemical weapon.
"The Ohio Air Force lab proposed that a bomb be developed that contained a chemical that would cause enemy soldiers to become gay, and to have their units break down because all their soldiers became irresistibly attractive to one another," Hammond said after reviewing the documents.
With our brightest minds dreaming up gay bombs, is it any wonder that we are having a difficult time in Iraq? But the ultimate stupidity comes from the notion that the newly gay soldiers would have sex even while they were being shot at by American troops. Even the horniest soldier would likely be more concerned with the cruise missile flying at him than the hot guy to his left. Carpet-bombing B-52s always has a way of killing the mood.
In Article, Exodus Puffs Up Numbers To Conceal Lack of Growth, Says TWO
MIAMI BEACH - In a puff piece in today's Chicago Tribune, conversion therapist Dr. Warren Throckmorton used an anonymous source to tout his therapeutic success. This turn toward concealing sources comes after Throckmorton pulled his "ex-gay" video "I Do Exist" from the marketplace after it was revealed that his poster boy, Noe Gutierrez, was having second thoughts on what he called the "divisive message of the ex-gay ministries."
The Tribune article says that Throckmorton has worked with "about 250 patients," yet the only one to come forward was "Jeff", an anonymous source. It appears from the article, that this man had just recently "succeeded," offering no evidence that Throckmorton's therapy has any longevity.
"I am still waiting for Warren Throckmorton to show long-term success stories, rather than trotting out freshly indoctrinated anonymous sources," said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "He claims he has counseled 250 patients, so I find it suspicious and troubling that he can't find a handful of success stories to go on record with a major newspaper. Unlike Throckmorton, I can always find victims of such therapies to openly discuss how they were harmed by such therapeutic practices."