On a blog post that’s been shared tens of thousands of times in the past few days, Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood writes of how Christianist haters like Tony Perkins, Maggie Gallagher and Bryan Fischer are forcing younger Christians to chose between their gay friends and their religion.
When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” and “too involved in politics.”)
In the book that documents these findings, titled unChristian, David Kinnaman writes: “The gay issue has become the ‘big one,’ the negative image most likely to be intertwined with Christianity’s reputation. It is also the dimensions that most clearly demonstrates the unchristian faith to young people today, surfacing in a spate of negative perceptions: judgmental, bigoted, sheltered, right-wingers, hypocritical, insincere, and uncaring. Outsiders say [Christian] hostility toward gays… has become virtually synonymous with the Christian faith.”
Later research, documented in Kinnaman’s You Lost Me, reveals that one of the top reasons 59 percent of young adults with a Christian background have left the church is because they perceive the church to be too exclusive, particularly regarding their LGBT friends. Eight million twenty-somethings have left the church, and this is one reason why.
Rachel Held Evans has closed comments on her essay, writing “I want to keep this a safe place for conversation.”
You won’t wonder why after you’ve read the responses from some of her supposedly Christian readers…
I can only imagine that it was complete pandemonium in the hallways of CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and CNBC yesterday as the word filtered out through well-connected Washington media-types that President Obama was coming out of the closet in favor of gay marriage.
If you were a booker at CNN, what’s the first thing you’d do on the occasion of a sitting American President forcefully (if only rhetorically) endorsing marriage equality? Why, of course, you’d scramble to invite a small-minded Christianist bigot like Tony Perkins to offer HIS opinions, wouldn’t you?
And that’s just what CNN did… THREE TIMES.
I can’t think of a more important and relevant voice on the whole matter than Tony fucking Perkins, can you? It’s logical: The President of the United States says something important, lets get a non-entity who runs and is the figurehead/mouthpiece of what the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as an anti-gay hate group to puke his opinions into viewer’s homes.
Point, counter point, CNN style. No wonder no one watches anymore.
At least, though, when Piers Morgan drew the Tony Perkins card that day (imagine his reaction!) he had some fun with it. At a certain point during this interview, Morgan deftly sank his teeth into Perkins’ ass (metaphorically speaking of course) and did not let go.
It gets really good when Morgan asks Perkins how he’d react if one of his own five children announced to him that they were gay and you see Perkins bridle uncomfortably at the suggestion, pursing his lips and getting very terse with Morgan. Perkins claims that his children would not be gay because he and his wife have been “teaching them the right ways.” (Five kids? What are the odds that one might be gay? Good luck with that Tony!)
Why the hell was this clown on CNN three times in less than 36 hours? What a failure on every level for CNN, even if their anchors DID give him shit. The CNN bookers really need to enter this century and tell this reedonkulous asshat to shove off.
But anyways, I really hate this guy. It was good fun to watch him squirm here.
(And if you enjoyed this, too, here’s MSNBC’s Martin Bashir making mincemeat of religious conservative Rep. Joe Barton of Texas (the fucking idiot who apologized to BP) and his reference to a non-existent Bible verse to bolster his threadbare “moral” arguments for an austere Republican budget that would end Meals on Wheels and free school lunches for poor children.)
AS IF they needed any encouragement, Mitt Romney’s cynical hiring of openly gay Richard Grenell to sharpen his foreign policy message (and provide some cover for all of the anti-gay stuff Mittens has pledged to support) has “let the dogs out” of the Christian Right.
With Grenell stepping down before he even got started, now anti-gay rights activists like the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer and hateful jackass Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association are crowing about their success in pressuring Romney to get rid of him.
You can, of course, easily make the argument that Republicans, on the whole, are hardly a bunch you could describe as “gay-friendly,” so there becomes the secondary side-issue of why tin-earred pol Romney felt that stirring up a hornet’s nest like this—the prominent hiring of an openly gay man—would benefit him politically with the mouth-breathing GOP base. It’s fucking ridiculous on the face of it, but in doing so, Romney has inadvertently exposed the men behind the curtain who are REALLY pulling his strings: Some of the most extreme Christianist bigots in America!
Last week Bryan Fischer declared that if Mitt Romney wants to win in November, he’d “better start listening to me.” Most of the rest of the week, Fischer discussed firing Grenell and lashed Romney repeatedly for having the audacity to hire an openly gay man as his foreign policy and national security spokesman. Coincidence that Grenell stepped down? I should think not.
“It’s sometimes hard to explain to outsiders what level of principle is required to withstand the personal cost of being an out gay Republican. I’ve only ever been a gay conservative (never a Republican), and back in the 1990s, it was brutal living in the gay world and challenging liberal assumptions. I cannot imagine the social isolation of Grenell in Los Angeles today, doing what he did. And his reward for such loyalty, sincerity and pugnacity? Vilification. I mean: what do Republicans call a gay man with neoconservative passion, a committed relationship and personal courage? A faggot.”
The Stonewall Democrats had this to say:
Mitt Romney sat silently and let the bigoted wing of his party control his personnel choices. Either Mitt Romney is a coward who is afraid to stand up to the anti-LGBT bullies in his party, or he is fine with an America where LGBT people can have a career only if they’re willing to work quietly from the confines of the closet. Gay Republicans should be outraged and must demand that the organizations that represent them refuse to support Mitt Romney’s presidential aspirations in any way.”
The Human Rights Campaign’s statement:
From the moment Richard Grennell signed on as Mitt Romney’s Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman, he faced a torrent of unfounded criticism from the far right. Not once did the Romney campaign condemn these attacks and support Grennell. Mitt Romney capitulating to the demands of extremist anti-gay groups is nothing new. He has donated to the rabidly anti-gay National Organization for Marriage and the Massachusetts Family Institute. He has even signed a NOM vow that binds him to appoint only anti-gay judges and establish a McCarthy-era commission to investigate the activities of those who support LGBT equality. The fact that Grennell is gone so quickly after a right-wing uproar is a troubling harbinger of the kind of power that anti-gay forces would have in a Romney White House.
Actually, I believe this is a big win for progressives and for gay journalists and commentators as well. We drew out the conservative leaders in addition to Fischer, like Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer and other commentators on National Review and Daily Caller, by bringing forth and continually highlighting the true facts about Grenell, which, to most Americans, are completely acceptable, but which, in the eyes of the evangelical right, make him a radical homosexual. As I wrote in a post last week, Grenell isn’t just gay, like some other gay Republicans who stay quiet about their homosexuality. He’s a gay man who very publicly expressed that he wants to get married to another man and who believes President Obama isn’t adequate on LGBT rights.
Why is it this a win? Because Grenell was being used for cover by a candidate with abhorrently anti-gay positions, a man who has promised to “propose and promote” a federal marriage amendment if elected president. I don’t buy the argument made by some that it was a measure of progress that Romney hired a gay man as his foreign policy spokesperson when he’s using that gay man to make himself appear moderate to independents while he’s promising the GOP base that he’ll make gay people into second class citizens. Actual progress in the GOP will come when their presidential candidates stop bowing to bigots and refuse to sign their extremist pledges. Otherwise, it’s all window dressing.
He’s 100% correct on this matter. During the second hour of Fischer’s radio show yesterday, the news broke about Grenell’s resignation from the Romney campaign. Watch as a gleeful Fischer declares it a “huge win” for Christian conservatives because A) they forced Romney’s hand to get rid of Grenell and B) they taught him what his boundaries are!
Rep. Michele Bachmann delivers a kooky and meandering entreaty to the Lord her God during the Family Research Council’s 2009 “Prayercast” event to thwart passage of healthcare reform legislation. GOD DOESN’T WANT EVERYONE TO HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE, HIPPIE!
Towards the end, when Lou Engle starts talking it gets truly spooky. I wish they were all wearing hooded robes like monks in that part (in my mind, they were wearing them).
RightWingWatch put together this collection of hate-filled homo/Islamaphobe Bryan Fischer’s greatest shit. It’s revolting stuff, a nasty little man taunting people and trying to be provocative. How stupid his listeners must be! Can you imagine listening to this day after day?
Like probably many of you reading this, I absolutely loathe Andrew Breitbart. Seeing him on TV turns my stomach sour the same way seeing Pamela Geller or that Koran-burning idiot with the Yosemite Sam mustache being given airtime does. Foul, hateful people. WHY do the major news outlets (non-Fox News, I mean) offer these distasteful, tacky creeps a platform to spout the lousy nonsense they KNOW IN ADVANCE they’re going to come on to these programs and puke at their viewers?
Breitbart is a KNOWN fabulist. A KNOWN practitioner of “creative editing” and outright DECEPTION. What is a guy like him doing on any supposed news channel? He’s not a serious person who has opinions worthy of respect, so why pretend that he is? He’s just a punk, like his dweeby, pimple-faced side-kick James O’Keefe.
Another person who causes me to wince when I accidentally see him on TV is anti-gay rights activist Tony Perkins, he of the respectable sounding hate group, Family Research Council. Giving an asshat like Perkins a national stage is like providing the same service for one of the most rabid witch burners in Salem, Massachusetts if there were cable news channels back in 1692. This is how history will remember a man like Perkins—if history marks him at all, which is doubtful—as an ignorant, hateful, intolerant religious extremist.
So why allow a malignant goofball like Tony Perkins the airtime and the credibility it confers upon him?
Was Noam Chomsky already booked???
CNN seems to me to be the most pathetic of all the cable newsers—grasping at straws as their ratings slide. Watching CNN recently, it would seem that a misguided management decision was made to do like a “reverse Fox News” using a lot of the same guests. Does the upper management at CNN really think that their audience (or potential audience members) want to see the same exact idiots they see on Fox News, albeit in an environment less welcoming than the joint owned by Rupert Murdoch?
Poaching some guest bookers from Fox News was hardly the innovation CNN needed to reinvent itself. Why not just have some random haters from the Free Republic boards on with Wolf Blitzer if that’s the sort of “sizzle” they seek…
And again, I ask CNN’s upper management, is the reason we don’t see America’s greatest living intellectual on your channel—but we do see an un-credentialed, perhaps deranged, rightwing racist gasbag like Pamela Geller—because Noam Chomsky is not taking your phone calls???
MSNBC is a lot better when it comes to the way they contextualize their guests, but you still have the likes of Orly Taitz appearing on the network. WHY?
Even if Chomsky is BOOKED SOLID, there are still options to Orly fucking Taitz!
But Andrew Breitbart always gets a pass on MSNBC—as does Pat Buchanan—and that always pisses me off. Just imagine how much BETTER the news would be—how much BETTER OFF AMERICA WOULD BE—if each and every time these two appeared on TV the “lower third” under their names read “Lying Fuck” or “Increasingly Senile Racist & Author.”
Some basic “truth in advertising.” Is that too much to ask of our cable news outlets? I can dream, can’t I?
Recently James Rucker, the co-founder of Color of Change waged a bit of a campaign to make sure Dylan Ratigan understood how offended he and others (raises hand) feel about seeing Andrew Brietbart on TV sans context other than his name and his URL. Not everyone knows who he is or what his greatest (s)hits as a Republican media assassin are. If they were told about just a lil’ bit of that history upfront, they’d be greatly assisted in their understanding of what they were watching and be much better equipped to properly evaluate the bullshit coming out of Brietbart’s lying pie-hole.
It’s almost like those cigarette labels with the pics of cancerous lungs. Why can’t America’s responsible journalists ALWAYS perform the same sort of service regards Mr. Brietbart and his fellow travelers?
As you may know, ColorOfChange members led the charge to ensure that Breitbart’s credibility and image weren’t sanitized by ABC News or the Huffington Post. After we saw Breitbart on Ratigan’s show, with Ratigan seemingly praising Breitbart as “smart” and a “sharp shooter who gets results,” we were deeply concerned.
When I spoke with Ratigan, he explained what he was trying to do. He quickly agreed that Breitbart was a race-baiter, dishonest, and undeserving of credibility—without question. And he frankly hadn’t thought about the legitimizing effect that having Breitbart on his show—without clearly labeling him as the race-baiter and deceiver he is—would have.
Ratigan’s core issue is exposing the corruptive nature of corporate dollars in politics (which I, and many ColorOfChange members would agree is a critical and important endeavor). Ratigan’s goal in interviewing Breitbart was to ask him why he chose targets like Sherrod or the NAACP, while Breitbart and the Tea Party activists he defends seems to agree that banks and corporations with undue influence over government are actually the ones destroying our country. It’s an important criticism of Breitbart. Ratigan’s goal was to keep the conversation there, and he believed that if he focused on Breitbart’s penchant for race-baiting and deception, it would simply trigger Breitbart, and he’d end up in the same conversation others have where Breitbart goes on a rampage and the conversation goes nowhere.
Moving forward, Ratigan said that if he deals with Breitbart at all in the future, it will be with the explicit disclaimer that Breibart is someone who deceives and race-baits. Ratigan recognizes and respects the argument that there’s a problem with giving Breitbart a mainstream platform, and he’s committed to making sure that his show is not used to lend Breitbart the appearance of legitimacy and credibility.
Breitbart, not surprisingly, is completely unapologetic. Can’t expect a racist to give up that white robe so quickly. However, I give Ratigan and his producers credit for being receptive to this at all… too often, these kinds of issues are raised by liberals and dismissed out of hand. I’d rather that MSNBC acknowledge that people like Breitbart (and network regular Pat Buchanan, come to that) really have no right to expect a national platform for their racism and hate. I doubt very much that Ratigan or the suits at MSNBC have any idea the message it sends to people of color. But I’ll take this incremental step gladly and keep pushing for more.
Nice work James Rucker and Color of Change! The repercussions of this victory are still to be felt for some time.
Here’s what the SPLC report had to say about Cameron and his non-profit, donation-supported “institute” which consists of four employees and is run out of his home in Colorado Springs on a budget of $85,000 per year (Wait a minute, who would send this fool money?):
Started in 1987 by psychologist Paul Cameron, the Family Research Institute (FRI) has become the anti-gay movement’s main source for what Cameron claims is “cutting-edge research” — but is, in fact, completely discredited junk science pushed out by a man who has been condemned by three professional organizations.
Over nearly three decades, Cameron has published “research studies” (though almost never in peer-reviewed journals) that suggest that homosexuals are predatory and diseased perverts who victimize children. Among his more recent defamations was an FRI pamphlet asserting the primary activity of the gay rights movement is “seeking to legitimize child-adult homosexual sex.” In another, he claimed that with “the rise of the gay rights movement, homosexual rape of men appears to have increased.” In yet another, he wrote, “Homosexuals were three times more likely to admit to having made an obscene phone call” and “a third more apt to report a traffic ticket or traffic accident in the past 5 years.”
Some of Cameron’s more infamous claims include the idea that homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals and that homosexuals have extremely short lives. Last February, he wrote on FRI’s website that “If homosexuals are allowed to serve in the military, they will be recruiting in showers, having sex in the barracks… . Before long, the U.S. may be defended by the sex-obsessed and those who can tolerate kowtowing to them.” After all, writes Cameron — a man who proposes that parents promote teen heterosexual activity to keep kids straight — “homosexual sex overwhelms rationality [and] overwhelms the desire to serve.”
Cameron’s colleagues have condemned him repeatedly. In 1983, he was thrown out of the American Psychological Association for ethical violations. In 1984, the Nebraska Psychological Association disassociated itself from Cameron’s statements about sexuality. In 1985, the American Sociological Association adopted a resolution saying Cameron “has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality” and “repeatedly campaigned for the abrogation of the civil rights of lesbians and gay men”; the following year, the same group formally condemned Cameron for that misrepresentation of research.
Despite all this — and the fact that Cameron’s propaganda is widely known to be false or misleading — many groups have continued to use his claims, though often without citing their source. They include the American Family Association, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries, the Family Research Council and, until recently, the Illinois Family Institute/ (Note: all six were also included in the report)
God’s 11th Commandment is “Thou shalt not corrupt boys,” Cameron told me. He celebrated the Ugandan anti-gay bill, in which the penalty for gay activity could be death. “Whatever they decide, I’m OK with,” he said.
Cameron believes homosexuality should be criminalized in America. He proposes heavily taxing single American adults and homosexuals because of their failure to procreate. He would also like to see gays undergo a “public shaming,” though he offered no specifics.
During our 90-minute talk, Cameron expressed his ideas in a calm, professorial manner. He said the SPLC Hate Group list is a “left-wing deal” and he’s unconcerned about the FRI being on it. He said gays “want to shut down Christianity.”
The gay lifestyle, which he says is chosen, will lead to the destruction of the West. “Liberal minds are attracted to societal destructive things like moth to a light,” he told me. “No society can long endure that does such a thing.”
“If God has changed his mind (about homosexuality being an abomination, as written in the Bible), he must want the West to die.”
Cameron has been at this game for thirty years now. Thirty years of his fucking life on earth spent making up shit about gay people because the Bible told him this was a good thing to do! Clearly he’s a lunatic. The older he gets, the crazier he gets.
The next time you hear this kind of nonsense—only slightly watered down—being promoted on or talk radio or television by the likes of Tony Perkins (Note to CNN: STOP inviting this fucking guy on your airwaves, okay?) or oh, I dunno, say, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, remember that the “scientific” root of their belief system (or “BS” as Robert Anton Wilson liked to say) comes from this idiot, “Dr.” Paul Cameron, a man whose ideas deserve contempt and mockery.
The Fabulist: Anti-gay researcher Paul Cameron’s falsehoods are well known. The incredible thing is the people who still cite them (SPLC)
The Holy War on Gays: The Christian Right is on a new mission: To drive homosexuality back into the closet. Inside the war rooms of evangelical intolerance (Rolling Stone)
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