A situation involving South Carolina legislators’ attack on two state colleges over lgbt issues has just gone nationwide.

And it doesn’t bode well for the state.

Originally, the controversy was about the SC State House taking away $70,000 collectively from the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate. The amount adds up to the how much the two colleges spent on the gay-themed books which they assigned students. The legislators claimed that the books, Fun Home and Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio doesn’t represent SC community value and were pornographic.

But now the situation is centering around a now canceled lecture at the University of South Carolina Upstate.  The lecture titled, “How to be a lesbian in 10 days or less” is a satirical and comedic one-woman show by Leigh Hendrix which dealt with coming out.

However, lawmakers raised a fuss about the lecture, claiming that it was “recruiting” students to be gay.  One lawmaker in particular, Sen. Mike Fair of Greenville, had this to say:

“That’s not an explanation of ‘I was born this way.’  It’s recruiting.”

So now, thanks to Sen. Fair, various nationwide media have picked up the story and few, including the Huffington Post, are tongue-in-cheek with their coverage. The majority of them are focusing on the ridiculous notion that a lecture could actually make someone gay.

And Sen. Fair, not unlike the main character in the fable The Mischievous Dog, continues to publicly comment about the lecture and homosexuality, totally oblivious as to how ridiculous South Carolina looks every time he opens his mouth.

Recently, he was interviewed by a local independent newspaper, The Free Times. During the interview, Sen. Fair had some very interesting things to say about lgbt South Carolinians:

Fair — a staunch religious conservative who believes homosexuality is morally wrong — says that while Americans have inalienable rights, glorifying homosexuality at taxpayers’ expense is not one of them. When Free Times pointed out that homosexuals pay taxes, too, as do the families of gay college students, Fair suggested they are also lawbreakers. He pointed to an antiquated state law against “the abominable act of buggery.” While the law is not enforced and homosexuality is not exactly illegal, Fair admits, he says it is still immoral and unhealthy.

Believe it or not, Fair continues:

Doesn’t morality extend to teaching tolerance of homosexuality in a free society? Isn’t that what USC Upstate and the College of Charleston were trying to accomplish? “I don’t believe that,” he says. Actually, he said, homosexuals “lack security in their conviction that what they’re doing is okay.”

When Sen. Fair talks about “what homosexuals are doing,” he is talking about sex. Or more specifically, what he imagines sexual intercourse is between two men because usually when folks like Sen. Fair start hinting about “gay sex,” men having sex with each other seems to always be the direction they head to. Apparently to them, lesbians never have sex.

And when folks like Fair hint that “gay sex” is “immoral and unhealthy,” they are usually speaking in vague terms about either cherry-picked Centers for Disease Control studies from anti-gay sites or junk studies – usually from the same sites – involving anal sex, poop, and gerbils.

That’s right. I said gerbils.

That’s what this issue is all about  – someone’s fevered idea of man-to-man sex and the indignity of having your life reduced to cater to that fevered idea.

If you really gave it some intelligent thought, Sen. Fair’s classification of lgbt South Carolinians is not only unfair and insulting. It’s downright bizarre.  I mean is that what he thinks of a segment of the population he has sworn to serve? That somehow in between wild, passionately immoral, unhealthy bouts of sex, gay male South Carolinians go into a state of suspended animation while normal things such as working, paying the bills, taking care of our families and children, or handling general crises is taken care of for us by robots?

Okay, I admit that’s taking Sen. Fair’s comments too far but it serves to prove my point. In this entire controversy, none of the fault lies with the colleges,  the gay-themed books, lgbt South Carolinians, or even the canceled lecture.

The fault lies with Sen. Fair and those who have his mindset. Certainly Sen. Fair and the rest of the warring legislators have a right to their personal religious beliefs. But that right shouldn’t shield the from criticism when their behavior makes them look like a bunch of braying jackasses and brings mockery on the state.

And there is something more which needs to be said. When any legislator has such an ugly and warped view of any portion of the people he/she has sworn to serve, he/she needs to be called out on it.

I seriously wonder does Sen. Fair or any of his colleagues know any South Carolina lgbt families? Have they spent time with these families? Do they talk to these taxpayers like they would heterosexual taxpayers?

The rest of the nation may be laughing at South Carolina, but I’m not. I don’t like it when those whose salaries are being paid by my money aren’t looking out for my interests because they are busy playing God and judging my life based upon their own ignorance.

Whether or not that ignorance is religiously based is irrelevant. It’s still ignorance and it’s wrong.

The only good thing that will come out of this entire situation is maybe folks will understand the need not only for the gay-themed books at the heart of the matter, but also the lecture.

Because now people can understand what lgbt South Carolinians have to deal with.

“Based upon emails, blog posts, and statements from conservative figures in the state, it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that a plan to attack the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina-Upstate via the legislature was in the works ever since last year after a failed attempt to generate an outcry over the books . 

Furthermore, based upon those same sources, this issue seems to be less about protecting students from obscenity and more about anger over the fact that gay-themed books were being assigned on university campuses.”

In my state of South Carolina, there is a serious controversy brewing with regards to the state legislature “penalizing” two colleges for assigning gay-theme books for students to read.

The new state budget deducts $70,000 collectively from the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina-Upstate. The amount adds up to the how much the two colleges spent on the gay-themed books. Rep Garry Smith is leading the charge because he claims the books, Fun Home and Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio doesn’t represent SC community values. Rep. Smith also made the accusation that the College of Charleston was pushing pornography on students.  He pointed to images in one of the books, Fun Home, as proof of  his charges.

The controversy has raised many questions with regards to academic freedom. Rep. Smith claimed that the universities are corrupting the ideas of academic freedom.

However, just where did Rep. Smith get the idea to go after these two colleges?

The answer may be remarkably simple.

Based upon emails, blog posts, and statements from conservative figures in the state, it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that a plan to attack the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina-Upstate via the legislature was in the works ever since last year after a failed attempt to generate an outcry over the books.

Furthermore, based upon those same sources, this issue seems to be less about protecting students from obscenity and more about anger over the fact that gay-themed books were being assigned on university campuses.

Late last year, an organization by the name of the Palmetto Family Council began raising a fuss about the books. For the uninitiated, the Palmetto Family Council is yet another one of those so-called morality groups which operates under the guise of “protecting the dignity of the family.”

The only problem is that their definition of  “family” seems to only pertain to two-parent married heterosexual families. No single parent homes, and definitely no same-sex families allowed. And, like so many of these groups, their definition of protecting the family never seems to include debating issues such poverty, income inequality, educational inequality.

Rather, the Palmetto Family Council deals with issues regarding their definition of “Christian values” and how they pertain to the family, as if implying that the only families which do count in South Carolina are two-parent married heterosexual families who have the same personal religious beliefs that the organization does.

But back to the matter at hand.

In two posts on the organization’s blog from late 2013, the Palmetto Family Council railed away at College of Charleston for selecting Fun Home as a reading assignments for students. In the the first post, written on June 24, the Palmetto Family Council contrasts Fun Home to other books assigned by other state colleges and universities. And here is the interesting part. The organization doesn’t say one word about the so-called “pornography” of Fun Home. Instead, the Palmetto Family Council cites a publisher’s review of the book:

This autobiography by the author of the long-running strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, deals with her childhood with a closeted gay father, who was an English teacher and proprietor of the local funeral parlor (the former allowed him access to teen boys). Bechdel’s talent for intimacy and banter gains gravitas when used to describe a family in which a man’s secrets make his wife a tired husk and overshadow his daughter’s burgeoning womanhood and homosexuality. His court trial over his dealings with a young boy pushes aside the importance of her early teen years. Her coming out is pushed aside by his death, probably a suicide. (Review from Publisher’s Weekly)

The comparison made between Fun Home  and the other books offered by other SC colleges and universities implied that the College of Charleston was engaging in some sort of ” gay indoctrination.” Palmetto Family Council also said the following in its post:

Which one of these books is not like the others? And exactly how bad is it? Stay tuned for the story of the family that arrived at CofC freshman orientation with happy anticipation only to discover the deep commitment the College has made to Fun Home and all that it symbolizes.

Now in the second post with regards to Fun Home, dated August 9, 2013, the Palmetto Family Council finally mentions the alleged pornography:

Ten South Carolina colleges assigned books for their freshmen to read. As we reported, a number of them selected sufficiently edgy, thought-provoking books. Then there is the College of Charleston’s Fun Home. Were it a movie, it would be NC-17, and not because of its ‘LGBT’ theme. Nine other colleges in South Carolina (and most in America) chose broad, healthy debate…and common sense. The College of Charleston chose to spend $50,000 in state funds and/or student tuition dollars on a narrowly-focused, cartoon (graphical), borderline pornographic book rarely used for this purpose.

That statement is a serious irony because, as I said, in its first post about Fun Home, the Palmetto Family Council never said a word about any pornography. In the August 9th post, the organization also complained about how the media was not giving them the angle they want:

The media has tried to turn our opposition to Fun Home into a dog bites man story: “right wing conservative group opposes book with references to Lesbianism; neo-Victorians seek to keep minds of young adults tightly closed.” That’s not the story. But then learning the truth takes time…and a desire to discover it. As for the book selection process, the task seems as easy as applying common sense, basic values, and a good grasp of reality to a wide variety of options. Nine of our ten colleges that assigned Freshman reading found a way to do that. Why was it so hard for CofC?

Now if this issue was simply about pornography, then why is the University of South Carolina-Upstate in trouble for assigning Outloud: The Best of Rainbow Radio when that book contains absolutely nothing which can be construed as pornographic? (Disclosure - I wrote a short piece on anti-gay propaganda which was included in Outloud: The Best of Rainbow Radio.)

According to a SC libertarian blog, FitsNews on August 13 of last year,  the Palmetto Family Council sent out an action alert to its email subscribers complaining about Outloud: The Best of Rainbow Radio:

In an action alert to its subscribers, Palmetto Family Council blasted the book. “The University of South Carolina Upstate is taking its own shot at traditional South Carolina values using taxpayer and family tuition dollars,” the email noted.

Also, consider the following. On August 20 of last year,  Josh Kimbrell, a conservative radio host of a show called Common Cents and head of an organization called the Palmetto Conservative Alliance, had this to say about Outloud: The Best of Rainbow Radio:

This is yet another example of how institutions of higher education across our state are ignoring the values held by the overwhelming majority of South Carolinians. To add insult to injury, these university-endorsed promotions of homosexuality are being paid for by tax money and / or mandatory student fees, effectively forcing the people of this state to support an agenda wholly opposed to our values. I half expect this kind of promotion of homosexuality and same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and California, but not at public universities in South Carolina. I also imagine that most of my fellow South Carolinians would be just as outraged if they were aware of such abuse. In an effort to reverse this publicly-funded promotion of homosexuality at public institutions in the Palmetto State, “Common Cents” and our policy foundation, the Palmetto Conservative Alliance, are working with our allies in the South Carolina House and Senate to introduce legislation that would forbid public universities from using public money and mandatory student fees to promote any sort of sexual agenda.

Below those comments is an audio of  Kimbrell’s show in which he not only reiterated that his group would be working with “allies” in the SC Legislature, but also predicted (starting at 17:45) that in January, there would be legislation coming out designed to “put a stop” to so-called university promotion of homosexuality

Just what exactly is the Palmetto Conservative Alliance? Your guess is as good as mine. I could find no information on it, particularly its membership.  However, I find it interesting that Kimbrell made an accurate prediction about upcoming legislation crafted in response to the book assignments; i.e. legislation which we are presently debating.

In addition, what are the odds that members of the legislature just happen to negatively target two universities which were the subjects of complaints by the Palmetto Family Council for the same reason – assigning students to read gay-themed books?

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

It is becoming more apparent that this controversy is less about pornography and more about some folks having a problem with universities assigning gay-themed literature to students. The “adult” material contained in Fun Home is merely a distraction, a sidebar if you will, to disguise the issue and make the faux outrage a bit more palpable to those who might not be following the issue.

There is one more facet to this story. When a constituent wrote State Senator Shane Martin an email protesting the cuts, the following was his reply:

I regret that you misunderstand the problem. The problem is that a public college is using taxpayer dollars to promote an agenda that the vast majority of taxpayers, the people that fund the school, do not agree with. No one in the General Assembly, including me, has banned any books. Colleges are free to use whatever books they want to use, or teach any classes they want to teach, or employ any professors they want to employ, unless and until they run afoul of the people paying the bill, the taxpayers. And if they want to do those things anyway, then they are free to find another source of funding. When you take your car in for service, would you want the mechanic to spray an air freshener in the car that they believed expressed their spiritual sense even if the air freshener made you sick? Of course not, and you wouldn’t pay for it. The public schools and colleges of South Carolina are not free agents. They work for the people of South Carolina, and if the people of South Carolina are unhappy with something going on at the public colleges, then those colleges are going to have change. I am very confident in the manner in which I represent my constituents, especially on this issue.

If one were to overlook the absolutely insulting idea of comparing South Carolina lgbts to air fresheners, there is that pesky bit of truth that those some South Carolina lgbts are also taxpayers. It is regrettable that on this particular point, Sen. Martin has chosen to be disingenuous.

This really was not an issue except for the Palmetto Family Council and other conservative groups.  There was no outrage, no groundswell of anger against the universities on this issue. To this day, many South Carolinians still are not aware of what’s going on or why these decisions were made. And amongst those who are aware, there have been serious signs of discomfort with not only lawmakers attempting dictate how colleges can educate their students but also their attempt to erase a portion of the state’s population by reducing the dignity of their lives to the cynical categorization of  “an agenda.”

 Perhaps instead of a conversation about academic freedom, our legislators need to have one on just who do they serve. Do they serve all South Carolinians or organizations who have obviously overstepped their bounds in attempts to define  “morality” and “families” in the Palmetto State?

 

University of Texas (Austin)  professor Mark Regnerus and all of the other so-called experts called by the state of Michigan to defend its ban on marriage equality was humiliated during the judicial overturning of that law but I wouldn’t worry about their feelings.

As it turns out, they were all well compensated. According to LGBTQNation:

The state of Michigan says it has spent $40,000 on witnesses who testified as experts at a recent trial on same-sex marriage. The state has paid $39,478.75 to experts, and some additional bills “have not yet been sent in,” Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill Schuette, told The Associated Press.

Let’s put Michigan’s waste of $40,000 in a larger perspective.Regnerus had already received $90,000 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and $695,000 from the Witherspoon Institute to fund his now discredited study on gay parenting.  The study was an attempt to sway the Supreme Court in the DOMA and Prop 8 cases and it failed miserably.

Regnerus continued to say that his work was objective, but according to the Huffington Post and the American Independent:

 . . . documents, recently obtained through public-records requests by The American Independent and published in collaboration with The Huffington Post, show that the Witherspoon Institute recruited a professor from a major university to carry out a study that was designed to manipulate public policy. In communicating with donors about the research project, Witherspoon’s president clearly expected results unfavorable to the gay-marriage movement. The think tank’s efforts paid off. The New Family Structures Study came out just in time for opponents of gay marriage to cite it in multiple federal cases involving marriage equality – including two cases soon to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Speaking of which, Speaker of the House John Boehner spent $2.3 million of taxpayers’ money in the failed attempt to defend DOMA. Of course this is the same man who won’t help pass a bill giving unemployment benefits to Americans out of work, but that’s another “pot of potatoes.”

So what it all comes down to is that anti-gay groups and their allies in Congress spent over $4 million on cases which they were bound to lose even though they plotted an underhanded scheme to win.

Anyone could have told you that Boehner and company were going to eventually lose DOMA. In fact, I did hint on that prediction in August 2011 when I took a look at the junk science and cherry-picked research Boehner’s handpicked lawyer, Paul Clement, was presenting to make his case.

And the situation with Regnerus merely compounded the comedy of errors which Boehner began.

Both of the Bradley Foundation and the Witherspoon Institute are affiliated with Princeton professor Robert George. At Witherspoon Foundation, he is a Herbert W. Vaughan Senior Fellow and at the Bradley Foundation, he is on the Board of Directors. Robert George is also a founder and chairman emeritus of the National Organization for Marriage whose reputation for fighting marriage equality is well known.

The money spent on Regnerus’s study was useless because it couldn’t cover up the odor of corruption.  Organizations which can give out huge amounts of cash for “research,” like the Bradley Foundation and the Witherspoon Institute gave to Regnerus, aren’t exactly looking for “objective results.”

In other words, a lot of folks knew that Regnerus’s study was coming. They knew who funded it and what it’s purpose was. They also knew its fallacies. As a result, it was justifiably discredited all around, including by Regnerus’s own university.

Yet, Michigan still cited it and still called Regnerus as an “expert witness,” which was figuratively the semblance of, as the old saying goes, walking into hell with gasoline soaked underwear while attempting to light a cigarette.

Which leaves us with the endgame – a discredited researcher who sold his soul for either money or his Christian beliefs to organizations with more money than common sense and taxpayers footing the bill for futile attempts to keep lgbts from getting married.

So what does all of this mean?

I think I will leave that up to you.

Related webpage – The Regnerus Fallout

It is commonly believed that in the early days of the Christian church, followers of Jesus dealt with harsh persecution. The tales of  Romans falsely labeling the Holy Communion as “cannibalism,” and Christians being thrown to the lions while Roman citizens cheered have entered the canon of legends and we don’t know truth from apocryphal tale.

What we do know is that from time to time, enterprising Roman politicians made Christians the scapegoats of the community, thereby leading to various acts of violence while they themselves reaped the spoils.

Throughout the centuries, Christians have faced persecution from different factions, including themselves via unnecessary disagreements regarding denominations and customs.

Not surprisingly and justifiably, Christians have always maintained a fierce devotion to their beliefs. It is a shame that, at least in the case of one Christian, this devotion isn’t accompanied with a desire to speak out for other groups facing the same type of persecution.

Franklin Graham, son of the iconic pastor Billy Graham, chose to go the other direction, i.e. embracing the perpetrators of evil rather than the victims. In recent comments, he commended the country of Russia for the recent passage of its anti-gay laws under the lie that it protects children:

Isn’t it sad, though, that America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue—protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda—Russia’s standard is higher than our own? In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues. Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.

The inference that gays will somehow harm children is an old dodge perpetrated continuously because it works.  Whenever someone wants to pass anti-gay laws or keep pro-gay laws from passing, or build a reputation for themselves on the hallmarks of “values” and “family,” they exploit children as psychological shields, playing on the heart strings of the ignorant by conjuring up images of oversexed gay men raping children, “indoctrinating” children, or “recruiting” children.

It’s the same in Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. The claim that these anti-gay laws in Russia were created to “protect children” is a lie created give Putin more power and popularity. And in exchange, Russian lgbts now face horrible consequences as a result of these laws. The beatings, the unfair arrests, the all-around abject fear which now grips Russia’s gay community are the results. The sad irony is that before these laws, Russian children weren’t in danger. But they are now, if they are gay.

And with his one ignorant statement, Mr. Graham dips his hand into the blood spilled because of these laws and publicly wipes it on his face with zest.  In doing so, he spits not only his father’s legacy, and the faces of Russian lgbts facing daily persecution. He also spits upon his own religion, particularly the memory of Christians persecuted so long ago after themselves being falsely accused.

No matter what your personal or so-called religious belief about homosexuality may be, there is no excuse for making lgbts scapegoats via lies and scapegoating. Jesus never stooped to doling out excuses designed to justify horrible acts of violence and uncaring attitudes about innocent groups of people. It is an awful shame that those who claim to follow Him have no problems doing this. It is an awful shame in the eyes who claim to follow Jesus, political power makes the lives of lgbts disposable liabilities.

Even in today’s oxymoronic climate of Christian leaders clutching the lapels of their expensive suits as they trod across immaculately clean carpets of megachurches or before congregations of thousands and in front of cameras broadcasting to millions as they whine about being persecuted simply because they must acknowledge folks with different belief systems, Mr. Franklin’s cluelessness is just obscene.

If he wanted to be a leader with as much notoriety as his father, then mission accomplished. But it’s notoriety in the other direction. I’ve been to a Billy Graham crusade and I’ve seen him on television numerous times. He represented the humility of Christianity, the acknowledgement and respect for a higher power who we must leave all judgement up to while we do whatever good we can for each other.

Franklin now represents the hypocrisy of Christianity, the lack of humility which now plagues the religion but is something no one wants to talk about. Franklin represents the cluelessness that comes with forgetting your past and sacrifices of those who came before you; forgetting the innocent blood shed by those who paved the way to those expensive suits, mega churches with their immaculate carpets, congregation of millions, and television cameras. And especially the lack of shame which comes with scapegoating innocent groups of people in the same manner which your group was scapegoated and using the Bible to justify your sad behavior.

Mr. Graham, you are a disgrace to not only your father, the Christian religion, but humanity as well. I hope that you can see past the glitz which comes with being a supposed acclaimed Christian leader so that you can one day embrace the same humility which made your father such a wonderful person.

The Family Research Council is attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center again.

Ever since SPLC named FRC as an anti-gay hate group for consistenly and deliberately launching inaccurate attacks against the lgbt community, FRC has been taking  potshots at the organization. From accusing the group of attempting to taint the military against Christians to falsely linking the group to an awful near massacre at FRC headquarters (in which a deranged young man, Floyd Corkins,  attempted to force his way in, shoot FRC employees, and stuff Chick-Fil-A sandwiches down their throats), FRC has been practically itching to seek some sort of retribution against SPLC.

And every time the organization attacks SPLC,  it gives SPLC's supporters (and yes you can include me in that group) an opportunity to publicly prove the fact that FRC is in fact an anti-gay hate group.

This is the latest attack from FRC:
 

They say you can't buy love, but that won't stop SPLC from trying! Money may be no object for the anti-Christian group, but mainstream support certainly is. Facing growing scrutiny for their tainted and biased "research" from the military to the media, Southern Poverty Law Center is resorting to bribing teachers to force their agenda into the public schools where unsuspecting children reside. In Hawaii, eyebrows shot up at the news that SPLC was giving teachers a $250 kickback just for attending a local training session on "Teaching Tolerance." The cash incentive struck a lot of people as odd, including state Representative Bob McDermott. In academia, where educators are used to paying for trainings -- not profiting from them -- McDermott thought something smelled fishy with SPLC's offer. In a letter to Hawaii State Department of Education District Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, he asked the office to put the brakes on the session. Matayoshi refused and instead gave the department's blessing to the workshop, which SPLC held the first weekend of March.

That's FRC's sordid rendition of the story. However, a more objective piece from the Hawaii Reporter reveals that the claim of "paying teachers to attend the program" is merely a cover for yet another attack on the lgbt community:
 

The “agenda” of the program concerns McDermott, because he said there's obvious “social engineering,” including a “disproportionate focus on normalizing homosexuality,” while also trying to discredit Christian beliefs. “The theme of this curriculum is so called ‘anti-bias’ unless, of course, you are a person of faith. One example is the following: ‘Patrick is being raised in a very strict and exclusionary fundamentalist Christian home…’. If that is not biased I do not know what is,” McDemott said.

And there is the rub. From the FRC:
 

Digging deeper into SPLC's materials, the state rep was outraged to see that almost 25% of the example scenarios "deal with gay acceptance." "Why is the gay population -- which is no more than 4% of the general population -- consistently disproportionately represented in these new teaching materials?"

And yet another portion of the article - courtesy of the Hawaii Reporter - which FRC omitted in its hysterical article:
 

 Maureen Costello, director of the Teaching Tolerance program, said the organization works around the country with various school districts within the guidelines of the school districts, either by donating to the schools or paying a small stipend to teachers who help improve the pilot program and Hawaii did in fact approve teachers to receive stipends.

 . . .  "There is real tension around the LGBT issues and some faith based people. We work to find common ground. Every parent wants their child to feel safe and accepted at school. We want everyone to get along even if they do not share the same values," Costello said.
Costello said the pilot program is still being revised and Hawaii teachers across the state are having input into the final product. Some teachers have told the law center that they believe more information on native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders should be included, and the law center is working to incorporate that suggestion, she said. Costello also offered to meet with McDermott or his staff via Skype to give them access to the full curriculum and to review it with them.

One wonders if McDermott will take Costello up on the offer. I think he should. I also think he should leave FRC by the wayside because it's obvious that the organization is using him to not only unfairly attack the lgbt community (the main reason why SPLC declared it to be a hate group) but also to make inaccurate statements about SPLC, such as the following:
 

 . . . it's a program that may be coming to a school district near you. According to Costello, SPLC has been dangling money in front of educators -- and schools -- for the opportunity to teach the kind of "tolerance" that motivates people to bring guns into office buildings and shoot innocent people.


Whatever the case may be, it's not farfetched to say that FRC doesn't give a damn about the safety of Hawaiian students. Nor does the organization care about anything else but "settling the score" against SPLC.

Perhaps FRC should school itself on what the Bible says about revenge, especially if said revenge is against a justifiable action.

Related post:

16 reasons why the Family Research Council is a hate group

The Southern Poverty Law Center has added seven more anti-gay organizations to its list of anti-gay hate groups.

No doubt the standard whine of these groups will be the same one offered up by the Family Research Council when SPLC named it as a hate group a while back, i.e. "we are being attacked because we don't believe in gay marriage, we are trying to preserve Christian morality, we are being silenced."

That whine was a lie then and is still a lie. SPLC makes it clear that religious beliefs are not a reason why they call out these groups:
 . . . the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.

So allow me - with the help of other sources such as Truth Wins Out, People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch , and GLAAD's Commentator Accountability  Project - to list just a few reasons why some of these groups were named as anti-gay hate groups

Pacific Justice Institute - This CA organization is  by Brad Dacus. Dacus has:

 defended a pastor who said gay people are abmoinations who deserve to be stoned to death

claimed that by fighting for a marriage system that discriminates against same-sex couples, he is "fighting for the soul of Western civilization"

But I think the main thing which may have caught SPLC's attention was PJI's recent actions in a failed attempt to defeat a law which would protect transgender students. The organization  fabricated a story about a transgender teenager harassing other students; when story broke, Dacus accused those challenging his organization's version of events of "trying to supress the truth"  The student whom PJI attacked was put on suicide watch.

The Pray in Jesus Name Project  - This organization, as far as I am aware, is comprised of one person - Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Klingenschmitt has said that any judge ruling for marriage equality should be considered as a domestic enemy

He has also claimed that gay soldiers undermine the military because they have to stop in the middle of combat situations in order to change their diapers.

Klingenschmitt also  said that people who are not going to heaven (i.e. lgbts) don't deserve equal protection under the law.

Mission America - another organization which is comprised of one person, Linda Harvey. Harvey is a former advertising executive who supposedly found religion.  The filth coming out of her mouth includes the following:

claimed that same-sex couples use their kids as "props": "The kids are essentially props to be trotted out, sadly, at events like "pride" parades"

claims that gay/straight alliances in schools promote diseases.

expressed support for the anti-gay laws in Russia

advised parents to not take their children to gay doctors

 Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM). According to Truth Wins Out:

Both the World Congress of Families and C-Fam have been vocally supportive of Russia’s anti-gay laws, with the WCF expressing support in a press release not long after the Duma’s final vote on the “propaganda” law. The World Congress also held a roundtable in US House of Representatives office space recently in order to teach American “pro-family” activists how to export their hate around the world. Austin Ruse, president of C-Fam, expressed regret that the United States wouldn’t be able to start the sort of pogrom against LGBT people that Russia has, as he praised Russia in their efforts. It’s likely that the international activities of these groups contributed heavily to the SPLC’s decision to label them hate groups.

The Liberty Counsel - If one wanted to pinpoint a single reason why the Liberty Counsel is on this list, they could point to Matt Barber, a member of the organization who attacks the lgbt community with extreme animus while at the same time, blending his homophobia with "homilies" of his faith.  In the past, Barber:

has said that gay male relationships constitute "one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love’

said gay people "purchase kids" and treat them "like having little pets or something"

pushed idea that same-sex parenting is tantamout to child abuse

and is responsible for pushing that vile tweet posted at the top of this article; the tweet which implies that gays want to molest Boy Scouts.

All in all, these groups have earned their designation as anti-gay hate groups. But let's not mistake what needs to be done. Kudos should be given to the Southern Poverty Law Center for calling these organizations out and pinpointing their deceptions and hatred of the lgbt community.

Now it is the job of the lgbt community to raise hell about it. In other words, let's not waste time complaining about who didn't get the designation of being an official anti-gay hate groups. Let's use what we have been given to educate and to break the connection between religion and homophobia.

The two have no business being connected.

Disclosure alert - one of the books,Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, has a piece I wrote on the deceptions and propaganda of the religious right. How very appropriate:

 

From WIS-TV:
 

South Carolina legislators want to punish two public colleges for assigning books on homosexuality to freshmen. The House budget-writing committee on Wednesday tentatively approved a spending plan for 2014-15 that would cut $52,000 from the College of Charleston and $17,142 from the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Last summer, the College of Charleston assigned the Alison Bechdel book, "Fun Home," to incoming freshmen. Bechdel's book describes her childhood with a closeted gay father and her own coming out as a lesbian.

USC Upstate assigned "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio," referring to South Carolina's first gay and lesbian radio show, for a required course for all freshmen, which included lectures and other out-of-classroom activities meant to spark discussions about the book. Social conservatives complained about the colleges' selections.

The proposed reductions in the budget equal what the colleges spent on the programs. Rep. Garry Smith said he made the proposal after college officials refused to give students an option to read something else. Making a point requires impacting colleges' wallets, he said.

"I understand diversity and academic freedom," said Smith, R-Simpsonville. "This is purely promotion of a lifestyle with no academic debate." He said he wouldn't oppose the books if they were part of an elective course, rather than a campus-wide requirement.
 
 . . .  The House Ways and Means Committee defeated by a vote of 13-10 an effort by Republican Rep. B.R. Skelton to restore the money. He argued such retribution is inappropriate.

 . . .  Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter said legislators have no right pushing their own personal beliefs onto colleges. Such censorship can set a troubling precedent, she said. She warned Republicans who voted against Skelton's amendment that the punishment could negatively affect the state's image and job recruitment efforts.

 

Since when does a legislator butt in class curriculum? Since when should a legislator use the power of a budget as if he or she is a dictator to demand what teachers should assign students to read based on some false argument of  "academic freedom" and "debate"   which is no doubt defined by said legislator?

And please don't lay that junk on me about "taxpayers' money." The last time I checked, lgbt South Carolinians also pay taxes. Make no mistake about it. This issue has NOTHING to do with forcing students to accept a lifestyle.That phrase is just made up junk propagated to make homophobia sound more palpable.   Nor does this issue have to do with "debate" or "academic freedom."

This issue is about a legislator misusing the power of his office. This issue is about yet another attempt to symbolically emblazon a symbolic scarlet S (as in "sinner") on the persons of lgbts. This issue is about yet another attempt to communicate to lgbts that  no matter who we are or how far we go in life, the self-worth of ourselves and our families (even if our families include children) should be reduced  to the false white-hot fevered, fumbling imaginations of sexual intercourse and misappropriated Biblical verses disguised as legitimate moral concerns.

It's all a bunch of bull.

Way to go, Rep. Smith for allowing the Palmetto State to be embarrassed again!

The news that top NFL prospect Michael Sam, defensive lineman of the Missouri Tigers, came out of the closet and expressed his desire to be the first openly gay NFL player has elicited many responses.

Of course not all of them are positive and unfortunately, some came from the lgbt community.

On Monday, I read (and subsequently posted a link to) a Huffington Post article about the 18 worst reactions to the coming out of Missouri College football player Michael Sam.

I posted a comment in answer to someone who took it upon themselves to use the situation to play armchair psychologist and proclaim the African-American community intrinsically homophobic. My response got some people not exactly happy at me. I rolled eyes when reading their responses while thinking “here we go again.”

I hardly talk about how some lgbts take situations like Sam’s coming out and combine anecdotal evidence (in this case the number of ugly tweets coming from African-Americans) to suddenly declare black people to be the standard of community homophobia. I find these individuals’ lack of common sense to be annoying and their immediate reaction to be indicative of how unfortunately some in the lgbt community are always so ready to react rather than think things through. And you know how it is when some of us lgbts get into that mode of “righteous indignation.” Even Jesus can’t calm us down.

One would think that folks would refrain from making rash generalizations in lieu of the aftermath of the 2008 Prop 8 vote in California. Back then, the false story that black folks led the way in passing that awful law led to an awful community clash and by the time the truth came out, both communities were nursing hurt feelings coming from the exchange of ugly words. And why shouldn’t they?  Being called a “ni – - -ger” by an lgbt hurts as equally as being called a “fa—ot” by an African-American

I asked myself why were some folks so quick to attack the black community today over the words of a few ignorant tweets. I think it’s all about a matter of mindsets and priorities. Some lgbts who are quick to call the black community homophobic will easily point to the times in which the anti-gay right is able to corral the black community to oppose marriage equality and other issues of lgbt equality.

But these examples don’t point out homophobia in the black community but rather a certain slack attitude in the  lgbt community. Black people are like every other community in that we respond when it comes to issues which affect us.  And on that score, the anti-gay right had the lgbt community beat. While they personally engaged the black community and convinced them with lies about children being harmed and Christians being persecuted, some in the lgbt community made – and some still do – make the assumption that the black community will generally come to their side because of our histories of being victims of discrimination. And when their expectations were dashed, some blamed black people instead of themselves for being so inaccurately flippant about what black people will do.

The semantic argument of “oppose discrimination when it happens to gays because you remember how bad it was when it happened to you” was insulting, particularly when the argument was made instead of pointing out how lgbt couples of color with children would benefit from marriage equality or how bullying affects lgbt children of color, particularly transgender children of color.

This was a problem in many ways, particularly the fact that it was duly noted by African-Americans who were on the fence about these issues.

In all honesty, lgbt community has gotten better in engaging the black community since then but there are still problem which engaging just won’t solve. In both the black and lgbt communities, there is an unconscious mindset which tells lgbts of color like myself that we have to sacrifice part of our identities. In other words,  neither community seem to know how lgbts of color fit into the current diaspora of either being gay or being black in America.  What’s more galling is how both groups choose to address lgbts of color, i.e. by pointing out past achievements. Yes we know that Bayard Rustin was the openly gay black man who organized the 1963 March on Washington and yes we know that black  drag queens and lesbians led the way at Stonewall but lgbts of color like myself don’t want validation by past events. We want to see who is doing what now. We want to see ourselves in issues of relevancy in today’s environment and discussions regarding equality. And we want to see those who resemble us in both racial make-up and sexual orientation have a larger voice in both communities when it comes to these issues.

We don’t get that from either community. All we seem to get sometimes is the idea that we are not human beings, but merely commodities to be used further either the struggle for racial equality or lgbt equality. The sad thing is that we can do a lot to further both if just given the chance instead of the generalized brush-off.

With us, there is no “either/or.”

According to the Huffington Post:
 

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's marriage equality anthem "Same Love" may have rocked the Grammy Awards, but one Texas-based Christian rapper has condemned the track in a very disturbing way.

As The Houston Chronicle is reporting, Bizzle refutes the popular comparisons of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights movement to the civil rights struggles of the African-American community.

At first I was going to ignore this monstrosity but after reading Bizzle's lyrics, I felt that a gauntlet had been thrown down and it's my duty as an lgbt of color to pick it up. These lyrics in general:
 

"You'd rather fight God than fight sin," Bizzle rhymes on the track. "The Bible is alright until it calls what you like sin/And I feel so disrespected that you were so desperate/You would compare your sexual habits to my skin."

He then adds, "You can play straight, we can never play white ... 


So apparently Bizzle belongs to the contingent of African-Americans who proclaim the lgbt civil rights movement isn't the same as the African-American civil rights movement. I'm familiar with that bunch, especially of the fact that they scream so loud that no one else with a differing opinion can get a word edgewise in the conversation.

Let's go to school, Bizzle. Any African-American who chooses to use the Bible to bash lgbts are woefully ignorant of their own history in this country when that same book was used to justify slavery and segregation. Furthermore, any African-American who even pushes the idea that "gays can pretend to be straight but blacks can't pretend to be white" show more ignorance. As it was, there were some African-Americans who were light enough to pretend to be white. The term was called "passing" and just like lgbts who seek to hide in the closet, some African-Americans "passed" in order to sidestep hate and discrimination.

So basically, if one would look at the collected history of the lgbt community and the black community in America, one would find many similarities. Both of our communities have been the victims of spiritual, emotional, and physical violence based upon antiquated concepts of inferiority.

I am so damn tired of the ignorance expressed by folks like Bizzle and I am so tired of their need to sacrifice historical reflection for the sake of being bombastic or self-righteous. Lastly, I am tired of being their whipping boy, of having my life psychologically dissected for their benefit. I am not a dead frog in science class that you can cut open and remove the parts that you don't like.

I am an African-American lgbt, I will not be muzzled or forced to choose between two identities. I cannot choose to be black or gay. Hell, I DO NOT want to choose to be black or gay. Both identities provide the crucial, cultural ingredients which make me the fascinating and unstoppable uncrowned male diva that I am.

I am person who is uncompromisingly black and unapologetically gay. Deal with it.

Sean Hannity is one of the personalities on Fox News aiding religious right groups push the false talking point that the lgbt community is intolerant of “other view points” and want to silence people.

Based on an interestingly nauseating incident which took place in 1989, Hannity should really know better. Decades before he was a bombastic, fact-free pseudo news personality, he was a shock jock who got fired from a California college radio station due to a interview which has to be heard (complete with a barf bag) to be believed. According to Media Matters:

Before becoming a prominent Fox News personality, Sean Hannity was fired from a local radio show for peddling a number of extremely disparaging smears about gay people, including the myth that gay men are prone to disease because they consume each other’s feces during sex.

In his new book The Loudest Voice in the RoomNew York magazine journalist Gabriel Sherman describes the start of Sean Hannity’s career as a conservative radio personality, beginning with an hour-long morning call-in show at KCSB, the UC Santa Barbara college station. The short-lived show was canceled in 1989 after Hannity made a number of extreme anti-gay remarks during a segment featuring Gene Antonio, author of the book The AIDS Cover-up? The Real and Alarming Facts About AIDS. According to Sherman:

In April 1989, Hannity invited the virulent anti-gay activist Gene Antonio on the air to promote his already widely discredited book, The AIDS Cover-up? The Real and Alarming Facts About AIDS. A Lutheran minister without scientific training, Antonio peddled paranoid fictions about the epidemic. He wrote that the virus could be transmitted by sneezes and mosquito bites and that the Centers for Disease Control and the American Medical Association conspired to cover up the “truth.”

At the opening of his hour-long interview, Hannity said: “I’m sick and tired of the media and the homosexual community preventing us from getting the true, accurate information about AIDS in this day.” He went on to describe The AIDS Cover-up? as an “excellent book” that was “so full of facts” and added, “if you want the real truth about this deadly, deadly disease, he’s not afraid to say what the homosexuals don’t want you to hear.” He gave his audience Antonio’s mailing address, where they could order “autographed copies” and write to find out about “places where homosexuals can go for help if they want to change.” [The Loudest Voice in the Room, pg 239]

Oh yes he did. The following transcript provides just snippets of the interview in which Hannity and Antonio spread nauseating propaganda about the lgbt community (Editor’s note – to hear the audio, go here).

ANTONIO: [T]hey have had meetings, literally, of the SPCA, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Dallas and elsewhere around the country, because these homosexuals were cutting the claws off of gerbils, and prying their teeth out, and stuffing them up their rectums. It’s called gerbil stuffing.

HANNITY: Oh, my God.

CALLER: I believe you. They’re getting sick with it. Crazy.

ANTONIO: It’s just this perversion. They don’t know what to do. They’re frantic in the search for a substitute woman. They put fists up the rectum.

[...]

HANNITY: And then they wonder why they have so many diseases, you know? I don’t understand it. But they won’t let you say that they have a disease. They won’t let you say it’s a gay disease and they won’t let you examine the practices that have caused them, making them so susceptible to these diseases. [KCSB, 4/4/89, emphasis added]

And then there was the talk about gay men and bodily wastes:

ANTONIO: These men eat one another’s fecal matter. And people say, “what are you talking, that is bizarre, what are you talking about?” This is called scat.

HANNITY: You just blew the whole audience out of Santa Barbara, I’ll have you know.

ANTONIO: Well that is reality, though.

HANNITY: It is.

ANTONIO: If you pick up a copy of the homosexual magazines, they have advertisements for giving and receiving enemas. And these are not fringe magazines. These are the standard fare of the homosexual subculture … It is a subculture of people engaging in deviant, twisted acts. So they literally will defecate in one another’s mouth. [KCSB, 4/4/89, emphasis added]

Unbelievably, the interview got worse as Hannity and Antonio get into the subject of gays and children. Needless to say,  lgbts were furious about this interview:

Gay rights groups called for a boycott of the station following the segment, eventually convincing the station’s management to take Hannity off the air in June for violating the school’s non-discrimination policy. Hannity, with the help of the Santa Babara and Los Angeles chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union, launched a “free speech campaign” against the station and pressured the university to agree to reinstate his program. When the university refused to double the length and duration of his show, however, Hannity declined to return to as the program’s host.

I would advise folks who are shocked or angry at this revelation regarding Hannity not push for his dismissal from Fox News. It ain’t going to happen. Although I do wonder if Hannity still believes the trash he pushed about lgbts.

Instead, let’s look at the similarities between anti-gay propaganda then and now because there are quite a few.

1. We have a on-air personality repeat some of the nastiest lies about the lgbt community and then whine about free speech when he got called on it? Sounds like the recent ‘Duck Dynasty situation,’ doesn’t it?

2.  The claims about the lgbt community regarding gerbils and feces would be funny except for two things. It was these claims which played a huge part in Uganda pushing that awful anti-gay law. In 2010 Ugandan pastor  Martin Ssempa, a strong supporter of the law, would show videos supposedly of gay men engaging in the behavior Antonio described.

And if we are to be truthful to ourselves, anti-gay groups still make these type of claims about lgbts, only less vulgar and more covert and nuanced.  Anti-gay spokepersons such as Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth, Linda Harvey of Mission America, or Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council no longer say things like “gay men engage in the eating of feces or insert gerbils of their rectums.” Instead, they say things like “science shows that sodomy/homosexual sex is dangerous to your health and well-being.”

The connotation of the lies never changes even if the words are carefully picked. Decades after that interview, the lgbt community still has to deal with these lies and to my knowledge, we haven’t collectively as a community done anything to call attention to them.

It’s something we should not only remember, but call out with as much fervor as we ponder the dating lives of lgbt celebrities.

Related postHow They See Us: Unmasking the Religious Right War on Gay America – my booklet, published last year, provides more details on the ways anti-gay propaganda have changed over the years, as well as other distortions on the part of the religious right.  Go here to see the version of How They See Us on Scribd.