As a gay African-American, I've heard the argument about how "you can't compare the gay civil rights movement to the African-American civil rights movement" more times than I care to count.

The constant so-called moral outrage of some African-American heterosexuals when the topic is mentioned has gotten me to the point where my mind automatically tunes out the monotonous drones of how supposed sinful homosexuals are "high jacking" the civil rights movement or how gays "can't compare their sin with black skin."

As such, I almost missed the epiphany which occurred over two weeks ago.

I was vaguely scanning comments on a conservative site by an anonymous African-American female as she went on and on about how gays were never subjected to slavery, segregation or declared three fifths a person. While the logical side of my mind was gathering up the customary argument of how wrong it was for disadvantaged people of any stripe to play the "Oppression Olympics," the emotional side of my mind struck immediately.

"This is the most ignorant crap I've ever heard," I thought. "Just where in the hell does she think gay black people were during slavery and segregation? On a spaceship orbiting the Earth? "

I was instantly struck by oddity of what I had thought. Not that my outrage wasn't coming from a place of truth, mind you, but how the simple fact never entered my mind that yes, gay people were subjected to slavery, segregation and racism because of our skin. Just as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people of color exist now, we existed back then. Then it suddenly struck me again that I've never recalled any acknowledgement of this fact during the myriad of discussions, I've read, listened to or seen regarding comparisons between the gay and civil rights movements.

And why is that?

There have been numerous debates, articles, columns, movies and documentaries about how the legacy of racism has had a negative effect on so many aspects of African-American community, from our families to the way we interact with each other. It stands to reason that the legacy of racism didn't leave LGBT people of color unscathed. But information about what LGBT people of color did during those awful times in our history or what effect it has had on us is practically nonexistent.

It is a subject hardly ever mentioned. No one talks about it in the black community and that includes leaders, intellectuals, journalists, authors or any other person with some type of platform.

And this leaves me feeling as if the events of black history, which are supposed to be a part of my heritage, are nothing more than hand-me-downs donated to me out of charity because there are very few, if any, events which are specific to me as an LGBT person of color.

Or at least that's what I am led to believe by the black community at large.

 It's all part and parcel of being an LGBT person of color. Generally in both the LGBT and African-American communities, LGBT people of color tend to always find ourselves in the background while someone else is doing the talking and planning. Apparently we are only good enough as faces but without voices or opinions regarding strategies or leadership. And our issues are not considered important, but examples of "identity politics" gone too far.

It is slowly (and I mean very slowly) changing in the LGBT community, but it is in the black community where LGBT people of color run up against a massive brick wall. There is a pattern of erasure which strips our presence from the majority of black history. And this pattern of erasure bleeds into day-to-day treatment and interactions. Personal biases and prejudices prevent us from being considered as genuine members of the black community and many heterosexual African-Americans conveniently ignore issues and concerns indigenous to us as LGBT people.

When African-American civic organizations talk about "the state of Black America," we are omitted. We are talked about as examples of how tolerant the black community is becoming rather than conversed with as African-Americans who just happen to be gay but with a genuine stake in the survival of the community. In the rare moment that we are able to interact with other members of the black community in discussions about our lives, we barely get a word in edgewise while they seem to always monopolize the conversation.

To some African-American heterosexuals, we are mere sidebars or addendums. We are objects they hurl Biblical scripture at to cover up their own religious shortcomings or soulless reservoirs of salacious gossip holding court in places like beauty parlors.

Supposedly righteous church ladies or upstanding church men smile in our faces but then hypocritically say rude things behind our backs because we seem "too butch" to be a "real woman" or "too swishy" to be a "real man." And while they do this, they are totally oblivious to the fact that we are hip to their behavior but will disguise our hurt as a show of respect.

Being an LGBT person is not considered an identity by some in the black community, but rather a condition placed upon you by an unfortunate occurrence or mishap. And for the benefit of those who know what I am talking about, no one "turned me out." I was born this way.

Some LGBT people of color condition ourselves to accept these roles and disrespect because we fear rejection and isolation. This behavior is often mistaken as a reason for the problem rather than a result.

The sad fact is that some in the black community at large simply refuse to see LGBT people of color in the same light as they would see each other. And the erasure of our voices and faces from black history is proof of this because it is an example of how they deny us our heritage and our place at the table on our own terms rather than the terms of their fearful and misguided perceptions.

And that simply has to change.

Thanks to comments from obnoxiously vile news personality Erick Erickson, we were treated to what's wrong with both American journalism and Christianity.

From Salon:
 
Conservative pundit Erick Erickson knows just who’s to blame for the dearth of research funds devoted to combating Ebola: “fat lesbians.”
In a post for his RedState.com blog this morning, Erickson assails a new ad highlighting the GOP’s support for budget cuts that crippled the agencies charged with leading the response to Ebola. Over the weekend, National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins told the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein that 10 years of stagnant spending on the agency has “slowed down” critical research. As Stein reports, the NIH’s budget in fiscal year 2004 was $28.03 billion. In 2013, it was just $29.31 billion — “barely a change, even before adjusting for inflation,” Stein notes. A Democratic bill to boost the NIH’s budget to $46 billion by 2021 isn’t likely to advance anytime soon.
But Erickson pooh-poohs the budget cuts to agencies like the NIH and the Centers for Disease Control. All the evidence you need that the agencies have plenty of cash, he argues, is in some of the research items they’ve funded.

 Erickson’s post, titled “Fat Lesbians Got All the Ebola Dollars, But Blame the GOP,” cites an NIH-funded study examining why lesbians confront higher rates of obesity; the research is in line with other demographic studies examining public health challenges, but Erickson seized on the study to wage a demagogic attack on the agency for frivolously “studying the propensity of lesbians to be fat.” He also attacked CDC research on gun violence and smoking cessation.


No doubt some folks will be attempting to pick "sense" out of nonsense and accuse me of not focusing on the content of Erickson's argument instead of the words he uses.  I'm not going to argue the content of an argument fueled by nasty words and neither should anyone else. An intelligent debate doesn't begin with slurs.

But more to the point, where is the accountability here? I don't mean Erickson's employer, Fox News. If that den of propaganda began showing any accountability, Erickson would have to get in line when it comes to employees who should be reprimanded for ugly slurs.

I'm talking about from other journalists. Where is the outrage from folks who do care about this business and what image it presents?  There is none. Erickson will probably continue to be cited, quoted, and respected in some quarters as a legitimate journalist.

And even more than that, Erickson has on more than on occasion attacked the lgbt community on the belief that we are sinning against God.  He even spoke at the 2014 Values Voter Summit, the annual event put on by the Family Research Council, a group which claims to stand for Christian values. Naturally FRC, as well as other so-called morality Christian groups, are conveniently silent about Erickson's anti-lesbian slur.

In case the irony escapes you, that means Erickson believes homosexuality to be a sin, but slurring lgbts is cool with God.

All in all, any journalist or Christian who cares about integrity and credibility would be embarrassed to be associated with someone with no taste, no class, no dignity, and absolutely no sense of how hypocritical he is. One would think that they would bend over backwards to disassociate themselves from a  sexist, homophobic "never was" who should thank God that he has more chances in the journalism business than the proverbial cat has lives.

But sadly, such aspirations of virtue are only a dream in many quarters of American journalism and Christianity.

Wednesday morning, several progressives groups including the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and People for the American Way published an open letter in the Washington Post and The Hill which called out the Republican Party for its allegiance to anti-gay groups such as the Family Research Council and for the decision of several Republicans to attend that organization's upcoming Values Voter Summit.

Later that night, in a show of unbelievable stupidity, the Family Research Council took the bait by answering the letter via email with a bit of bravado and a lot of lies:

What annual event has the Left so worried that they are spending tens of thousands in advertising dollars to stop? You guessed it; the Values Voters Summit. In today's Washington Post, leftwing groups including GLAAD, (known for its failed campaign to fire Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson,) the anti-Christian Southern Poverty Law Center, and the George Soros-funded "Faithful America," signed onto a three-quarters page ad demanding that speakers "not attend the Values Voter Summit."

The lies came about when FRC attacked the Southern Poverty Law Center, which it has a special dislike of ever since SPLC declared it an anti-gay hate group in 2010:

Last year, the FBI dumped the SPLC as a website resource and the U.S. Army distanced themselves from the SPLC. A federal court ruled against the SPLC in a harassment lawsuit it brought against a pro-family group. Even the SPLC's own supporters are growing increasingly uncomfortable with the SPLC's attacks on free speech. It is odd that some people feel the need to attack those who are merely defending religious liberty and affirming the importance of the type o f relationship which naturally provides children with a mother and a father. There will continue to be disagreement on how marriage should be defined, but reasonable people can approach this subject respectfully, thoughtfully and passionately. If you are in the D.C. area this weekend, please join us at the Values Voter Summit as we exercise our First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly.

Don't be fooled by FRC's various claims.

Allow me to break it down.

1. Did the FBI dump SPLC as a resource?

No. According to the site Equality Matters:

As Good As You’s Jeremy Hooper noted, the FBI continues to list SPLC as a partner in the fight against hate crimes on its website.

The right-wing narrative is also contradicted by an official statement from the FBI. In a statement to The Daily Caller, and FBI spokesperson said:

“Upon review, the Civil Rights program only provides links to resources within the federal government,” an FBI spokesman told The Daily Caller. “While we appreciate the tremendous support we receive from a variety of organizations, we have elected not to identify those groups on the civil rights page.”

2. Did the US Army distance themselves from the Southern Poverty Law Center?

No. FRC exaggerated on the incident. Last year, an SPLC briefing was held at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. In this briefing, certain SPLC-designated hate groups were listed, including the American Family Association. Conservatives and religious right spokespeople - such as Fox News personality Todd Starnes - falsely claimed that SPLC was attacking AFA for its religious values, when in actuality AFA was listed as a hate group because of the false and slanderous things it says about the lgbt community. These folks caused so much of a stink that future briefings were halted.

3. Are former supporters of SPLC turning their backs on the organization?

No. The link FRC provided as proof of this is a column from a conservative site, cnsnews.com, by an African-American woman named Catherine Davis. While she rails against SPLC, at no time did she ever indicate that she was ever a supporter of the organization.  Nor was her column about SPLC's supposed attack on free speech. It was criticizing the lgbt community. Davis was allowing the predominantly white conservative establishment to use her in order to exploit the supposed gay vs. black divide.

4. What was the lawsuit SPLC "lost" against a pro-family group?

Even that claim by FRC isn't totally true.  SPLC had sued an anti-gay group, Public Advocate (which is another SPLC-designated hate group), on the behalf of a gay couple whose personal photos the organization digitally altered and used for anti-gay campaign ads. The judge in the case only dismissed part of the lawsuit.

According to LGBTQNation:

U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Daniel agreed the photo’s use was noncommercial and a matter of legitimate public concern. However, he also ruled the couple and their photographer have a possible copyright infringement claim.

In June, the photographer, Kristina Hill, won a judgement of $2501 against Public Advocate for copyright infringement.

Let's be real about something - none of the organizations who signed that letter are so naive as to think they could stop the Values Voter Summit from taking place nor could they keep Republicans from attending.

And certainly the purpose of the letter wasn't to stifle speech.

The purpose of the letter was mainly strategic. Its goal was to educate the public and continue debate about the real face of the Family Research Council and other groups who claim to stand for morality and Christianity.

Remember this passage in the letter:

These groups engage in repeated, groundless demonization of LGBT people — portraying them as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to the nation.

The Family Research Council, the summit’s host, is vigorously opposed to extending equal rights to the LGBT community. Its president, Tony Perkins, has repeatedly claimed that pedophilia is a “homosexual problem.” He has called the “It Gets Better” campaign — designed to give LGBT students hope for a better tomorrow — “disgusting” and a “concerted effort” to “recruit” children into the gay “lifestyle.”4 He has condemned the National Republican Congressional Committee for supporting three openly gay candidates.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, a summit sponsor, has said the U.S. needs to “be more like Russia,” which enacted a law criminalizing the distribution of LGBT “propaganda.” He also has said, “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine, and six million dead Jews.”

Similarly, Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, another summit sponsor, has compared those who do not denounce same-sex marriage to those who remained silent during the Holocaust. Marriage equality, he has said, is the “beginning of the end of Western civilization.”

And thanks to FRC's absolutely stupid decision to answer the letter, particularly with lies about SPLC, the groups who signed the letter succeeded in their purpose.

FRC's behavior reminds me of the fable of the vicious dog who bit so many people that a bell was hung around its neck so as to warn folks when it was coming.  The dog, totally ignorant, took the bell as sign of distinction and rang it constantly.

Imagine how stupid it felt when an older dog said, "what you mistake for a mark of fame and honor is actually a reminder of how much of a disgrace you are."

Feel free to ring your bell anytime you want by responding to the claims that you are a hate group, FRC. No matter how much you lie, we know the truth.

And what you really are - a bad dog without a leash nipping at the heels of every lgbt you can find.

This newest tripe, I mean action alert by the Family Research Council has gotten me a bit angry. The organization is pushing a bill which could allow adoption agencies and foster care providers to engage in anti-gay discrimination under the guise of religious freedom (see the bill here):


In California, Massachusetts, Illinois, and D.C. religious adoption and foster care providers have had their government funding pulled and have been forced to end services, simply because they continue to believe in the importance of a child having a mom and a dad. It's a sad sign of the times that some states have preferred to sever longstanding partnerships with faith-based providers rather than allow them to continue caring for and placing children informed by traditional moral beliefs about the family. This important legislation sponsored by Congressman Mike Kelly in the House and Senator Mike Enzi in the Senate will ensure that the interests of children are placed ahead of political correctness.
Specifically, this bill will prohibit discrimination against faith-based child welfare service providers by the federal government and by states receiving federal funds for adoption and foster care services. The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act will prohibit such discrimination against faith-based child welfare service providers and will threaten states continuing such discrimination with a loss of federal funding. This important legislation will ensure that the maximum number of child welfare service providers can continue to advocate for children and will ensure that many adoptive families can continue to work with a provider which shares their core beliefs.


For the record, adoption agencies, religious based or otherwise, are allowed to place children in homes with mothers and fathers. What this proposed monstrosity could do is to allow religious based adoption agencies and foster care providers to discriminate against gay  households while using our tax dollars.

No doubt, FRC and other supporters of this bill will attempt to paint the lgbt community as selfish if we raise any objections about this bill. It's definitely by intention that the organization uses vague code words and phrases about "core beliefs," children doing better with a mother and a father,"  "traditional moral beliefs" and all of the other board room talking points which are usually voiced by those seeking to deny the existence of same-sex households with children.

I don't think it's wrong or selfish for the lgbt community to assert our rights and dignity as taxpaying American citizens here. And I definitely refuse to believe that in doing so, we are hurting children.

It's been proven in study after study (the most recent being earlier this month)  that we can raise children just as well as two-parent heterosexual households. This view has also been validated numerous times by the courts, including the Supreme Court when it overturned DOMA last year. . Therefore, in the case of adoption agencies and foster care providers who want to discriminate against gay couples, we are talking about organizations who want to assert their personal religious preference instead of what's best for the child.

If religious-based adoption agencies  and foster care providers don't think that gay  households are suitable enough to raise children then they shouldn't be so eager to have their hands out in order to receive gay tax dollars.

It's bad enough when it is asserted that we are not good enough to raise and nurture children. Having to pay for that non-privilege  further reduces the gay community to the level of slaves in a masochistic relationship with our government . . . and all under the guise of "religious freedom."

One of the most transparent tactics opponents of marriage equality will attempt is to claim that supporters of marriage equality are intolerant of their opinion.

It's not only a transparent tactic but highly cynical. And apparently it's the tactic that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is attempting:
 
While Rubio has consistently held conservative positions on abortion and gay marriage, his current emphasis appears to be an effort to appeal to social conservatives who have yet to settle on a favored candidate for 2016. "Even before this speech is over, I will be attacked as someone who is a hater or a bigot," Rubio said.

  .. . In his remarks, Rubio acknowledged the United States has a history of discrimination against gays and lesbians. But he said he could not support such unions despite a quick-moving shift in public opinion in support of allowing same-sex couples to marry. "There is a growing intolerance on this issue," Rubio said of those who back same-sex marriages. He then urged his opponents to show civility: "Tolerance is also a two-way street."


No doubt, the folks at Fox News and members of the media who care more about attaining "access" than getting the story correct will fall for Rubio's junk.

But I agree with him that there needs to be civility on the issue. And let's start with addressing the following:

Staver: Gay Marriage Is 'A Direct Attack On Who God Is' 

 Klingenschmitt: Jesus Will Overrule The Supreme Court And Toss Gays Into Hell 

 Ben Carson Explains How Gay Marriage Is A Marxist Plot To Impose The 'New World Order'  
Barber: Gay Marriage Is 'The Brainchild' Of Satan 

 Renew America Pundit Warns Gay Marriage Will Turn Us Into Marxist Slaves 


If Sen. Rubio was honest with his cry for "tolerance," he would address those on his side of the argument with as much vigor as he attempts to place onus on us.

After all, we aren't the ones conjuring up images of Marxism, Satanism, or slavery.

No one has ever claimed that the Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber has ever observed simple rules of good taste and decorum in his attacks on lgbt equality. However, it is extremely safe to say that the image below, accompanying his post on The Coming Christian Revolt goes way beyond anything – a rainbow flag superimposed behind a photo of African-American protestors being sprayed with water hoses during the Civil Rights Movement.

It's not only a personal insult to me as an lgbt but also an African-American that Barber would exploit what I consider sacred images in order to make a false point.

There will be no "coming Christian revolt," Mr. Barber because no Christian in this country is being discriminated against. Being told to treat everyone the same is not discrimination.  Providing goods and services to people whose taxes pay for the safety of your business is not discrimination.

Your disagreement with the fact that lgbts should have the same rights as heterosexuals is just that - YOUR disagreement. You have a right to believe that, but you don't have a right to codify it into law, particularly if your codification involves junk science, cherry-picked science, or out-and-out lies.

You are not entitled to anything, Mr. Barber. If you are, please educate me. And by all means, please tell me how the elimination of your entitlements ranks next to being denied the right to vote, segregation, lynching, being called "boy" or "gal" as a deliberate sign of disrespect. And if that's too difficult for you, then answer me this:

Where the hell do you get off exploiting the images and legacy of Americans who suffered for simple freedoms to justify the fact that you don't want to get off that pedestal of yours; a pedestal which you created based upon your concept of being a Christian.

Peep this, Mr. Barber and everyone else who thinks like you. Calling yourself a Christian does not give you special privileges in this country. Calling yourself a Christian does not make you a better American than me. And calling yourself a Christian does not absolve you from rights and responsibilities that all Americans have. This is not nor has it ever been a Christian nation and the rest of us who don't practice your beliefs do not exist here for your will and pleasure.

You are nothing but petulant spoiled child who mistakes the circles he runs  with and the access he has as evidence of his own intellect and God's love for him when in fact its a strong possibility that these are evidence of God's love for the rest of us.

Sometimes giving a petulant child the very thing he wants is the best way to show the world  just how much of a vulgar individual he really is.

And right now, Mr. Barber, you aren't looking pretty.

Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.

As we begin another week in the midst of all this drama regarding the so-called culture war, I thought I would talk about something near and dear to my heart.

For over a year, I have driven you all crazy and I appreciate your patience and support but now we are almost at the end of one part of a journey.

My online booklet, How They See Us: Unmasking the Religious Right War on Gay America is less than 4,000 hits from reaching 1,000,000. It’s a remarkable achievement fueled by all of the support I received from the netroots. And it’s very timely. Things have changed tremendously since January of last year when I published this booklet. Thanks to the recent Hobby Lobby decision, the anti-gay religious right is gaining traction with their bogus “religious freedom” argument.

Granted, we can still count on them to accuse lgbts of attempting to “recruit children” or being “oversexed all-around public health menaces. However,  just like the Klan tried to retool its reputation by claiming they are not “anti-black,” just “pro-white,” the anti-gay religious right is cleverly retooling their arguments by saying they aren’t anti-gay, just “pro-traditional marriage.” They also claim that they are unfairly being targeted for not “celebrating” the so-called “gay lifestyle.”

Of course we know the truth.

Their “religious freedom”  or “religious liberty” argument is another tactic in a long line of tactics and arguments going back decades And the goal has always been the demonization and stigmatization of lgbt individuals in order to deny the lgbt community our God-granted right to equality.

They will never own up to what they have been doing.  They won’t bring up any of the anti-gay lies, homophobic language, or willful scientific distortions they have been guilty of throughout the years.  And  let’s be honest about something –  neither will the media, particularly the Washington Beltway media.

If the lgbt community is waiting for a latter-day Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite to swoop in and save us by exposing the religious right, we are going to be waiting for a pretty long time.

That job belongs to us, i.e. the recipients of all of their anti-gay vitriol. And that is the purpose of How They See Us.

If you haven’t already, check out How They See Us. It is short, but graphics intensive booklet, which I consider a definitive history on anti-gay propaganda. Download it, and above all, PLEASE share it. Our desire for full equality is noble and true, but we have to deal with crafty enemies who hide their homophobic animus behind Scripture and the claim of “deeply held religious beliefs.”  It’s a lie and using their own words and images, How They See Us proves it.

You can read an embedded copy of How They See Us directly on the Scribd site or go to this second site where you can download an adobe acrobat copy.

If you desire to fight back against homophobic lies, then realize that knowledge is the first key. Passing along this knowledge is the second one.

(And just to clear things up, this booklet is free. I don’t get a dime for it. I created it because I am tired of talking about lgbt equality on the terms of the religious right. I'm tired of not having a good resource on hand to call out anti-gay propaganda. The lgbt community – particularly lgbt youth – should have something like this. We all should have had something like this a long time ago.)

Arch-homophobe and wannabe mogul of an online “Christian publication” (BarbWire, which can be best described as an extension of his vile psyche) Matt Barber has a column out predicting that churches in America will soon be forced to marry gay couples.

Never mind reading the entire thing because its his usual psycho wannabe John The Baptist babble. However, the first sentence caught my attention and should catch yours:

Churches in Denmark are now compelled, by law, to host same-sex “weddings.”

Even on a technical basis, Barber is wrong. I recognized that sentence from an earlier article I posted in my news briefs. At the time, it was Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association spinning this lie:

According to the London Telegraph, a new law passed by the Danish parliament “make(s) it mandatory for all churches to conduct gay marriages.” No options, no exceptions, no choice. Homosexuals are to be married wherever they want, regardless of whose conscience is trampled and whose sanctuary is defiled in the process.

Sarah Jones for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State refuted Fischer:

 While it is certainly true that in Denmark, same-sex couples have a legal right to be married in a church in some cases, Fischer neglects to mention the reason why that is so: Denmark has a state church. The law applies quite specifically to that state church.

“With the legalization of gay marriage, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark [which is the state church], is required to allow same-sex couples to marry in churches,” the Pew Research Center notes in a 2013 explainer on same-sex marriage laws around the world.It’s hardly a blanket rule: Pew goes on to state that other religious groups are exempt from the law.

Catholic churches, for example, aren’t required to host same-sex marriage ceremonies, a fact the Vatican noted just this week. “For the moment we [the Catholic Church] are not worried,” Niels Messerschmidt, a representative of the Catholic Diocese of Copenhagen, told Vatican Radio.

Fischer omitted this crucial fact in his fear mongering, as did Matt Barber.

And how much do you want to bet that if any speaker at the National Organization for Marriage’s silly march later this week brings up this law (because they probably will), the truth behind the meme they will spin about “churches are being forced to marry gay couples in Denmark will magically elude them?

The sad part about the entire lie is that in the comments section of One News Now where Barber’s mess is published, the true story is pointed out. However it still doesn’t dissuade the notion from some folks that gays are plotting to force churches to marry them.

On that note, the entire blame for this lie can’t be shouldered by Fischer or Barber.

When you have people so willing to scared in spite of being told that their fears are groundless,  who can blame Barber, Fischer, or any anti-gay spokesperson for taking advantage of their stupidity?

Mat Staver of the right-wing Liberty University has been testifying this week on Capitol Hill on the supposed state of "religious liberty" in America and thus far it has been a huge embarrassment to folks on his side of the spectrum. And it has gotten worse. The online publication Raw Story is now asking did he tell the Congressional committee a lie:

On Tuesday, the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in the United States” to study the rise of “religious freedom” laws in some U.S. states, under which people of faith cannot be compelled to perform their jobs or provide goods and services if to do so would conflict with their personal beliefs.

Critics of these laws argue that they mimic the crop of antigay laws that have been passed in countries like Russia, Uganda and Nigeria, laws that criminalize same-sex relationships and outlaw the positive portrayal of anything other than heterosexual, monogamous relationships.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) asked Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, “There are certain antigay laws they have in Russia. You, I believe, have advocated for something similar to that, have you not? Do you support the Russian antigay laws?”

Staver replied, ”What I am concerned about is having people of Christian, uh, Judeo-Christian beliefs be forced to participate in a ceremony or an event that celebrates something that is contrary to their religious beliefs.”

“Okay,” said Cohen, “so you’re not in favor of the Russian antigay laws and what I read was wrong?”

“I don’t know what you read,” Staver said. “I haven’t spoken on the Russian laws.”

However, Right Wing Watch reported in January that Staver and the Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber both voiced their support for anti-LGBT laws like those in Russia, Uganda and Nigeria during an edition of their “Faith and Freedom” radio show.

The transcript of this particular show is as follows:

Staver: President Obama has been going in a direction to really deconstruct this and to create this idea of same-sex marriage, which is really an oxymoron. But, at the same time, the rest of the world seems to be going exactly opposite of the president and some of the states.

Barber: Yeah, and it’s encouraging to see what’s happening around the world. I think many nations, you think of Russia, you think of some of the African nations around the world, are looking to a liberalized Europe and are looking to the United States under this Obama Administration and they’re rejecting this notion that you can take the institution of marriage and radically redefine it by sanctifying what every major world religion and thousands of years of history and uncompromising human biology have long held: that homosexual behavior and conduct is both immoral, unnatural and self-destructive to the individuals engaged in the behavior and that you don’t have a marriage built upon this immoral behavior. …

Staver: Well, it seems as though, if people are having AIDS and most of that, as the CDC comes down and says, it is transmitted by male homosexuality, by and large, what are you going to do? Are you going to say, are you going to elevate that to a preferred status and say, well yeah, men ought to be able to marry men? That’s an oxymoron. What Nigeria has done by reaffirming marriage as between one man and one woman is what a number of countries are doing around the world. They’re reaffirming marriage as one man and one woman. Russia is one of those countries recently that did that. Latin American countries have reaffirmed marriage as one man and one woman. Then other countries around the world are reaffirming marriage as one man and one woman and rejecting this radicalized homosexual agenda. …

Barber: This is a very dangerous lifestyle that countries like Russia are, in addition to reestablishing and saying no, marriage is what it’s always been, they’re saying additionally we are going to stop this homosexual activist propaganda from corrupting children in our nation and we need to see that right here in the United States.

An article in the Huffington Post published after this show confirmed that Staver was in fact defending Russia’s anti-gay laws.

I am not aware of any concrete penalties Staver would suffer for perjury but he definitely deserves a COLOSSAL round of scorn in the court of public opinion because during the Congressional hearing, he was clearly lying his toches off.

In case you have been living in a cave under a rock with your fingers in your ears, you now know that Oregon became the 18th state to legalize marriage equality.

Mazel tov!

Now let's get serious for a bit. On election night less than two years ago, many Americans got caught by surprise when President Obama was reelected to a second term. Fox News, just about all of the conservative media and bloggers, and their gut had told them that Mitt Romney would either win in a close vote or a landslide.

As it turned out, what they probably felt in their gut was a brief case of happy gas.  However, when it came to all of the other prognosticators, it was genuinely agreed that these seers, these so-called correct predictors of the election day mood, was taking their audience for a ride. Prominent conservatives and republicans like David Frum and Joe Scarborough had it so correct when they read the riot act to folks like Fox News commentator Dick Morris and talking heads Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin for leading fellow conservatives down a primrose path of destruction fueled by a conservative bubble which shut all reality out of an assured Obama victory.

By that same token, someone needs to yank all of these folks who voted for these statewide anti-marriage equality amendments and give them a good figurative slap. And I'm not talking about a wimpy one. I'm talking one of those infamous Joan Crawford type smacks where you really get your hand in the cheek, leaving a loud noise and a lasting sting.

Someone needs to sit these folks down and say "look guys, you have been victimized, bamboozled, played for fools, treated like dopes, and basically sold a bill of goods worse than a car lot full of lemons. In other words, these so-called traditional values and morality groups have been using you."

You see, in spite of the fact that in the past these laws were passed by overwhelming majorities, they still  had to be defended in courts of law if there is a question of whether or not they were constitutional. And no spin about "activist judges" or the "will of the people" will change that. It's standard practice in this country that laws are challenged and have to be proven to be constitutional.

And when this happens, someone has to defend these laws. And when it came to marriage equality laws, things changed bizarrely. Those defending the laws either offered off-the-wall defenses, no defenses at all, or defenses comprised of discredited studies so blatantly inaccurate that at times, I found myself feeling pitiful for the authors of these studies rather than dancing in glee at their obviously painful audacity.

Meanwhile, the amen corners which got folks all riled against marriage equality were pretty much nowhere in sight. I tend to think that was intentional.

In other words, it's easy sending out mass emails (that would be you, Family Research Council and American Family Association), running television commercials (that would be you, National Organization for Marriage), preaching in the pulpits ( that would be you, various pastors) or leading one-sided interviews on your fake news channels (that would be you, Fox News) spinning stories of gays wanting to recruit children, pushing discredited or cherry-picked studies, or  telling false anecdotal stories about "evil homosexuals."

But, as a very smart lawyer once said, the witness stand is a lonely place to lie

Scaring people enough to vote a certain way and proving that said vote was constitutional are two entirely different things.

And there, as they say, lies the rub.  For all of the talking emanating from Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council or Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, or Frank Schubert of the National Organization for Marriage or all of their cohorts, just how many volunteered to testify in a court of law as to the validity of the anti-marriage equality laws they were pushing?

Where were theses so-called defenders of morality during the DOMA court case? The Prop 8 court case? How about the state cases? Hell, where were they during the Oregon court case which was just decided. If any time they were needed, that would have been it then because Oregon's attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, wouldn't defend the law.

Of course that's not altogether fair for me to make such a judgement. I hear that NOM did request to defend the law but was turned down by the courts. Then again, knowing NOM like I do, I suspect the organization was making a deliberately futile gesture.

In common street language, these anti-marriage equality groups and their cohorts used a lot of spooky language, made a lot of false claims, but they wouldn't back it up in the place where it counts, i.e. the courts. Instead, they turned tail and ran. Now when their side loses, they always return claiming that the system is biased so as to distract their supporters from the basic unavoidable point that all of their past fearmongering was (oh how can I say this) basically full of shit.

So true to form, FRC, NOM, various pastors, and other anti-gay groups are probably going to read the riot act, making predictions about how "America is on a precipice of destruction by God" or how "homosexuals are using marriage equality to force acceptance," or, my favorite, "unelected activist judges are attempting the destroy this country's so-called Judeo-Christian foundation."
All I ask those who oppose marriage equality is to ignore those bombastic words for a second and count how many times these folks will be asking you for money.

At the most, don't give them any more money because their track record is beginning to stink like five -day old fish.

At the very least, please recognize that you have been sold a bad bill of goods,  i.e. lies told in the name of God, Jesus, and "traditional morality." And all lies, even those told in the name of God,can NEVER carry the day.