Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Via JMG: Tweet Of The Day - Christopher Barron

In addition to opposing ENDA, the Matthew Shepard Act, or any federal protections for LGBT Americans, GOProud feels that marriage equality is a states' rights issue and therefore they are OK with the 31 states that have passed constitutional bans on same-sex marriage at the behest of groups like NOM. That's just democracy in action!

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Quote Of The Day - Barack Obama

"I've been here two years, guys. And one of the things that I just try to remember is that if we have accomplished 70 percent of what we committed to in the campaign, historic legislation, and we've got 30 percent of it undone — well, that's what the next two years is for, or maybe the next six. Understandably, everybody has a great sense of urgency about these issues. But one of the things that I constantly want to counsel my friends is to keep the long view in mind. On social issues, something like 'don't ask, don't tell.' Here, I've got the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff both committed to changing the policy. That's a big deal.

"Now, I am also the commander in chief of an armed forces that is in the midst of one war and wrapping up another one. So I don't think it's too much to ask, to say 'Let's do this in an orderly way' — to ensure, by the way, that gays and lesbians who are serving honorably in our armed forces aren't subject to harassment and bullying and a whole bunch of other stuff once we implement the policy. I use that as an example because on each of these areas, even those where we did not get some grand legislative victory, we have made progress. We have moved in the right direction." - President Obama, discussing DADT in a lengthy interview with Rolling Stone.

reposted from Joe

San Francisco says "It Gets Better!"

Via JMG: LAUNCHED: HRC & Courage Campaign Collaborate On "NOM Exposed" Site

The Human Rights Campaign and the Courage Campaign today launched NOM Exposed, a site devoted to unmasking the players, major backers, and strategies of the National Organization for Marriage. Via press release:
As the National Organization for Marriage, or NOM, embarks on a fall election campaign to defeat candidates who support full marriage equality, the Human Rights Campaign, in collaboration with the Courage Campaign, unveiled "NOM Exposed," a live, interactive website which reveals NOM's deep anti-gay affiliations, its long connections to the Mormon and Catholic churches and its quest to keep voters in the dark about its financing.

At the same time, HRC announced the formation of the NOM Project to follow the ongoing political work and propaganda of NOM as it attempts to influence elections and legislative campaigns across the country. The project will be led by Kevin Nix, a longtime LGBT advocate and political and media consultant. A former communications director at both Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the Family Equality Council, Nix also worked at Media Matters in the 2004 presidential cycle.

"NOM and its leaders project a message of tolerance yet NOM Exposed shows that behind the well-trained talking points is an anti-gay animus and moneyed connections that it is loath to reveal," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "This website is not static. Working with the Courage Campaign, we will be watching the campaign trail and documenting NOM's political buys and bedfellows. We will connect the dots for voters."
NOM Exposed is one of the most extensive takedowns of the enemies of the LGBT movement that I've seen on the web yet, and I've only just begun to dig in. Take note of the site's "Rogue's Gallery" and start from there. This is fantastic.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: MONTANA: Bozeman Commission Backs Gay Couples In Marriage Lawsuit

The Montana GOP might want to outlaw gay sex, but the Bozeman City Commission is more enlightened. Yesterday Bozeman's city commissioners unanimously approved a resolution backing a pending lawsuit calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Montana. Bozeman, population 27,000, maybe be small by most standards, but they are the fifth largest town in Montana and the very first to back same-sex marriage.
From a group of pro-gay activists holding signs and cheering outside, to the packed seats of the commission room, City Hall was filled with powerful emotion during a Monday night meeting. Commissioners heard from comments on all sides of the homosexuality debate before making their unanimous decision to support the resolution. Mayor Jeff Krauss drafted the document, saying he wants Bozeman to put forth a clear message. "I think there are kids out there that are terrified of who they are and what they are," Krauss said. "They need to hear they are all welcome here and yes life for you can be normal here in Bozeman." "So proud, very proud and very grateful. The commission (is) doing the right thing at the risk of losing political cash," said one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Mary Leslie.
Seven gay couples are suing Montana. The case resumes next month.

reposted fromJoe

Via JMG: Jelly Belly To NOM: Get Lost!

When NOM published the itinerary of their latest Bus Fail Tour, many noted that tomorrow's first stop is the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, California. JMG reader Carrie fired off an email to Jelly Belly to see if the famed candymaker was down with NOM's bigotry. Their response:
We were unaware of the “National Organization for Marriage” coming to visit prior to several emails that we received. We do not accept reservations for our free tours and tour buses often stop here for our free public tours. We have not rented any of our facilities for this group and no event or rally will be held here. Jelly Belly does not allow any group to promote their special interests, pass out flyers, or approach our visitors for their own interests at our public tours. We appreciate your offer to share with your blog community. Sincerely, Kit McCoy, Consumer Affairs Manager, Jelly Belly Candy Company.
I like that Jelly Belly encouraged Carrie to spread the news, even if they don't allow any political groups on their premises. Maybe NOM would have better luck with See's Candy, which last year lost its lease with San Francisco for refusing to offer LGBT benefits.

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reposted from Joe

LKL - Ann Coulter Against Gay Marriage & Repealing DADT

Via JMG: TEXAS: 13 Year-Old Boy Commits Suicide After Years Of Anti-Gay Bullying

Eighth grader Asher Brown put a bullet in his brain this week after enduring years of anti-gay taunting and bullying at his Texas middle school. His parents say they complained to the school repeatedly. The school, of course, claims no knowledge of such complaints.
Cy Fair ISD officials said Monday that they never received any complaints from Brown's parents before the suicide about the way the boy was being treated at school. School district spokeswoman Kelli Durham said no students, school employees or the boy's parents ever reported that he was being bullied. That statement infuriated the Truongs, who accused the school district of protecting the bullies and their parents.

"That's absolutely inaccurate — it's completely false," Amy Truong said. "I did not hallucinate phone calls to counselors and assistant principals. We have no reason to make this up. … It's like they're calling us liars." David Truong said, "We want justice. The people here need to be held responsible and to be stopped. It did happen. There are witnesses everywhere." Numerous comments from parents and students on the Web site of KRIV-TV Channel 26, which also reported a story about Brown's death, stated that the boy had been bullied by classmates for several years and claimed Cy-Fair ISD does nothing to stop such harassment.
On the morning of his suicide, Asher told his parents that he was gay, but his stepfather says they were accepting of Asher's revelation. "We didn't condemn," he said. The day before, Asher had been tripped and pushed down a flight of stairs at his school. The school claims to have investigated that incident, but says they can find no corroboration.

Texas law does not protect students from anti-gay bullying, no doubt thanks to the work of Christianist groups like Focus On The Family, who lobby nationwide for the right of Christian students to abuse LGBT kids.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Atheists Know The Most About Religion

A survey testing Americans' knowledge about the religions of the world showed that atheists and agnostics know more than professed believers. Interestingly, some of the questions most frequently answered incorrectly were about the responders' own religions.
Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ. More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish. [snip]

Respondents to the survey were asked 32 questions with a range of difficulty, including whether they could name the Islamic holy book and the first book of the Bible, or say what century the Mormon religion was founded. On average, participants in the survey answered correctly overall for half of the survey questions. Atheists and agnostics scored highest, with an average of 21 correct answers, while Jews and Mormons followed with about 20 accurate responses. Protestants overall averaged 16 correct answers, while Catholics followed with a score of about 15.
The best predictor for religious knowledge, unsurprisingly, was level of education.

reposted from Joe


  Religious question? Better ask an atheist

  By Laurie Goodstein    New York Times 
Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.    Researchers from the independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life phoned more than 3,400 Americans and asked them 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life.     

On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.      
Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.     

“Even after all these other factors, including education, are taken into account, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperform all the other religious groups in our survey,” said Greg Smith,     a senior researcher at Pew.     

That finding might surprise some, but not Dave Silver-man, president of American Atheists, an advocacy group for nonbelievers that was founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.     

“I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people,” Silverman said. “Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.”     

Among the topics covered in the survey were: Where was Jesus born? What is Ramadan? Whose writings inspired the Protestant Reformation? Which Biblical figure led the exodus from Egypt? What religion is the Dalai Lama? Joseph Smith? Mother Teresa? In most cases, the format was multiple choice.       

The researchers said that the questionnaire was designed to represent a breadth of knowledge about religion but was not intended to be regarded as a list of the most essential facts about the subject. Most of the questions were easy, but a few were difficult enough to discern which respondents were highly knowledgeable.     

On questions about the Bible and Christianity, the groups that answered the most right were Mormons and white evangelical Protestants.     

On questions about world religions, like Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism, the groups that did the best were atheists, agnostics and Jews.       

One finding that may grab the attention of policymakers is that most Americans wrongly believe that anything having to do with religion is prohibited in public schools.     

An overwhelming 89 percent of respondents, asked whether public school teachers are permitted to lead a class in prayer, correctly answered no.     

But fewer than one in four knew that a public school teacher is permitted “to read from the Bible as an example of literature.” And only about one-third knew that a public school teacher is permitted to offer a class comparing the world’s religions.       

The survey’s authors concluded that there was “widespread confusion” about “the line between teaching and preaching.”     

Smith said the survey appeared to be the first comprehensive effort at assessing the basic religious knowledge of Americans, so it is impossible to tell whether they are more or less informed than in the past.    The phone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish in May and June. 

There were not enough Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu respondents to say how those   groups ranked.    Clergy members who are concerned that their congregants know little about the essentials of their own faith will no doubt be appalled by some of these findings:     

Fifty-three percent of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the man who started the Protestant Reformation.    

Forty-five percent of Catholics did not know that their church teaches that the consecrated bread and wine in Holy Communion are not merely symbols but actually become the body and blood of Christ.      
Forty-three percent of Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the foremost rabbinical authorities and philosophers, was Jewish.     

The question about Maimonides was the one that the fewest people answered correctly. But 51 percent knew that Joseph Smith was Mormon, and 82 percent knew that Mother Teresa was Roman Catholic.   

Via Adam & Andy: