Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Via Faith in America:

Sorry Rick, your "natural law" code language will not fly

But thanks for keying us in on the religion-based bigotry behind it
Beginning last year, Faith in America's research began noticing a trend among anti-gay religious groups – particularly the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Family Research Council (FRC).
It appeared as an attempt to distant their anti-gay actions and rhetoric from religious motivation.
Actually, the first hint of this trend occurred in 2009 at a North Carolina conservative church where the Family Research Council and one of its spokespersons, Frank Turek, had gathered a group of area pastors to promote an anti-gay marriage amendment in North Carolina that year.
During a horrific barrage of anti-gay sentiment within the confirms of that church, Turek made the comment that opposition to marriage equality really didn't have anything to do with religion. It was all about natural law, he said.
Attending that session, we found it interesting he would make that comment  considering it was being made in a church before a group of conservative religious leaders – not exactly your nonreligious venue.
Last year we heard similar comments from several leading voices in the anti-gay religious industry. It seemed evident at that point that there was attempt afoot to conceal the religion-based bigotry behind these organizations' effort to promote prejudice, discrimination and hostility toward LGBT people.
Of course we know the reason why. As pointed out in Faith in America's report on Guidelines for Effectively Addressing the Religious Arguments , history shows us  that using religious values to promote bigotry and discrimination is a losing proposition. While that is exactly what the anti-gay religious industry has done for the last 30 years, we can now see how more and more people of faith are turning their back on religion-based bigotry toward LGBT people when it is exposed for what it really is. Faith in America's founding mission was and is to expose and therefore hasten an end to the immense harm caused by this unique form of bigotry.
The battle is being won as we know misguided religious belief that causes harm to innocent people must and can be effectively confronted. It's been happening for centuries.
That is what the anti-gay religious organizations know and that is why we are hearing more and more of this "natural law" argument. Of course it is completely illogically – sort of like persecuting, condemning and rejecting people under a banner of religious values.
Yet the anti-gay religious industry seems fully prepared to use "natural law" as yet another form of code language to conceal and disguise the religion-based bigotry that they cater to for support, votes and cash. And that includes Republican candidates for office who the anti-gay religious industry knows have served them well in promoting stigma and hostility toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Enter GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum. We all know where Santorum stands on LGBT equality and it is not the side of love and respect or human dignity and equality.
In this clip of Santorum speaking yesterday at a grocery store in Iowa, you will hear him attempt to incorporate the "natural law" code language in his argument against marriage equality as he attempts to define marriage for the small audience:
"The bringing together, according to the natural law, people of two genders, in nature, who come together to form a union, for the purpose of the benefit of each of them, as they are made in nature to fit together to live together, one on one, that we see in nature with many species."
OK Rick, we get it. You're attempting to say your opposition has nothing to do with your religious belief. It is all nature and natural law. 
But wait. Santorum had more to say on this topic and in doing so exposed the real basis for his argument against marriage equality and LGBT people in general.
Heterosexual marriage. he continued, is a gift from God. We're sure he just couldn't help himself –  the religious argument has been the anti-gay religious industry's bread-and-butter when it comes to using LGBT people as political fodder. And we suspect he may have realized that his use of a napkin to frame his natural law argument was not going well.
"It's because of nature and nature is God," he said. "Marriage is part of His creation. It is part of His gift."
And from there he went right to the anti-gay religious industry's most pathetic line of reasoning yet – people who use misguided religious teaching to promote prejudice and discrimination are victims because someone dares call out the harm they are causing.
But we have news for Santorum and others who continue to promote a social climate of hostility that wreaks havoc on the lives of gay youth and families – it's not just your bigotry, Rick, we're calling out but your religion-based bigotry and the harm it causes.
And you have every right to use your faith in such an ugly manner. That's the only choice issue in all this. But know this: You will no longer sell it to the American public as something that holds value.

Quote of the Day:

"Until you have the inner discipline that brings calmness of mind, external facilities and conditions will never bring the joy and happiness you seek. On the other hand, if you possess this inner quality, calmness of mind, a degree of stability within, even if you lack the various external factors that you would normally require to be happy, it will still be possible to live a happy and joyful life." - Dalai Lama

Via JMG: Riots Close British Gayborhood

Birmingham's gay village was shut down yesterday due to widespread looting and fires. ZONE Magazine reports:
The London riots have spread beyond the capital to Birmingham, including the Gay Village. Popular gay bars Missing, The Loft Lounge, Equator, Purple Bar and The Angel Bar were all closed on the advice of police at around 9pm last night. The police have confirmed that at least 35 arrests have already been made. The Birmingham Hippodrome theatre, which is located on the edge of the gay village in the Southside area of Birmingham, was on a 'lockdown' with up to 2,000 theatre-goers locked inside watching We Will Rock You. Following the performance, police escorted patrons to the safety of their cars in the Arcadian Centre.

There was widespread looting in the city centre, including the Armani shop in The Mailbox. Kevin Breese, General Manager of Birmingham's Harvey Nichols shop, confirmed that the ajacent Armani shop has been completely looted. 'They were very well organised youths, with wirecutters and concrete blocks,' he said. West Midlands Police continued to tackle the disorder occurring in Birmingham last night. Several premises were attacked, with some shop windows smashed and property stolen in various locations in the centre, as well as some surrounding areas.
Hit the above link for live updates on the situation.

reposted from Joe

IT GETS BETTER: Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire IGBP10

Via AmericablogGay: To be very clear, Obama administration can stop the deportation of Anthony John Makk

John wrote a post about the impending deportation of Anthony John Makk earlier today. It's really a stunning story. Makk is an Australian who is legally married to a U.S. citizen Bradford Wells. They've been married for seven years. But, the Obama administration intends to deport Makk by August 25th. Teddy Partridge at FireDogLake is furious -- and rightly so: 

The Obama Administration has denied the request of a married couple in San Francisco, ordering the expulsion of one spouse who is the primary caregiver of his legally married husband with AIDS.
Team Obama is incapable of valuing our actual relationships, while making pretty speeches about DOMA’s unconstitutionality.
So, the Obama administration is using DOMA as an excuse when the Obama administration claims DOMA is unconstitutional. That's bad enough. The Obama administration has the executive power to prevent this deportation. It does not have to happen. 

I asked Steve Ralls from Immigration Equality to give us an explanation of the Obama administration's options. Here's what he wrote: 

The Obama Administration can intervene – today – and keep Bradford and Anthony together. On May 17, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security wrote, in a letter to Congress, that they retain authority “to exercise discretion in individual cases based on the unique factors presented by that particular case.” In June, ICE reiterated that position in a memorandum to field offices informing their agents that individuals who have U.S. citizen spouses or relatives, or are the primary caretakers for American citizens, should not be considered a priority for removal, and can, again, qualify for discretion. Despite both the letter and the memo, however, the Administration has not yet intervened in a single case for a lesbian or gay couple. Now would be a good time for them to do so, as American citizens are being torn apart from their spouses and partners. There is no question about the Administration’s ability to do so; the only question is whether they will exercise that ability on behalf of LGBT families. 

Got that? There is no question about the Obama administration's ability. Makk's deportation does not have to happen. 

On Sunday, Drew Westen wrote a powerful op-ed in the New York Times titled, "What Happened to Obama?," which included this passage: 

Like most Americans, at this point, I have no idea what Barack Obama — and by extension the party he leads — believes on virtually any issue. The president tells us he prefers a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction, one that weds “revenue enhancements” (a weak way of describing popular taxes on the rich and big corporations that are evading them) with “entitlement cuts” (an equally poor choice of words that implies that people who’ve worked their whole lives are looking for handouts). But the law he just signed includes only the cuts. This pattern of presenting inconsistent positions with no apparent recognition of their incoherence is another hallmark of this president’s storytelling. He announces in a speech on energy and climate change that we need to expand offshore oil drilling and coal production — two methods of obtaining fuels that contribute to the extreme weather Americans are now seeing. 

He supports a health care law that will use Medicaid to insure about 15 million more Americans and then endorses a budget plan that, through cuts to state budgets, will most likely decimate Medicaid and other essential programs for children, senior citizens and people who are vulnerable by virtue of disabilities or an economy that is getting weaker by the day. He gives a major speech on immigration reform after deporting a million immigrants in two years, breaking up families at a pace George W. Bush could never rival in all his years as president.

One of the families Obama is intent to break up is that of Anthony Makk and Bradford Wells. The President or someone who works for him needs to fix this. And, fast.