Thursday, March 29, 2012

Via Faithful America:

Faithful America

Dear Daniel,
Last time I opened the Bible, Jesus said to turn the other cheek, not to shoot first and ask questions later.
But in 24 states—including Florida, where Trayvon Martin's killer is still walking the streets—the law says you can shoot and kill anyone you "reasonably believe" is threatening you.1
Those laws are on the books because of the tireless efforts of a secretive coalition of right-wing lobbyists and state legislators, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which adopted "Kill at Will" as model legislation to promote across the country.2
A key member of the ALEC task force pushing "Kill At Will" is one of the nation's most prominent evangelical organizations: Prison Fellowship, whose stated purpose is to transform lives and reconcile families affected by the criminal-justice system.3
Christians shouldn't have anything to do with promoting laws that invite self-appointed vigilantes like George Zimmerman to use deadly force. After the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, it's time for Prison Fellowship to immediately quit the American Legislative Exchange Council and disavow "Kill at Will."
Prison Fellowship serves alongside the NRA, the nation's largest private-prison corporation, and the state legislator who sponsored Arizona's notorious anti-immigration law, on ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task force. In addition to "Kill at Will," the task force has crafted and aggressively promoted "model bills" that:
  • Make local law enforcement use racial profiling against immigrants.4
  • Allow private corporations to hire prison inmates at far less than the minimum wage.5
  • Use onerous voter-ID requirements to disenfranchise low-income people, seniors, African Americans, and Latinos.6
As the Center for Media and Democracy, which has analyzed and published hundreds of formerly secret ALEC documents, puts it: "The ['stand your ground'] bill fits into a pattern of ALEC bills that disproportionately impact communities of color."7
No Christian organization, let alone one that purports to rehabilitate inmates and reform the criminal-justice system, should be lending its support to a coalition with an agenda that victimizes the most vulnerable people in our society. Prison Fellowship needs to hear immediately from outraged people of faith demanding that they drop out of ALEC:
-- Michael, Kristin, Nick, and the rest of the Faithful America team
1. "The 24 States That Have Sweeping Self-Defense Laws Just Like Florida's," ProPublica, March 22, 2012 
2. "ALEC Has Pushed the NRA's 'Stand Your Ground' Law Across the Nation," Media Matters for America, March 21, 2012
3. "ALEC Exposed: Public Safety and Elections Task Force," Center for Media and Democracy, accessed March 28, 2012
Webpage for "ALEC Corrections and Reentry Working Group," a subset of the "Public Safety and Elections Task Force," American Legislative Exchange Council, accessed March 28, 2012
"Pat Nolan Promotes Prison Reform at Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council," Prison Fellowship, accessed March 28, 2012 
4. "Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law," National Public Radio, October 28, 2010
5. "The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor," The Nation, August 1, 2011
6. "ALEC Exposed: Rigging Elections," The Nation, July 12, 2011
7. "ALEC Ratified NRA-Conceived Law That May Protect Trayvon Martin's Killer," PR Watch, Center for Media and Democracy, March 21, 2012

Via JMG: Black Civil Rights Group Condemns NOM

From the National Black Justice Coalition:
NOM's memos detail its campaign to direct money to a handful of African American clergy in order to attack gay and lesbian couples that have made a lifelong promise to one another. The organization admits their key goal is to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks." The memo also outlines NOM's strategies for targeting Latino communities by "making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity" and "to make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of 'Anglo' culture."

"These documents expose NOM for what it really is-a hate group determined to use African American faith leaders as pawns to push their damaging agenda and as mouthpieces to amplify that hatred," says Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. "NOM is fighting a losing battle," adds Lettman-Hicks. "With these memos made public, the black faith community must refuse to be exploited and refuse to deny their fellow brothers and sisters equal protections under the law."

Reposted from Joe

JMG Headline Of The Day:

"We're not seeing any impact," says Starbucks.

Reosted from Joe

Via JMG: NAACP Denounces NOM

"This memo only reveals the limits of a cynical agenda. The truth is that no group, no matter how well-funded, can drive an artificial wedge between our communities. People of color understand what it is like to be the target of discrimination. No public relations strategy will make us forget that." - NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, via press release.

Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Freedom To Marry Calls On GOP Candidates: Renounce NOM's Hate Pledge

"Now that NOM's race-baiting strategy of pitting American against American, minority against minority, and family members against family members is out in the open, we call on GOP candidates to renounce their NOM pledges. A president's job is to lead and unite the nation, not take part in a politics of division and cruelty. Anyone seeking the nation's highest office should not be affiliated with a group seeking to discredit the strong and clear voice of those African-American civil rights champions, such as John Lewis, Julian Bond, and Coretta Scott King, who have stood up for the freedom to marry and the equal civil rights of all people, including gay people of color." - Evan Wolfson, head of Freedom To Marry.

RELATED: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich all signed NOM's pledge to thwart the civil rights of LGBT Americans should they be elected. Included in that pledge is a vow to pursue an anti-gay amendment to the federal constitution.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: FOTF Launches Anti-Gay Obama Poll

Guess who dominates Focus On The Family's poll about President Obama? That's right. YOU do. Wars, threats of nuclear attacks, a crumbling global economy? PFFFT. Treating homerseckshuls like human beings is what the nation should REALLY be worried about.

Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Mark Bingham's Mom Fires Back

TMZ interviews Alice Hoagland, the mother of openly gay 9/11 hero Mark Bingham.
"Yes, my gay son was known in our family for bringing me flowers on my birthday and Mother’s Day. He also was known for careening down the rugby pitch, and, on the morning of September 11, 2001, for charging unarmed down the aisle of a doomed Boeing 757 to face knife-wielding Islamist thugs in a hijacked cockpit."

She adds, "No one among his pick-up team of fellow passengers was asking 'Are you straight? Are you gay?' No one doubted that a guy who weighed 220 and stood 6’4” tall - who could run over a charging opponent on the field, and ran with the bulls in Pamplona earlier that summer - would be an asset to a desperate group trying to overcome a threat onboard an airliner."

"The world has its share of strong, heroic gay men. Gay men in sports uniforms and military uniforms have been winning America’s games and fighting America’s battles for a long time: quietly, humbly, and in the face of vicious bigotry." "I hope you and I may have an opportunity to talk sometime. I prefer to believe you didn’t mean to offend. Good luck to you."
BAM! Also: Suh-NAP!

Reposted from Joe

Civil rights leader: NOM e-mails 'scary'

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma March 29, 2012

Straight Ahead

Go very deep into yourself. Let body and mind fall away. Experience the absolute basis of reality. But the path doesn't end there. This is just the peak of the mountain. You need to continue the journey. Where do you go when you’re at the peak? Straight ahead. It’s always straight ahead. Straight ahead when you’re on the peak means down the other side of the mountain back into the marketplace. That’s where your realization needs to manifest. Otherwise, what’s the point?
- John Daido Loori, "Straight Ahead"
Read the entire article in the Tricycle Wisdom Collection

Via AmericaBlog Gay:

Rich came out as a lesbian in the 1970s and had been with her partner, writer Michelle Cliff, since 1976.

Her poetry and prose showed feminist sympathies from the 1950s onward, and her 1980 essay “Compulsory Heterosexuality and the Lesbian Continuum” challenged the idea that heterosexuality was the only normal orientation and formed the heart of theories of lesbian feminism. Her work features prominently in gender studies classes. 

She also wrote passionate antiwar poetry and concerned herself with issues of class. In 1997 she turned down the National Medal for the Arts, writing to President Bill Clinton, “The radical disparities of wealth and power in America are widening at a devastating rate. A president cannot meaningfully honor certain token artists while the people at large are so dishonored.”