Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Mike Huckabee, Congressional leaders 'pal around' with hate group

Former Arkansas Governor and Fox talk show host Mike Huckabee with Mass Resistance's Brian Camenker at the recent right wing "Take Back America" conference . Mass Resistance, you will remember, is a hate group as officially designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

It's important to remember that the Southern Poverty Law Center does not designate organizations as anti-gay group simply because they speak against homosexuality. According to the SPLC webpage:

Anti-gay groups are organizations that go beyond mere disagreement with homosexuality by subjecting gays and lesbians to campaigns of personal vilification.

In Brian Camenker and Mass Resistance's case, this would include:

Manufacturing a phony panic about "schools teaching children about homosexuality,"

Claiming in 2005 on Comedy Central's Daily Show that if given time, he would be able to connect gay marriage in Massachusetts to the "reduction" of the quality of life in the state, a spike in homelessness rates, or and a lowering the quality of the air in the state, or

Making a claim in 2006 that "gays were trying to get legislation passed to allow sex with animals" in Massachusetts.

But Mike Huckabee doesn't seem to have a problem with Mass Resistance. According to Camenker, Huckabee receives the group's emails.

And it would seem that neither does Congressional leaders Steve King, Michelle Bachman, Tom Price, Tom McClintock, Todd Aiken, or Trent Franks have a problem with schmoozing with an anti-gay hate group, as seen by the rest of the pictures on Mass Resistance's webpage.

But in Huckabee's case, it's a safe bet to say that if he gets anywhere near the White House, the lgbt community will be up "shit creek."

Related posts:

Conference Recap: Far Right Leaders Vow to 'Take Back America' from 'Evil' Obama and Democrats

Brian Camenker, Matt Barber create anti-gay hot mess

The anti-gays are encouraged to get more militant and disgusting

Mike Huckabee and Congressional leaders to attend conference with hate group

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The religious right attacks another openly gay Obama appointee

Mercy! Am I going to have to create another facebook group for Chai Feldblum. Luckily, Media Matters is on the case of exposing lies against another Obama appointee:

Following their discredited and homophobic smears of Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, the right-wing media is at it again, this time using anti-gay rhetoric to target Chai Feldblum, President Obama's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) nominee. Rather than address Feldblum's qualifications, right-wing media have advanced their anti-gay agenda by targeting statements made by Feldblum and a statement she signed that have nothing to do with the job for which she has been nominated.

This is getting frustrating. Is this how it's going to play out? Will every openly gay appointee in the Obama Adminstration be a victim of false claims and innuendo?

I cringe to think the message this is sending to young lgbts.

There are two good things about this - lgbts have a history of learning from our mistakes and raising hell when we have another chance to.

A lot of us started defending Kevin Jennings a little late than we should have (luckily that turned out in our favor though), but now we are in the game and will fight the attacks on Feldblum's reputation with more vigor.

Also, how long will it be before these anti-gay attacks cue America to the true homophobic nature of the religious right?

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Who knew the American Family Association could moonwalk?

. . . By his own admission he failed his legal duty to report what he believed to be a case of statutory rape when a young student approached him for counsel after the boy had been preyed on by an older adult in a local bus station bathroom. Jennings' main piece of advice: "I hope you know how to use a condom." - An email via the American Family Association

It would seem that religious right groups are backtracking from the "Kevin Jennings counseled an underage youth into a relationship with an adult" lie.

But they offer no apologies for pushing the pedophilia claim.

An of course they are not giving up the figh against Jennings. Groups like the American Family Assocation are now relying on the time-honored smear of "radical homosexuals looking to indoctrinate and change" lie:

Kevin Jennings is an open homosexual who is now serving the Department of Education as President Obama's "Safe and Drug Free Schools" czar.

Jennings is the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which pushes so-called "anti-bullying" policies which even GLSEN admits are really about promoting "affirmation" of homosexual behavior in the school system.

To a lot of us, it's no surprise that religious right groups oppose Jennings becauses he is openly gay. It's a suprise however that they finally admit it.

But very the fact that they tried to obscure their true feelings says more about their lack of credibility or integrity.

And it's more reason why we must fight them at every turn.

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Catholic writer unsuccessfully tries to refute my ENDA post

Stephanie Block, founder of the Catholic Media Coalition, took it upon herself to call me out in an attempt to answer my refutations of religious right distortions regarding ENDA.

I'll give her props for the attempt. But she tends to get vague and dance around what was actually said in my piece.

And she made some very bad assumptions. She said the following:

The five “lies” McEwen has gleaned from religious right materials are that this legislation will permit transgendered males to use women’s restrooms. . .

I want to highlight that first claim of hers because I never said that. I said the following:

Distortion - ENDA (H.R. 2981 - H.R. 3017 - S. 1584) has been changed from the "gay-only" version the House passed in 2007 to include language banning job discrimination based on "gender identity" as well as sexual orientation - complete with special protections for the transgendered. It would mean your child's teacher, if he were a male but "felt" like a female, could go into the women's bathroom.

TRUTH - According to the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, over 100 localities (cities and counties) in the United States have trans-inclusive non-discrimination laws. There has never been a problem of a man "claiming to feel like a female" invading women's bathrooms. The claim is a non-issue created to scare people and distract from the true purpose of ENDA.

Not only does she not try to refute what I actually said, but she makes a nasty determination of the issue when she later terms it as "Last but not least: the transvestite male in the woman’s bathroom," thereby displaying a certain ignorance of the transgender community and covertly channeling the religious right claim of "men invading women's restrooms."

In one point, she says that I inaccurately said something was a lie/distortion:

Of these five “lies,” McEwen confirms two, arguing that federal law already protects workers from discrimination of any sort, even when stemming from an employer’s religious beliefs, and as “[n]ot all families are heterosexually-oriented… A national policy regarding families and marriage should embrace this change.” So fears that ENDA would redefine marriage and family seem pretty much on target. A person hasn’t “lied” or distorted the situation just because there are other people with opposing viewpoints.

Oh if it were that simple.

This is what was actually said:

Distortion - ENDA would approvingly bring private behavior considered immoral by many into the public square. By declaring that all sexual preferences are equally valid, ENDA would change national policy supporting marriage and family.

TRUTH - If "national policy supporting marriage and family" is changed, then it is a good thing. Not all families are heterosexually-oriented. Also, several states already offer lgbts either the right to marry or enter domestic partnerships. A national policy regarding families and marriage should embrace this change.

The sentence which I called a distortion is an exact phrase from American Family Association's talking points against ENDA. And it is a distortion because it reduces the lgbt orientation to that of sexual behavior. And this is an inaccurate assumption. Also, my point was that whatever "national policy regarding marriage and family" happens to be, it is already changing via domestic partnerships and lgbt marriages.

ENDA wouldn't lead a changing of a "national policy regarding marriage and family" because the change is already taking place.

Block also says the following:

McEwen argues that ENDA says nothing about sexual behavior and therefore concerns about special protection for gays and lesbians are specious (my word, not his). And furthermore, he says, no one is singled out for “special” protection – the law simply clarifies that sexual orientation and gender identity are no basis for employment discrimination, any more than race or creed are under existing law.

One can appreciate the argument. A person who is behaving appropriately – who dresses according to the workplace code, who speaks professionally, who doesn’t harass other workers, and who does a good job – shouldn’t have to worry about dismissal for “perceived” orientations or being “exposed.” In a professional atmosphere, the nasty divorce, drinking problems, and any host of other unethical aspects of one’s colleagues can be and are overlooked so long as they remain reasonably private.

On the other hand, there are no laws (of which I’m aware) making it unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail to hire or to fire any individual because of actual or perceived alcoholism. If there were, one would want it to clarify the law’s limits – that it protected a worker’s drinking only so far as professionalism and job-related performance standards were maintained. Without that clarification, one can understand that an employer might worry that the discrimination card is played when the issue is actually about fulfilling employment needs.

Is she inaccurately calling sexual orientation a behavior just as the AFA did or is she making the claim that if someone was fired for being an alcoholic, they can claim sexual orientation discrimination? She forgets that someone could make that claim regarding the other job protection categories (i.e. race, religion, etc.)

Either way, her argument here makes no sense. I actually said:

Distortion - ENDA is aimed at providing heightened protections for a particular sexual behavior - homosexuality. It would grant special consideration on the basis of "sexual orientation" that would not be extended to other employees in the workplace.

TRUTH - ENDA says nothing about sexual behavior. Potential employees are already federally protected in cases of race, religion, gender, and national origin. Heterosexuals would be protected under ENDA along with lgbts because adding sexual orientation does not single out gays and lesbians any more than gender singles out solely women or men.

Then she talks about the tax-exemption status of churches and invokes the controversy involving the New Jersey church pavilion:

When a gay couple wished to have a commitment ceremony in the wedding hall, the Association refused to accommodate them. This is very different from the employment situations contemplated by ENDA. ….It should also be noted that, although the Association initially lost its tax exemption, the State of New Jersey reinstated the Association's exemption from property tax for the beach and the rest of the boardwalk, but stated that it could not continue to exempt the pavilion as it was not truly open to the public.” [“Are We Ready? Arguments against ENDA (Part II),” The Bilerico Project, 9-13-09]

One appreciates that this is just one lawyer’s take, but here’s what we’re left with if Dr. Weiss’ logic is indicative of where this legislation is headed: tax-exempt religious bodies must follow the non-discrimination laws that apply to taxed bodies. Or, in other words, a religious body that claims an anti-discrimination exemption for itself will be stripped of its tax-exemption.

Block freely admits that this controversy had nothing to do with ENDA but then she tries to connect the two. In her attempt, she omits the fact that the pavilion was church property but not a part of the church. She also omits that the church knew full well the requirements that allowed the pavilion to receive tax breaks and agreed to them. A better argument is here.

That is a long way off from a "religious body that claims an anti-discrimination exemption."

Geez. You think that if someone was trying to refute my work, they would have the decency to focus on what I actually said instead of strawman paraphrasing.

I'm not one for hypothetical arguments or tangents. I try to deal with what's in front of me. It makes things simple and honest.

If some of these folks who fear ENDA would do the same thing, they would see that they have nothing to fear.

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Join the Support Kevin Jennings Facebook group

Just a simple message this morning.

If you support Kevin Jennings and want to help stop the attack against him, join the Support Kevin Jennings facebook group.

The reason for this page is simple: There is a serious problem regarding school bullying. This problem adversely affects the mental and physical well-being of all children, specifically lgbt children.

Jennings is more than qualified to handle this problem. However there are people who will do what they can to take him down. Be it for ratings or personal homophobia, Jennings has a huge target on his back.

And that's not right. Someone who is trying to help our children should be supported and commended, not made the victim of those who would bear false witness or sling nasty innuendo in the name of God.

If the lgbt community and our allies don't stand up for Jennings, then we are turning our back on one of our own.

Frankly, I'm not down with that.

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