Is opposing LGBT equality now the highest doctrinal issue?

They all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.–Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. I Continuing their efforts to turn “religious freedom” into a dirty word and a dog-whistle buzzword for bigotry, nineteen religious groups filed an amicus brief arguing that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality would imperil their religious freedom. I’ll allow you a second or two to do a double take before we continue. The idea that granting the same marriage rights to LGBT people as everyone else would infringe on their religious freedom because people would think them bigots is so abjectly preposterous that it doesn’t deserve to be treated as an argument any more worthy of serious consideration than someone standing on a street corner insisting that the sky was puce and clouds are made of cotton candy’s argument does. What is worth noting, however, is who the amici are. One of these things is not like the other. All but one of the groups signed on to this brief can be described as evangelical or fundamentalist protestant Christian groups. The other group is the Mormon Church. Let me note that all of the Christian denominations and groups signing on to this amicus brief opposing marriage equality believe that the LDS are heretical and not a Christian denomination, but rather a false religion destined for hell. For that matter, half of these Christian groups aren’t even entirely convinced that the other half are really Christians. They have, however, chosen to downplay that into “theological differences” because[…]

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Which one of you have we wronged?

I’ve got a guest post for you all today. Sophie Anna Platt wrote this on Facebook in response to James Dobson’s recent statement that marriage equality will lead to a civil war. She was was kind enough to let me republish it here.  To the James Dobsons and Mike Farrises of the world who literally want a civil war over gay rights and gay marriage, I ask this. In fact, I should ask certain members of my own family. I ask the same thing Jesus once asked. Which one of you have we wronged? Which one of you have we cheated or stolen from or harmed in any way? I’m not saying we are perfect, but what did we ever do to you that could make you hate us SO MUCH that you literally want a civil war over us being allowed the same rights that you have? What could possess you to put us through the things you have? How can you bring yourself to hate another person – much less a whole group of people- to the point that you force us even as children into “reparative therapy” which is just a fancy word for psychological and physical torture? I’m not even speaking metaphorically here. After everything you have done to us one might expect we would be the ones with hatred in our hearts. That we would be trying to outlaw the religion that has been used in such vile ways against us. The truth is that many, many of us still believe in God, and we certainly support your right to do so. We do not support your right to use your religion as a weapon against us, and that really shouldn’t surprise you. How can you say that we and those who love us and[…]

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Michael Farris and RFRA followup

On Tuesday I gave you all the rundown about how federal RFRA drafter Michael Farris admitted that he intended the law to legalize religiously motivated discrimination against LGBT people. Farris went on Tuesday’s episode of the Hannity Show and once again stated that he believes that people have the right to discriminate. I was waiting to see if Fox was going to post the video of the segment to their website, but since it looks like they aren’t going to, here’s my shaky video recorded off of the TV. Sorry that I don’t have any fancy dancy video capture equipment to give you a better video, blame Verizon for putting a bunch of DRM on their DVRs. The question about discrimination starts around 2:20 in the video after the jump.

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Original RFRA Drafter Admits Discriminatory Intent

Like a lot of other people, I’ve been following the controversy surrounding Indiana’s SB 101, their state level RFRA bill that’s designed to allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds. Indiana’s RFRA has been compared frequently to the federal RFRA, both by supporters of Indiana’s law who claim that it’s no different than what President Clinton signed into law in 1993, and opponents who point out that it’s much broader than the federal RFRA. What most people don’t realize about RFRA, however, is that while it was a popular piece of legislation that passed with bipartisan support, the religious right had their fingerprints on it from the beginning and always intended it to be used for much broader purposes than most of the bill’s supporters realized. The coalition that drafted the original RFRA was either chaired or co-chaired (alternate accounts on HSLDA’s website say both) by HSLDA founder and then-president Michael Farris. Farris was one of the drafters of the bill, and takes credit for organizing the broad coalition that supported its passage.

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*Pats self on back*

See that right there? That’s my work being cited in the Family Equality Council, et al. amicus brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court in support of marriage equality. Needless to say, I’m pretty happy about it, a lot of late nights went in to the project when the four of us put it together for a Family Equality Council amicus brief in Perry and Windsor.  It’s not often that one gets the chance to leave their fingerprints on history and I’m grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to play a small part.  There is a dark cloud hovering in the background, though. This is yet another accomplishment that Covenant College is going to refuse to acknowledge. Doesn’t matter if the brief managed to swing Scalia and Thomas to vote for equality in a unanimous Supreme Court decision (not gonna happen, but a girl can dream), my alma mater isn’t going to acknowledge it. Because acknowledgement equals endorsement and we can’t have that.  Not going to lie, it hurts. It would be nice to have something positive happen without having any reason that my happiness is tarnished.  Maybe someday.

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When HSLDA went to the Kremlin

On September 10th and 11th of 2014, leaders of various right wing family organizations from around the world gathered at the Kremlin for what was to have been the “World Congress of Families VIII – the Moscow Congress.” The conference was a “pro-family” event that blended a mix of quiverfull, homeschooling, anti-abortion, and anti-LGBTQ organizations together. Facing press questions on the wisdom of holding an event in Moscow after the Russian annexation of Crimea, as well as Concerned Women for America’s decision to withdraw lest they, “appear to be giving aid and comfort to Vladimir Putin,” the World Congress of Families canceled the event in March. Or rather, they officially canceled it, as the meeting went forward under the auspices of the local sponsors, with several World Congress of Families leaders acting as organizers in an officially unofficial capacity. The International Forum: Large Family and Future of Humanity opened with the reading of a personal greeting from Vladimir Putin praising the conference. As documented by BuzzFeed, the conference was funded by a number of close Putin allies. Both Michael Farris and Michael Donnelly of HSLDA were originally slated to speak, and until now it was believed that HSLDA was one of the organizations that had pulled out of the convention because of the Crimea situation. It turns out that’s not what happened. Other than a single reference in an article about the German Wunderlich family that Michael Donnelly, “was in Germany on his way to an international family forum in Moscow, Russia,” HSLDA has made no mention of the Kremlin conference. I have now been able to document that Michael Donnelly was not only in attendance at the forum, but that he participated as a speaker. I suspect that given how difficult it was to track down evidence that an HSLDA[…]

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Florida has been updated to blue on the Wikipedia marriage map. I’ll blog more on this later but for now I’ll say that it’s hard to believe this is really here. I keep waiting for another shoe to drop, for Florida to be Florida and screw this up somehow, but Pam Bondi finally admitted defeat, and people are getting married. There’s still work to be done until everyone has full equality, but we’re a little bit closer to equal justice under law.

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Dear Flip: An open letter to Flip Benham on the occasion of his disrupting wedding ceremonies

Dear Flip, I don’t know if you remember me or not, but there was a time back in the 1990s when you were on a first name basis with my parents. If you don’t know me you should, my photo is on the cover of one of your Operation Save America brochures and the cover of Rusty Thomas’ book. I danced on stage to the song “Children Things We Throw Away” at Operation Rescue National events in Melbourne and Birmingham, and when you spoke in Bradenton, each time performing to standing ovation. I’ve spoken at ORN events and had people praise me afterward. When I say that I was a child of Rescue and that I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt, I mean it literally. The t-shirts are shoved in the back of a dresser drawer, artifacts that I’d never wear again but can’t bring myself to throw out. I’m writing to say thank you. Thank you for creating an activist. When you’re shoved on to the front lines of the culture wars as a child, activism becomes second nature. I know how to fight because ORN/OSA taught me. I wouldn’t be the activist I am today without you. Just as importantly, thank you for so mishandling the situation with the conflict my parents were in–you know the details–that you started our break from the movement. I may have never gotten away from the oppression of the religious right and become the fabulous queer I am today without what happened that Sunday afternoon in Melbourne. For that I truly thank you. God uses all kinds of people in unexpected ways to get a person where they need to be, and God used you screwing over my parents to put me on the path to freedom. Flip, I see[…]

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In which we live tweet a Kevin Swanson radio show rant about homeschooling and World Magazine

Have fun reading this. Or not. In any case, it’s a whole lot of ridiculous strawmen and a whole lot of attacks on homeschool alumni. Also, WORLD Magazine may be harboring socialists. He hopes not, but it’s possible. The storified version of the tweets is after the jump. [View the story “Kevin Swanson on WORLD Magazine’s homeschool story” on Storify] Embedded Storify stories don’t show up right if you’re viewing this in Tumblr, so here’s the link to the story.

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Michelle Duggar’s anti-trans* robocalls and #DuggarHypocrisy

I haven’t really written about the Duggar family before because I feel for their kids still at home. They had no say about being thrust into the national spotlight, and invariably criticism of Jim Bob and Michelle turns into snark about the kids, and I don’t want that. Before I go any farther, let me say that any attacks on the Duggar children in the comments will be deleted. They didn’t ask for this, and with the exception of Josh, who has chosen to become a professional activist with hate group FRC Action, they need to be off limits. That aside, the reason I’ve broken my self-imposed “No Duggars” rule is because of Michelle Duggar’s robocalls against Fayetteville, AR’s proposed LGBT non-discrimination ordinance. I’ve embedded the audio Jeremy Hooper provided on GoodAsYou after the cut. Be warned, it’s a rather disturbing anti-trans diatribe about how transwomen are men who are trying to be predatory towards women and children. In response to this virulent attack on trans* people and their identities, a group of former homeschool kids has created the hashtag #DuggarHypocrisy.  Here’s why. While Michelle Duggar pretends to be concerned about sexual predators targeting women and children, Michelle and Jim Bob have remained silent as both Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips’ sexually predatory behavior was exposed. Shaney Lee has detailed the Duggar’s ties to Bill Gothard and their promotion of Gothard’s material, it’s an important read. Micah Murray’s post on the Duggars and Gothard is also more than sufficient to demonstrate the close ties the Duggars have with Gothard. As for the Duggars and Doug Phillips, in 2010, Michelle received the “Mother of the Year“ award from Doug Phillps. As documented by the Christian Post, before Vision Forum went under they sold DVD’s such as “Tea with Michelle Duggar,” a Vision Forum-produced video[…]

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