The Nashville Statement and the Moral Bankruptcy of Evangelicalism

I’m not going to dignify the CBMW’s Nashville Statement with any kind of point by point response, the whole thing is a tiresome rehash of what evangelicals have been saying about LGBT people for years. I already did a point by point breakdown of the SBC’s anti-trans resolution a few years ago, it basically covers the same things I would say here, so consider that my response to the statement itself. What I’d rather talk about is what evangelicals aren’t issuing joint statements condemning, namely, white nationalism. Their silence in the face of the rising tide of fascism and white supremacy in this country is deafening.

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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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Franklin Graham wants you to think he cares about child exploitation

Franklin Graham wants you to think he cares about child exploitation He doesn’t. Franklin Graham is busy pretending he cares about child exploitation and that’s why he doesn’t want to let gay people adopt. He thinks gay people recruit children. Aside from pointing out the utter absurdity of this idea, I have one thing to say to Franklin Graham. Speak out against the abuse in the church. If you really care about children being harmed, then use your voice and your famous name to do something about the abuse and exploitation of children in evangelical and fundamentalist churches and institutions. Speak out against the way churches protect child molesters while shaming their victims. Speak up for the children. Condemn the Bill Gothards, the Doug Phillipses, the Sovereign Grace Ministries, the Christian colleges that refuse to do anything about sexual harassment and assault and punish the victims. Speak against the system that enables the abuse and looks the other way when it happens. Speak out. Speak against the child abuse. Against the Pearls, the Ezzos, the parenting “experts” who tell parents that the way to create godly children is to beat them into submission. Speak out against the forces in the homeschool world who are fighting tooth and nail against any efforts to protect children from abuse and neglect. Franklin Graham, you need to get your house in order. Instead of cozying up to the human rights-abusing quasi-dictator that is Vladimir Putin, just because he hates gay people as much as you do, take some of that effort and do something about the very serious and very real abuse problem in the church. And as for me? I’m too busy trying to do what you won’t do, working hard to keep any more children from being beaten or starved to death[…]

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Link Roundup: What others are saying about the continuing saga of my alumni update

I would be lying if I said that the continuing saga of my censored Covenant College alumni update hasn’t been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I try to pretend that things don’t bother me, but the truth is that from getting my copy of the View and finding my update censored, to the communications I’ve had with Covenant, to the stress of wondering what kind of reaction I’d get to going public, it’s been a long month or so.  Thus far, Covenant has been silent in response to my post, I suspect that it’s going to remain that way. Covenant isn’t Michael Farris and Patrick Henry College, with their unique talent of responding the exact wrong way, they’re far more skilled at PR than that. Other people have picked up the story though. My friend Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism mentioned the censorship in her post It Matters Too Much Not to Speak, about the importance of speaking up against homophobic comments, though since at that time I was still holding out hope that Covenant would reconsider, it’s mentioned under a pseudonym. When I decided that I needed to go public, she volunteered to repost it at at LJF, which I greatly appreciate. My original post is also reposted at Believe Out Loud. Many thanks to them for that. What’s more than a little bit surreal and mind blowing to me is that the story got picked up by major gay blog Towleroad. It was kind of crazy to wake up and check my site stats and see that I was getting a bunch of hits from there.  And, last but definitely not least, fellow one-time PCA kid Evan Hurst covered the story for Truth Wins Out. Hurst gets it like only someone who grew up in the PCA could. And, in what is entirely coincidental,[…]

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National Coming Out Day

To quote Harvey Milk: “I ask my gay sisters and brothers to make the commitment to fight. For themselves, for their freedom, for their country … We will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets … We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out. Come out to your parents, your relatives.” National Coming Out Day is a day specifically set aside to focus attention and awareness on the fact that LGBTQ people exist. We are your friends, your neighbors, your family, the kid you taught in Sunday School, or AWANA, or church choir, the person who you sat next to in class. Whether or not you’re aware of it, there are queer people in your life.

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“Not all Christians are like that”, or, why I support the NALT Project

When I first saw about the launch of the NALT Christians Project, my reaction was, “Good, finally somebody telling people to put up or shut up when they use the "not all Christians are like that” line.“ I suppose I should have expected controversy, people don’t like being told that their favorite platitude isn’t particularly useful or helpful. I didn’t, however, expect so many straight Christian progressives absolutely losing it, and in the process deciding that they’re the ones who get to speak for all LGBT people. The same straight Christian progressives who get mad when men deign to speak for women have demonstrated no problem speaking for all LGBT people.  And so, since I’ve already written a piece to non-affirming Christians, this piece is dedicated to the straight Christian progressives who are too busy chiming in to actually listen. Dear straight progressive Christians, this isn’t about you. Not really. Sure, Dan Savage and John Shore are asking you to speak up in support of LGBT rights, but it’s not really about you. Instead of getting your feelings hurt that they aren’t doing it the way you want, you need to stop and listen to the voices of LGBT people. Now, I recognize that not every LGBT person agrees, we’re not a monolithic hive mind or anything, but if you’re busy dragging out your LGBT friends who agree with you and refusing to listen to anybody else, you aren’t really listening. You’re not seeing your friend as a person, you’re seeing them as a cudgel you can use to attack those who disagree with you. That’s a problem.  Picking and choosing who to listen to based on whether they agree with you and then using them as tools isn’t a good way to be a supporter. It’s divisive and it refuses[…]

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Dispatches from the Culture Wars: DOMA

Sixteen and a half years ago President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, enshrining inequality into federal law. As Clinton tells it, he had to sign it because it was a veto-proof majority and any veto would have been overruled anyway, though I rather suspect that it had more to do with the fact that he was two months away from the general election and thought it would ensure his reelection. The truth is probably something that historians will have to sort out farther down the road. In any case, sixteen and a half years ago DOMA went into effect and the federal government was barred from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples and from granting them any of the federal benefits granted to male-female married couples. Four days from now, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of DOMA, in the case United States v. Windsor. I was 16 when DOMA was signed into law, and if you had told me back when I was 16 that half a lifetime later I would find myself contributing to an amicus brief in the Supreme Court challenge of DOMA I would not have believed you. Not because back then I was still a member in good standing of the religious right, but because in my idealistic naivete I could not imagine that a law that seemed like such a blatant violation of equal protection would be allowed to stand for any measurable length of time. The idea that sixteen years later we’re all waiting on pins and needles, doing Supreme Court math in an attempt to guess whether or not DOMA will be overturned was something I didn’t even consider a possibility back then. And yet here we are, and most of my law school classmates are too[…]

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Stream of consciousness

By the time I finish this amicus brief research, I really am not going to want to think about DOMA and Prop 8 ever again. It’ll be worth it if it helps sway the mind of a Supreme Court justice though. Speaking of which, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that I’m playing even a tiny role in what may turn out to be this generation’s big civil rights cases. I definitely didn’t expect that when I applied to law school, not when I set out to do IP law and am taking a ton of IP classes. I guess that platitude about how life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans is true.  Also, I wish everyone could read all of the testimonials I’ve been working through. So many of them make me want to cry. Or want to give these kids who responded a hug and to tell them that life really does get better and that the future is theirs for the taking. I only hope I can do justice to representing their voices, because they deserve to be heard. When you’re young, your whole life ahead of you, it’s supposed to be full of limitless possibility, with the feeling that anything you can dream up you can do. No kid should look to the future and see roadblocks to their dreams for no other reason than how they were born. 

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