Editor’s note: Pastor Harris gave an interview to veteran journalist Michelangelo Signorile today. Read: “Pastor Harris To Signorile: My Words Were â€œChoppedâ€ And Taken Out Of Context“
Pastor Sean Harris, who Sunday advocated beating the gay out of children as young as four years old, has issued two statements of apology that are far from apologies and do little to quell the damage he has done to children and families, to his ministry, to his religion, and to the people of North Carolina. Harris, undaunted, continued to bash gay people throughout his two “apologies,” claiming God can make gay people straight.Â Harris claims heÂ “can understand how these words could be misunderstood without the context of years of ministering to the people of God at Berean Baptist Church.”
Falsely claiming “[n]early every article is misquoting me,” despite nearly every article having embedded the audio of Harris’ sermon taken directly from his church website, Harris issued an “Important Clarification” on his blog, sometime yesterday, falsely claiming his words “are being completely taken out of context by those in the LGBT community.” His sermon has been denounced by a divinity professor and by the public at large, far outside the LGBT community. One news report states Harris told them he had been only joking.
The general public, as well as LGBT people, activists, and allies, were disgusted to hear Pastor HarrisÂ deride parents who donâ€™t â€œsquash like a cockroachâ€ the gay out of their children onÂ Sunday at a sermon designed to get parishioners to vote for North Carolina’s Amendment One, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
â€œGive them a good punch,â€ and â€œcrack that wrist,â€ Harris told parents if their four-year old boy, for example, â€œstarts acting a little â€˜girlishâ€™.â€ Pastor Harris added that parents should tell their four-year olds to â€œman up, son, get that dress off you get outside and dig a ditch because thatâ€™s what boys do.â€
LISTEN to Pastor Harrisâ€™ Sermon in: “Anti-Gay Pastor: Parents Must â€˜Squash Like A Cockroachâ€™ The Gay Out Of Kids“
â€œCan I make it any clearer?Â Dads, the second you see that son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give them a good punch. OK? Youâ€™re not going to act like that â€” you were made by God to be a male and youâ€™re going to be a male,” Harris said inÂ this audio originally provided by Jeremy Hooper atÂ Good As You. (Hooper also points us to the official transcript of Harris’ sermon, which has edited out the offensive portions.)
Then, earlier today, Pastor Sean Harris was forced to issue an “Official Statement of Retraction,” which looks more like a legal document than an apology:
The purpose of this document is to issue an official statement of retraction of any and all words that suggest that child abuse is appropriate for any and all types of behaviors including (but not limited to) effeminacy and sexual immorality of all types. I should not have said what I said about â€œcracking,â€ â€œpunching,â€ and particular bias toward outward attraction of girls. Nor should I have used the words â€œspecial dispensation.â€ I did not say that children should be squashed. I have never suggested children or those in the LGBT lifestyle should be beaten, punched, abused (physically or psychologically) in any form or fashion. The gospel is the only source of power sufficient to deliver anyone from the power, penalty, and presence of all forms of sin including, but not limited to, all forms of sexual immorality including homosexuality.
Claiming he “did not say anything to intentionally offend anyone in the LGBT community,” Harris went on to attack homosexuality in hisÂ Official Statement of Retraction:
The gospel is the only source of power sufficient to deliver anyone from the power, penalty, and presence of all forms of sin including, but not limited to, all forms of sexual immorality including homosexuality.
IÂ do not apologizeÂ for the manner in which the Word of God articulatesÂ sexual immorality, including homosexuality and effeminacy, as a behavior that is an abomination to God. Nothing in this official statement of retraction should be perceived as an apology for the overarching intent and message of the sermon and theÂ need to define marriage as one man and one woman and to maintain the gender distinctions that God created from the beginningÂ when He made them male and female (Genesis 1). I recognize that there are those in the LGBT community who believe that their sexual behavior is not sin. I do not agree with them andÂ this official retraction should not be misunderstood as an apology for the gospel of Jesus Christ or the Word of God.
IÂ do not apologizeÂ for the manner in which I emphasized the importance of one man and one woman getting married and staying married for the benefit of their children and society.
Claiming “we also cannot compromise on what we believe the Bible teaches on all sexual perversions and immorality,” Harris wrote yesterday:
The opposition is revealing their complete lack of toleration toward those do not approve of the LGBT lifestyle or agenda. However,Â we must be tolerantly intolerant. Jesus our Savior provides the perfect example of grace and truth.
Apparently, the Pastor has yet to hear his own words.
In his “Important Clarification,” from yesterday, Pastor Harris claimed:
I would like to have been more careful with exactly what I said, but sometimes I say things without enough clarity. I trust you understood my intent in the context of my total preaching ministry. If you did not, I would be more than happy to meet with you privately to provide clarity.
Reverend Sue Clark, Interfaith Minister/Advocate for equality and human rightsÂ today attempted to contact Pastor Sean Harris, via Twitter, but received no response.
You state, @Pastor_Sean, u will meet w/ anyone in your congreg abt your comments. How about meeting with me? Clergy-to-Clergy.
Is anyone surprised?
What Pastor Harris said was perfectly acceptable to his parishioners. The problem is that there was audio and he got caught.
Conservative Christians are claiming outrage because Dan Savage used a few inappropriate words during a journalism lecture. A dozen conservative journalism students walked out when Savage supposedly assaulted their religious sensibilities. Here we have a pastor advocating the assault of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender infants and children. Did one parent walk out?
The hypocrisy from the so-called Religious Right is abominable.
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‘Vulgar and Lewd’: Trump Judge Cites Extremist Group to Allow Drag Show Ban
A federal judge in Texas known for a ruling that attempted to ban a widely-used abortion drug is citing an extremist anti-LGBTQ group in his ruling allowing a ban on drag shows to stay in place.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a former attorney for an anti-LGBTQ conservative Christian legal organization, and a member of the Federalist Society, in his 26-page ruling dated Thursday cited the “About” page of Gays Against Groomers to claim, “it’s unclear how drag shows unmistakably communicate advocacy for LGBT rights.”
Judge Kacsmaryk, appointed by Donald Trump twice before finally assuming office in 2019, suggests the First Amendment does not provide for freedom of expression for drag shows, calls drag “sexualized conduct,” and says it is “more regulable” because “children are in the audience.”
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern adds, “Kacsmaryk’s conclusion that drag is probably NOT protected by the First Amendment conflicts with decisions from Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Montana which held that drag is constitutionally protected expression. It also bristles with undisguised hostility toward LGBTQ people.”
Calling the judge “a proud Christian nationalist who flatly refuses to apply binding Supreme Court precedent when it conflicts with his extremist far-right beliefs,” Stern at Slate writes that Kacsmaryk ruled drag “may be outlawed to protect ‘the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.’ In short, he concluded that drag fails to convey a message, while explaining all the reasons why he’s offended by the message it conveys.”
Stern does not let Kacsmaryk off the hook there.
“From almost any other judge, the ruling in Spectrum WT v. Wendler would be a shocking rejection of basic free speech principles; from Kacsmaryk, it’s par for the course. This is, after all, the judge who sought to ban medication abortion nationwide, restricted minors’ access to birth control, seize control over border policy to exclude asylum-seekers, and flouted recent precedent protecting LGBTQ+ equality,” Stern says.
“He is also poised to bankrupt Planned Parenthood by compelling them to pay a $1.8 billion penalty on truly ludicrous grounds. And he is not the only Trump-appointed judge substituting his reactionary beliefs for legal analysis. We have reached a point where these lawless decisions are not only predictable but inevitable, and they show no sign of stopping: Their authors are still just settling into a decadeslong service in the federal judiciary.”
West Texas A&M University President Walter V. Wendler penned the letter that sparked the lawsuit.
Titled, “A Harmless Drag Show? No Such Thing,” Wendler wrote: “I believe every human being is created in the image of God and, therefore, a person of dignity. Being created in God’s image is the basis of Natural Law. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, prisoners of the culture of their time as are we, declared the Creator’s origin as the foundational fiber in the fabric of our nation as they breathed life into it. Does a drag show preserve a single thread of human dignity? I think not.”
Journalist Chris Geidner concludes, “It’s an extremely biased ruling by a judge who has established that he does not care about being overturned — even by the most conservative appeals court in the nation.”
Gaetz Praises GOP Congressman Who Echoes His Call for Change ‘Through Force’
U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL). largely seen as pushing Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s Republican-majority House of Representatives toward shutting down the federal government, is praising and promoting remarks made by a freshman GOP lawmaker that appear to suggest the use of violence. U.S. Rep. Eli Crane‘s comments, posted Friday (below), call for change “through force,” remarks echoing Congressman Gaetz’s recent comments which were denounced by an expert on authoritarianism as fascistic.
“The only way we’re going to see meaningful change in this town is through force,” wrote Congressman Crane, Republican of Arizona atop a three-minute video in which he frames what is now an almost guaranteed government shutdown as a “spending fight.” In his video he says, “the only way you’re gonna get any change in this town is through force.” Gaetz in August had said, “we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C.”
Congressman Crane is a former Navy SEAL. He has promoted the false “Big Lie” conspiracy theory that there was massive fraud in the election President Joe Biden won, and called “on the state legislature to decertify the 2020 election.” He is one of six House Republicans who voted against McCarthy’s speakership all 15 times in January.
“Congressman Eli Crane is a fountainhead of political courage,” said Rep. Gaetz Friday afternoon. “He holds the line.”
Crane recently came under fire for calling Black people “colored,” during debate on his legislation that would force the U.S. Armed Forces to not use any diversity requirements in its hiring practices.
Just days before he won his House seat last year, The Washington Post reported Crane had urged an “audience to look up an antisemitic sermon at a recent campaign stop.”
“Crane said that he was motivated to run because of ‘radical ideologies that are destroying this country’ and that he was most concerned about ‘Cultural Marxism,’ which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as an antisemitic baseless claim gaining traction on the American right.”
“He encouraged the audience to watch a speech by a right-wing pastor who blamed cultural change on a group of German Jewish philosophers and condemned Barack Obama for having a ‘homosexual agenda.'”
“If we don’t wake up,” Crane said, according to the Post, “if we don’t study what they’re doing, and if we don’t put people in influential positions that understand what this war is all about, what they’re trying to do and have and have the courage to call it out, we’re going to lose this country.”
In August, while standing next to Donald Trump at a campaign rally, Congressman Gaetz said, “Mr. President, I cannot stand these people that are destroying our country. They are opening our borders. They are weaponizing our federal law enforcement against patriotic Americans who love this nation as we should.”
“But we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C. And so to all my friends here in Iowa, when you see them come for this man, know that they are coming for our movement and they are coming for all of us.”
At the time, Raw Story reported, “historian and author Ruth Ben-Ghiat called Gaetz comments alarming.”
“What he is saying is that they are not going to have change through elections or through legislation or through reform. They are going to have change through violence,” she warned.
“And that’s how fascists talk,” Ben-Ghiat added. “So, even if Trump is out of the picture, these are people who have adopted methods very familiar to me as a historian of fascism, that violence and corruption and lying that’s what the party is today.”
Image via Shutterstock
‘See How Easy That Is to Say?’: GOP Mocked for ‘Weaponization’ of DOJ Claims as Democratic Senator Gets Indicted
The U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed an indictment against U.S. Senator Bob Menendez late Friday morning, accusing the New Jersey Democratic lawmaker of bribery as prosecutors showed photos of gold bars and nearly half-a-million dollars in cash stuffed into a jacket that bears his name and the seal of the U.S. Senate.
Many on the left immediately demanded Senator Menendez resign, a demand he is refusing. He will step down as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, which Senate Democrats require when a chair is criminally charged.
It took little time for liberals to mock Republicans who have been claiming President Joe Biden and Democrats in general, along with the “deep state,” have “weaponized” the Dept. of Justice against conservatives, especially after Donald Trump’s four indictments on a total of 91 criminal felonies.
“Let me get this straight,” wrote journalist and progressive SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah. “To the GOP, when DOJ indicts President Biden’s son and a senior Democratic US Senator that is great. But when DOJ indicts Donald Trump for attempting a coup and for 32 counts of Espionage that is DOJ’s ‘weaponization’ of criminal justice?!”
“This is the second time that Sen. Bob Menendez has been indicted for corruption. He needs to resign and allow Gov. Murphy to fill that vacancy with someone who does right by the people of New Jersey,” wrote former Human Rights Campaign press secretary Charlotte Clymer. “See how easy that is to say, GOP?”
Journalist, author, and former Clinton White House aide Keith Boykin posted video of the prosecutor announcing the indictment.
US Attorney Damian Williams shows photos of the Mercedes Benz, gold bars, and cash the government alleges Senator Robert Menendez received in bribes. pic.twitter.com/h4hYYwzKVQ
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) September 22, 2023
Boykin later sarcastically commented, “There goes Biden again weaponizing the Justice Department to prosecute political leaders in his own party.”
“President Joe Biden’s weaponized Department of Justice has now indicted Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and *checks notes* Joe Biden’s son,” observed veteran intelligence officer, activist, and social media personality Travis Akers.
Attorney and former Republican George Conway quickly responded, saying, “senile sleepy Joe is playing 65-dimensional chess again.”
“Menendez should resign. Today,” demanded historian and author Kevin M. Kruse.
“One of the nice things about rule of law is that truly believing in it ensures that you don’t end up as a partisan hypocrite,” observed The Atlantic’s Brian Klaas, an associate professor in global politics at University College London. “If Menendez is guilty, he should go to prison as anyone else would. (And it would be prudent to resign swiftly).”
Meanwhile, some used Friday’s indictment of Sen. Menendez to focus on other political figures.
Foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf, warned, “The Memendez case should have Jared [Kushner] and Clarence [Thomas] ordering extra strength Tums today.”
Rachel Bitecofer, the political strategist and analyst also appeared to point the finger at Justice Thomas and his wife, Ginni.
You know who else hid money from the IRS and ran his bribes through his wife?! pic.twitter.com/kWJuAPCtbJ
— Rachel Bitecofer 📈🔭🇺🇲🇺🇦 (@RachelBitecofer) September 22, 2023
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