Connect with us

Dear Christians: You Are Not Being Oppressed.



One of the great things about the It Gets Better campaign, apart from the fact that it is an immensely valuable and unquestionably brilliant idea, is that it made anti-gay bullying a national issue. The premise is simple. Tell your story of survival. Send that message. Things suck now, but they won’t forever. Genius. Stories flooded in, the message proved to be even more powerful than probably anyone expected, and the living hell that passes for the lives of many LGBT youth got some long overdue attention. I expect that straight people hadn’t thought much about what it was like to grow up gay until that point. A large chunk of them probably had never even considered the existence of gay youth.

Organizations like the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage, not to mention most of organized religion, have been fairly successful in painting LGBT people as mustache twirling villains. Once people started seeing countless pictures of fresh-faced young people hounded to the breaking point, turning to suicide rather than endure the daily tortures their lives had become at the hands of their hate-fueled abusers, only the most hard-hearted ideologues on the planet could fail to empathize.

All of a sudden, people cared about bullying. Anti-Bullying programs, bills, and countless other efforts began to rise in prominence. Bullies were on notice: You are being watched. This put Republicans in a tight spot. It is impossible to come out in favor of beating up children, but they must also hate homosexuality. They have no choice. When it comes to gay people, the Republican base will tolerate nothing but complete intolerance from its elected officials.

Here’s a fun trivia question:

Q: What do you call a Republican who supports gay rights?
A: A Democrat.

The problem they faced was simple. How do you denounce a bully for behaving in exactly the same way you behave? In the modern conservative playbook, anything a like-minded comrade does is automatically righteous, and anyone they do it to must have had it coming. No empathy for their enemies, regardless of age, is to be permitted.

Given this, the right was faced with one of two possible avenues for spin; either figure out a way to blame LGBT youth for their victimization, or figure out how to paint the bullies as even bigger victims. Oh sure, they could try to ignore the issue, or claim that the bullying epidemic has been blown out of proportion, but that only works for so long. It’s pretty hard to ignore a thirteen-year old with a busted eye.

Finding a good media strategy became of paramount importance. Luckily, this is the only thing the modern Republican Party is good at.

First we had a few attempts to re-frame the issue. This sort of thing is usually left to the fringes of the conservative movement, as it is almost impossible to pull off without looking like an asshole. Here is a classic example of this tactic from Tea Party Nation activist and Radio host Rich Swier.

This is not bullying. It is peer pressure and is healthy. There are many bad behaviors such as smoking, under age drinking and drug abuse that are behaviors that cannot be condoned. Homosexuality falls into this category. Homosexuality is simply bad behavior that youth see as such and rightly pressure their peers to stop it. In Sarasota County over 70% of all HIV/AIDS cases are due to male sex with males.
I agree with Gulf Coast Gives that “LGBT youth are up to five times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts”. Homosexuality, like drugs, harms young people if they experement [sic] with it. That is the greatest tragedy.


Needless to say, this caused a little controversy. This was to be expected, as that sort of concentrated hate is designed for consumption by only the most hearty and ravenous of right wing sociopaths.


It’s not like if gay people disappeared from the planet, NOM could get back to selling sandwiches. Trying to screw over gay people is their primary activity.


For everyone else, a more subtle tactic would be needed. This brings me to Rick Santorum. Rick is apparently the last person on earth unaware that Saturday Night Live is a comedy program, so when he found himself the target of a little standard issue satire, he reacted poorly. From The Hill:

“We’ve been hammered by the left for my standing up for the traditional family and I will continue to do so,” Santorum said. “The left, unfortunately, participates in bullying more than the right does. They say that they’re tolerant, and they’re anything but tolerant of people who disagree with them and support traditional values.”

If the Gay community is Batman, then Rick Santorum would be its Joker. Actually, let’s not go crazy here. Rick Sanatorium is really more of a second or third tier nemesis, like Scarecrow, or maybe Clayface. He is an annoyance, but no real threat, especially after his epic neutering at the hands of Dan Savage. His comments however, while asinine and horrible politics for him personally, represent exactly the tactic the right finally settled on.

We have this, from the National Organization for Marriage:

Some homosexual activists will continue to smear conservatives as “bigots” in order to bully them out of the debate and even out of their jobs.

And there we have it.

Let’s be clear. The concept here is that we in the gay community are bullies for calling anti-gay activists bigots, even though the only reason for their existence is to launch prejudicial, hate based, completely unprovoked attacks on our community. It’s not like if gay people disappeared from the planet, NOM could get back to selling sandwiches. Trying to screw over gay people is their primary activity. If that’s not bigoted, I don’t know what is.

NOM got this quote from a guy named Frank Turek and his article, Who Are the Real Gay Bigots and Bullies. This article is so absurd, and contains such wildly specious logic, that I could honestly spend three times its length debunking it. I will refrain, as it would require reading it a second time, and I can only throw up so much in one day without becoming dehydrated.


You know who doesn’t need a book called It Gets Better? Straight Christians. For them, it really doesn’t get much better.


Turek crystallizes the Meme. His thesis is that defending yourself from anti-gay attacks amounts to anti-christian bigotry. The idea is that as their hatred of gay people is based on their Christianity, any actions they take as a result of that hatred amounts to anti-Christian bullying. I suppose we are also responsible for damages should the person punching us in the face hurt their hand. My pity for the bully’s cuticles knows no bounds.

Shockingly, this is catching on. Last week, the Michigan state senate tried to pass a bill aimed enshrining this nastiness into law. From an excellent article by Amy Sulivan:

On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled state senate passed an anti-bullying bill that manages to protect school bullies instead of those they victimize. It accomplishes this impressive feat by allowing students, teachers, and other school employees to claim that “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” justifies their harassment.

See how that works? A handful of grown up anti-gay bullies invent a half-assed defense of younger anti-gay bullies. Next thing you know, some GOP legislature is trying to get it passed into law. To be fair, Michigan Democrats in the House were able to smooth the language out a little. I bet Senate Republicans were upset about that. They appear to have cheered themselves up by passing a bill requiring students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Because, you know, Jobs for Michigan.

I find this all very frustrating.

You know who doesn’t need a book called It Gets Better? Straight Christians. For them, it really doesn’t get much better. I have no mechanism in my body capable of manufacturing the least bit of sympathy for their “plight.” Various polls have Christians coming in at something like 75% or 80% of the population of the United States. Christians represent over 85% of the Federal Government. Straight Christians have dominated every part of every debate we have had in this country since wooden boats full of white people started showing up here in the fifteenth century.

Christians do not have to worry that if they kiss their loved ones in the wrong neighborhood they will find themselves beaten or murdered. No one goes to the parking lot to find “Christian” spray painted on their cars. No states have laws banning Christians from adopting children or getting married, and no one, anywhere, will find themselves without legal standing if they have been fired simply for being Christian. Apart from gay people asking for a few reasonable protections, the notion of Christian oppression in the United States is entirely imaginary.

In contrast, every single gay person I know has their handful of horrific stories to tell. When we were young our attackers made our lives miserable through violence, harassment  and intimidation. When the bullies grow up they turn into Rich Swiers and Frank Tureks, harassing us still, and always looking for ways to encourage and protect those who perpetrate the violence by grounding their hate in legitimacy of scripture. I’m pretty sure Dan Savage had no problem finding tales of survival to fill his book. Our enemies are the same people that were having us jailed, institutionalized, and lobotomized only a generation ago, and if we want to call them bigots for it, we are entirely justified in doing so.

Does this mean I hate Christians? No. I don’t. For one thing, hating almost everyone in the country would take a tremendous amount of energy, and I am way too lazy. I like to believe that most Christians are decent, well-meaning, hard-working people who have no malice in their hearts toward gay people, however inaccurate their conception of us likely is. I do feel like they could be doing a better job of making clear that they reject the anti-gay extremism so prevalent among their ranks. Intentional or not, keeping silent in the face of these reprehensible atrocities sends a message of implied endorsement. I’m just saying.

What I do find appalling are the attempts of anti-gay hate groups and their spineless puppets in the legislature to claim victim-hood by cloaking themselves in dubious Christian righteousness. People like Maggie Gallagher, or Rick Santorum, or any of these other sketchy “moral crusaders” should be at least as offensive to mainstream Christians as they are to LGBT people. Anti-gay groups and the mealy-mouthed hate merchants who represent them take advantage of the well-meaning loyalty and heartfelt faith of a largely disinterested Christian base in order to further their own extremist ends. This is pretty cynical manipulation, and I’m surprised Christians aren’t more upset about it. I know I would be.

Yes. We don’t like being slandered, tortured, and murdered. Calling these people bullies represents our attempt to be diplomatic. What we are really talking about here are violent hate crimes. Do you think the KKK advertises themselves as a hate group? Of course not. Ask them and they will insist that they are an organization of ethnic advocacy, like a white version of the NAACP. Does them saying it make that so? No. They are obviously a horrible hate group. It is the only reason they exist. The only difference between a Klan member and Rich Swier is that the Klan member has the good sense to hide his face in public.

If our attempts to establish legal equality for our community and relative safety for our youth ruffles a few feathers, then so be it. Under no circumstances do the successes of our fight translate into Christian oppression. Getting your way only 98% of the time doesn’t make you oppressed. It makes you the Harlem Globetrotters. If you intend to force this battle, at least do so honestly.


(Image: “The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer,” 1883, by Jean-Léon Gérôme.)

Benjamin Phillips is a Humor Writer, Web Developer, Civics Nerd, and all around crank that spends entirely too much time shouting with deep exasperation at the television, especially whenever cable news is on. He lives in St. Louis, MO and spends most of his time staring at various LCD screens, occasionally taking walks in the park whenever his boyfriend becomes sufficiently convinced that Benjamin is becoming a reclusive hermit person. He is available for children’s parties, provided that those children are entertained by hearing a complete windbag talk for two hours about the importance of science education, or worse yet, poorly researched anecdotes PROVING that James Buchanan was totally gay. If civilization were to collapse due to zombie hoards or nuclear holocaust, Benjamin would be among the first to die as he has no useful skills of any kind. The post-apocalyptic hellscape has no real need for homosexual computer programmers who can name all the presidents in order, as well as the actors who have played all eleven incarnations of Doctor Who.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


‘Utter Cowardice’: Jim Jordan Blasted for Telling Reporter He Can’t Read Trump’s Violence-Threatening Post Without Glasses



Countless GOP lawmakers over the years have professed ignorance over Donald Trump’s tweets as reporters ask them to respond, often claiming they hadn’t read them, but House Republican Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan took that performance to a whole new level Friday afternoon.

NBC News senior national political reporter Sahil Kapur asked the Ohio Republican congressman to weigh in on Trump’s social media post threatening “potential death & destruction” if he gets indicted.

“Jordan said he hasn’t seen Trump’s post,” Kapur said via Twitter. “When I showed [it] to him on my phone, he said he can’t read well without his glasses.”

“He added he’s reviewing DA Bragg’s letter,” Kapur added.

READ MORE: ‘Big Shoe Drops’: Bad Day for Trump on Multiple Fronts in Special Counsel’s Grand Jury Probes

Jordan, who didn’t need glasses to appear on Fox Business just two days ago (photo) is getting blowback.

VICE News Deputy DC Bureau Chief Todd Zwillich explained the progression.

“The stages of ignoring incitement,” he tweeted. “2016: I don’t respond to tweets —> 2018: I havent seen the tweet —-> 2023: I literally can’t see the tweet.”

“Utter cowardice,” declared former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh. “Not at all the @Jim_Jordan I knew & served with in Congress 10 yrs ago. Or…maybe it is.”

“The sheer dishonesty and cowardice of these people,” lamented MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan, echoing Walsh’s remarks.

Government watchdog group Citizens for Ethics said the “extent to which Trump’s backers in Congress are going to not condemn [his] calls for violence are ludicrous.”

RELATED: Ninth Wrestler Comes Forward to Say Jordan ‘Snickered’ When He Complained of Sexual Abuse: Report

Some tied Jordan’s inability to see the post to his apparent inability to see or remember all the Ohio State wrestlers who say they complained to Jordan when he was their assistant coach, about being sexually harassed or assaulted by the team doctor. To this day despite numerous reports and people publicly coming forward, Jordan denied it ever happened.

“Apparently, Jim Jordan is unable to see wrestlers being sexually abused or Donald Trump social media posts,” attorney and Republican turned Democrat Ron Filipkowski tweeted.

“Well, @Jim_Jordan has shown before that he has trouble seeing threats right in front of his nose, so this checks out,” tweeted historian Kevin M. Kruse.

But Jordan’s Democratic colleagues on the Judiciary Committee may have served up the best response: “Why do you need your glasses to condemn violence @Jim_Jordan?”

READ MORE: ‘Pits Parents Against Parents’: House Republicans Pass Anti-LGBTQ Florida-Style K-12 ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’




Continue Reading


‘Big Shoe Drops’: Bad Day for Trump on Multiple Fronts in Special Counsel’s Grand Jury Probes



Judge Nixes Trump’s ‘Executive Privilege’ Claim, Orders Mark Meadows, Stephen Miller, Other Top Aides to Testify as Corcoran Completes Grand Jury Appearance

It’s a bad day behind the scenes for Donald Trump.

First, his own attorney, Evan Corcoran, just past noon on Friday walked out of a federal court building after completing more than three hours of testimony before Special Counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury investigating the ex-president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return hundreds of sensitive, classified, and top secret documents.

His testimony, compelled by a subpoena, is seen by a former top DOJ official as “the most critical evidence in the case,” and should “allow DOJ to make a charging decision without significant delay.”

READ MORE: ‘Pits Parents Against Parents’: House Republicans Pass Anti-LGBTQ Florida-Style K-12 ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’

Prosecutors, citing the crime-fraud exception, were able to convince a federal judge that Trump likely committed a crime via his attorneys, enabling them to bypass attorney-client privilege.

Trump had strived to block Corcoran from testifying, but a federal judge and an appeals court, in an extraordinarily quick turnaround – some legal experts saying for reasons likely related to national security – ordered him to testify.

Also Friday, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell rejected Trump’s claims of executive privilege and ordered testimony before Special Counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury investigating Trump’s actions related to the January 6 insurrection from eight former top Trump White House aides.

Among them, Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller, and former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. Also, former national security adviser Robert O’Brien and former deputy chief of staff and social media director Dan Scavino, ABC News reports.

READ MORE: ‘Chilling’: Law Enforcement ‘Seriously’ Investigating Threats Ahead of Possible Trump Indictment Says Top WaPo Reporter

Meadows is a former GOP congressman seen by many as integral to the events of January 6.

“Former Trump aides Nick Luna and John McEntee, along with former top DHS official Ken Cuccinelli, were also included in the order, the sources said,” according to ABC News.

Former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman weighed in, saying: “Another really big shoe drops: [Judge] Howell rejects Trump’s executive privilege claim and orders Mark Meadows and others to testify before Jan 6 [grand jury]. Meadows has really been able to stay on the sidelines. No more–even if he takes the 5th, which [would] then force [question] of immunity.”


Image of Donald Trump via Shutterstock


Continue Reading


‘Pits Parents Against Parents’: House Republicans Pass Anti-LGBTQ Florida-Style K-12 ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’



The Republican-majority U.S. House of Representatives Friday morning passed HR 5, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” legislation similar to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ laws that have led to book bans and targeting of LGBTQ children.

The bill passed 213-208, with 14 Members not voting. All yes votes were from Republicans only. Five Republicans joined Democrats to vote no.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu of California warned the legislation “pits parents against parents.”

“The extreme MAGA H.R. 5 bill will let other parents dictate what books your child gets to read. It’ll make it easier for other parents to know if your child has an eating disorder, or is experiencing a mental health crisis,” Lieu warned.

READ MORE: Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing

U.S> Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) warned, “H.R. 5 would codify Republican book bans all over the country. Stories of Holocaust survivors, enslaved Americans, and over 1,600 other stories have already been pulled from shelves.”

U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) said HR5 is “a vehicle for hate and political nonsense.”

Congressman Greg Murphy, Republican of North Carolina, in a recorded statement falsely claimed the bill was needed because “Children are being taught to hate our country,” and “parents are labeled as domestic terrorists.”

In his speech before the bill passed, Speaker Kevin McCarthy declared, “We believe parents should know what your children is [sic] learning.”

CNN reports the bill would also “require elementary and middle schools that receive federal funding to obtain parental consent before ‘changing a minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name on any school form; or allowing a child to change the child’s sex-based accommodations, including locker rooms or bathrooms.'”

Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the legislation “Orwellian to the core,” and promised it “will not see the light of day.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.