Dr. Morse saw fit to warn parents about gay RA’s — who apparently are everywhere, even at “a Christian college” — and supposedly are pressuring students in a “punitive” manner. Dr. Morse warned parents to have conversations with their children, and seemed to warn parents to be careful their children were not friendly with or even exposed to gay people, who might somehow, without their knowledge, be pressuring young college students, even at “a Christian college.”
Pressuring them about what, and how? Dr. Morse didn’t elaborate.
We invited one former RA from a Christian college,Â Brandon Habron,Â who is gay and aÂ New Civil Rights MovementÂ reader, to write Dr.Â Roback Morse in response, after he expressed his upset about Dr. Roback Morse’s comments viaÂ our Facebook page.
We’d like to offer Dr. Roback Morse the opportunity to respond on these pages. We doubt she’ll have the same courage as Brandon Habron,Â but we hope she will. Â
An Open Letter To NOM’s Jennifer Roback Morse:
Dear Dr. Roback Morse,
Greetings to you and those at the Ruth Institute. Â I have been watching your video posted on November 20, 2012 entitled â€œA Thanksgiving Message from Dr Jâ€ over and over again. Â Iâ€™ve shared the video with my friends and Facebook followers. Â I felt quite hurt by your words, but instead of attacking you like others may, I wanted to explain why I felt attacked.
I am a 23 year old, first generation college graduate residing in Harrisonburg, VA where I attended a small liberal arts Mennonite university. Â At this school, I served as a resident advisor (RA) during my sophomore, junior, and senior years. Â I began the arduous process of coming out as a gay man in my sophomore year. Â It is my understanding that most of the students in the school knew I was gay before the end of my sophomore year, this includes the residents whom I served and would serve as RA. Â I received a mixed reaction from the student body and faculty, but was met with primarily open arms. Â I graduated in April of this year receiving the highest honor awarded to any graduate of the school, the Cords of Distinction, in recognition of my bravery, tenacity, and drive to succeed in creating what my school believed in mostâ€”community.
In your video, you recount a story of an interaction you had with a young lady at a state school who was pressured into participating in a building activity that you termed as a drag party. Â While I agree with you that pressuring anyone into anything they do not feel comfortable with is unacceptable; I felt that your afterthoughts were quite discouraging. Â Actions such as these do not create community. Â However, neither does villainizing an entire group of people based on their sexual orientation.
As an RA, I was responsible for creating safe and enriched community. Â I planned activities that were fun that also fit within my universityâ€™s Community Lifestyle Commitment which restricted the use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco on campus. Â I made the choice to attend a school that had such beliefs because they aligned with my own, including the spiritual foundation of said beliefs. Â Â My sexual orientation never created an issue when it came to doing my job to the best of my abilities. Â I never pushed a liberal or gay agenda to students who felt similar to the way that you do.
In your video, I watched as you villainized me by saying that gay RAs are pressuring students, â€œhanging out with students.â€ Â You make gay RAs out to be some sort of dark force of energy attacking â€œyour young people.â€ Â Dr. Roback Morse, they are our young people. Â They were and are my best friends, classmates, and residents. Â I was responsible for them, and I did my best to create a home for them where we all felt welcomed regardless of beliefs or sexual orientation. Â I am one of those young people.
My mission in creating this home sprouts from a knowledge of how diverse our upbringings are, and our personal struggles to find acceptance, love, and one day — home. Â I used my own marginalization as a tool to reach out to students struggling with their own sexual orientation or another problem such as self-harm, eating disorders, sexual abuse, misuse of drugs or alcohol or any other difficulty faced by modern college students. Â I encouraged them to seek professional help from trained counselors, and embrace who they are as a way to find greater healing. Â For it is only when we embrace our true selves, scars and all, that we can create community.
We are not a threat, Dr. Roback Morse. Â We help create a diverse community, not threaten peopleâ€™s convictions. Â I want equality in this country, which is nothing more than what you have, no threat to your current situation. Â I am asking you to recant your statements because they are harmful. Â I am not a villain. Â You do not know me, yet you make such assumptions about me and the other thousands of gay RAs in the world. Â If you knew me I would like to believe that you would never have made such statements. Â I want to live in community together with you and others like you striving to work together for a common good. Â Community is about finding a commonality, growing, learning, excelling together. Â We cannot have community until we have ubuntu, an African ethic, defined by Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist, as â€œI am what I am because of who we all areâ€. Â We all must be tolerant and caring of everyone, if we ever hope to have that feeling ourselves.
I am not asking you to doctor your opinions or for a vote or even for acceptance. Â I just ask that you not attack me and others for living our lives fully as who we are. Â Please recant your statements, or I worry RAs may lose their jobs, and their ability to serve openly. Â Do not create a war against us because I would never create a war against you.
Brandon Habron is from Harrisonburg, Virrginia. He graduated from Eastern Mennonite University with a major in Liberal Arts, with a concentration in Theatre and Sociology. His aspirations are to pursue a Masters in Sociology, with a focus on sexuality to eventually teach young people. Currently he is a library supervisor, and does speaking engagements throughout the Shenandoah Valley, telling his coming out story, empowering both gay people and allies to stand up for what’s right.
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‘Scared to Death’: Trump’s Prison Panic Admission Means He Knows He’s Doomed Says Legal Expert
Reacting to a report that Donald Trump has been quizzing his attorneys about what type of prison he likely will be sent to, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner stated that is not only an indication that he knows he’s going to be convicted but also an admission of guilt.
Speaking with MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart, the attorney was asked about a recent Rolling Stone report about Trump’s prison panic.
As Rolling Stone reported, Trump asked if he’s “be sent to a ‘club fed’ style prison — a place that’s relatively comfortable, as far these things go — or a ‘bad’ prison? Would he serve out a sentence in a plush home confinement? Would government officials try to strip him of his lifetime Secret Service protections? What would they make him wear, if his enemies actually did ever get him in a cell — an unprecedented set of consequences for a former leader of the free world.”
According to the attorney, Trump is revealing himself by asking for so many details.
“What does this tell you about Trump’s mindset?” host Capehart asked.
“It tells me he is scared to death” Kirschner quickly answered. “It tells me he has overwhelming consciousness of guilt because he knows what he did wrong and he knows he is about to be held accountable for his crimes. So it is not surprising that he is obsessing.”
“If he was confident that he would be completely exonerated, would he have to obsess about what his future time in prison might look like?” he suggested. “I think the last refuge for Donald Trump can be seen in a recent post where he urged the Republicans to defund essentially the prosecutions against him. which, to this prosecutor, Jonathan, smells a lot like an attempt to obstruct justice.”
Watch below or at the link.
Image via Shutterstock
‘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
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