Following theÂ shooting of a security guardÂ at the anti-gay Family Research Council, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank called it “reckless“Â for the Human Rights CampaignÂ (HRC) and the Southern Poverty Law CenterÂ (SPLC) to say the FRC is a â€œhate group.â€ He further suggested that calling the FRC â€œhatefulâ€ is an example of â€œinflammatory labelsâ€ and â€œhurling accusations that can stir up the crazies,â€ and questioned why the SPLC considers the FRC a â€œhate groupâ€ alongside the KKK and Aryan Nations. Throughout the piece, Milbank describes the FRC as â€œa mainstream conservative think tank,â€ â€œa policy shop that advocates for a full range of conservative Christian positions,â€ “a mainstream Christian advocacy group,â€ and â€œdriven by deeply held religious beliefs.â€
But Milbank’s appraisal of the FRC as something other than hateful is only possible because of his complete refusal to examine the actual substance of the organization’s infamous â€œconservative Christian positions.â€ For anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the group’s so-called â€œmainstream Christian advocacy,â€ the claim that they aren’t hateful is so plainly ridiculous that the very word â€œhateâ€ is meaningless if it doesn’t include the FRC.
An accusation of hatefulness certainly isn’t something to be thrown around lightly â€“ it has to be earned. The SPLC does not consider organizations to be hate groups merely because they have strong political or religious views, but because they repeatedly make false and defamatory claims about LGBT people. And the FRC has been working overtime since its inception to do just that. They’ve made no effort to hide their extraordinary attacks on the LGBT community; for anyone who cares enough to look, all of this is a matter of public record.
The FRC is pervasively opposed to the recognition and acceptance of transgender people. In oneÂ edition of their “Washington Update,”Â they criticize the rules of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for providing undocumented transgender detainees with continued access to hormone therapy rather than forcibly de-transitioning them. As they see it, trans people as a group are not even entitled to receive their own prescribed medications. Contrary to the recommendations of theÂ American Psychological Association, theÂ American Psychiatric Association, theÂ American Medical AssociationÂ and theÂ World Professional Association for Transgender Health, which recognize gender transition treatments as beneficial and medically necessary, the FRC considers this â€œexacerbating a mental health crisis like cross-dressing.â€
TestifyingÂ before the Maryland State Senate, FRC senior policy fellow Peter Sprigg â€“ whose medical qualifications include being a professional actor and an ordained Baptist minister — again claimed that trans people should only receive â€œmental health treatments to help them become comfortable with their biological sex.â€ He further added that they transition â€œto fulfill their sexual desires,â€ which he describes as â€œtransvestic fetishism.â€ In aÂ policy documentÂ on gender identity nondiscrimination ordinances, which Sprigg labels â€œbathroom bills,â€ he argues against trans people being allowed to present as their identified gender, calling them â€œoften highly unconvincing and therefore disturbing to witnesses.â€ To Dana Milbank, this is just â€œmainstream Christian advocacy,â€ which apparently includes denying health care and legal protections to entire classes of people and calling them sexual fetishists who are ugly.
The FRC and its staff have also used distorted and debunked studies to claim that LGBT people are unfit parents and are more likely to molest children. FRC president Tony Perkins describes pedophilia asÂ â€œa homosexual problem,â€Â and senior fellow Timothy Dailey has claimed that â€œdisproportionate numbersÂ of gay men seek adolescent males or boys as sexual partners.â€ An FRC pamphlet from 1999 stated: â€œOne of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.â€
They’ve recently cited Mark Regnerus‘Â widely criticized study, which includedÂ hardly any examplesÂ of long-term same-sex parenting and was found to be severely flawed in an audit by the journal that published it, to claim that children of gay parents were more likely to be sexually abused, and â€œfare worse on most outcomes.â€ The study’s authorÂ admittedÂ that it was not representative of stable families with same-sex parents, and the journalÂ Social Science ResearchÂ believes the paper’s methodological flaws should have disqualified it from publication. The FRC called it a â€œgold standardâ€ of research. Is misrepresenting the competence of same-sex parents and the welfare of their children just one of those â€œdeeply held religious beliefsâ€?
Of course, the FRC isn’t content with merely opposing the recognition of our families and depicting us as sexual predators – they’ve repeatedly challenged the very legality of our consenting, adult relationships. In 2010, Peter SpriggÂ appeared on HardballÂ and stated, â€œI think that the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas which overturned the sodomy laws in this country was wrongly decided. I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.â€
The FRC was also found to haveÂ spent $25,000Â lobbying Congress against approving a resolution condemningÂ Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would institute the death penalty for anyone who had gay sex more than once. Their explanation was that while they don’t support the Uganda bill, they only wanted to remove â€œsweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.â€ It’s not that they want us dead or anything â€“ they just don’t think we have the right to do what heterosexuals do every day without facing â€œcriminal sanctions,â€ like death.
And these aren’t just exceptions to an otherwise respectable record. At the FRC, such extreme stances are the rule. Whether they’re calling to â€œexport homosexualsÂ from the United States,â€ asking public health organizations to tell people toÂ quit being gayÂ as if it were a cigarette habit, recommending that teenagers beÂ discouraged from identifying as LGBTÂ in order to reduce teen suicide, comparing gay marriage toÂ a man marrying a horse, describing efforts against anti-gay bullying as â€œtelling school children thatÂ it’s okay to be immoral,â€ or comparing gay pride events toÂ â€œadultery prideâ€ and â€œdrunkenness pride,â€Â the FRC has made a name for itself. And that name isÂ hateÂ â€“ proud, shameless, unapologetic hate.
What does Dana Milbank have to say about this?
Offensive, certainly. But in the same category as the KKK?
I have to wonder: if the KKK restricted itself to calling people of color child abusers and immoral sexual deviants with pedophiles for prophets, and demanded that they be denied health care and subject to â€œcriminal sanctions,â€ would Milbank similarly object to calling them a hate group? Or would it be obvious that these are unambiguously hateful beliefs?
In asking us not to call this hateful, we’re expected to accept people wanting us demonized, detained, deported and dead as a normal part of American political and religious life. We’re the ones being told we must tolerate this as a simple difference of opinion â€“ after all, it’s just â€œmainstream Christian advocacy.â€ To call them hateful is â€œrecklessâ€ and â€œinflammatoryâ€ of us; toÂ beÂ that hateful is mainstream and conservative of them.
There’s a remarkable irony in Milbank’s attempt to gloss over the particulars of the FRC’s beliefs by simply saying they’re “Christian.” He accuses us of calling Christian and conservative beliefs hateful, and yet he’s the one claiming that this unbelievable hostility toward our lives is just another element of Christianity and conservatism. Which is really worse: calling out hate groups for truly hateful behavior, or saying that mainstream American religion involves hating every aspect of our existence?
Not all deeply held Christian beliefs are hateful, and not all conservatism is hateful. But hate is still hate regardless of its religious or political origins. If these are your deeply held religious beliefs, then your deeply held religious beliefsÂ areÂ hateful. If these are your conservative Christian positions, then your conservative Christian positionsÂ areÂ hateful. And if the FRC can’t be called hateful, then what can?
Zinnia Jones is an atheist activist, writer, and video bloggerÂ focusing on LGBTQ rights and religious belief. Originally fromÂ Chicago, she’s currently living in Florida with her partner HeatherÂ and their two children.
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Watch: Beto O’Rourke Swears at Heckler for Laughing at Uvalde Deaths: ‘It May Be Funny to You … But It’s Not to Me’
Just like his speech in a sweltering Cleburne, Texas gymnasium Wednesday morning, it was also standing room only Wednesday night when Beto O’Rourke, positioned in the center of the room and surrounded by hundreds of people at a town hall in Mineral Wells, Texas, swore at a heckler who laughed when the former U.S. Congressman mentioned the Uvalde, Texas elementary school mass shooting.
“It may be funny to you, motherf—er,” shouted O’Rourke, a former Democratic Party presidential candidate now running to unseat GOP Governor Greg Abbott, “but it’s not funny to me.”
The tall 49-year old father of three shared his profane remarks to massive standing applause, cheers, and the waving of black and white signs that matched the candidate’s black Levi’s and white long sleeve woven shirt.
He didn’t miss a beat.
O’Rourke had passionately reminded the audience that it’s now been “eleven weeks since we lost 19 kids and their two teachers, shot to death with a weapon originally designed for use in combat, legally purchased by an 18 year old who did not try to obtain one when he was 16 or 17, but followed the law that’s on the books ladies and gentlemen, that says that you can buy not one, you could buy two or more if you want to. AR-15s, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and take that weapon that was originally designed for use on the battlefields in Vietnam to penetrate an enemy soldier’s helmet at 500 feet and knock him down dead up against kids at five feet.”
Out of nowhere, a laugh from someone in the audience, apparently near where a few people were holding up signs for Gov. Greg Abbbott.
“It may be funny to you, motherf—er,” the Democratic nominee shot back, “but it’s not funny to me.”
“We’re gonna make sure that our kids who are starting their school year that they don’t have to worry about somebody walking into their school with a weapon like this,” he continued amid the applause and cheers, “that we take common sense steps we find the common ground, Democrats or Republicans gun owners non-gun owners alike.”
Watch below or at this link:
.@BetoORourke to a Greg Abbott supporter who laughed when the gubernatorial candidate mentioned the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: “It may be funny to you motherfucker, but it’s not funny to me.” #txlege
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) August 11, 2022
‘A Bunch of New Yorkers in Addition to George Soros’: Greg Abbott Accused of Antisemitism
Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott is facing a challenging re-election fight against Beto O’Rourke, the popular and charismatic former U.S,. Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate who is now his party’s gubernatorial nominee.
Texas voters have had to face mismanagement of the state’s electric grid, with hundreds of Texans dying in winter after the snowstorm that sent Senator Ted Cruz to Cancun, the horrific elementary school mass shooting in Uvalde, and Abbott spending millions of taxpayer dollars on anti-immigrant programs, including bussing migrants to Democratic-controlled cities like Washington, D.C. and New York City. Not to mention his support of the vigilante abortion ban and a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, his failed promise to end rape, and the fact that Texas leads the nation in mass shootings.
But none of that has stopped the 64-year old from doubling down on his conservative bonafides.
On Wednesday over at Fox News, Abbott engaged in what many are calling some old-fashioned antisemitism.
“We will explain to our fellow Texans that the Beto campaign is being aided by a bunch of New Yorkers in addition to George Soros, and that will do nothing but harm his campaign,” Abbott told Fox News host Harris Faulkner.
Greg Abbott: “We will explain to our fellow Texans that the Beto campaign is being aided by a bunch of New Yorkers in addition to George Soros, and that will do nothing but harm his campaign.” pic.twitter.com/23O6TtLwTO
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) August 10, 2022
George Soros, who is Jewish, is a Democratic philanthropist and one of the liberals most-hated by the right, in large part because he funds left wing causes.
He also donated $1 million to help elect O’Rourke governor.
Two weeks ago polls showed O’Rourke gaining ground, striking with five points of his entrenched Texas Republican rival.
And now Abbott is being blasted for what many are calling antisemitism over his Soros statement.
“In this context, ‘New Yorkers’ and ‘George Soros’ are both signifiers for the alleged Jewish elite who supposedly control the world. Abbott is peddling antisemitic conspiracy theory rhetoric,” says writer and human rights activist Leah McElrath.
“When they say ‘Soros’ and ‘New Yorkers,’ they mean Jews,” notes freelance writer Henry Schulman. “It’s an old dog whistle and a code all the Trump-humping Nazis and their sympathizers understand. So add a new adjective besides ‘fascist’ in front of Abbott’s name. It’s ‘anti-Semitic fascist.'”
Others were even more direct.
“Just say Jews you coward,” tweeted a columnist for The Forward, Alex גדעון בן װעלװל.
“‘The bespectacled, bagel-eating, gefilte fish-slurping, globalist intelligentsia from the Upper West Side’ is what he’s trying to say, although the specifics of who that is maddeningly unclear,” mocked Aki Pertiz, an intel and national security expert. “Also, doesn’t Soros live in NY state? Why single him out hmmmmm.”
Former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob explains: “Right-wing code is pretty simple. ‘New York’ and ‘Soros’ = Jewish. ‘Chicago’ = Black people.”
Former Governor of Vermont, DNC Chair, and 2004 presidential nominee Howard Dean blasted Abbott, comparing him to the Hungarian dictator and, some say, fascist.
“Abbott has become just another GOP whack job. He sounds like victor Orban,” Dean wrote.
‘Same Answer’: Trump Sat Across From the NY Attorney General and Pleaded the Fifth to Each Question For About 5 Hours
Donald Trump arrived at the New York Attorney General’s Office early Wednesday morning, around 9 AM. At 10:04 AM posted to his Truth Social account was a lengthy statement that says, “under the advice of my counsel and for all of the above reasons, I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen.”
Trump was finally forced to appear after a subpoena ordering him to give a deposition on January 7 in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into his real estate pricing practices. Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen told Congress in 2019 his former boss would increase what he claimed his properties are worth when attempting to arrange credit and decrease their value for tax purposes.
The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reported Trump “departed 28 Liberty at 3:20pm slumped in a black Secret Service SUV and peered out of the rear window as his motorcade crawled out of an underground garage past onlookers.”
At 3:42 PM Trump posted: “Just leaving the Attorney General’s Office – A very professional meeting.”
The New York Times reports “Trump and James sat across from each other for hours as he said ‘same answer’ again and again.”
Trump “read a statement into the record in which he called the inquiry a continuation of ‘the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country’ and accused Ms. James of having ‘openly campaigned on a policy of destroying me.'”
That statement is similar to the one posted to his Truth Social account.
Trump’s attorney, Ronald P. Fischetti, “said that over the course of about four hours, with several breaks, Mr. Trump answered only one question, about his name, toward the beginning of the interview.”
That statement Trump posted Wednesday morning attempted to merge the FBI’s Monday raid on his Mar-a-Lago home with his appearance for sworn testimony in a very different case.
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