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Religion: Putting A Halt To The Religious Right’s Anti-Gay Rhetoric

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“I wish I could be happy, I try, I try, I try … I just want to feel special to someone.” –Jamie Hubley

On October 14, Jamie Hubley, a gay 15-year-old boy, committed suicide. He struggled with depression and bullying from classmates because he was openly gay. The challenges experienced by this young man are heartbreaking and perhaps better witnessed through his own words or hearing them directly from those who knew him best.

These types of teen suicides painfully remind us that there is an anti-LGBT culture within our societies that isolate many young people from the love they deserve. It’s particularly concerning that the urgency this reality warrants is consistently absent from the religious right, which was further evidenced at the “Values Voter Summit” in Washington this month.

As the day neared for this annual gathering of religious conservatives, my inbox began to fill with press releases, statements and emails from allies across the country. “Boycott Values Voter Summit,” and, “Anti-LGBT Hate Fest?”

The concern was real.

A common chill rippled through civil rights and progressive religious communities across America. Moderate voices speculated about what type of rhetoric would be cooked up and lobed at minority communities this year. Like many Americans, I joined those who condemned the event, which was hosted by two nationally recognized hate groups. In 2010 both the Family Research Council and American Family Association joined over 1000 active hate groups in America, on a list that includes factions of the Ku Klux Klan, black separatist and Neo-Nazi organizations.

But there was something even more troubling about the summit. Why would Republican Party leadership—House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Erik Cantor—appear in such a setting? Why would seven Republican Presidential candidates do the same? The summit promotes hostile anti-LGBT sentiment that in many ways has contributed to a culture of LGBT bullying.

I tuned in to CSPAN’s coverage from my office in New York City. I watched speakers offensively degrade the LGBT community and demonize Muslims as a dangerous other; the rhetoric was sorely absent of any hope for moderation.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association declared the American President should be a man, that Muslims are not welcomed, and that the LGBTQ community is a threat to American freedom.

Star Parker, a conservative activist, insinuated that the California government was “sick” for trying to combat LGBT teen bullying by helping students learn about the history of Gays and Lesbians in their state.

The speeches went on. The damage continued. But when all was said and done, an important point was evident: this event wasn’t about Christian values— it was about hate.

The Montgomery Alabama-based civil rights organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center, defines these “representatives” of the religious right well: “All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” These groups who claim to represent the religious right contribute to a deadly anti-LGBT culture.

They circulate pamphlets and propaganda that mischaracterize the LGBT community—propaganda that has been thoroughly rejected by relevant institutions. They routinely quote junk science sourced from anti-gay “front organizations” like the “American College of Pediatricians” (ACP) to claim LGBT people are a threat. These front organizations are deeply flawed. For example, the ACP is a tiny 200-member anti-gay organization, which broke away from the 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It broke away because it rejected its parent organization’s support of LGBT rights. Going rogue, they now produce misleading junk science that is solely aligned with political agendas.

These hate groups also rely on similarly flawed research to claim LGBT people suffer from “mental disorders” and that they should undergo “reparative therapy.” Again, relevant scientific institutions, such as the American Psychiatric Association reject such nonsense.

“In the last four decades, ‘reparative’ therapists have not produced any rigorous scientific research to substantiate their claims of cure,” they said. “APA recommends that ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation.” The American Psychological Association echoes that “the discipline of psychology is concerned with the well-being of people and groups and therefore with threats to that well-being … Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience.”

Because of this scientific reality, many reparative therapists have come out of the closet to reject and repudiate the flawed practice.

Other “science” and “research” they utilize, continues to be discredited, and every day its irrelevance is being more widely understood. Those outside of this extreme wing are becoming much more conscious of the damage caused by extreme factions of the religious right. Droves of young people are leaving churches that reject the gay and lesbian community. Two-thirds of Americans say there is a harmful connection between messages coming from America’s houses of worship and higher rates of LGBT youth suicides. And most remarkably, Gallup found that a majority of Christians and non-Christians believe that Gay and Lesbian relations are “morally acceptable.”

America’s values are clear. Why then does the religious right continue to dominate the national conversation?

It is time for us to put this nonsense to rest.

There is a growing community of LGBT-inclusive Christians and non-Christian allies, working each day to promote welcome in faith settings and put their LGBT inclusive faith into action by taking to the streets, the polling booths and the airwaves. Just this week, more than 900 Methodists in Connecticut and New York vowed to defy their denomination’s ban on gay marriage and make weddings available to all.

These inclusive Christian voices are putting the religious right on notice: while their voice of hate may be loud, our voice of love will be louder.

Joseph Ward is the Director of Believe Out Loud, an online network that empowers Christians to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, and a writer on religion and LGBT equality issues. Follow him on Twitter @JosephWardIII..


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Anti-Harris Propaganda Begins, Expert Cites Kellyanne Conway as Example

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The attacks against Vice President Kamala Harris, now the leading candidate to become the Democratic Party’s 2024 presidential nominee after President Joe Biden’s historic decision to exit his race for re-election, have begun, as one expert on authoritarianism and fascism points to former top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway’s remarks Sunday as an example of the racism and propaganda voters can expect to see.

“Pay attention to propaganda narratives that will consolidate in next days. Propagandists know you should build on existing prejudices when introducing a new hate object or theme,” writes Dr. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history and scholar on fascism and authoritarian leaders.

“Here Conway invokes racist stereotypes already familiar to many in MAGA,” she adds, pointing to remarks Conway made (video below) just hours after President Biden’s announcement Sunday afternoon.

READ MORE: ‘Wake Up People’: Trump ‘Elevating Criminals’ as MAGA Wants to ‘Wreck America’ Says Expert

“She had disastrous staff turnover as vice president,” Conway told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “I check it on the daily. Her public schedule, gentlemen, rarely has anything on it or one or two things on it. She does not speak well. She does not work hard, and she should not be the standard bearer for the party.”

Conway was the first woman campaign manager to land a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, in the White House, and later served as Senior Counselor to the President. Her record includes coining the terms “alternative facts,” and the nonexistent “Bowling Green massacre.” Statista looked at presidential turnover from President Ronald Reagan to Trump and found Trump’s record is higher than any president in modern history, including at the cabinet level.

“Kellyanne Conway is parroting the racist stereotypes,” responded Adam Cohen, Vice Chair, Lawyers for Good Government, “[that] Black people are stupid and lazy.”

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

“Of course, she will vociferously deny it,” he added. “But too late-we already know exactly who Conway is.”

“After all, she spent years promoting Trump.”

Ben-Ghiat on Sunday night also responded to a New York Times headline, “Some Black Voters Say They Wonder if a Black Woman Can Win.” She warned: “It’s starting.”

George Conway (Kellyanne’s ex-husband) last week created an anti-Trump political action committee, the Anti-Psychopath PAC. He commented on her Fox News remarks late Sunday night: “Not everyone can express themselves as eloquently and with such exquisite turns of phrase as Donald J. Trump.”

Watch Conway’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

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AOC Slams Anti-Biden Efforts: ‘My Community Does Not Have the Option to Lose’

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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most-powerful voices in the House Democratic caucus, re-asserted her support for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as some congressional Democrats along with pundits, pollsters, and strategists have called on the President to quit his campaign.

The 34-year-old progressive New York Democrat in a nearly hour-long live video recorded after midnight declared her opposition to those proposing an “open convention,” where the Democratic nominee fro president would be decided, despite the 2024 primaries which Biden and Harris won. She blasted the numerous Democrats anonymously calling for Biden to end his campaign, and slammed those who have little to lose who appear to be behind the movement to oust the President, and those who have already concluded the Democrats cannot win.

“I will say, what upsets me is people saying, ‘we will lose.’ ”

“For me,” she continued, before taking a long, thoughtful pause, “I don’t care who – to a certain extent – I don’t care what name is on there. We are not losing.”

READ MORE: House Dem Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Hispanic Caucus Campaign Arm Rally Behind Biden

“I’m about you, but my community does not have the option to lose. My community does not have the luxury of accepting loss in July,” she said before stressing, “of an election year.”

“Like, my people are the first ones deported. They’re the first ones put in Rikers,” she continued, referring to the infamous New York City jail. “They’re the first ones whose families are killed by war. And this is horrific. I’m not here to like say everything is amazing. Okay, I’m not here to say that like, oh, you know, to lie to people. What I am here to say is that we need to live, we need to make decisions in the conditions that we have before us.”

“Most of the Ocasio-Cortez’s nearly hour-long Live session focused on the risks of forcing Biden to step aside, including potential legal challenges from Republicans and ballot access deadlines in various states. ‘I have not seen a scenario, an alternative scenario, that I feel does not set us up for enormous peril,’ she said,” Business Insider reported.

“If you’re falling out of a coconut tree, God bless you,” she said. “If you’re riding with the President, God bless. I’m not an open-convention person. I think that is crazy.”

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez also made headlines by pointing out that she believes if President Biden were to step aside, Vice President Kamala Harris would also be targeted by some of the same Democrats trying to oust the President.

“I’m just going to say it: If you think that there is consensus among the people who want Joe Biden to leave… that they will support Kamala, Vice President Harris, you would be mistaken,” she added. “They are interested in removing the whole ticket.”

To those Democrats leaking opinions or being quoted anonymously, she had a few strong words.

“That’s b*llsh*t. If you have an opinion, say it with your chest and say it in public,” she said. “That’s a bunch of horsesh*t.”

Her Instagram Live remarks have over 80,000 likes and 6000 comments.

What her full video and the short clip above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

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House Dem Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Hispanic Caucus Campaign Arm Rally Behind Biden

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Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, in line to become Speaker if Democrats retake the House in November, Friday morning told reporters the presidential ticket has not changed and he believes President Joe Biden is capable of doing the job and winning re-election.

Jeffries’ remarks come amid calls for President Biden to exit the re-election campaign, largely from the “Democratic machine,” including pundits, strategists, and pollsters, along with some Democratic members of the House and Senate.

“President Biden, as I’ve said repeatedly, is our nominee,” Leader Jeffries said in Brooklyn Friday morning, according to video (below) posted by WNBC-TV managing editor Steven Bognar. “He has a tremendous track record of success. He’s one of the most accomplished American presidents in our history. And, he has the vision, I believe the ability, the capacity and the track record to make a case to the American people that will result in us being successful in November.”

“I’ve answered that question repeatedly over the last three weeks,” Jeffries also told reporters, as NBC 4 reported. “I’ve answered that question repeatedly, my answer has not changed.”

Also Friday morning the congressional arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus announced its endorsement of the President’s re-election bid.

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

“The fundraising arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Bold PAC, has endorsed President Joe Biden for re-election, the Biden campaign said in a statement on Friday,” Reuters reports.

Forbes reported last week, “Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., chair of the influential Congressional Black Caucus, expressed support for President Joe Biden, bolstering Biden’s argument that his base is still behind him amid calls for him to step aside in the race.”

Also last week, The Washington Post reported, “Black House Democrats embrace Biden at another critical juncture.”

“The importance of the roughly 60-member Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) — which includes [Rep. James] Clyburn and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) — was on display Monday night as Biden met with the bloc in a Zoom call, the first with a group of elected lawmakers. The message that many Black Democrats planned to convey to Biden, according to the people familiar with the CBC’s thinking: We will stick by you as we always have.”

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

Congressman Clyburn, who was instrumental in Biden winning the Democratic nomination in 2020, and the election, “has said publicly that he is firmly behind Biden but open to embracing Vice President Harris filling the role if Biden steps aside,” The Post reported.

But while last week the paper noted, “not a single Black House Democrat has defected,” Friday morning one member of the CBC did. U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) became the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to break ranks, as Punchbowl News’ Max Cohen reported.

MSNBC reports on Friday a total of six members of the U.S. House and one U.S. Senator called on President Biden to exit the race.

Watch video of Democratic Leader Jeffries from Friday below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Democratic Machine’ Strategists Behind Move to Oust Biden: Ex-Congressman

 

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