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What The Criticisms Of NYT Columnist Ross Douthat For Speaking To An Anti-Gay Group Are Missing

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The New York Times’ conservative columnist, Ross Douthat, spoke last week at a fundraiser for one of America’s most anti-gay groups. Many in the LGBT community are outraged — here’s what they’re missing.

Ross Douthat is the New York Times’ only conservative opinion writer. The Times always has one. His predecessor was the horrific neocon war hawk William Kristol.

Douthat is young (34), smart, and far more religious than the average American. 

And I can’t stand his work.

This week, some members of the LGBT blogosphere, from Dan Savage to Media Matters to Joe.My.God. to Towleroad, and others, went on the warpath, attacking Douthat for speaking at a fundraiser for the Alliance Defending Freedom. If you’re unsure exactly of what the ADF is, or their embarrassing portfolio of anti-gay legal work, read my recent piece, “Almost Everything You’ve Been Told About The Idaho Wedding Chapel Story Is A Lie.”

Here’s a screenshot of a recent ADF Facebook post that’s clearly not telling the truth:

adf.jpg

Bottom line, the ADF is the law firm currently pushing the lie about the “Hitching Post” ministers being “threatened” with jail, etc. They also unintentionally brought same-sex marriage to California and Virginia, having lost those cases. They support putting LGBT people in prison, have ties to international anti-gay groups and actions, and are pursuing a Biblical take on the Constitution. 

Evil, some might say, is an appropriate word for their work.

Ross Douthat claims he was unaware the event he attended was a fundraiser.

Big mistake.

He apologized, as Media Matters reports today:

“I was not aware in advance that this event was a fundraiser and had I known, I would not have agreed to participate,” he said in a statement issued to Media Matters through the Times Wednesday. “I was invited by an events organizing group, not by ADF directly. I understood this to be a public conversation about religious liberty. This is my fault for not doing my due diligence, and I will be declining the honorarium.”

Douthat is getting heat now for suggesting if it weren’t a fundraiser, he would have attended, revealing an appalling lack of investigation into the ADF — still — and an appalling lack of understanding of why so many are so upset.

Meanwhile, what everyone should be attacking Douthat for, actually, is not just that he showed up,  allowing his name to give creedence to the event, and thus, padding the ADF’s coffers, but that he didn’t chastise the ADF, its leaders, and its audience for being so off-the-wall filled with anti-gay hate once he got there.

Douthat had the opportunity to express just how offensive, dangerous, and anti-Christian the ADF actually is, but he didn’t.

“Hi, I’m Ross Douthat. Thanks for inviting me. I want you to know that I’m a devout Roman Catholic, a successful New York Times opinion writer, and I think what you’re doing, what your mission is, and how you treat God’s children who happen to be LGBT, is vile, disgusting, inhuman, and against God’s message of love. Shame on you all. No one respects you, you’re a laughing stock, you’ve lost nearly every important culture war case you’ve fought, and your ideas are dangerous to the younger generation — including my family.”

That’s not what Douthat told the audience at the ADF, but he should have.

Dan Savage exploded today, writing, “Douthat isn’t apologizing for crawling into bed with the ADF, an organization that wants to send Douthat’s colleagues Frank Bruni (gay), Josh Barro (gay), Charles Blow (bi), and Jennifer Boylan (a trans woman married to another woman) to prison. He’s not apologizing for speaking before the ADF. He’s only apologizing for appearing at a fundraiser for the ADF.”

“So,” Savage continues, “it’s fine for writers at the NYT to speak before hate groups—rabidly anti-gay orgs like the ADF, anti-Semitic groups, the reconstituted KKK, White Citizen Councils—so long as the event isn’t a fundraiser? So… it would’ve been fine for Douthat to have a ‘conversation’ with the organization that wants to send Frank Bruni and Josh Barro to prison but a line was crossed when Douthat helped raise money for the organization that wants to send Frank Bruni and Josh Barro to prison.”

He has several excellent points.

But no one is talking about what Douthat actually did say to the ADF.

Hugh Hewitt, a far-right wing pundit, introduced Douthat as the “special forces of conservative punditry,” someone who’s embedded “behind enemy lines” — meaning, the New York Times.

Douthat actually did a fairly decent job of presenting secular America’s position in opposing the radical religious right. Clearly, Hewitt and his audience were surprised, and Douthat likely didn’t make many friends, but he did plant important ideas in their minds, and there’s something to be said for that, too.

So, here’s the clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug1tz-ECKGA#t=11932

I agree, the LGBT community and our allies should be outraged at Douthat for “crawling into bed with the ADF,” but that’s not where our anger and upset should end.

 

Image: YouTube

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News

Top Democrats Renew Call to End Anti-Gay Blood Ban as Red Cross Announces First-Ever National Shortage Crisis

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Last week the Red Cross issued its first-ever warning of a blood shortage so dire it is calling it a “national crisis.” In response 22 top Democratic Senators signed a letter urging the FDA to once and for all end the ban on men who have sex with men donating blood.

The nearly four-decade old ban was instituted during the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis. In 2015 the FDA reduced the complete and total ban to one where gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men could donate blood if they had abstained from sexual activity for one year. In 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic raged, threatening blood shortages, the FDA moved to a three-month prohibition.

“If the nation’s blood supply does not stabilize soon, life-saving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed,” warns the Red Cross, citing a 34 percent drop in supply, CBS News reports.

“Any policy that continues to categorically single out the LGBTQ+ community is discriminatory and wrong,” the group of 22 top Democrats, led by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), say in their letter. “Given advances in blood screening and safety technology, a time-based policy for gay and bisexual men is not scientifically sound, continues to effectively exclude an entire group of people, and does not meet the urgent demands of the moment.”

Blood Shortage MSM Donor Deferral Letter FDA HHS Jan 2022 Final by David Badash on Scribd

 

Image by ec-jpr via Flickr and a CC license

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PARTNERING WITH HATE AND ANTI-IMMIGRANT GROUPS

‘Unprecedented’: Trump Tried to ‘Exert Extreme Partisan Influence Over the Census Bureau’ Docs Reveal

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The Trump administration tried to exert tremendous influence over the 2020 Census, which is now being used in a nationwide redistricting program, often handing Republicans even stronger gerrymandered congressional districts and in some cases attempting to dissolve districts of Democratic members of Congress, while eliminating some majority-Black districts.

Then-President Donald Trump was directly and possibly “illegally” involved, as The Brennan Center for Justice, NYU Law School’s nonprofit public policy institute, reports. The Trump administration also worked directly with an anti-immigrant group that appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of nativist hate groups, a “think tank” devoted to anti-immigration efforts, and with an individual known for “promoting voter suppression efforts.”

“The Trump administration attempted to exert extreme partisan influence over the Census Bureau,” The Brennan Center reveals . It filed multiple Freedom of Information requests with at least ten federal agencies and was forced to sue the Trump administration when it unlawfully refused to produce the requested documents.

The Brennan Center adds that “career Bureau officials pushed back at those attempts. An email among senior officials at the Census Bureau from September 14, 2020, discusses the Commerce Department’s ‘unusually high degree of engagement in technical matters, which is unprecedented.'”

“Other records suggest that the Commerce Department planned to have Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross [photo, above] make personal calls to Republican state governors to urge them to provide state administrative records to the Census Bureau to ‘enhance the frame from which citizenship status is determined.’ (The Brennan Center did not uncover evidence that Commerce planned to make similar calls to Democratic governors.)”

Citing a “a complete lack of public transparency,” The Brennan Center reports “President Trump issued a memo in July 2020 stating that he would illegally attempt to remove undocumented populations from the apportionment count due at the end of December 2020.”

The Trump administration collected or attempted to collect an unprecedented amount of personal data targeting usesrs of welfare programs from dozens of states: “28 states had entered into agreements to share Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) records with the Bureau, 21 to share Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) records, 30 to share Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) records, and three to share driver’s license data.”

Our FOIA records show Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, emailing directly with Secretary Ross in December 2019. The Center for Immigration Studies is an organization classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-immigrant hate group that “has a decades-long history of circulating racist writers, while also associating with white nationalists.” The email also refers to a call from Secretary Ross.

The Center for Immigration Studies was founded by eugenicist and white nationalist John Tanton.

“Commerce Department employees were also engaging with the anti-immigrant Heritage Foundation,” The Brennan Center adds. “An email chain shows a Commerce Department official putting political appointee Nathaniel Cogley into direct contact with Heritage’s Hans Von Spakovsky, an individual the Brennan Center has previously flagged for his extensive background promoting voter suppression efforts.”

 

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'NO SHAME'

‘You Singlehandedly Blocked the Emmett Till Antilynching Act’: Rand Paul Scorched Over His MLK ‘Commemoration’

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Many House and Senate lawmakers are honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., today, but social media users are correcting the record of so many Republicans who are trying to use the late, great American civil rights leader and icon as a shield for their own egregious attacks on civil rights and Black Americans.

Take, for example, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, who posted this tweet attempting to paint himself as a bipartisan actor “working together for change” – which many were quick to provide proof of how he is not:

Sen. Paul’s Democratic challenger in the upcoming 2022 race, Charles Booker, offered some of the best examples:

Several others joined in to chastise the right wing Senator:

 

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