AudacityÂ is a new anti-gay, Christian film with pro-equality actors. Is that an oxymoron?
Just when you thought youâ€™ve seen it all when it comes to the anti-gay religious rightâ€™s hateful tactics, something new happens to surprise you. For example, how about a new movie with an anti-gay plot, starring people who support LGBT equality in real life? Yes, thatâ€™s really happening, and just for clarification, no, this isnâ€™t a comedy.
Audacity, the new 55-min. film by executive producerÂ Ray Comfort is currently available for download for $19.99 on the movieâ€™s website. Its official release will be on August 2, but according to religious right-wingÂ Charisma News, thousands have apparently flooded to audacitymovie.comÂ to purchase the film since they launched their downloadable pre-release online.
Perplexingly, two of the stars,Â Travis Owens (Friday Night Lights, Sordid Lives: The Series) and Molly Ritter, support LGBT equality in real life. Both of them posted supporting messages on Twitter in response to the Supreme Courtâ€™s marriage equality ruling last month.
So why did the actors sign on to a film with an anti-equality agenda? Owens gave an interview with the Friendly Atheist Podcast to clarify why and how he participated in the film.
â€œI think that I got the complete script about a week before filming,â€ Owens told theÂ Friendly Atheist, â€œafter some kind of rehearsals of scenes and I knew that, the only thing that I knew was that the goal, the mission of the movie was, from the beginning, to open up the conversation between religious people and gay people, and that to me sounds like a great starting point to something, you know, and thatâ€™s as basic as it was. So I was like, I am interested in that kind of topic of discussion and then it started to kind of form and evolve.â€
Owens didnâ€™t back out of the project after he knew what was really going on. Instead, he took it as an opportunity to challenge himself by acting in a role that is the complete opposite of how he is in real life.
â€œMy little brotherâ€™s gay, my best friendâ€™s gay, and my sisterâ€™s gay,â€ Owens continued, â€œand the first thing I did is took this project to them and said, â€˜hey this is what it seems like Iâ€™m doing here,â€™ and they were excited for me. They were genuinely excited because A, they know that they want to see me do that role because theyâ€™re like that is so opposite of you that Iâ€™d be interested in even seeing you in that role, and Iâ€™m a comic. This is not a role thatâ€™s strictly for a comedic actor.â€
When Hemant Mehta, aka the Friendly Atheist,Â asked Comfort if he was aware of the actorsâ€™ views on LGBT rights before filming, Comfort gave them the following answer:
â€œWe were looking for good actors. That was the criteria, rather then what they believed. Often Christians like to ‘keep it in the family,’ but years ago I learned that isnâ€™t always a good idea. I went to a dentist because he was a friend rather than because of his ability, and it was a painful mistake. We were aware that even a few seconds of bad acting is very painful, and so we chose the actors solely by merit. Travis and Molly are both excellent actors and wonderful people. They are also extremely professional, and we really enjoyed working with them and getting to know them. What they believe is their business. In America we have the freedom to have differing convictions and still get along. Thatâ€™s healthy.â€
That seems like a very professional way to handle the situation, however that hasnâ€™t stopped Comfort from calling foul to all the negative reviews his movie has gotten on IMDB. The average review score is currently 3.1 out of 10 stars.Â
Just how did the movie get a score higher than zero? Well, it has the support of the typical anti-LGBT crowd flaunting their praise.Â Take a look at these anti-gay activists in this screenshot from Audacity’s website:Â
Jeremy Hooper at Good As You calls Ray Comfort a “longtime anti-gay propagandist,” and notes Comfort saysÂ the point of the movie isÂ how gay people can and should be “free of their sin.”
Hooper adds, “this is not just a simple movie. This is cause that Comfort isÂ pushing into Christian churches. That is what Ray Comfort’s work is all about: evangelization. He creates content for the purpose of pulling people to his view. It’s political (though he’d see it as spiritual).”
Camille Beredjick, also at Friendly Atheist, posted a lengthy review, concluding the “target audience is not ‘homosexuals’ seeking to repent, but supportive Christians who arenâ€™t doing enough to marginalize and harass their LGBT friends and family.”
Here’s the trailer:
Image, top, via Facebook
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Sean Spicer Bitterly Complains the Press Is Treating Jen Psaki Better Than They Did Him
As part of a deep dive into the growing popularity of White House press secretary Jen Psaki who has a legion of admirers on social media due to her handling of press, former Donald Trump press secretary Sean Spicer complained to the New York Times that she has gotten a free pass from the media that he never got.
According to the report, even Peter Doocy of Fox News had high praise for Psaki despite his almost daily battles with Psaki that have become widely shared on Twitter and evening newscasts.
“It never feels like I’m getting smacked down or vice versa,” Doocy admitted. “I understand why it looks like that, some of the ways that stuff gets clipped, but it doesn’t feel like that in the room.”
He added, “When I got back from my wedding she made a point to tell everybody in the briefing room that I just got married. That’s a transcript I can print out and show to my kids one day.”
As for Spicer, who eventually resigned following combative press conferences that were famously mocked on Saturday Night Live — with actor Melissa McCarthy portraying a bullying and manic Spicer — he thinks he was held to a higher standard than the current press secretary.
“‘I walked into the lion’s den every day — she walks into a bunch of kittens,'” Sean Spicer, Mr. Trump’s first press secretary and now the 6 p.m. anchor on Newsmax, said in an interview,” the Times’ Michael Grynbaum wrote.
Spicer also took exception to Psaki taking a dig at him during a press conference after President Joe Biden asked him to resign from the board of the United States Military Academy when she was asked about his performance in her job as well as appearances by Kellyanne Conway defending Donald Trump.
Psaki replied, “I will let others evaluate whether they think Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer and others were qualified.”
That led Spicer to complain, “Jen chose to stand and question my qualifications and services to this country. Once she did that, the gloves were off.”
You can read more here.
GOP Gov. Kristi Noem Won’t Make Kids Wear Masks in Schools But She Is Trying to Make Them Pray
South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem refuses to mandate masks for schoolchildren and teachers but she’s trying to make students pray in public. Gov. Noem, who is widely expected to run for president in 2024, has let the coronavirus run rampant in her state of just 886,667 people – a population so small New York City’s is ten times larger. And yet coronavirus is running rampant in South Dakota, which ranks number eight in the nation for coronavirus cases per capita.
Governor Noem just made clear she does not see herself as a government or political leader, but as a religious one. Speaking to Real America’s Voice personality David Brody, Noem declared she will bring back prayer in schools (even though voluntary prayer has always been legal) and thinks political leaders are supposed to “minister” to their constituents.
Complaining that the actions other government leaders are taking “are not biblical,” Noem says they are supposed to “line up with God,” which is false.
“I think that it’s really time for all of us to look at the actions of our leaders and see if they line up with the word of God,” Noem said, “see if they’re biblical and if they really are following through on those actions that God’s called us to do to protect people, to serve people, and to really minister to them.”
Protecting, serving, and ministering – but not in the fight against the deadly pandemic.
“We’ve seen our society, our culture, degrade, as we’ve removed God out of our lives, and people become what they spend their time doing,” Noem declared. “When I was growing up, we spent every Sunday morning, every night, every Wednesday night in church, we were our church, family was a part of our life, we read the Bible every day as a family together, and spent time with each other, recognizing that we were created to serve others.”
Again, Noem makes clear she does not believe serving and protecting others has anything to do with COVID-19.
“I don’t know families do that as much anymore and those biblical values are learned, in the family, And they’re learned in church when the doors are open so people can be there and be taught.”
“We in South Dakota, have decided to take action to really stand for biblical principles. We had a bill that was passed during legislative session two years ago that put the the motto ‘In God We Trust’ in every single school building it is displayed. Now in every K-12 school building in the state of South Dakota.
“I have legislation that we’ll be proposing this year that will allow us to pray in schools, again, I really believe that focusing on those foundational biblical principles that teach us that every life has value every person has a purpose will recenter our kids and help us really heal this division that we see taking over our country.”
MSNBC’s Steve Benen notes, “given that the United States is a democracy, and not a theocracy, officials’ actions are supposed to line up with the Constitution and the rule of law, not how some people interpret scripture.”
“What the governor seemed to be suggesting, however, isn’t a system in which students pray on their own,” he adds, “but one in which school officials intervene in children’s religious lives. In the United States, that’s not legal: As my friends at Americans United for Separation of Church and State recently explained, ‘The South Dakota Supreme Court struck down mandatory recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the state’s public schools in 1929. The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated school-sponsored prayer and Bible reading in public schools in 1962 and ’63.'”
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says the positions taken by political leaders must "line up with the word of God" and brags about pushing for prayer in public schools. pic.twitter.com/DRd2MJaKZw
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) September 17, 2021
Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Also Criticized ‘Court-Invented Rights to Homosexual Behavior and Same-Sex Marriage’
The architect of what is now Texas law, Governor Greg Abbott‘s “heartbeat” legislation that bans all abortion after six weeks, attacked the constitutional rights of same-sex couples to marriage, and sex between persons of the same sex, in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court this past summer. In that brief he also called same-sex marriage a “judicial concoction,” and argued that women should merely abstain from sexual intercourse as a method to “control their reproductive lives.”
Former Texas solicitor general and Federalist Society member Jonathan Mitchell, The Guardian reports, “who played a pivotal role in designing the legal framework of the state’s near-total abortion ban, also argued on behalf of anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life that women would still be able to terminate pregnancies if Roe was overturned by traveling to ‘wealthy pro-abortion’ states like California and New York with the help of ‘taxpayer subsidies.'”
“Women can ‘control their reproductive lives’ without access to abortion; they can do so by refraining from sexual intercourse,” Mitchell wrote in the brief. “One can imagine a scenario in which a woman has chosen to engage in unprotected (or insufficiently protected) sexual intercourse on the assumption that an abortion will be available to her later. But when this court announces the overruling of Roe, that individual can simply change their behavior in response to the court’s decision if she no longer wants to take the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.”
“In the same brief, which calls for Roe to be overturned,” The Guardian adds, “Mitchell and co-counsel Adam Mortara, an anti-abortion activist and lawyer who clerked for the supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, said such a decision could open the door for other ‘lawless’ rights and protections to be reversed, including the right to have gay sex and the right to same-sex marriage.”
In their July, 2021 Supreme Court amicus brief, Mitchell and Mortara also call “interracial marriage” one of several “supposed constitutional ‘rights’ that have no basis in constitutional text or historical practice.” Among them, “court-imposed ‘substantive due process’ rights whose textual and historical provenance are equally dubious.”
On same-sex marriage and sex their opinion was devastatingly ruthless.
“The news is not as good for those who hope to preserve the court-invented rights to homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage,” the amicus brief reads. “These ‘rights,’ like the right to abortion from Roe, are judicial concoctions, and there is no other source of law that can be invoked to salvage their existence.”
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