Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Christians and Guerilla Warfare: Who knew the terms mixed?

Activist and author of Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth Wayne Besen has more gumption than me.

Last week, he actually spent two days observing The Awakening, a religious right conference in Lynchburg, VA.

Besen, who is also the founder and Executive Director of Truth Wins Out, issued a full report which sounds like something from an ecclesiastical version of the Twilight Zone.

First the good news. Apparently the attendees were in a foul mood because their words were no longer resonating with the public :
The symposium revealed that anti-gay rhetoric was on the decline and no longer the far right's number one priority.

"While the sheer number of anti-gay attacks had decreased from past conferences, the remaining rhetoric was vicious and vile, as our desperate opponents see they are losing the battle of public opinion," said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out.

The sullen mood over losing ground was best summarized by Lou Engle of "The Call". During a breakout session on the "LGBT Agenda", he acknowledged that when he preaches against LGBT issues, Christian youth often "rage against him." Engle said that the far right has lost on this issue barring a miracle. One idea floated by Engle to turn the tide was creating an intercession by holding a 500,000 strong youth rally.

"If Lou Engle is wondering how his movement lost the current generation of youth, it is because the hatred and hyperbole spewed by anti-gay activists is incongruous with reality," said TWO's Wayne Besen in the report. "Many teenagers, including evangelicals, have friends who come out of the closet at early ages. They listen to the slurs and the slander at such conferences and know, based on real life experience, that they are hearing lies. Such cognitive dissonance is costing evangelical leaders enormous credibility."

Now comes the strange part:
Another breakout session, "Pastors and Political Activity", urged fundamentalist Christians to use stealth tactics to infiltrate public schools. A man in his 20's spoke up during the Q&A period and claimed that the panelists were not trying hard enough to get into classrooms. He alleged that through his youth ministry, "we've been to 330 schools and only two asked us to leave."

Upon hearing this, Dr. Rick Scarborough, Vision America, cheered these youth and said, "We need more special forces like yourself", and then spoke of the importance of engaging in "guerilla warfare". Rev. Rick Joyner, Morningstar Ministries, chimed in that fundamentalists should "come in undercover." For example, a fundamentalist could go in to speak "as an athlete", but really be in the schools to push a sectarian message.

Forgetting for a second just how ethical that type of behavior is, I have to ask something. Guerilla warfare and Christians? Is it just me or do those two terms not mix?

Like the terms Sarah Palin and President of the United States.

Or Michelle Bachman and sanity.

Or Glenn Beck and intellectual restraint.

Or Rush Limbaugh and . . . never mind. It's no fun when it's too easy.

Yet again it seems that the religious right have forgone the usual Bible and now take direction from the secret one which only they have access to - the one in which Jesus said "take up your cross and smite the hell out of unbelievers with it until they believe the correct way."

For Besen's full reports, go to:

TWO Special Report: Inside 'The Awakening' Conference In Lynchburg


TWO Special Report: A View Inside The Right Wing Awakening Conference In Lynchburg

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Andrea Lafferty - 'Won't someone PLEASE think of the children.'

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Today, HRC Associate Director of Diversity Allyson Robinson and the Traditional Values Coalition's Andrea Lafferty appeared on CBSnews.com’s program “Washington Unplugged" debating ENDA.

It's interesting how Lafferty admits that TVC are focusing on scaring people by ignoring gays, lesbians, bisexuals component of ENDA and instead focus on how "spooky" trangenders will be "invading" the classrooms.

At first, I was hoping that Robinson would prevent Lafferty from talking over her but luckily it worked in her favor a few times as Lafferty comes across as Helen Lovejoy from The Simpsons.

But let's not be so quick to laugh. We know the game plan and though TVC is an officially designated hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, we also know that they have some Congressional influence.

So let's start making those phone calls

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What's wrong with a 'radical lesbian' judge? and other Tuesday midday news briefs

Traditional Values Coalition Tells Senators To Block Judicial Nominee Because She’s A ‘Radical Lesbian’ - Nothing like unfettered homophobia from TVC to start a Tuesday.

Breaking the silence of depression in the Black gay community - An important issue which doesn't get the attention it deserves.

Sputtering Start to Religious Right's Rebranding - Last weekend's religious right conference was a huge flop. Andrea Lafferty and Matt Barber did provide some good laughs though.

And yes, Mr. Nimocks: Straw men can be fired on the basis of their bullsh*t-iness - More lies about ENDA.

Openly Gay Craig Lowe Wins Gainesville Mayoral Election - Guess who won the recount?

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Obama gets heckled about DADT - Call me unimpressed

By now you have heard about how the group GetEqual heckled President Obama during his speech praising Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.

And to tell the truth, I'm feeling a bit reticent about the entire thing because I question the credibility behind it.

Oh sure, everyone is full of revolutionary fire and anger and those who were involved in the legendary stances of Act-Up and Queer Nation are channeling memories, but is this anger genuine and sustaining and will it bleed over to other fights regarding lgbt equality?

Or can we can count on this fire to catch on for a brief second with so many of us evoking a catchy slogan (i.e. "No More Mr. Nice Gay," or "the Gay T.M. is closed")to conceptualize our anger and then whither and die.

Granted, I'm a pragmatic individual but I see the sense in direct action tactics, unless those tactics are the ends and not a means to an end.

So I can't help wondering just where will this lead? A mention on tv shows? An annoyingly self-satisfied rant of "we showed him" by various activists? Ignorant rants calling Obama a homophobe by folks who let their vitriol take over their common sense?

Meanwhile, religious right groups are covertly doing the things they do to make our lives hell, such as holding conferences, forming phony medical groups, and getting cozy with like-minded Congressional leaders.

Whether we like it or not, religious right groups are our real enemy. They have been that way before Obama came to office and they will continue to be that way after he leaves.

In the argument over lgbt equality, they are the proverbial elephant in the room, so why is it that we don't attack them with as much fervor as we go after Obama?

Where are the protests at the headquarters of the Family Research Council or Concerned Women for America? Where are the slogans aimed at them such as "Stop lying about our lives," or "Jesus never lied"?

Why aren't we disrupting them?

So while I'm intrigued by the recent of heckling of President Obama, I've seen it all before.

And I'm not impressed.

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