Thursday, July 12, 2012

Group seeking to divide blacks and gays before November election?

William Owens
A group of black pastors who call themselves the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) recently traveled to the NAACP annual convention in Houston with a message demanding that President Obama meet with them to discuss his support of marriage equality. They are also supposedly angry that the NAACP has come out in support of marriage equality.

According to the Huffington Post:

The Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), headed by Rev. William Owens of Memphis, Tenn., said that the NAACP had abandoned its core mission by supporting same-sex marriage.

"This is supposed to be an organization for black people who were beaten, who were mistreated and who were enslaved," Owens told The Huffington Post. "You're advocating for something that's not normal, that's not natural. It's still out of line, it's against moral law."

Owens and CAAP is asking that African-Americans withhold their votes until supposedly this issue is resolved.

Personally I think that asking African-Americans to withhold our votes is a worse insult to the civil rights movement than marriage equality. Many people have been beaten and killed for us to have that simple right to vote so I have a serious problem with anyone attempting to speak for our community in that regard.

And I also think that this story needs a bit of levity before it blows up - and it will.

Owens and his Coalition of African-American Pastors have a history participating in anti-gay actions.

In 2007, he was involved in campaign which falsely claimed that adding gays under present hate crimes legislation would lead to pastors being arrested in their pulpits if they called homosexuality a sin. The following full page ad ran in a DC newspaper:

You can see Owens on the lower left hand corner. The claim about pastors being arrested in their pulpits was a lie:

 . . . the Hate Crimes Prevention Act only addresses violent crimes causing “bodily injury” – not speech, not preaching.

A larger copy of the ad can be seen here.

The Don't Muzzle Our Pulpits campaign was led by Bishop Harry Jackson’s High Impact Leadership Coalition. The People for the American Way published a huge expose on Jackson, accusing him of being a point man for a wedge strategy of dividing the black and gay communities:

Apparently Owens is of the same ilk as Jackson. Last year, he partnered with the National Organization for Marriage in its unsuccessful fight to stop marriage equality in New York. He was even the star of a NOM video called “Will the Black Church Rise Up in New York For Marriage?

To make matters worse, he continues to partner with NOM as a liaison to the black church even after documents came out that the group was attempting to sow division between the black and gay communities on the subject of marriage equality.

 And NOM is supporting Romney.

You see, that's what this entire protest is about.  It's a sham. Owens knows that President Obama will not meet with his group and that the NAACP will not change its mind on marriage equality.

The entire protest by him and CAAP is simply a way to divide the black and gay communities because they are two groups who support President Obama heavily.

If these two groups are divided over a hostile war over marriage equality, Obama will have problems.

So to folks in both communities who may hear about Owens and his organization's protest, I say this:

Folks are attempting to manipulate your emotions. Don't fall for it.

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'Religious right trying to help churches bypass the law' and other Thursday midday news briefs

Churches can't endorse candidates; this is how FRC helps them circumvent that - To me, this is as bigger danger to churches themselves than it is this country's political system. Somehow I never pictured followers of Jesus as concerned with attaining political power. This sort of thing totally ruins the integrity of churches.  

National Organization for Marriage hires ‘non-cognitive elite’ celebrity spokesbot: Kirk Cameron - By now, I am sure you have heard of the partnership between NOM and Kirk Cameron.

 NOM Tries, Fails To Cast Kirk Cameron As A Victim Of Defamation - Equality Matters explains how this will be next in a long line of "victims of the gay community" failures for NOM.  

The Contenders: Hot LGBT Prospects for Office - Sweet! Just think that decades ago, very few open and out lgbtqs would have run for public office.

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Did author of anti-gay study collude with religious right groups?

Did Mark Regnerus collude with the religious right?
Those of us who have been saying for a while now that the Mark Regnerus study on gay parenting was bought and paid for by religious right groups now have a bit more proof of that charge thanks to an Advocate article.

The article points out that the study - in spite of the complaints about its fraudulence (over 200 professors and therapists complained about it) - has been cited in a federal court case defending DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).

And the time between when the study was published and when it was submitted in a brief should raise many eyebrows (emphasis added) :

Just one day after the results of a controversial parenting study were released to the public, the research was used — and misrepresented — in a federal court brief defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The brief was filed by a conservative medical group at the urging of the Alliance Defending Freedom, an influential religious right legal organization. It illustrates the right’s strategy of using the new research — which was funded by two conservative organizations — in legal battles to preserve bans on gay marriage.

On June 10, the journal Social Science Research published the findings of University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus’ “New Family Structures Study,” which compared people raised in biologically intact two-parent families to people raised in families in which one of the parents had a same-sex romantic relationship at some point. Regnerus found that the children of parents who had a same-sex relationship fared poorly by comparison. Almost immediately, the study was criticized for using a “loaded classification system” to engage in an apples-to-oranges comparison.

The day after Regnerus’ study first appeared online, a conservative group called the American College of Pediatricians cited it in a “friend of the court” brief in Golinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management, one of the ongoing federal lawsuits challenging DOMA. The ACP’s use of the study was first reported on The New Civil Rights Movement website.

Unfortunately the article didn't go into detail regarding the American College of Pediatricians as it should have. But I have talked about this group several times and do not mind exposing them again.

The American College of Pediatricans is not a legitimate organization. It is a shell group designed to pass along anti-gay junk science as fact. In 2010, it attempted to pass along a junk science brochure in high school across America. The brochure, Facts About Youth, claimed to present "facts" supposedly not tainted by "political correctness."  Of course these were not facts, but ugly distortions about the gay community, including:

Some gay men sexualize human waste, including the medically dangerous practice of coprophilia, which means sexual contact with highly infectious fecal wastes.

Isn't it convenient that this group was able to get their hands on this study and submit it in a brief a day after it was published? Could there have been some collusion between Regnerus, the American College of Pediatricians, and the Alliance Defending Freedom?

It certainly seems that way.

I have written many posts like this one exposing religious right lies and for those familiar with these posts, this is the point where I generally make a plea to the mainstream medical organizations and the media to please do something to stop the ease in which religious right group are able to distort science for their own benefit.

I'm glad to report that this time I don't have to make that plea because prominent medical organizations have in fact called out ACP's brief and Regnerus' study in a brief of their own.

According to Think Progress:

The nation’s major mental health organizations have filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit case Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management, arguing that the Defense of Marriage Act stigmatizes against gays and lesbians and should be overturned. The brief recounts the scientific evidence that explains the nature of sexual orientations, but also takes time to debunk Mark Regnerus’ flawed study that attempts to draw negative conclusions about gay parents. Proponents of DOMA have already used the paper to defend their arguments, but the medical professionals explain why it should be ignored.

These organizations include the American Psychological Association, the California Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers and its California chapter, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychoanalytic Association.

So that's one problem taken care of. But there is still the big question which needs to be asked of Regnerus continuously until he provides an answer.

Just how much did he collude with anti-gay and religious right organizations in the publishing of his study?

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