Wednesday night, I fell into an awful, soul-numbing depression.

Two very mild tranquilizers and a short nap later, I can finally articulate why. It's simple really.

The lgbt community is fighting Godzilla with a slinky toy.

 I know I get either blissed out or whispered about due to what some may claim is my obsession with anti-gay propaganda, but my concerns about stories spread about the lgbt community by organizations such as the Family Research Council, the American Family Association or people like Bryan Fischer or Todd Starnes are sincere and should not be ignored.

Consider this: In over three decades, anti-gay groups have built a powerful apparatus of lies via junk science, horror anecdotes and cherry-picked science (mostly by the Centers of Disease Control) which have painted the lgbt community as diseased, overly aggressive zombies who want to destroy Christianity while recruiting children. They don't even have to create new stories. They can go back to that old framework continuously. It's like a virus which recreates itself every time its destroyed.

They have relied and continue to rely on the junk of discredited researchers (i.e. Paul Cameron) who claim, amongst other things, that gay men either wallow around in feces or stuff gerbils up their rectums.  On top of that, since 2012, there have been at least 12 incidents of legitimate researchers, physicians, or Ph.Ds who have complained publicly that their work has been either misconstrued or deliberately finagled the wrong way in by these anti-gay groups under the veneer of "religious liberty."

And how many of these offenses have made it to mainstream knowledge? How many of these actions by these groups who claim to be working for Christ have made it to news magazines, network news programs, or even mentions in places other than blogs like mine? Has there ever been any type of deconstruction of just how these groups operate when spinning these awful lies?  And this INCLUDES at places such as lgbt publications and news programs.

In comparison, Fox News's Todd Starnes, who has a known reputation for manufacturing panics about anti-Christian persecution, tells another one of his fibs and his junk gets featured more times than Meryl Streep receives Oscar nominations.

Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council get soft interviews with several news sources and they are building up a "library of information" even as we speak. And by all means, let's not forget Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, i.e. he who links gays to Hitler. Congressional leaders flock to this man's radio show as if he is a kingmaker.

All of this allows them to define the argument.

Meanwhile, the intellectuals in our community go at each other's throats like Roman gladiators armed with the latest popular terms in "Queer Theology." If we aren't criticizing "mansplaining," we are raising hell over "slut shaming."  The TERFS and the cisgenders are fighting one another. Or are they on the same side. I don't know. I can't keep up.

At the bottom of this mess is the regular lgbt folks who want to be empowered by seeing someone in the media stick up for them, who want to learn how they can speak to their legislative leaders, who want to be educated about the the latest anti-gay lies and distortions but aren't getting the means to do any of this. Instead, they are reduced to voicing mindless vulgarities in the comment section of anti-gay articles or verbalizing their wishful thinking that the latest fool to spout homophobic trash in the name of God would one day be caught in a dirty bathroom with his pants down to his ankles and both of his hands (and mouth) full of things he is not supposed to be partaking of.

Lastly, don't get me started about celebrity-adoring in our community except for the fact that sometimes, I don't care to raise hell at a celebrity for putting his or her foot in their mouths.

And then there is our need to christen certain elements of our community as "Gay Inc."

This is not to say that the anger which goes with christening certain elements and groups as "Gay,Inc." isn't legitimate. But I'm really not impressed. In 2008 after the Prop 8 loss, a lot of us were saying "No More Mr. Nice Gay."  Then when we got mad at the Democratic National Committee, we proclaimed that the "Gay T.M. is closed." In the midst of all of those slogans, some nut decided to come up with the ultra ridiculous slogan that "Gay is the New Black."

But every now and then, we take a break from all of this to complain about how the media isn't giving us a fair shake or how the media is giving a platform to anti-gay groups. Why should the media care about our concerns in matters such as these when, except for those brief moments of griping, we don't seem to care ourselves to address these things on the level that we would address  irrelevant issues such as the relationship between Dustin Lance Black and Tom Dailey.

Maybe I'm rambling but here is where I stand. I'm a 43-year-old black man from Columbia, SC. I have no desire to move to what is considered as large gay metropolitan areas such as New York or California. I will not be driven from where I was born.  But I remember how hard it was coming out when I was bombarded by negative comments via radio, television, and news magazine articles about the evils of being a homosexual. I remember how it was to feel like I was alone even though I was in a large crowd simply because I was the only gay person there. Or worse yet, knowing that there was another gay person in the group and not being able to express a simple commonality for fear of being "discovered."

And a lot of this stemmed from the image created by what was put out there by these anti-gay groups and what they convinced others to believe.I won't forget those awful feelings nor will I blind myself to the knowledge that no matter how many court victories we win, how many pro-lgbt laws are passed, or how lgbt-positive television shows or celebrities are out there, there are still some of us who are falling victim to the same sadness I fell victim to.

If there is one thing which should convince us to combat anti-gay propaganda head-on, it should be that knowledge.

All I'm trying to say is our community needs to get a little more on the ball. That's not to say that we haven't made tremendous progress, because we have.

But we got some problems with focus. Maybe I'm wrong but I still stand by what I am going to say. There are many times in which we unnecessarily pussyfoot around and we seem to be deliberately underestimating the power of anti-gay groups. In doing so,  we allow them  to define us and the argument regarding lgbt equality. We seem to be constantly on the defensive and I don't understand why.

We aren't the liars. We aren't the ones who used discredited science. And we shouldn't be the ones to have to justify our existence.

I would like to see anti-gay groups be in the position to justify their actions for a change.  But this won't ever happen unless we take apart the lie that they are acting on their religious liberty.

A good army doesn't fight each other. They zero in on the enemy who is keeping them outside the gate. And right now, the lgbt community isn't acting like the good army we need to be.

A short while back, South Dakota legislator and pastor Steve Hickey  wrote a long letter to the editor about anal sex in response to a lesbian couple challenging his state’s anti-marriage equality law?

Well his comments during a Monday video chat with the Arcus Leader newspaper defies all description and decency.  According to Talking Points Memo, Hickey defended his original letter by talking about bowel movements in response to criticism he received from a local doctor,  Kevin Weiland:

“And here’s what I’d like to ask Dr. Weiland. Do you tell your patients to wash their hands before they eat? Why? Because you touch a doorknob and you don’t want to get it inside your body. I hesitate to get crude again, but Dr. Weiland, is it OK for, you know, eight of your friends that you’re in love with to take a dump in your bed and then you can sleep in it all year long?”

And it gets worse (or better for those who have a fiendish sense of humor). David Badash of The New Civil Rights Movement watched the entire interview. According to him:

Hickey also claims that doctors tell him gay men “have higher rates of colostomy bags” and “a 20-year less lifespan.” Hickey claims an article in the Journal of Sex Research says “the mean number of sex partners for homosexual males is 251.” Hickey goes on to claim that he has a report that “talks about the dangers of both lesbian and male sex.”

That comment about gay men having a higher rates of colostomy bags is just unreal, particularly because it contradicts an earlier claim he made in his original letter that doctors are supposedly “discouraged from telling the truth” about anal sex.” And those who read this blog know that the claim of gays having a 20-year less lifespan come from either two sources – the discredited research of Paul Cameron or a cherry-picked 1997 study. The authors of the latter study complained in 2001 about how their work was being distorted. Regarding the article in the Journal of Sex Research, Badash said The New Civil Rights Movement asked the Journal of Sex Research about its veracity and has not received an answer at press time.

Badash also said:

Rep. Hickey also, pointing to a paper on a table, claimed that “homosexual is 14 times worse” when it comes to sexually-transmitted diseases. That claim, Hickey said, comes from Dr. John R. Diggs. John R. Diggs, Jr., M.D., wrote “The Health Risks of Gay Sex” which was published online by the Catholic Education Resource Center in 2002. It quotes studies from 1978 and 1982, and 1984 — the height of the AIDS epidemic when little was known about HIV/AIDS.

Diggs’ study also contained numerous errors and falsehoods, which you can read about here.

Feel free to read about or see the rest of Hickey’s interview, but after the above tidbits, I’m done. Except for giving you two reasons why we shouldn’t ignore Hickey or his comments.

For one, he is a lawmaker and thus has a hand in making laws. And a lawmaker armed with bad research about the lgbt community will always be a problem.

But more importantly, he is a pastor and therefore can pull the “I am only speaking according to my faith” card which Michigan Republican Dave Agema and North Carolina pastor Patrick Wooden did when they also made outrageously false remarks about alleged gay sex habits.

And that’s when we allow the argument to get away from us. Many times when folks like Hickey pull the “religious liberty” argument to justify their nasty comments, we give up that ground to them. Instead of calling question to the hypocrisy of a so-called religious person telling lies in the name of God,  many of us attack the religion itself.

In doing so, we help create the false argument that lgbts have a problem with religion in general rather than the lies told in the name of the religion. Meanwhile, folks like Hickey are able to play the martyr. They don’t have to defend their exact words.  Instead they can simply claim that they are being persecuted for being a Christian even though there is nothing in the Bible which speaks of gays and colostomy bags or bowel movements.

Hickey is merely a small portion of a larger industry which exploits religion – particularly the Christian religion – to demonize the lgbt community via lies and horror stories. The more we focus on the exploitation of the religion instead of attacking the religion itself, the closer we come in creating a welcome change in this so-called culture war.

Robert Knight, formerly of the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America, wrote an interesting piece about the Southern Poverty Law Center. It's the usual " SPLC is unfairly picking on Christian groups" meme that we have been hearing ever since the organization declared several anti-gay groups - including FRC - to be hate groups:
If you want to know where the left is taking the country, a quick trip to the Southern Poverty Law Center's website is instructive. There you will find a "hate map," on which the precise locations of reputable Christian organizations are listed, along with skinheads, Nazis and other actually disreputable groups. Above the map is a photo of what appear to be storm troopers, none of whom resembles Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, but that's beside the point. On Aug. 15, 2012, the hate map was used by would-be mass murderer Floyd Lee Corkins II, who walked into the Family Research Council lobby in Washington, DC, with a loaded gun and a backpack full of 80 more rounds of ammo and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Convicted on Feb. 6, 2013, under the District's domestic terrorism law and sentenced to 25 years in prison, Corkins told investigators that he was inspired by the SPLC hate map to target the Family Research Council, and that he had planned to murder as many people as possible and stuff chicken sandwiches into their faces. Chick-fil-A's owners and the Family Research Council support natural marriage. 

First of all, Knight is lying. It's something he does quite well. SPLC's map does not contain "precise locations" of the organizations they designate as hate groups. The map only shows the states where they are located.

And with regards to Corkins, he did not say that SPLC's map inspired him to do anything. It was  determined that Corkins was already mentally ill and had been thinking about a way to carry out his plan for years.

But that's not the subject of my post. The subject is Knight's audacity in attacking SPLC . As I indicated before and Knight does in his column, he used to work for the Family Research Council.

And during his time there, it was Knight who pushed a lot of the junk science and lies (such as connecting homosexuality to pedophilia) about the lgbt community which eventually led SPLC to designate the Family Research Council to be a hate group. The following is from SPLC's webpage:

Robert Knight, a longtime conservative writer and journalist and major anti-gay propagandist, served as the FRC’s director of cultural affairs from 1992 until 2002, when he went to Concerned Women for America (CWA). Knight later moved on to be a senior writer at Coral Ridge Ministries, now Truth in Action Ministries. He is currently a senior fellow at the right-wing American Civil Rights Union. During his years at the FRC, Knight penned anti-gay tracts that used the research of thoroughly discredited psychologist Paul Cameron, head of the Colorado-based hate group the Family Research Institute.

 Knight authored numerous anti-gay papers, and even used Cameron’s infamous “gay obituary” study in testimony he offered before Congress to oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in 1994. In his prepared statement on that topic, he said, “A study of more than 6,400 obituaries in homosexual publications reveals that homosexuals typically have far shorter life spans than the general population.” Cameron’s study has been thoroughly discredited for several reasons, one of which is its deeply flawed methodology. When asked in 2004 about using Cameron’s work, Knight, by then with CWA, responded, “Yes, we have used his research. So what?”
While at the FRC, Knight also co-wrote (with Robert York, a former editor at Focus on the Family) a 1999 booklet with the attention-getting title of Homosexual Behavior and Pedophilia. Among its more remarkable claims was the baseless assertion that “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.” The same publication argued that the “homosexual rights movement has tried to distance itself from pedophilia, but only for public relations purposes.” The booklet has since disappeared from the FRC’s website, but the organization has not withdrawn the claims it made.

For the sake of disclosure, I happen to know that Knight did freely admit to using the discredited information of Paul Cameron via that 2004 incident.  I was the person to whom he gave the flippant response during a visit he made to the University of South Carolina. And I repeatedly talked about the incident on this blog and in my first book on anti-gay propaganda.

Basically, if it weren't for Knight's influence in FRC information gathering, perhaps the organization wouldn't be attempting to live down the "hate group" designation.

No doubt, unfortunately, this irony will escape Knight and especially FRC.

A situation involving South Carolina legislators’ attack on two state colleges over lgbt issues has just gone nationwide.

And it doesn’t bode well for the state.

Originally, the controversy was about the SC State House taking away $70,000 collectively from the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate. The amount adds up to the how much the two colleges spent on the gay-themed books which they assigned students. The legislators claimed that the books, Fun Home and Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio doesn’t represent SC community value and were pornographic.

But now the situation is centering around a now canceled lecture at the University of South Carolina Upstate.  The lecture titled, “How to be a lesbian in 10 days or less” is a satirical and comedic one-woman show by Leigh Hendrix which dealt with coming out.

However, lawmakers raised a fuss about the lecture, claiming that it was “recruiting” students to be gay.  One lawmaker in particular, Sen. Mike Fair of Greenville, had this to say:

“That’s not an explanation of ‘I was born this way.’  It’s recruiting.”

So now, thanks to Sen. Fair, various nationwide media have picked up the story and few, including the Huffington Post, are tongue-in-cheek with their coverage. The majority of them are focusing on the ridiculous notion that a lecture could actually make someone gay.

And Sen. Fair, not unlike the main character in the fable The Mischievous Dog, continues to publicly comment about the lecture and homosexuality, totally oblivious as to how ridiculous South Carolina looks every time he opens his mouth.

Recently, he was interviewed by a local independent newspaper, The Free Times. During the interview, Sen. Fair had some very interesting things to say about lgbt South Carolinians:

Fair — a staunch religious conservative who believes homosexuality is morally wrong — says that while Americans have inalienable rights, glorifying homosexuality at taxpayers’ expense is not one of them. When Free Times pointed out that homosexuals pay taxes, too, as do the families of gay college students, Fair suggested they are also lawbreakers. He pointed to an antiquated state law against “the abominable act of buggery.” While the law is not enforced and homosexuality is not exactly illegal, Fair admits, he says it is still immoral and unhealthy.

Believe it or not, Fair continues:

Doesn’t morality extend to teaching tolerance of homosexuality in a free society? Isn’t that what USC Upstate and the College of Charleston were trying to accomplish? “I don’t believe that,” he says. Actually, he said, homosexuals “lack security in their conviction that what they’re doing is okay.”

When Sen. Fair talks about “what homosexuals are doing,” he is talking about sex. Or more specifically, what he imagines sexual intercourse is between two men because usually when folks like Sen. Fair start hinting about “gay sex,” men having sex with each other seems to always be the direction they head to. Apparently to them, lesbians never have sex.

And when folks like Fair hint that “gay sex” is “immoral and unhealthy,” they are usually speaking in vague terms about either cherry-picked Centers for Disease Control studies from anti-gay sites or junk studies – usually from the same sites – involving anal sex, poop, and gerbils.

That’s right. I said gerbils.

That’s what this issue is all about  – someone’s fevered idea of man-to-man sex and the indignity of having your life reduced to cater to that fevered idea.

If you really gave it some intelligent thought, Sen. Fair’s classification of lgbt South Carolinians is not only unfair and insulting. It’s downright bizarre.  I mean is that what he thinks of a segment of the population he has sworn to serve? That somehow in between wild, passionately immoral, unhealthy bouts of sex, gay male South Carolinians go into a state of suspended animation while normal things such as working, paying the bills, taking care of our families and children, or handling general crises is taken care of for us by robots?

Okay, I admit that’s taking Sen. Fair’s comments too far but it serves to prove my point. In this entire controversy, none of the fault lies with the colleges,  the gay-themed books, lgbt South Carolinians, or even the canceled lecture.

The fault lies with Sen. Fair and those who have his mindset. Certainly Sen. Fair and the rest of the warring legislators have a right to their personal religious beliefs. But that right shouldn’t shield the from criticism when their behavior makes them look like a bunch of braying jackasses and brings mockery on the state.

And there is something more which needs to be said. When any legislator has such an ugly and warped view of any portion of the people he/she has sworn to serve, he/she needs to be called out on it.

I seriously wonder does Sen. Fair or any of his colleagues know any South Carolina lgbt families? Have they spent time with these families? Do they talk to these taxpayers like they would heterosexual taxpayers?

The rest of the nation may be laughing at South Carolina, but I’m not. I don’t like it when those whose salaries are being paid by my money aren’t looking out for my interests because they are busy playing God and judging my life based upon their own ignorance.

Whether or not that ignorance is religiously based is irrelevant. It’s still ignorance and it’s wrong.

The only good thing that will come out of this entire situation is maybe folks will understand the need not only for the gay-themed books at the heart of the matter, but also the lecture.

Because now people can understand what lgbt South Carolinians have to deal with.

“Based upon emails, blog posts, and statements from conservative figures in the state, it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that a plan to attack the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina-Upstate via the legislature was in the works ever since last year after a failed attempt to generate an outcry over the books . 

Furthermore, based upon those same sources, this issue seems to be less about protecting students from obscenity and more about anger over the fact that gay-themed books were being assigned on university campuses.”

In my state of South Carolina, there is a serious controversy brewing with regards to the state legislature “penalizing” two colleges for assigning gay-theme books for students to read.

The new state budget deducts $70,000 collectively from the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina-Upstate. The amount adds up to the how much the two colleges spent on the gay-themed books. Rep Garry Smith is leading the charge because he claims the books, Fun Home and Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio doesn’t represent SC community values. Rep. Smith also made the accusation that the College of Charleston was pushing pornography on students.  He pointed to images in one of the books, Fun Home, as proof of  his charges.

The controversy has raised many questions with regards to academic freedom. Rep. Smith claimed that the universities are corrupting the ideas of academic freedom.

However, just where did Rep. Smith get the idea to go after these two colleges?

The answer may be remarkably simple.

Based upon emails, blog posts, and statements from conservative figures in the state, it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that a plan to attack the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina-Upstate via the legislature was in the works ever since last year after a failed attempt to generate an outcry over the books.

Furthermore, based upon those same sources, this issue seems to be less about protecting students from obscenity and more about anger over the fact that gay-themed books were being assigned on university campuses.

Late last year, an organization by the name of the Palmetto Family Council began raising a fuss about the books. For the uninitiated, the Palmetto Family Council is yet another one of those so-called morality groups which operates under the guise of “protecting the dignity of the family.”

The only problem is that their definition of  “family” seems to only pertain to two-parent married heterosexual families. No single parent homes, and definitely no same-sex families allowed. And, like so many of these groups, their definition of protecting the family never seems to include debating issues such poverty, income inequality, educational inequality.

Rather, the Palmetto Family Council deals with issues regarding their definition of “Christian values” and how they pertain to the family, as if implying that the only families which do count in South Carolina are two-parent married heterosexual families who have the same personal religious beliefs that the organization does.

But back to the matter at hand.

In two posts on the organization’s blog from late 2013, the Palmetto Family Council railed away at College of Charleston for selecting Fun Home as a reading assignments for students. In the the first post, written on June 24, the Palmetto Family Council contrasts Fun Home to other books assigned by other state colleges and universities. And here is the interesting part. The organization doesn’t say one word about the so-called “pornography” of Fun Home. Instead, the Palmetto Family Council cites a publisher’s review of the book:

This autobiography by the author of the long-running strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, deals with her childhood with a closeted gay father, who was an English teacher and proprietor of the local funeral parlor (the former allowed him access to teen boys). Bechdel’s talent for intimacy and banter gains gravitas when used to describe a family in which a man’s secrets make his wife a tired husk and overshadow his daughter’s burgeoning womanhood and homosexuality. His court trial over his dealings with a young boy pushes aside the importance of her early teen years. Her coming out is pushed aside by his death, probably a suicide. (Review from Publisher’s Weekly)

The comparison made between Fun Home  and the other books offered by other SC colleges and universities implied that the College of Charleston was engaging in some sort of ” gay indoctrination.” Palmetto Family Council also said the following in its post:

Which one of these books is not like the others? And exactly how bad is it? Stay tuned for the story of the family that arrived at CofC freshman orientation with happy anticipation only to discover the deep commitment the College has made to Fun Home and all that it symbolizes.

Now in the second post with regards to Fun Home, dated August 9, 2013, the Palmetto Family Council finally mentions the alleged pornography:

Ten South Carolina colleges assigned books for their freshmen to read. As we reported, a number of them selected sufficiently edgy, thought-provoking books. Then there is the College of Charleston’s Fun Home. Were it a movie, it would be NC-17, and not because of its ‘LGBT’ theme. Nine other colleges in South Carolina (and most in America) chose broad, healthy debate…and common sense. The College of Charleston chose to spend $50,000 in state funds and/or student tuition dollars on a narrowly-focused, cartoon (graphical), borderline pornographic book rarely used for this purpose.

That statement is a serious irony because, as I said, in its first post about Fun Home, the Palmetto Family Council never said a word about any pornography. In the August 9th post, the organization also complained about how the media was not giving them the angle they want:

The media has tried to turn our opposition to Fun Home into a dog bites man story: “right wing conservative group opposes book with references to Lesbianism; neo-Victorians seek to keep minds of young adults tightly closed.” That’s not the story. But then learning the truth takes time…and a desire to discover it. As for the book selection process, the task seems as easy as applying common sense, basic values, and a good grasp of reality to a wide variety of options. Nine of our ten colleges that assigned Freshman reading found a way to do that. Why was it so hard for CofC?

Now if this issue was simply about pornography, then why is the University of South Carolina-Upstate in trouble for assigning Outloud: The Best of Rainbow Radio when that book contains absolutely nothing which can be construed as pornographic? (Disclosure - I wrote a short piece on anti-gay propaganda which was included in Outloud: The Best of Rainbow Radio.)

According to a SC libertarian blog, FitsNews on August 13 of last year,  the Palmetto Family Council sent out an action alert to its email subscribers complaining about Outloud: The Best of Rainbow Radio:

In an action alert to its subscribers, Palmetto Family Council blasted the book. “The University of South Carolina Upstate is taking its own shot at traditional South Carolina values using taxpayer and family tuition dollars,” the email noted.

Also, consider the following. On August 20 of last year,  Josh Kimbrell, a conservative radio host of a show called Common Cents and head of an organization called the Palmetto Conservative Alliance, had this to say about Outloud: The Best of Rainbow Radio:

This is yet another example of how institutions of higher education across our state are ignoring the values held by the overwhelming majority of South Carolinians. To add insult to injury, these university-endorsed promotions of homosexuality are being paid for by tax money and / or mandatory student fees, effectively forcing the people of this state to support an agenda wholly opposed to our values. I half expect this kind of promotion of homosexuality and same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and California, but not at public universities in South Carolina. I also imagine that most of my fellow South Carolinians would be just as outraged if they were aware of such abuse. In an effort to reverse this publicly-funded promotion of homosexuality at public institutions in the Palmetto State, “Common Cents” and our policy foundation, the Palmetto Conservative Alliance, are working with our allies in the South Carolina House and Senate to introduce legislation that would forbid public universities from using public money and mandatory student fees to promote any sort of sexual agenda.

Below those comments is an audio of  Kimbrell’s show in which he not only reiterated that his group would be working with “allies” in the SC Legislature, but also predicted (starting at 17:45) that in January, there would be legislation coming out designed to “put a stop” to so-called university promotion of homosexuality

Just what exactly is the Palmetto Conservative Alliance? Your guess is as good as mine. I could find no information on it, particularly its membership.  However, I find it interesting that Kimbrell made an accurate prediction about upcoming legislation crafted in response to the book assignments; i.e. legislation which we are presently debating.

In addition, what are the odds that members of the legislature just happen to negatively target two universities which were the subjects of complaints by the Palmetto Family Council for the same reason – assigning students to read gay-themed books?

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

It is becoming more apparent that this controversy is less about pornography and more about some folks having a problem with universities assigning gay-themed literature to students. The “adult” material contained in Fun Home is merely a distraction, a sidebar if you will, to disguise the issue and make the faux outrage a bit more palpable to those who might not be following the issue.

There is one more facet to this story. When a constituent wrote State Senator Shane Martin an email protesting the cuts, the following was his reply:

I regret that you misunderstand the problem. The problem is that a public college is using taxpayer dollars to promote an agenda that the vast majority of taxpayers, the people that fund the school, do not agree with. No one in the General Assembly, including me, has banned any books. Colleges are free to use whatever books they want to use, or teach any classes they want to teach, or employ any professors they want to employ, unless and until they run afoul of the people paying the bill, the taxpayers. And if they want to do those things anyway, then they are free to find another source of funding. When you take your car in for service, would you want the mechanic to spray an air freshener in the car that they believed expressed their spiritual sense even if the air freshener made you sick? Of course not, and you wouldn’t pay for it. The public schools and colleges of South Carolina are not free agents. They work for the people of South Carolina, and if the people of South Carolina are unhappy with something going on at the public colleges, then those colleges are going to have change. I am very confident in the manner in which I represent my constituents, especially on this issue.

If one were to overlook the absolutely insulting idea of comparing South Carolina lgbts to air fresheners, there is that pesky bit of truth that those some South Carolina lgbts are also taxpayers. It is regrettable that on this particular point, Sen. Martin has chosen to be disingenuous.

This really was not an issue except for the Palmetto Family Council and other conservative groups.  There was no outrage, no groundswell of anger against the universities on this issue. To this day, many South Carolinians still are not aware of what’s going on or why these decisions were made. And amongst those who are aware, there have been serious signs of discomfort with not only lawmakers attempting dictate how colleges can educate their students but also their attempt to erase a portion of the state’s population by reducing the dignity of their lives to the cynical categorization of  “an agenda.”

 Perhaps instead of a conversation about academic freedom, our legislators need to have one on just who do they serve. Do they serve all South Carolinians or organizations who have obviously overstepped their bounds in attempts to define  “morality” and “families” in the Palmetto State?


University of Texas (Austin)  professor Mark Regnerus and all of the other so-called experts called by the state of Michigan to defend its ban on marriage equality was humiliated during the judicial overturning of that law but I wouldn’t worry about their feelings.

As it turns out, they were all well compensated. According to LGBTQNation:

The state of Michigan says it has spent $40,000 on witnesses who testified as experts at a recent trial on same-sex marriage. The state has paid $39,478.75 to experts, and some additional bills “have not yet been sent in,” Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill Schuette, told The Associated Press.

Let’s put Michigan’s waste of $40,000 in a larger perspective.Regnerus had already received $90,000 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and $695,000 from the Witherspoon Institute to fund his now discredited study on gay parenting.  The study was an attempt to sway the Supreme Court in the DOMA and Prop 8 cases and it failed miserably.

Regnerus continued to say that his work was objective, but according to the Huffington Post and the American Independent:

 . . . documents, recently obtained through public-records requests by The American Independent and published in collaboration with The Huffington Post, show that the Witherspoon Institute recruited a professor from a major university to carry out a study that was designed to manipulate public policy. In communicating with donors about the research project, Witherspoon’s president clearly expected results unfavorable to the gay-marriage movement. The think tank’s efforts paid off. The New Family Structures Study came out just in time for opponents of gay marriage to cite it in multiple federal cases involving marriage equality – including two cases soon to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Speaking of which, Speaker of the House John Boehner spent $2.3 million of taxpayers’ money in the failed attempt to defend DOMA. Of course this is the same man who won’t help pass a bill giving unemployment benefits to Americans out of work, but that’s another “pot of potatoes.”

So what it all comes down to is that anti-gay groups and their allies in Congress spent over $4 million on cases which they were bound to lose even though they plotted an underhanded scheme to win.

Anyone could have told you that Boehner and company were going to eventually lose DOMA. In fact, I did hint on that prediction in August 2011 when I took a look at the junk science and cherry-picked research Boehner’s handpicked lawyer, Paul Clement, was presenting to make his case.

And the situation with Regnerus merely compounded the comedy of errors which Boehner began.

Both of the Bradley Foundation and the Witherspoon Institute are affiliated with Princeton professor Robert George. At Witherspoon Foundation, he is a Herbert W. Vaughan Senior Fellow and at the Bradley Foundation, he is on the Board of Directors. Robert George is also a founder and chairman emeritus of the National Organization for Marriage whose reputation for fighting marriage equality is well known.

The money spent on Regnerus’s study was useless because it couldn’t cover up the odor of corruption.  Organizations which can give out huge amounts of cash for “research,” like the Bradley Foundation and the Witherspoon Institute gave to Regnerus, aren’t exactly looking for “objective results.”

In other words, a lot of folks knew that Regnerus’s study was coming. They knew who funded it and what it’s purpose was. They also knew its fallacies. As a result, it was justifiably discredited all around, including by Regnerus’s own university.

Yet, Michigan still cited it and still called Regnerus as an “expert witness,” which was figuratively the semblance of, as the old saying goes, walking into hell with gasoline soaked underwear while attempting to light a cigarette.

Which leaves us with the endgame – a discredited researcher who sold his soul for either money or his Christian beliefs to organizations with more money than common sense and taxpayers footing the bill for futile attempts to keep lgbts from getting married.

So what does all of this mean?

I think I will leave that up to you.

Related webpage – The Regnerus Fallout

It is commonly believed that in the early days of the Christian church, followers of Jesus dealt with harsh persecution. The tales of  Romans falsely labeling the Holy Communion as “cannibalism,” and Christians being thrown to the lions while Roman citizens cheered have entered the canon of legends and we don’t know truth from apocryphal tale.

What we do know is that from time to time, enterprising Roman politicians made Christians the scapegoats of the community, thereby leading to various acts of violence while they themselves reaped the spoils.

Throughout the centuries, Christians have faced persecution from different factions, including themselves via unnecessary disagreements regarding denominations and customs.

Not surprisingly and justifiably, Christians have always maintained a fierce devotion to their beliefs. It is a shame that, at least in the case of one Christian, this devotion isn’t accompanied with a desire to speak out for other groups facing the same type of persecution.

Franklin Graham, son of the iconic pastor Billy Graham, chose to go the other direction, i.e. embracing the perpetrators of evil rather than the victims. In recent comments, he commended the country of Russia for the recent passage of its anti-gay laws under the lie that it protects children:

Isn’t it sad, though, that America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue—protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda—Russia’s standard is higher than our own? In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues. Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.

The inference that gays will somehow harm children is an old dodge perpetrated continuously because it works.  Whenever someone wants to pass anti-gay laws or keep pro-gay laws from passing, or build a reputation for themselves on the hallmarks of “values” and “family,” they exploit children as psychological shields, playing on the heart strings of the ignorant by conjuring up images of oversexed gay men raping children, “indoctrinating” children, or “recruiting” children.

It’s the same in Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. The claim that these anti-gay laws in Russia were created to “protect children” is a lie created give Putin more power and popularity. And in exchange, Russian lgbts now face horrible consequences as a result of these laws. The beatings, the unfair arrests, the all-around abject fear which now grips Russia’s gay community are the results. The sad irony is that before these laws, Russian children weren’t in danger. But they are now, if they are gay.

And with his one ignorant statement, Mr. Graham dips his hand into the blood spilled because of these laws and publicly wipes it on his face with zest.  In doing so, he spits not only his father’s legacy, and the faces of Russian lgbts facing daily persecution. He also spits upon his own religion, particularly the memory of Christians persecuted so long ago after themselves being falsely accused.

No matter what your personal or so-called religious belief about homosexuality may be, there is no excuse for making lgbts scapegoats via lies and scapegoating. Jesus never stooped to doling out excuses designed to justify horrible acts of violence and uncaring attitudes about innocent groups of people. It is an awful shame that those who claim to follow Him have no problems doing this. It is an awful shame in the eyes who claim to follow Jesus, political power makes the lives of lgbts disposable liabilities.

Even in today’s oxymoronic climate of Christian leaders clutching the lapels of their expensive suits as they trod across immaculately clean carpets of megachurches or before congregations of thousands and in front of cameras broadcasting to millions as they whine about being persecuted simply because they must acknowledge folks with different belief systems, Mr. Franklin’s cluelessness is just obscene.

If he wanted to be a leader with as much notoriety as his father, then mission accomplished. But it’s notoriety in the other direction. I’ve been to a Billy Graham crusade and I’ve seen him on television numerous times. He represented the humility of Christianity, the acknowledgement and respect for a higher power who we must leave all judgement up to while we do whatever good we can for each other.

Franklin now represents the hypocrisy of Christianity, the lack of humility which now plagues the religion but is something no one wants to talk about. Franklin represents the cluelessness that comes with forgetting your past and sacrifices of those who came before you; forgetting the innocent blood shed by those who paved the way to those expensive suits, mega churches with their immaculate carpets, congregation of millions, and television cameras. And especially the lack of shame which comes with scapegoating innocent groups of people in the same manner which your group was scapegoated and using the Bible to justify your sad behavior.

Mr. Graham, you are a disgrace to not only your father, the Christian religion, but humanity as well. I hope that you can see past the glitz which comes with being a supposed acclaimed Christian leader so that you can one day embrace the same humility which made your father such a wonderful person.

The Family Research Council is attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center again.

Ever since SPLC named FRC as an anti-gay hate group for consistenly and deliberately launching inaccurate attacks against the lgbt community, FRC has been taking  potshots at the organization. From accusing the group of attempting to taint the military against Christians to falsely linking the group to an awful near massacre at FRC headquarters (in which a deranged young man, Floyd Corkins,  attempted to force his way in, shoot FRC employees, and stuff Chick-Fil-A sandwiches down their throats), FRC has been practically itching to seek some sort of retribution against SPLC.

And every time the organization attacks SPLC,  it gives SPLC's supporters (and yes you can include me in that group) an opportunity to publicly prove the fact that FRC is in fact an anti-gay hate group.

This is the latest attack from FRC:

They say you can't buy love, but that won't stop SPLC from trying! Money may be no object for the anti-Christian group, but mainstream support certainly is. Facing growing scrutiny for their tainted and biased "research" from the military to the media, Southern Poverty Law Center is resorting to bribing teachers to force their agenda into the public schools where unsuspecting children reside. In Hawaii, eyebrows shot up at the news that SPLC was giving teachers a $250 kickback just for attending a local training session on "Teaching Tolerance." The cash incentive struck a lot of people as odd, including state Representative Bob McDermott. In academia, where educators are used to paying for trainings -- not profiting from them -- McDermott thought something smelled fishy with SPLC's offer. In a letter to Hawaii State Department of Education District Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, he asked the office to put the brakes on the session. Matayoshi refused and instead gave the department's blessing to the workshop, which SPLC held the first weekend of March.

That's FRC's sordid rendition of the story. However, a more objective piece from the Hawaii Reporter reveals that the claim of "paying teachers to attend the program" is merely a cover for yet another attack on the lgbt community:

The “agenda” of the program concerns McDermott, because he said there's obvious “social engineering,” including a “disproportionate focus on normalizing homosexuality,” while also trying to discredit Christian beliefs. “The theme of this curriculum is so called ‘anti-bias’ unless, of course, you are a person of faith. One example is the following: ‘Patrick is being raised in a very strict and exclusionary fundamentalist Christian home…’. If that is not biased I do not know what is,” McDemott said.

And there is the rub. From the FRC:

Digging deeper into SPLC's materials, the state rep was outraged to see that almost 25% of the example scenarios "deal with gay acceptance." "Why is the gay population -- which is no more than 4% of the general population -- consistently disproportionately represented in these new teaching materials?"

And yet another portion of the article - courtesy of the Hawaii Reporter - which FRC omitted in its hysterical article:

 Maureen Costello, director of the Teaching Tolerance program, said the organization works around the country with various school districts within the guidelines of the school districts, either by donating to the schools or paying a small stipend to teachers who help improve the pilot program and Hawaii did in fact approve teachers to receive stipends.

 . . .  "There is real tension around the LGBT issues and some faith based people. We work to find common ground. Every parent wants their child to feel safe and accepted at school. We want everyone to get along even if they do not share the same values," Costello said.
Costello said the pilot program is still being revised and Hawaii teachers across the state are having input into the final product. Some teachers have told the law center that they believe more information on native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders should be included, and the law center is working to incorporate that suggestion, she said. Costello also offered to meet with McDermott or his staff via Skype to give them access to the full curriculum and to review it with them.

One wonders if McDermott will take Costello up on the offer. I think he should. I also think he should leave FRC by the wayside because it's obvious that the organization is using him to not only unfairly attack the lgbt community (the main reason why SPLC declared it to be a hate group) but also to make inaccurate statements about SPLC, such as the following:

 . . . it's a program that may be coming to a school district near you. According to Costello, SPLC has been dangling money in front of educators -- and schools -- for the opportunity to teach the kind of "tolerance" that motivates people to bring guns into office buildings and shoot innocent people.

Whatever the case may be, it's not farfetched to say that FRC doesn't give a damn about the safety of Hawaiian students. Nor does the organization care about anything else but "settling the score" against SPLC.

Perhaps FRC should school itself on what the Bible says about revenge, especially if said revenge is against a justifiable action.

Related post:

16 reasons why the Family Research Council is a hate group

The Southern Poverty Law Center has added seven more anti-gay organizations to its list of anti-gay hate groups.

No doubt the standard whine of these groups will be the same one offered up by the Family Research Council when SPLC named it as a hate group a while back, i.e. "we are being attacked because we don't believe in gay marriage, we are trying to preserve Christian morality, we are being silenced."

That whine was a lie then and is still a lie. SPLC makes it clear that religious beliefs are not a reason why they call out these groups:
 . . . the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.

So allow me - with the help of other sources such as Truth Wins Out, People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch , and GLAAD's Commentator Accountability  Project - to list just a few reasons why some of these groups were named as anti-gay hate groups

Pacific Justice Institute - This CA organization is  by Brad Dacus. Dacus has:

 defended a pastor who said gay people are abmoinations who deserve to be stoned to death

claimed that by fighting for a marriage system that discriminates against same-sex couples, he is "fighting for the soul of Western civilization"

But I think the main thing which may have caught SPLC's attention was PJI's recent actions in a failed attempt to defeat a law which would protect transgender students. The organization  fabricated a story about a transgender teenager harassing other students; when story broke, Dacus accused those challenging his organization's version of events of "trying to supress the truth"  The student whom PJI attacked was put on suicide watch.

The Pray in Jesus Name Project  - This organization, as far as I am aware, is comprised of one person - Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Klingenschmitt has said that any judge ruling for marriage equality should be considered as a domestic enemy

He has also claimed that gay soldiers undermine the military because they have to stop in the middle of combat situations in order to change their diapers.

Klingenschmitt also  said that people who are not going to heaven (i.e. lgbts) don't deserve equal protection under the law.

Mission America - another organization which is comprised of one person, Linda Harvey. Harvey is a former advertising executive who supposedly found religion.  The filth coming out of her mouth includes the following:

claimed that same-sex couples use their kids as "props": "The kids are essentially props to be trotted out, sadly, at events like "pride" parades"

claims that gay/straight alliances in schools promote diseases.

expressed support for the anti-gay laws in Russia

advised parents to not take their children to gay doctors

 Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM). According to Truth Wins Out:

Both the World Congress of Families and C-Fam have been vocally supportive of Russia’s anti-gay laws, with the WCF expressing support in a press release not long after the Duma’s final vote on the “propaganda” law. The World Congress also held a roundtable in US House of Representatives office space recently in order to teach American “pro-family” activists how to export their hate around the world. Austin Ruse, president of C-Fam, expressed regret that the United States wouldn’t be able to start the sort of pogrom against LGBT people that Russia has, as he praised Russia in their efforts. It’s likely that the international activities of these groups contributed heavily to the SPLC’s decision to label them hate groups.

The Liberty Counsel - If one wanted to pinpoint a single reason why the Liberty Counsel is on this list, they could point to Matt Barber, a member of the organization who attacks the lgbt community with extreme animus while at the same time, blending his homophobia with "homilies" of his faith.  In the past, Barber:

has said that gay male relationships constitute "one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love’

said gay people "purchase kids" and treat them "like having little pets or something"

pushed idea that same-sex parenting is tantamout to child abuse

and is responsible for pushing that vile tweet posted at the top of this article; the tweet which implies that gays want to molest Boy Scouts.

All in all, these groups have earned their designation as anti-gay hate groups. But let's not mistake what needs to be done. Kudos should be given to the Southern Poverty Law Center for calling these organizations out and pinpointing their deceptions and hatred of the lgbt community.

Now it is the job of the lgbt community to raise hell about it. In other words, let's not waste time complaining about who didn't get the designation of being an official anti-gay hate groups. Let's use what we have been given to educate and to break the connection between religion and homophobia.

The two have no business being connected.

Disclosure alert - one of the books,Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, has a piece I wrote on the deceptions and propaganda of the religious right. How very appropriate:


From WIS-TV:

South Carolina legislators want to punish two public colleges for assigning books on homosexuality to freshmen. The House budget-writing committee on Wednesday tentatively approved a spending plan for 2014-15 that would cut $52,000 from the College of Charleston and $17,142 from the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Last summer, the College of Charleston assigned the Alison Bechdel book, "Fun Home," to incoming freshmen. Bechdel's book describes her childhood with a closeted gay father and her own coming out as a lesbian.

USC Upstate assigned "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio," referring to South Carolina's first gay and lesbian radio show, for a required course for all freshmen, which included lectures and other out-of-classroom activities meant to spark discussions about the book. Social conservatives complained about the colleges' selections.

The proposed reductions in the budget equal what the colleges spent on the programs. Rep. Garry Smith said he made the proposal after college officials refused to give students an option to read something else. Making a point requires impacting colleges' wallets, he said.

"I understand diversity and academic freedom," said Smith, R-Simpsonville. "This is purely promotion of a lifestyle with no academic debate." He said he wouldn't oppose the books if they were part of an elective course, rather than a campus-wide requirement.
 . . .  The House Ways and Means Committee defeated by a vote of 13-10 an effort by Republican Rep. B.R. Skelton to restore the money. He argued such retribution is inappropriate.

 . . .  Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter said legislators have no right pushing their own personal beliefs onto colleges. Such censorship can set a troubling precedent, she said. She warned Republicans who voted against Skelton's amendment that the punishment could negatively affect the state's image and job recruitment efforts.


Since when does a legislator butt in class curriculum? Since when should a legislator use the power of a budget as if he or she is a dictator to demand what teachers should assign students to read based on some false argument of  "academic freedom" and "debate"   which is no doubt defined by said legislator?

And please don't lay that junk on me about "taxpayers' money." The last time I checked, lgbt South Carolinians also pay taxes. Make no mistake about it. This issue has NOTHING to do with forcing students to accept a lifestyle.That phrase is just made up junk propagated to make homophobia sound more palpable.   Nor does this issue have to do with "debate" or "academic freedom."

This issue is about a legislator misusing the power of his office. This issue is about yet another attempt to symbolically emblazon a symbolic scarlet S (as in "sinner") on the persons of lgbts. This issue is about yet another attempt to communicate to lgbts that  no matter who we are or how far we go in life, the self-worth of ourselves and our families (even if our families include children) should be reduced  to the false white-hot fevered, fumbling imaginations of sexual intercourse and misappropriated Biblical verses disguised as legitimate moral concerns.

It's all a bunch of bull.

Way to go, Rep. Smith for allowing the Palmetto State to be embarrassed again!