Evan Derkacz

Conservative Christian Reserves Right to Preach Gay Bashing

Running around like a chicken with its head cut off, the American Family Association's Don Wildmon is out to prove that America's most high profile religious voices are as archaic, bigoted and dumbed-down as "the new atheists" preach they are.

Wildmon may as well be on tour with Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Dennett.

As James Watkins at Think Christian points out, Wildmon recently sent an ominous warning to supporters that "A bill in Congress makes it a crime for pastors and churches to speak against homosexuality," claiming that the new Hate Crime bill, which extends protection to the LGBT community, actually threatens free speech.

Err, not exactly. What H.R. 1592 DOES say is that if you bash a gay or transgendered person -- that is, if you physically assault them -- you are subject to a particular kind of prosecution because of the nature of the crime. In fact, while it should say that when a religious figure's expressed antipathy toward anyone in the LGBT community (or Muslims or women or anyone) can be directly tied to a violent crime, they can be held accountable -- but it doesn't.

It just says that if you cause bodily harm you're in trouble. Who could oppose that?

So you're left to ask yourself: is Wildmon's reading comprehension so poor? Probably not... it's more likely that Wildmon knows exactly what the bill says. But, as the conservative religious movement requires a surfeit of both fear and cash, any opportunity to misrepresent a bill that exactly ten people will read as the approach of the forces of doom will be taken and exploited. Case in point.

But these shenanigans are nothing new for the man whose reputation was solidified by a high-profile row with Three's Company, and its immoral message. This stuff just writes itself.

So, Mr. Wildmon, you can still preach the gospel of hatred to your heart's content, you just can't physically assault people. In today's marketplace, even this is controversial. And you can practically feel the whoosh of Hitchens' anti-religion screed flying from the shelves...

On the other hand, at this weekend's Pride parade in Sacramento, A Church for All came out to neutralize conservative evangelical protesters, commenting that:

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Group calls on Dems to leave Fox debate out in cold

The 75,000 strong Color of Change organization's efforts to urge the Congressional Black Caucus not to host a Democratic presidential debate with Fox have thus far been futile. The group argues that Fox News "consistent[ly] marginaliz[es]... Black leaders and the Black community." The video is HERE for those who aren't convinced.

Now, joined by Jesse Jackson and a bevy of publications and bloggers, ColorofChange is urging the DNC, which sanctions only six Democratic debates, to sanction the CBC/CNN debate and not the CBC/Fox partnership.

That would effectively make it an unofficial debate.

ColorofChange has all the quotes here, but below I cherry-pick:

*"FOX moderating a presidential debate on issues of importance to Black Americans is literally letting the Fox guard the henhouse – FOX should be rejected." -- Jesse Jackson

*"Fox News is not a 'fair and balanced' source of information or political debate, and it has repeatedly proven itself hostile to the interests of Black Americans... Case in point: Fox's recent sustained stain campaign against presidential candidate Barack Obama-they place undue emphasis on his middle name 'Hussein,' say he went to a fundamentalist Islamic school and question his religious affiliation, suggestively characterizing his church as having 'unusual doctrines.' And the network's framing and interpretation of Black (and Brown) issues and culture are often bigoted and lacking in any attempt to truly understand and present a fair picture." -- Afro American Newspapers Editorial

*"Anyone who has been watching the news the past few years should know that Fox News is nothing but a right-wing platform for conservative Republicans. So if that's the case, why were the Democrats even thinking about holding a debate on Fox News in Nevada? I understand the whole idea of reaching out to the other side, but Fox News is not just the other side. They are the opposition. It's one thing to debate Bill O'Reilly or the Fox News anchors. Everybody knows what's going on there. It's another thing to give Fox News a forum it doesn't already have where they can pretend to be 'fair and balanced.' But if the Democratic Party gets it, why doesn't the Congressional Black Caucus?" -- Keith Boykin, blogger and former Clinton official

*"Please help us Lord." -- Superspade

*"If the Ku Klux Klan or Council of Conservative Citizens had a cable news network, would it be appropriate to collaborate with them on hosting presidential debates, particularly when one of the candidates is black, a CBC member and a consistent target of the network's hatred and misinformation?" -- Jack and Jill Politics

Swiftboaters recruited to push abstinence

Guest post by Scott Swenson first appeared on RH Reality Check.

Using membership dues paid in part by federal tax dollars, the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA) hired the Washington, DC, public relations firm, Creative Response Concepts, best known for the 2004 "Swift Boat Veterans" ads against John Kerry, to launch a public relations effort supporting the failed and unpopular abstinence only education policies. Without a proven proactive program of their own to reduce STDs and unintended pregnancies, NAEA is likely to attack supporters of successful public health methods, like comprehensive sexuality education. While progressives are promotiong Prevention First and Responsible Education About Life, social conservatives once again will use fear and smear to distract voters, evidenced in the hiring of Creative Response Concepts (CRC), to exagerate the influence of the fewer than 1-in-5 voters who support failed abstinence education efforts.

The leadership of NAEA also needs to be investigated. Some of them already have been. Their Advisory Committee is a who's who of those who have profited from the Bush Administration's...

Longest jailed journalist in American history freed

Josh Wolf was jailed for protecting source materials (footage of an anti-free-trade protest) for longer than any other journalist in American history -- more than seven months. He was freed yesterday after agreeing to forfeit the video tape in question. But you don't have to wait for the feds to vet it. He posted the thoroughly uneventful footage on his blog HERE, stating:

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ABC News pushing Bogus Iran nuke story

Guest post from Sean-Paul Kelley.

How Did Such . . .

. . . a patently bogus article get through the editors at ABC news?

Seriously, the article has one source, and one source alone that says an Iranian nuke could be possible by 2009. And what does this one source base this completely unrealistic claim on? 1,000 new centrifuges Iran is installing at Natanz, which the articles notes, are not even operational.

As David Albright says, "If they continue at this pace, and they get the centrifuges to work and actually enrich uranium on a distinct basis," said David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security, "then you're looking at them having, potentially having enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 2009."

But if you go back and look at the record and see how long it has taken for Iran to get where they are you realize what garbage this article is. We've been expecting Iran to install 3,000 centrifuges for some time. And now that they've installed 1/3 that number we're going to blow it up into a crisis? First it was 3,000 centrifuges that make up the red line, now it's 1,000?

Please. This is nothing more than disinformation, a well timed leak doled out to Ross and ABC. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Refuting the Myth of Liberal Intolerance

Guest post by Frank Cocozzelli:

The Religious Right and their allies love to accuse liberals of hypocrisy. To that end, one favorite attack line is to accuse Liberalism -- for which tolerance is a core value-of itself being intolerant.

This is, of course is absolute nonsense. So much so, that when the leader of the neoconservative's pet religious battalion at the Institute on Religion and Democracy attempts to quote an esteemed liberal philosopher, he gets it so wrong that I begin to suspect that they actually believe their own propaganda.

In a recent article, Institute on Religion and Democracy President, Jim Tonkowich wrote on the subject of "The Dangers of Liberal Toleration," starting out by misstating both John Rawls' theory on morality as well the liberal...

Edwards campaign WILL continue

As we know from pre-war reporting, information from "a source" can be a dicey business. Anonymity is an absolutely crucial element to good reporting, but extra care must be taken to assess the motives and track record of a source.

Without a confirmation from a second source, it's more or less a synonym for "rumor."

As it was in the case of John Edwards' announcement today. The first to declare his candidacy for the Democratic nomination WILL remain in the running despite the recurrence of his wife's cancer.

The conference, which ended moments ago, included these words:

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Gonzales shut down probe of Gonzales last year

In a brand new article Murray Waas writes that Bush's Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recommended that the president shut down an investigation into domestic spying last year, knowing full well that a part of that investigation focused on Gonzales himself.

How many smoking guns can you fit in a Volkswagen Beetle?

Last year, in defending the president's decision to shut down the investigation, Gonzales noted that "the president of the United States makes the decision," writing to the Senate Judiciary Committee:

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ExxonMobil costs Stanford a big donor

Millionaire movie producer Steve Bing has withdrawn his donation to Stanford (his alma mater; and a school with numerous "Bing" buildings), due to its partnership with ExxonMobil commenting, through a spokesman, that: "Exxon Mobil is trying to greenwash itself, and it's using Stanford as its brush."

DUH. ExxonMobil is giving $100 million over 10 years (while other big oil interests are throwing in another $125 million over the same period) and is doing so to either rehabilitate their tarnished brand or to affect the research of one of the world's leading institutions -- or both.

According to Jennifer Washburne, an expert in the relationship between Universities and Corporations, an ad on the NY Times' oped page, signed by the Stanford Prof Lynn Orr, "suggested that the scientific debate about global warming is ongoing: 'Although climate has varied throughout Earth’s history from natural causes, today there is a lively debate about . . . the climate’s response to the presence of more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.'"

This, despite the fact that, as the Mercury article notes, there's a virtual consensus on the fact that human activity is the cause of global warming.

It comes as no surprise, of course, that ExxonMobil was still ...

Edwards to freeze out Fox News

A couple of weeks ago it came to light that Nevada Democratic Party were having one of their presidential debates hosted by Fox News.

Fox, as many have pointed out, is less "conservative" than it is a simple propaganda network for Republicans. In any case, it is extremely disparaging of Democrats:

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