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Klingenschmitt: Gay Couple Wanting To Marry Is 'In A Hurry To Run Into Hell'

Earlier this year, a federal district court judge struck down Texas' ban on gay marriage but stayed his own ruling until the case could be heard by the appellate court. Last month, a lesbian couple asked the judge to lift his stay so that they could get married since one of the women is pregnant with the couple's child, arguing that, were something to happen to her, the other woman would not be able to claim legal parenthood. Attorney General Greg Abbott opposed the effort to lift the stay, saying there is no harm is forcing the couple to wait until the appellate court hears the case early next year.

On his "Pray In Jesus Name" program today, Gordon Klingenschmitt, a newly-elected Republican member of the Colorado legislature, discussed this case and wondered why these women were in such a hurry to condemn themselves to Hell.

"Isn't it a tragedy when you can't have homosexual sin right away?" he asked, mockingly. "That's what they're alleging and, of course, it's ridiculous. In God's government, that sin ought to be delayed indefinitely. And, in fact, if they remained abstinent until death, maybe they wouldn't be punished for the sin that they're trying to expedite."

With a sigh, Kilngenschmitt then lamented that "some people are in a hurry to run into Hell":

Joyner: High Salaries For Black Athletes Are God's Reparations For Slavery

On Friday's episode of "Prophetic Perspective on Current Events," Rick Joyner focused on the unrest that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of a grand jury's failure to indict a white police officer who shot an unarmed black teen. While discussing his views on the issue, Joyner shared his belief that blacks were brought to America as slaves as part of God's plan to teach this nation about freedom and that the large salaries professional athletes earn today are God's reparations for slavery.

"As the Lord showed me many years ago," he said, "He sent the blacks to our country to help teach us about freedom and liberty. You say 'they were made slaves, how are they going to know about freedom and liberty?' Wasn't Israel in prison, I mean they were made slaves to Egypt. You know, the only two people groups in history that were enslaved because of their race were the Israelites and the black people."

Citing the passage in Exodus in which the Egyptians shower the Israelites with riches as payment for their years of slavery, Joyner then said that the same thing is happening today with black professional athletes.

"I believe that's one reason for all the high salaries for athletes today," he said. "I rejoice in it. The bigger the salary that are mostly going to minorities, I'm saying that's the Lord doing that. They may not use it right or anything, but  the Lord is going to repay them":

Glenn Beck's Miraculous Double Rainbow

After he and his co-host Pat Gray reasonably explained why Satanists are not entitled to equal treatment under the law because ... well, they're just not, Glenn Beck recounted on his radio show today a miraculous experience in which God saved his "Man in the Moon" show from bad weather.

Back in 2013, Beck hosted a three-day event in Salt Lake City that featured, as its main attraction, a large stage production of a program called "The Man In The Moon," in which Beck told the story of humanity from the perspective of the moon.

The show would "change the way we celebrate the Fourth of July," Beck promised, and it turned out to be so important that God even stopped it from raining that weekend so that it could be performed, as Beck explained today.

"I am not afraid of standing and saying that was a miracle," Beck said. "And we have seen them, starting at 'The Man In The Moon.' There's one that 20,000 people saw. It hadn't rained in a hundred years on that weekend. It rains on that weekend and I mean rained, it pours, it pours rain. What happens? We get together, all of us and we pray. 20,000 people, we pray. There's a double rainbow over the stage. It clears up. It was absolutely miraculous":

Beck: Allowing Satanic Display Is A Sign That 'Destruction Is Coming Our Way'

Among the five displays approved for the Florida Capitol this holiday season will be one produced the Satanic Temple and Glenn Beck is not pleased, warning that "destruction is coming our way."

Even though the Satanic Temple does not actually worship or even believe in a literal Satan, Beck's co-host Pat Gray was particularly upset by the news, insisting that the Constitution does not guarantee Satanists the right to equal treatment.

"There's nothing in the Constitution that says every religion is equal," he said. "There just isn't."

"I have news for ya," Beck chimed in, "destruction is coming our way."

Gray then returned to his cogent legal argument as to why other religions are not entitled to equal treatment under the law by explaining that "when Satanists come to you and say 'well, we want equal time,' you tell them 'tough, you're not getting it!'"

And why don't Satanists deserve equal time, according to Gray?

"Because you don't deserve it" ... unlike Christianity.

"Christianity has earned the right," Beck added, "not in the Dark Ages, but in this country, they have earned the right to be at the table":

AFA News Director: Demanding Public Trials For Police Officers 'Sounds A Whole Lot Like Lynching'

Bryan Fischer was out sick yesterday, so the American Family Association's news director, Fred Jackson, filled in as guest host on Fischer's "Focal Point" radio program where he interviewed the ACRU's Robert Knight about the protests that have erupted after two separate grand juries failed to indict police officers for killing unarmed black men.

Knight declared that the activists who have protested these decisions are "trying desperately to start a race war" and blamed President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder for fanning the flames by supposedly suggesting that all police officers are racist.

"They really need to be taken to the woodshed for this," Knight said, which prompted Jackson to declare that those who are demanding that these police officers face trial for their actions are really calling for them to be lynched.

"Somebody was saying this morning, 'we ought to have public trials,'" Jackson said. "What do you mean by a public trial? That sounds a whole lot like lynching to me":

Garlow: Force Gay Marriage Supporters To Live In Houses With Improper Plumbing

Earlier this week, Jim Garlow called in to the "Point Of View" radio program to discuss his participation in the Vatican's recent summit on marriage. During the course of the conversation, Garlow offered up a rather interesting argument against the acceptance of gay marriage.

"All the people who advocate for so-called same-sex marriage ought to have to live in homes in which the plumbers who built them, or the electricians who built them, didn't understand the difference between the male and female end of piping or plumbing or of electrical as well," he said, "and see how that home works out for them."

"It doesn't work," he concluded:

Matt Barber Claims Satan Is 'The Author' Of Gay Marriage

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Matt Barber were discussing the recent Vatican summit that was attended by a variety of anti-gay American Religious Right activists.

Staver and Barber praised those who attended, especially Rick Warren, for their strong stand against gay marriage, which Barber said was designed by Satan.

"There are flip sides to a coin here," Barber said. "God designed marriage between man and woman in Genesis and Christ himself reiterated this Matthew 19, said it's between a man and a woman. If God is the author of marriage, man-woman marriage, then you have to ask, we're talking about the spiritual context here, who is the author of this perverted marriage, idea of marriage, which is the flip-side of the coin? God is the author of natural marriage. The Enemy is the author of unnatural marriage, and that's what we're talking about here, unnatural marriage, counterfeit marriage. It's the flip side of the coin. It's light and dark":

Beck: Al Sharpton Is A Terrorist Cleric

Glenn Beck opened his radio program today by expressing his disbelief that a grand jury had failed to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner ... and then proceeded to spend a large part of the remainder of the program attacking Al Sharpton as a terrorist cleric.

Beck and his co-hosts were discussing a debate that took place between Bill O'Reilly and Tavis Smiley last night over the issue of police violence against black Americans, which somehow set Beck off on a rant against Sharpton, whom he declared was no different than a radical Islamic cleric.

"Al Sharpton's not a reverend, he's a cleric!" Beck fumed. "Stop calling Al Sharpton a preacher. He's a cleric. He's a dangerous extremist cleric."

When co-host Stu Burguiere attempted to point out that maybe the comparison was not quite apt, as Sharpton has never killed anyone nor called for anyone to be killed, Beck wasn't buying it.

"Really?" Beck asked. "Al Sharpton's not killed anybody? Can we look? Has there been any deaths in any of these marches? How much terror has been done on the streets of Ferguson? How much terror? What do you think this is? These are terrorist organizations! They are terrorizing the people of Ferguson. They are terrorizing the store owners":

Daniel Lapin Blames 'Dark Pathology Of Liberalism' For Ferguson, Kristallnacht

On his television program last night, Glenn Beck interviewed Rabbi Daniel Lapin about the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, which Lapin said was motivated by the same beliefs responsible for Kristallnacht, the infamous Night of Broken Glass during which Nazi paramilitary forces ransacked, looted, and destroyed Jewish homes and business.

"When the dark pathology of liberalism, not so much a doctrine as a sick and twisted pathology, manages to strip Judeo-Christian belief out of American society, congratulations guys, welcome to Ferguson," Lapin said. "You succeeded."

When Beck then asserted that the people behind the protests in Ferguson are the same people who were behind Occupy Wall Street, Lapin readily agreed.

"Same people, same beliefs, same nihilism, same delight in destruction," he said. "You know, it's Kristallnacht in Germany":

Barber And Staver Blame Ferguson Unrest On Obama And Secular Government

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, which they predictably blamed on President Obama and the separation of church and state.

Barber asserted that "the greatest solution for reconciliation is in the person of Jesus Christ," declaring that America must experience a revival in which people turn "toward the founder of the universe and he who is responsible, I don't care what anybody says, for the founding of this great nation."

Staver, the head of Liberty Counsel, declared that there would have been unrest in Ferguson regardless of what the grand jury decided because of the lack of state-sponsored religion.

"When we start booting God out of the schools and we boot him out of our communities and we have the silly lawsuits by Freedom From Religion Foundation and others who just want to erase God from the public square," Staver said, "there's consequences when we operate in an environment that is godless."

Barber then replied that the "lawlessness" in Ferguson was entirely predictable and largely the fault of President Obama.

"When we have a president himself who engages in lawlessness, he sets a precedent, he sets an example for others to follow," Barber declared. "He himself has been ruling as an imperial ruler and so it really is frankly not that surprising to me that we would see these rabble-rousers en masse go and burn down these buildings and stuff in a lawless manner":

Bryan Fischer Does Not Like/Understand The Phrase 'A Nation Of Immigrants'

Bryan Fischer spent a good portion of his radio program today voicing his opposition to "amnesty" and any effort to pass immigration reform legislation, at one point going off on an incoherent tangent to complain about the phrase "a nation of immigrants."

The phrase is generally used to make the point that most American citizens today are descendants of ancestors who immigrated to America in previous generations, but Fischer apparently doesn't understand that. 

"Eighty-five to 87% of the people that live in the United States were born here," Fischer argued. "You know what that makes us? That makes us native Americans. We are Americans by birth."

Things then became even more confusing when Fischer began to argue that the Native Americans who inhabited this land when the settlers arrived where themselves immigrants from Eurasia.

"It means that Native American tribes are immigrants too!" Fischer proclaimed. "If we're a nation of immigrants, to use their expression, that has to apply to the Indian Nations that were here when European settlers arrived. Everybody here is an immigrant. Everybody here is a descendant of those who immigrated to these shores."

Ummm, yes. That is exactly what the phrase "a nation of immigrants" means.

Pregnant Workers' Rights at the Supreme Court

Peggy Young's employer made her choose between her job and her pregnancy, but can employers do that?
PFAW Foundation

Hagee: Strict Rules And The Ten Commandments Would Have Prevented Unrest In Ferguson

On yesterday's edition of "The Hagee Hotline," Matthew Hagee and local conservative radio host Trey Ware discussed the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, that erupted after a grand jury failed to indict the police office who shot and killed Michael Brown.

Hagee and Ware are quite certain that all of this unrest is being stoked and orchestrated by unnamed nefarious forces which seek to spread chaos and undermine social cohesion, with Hagee insisting that if the Ten Commandments were being followed, none of this would ever have happened.

Hagee noted that when he was growing up with four siblings, his father John Hagee, set down strict rules that kept the house from descending into chaos because he simply "never let it begin," which is exactly what the government should have done in Ferguson.

"Now that seems like an overly simple principle," Hagee said, in what can only be described an absurd understatement, "but apply it to the situation in Ferguson."

"Put the Ten Commandments into play in the Ferguson situation," he stated. "Thou shalt not steal. What would that commandment have created in this matter? One, there never would have been a reason to be an engagement between Michael Brown and Officer Wilson."

"Thou shalt not kill," he continued, talking not about Wilson's shooting of Brown, but rather the unrelated murder of Zemir Begic in St. Louis over the weekend. "What would that do in the situation we see happening with the young man who was assaulted by a pack of teens carrying hammers who beat his car and then, when he stepped out of the car, beat him to death twenty miles outside of Ferguson in a community just outside of St. Louis? We're seeing these kinds of things pop up all over the place and the excuse is injustice. The truth is we want chaos":

Todd Starnes: Wrong Again

Over the weekend, Todd Starnes received a message on Facebook from a mother in North Carolina who claimed that the Disney Channel's website had banned the word "God." The website, it seems, had asked people to list what they were thankful for and her daughter had attempted to write that she was thankful for "God, my family, my church and my friends," only to have her message rejected.

So naturally, the mother complained to Starnes about this "discrimination" and Starnes, of course, turned the entire thing into another column about supposed anti-Christian persecution in America:

“We together figured out that the word God was the problem,” Julie said.

Sure enough, when they removed the word “God” from the post – the Disney Channel approved Lilly’s message. And then – Julie contacted me.

So, I gave it a try, too. I tried posting what I was thankful for on the Disney Channel website.

And just like Lilly and Julie, Disney prevented me from posting any message that included the word “God.”

...

Disney certainly seems to be implying that thanking God is not nice. Well, neither is blocking the Almighty from a website.

Julie said her daughter is a very loving and accepting child who was raised to understand that not everyone believes in God.

“We’ve always told her that inevitably there would come a day when she would be discriminated against for her faith but we never thought Disney would be the source,” she said.

I do wonder what sort of message the Disney Channel is sending when they tell children that mentioning God in public is bad manners.

Predictably, Fox News seized on the story and interviewed the mother and daughter about Disney's blatant hostility toward God, which eventually prompted Disney to issue an exasperated statement, which Starnes has now added to his column, pointing out that it was not bigotry at work, but simple filtering software:

Disney employs word filtering technology to prevent profanity from appearing on our websites.  Unfortunately, because so many people attempt to abuse the system and use the word "God" in conjunction with profanity, in an abundance of caution our system is forced to catch and prevent any use of the word on our websites.  The company would have been happy to explain our filtering technology to the inquiring family had they contacted us.

Judge Allows Glenn Beck Boston Marathon Defamation Lawsuit To Move Forward

Following the Boston Marathon bombing last year, Glenn Beck set out on a mission to prove that the government was engaged in a massive conspiracy to cover up the truth, during which he repeatedly asserted that one of the victims who was injured in the attack was really an al Qaeda operative responsible for the bombing.

In the weeks following the bombing, Beck repeatedly insisted that Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, a spectator who was briefly considered to be a "person of interest" by investigators though quickly exonerated, was really an al Qaeda "control agent" and the "money man" who had financed the entire operation and had recruited the Tsarnaev brothers to carry it out.

In response to these unfounded claims, Alharbi eventually sued Beck for defamation and slander, and Beck's lawyers responded by trying to get the lawsuit thrown out on the grounds that Alharbi was "involuntary public figure" which would require Alharbi to prove not simply that Beck made false accusations against him, but that he did so with "actual malice."

Of course, it was Beck himself who continued to focus attention on Alharbi, meaning that Beck's legal team was essentially arguing that Alharbi became a public figure as a result of Beck's attacks ... which they said means that Alharbi cannot now sue Beck for those very same attacks because he was a public figure.

Needless to say, this novel legal argument did not get very far with the federal judge hearing the case:

A federal judge has rejected a bid by conservative commentator Glenn Beck to toss out a libel lawsuit filed by a Saudi student Beck repeatedly accused of funding the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

In a ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris said the suit brought by Abdulrahman Alharbi could go forward notwithstanding claims by Beck, his website The Blaze.com, and firms connected to his radio show that the Saudi's role in events near the finish line of the marathon made him a public figure. If deemed a public figure, Alharbi would have found it difficult or impossible to proceed with the suit since he would need proof of actual malice: namely, that Beck intentionally lied or recklessly disregarded the truth.

...

"Choosing to attend a sporting event as one of thousands of spectators is not the kind of conduct that a reasonable person would expect to result in publicity. Quite to the contrary, a spectator at an event like the Boston Marathon would reasonably expect to disappear into the throngs of others, never attracting notice by the press. Because he did not 'assume the risk of publicity,' Alharbi does not meet the definition of an involuntary public figure," the judge wrote.

Saris went on to note that Beck continued to level allegations at the Saudi student for several weeks after authorities made clear Alharbi was no longer under investigation.

"Even if a private person meets the definition of an involuntary public figure as a matter of bad luck during a public controversy, the status is of limited duration.

Glenn Beck Theorizes That Progressives Want To Reinstate The Alien and Sedition Acts In Response To Ferguson Unrest

On his radio broadcast today, Glenn Beck played a clip of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan threatening to "tear this goddamn country up" in response to Ferguson, bizarrely suggesting that progressives would now seek to use such threats as an excuse for President Obama to bring back the Alien and Sedition Acts through executive order.

Facetiously playing the role of a naive progressive responding to Farrakhan's remarks, Beck said that the only proper solution is to reinstate the Alien and Sedition Acts so that "if you say anything against the country, we can put you in prison."

Linking this to President Obama's plan to provide millions of dollars for body cameras and training in an effort to help improve relations between local police departments and minority communities, Beck mockingly said that "if only we could get that Alien and Sedition Act back, we'd be a perfect nation, wouldn't we?"

"We'd have somebody that could take it into their own hands," Beck continued, still in character. "We need somebody who is going to start taking matters into their own hands and just getting the job done":

Barton: America Must Have 'A Biblical View On Computer Programming'

Back in September, David Barton spoke at a "Truth For A New Generation" Christian apologetics conference in South Carolina. While at the conference, he participated in an interview which was recently uploaded to YouTube in which he made the case that America must implement a "biblical view" on literally every issue, even down to computer programming.

On marriage, Barton called for the elimination of no-fault divorce, and afterr repeating his claim that the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of our right to confront our accusers came directly out of the Bible, Barton said that conservative Christians need to make sure that everything from economics to contracts to employer-employee relations operates according to strictly biblical principles.

Once again citing the importance of Christians wielding total control over the Seven Mountains of culture, Barton demanded that society uphold "a biblical view on computer programing" and fondly recalled how, until the 1960s, Hollywood could not release any film "unless the church approved it."

"Until we get back into saying, you know, I've got to have a biblical view on computer programming, I've got to have a biblical view as a business, as a Chamber of Commerce, whatever it is," Barton said, "if we don't get that back to where everyone has a common worldview and, based on our documents, that is there is a God, he gives you a certain set of rights, government protects those rights, he gives a fixed moral law that I'm not allowed to alter and then, below that, I can make decisions, until we get back to the common understanding of the nation, we won't have a stable nation":

AFA Does Not Support Effort To Establish Christianity As Mississippi's Official Religion

Recently, a pro-Confederacy group in Mississippi launched an effort to get a measure on the ballot in 2016 that, if passed, will establish a "Confederate Heritage Month" in the state, as well as designate English as the official state language. Among the provisions contained in the measure are requirements that whenever an American flag is displayed on a public building, a state flag of the same size must also be displayed and "whenever the pledge of allegiance to the national flag is recited, the state flag salute shall be recited immediately thereafter." On top of that, "whenever the national anthem is played in a public venue or at a public event in Mississippi, either 'Dixie' or 'Go, Mississippi' shall be played immediately thereafter."

Perhaps the most controversial provision of the measure is the requirement that Christianity be recognized as the official state religion, which is just the sort of thing one would expect the Mississippi-based American Family Association to embrace and support. After all, the AFA's leading spokesman, Bryan Fischer, has repeatedly said that the Constitution was not designed to protect any religion other than Christianity and that states have every right to establish an official religion.

But, amazingly, Fischer and the AFA are not supporting the effort:

Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the American Family Association, told CP that he questioned the need for Initiative 46.

"I'm not clear who is behind this initiative or exactly what problems they're trying to solve," said Fischer of the AFA.

"I will be surprised if the organizers are able to get the number of signatures they need since most Mississippians aren't going to see the need for it. Mississippians like the state just fine as it is."

Fischer added that many "of the provisions in the initiative would be more appropriately handled at the state legislative level if they are to be handled at all."

"Constitutional remedies should be reserved for issues of primary importance. The issue of school mascots, for instance, doesn't rise to that level," said Fischer.

"Our main concern here at AFA is for religious liberty to be preserved in Mississippi, and we believe that our state constitution and the recently passed religious freedom restoration act provide adequate protection for religious freedom here in the Magnolia State."

'New Avenues Of Misrepresentation And Overstatement': A Devastating Review Of David Barton's Pseudo-History​

Back in 2012, Religious Right pseudo-historian David Barton published his book "The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson," through which he sought to portray Jefferson as someone who would make today's Religious Right seem moderate by comparison.

In response to Barton's book, Warren Throckmorton, a professor at Grove City College, began to expose Barton's long track record of producing shoddy works of "history" and, with a fellow Grove City professor, co-authored a response to Barton's book called "Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President."

As a result, Barton's work came under increasing scrutiny and Thomas Nelson Publishing pulled his book from publication. Jay Richards, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a Creationist think tank, emerged as a top critic of Barton's disreputable scholarship within the Religious Right and was so alarmed by it that he asked Gregg Frazer, a history professor at Master's College, a Christian university in California, to review some of Barton's work, most notably his popular DVD "America’s Godly Heritage."

After viewing it, Frazer wrote an utterly scathing review of Barton's work for Richards, which Richards then reportedly used in making the case to others in the Religious Right movement that Barton's historical scholarship cannot and should not be trusted.

Today, with Frazer's permission, Throckmorton posted a copy of his review of Barton's DVD on his website and it is absolutely devastating.

Frazer's review is thirteen pages long and exposes the myriad ways in which Barton routinely and intentionally misrepresents American history in order to bolster his own radical right-wing political agenda. Many of the problems that Frazer highlights will be familiar to readers of this blog, as we have covered several of them in the past as well, but the report is well worth reading as it systematically debunks a wide array of Barton's favorite talking points, such as his tendency to credit everything with which he agrees as having come from the "Founding Fathers":

This leads to one last area of concern in America’s Godly Heritage which can best be expressed as a question: Who counts as a “Founding Father?” This issue reappears frequently in Barton’s works. He seems to count anyone of whom he approves who was living at the time of the Revolution, the founding of the political system under the Constitution, or within fifty or sixty years of those times as a “Founding Father.” For example, he says that “the American Tract Society was started by the Founding Fathers.” First, not one of those listed as a Tract  Society founder signed the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. By what standard are they “Founding Fathers?” Furthermore, the Society was started in 1825 – 36 years after the Constitution was ratified. Madison was the last living framer an d he died in 1836. How many Founding Fathers were even alive in 1825? Similarly, in his discussion of Vidal v. Girard, he said it was decided in “the time of the Founders.” It was decided in 1844 –55 years after the Constitution went into effect and, a s was just mentioned, the last framer died in 1836! Barton refers to John Quincy Adams as a “Founding Father.” At the time of the Constitutional Convention, he was a 20 year-old just out of law school (he was 8 when the Declaration was signed) – by what standard is he a “Founding Father?” Barton also claims that the “Founding Fathers” established the New England Primer as a text, but the Founding Fathers did not establish any texts for schools – that was left to local communities to decide. Apparently, by Barton’s standards (whatever they are), local school boards were “Founding Fathers.” Finally, Barton says that the state constitutions indicate that the “Founding Fathers” wanted to be sure that Christians held public office. But the Founding Fathers, in Article VI of the Constitution, specifically disallowed any religious test for office. That would seem to be a strange and counterproductive prohibition to be put in place by those who want to ensure that Christians hold the various offices.

It is worth noting that, according to Throckmorton, this review has been in circulation among Religious Right leaders since 2012 and it does not appear to have diminished Barton's reputation among them in the least, nor has it stopped Barton from routinely peddling misinformation.

In Mississippi Marriage Ruling, Judge Gives History Lesson on Anti-Gay Discrimination

The federal court ruling striking down Mississippi’s ban on same-sex couples getting married is worth reading for many reasons. Paul wrote earlier at People For the American Way's blog about U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves’s compelling explanation of the role of the courts in protecting Americans’ constitutional rights. The ruling is also filled with rich historical detail about the extent to which the state of Mississippi and the federal government have discriminated against LGBT citizens over the years, as well as the ways in which groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the notorious Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission used anti-gay rhetoric and innuendo in their attacks on African American civil rights leaders and institutions.

This history is an important rebuttal to bogus claims by anti-gay activists that gay people do not need to have their rights protected in law because they have never suffered from discrimination.

Quotes from the opinion, with citations removed for readability:

Any claim that Mississippians quietly accommodated gay and lesbian citizens could no longer be made in the 1960s, when prejudice against homosexuals (and other groups) became more visible during the civil rights movement. Segregationists called their opponents “racial  perverts,” while U.S. Marshals – summoned to enforce civil rights – were labeled “sadists and  perverts.” Klan propaganda tied together “Communists, homosexuals, and Jews, fornicators and liberals and angry blacks – infidels all.”

One Klan photo showed a black man touching the crotch of the white man sitting next to him, attempting to make the link between racial equality and homosexuality explicit.

Civil rights leaders had predicted the attack. In selecting the Freedom Riders, James Farmer had conducted interviews to weed out “Communists, homosexuals, [and] drug addicts.” “We had to screen them very carefully because we knew that if they found anything to throw at us, they would throw it,” he explained.

This reflected society’s notion that homosexuals were “undesirables.” It also placed civil rights leaders in the position of seeking rights for one disenfranchised group while simultaneously seeking to avoid association with another disenfranchised group. Mississippians opposed to integration harassed several civil rights leaders for their homosexuality. Bill Higgs was a prominent gay Mississippi civil rights lawyer. He was targeted for his activism, convicted in absentia of delinquency of a minor, and threatened with “unlimited  jailings” should he ever return to Mississippi.

He never did.

Reeves also discusses the case of Bayard Rustin, the openly gay African American civil rights activist who organized the 1963 March on Washington at which Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

The most interesting part of Rustin’s story, though – and the reason why he merits more discussion here – is that he was subjected to anti-gay discrimination by both white and black people, majority and minority alike. Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, a black Democrat, threatened to feed the media a false story that Rustin was having an affair with Martin Luther King, Jr., unless Dr. King canceled a protest at the Democratic National Convention.

Other persons within the civil rights movement were similarly “put off by Rustin’s homosexuality.” Roy Wilkins, an NAACP executive, “was particularly nasty to Bayard Rustin – very hostile,” in part because he “was very nervous about Bayard’s homosexuality.” Dr. King eventually had Rustin resign “because of persistent criticism of Rustin’s homosexuality and Communist ties and because of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell’s threat.”

Rustin reemerged years later as one of the principal organizers of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. A. Philip Randolph and Dr. King wanted Rustin as the march’s chief organizer, but Wilkins pushed back “because [Rustin] was gay . . . something which in particular would offend J. Edgar Hoover.” The group ultimately “decided Randolph would be in charge of the march, that Rustin would be the principal organizer, but that he would stay somewhat in the background.”

The concern about offending Hoover was prescient, as the FBI Director and other top officials soon moved to use Rustin’s homosexuality against him. In August 1963, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and President John F. Kennedy urgently reviewed the transcript of a FBI wiretap in which Dr. King acknowledged Rustin’s homosexuality. A day later, Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina “rose in the Senate to denounce Rustin for sexual perversion, vagrancy, and lewdness.” FBI “headquarters badgered the field offices for new details” of Rustin’s sex life for months.

As Reeves makes clear, this kind of persecution was not only reserved for civil rights activists.

Rustin’s story speaks to the long tradition of Americans from all walks of life uniting to discriminate against homosexuals. It did not matter if one was liberal or conservative, segregationist or civil rights leader, Democrat or Republican; homosexuals were “the other.” Being homosexual invited scrutiny and professional consequences.

These consequences befell quite a few Mississippians. Ted Russell, the conductor of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, lost his job and his Belhaven College faculty position after he was caught in a gay sex sting by the Jackson Police Department. In the early 1980s, Congressman Jon Hinson drew scrutiny for frequenting an X-rated gay movie theater in Washington, D.C., and although he won reelection, he resigned when he returned to Washington and was caught performing gay sex acts in a Capitol Hill bathroom. As early as 1950, the State’s flagship institution of higher learning, the University of Mississippi, “forced three homosexual students and one faculty member to leave the university” because it “did not tolerate homosexuality.” Lesbian instructors at Mississippi University for Women were pushed out of their jobs, while students at other Mississippi public universities were expelled for their homosexuality. A 1979 article on gay Jacksonians said “most” remained closeted because “they fear losing their jobs, friends and families.”

Reeves discusses the anti-gay actions of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, which was created in 1956 to maintain racial segregation by any means necessary.

Sovereignty Commission “[i]nvestigators and local officials also targeted local blacks and outsiders involved in civil rights activities as being sexually deviant.” They singled out Rust College, a private historically black institution, on reports that instructors there were “homosexuals and racial agitators.”

Those with power took smaller, yet meaningful, actions to discourage gay organizing and association in Mississippi. The State refused to let gay rights organizations incorporate as nonprofits. The newspaper at Mississippi State University – student-led, with an elected editor – refused to print a gay organization’s advertisement notifying gay and lesbian students of an off-campus “Gay Center” offering “counseling, legal aid and a library of homosexual literature. An advisor to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concluded that the Jackson Police Department took “a series . . . of maneuvers to harass members of Jackson’s gay community.” “As of 1985 not a single university campus in Mississippi recognized a lesbian and gay student group.”

Reeves’s ruling also makes clear that official discrimination is not only in the state’s past.

In 1990, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed a trial judge who declared that a mother, who was a lesbian, could not visit her children in the presence of her female partner. In Weigand v. Houghton, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed a trial judge who refused residential custody to a father in large part because he was in a long-term relationship with another man. A dissent complained that the father’s sexuality had impaired the court’s judgment, since the child would now have to live with “the unemployed stepfather [who] is a convicted felon, drinker, drug-taker, adulterer, wife-beater, and child-threatener, and . . . the mother [who] has been transitory, works two jobs, and has limited time with the child.”

In 2002, one of Mississippi’s justice court judges, frustrated with advances in gay rights in California, Vermont, and Hawaii, “opined that homosexuals belong in mental institutions.” Although he was reprimanded and fined by the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court vacated the sanctions. It was more important for gay citizens to know that their judge was biased and seek his recusal than to “forc[e] judges to conceal their prejudice against gays and lesbians,” it wrote. The “Commission urges us to ‘calm the waters’ when, as the guardians of this state’s judicial system, we should be helping our citizens to spot the crocodiles.”

Reeves details a number of recent complaints and lawsuits challenging discriminatory treatment by state and local governments as well as legal inequities such as the fact that Mississippi law permits a single person to adopt a child but not gay or lesbian couples.

This kind of restriction was once supported by pseudoscience. We now recognize that it actually “harms the children, by telling them they don’t have two parents, like other children, and harms the parent who is not the adoptive parent by depriving him or her of the legal status of a parent.”

Reeves concludes the historical section of the ruling this way:

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” That is as true here as anywhere else. Seven centuries of strong objections to homosexual conduct have resulted in a constellation of State laws that treat gay and lesbian Mississippians as lesser, “other” people. Thus, it is easy to conclude that they have suffered through a long and unfortunate history of discrimination.

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