Michael Brown

Voter Registration in Ferguson Inspires Rather Than Disgusts

This post was originally published at the Huffington Post. 

On August 9, I don't believe 18-year-old Michael Brown, Jr. woke up in the morning thinking he would not see the evening sun, his family or friends, the end of the day that started with hope and promise. That morning, I don't believe Officer Darren Wilson left for work knowing his tragic encounter with an unarmed young African American male, who he would shoot and kill, would be the spark that ignited the flame that has been slowly burning in the city of Ferguson - the need for change.

In the wake of the fatal police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri, community members and civil rights activists are proactively turning pain into power by praying, marching, meeting and yes, registering people to vote -- a move that the leader of the Missouri Republican Party, Matt Wills, said this week was "not only disgusting but completely inappropriate."

What is disgusting is that type of commentary and thinking! What is disgusting is for anyone to say, as Wills did, that "injecting race into this conversation and into this tragedy, not only is not helpful, but it doesn't help a continued conversation of justice and peace."

Is that leader aware or in denial of the Missouri Attorney General's 2013 report on racial profiling which shows that out of 5,384 Ferguson Police Department stops, 4,632 were of African Americans? That's disgusting and "completely inappropriate."

Is he aware or in denial that of the 521 arrests made during the report period, 483 were of African Americans? That out of 2,489 stops for moving violations, 1,983 were of African Americans? Shame on that leader and those who are "disgusted" by the simple act of voter registration drives to bring "light into darkness"!

In the shadow of Michael's death and the ensuing protests, I cannot imagine a more profound, inspiring response than voter registration. Justice and peace are close companions of democracy. Conducting voter registration drives at any time -- but especially at this time in a "sick and tired of being sick and tired" city that had just 12 percent turnout in this year's municipal election, 11.7 percent turnout in 2013, and 8.9 percent in 2012 -- is a critical way to address this as both a personal tragedy and a systemic tragedy.

It is not "disgusting" but deserving of those who live in a place that lacks diversity in local government, from the city council to the school board to the police department.

With deep condolences to the parents of Michal Brown, Jr. -- not wanting to "politicize" his death or exploit a grieving family who is calling for justice for the one who left out on Saturday morning and will never return -- what better way to honor them than by sowing the seeds of long-term, much needed change? Even from where I am in Washington, DC, I feel the urgency of the call for change in the homes, neighborhoods, businesses, and community of Ferguson.

The world has watched the dehumanization of a mother's child, police with military-grade gear tear-gassing protesters, journalists arrested and assaulted, and the response of helplessness and frustration that many community members must feel toward elected officials from City Hall to the halls of Congress. As Simon Maloy from Salon put it, "a week's worth of unrestrained police crackdowns...with the blessing or tacit approval of political leaders...will tend to erode whatever trust one has left in the people in charge."

So those of us who are watching should applaud, not complain about or attack, a community that turns a lack of trust in its elected officials into a movement for change.

We should applaud and not attack an inspiring vision for a different future for the rest of Michael's siblings, family and friends -- one in which the local officials are responsive to the needs of the entire community, and better reflect the community's diversity. Be "disgusted" by the city's racial profiling data. Be "disgusted" by the predicament of "driving while Black." Be "disgusted" by efforts to suppress voter participation, in Ferguson and around the country as some have "dusted off Jim Crow tactics" trying to stand in the way of men and women, youth and elder, unemployed and employed, determined to exercise their most fundamental right as citizens.

As the leader of a national alliance of African American faith leaders, I work every day with people who are often part of the first responders to tragedies like this, who walk with the family, who eulogize the deceased and who also organize, connect, and empower. They know the face of systemic injustices and of elected leaders who want to make it harder, rather than easier, for certain communities to participate in our democracy. To make the leap from pain to a promise of peace is a difficult step, but thank goodness for those who are taking it.

As one St. Louis faith leader said, pointing at a voter registration tent set up on a Ferguson street by a local woman and her daughter: "That's where change is gonna happen."

Believe is my favorite word. I truly believe "a change is gonna come." After the protests end, after the national cameras leave, after the marchers from east to west return to their homes, neighbors, and communities, there will be follow-up, there will be change.

Registering, educating and getting out the vote is not "disgusting" or "completely inappropriate." What is "disgusting" and "completely inappropriate" is not responding effectively, productively, and positively to suppression and oppression.

As I read about the homegoing (funeral) service planned for next week, I pause and pray for the family and people of Ferguson. What next comes to mind for Michael Brown, Jr. and for change in Ferguson, is: be inspired -- register and vote! For Michael's parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr. and for change in Ferguson: be inspired -- register and vote! For all those who loved "Big Mike," and all the other unnamed youth who have died to "justifiable" or "legal interventions" by law officers and know that Ferguson deserves change: be inspired -- register and vote for justice and for the fulfilled promise of peace!

PFAW Foundation

PFAW Foundation YEOs & YP4 Alum Unite with Missouri Protesters to Demand Accountability

Protesters throughout the nation have come out to march and peacefully protest the unjust criminal system that led to Michael Brown being gunned down in Missouri on August 9, including members of the People For the American Way Foundation family.

In Missouri, two members of PFAW Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network have taken key roles speaking out for justice. State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Alderman Antonio French were both part of the protests in Ferguson; Chappelle-Nadal was tear-gassed, and French was arrested. Other members of the YEO Network have also been organizing national petitions, marching, buying food and water for protestors, trying to dissuade looting, among other things.

Chappelle-Nadal, elected in 2010, represents part of St. Louis County in the Missouri Senate. She has been vocal in her criticism of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and his response to the crisis in her community.

“I never expected to represent a war zone,” she tweeted Thursday.

French, on the other hand, has been documenting the protests through “advocacy journalism.” Born and raised in O’Fallon, French has dedicated his time in public service to improving the quality of life in north St. Louis, often working in conjunction with police to create safer spaces.

During the protests last Wednesday, French was arrested and then released early Thursday, but the reason behind the arrest remained unclear. His arrest, along with his work documenting the protests, have made him a “national voice against the militarization of police.”

In Miami, another PFAW Foundation voice joined the protests. Young People For alum Phillip Agnew, founder of the Dream Defenders, organized a similar demonstration to protest how “police departments around the country will continue to use black and brown bodies for target practice.”

Many Americans are appalled at the actions taken by law enforcement officials in Ferguson, Missouri this month. PFAW Foundation is proud of the work being done by members of our leadership networks to build a more equal America.

PFAW Foundation

Ferguson and the America We Need to Build

This post was originally published at the Huffington Post.

An unarmed teenager gunned down in the street. Peaceful protesters attacked in a military-style assault. Journalists tear-gassed and arrested to prevent them from covering the actions of government officials. This is not the America to which we aspire.

Many Americans are both angry and appalled at the actions taken by law enforcement officials in Ferguson, Missouri, this week. These actions do not reflect a commitment to the Constitution or to the principles of equal justice under the law and freedom of the press. We applaud the Department of Justice for undertaking an investigation into the violence, and we are grateful that state officials have stepped in to institute a more sensible law enforcement presence. We encourage state and federal officials to continue monitoring the situation and to intervene as necessary to prevent further civil rights violations.

At the center of this controversy is a dead teenager and a grieving family. We recognize that the pain and outrage felt by so many people is grounded in the fact that this kind of killing of young men of color happens far too often. Part of the tragedy is that a killing like this is not surprising. If our commitment to equality and human dignity is to have real meaning, we cannot continue to tolerate conditions that require so many parents to teach their children how to live through a chance encounter with law enforcement.

In the long run, our elected officials must grapple with many complex policy questions, including racial disparities in the administration of justice. Today we support community leaders who are demanding accountability.

PFAW Foundation

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/22/14

  • Wayne Allyn Root teases that "I’m not promising it yet or officially declaring, but I’m thinking really seriously about running against Harry Reid for the United States senate in 2016."
  • The organization Christians in Defense of Israel has now become a part of Liberty Counsel.
  • Matt Barber says President Obama's ENDA executive order proves that he is an "imperialist president" who is "targeting and discriminating specifically against Christian companies."
  • Michael Brown likewise voices his displeasure: "[Y]ou took it upon yourself to enact an order which declares that, in the workplace, sexual rights trump religious rights. What a terrible, tragic shame."
  • Finally, Bob Dole is gearing up for another fight against the Religious Right over a UN treaty covering people with disabilities.

New Ex-Gay 'Documentary' For Sunday School

Ex-gay activists are out with yet another tool to encourage people to consider “leaving homosexuality” and rejecting the “gay lifestyle.”

The “documentary” features ex-gay activists including Anne Paulk, DL Foster, Linda Jernigan, Jeff Johnston, Robert Gagnon and Michael Brown.

Newly released documentary "Such Were Some of You" confronts the rising tide of popular opinion by chronicling the stories of 29 former homosexual men and women who say that Jesus Christ has transformed their lives. Experts in psychology, (Dr. Julie Hamilton), biblical scholarship (Dr. Robert Gagnon) and ministry (Dr. Neil Anderson) add their voice to the claim that people have been leaving homosexuality for millennia.

Created to be used in Sunday School classes, support groups and other group settings, "Such Were Some of You" has been designed as a discipleship and equipping tool for the Body of Christ. The "witnesses to change" describe how they developed homosexual confusion, what the gay lifestyle was really like, how Jesus Christ set them free and the many ways that He has been healing and transforming their lives ever since. Participants include ex-gays from numerous ethnic backgrounds and age brackets, including one former gay activist who dramatically declares at one point, "I am free!"

According to one description, the film includes “[f]rank comments about sex including comments about same sex attractions but nothing graphic, comments about masturbation, orgies, sexual abuse; talk of one night stands; watching porn including gay porn; man and woman kiss; a comment about having sex by one's self; talk of adult shops; comment about being a male prostitute; a comment about being a stripper.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/1/14

  • Gary Bauer is turning against Rand Paul.
  • FRC responds to the Hobby Lobby decision exactly as one would expect: "President Obama's team insisted that the 'right' to sex-on-demand trumps Americans' First Freedom, a privilege millions of men and women have died to protect."
  • In arguing that Christians cannot be gay-affirming, Michael Brown explains that "God did intend to legislate slavery in ancient Israel, but in a humane way and as part of a larger economic system.
  • On a similar note, if you are a Christian who thinks that homosexuality is okay, you apparently also have to think that incest, adultery, child sacrifice, and bestiality are okay as well.
  • Ron Hart comes to Dinesh D'Souza's defense despite obviously having no understanding of what D'Souza actually did or the fact that he admitted his guilt.
  • Finally, Laurie Higgins declares that "no arm of the government has any right to promote non-facts about homosexual activity or gender confusion."

Right Wing Leftovers - 4/10/14

  • Bob Marshall continues to rack up support, this time scoring the coveted endorsement of E.W. Jackson.
  • FRC prays: "Pray for those who have succumbed to pressure from activists, frenzied by their radical agenda. May business leaders understand the issues and not allow themselves to be used to promote an anti-Christian agenda. May Craig James prevail in his Texas action and may God use him mightily in his new role as Assistant to FRC President, Tony Perkins!"
  • "Who Is Gordon Klingenschmitt?" Let him tell you!
  • Some keen insights from Michael Brown: "It is one thing to use the 'N' word, since it is overtly offensive, while I understand that terms like 'colored' or 'Negro' have been abandoned in deference to the preferences of black (or African) Americans. At the same time, black Americans have not said to us, 'Don’t say "colored," say "special,’'' whereas gay activists have said, 'Don’t say "homosexual" say "gay"'' thereby dictating concepts as well as terms."
  • Finally, Ben Shapiro has written the dumbest thing you will read all day.

Anti-Gay Activists Blast World Vision For Welcoming Married Gay Christians

Yesterday, Richard Stearns, the president of the American branch of the Christian charity World Vision, announced that the board had voted to change its policy and would now permit legally married gay Christians to work for the organization.

Insisting that this was just a "very narrow policy change," Stearns took great pains to make the case that this should not be seen as any sort of "compromise" on the issue of gay marriage:

"Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues," he said. "It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage."

Stearns took pains to emphasize what World Vision is not communicating by the policy change.

"It's easy to read a lot more into this decision than is really there," he said. "This is not an endorsement of same-sex marriage. We have decided we are not going to get into that debate. Nor is this a rejection of traditional marriage, which we affirm and support."

"We're not caving to some kind of pressure. We're not on some slippery slope. There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no employee group lobbying us," said Stearns. "This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues. We're an operational arm of the global church, we're not a theological arm of the church.

"This is simply a decision about whether or not you are eligible for employment at World Vision U.S. based on this single issue, and nothing more."

Needless to say, anti-gay activists are not buying World Vision's defense and have wasted no time in savaging the decision and accusing the organization of "apostasy."

Franklin Graham:

Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, issued a scathing rebuke of World Vision, during an appearance the Family Research Council’s Washington Watch radio program.

“It’s obvious World Vision doesn’t believe in the Bible,” said Graham. “I am sickened and heartbroken.”

...

"I was shocked today to hear of World Vision’s decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages. The Bible is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. My dear friend, Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse, would be heartbroken. He was an evangelist who believed in the inspired Word of God. World Vision maintains that their decision is based on unifying the church – which I find offensive – as if supporting sin and sinful behavior can unite the church. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Scriptures consistently teach that marriage is between a man and woman and any other marriage relationship is sin.”

Michael Brown:

This is a betrayal of the gospel, a betrayal of the Lord, a betrayal of the family, and a betrayal of the countless thousands of Christians who have put their trust in World Vision as a legitimate Christian organization.

In no way does it contribute to “building a better world for children” – one of the fundamental goals of World Vision. In fact, it does the opposite.

...

[I]f claiming that two men can “marry” and their sexual acts be holy in God’s sight is not “wavering,” then words have no meaning.

...

Let it be stated plainly to the leadership and board of directors of World Vision U.S.: The Lord Jesus is no longer central in the corporate life of your organization. You have denied his lordship by your actions.

Albert Mohler:

[I]t is ridiculous to argue that World Vision is not taking sides on the issue. The objective fact is that World Vision will now employ openly-gay employees involved in openly homosexual relationships. There is no rational sense in claiming that this represents neutrality.

...

The worst aspect of the World Vision U.S. policy shift is the fact that it will mislead the world about the reality of sin and the urgent need of salvation. Willingly recognizing same-sex marriage and validating openly homosexual employees in their homosexuality is a grave and tragic act that confirms sinners in their sin — and that is an act that violates the gospel of Christ.

...

The shift announced yesterday by World Vision points to disaster. We can only pray that there is yet time for World Vision to rethink this matter, correct their course, stand without compromise on the authority of Scripture, and point the way for evangelical Christians to follow once again.

Matt Barber:

“Just because you say you’re not an official wing of the church or that you’re a para-Christian organization does not release you from the command to adhere to biblical truth and biblical reality as it pertains to sexual morality,” he maintains. “So that is a cop-out – and anyone with a clear understanding of scripture can recognize it as such.”

The Christian columnist believes anyone who claims to be Christian is expected to follow God’s Word, not the world. World Vision, he says, has made it clear where its loyalties lie.

“This very dramatic, counter-biblical, apostate move by World Vision shows where they stand,” he concludes. “They have destroyed their credibility as a Christian organization with one fell swoop – and it’s heart-wrenching.”

Bryan Fischer:

When God has spoken as clearly and as repeatedly as he has on the subject of marriage and homosexuality, it is a waste of breath to ask him if he's changed his mind.

World Vision long ago abandoned evangelism, as a condition of accepting money from the federal government. Now they have abandoned morality as well. Is there now anything, anything at all, that makes this an organization worthy of evangelical support?

World Vision's experience is a sobering reminder that once you abandon God at one point (evangelism) eventually it is inevitable that you will abandon him on other points (sexual morality). One compromise ineluctably leads to another until all is gone.

Christianity identifies greed as a form of idolatry, an expression of the worship of the false god Mammon. Greed, quite simply, is doing something you should not do for the sake of money.

Peter LaBarbera:

World Vision’s sellout is part of a disturbing trend in evangelicalism to capitulate in the Culture War over homosexuality–while the pro-LGBT lobby only ramps up its advocacy of sexually immoral laws and corporate policies.

...

Lastly, World Vision does a great spiritual disservice to its “gay married” employees. By implying that unrepentant, practicing homosexuals can be faithful servants of Jesus Christ while living openly in grave sexual sin and mocking true marriage, WV becomes an impediment to their repentance before God. Salvation requires humbly acknowledging and turning away from sin, just as genuine marriage requires two people of the opposite sex joining to produce a natural family.

Right Wing Leftovers - 3/20/14

  • Jesse Lee Peterson warns that "if conservative Christians don’t get a spine, we will lose America."
  • The Center for Immigration Studies says letting parents of children who are American citizens stay in the country would encourage undocumented immigrants to have more children who "would, inevitably, be poor and many of them illegitimate."
  • Michael Brown is outraged by Rand Paul's suggestion that the GOP agree to disagree on social issues in order to attract younger voters, saying "the fact that he is presently at or near the top of the Republican heap is downright scary."
  • Glenn Beck is being poisoned!
  • Finally, speaking of Beck, we guarantee you that he will continue to assert that White House press briefings are scripted even though everyone involved denies it and the local reporter who made the claim has retracted it and admitted that she made a mistake.

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/17/14

Klingenschmitt: 'It's A Tragedy Every Time Somebody Comes Out Of The Closet'

On today's "Pray In Jesus Name" program, "Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt interviewed Michel Brown about a variety of issues, including the announcement by NFL prospect Michael Sam that he is gay.

Brown said that Sam was being selfish by coming out because he was putting himself ahead of the good of any team that drafts him by forcing the team to have to deal with his sexuality. Brown went on to lament that our culture has reached a point where it celebrates "when a man says that I am attracted to other men," at which point Klingenschmitt joined in to declare that "it's a tragedy every time somebody comes out of the closet."

"It's not something we should be celebrating," Klingenschmitt said:

Michael Brown Defends Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Law As Necessary To Fight HIV/AIDS

Religious Right talk show host Michael Brown said yesterday on Line of Fire Radio that Americans shouldn’t oppose the new Ugandan law which makes being gay a criminal offense warranting life imprisonment.

Brown said that the law is necessary to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and combat pedophilia, arguing: “Uganda has some very strong reasons for having issues with homosexual practice.”

Brown added: “What Uganda said is we are against gay propaganda in the schools, we are against kids being indoctrinated into these things or being told that this is normal and acceptable, we are against open homosexual practice and you may have some laws that seem harsh and draconian, it’s also part of African law and African culture.”

Anti-Gay Backlash To Michael Sam Begins With Fears Of 'Raging Hormones,' End Of The 'Bromance'

The backlash to the announcement by University of Missouri defensive end and likely NFL draft pick Michael Sam that he is gay is troubling the usual suspects. Anti-gay author Michael Brown is out with a column criticizing Sam’s “selfish act” and suggesting that he should’ve stayed in the closet.

According to Brown, Sam’s “hormones might be raging for men the way the other players’ hormones rage for women,” which will make “the ‘bromance’ type of close relationships that many players enjoy” impossible since they won’t be “as physical and free with a homosexual teammate.”

But once they have made their announcement, how can everyone be expected to feel completely comfortable? And with the “bromance” type of close relationships that many players enjoy, would they be as physical and free with a homosexual teammate?

And since NFL players are hardly known for their sexual purity—with many notable exceptions—is it homophobic to think that Sam’s hormones might be raging for men the way the other players’ hormones rage for women?



Looked at from another angle, it was more of a selfish act, and not only in the sense that Sam is suddenly a national celebrity. (As of Feb. 10, a Google search for his name yielded more than 3 million hits. Just one week ago, his numbers would have been a fraction of this.) What I mean is that professional football is all about the team, and the focus must be on making a joint sacrifice in order to win rather than drawing attention to oneself.



Why can’t he just play the game, keep his private life private (as many public figures do), and when his career is over, if he wants to tell the whole world he’s gay, he can do so then?

Right on cue, Rush Limbaugh declared that Sam’s announcement is proof that heterosexuals are “under assault,” a claim he made during a rant against the gay “political agenda” that couples as a great example of heterosexual privilege.

The Media Research Center is upset that major broadcast networks “celebrated the announcement” and chided sports commentators for their alleged mistreatment of Tim Tebow in an article that seems to imply that Tebow is the first and only evangelical Christian ever to play for the NFL.

ESPN on Monday was a long parade of congratulatory guests, like columnist Kay Fagan, who used words like “authenticity” and “inclusion.” Fagan ended a rapturous column by saying of Sam, “His truth is now.” (Does homosexuality come with a separate truth? Or do you pay extra, like undercarriage coating?)

Ok, lets simmer down and wait for the backlash. It’ll come. It has to when personal life and philosophy and social issues intersect with the NFL. Here it comes … Er, no? But when Tim Tebow entered the draft he encountered a rain of hate from people worried for the sport, people who resented having to hear about the personal beliefs of “Saint Timmy,” as CBS’s Pete Prisco called him in April, 2010.

Pastor Ron Cantor took to Charisma to warn that Sam’s presence in the locker room “is going to make for an uncomfortable situation.”

Cantor asserts that the truly courageous people are those who are worried about having a gay teammate: “How ironic—in the past it was the homosexual who was afraid to come out. Now it’ll be the guy who doesn’t want to take a shower next to the homosexual who will be shunned and shamed—and he will be told to keep his mouth shut.”

Let me just be honest. If I had a job whereby I had to undress and shower several times a week with a roomful of very fit, attractive females—well, let’s just say I would struggle. And that clearly is the concern of heterosexual football players. It is a legitimate issue. I am not an expert, but if someone says to me that they are attracted to men and then are going to see them undressed on an almost daily basis, it is going to make for an uncomfortable situation. Right?

But don’t say it out loud—not unless you are willing to be skewered by the media elites. Oh, wait, too late. Jonathan Vilma of the New Orleans Saints already stated the obvious.

“I think that he would not be accepted as much as we think he would be accepted," Vilma said. "I don’t want people to just naturally assume, like, ‘Oh, we’re all homophobic.’ That’s really not the case. Imagine if he’s the guy next to me and, you know, I get dressed, [bare], taking a shower, the whole nine, and it just so happens he looks at me. How am I supposed to respond?”

Vilma made those completely honest and valid comments a few days ago—before Sam came out. For sure, he will be vilified and called immature. But come on, let’s be honest: No one expects adult men and women to take mass showers together on the job—for the obvious reasons. But Vilma is juvenile and uneducated for not wanting to shower next to an openly gay man?

I wonder if more NFL players will have the courage to speak up. How ironic—in the past it was the homosexual who was afraid to come out. Now it’ll be the guy who doesn’t want to take a shower next to the homosexual who will be shunned and shamed—and he will be told to keep his mouth shut.

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/17/14

Michael Brown Cites Bogus Article To Defend Harassment Hoax

In a column for Charisma today, conservative activist Michael Brown says he was too smart to fall for a hoax article about a middle school that “requires children to cross dress”…. but then goes ahead and cites another bogus story about transgender harassment in a Colorado school.

Apparently, an article about a Maryland school that mandates cross-dressing has gone viral, even though it came from the satirical National Report. Brown defended those who mistook the article for a real news story, calling it “a case of fiction being frighteningly close to truth.” He compared the fake Maryland school to a Wisconsin school that held a “a voluntary event that called for boys to dress like girls and girls to dress like boys” and a reported incident of a transgender girl in Colorado harassing other students in the bathroom.

But Brown fails to mention that the Colorado story was also a hoax, and the Religious Right group Brown mentions admitted that they manufactured the story. The girl who was targeted by the smear campaign was recently placed on suicide watch.

The article’s headline was absolutely shocking—“Maryland Middle School Requires Children to Cross Dress For ‘LGBTQ Appreciation Day’”—and not surprisingly, the article quickly went viral.

The good news is that it was a hoax.

The bad news is that it was so close to reality, most readers took it seriously, and it was only after I read a few paragraphs into the article that I realized it wasn’t true. This is a case of fiction being frighteningly close to the truth.



Unfortunately, there was enough in the article that sounded plausible for many people to believe every word of it, even though it got progressively outrageous.

A concerned mother sent me the link, asking if I had seen it, and when I replied that I believed it to be a hoax, she said she had initially believed it because of what she had already seen in her children’s schools. It hardly seemed over the top to her.

After all, back in May, it was reported, “Parents of students at a Wisconsin elementary school are up in arms over the theme ‘Gender Bender Day.’” Yes, “Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities in Milwaukee recently celebrated School Spirit Week with a series of events for students in kindergarten through eighth grades. ... Members of the student council chose Friday as ‘Gender Bender Day,’ a voluntary event that called for boys to dress like girls and girls to dress like boys.”

This time, the story was not a hoax.

Nor was it a hoax when the Pacific Justice Institute reported last month that parents at Florence High School, “located near Colorado Springs, became irate when they learned that a teenage boy was entering girls’ bathrooms and, according to some students, even making sexually harassing comments toward girls he was encountering. When the parents confronted school officials, they were stunned to be told the boy’s rights as a self-proclaimed transgender trumped their daughters’ privacy rights. As the controversy grew, some students were threatened by school authorities with being kicked off school athletic teams or charged with hate crimes if they continued to voice concerns.”

Brown: Ellen DeGeneres Proves That Gay Rights Are Nothing Like Civil Rights

Anti-gay activist Michael Brown, the author of "A Queer Thing Happened to America," was the guest on "Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt's "Pray In Jesus Name" program today where he made the case that the fight for gay rights cannot be equated to the fight for civil rights because blacks didn't have a popular figure like Ellen DeGeneres during segregation.

Apparently operating under the delusion that there were no popular African American celebrities before the end of segregation, Brown said that gay rights and civil rights have nothing in common not only because blacks don't have to "come out" and declare themselves as such but also because "during the days of segregation, we didn't have people like Ellen DeGeneres who were national celebrities who were black and just loved by the whole nation."

Brown continued, making an even more illogical point by declaring that "we didn't have a gay or lesbian president - we have a black president now - [so] you can't compare the these things at all." Of course, we didn't have a black president during segregation either, so we are not quite sure what point Brown thinks that he is making:

Right Wing Leftovers - 7/9/13

  • While ranting about rapper/actor Mos Def, Glenn Beck calls President Obama a "ridiculous piece of garbage."
  • James Dobson says the current "cause" for the gay agenda is "legalized polygamy and lowered age of consent for children."
  • Tony Perkins and various Religious Right groups joined several members of Congress today in pressing for the right of members of the military to discriminate against gays under the guise of protecting religious liberty.
  • Anti-gay activist Michael Brown is launching his own television program.
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert is apparently the third hottest conservative politician, behind Ted Cruz and Allen West.  We couldn't make that up if we tried.

Right Wing Leftovers - 7/2/13

  • Alan Keyes claims that the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling was “borderline insane.” 
  • Michael Brown fears conservatives are too busy “wasting hours a day playing silly games” while America is “spinning out of control in a deadly spiral, plunging rapidly into moral and spiritual anarchy.” 
  • Les Kinsolving seems to be under the impression that the Supreme Court endorsed bestiality, necrophilia, incest and pedophilia.

Charisma: A Fresh Call to Revolution

Viewers who hear plenty of right-wing religious voices on cable TV might be surprised to know that the biggest problem facing America in the minds of many Religious Right leaders is that conservative preachers aren’t being sufficiently political or aggressive.  That gripe is a major theme at Religious Right gatherings, and is repeated in a new Charisma article by radio host Michael Brown, who makes a “fresh call to revolution” among America’s pastors in the wake of recent Supreme Court decisions:

How is it that nine non-elected officials in black robes can have such sweeping authority in our society? It is because the black-robed regiment that once stirred the hearts of the nation has lost its moral authority, leaving a gaping hole in the soul of the nation.

Brown draws on “historian” David Barton’s Christian-nation take on American history in crediting colonial pastors with inflaming Americans to revolution against the British. “Where are the courageous, uncompromising firebrands among us today?” he asks. “Sadly, they are few and far between.” Brown slams TV-preacher hucksterism and self-improvement theology and pines for clergy who will call people “to glorify God by life or by death.” Remember, he says, “What the world calls fanaticism and much of the church calls extremism, God calls normal.” Brown also cites Francis Schaeffer’s Christian Manifesto, which complains that Christian leaders do not emphasize “the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the whole spectrum of life” – including government.

Here’s how Brown wraps up:

Where were our national Christian leaders when the Supreme Court removed organized, public prayer from our schools in 1962 or when the Court declared abortion on demand to be the law of the land in 1973? Why were there so few who took a solid stand?

For the most part, when we have taken action, we have joined ourselves to a political party, only to find ourselves used for their purposes. Otherwise, we have either thought the social realm was not our responsibility; that Jesus was coming at any moment and so things will only get worse; or that the way to win a spiritual war is to become angry conservatives.

Surely we can do better than that. Surely we can—no, we must!—rise up into the revolutionary, Jesus-exalting, Word-based, Spirit-empowered calling that is on our lives, a calling that is on all believers but in particular on the leaders who must the lead the way.

Surely we cannot allow the moral standards of our society be determined by an unelected, unanointed black-robed regiment sitting in Washington, with all respect to their proper authority and with massive respect for the courageous voices among them.

It is time for the leaders to arise—to get alone with God, to get filled afresh with His Spirit, to get clear marching orders from heaven and to make a new commitment to be part of a Jesus-centered, moral, cultural and spiritual revolution.

By God’s grace, I have taken my stand. Will you join me?

Right Wing Leftovers - 6/27/13

  • The Senate votes 68-32 to approve immigration reform legislation.
  • William Owens of the Coalition of African-American Pastors claims gay marriage leads to the end of society.
  • Kristan Hawkins blames gay marriage on legal abortion. 
  • Tea Party leader Karen Kenney says the Supreme Court’s ruling on Prop 8 is a “new kind of tyranny.” 
  • Michael Brown criticizes transgender youth: “What if the child was sure he or she was an alien? Or an animal? Or a black child in a white body?”
  • The New Jersey state Senate followed the Assembly in passing a bill limiting sexual orientation conversion therapy, a bill ex-gay activist Greg Quinlan argues “rapes faith” and bolsters “an anti-Christian movement to destroy the United States Constitution.”
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