Following the NAACP’s endorsement of marriage equality, the anti-gay right quickly pounced on the news.
Alveda King, as always, tied the topic to the question of abortion rights and claimed to speak for her uncle and other relatives in claiming that the King family has always opposed the “homosexual agenda”:
"Neither my great-grandfather an NAACP founder, my grandfather Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. an NAACP leader, my father Rev. A. D. Williams King, nor my uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. embraced the homosexual agenda that the current NAACP is attempting to label as a civil rights agenda," says King, founder of King for America and Pastoral Associate for Priests for Life.
"In the 21st Century, the anti-traditional marriage community is in league with the anti-life community, and together with the NAACP and other sympathizers, they are seeking a world where homosexual marriage and abortion will supposedly set the captives free.”
Stephen Broden, a Republican politician who has said that the violent overthrow of the government should be “on the table,” dubbed the NAACP “irrelevant”:
Stephen Broden, pastor of Fair Park Bible Fellowship in Dallas, notes that the black community is suffering from soaring unemployment, an extraordinarily high rate of abortions, a high school drop out rate among black teenagers that is breathtaking, an exploding rate of single parent households and the decimation of black families.
Yet, Broden says, the NAACP is making statements about same-sex marriage. “The NAACP has proven again to be an irrelevant organization as it relates to issues of survival for the black community,” says Broden who co-authored Life at All Costs with King and Gardner. The book addresses issues such as abortion and homosexuality.
Domestic violence perpetrator turned “pro-family” activist Timothy Johnson called on African Americans to ditch the NAACP and join his own group, the Frederick Douglass Foundation:
"When you recognize that the black community is strongly a Christian-based group of people, conservative in most of the things they believe, the NAACP has gone diabolically the opposite direction of tradition of the black community," he states. "[The NAACP] really is doing this in order to stay relevant and in order to build up their revenues as it relates to what they can get from the gay community."
"... I think those individuals who call themselves Christian or call themselves Jewish who are members of the NAACP should denounce the organization, should cancel their membership, and really look for something else or another organization such as the Frederick Douglas Foundation to be affiliated with," he states.
Nebraska pastor Dan Delzell warned in the Christian Post that “homosexual acts become like a drug for those who give into this dangerous temptation”:
Martin Luther King's dream was that "little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers." President Obama's dream seems to be that little black boys and little white boys will watch their teenage brothers go to prom together....and eventually enter into a legal marriage with one another. Did Martin Luther King have this dream for little black boys and little white boys?
President Obama is leading the way on gay marriage for what he hopes will be a large following of black pastors and their congregations. Many black pastors are not following his lead. The vast majority of pastors in the black community do not want the children in their church being taught that homosexual behavior is no longer sinful. They do not want the teenagers in their church experimenting with homosexuality. These pastors know that, like other sexual sins, homosexual acts become like a drug for those who give into this dangerous temptation.
God is not a cosmic killjoy. That is why He created sex for man and woman to enjoy in marriage. We would be wise to share the biblical teaching on sexuality with every young person in America. Otherwise, the sexual dream that gets planted in their mind by a well-meaning preacher or politician could quickly turn into a never-ending nightmare.
The House of Representatives is poised to pass a hobbled version of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization (VAWA) later today. The House GOP version actually rolls back some current protections and excludes other key protections contained in the Senate version of the bill, which was passed with bipartisan support in April.
We, the undersigned, representing millions of Americans nationwide, are writing today to oppose the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This nice-sounding bill is deceitful because it destroys the family by obscuring real violence in order to promote the feminist agenda. […]There is no denying the very real problem of violence against women and children. However, the programs promoted in VAWA are harmful for families. VAWA often encourages the demise of the family as a means to eliminate violence.Further, this legislation continues to use overly broad definitions of domestic violence. These broad definitions actually squander the resources for victims of actual violence by failing to properly prioritize and assess victims. Victims who can show physical evidence of abuse should be our primary focus.
"I absolutely did not say that," Ofelia Felix-Johnson, now living in Nebraska, tells Xpress. "This was not done with my consent, and I didn’t even know about it. I didn’t appreciate him putting my name out there when I had nothing to do with it.”
According to court records, Johnson was arrested on Christmas Day 1995 in Cleveland, Ohio, and was later indicted by a grand jury for two felony counts, one of felonious assault and the other of kidnapping. According to the arrest report, when the police arrived, they found Felix-Johnson bleeding from the face. Timothy Johnson told the officers, according to their report, “I admit it. I hit her, that's the only way I can get her attention.” Felix-Johnson told the officers he restrained her on the couch, holding down her neck. One officer reports Ofelia Felix-Johnson saying that Johnson also punched her breasts, saying that she had no heart, and hit her over the back and buttocks with a plastic shoe rack, breaking the rack. The police report in the court file states that Johnson broke his wife's nose and toes, causing her to be hospitalized.
In 1998, Johnson was arrested by the Perrysburg Police, again on domestic violence charges. According to the police report, Johnson provided a "very similar" account of the incident to that his wife Ofelia and 14-year-old son gave police. Both wife and son reported that Johnson had Ofelia Felix-Johnson in a wrist lock, and when the son attempted to stop Johnson from hurting his mother, Johnson put the son in a head lock such that he was "unable to breathe and was choking up food," according to the police report. After the son broke free, the police report continues, Johnson "put his right hand around [the boy's] throat and pushed [him] against the wall with his back to the wall and choked [the boy] for about 5 seconds."
According to court records, Ofelia Felix-Johnson did not appear for the hearing, and the charges were dismissed. Johnson told AlterNet that "the incident that took place wasn't domestic violence. My ex-wife and I had a disagreement. And as always, well the person says, well I know you have this past on you so I'll just call the police. And as you said, there was no conviction and there was no trial. You know why? Because there was nothing there."
Natasha Spivack, started international "marriage service" Encounters International in 1993 with the aim of arranging marriages between U.S. men and Russian women. "The Woman Of Your Dreams Just May have a Russian Accent," states the company's website.A federal jury in Baltimore awarded one of the Russian brides matched by Encounters International a settlement of $434,000 after she claimed to have been beaten by her American husband and claimed that the company failed to screen candidates properly. The woman also claimed that Encounters International neglected to tell her about a law allowing immigrants to escape abusive marriages without fear of automatic deportation. […]Rosie Hidalgo, director of public policy for the anti-domestic violence organization Casa de Esperanza, said she has notified Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee that SAVE Services had strong connections to Encounters International, and pointed out that there have been no studies documenting immigration fraud on the part of U.S. anti-domestic violence programs."It's shocking to me that the people who are advocating for these anti-immigrant provisions are the people who have a monetary interest in not holding batterers accountable and not holding marriage broker agencies accountable," she told HuffPost. "These are the ones reaching out to House Republicans, and Republicans are supporting the policies they're pushing."
While the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is mired in scandal resulting from ERLC head Richard Land’s repeated plagiarism and inflammatory remarks on race, it has found time to criticize the Violence Against Women Act. Doug Carlson, manager for administration and policy communications for the ERLC, voiced the group’s opposition to the highly successful law because of new provisions that ensure that LGBT victims of domestic violence do not encounter discrimination while seeking help.
Carlson quoted a letter Richard Land signed along with Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership Action, Tom McClusky of Family Research Council Action, C. Preston Noell of Tradition, Family, Property Inc., Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and Penny Nance and Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America.
Notably, the letter was also signed by conservative activist Timothy Johnson, who was convicted of a felony domestic violence charge and was arrested a second time for putting his wife in a wrist lock and choking his son, as reported by Sarah Posner.
Under the reauthorization, VAWA, as the bill is known, would spend vast sums of taxpayer money—more than $400 million each year—on programs that lack sufficient oversight and fail to address the core issue of protecting vulnerable women from abuse. Many of the programs duplicate efforts already underway. Among other problems, it would expand special protections to include same-sex couples. Men who are victimized by their male sexual partners would receive the benefit of the law above heterosexuals. And with broadened definitions of who qualifies for services, those who are most in need of the bill’s protections would have diminished access to it.
Pro-family groups, too, have been leveling attacks on the bill for months for its anti-family policies. Many of them expressed those concerns to the Judiciary Committee in February in hopes of derailing the bill. “We, the undersigned, representing millions of Americans nationwide, are writing to oppose the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA),” Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Richard Land, along with nearly two dozen other religious and conservative leaders, wrote in a Feb. 1 letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “This nice-sounding bill is deceitful because it destroys the family by obscuring real violence in order to promote the feminist agenda.”
“There is no denying the very real problem of violence against women and children. However, the programs promoted in VAWA are harmful for families. VAWA often encourages the demise of the family as a means to eliminate violence,” they added.
Regrettably, a slim majority of committee members rejected that counsel, ultimately approving the bill in February on a narrow 10-8 vote. Now the battle lies in the full Senate, where those opposed to the new VAWA are facing significant pressure to support it. Allies of the bill are tagging its opponents as waging a “war on women.”
But no matter how noble its title suggests, the Violence Against Women Act is the wrong answer to addressing ongoing domestic abuse. With a shortage of evidence to date of VAWA’s success in reducing levels of violence against women, the war to decrease such violence and to ultimately strengthen the family shouldn’t include reauthorizing a flawed policy that promises an expansion of the same.
Americans For Truth About Homosexuality held a rally last week against the Southern Poverty Law Center with AFTAH president Peter LaBarbera, Liberty Counsel deputy Matt Barber and North Carolina marriage equality opponent Patrick Wooden for labeling groups like AFTAH “anti-gay hate groups.” Among the other “pro-family leaders” at the press conference included Rochelle Conner, a representative of Scott Lively’s Abiding Truth Ministries, who read a statement from Lively calling for “God himself to destroy” the SPLC:
My prayer as one who really does hate irrational prejudice is that the Lord by His sovereign power will remove this dangerous, hate-spreading organization from our nation and its leaders and its members cause them to repent of their wickedness. Finally, to prevent the Southern Poverty Law Center from using my prayer as part of its perpetual fundraising campaign, I want to make clear that I am asking God himself to destroy their organization and I am asking that it be by His miraculous hand and not by human beings just so as with Sodom and Gomorrah, they will know that God will get the glory, and not man.
Conner later claimed that the SPLC should now be called the “Southern Poverty Hate Center” as it has “now become a tool of the God-haters”:
The Southern Poverty Law Center has willfully, knowingly slandered, maligned, libeled Scott Lively, Abiding Truth Ministries, they have spread malicious lies in an attempt to undermine and destroy his credibility because as a leading authority on the homosexual agenda he exposes their villainy. The Southern Poverty Law Center has now become a tool of the God-haters, promoting hatred in the form of vicious lies against Christianity. The Southern Poverty Law Center has abandoned its mission of serving and protecting minorities and has evolved into the Southern Poverty Hate Center.
Peter LaBarbera read a statement from Brian Camenker of MassResistance, who portrayed the SPLC as Nazis for working “to dehumanize groups of people, twist the truth, and foment hatred”:
The Southern Poverty Law Center loves to use Nazi imagery to incite people against Bible-believing Jews and Christians. It’s extremely offensive but also very ironic. In the 1930s and the 1940s, the Nazis themselves used many of the same techniques that the SPLC use today to dehumanize groups of people, twist the truth, and foment hatred against those with traditional values through propaganda campaigns and also by working through governments, schools and police departments. I am surely here with you in spirit and so are thousands of others across America, all good people must fearlessly stand against this.
Another one of the “pro-family leaders” at AFTAH’s press conference included Timothy Johnson of the Fredrick Douglass Foundation, a right-wing group which targets African Americans. Sarah Posner writes in AlterNet about Johnson’s history of domestic violence, and he was convicted of aggravated assault in 1996. Johnson tried to explain away the charges with a supportive letter from his ex-wife, who claimed that he fabricated the letter:
According to court records, Johnson was arrested on Christmas Day 1995 in Cleveland, Ohio, and was later indicted by a grand jury for two felony counts, one of felonious assault and the other of kidnapping. According to the arrest report, when the police arrived, they found Felix-Johnson bleeding from the face. Timothy Johnson told the officers, according to their report, "I admit it. I hit her, that's the only way I can get her attention." Felix-Johnson told the officers he restrained her on the couch, holding down her neck. One officer reports Ofelia Felix-Johnson saying that Johnson also punched her breasts, saying that she had no heart, and hit her over the back and buttocks with a plastic shoe rack, breaking the rack. The police report in the court file states that Johnson broke his wife's nose and toes, causing her to be hospitalized.
AlterNet obtained documentation of a second incident when police were called to intervene in a domestic conflict at the home of Timothy Johnson and Ofelia Felix-Johnson. Land records show the couple purchased a house in Perrysburg, Ohio, in March 1997. In 1998, Johnson was arrested by the Perrysburg Police, again on domestic violence charges. According to the police report, Johnson provided a "very similar" account of the incident to that his wife Ofelia and 14-year-old son gave police. Both wife and son reported that Johnson had Ofelia Felix-Johnson in a wrist lock, and when the son attempted to stop Johnson from hurting his mother, Johnson put the son in a head lock such that he was "unable to breathe and was choking up food," according to the police report. After the son broke free, the police report continues, Johnson "put his right hand around [the boy's] throat and pushed [him] against the wall with his back to the wall and choked [the boy] for about 5 seconds."