World Congress of Families In Denial Over Promoting Homophobia Globally

This is the second in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read our introduction to the World Congress of Families here.

The World Congress of Families has been stung by intense criticism over its promotion of anti-gay bias and policies around the world, and has mounted a public relations campaign portraying itself as interested in civil discourse and uninterested in slamming gay people. If only it were true.

WCF Executive Director Janet Shaw Crouse has said the group’s support for traditional notions of family “does not mean disrespect for anyone else.” Crouse says, “We do not and will not engage in ‘gay-bashing’ or ‘hate’ language." In its 2014 “Call for Civic Dialogue” WCF said:

In its history, the WCF has never taken a position for or against anti-sodomy laws, nor has it attempted to roll back the rights gained by these individuals and organizations…. The WCF never has and never will advocate for any policy that brings harm to innocent individuals….

These assertions are grossly disingenuous and deceptive. WCF depends on, and celebrates, its association with what it calls “exemplary” anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Alliance Defending Freedom, and many others who aggressively resist the advance of LGBT equality in the U.S. and overseas -- and promote policies that most definitely bring harm to innocent individuals. For example, WCF and its allies played a significant role in organizing the stridently anti-gay “pro-family” movement in Russia. And not taking a position on laws that subject LGBT people to long jail terms and worse is hardly something to brag about.  

WCF’s “civil dialogue” claim is laughable on its face, especially given that the group is providing a speaking platform to Rafael Cruz, who has no policy expertise to share but has gained folk-hero status on the Religious Right with outlandishly inflammatory attacks on LGBT people and other political opponents. Cruz, father to presidential candidate Ted Cruz, called it “appalling” that a gay woman could win elected office, said that Satan controls the U.S. government and that the devil was responsible for the with Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. He has repeatedly lied about religious freedom, claiming that the government will force churches to hire homosexual pastors and perform homosexual marriages. Cruz has suggested that President Obama is intent on seizing Americans’ guns because, like Stalin and Mao, Obama is pursuing a totalitarian government – and that the American left is out to do away with the entire Bill of Rights.

Sadly, Cruz is not an outlier. WCF and the speakers it provides with a platform have a long record of resisting protections for the rights of LGBT people. Last year WCF initiated a letter signed by 120 Religious Right figures from around the world in “vigorous protest” of the U.S. Embassy’s participation in a gay pride celebration in the Czech Republic. It refers to marriage equality as a “pseudo-right” that debases human freedom and dignity. The letter concludes, “We can not imagine a worse form of cultural imperialism than Washington trying to force approval of the ‘gay’ agenda on societies with traditional values.”

More to the point, WCF’s own Africa regional director, Theresa Okafor, who is being honored at the event, supported a harsh anti-gay law in Nigeria that not only provides for long jail sentences for gay sex, but also bans gay people from meeting in groups. Okafor has suggested that pro-equality groups from the west are allied with the violent Islamist Boko Haram in a conspiracy to silence Christians.

WCF Executive Director Crouse has her own track record. She has said children being raised by gay couples are being “used as guinea pigs.” She has praised Russia’s anti-gay right, saying approvingly, “I wouldn’t bet on the Russians capitulating to western LGBTIQ fascists without a fight.” At a 2013 Howard Center press conference, Crouse said American gay-rights activists are “turning into thugs who are destroying freedom of speech, destroying religious liberty.” She praised anti-gay activists in France, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, and Nigeria. And while Crouse portrays American gays as enemies of free speech, she enthusiastically backed the prosecution and jailing of Pussy Riot activists over their anti-Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.

Among other anti-gay speakers who will be given a platform at WCF:

  • Peter Sprigg represents the stridently anti-gay Family Research Council, whose leader Tony Perkins once defended Uganda’s notorious “kill the gays” bill as an effort to uphold morality. Sprigg, who once said he would like to “export” homosexuals from the U.S., complained this year about Randy Berry, Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons, for traveling to Uganda and Jamaica. Sprigg criticized the Obama administration for trying to “force this American-style homosexual agenda down the throats of other countries” like Uganda, “which is one of the countries that has been most bitterly attacked by homosexual activists around the world.”
  • Robert Knight, a Religious Right pundit and former FRC staffer, has argued that judges who rule in favor of marriage equality should be impeached.
  • Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage has not only pushed for anti-equality legislation in the U.S., he has supported anti-gay efforts globally and encouraged legislators in Russia to pass legislation banning adoption by gay couples.
  • Errol Naidoo received training from the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C before founding the Family Policy Institute in South Africa in response to the legalization of marriage equality, which he had lobbied against. He blames abortion and “the homosexual agenda” for creating a “culture of death” that is “slowly killing off the human family in Western civilization.”
  • Glenn Stanton, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, has called marriage equality a “pernicious lie of Satan” and said that “quite literally there is more evidence for Bigfoot than there is that homosexuality is just who we are.”
  • Jennifer Roback Morse, president of the Ruth Institute, formerly affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage, says the “sexual revolution” is a “totalitarian” movement” and “a pagan ideology” that Christians should refuse to compromise with. She says “the only reason we’re dealing with gay marriage now is because we never faced up to the harms that have already been inflicted by feminism.”
  • Mark Regnerus: His New Family Structures Study, funded by the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute, has been widely discredited, but continues to be cited by right-wing as if it provided scientific evidence for harm caused by gay parenting. It was used extensively as justification for passage of anti-gay laws in Russia.
  • Frank Schubert is a political communications strategist notorious as the mastermind of the strategy to ground the campaign for California’s Prop 8 in fear-mongering about gay people and couples being a threat to children. Schubert was paid handsomely to take that destructive strategy to other states.

 

Pat Robertson: How Dare Muslims Try To Impose Religious Law On America! That's My Job

Irony died a little bit today on “The 700 Club” when televangelist Pat Robertson defended Ben Carson’s statement he would never vote for a Muslim candidate for president unless that candidate renounced their religion, warning that a Muslim president would be dangerous because any “committed Muslim” would try to impose religious law on America.

Hailing Carson for “telling the truth” about Islam, Robertson said that “a committed Muslim would do exactly what ISIS is doing” and “put in Sharia law.”

Of course, this is the same preacher who believes the U.S. must align its laws with his reading of the Bible and abandon the separation of church and state or face God’s wrath.

Bobby Jindal Wants The EPA To Go After Planned Parenthood

Yesterday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal appeared on “Washington Watch” to blast a federal court decision blocking his effort to defund Planned Parenthood in the state.

“They sued us, the Obama administration sued us in federal court, he can’t watch the video but he has time to send his attorneys to Baton Rouge,” he told the program’s host, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “They can send the entire Department of Justice, we won’t be intimidated from defending innocent human life.” (Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, not the Department of Justice, sued Louisiana in the case.)

He later claimed that if all the Republican governors in the country followed his lead, they could succeed in defunding Planned Parenthood. “They can’t come after every governor,” he said. “We have 31 Republican governors. If just the Republican governors would all do this, they can’t come after us all. Let’s fight for our rights. The left fights, they force socialism down our throats, why won’t we fight for pro-life, for conservative principles?”

Jindal then voiced a litany of falsehoods, suggesting that Planned Parenthood uses taxpayer dollars in its fetal tissue donation programs (it doesn’t) and claiming that its two Louisiana clinics offer abortion services (they don’t).

He said that if he gets elected president, he would direct the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to target Planned Parenthood.

Rand Paul Says He Isn't Comparing Bernie Sanders To Pol Pot … Yet

Last week, Sen. Rand Paul went after Sen. Bernie Sanders, comparing the Democratic presidential candidate to Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot and warning that his ideology could likewise lead to “mass genocide.”

In an interview yesterday with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson, the Republican senator and presidential candidate doubled down on his warning, but clarified that he wasn’t comparing Sanders to Pol Pot … “yet.”

I want to go head to head with this, I think, crazy notion of collectivism, crazy notion of socialism. And I want to make sure that all these young people realize is what socialism is is a lack of choice. You won’t be able to make what you want, you won’t be able to buy what you want. It’ll be controlled by the government. If you disobey, you’ll be fined. If you do it again, you’ll be imprisoned. If you continue doing it, what has often happened under socialism is the inherent force morphs into something even more dastardly. And that’s what happened under Stalin, under Mao, under Pol Pot.

And people say, ‘You’re calling Bernie Pol Pot.’ Not yet. But what I’m saying is the underpinnings of the belief in socialism is the implication of force in that you will force people to do what the states want them to do and that you take away their choices. And I think if young people knew that it was anti-choice, that socialism took away their choices to buy, sell, and do and work where they want to work, I think they’d be running away from it. But Bernie’s offering a version to them where he doesn’t quite inform them of the horrors of socialism.

Rubio: Bush Is Not At Fault Because The 'Plot To Conduct 9/11 ... Happened Under The Watch Of President Clinton'

Sen. Marco Rubio appeared on Newsmax TV yesterday, where he was asked about Donald Trump's rather obvious assertion that the 9/11 attack happened on George W. Bush's "watch."

Newsmax host Ed Berliner asked the GOP presidential hopeful to comment on whether it was "reprehensible for Donald Trump to dredge up 9/11 and dredge up that day and try to use it for political gain." Fully expecting Rubio to agree that it was indeed reprehensible to use 9/11 for the purpose of launching a political attack, Berliner was probably surprised when Rubio responded by doing exactly that ... but shifting the blame onto President Bill Clinton.

Trump's attack on Bush was "wrong," Rubio said, because "the truth is that George W. Bush inherited all sorts of things from the Clinton administration, including intelligence agencies and others who were not doing a very good job and were siloing off and not sharing information across agencies, including a government under President Clinton that had not taken seriously al Qaeda and the threat that they posed, even after the USS Cole, even after the first Trade Center bombings, and all of the other challenges that we faced around world."

"President Bush was only in office nine months when this happened," Rubio continued, omitting the fact that the Bush administration ignored al Qaeda threats before the 9/11 attacks, "but that plot to conduct 9/11 and the steps that it took to bring it about, those began well before he was even sworn into office. It happened under the watch of President Clinton":

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/20/15

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 10/20/15

  • Mike Huckabee is the presidential candidate who will "bring the most freedom, jobs, and national security from God blessing the USA" according to the American Christian Voting Guide.
  • James Robison worries that we can no longer ask for God to bless America because "our modern society often promotes practices, lifestyles and ideas that run counter to the biblical principles of God."
  • Former "Love Connection" host Chuck Woolery seems like a smart guy.
  • Warning! "The global elite have never been closer to their goal of a united world."
  • Finally, there is nothing that gives Religious Right more hope than the persistent belief that there are millions of "missing" evangelical voters out there who simply need to be properly mobilized to save America.  

Religious Right Activists Argue For Recriminalization Of Birth Control In 'The Birth Control Movie'

A couple of years ago, we heard about a new movie called “Birth Control: How Did We Get Here?” when its director, Kevin Peeples, appeared on the radio program of one of its stars, Kevin Swanson, and Swanson asserted that “wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”

We stumbled on the movie again recently while researching the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, which will feature some of the activists who appeared in Peeples’ film, including WCF founder Allan Carlson and anti-abortion and anti-Planned Parenthood activist Lila Rose. This is hardly surprising, since one of the tenets of the “natural family” ideology promoted by WCF is resistance to contraception in order to create large families governed by traditional gender roles.

This time, in preparation for WCF, we decided to watch the whole movie. It is mostly taken up by historical arguments against Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, and hero worship of Anthony Comstock, the famous crusader against legal birth control whose laws were struck down after a campaign by Sanger. (The movie’s creators have also produced an animated account of Comstock’s life called “Fighter” aimed at painting Comstock as a role model for young boys.) The film makes the argument that Protestant churches that oppose legal abortion must also, by necessity, oppose birth control and laments the social movements and Supreme Court decisions that led to the decriminalization of birth control in the U.S.

Rose, an anti-abortion activist and mentor of anti-Planned Parenthood activist David Daleiden, makes the argument in the film that birth control has “led in many ways to abortion in our country” whereas “there was a time when birth control was unthinkable, when contraception was unthinkable because, people who got married, a beautiful part of marriage was the hope for children together.”

(No matter that abortion rates have been plummeting in recent years, thanks in part to widely available contraception.)

Rose also claims that Planned Parenthood is “encouraging sexual activity and experimentation at early ages” in order to increase the number of abortions it provides to “resolve the sexual activity that was started and encouraged by Planned Parenthood in the first place.”

As it happens, “Birth Control: How Did We Get Here?” premiered at the 2013 World Congress of Families in Sydney, accompanied by a panel discussion with Peeples, Carlson and Scott Matthew Dix, one of the film’s producers.

Steve Hotze: Trans People Like Those Who Think They're Cows And Cockroaches

Anti-LGBT activist Steve Hotze of Conservative Republicans of Texas spoke to Sam Malone earlier this month to promote the campaign to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which he suggested will lead to a wave of sexual violence against women.

Hotze also attacked transgender women as perverts who want “special rights.”

Think about it, some strange men, some perverted men, perverted in their thinking who think they’re women. You can think whatever you want to think, you can think you’re a frog, you can think you’re a cockroach, you can think you’re a cow and you may moo all day long, but the long and the short of it is you’re not, you’re a male. If you’re born with male parts, you’re a male, your sex is male, your gender is male no matter what you think. And this idea that we’re going to give special rights and privileges based on a person’s perverted thinking about whether or not they’re a man or a woman is just absolute nonsense.

Hotze later said that the ordinance will let “perverted men” be “as strange, as weird, as perverted, as deviant as you want to be,” which led him to berate Caitlyn Jenner.

“You can be like Bruce Jenner and dress up like a woman and get on a stage and talk with a low voice and get an award because you had courage to dress like a woman,” he said. “That’s the most asinine thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I thought to myself when they gave him that award and those people stood up and cheered for them, ‘Have they got rocks in their heads? What’s going on here? Is everything in the world is upside down?’”

He added that the Bible predicted that the “fruitcakes” defending Houston ordinance would then criticize people like him as “perverted” and “the ones who don’t think straight.”

GOP Congressman Ties Kim Davis To UCC Shooting Victims

Earlier this month, Rep. Pete Olson appeared on Houston’s “The Sam Malone Show” to attack President Obama over his reaction to the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon.

The Texas Republican said that the president spoke with “no factual information” about the massacre and simply thought, “Hey, it’s a crisis and that’s good politics for me.”

After addressing the conflicting reports about whether the perpetrator targeted Christians, Olson managed to link the massacre to Obama’s response to the case of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who was temporarily placed in the custody of U.S. Marshals after she repeatedly refused court orders to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“Enough of our President Obama about bigotry, about attacking people for their religions,” he said, “I mean good gosh, he sat on the sidelines with Ms. Davis there in Kentucky, he just sat by and sat by and let her get thrown in prison for following her religious beliefs.”

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