Globalizing Homophobia, Part 1: How The American Right Came to Embrace Russia’s Anti-Gay Crackdown

This is the first post in a four-part series exploring how American right-wing groups have supported Russia’s recent spate of anti-gay laws and its crackdown on LGBT citizens.

This summer, as part of a larger effort to channel political dissatisfaction by scapegoating minorities, the Russian government escalated its crackdown on the rights of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual citizens. President Vladimir Putin and his allies found support and guidance in their anti-gay efforts from a group eager for an opportunity to notch some victories in the battle against LGBT freedom and equality: the American right.

On June 11, the Russian Duma passed a law banning “propaganda” about homosexuality to minors, essentially a gag rule criminalizing any advocacy for LGBT equality. (Moscow had already instituted a 100-year ban on gay pride parades.) Weeks later, on July 3, Putin signed a bill banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples abroad and by single people in countries that allow marriage equality. Shortly afterward, a member of the Duma proposed a law that would revoke gay people’s custody of their biological children. The bill’s sponsor said in an interview that children would be better off in orphanages than with a gay mother or father.

Throughout this process, Russian gay rights groups reported a surge in anti-gay hate crimes. Journalist Julia Ioffe has documented some individual stories.

Russia’s crackdown on LGBT people comes amidst a broad crackdown on the rights of minorities and political dissenters or, in the words of one lawmaker, a campaign “to defend the rights of the majority.” On the same day the Duma passed its ban on gay “propaganda,” it also approved a harsh anti-blasphemy law promising jail time for “offending religious feelings.” The blasphemy measure was meant to strenghthen the laws that led to the political prosecution of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, whose members were sentenced to two years in a penal colony for a performance that was deemed to offend “religious sensibilities.”

Russia’s repression of LGBT people and the Pussy Riot case have provoked an international outcry, intensified by the  the country’s role as the host of next year’s winter Olympics.

But throughout all this, one group has cheered on Putin’s actions: the American Religious Right and its international allies.

Even as tensions have grown between Russia and the United States, several Religious Right leaders have spoken loudly in favor of Putin’s crackdowns on gay people and political dissenters:

  • Conservative commentator and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan praised Putin for “trying to re-establish the Orthodox Church as the moral compass of the nation” by going after gays and political dissent and suggested that the United States follow his lead.
  • The anti-feminist group Concerned Women for America hailed the Pussy Riot prosecution, saying that the band displayed an “utter lack of morality.”
  • Religious Right activist Bob Vander Plaats, whose Family Leader events in Iowa have become must-attends for Republican presidential candidates, praised Putin’s “decisive leadership” on anti-gay laws.
  • American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer declared that Russia’s gay “propaganda” ban was exactly the kind of “public policy that we’ve been advocating” and that, if anything, the ban didn’t go far enough.
  • Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality praised the propaganda law, writing, “Russians do not want to follow America’s reckless and decadent promotion of gender confusion, sexual perversion, and anti-biblical ideologies to youth.”
  • Scott Lively, an American activist linked to Uganda’s push for the death penalty for gays, wrote that under Putin’s leadership, Russia has become a “beacon of freedom” while the U.S. has descended into a “gay version of the Soviet Union.” Lively also gave himself credit for “indirectly” assisting the ban on “homosexual propaganda,” calling it “one of the proudest achievements of my career.”
  • Vision America’s Rick Scarborough suggested that God would rebuke President Obama over his condemnation of Russia’s anti-gay crackdown, saying that Obama’s criticism of the propaganda law “puts our country in a very precarious place.”
  • Radio host Linda Harvey, head of the group Mission: America, praised the gay “propaganda” ban, declaring that any “responsible adult” would support it.
  • Rush Limbaugh praised Putin for “putting [his] foot down” against gay peoples’ “full-frontal assault on what has always been considered normalcy.”
  • Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) called the Russian law a “good thing” and claimed that “most of the people in the United States” would support a similar measure.
  • Larry Jacobs of the Illinois-based World Congress of Families hailed the propaganda law for “preventing [LGBT people] from corrupting children" and declared  that "the Russians might be the Christian saviors to the world."
  • Six American Religious Right groups, including the World Congress of FamiliesMission: America and C-FAM , joined an international coalition of right-wing groups in signing a statement supporting the anti-gay crackdown and condemning the international outrage against it.

American conservative groups haven’t just praised Russia’s crackdown on gays. Working through several channels, American anti-gay activists quietly provided intellectual backing and international support that directly and indirectly fueled the resurgent anti-gay movement in Russia and in other former Soviet states like Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine.

In a series of posts today and tomorrow, we’ll look at how American activists influenced Russia’s anti-gay laws by funding anti-gay activism in Russia, testifying before the Duma, providing false research to fan the flames of anti-gay laws abroad, and building an international movement to back the harshest anti-gay laws around the world.

Erik Rush: Cruz Is Eligible To Be President But Obama Isn't; Clinton Is 'Miss Piggy'

Fox News regular Erik Rush is a champion of birtherism when it comes to President Obama, but that hasn’t stopped him from declaring that Canadian-born Ted Cruz eligible to be president. In fact, Rush hails Cruz as “a triple threat because he is conservative, Republican and an ethnic minority.”

How does Rush explain why he believes that Cruz – who was born in Canada to an American mother — can be president but that Obama — whom birthers like Rush falsely insist was born in Kenya to an American mother — isn’t? Well, he doesn’t: “There are also questions with regard to Cruz’s eligibility for the office (having been born in Canada), but given the history of this issue on the same subject with regard to President Obama, I won’t even go there.”

“Ted Cruz looks like a white guy, but he’s not – which is a non-issue to people who judge character over color,” Rush writes. “After all, our president looks like a black guy, but he’s not, and few of us make any bones about that.”

Rush classes up the column by calling Hillary Clinton “Miss Piggy” while lamenting that Cruz has been depicted as a “fringe, tinfoil hat-wearing fop.”

Because if anyone knows how it feels to be seen as a conspiracy theorist, it’s Erik Rush.

Don’t think for a moment that the ire, derision and ridicule of establishment Republicans and the liberal press that Ted Cruz now enjoys are merely a result of that speech. Considering the dire straits America is now negotiating (of which many of her proverbial passengers remain completely oblivious) and the designs of progressives in both parties, Cruz – who pledged to donate his salary to charity during any federal government shutdown – is a triple threat because he is conservative, Republican and an ethnic minority.

At a time when the GOP base was looking for a potential 2016 presidential nominee with testicular fortitude and without the historical political baggage, along came Ted Cruz – so it’s no wonder his name is already being floated for president amongst conservatives.

Ted Cruz looks like a white guy, but he’s not – which is a non-issue to people who judge character over color. After all, our president looks like a black guy, but he’s not, and few of us make any bones about that. There are also questions with regard to Cruz’s eligibility for the office (having been born in Canada), but given the history of this issue on the same subject with regard to President Obama, I won’t even go there.

It’s pretty apparent to anyone paying attention that unless Barack Obama declares himself emperor prior to 2016, Hillary Clinton (whom I affectionately call “Miss Piggy” due to resemblance rather than personal habits) is more or less a lock for the Democratic nomination. There have until recently been few prospects for the GOP, and it is highly probable that establishment Republicans and the Republican National Committee will do their best to ram another moderate or counterfeit conservative down our throats once again – perhaps Jeb Bush.

In this climate, someone like Ted Cruz, who has ingratiated himself to Americans in a big way simply by telling the truth, will remain a potential hazard to the establishment through 2016, unless he can be effectively neutralized. As we observed, GOP leaders united with the liberal press and politicians to thwart Cruz’s efforts to defund Obamacare, as well as conspiring to make him appear a fringe, tinfoil hat-wearing fop.

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/2/13

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/2/13

  • Scott Lively has announced his intention to run for governor in Massachusetts.
  • According to Terry Jeffrey, President Obama is now "prohibiting American Catholics from practicing their faith in the way they live their daily lives."
  • Rand Paul told a gathering of religious broadcasters that "there is a worldwide war on Christians."
  • October is Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender History Month and Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, says it "should be a serious wake-up call for anyone who still thinks gay history in schools is a good idea."
  • We can now add Rep. Steve Palazzo to the list of elected Republicans who have no qualms about appearing on Bryan Fischer's radio show.
  • Finally, speaking of Fischer, he says that President Obama believes that it is his mission to be the "agent of wrath" that will "punish this nation."

Alex Jones Channels Lizard From Outer Space To Reveal Dangers Of Obamacare

Back in April, Matt Drudge predicted that 2013 would be the “year of Alex Jones.” And what a year it’s been.

Just today, Jones donned a top hat, a fake English accent and a lizard mask — a take on his friend David Icke’s claim that shapeshifting lizards from outer space rule the world — to talk about the dangers of Obamacare.

Watch highlights here:

He said that vaccines give people syphilis and cancer while fluoride is a New World Order ploy to gain societal control and make “the state on my planet — I mean neighborhood — absolutely king.”

“This is a beautiful system being set up that would make Adolf Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer and Joe Stalin absolutely proud, this is a system where we can feed — I mean help all of you,” he said, before laughing maniacally.

Then, Space Lizard Jones brought on his special guest: “Obamacare,” represented by a guy wearing an Obamacare t-shirt skull mask.

“Here with our good friend Obamacare, who joins us to discuss all that is planned for you and grandma as well, fresh meat!” Jones said. “How are your herpes? How is your hernia?” Obamacare asked. “How is your homosexuality? I am watching you.”

Later, Space Lizard Jones told Obamacare, “I could suck the flesh off your head like a dying child, an aborted fetus, oh the beauty of it, the rapture,” while Obamacare kept asking about his herpes.

Space Lizard Jones then demanded a Nobel Peace Prize while accusing his new friend of racism against lizards: “Peace prize or you’re a racist against lizards! If you don’t accept all the vaccines you’re a racist. If you don’t do whatever I say you’re a racist. Racist; racist; racist; racist; racist; racist; racist; racist; racist. Flagellate yourself with a bull whip immediately.”

Glenn Beck Tries To Convince Louie Gohmert That God Wants Him To Run For Senate

For several days now, Glenn Beck has been leading a campaign to convince Rep. Louie Gohmert to launch a primary challenge against Republican Senator John Cornyn in Texas. Today, Gohmert called into Beck's radio program where Beck told Gohmert that he had been praying on the question and the answer that he heard from God is that Gohmert should run.

Ghomert demurred, saying that he'd need to raise millions of dollars to launch such a challenge, which prompted Beck to tell him that he should not worry about that since God will provide all the funding he would need because "we live in a time of miracles."

"You are the guy," Beck assured him. "As long as we're on God's side, who could stand against us?"

Poe: Obama Treating Republicans Like Nero Treated Christians

Speaking with the conservative outlet NewsMax today, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) compared President Obama to the Roman Emperor Nero because of his handling of the GOP-led government shutdown. Poe charged that Obama dishonestly held Republicans responsible for the shutdown, just as Nero blamed Christians for the Great Fire of Rome as a pretext for their persecution.

“When Nero fiddled while Rome burned, our President played golf while the government shutdown; Nero blamed the Christians while Obama blamed the Republicans,” Poe said. “It’s an interesting analogy.”

Watch:

Garlow: 'I Would Rather Die In The Battle For Truth Than Continue Living Under The Chaos And Tyranny That Is Coming Upon Us'

Today, Jim Garlow hosted a webcast for pastors in California, seeking to mobilize them to repeal a California law that allows transgender youth to use whatever bathroom and participate on whichever sports team they believe matches their gender identity. 

Leading the effort is a group called Privacy for all Students, which is seeking to gather 750,000 signatures for a petition to force a referendum on the law, placing it on the ballot so that the voters can repeal it.

Rick Santorum was supposed to participate in the event, but his airplane was delayed and he missed it, which was too bad because we would have loved to hear what he had to say, especially after Garlow called upon pastors to stand up as prophets and lead the fight to overturn this law, saying that they have to be willing to give up their lives, if necessary, declaring that he "would rather die in the battle for truth than continue living under the chaos and tyranny that is coming upon us":

We have to step in as prophets, we are to be seen and we're to function in that capacity .  If not us, then I would ask who?  If not now, then when? What will it take [for] a pastor to stand up in his community and be what he ought to be?  So I think we're talking to pastors who care, I think we're talking to pastors who get it. I think we're talking to pastors who will not be intimidated.

I would rather die in the battle for truth than continue living under the chaos and tyranny that is coming upon us.  And so some things are worth dying for, whether it's in our own emotions or in our own ambitions or whether it's actual, physical death. Some things are worth standing for and it's time for us to stand up.  We're coming into a season of intensified persecution, we all see it, we all know it, discerning people grasp it. So be it.

Statistics 101 With Larry Pratt

A study published in the American Journal of Medicine last month shortly after the Navy Yard shooting found that in developed countries the rate of gun deaths is highly correlated with the rate of gun ownership. You might think this would be bad news for Larry Pratt’s “no-compromise” Gun Owners of America. But who needs science when you can make up your own statistics?

In an interview with conservative commentator Tom Woods yesterday, Pratt presented his own statistics to bolster the gun lobby’s orthodoxy that more guns make communities safer.

Pratt first presented the case of the Old West, which he claims was in fact “under control” and “peaceful” because “virtually everybody was armed.” In fact, as law professor Adam Winkler explains, gun violence in the Old West was “far more rare than we commonly imagine”…because most towns had strict gun control measures.

Pratt then tried to prove that gun ownership makes communities safer by comparing Great Britain’s murder rate with that of his home of Fairfax County, Virginia. While Pratt concedes that Britain’s murder rate is “admittedly very low,” he points out that Fairfax County’s is lower, which he chalks up to Virginia’s lax gun laws. What he neglects to mention is that Fairfax County is far from typical of Virginia or the United States as a whole…to start with, it’s the second wealthiest county in Virginia and fourth wealthiest in the entire country. The homicide rate in the entire state of Virginia is significantly higher than that of both Fairfax County and the United Kingdom.

Pratt then goes on to claim that while Britain has a low murder rate, its strict gun laws have made it the “fourth most violent country in the world.” We have no idea where he got that statistic, but claims that the UK is more violent than the United States have been thoroughly debunked.

The Old West was the Wild West only on the screen. In reality, because virtually everybody was armed, the Old West, as you more properly put it, was quite a place under control, peaceful. The shootout at the OK Corral was very atypical.

Now, let’s go over to Britain, because you pointed to them. In Britain, they do have a very low murder rate. But in Fairfax County, Virginia, where Gun Owners of America is located and where people can obtain a concealed carry permit for a firearm rather easily, and where you’ve got to assume that there’s a whole bunch of folks here in Fairfax County that are armed, we have a murder rate at 1 per 100,000. Whereas over in peaceful old England, it’s 1.7 per 100,000 and their violent crime rate, apart from murder – which is admittedly very low – their violent crime rate ranks them as the fourth most violent country in the world after Jamaica, El Salvador and Honduras. Boy, how’s that gun control stuff working out for you now, old Great Britain?
 

Rios: If Only Speaker Boehner Had The Courage Of Terrorists

American Family Association radio host Sandy Rios spoke to Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) yesterday about the government shutdown, and the congressman spent most of the time attacking President Obama for not capitulating to the GOP’s demands to derail Obamacare in order to keep the government running.

Stockman laced into Obama, calling him a “Machiavellian, amazing man that can call John Boehner a terrorist, it’s just beyond the pale.”

“It really is, oh that he did have the kind of courage that some of the—oh that’s kind of a dangerous statement I just made,” Rios replied, implying Boehner should have the same courage as terrorists. “I think many of us are praying that he will have more courage, there’s no question about that.”

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