While many Americans celebrated and rejoiced at the barbaric hanging and execution of the former U.S. backed tyrant Saddam Hussein, most of the "civilized" world expressed disgust at the display of revenge and barbarism. Most of the advanced democratic societies in the world have banned state-sponsored executions. The Pope and the Catholic Church have denounced the execution and the death penalty. Where are all those "pro-life" fanatics when it comes to state-sponsored killing? Perhaps they should read more of the teachings of the man they claim to follow, who I believe denounced revenge and commanded his disciples to NOT return evil with evil, but rise above their enemies. The graphic above is from an Italian newspaper, and depicts the common ground shared by the U.S. and fundamentalist Christians and Muslims--they endorse revenge and state-sponsored killings of human beings. Is it really a cause for celebration that the United States shares this barbaric notion of "justice" with Islamic religious fanatics?
No, I don't defend Saddam Hussein. I believe "justice" would require him to stand trial in a world court for crimes against humanity, and allow more of his victims, expecially the Kurds, to testify to his brutality and inhumanity, and sentence him to prison for life. Repayig his inhumanity and cruelty with more of the same is not "justice", it is barbaric revenge.
While I am no fan of the tyrant Saddam Hussein, I do not see how executing him makes Iraq more "democratic" or solves any of the problems facing the country in a violent religious civil war. While Saddam Hussein was certainly guilty of many many war crimes and crimes against humanity, he was executed for only one of them, which killed a few hundred Shiites in the 80s. That trial was a farce. And wasn't he an "ally" of the United States during that period when he committed so many crimes against humanity? Didn't Ronald Reagan send Rumsfeld over to shake the tyrants hand and offer him U.S. support in his war against Iran? And if Saddam can be executed for "crimes against humanity" for ordering or presiding over the slaughter of hundreds of innocent civilians, what about other leaders, like George W. Bush, who have committed similar "crimes against humanity"??
With the death of an ex-President the media tries to focus on the good things the departed did as President, so we have been hearing a lot about what a great person former President Gerald Ford was. I was going to do some of the same, and say that Gerald Ford was one of the "better" Republican politicial leaders, since he was not quite as right-wing as Reagan or Bush. But how can we now say that he did the right thing by pardoning Richard Nixon for his crimes? Then I read this piece on DEMOCRACY NOW and was reminded not only of that bad decision, but also of Gerald Ford's tacit approval and the U.S. participation in the Indonesian invasion of East Timor that killed one-third of the Timorese population. I'm sure there are a lot more things like that the meda will not be discussing. Ford wasn't a right-wing nut like Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush, but he was no saint either. We should reflect on the whole record of dead presidents and not forget their mistakes and the consequences of their policies.
I can say one good thing about Gerald Ford.. he did support gay rights, including marriage equality, in his old age. Hopefully the next president will not take that long to support equality for all.
It's that time of year again, Bill O'Reilly (Fox News) and his christo-fascist fans have been doing their annual whinning about the "War on Christmas" by us mean ol' secular humanist liberals. I haven't seen much evidence of it, but facts do not matter to these fanatics. To the theocon christo-fascists, any recognition of diverse religious and non-religious holiday observances which conflict with their religious Christmas holiday is an attack on baby Jesus and his followers. Is it really too much to include all "Happy Holidays" rather than only one--Merry Christmas?? As an atheist, I still send Christmas cards and say "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays" or Happy New Year, some of my friends have joked about it. I think "Christmas" has become more than just a religious observance of the supposed birthday of jesus christ. Many atheists and secular humanists observe "Winter Solstice" rather than christmas, but I sill like "Christmas", I put up a tree and decorate it, I like getting a bonus at work I can use to buy presents for family and friends (and myself!), and I like haveing some time off work to be with family. So I say "Merry Christmas"! Happy Holidays! Or as little Tim says in A Christmas Carol, one of my favorite books/movies about the evils of materialistic laissez-faire capitalism, "Merry Christmas to all!"
With recent best-selling books by atheists Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, it seems like atheists and secular humanists may have finally reached a point where they can become a politically organized group to counter the Christo-fascists who have virtually dictated social and political policies in the United States for the past decade. I have little "faith" in the weak liberal Christian churches who are losing membership and political clout. It is time, as Richard Dawkins argues in his speeches, for American atheists to get politically organized to fight theocracy, and to promote science and secular humanism instead of living in fear and silence. As a gay atheist, I see many similarities to "coming out" for atheists and gay people. It took me a little longer to "come out" as an atheist than as a gay man. Atheists are still probably the most hated and feared group in American society, but things will change as more and more people admit that they do NOT believe in the sky-gods of Christians, Jews and Muslims. And if we want to preserve democracy and secular constitutional government, we better get politically organized! But organizing atheists and humanists is like herding a bunch of cats! Now there is a SECULAR political action group to counter the Christian Coalition--the Secular Coalitoin for America which currently includes a coalition of secular groups: American Humanist Association, Atheists Alliance Int'l, Freedom from Religion Foundation, and others. It may be the best opportunity yet for secular humanists and atheists to gain some political power.
In an attempt to satisfy the recent New Jersy Supreme Court ruling that gays and lesbians must have the same rights as heterosexual married couples, the NJ legislature has approved a "civil union" law that is supposed to provide the same rights as married couples, but with a different name. Given the overewhelming opposition to "gay marriage," can gays and lesbians achieve equal marriage rights with "civil unions"? It makes political sense to give up the loosing "marriage" battle and work for civil unions, but it just doesn't seem very progressive to work hard to create a "separate but equal" instution for gays and lesbians that my fail to withstand judicial scrutiny in the hopefully near future.
If you thought a "Democratic" Congress would mean a dramatic change in military spending think again. Democrats Expected to Increase Military Spending While Dennis Kucinich and some progressive anti-war Democrats are proposing cutting funds for the Iraq occupation, most of the Democratic Leadership seems intent on proving they are "tough" on "national defense" and will support MORE military spending. As the article points out, the current federal military budget is over $430 billion, which does not include the $140 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan. And if you add up all the money being spent on past and current wars (military actions) the total is nearly $1 trillion!
The anti-gay Christian Right is raising questions about Mitt Romney's Record on Gay Rights Seems like the Republican Governor of Massachusetts, and likely Republican presidential candidate, is suffering from the same ailment as John McCain--waffling on civil rights for gays and lesbians. While Romney has been a vocal opponent of gay marriage and tried to force the Democratic legislature in MA to take up the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment, he once told the Log Cabin Republicans that he would do more for gay rights than Ted Kennedy! In a 1994 letter when he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate running against Kennedy, Romney pledged to be a more effective champion for gay rights than Edward Kennedy. In the letter he wrote: "I am more convinced than ever before that as we seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens, I willl provide more effective leadership than my opponent." In his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Romney's staff campaigned for him in the Boston Gay Pride Parade.
Now he is singing John McCain's new tune with the anti-gay Christian Right. Neither can win the GOP nomination without the support of the Religious Right, and they are now questionning Romney's conservative credentials.
Ok, this is becoming an epidemic! Pastor Resigns Over Homosexuality In a tearful videotaped message Sunday to his congregation, the senior pastor of a thriving evangelical megachurch in south metro Denver confessed to sexual relations with other men and announced he had voluntarily resigned his pulpit.
A month ago, the Rev. Paul Barnes of Grace Chapel in Doug las County preached to his 2,100-member congregation about integrity and grace in the aftermath of the Ted Haggard drugs-and-gay-sex scandal.
Now, the 54-year-old Barnes joins Haggard as a fallen evangelical minister who preached that homosexuality was a sin but grappled with a hidden life.
"I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy," Barnes said in the 32- minute video, which church leaders permitted The Denver Post to view. "... I can't tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away."
There seems to be a strong correlation between religious fundamentalistm and homosexuality/homophobia. What is the cause/effect???
In another case of the Grammys losing its "artistic" credibility, the "Academy" snubbed Bob Dylan's MODERN TIMES in its Album of the Year nominations. Somehow, they found Justin Timberlake more worthy of the nomination. Oh well, here's a great video to watch while listening to THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN from the Best Album of 2006, Bob Dylan's MODERN TIMES.
(Yes, there are probably fewer gay Bob Dylan fans than there are Gay Republicans...)
V.P. Dick Cheney's Lesbian daughter, Mary Cheney, is pregnant and the Christian Right is having a cow! I'm no fan of Uncle Tom Republican Mary Cheney, but it will be interesting to see how the public will respond to the reality of gay and lesbian couples having children--with no civil rights as parents! Since Mary and her partner cannot get married, thanks to her Dad and the Republican Party, they will lack many of the basic rights that married parents have. Maybe that will wake up "middle America" and the rational wing of the Republican party. We already know the reaction from the Religious Right: Concerned Women for America call the decision of Mary Cheney to have an out of wedlock baby "unconscionable," and Focus on the Family belittled the love of lesbian mothers for a baby as less than what a mother and father could provide... blah blah. While Mary Cheney's book (Now It's My Turn) was a big flop, selling less than 10,000 copies last I heard (the market for repressed Republican lesbians must be very small indeed), maybe the socio-political obstacles she and her partner will face as parents will shed some light on why gays and lesbians MUST be allowed to legally marry!
Gay Rights Activists Hopeful About New Agenda Now that the "gay marriage" issue is put on the backburner until the next election and a few more states amend their constitutions to ban it, gay rights organizations (HRC, NGLTF) are focusing on passing the hate crimes bill first, and then trying to get the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed later... I'm not sure why the leaders of HRC and NGLTF want to focus on Hate Crimes first, since that issue affects few GLBT people, while employment discrimination is a real threat for most GLBT people, since there is no federal laws protecting GLBT people from it. I have always had mixed feelings about hate crime laws, sure I support the, but I don't see how they do much to stop hate crimes, and they fuel the anti-gay right's accusation that we want "special rights." Why should crimes against certain groups get more severe penalties than others? Hard to argue that issue, and I think there will be more opposition to the hate crime bill than the employment non-discrimination bill--but I could be wrong. I think it may be a mistake for gay rights groups to settle for the hate crime bill, instead of pushing the Democrats in Congress to pass ENDA. Should it be the priority?
It will be good to get the public focus back on discrimination against LGBT people and off of gay marriage for a while...
I almost forgot to thank CHRIS LUGO, the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, and the rest of the Green Party candidates for giving TN voters a PROGRESSIVE alternative to the conservative Democratic and Republican candidates. I am a Democratic Socialist, not a Green Party member, but I appreciate the work the Green Party candidates did, especially Chris Lugo, in championing the issues that a REAL progressive Democratic candidate should be fighting for in Tennessee. Chris only got about 2500 votes, but every one of those votes, including mine, was vote for progressive values and NOT a vote for conservative Democrat Harold Ford Jr., who sold out much of the Democratic party's base to appeal to the conservative theocratic base of the Republcian Party--and he still lost! And for those Democrats who will try to blame those of us who voted for Chris Lugo for Jr.'s defeat, do your math! Ford lost by over 50,000 votes, Chris got 2500! So you can stop blaming the Green Party for the failures of the Democratic Party!
Here's part of Chris Lugo's message to his supporters on his website which I would like for you to read:
"My main objective in running for office this year was to give peace a voice at the ballot box. About 2500 people felt so strongly about peace that this is what they voted for on November 7th and I think that is very exciting. I hadn't planned on stepping into such a big race nor such a tight race this year, and in many ways it was just a good year to run. The Senate seat was an open seat, the representative stepping down was the Senate majority leader, the major party candidates were both conservative and the race was tight so it was getting a lot of national media attention. I made a lot of Democrats nervous this campaign season and Harold Ford Jr. spent a lot of energy on telling the Democrats not to vote Green. His campaign called me the "Tennessee Ralph Nader" and told Democrats not to give in to the temptations of the Green party again like they did in 2000. The pressure and bullying that the Democratic party took this year with Greens and progressives was huge and it worked, but it still didn't bring them victory in Tennessee. I think was an important lesson, which goes to show that even if you decide to sell out your vote, you still might lose. Perhaps it is a calculated gamble that some progressives are willing to make, I would estimate that several percentage points of Democrats made that choice this year in Tennessee, and decided to vote for someone who has voted for war, voted for torture, voted against civil rights for the glbt community, voted for limiting first amendment rights and sat in a church with a cross behind him while he informed voters that he voted for the patriot act, against immigrants and proudly boasted of voting for five trillion dollars in defense expenditures in the last ten years."
Thanks Chris! Hopefully the "Democratic Party" and voters in Tennessee will wake up and demand that the TN Democratic Party offer voters a real alternative to the Republican Party.
I will continue to support PROGRESSIVE Democratic candidates and work to save the Democratic Party in TN, but I will not lift ONE FINGER to help conservative Democrats!
While TN and most U.S. states are taking steps to deny marriage equality for gays and lesbians, South Africa has joined Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain (and Massachusetts) in legalizing same-sex marriages, over the opposition of Christian and Muslim groups who agree that homosexuality is an abomination to god.
Now that "gay marriage" has been defeated in Tennessee and in most of the United States, it is time for the "gay rights movement" to get back on track and quit following into the anti-gay Christian right's political traps. "Gay Marriage" was a distraction, politically timed to divide the Democratic Party, mobilize conservative Christian voters, and elect Republicans. The issue is so unpopular and political dangerous, even most Democratic candidates opposed it (i.e. Harold Ford Jr. and Barack Obama..)
Now it is time for the Democratic Party, as the majority party in control of Congress now, to prove it deserves the support of gay voters. It is time to fight discrimination against gays by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (to protect gays from employment discrimination) and end the miltary's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy which has been a disaster for the military and for gays in the military. Clinton should never have "compromised" with the anti-gay military establishment and enshrined anti-gay bigotry in military policy (which still considers homosexuality to be a "disorder"). DADT has ended the careers of thousands of gays and lesbians in the U.S. military. (DADT makes it a crime to publicly acknowledge being gay or lesbian, and requires gays and lesbians to be celibate and keep their identity a secret.)
While there seems to be enough Democratic support to pass ENDA, not many Democratic leaders have been willing to call for and end to DADT and allow gays to serve openly in the U.S. military, even though recent polls show a strong majority favor allowing gays to serve in the military.
We must also confront the hypocrisey of "liberals" who claim to support gay rights, but who do NOT support giving gay and lesbian couples EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS. That is still an issue that Democrats are divided on and even many liberals cannot seem to embrace. Unfortunately, marriage equality will require challenging irrational religious dogmas that should not have anything to do with public policy, and a strong defense of the separation of church and state, which many Democrats (i.e. Harold Ford Jr., Barack Obama, etc.) do not respect.
Will the Democrats defend the separation of church and state, and equal civil rights?
Our friends at the anti-gay American Family Association demonstrated once again that they are NOT a "Christian" organization at all, and they do not understand "Thanksgiving." The AFA once again threatened to boycott a major corporation (Wal-Mart) for the "sin" of supporting their gay and lesbian employees and treating gay people as human beings. The AFA threatened a boycott on Friday, the big shopping day after thanksgiving, complaining that Wal-Mart had donated money to gay organizations (inlcuding the Northwest Arkansas LGBT Community Center), had joined the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and had promoted a gay movie (Brokeback Mountain). They have called off their "boycott" after Wal-Mart issued a statement saying that the company would not take any positions on "controversial issues." Although the AFA called off their boycott, Wal-Mart continues to support the gay and lesbian chamber of commerce and the Northwest Arkansas LGBT Community Center, and they still carry Brokeback Mountain and other movies that portray gays as human beings. So Thanks AFA for nothing..
The Democrats are off to a bad start as the majority party in Congress. Nancy Pelosi, soon to be the Speaker of the House, was rebuked by the Democratic Congressional Caucuas when they rejected her pick to be Majority Leader, sleaze-bag John Murtha, who Citizens for Ethics and Responsiblity in Washington-CREW calls one of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress, who recently told the conservative Blue Dog Democrats that the Democratic ethics bill is "full of crap." The person chosen to be Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer, ain't no prize. He's another DLC "centrist. Pelosi herself has emphasized that the Dems will be governing from the "center," which the Republicans and conservative media pundits have moved to the right of center, particulary by trying to paint Pelosi as a radical socialist revolutionary, which she ain't. Check out Doug Irelands THE SKINNY ON NANCY PELOSI It's going to be a rough two years...hopefully the Democrats will take some lessons from George Greider and get a political backbone to fight for a real progressive agenda.
John McCain has been getting a pass from the media and the public for so long just because he is a "war hero." Now that he is sure to be running for the Republican presidnetial nomination, he has "flipped and flopped" on many issues, especially gay rights issues. Once an opponent of anti-gay amendments, he supported the failed Arizona anti-gay marriage amendment. On Sunday's ABC This Week, Stephanopoulus Stumps Mccain on gays in the military. McCain said he supports gay rights, including the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which is NOT pro-gay at all. When Stephanopolous tried to point out that the military defines homosexuality as a "defect," McCain denied it! Like so many politicians, including some Democrats (Bill Clinton) unfortunately, McCain claims to support "gay rights" but actually does not
McCain has been courting the Religious Right to win the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, speaking at conservative Christian colleges Jim Jones and Libery University, meeting with Jerry Falwell and other religious right leaders, and taking more conservative positions on issues like abortion. ------ And if the Democrats really want to keep gay voters, they better take some action on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act while they have a chance to prove they support our rights, or they can forget it in 2008.
Well..you may have noticed I haven't posed a blog in several days... that's because I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY. I've been thinking about things I said that I probably should NOT have said, or how I SHOULD have said them, but it seems like wasted brain power now to dwell on them.. I don't know how I feel about the Democrats in control of Congress, yes it is better than the GOP, but not sure by how much. While the Republican Right scares the Sh*t out of me, the Democrats often get my hopes up and then disappoint big time. I'm afraid it might HELP the GOP in 2008, as Congress seems pretty unpoplar regardless of which party is in control since it is such a wasteland of incompetence and corruption, and it looks like some Dems will probably be fingered in the Abramoff scandale and others. To all those who had hopes the Democrats will END the War in Iraq..SURPRISE. They will not. It will keep going for a few years at least. There are institutional (i.e. military) forces at work that will not allow the U.S. to withdaw from Iraq soon. And the Democrats will NOT do what Dennis Kuccinich suggests, and CUT OFF funding for the war. That would be interpreted as abandoningn the troops, and that will be a BIG NEGATIVE in 2008. And the will NOT cut any wasteful military spending either for the same reason. The Theocons (theocratic conservatives) seem to be winning more power in both political parties, so watch as both parties continue to play their GOD cards... The GOP and conservative press will keep boxing the Democras into a right-of-center position by accusing everything they do as being "socialist" or even worse, "San Francisco Liberalism." So the Dems will probably NOT move to the left where they need to go on many issues... it will be the SOS as before... I think Gay Marriage is DEAD in the U.S., while it and other gay rights causes seem to be advancing in the rest of the civilized world.. If Tennessee keeps moving to the right we may need to start a freedom highway to Vermont or somewhere north of the Mason-Dixie line soon... So I guess I did have something to say after all.. Sorry I'm feeling kind of down politically right now...
Well the worldl's largest anti-gay organziation, the Catholic Church, is trying to "reach out" to gays: Bishops Adopt Gay Outreach Guidelines There is a catch--if you want to be reached, you have to be celibate, like a pedophile priest. The Bishops also admonished heteros who commit the grave sin of using "artificial contraceptives." If you have sex, you must do so only to have children I guess.. It's hard to believe the Catholic Church continues to thrive in the 21st century.
Could tension over gay pride rally put homosexual issues on agenda? By Dina Kraft November 12, 2006
JERUSALEM, Nov. 12 (JTA) — Gay issues have never been at the forefront of Israeli domestic politics — unlike in the United States — but some wonder if that will change after fervently Orthodox protesters used violence to prevent a gay pride parade. Confrontations with police and threats of worse violence to come forced gay-rights advocates to downgrade last Friday’s event from a parade through the city center to a rally, in a cordoned-off stadium on the edges of the capital.
“In the past two weeks, people are talking about the issue as part of a conservative agenda, where before it was never an issue,” said Eran Hertzmann, 34, a high-tech worker from Tel Aviv who attended the rally with his partner, Uri Eik, 37.
The two belong to an organization called Hoshen that tries to educate the general public about Israel ’s gay community.
“The idea is to destroy the stigma and show we are all simply people,” Hertzmann said.
Noa Sattath, director of Jerusalem Open House, a group for gays and lesbians that helped organize the rally, said the violence surrounding it did not bode well for social change.
“The fact that people think they can act violently and trample on the rights of a minority,” she said, “is a distressful sign.”
Religious leaders claim gay activists caused the problem by not being sensitive to their concerns. Still, the violence and public statements by Muslim, Jewish and Christian clerics against the event stood in marked contrast to the general Israeli openness toward gay society.
Israel’s army has a more liberal approach to homosexuals than the U.S. military, accepting openly gay soldiers as opposed to the Americans’ “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Israeli gay couples are also allowed certain types of legal recognition.
“Still, there’s a lot of work that has to be done with society at large in order to be accepted,” said Rommy Hassman, a leading Israeli gay-rights activist.
In secular Tel Aviv, gay life flourishes. But as one ventures from the center of the country, the acceptance level tends to drop off.
That became apparent in the run-up to last Friday’s event.
The past week saw several long nights of rioting by fervently Orthodox youth in Jerusalem ’s Mea She’arim neighborhood. Throwing stones and burning trash cans, they faced off against police to demonstrate their opposition to an open gathering of homosexuals in the city center.
Even the Vatican got involved, calling on the Israeli government to cancel the event, saying it would be offensive to all religions, given the sacred nature of Jerusalem .
The Supreme Court ruled the event should be allowed to take place. In the end, however, the street violence and threat of more to come, coupled with a heightened security alert following the deaths of 19 Palestinian civilians in Gaza from errant Israeli shelling, led to a compromise deal between gay activists and fervently Orthodox leaders to hold a rally rather than a parade, and not in downtown Jerusalem but in a Hebrew University stadium.
There were roughly as many police — about 3,000 — protecting the event as there were participants. Participants were searched for weapons before being allowed inside.
As part of the compromise struck between the two groups, there were no fervently Orthodox protests at the rally. The event went off without serious incident, but police did detain five religious men found at a Jerusalem park with clubs, knives and a gun.
The rally turned into a demonstration for democracy as much as for gay rights. Many heterosexuals at the rally said the violent opposition had galvanized them to come.
“When I saw where the violence could lead, I felt it was my obligation to be here,” said Dvora Jacobi, 63, a chemist from Rehovot.
“Today the police carried out one of the most important tasks in history by protecting you. Over the past several days, there was wild incitement against you, which does not reflect the position of most of the citizens of Israel ,” Sami Michael, director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel , said at the rally.
“Let us be free in our own country,” a young Israeli man wrapped in a rainbow flag roared out to the cheering crowd.
The young man was Adam Russo, one of the three people stabbed at last year’s gay pride march in the capital.
Until last year, gay pride marches in Jerusalem , generally small events, took place quietly and without major protests. But the idea of a gathering came under scrutiny last summer when an international gay festival was planned for Jerusalem , a move fiercely opposed by religious groups in the city.
That festival ultimately was canceled because of societal tension caused by the simultaneous Gaza Strip withdrawal, and after Israeli police said they would not be able to secure the parade and possible fallout from the withdrawal at the same time.
A local march was held instead, where Russo and two other marchers were stabbed by an Orthodox protester.
Hassman, the gay-rights advovcate, said the intense reaction by Jerusalem ’s fervently Orthodox snowballed after the attention on last year’s planned international event.
“ Jerusalem is becoming more and more Orthodox and religious and I think political leaders were looking for trouble. The easiest way to arouse a public is to find an enemy,” he said. This time the enemy was the gay community.
Nightly television footage of Jerusalem streets blazing and clashes with the police did not reflect well on the fervently Orthodox, he said.
“Now they look like the bad guys, and the gays look like the good guys,” he said.
Among those at the rally who said the government should have spoken out against the violent demonstrations was Dana Olmert, daughter of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Olmert, a lesbian who lives with her partner in Tel Aviv, was especially incensed by comments from Eli Yishai, a Cabinet minister from the Sephardi Orthodox Shas Party, who condemned the gathering and compared the gay community to the biblical residents of Sodom and Gemorrah, who were destroyed for their iniquity.
“I wish someone in the government had answered back to him,” she told Israel ’s Channel 10 television.
Analysis: A showdown over a gay pride march reveals the rising tension between religion and secularism in the Jewish State
In a Holy City fissured by faith, finding a consensus on anything among Jewish, Christian and Muslim clerics is a near-miraculous occurrence. Yet Jerusalem's rabbis, priests and imams have united, however briefly, to stop the city's Gay Pride parade.
For some of their followers, the issue is worth spilling blood over: An unknown extremist Jewish group pasted up signs announcing a $500 "reward" for every gay man or woman killed during the parade, which is scheduled for Nov. 10. Several ultra-orthodox rabbis have vowed to mobilize more than 100,000 protesters to shut down Jerusalem on the day of the parade, and police warn that some groups plan to pelt the marchers with apples jagged with razor blades.
Meanwhile, in a rare display of solidarity with Jewish extremists, an influential Islamic cleric is urging Muslims to stage a simultaneous protest inside the old walled city to draw away Israeli police who would otherwise be shielding the gay parade from harm. "Not only should these homosexuals be banned from holding their parade," says one Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ibrahim Hassan, who preaches at a mosque near Damascus Gate, "but they should be punished and sent to an isolated place." Hatred, it seems, can be a bridge to inter-faith harmony.
Gay pride marches have, in fact, been held in Jerusalem for the past five years, prompting only grumbling among the city's conservatives. Then, last year, an ultra-Orthodox youth waded into the crowd of revelers and slashed three people with a knife. The furor over the parade reveals a long-standing contradiction inside an Israeli culture where secular values compete with fiercely defended religious traditions. Tel Aviv prides itself on its hip, cosmopolitan nightclubs and an easygoing "life is a beach" attitude, while an hour away, in some Jerusalem neighborhoods, ultra-orthodox men still dress in the style of 17th century Poland, with long black waistcoats and beaver-skin hats. Making up one third of the Jewish residents of the Holy City, the ultra-Orthodox ride their own buses, send their kids to religious schools, and close off streets to cars on the Sabbath. Any Tel Aviv visitor wandering into these pious communities in shorts and a T-shirt on the Sabbath has always run the risk of getting clobbered by a rock. But the violence at last year's Gay Pride parade may have been a sign that the tension between the opposite poles of Israeli identity is rising.
Israeli laws are the most tolerant in the Middle East toward gays, and ultra-Orthodox Jews see that as a symptom of a Jewish state rejecting its religious responsibilities. For some, the battle to stop the Gay Pride march has already begun. In the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shea'rim, police clashed over three consecutive nights this week with curly-forelocked youths who burned tires and hurled eggs and tomatoes. One officer said he was stunned "by the level of hatred" he saw in these clashes against Israel's small but vocal gay and lesbian community. Israel's Supreme Court has approved the parade, but the city's police could still call it off for the sake of public safety.
The implications of calling off the march under threat of violence worry civil rights advocates. Says Elena Canetti, a spokeswoman at Jerusalem Open House, which sponsors the parade: "This is bigger than gay rights. It's now about whether we respect the rule of law in Israel, or give in to threats of violence." Cannetti says that human rights activists and some leftist parties have signed on to the parade, which is expected to draw several thousand gay marchers. "Many people aren't coming because they're scared," she says.
The mile-long parade route is carefully planned to avoid any places of worship, and Canetti says that she has told some of the procession's expected participants, especially those from flashy Tel Aviv, to tone down sexy costumes. "We're not having floats or naked men flashing their asses," she says. "We just want to tell people: 'Hey, we're here. We have a right to exist.'"
The tension over the Nov. 10 march may have erupted even sooner had the Lebanon war not forced the cancellation of a World Gay Pride Procession that had been planned for Jerusalem this summer. Even then, one extremist, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, from the Eda Haredit rabbinic court, blamed the failure of Israel's campaign in Lebanon on "the homosexuals' obscenity and promiscuity in the Holy Land."
The anti-gay bandwagon has even attracted support from abroad. Rabbi Yehuda Levin, of the Orthodox Rabbinical Alliance of America and the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the U.S. and Canada, has been carrying out a three-year campaign against what he calls "the homosexualization of the Holy Land." It was Levin who crossed the boundaries of religious and ethnic hostility and recruited the support of prominent Palestinian Islamic cleric Taisser Tamimi against the parade. Evangelical Christian groups were also upset by what they saw as the deliberate flaunting of sexuality in Christendom's most sacred place. Says Rev. Malcolm Hedding, executive director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, "This city's long history makes this event very provocative for people's feelings and beliefs. It's too 'in-your-face.'"
But secular Israelis say it's a shame that the only thing Jerusalem's three feuding communities of faith can agree on is their condemnation of gays. Both sides will be looking to prevail on the streets of Jerusalem next Friday.
—with reporting by Jamil Hamad/Ramallah and Aaron J. Klein/Jerusalem
Watch the video of Richard Dawkins reading from his bestselling book THE GOD DELUSION, in Lynchberg, VA and be sure to watch the Q&A as students from Jerry Falwell's Liberty University try to debate him!
Elton John Echos my recent post about religion, though I think we should specify FUNDAMENTALIST religions fuel hatred and bigotry... I have many problems with "liberal" religions as well, but I can live with and respect them since they are not attacking people like fundamentalists do.
Posted 11/11/2006 9:49 PM ET LONDON (AP) — Organized religion fuels anti-gay discrimination and other forms of bias, pop star Elton John said in an interview published Saturday.
"I think religion has always tried to turn hatred toward gay people," John said in the Observer newspaper's Music Monthly magazine. "Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays."
"But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion," he said. "From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate."
John also criticized religious leaders for failing to do anything about conflicts around the world.
"Why aren't they having a conclave? Why aren't they coming together?"
John said those in his own field have been similarly lax.
"It's like the peace movement in the '60s. Musicians got through to people by getting out there and doing peace concerts, but we don't seem to do them any more," he said. "If John Lennon were alive today, he'd be leading it with a vengeance." Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
I'm still stunned by the 80% vote in support of the anti-gay Amendment 1 in TN. We know why don't we.. CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM. I know we are supposed to be nice and sweet talk these people, but how can you reason with people who believe in mythical sky-gods and demons, and who believe Jesus is coming back soon to zap them away???
Folks, there is NO sky god! He ain't up there. Your Bible is full of crap, like "if a man lies with a man he should be put to death." Now do you really believe that? Or what about "slaves obey your masters," or "women be subject to men" and "remain silent." Do you reallly believe "god" (where the fuck did "he" come from??) made the world from scratch and made ONE man and then took one of his ribs and made a "woman" and then after a few millennia decided he made a mistake and killed every living thing on the planet excpet Noah and his family and a pair of every living animal (how did they fit on that ark??), and then do you belive this "god" chose ONE race of people to be his "chosen people," and commanded them to KILL their enemies who worshipped other gods (jealousy??), and then do you believe a virgin gave birth to a god child who walked on water, had to be killed as a sacrifice to save the world, but was resurrected, and now is coming back to rescue you and punish eveyone who does not believe all this crap? Do you really believe you will live forever on some cloud while I burn in some lake of fire somewhere because I chose reason over insanity?
You can believe what you want, but please keep it to yourself, and stop trying to force your superstitious delusions on the whole fucking world!
While I expected anti-gay Amendment 1 to pass in Tennessee, it is shocking that it passed with the support of 80% of TN voters! Eighty Percent! No doubt Amendment 1 galvanized conservative voters and contributed to Bob Corker's defeat of Harold Ford Jr., despite Ford's pandering to anti-gay bigotry and support of the Amendment. It looks to me like 80% of Tennessee thinks gays and lesbians are not full citizens entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
While progressives must keep working to change the political direction of Tennessee, it is clear that this state is swinging far to the right, and even Democrats are being forced to pander to anti-gay, conservative voters.
Is this state hopeless? Is 80 percent of Tennesseans bigots?
The Democrats have "won" the House of Representatives, but (as of 11:30 PM Tuesday), it looks like they will come up three or four seats short of taking the Senate (Tennessee, Missouri, Virginia, Montana).
(Ford has LOST, despite all his attempts to pander to the christo-fascist bigots in Tennessee.)
The pattern is clear now, there is a long overdue geographical reallignment of the Dem and Rep Parties: the Democrats have won several senate seats in the Northeast and Midwest (Ohio, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania). The Republicans still dominate the South.
I have been thinking this, and now I found someone who wrote a book who agrees with me: The Democrats should forget the south! No, I don't mean totally give up, but focus on winning the moderate/rockefeller Republicans in the Northeast and midwest, not focus on winning the south. Just as the Republicans became a majority party by winning the South from the Democrats, the Democrats should take the Northeast and Midwest back from the Republicans.
So agrees Thomas Shaffer, author of WHISTLING PAST DIXIE: HOW THE DEMOCRATS CAN WIN WITHOUT THE SOUTH (Simon & Schuster).
In order to win the South, the Democrats will have to keep moving to the RIGHT and embrace the christo-fascist theocratic agenda. It's not worth it. The Democrats should be a populist/liberal party and not cave in to the right-wing southern bigots. We should keep working on the South, hopefully they will embrace reason and modernity in the next century, but in the meantime, the Democrats should look North and left.
I'm trying to find a way to move to Vermont so I can have health insurance, a civil union and a SOCIALIST Senator (Bernie Sanders!)
UPDATE: Well I may have blogged too soon, it now looks like Webb may have beat Allen in Virginia by a few thousand votes, but there will be a recount. The Democrat is ahead in Montana and Missouri, so the Democrats have a slim chance of winning the Senate! But we won't know until after the recount in Virginia..will it be 2000 all over again??
For what it's worth, the election will be over in a few hours but I predict: The Democrats will take the House, but not the Senate Ford Jr. will Lose Cohen will win The Anti-gay Amendment 1 will pass overwhelmingly, thanks to the support of many prominent "Democrats" (Gov. Phil Bredesen, Harold Ford Jr, etal.) (early results show 80% yes!) Bigotry is very popular in TN! (I had hoped we could keep the margin of defeat lower in Shelby County)
Unlike many "progressive" Democrats, I do not see a major Democratic sweep. I don't see a lot of enthusiasm for the Democratic Party, I see a lot of anger at Republicans (and a lot of it from Republicans unhappy with the GOP leaders in congress who have not been conservative enough!).
The unfortunately political reality is that the U.S. is a conservative country politically. Many of the Democrats who will win will be "moderate conservatives" which will fuel the right-ward drift of the Democratic Party, which is being pulled to the right both within and without.
I think the next two years will be very difficult for the Democratic House. Nancy Pelosi is the answer the the Republican's prayers, and they will demonize her and "San Francisco Liberals" until Hillary is nominated in 2008 and then the party will be over.. so the Dems only have TWO years in the House. I hate to be a party pooper but, I predict the GOP will probably win back the House in two years and the White House, because they willl blame the Democrats for all the problems that will come to a head in the next two years: the deficit, etc. Because of Bush's mismanagement the past 6 years, the tax cuts will NOT be renewed so peoples taxes will go UP. The Dems, if they control the House and/or the Senate will be blamed for it all. The GOP will use Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton (the 2008 Presidential Nominee) to scare the SHIT out of the Christo-Fascist bigots in the South and Mid-West and McCain will win in 2008. The Democratic Party will split between the conservative corporatists HAROLD FORD JR. wing, and the East/West Coast liberals (Dean/Pelosi) and we will probably have a civil war in the party, and unless there is a major change in the Democratic Party, the conservatives will probably come out in front.
So I am not very optimistic about this election or 2008.
Hopefully the American people will eventually wake up and revolt against this corrupt poltical system and we will have A revolution! I'M WAITING FOR THE "GREAT LEAP FORWARD"!
It is bad enough that the “Democratic” candidate for U.S. Senate ignores the Democratic Party platform opposing anti-gay marriage amendments, now our “Democratic” governor is running ads boasting of his support for the anti-gay Amendment 1. Both the Davidson County and Shelby County Democratic Parties have passed resolutions opposing Amendment 1 and reaffirming the Democratic Party platform which condemns these attempts by REPUBLICANS to write discrimination into our state and national constitutions.
Memphis Stonewall Democrats is disappointed that our Democratic governor Phil Bredesen, as well as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Harold Ford Jr., have chosen to oppose the Democratic Party platform and the will of the Davidson County and Shelby County Democratic Parties by supporting Amendment 1, and supporting writing discrimination against gays and lesbians into our state constitution.
Since “gay marriage” is already illegal in Tennessee, and since Gov. Bredesen already has a strong lead in the polls, his blatant attack on the civil rights of gays and lesbians in Tennessee was unnecessary, and was clearly pandering to anti-gay bigots. With Democrats like Bredesen and Ford, who needs Republicans?
It's Sunday, and time for Ted Haggard to confess his "sins": --- A.P. Nov. 5:
The disgraced former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents 30 million evangelical Christians, apologized and said "because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn't want to hurt or disappoint them."
"The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There's a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life," he said.
Well, Ted, you were a liar and deceiver about a lot of things, like that anti-gay marriage stuff.
What is it with you anti-gay homophobes? Are you all repressed homos? Maybe Freud was right about you people..
Vermont Poised to Elect America's First Socialist Senator
· Cantankerous campaigner strikes chord with voters · New milestone nears after eight terms in Congress by Julian Borger
Amid the furious debate over Iraq and the speculation that George Bush may be a lame duck after next Tuesday's mid-term elections, an extraordinary political milestone is approaching: a cantankerous 65-year-old called Bernie looks set to become the first socialist senator in US history.
Bernie Sanders is so far ahead in the contest for Vermont's vacant seat for the US Senate that it seems only sudden illness or accident could derail his rendezvous with destiny, after eight terms as the state's only congressman. His success flies in the face of all the conventional wisdom about American politics.
He is an unapologetic socialist and proud of it. Even his admirers admit that he lacks social skills, and he tends to speak in tirades. Yet that has not stopped him winning eight consecutive elections to the US House of Representatives.
"Twenty years ago when people here thought about socialism they were thinking about the Soviet Union, about Albania," Mr Sanders told the Guardian in a telephone interview from the campaign trail. "Now they think about Scandinavia. In Vermont people understand I'm talking about democratic socialism."
Democratic socialism, however, has hardly proved to be a vote-winning formula in a country where even the word "liberal" is generally treated as an insult. Until now the best showing in a Senate race by a socialist of any stripe was in 1930 by Emil Seidel, who won 6% of the vote.
John McLaughry, the head of a free-market Vermont thinktank, the Ethan Allen Institute, said Mr Sanders is a throwback to that era. "Bernie Sanders is an unreconstructed 1930s socialist and proud of it. He's a skilful demagogue who casts every issue in that framework, a master practitioner of class warfare."
When Mr Sanders, a penniless but eloquent import from New York, got himself elected mayor of Burlington in 1981, at the height of the cold war, it rang some alarm bells. "I had to persuade the air force base across the lake that Bernie's rise didn't mean there was a communist takeover of Burlington," recalled Garrison Nelson, a politics professor at the University of Vermont who has known him since the 1970s.
"He used to sleep on the couch of a friend of mine, walking about town with no work," Prof Nelson said. "Bernie really is a subject for political anthropology. He has no political party. He has never been called charming. He has no money, and none of the resources we normally associate with success. However, he learned how to speak to a significant part of the disaffected population of Vermont."
Mr Sanders turned out to be a success as mayor, rejuvenating the city government and rehabilitating Burlington's depressed waterfront on Lake Champlain while ensuring that it was not gentrified beyond the reach of ordinary local people. "He stood this town on its ear," said Peter Freyne, a local journalist.
"I tried to make the government work for working people, and not just for corporations, and on that basis I was elected to Congress," Mr Sanders said. He has served 16 years in the House of Representatives, a lonely voice since the Republican takeover in 1994. He has however struck some interesting cross-party deals, siding with libertarian Republicans to oppose a clause in the Patriot Act which allowed the FBI to find out what books Americans borrowed from libraries.
He says his consistent electoral success reflects the widespread discontent with rising inequality, deepening poverty and dwindling access to affordable healthcare in the US. "People realise there is a lot to be learned from the democratic socialist models in northern Europe," Mr Sanders said. "The untold story here is the degree to which the middle class is shrinking and the gap between rich and poor is widening. It is a disgrace that the US has the highest rate of childhood poverty of any industrialised country on earth. Iraq is important, but it's not the only issue."
In a state of just over 600,000 people he also has a significant advantage over his Republican opponent, Rich Tarrant, a businessman who has spent about $7m on his campaign. "Sanders is popular because even if you disagree with him you know where he stands," said Eric Davis, a political scientist at Vermont's Middlebury College. "He pays attention to his political base. He's independent and iconoclastic and Vermonters like that."
I'm tryiing to start a Memphis DSA Chapter, so join us as we try to build the progressive democratic socialists movement within, but not limited to, the Democratic Party, which is dire need of direction and purpose!
First Mark Foley and now Ted Haggard...the anti-gay evangelist and head of the National Association of Evangelicals, has been exposed as a hypocrite. A gay male "escort" has accused Haggard of buying drugs (meth) and having sex with him over several years. At first I was skeptical of the accusation, but now Haggard admits to buying the meth (onece, but didn't use it!) and getting a massage... yeah right.
The worse part is that Haggard is another leading opponent of "gay marriage", and has been pushing the anti-gay marriage amendment in Colorado along with groups like Foucs on the Family. Haggard also met and talked frequently with George Bush.
What is it with these conservative religious fanatics, are they all closeted homosexuals? Are all anti-gay homophobic Republicans repressed homos? (Maybe Freud was right about those repressed homosexual feelings guys..)
And speaking of conservative hypocrites, Sen. John McCain is now appearing in ads for the anti-gay proposition in Arizona, which is losing according to some polls. McCain used to criticize the religious right and opposed amending the U.S. Constitution, but now that he is running for president in 2008, he is kissing up to the religious bigots. So much for the great hope of gay Republicans, and the illusion that John McCain is a "moderate."
Was Ford/Clinton campaign rally at the Temple Deliverance Church of God in Christ was a violation of tax laws for churches? It seems like a close breach of the constitutional separation of church and state. Why do the Democrats & Republicans ignore the U.S. Constitution when it comes to religion and politics?? What if the Bob Corker campaign had a rally at Bellevue Baptist Church? Americans United for Sep. of Church & State are correct to criticize BOTH sides! Shame on Harodl Ford Jr. (and the Democratic Party) for thier disregard of the Separation of Church and State!
Wonder if the Temple Deliverance COGIC will be able to keep their tax exemption??
It's hard to understand how a man as smart and intelligent as John Kerry cannot communicate effectively with an audience, an cannot even tell a "joke". Yes, he did insult the military and troops with is comment about ending up in Iraq if you don't do well in school, and not even I buy his "apology" that it was aimed at Bush. A week before the election and Kerry hands the Republican political amunition that will play on talk radio and in the media, overshadowing the failures of the Bush administration in Iraq...
Kerry, PLEASE DON"T RUN FOR PRESIDENT in 2008! And give some of the millions of dollars you are hoarding away to Democratic candidates who need it now!
Now that Kerry has apologized for his goof, it is time for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld to apologize for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and the aftermath.
As New polls show Ford LOSING to Corker by a larger and larger margin, it looks like HFJr is losing gay voters in TN.
I'm not the only one! Harold Ford Jr.'s gay-bashing campaign is backfiring, as more and more LGBT voters in Tennessee will NOT be voting for him and rewarding his ant-gay political strategy!
Check out the great post and dicsussion over on TN Guerilla Women and read this EXCELLENT Letter to Harold Ford Jr. from Joyce Arnold in the Church Street Freedom Press in Nashville:
A Letter to Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN)
No one wants, more than me, a change from the Republican majority in both U.S. Senate and House. To that end, my plan had been to vote for you.
My plans changed in the last few days, as I listened to you, once again, use the minority population of lesbians and gays in Tennessee, and around the nation, as a political strategy. That is ethically and morally unacceptable. In truth, you are "for Tennessee" only selectively. Some of us are clearly expendable.
I, and the many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens of Tennessee who are the constituents of whoever sits in the Senate and House as representatives of this state, deserve respect. You, Mr. Ford, have gone out of your way to show the opposite. I had convinced myself that I could cast a vote for you, toward hopes of a Democratic majority in the Senate. But after listening to your gratuitous statements following the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling earlier this week, I knew I could not cast a vote for someone who so shamelessly uses me.
We who are LGBT citizens of Tennessee are not an "issue" for your, or any other politician's, use. We, in fact, are not an "issue" -- we are individuals, real people who, like everyone else, simply want equality. We, and those who support us, are maligned when we work for that equality, most often by those purporting to speak for God. Your actions are no different, including your use of God, along with us, toward your own ends.
When someone continues to slap you down, no matter how many times you give that person another chance, the time comes when out of self-respect, you walk away. Based on conversations I've had with a number of people in the last few days, LGBT and heterosexual, I'm not the only one who has had enough, and is walking.
In general, the Tennessee Senate race is, from Mr. Corker as well as you, an embarrassment. Neither of you deserve to win. One of you will. And the fact is, as far as the civil rights of the LGBT minority of Tennessee are concerned, it won't make a bit of difference which one of you it is.
You, of course, won't read this, and I doubt anyone in your campaign will either. If someone does, I'm quite sure it will not make any difference to you. But at least I know I've taken the tiny step I needed to take, on behalf of "Liberty and justice for all" rather than for "some."
Bush and the GOP are getting so desparate they are attacking the impending destruction of the American family by homosexuals... and the crowds in Georgia cheer!
Bush Hits Hard at Gay Marriage By JENNIFER LOVEN (Associated Press Writer) From Associated Press October 30, 2006 8:32 PM EST STATESBORO, Ga. - President Bush has for months cast the midterm elections as a choice about just two issues: taxes and terrorism. Now, with polls predicting bleak results for Republicans, he is trying to fire up his party by decrying gay marriage.
"For decades, activist judges have tried to redefine America by court order," Bush said Monday. "Just this last week in New Jersey, another activist court issued a ruling that raises doubt about the institution of marriage. We believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and should be defended."
The line earned Bush by far his most sustained applause at a rally of 5,000 people aimed at boosting former GOP Rep. Max Burns' effort to unseat a Democratic incumbent. In this conservative rural corner of eastern Georgia, even children jumped to their feet alongside their parents to cheer and clap for nearly 30 seconds - a near-eternity in political speechmaking...
-- Never mind the fact that the NJ court simply said that gays should have the same legal beneifts as married couples, and did NOT mandate marriage, but left the choice of civil unions or marriage up to the legislature... Guess he didn't mention to the biogts in Georgia that HE also supported "civil unions."
We have been having all kinds of problems on blogger. If the problems persist or Blogger goes down, I may be backing Queer Notes up over at my .Mac Blog And I will start a weekly Podcast there too, if I ever learn how to use Garageband on my Mac to record and publish them. (Maybe one of my Apple Mac buddies can teach me how to do it:)
Well is there no end to political hypocrisy?? The GOP ran ads accusing Harold Ford Jr. of taking political contributions frm "porn movie producers," and cum (sic) to find out, the RNC has been the recieving end of regular contributions from Nicholas T. Boyias, owner and CEO of Marina Pacific Distributors, one of the largest producers and distributors of gay porn in the U.S. Some of their recent releases include "Fire in the Hole," "Flesh and Boners,' and their new hit "Velvet Mafia."
Now, I have nothing against porn, especially gay porn, since I am a mass consumer of it myself, but the hypocrisy of the GOP accusing Democrats of being too "gay" and taking contributions from porn when they seem to have a gay closet the size of a Wal-Mart Super Store and take not just PORN contributions, but GAY PORN contributions! Now if HFJ got contributions from a STRAIGHT porn maker, and the GOP is getting contributions form a GAY porn maker, now that would be an interesting ad for HFJ to run in TN!
And, why would a GAY PORN producer want to support the GOP???
Harold Ford Jr. and George W. Bush have so much in common: both are from political families and used their family names to get elected; both support the imperialist neo-conservative plan for U.S. global domination; both supported the illegal invasion of Iraq; both support the theocratic agenda of the religious right; neither respects the "separation of church and state"; both *use* relligion for political power; both pander to religious fundamentalists; and both claim to be defending the "traditional family" by opposing equal civil rights for gays and lesbians.
You would expect, then, that both would offer the same response to the New Jersey court decision that gays and lesbians are entitled to the same rights and obligatons given to married heterosexual couples.
Harold Ford Jr.'s response: "I do not support the decision today reached by the New Jersey Supreme Court regarding gay marriage. I oppose gay marriage, and have voted twice in Congress to amend the United States Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. This November there's a referendum on the Tennessee ballot to ban same-sex marriage - I am voting for it."
On his website, HFJ contradicts himself by saying he is opposed to marriage equality for gays and lesbians, but not opposed to the civil rights of gays and lesbians: "I will continue to be pro-family, including supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, without taking away the civil rights of gays and lesbians." Harold Ford Jr., "My Faith as My Guide" (www.HaroldFordjr.com)
Similarly, George W. Bush has attacked the NJ court decision, trying to shore up support among the anti-gay religious right by attacking "activist judges" and campaigning for GOP candidates to "defend traditional marriage."
Both Bush and Ford share the untenable position that gay couples are entitled to equal civil rights, but not marriage. Both misrepresent what the NJ court decision actually says. It says exactly what George W. Bush and Dick Cheney said in 2004!
George Bush came out in support of gay civil unions before the 2004 election. He believes gay couples should get the benefits of marriage, but not marriage itself. The New Jersey Sup Ct just ruled the same. The rules specifically says NO to gay marriage, but YES to providing some kind of benefits to gay couples. That is George Bush's position as enunciated prior to the 2004 elections.
Here is the ruling. Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this State, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our State Constitution....
To bring the State into compliance with Article I, Paragraph 1 so that plaintiffs can exercise their full constitutional rights, the Legislature must either amend the marriage statutes or enact an appropriate statutory structure within 180 days of the date of this decision....
We will not presume that a separate statutory scheme, which uses a title other than marriage, contravenes equal protection principles, so long as the rights and benefits of civil marriage are made equally available to same-sex couples. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.
Here is George Bush endorsing gay civil unions in 2004: Elisabeth Bumiller The New York Times Published: October 26, 2004
"President Bush said in an interview this past weekend that he disagreed with the Republican Party platform opposing civil unions of same-sex couples and that the matter should be left up to the states."
"Mr. Bush has previously said that states should be permitted to allow same-sex unions, even though White House officials have said he would not have endorsed such unions as governor of Texas. But Mr. Bush has never before made a point of so publicly disagreeing with his party's official position on the issue."
"In an interview on Sunday with Charles Gibson, an anchor of "Good Morning America" on ABC, Mr. Bush said, "I don't think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what a state chooses to do so." ABC, which broadcast part of the interview on Monday, is to broadcast the part about civil unions on Tuesday."....
"I view the definition of marriage different from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights. And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between a union between a man and a woman. Now, having said that, states ought to be able to have the right to pass laws that enable people to be able to have rights like others." -----
Now Bush is contradicting his OWN position by attacking the NJ court decision which says exactly what HE said in 2004! While Bush is on the record as supporting "civil unions" which would grant gay couples most of the same rights as marriage, HFJ has not even gone that far. Does he belive that gays and lesbians should have equal civil rights? If so, how can he oppose civil unions or marriage equality?
HFJ's clearly stated opposition to "gay marriage" has not stopped his Republican opponent from accusing him of supporting it. The GOP is so desperate they are trying to use "gay marriage" as a wedge issue again, hoping it will win them more support among African-American voters. Conservative Democrats lilke HFJ respond likewise by vehemently opposing marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Both parties are guilty of pretending to support the "civil rights" of gays and lesbians while OPPOSING their civil rights!
My question for both parties is: "Do you support equal rights for everyone? Do you support equal treatment for gays and lesbians? If so, how can you oppose equal civil marriage rights for them? Please justify denying us the same rights you enjoy!
I would also ask both Republicans and Democrats to quit denying basic human rights for gays and lesbians for their own political gain. Have some decency and respect the U.S. Constitution which gurantees equal rights for all and the separation of church and state!
Given the sorry shape of the Democratic Party, we will be lucky if they take back one or both ends of the Capitol Nov. 7, and it will only be because the Republican party is in even worse shape, for a change. Progressive Democrats will have their work cut out after Nov. 7, as we will have to fight to take control of our party back from the pro-war, corporatists who have been leading us to defeat for the past decade.
Harold Ford jr. condemned the New Jersey Supreme Court decision that gay couples should have the same legal rights as married couples:
"I do not support the decision today reached by the New Jersey Supreme Court regarding gay marriage. I oppose gay marriage, and have voted twice in Congress to amend the United States Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. This November there's a referendum on the Tennessee ballot to ban same-sex marriage - I am voting for it."
The New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to the SAME legal rights as heterosexual couples. They stopped short of requiring the legal recognition of same-sex marriages, however, and gave the NJ legislature 180 days to either legalize marriage or offer an alternative like "civil unions" that would give the same rights as marriage. Three of the seven justices favored marriage, but the other four held out for civil unions.
I don't really understand why the courts, and a majority of the public, agrees that gays and lesbians should have the same "legal rights" as married couples, but they cannot accept gay "marriage." Sounds like the old "separate but equal" attempt to have it both ways.
Personally, I think "gay marriage" is a political loser for the next decade at least, and the LGBT movement should maybe focus on getting "civil unions" in every state and after the public and political leaders get used to the idea of "equal rights" for gay couples, then challenge the "separate but equal" argument in court and either force governments and the public to go with "marriage equality" or "civil unions" for gay and straight couples--pick one or the other. Even though it will take more time, I think this gradual approach to "marriage equality" would give the public and political leaders some time to accept gay marriage, and it will take away the right-wing's major election issue in the short run, which is hurting the Democratic Party. Even Republicans seem to be embracing the "civil unions" and the need for "equal rights" for gay couples, including GEORGE W. BUSH, who endorsed civil unions back in 2004!
The anti-gay right will use the MA and NJ decisions on gay marriage/civil unions to press for the passage of anti-gay amendments like Amendment 1 in Tennessee. The ruling could be a set-back for gay marriage advocates fighting anti-gay marriage amendments, since it underscores the fact that in many states the courts are likely to follow the precedence of MA, NJ, and VT and require either marriage equality or civil unions for gay couples. But the anti-gay religious/Republican Right should be reminded that the NJ Supreme Court decision is THE SAME POSITION taken by GEORGE W. BUSH! See John Aravosis' post on America Blog: NJ Supreme Court Decision Adopts the Position of George W. Bush
I share some of the concerns of Robert Parry in Will The Democrats Blow It?. I'm not allowing myself to buy into all the pre-victory celebration by many Democrats and progressives. Yes, the poll number show the Republicans are in trouble, but if you look close, there is no much enthusiasm for the Democrats either. If they Democrats win back either end of the Capitol, it will be because of an anti-Republican mood among voters and the disenchantment of the conservative Republican base with their party. As usual, and expected, the Republican Party is playing mean and dirty with their ads and campaigns. They are using outrageous personal attack ads, and fear of terrorism and "San Francisco Liberals" like Nancy Pelosi. I have to say that I'm not too excited about Nancy Pelosi being the face of the Democratic Party in Congress either. Sure, on most issues she is "liberal", but I don't believe she will have the backbone and political support to stand up to Bush and possibly the Republican Senate. The Republicans will demonize her as they have Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy. In fact, they rarely mention one without the others. This will scare and rally southern conservatives to the Republican Party. And they are STILL attacking Demcrats for supporting gay marriage, even in states where conseravtive Democrats also oppose gay marriage and helped pass anti-gay marriage laws and amendments! As Parry points out, while the Republicans are doing a pretty good job of scaring voters about having Nancy Pelosi and liberals in control of Congress, the Democratic Party is NOT counter-attacking with the scenario of what will happen if Repblicans win again! Bush used the GOP victories in 2004 as a justification for usurping more and more executive powers, subverting U.S. and international law, and "staying the course" in Iraq, with thousands more dead, with an eye on Iran and or Syria next. Why aren't the Democrats painting that picture clearly for voters? And what about some bold initiatives on health care (anyone heard of "universal health insurance" lately?)? The Democrats are in a bad position politically as well, since they have to appeal to "independent" moderate and conservative voters to win the House and Senate. If they go too far to the right (as they are in Tennessee with Harold Ford Jr.) they risk losing "progressives". If they don't go far enough to the right, they will not win enough of those conservative voters in the tight races in "RED" states. And if they Democrats Do win, will they drop the ball like they did the last time they were in control of Congress? So while I hope the Democrats can at least win the House, I'm not ready to celebrate. Trick or Treat?
Because the "Democratic" candidate for U.S. Senate has been outspoken in his opposition to gay and lesbian civil rights, and has twice voted for the REPUBLICAN anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment, which the Democratic Party Platform and DNC chair Howard Dean has condemned as a Republican attempt to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution, I cannot and will not vote for or support the election of Harold Ford Jr. to the U.S. Senate. More than gay marriage, HFJ has crossed party lines and supported many other Republican anti-democratic bills, including the anti-consumer bankruptcy bill, he supported the illegal invasion of Iraq, he sides with the theocratic Christian Right and does not respect the separation of church and state, he most recently voted for the Republican attempt to change U.S. law on torture and unconsitutional wire-tapping of U.S. citizens to support the illegal criminal actions of the Bush Administration. Furthermore, he has refused to endorse or support the DEMOCRATIC candidate for his current congressional seat, Steve Cohen.
For all of these reasons, I have endorsed the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, Chris Lugo! If you are a progressive who supports the rights of gays, women, workers, if you support the separation of church and state, if you oppose the illegal invasion of Iraq and unjustified wars, you have only ONE choice for U.S. Senate, Chris Lugo.
I've heard all the reasons for voting for HFJr, mainly to help the Democrats take control of the Senate. It looks like the Democrats will take back the House of Representatives, but to take the Senate they will probably, though not necessarily, need Harold Ford Jr. to win. It is not worth sacrificing progressive, even DEMOCRATIC PARTY, principles and positions just to elect Harold Ford Jr. Even if he were elected, he would NOT be a voice for progressive issues in the Senate. He will move further to the RIGHT. He will be focusing all of his attention on getting re-elected in a conservative Republican state, so he will (contintue) to vote with Republicans on many issues to appeal to conservative voters in Tennessee. He is already attacking Nancy Pelosi (who he opposed as minority leader in the House), and other "liberal" Democratic leaders, and he would continue to position himself as a conservative "democrat" in the Senate. Progressive Democrats should not help elect him to the Senate!
I've heard some pretty lame personal attacks on Chris Lugo by some progressives who do not like his appearance, or attack him for not "proving" himself worthy of their vote. I"m not sure exactly what someone has to do to "prove" themselves. Chris Lugo is not rich, he is not a "lawyer" or wealthy business owner. Chris Lugo is honest, hard working, and committed to social justice. And he offers the ONLY progressive alternative to Harold Ford Jr. or Bob Corker.
Some have said they would rather not vote at all or write in a vote. Why? If we want to send a "message" to HFJ and the Democratic Party inTN, we need to make our votes "count" as much as possible, and the best way to do that is for us all to vote for Chris Lugo, and vote for the issues we believe in and support. Not voting for a Senate candidate or just writing someone in will not do anything. Voting for Chris Lugo will make it clear how many voters support progressive values and positions and may add up enough votes to stop HFJ from winning.
Defending and echoing his father, Harold Ford Jr. lashed out at the DEMOCRATIC candidate for Congress Steve Cohen, falsey accusing him of supporting legalizing marijuana, gay marriage, and "cutting and running" in Iraq, according to an article in The Commercial Appeal. Ford is quoted as saying: ""State Senator Cohen and I disagree on several significant issues. He's for gay marriage; I'm not. He's for amnesty for illegals; I'm not. He's for legalizing marijuana; I'm not. He's for a cut-and-run strategy in Iraq; I'm for a new plan to partition Iraq into three regions to ensure that we leave it better than we found it." First, it is a LIE to accusing Cohen of supporting gay marriage (Cohen has repeatedly said he does NOT support gay marriage, but opposes amending the Tennessee or U.S. Constitutions), and he only supported legalizing MEDICAL use of marijuana. What is really disturbing is the constant gay-bashing by Harold Ford Sr., Harold Ford Jr. and Jake Ford for political gain. It seems that the Ford family is trying to use a Republican political tactic: accuse your opponent of supporting the "gay agenda", and opposing Christianity and "family values." Harold Ford Jr., and his supporters, need to be reminded that the DEMOCRATIC PARTY Platform supports equal rights for gay and lesbians, and opposes writing discrimination the U.S. Constitution or state constitutions. DNC Chair Howard Dean has stated that "Republicans claim to support "family values,' while Democrats support ALL Families." The Shelby County and Davidson County Democratic Parties have passed resolutions OPPOSING the anti-gay Amendment One, which state Sen. Steve Cohen voted against. It would seem that Steve Cohen is representing the Democratic Party and true Democrats, while Harold and Jake Ford are siding with anti-gay Republicans and the Religious Right.
In case you were still holding back on deciding whether to vote for HFJr, this should bring you over to the growing list of progressive liberal Democrats who have jumped ship with me and will not be voting for Harold Ford Jr. Daddy Ford Sr. came to town to help out his boys, and at a campaign rally advertised as a Harold Ford Jr. rally, asked DEMOCRATIC voters to vote for his other son Jake, who is running as an INDEPENDENT in the 9th Dist. House race against the DEMOCRATIC candidate, Steve Cohen. Not only that, but he attacked Steve Cohen as being "too liberal" and accused him of supporting same-sex marriage, gambling and legalizing marijuana (he must have given those talking points to Jake), and he said Memphis is a "Christian city." I don't know where to begin, but it is very sad to see Harold Ford Sr. sink so low. Not only is he lying about Steve Cohen's record and positions, he is attacking the civil rights of gays and lesbians and disregarding the constitutional separation of church and state. The Ford's are playing the race, religion and gay cards, just like REPUBLICANS!
Harold Ford Sr.: "I’m a proud papa! I’m a proud papa. If someone would tell me that Jake is running as an independent and I’m a Democrat, well, Jake is a Democrat. Jake couldn’t have been raised in my house unless he was a Democrat! And a person was saying, I want a real … Well, there ain’t no more real Democrat than me! Jake is a product of me. He’s a part of me. If you like what you had in the past, don’t give it up now! His opposition won’t even come to the community and ask for their votes. He’ll run and put out pictures and put out press releases and try to distort my son. I’m asking all of you: Don’t let this man reject Jake Ford Jr (sic). Now, Jake Ford Jr. is the man that you need. And I promise you that Jake Ford Jr. – he don’t believe in no same-sex marriages! We’re from a Christian city here. He doesn’t believe in legalizing marijuana. This man that’s running against Jake wants some sex shops running in downtown Memphis on a Sunday! That’s our religious holiday. He shouldn’t be doing that and then saying he’s the most liberal Democrat. He is too liberal! I mean, paramutual betting. And this lottery! A lottery ain’t nothing but a tax on poor people. And why would you brag about lottery. And the very people that the lottery’s supposed to help are the very people that can’t go to college and benefit from it. So I say to you: Trust me, you trusted me as your congressman. We don’t know much about the other person. He missed 49 percent of his votes in 18 years in the state Senate. And I’m asking you: when you go to that poll, don’t vote for no Steve Cohen. You vote for Jake Ford as your next congressman."
Read HFSr.'s full speech at the Memphis Flyer Senior on the Stump. I guess being a lying, two-faced opportunistic, spineless politican runs in the family. Now many people are still saying we have to vote for Jr. in order to help the Democrats win control of Congress, but I agree with Marty Assenburg's excellent column in the Memphis Flyer Are the Religious Right?, if we care about the separation of church and state, we cannot support or vote for Harold Ford Jr.! The Democrats will probably take back the House, we do NOT have to sacrifice our PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC Principles by voting for Harold Ford Jr., who does not even support the Democratic Party's candidate for his current position in Congress. And if those "win at any cost" lemmings over on Daily Kos(who attack those of us speaking out against HFJR and call us "trolls") represent the Democratic Party, then it is truly a bankrupt party, which will support a candidate running AGAINST his own party, AGAINST the platform of the Democratic Party, attacking the leadership of the Democratic Party (Nany Pelosi, etal.) and will not even support the Democratic Party's candidates! Why should we support HFJr to "defend the Democratic P arty" if he does not represent or support the Democratic Party??!!?? Why did the DNC and Bill Clinton etal. support a candidate who is running a REPUBLICAN campaign? How can the DNC, Howard Dean, etal, condemn BUSH and the GOP for trying to write discrimination against gays into the constitution and support a "Democratic" candidate who supports the same thing? What about legalizing torture? Same thing. How can the Democratic Party defend the separation of church and state, and support candidates who do NOT and who appeal to religious bigots who support a theocratic government?? I will say it again: STOP HAROLD FORD JR.!
I'm back from my very brief "vacation" in Arkansas. I nearly froze to death trying to camp near Blanchard Springs in the Ozark National Forest, then it rained for two days, so I gave up and went to my mothers house for a few days. Now I"m back in Memphis and trying to play catch up with all the political news and events of the past week.. where to begin? Well, as I predicted, the Religious Right is calling for a purge of gay Republicans following the Foley Page Scandal, and of course the religious right wing nuts believe the blame for the scandal and cover up should go to the "secret Capitol Hill Homosexual Network" who have infiltrated Gods Party. Read the excellent article by Max Blumenthal in The Nation, The Coming Gay Republican Purge. Frank Rich wrote a similar column in the New York Times on Oct. 15 ("The Grand Old Party Comes Out"), which I cannot find a working link to now, in which he lays out the growing list of religious right leaders blaming the gay republicans, and how some of those gay Republicans have been working on behalf of the Religious Right and their candidates (e.g., Kirk Fordham)! The religious nuts have finally figured out that the Republicans have been using them and never really believed in their religious crusade after all. David Kuo, a former deputy director of the White House office on faith-based initiatives, has written a tell-all book (Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction") describing how Republicans in the Bush Administration mocked conservative Christian evangelicals. I'm sure this will not keep the GOP from continuing to attack gays and lesbians and push anti-gay marriage amendments to continue their courtship with the Christo-fascists who have taken over the GOP across the south and elsewhere. Hopefully, if some recent reports are correct, the anti-gay marriage amendments seem to be losing steam and support in a few states Gay Marriage Losing Punch as Ballot Issue . On some sad news, the first out gay Congressman, Gerry Studds, has died. Studds was outed by an affair he had with a congressional Page back in the 80s, but it should be remembered that the Democratic Party did not cover that incident up, and the page was of legal age of consent in D.C. and continued to support Studds. Studds and his partner recently married when it became legal in Massachusetts, but his partner/spouse will not be allowed to receive any of his congressional pension, since Congress and the federal government do not recognize same-sex marriages (thanks to the "Defense of Marriage Act"). Next: Let's look at the latest news from the campaigns of Harold and Jake Ford, it ain't good...
I'm getting away from work, Memphis, politics, and The Pesky Fly, who is not voting in the Senate race between Harold Ford Jr. and Bob Corker, but critizes me for supporting Green Party Candidate Chris Lugo because he isn't clean shaven and cannot win. Since Pesky criticizes those of us who have tried to offer voters a choice, or who support real "progressive" candidates who share our positions and ideology but cannot win, I propose that we abandon any pretense of electoral democracy and do away with the two-part system. If the only way to "win" is to run as a conservative Republican in Tennessee, why even have a Democratic Party or run Democratic candidates? We should run a candidate who has a chance of winning, so why not run a candidate with a platform that includes reinstating the sodomy law and establishes Christianity as the state religion... that would win! And remember, the only reason to run for office, or vote for a candidate is to WIN! So enough of the two party system, lets save time and money and just support Republican candidates. The millions of people who voted for Eugene Debs, Mondale, Dukakis, gore and Kerry were wasting their votes! So... I'm taking a brief vacation in the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas (Blanchard Springs). Be Back Soon..