Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Harold Ford Jr. "Cautions" Democratic Activists

The DLC's new pawn Harold Ford Jr. "I Caution Some in Our Party" The "some" are progressive (liberal) Democrats who don't want to support Republican-lite DLC Democrats, like Hillary Clinton, who will LOOSE the general election!

I Caution HFj and the DLC: If you don't believe in progressive Democratic principles, then join the Republican Party! Quit turning off Democratic voters by supporting Republican wars, Republican tax cuts, Republican military spending, and Republican "family (anti-gay) values"!

Here's another look at HFJ: The Prince of Tennessee

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Obama Crossing Church/State Line: Kills Campaign

The controversy over Barack Obama's "Embrace the Change" Gospel concerts featuring "ex-gay" gospel singer Donnie McClurkin keeps growing, and it looks like Obama's embrace of the anti-gay black churches in the South may speed the end of his presidential campaign. Obama has been trying to repair his support among LGBT voters by adding a WHITE gay minister, who only spoke briefly, and by giving an extensive interview with The Advocate. However, the negative reactions from the gay community seems to have emboldened McClurkin and the concert attendees who cheered him as he lashed out at his critics. "They accuse me of being anti-gay and a bigot," McClurkin said. "We don't believe in discrimination. We don't believe in hatred, and if you do you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's the whole premise of God. That's the whole premise of Christ is love, love, love. But there is a side of Christ that deals in judgment, and all sin is against God." He reiterated his claim that "God delivered me from homosexuality," and claimed that he had been villified. He said he opposes discrimination against gays and he is not a bigot. He was cheered by the African-American concert attendees, 70 percent of whom believe that homosexuality is wrong and immoral.

If McClurkin had just made the claim that his faith in God helped him to change his sexual identity/preference I think gays should have accepted that and let it be. He has a right to his religious beliefs. BUT, McClurkin has gone further in his past statements and writings. He has refered to homosexality as a "curse." And here are some other quotes (from Truth Wins Out:

Homosexuality has really ravished our children. It started in my generation. I was touched by it and I struggled with it and all that for years and there was nobody to deal with it. I started dealing with it in my sermons and even when we do our concerts.” (An interview with www.FamilyChristian.com)

“Everybody is going to the same hell. The religious hypocrite will go to the same hell as the murderer and homosexual. My job is to say that sin is wrong and kill the sin, not the sinner.” (The Voice, 16 July 2001)

Commenting on New York City’s Harvey Milk School, which caters to gay students, he said, “The gloves are off. And if there’s going to be a war, there’s going to be a war. But it will be a war with a purpose.” (CBN, 700 Club Sept. 23, 2003)

And now, it looks like he may be another repressed homo after all. At least one person has come forward with a convincing story of havng a sexual relationship with McClurkin from 2001-2004!

My problem with McClurkin is NOT that he believes God "cured" him of his homosexual desires, but that he has attacked gay people. I respect the right of religious fanatics who think homosexuality is an abomination to make their own choices about their sexuality and their sexual identity. He should not be attacked for his religious beliefs, as irrational as they are. He and other "ex-gay" evangelicals cross the line when they attack gays and lesbians.

Despite Obama's good record on LGBT issues and his public statements of support for LGBT equality, he has exposed a major fault line between LGBT people and homophobic anti-gay black churches. By embracing McClurkin and the anti-gay black churches in South Carolina and across the South, Barack Obama has embraced homophobia for political gain. He has lost a lot of LGBT support just at the time he needs more support to defeat Hillary Clinton. The Obama campaign has killed their chances by pandering to anti-gay bigots.

When Obama, and other Democrats, violate the separation of church and state and embrace religious fundamentalism they should pay the political price of losing the support of liberals and progressives. Obama has attacked progressive secularists for ignoring "people of faith." But the Donnie McClurkin disaster demonstrates why politics and religion should not mix and why the framers of the U.S. Constitution insisted upon a "wall of separation" between church and state. Democrats, especially progressive Democrats, should be defending secularism not attacking it.

See Obama Campaign Post-Mortem

Democrats in Peril: 75% Disapprove of Congress

According to this CNN/Opinion Research Poll, 75 percent of the American people disapprove of Congress, only 22 percent approve, even worse than Bush's approval rating. Although twice as many approve of Democrats in Congress (43%), 51% disapprove of them as well. Wonder Why? Continued funding of the Iraq occupation, caving in to Bush on domestic wiretapping, etc. etc.
Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are turning out to be weak and timid "leaders", as I predicted. Why can't the Democrats choose strong leaders who will stand up to Bush and the GOP and defend the majority of the people who elected them? We need a progressive/Democratic version of Newt Gingrich! If these Democratic "leaders" cannot stand up to Bush, who has an approval rating around 28%, we are in real trouble!

Democrats seem to have the illusion that they can easily win in 2008 and gain more seats in Congress because of Bush and public dissatisfaction with the GOP. They need to wake up! If Hillary Clinton is the party's nominee, she will probably loose to Rudy Giuliani. Many progressive Democrats are so fed up and frustrated they may throw their support to the Green Party, or not vote at all. The Christian Right will vote Republican, even for Giuliani, because of their hatred/fear of Hillary Çlinton and because the GOP has promised them to fill the courts with pro-life/conservative judges. The Democratic Party is not winning many hearts and minds, despite the dismal record of the Bush Administration.

Here's a good analysis in The Guardian of the problem plaguing the Democratic Party and what needs to be done to save it:
Democrats Hocking their Agenda

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Obama Under Fire for Ties to "Ex-Gay" Gospel Singer

"Barack Obama Connected to Homophobic Singer".

Barack Obama is under fire from gay rights groups for taking part in a concert in South Carolina featuring "ex-gay" gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, even though Obama has repeated his support of gay rights and opposition to discrimination, and McClurkin has also said he opposes discrimination against gays and lesbians. His "sin" is that he believes he has been "cured" of his homosexuality and that sexuality is a choice. Wayne Besen's Truth Wins Out organization has asked Obama to cut ties with Donnie McClurkin for claiming that homosexuality is a matter of choice.

I don't agree with McClurkin's religious beliefs about homosexuality, but I also oppose the "politically correct" gay thought police calling anyone who questions their belief that "sexual orientation" is biologically innate and fixed from birth "homophobic." Scientific evidence is mixed on the causes of sexual orientation (gay or straight) and some of us are Queer By Choice and believe that we should be free to choose our sexual preference or identity. If people are not happy being gay (or straight), or it is against their religious beliefs, they should also be free to choose their sexual identity.

I am more concerned about Barack Obama pandering to conservative anti-gay black churches. I'm not sure if it is fair to accuse Obama of Playing to Anti-Gay Sentiment. And it seems like a questionable political strategy for gay groups to pressure Obama to drop McClurkin from the concert and alienate black voters. Obama could help unite gays and African-Americans to oppose hate and discrimination against both groups. The GOP has been making significant gains in the black community, until Katrina and Bush's disastrous second term, by appealing to homophobia and anti-gay prejudice as well as other conservative religious beliefs on social issues like school prayer and abortion. Those gains may be minimal now, but they could provide just enough support to help the GOP in tight elections. Like it or not, the Democratic Party cannot allow the GOP to keep taking away African-American and evangelical votes. The challenge is for the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates to appeal to religious and African-American voters without undermining their commitment to the equality and civil rights of LGBT people. Perhaps a progressive Christian like Obama could remind African-Americans that MLK was right when he said that "Injustice against any of us is a threat to justice for all of us."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

GAZE is Back!

Congratulations to Allen Cook and Bob Dumais for resurrecting GAZE, one of the early Memphis gay newspapers. Allen was the publisher of Triangle Journal News, which he handed over to the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Communty Center. Triangle Journal is now the newspaper of the MGLCC. GAZE will feature more national news and different local writers and news as well. And it will carry my column, QUEER NOTES! You can pick a copy up at a local gay bar or business, or online at the GAZE Website.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

GOP Courts Christian Right

None of the GOP Presdidential candidates would appear at the Human Rights Campaign/LOGO forum to discuss gay issues, but they did climb all over themselves to appear at the ant-gay Family Research Councils' Values Voters Summit" this weekend. Most of the candidates tried to reinforce conservative doubts about Rudy Guiliani, who in the past has had moderate views and positions on abortion and gay rights. "Multiple-Mitt" Romney, a former supporter of gay rights who claimed he would be more supportive of gay rights than Edward Kennedy when he ran for the Senate, is now championing the radical right's anti-gay agenda. In fact, all of the GOP candidates seem to be competing for the most ant-gay award. The Christian Right is not too happy with the leading GOP candidates, especially Giuliani, and their favorite candiate, Sam Brownback, has dropped out of the race because of his extreme positions. However, all of the remaining candidates (except libertarian Ron Paul) have been pandering to the Christian Right because they cannot win without the support of the base of the Republican Party. Some may see the predicament off the Christian Right as good for gays ("Values Voters" Anarchy Good News for Gays">, but even Giuliani is promising to support the Christian Right's agenda, including appointment of federal judges like Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts, and has distanced himself from gay rights and now tells the Family Research Center that he would support a constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriages. The danger of Giuliani is that he can appeal to the anti-gay Christian Right and "moderate" voters, making him the GOP's best chance of winning in 2008. The bad news is that he can probably beat Hillary Clinton, who appears to be the Democratic candidate for 2008.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

ENDA Victory ?

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) moves to the House of Representatives following approval thursday in committee. The House Education and Labor Committee voted 27-21 to approve the bill, which would protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in the workplace, but without gender identity, will not cover transgender people. According to Rep. Barney Franks, there are not enough votes to pass ENDA with gender identity included, therefore it was left out of the bill. The exclusion of gender identity has divided the gay community. The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the National Stonewall Democrats have led a coalition of 300 LGBT groups to push Congressional Democrats to include gender idendity in ENDA. In an attempt to salvage ENDA and try to bring LGBT groups together, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has agreed to allow an amendment to the bill to include gender identity. Rep. Tammy Baldwin will be presenting the amendment after ENDA is voted on in the House.

I am divided on this one myself. I want ENDA to include gender identity and protect eveyrone, LGBT, from discrimination. But ENDA was first introduced in 1975 and this is the first time it has been brought to a vote in Congress. Can we afford to kill a legislation the gay community has been working on for 25 years? Is it wrong to pass ENDA without gender identity, and get the protection for gays and lesbians now, and work to add gender identity when there is more support for it and enough votes to pass it? I cannot answer these questions to my own satisfaction. Let's do all we can to get ENDA passed with the amendment! If you haven't done so already, CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE in Congress to urge them to support ENDA and Tammy Baldwin's amendment! If you live in Memphis, call Rep. Steve Cohen (202) 225-3265. Cohen already supports ENDA, but he needs to hear from us to know he has our support.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Draft Gore 08 ?

As expected Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Draft Gore campaign is trying to persuade Gore to run for President in 2008, but Gore insists he is not running. Because of Hillary Clinton's commanding lead in the Democratic Primary, it is probable wise for Gore to wait until 2012, but the growing movemement to draft Gore in 2008 is an indication of the growing dissatisfaction with the Democratic candidates, at least among progressive/liberal Democrats. It looks like Hilllary Clinton has pushed Gore out of the race in 2008.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Memphis Election Thoughts

I haven't been able to assess how all the winning candidates for Memphis City Council will affect the gay community, but several of them are supportive of equality. As far as Mayor goes, too bad Herman Morris did not win. I think he could have probably done the best job of uniting Memphis (black & white, gay & straight). Some will blame him for helping Herenton get re-elected by taking votes from Carol Chumney, but that argument could go either way. If Chumney had stayed in the City Council, Herman Morris would be our new Mayor. And if Chumney had publicly supported equal rights for gays and lesbians, she would have received more votes. I have no regrets voting for Herman Morris since he had the courage to defend the civil rights of gays and lesbians. I want to thank Morris for reaching out to the gay community, and I wish we could have done more to support him.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sticks and Stones...

Someone keeps posting these personal attacks against me on Memphis blogs:

"In the interest of full disclosure, Mr. Maynard, tell us how many times you've "flip flopped" been bought and sold and screwed over the gay community for your own gain or advancement. Despite your self-appointment as "the decider" and spokesman for the entire gay community, those of us who are in the community and KNOW you, know not to trust you."

When I have done any of those things ??? These are LIES! I wish this person would call or email me in person and we can discuss his/her personal attacks on me. I would like to know why anyone would accuse me of selling out or screwing the gay community for "gain or advancement"? What?? How have I done this? And how in the hell do you "know" me? I don't think you know me at all.

Over the years of being a "gay activist" I have endured many personal attacks, usually from people who criticize my "leadership" in gay organizations, but never supported those organizations in any way. I am open to constructive criticism. I have made many mistakes over the years, said and did things I regret, and I am eager to apologize or correct them. But what I do not accept are UNFOUNDED personal attacks like this. I resent people LYING about me, usually behind my back, who do not seem to have the courage to talk to me in person, but attack me behind my back and spread lies for THIER own personal gain.

This person is upset that I support Herman Morris for Mayor and NOT Carol Chumney. I don't speak for the entire gay community, and I don't claim to. I am an individual activist, etc. I have the freedom to express my opinions and not be attacked for them. Herman Morris has been endorsed by the Memphis Stonewall Democrats and the Tennessee Equality Project. It is not just ME endorsing Morris. Maybe this person is working for the Carol Chumney campaign and is trying to discredit ME. But the endorsements by Stonewall Democrats and TEP were not MY decision.

So if this person would like to have a discussion on the issue, here's your chance. Please back up your claims about me or be prepared to APOLOGIZE for spreading LIES.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The GOP and the Christian Right

The Christian Reich base of the Republican Party is throwing a temper tantrum! A group the conservative Christian leaders meet over the weekend and are threatening to support a third party if the GOP nominates a pro-choice candidate (i.e, Rudi Giuliani).
Maybe they should save John McCain's faltering campaign. In an interview on Beliefnet, the Arizone Republican presidential candidate said that he would prefer a Christian president to lead the U.S., and that "the Constitution established the United States as a Christian nation" ! Evidently McCain has not read the U.S. Constitution, which does not even mention Christianity or god! The Constitution estabished a SECULAR government that forbids (a) religious tests for candidates and (b) the "establishment of religion"! Another reason John McCain should NOT be president!