1048 posts categorized "International"

April 24, 2015

Pope rejects gay French ambassador

Does this mean that the Vatican only accepts the credentials of foreign ambassadors who are observant Roman Catholics? I very much doubt it. For shame, @Pontifex.

Court: Kenyan government can't block gay rights groups

Congrats to our African colleagues who won this legal victory. Our friend Pepe Julian Onziema of Uganda reacts below.

PFLAG Canada: Nobody's Memories

Beautiful.

(Hat tip: John Becker)

April 23, 2015

Pope Francis meets with openly gay French ambassadorial nominee

Still no word on whether the Vatican will accept Laurent Stefanini as ambassador. We are watching, Your Holiness.

Calbuco erupts in Chile

Gay Men's Chorus of Washington members to perform in Cuba

Great news. Proud of these guys.

April 11, 2015

Obama shoots rainbow from his hand

Very amusing.

April 08, 2015

Taking the Ball from the GOP

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(Washington Blade editorial cartoon by Ranslem)

My latest Blade column takes a look at how the GOP's overreach has exposed its weak game. Here is an excerpt:

Republicans had a bad week last week. When not failing in their effort to sabotage nuclear nonproliferation negotiations, they were denouncing the Indiana and Arkansas legislatures for undermining their so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts by adding clarifying language. Retail giant Walmart was instrumental in pressuring Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to demand a fix to that state's RFRA.

The only homophobes who had a good week were the owners of Memories Pizza, who received over $800,000 in donations in a right-wing media scam that hailed them as Christian martyrs for refusing to fill the previously unknown demand for pizza at gay weddings.

Read the whole thing here.

April 03, 2015

Buchanan to Hannity on Iran: 'You're hysterical'

This delightful clip of Pat Buchanan schooling Sean Hannity on Iran makes me think that a reality show called "Battle of the Wingnuts" could be a smash hit.

Obama: framework would cut off every path Iran has to develop nuclear weapons

To those who say there's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and Republicans regarding the Middle East because both support Israel and both use American military, look at this: a Democratic president using multilateral diplomacy while Republicans, aggressively and willfully ignorant of recent history, clamor for another preemptive war. This negotiation is not finished, but congrats and thanks to the president and Secretary of State Kerry for their persistence.

Somali Militants Kill 147 at Kenyan University

NYTreports on a horrific attack in eastern Kenya.

April 01, 2015

Trevor Noah: Live at the Apollo

Trevor Noah, the young South African comedian chosen as Jon Stewart's successor as host of the Daily Show, has stirred some controversy due to his past material. Here he talks about race in South Africa and in America. Not the safest of subjects, but he is smart and has a facility for voices. His black Hitler is quite good.

March 26, 2015

Go to a revolution and cure your writer's block

Salman Rushdie delightfully recounts how he cured his writer's block in 1986 by going to a revolution. The punchline is great even though you can see it coming a mile off.

March 24, 2015

Trump brings 'birther' charge against Cruz

Ilya Shapiro at Cato Institute explains why Cruz is eligible to run. It has to do with the Nationality Act of 1940.

March 23, 2015

Jon Stewart on Schock, Netanyahu, and Hart

In case you missed it.

March 19, 2015

Russian man jailed for torturing gay teens faces new charges

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Gay Star News reports:

A Russian man who was jailed after torturing gay teens and driving them to suicide is facing new charges.

Maxim Martsinkevich, the leader of the anti-LGBTI group Occupy Pedophilia, is being charged with robbery, hooliganism and causing property damage.

In addition the investigators have also charged the homophobic leader, also known as 'Machete', with 'inciting hatred'.

Santorum seriously answers batty questioner on 'Communist dictator' Obama

You cannot be too crazy to be taken seriously by a politician like Rick Santorum.

March 18, 2015

Victory lap

Netanyahu's new policy of apartheid--how will Americans respond?

The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long enjoyed bipartisan consensus in America until now. Netanyahu appears headed to another term as PM after reversing his previous stated support for a Palestinian state and stoking racist panic to turn out the far-right base. The American far right is already in bed with him and will surely back his reckless position. Will liberals and responsible conservatives stand up to this madness, or be intimidated by charges that they are anti-Israel? Netanyahu is harming Israel's long-term interests by embracing a policy of apartheid west of the Jordan River. If we do not say that loudly and clearly, we might as well dig her grave, and the world's with it. ‪#‎SupportJStreet‬

March 15, 2015

Rocket Scientist of the Week Award goes to Sen. Tom Cotton

The junior senator from Arkansas actually said this today on Face the Nation: "Moreover, we have to stand up to Iran’s attempts to drive for regional dominance. They already control Tehran."

Well, yes, Professor Marvel, they do indeed.

February 23, 2015

U.S. names new LGBT rights envoy

February 22, 2015

Celebrities defend gay rights in Ghana

February 19, 2015

BAR: U.S. Protection of LGBT Iraqis Questioned

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(Bodies of dead gay Iraqis lie in a Baghdad street. AP Photo)

Our friend Michael Petrelis blogs about a Bay Area Reporter story on the plight of gay Iraqis and the responses of the United Kingdom and the United States.

Mike includes links to the referenced British and American government files obtained through FOIA requests. Thanks, Mike.

Pussy Riot: I can't breathe

Pussy Riot expresses solidarity with Eric Garner and other victims of police brutality.

Boehner's heavy-handed attempt to take over foreign policy on Israel

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(AP photo)

Polls are showing that Speaker John Boener's invitation to Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu to address Congress two weeks before he is up for re-election is unpopular with Americans. A recent story in Haaretz shows Boehner's dishonesty and recklessness:

House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that he had asked Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer not to inform the Obama administration about their contact over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Congress speech so as to avoid "interference."

"I wanted to make sure there is no interference," Boehner told Fox News' Sunday morning program. "There is no secret here about the animosity that this White House has for Netanyahu and I didn’t want them getting in the way and quashing what I thought was a real opportunity,” Boehner continued.

How dreadful it would be for the president to interfere with Boehner's foreign policy. Pardon me, I seem to have fallen down a rabbit hole.

Gay Catholic group attends Ash Wednesday papal audience

Francis DeBernardo at New Ways Ministry writes:

In what is surely the most official welcome from Church officials that New Ways Ministry has received in its 38-year history, and one of the warmest welcomes the LGBT community has received, a pilgrimage group of 48 LGBT Catholics and supporters led by our co-founder, Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL, received VIP seating at the papal audience in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, on Ash Wednesday, February 18, 2015....

Two weeks before departure on February 12th, [Gramick] received a letter from Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Prefect of the Papal Household, letting her know that he had reserved tickets for the group for the Ash Wednesday audience. She assumed that these were the general seating tickets. On the night of February 17th, when the group picked up the tickets at St. Peter’s, they learned that they were VIP seating.

It was not a private meeting, which is hard to get, but it was a gracious gesture. I note that Archbishop Ganswein is the Vatican heartthrob who became known as "Bel Georgio" when he attended Pope Benedict XVI.

I am glad for Sister Jeannine and her colleagues. What will really be telling is whether they are invited to participate in the next synod, at which a substantive discussion can occur. The Church's doctrine on gay people is wrong and harmful. We are not a threat to anyone's family. We ourselves are family. The pope's considerable pastoral gifts notwithstanding, there is no sign that he wants or intends to change this policy. Without some sign of doctrinal reform, his embraces and compassionate words are like an animal shelter volunteer petting a dog as it is being euthanized. I appreciate the compassion, but what I am looking for are understanding and affirmation. If the prime seating at a papal audience is a sign of greater welcome ahead, it will be more significant.

February 12, 2015

Getting Off Our High Horse

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My latest column, now online at the Washington Blade, looks at the controversy over President Obama's remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. Here's an excerpt:

At its best, faith challenges us to reflect on how far our actions have strayed from the standards we profess. The Christian Right, by contrast, uses faith as a weapon against its political opponents. Its standard bearers cannot acknowledge crimes even nine centuries in the past. So forget the anti-Semitic Rhineland Massacres of 1096; the sack of Constantinople in 1204; the destruction of ancient libraries and art treasures; the hundreds of thousands who died from slaughter, famine, and disease before the Crusaders even reached the Holy Land. Do not mention the estimated 1.7 million deaths from the Crusades, or that the savagery was launched by Pope Urban II in 1095.

The denial is not only about the Middle Ages. Millions were caught up in the Middle Passage that brought slaves to the western hemisphere, and black men in America were being burned alive in public lynching festivals well into the twentieth century. People cut off parts of the victims for souvenirs. Innumerable photos of these horrors are a few clicks away.

We can talk about this. At bottom, that is the president's message. He does our country a service by raising it, though he knows his opponents are waiting to pounce on whatever he says. He can speak less guardedly with his last race and last midterm election behind him.

Read the whole thing.

February 10, 2015

From Cuba to Stephen, some chocolate love

I have been a fan of Cuba Gooding, Jr. since his soulful performance in Boyz N the Hood. I like him even better after this bit of play with BAFTA Film Awards host Stephen Fry, a hugely popular British writer, actor, and comedian. BAFTA is the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and this year's film awards happened on the same day as the Grammys. Fry last month married his partner Elliot Spencer.

This was just a bit of foolery at a glitzy awards ceremony, but it says so much about how far we have come. Gooding has aged quite well, and is getting meaty parts these days on television, in addition to playing civil rights attorney Fred Gray in the movie Selma. His last-minute turn to kiss Fry on the lips was quite charming. Made me a little jealous of Stephen.

February 04, 2015

Gay man condemned by ISIS is stoned to death after surviving fall

February 02, 2015

Gay Pride Mumbai

Alexander Stevenson at NewNowNext reports:

Saturday was the eighth annual Mumbai Pride parade, when more than 5,000 celebrants marched from August Kranti Maidan down Grant Road and Nana Chowk.

According to DNA India, parents and family members comprised a sizable contingent of Queer Azaadi Mumbai, as the event is officially known. That’s a stark contrast from only a few years ago, when most paradegoers wore masks to hide their identities (some still do).

January 30, 2015

AFA tries to have it both ways with Bryan Fischer

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The American Family Association has written to the Southern Poverty Law Center repudiating certain statements by its longtime spokesman and talk show host Bryan Fischer, demanding that SPLC stop attributing those statements to AFA.

SPLC isn't having it:

In the Jan. 28 letter to the SPLC, AFA general counsel Patrick Vaughn listed a series of offensive comments from Fischer and said the organization “has never held these views and wishes to clarify that it still rejects such sentiments.”

Vaughn also wrote that Fischer would no longer serve as an AFA spokesperson or its director of issue analysis. However, Fischer will continue to host his two-hour, daily Focal Point radio show and write blog posts. Vaughn wrote that the AFA’s radio network provides a “diversity” of viewpoints but that Fischer’s statements do not represent the views of the AFA.

In response, Cohen wrote, “The fact that the AFA is continuing to allow Mr. Fischer to host a daily radio show and blog on its website also makes us question the AFA’s sincerity. Sponsoring Mr. Fischer’s racism, anti-Semitism, and hatred of the Muslim and the LGBT communities in the name of ‘diversity’ says as much about the AFA as it does about Mr. Fischer....

“Without ending Mr. Fischer’s talk show, without apologizing for the bigoted statements that he, Mr. Wildmon, and others associated with the AFA have made, and without making it crystal clear that the AFA will not tolerate any such statements in the future, the AFA’s 11th-hour disavowal of Mr. Fischer appears to serve only one purpose: to give the AFA a degree of plausible deniability while it continues to spew hateful rhetoric,” Cohen wrote. “It’s a shell game and a transparent one at that.”

Yes.

January 29, 2015

AFA's Bryan Fischer not really fired

RWW reports:

Bryan Fischer kicked off his radio program today by refuting reports that he had been fired by the American Family Association, explaining that he has simply given up his role as an official AFA spokesman while retaining his role as a daily radio host for AFA's radio outlet, American Family Radio.

Fischer said that his designation as an AFA spokesman while he also served as a radio host was creating confusion and resulting in the personal opinions he expressed on the radio being unfairly attributed to the AFA. As such, Fischer will no longer serve as an official voice for AFA but will continue to spew his bigotry from the AFA's radio stations.

So apparently Rachel Maddow was misled.

January 28, 2015

AFA fires Bryan Fischer

Fischer

Mediaite reports. It involves RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and a bunch of RNC folk heading to Israel on a trip paid for by American Family Association, whose longtime spokesman Bryan Fischer has said that Jews have no right to practice their religion in America. Below is the video from the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.

One Man's Pastry Is Another Man's Poison

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My column for this week's Blade is now online. Here is an excerpt:

Back home at the Iowa Freedom Summit, Dr. Ben Carson joked to reporters about a baker putting poison in a gay couple's wedding cake. (Is the GOP running a contest to find the most deranged person who thinks he or she can be president?) In related news, a man filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division last year against the Azucar Bakery in Denver for refusing to write "God hates gays" on a cake. This is the new religious freedom: muddling the difference between denying service to a minority and refusing to assist expressions of intolerance. Perhaps we should train shop owners to distinguish real customers from trolls.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, whose demotion by Pope Francis has not shut him up, recently discussed what he called the Church's "man crisis" and blamed "radical feminists" for priests raping boys. Seriously. Eminence, if we get you another fabulous set of embroidered vestments, could you stuff an altar cloth in your mouth for the rest of the year?

Read the whole thing here.

Holocausts and memory

January 22, 2015

Those mythical 'no-go zones'

"Hero of the supermarket" wins French citizenship

Lassana Bathily, a Malian Muslim immigrant who saved several lives from terrorist Amedy Coulibaly earlier this month at a kosher supermarket, has been granted French citizenship. He had applied for it last summer. Congrats to him. When we overgeneralize about Islam, and talk as if we are in a religious war, we play into the hands of people like Coulibaly and hurt people like Bathily. That makes no sense.

January 20, 2015

Kirchick: ISIS goes medieval on gays

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Jamie Kirchick at The Daily Beast has an interesting piece on the recent execution of gay men by ISIS by throwing them off a building ledge.

I have never understood how any god who demands such barbarity could possibly deserve anything but curses. Incidentally, if you think your god is any better, go back and re-read your holy book.

Incidentally, Kirchick is talking about radical Islam, not Islam in general. Just as social conservatives cherry-pick scriptural passages that suit them, those who prefer a less barbaric faith can do the same. This cafeteria approach to Holy Writ is done by everyone, but few admit it. The point is that you can believe what you want. You do not have to believe in a god that commands savagery.

Tweeting @Pontifex

I figure someone at the Vatican reads the papal Twitter feed. So I offer my two cents.

January 17, 2015

A note to @Pontifex