Mother Jones has published a lengthy profile of viciously anti-gay evangelical Scott Lively.
Mother Jones has published a lengthy profile of viciously anti-gay evangelical Scott Lively.
I missed this item from WaPo when it came out on Sunday. Good for the U.S. Embassy and the Russian athletes.
(Hat tip: Lisa Keen)
(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)
Here's the latest on international affairs from the former half governor who can see Russia from her house, in an interview with Sean Hannity:
People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates.
Laura Clawson writes at Daily Kos:
Here's hoping the producers of Saturday Night Live have Tina Fey on the phone right now, begging her to appear this weekend. Because Sarah Palin just wrote their script for them, no revisions or edits needed.
Love the scarf. Will someone please strangle him with it?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told President Obama after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin that she was not sure he was in touch with reality.
Prediction: this is not going to happen. But Winter Storm Titan is headed for the eastern U.S.
Peter Montgomery at Religion Dispatches, who is a Senior Fellow at People For the American Way, reports on the situation for LGBT people in several countries around the world.
Amid calls (including by Sen. Patrick Leahy) for a freeze in American aid to Uganda in the wake of President Museveni signing the Anti-Homosexuality Act, Ugandan gay activists are saying such a move would be counterproductive. Gay Star News reports:
Frank Mugisha, director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, has said he does not support aid cuts.
‘We can’t afford to create new victims,’ he said on Twitter this week. ‘We should go after the crazy politicians! Not innocent Ugandans.’
America's presence and aid dollars in Uganda give us leverage that we would lose if we withdraw. It is a very frustrating situation, to say the least, but we should not react in such as way as to leave LGBT Ugandans worse off. And we should seriously consider the views of Ugandans who are enduring the persecution.
Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch shares this.
Right-wing evangelicals in America are demonstrating by their latest statements, in case you missed it before, that they would carry out the same brutal repression against LGBT people here as we are seeing in Russia, Nigeria, Uganda, and elsewhere, if they could.
The latest right-wing lunacy, courtesy Right Wing Watch.
Our friend Walter Olson shared this photo with the helpful advice: "Very important rule in photo composition: be aware of where the shadow is going to fall." He added:
Reminds me of the recent joke, also in questionable taste, at the height of the Greek fiscal crisis. The German Chancellor flies into Athens airport, goes through processing. "Name?" "Angela Merkel." "Occupation?" "No, just visiting for a few days."
U.S. Embassy Kampala shares:
Archbishop Tutu's plea to #Ugandan President #Museveni to reconsider the country's Anti-Homosexuality Bill has made news around the world. He says, “We must be entirely clear about this: The history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste and race. But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love. There is only the grace of God…. Our diversity requires of us to be tolerant and compassionate and respectful of each other. ” Read on here: http://goo.gl/Cka3VQ
Amen. Wherever you are, join me tonight in lighting a candle of hope for our brothers and sisters in Uganda, that they find safety and preserve courage and hope.
The news from Uganda today could hardly be worse. President Museveni said during the signing at State House Entebbe:
Homosexuals are nurtured but not natured. No study has shown that one can be a homosexual purely by nature. Since nurture is the cause, that is why I have agreed to sign the Bill into law,” Museveni said during the public signing of the Bill into law.
It is interesting and darkly amusing, if also preposterous and hypocritical and damning, that Museveni relies on junk science while ignoring reputable scientists, and wraps his actions in anti-colonial rhetoric notwithstanding the fact that the bill he signed was pushed by American evangelicals and reinforces the colonial-era British Penal Code. What in heaven's name is African about that?
His action is really about seizing on a scapegoat to throw to the mob to distract them from his own misrule. It is a tragic day. Many lives will be destroyed for the sake of his opportunism, and not a soul will be helped. I have been getting desperate pleas by email from gay Ugandans. I respond by sending them links to various resources that may be of help. But those groups are undoubtedly being swamped.
If you are a praying person, pray for Uganda and its LGBT people. They are in grave danger.
The White House press secretary issued a statement today:
Instead of standing on the side of freedom, justice, and equal rights for its people, today, regrettably, Ugandan President Museveni took Uganda a step backward by signing into law legislation criminalizing homosexuality. As President Obama has said, this law is more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda, it reflects poorly on the country's commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and will undermine public health, including efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. We will continue to urge the Ugandan government to repeal this abhorrent law and to advocate for the protection of the universal human rights of LGBT persons in Uganda and around the world.
Rev. Canon Dr. Kapya Kaoma, an Episcopal priest from Zambia, writes at Political Research Associates:
[H]ad it not been for the presence of the U.S. and European embassies, African gays would have been massacred years ago, without any fear of consequences. For LGBTQ organizations to now demand they pull out of Uganda perilously compromises the lives of LGBTQ persons—who will not have anyone to turn to for safety, and strip our ability to monitor persecution.
I understand that we are all desperate to stop the progression of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. But threatening to leave the country will only boost the political power and credibility of leaders like Museveni, David Bahati, and Martin Ssempa—opening the door for African nations to expand further anti-LGBTQ laws, possibly even including executions and mass slaughter....
The withdrawal of the U.S. Ambassador from Uganda and Nigeria would also have some neo-colonial implications, which we should guard against. Uganda is not the first country to pass this Anti-Homosexuality Bill banning advocacy for LGBTQ issues—Russia was first. Nigeria followed, and many more nations are still to follow. How do we explain that no calls have gone out for the U.S. to sever diplomatic relations with Russia, but then call for the cutting of those ties to African nations? Frankly speaking, this move is an invitation for neo-colonial politics—which make even vicious dictators (like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe) heroes in the eyes of African people.
African nations are sensitive to neo-colonial and imperialistic attitudes of the West—hence they are likely to side with Museveni when he is condemned for his handling of homosexuality. The move will only make Museveni a hero not just among Ugandans, but also among his African allies—precisely what he is hoping for after watching his political power fade in recent years. If the West attacks him, and leaves the country, Museveni will have free reign to rule as the dictator he wants to be.
So what is the way forward?
African homophobia is promoted and propelled by religion. In Uganda, Christian leaders (paid for and encouraged by American evangelicals) have been demanding the bill for years, and pushing their followers to vote for the lawmakers who support it. Politicians will always be politicians—they are always looking for votes. In his attempt to win the Evangelical votes in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama disagreed with same-sex marriage in a debate moderated by Pastor Rick Warren—one of very same U.S. evangelicals who worked with anti-gay pastors in Uganda. But to think that such dynamics only work in American politics is naïve at best, and dangerous, careless, and deadly at worst. Museveni needs votes to remain in power. So the answer to Uganda’s anti-gay bill lies in the primarily Christian electorate of Uganda. We should be demanding that Pope Francis speak directly to President Museveni and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, and urge Ugandan Roman Catholics to proclaim his already-stated opposition to any law criminalizing LGBTQ persons. U.S. Anglican, and Evangelical/Pentecostal leaders should equally speak to their friends in Uganda about the dignity and fundamental human rights of sexual minorities. And the American people must demand an end to the constant flow of exportation of homophobia from U.S. evangelicals like Scott Lively, Lou Engle, and Rick Warren to Ugandan pastors and politicians.
Open letters, petitions, and press releases will only give Museveni and Uganda lawmakers another reason to sign and enforce the bill.
Uganda President responds defiantly to Western critics of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, including the United States and Canada.
If he is so eager to reject Western influences, why does he embrace the existing anti-gay law in Uganda that comes from the old British penal code, and why does he swallow the poison of American evangelicals like Scott Lively?
My latest column surveys last week's events, from the Sochi Olympics to anti-gay persecution in Nigeria and Uganda, to America's anti-gay right. It was enough to make a person's head spin.
Let's hear it for Suzie Snowflake's brave protest at the Sochi Olympics opening ceremony, where she refused to open into an Olympic ring.
From Right Wing Watch:
Right Wing Watch reports on the extreme rhetoric and activities of key right-wing figures and organizations by showing their views in their own words. In this video, Alexey Komov, World Congress of Families' representative in Russia argues about communism, the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 with Accuracy In Media's Cliff Kincaid (offscreen), while WCF's Larry Jacobs tries to intervene.
(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)
Michael Petrelis reports.
a network of Ugandan LGBT activists living in the Diaspora is echoing the voice of our comrades on the ground in Uganda, by calling to action allies of the Ugandan LGBT struggle and all those that support equality and dignity for all, to organize your communities to action against the recent passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009 by the Parliament of Uganda.
This will take place Tuesday, February 4, 1914 at 2:00 pm at the Ugandan Embassy located at 5911 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20011. GLAA is not an organizer of this event.
My column for this week is the most popular item (for the moment) at Metro Weekly: confronting anti-LGBT intolerance abroad requires that we also look at its agents closer to home:
reports that Archbishops Justin Welby of Canterbury and John Sentamu of York have written to the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda criticizing those countries' anti-gay laws.
Actress Goldie Hawn had no idea what she was wading into last week when she tweeted from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, "Met the wonderful President of Nigeria," and posted a photo of herself with Goodluck Jonathan. She quickly learned that Jonathan recently signed a harsh anti-gay law that set off a wave of arrests. She deleted her tweet, expressed horror, and apologized.
Hawn's gaffe was useful in drawing attention to a problem with ramifications far beyond the salons of Davos. In the city of Bauchi in northern Nigeria on Jan. 22, thousands disrupted a Shariah court by throwing stones and demanding the quick conviction and execution of 11 men on trial for their membership in gay organizations.
Two white doves that were released by children standing alongside Pope Francis as a peace gesture have been attacked by other birds.
As tens of thousands of people watched in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, a seagull and a large black crow swept down on the doves right after they were set free from an open window of the Apostolic Palace.
Oh, dear. This reminds me of Ben Franklin's proposal of the turkey as America's national bird. Our Founders went with the safer choice of a bald eagle. Granted, "peace eagle" would create some cognitive dissonance, but if you released one in a grand gesture with lots of witnesses, it's safe to say it would not be attacked by pigeons. Then you have the Swedish warship Vasa, which was so top-heavy that it keeled over and sank shortly after its launch in 1628, as dignitaries watched. Somewhere out there is bound to be a variable you didn't anticipate.
This update on a classic Coke commercial by Queer Nation NY is a powerful indictment of its sponsorship of the Sochi Olympics. I'm surprised that Coca Cola's lawyers haven't yet squashed it. Bravo to the folks who put this together.
Below is the trailer for Queer Nation NY's short film, The Road to Sochi. As you watch it, remember that there are people who are more offended by this kind of film than by the world's participation in Putin's Olympics. I mean, we cannot abide rudeness! Back in the 1960s, many Americans were outraged by singer Eartha Kitt's use of an appearance at the White House to protest the murderous, colonialist, and futile Vietnam War in front of President Johnson. She was blackballed for it. At this very moment, all around us are people who consider it obvious that following protocol trumps impolitic truth-telling. Otherwise, advocates for social justice would not have to work so hard. It's not that people cannot hear. They don't want to listen. That makes them much worse than sheep.
This image (click here and scroll down for the un-cropped version) has an entirely different vibe than the misogynist one to which it responds. It reminds me of a lyric by my late friend Michael Callen from his album Purple Heart:
"I’d like to be your music
I’d like to be your chair
I’d like to be the food you eat
and be the clothes you wear"
Goldie Hawn was mortified when she found out about the horrible behavior of the head of state with whom she posed for a TwitPic at Davos.
Influential Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina, responding to a harsh anti-gay law passed in Nigeria, has revealed his homosexuality.
Wainaina's brave act in speaking out is an example of why the fight for LGBT equality in Africa will win. But it will be a long struggle. Bravo to him for stepping up.
Lightning strikes the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Jan. 16, 2014. Credit: Antonio Lacerda/EPA.
An eloquent piece by Israeli writer Etgar Keret on the effort there to ban the word "Nazi."
Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin reports on the confusing situation in Uganda:
My suspicions were confirmed. Buzzfeed’s J. Lester Feder has obtained a copy of the December 28 letter that Uganda President Yoweri Museveni sent to Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga which an article in this morning’s Daily Monitor charactrized as “blocking” the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As Daily Monitor pointed out, Museveni criticized Kadaga and Parliament for rushing to pass the bill without the proper quorum, an act that violates the Uganda Constitution. However, there is nothing in the letter to indicate that Museveni will send the bill back to Parliament as provided in the Constitution. Nor does he indicate whether he considers the bill to be legitimately sitting on his desk awaiting action.
(Photo of Yoweri Museveni from his Wiki page. Source unknown.)
A senior Italian IOC member criticized the United States on Wednesday for including openly gay athletes in its official delegation for next month's Sochi Olympics.
"It's absurd that a country like that sends four lesbians to Russia just to demonstrate that in their country gay rights have (been established)," Mario Pescante said at an Italian Olympic Committee meeting in Milan on Wednesday, in comments widely reported by Italian media. "The games should not be an occasion and a stage to promote rights that sports supports daily."
Sorry, Mr. Pescante, but the situation is inherently political, as it was in Berlin in 1936. Politics is an aspect of human interaction. It is not a detachable accessory.
From NYT, a remarkable story of perseverance and devotion to duty that bears reading.
AP reports from Lagos on mass arrests that have followed the signing of Nigeria's harsh new anti-gay law by President Goodluck Jonathan:
First the police targeted the gay men, then tortured them into naming dozens of others who now are being hunted down, human rights activists said Tuesday, warning that such persecution will rise under a new Nigerian law.
The men's alleged crime? Belonging to a gay organization. The punishment? Up to 10 years in jail under the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which has elicited international condemnation for criminalizing gay marriage, gay organizations and anyone working with or promoting them.
There were varying accounts of how many arrests were made in Nigeria's Bauchi state, and a local law enforcement official denied that anyone was tortured. Nevertheless, the aggressive police action shows that Africa's most populous country is attempting to enforce anti-gay measures that are becoming increasingly common throughout the continent.
Bilerico guest blogger Sarah Coughtry, writing about the anti-gay persecution in Uganda, puts words in many mouths and thoughts in many heads that were not there. Click on the link and see how far you get, as our friend Joel Lawson said in sharing it. Here is a sample:
The way we talk about Uganda's anti-gay bill can be summed up in what Makau Mutua terms the "savage-victim-savior" model. Homophobic Ugandans (or homophobic Uganda as a whole) are pitted as the immoral savages who have no sense of human rights; LGBTI Ugandans are the poor helpless victims (alternate term: "noble savages") who are being terrorized by their own backward country; and we in the West are the superiorly evolved moral saviors who must rescue these people from their plight.
Ms. Coughtry should speak for herself. Many of us are well aware of the colonialist roots of official homophobia in Uganda and elsewhere. We know how the old British penal code continues its poisonous work across the Commonwealth long after it was reformed in Britain. Far from feeling superior, we are awed by the courage of our Ugandan counterparts and horrified at the role played by Americans like Scott Lively in promoting anti-gay persecution there. We know better than to slam around without consulting local activists in-country, who have the expertise, know the nuances, and stand to bear the consequences of whatever happens.
The Daily Show takes on the smirking ignoramuses who don't get the difference between weather and climate, who mock climate scientists as if the latter had ever said there would be no more winter. But this is no joke. America's ability to compete globally is under serious threat from aggressive know-nothingism, as illustrated by anti-science congressmen on the House science committee. Fight back!
My year-in-review for 2013 was published before the news broke of Her Majesty's Alan Turing pardon; but it was already a jam-packed year for the LGBT community. Here are a few excerpts:
2013 was a momentous year for the LGBT community, with nine states (California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Utah) joining the marriage equality ranks; landmark marriage rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court; the Social Security Administration making it easier for transgender people to obtain Social Security cards reflecting their true gender identity; strong moves in sports and the arts; and Presidential Medals of Freedom awarded posthumously to Bayard Rustin and Dr. Sally Ride….
In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered historic rulings in the Windsor and Perry cases, overturning the federal denial of recognition to same-sex marriages and restoring marriage equality in California. Edith Windsor, whose irrepressible personality made her the perfect "poster girl" for marriage equality at age 84, was a finalist for Time's Person of the Year….
The cause of marriage equality grew more bipartisan in 2013, when former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman organized a pro-equality amicus brief in the Perry case signed by more than 100 Republican officials; Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) endorsed marriage equality after learning his son was gay; and former president George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara served as witnesses at the wedding of Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen in Maine.
The year's remarkable string of marriage equality victories ended on an exhilarating note when U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby, an Obama appointee, ruled Utah Measure 3 unconstitutional, setting off a rush of same-sex couples to county clerk's offices in the conservative state ahead of an expected stay of the ruling. Shelby deliciously cited Justice Antonin Scalia's bitter dissents in Lawrence and Windsor to bolster the argument in favor of marriage equality.
I also touch on sports, the arts, and the international front. Read the whole thing here.