Tag Archives: Bryan Fischer

Number 1 Bigot of the Year 2012: National Rifle Association

31 Dec
Number 1 Bigot of 2012

Number 1 Bigot of 2012

This year’s nominations for Bigot of the Year were pretty remarkable, as you have no doubt noticed over the past few days. Thanks again go to all the TSM readers who took the time to recommend their choices for awful behavior and social injustice. It was a bit of a surprise with all those great nominations to have someone come out of nowhere and grab the top spot. With the insane rantings of its VP Wayne LaPierre and its manic worship at the altar of firearms in the wake of Sandy Hook, however, the NRA managed to do just that.

The shooting tragedy in Newtown was among the worst in U.S. history. Children of 6 and 7 were being buried as LaPierre broke the NRA silence and made his now infamous speech.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

How about not letting the “bad guy” have a gun whose only purpose is to destroy human flesh? How about really enforcing the lamentably weak gun laws we already have? How about not using racism and class warfare to scare people into thinking they need to carry a gun wherever they go?

The NRA’s general behavior as one of the largest and most feared lobbying organizations was bad enough. Over the past year or so, however, they’ve upped the ante significantly. Apparently fearing action in the courts that might result in support for reasonable gun laws, the NRA has begun meddling in judicial appointments. Justices Kagan and Sotomayor are the first two ever “rated” by the organization, clearly targeting votes in their favor as being anti-gun, something many Senators fear. NRA operatives are also working hard to scuttle an arms trade treaty in the U.N.

They’ve also launched a sister organization, the American Silencer Association, to push sales of the one legal firearm enhancement that might have made Adam Lanza’s attack more devastating. The sales pitch? Silencers make guns safer for children’s hearing. Really.

Congratulations, NRA leaders. You’ve demonstrated such lack of compassion and judgment that LaPierre was billed on the New York Daily News as the “Craziest Man On Earth.” Sadly, far too many in power listen to the kind of crazy his money buys.

Dishonorable mention goes to the NRA’s partners in tastelessness. Mike Huckabee already came in at #5 for the year, partly on the strength of his screed about putting “God back in schools” to avoid another Sandy Hook. The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer gets a nod for similar words, delivered in his own inimitable crazed style. Last but by no means least, the National Review for its misogynistic editorial that just having more men in schools would butch them up enough to stop potential killers. Let’s try to learn from the real lessons of Sandy Hook, and not from these ranters and opportunists.  Now is the time to look at gun control, racial profiling, and angry white men.


God, Guns, and Gays…

17 Dec

palin-gun-100309National tragedies provide us with many kinds of opportunities. As the country joins the people of Newtown, CT in mourning, we also celebrate the quiet heroism of the teachers and staff who helped keep the carnage from being any worse. Some paid for their bravery with their lives; others survived to help with the healing.

Sadly, too many of the usual suspects are clamoring to appropriate the suffering for their own nefarious purposes. Displaying his ususal KKKristian charity, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer blamed our constitutionally decreed religion-neutral society. Saying — without a hint of irony — that God is a gentleman who “will not go where he is not wanted,” Fischer claims that public school prayer and religious instruction would have resulted in the almighty stopping this tragedy in its tracks. Nor is he alone. Failed Presidential candidate, false compassionate conservative, and rightwing radio blowhard Mike Huckabee jumped on the same bandwagon.

We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?

Perhaps more to the point, why would we expect a narrowminded, violent Old Testament version of god to protect anyone? To wit, the loathsome legion from Westboro Baptist. Always willing to blame the LGBT community for, well, everything, they plan to picket around Sandy Hook Elementary, labelling the senseless slaughter of 26 innocent women and children as the “glory of God’s work in executing his judgment.” Nice choice of words, as always.

As those on the right rattle their sabers for God, the gun lobby tells everyone that now is not the time for politics, wanting to let the memory of this tragedy fade before we try to engage in a rational discussion about what kinds of weapons belong in the hands of everyday citizens. Over the past 15 years America has suffered far too many of these kinds of incidents — Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, now Sandy Hook — and each time there’s a brief flare of “somebody ought to do something” followed by silence and inaction. Let us not forget about Gabrielle Giffords and the shootings in Arizona–Sarah Palin and her hungry gun culture ilk certainly have blood on their hands.

When a mentally ill man can grab legally purchased guns from his mother’s home and fire multiple rounds into the bodies of six- and seven-year-old children, there is something seriously wrong. USA Today published a powerful editorial that pointed out three things we need to look at quickly and carefully.

  • How do we enforce the laws that already exist to minimize the risks and damage?
  • What commonsense restrictions on automatic weapons and military style ammunition do we need to put in place?
  • How can we strengthen the safety net for the mentallly ill to provide them the support they need to minimize the risk of this kind of break?

We cannot let these deaths, adding to the tragic and rapidly mounting toll, be in vain. We must have hard conversations and take decisive action.

UPDATE: As the details roll in and the country continues to mourn the devastating and horrifically violent deaths, the call for sensible revision of gun laws is heating up in the nation’s capital. President Obama wisely noted

We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.

The NRA and other guns and ammo groups, meanwhile, remain silent, at best offering tepid sympathy for the families.

Staunch gun supporter Sen. Joe Manchin (D – WV), a lifetime member of the NRA, is also pushing for change.

I just came with my family from deer hunting. I’ve never had more than three shells in a clip. Sometimes you don’t get more than one shot anyway at a deer. It’s common sense. It’s time to move beyond rhetoric. We need to sit down and have a common sense discussion and move in a reasonable way.

Incoming Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D – ND) and Joe Donnelly (D – IN), also supporters of gun rights, are vowing to help change laws to protect the innocent when they are sworn in in January. They’ll join longstanding advocates of gun control like Charles Schumer (D – NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D – CA). Let’s hope they can build the momentum to transform tragedy into action.

How Wrong Can the Right Be?

16 Aug

Minister of Hate

This will sadly be James Queale’s last contribution to TSM, as he is starting his own blog.  Jamie thank you for your contribution to TSM. We all look forward to reading your new blog.

After the fire storm over Bryan Fischer’s advocating for kidnapping children from gay parents, I would like to fully examine how the extreme right-wing affects the LGBT community and allies. In doing this, I want to show that claims against the LGBT community are false.
Extreme Right-Wing:
Bullying – They advocate that schools allow people of faith to discriminate against LGBT students if their religious text or beliefs “justify” the persecution. This causes various students to feel unsafe and unwanted causing lapses in attendance and increasing gay teen suicide.
Adoption – They advocate that children should not be allowed to be adopted by same-sex couples. Many claim that gay men are automatically pedophiles and children should not be allowed around them, even though statistics show that pedophiles are predominately heterosexual. Also, same-sex couples go through the very same screening that opposite sex couples go through when adopting.
Marriage – They advocate against allowing same-sex couples marrying, causing numerous couples to not have the same spousal benefits that straight married couples have. Same-sex couples in a bi-national relationship may be separated and left to find other options to be together because of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Employment – They advocate not allowing the government to ban businesses from firing or not hiring someone because they are from the LGBT community. This causes many to not find jobs which increases unemployment.
LGBT Advocates:
Bullying – We advocate that schools have protections for students regardless of religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation. This builds a productive environment and allows students to learn tolerance and diversity.
Adoption – We advocate that loving same-sex couples be allowed to adopt children, which gives children a home and a sense of belonging. This limits the number of children that are bounced around the system and helps build stronger communities.
Marriage – We advocate that marriage is a right and that everyone of any sexuality should be able to enjoy it. This allows same-sex couples to have full spousal benefits, which removes a significant financial burden. This also allows bi-national couples to sponsor their foreign born partners instead of being separated. This has no affect on “traditional” marriage as straight people are not forced to marry someone of the same sex. Even when it comes to religious institutions, exemptions are made so that churches that do not acknowledge same sex couples do not have to marry them.
Employment – We advocate that businesses should not be allowed to fire an employee because of their sexual orientation. Sexuality has no affect on work ability and should not be a factor when hiring or firing. This helps keep unemployment down and helps the workplace be a more productive and diverse environment. New ideas and innovation come from diversity.
As you can see, what the LGBT community advocates and what the extreme right-wing advocates are very different. One community wants to put policies into place that strengthen society and one wants to harm society.

Bigot of the Week: May 4, Bryan Fischer and Mitt Romney

4 May

Bigots of the Week

For two men who really don’t like each other, Mitt Romney and Bryan Fischer sure seem to pop up together frequently. For those of you fortunate enough not to know Fischer, he’s a staffer at the ironically named American Family Association and one of the most vocal opponents of LGBT equality. He has regularly accused Romney of being insufficiently Christian and is a regular attacker of the Mormon church. Ever one to pander, however, Romney’s rightward march during the campaign saw the two share the stage at the even more ironically named Values Voters summit, a tea-drenched celebration of hatred and bigotry. Romney took a veiled swipe at Fischer from the podium, saying that decency and civility are values to celebrate and that “One of the speakers who will follow me today, has crossed that line.” This week their interaction cost a man his job.

Richard Grenell is a far-right spokesman for aggressive national security and foreign policy. He was appointed to a U.N. post by W, and has strong hawkish credentials. He is also gay. Not just gay, but a vocal supporter of marriage equality and someone who has criticized the Obama administration of not doing enough for gay rights. Romney tapped Grenell two weeks ago to be his spokesman for national security. Cue the outrage.

Faux christians and professional homophobes immediately lashed into the Romney campaign. How dare he allow this unrepentant homo to represent him on any issues?! Quoth the Fischer

Richard Grenell could not possibly have been the only qualified individual that Governor Romney could find … If it wasn’t about homosexuality, than why did so many gay rights groups celebrate the hire?

Cowering under pressure, a move that is a trademark of the campaign, Romney and his aides quickly stifled Grenell, keeping him off conference calls that he had organized and removing him from the anniversary discussions of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Frustrated, Grenell resigned rather than keep a job he wasn’t allowed to do. Romney (despite tepid protestations in the press) let him walk. Fischer is jubilant.

You cannot separate religious liberty from the issue of the homosexual agenda. In fact, the homosexual agenda represents the single greatest threat to religious liberty and association in America today…Governor Romney may not do the right thing out of political conviction, but he will do the right thing out of political expediency, and this I think would be an example…This is what I think is good for the pro-family community. I think it’s going to be a long time before he hires another homosexual activist in a prominent position in his campaign.

Wow. Hate much?

It’s hard to feel too sorry for Richard Grenell — although it is easy to pity him. His first act after being hired was to delete dozens of nasty and often misogynistic tweets including attacks on Hillary Clinton and Michele Obama that had nothing to do with policy. It’s also baffling that a strong supporter of marriage equality and gay rights would have anything to do with the Romney campaign. That’s some serious pathology and internalized oppression.  Yes, while I pity Grenell, I find it difficult to feel any empathy for him.  He is no different than the many women and other marginalized people that vote against their best interest.

Nevertheless, he took on a job for which he was qualified. Bryan Fischer and his slavering attack dogs made a simple element of his humanity a firing offense. And Mitt Romney capitulated. In fact an adviser to his campaign, showing Romneyesque courage and demanding anonymity, observed

It’s not that the campaign cared whether Ric Grenell was gay… But they didn’t want to confront the religious right.

What a sad, stupid story — and clear demonstration of the kind of leadership qualities Mitt Romney possesses.

Gov. Rick Perry: Why You Need to Be Scared

17 Jun

You Need to Be Scared

As we watch the Republicans gear up for the 2012 election, it has been interesting to see who the contenders are and how low the Republican party will sink, a la Michele (If I only had a brain) Bachmann.  How beholden to the Tea Party will the party be?  It is also curious to see who is not officially declared their candidacy, but is rumored to run for POTUS.

My husband and I were talking about Gov. Perry of Texas and we speculated what his strategy would be.  I suspect he is waiting for the party to implode and for the carnage to appear, as more debates happen, before he runs for office.  Here is where I am terrified.  Gov. Perry is holding a “Day of Prayer” on August 6 at Reliant Stadium in Houston.  While the “Day of Prayer” is quite bothersome to me, separation of church and state, it does not terrify me as much as knowing that Bryan Fisher is helping fund this event and is a partner.  You remember good old Fisher.  He is the one that said:

…gays are Nazis who should be prevented from holding office in the United States. President Obama is a fascist dictator. The constitution does not apply to Muslims — they should be deported from the country. Native Americans deserve to be killed and thrown off their land because they didn’t convert to Christianity quickly enough.

Oh you sweet talking charmer!  With those honeyed words, how can any oppressed/marginalized peoples not be impressed?  Seriously, this  is one of Perry’s funders and closest friends. We need to be terrified.  Click here to see the full article.

Bigot of the Week Award: May 6

6 May

Bigot of the Week

It is not that I expect anything of quality  from the Faux (Fox) Network or its affiliates, but the overt bigotry coming from the Faux affiliate out of Houston this week was nothing less than an agenda of hate spewing from the lips of Damali Keith. Fox host Damali Keith compared the gay characters on Glee to “product placement,” earning her this week’s BWA. Keith’s giving Bryan Fischer a platform on the “news” to spew his venom about the LGBT community and then adding her own flavor of discrimination to support Fisher is disgusting and shameful!  Why is it that I always expect that traditionally marginalized people to know better? I detest gays that are racist, just as I have no time for people of color to be homophobic.  We could gain so much in our unity rather than our divisiveness.  Click here to see Keith in action.

Transatlantic Television Traumas: Too Gay?

5 May

TV's Greatest Threat to Children?

This past week has seen two more incidents that underscore the unequal standards that are applied to LGBT characters on television. To help us feel less alone here in the United States, we have a story from Texas and a story from London.

In Great Britain, Prime Minister Cameron has commissioned a study (encouraged by some of his more conservative cabinet members) on the impact of adult content on television. The focus is on programming that falls before the “watershed” (9:00 pm, roughly similar to our prime time family hour cutoff). Initial reports indicate that this study will include any displays of affection between LGBT characters as adult content; the specific example is a kiss from a 1994 British series that caused a great sensation when it aired. It’s hard to believe that the British government would use a 17-year-old example to set policy, and impossible to accept the potential double-standard in simple affection. A kiss, after all, is just a kiss. Cameron will not comment until the study is formally published, but the LGBT community in the United Kingdom is paying close attention.

Closer to home (and yet so far away), a Texas Fox affiliate aired a “news” piece about the recent anti-bullying episode of Glee. The anchor referred to the gay couples as “product placement” for the LGBT community and then hosted a ridiculous point-counterpoint between local gay activist Dan Hill and the nefarious Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. Fischer trotted out all the usual lies and distortions, including outdated statistics and misleading portions of studies, to rail against “corrupting children” with the “gay lifestyle.” Fortunately, Hill was calm and funny as he debunked Fischer at every turn. A highlight:

Look, I don’t care you hard you try to revive 1954, she ain’t comin’ back!

That test pattern looks a bit too out and proud...

While it’s great that such a well-spoken individual was able to represent the LGBT community, the whole premise of the segment was deeply flawed. Why should it even matterthat there are gay characters on the show?

As we’ve emphasized before on this blog, gay rights are human rights. Applying a double-standard to the behavior of a character or a couple based on sexual orientation is not acceptable. Viewers who aren’t interested in the full, rich spectrum of humanity can change the channel. Our lives are not lifestyles, and we will not be relegated to cable specialty channels and after-midnight viewing.

Wednesday Word of the Week: February 9

9 Feb

All A Family Requires Is Love

The word of the week is FAMILY.

Although it seems straightforward, this word is a tricky one. What is a family?

Many prominent, outspoken groups exist with “family” in their names. Family Research Council. American Family Association. Focus on the Family. What do they say?

Apparently, a family is a mother, a father, and their children; end of story. Each organization has slightly different language and dances prettily around “other models” of family. With careful reading, however, the definition, and its message, are clear.

Let’s deconstruct that with my family, shall we?

My father was born in Poland in 1942. His entire family was dragged off to concentration camps; not one survived. A brave American soldier named Arthur Kahn brought him home to the States, where he and his wife subsequently adopted the orphan. Is that a family?

Dad died when I was 19. I was in college but certainly still reliant on my family. My mother and her parents together gave me the support, care, and love I needed to finish college and graduate school and set up a life of my own. Is that a family?

I had a girlfriend named Melissa for four years during college and graduate school. Her parents were divorced. The whole group comprised her mother and stepfather, her sister and half-brother, her father and stepmother, and two stepsisters. Everyone assembled in one place for each holiday and landmark birthday. Even though her mother and father were still uneasy in each other’s company, they felt it was critical to the children to feel a sense of community. I attended some of those gatherings; they were always joyous and loving. Is that a family?

My best friend, Drew, lives in Boston now. In 2008, he married his partner of five years, John. I was lucky enough to be their best man. Their love for each other is one of the most beautiful things I have ever beheld. Is that a family?

All those “family values” organizations and their ilk would hint (strongly) that none of these arrangements are quite right; at least one of these families would be outright condemned, albeit with christian love for the “sinners.” But what is a family?

1) a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head

5) a. the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children; b. any of various social units differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family

— Merriam-Webster Online

I include this mostly to show how far into the definition we get before the narrow “values-” based definition appears. Notice, too, the parallel definition given equal prominence. Literal words fail to support these self-appointed experts. Where do they draw their inspiration? So-called biblical values.

These values are derived from the same source that tells us of Solomon’s monumental polygamy; that regales us with Lot’s daughters seducing their drunken father; that has Job’s happy, prosperous family destroyed while his loving heavenly father plays games with the devil. What a great source of family advice!

Those Faulty Founts of Family Fundamentals so often fall on their faces. Newt Gingrich, Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, the list of adulterers, chronic divorcees, and hypocrites on gay rights, goes on and on. Why do they get to decide what makes a family?

Now let’s look at my friend Drew’s wedding again. He has a mother, father, stepmother, three brothers, and two sisters. His mother and one sister attended the wedding. John has a mother and father and eight siblings. Not one of them was in attendance. They all cited “traditional family values” when rejecting these fine men. Is that a family?

I may be an only child by birth, but I have a brother named Drew Carnahan. Through his legal and spiritual marriage, I gained another brother named John Carnahan. (Carnegie + Callaghan: strangely neither man wanted to keep the name he started with.) They would do anything for me, and I for them. We are bound by love, trust, and respect. That makes a family.

Like much of my generation, I’m trying to reboot my life. While I’m struggling with finances and (lack of) job options, Granddad and Mom have welcomed me back into their home, no questions asked. That makes a family. If Drew and John needed help, they’d be welcome too. That makes a family.

Drew and John are a loving, supportive couple. They complement each other perfectly, truly becoming so much more than the sum of their parts. Their love and joy is contagious, bringing comfort to everyone in their circle. That, too, makes a family.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

With gratitude and thanks to:

  • Melissa, for sharing your wild, wonderful family with me and letting me share it with the world.
  • Michael, for welcoming into your online family with such warmth.
  • Phyllis, the kind of caring, crazy, adoptive aunt every lost lamb should luck across.
  • Drew, John, Granddad, and Mom, thank you for being my family.
  • Grammy, Gramps, Grandma, and Dad, your departure from this world in no way unravels you from the fabric of my family.

All my love, Lex

Strange Bedfellows Ruining More Than Just My Mind’s Eye…

29 Jan

If you have been following this blog, you know the many connections between the Fecal Five, the Koch Brothers, and the Tea Party (That fun loving anti-woman, anti-gay group of gadflies). Yes, I feel as though I must wash my mind’s eye out with Drano thinking of them all in bed together. (I’m sure Bryan Fischer can’t stop thinking about this group in bed together.) But alas, there is even more collateral damage to report. I am asking all of you to please take action along with the Sierra Club against the Koch Brothers.  The Kochs put profits before people: They were federally indicted for covering up illegal dumping of cancer-causing benzene and convicted of falsifying documents.  Click here to read the article and take action.

Join the Sierra Club and take action against the Koch Brothers

Bryan Fischer: Hard to compete with this type of CRAZY…

27 Jan

Bryan Fischer is now, according to himself, the absolute font of all knowledge.  This video of Fischer talking about how if you believe in evolution, then you are just like Hitler and you also hate “negroes.”  His commentary would be laughable, save that too many people listen to this imbecile.  You will remember Fischer is the one that blames homosexuality for the Holocaust.  He must have Michele Bachmann giving him history lessons.  The Nazis were rounding up gays and exterminating them as well as Jews–remember, we were the ones that had to wear the Pink Triangle. Remember Paragraph 175 that Hitler had re-activated. This man is a menace to society. I only wish that he and Fred Phelps would finally profess their undying love for each other and finally stop their obsession with gay sex.  Click here to see the video of Fischer if you can stomach it.

"I just can't stop thinking about gay sex."

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