Monday, November 7, 2016

News and Commentary Tidbits: Election Edition

Infidel753: Going nuclear

Rosa Rubicondior: Time For Positive Thinking!

First Draft: We Don't Need to Heal. We Need to Win.

Talking Points Memo: Trump Rolls Out Anti-Semitic Closing Ad

Washington Post: A Catholic priest put an aborted fetus on the altar in an appeal for Donald Trump

Huffington Post: Catholic Church Bulletin Says You’ll Go To Hell If You Vote Democrat

New York Times: The Religious Right’s Trump Schism

Boston Globe: How the religious right embraced Trump and lost its moral authority

Get Out and VOTE Tomorrow

I may have been absent from the blogosphere, but I haven't ignored developments in the 2016 presidential election. This summer and fall, each day has shown us more horrors involving Donald Trump, from violence at Trump rallies, to support for Trump among Alt-Right and white supremacist figures, to Trump's alliances with the Religious Right, to Trump's shocking comments about nuclear weapons, to his utter cluelessness during presidential debates, to an audio clip of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, to accusations of sexual assault from multiple women against Trump -- and that's just off the top of my head.

It should be obvious that Donald Trump would be incompetent and dangerous as president of the United States. His history of hateful rhetoric and foolhardy proposals should convince us that he is unsuited for one of the world's great seats of power. Hillary Clinton, while imperfect, is the much more competent and experienced choice.

Recent polls give us reason to be optimistic. Most election polls show Hillary Clinton with a substantial lead over Trump, according to the New York Times. A recent Gallup poll found that 69% of respondents were dissatisfied with the Trump campaign. Ultimately, though, polls mean nothing. Votes mean everything.

The candidate we Americans choose for president tomorrow will wield immense power over policy, foreign relations, military deployments, Supreme Court justice appointments, and the image of the U.S. across the world. As voters, we have a responsibility to choose our next president wisely. Our collective decision will have massive ramifications for the U.S. and world.

Tomorrow, go out and VOTE for Hillary Clinton.

My Recent Absence from the Blogosphere

My apologies for being absent from Republic of Gilead for the past few weeks. Several of my readers have worried about me during my absence, so I owe everyone an explanation.

Back in January, my father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and received chemotherapy treatments soon thereafter. As the year went on, my father declined, growing weaker each month as the cancer spread through his body. My mother served as his primary care giver (with the help of a visiting nurse and home care aid) during his final weeks. I took over yard work, errands, and other chores for my parents, leaving little time for my blog.

My father passed away during the early morning hours of Saturday, October 29th. My mother and I have spent the past week arranging the cremation, clearing out my father's belongings, and taking stock of finances and home repairs.

With so many responsibilities demanding my attention right now, I have little free time to blog. I'm not abandoning the blog, but I won't be able to post as often, at least for the time being.

Please keep my mother and me in your thoughts.

The Sociopath

Ben Howe of the conservative political blog RedState wrote and directed The Sociopath, an unsettling documentary on the Trump presidential campaign. A must-see before tomorrow's election!

BBC Documentary on Hate Preacher Steven Anderson

In the BBC documentary America's Hate Preachers, Hannah Livingston spends several months observing hate preacher Steve Anderson of of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. The result is a disturbing and insightful look at extreme fundamentalist Christianity.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Phyllis Schlafly Dies at Age 92

Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum, opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, and unrepentant anti-feminist, died today at age 92, according to the New York Times. In a Facebook post, the Eagle Forum described Schlafly as an "iconic​ American​ leader​ whose love for America was surpassed only by her love of God and her family​​".

Figures and organizations from the Religious Right are mourning Schlafly's passing on Twitter.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

News Tidbits

Colorado Springs Gazette:  Leadership diversity a challenge for Colorado Springs evangelical organizations

KTRE 9: Lufkin business owner refuses service to gay couple, explains why in ad

Des Moines Register: ACLU warns Iowa schools about anti-gay Christian group

Metro Weekly: Anti-gay activist writing God-centric government textbooks for public schools

Religion News Service: New Jersey priest suspended for supporting gay groups

Pink News: Church of England vicar suggests gay pride encourages child abuse

Commentary Tidbits

The Mighty: To Those Who Think I Can 'Pray Away' Depression

Friendly Atheist: Christian Charity That Rejected Huge Donation From Atheists is Now "Extremely Behind on Funds"

And the Wisdom to Know the Difference: Shall We Stop This Bleeding?

The Ring of Fire Network: Trump’s Campaign Staff Is Literally Filled With White Supremacists

Vice: Kim Davis's Hometown Just Had Its First Pride Celebration

Think Progress: Mere Months After Orlando, Evangelicals Declare New Commitment To Rejecting LGBT People

Huffington Post: ‘Christian’ College Gives Heave-Ho To Professor For Supporting LGBT People

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Religiosity Linked to Acceptance of Rape Myths, According to New Study

A new study found a correlation between Christian religious devotion and belief in rape myths. "Religious Affiliation, Religiosity, Gender, and Rape Myth Acceptance: Feminist Theory and Rape Culture", published online in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, looked at the relationship between religious devotion and embrace of rape myths among college students in the U.S.

In a study of 653 university students ages 18-30, most students identified as Christian, with 52.2% identifying as Protestant and 23.9% identifying as Roman Catholic. A smaller percentage identified as atheist (10.4%) or agnostic (13.5%). Students completed surveys gauging their religiosity as well as their political ideology on social and economic issues. The students' rape my acceptance was measured by the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale–Short Form, which involved students rating statements on a scale such as "If a woman is raped while she is drunk, she is at least somewhat responsible for letting things get out of control", and "Although most women wouldn’t admit it, they generally find being physically forced into sex a real ‘turn-on'".

Researchers found that after controlling for political ideology, Protestants and Catholics demonstrated higher acceptance of rape myths than their atheist and agnostic counterparts. Higher religiosity was correlated with greater acceptance of rape myths. The authors speculate that people who are more involved in Christian church activities are exposed to patriarchal teachings more often, which may reinforce toxic attitudes about sexual violence.

Studies like these remind us how patriarchy poisons Christian communities. Misogynist attitudes and teachings in Christian churches are just as poisonous to clergy as they are to congregants. Two studies of American Christian clergy found that sexism was associated with negative attitudes toward rape victims.

While some Christian denominations respect women, many more still need to jettison their misogynist attitudes and doctrines. Too many faith communities still believe that men should have authority over women, that husbands are entitled to their wives' bodies, that female bodies exude temptation, and that rape victims are culpable for their victimization.*  Communities that espouse Christian Patriarchy/Quiverfull tenets are especially egregious.

This is unacceptable. Rape culture (and its sibling, purity culture) are reprehensible. We must challenge them wherever we find them, be it in secular society on religious settings.

* = As if attitudes condoning violence against women weren't bad enough, sexual violence against male victims isn't even on the radar of many churches. Men who have been victimizated find themselves out in the cold, hushed into silence or shamed.

Friday, September 2, 2016

News Tidbits

Indianapolis Star: Son had 36 bruises. Mom quoted the Bible as defense

Texas Observer: Signs of God: How a mayor’s campaign to keep a Jesus sign brought discord to a God-fearing East Texas town

KCRA 3: California: Carmichael faith-based hospital denies transgender man hysterectomy

New York Daily News: Queens Democratic candidate wants to erase same-sex couples from school textbooks

Gay Star News: 'Christian Warrior' threatens to kill LGBTI people in chilling Youtube video

Christian Today: Mars Hill racketeering case against Mark Driscoll and former elder dismissed

The Advocate: Clinic offering 'abortion reversal' could open next to New Orleans Planned Parenthood

CBC: Two private schools won't comply with Alberta LGBTQ policy, says pastor

NPR: Catholic Church Groups Fight Bills To Revive Old Sex Abuse Cases

NPR: Latest Religious Liberty Battle: Church-Affiliated Colleges And LGBT Students

Commentary Tidbits

Religion Dispatches: The Theology of Westboro: The “World’s Meanest Church” Is More Than Picket Signs

Broadly: Elizabeth Smart Is Standing Up for Rape Victims — And Tearing Down Purity Culture (Trigger warning)

Daily Beast: When Trump Met Mr. Brexit—the Alt-Right Coalition Goes Global

Daylight Atheism: Christian Apologists React to the Rise of Atheism

The Red Hot Preaching Conference: Steve Anderson Rants and Raves

As discussed in a prior post, Steve Anderson, Roger Jimenez, Donnie Romero, and David Berzins came together for the Red Hot Preaching Conference in Sacramento, California on July 28-31. Steve Anderson was in rare form when he preached at the podium, ranting about the End Times, the alleged persecution he endured from Paypal, and his unbridled hatred of gays and the media. Anderson's sermon was a flood of hatred and projection, in which he unleashed his hatred against others while condemning others for allegedly hating him.

Citing Matthew 16 and 1 Thessalonians 5, Anderson warned the audience that they were living in the End Times at the 57:40 mark.
"We are not going to be taken by surprise because we have the Bible telling us all the things that will lead up to it, and we can see the signs of the times ... We don't have to be in the dark tonight. We have the word of God to tell us about the events of the End Times. We know the sequence of events. We know what things will be like when the end is approaching. We can read it in the Bible, and then if we have our eyes open, we can discern the times of the times that we're living in. I submit to you that if we look around today, we can see many signs that we are living in the last days."
"We can see now that the technology is in place where the scriptures in the book of Revelation could literally be fulfilled," he insisted. Live broadcasts and the internet would allow the whole world to see events during the End Times as described in Revelations 11:1-10, he explained. Anderson also claimed that the passage in Revelations 13:11-18 (in which no one engages in trade without the mark of the beast on their head or hand) describes technology in a cashless society. If the government declares cash to be worthless, paper money won't be used for transactions anymore, he said.

As evidence, Anderson pointed to Paypal shutting down his fundraising account in response to his homophobic hate speech (more here). At the 1:01:19 mark, he fumed over the Paypal incident.
"Look how easy it was for them to shut down our Paypal accounts as soon as we started preaching things that they didn't like ... That's where things are going. You preach the word of God, you don't get on board, we'll shut down your account."
Anderson's End Times rhetoric was laced with conspiracy theories. Later, after a paranoid rant about the United Nations setting the stage for a world government, Anderson claimed that religions are coming together under the auspices of the Antichrist.

Anderson turned his attention to the current generation, which he blasted as selfish and sinful. At the 1:03:00 mark, he raged at "Generation Selfie Stick" for condoning abortion.
"One of the things that characterizes the End Times is that people would be self-centered, self-absorbed, lovers of their own selves, and we see that in this generation more than any other generation, this overly sensitive--just worried about themselves, everything's about me. You know, people have called it Generation Me, Generation Selfie, Generation Selfie Stick ... What could be more selfish when you think about major big sin, sins like murder and adultery? What could be more selfish than murdering your own child for your own convenience? That's exactly what abortion is. You're so concerned with yourself that you're willing to murder an innocent baby just so you can have a different quality of life."
He raged on against supposedly selfish people who only attend church to hear sermons, arguing that church is like a workplace where people should work. Anderson mocked people who disagreed with him for calling church a business. "Only communists and hippies don't like the word business!" he sneered. He seemed oblivious to how selfish his own expectations of congregants were.

No Anderson sermon would be complete without homophobia. "It's starting to look like the days of Lot out there!" he lamented at the 1:19:04 mark. "I got off the airplane in Sacramento, California this morning, and it was two minutes before I saw a dude walking through the airport with a skirt on!" he complained.

Anderson's fury burned hot at the 1:08:13 mark, when he screamed at the top of his lungs at the media and the pro-LGBTQ demonstrators protesting the event. Anderson howled in rage against "freaks and perverts" and dared the media to link LGBTQ people and HIV. His screaming fit was met with applause from the audience.
"We're living in a day where the wicked despise those that are good, and now, it's even getting to the point where even mainstream America is starting to despise those that are good ... What's interesting today is that these bunch of freaks and perverts out there, for example, that are protesting this event, they are despisers of those that are good. You know what? These people from the media here, I mean, unless they turn over a new leaf and start telling the truth, which probably isn't very likely, but these bozos from the media over here, they're going to show all the 'love wins' and 'love conquers hate'. They won't show you how God-fearing family men and women walk in this church, and women are called a slut and a whore, and they've never even seen these women in their life, because they just rail and hate and spew out all their filth, and they're disgusting.

Anderson's spewed even more homophobic hatred at the 1:10:31 mark, when he accused "homos" of wanting to murder him and the other attendees. Ever heard of projection, Steve?
"Every single one of those homos would love to tear me apart limb from limb. If they could get in here and the police wouldn't stop 'em, they'd love to come in here and rip us apart and kill us all, and they don't just hate me. They don't just hate Brother [Roger] Jimenez. They hate all Christians, and they would love to destroy us all ... And yet they say that we're hateful. Well you know what? At least I admit that I do hate pedophiles and perverts! But these people are hypocrites!"
What saddened me about this toxic sermon was that several children were in the audience. Anderson was feeding his witches brew of homophobia, End Times paranoia, self-righteousness, and rage to impressionable children. My heart broke when I realized how many lies those children had been fed about the world by that fundamentalist subculture. The world's going to end. Gays want to destroy you. Act like a real man or else. Be a workhorse for the church or else. Where was room for truth, joy, love, and freedom in these children's lives?

What kind of inner turmoil produces the kind of hatred and rage that we see in Steve Anderson? What kind of misguided faith brings people to his church and to the Red Hot Preaching Conference? What spiritual nourishment can be had by listening to a hateful man rant and scream?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

News Tidbits

NPR: Clinton: Trump Is 'Taking Hate Groups Mainstream'

Politico: Trump campaign CEO once charged in domestic violence case

Mamba Online: Pastor Steven Anderson’s new secret plans for Johannesburg trip already crumbling

Associated Press: Candidates capitalize on the ever-powerful 'religious vote'

Pennlive: In Pennsylvania House, even prayer practices are proving to be controversial

Christian Today: Mark Driscoll hits out at polygamy and warns it could be legal within two decades

Reuters: 9th Circuit upholds California ban on sexual orientation therapy for minors

Outsports: Lesbian basketball coach sues Catholic school that fired her for marrying her wife

Miami New Times: Miamian Fired for Anointing Desks With Oily Crosses Wasn't Discriminated Against, Judge Rules

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Spiritually manipulated, sexually exploited: A psychiatrist used religion to ply patients for sex   (Trigger warning)

Commentary Tidbits

Revolutionary Faith: When Con Men Use the Bible to Sell Evil

Southern Poverty Law Center: What Is the Alternative Right?

Media Matters for America: What Is The "Alt-Right"? A Guide To The White Nationalist Movement Now Leading Conservative Media

The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser: The Rick Trotter Saga: Yet Another Example of Churches Not Protecting Members from Sexual Predators 

Slate: Hello Goodbye: The author of a best-selling abstinence manifesto is reconsidering the lessons he taught to millions

Daily Beast: The Right’s Favorite Anti-LGBT Doctor Strikes Again

Musical Interlude: "Universal Death Squad" by Epica

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Red Hot Preaching Conference: Booze and Botswana

Perennial misogynist and homophobe Steve Anderson, Roger Jimenez, Donnie Romero, and David Berzins came together for the Red Hot Preaching Conference in Sacramento, California on July 28-31. Hosted by Jimenez' Verity Baptist Church, the gathering was meant to be an opportunity to "meet many great men of the faith and potentially go soulwinning with very experienced soulwinners". (Hat tip to No Longer Quivering and Raw Story.)

The conference couldn't have assembled a more hysterical and offensive list of speakers. Anderson, Jimenez, and Romero were in the news this summer for making vicious comments about LGBTQ people in the wake of the Orlando Pulse massacre. Berzins has made homophobic comments of his own, criticizing supposedly weak churches for not standing up to the "homosexual agenda". The gathering's homophobic line-up drew protesters from the Love is Love Movement and Kiss Away Hate, according to ABC 10, KCRA 3, and Fox 40.

Before I focus on the main lineup, I'd like to share some quotes from a man who spoke before Anderson. In this YouTube video, Garrett Kirchway of Faithful Word Baptist Church devoted a short sermon to the evils of alcohol.

"The Bible speaks very strongly against alcohol!" he preached. In rapid fire fashion, Kirchway fired off Bible passages that condemn drunkenness such as Proverbs 20.

Kirchway reminded the audience that he was preparing for a missionary trip to Botswana, where he planned to tackle alcohol consumption. "When you teach, you need to teach against the sins of the land. Alcohol is a big sin in Africa," he claimed. At the 47:58 mark, he told listeners that alcohol consumption is a problem in Botswana because its churches are confused and its Bibles are poorly translated. The answer, Kirchway proposed, was to promote the King James Bible.
"Why is alcohol so popular there? Well first of all, it's in the churches. The reason why it's in the churches is there's a lot of confusion that people see about alcohol. There's a lot of false teachings about alcohol. Also, their Bibles are messed up. Believe it or not, John 2 in many of their versions says that Jesus turned water into alcohol, not water into wine, but water into alcohol. We need to get the King James Version to as many people as we can ... We need to preach hard against sin."
At the 48:52 mark, Kirchway promised to eject Botswanans out of their churches if they didn't stop drinking alcohol.
"I can't guarantee we're going to bring down the alcohol consumption in the country of Botswana, but I can bring it down in our church. When we preach the King James Bible, when we preach hard, if they still don't listen, we'll kick them out of church by 1 Corinthians 5:11. And if the other churches follow suit, maybe the alcohol consumption will come down."
First, this approach to missionary work reeks of the White Man's Burden. Second, alcohol consumption in moderation is not immoral, and certainly no reason to denigrate your African hosts. Third, if Kirchway is truly concerned about alcoholism in Botswana, he should be supporting medical services and mental health care providers in Botswana. Professional services will do far more good for alcoholics than King James Bibles and finger-wagging American preachers. Like so many of his brethren, Kirchway promotes fundamentalism as a cure for social problems, ignoring better solutions.

News Tidbits

Louisville Courier-Journal: Judge dismisses civil suits against Kim Davis

Vancouver Sun: Vancouver Christians collide over televangelist Franklin Graham

Associated Press: Groups press Walgreens on religious restrictions in clinics

Washington Blade: Judge: Religion permits Michigan funeral home to engage in anti-trans bias

Gay Star News: Canada: Homophobic zombies at Toronto Pride sued for $104 million

Pink News: Australia: Being ‘transgender is like anorexia’, claim conservative lobby group

Commentary Tidbits

Damned Interesting: 4 times The Gospel Coalition outdid itself for bigotry

Against the Greater Light: The C Word

Shakesville: Behold Your Roosting Chickens

Washington Post: The Breitbart alt-right just took over the GOP

The New Civil Rights Movement: Founder of Two of America's Most Damaging and Dangerous Anti-Gay Groups Endorses Trump

The Atlantic: Donald Trump Isn't Relying on Faith Alone

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hillary Clinton in League with Infernal Forces, Say Some Religious Right Figures

Many Religious Right figures have supported Donald Trump's candidacy and attacked Hillary Clinton's candidacy. Some have done so by arguing that a woman is unfit to be president. Others are doing so by claiming Clinton is knowingly or unknowingly in league with infernal forces. Who can forget Ben Carson's speech at the Republican National Convention, during which he linked Hillary Clinton, Saul Alinsky, and Lucifer? Now, several Religious Right commentators have linked Clinton with Satan and the Antichrist, pandering to the fear and superstition of their audience.

This tactic is nothing new. Fundamentalists have repeatedly claimed that President Obama is the Antichrist, or that he is at least playing a sinister role in Biblical prophesy. The claims began during his run for the 2008 presidential election and have continued ever since. Desperate to unite their followers against Clinton, fundamentalists have started making the same claims about her.

First, Trump supporter and New Apostolic Reformation preacher Lance Wallnau lionized Trump as a "wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness" during a recent podcast. During the August 17th edition of the Strang Report on Charisma Podcast Network, Wallnau gave a political talk dripping with Seven Mountains Dominionism. He argued that Trump could help the Religious Right gain control of social institutions that are supposedly controlled by Satan.

After reminding listeners about the next president's power to appoint Supreme Court justices, Wallnau spoke of Hillary Clinton and the devil in the same breath. At the 11:14 mark, he claimed that a Clinton victory would play into Satan's "end game" and help him consolidate his control of society. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"If Hillary Clinton has the power in this culture to promote radicals to the Supreme Court, that process of redefining the meaning of words I can almost guarantee is going to continue to extend itself right on down to the free speech of Christians to be able to speak biblical truth. That’s the end game the devil’s at. And so, I’m talking to Christians now, we must understand -- Satan wants to wrap up his institutional control of high places in government, media, arts, academia, and business is about to come under assault with Hillary Clinton. And the end game will be a redefinition. The ultimate redefining will be what America is, and it’s going to happen in her administration and it’s going to affect our children. For forty years they’re going to have to live with it."
Radio host Bryan Fischer, who opposes a Clinton presidency on account of her gender, has linked Clinton with the Antichrist. During the August 15th edition of Focal Point, Fischer claimed that Hillary Clinton was animated by an "Antichrist impulse". At the 34:47 mark of the second hour, he said the following. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"Hillary Clinton is not a friend of religious liberty. In fact, she is hostile to religious liberty. She's an enemy of religious liberty. There's a profound anti-Christian impulse in Hillary Clinton. I would go so far as to call it an Antichrist impulse. The same spirit that will one day animate the Antichrist is the same spirit that is at work in Hillary Clinton. She opposes Christ. She opposes biblical Christianity. She's hostile to it. She seeks to repress it. She seeks to punish it, and she seeks to stifle it. That is the spirit of the Antichrist and it is at work in Hillary Clinton."
After blasting Hillary Clinton for allegedly siding with the "homosexual agenda" over religious liberty, Fischer repeated his accusation at the 43:10 mark.
"Hillary Clinton is motivated by the spirit of the Antichrist because she is against Christ. She's against Christianity. She is against the free exercise of the Christian faith. She doesn't want the Christian faith to be a part of the public square, to influence public policy in any way. She's against everything that Christianity stands for. She is for same-sex marriage. She is for the promotion of homosexuality. She is against the sanctity of human life. She is against religious liberty."
Anti-abortion activist Alveda King also linked Clinton with the Antichrist. During the August 12th edition of The Jim Bakker Show, King accused Hillary Clinton of asking Americans to abandon their religious beliefs, thereby ushering in the Antichrist. At the 3:02 mark, in the midst of a disjointed diatribe against ISIS, Margaret Sanger, and Planned Parenthood, King had this to say. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"Mrs. Hillary Clinton .. said basically Christians and religious people in America need to set aside their religious beliefs and serve secular humanism, and in that point she was saying abortion or the thing with ISIS ... and she really has said we're going to have to learn in America to set aside our religious beliefs ... What's she's really saying is usher in the Antichrist."
Jim Bakker also hosted Don Colbert of the Divine Health Wellness Center on his show, who accused Hillary Clinton of acting under the aegis of the Antichrist. During the June 9th edition of The Jim Bakker Show, Colbert claimed that the "spirit of Antichrist" rested on Hillary Clinton at the 35:00 mark. Colbert's comments followed a pro-Trump segment in which a retired firefighter prophesied that God had chosen Trump to restore America, as well as something about horse races. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)

"That spirit of Antichrist is majorly on one of these candidates, and that’s Hillary Clinton, and Jesus even said there will be many Antichrists in the world. Well, that spirit of Antichrist is on our president right now. And so, as Christians, we have got to turn out and vote. If we don’t turn out and vote, we are electing Hillary Clinton."
After Colbert's comment, Bakker warned listeners against hatred and venom in politics, oblivious to his hypocrisy.
"As I have been speaking to a lot of leaders that know history, really know what's going on, they're saying there is such hatred, there is such venom that they said that--be careful. Pray the power and the blood of Christ over all your leaders, because there will be people falling dead if we're not careful. The hatred right now, and the lust for power--you don't understand how deep this power thing goes."
Literally demonizing a political candidate is a cheap, dirty tactic. Are these Religious Right figures knowingly manipulating their listeners with dire warnings about Satan and the Antichrist? Or do they actually believe their own propaganda as they grow more paranoid about the End Times?

Either way, these tactics may inflame the fears of a small segment of the population, but they will not work with the larger populace. If these fundamentalists are resorting to devils and boogeymen in their fight against Clinton, they're scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Friday, August 19, 2016

News Tidbits

Salt Lake Tribune: Students: BYU Honor Code leaves LGBT victims of sexual assault vulnerable and alone

The Guardian: 'I'm not a Mormon': fresh 'mass resignation’ over anti-LGBT beliefs

Newsweek: Russian Orthodox Archpriest Opposes Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

Irish Independent: Story of Noah's Ark is proof that climate change does not exist, says Irish TD Danny Healy-Rae

Religion News Service: Doctors at Catholic hospitals may be unable to refer women for services

LGBTQ Nation: NYC Catholic school sidesteps blame for bullied teen’s suicide

Talking Points Memo: Trump Dumps All Over U.S. Intel Community: 'I Won't Use Them'

Associated Press: Pope outlines vision for promoting life, family issues

Commentary Tidbits

Governing: Is Abstinence-Only Sex Ed on the Rise? 

Tell Me Why the World is Weird: All of the LOLs for this Sermon on "Marrying Young"

Political Research Associates: Dominionism Rising: A Theocratic Movement Hiding in Plain Sight

Alternet: Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson Is the Star of Bizarre New Extreme Right-Wing Movie Featuring Horrific ISIS Murders 

CNN: Three arguments against covert Christian 'spycraft'

Washington Post: Trump’s pitch to Mormons falls flat

Friendly Atheist: Christian Bigot Who Wants Gay People Cured Condemns Christian Bigot Who Wants Gay People Dead

Chicago Reader: Illinois pastors don’t deserve exemption from conversion therapy ban

The Advocate: National Intervention Needed to End Conversion Therapy

The Advocate: Understanding Anita Bryant, the Woman Who Declared War on Gays

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cartoon Wisdom

Here are some words of wisdom from my favorite cartoon, Steven Universe.
"You're supposed to change! You're never the same, even moment to moment! You're allowed and expected to invent who you are. What an incredible power, the ability to grow up."
If you've spent time in a restrictive fundamentalist subculture, remember Rose's words. Your path in life need not be defined by others. You are free to pave your own path in life. You are free to discover for yourself who you really are. The freedom to define ourselves is precious and beautiful.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Trump and Rubio Consort with Homophobes Before Anniversary of Pulse Massacre, Part II

As discussed in a prior post, Sen. Marco Rubio and Donald Trump both addressed right-wing audiences in Orlando. On August 11th, Trump spoke before an audience of clergy members and their spouses at the Pastors and Pews gathering in Orlando, according to Bloomberg. The event was sponsored by the American Renewal Project, whose founder, David Lane, opposes LGBTQ equality. To add insult to injury for the LGBTQ community the gathering took place shortly before the two-month anniversary of the Orlando Pulse massacre.

C-SPAN posted a video of Trump's speech. At the podium, Trump avoided talk about LGBTQ issues, focusing instead on naked pandering to his conservative evangelical audience. Trump told his listeners that they had been silenced by the Johnson amendment, assuring them that he would repeal the amendment if elected president. Feeding his audience's sense of imagined persecution, Trump promised to address that supposed persecution by weakening church-state separation.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee introduced Trump. At the 2:03 mark, Huckabee assured his audience that Trump had Christian credentials.
"I'm also aware that a lot of my fellow believers and evangelicals sometimes say, 'Is Donald Trump, like, one of us?' Well, let me try to be as blunt as I can be. He may not sit in the front of a church like yours every Sunday. He may not be as expressive or as loud about his own faith or convictions about things like being pro-life, which he is, and if he wasn't, I wouldn't be standing here today. But folks, some people will eat their soup a little louder than others. It doesn't mean that the soup tastes better."
Trump took his place at the podium and spent the next forty minutes reinforcing his audience's imagined persecution complex with phrases such as, "Without religious liberty, you don't have liberty" and "You've been silenced, like a child has been silenced". He called Christian clergy "the most powerful lobby there is, and yet you've been totally silenced," referring to the Johnson amendment that prevents tax-exempt entities such as churches from endorsing political candidates. "It's Lyndon Johnson wanting to silence people that didn't feel so good about him, in particular one church," he said of the policy.

At the 14:01 mark, Trump shared a story in which he was stunned that religious leaders couldn't endorse him because of church-state separation, having been ignorant of the Johnson amendment.

"So I'm in the room with many of the pastors and some ministers, and they're going like, 'Well, we can't really do that.' I said, 'Why? Why can't you do that? I don't understand. I know you like me. Why aren't you endorsing me?' "Well, we just can't' ... These were strong men ... and women ... It wasn't that they didn't want to tell me. It's almost like they got used to this thing around their neck and eyes, and it's almost like they couldn't see ... After a lot of prodding, they said, 'Well, we don't want to lose our tax-exempt status." I said, 'What does that have to do with your tax-exempt status?', not knowing. And it basically has to do with the 501(c)(3) status that they can't get involved from the standpoint of essentially freedom of speech. So you have these powerful people with a great voice. You know that Christianity...has had a very, very tough time."
At the 34:43 mark, Trump pressed his listeners to make voters out of their congregants at all costs.
"You have to get your congregations and you have to get parishioners, you have to get all of your people to go out and vote. You got to get them to sign those cards early. In many cases, you can vote before November 8th. This way, there's no excuses. I joke a lot, and I say if you're sick, if you've just got the worst prognosis that a doctor can give you, if you're lying in bed and you just know you're not going to make it, you have to get up on November 8th and you have to vote."
Considering how disappointing Trump's poll numbers look, it's no wonder that he's begging for every vote he can get.

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

Bloomberg: Trump Goes Traditional With Florida Meeting of Evangelical Leaders

Right Wing Watch: Donald Trump: Vote For Me To Help Me Get Into Heaven

Mother Jones: Trump Addresses Conference Hosted by a Group Whose Leader Called Homosexuality a Marxist Plot

News Tidbits

Bloomberg: Pro-Trump Evangelical Outreach Stalled by Uneasy Donors

Sacramento Bee: Gay protester sues pastor who praised Orlando nightclub massacre

Washington Blade: Injunction against Mississippi religious freedom law to remain in place

Associated Press: Iowa Board of Psychology rejects petition to ban conversion therapy

Pink News: Christian groups are handing out these creepy ‘gay cure’ comics to children

The El Paso Times: Bishop Brown upset over $419,000 payout to Cook

CBC News: Canada: Hamilton hopes to soothe relations with transgender community after bus ad

The Star (Kenya): President Kenyatta calls for closer state-church relationship at Reinhard Bonnke's service

Commentary Tidbits

Quartz: Southern charm is just a cover for American traditionalists’ toxic fear of change

The Root: Legal, Media Experts Say White Supremacists Are Using Trump to Grow Numbers

Daylight Atheism: This Is Not Normal

SPLC Hatewatch: Belize Supreme Court Strikes Down Colonial-era Anti-LGBT Law

The Advocate: E.W. Jackson's Speech Sure Sounds Different from Marco Rubio

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Trump and Rubio Consort with Homophobes Before Anniversary of Pulse Massacre, Part I

This week, Donald Trump and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) sparked outrage when they attended two Religious Right events brimming with homophobic speakers. These events took place very close to the two month anniversary of the Pulse gay nightclub shooting, in the very same city as the massacre. Trump and Rubio's presence at these events demonstrates callousness toward those who were injured and killed during the Pulse tragedy.

Rubio was scheduled to speak at the "Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project" event in Orlando, taking place on August 11-12 and hosted by the Florida Renewal Project (an affiliate of the American Renewal Project). Rubio appeared on the conference schedule alongside homophobes such as David Barton, Ken Graves, and Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver.

LGBTQ rights advocates blasted Rubio for agreeing to attend, but Rubio shrugged off their concerns. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Rubio insisted that the event was a "gathering of local pastors and faith leaders", annoyed that the "media and liberal activists" branded it an anti-LGBTQ event.

When Rubio spoke at the conference on August 12th, his speech combined the usual anti-gay rhetoric of the Religious Right with half-hearted nods toward the LGBTQ community. At the 6:07 mark of his speech, he condemned same-sex marriage and emphasized his support for "traditional" marriage.
"For over two-thousand years, Christianity has defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It is now undeniable that there is a growing number of Americans who seek to expand that definition to include the union of two people of the same sex. I continue to support the traditional definition of marriage, and I do so not because I seek to impose my views on others, not because I seek to discriminate against anyone. I support the traditional definition of marriage because I believe that the union of one man and one woman is a special relationship with an extraordinary record of success at raising children into strong and successful people."
First of all, the Christian tradition has not always defined marriage exclusively as the union of a man and a woman. Second, multiple studies have demonstrated that same-sex couples are just as capable of raising successful, well-adjusted children as opposite-sex couples. Rubio fails to acknowledge this.

At the 7:15 mark, Rubio criticized LGBTQ rights advocates for having the audacity to demand equality. He lamented the divide this has created between LGBTQ people and the "American church", creating a false dichotomy between the two groups. American Christianity is not monolithic, and many American Christians support LGBTQ rights. LGBTQ people can also be Christians and are making their voices heard in Christian communities.
"Sadly today, the debate on this issue is one that's been marred by heated rhetoric, by heated rhetoric that  often comes from both sides, which has created an unfortunate divide between LGBT Americans and the American church. For example, it's no longer uncommon to see support for traditional marriage defined as hate speech. Virtually any effort to support the right of Americans to not be forced to violate the teachings of their faith on this matter is routinely labeled as an anti-LGBTQ law. There's actually a growing effort to expel from the NCAA and to deny program funds to Christian colleges and universities that espouse Biblical beliefs on sexuality and gender identity. This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy."
Speaking of hypocrisy, at the 8:57 mark, Rubio urged his audience to recognize the discrimination that LGBTQ people have faced, moments after condoning discrimination against LGBTQ people.
"When it comes to our brothers and our sisters, our fellow Americans, our neighbors in the LGBT community, we should recognize that our nation, while the greatest nation in the history of mankind, is one whose history has been marred by discrimination against and the rejection of gays and lesbians."
At the 9:42 mark, Rubio encouraged the audience to empathize with LGBT struggles while also opposing marriage equality. He fails to realize that the LGBT anger and humiliation he describes is rooted in the discriminatory policies he endorses.

"To love our neighbors in the LGBT community, we should recognize that even as we stand firm in the belief that marriage is the union between one man and one woman, there are those in that community in same-sex relationships whose love for one another is real, and who feel angry and humiliated that the law did not recognize their relationship as a marriage."
Well, which is it, Marco? Do you want Americans to treat LGBTQ people like human beings, or do you want them to support homophobic legislation and beliefs? Americans can't do both.

The homophobia of conference speakers, as well as the hypocrisy of Rubio's speech, did not escape notice. The Washington Blade and Orlando Sentinel report that demonstrators protested the conference outside of the Hyatt Regency Orlando on August 11th. Equality Florida organized the Rally to End Hate for the 49 rally and released a statement calling Rubio's speech at the conference "tone-deaf and spineless". Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf condemned Rubio for using the massacre as "political fodder" and "attempting to resuscitate his failed political career by using our pain as a step stool". Christine Leinonen, the mother of Pulse victim Christopher Leinonen, criticized Rubio for failing to take real action after the massacre. "He didn’t feel our pain enough or long enough to make some real action that we can live in a safer society," she told the Washington Blade.

If this was Marco Rubio's attempt at appearing compassionate, he failed. You cannot speak of LGBTQ people as your "brothers and sisters" while condoning anti-LGBTQ attitudes and policies. If you want to acknowledge the humanity of LGBTQ people, support equal rights. If you insist on clinging to bigotry, at least own your bigotry instead of sugar-coating it.

In part II, I'll share quotes from Donald Trump's speech in Orlando. Stay tuned.

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

The American Prospect: Rubio and Trump Head to Orlando for Anti-LGBTQ Event

Esquire: Marco Rubio and Trump Will See Each Other at an Anti-LGBT Conference in Orlando

Associated Press: Rubio pays lip service to LGBT people at Orlando Christian conference

News Tidbits

Modern Healthcare: Transgender bias case against Dignity Health could set off religious freedom clash

Feminist Majority Foundation: Judge Rules Planned Parenthood Shooter is Still Not Competent to Stand Trial

Washington Blade: U.S. official declines to criticize anti-LGBT religious figures

Pink News: Canadian city removes anti-trans Christian posters showing a man in women’s washroom

The Globe and Mail: For the Amish, Donald Trump presents a quandary

LGBTQ Nation: Christians stiff Missouri waiter, leave anti-gay note instead of tip

Commentary Tidbits

Laughing in Disbelief: Five Tips I’m Giving My Kids About Cults

The Good Men Project: The Darker Side of the Religious Right

Huffington Post: Air Force Chief Of Chaplains Openly Blesses Blatantly Anti-LGBT Award Event

Think Progress: Universities Rejecting LGBT Students Essential To Religious Liberty, New Coalition Claims

Religion News Service: Why a stout theological creed won't save evangelical churches

Women Should Not Be Political Leaders, According to Some Religious Right Figures

Right-wing voices have loudly opposed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but Religious Right figures are opposing her specifically because she is a woman. Several Religious Right commentators have either questioned the right of a woman to hold political office, or stated that female political leaders are a result of weak men who cannot lead. This rhetoric helps them justify their disdain for Hillary Clinton, but also reveals their insecurities about powerful women.

Kevin Swanson

Christian Patriarchy Movement enthusiast Kevin Swanson has used Hillary Clinton's campaign as an excuse to spout even more misogynist, paranoid drivel. During the July 31st edition of Generations Radio entitled "The Hillary Clinton Script: 20 Years of Cultural Programming", Kevin Swanson spouted bizarre conspiracy theories before implying that female political leaders lead to failure. According to Swanson, the effort to bring Hillary Clinton to power has been in the works for thirty years. The "Hillary Clinton propaganda machine" embedded in pop culture has produced television shows, gospel songs, and children's books inspired by Hillary Clinton and intended to prime voters to vote for her, he claimed. Pop culture leaders serve as "emissaries for principalities and powers" who have been preparing the public to vote for her through shows such as 24, Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, House of Cards, Supergirl, Scandal, and other shows, Swanson said.

The goal of all these alleged machinations, according to Swanson, is to promote a narrative of a wife winning a power struggle against her adulterous husband by becoming president. At the 22:33 mark, Swanson and his co-host Dave Buehner painted Hillary Clinton's campaign as an attempt by feminists to seize control over the land. Buehner strongly implied that Clinton was behaving like Eve, seeking to take the rightful place of man.
SWANSON: On the one hand, the nation embraces a sexual decadence. On the other hand, the feminists who themselves rather appreciate free love, sexual impurity and adultery, but they don’t appreciate the fact that a woman was taken advantage of. Therefore, in order for [Hillary Clinton] to be vindicated, she has got to prove herself by winning the power struggle over the highest office in the land. This is what defines America today.

BUEHNER: You know, it's interesting, because you go back to the Garden of Eden, and what's the desire of the woman? To take the man's place.

SWANSON. Yeah. And that's feminism's greatest victory. If they can achieve the ultimate zenith of power, this will become the final chapter, in a sense, of the present war that feminists have waged over this nation.
Swanson cited Isaiah 3:12 ("Children oppress my people; women rule over them"), before suggesting that female leaders bring about national failure at the 24:01 mark.
"It's interesting that the three Western nations, the three most powerful western nations will be lead by women if Hillary Clinton is elected as president of the United States. Think about Germany, England, and America. What were the three most powerful nations in the west during World War II? Germany, England, and America. Now, we find the three most powerful nations in the western world ... that are themselves birth imploding, thanks to the feminists and the pro-abortion crowd ... and developing an impressive debt-to-GDP ratio, and doing the best to destroy their entire socioeconomic systems, the three most powerful Western nations led by women, it’s interesting."
In other words, Swanson sees female politicians as not only destructive to entire nations, but as agents of some grand feminist power-grab. His crushing fear of independent women really shines through!

Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer is no stranger to misogyny, and in a recent show, he laid out his sexism for all to see. At the 45:50 mark of the August 12th edition of Focal Point, a caller named Jeremy asked Fischer, "What do you think would happen to a man if he went on national TV and said he was voting for Trump because Trump is a man?". Fischer argued that women holding political office is unbiblical. When women held power in the Bible, it was either reluctantly (in Deborah's case) or as a prelude to failure (in Jezebel and Athaliah's case), he insisted. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"I think you could make a pretty good biblical case. That's what I happen to believe, you know. I'm not saying there's one verse in the Bible you could go to that says definitively that only men are supposed to hold political office, but that's always the pattern in the word of God. The kings were all males. When you had a departure from that with Jezebel and Athaliah, it was not a good thing. It did not work out well. Leadership in the church is reserved for men. Leadership in the home is reserved for men. In other words, in God's economy, he has designed leadership and authority in society, and in the church, and in the home to be exercised by men.

You had one female judge. That was Deborah, and she only got sucked into that because the men were such wimps... I think you could make a good case that leadership in culture, society, politically as well as in the home, that that is something in God's economy that's reserved for men."

Sam Rohrer

During the August 3rd edition of Focus Today, American Pastors Network president Sam Rohrer told host Perry Atkinson that many Christians he knew were asking if Hillary Clinton was fit to lead as a woman. At the 0:52 mark, they had this to say. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
ATKINSON: Is it biblical for a woman to become president? Why are you taking this on? What's your interest here?

ROHRER: Well, we covered it on our program because a lot of folks, many Christians ... say 'You know what? Is Hillary Clinton fit to be president?' And I would answer that 'no', she's not for a lot of reasons, but then some would bring up and say, but is it because she is a woman? And because that issue is so seldom talked about ... The scripture does refer to it, Perry, so we did ...
The fact that they're even having this conversation in 2016 boggles the mind.

At the 1:47 mark, Rohrer argued that God calls up women to lead when men display gross incompetence and negligence. He saw nothing sexist about the assumption that men should be the default political leaders and that women can only serve as substitutes when men are weak.
"No, it's not unbiblical for a woman to be in a position of leadership in government, but I say that with a caveat, Perry, because God has an order for things, not because of superiority of one over the other, but because of order. We're told in ... Isaiah 3:8, it talks there when God is judging Israel, because the leadership actually had walked away, making good evil, declaring evil to be good, the protectors of God's law were letting it slip, they rejected all that God had said for them to do as a matter of civil government and God's moral government, and so bad things were happening to the country ... It was a mark of the lack of male leadership in positions to which God had called them. They rejected who God was, they departed, walking away from him, and I think we can draw the parallels to our country, obviously ... God said, 'And women shall be rulers over you.' And that's where a lot of the context comes from, that that's an anathema.

The point here was that God did raise up women. We know he raised up Deborah in the Old Testament when male leadership failed ... God does raise up women. There is no question about it, but the real condemnation is not the women in office. The condemnation is the disregard and the absolute inability for male leadership to perform as God intended it, and I believe that that's the application for us now."

Gary Dull

Gary Dull, head of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network and a member of the American Pastors Network's board, also sneers at female political leaders. During the July 28th edition of Stand in the Gap Today, Dull argued that women should not be in authority over men. Citing Isaiah 3:12, Dull argued that female leaders are either a symptom or a cause of a "spiritually rotten" culture at the 34:12 mark. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"When you read down through the context of Isaiah chapter 3, you will find that God's judgment is being brought upon Jerusalem and the nation ... What we see is that the condition in that nation in that particular period of time was very, very spiritually rotten, and whether that was the cause for women leading them, or that itself brought on the wickedness within the nation is to be debated, but it certainly does at least imply that maybe women should not be in high political positions ... There are other places in the word of God where it appears that a woman is not to be having authority over man. That is not diminishing the position of the woman ...

In God's line of authority, chain of authority, it seems very clear in the scripture that a woman should not be in authority over man, which would limit a woman from being the president of the United States of America or even a queen of some other particular nation."

Hilariously, Stand in the Gap Today's male commentators had been falling over themselves just a few minutes earlier as they insisted that Christianity affirmed women's rights. "Wherever Christianity has gone, the rights of women have been championed. Women have always fared better in Christian countries where the teachings of Christ were honored," David New claimed.

When one remembers that both the Old and New Testaments are full of misogynist content, that early Christians had no qualms about enslaving both men and women, that countless church fathers held women in utter contempt, that Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions barred women from leadership roles, that women frequently endured oppression under Christian regimes, and that modern Christian traditions are by no means immune to misogyny, one sees that New's claim is ridiculous. As if New's statement wasn't silly enough on its own, he made it during a show that seriously questioned whether a woman could be a political leader. The lack of self-awareness is astonishing.

Misogynist rhetoric like this is not only bigoted, but dangerous. Several Religious Right activists are actually arguing that women should not serve as leaders in the American political system. Some fundamentalist men genuinely believe that women's contributions to the political sphere are unnecessary or even harmful. They ignore the right of women as American citizens to participate in politics, both as voters and candidates. They ignore the many advances that female politicians have brought about, and the many female politicians who have served honorably.

We should not only condemn their sexism, but laugh at their insecurity. These men are clinging to a patriarchal belief system because they cannot cope with a world in which women are striving for equality. Their masculinity is so bound up in domination of women that they become defensive and dismissive when faced with the prospect of a female president. If Hillary Clinton wins the 2016 presidential election, expect their whining to be loud and petulant.

Friday, August 12, 2016

News Tidbits

Washington Blade: Activists protest Trump, Rubio outside Orlando anti-LGBT conference

Idaho Statesman: Faith healers: Change to Idaho law won’t change our beliefs

Palm Beach Post: Pastor mocks misogyny, challenges any woman to arm wrestle him

ABC News (Australia): Pope Francis 'doubts' sexual abuse case against Cardinal George Pell

Pink News: Archbishops condemn Vice President Joe Biden for officiating same-sex wedding

Religion News Service: Most churchgoers are hearing politics from the pulpit: report

New York Times: Mormons’ Distaste for Donald Trump Puts Utah Up for Grabs

Associated Press: Pastors Sue Illinois Over Gay Conversion Therapy Ban

Buzzfeed: Australian Senator Eric Abetz To Address Anti-Gay Group That Supports Conversion Therapy 

LGBTQ Nation: Due to gaffe, antigay hate group raises thousands of dollars for LGBTQ teen gala

KIRO 7: Controversial former Mars Hill pastor preaches at new home

Commentary Tidbits

Kaleidoscot: Activists call to ban homophobic pastor Angus Buchan from visiting Scotland and UK

O-blog-dee-o-blog-da: Documents in Case Against Scott Lively Reveals Massive LGBTI Persecution

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Lively’s Version of ‘Masculine Christianity’

The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser: I’m In the Lord’s Army

Wall of Separation: Beware The Gender Unicorn: Franklin Graham Takes Aim At The Transgender Community 

Right Wing Watch: John Birch Society Continues Comeback With Values Voter Summit Sponsorship

The Advocate: The Sad Last Days of Homo-Hate Queen Phyllis Schlafly 

Washington Post: ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ told me to stay pure until marriage. I still have a stain on my heart.

Huffington Post: 10 Donald Trump Quotes That Should Horrify His Evangelical Supporters

Think Progress: Unholy Secrets: The Legal Loophole That Allows Clergy To Hide Child Sexual Abuse

World Conference of Families Co-Hosts Conference in Kenya

The African Regional Conference on Families is scheduled to take place at the Hotel Intercontinental in Naiborbi, Kenya on September 22-24, 2016. According to a promotional video, the event will feature speakers such as Sharon Slater of Family Watch International, Don Feder of the World Congress of Families, and Bishop Salesius Mugambi, who has opposed efforts to "redefine or erode the meaning of marriage". The event's Eventbrite page states that the conference will be hosted by the World Congress of Families, the African Organisation for Families, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, and the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.

As readers may recall, the World Congress of Families hosts large-scale international events that draw Religious Right leaders from around the world. These events invariably oppose reproductive rights, feminism, and LGBTQ equality. If the itinerary of this event is any indication, the World Congress of Families and its allies have comprehensive sex education in their crosshairs as well.

The conference's Eventbrite page lists the following "threats" facing African families. Some, such as violence against women and girls, are legitimate. Others reflect a worldview that sees LGBTQ people, contraception, and comprehensive sex education as pernicious.

  • Pressure from the west to erode natural families
  • Female Genital Mutilitaion
  • Domestic Violence
  • Comprehensive Sexuality Education
  • Pornography
  • Human Trafficking
  • Erosion of parenting responsibilities
  • Family attack by media
  • Adoption of liberal laws etc
  • Population Control and lethal family planning methods

According to Vatican Radio, Anne Kioko, the president of the African Organisation for Families, slammed comprehensive sex education programs because they allegedly teach children promiscuity.
"These programs go way beyond regular sex education and are designed to change all sexual and gender norms of society. They openly promote promiscuity, high-risk sexual behaviour and sexual pleasure even to very young children."
Such attitudes are dangerous, especially in Africa. A continent with high fertility rates will continue to experience economic struggles and pressure on its infrastructure. A continent where many women want to avoid pregnancy but still struggle to access modern contraception will not see all of its women realize their full potential. Comprehensive sex education in Africa (which includes medically accurate content on contraception and sexual decision-making) is vital to achieving a sustainable population, empowering women, and ensuring that future generations thrive. Unfortunately, organizations such as the World Congress of Families and the African Organization for Families want to oppose progress.

Also, talk of the west "eroding" family values seems to be code for advancing LGBTQ rights across the globe. If the Kenya conference promotes anti-LGBTQ ideas, it will be advance homophobia in a country where LGBTQ people already struggle against intolerance and anti-gay legislation (to say nothing of the rest of the continent).

The World Congress of Families, the African Organisation for Families, the Catholic Church, and their allies deserve criticism for promoting these messages. Comprehensive sex education and family planning are vital to both women's empowerment and national economic strength, but the conference organizers fail to realize this. LGBTQ Africans deserve equality, but the conference would rather scapegoat them as a western threat to the "natural family". As usual, the World Congress of Families and its supporters are promoting toxic ideas abroad, which will make the struggle for progress that much harder.