Saturday, March 31, 2012

Janet Mefferd Interviews Candi Cushman of True Tolerance

During the second hour of the March 23rd edition of The Janet Mefferd Show, Janet Mefferd interviewed Candi Cushman, the head of Focus on the Family's True Tolerance project. Cushman spoke at 2012 CPAC and recently earned a place on the GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project's list of anti-gay media figures. Much of the interview focused on the Day of Silence (a pro-LGBT student-led event sponsored by GLSEN) versus the Day of Dialogue (a counter-event sponsored by Focus on the Family). 

Mefferd voiced approval of the Day of Dialogue because "we do see so many Christian kids hearing gay propaganda and being deluged with this stuff," she said. At the 7:32 mark, Mefferd praised the Day of Dialogue as an antidote to pro-LGBT messages.
"I think this is a terrific idea because there are so many Christian kids in the public schools that are listening to some of this propaganda and have to have some response to it, and it really is all about dialoging, exchanging ideas, exchanging the biblical truth about what God has done for us in Jesus Christ and how all sinners can find forgiveness."
Cushman joked with Mefferd about GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project list. Mefferd told Cushman that it was a "badge of honor to be cited for telling the truth." Cushman replied that "I felt honored to be on there with the likes of Al Mohler and Jim Daly, so I"m not going to complain."

At the 9:43 mark, Cushman claimed that the Day of Silence promotes "indoctrination" of young people into LGBT activism.
"Well they say it's all about promoting safe schools and anti-bullying, but if you look at what they actually encourage teachers and students to do, it crosses the line in a lot of ways beyond bullying into indoctrination, just promoting homosexuality, transgenderism. For example, they encourage teachers on this day to discuss LGBT, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender themes in the classroom, to have materials on homosexuality and transgenderism displayed, books about it in the classroom. They have encouraged students to lobby for things like, quote, a queer friendly prom. So it really gets into transforming students into being activists for adult gay and lesbian causes ... It's a problem when you have these things being endorsed by the school."
At the 10:42 mark, Mefferd insisted that the Day of Dialogue was not rooted in hate, but rather provides a voice to Christian parents and youth. The idea that not all Christians embrace homophobia was apparently not considered.
"It's not about hate. It's about the fact that the public schools draw people of all types. You have people who support homosexuality, and you have Christians, for example, who say this is sinful and we don't want to encourage this behavior and teach that it's correct. The public schools coming down on the side of promoting it in any way is a problem for Christian parents and for Christian kids who go to school. That's where the Day of Dialogue comes in."
At the 11:08 mark, Cushman claimed that modern teens are constantly exposed to messages encouraging "sexual confusion." She cited celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Josh Hutcherson as examples of figures promoting these messages. Cushman framed the Day of Dialogue as a means of encouraging Christians to "minister" to others.
"The teens really are surrounded by so many messages promoting sexual confusion. You know, I talked about Lady Gaga's now donating proceeds from her songs to GLSEN. Josh Hutcherson, one of the lead stars in The Hunger Games, is promoting gay-straight alliances and an organization called Straight but Not Narrow, so they're really getting this everywhere in pop culture and in their schools, and so we really do need to equip our Christian teens and our students to have confidence that they faith speaks into the most sensitive issues in the culture. We want them to have confidence that the gospel of Christ has power to speak into these issues, that they can reflect the model of Christ that he didn't shy away from speaking truth, but that he was also reaching out, ministering to hurting, vulnerable people around him."
During the rest of the interview, Mefferd and Cushman described the Day of Dialogue as a free speech measure, a means of giving time to both sides of the LGBT issue. As I listened to their arguments, I could only shake my head. Nothing constructive can come out of branding LGBT status as sinful, or by framing faith and acceptance of LGBT people as mutually exclusive. By calling LGBT status "sexual confusion," frowning on genuine efforts to support LGBT youth, and masking homophobia under the sugary language of "ministering," Mefferd and Cushman showed their true colors.

Hat tip to Right Wing Watch. To listen to the episode, click here.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Quotes from 2012 CPAC

To read about the Occupy movement and 2012 CPAC, click here. To read about the True Tolerance talk at CPAC, click here. To read about race and language at CPAC, click here.

The 39th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), hosted by the American Conservative Union, took place on February 9-11 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington D.C. To wrap up Republic of Gilead's (belated) observations on the conference, here are a few choice quotes from CPAC speakers.

In C-SPAN's video coverage, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) lambasted the White House and liberals for launching "orchestrated" attacks on opponents.
"You all know the liberal playbook. Here's how it works. Pick a target. Freeze it, personalize it, and then polarize it. But rarely have we seen those tactics employed with the kind of zeal we see today. The White House and its lieutenants have made an art form out of the orchestrated attack. They've shown they'll go after anybody or any organization they think is standing in their way."
McConnell also claimed that President Obama is forcing religious institutions to violate their consciences or suffer the consequences, a reference to recent controversies over contraception coverage.
"This is why a president who claims to value diversity is telling the men and women who run religious schools and hospitals and charities in this country that they now face a choice that no one in the United States should ever have to make: violate your conscience, pay a penalty, or close your doors."
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) recounted a story about a bill he read at a small business committee meeting chaired by a Democrat.
"They were providing educational benefits for our wounded warriors, and it's a great thing, and you set aside those educational benefits for--"combat wounded veterans" was the language in the bill. And I read through that and it lifts my heart to see that, but it said combat wounded veterans and women and minorities, and however you want to look at this society, combat wounded veterans need our special honor, and being a woman or a minority doesn't fit you in that category, I'm sorry."
Annoyed, King said that he struck the women and minority language from the document, replacing it with "everybody but white men." Later, King claimed that the U.S. was slipping into a "totalitarian state."
"What happened to our liberty, America? How did this creep in on us? How did a nation born of freedom and liberty lose its freedom and liberty in this way? How does a nation that's blessed by an extraordinary supply of America exceptionalism submit, inch by creeping inch, to the totalitarian state that's descending upon us?"
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) told the audience that the U.S. is a "Judeo-Christian nation."
"Before Obama was elected, no one had ever heard of a United States president saying to the world that the United States is not a Judeo-Christian nation. I'm here to say we are."
Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) boasted about his unfriendly state policies toward Planned Parenthood.
"Last year, I proudly signed a budget that ended all state funding for Planned Parenthood in my state. [Audience applauds] Since then, there's been about a dozen of those clinics that have shut down in the state of Texas. [Audience applauds] But you see, because left-wing, pro-abortion radicals don't like what we did, President Obama has invalidated a waiver that provides health care for more than 100,000 women in my home state. They literally set aside funding for preventative health care because we refused to subsidize abortion. But why are we even subject to this decision to begin with? Nowhere in the Constitution does it say health care should be run by the federal government."
Finally, Perry accused the Obama administration of launching a "war on faith," caricaturing the recent controversies over contraception coverage by religious institutions as a "pro-abortion agenda."
"Our founders also protected and defended religious freedoms in our Constitution and our young nation. Today, even our religious freedoms are under attack from the Obama administration in Washington. This Justice Department tried to insert themselves in the hiring decisions of religious organizations by challenging the ministerial exception. Fortunately, they failed on a 9-4 vote, I might add. Even those left-wing justices of the Supreme Court thought that was too far a step. Now, though, this administration is assaulting the Catholic Church and people of faith across our nation by forcing their pro-abortion agenda on religious hospitals, on charities, and on employees. The Obama administration's war on faith must be defeated."
I wish I could have been at 2012 CPAC to witness the wingnuttery myself! Maybe next year.

For more information on CPAC 2012, visit cpac2012[dot]conservative[dot]org. To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

American Independent: At CPAC, leaders urge steering birth control conversation toward abortion

Salon: The two Americas clash at CPAC

Race and Language at 2012 CPAC

To read about the Occupy movement and 2012 CPAC, click here. To read about the True Tolerance talk at CPAC, click here.

The 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) took place on February 9-11 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington D.C. CPAC has never been a stranger to controversy, but two workshops at this year's conference drew media attention on account of race issues.

First, controversy erupted when Peter Brimelow, founder of VDARE, was scheduled to speak on a panel entitled “The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the pursuit of diversity is weakening the American Identity.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, VDARE is an anti-immigration white nationalist group founded in 1999. The panel in question was sponsored by ProEnglish, an organization that wants to establish English as the official U.S. language.

According to BuzzFeed, CPAC spokeswoman Kristy Campbell wrote in an e-mail that the panel was not organized by the American Conservative Union and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the ACU. Some observers, however, called for condemnation of the workshop. In an online press release, People for the American Way urged Republican presidential candidates to speak out against the inclusion of Brimelow at CPAC.

The panel in question took place on February 9th and featured Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), VDARE founder Peter Brimelow, and ProEnglish director Robert Vandervoort. According to Right Wing Watch, Vandervoort introduced the workshop with a thank you to CPAC for allowing the panel to take place despite the efforts of "leftist thugs."

While I could not find a recording of the entire panel, I did find several short video excerpts. In this YouTube excerpt of the workshop, King told listeners how he introduced H.R. 997, the English Language Unity Act. Rep. King explained his justification for introducing the bill.
"It's important that, not only that we pass this legislation, but that ... in law, we must declare English to be the official language of the United States of America ... A national language has got to be an official language so that the official functions of government are in English."
King argued that common language unites civilizations more strongly than any other social force, including race or religion.
"If you look throughout history and try to find the most powerful unifying force any culture or civilization has ever had, the human universal is a common language. A common language binds people together more powerfully than religion, than common ethnicity by race or by culture. There's nothing as powerful as a common language to tie people together."
He provided several examples of language as a unifying force, citing a Chinese emperor who developed the first common script for the Chinese language, and the resurrection of Hebrew as a uniting force for the Jewish community (and later Israel). King also cited the biblical Tower of Babel story, describing its creators as one people united by a common language for whom nothing was impossible. When God divided them with different languages, they subsequently weakened and scattered.

Revealingly, King also discussed the role of language for the Spanish Conquistadors and the Native Americans they conquered.
"When the conquistadors came up into what's now Arizona and they encountered the Native Americans -- the Zunis, the Hopis, and the Anasazis -- they didn't speak the same language, the three different tribes that I mentioned. They were fractured into their own villages ... They couldn't communicate with each other, and so the Spanish conquistadors came in and they divided and conquered. But the mistake that they made was, if you want to call it a mistake, they brought them, the Native Americans into the missions to convert them to Christianity -- a good thing -- but they also taught them Spanish. When they learned the Spanish, it gave them a lingua franca, a common language, a utility of communication. A common form of communication's currency. They went back to their villages and they  realized, 'I can talk to my neighbor. Well, why don't we just organize ourselves and throw those Spaniards out?' And they did."
Finally, King celebrated English as the global language of business, adding that the U.S. has been successful at assimilating diverse groups because it uses the English language as a unifying element.

Sofia Resnick of the American Independent posted a short excerpt of Brimelow himself speaking at the workshop. At the 0:19 mark, Brimelow had this to say about language and diversity in the U.S.
"It's not enough to have official English as the government [inaudible]. I get e-mail all the time from people in eastern Washington state and places like this who say their kids can't get jobs at McDonalds and places like that because they don't speak Spanish. And so there's essentially this ferocious attack on the living standards of the American working class and blue collar workers, just as immigration policy in general is."

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Second, News One reports that conservative rappers Steven Crowder and Chris Loesch performed a rap song at this year's CPAC. The duo's song "Mr. America" drew ire from commentators because of the word "ni**ers". At the 1:53 mark of the video below, we can hear what sounds like the N-word, but afterwards, one of the rappers claimed he was saying knickers. "What? Knickers? No, I can say knickers," he insisted as a black man stood up and walked out. Danny Gold at Gawker points out that the black man may have been a plant, but we can't know for sure. (Hat tip to Freak Out Nation.)

Admit it. You liked the adorable woman dancing at the 1:46 mark.

For more information on CPAC, visit cpac2012[dot]conservative[dot]org

For additional commentary, visit the following links.

SPLC Hatewatch: CPAC Lineup Includes Hate Group, ‘Patriot’ Leaders

BuzzFeed: Rep. Steve King Defends White Nationalist On Conservative Panel

Salon: CPAC welcomes white nationalists

The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights: White Nationalist to Speak from Podium at CPAC 2012

Right Wing Watch: Steve King and White Nationalist CPAC Panel Warn that America's Greatest Threat is its Diversity

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

NOM Bombshell: Confidential Documents Released

The struggle for LGBT equality just took an exciting new turn. On March 26th, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) posted several confidential reports intended for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) board of directors. According to the HRC website, the documents are part of an investigation into NOM's financial activities by the State of Maine.

The contents of the confidential reports have the LGBT and progressive communities in an uproar. Not only do the documents use old, tired rhetoric to demonize same-sex marriage supporters and pit LGBT rights against religious liberty, but they contain troubling racial strategies as well. Specifically, they lay out plans for using Latino voices to associate ethnic pride with opposition to same-sex marriage. To boot, the also lay out plans for using African-Americans to drive a wedge between same-sex marriage supporters and opponents in the Democratic party.

The December 15th, 2009 edition of NOM's "National Strategy for Winning the Marriage Battle" contains the following:

PAGE 6: "Gay marriage is the tip of the spear, the weapon that will be and is being used to marginalize and repress Christianity and the Church. What does the gay marriage idea mean once government adopts it? It means faith communities that promote traditional families should be treated in law and culture like racists. It means that the authority of parents to transmit moral values to children will be eroded."

PAGE 6: The document accuses same-sex marriage supporters of "harassing and intimidating" NOM donors, which is why shielding the identities of NOM donors is so important.

PAGE 17: Since the push for same-sex marriage is global, so too must be the counter-movement against same-sex marriage, the document argues. NOM claimed that it has been approached by leaders in Mexico, Argentina, and Ireland for assistance in opposing same-sex marriage.

PAGE 19: Teaching the next generation is part of NOM's cultural strategy, especially because academia, media, and the entertainment industry "conspire to present intellectually shallow but emotionally appealing arguments" in favor of same-sex marriage.

PAGE 20: "Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We can interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity."

PAGE 20: NOM aims to work with high-profile Latino leaders and celebrities who are willing to condemn same-sex marriage. "As "ethnic rebels" such spokespeople will also have an appeal across racial lines, especially to young urbans in America."

PAGE 22: The document looks askance at the Democratic party for its members' stance on LGBT issues. "...Democratic power bosses are increasingly inclined to privilege the concerns of gay rights groups over the values of African-Americans."

PAGE 23: NOM plans to promote African-American voices against same-sex marriage in order to create a wedge between same-sex marriage supporters and opponents in the Democratic party. "No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party."

In response to the document release, NOM stressed its diversity credentials. In a March 27th press release, NOM president Brian S. Brown asserted that his organization is proud to bring together racially diverse people to fight for "our most fundamental institution: marriage." Brown insisted that same-sex marriage is not a civil right, despite the protestations of same-sex marriage supporters. (See www[dot]nationformarriage[dot]org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=omL2KeN0LzH&b=5075187&ct=11675511&notoc=1)

This is a bombshell. Many observers suspected that these strategies were at work, but to see them in black and white in NOM documents is startling. NOM can no longer deny its dubious tactics, now being held up for scrutiny in the light of day.

For additional commentary, visit the following links.

SPLC Hatewatch: Calling All Black People: NOM Wants to Use You

Religion Dispatches: Anti-Gay Marriage NOM Documents Reveal Racial Wedge Strategy and More

Think Progress: Top 10 Highlights From NOM’s Race-Wedging, Donor-Hiding, Victim-Playing Confidential Strategies

Box Turtle Bulletin: NOM Doc Dump: Money Spent to Drive A Wedge WITHIN (Not Just Between) LGBT Families

Right Wing Watch: Did NOM Hire Someone to Unsuccessfully Find ‘Victims’ of Gay Parents?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Occupy Movement and 2012 CPAC

To read about the True Tolerance workshop at 2012 CPAC, click here. To read about race and language at CPAC, click here.

The 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) took place on February 9-11 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington D.C. The Occupy movement featured prominently at this year's CPAC, both as protesters and as a target for derision from conference speakers. To watch CPAC speeches, courtesy of C-SPAN, click here.

On Saturday, February 11th, CPAC featured a panel discussion entitled, "Taking Back Wall Street: The Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street." (Hat tip to Daily Kos.) The panel featured five conservative and Tea Party-affiliated speakers, including Amy Kremer (chair of the Tea Party Express and co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party), Jennifer Stefano (Pennsylvania state director of Americans for Prosperity), Dana Loesch (editor in chief of Big Journalism), Ryan Hecker (chief operating officer of Freedom Works for America), and Kevin Jackson (author of The Big Black Lie).

I expected the panel to compare and contrast the ideas and strategies of the two movements, but instead, its five speakers hurled insults at the Occupy movement while lionizing the Tea Party. For example, at the 7:09 mark of the video posted above, Amy Kremer alleged that the media has favored the Occupy movement over the Tea Party movement, accusing the media of declaring the Tea Party dead.
"The media wants to write the narrative that Occupy Wall Street is alive and well, and they post their pictures and their videos and everything of their bright signs and boisterous people, and then they're writing these stories that the Tea Party movement is dead. Well, I have news for them. The Tea Party movement is not dead. We're alive and well."
She admonished listeners not to judge the Tea Party by its signs or the number of people at its rallies. "Judge us by our votes on election day when Occupy Wall Street is still out at their rallies or at their protests because they're mad," she said at the 7:50 mark. Kremer insisted that the difference between the Occupy movement and the Tea Party movement was that the latter had "great ideas" and has brought about changes in the political landscape.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

True Tolerance Talk at 2012 CPAC

To read about the Occupy movement and 2012 CPAC, click here. To read about race and language at CPAC, click here.

The 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) took place on February 9-11 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington D.C. The annual gathering is sponsored by the American Conservative Union and features high-profile conservative lawmakers and political commentators. I observed 2011 CPAC last year (see here and here), but unfortunately could not attend this year. For more information on CPAC, click here.

LGBT issues were one of the topics on the CPAC agenda, specifically in a February 10th workshop entitled "In the Name of Tolerance: Countering Sexual Identity Politics in Schools." The workshop began with a presentation by Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family's True Tolerance project, followed by talks from a mother and Austin Nimocks, Senior Legal Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. Candi Cushman is listed as an problematic anti-LGBT commentator by GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project, along with homophobic voices such as Scott Lively, Maggie Gallagher, and Bryan Fischer.

Bullying in schools has received much-needed attention in recent years, and our national conversation about bullying is long overdue. Several high-profile LGBT youth suicides have drawn attention to homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools. The White House has hosted conferences on bullying prevention and anti-LGBT bullying, suggesting that our leaders are taking the issue seriously. Unfortunately, some Religious Right groups view homophobic and transphobic bullying in a different light.

As Candi Cushman began her talk, she showed an image on-screen from the website, which read, "Concerned about homosexual advocacy in your child's school? You've come to the right place. helps you respond in a loving and fact-based way." She claimed that her organization has been contacted by parents who have complained of the "pressure cooker" situation in public schools and the alleged disregard for parental rights.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Even More Right-Wing Voices Angry at VAWA

As highlighted in a prior post, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), currently up for reauthorization, has been the target of attacks from the far-right. For your edification, here are a few more examples of the right-wing's anti-VAWA rhetoric.

First, in a recent commentary at its website, the FRC called the push for VAWA reauthorization a "cheap political trick" meant to paint Republicans as "sexist Neanderthals." The column accused VAWA supporters of trying to use abused women as "pawns" for their reelection by casting VAWA opponents as anti-woman. The commentary specifically criticized Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) for adding "loopholes for immigration" and "special homosexual protections" to the bill. The author speculated that the purpose of adding these provisions was solely to make VAWA unpalatable to Republican lawmakers, thereby forcing them to vote against it and foster the "lie" that the GOP is misogynist. VAWA, the commentary concluded, "does real violence to the budget and individual freedom."

Next, in a recent letter to the Washington Times, Gordon E. Finley accused VAWA supporters of "bullying" lawmakers to support the legislation. Finley asked if the country could afford to lose money down the "rathole" of allegedly unsuccessful "gender-ideology programs." Predictably, he claimed that VAWA was one of the left's weapons for destroying the traditional family by supposedly denying fathers their Constitutional rights, removing the father from the home, and damaging parental relationships through "false" allegations. Sound familiar?

In a February 19th commentary at the Independent Women's Forum website, Christina Villegas wrote that VAWA should be rewritten to address sexual assault and domestic violence "more generally" rather than create "special protections" for victim groups. Villegas claimed that "VAWA, from its inception, has sought to redistribute power and resources solely to female victims."

Actually, no it hasn't. VAWA clearly states that both male and female victims are eligible for services. I'm growing increasingly more annoyed with claims that VAWA allegedly excludes male victims when a short perusal of the legislation shows otherwise. Furthermore, acknowledging that certain groups need additional resources to address violence isn't "special protections," it's practical policy.

Also, a March 15th commentary at the Independent Women's Forum website claimed that VAWA too often gives funding to "advocates who view violence against women as rooted not in a criminal mindset or psychological problems but in the notion that there is a patriarchy that harms women."

Well, yeah. Violence against women is entwined with misogynist attitudes. It's not merely the result of mental illness, and it does not merely consist of isolated, gender-neutral crimes. What seems to be the problem with acknowledging that patriarchy exists?

Writing at Breibart, Dan Riehl insisted that the revised version of VAWA would increase funding for areas prone to fraud and increase the danger of visa abuse via deception by undocumented immigrants. Riehl claimed that the revised VAWA would give Indian tribes criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians, thereby supposedly endangering Constitutional protections. He reserved special criticism for the new VAWA's provisions for U-visas, which grant victims of certain crimes temporary legal status and work eligibility for a maximum of four years. Riehl claimed that U-visa recipients aren't required to aid criminal investigations.

Actually, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U-visa applicants must provide a certification from a law enforcement authority that they have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful to authorities investigating the crimes of which they were victims.

I expect the far-right to continue attacks on VAWA, ignoring the legislation's social and fiscal benefits. On a bright note, I also expect enlightened men and women to defend VAWA and encourage lawmakers to reauthorize the legislation, for the sake of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors across the country.

For additional commentary, visit the following links.

The New Civil Rights Movement: Tony Perkins: Violence Against Women Act A “Slush Fund” Unfair To Men

Philadelphia Enquirer: Score political points or help rape victims?

Slate: Why Is The GOP Turning Against Anti-Domestic-Violence Legislation?

The Root: Violence Against Women Act at Risk?

News Tidbits

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: More See "Too Much" Religious Talk by Politicians

The Telegraph: Dutch Roman Catholic Church 'castrated at least 10 boys' to rid them of homosexuality

IPS News: Activists in Mexico Want to Be Heard by the Pope

Baltimore Sun: Outspoken bishop to take helm of Archdiocese of Baltimore

Washington Post: Rick Santorum has embraced Spanish priest behind devout Catholic group Opus Dei

The Tennessean: Tennessee science bill protects teachers who allow debate over evolution

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News: NOM vows to punish New Hampshire lawmakers who refused to repeal marriage equality

Edge Boston: Chick-fil-A Faces Hostile College Students & Drag Queens 

Edge Boston: Equality Riders Visit Anti-LGBT Christian Colleges

Des Moines Register: Family Leader heads lobbying for same-sex marriage ban

Think Progress: Utah Governor Vetoes Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Bill

Commentary Tidbits

Rep. Elijah Cummings at the Baltimore Sun: Why I demanded a voice for Sandra Fluke

God’s Own Party: Frankly M’dear, We Don’t Give a Damn ~ “They vs. These”

Right Wing Watch: Hagee: In End Times, ‘God Will Require a Life for Every Child Killed in Every Abortion Clinic in America’

Huffington Post: Abortion Bill: Arizona GOP Legislator Says Women Should Witness Abortions

Feministing: “Save The Storks” and other guerrilla anti-choice tactics

Political Packrat: Women, Birth Control Pills, the Church, and Obama

The Advocate: Santorum Is Bad for LGBT Adults, Worse for LGBT Youth 

Prairie Nymph: The Slippery Slope of Purity

Washington Post: What atheist groups learned from the Christian Coalition

Foxhole Atheism: The First Time I Spoke in Tongues

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Super Tuesday Mashup: "Rise Up!"

Is all this political mayhem getting you down? Here's a fun political mashup by DJ Steve Porter, who has also put together mashups for ESPN featuring Tim Tebow, Jeremy Lin, and Alan Iverson. And who can forget "Epic Animal Dance"?

Commentary Tidbits

ACLU Blog of Rights: Kansas to Pregnant Women: "A Little Lie from Your Doctor Won't Hurt You"

ABC News: Link Between Religion and Politics is More Prevalent in GOP Primaries

Mediaite: Westboro Baptist Church Releases ‘You Might Be A Slut’ Ad, Hopes To Get It On Limbaugh’s Show

Truth Wins Out: Gays Kiss At Santoum Rally; Crowd Chants USA As They Leave

RH Reality Check: Iowa High School Disaster: My Letter to the Administration

Washington Post: For Tyler Clementi, ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ not enough

News Tidbits

Washington Post: Evangelicals voting in record numbers in GOP primaries

San Fransisco Chronicle: Santorum courts conservative Christians

Boston Globe: High court rejects Christian campus groups' appeal

Los Angeles Times: Tennessee abortion bill would require publishing names of doctors

Dayton Daily News: Abortion foes to say exorcism prayers at clinic

MSNBC: I would have done the same to a drunk, says priest who denied Communion to lesbian

Ms. Magazine: Komen Relationship with Catholic Church Revealed

Cape Times: Death at ‘miracle’ rally

Channel 3000: Attorneys Defend Pastor Accused Of Encouraging Corporal Punishment Against Children
(Hat tip to Butterflies and Wheels)

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Right Wing Lashes Out at VAWA (UPDATED)

So far, the right-wing war on women has lashed out at abortion access and contraception coverage, much to the alarm of reproductive rights supporters. Now, the latest target is anti-violence legislation.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), first passed in 1994, has strengthen victim services and provided funding for investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women. VAWA provides grants for law enforcement, victim services, and violence prevention initiatives, among many other programs related to domestic violence and sexual assault.

VAWA is currently up for reauthorization. Ms. Magazine reports that when the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011 in February, all Democrats voted to move the bill onto the Senate floor for a vote, and all Republicans voted no. Norma Gattsek, Feminist Majority director of government relations, called the Republican opposition a sign that "the war on women has no boundaries."

According to the New York Times, a newer version of VAWA would expand efforts to rural communities and Native American tribes, increase free legal assistance to domestic abuse victims, and expand the definition of violence against women to include stalking. Also, it would include same-sex couples under domestic violence programs and would allow more abused undocumented immigrants to apply for temporary visas. These last two elements have upset some Republicans, including Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). According to the Huffington Post, Grassley claimed that the provision creates too many new programs for underserved populations and would lessen focus on helping victims. He also condemned the provision as an "avenue to expand immigration law" and offer benefits to those in the U.S. illegally.

Similarly, in a March 19th column at Human Events, American Values president Gary Bauer called VAWA a "trap" because of its provisions for same-sex couples and undocumented immigrants. He also claimed that the right-wing war on women is "fictitious" and made jabs at Sandra Fluke.

I was shocked. Are victims of violence less deserving of protection because of their immigration status? Does helping LGBT or rural victims somehow detract from helping other victims? No! Domestic violence and sexual assault are abominable, no matter who the victim is. Victims deserve help, full stop.

Supporters of the legislation are rightfully outraged. The New York Times quotes Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) as saying she was "furious" at Republican opposition to VAWA. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) reportedly warned her Republican colleagues last Tuesday that the GOP risked being branded as anti-woman. Given the uproar over many Republican's stances on reproductive rights, I'd say this branding has already taken place.

However, right-wing hostility toward VAWA was smoldering long before this round of reauthorization. Members of the Religious Right such as antifeminist Phyllis Schlafly and the Eagle Forum have disparaged VAWA as "feminist pork," ignoring VAWA's positive impact on domestic violence and sexual assault services. That hostility is rearing its head once again.

First, in a March 19th press release, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments announced the release of its new report which alleges that VAWA has resulted in civil rights abuses. Also, in a March 5th commentary at the Concerned Women for America website, intern Wendy Chen called VAWA an "oft-misused bandage" against domestic violence. She complained about VAWA's price tag while complaining that it allegedly hadn't reduced violence against women.

In a March 5th column at American Thinker, Concerned Women for America senior fellow Janice Shaw Crouse wrote that VAWA was a "bad piece of legislation" that ran the risk of "poisoning relations between women and men." Crouse called VAWA a "thinly veiled means of promoting feminist ideology" and claimed that its supposedly "broad" definitions of violence have resulted in men being jailed on "flimsy" accusations. She accused VAWA of creating a "climate of suspicion of men" and fueling a system that aggravates the supposed breakdown of families. VAWA, she insisted, was all about "fostering false allegations," restraining orders, arrests, and "re-educating judges in feminist ideology and biases." Crouse venomously concluded that the legislation offered women a "powerful weapon" for getting out of marriages, getting revenge on men, or dealing with regrets the morning after.

According to a transcript of February 13th interview with The Diane Rehm Show, Crouse criticized VAWA for allegedly having "overly broad definitions" and creating "single-mom families and welfare-dependent families." Crouse told Rehm that she objected to cultural changes "where men are seen as suspect and where women's word is taken without any responsibility for backing it up with specific instances."

The February 2012 edition of the Eagle Forum newsletter bashed VAWA as well. The newsletter accused VAWA of doling out massive funds to "radical feminist organizations" and failing to help "real" victims of domestic violence. Furthermore, it claimed that VAWA is supposedly rooted in "feminist-created gender stereotypes" that men are "naturally" abusers and women are "naturally" victims. Like Crouse, the newsletter insisted that VAWA defines domestic violence as annoyance or unpleasant speech, and that it allegedly promotes divorce and hatred of men.

The contempt for women claiming abuse is palpable here. The constant refrain of "false allegations" and "real victims" smacks of reluctance to believe victims. The authors seem to have forgotten that domestic violence and sexual assault are serious problems, and that women are far more likely to be victims of domestic violence or sexual assault than men (see here, herehere, and here). Not surprisingly, these antifeminist attacks are reminiscent of the anti-VAWA rhetoric of so called "fathers rights" groups, as discussed in "Patriarchy Reasserted: Fathers' Rights and Anti-VAWA Activism."

I sincerely question how much research Eagle Forum and Crouse did on VAWA. First, VAWA does not frame all victims as female and all perpetrators as male. The legislation clearly states that male victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking can receive services and benefits under VAWA.

Second, despite claims from detractors that VAWA hasn't impacted violence rates, research suggests that VAWA grants have been associated with reductions in rape and assault. To boot, while they may bemoan the alleged costs of VAWA, research suggests that VAWA actually saves billions of dollars in net averted social costs (i.e., property losses, medical care, police response, lost productivity). As this VAWA evaluation explains, VAWA has has not only vastly expanded victim services, but honed the criminal justice system's response and fostered greater collaboration between stakeholders. Now, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are treated as community problems requiring coordinated responses.

More than ever, enlightened men and women need to pay attention to the political landscape. VAWA, a vitally important tool for addressing violence against women, is facing resistance from several GOP lawmakers and right-wing voices. If we take domestic violence and sexual assault seriously, we need to speak out for VAWA.

For additional commentary, visit the following links.

U.S. Department of Justice: Building on a Good Foundation: Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

Human Rights Watch: US Senate: Renew the Violence Against Women Act

The Hill: Congress must reauthorize VAWA now

Gothamist: Republicans Cool With Violence Against Women, As Long As They're Gay Or Immigrants

Feministing: Women Dems push for Violence Against Women Act

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Michelle Duggar on Overpopulation

Yikes. Presented without comment. (Hat tip to No Longer Quivering.)

Commentary Tidbits

Wonkette: Morning Invocation at Georgia Statehouse Denounces Gays, Liberals, ‘Urbans’

Alternet: Who's Minding the Children?: Educational Neglect and the Homeschool Movement

Fallen from Grace: Does Home Schooling Lead to Irrational Closed Mindedness?

Religion Dispatches: Church’s Lawyers Have SNAP in Their Sights

Triangulations: Hiding Your Beliefs

Media Matters: Did Anyone In Conservative Media Actually Read Or Listen To Sandra Fluke's Testimony?

Truth Wins Out: Fundies, Welcome to the Public Square

Huffington Post: Pope Blesses U.S. Bishops' Persecution of LGBT People

RH Reality Check: Change The Birth Control Conversation from Theocratic to Democratic

The Advocate: The Haters: Watch Out for These 11 Groups

SPLC Hatewatch: ‘God Hates Fags’ Church Preparing Ad for Limbaugh Show

Mother Jones: Obama Administration Partners With Anti-Abortion Magnate's Gym

News Tidbits

Talking Points Memo: Anti-Gay Preacher’s Band Shocks Students At Iowa High School

American Independent: Minnesota board opens investigation into marriage amendment supporters

Q 13 Fox: Author defends his controversial child discipline book 'To Train Up a Child'

Washington Post: UK Abortion Clinic Says US-Based Religious Group is Intimidating Women Seeking Treatment

Calgary Herald: Police arrest anti-gay activist for his own safety

Vancouver Sun: Evangelicals Still in Vancouver School, but Not Delta

BrazzilMag: Evangelical Caucus in Brazil Congress Wants Psychologists to Be Able to "Cure" Gays

A Taste of Scott Lively's Anti-Gay Rhetoric

As mentioned in a prior post, anti-gay preacher Scott Lively has been sued on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda, who argue that his international anti-gay activism constitutes persecution. To give readers a taste of Lively's anti-gay rhetoric, I'd like to share his January 15th webcast from European American Evangelistic Crusades entitled "The Global Threat of Homosexuality."

Pastor John S. Torell introduced Lively as a man who was not afraid, who acknowledged that "sin is sin." He claimed that if this service were taking place in Sweden, everyone participating in the service would be arrested because it is illegal there to speak against homosexuality. Torell insisted that the Bible calls homosexuality a sin, and that while they do not hate sinners, they do hate what they do and how they go about "imposing" what they do.

Lively stood at the podium and delivered a sermon against homosexuality. He claimed that in the late 1980s when he started dealing with the "homosexual issue," preachers still existed who would stand for the "word of God." Fewer and fewer preachers do this today, he said, especially in the U.S. He was working to make God's "truth" on the topic of homosexuality known, both in the U.S. and across the globe.

Lively complained that the church is being "infiltrated" with pro-gay theology. He lamented that no one was talking about the "truth" on homosexuality in any public realm of importance, except for a few Christian radio voices, allegedly.

Seriously!? I thought when I heard this. In the short period that I've been blogging on the Religious Right, I've found no shortage of homophobic rhetoric in the public sphere. The rhetoric and activism of anti-gay groups have been well-documented by the media. Conservative presidential candidates have waxed poetic about the sanctity of opposite-sex marriage as opposed to same-sex marriage. Even large-scale conservative gatherings have not been immune to anti-gay language. In short, plenty of right-wing voices have made anti-gay statements in the public realm. Fortunately, many enlightened, pro-LGBT voices have condemned such rhetoric.

Lively dismissed the idea that homosexuality was simply another sin, claiming that it is the paramount sin of the End Times. Whenever society reaches high levels of "idolatry or apostasy," he claimed, similar things occur. According to Lively, society goes through cycles of redemption, restoration, rejection of God, and finally divine punishment. America and the rest of the western world is close to the low point of this cycle, he argued, and God is providing us with signs to indicate this state of affairs, including the predominance of homosexuality.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sexual Minorities Uganda Sues Scott Lively

Scott Lively, founder of Abiding Truth Ministries and author of The Pink Swastika, is an American preacher with a long history of homophobic statements, as meticulously documented by Right Wing Watch and Box Turtle Bulletin. Lively is one of several U.S. Christian figures (i.e., Lou Engle) who have promoted anti-gay sentiments in Uganda, a situation discussed in a 2010 report by the Advocate. Human Rights Watch nominated Lively for its 2011 "Homophobia Hall of Shame" for his global activism against LGBT equality (more here). To boot, the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Abiding Truth Ministries a hate group. This week, Lively's anti-gay activism just landed him in hot water.

On March 14th, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court against Scott Lively on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda. The suit alleges that Lively's anti-gay efforts in Uganda constitute persecution, making it the first known alien tort statute case related to persecution on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the CCR. The New York Times reports that the lawsuit named four co-conspirators alongside Lively: Stephen Langa, the organizer of a 2009 anti-gay seminar in Uganda; Martin Ssempa, an anti-gay Ugandan preacher; David Bahati, the Ugandan MP behind a draconian anti-gay bill; and James Buturo, a proponent of the bill.

The New York Times reports that in 2009, Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge, and Don Schmierer of "ex-gay" group Exodus International participated in a conference on the "gay agenda" in Kampala, Uganda. The article reports that the three men presented talks on the alleged evils of the gay movement, the alleged sexual predations of gay men, and how to supposedly make homosexuals straight. (Lively posted a short report about the seminar here.) A month after the Kampala conference, Ugandan MP David Bahati introduced a draconian anti-gay bill in Uganda parliament, which drew fierce global criticism. According to Alan Colmes, Lively called Bahati's legislation "a step in the right direction". He also admitted that he helped start Uganda's so-called "pro-family" movement in an interview with Vanguard correspondent Mariana von Zeller.

Lively told World Net Daily that he was being targeted "for speaking the truth of the Bible in a foreign country." According to the article, Lively claimed that he urged Ugandan parliamentarians to focus on therapy rather than punishment for homosexuals, and that he opposed the death penalty provision in Bahati's bill. 

A pro-LGBT demonstration coincided with the suit against Lively. Truth Wins Out reports that on March 14th, pro-LGBT demonstrators performed a silent protest outside of Holy Grounds Coffee House in Springfield, Massachusetts, which Lively owns. John Becker of Truth Wins Out reports that some protesters carried signs with pictures of Ugandan hate crime victims, while others covered their faces to represent the silencing of LGBT people in Uganda.

This is intriguing news. Although the final outcome of Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively remains to be seen, it will still drawn attention to the activities of anti-gay U.S. preachers in Uganda. Whether it can be proven that Lively's international anti-gay activism constitutes persecution, this action nevertheless demands accountability for his words and actions.

To learn more about Lively and Abiding Truth Ministries, click here. For additional commentary, visit the following links.

Religion Dispatches: American Evangelist Who Sparked Anti-Gay Panic Sued By Ugandan Gay Rights Group

Box Turtle Bulletin: Lawsuit Filed Against Scott Lively For Instigating Anti-LGBT Persecution in Uganda

SPLC Hatewatch: Ugandan LGBT Group Sues Anti-Gay Activist Scott Lively

Catholic Church Takes SNAP to Court Over E-Mail Records

On March 12th, the New York Times reported that lawyers for the Catholic church and priests accused in two Missouri sexual abuse cases -- John Doe BP v. Fr. Michael Tierney and the Kansas City diocese and Jane Doe v. Fr. Joseph D. Ross and the St. Louis archdiocese -- are trying to compel the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) to disclose over twenty years of e-mails. SNAP is a clergy abuse victims' advocacy group founded in 1988, which drew international attention last year for filing a complaint against the Vatican in the International Criminal Court.

The article states that those e-mails could include correspondence with clergy abuse victims, witnesses, journalists, and stakeholders. A Kansas City judge ruled that SNAP must comply because it likely has information of relevance to the abuse cases. SNAP has been subpoenaed five times in St. Louis and Kansas City over the past few months, and national director David Clohessy has been extensively questioned by lawyers.

The SNAP website hit back, decrying the legal pressure as an "attack" from Catholic officials and an affront to the confidentiality of their allies.
"Abuse victims and SNAP are being attacked by lawyers for KC Bishop Robert Finn and pedophile priests. We're fighting hard to protect the confidentiality of victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors, journalists and others who come to us for help."
A statement at the SNAP website argued that the legal pressure could dissuade clergy abuse victims from seeking aid, siphon SNAP's resources away from helping victims, and financially cripple the organization.
"This is the most severe threat we in SNAP have ever faced, for at least three reasons. First, fewer people are stepping forward and seeking help, fearing that their identities and experiences will be turned over to lawyers for predator priests and corrupt bishops. Second, these legal attacks consume massive amounts of time that our volunteers and staff need to devote to protecting kids, exposing predators, helping victims, reforming laws, and deterring future child sex crimes and cover ups. Third, these moves are driving SNAP toward bankruptcy. (We've had to suddenly spend tens of thousands of dollars just fighting and dealing with the first subpoena and church officials seem determined to drag out this process for months and months.)"
The statement asserted that SNAP is "convinced" that the move is intended to shut down the organization, silence victims, and deter victims and stakeholders from reaching out. SNAP has since created an online petition urging Cardinal Dolan to publicly denounce such "bullying tactics."

Predictably, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights president Bill Donohue blasted SNAP this week in several commentaries. In one column, Donohue claimed that SNAP director David Clohessy had been "uncooperative" in earlier deposition. He asked if Clohessy was a man fighting for justice, or a "con artist" burning for revenge. (See www[dot]catholicleague[dot]org/snap-unravels/) In a March 14th post, Donohue accused Clohessy of lying to the media, misrepresenting SNAP as a "rape crisis center," and misleading clients. He wrote that it is only fair that bishops defend themselves when a group tries to "bleed" the Catholic Church. (See www[dot]catholicleague[dot]org/bishops-should-only-hire-tough-lawyers/)

I'm certain that SNAP will fight this legal maneuver with every means at their disposal, but the outcome remains to be seen. I'm also certain that this legal maneuver will cast the involved diocese, and the Catholic Church in general, in an even more negative light in the public eye. If nothing else, the coverage that this matter has received will draw even more attention to the Catholic clergy abuse crisis, and the lengths that some church officials will go to in order to protect accused priests.

For additional commentary, visit the following links.

Lez Get Real: Desperate Catholic Church Targets Victims Of Pedophile Priests

Care 2 Make a Difference: Catholics Fight Church’s Victims – Again

Truth Wins Out: Catholic Church Bullying Group Which Advocates for Sexual Abuse Victims

Monday, March 12, 2012

And Now for a Duck Break

I command you to watch ducks. Thousands of them.

News Tidbits

Los Angeles Times: Santorum renews attack on JFK's speech on church and state

Fenuxe: LGBT activists swarm ATL rally for Rick Santorum

Baltimore Sun: Anti-abortion protesters to get settlement in Harford arrests

Sacramento Bee: Sacramento Catholic Diocese drops funds over nonprofit director's views

AFP: Pope condemns gay marriage in speech to US bishops

Pink News: Utah senate votes to stop discussion of homosexuality in schools

American Independent: Florida budget would cut family planning, keep anti-abortion funding intact

American Independent: MSNBC rejects ad criticizing frequent guest Tony Perkins

Washington Post: In secular Britain, a clash over public prayer

Washington Post: Panel says bishops have the last word on Catholic theology

Irish Times: College Removes Atheism Statements

Daily Monitor: Uganda: Don’t teach sex in schools - Museveni

Commentary Tidbits

Gullible's Travels: On the Side of Religious Liberty

SPLC Intelligence Report: The Ministries: Key ‘Ex-Gay’ Groups

News One: Rush Limbaugh Defended Joseph Kony And Lord’s Resistance Army

Talk to Action: Guatemala's Former Leader Charged with Genocide. Pat Robertson Enabled It.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Harold Camping: Still Delusional

Pharyngula: The Child Catchers

Love, Joy, Feminism: Kirk Cameron supports female slavery

Washington Post: Feminism’s final frontier? Religion.

Aljazeera: The real meaning behind Rick Santorum's anti-college speech

The Independent: The God-given dignity to which the Cardinal is blind

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Right-Wing Voices Defend Rush Limbaugh

Sandra Fluke's testimony before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee met with vicious attacks from talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh devoted several days of his program to ridiculing Fluke, calling her a "slut," a "prostitute," and accusing her of promiscuity. Limbaugh has since apologized (sort of), but his offensive comments launched a mass exodus of advertisers from his show. Several right-wing voices continue to defend his attacks on Fluke, including Bryan Fischer and Sarah Palin.

Right Wing Watch has documented Bryan Fischer's defense of Limbaugh, peppered with hateful comments about Fluke. During a recent show, Fischer indulged in brutal slut-shaming of Fluke.
"Rush of course used the S-word, and my point here is from a dictionary standpoint, he was right. That's just the description of a promiscuous woman. She's admitting to God and the United States Congress and the United States of America that's exactly what she is."
Later, Fischer accused Fluke of promiscuity, like Limbaugh.
"The real scandal is that this woman could, without any trace of shame, without any trace of embarrassment, could give open testimony before the entire United States of America about how much promiscuous sex she and her classmates are having. Now a generation ago, even in America, that would have been a  humiliating admission, but now, in the twisted world we live in, it's become a badge of honor for her."
In another excerpt from his show posted by Ring Wing Watch, Fischer again claimed that Fluke admitted to being promiscuous in her testimony before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
"To think that you have a leftist like the president of the United States saying that the parents of a woman who goes on national TV, admits that she's sleeping with so many guys she can't keep track, doing it three times a day, running out of money, driving me to the poor house, and to think ... he's saying the parents ought to be proud of that!"
Bryan, did you even bother to listen to Fluke's testimony? She said nothing of the sort. Fischer seemingly ignored Fluke's actual testimony, preferring to take Limbaugh's venom as truth. Hilariously, Fischer claimed that the right respects and honors women during the same monologue!
"The worst misogyny in our culture, the hatred of women, the absolutely inexcusable, reprehensive, vulgar language that's being used about women, is almost exclusively on the left, and this is in part, ladies and gentlemen, because on the right, conservatives believe in respecting and honoring women. The left does not ... I'm struck by the parallels between liberalism and hard-core Islam. Liberal have the same view of conservative women that Muslims do of all women."
I don't think my irony meter was designed for such high levels of hypocrisy. Sadly, there's more.

In an interview with CNN, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin claimed that criticism of Limbaugh was "hypocrisy." (Hat tip to Freak Out Nation.)
"I think the definition of hypocrisy is for Rush Limbaugh to have been called out, forced to apologize, and retract what it is that he said in exercising his first amendment rights, and never is that--the same applied to the leftist radicals who say such horrible things about the handicapped, about women, about the defenseless."
On the March 7th edition of The 700 Club, Pat Robertson said that Limbaugh "got a little bit over the top" but nevertheless echoed Limbaugh's attacks. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"There was a woman, the law student at Georgetown University who appeared before a congressional committee, and she said that students needed $3,000 a year for contraception and that they couldn’t afford it, and as I understand, the Catholic school was supposed to pay for it. Now Catholics say that fornication, if you will, sex outside of marriage is a sin, and yet this woman is saying ‘I’m going to be committing sin, but I want you to pay for my sin.’ Now am I overstating that? I mean, Rush Limbaugh got a little bit over the top on that thing but is that what it amounted to?"
According to Talking Points Memo, the right-wing Media Research Center launched a website called "I Stand with Rush" to show support for Limbaugh. However, when I tried to pull up the website, I received an "Error 404 Not Found" screen.

In a March 6th column at the Wall Street Journal, Cathy Ruse, Senior Fellow for Legal Studies at the Family Research Council, wrote that she would not defend Limbaugh's language but "I understand his larger point." She lambasted Fluke's activist as "simply a demand that a Catholic institution pay for drugs that make it possible for her to have sex without getting pregnant." She advised Fluke to give up a few cups of coffee at Starbucks each month to pay for contraceptives.

Fox 2 Now reports that the speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives, Rep. Steve Tilley (R-106th District), will induct Limbaugh into the Missouri capital's Hall of Famous Missourians. Planned Parenthood of Missouri director Paula Gianino called the move a "slap in the face to women."

Not all of Limbaugh's defenders herald from the right. Think Progress reports that in a March 6th tweet, Real Time with Bill Maher host Bill Maher wrote that liberals look bad for not accepting Rush Limbaugh's apology, and that he disapproved of "intimidation by sponsor pullout." Think Progress also notes that Maher has his own history of misogynist comments.

It disappoints me that these voices have defended a childish misogynist, ridiculed a woman who advocated for reproductive justice, and coarsened our public discourse. For all their talk of respecting women and embracing family values, several right-wing voices have showed their true colors by defending Limbaugh's slut-shaming.

For additional commentary, visit the following links

The Daily Beast: Rush Limbaugh Scandal Proves Contagious for Talk-Radio Advertisers

Los Angeles Times: Rush Limbaugh: Loss of ads amounts to 'a couple of french fries'

Daily Mail: SNL Makes Fun of Sponsors Fleeing Rush Limbaugh's Show over "Slut" Comments