Tuesday, May 10, 2016

News Tidbits

Al*com: Legal group representing Roy Moore calls ethics complaint 'outrageous'

Christian News Wire: President George W. Bush to be Given the 'Family and Democracy' Award at World Congress of Families X, Tbilisi, Georgia

Daily Utah Chronicle: Students Protest Honorary Degree for Woman Involved with Hate Groups

Washington Post: Franklin Graham’s response to federal recognition for Stonewall: ‘A monument to sin?’

Raw Story: Trump-loving tow truck driver says God told him to leave disabled Bernie Sanders supporter stranded

Kansas City Star: Planned Parenthood sues Kansas, challenging Brownback's order to cut off funding

Kansas City Star: Children fled with Kansas mom’s guns while she showered, testimony says (Trigger warning) 

Associated Press: Congress sued for barring atheist from delivering invocation

Associated Press: Tennessee: LGBT community braces for impact of new counseling law

The Irish Times: Northern Ireland: Belfast bakers at centre of ‘gay cake’ case to appeal ruling

Commentary Tidbits

American Civil Liberties Union: Health Care Denied: Patients and Physicians Speak Out About Catholic Hospitals and the Threat to Women's Health and Lives

Talking Points Memo: Trump Throws Anti-Abortion Groups A Bone With New Campaign Hire

Green Eagle: Ted Cruz and the Seven Mountains, Part I, Part II, and Part III   (Hat tip to Infidel753)

Slate: The Anti-Planned Parenthood House Panel Must Go, Say 98 Members of Congress

Daily Beast: The Christian Right’s Trans Dorm Panic

The Independent: Britain First tried to 'invade' a halal slaughterhouse. It went very badly

The Independent: As a gay child of fundamentalist Christians, I was horrified by the new Jehovah's Witnesses video

Thursday, May 5, 2016

News Tidbits

ABC News: Ted Cruz Suspends Campaign After Indiana Primary Loss

BBC News: John Kasich, last Republican Trump rival, quits race

NPR: U.S. Spent $1.4 Billion To Stop HIV By Promoting Abstinence. Did It Work?

Christian News Wire: Orthodox Patriarch Ilia II Gives Blessing and Keynote Address to the Tenth World Congress of Families, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia

Gay Star News: Texas: Self-appointed 'bathroom cop' follows woman into bathroom to check on her gender

Washington Post: LGBT groups gird for battle against religious-based legislation in Congress

Out: The Pain of Ex-Gay Conversion Therapy Experienced Firsthand

Raw Story: Glenn Beck reads Bible at Cruz rally: Trans women are dudes because of ‘thingamajig downstairs’

Commentary Tidbits

Unfundamentalist Parenting: Parenting Advice that Correlates with Abuse

Salt Lake Tribune: What I have learned as I transition from my faith

The Nation: As the Religious Right Forces the Gospel Into Public Schools, Some Parents Are Opting to Homeschool

Pacific Standard: Why Are So Many Christians Obsessed With Predicting the Rapture?

Out: How Religious Colleges Are Staying Anti-Trans on Your Dime

Ms. Magazine: So-Called Predators in the Bathroom ... Again

Slate: The Cultural Alienation of Anti-Trans Americans

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fundamentalists Are "Rebuking" Their Local Target Stores

Right-wing hysteria over Target's bathroom policies has led to fundamentalists annoying Target shoppers. Several YouTube videos show fundamentalists "rebuking" Target employees and customers for supporting LGBTQ rights. (Hat tip to Friendly Atheist for the first video.)

This is understandably frustrating for Target employees, such as this young woman who had an unpleasant encounter with a transphobe.

What transphobes fail to realize is that their histrionics are only hurting their cause. These public displays of bigotry and self-righteousness will only serve to alienate their audience. My heart goes out to Target shoppers and employees who have to deal with their tantrums.

Monday, May 2, 2016

News Tidbits

Dallas Observer: An Advocate for the Sexually Abused Demands Answers from Prestonwood Baptist Church

Religion News Service: Wheaton group blasts Christian college’s silence over Hastert abuse confession

Boston Herald: Bill would require colleges to reveal religious exemptions

Gay Star News: Anti-LGBTI groups form coalition to fight UN for protecting same-sex couples and families

Associated Press: Kasich calls for balance on gay rights, religious beliefs

Associated Press: Lead singer of Neon Trees changing tune on Mormon religion 

Washington Blade: Cruz won’t let up on anti-trans ‘bathroom predator’ myth

Pink News: Turns out this anti-gay bakery just can’t back down

Buzzfeed: Australia: A Gay Conversion Advocate Is Speaking At A University And Students Are Mad

Military*com: Redstone Worker Says Sex Assault Program Used to Espouse Christianity   (Hat tip to Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

Commentary Tidbits

Heresy in the Heartland: Violence, Abortion, and Frank Peretti

Huffington Post: Armed Vigilantes and Bathroom Cameras

A Woman's Freedom in Christ: Why Complementarian Leaders Ignore Their Insightful Sisters in Christ

Right Wing Watch: Anti-LGBT Activists 'Testing' Target By Sending Men Into Women's Rooms

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Target Bathroom Hysteria Reaches a Fevered Pitch

The recent wave of transphobic bathroom bills, such as House Bill 2 in North Carolina, has prompted a national retailer to institute a transgender-friendly restroom policy. On April 19th, Target posted a press release supporting the federal Equality Act and welcoming transgender visitors to use its restrooms and dressing rooms. "[W]e welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity," the press release stated.

The Religious Right quickly threw a tantrum over Target's decision. The American Family Association (AFA) announced a boycott of Target later that week, demanding that Target should uphold separate restrooms for men and women and a single occupancy unisex restroom for transgender. The AFA's boycott statement shamelessly pandered to their supporters' fear by claiming that Target's bathroom policy "poses a danger to wives and daughters" and is "exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims".

I doubt that the AFA has enough critical mass behind its boycott to weaken Target's bottom line. However, I'm alarmed at how the AFA and other Religious Right figures are demonizing transgender persons as supposed sexual predators. By depicting transgender persons as predatory monsters, the Religious Right dehumanizes the transgender community.

First, according to Right Wing Watch, anti-LGBTQ activist Dave Daubenmire protested Target's restroom policy at a Target store in Heath, Ohio on April 26th. In a video of his protest, a Target employee asked Daubenmire to leave after he stood in the store with a sign that read, "Caution: Men may be in women's restroom!" He insisted that he was merely protecting female shoppers. "There's no warning that a man could walk in that restroom. There's no warning at all," Daubenmire told the employee. "I just feel that I have a moral obligation to warn women. That's what my sign says, that a woman could be in danger in the restroom if a man could come in." In another video, police ask Daubenmire to leave the property.

Christian radio host Rick Wiles was particularly disgusting in his assessment of Target's restroom policy. During the April 25th edition of Trunews, Wiles joked about relieving himself on Target's floor, claiming that the company was soiling America. At the 24:44 mark of the show, he had this to say to Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"How about if I just urinate on your floor? How about that, Molly? Because you’re defecating on this nation."
Stay classy, Rick.

At the 13:14 mark, Wiles denounced transgender rights advances as symptoms of "sickness" and "moral depravity" in American society. He urged listeners against being passive while "toilet rights" advance.
"One of the biggest retailers in America, and it is going all-out to promote the LGBT radical militant toilet rights campaign. This is how far we've gone down the path of sickness. The biggest issue politically now in America is toilet rights. How sick can a society become when people are demanding toilet rights? It's an indication of the moral depravity of the United States of America ...

People are going to have to make a decision right now. Are you going to put up with it? Are you just going to sit there and do nothing, twiddle your thumbs and just say, 'oh, it's terrible, it's terrible', or are you going to do something about it? You better do something about it, because they're not going to stop at toilet rights."
At the 18:40 mark, Wiles inflamed his audience's fears with lurid warnings about transgender predators staring at them or worse in Target restrooms.
"Guys, it means a transvestite may be staring at you the next time you're standing at a urinal in a Target restroom. Think about that. Get that uncomfortable feeling. Ladies, it means that if a man decides he feels like being a woman today, he has the right to enter a women's restroom in any Target store. Moms and dads, it means that Target stores management is more concerned about the rights of sexual deviants and perverts than your sons and daughters. Would you allow your ten year old daughter or granddaughter to enter a Target restroom knowing that men could follow her into it?"
Alarmingly, some transphobic figures are using violent language when discussing transgender people in restrooms. Tracy Murphree, a Republican candidate for the Denton County Sheriff seat in Texas, wrote a hateful message about transgender women on his Facebook page, according to the Dallas Observer. "If my little girl is in a public restroom and a man, regardless of how he may identify, goes into that bathroom, he will then identify as John Doe until he wakes up in whatever hospital he may be taken to. Your identity does not trump my little girl’s safety," Murphree reportedly wrote.

Equality Texas, an LGBTQ rights organization, condemned Murphree's transphobic post. When Equality Texas reached out to Murphree, communications with Murphree's office were "abruptly cancelled".

Murphree is not the only person using inflammatory language. Liberty Counsel president Anita Staver (wife of Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver) created controversy when she vowed to bring a gun with her into restrooms. On April 22nd, she posted a Tweet stating, "I'm taking a Glock .45 to the ladies room. It identifies as my bodyguard. #BoycottTarget" If she does so at Target, she will run afoul of Target's ban on firearms in its stores.

The Religious Right is so desperate to undermine LGBTQ equality that it is not only endorsing homophobic and transphobic legislation, but promoting vile myths about LGBTQ persons. This violent, dehumanizing language against transgender persons is dangerous. Will transphobic hate crimes increase in the wake of these vicious statements? Will someone kill a transgender person in a public restroom out of paranoid, unwarranted fear? The Religious Right is playing a dangerous game by pandering to its followers' fear and hatred.