In a country that doesn't (officially) recognize state-sponsored religion, whose Constitution says "all men are created equal," where bigotry and bias are abhorred — why do otherwise intelligent and sensitive people feel they can engage in hate speech against gay people?

Despite tenets such as [More...]



We're seeking other writers who would like to monitor news reports and file their discoveries and perspectives here. If you're interested, click here to send an e-mail.



Friday, December 31, 2004

The Prototype Church of the Poisoned Mind

Why is it religious people take so much ownership of the word "marriage" --  but don't seem to be concerned at all that anyone can call their organization a "church"? Unlike other houses of worship, which are praying for victims of the recent Asian earthquake and tsunami and organizing relief efforts, the Westboro Baptist Church (which maintains a compassionate web site at www.godhatesfags.com) is celebrating the tragedy.

With churches like this, who needs dens of iniquity?

>From RawStory.com:

RAW STORY has discovered that the Westboro Baptist Church leaders known for picketing the funeral of Matthew Shepard, the young college student brutally murdered in Wyoming in 1998, have released the following statement regarding the tsunamis which hit Southeast Asia earlier in the week.

The statement, which was posted on their web site Wednesday alongside dozens of other archived "press releases," thanks God for the tsunami and for the death of any gay Swedish vacationers who perished at the time.

Here's just an excerpt (the poor grammar and sentence structure is theirs -- not mine):

Thank God for Tsunami & 2,000 Dead Swedes!
How many tsunami-dead Swedes are fags & dykes? vacationing on their fat expendable incomes without kids to bother with and spend money on. With respect to each of these earthquake-dead perverts: "He shall be buried with the burial of an ass." Jer. 22:19. Maybe Sweden can pass another law -- making it a crime for God to send earthquakes and tidal waves to kill vacationing Swedish fags & dykes.

Read it in all of its globally offensive glory here --> http://rawstory.rawprint.com/1204/westboro_tsunami_statement_1230.php

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Apples to Oranges

The Rev. Jerry Falwell is in no danger of having to clear a space in his busy schedule for Mensa meetings. According to the web site blogActive.com, he revealed a profound lack of reasoning when he uttered this comment on Wolf Blitzer's "Late Edition":

[I]f, in fact, we legalize same-sex marriage, then why not polygamy? Why just two, why not a dozen? Why not...what's wrong with bestiality?...

While there are many, many arguments for why Falwell's analogy fails, probably the simplest is this: Whether Falwell wants to agree or not, marriage is a question of law in our society -- it is a contract between two people. And in our legal system, we don't let animals enter into contracts. Duh.

Apples to oranges, Jerry. Apples to oranges....

Find the mention at blogActive.com here --> <a href="http://www.blogactive.com/2004/12/take-action-falwell-slams-gays-yet.html">Falwell Slams Gays, Yet Unclear of What Is Wrong With Bestiality</a>

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Did I Do That?

While perusing wonkette.com today, I learned I might have played a part in an authentic, grassroots political scandal. Connect the dots and make up your own mind.

Gee -- I'm not used to planting the seeds of sabotage! Feels good, though.

--> From wonkette.com, December 9:

Cute Married Rep Seeks Scandal

Craigslist, the gift that keeps on giving:

cute married US REP. 4 fun - 36
Reply to: anon-51743737@craigslist.org
Date: 2004-12-09, 12:05PM EST

im for real, so dont email me with, r u 4 real? i mean business. send pics? info? im dl big goverment guy. send pic, u be dl and safe. u must keep mouth zipped and be in gov. as well.

Well, we've always said that they're basically interns...

Oh, and thanks to d.dreier@bigguyz.com for sending in this bit of funnin'.

--> From wonkette.com, later that day:

UPDATE: Cute Married Rep Seeks Scandal

Oh, goodness. What a landslide of email we uncorked with that bit of business about a married congressman looking for some dick. If we had known that would happen, we wouldn't have started drinking at lunch. What's really sad is that we're afraid that all that speculation (we're looking at you, Boi from Troy) is for, uhm, naught. Except if you're really into astrology. Craigslist posting is gone and, what's more -- how do we put this? It is clearly, and perhaps obviously and intentionally, a put-on.

Also, there is no Santa Claus.

All this transpired just a few days after I posted these comments (as "gaymafioso") on blogActive.com in response to an article purporting to "out" Republic National Committee designate Ken Mehlman:

that colored fella asked: "Also, where else has Ken Mehlman lived outside of Washington? If he is stupid enough to darken the door of JR's, he has probably left a trail of bar hookups in other cities. I'd think Editors of those cities gay publications would be more than willing to help kick up a little dirt, for the cause!"

An easy way to investigate this is by posting something on craigslist.com. I'd start with Chicago. For some reason, a lot of D.C. types like to frequent the popular bathhouse there. Some are indeed stupid enough to leave behind their names and numbers.
gaymafioso | Email | Homepage | 12.01.04 - 3:10 am

Read the article that started it all on blogActive.com, here --> http://www.blogactive.com/2004/11/take-action-is-he-or-isnt-he-what.html

Feeling The Impact

It's sad when someone dies young. But in the case of football player Reggie White, who passed away Sunday from an apparent heart attack, it's also sad people feel pressured to review his life in an insincere and dishonest manner.

When he was alive, White was cruelly outspoken about his homophobia and malice toward gay people. But a lot of that is being overlooked by people who want to remember him solely as a "compassionate minister" and football hero.

It's heartening, though -- because if these folks didn't think there was something wrong with what Reggie said and felt, they wouldn't try to divorce his memory from them.

Luckily, there are web sites out there where people are actively challenging the apologists among us.

Kudos to ruggerson on www.democraticunderground.com, who writes:

Face facts. He was a bigot. He actively worked to make life miserable for millions of people. He actively worked to undermine and disenfranchise their families from the moral and civic nexus of social life in the United States. His work, his rhetoric, gave comfort to the worst kind of hate mongers out there among us.

These are things he did. They are works that are far larger and more impactful than anything he ever did on the football field.

There's a lot more where this came from at --> http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=102&topic_id=1099590


As reported on Wonkette.com, a site well worth a bookmark:

Jerry Falwell: The Biggest Decision of His Life

Last night on Hardball, Chris Matthews put the, ahem, screws to the Rev. Jerry Falwell:

MATTHEWS: How old were you when you chose to be heterosexual?
FALWELL: Oh, I don't remember that.
MATTHEWS: Well, you must, because you say it's a big decision.
FALWELL: Well, I started dating when I was about 13.
MATTHEWS: And you had to decide between boys and girls. And you chose girls.
FALWELL: I never had to decide. I never thought about it.

Just let me say, on behalf of fag hags everywhere: Thank God.

Link: http://www.wonkette.com

Be Careful What You Ask For

I don't understand this club's ultimate argument. They are saying they ought not face discrimination from the University -- but are more than happy to engage in discrimination against another group. If the University relaxes its non-discrimination statement to allow them to exclude gays, what would stop them from relaxing it to oust them?

Furthermore, if the club finds its guidelines in an orthodox interpretation of the Bible, I expect none of the members will eat shrimp at club gatherings, wear clothing made of mixed fibers nor allow any female members to speak up when they assemble.

Campus Club Seeks Right to Exclude Gays

December 28 -- A legal confrontation is playing out as a student organization seeks official recognition and money from a state-run university even though the students plan to exclude non-Christians and gays.

A group of Christian students at Arizona State University's law school formed a chapter of the Christian Legal Society, a national organization that unites Christian lawyers and law students for fellowship, mutual legal support, meetings and Bible readings.

After the university refused to recognize the group, the society's national headquarters in Washington, D.C., drafted a lawsuit challenging the university over its anti-discrimination policies, a move that echoes similar and sometimes successful efforts across the country.

In the lawsuit, the society argues that the members at Arizona State have a constitutionally protected right to organize and receive university recognition under the 1st and 14th Amendments....

Exclusionary Position

Based on their interpretation of biblical passages on homosexuality, members draw the groundwork to exclude practicing homosexuals from membership. In the federal lawsuit, lawyers from the Christian Legal Society spell out their position.

The society at "ASU interprets its statement of faith to require that officers adhere to orthodox Christian beliefs, including the Bible's prohibition of sexual contact between persons of the same sex," the suit says.

"A person who engages in homosexual conduct or adheres to the viewpoint that homosexual conduct is not sinful would not be permitted to become a member or serve as an officer" of the group at Arizona State, the suit adds.

It goes on to say that a person who has engaged in homosexual acts but has "repented" or people who may have homosexual inclinations but do not act on those inclinations would be eligible for membership.

M. Casey Mattox, litigation counsel for the Christian Legal Society in Washington, said the group asked Arizona State to exempt the chapter from having to comply with university policies that required non-discrimination against people on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.

Nancy Tribbensee, a staff attorney for the university, said Arizona State will not comply with the society's request. "We are aggressively defending" the non-discrimination policy, she said.

Tribbensee said the university was drafting its response to the society's complaint, which is due to be filed by Friday....

Following Scouts' Lead

Richard Myers, a professor at the Ave Maria School of Law, a Roman Catholic institution in Ann Arbor, Mich., likened the society's legal argument to those used by the Boy Scouts of America. He referred to a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) ruling that the organization had the right to exclude homosexuals from being scoutmasters.

"It is kind of standard for these kinds of exceptions," he said. "If they [universities] apply it only to religious groups, they have a slam-dunk case. This group [CLS] provides a different perspective and should be allowed to do so."

But other lawyers say that giving public money to a group that discriminates is illegal and morally wrong.

"They are forcing taxpayers to underwrite discrimination," said David Tseng, a Washington attorney who has specialized in non-discrimination law. "The endorsement of discrimination is appalling," he said.

Tseng, formerly executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said the use of public money was the crucial factor and that tax money should be spent to advance the public good.

The members of the Christian Legal Society "have the right to meet and to organize, but the example we are setting for students is that bigotry is acceptable," he said. "They are using the mantle of religion to mask a very blunt objective, that is to deny equality." -- Chicago Tribune National Correspondent Vincent J. Schodolski

Read the entire article here --> http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2027&ncid=2027&e=4&u=/chitribts/20041228/ts_chicagotrib/campusclubseeksrighttoexcludegays

Monday, December 27, 2004


You mean, President Bush lies for political advantage???

Some fundies will finally see the light and realize what the rest of us figured out long ago.

Gay Marriage Amendment Not Coming Soon

WASHINGTON -- Opponents of gay marriage concede victory will not be swift in their attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution, even after prevailing in all 11 states where the issue was on the ballot last month.

While the Nov. 2 election also increased the ranks of amendment supporters in both houses of Congress, the gains were relatively small.  

...Leaders on both sides of the issue say supporters of the amendment gained four votes in the Senate on Nov. 2, and a small, undetermined number in the House. Based on votes in 2004, amendment opponents still have more than enough strength to prevail in a second showdown.

The measure drew 48 Senate votes on a procedural roll call, far below the two-thirds majority needed for passage. The vote in the House was 227-186, 49 less than the required two-thirds. Passage by Congress would send the issue to state legislatures for ratification. Three-fourths of them also would have to approve it.

It's not clear how aggressively the White House or Republican leaders in Congress intend to push the issue, with the election over and priorities such as Social Security and tax overhaul competing for attention.

White House political adviser Karl Rove said after the election that President Bush intends to continue seeking a constitutional amendment that says marriage must consist of a man and a woman.

At the same time, GOP congressional aides who attended a series of closed-door meetings recently said Rove did not mention the amendment when he outlined the administration's key legislative goals for the year ahead. Nor did the issue figure prominently in strategy sessions held by GOP congressional leaders, added these officials, who declined to be identified by name because the proceedings were closed to the press. ... -- David Espo, AP Special Correspondent

Read the entire article here --> http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=512&u=/ap/20041227/ap_on_go_co/gay_marriage_congress&printer=1

Saturday, December 25, 2004

How Many Lawyers Does It Take to Stigmatize Adoption?

According to the folks who are campaigning in court to exclude gay people in California from being able to marry, the institution is simply about producing children. Furthermore, they argue, families in which children are raised by parents other than their biological parents are "less than ideal."

That's probably news to anyone who's adopted, past child-bearing age or who simply wants to unite with someone he or she loves without the prospect of having kids.

The anti-gay groups spearheading the effort have hired lawyers a-plenty -- and this is the best argument they can collectively come up with?

>From Equality California reports:

"The anti-gay groups reached a new low today when they condemned all children whose parents use adoption or reproductive technology to create stable, loving families, regardless of their sexual orientation, as Œless than ideal,¹² said attorney Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. ³Such remarks reveal how extreme these groups are and how out of touch they are with established family law in California. The majority of parents who use reproductive technology or who adopt children in California are heterosexual. To label these families as ³less than ideal² and claim that children raised by non-biological parents are somehow inferior in an effort to smear families headed by same-sex couples is outrageous and cruel.² 

The Attorney General's lawyer maintained that tradition provides sufficient reason to allow marriage discrimination to continue in California despite conceding that lesbian and gay couples are in relationships that are as stable, loving and committed as those of heterosexual couples. 

³If tradition alone was sufficient justification for allowing discriminatory laws to remain on the books, we would still have a ban on interracial marriage, prohibit divorce and consider wives to be the property of their husbands,² said Geoffrey Kors, Executive Director of Equality California, an organization plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Legal briefs and other information about the California marriage equality cases are available at www.nclrights.org.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

A Refreshing Twist

Remember when I advised signing up for the e-mail alerts from the Parents Television Council and then using their web site to send messages directly opposed to what they suggest? Not only is it effective -- it makes the recipients' days! See for yourself below:

From: "Opinion"
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 10:42:22 -0600
To: gaymafioso
Subject: RE: The Parents Television Council doesn't represent a majority of Americans!


We receive so many of those form letters - your twist was very refreshing. Thanks!

-----Original Message-----
From: gaymafioso
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 2:59 PM
To: Opinion
Subject: The Parents Television Council doesn't represent a majority of Americans!

December 20, 2004

Dear (newspaper):

Below is the text the Parents Television Council would like me to send to
you. Instead, here is my message to you:

THESE PEOPLE ARE FANATICAL FREAKS! Please don't let them exert any undue
pressue upon you.

Please continue to offer programming you think is valuable -- based on
your professional judgement -- and not their unenlightened biases.

Thank you!

There's been a lot of talk in the press lately about how one activist
organization, the Parents Television Council, is trying to dictate
television standards for the rest of the country by encouraging its
members to file complaints with the FCC.  It seems that the press believes
that the hundreds of thousands of complaints filed by outraged citizens
over the rampant raunch on television somehow don't count simply because
the complainant belongs to an organized group.

If the networks put an FCC complaint form on their websites or if they
flashed the FCC's phone number across the screen between shows there would
be a flood of complaints. Parentstv.org is currently the only website that
provides this useful tool.

But the number of complaints filed, and where they're coming from
shouldn't matter.  Whether we're talking about one complaint or one
million, it all boils down to one issue: Are networks breaking the law by
showing indecent content and will the FCC do its job to enforce the
indecency laws?

Who Would Allow Themselves To Be Impregnated By This Man?

I missed this report in November from planetout's Chris Bull. Once piece of information -- which I didn't know before -- completely shocked me.

Karl Rove has children???

Blaming the System

Karl Rove, Bush's ubër-strategist, was spotted shortly after the election at a trendy Dupont Circle hair salon with a large gay clientele.

A well-connected D.C. gay activist, sitting in an adjacent chair, told Bull's Eye that Rove, whose nearly bald head requires nothing more than a trim, sat down with a satisfied grin.

"I hope you're happy now," the activist told Rove, whose grin hardened into a smirk.

It was only by the grace of the employees that Rove, who steered Bush to re-election through the adroit manipulation of 11 anti-gay marriage measures, wasn't picking himself off the sidewalk.

I'm not relaying this story to out Rove. He's not gay. But he is a hypocrite. He runs in an elite Washington, D.C., political world where queerness is a non-issue. He socializes with gay men and lesbians; he picks his kids up from an elite school alongside same-sex parents. Several of his top political operatives are known to be gay.

Yet there he was on Fox News, the day after the election, bragging that the Bush campaign's emphasis on "moral values" had been decisive. The Federal Marriage Amendment, he declared, is necessary for the return of a "hopeful and decent" society.

This moralism comes from a man who Wayne Slater, author of "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential," argues is utterly devoid of "moral values."

"I know Karl real well," Slater, who covered Rove as a reporter at the Dallas Morning News, told Bull's Eye. "Everyone wants to know what his true core beliefs are. The answer is that he has none. He is no more anti-gay than he is anything else.

"His whole thinking is about what mobilizes constituencies for his candidate. If he thought a tolerant approach to gay people would work, he would use that. The genius of his approach is that he's completely detached from the emotional quotient of these issues. He thinks purely in terms of winning and losing."

Rove, who is said to be a devoted father, did show a glimmer of a conscience after one of the most divisive elections in recent American history. In a post-election interview, he responded defensively to critics who charged that his political tactics are an unholy mix of dirty tricks and bigotry.

Rove had an answer: Don't blame me, he said, "blame the system."

The system made me do it. There's that old conservative sense of responsibility the nation has been missing during the Bush years.

Link --> http://www.planetout.com/news/feature.html?sernum=995

Must-Miss TV

Matthew Shepard Redux

November 30 -- The good news is that ABC's revisionist Matthew Shepard special, "A Murder in Laramie," was more than just a journalistic bomb. It was a ratings disaster, finishing third in the Friday time slot after a "CSI" repeat and "Eyewitness to History." That means that fewer than 10 million viewers were privy to the show's bizarre attempt to eliminate animus from the welter of motives behind history's most notorious gay-bashing. -- Chris Bull

Link: http://www.planetout.com/news/feature.html?sernum=995

There's a Reason They're Not Doctors or Scientists

Jim Buzinski from Outsports.com has compiled a list of anti-gay slurs uttered by public sports figures in recent years. It makes for interesting reading (especially Buzinski's retorts) -- and reminds us all that the stereotype regarding "dumb jocks" is based on some level of reality. Here's just a couple to whet your appetite -- and ire:

The Outsports List of Anti-Gay Sports Slurs

Terrell Owens

Philadelphia Eagles receiver (2004)
Slur: "If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it is a rat" (implying former teammate Jeff Garcia is gay).
Analysis: Owens should be the last guy inferring that someone is gay. He fits several gay stereotypes: He's single and flamboyant and totally obsessed with his body. He loves parading around during practice clad in form-hugging lycra warm-up clothes, even in the coldest of weather. He also did the gayest thing we've ever seen on a football field when he shook pom-poms after scoring a touchdown in 2002.

Michael Jordan

Washington Wizards (2001)
Slur: "You [expletive] flaming faggot. You don't get a foul call on a [expletive] little touch foul, you [expletive]. Get your [expletive] back on the floor and play. I don't want to hear that out of you again. Get your ass back and play, you [expletive]." (Said to teammate Kwane Brown during October 2001 practice, according to a Washington Post Magazine article on June 14, 2002.)
Analysis: This received no attention from the mainstream media. Is it because Jordan is an icon? Or is it because that language (unfortunately) is heard at practices everywhere?

Read them all here --> http://www.planetout.com/health/fitness/?sernum=3049

57 Million Strong

Michael Moore recently sent to his mailing list this letter he received from a friend. It's an incredible analogy.

Moore says: "While we reflect on what went wrong, I would like to pass on to you an essay that a friend who works with abuse victims sent to me. It was written by a woman who has spent years working as an advocate for victims of domestic abuse, and she sees many parallels between her work and the reaction of many Democrats to last month's election. Her name is Mel Giles and here is what she had to say:"

Walk Away

Watch Dan Rather apologize for not getting his facts straight, humiliated before the eyes of America, voluntarily undermining his credibility and career of over thirty years. Observe Donna Brazille squirm as she is ridiculed by Bay Buchanan, and pronounced irrelevant and nearly non-existent. Listen as Donna and Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer take to the airwaves saying that they have to go back to the drawing board and learn from their mistakes and try to be better, more likable, more appealing, have a stronger message, speak to morality. Watch them awkwardly quote the bible, trying to speak the "new" language of America. Surf the blogs, and read the comments of dismayed, discombobulated, confused individuals trying to figure out what they did wrong. Hear the cacophony of voices, crying out, "Why did they beat me?"

And then ask anyone who has ever worked in a domestic violence shelter if they have heard this before.

They will tell you: Every single day.

The answer is quite simple. They beat us because they are abusers. We can call it hate. We can call it fear. We can say it is unfair. But we are looped into the cycle of violence, and we need to start calling the dominating side what they are: abusive.  And we need to recognize that we are the victims of verbal, mental, and even, in the case of Iraq, physical violence.

As victims we can't stop asking ourselves what we did wrong. We can't seem to grasp that they will keep hitting us and beating us as long as we keep sticking around and asking ourselves what we are doing to deserve the beating.

Listen to George Bush say that the will of God excuses his behavior. Listen, as he refuses to take responsibility, or express remorse, or even once, admit a mistake. Watch him strut, and tell us that he will only work with those who agree with him, and that each of us is only allowed one question (soon, it will be none at all; abusers hit hard when questioned -- the press corps can tell you that). See him surround himself with only those who pledge oaths of allegiance. Hear him tell us that if we will only listen and do as he says and agree with his every utterance, all will go well for us (it won't; we will never be worthy).

And watch the Democratic Party leadership walk on eggshells, try to meet him, please him, wash the windows better, get out that spot, distance themselves from gays and civil rights. See the Democrats cry for the attention and affection and approval of the President and his followers. Watch us squirm.  Watch us descend into a world of crazy-making, where logic does not work and the other side tells us we are nuts when we rely on facts. A world where, worst of all, we begin to believe we are crazy.

How to break free? Again, the answer is quite simple.

First, you must admit you are a victim. Then, you must declare the state of affairs unacceptable. Next, you must promise to protect yourself and everyone around you that is being victimized. You don't do this by responding to their demands, or becoming more like them, or engaging in logical conversation, or trying to persuade them that you are right. You also don't do this by going catatonic and resigned, by closing up your ears and eyes and covering your head and submitting to the blows, figuring its over faster and hurts less if you don't resist and fight back.

Instead, you walk away. You find other folks like yourself, 57 million of them, who are hurting, broken, and beating themselves up. You tell them what you've learned, and that you aren't going to take it anymore. You stand tall, with 57 million people at your side and  behind you, and you look right into the eyes of the abuser and you tell him to go to hell. Then you walk out the door, taking the kids and gays and minorities with you, and you start a new life. The new life is hard. But it's better than the abuse.

We have a mandate to be as radical and liberal and steadfast as we need to be.  The progressive beliefs and social justice we stand for, our core, must not be altered. We are 57 million strong. We are building from the bottom up. We are meeting, on the net, in church basements, at work, in small groups, and right now, we are crying, because we are trying to break free and we don't know how.

Any battered woman in America, any oppressed person around the globe who has defied her oppressor will tell you  this: There is nothing wrong with you. You are in good company. You are safe. You are not alone. You are strong. You must change only one thing: Stop responding to the abuser.

Don't let him dictate the terms or frame the debate (he'll win, not because he's right, but because force works). Sure, we can build a better grassroots campaign, cultivate and raise up better leaders, reform the election system to make it fail-proof, stick to our message, learn from the strategy of the other side. But we absolutely must dispense with the notion that we are weak, godless, cowardly, disorganized, crazy, too liberal, naive, amoral, "loose," irrelevant, outmoded, stupid and soon to be extinct. We have the mandate of the world to back us, and the legacy of oppressed people throughout history.

Even if you do everything right, they'll hit you anyway. Look at the poor souls who voted for this nonsense. They are working for six dollars an hour if they are working at all, their children are dying overseas and suffering from lack of health care and a depleted environment and a shoddy education.

And they don't even know they are being hit.

Monday, December 20, 2004

God Is A Lesbian

File this under: "Why we love Hollywood."

Ellen To Play God

In a remake of the 1977 movie "Oh, God!" -- which is sure to stir up debate among the Religious Right -- Ellen DeGeneres will take on the role made famous by George Burns, according to Variety.

The new film will be backed by executive producer Jerry Weintraub, who also worked on the original "Oh, God!"

He says Ellen was chosen because of her comedy past.

"Ellen is a strong comedienne, and she has always done material about God and questions about God," Weintraub told the magazine.

"She will help us with the writing, and using her will allow us to do a proper 2005 view of 'Oh, God!' that is hip and modern."

..."Oh, God!" is expected to start filming next year.

Click here to read the entire article --> http://www.planetout.com/entertainment/news/?sernum=844

Monday, December 13, 2004

Barracks Are Hot

It looks as though the "don't act, don't tell" policy is finally starting to not make sense to military officials. Funny -- it never made sense to any of the rest of us.

Military Appeals Court Reverses Heterosexual Sodomy Conviction

December 12 -- A military appeals court has overturned the conviction of a soldier for heterosexual sodomy in a decision that legal scholars and advocates for gay rights say may have broader implications for gays serving in the armed forces.

The decision, issued late last month by the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, was based in part on the Supreme Court opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which declared last year that the Texas sodomy statute violated the right to privacy.

The case before the Army court involved a male Army specialist who admitted that he had engaged in consensual oral sex in a barracks room with a female civilian whom he had met at a nightclub. But those seeking to abolish the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and some legal experts, say the ruling is also applicable to private gay sex -- thus cracking the foundation of the military's rationale for requiring gays to serve in silence... -- John Files

Read the entire article here --> http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/13/politics/13soldier.html?ei=5088&en=39f2d18b32a88aa0&ex=1260680400&partner=rssnyt&pagewanted=print&position=

Saturday, December 11, 2004

...And Counting

If you're keeping track, here's the current rundown of the places that recognize same-sex unions: New Zealand, Canada, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

Oh, yeah -- and 1/25th of the United States (Massachusetts and Vermont).

In 50 years, this list will be too lengthy to recite. Everybody, join in with me now: "It's been a long, long time coming/But I know a change gonna come...."

New Zealand Recognizes Same-Sex Unions

December 9 -- New Zealand's Parliament has adopted legislation to legally recognize civil unions between same-sex partners.

The Civil Union Bill, which narrowly squeaked by at 65 votes to 55 on Thursday, gives gay and lesbian couples the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples in areas such as child custody, property, taxes, retirement benefits and welfare.

Read the entire article here --> http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2004/12/09/NZ-same-sex-041209.html

Get the @#$)&#$ Out of My Church

Writer Pam Harrison has a good handle on what the fundies in the Religious Right are all about. I think one could sum it up by citing a verse in the Bible -- one of the ones that start with "Hypocrites!" She's absolutely right when she says they concern themselves with casting judgement on others and concocting lists of potentials sins -- leaving no time for performing good works. If that's what their churches are about, perhaps it's fortunate they don't want to make a place for fair-minded Americans. We're far too concerned with matching word with deed to ever be able to fit in.

Holiness and Homosexuality

"I believe that even the testimony of Scripture is far from clear on this subject."

-- The senior pastor of Elizabeth Stroud's church, the Rev. Alfred Day III.

The big GLBT news of the past week has been the report of the lesbian pastor Elizabeth Stroud in Pennsylvania being defrocked and a Lutheran church in California being stripped of its status because of lesbian pastor Jenny Mason. America has been handed yet another example of the fact that this country and its religion are only reserved for straight people. The rest of us can, I suppose, get the bleep out. It reminds me of my childhood when we set up our tree house club and only let in certain kids of the neighborhood. Unlike the Religious Right, we learned our lesson from this bit of childhood discrimination very quickly: Once you kick everyone out, there are not enough people left in to have any fun. It gets boring when you have only a couple of kids left in the tree house staring at each other. Everyone else has taken their toys and moved on. And you sit there looking stupid.

You¹re damn straight -- pun intended -- that I¹m calling the Religious Right immature and intolerant in these dealings. According to nearly every religion, God or the Gods created us all, but we seem to have taken it upon ourselves to decide whom God favors over another. From the time the first cave people trembled in awe at the majesty of a thunderstorm, there has been religion: the reverence for the power of a higher being. Many of the greatest minds of ancient times were devoutly religious according to their own faiths, but their homosexuality was not regarded as spectacularly worth harping about until the AD era. ... Sin, ethics, and morality -- all these have been redefined many times over in the course of history. The bottom-line basis of religion is that everyone is basically good; and if we¹re not, then we damn well should be. Religion defines and sets the limits and expectations of our ethics and morality. Being self-righteous, on the other hand, carries its own little bit of baggage.

...I found this little goodie on a Churches of Christ website: ³We are attempting to accumulate as complete a list as possible of all of the sins that are mentioned in the Bible and the biblical reference locations of each sin. We feel this list will be of great help to those studying sin as well as help those who may read it to find out what the Lord considers sin so that they may avoid itŠ Our goal is to bring the greatest possible glory to God.²

...They¹re too busy nitpicking over defining sin to do the good works God asked them to do. In my Bible, there are about 378 listed sins, by chapter and verse. Everything is a sin according to the Bible. Taking pride in your own accomplishments is a sin. Standing up to an abusive spouse is a sin. Standing up to authority is a sin. Trust me ­ according to (the King James translation), if you¹re breathing, you¹re a sinner.

By the way ­ all the Angel Trees in our local stores are still stuffed with angels waiting to be sponsored. It seems our Christian community is too busy chasing homos out of its church to actually be setting a good example for the needy this Christmas. Maybe the poor aren¹t fashionable this year, either. While they¹re busy foaming and ranting about who is more deserving of Jesus¹ love and spending all their collection money on pretty new churches, I think the GLBT community needs to take the opportunity to help a needy child and buy up these angels. That¹ll show Œem. -- Pam Harrison

Read the entire column here --> http://www.outinchicago.com/arts/speakingof.asp

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Groovy Merchants

I don't know much about this shop at CafePress.com, but with merchandise that says "Marriage Is A Civil Right," "Focus On Your Own Damn Family," "I Only Support Gay Marriage If Both Guys Are Hot" and "I Don't Care If You're Straight, Just Act Gay in Public" (not to mention some devilishly clever anti-Bush propaganda), Angry Liberal has my full endorsement.

Just in time for Christmas!

Check it out now --> http://www.cafepress.com/angryleft/329042

Personally, I Think Erectile Dysfunction is Rather Controversial

>From RawStory.com:

UCC to Seek Revocation of Licenses for Two Stations Over Ad Ban

December 9 -- The United Church of Christ is seeking to protest the license renewals of two Miami stations that are up for renewal this year by the Federal Communications Commission after an ad welcoming gays and minorities to their church was rejected as ³too controversial² by the NBC and CBS television networks.

>From their release:

CLEVELAND ­ The United Church of Christ today (Dec. 9) is filing two petitions with the Federal Communications Commission, asking that two network owned-and-operated television stations in Miami be denied license renewals for failing to provide viewers ³suitable access² to a full array of ³social, political, esthetic, moral and other ideas and experiences.²

WFOR-TV (a CBS station) and WJVT-TV (an NBC station) ­ whose operating licenses are currently up for FCC review ­ are being challenged because ³there is substantial and material question² as to whether the stations¹ parent companies, Viacom, Inc., and the General Electric Company, have operated the stations in the public interest, the petitions state.

The action stems from a much-publicized decision by both networks to deny an advertisement that makes clear the church¹s welcome of diverse, even marginalized, segments of the population. CBS and NBC have said the all-inclusive ads are ³controversial² and, therefore, amount to ³issue advocacy,² something the networks have said they do not allow.

In a signed statement that accompanies the petition, the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC¹s general minister and president, said, ³The religious, ethical and moral right of members of UCC churches and other citizens to have access to diverse programming has been harmed by the refusal of NBC and CBS to carry [the ad], as well as by their failure to carry programming reflecting the full range of religious expression in the United States on their networks and on their owned-and-operated stations.²

Similarly signed complaints from a group of UCC members in south Florida make the case that those who live in the network stations¹ viewing area are being denied a positive message of inclusion.

³Ensuring that all Americans, especially women and people of color, have the opportunity to be seen and heard in today¹s media-saturated culture is vital to free expression,² said the Rev. Robert Chase, director of the UCC¹s communication ministry. ³It gives voice to God¹s rich mosaic and is essential in a full democracy.²

Said Andrew J. Schwartzman, President and CEO of Media Access Project, ³Broadcasters agree to serve the needs of the communities where they are licensed in exchange for receiving free use of publicly owned airwaves. That means everyone, not just people their advertisers care about.²

³The viewing public is harmed when powerful networks can label an ad Œcontroversial¹ and refuse to air it. Repeal of the Fairness Doctrine was supposed to result in the airing of more, not less, Œcontroversial¹ programming,² said Angela Campbell, Director of Georgetown University Law Center¹s Institute for Public Representation. ³It is time for the FCC to re-examine whether some sort of public right of access is required under the Communications Act and the First Amendment.²

Ironically ­ long before the current television ad controversy ­ the United Church of Christ, through its Office of Communication, Inc. (OC, Inc.), has been at the forefront of media access issues for more than 40 years. During the civil rights era, the UCC was the first voice to demand that those holding FCC licenses and authorizations act on behalf of the public interest and be held accountable as stewards of the public trust.

Only three months ago, on Sept. 1, 2004, the UCC¹s Office of Communication, Inc., filed a petition with the FCC to deny license renewals of two television stations serving the Washington, D.C., area for failing to serve the educational needs of children.

³Who would have guessed that it would one day be our voice that was silenced?² Chase said. ³When CBS and NBC refused to  air our commercial because they considered it Œtoo controversial,¹ we found ourselves in the very position as other groups for whom we have historically been advocates.²

Gloria Tristani, OC Inc.¹s managing director and a former FCC commissioner (1997-2001), said, ³NBC and CBS and their stations must be accountable to the communities they are licensed to serve. How can it be in the public interest for television stations to exclude a church¹s message of inclusion?²

The FCC filing was done on behalf of the United Church of Christ by lawyers from Media Access Project and the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University.

Link: http://www.bluelemur.com/index.php?p=483

Oh, Canada!

Canada's looking better and better everyday.

Court Backs Gay Marriage in Canada

December 9 -- Canada's supreme court has said the government can legalise gay marriage but has stopped short of requiring it to change the constitution. 

Ottawa had hoped the court would force it to allow gay marriage across Canada, making it politically easier to push draft legislation through parliament.

But the higher court refused to give an opinion on the issue and any legislation will now have to go through the 155-seat legislature.

Instead, the court declared only that the government had the authority to legislate on marriage and that its proposed definition of marriage as "the lawful union of two persons" would not violate the constitution.

Canada would join Belgium and the Netherlands in allowing gay marriage if the government rules that it is legal nationwide.

The court's decision brings to the final stages a bitter fight over whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry in Canada.

Judges in six provinces and one territory have already overturned the traditional definition, allowing thousands of same-sex weddings.

The move comes after Massachusetts held the first legal gay marriages in United States history earlier this year.

Attempts to push through a constitutional amendment to same-sex marriage have so far been rejected by the US Senate.

Link: http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/12/09/ugay.xml

Write the FCC on Behalf of the Church of Christ

Lodge a series of complaints with FCC commissioners, encouraging them to deny the licenses to the two networks that censored the gay-friendly church ad I've referred to a few times this week. Here's a sample note:

Dear Mr. Powell: (michael.powell@fcc.gov)
Dear Ms. Abernathy: (kathleen.abernathy@fcc.gov)
Dear Mr. Copps: (michael.copps@fcc.gov)
Dear Mr. Martin: (kjmweb@fcc.gov)
Dear Mr. Adelstein: (jonathan.adelstein@fcc.gov)

I received this release (see below) from the United Church of Christ today. I most heartily concur with the Church's position. The action by the two television networks to ban the church's ad on grounds that it is "too controversial" is a red herring. Because they utilize public airwaves, both networks must act in accordance with society's best interest. The public interest is not served by their arbitrary decisions to censor ads with which they might not agree.

I hope you will investigate this issue and determine a fitting course of action that ensures all groups of Americans continue to be served by diverse, tolerant and respectful programming -- whether it is potentially controversial or not.

I appreciate your time and consideration.

Your Name & Contact  Information

Thanks to the fine people at the Parents Television Council for providing the e-mail addresses!

Doing My Part

Today I got my first Action Alert from the Parents Television Council, the conservative group I'm infiltrating (see previous entry from this week). Lo and behold -- they're looking for volunteers to lead chapters in cities across the nation. Check it out:

THE PTC IS LOOKING FOR LEADERS. We want to have a PTC chapter in every city, in every state in America! So we need people who will to stand up for entertainment decency and join or start a PTC chapter. If you are passionate about improving entertainment, then reference our list of chapters on the web site. If we don't have a chapter in your community then please consider starting one. Contact our Grassroots Department by email or call the PTC National Office at 1-800-882-6868. Our children will thank you.

Looks as though I'll be taking a more active role in their organization!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Conservative Group Values Hate Crimes

It's not going to be hard to convince fair-minded Americans that religious, conservative groups are extremist and don't have their interests at heart when they go on record in favor of hate crimes. The President of the Family Policy Network says a U.S. Senator does not defend the group's values -- which, presumably, include condoning violent crime against people with whom you aren't comfortable.

How hard and morally challenging would it be to just agree that no one deserves to be a victim of a hate crime?

Note: This is not an article -- it is verbatim copy from the Family Policy Network's web site (although edited to correct misspellings and poor grammar):

George Allen Lied to Conservatives

Hate Crimes Vote Breaks Promise NOT to Support 'Gay Rights' Legislation

A Virginia-based pro-family organization is launching a major offensive against U.S. Senator George Allen (R-VA) this week for voting to add "sexual orientation" to the Federal Hate Crimes Act on June 15. Allen, while campaigning for the U.S. Senate in 2000, pledged his opposition to pro-homosexual legislation with conservative Christians. Just halfway into his first term in office, Allen is breaking his promise.

Since joining the Senate in 2001, George Allen has frustrated conservative constituents by becoming more and more supportive of pro-homosexual causes, even recently lending his name and signature to pro-homosexual lobbying efforts among the legislators in the Virginia state capitol. Last week's Hate Crimes vote in Washington is the latest in a string of actions by Allen that seems to solidify his status as one of the GOP's most pro-homosexual legislators.

Joe Glover, President of the Family Policy Network (FPN) said, "As a candidate, George Allen made it perfectly clear that adding 'sexual orientation' to the list of federal hate crimes would elevate homosexuality to civil rights status." He added, "He promised not to support any such legislation once he was elected. It's obvious now that he can't be trusted to keep his word, much less to defend our values."

Read the entire press release here --> http://www.familypolicy.net/yr/2004/allen-6-23-04.php

Shouldn't They Be Watching What Their Kids Are Watching?

It figures some group of radical conservatives is behind the crappy programming decisions the networks are making lately. The Parents Television Council (read about their aggressive, misguided campaigning below) criticizes shows as indecent for these grave offenses: "homosexual innuendo," "homosexual characters," a "homosexual kiss," "trying to push gay rights" and "homosexually-themed art displays."

The PTC, whose motto is "Because Our Children Are Watching," takes special exception to shows such as "Sex and the City," "Will & Grace" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Would it be too much for some of these folks to forego some of the time they spend censoring TV for the rest of us and instead monitor -- and control -- what their children are actually watching? Why isn't turning off the set an option in their households?

Time to fight fire with fire. Go to the PTC's web site and sign up for their Action Alerts. Then, when they send out an e-mail calling for your response, simply change the wording so you demand the FCC does exactly the opposite of what the PTC suggests.

Hey -- they've made it easy for people to exercise undue majority control over what we all see on TV. We might as well use their system for our benefit.

Activists Dominate Content Complaints
December 6 -- In an appearance before Congress in February, when the controversy over Janet Jackson¹s Super Bowl moment was at its height, Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell laid some startling statistics on U.S. senators.

The number of indecency complaints had soared dramatically to more than 240,000 in the previous year, Powell said. The figure was up from roughly 14,000 in 2002, and from fewer than 350 in each of the two previous years. There was, Powell said, ³a dramatic rise in public concern and outrage about what is being broadcast into their homes.²

What Powell did not reveal -- apparently because he was unaware‹was the source of the complaints. According to a new FCC estimate obtained by Mediaweek, nearly all indecency complaints in 2003 -- 99.8 percent -- were filed by the Parents Television Council, an activist group.

This year, the trend has continued, and perhaps intensified.

Through early October, 99.9 percent of indecency complaints...were brought by the PTC, according to the FCC analysis dated Oct. 1.

The prominent role played by the PTC has raised concerns among critics of the FCC¹s crackdown on indecency. ³It means that really a tiny minority with a very focused political agenda is trying to censor American television and radio,² said Jonathan Rintels, president and executive director of the Center for Creative Voices in Media, an artists¹ advocacy group.... -- Todd Shields

Read the entire article here --> http://www.mediaweek.com/mediaweek/headlines/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000731656
Find the PTC web site here --> http://www.parentstv.org/

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Another Argument for Watching Cable

The Boston Globe's Eileen McNamara takes CBS and NBC to task for refusing to air that commercial I referred to in my post yesterday. She is right on when she asks, "Shouldn't CBS and NBC have to apologize to the rest of us for suggesting that tolerance is too toxic an idea to be broadcast on the public airwaves?"

A Chill in the Air

...The latest act of fealty to the conservatism now in vogue in Washington is the refusal of CBS and NBC to run an ad from a mainstream Christian denomination on the grounds that its message could generate controversy and be perceived as "advocacy advertising." (ABC does not accept any religious advertising.) The networks say they refuse such ads as a matter of policy, although they certainly showed no reluctance to run advocacy political ads this fall that were both inflammatory and demonstrably false.

The radical notion promoted by the 30-second commercial from the United Church of Christ is inclusiveness, an idea deemed controversial because it encompasses gay people, the pariahs of the conservative values crowd in the ascendancy this post-election season. Never mind that the disputed ad could not be more innocuous. It shows two bouncers manning a rope line outside a church, weeding out those unworthy to attend services. They reject two men holding hands and several nonwhites. A text proclaims: "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we." A narrator then intones, "No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here."

CBS rejected the ad on the grounds that it does not accept advertising that takes a position on one side of a contentious issue. What issue? Bouncers? CBS pointed out in a letter to church leaders that the Bush administration has proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would outlaw gay marriage. So? It has also proposed drilling for oil in the Arctic Nation Wildlife Refuge. What has either of those misguided ideas got to do with this ad?

The commercial in question says nothing about gay marriage. Indeed, it says nothing about homosexuality, although the United Church of Christ's willingness to welcome gay people is inferred from a brief shot of two men holding hands and another of a woman in a pew with her arm around another woman. Not even such wild public displays of affection constitute a marriage proposal. I'm not even sure why they constitute evidence of homosexuality.

I do know that the same ad aired on several CBS and NBC affiliate stations last March in test markets from Tampa to Oklahoma City without generating protests. One would have assumed that the benign reception the commercials received in those markets might have convinced the networks that the spots did not violate its corporate policy of shamelessly peddling sex and violence but studiously avoiding issues of public concern.

The election is over. When are the losers going to shake off their self-pity and start screaming about this kind of hypocrisy?

...If ABC can apologize to those who feigned indignation at a fleeting glimpse of Nicollette Sheridan's bare back on Monday Night Football, shouldn't CBS and NBC have to apologize to the rest of us for suggesting that tolerance is too toxic an idea to be broadcast on the public airwaves?

Read the entire piece here --> http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/index.php?id=474

They're Fortunate The Word "Gay" Only Has Three Letters

Is it Christopher Lamparello's fault religious fundamentalists can't spell?

He runs a web site at www.fallwell.com that criticizes Jerry Falwell's anti-gay messages. Falwell sued to stop him from using the domain name, contending it confuses viewers who intend to find Falwell's web site. Lamparello's site includes a prominent disclaimer that reads, "This web site is not affiliated with Jerry Falwell Ministries." Even so, this August a judge ruled in favor of the televangelist.

Falwell says Lamparello "is hostile to the message of the Gospel." Lamparello's eloquent response? "What the good Reverend needs to understand is that disagreeing with him is not tantamount to disagreeing with God."


Lamparello will be filing an appeal. I'm contacting him to send him a donation to defray his legal costs and encourage his efforts. I hope you'll consider doing the same. Contact him here.

In the meantime, perhaps we all should get together and work to rename the gay community. If gay people became known as something more verbose and multi-syllabic, it would more than likely completely thwart the fundamentalists, who would have to look for another group to attack that's easier for them to spell.

Falwell Wins Lawsuit Against Gay Activist Web Site with Similar Name

RICHMOND, Va. -- A judge has ruled that a gay activist must stop using a variation of the Reverend Jerry Falwell's name in the address for a Web site that criticizes the outspoken minister.

Federal Judge Claude Hilton said the domain name for the site -- fallwell-dot-com with an extra "l" -- is nearly identical to the registered trademark "Jerry Falwell" and is meant to confuse Web surfers. Hilton said the site's operator, Christopher Lamparello, intended to divert people from the Jerry Falwell Ministries' Web site "with the direct intent to tarnish or disparage" Falwell.

Read the entire article here --> http://www.kfvs12.com/Global/story.asp?S=2157497

Find Lamparello's site here (at least for the time-being) --> http://www.fallwell.com
Read Lamparello's response to the lawsuit here --> http://www.fallwell.com/lawsuit.html

Also, don't miss Lamparello's direct message to Falwell, in which he compares the God in which he believes with Falwell's -- which would you choose? Link: The Wrong Kind of God http://www.fallwell.com/newsRESPONSE.html

A Compassionate Response

Chris Bull, senior political correspondent at planetout.com, offers this strategy for reminding Christians to be -- ah -- Christian-like. It's good advice for handling those religious people who are evolved enough to civil and mature. But, I bet about half the fundamentalists in this country remain convinced they don't know or associate with anyone who is gay or lesbian (After all, most of their "leaders" go to great lengths to disown gay people from their families, ala Jerry Falwell.). They think it is their God-given right to be hateful and discriminatory.

Creating a parallel universe, which Bull says many fundamentalists have done, can only be a sign of anti-social, ignorant behavior. Waiting for a compassionate response from these types of religious people won't get gay people anywhere, will it? Standing firm, arguing loudly and exposing them as the childish hate mongers they are seems perfectly appropriate for combating them, no?

Bull seems to think that it's always going to be a battle between us and them. But when gay people appeal to other Americans, some who might be religious but are still fair-minded and compassionate, they quickly dissociate themselves from their anti-gay ilk. Who outnumbers who then?

"Misunderestimated" Evangelicals

November 30 -- ...Rather than cut and run, what we really need to do is to stay put and reach out. The Democrats spent most of the campaign trying to outnumber conservative evangelical voters. But at nearly a quarter of the electorate and growing -- the largest single voting bloc -- they simply can't be outvoted.

Instead, LGBTers must undertake a far more ambitious project, one that will be decades in the making. Since its emergence in the 1970s, the Christian right has been, in President Bush's mangled diction, "misunderestimated" both in its political clout and its commitment to the ill-defined notion of "moral values." Only by understanding this huge minority can we peel away a portion of it from the anti-gay activists who claim to speak for the whole.

This task is complicated by the lifestyles of conservative evangelicals. While gays and lesbians have assimilated, evangelicals have created their own parallel universe, based outside major metropolitan areas. These sprawling rural and exurban communities have established private Christian schools, businesses based on "biblical values" and their own media outlets that largely preclude opposing views.

The good news is that this daunting mission is already under way. Those who lead it know the religious right intimately: the gays and lesbians who grew up in fundamentalists communities. All over the country -- especially during this holiday season -- they are having wrenching conversations with family members.

Take my good friend, Paul, who had one such exchange with his sister, a Christian conservative who attends a small fundamentalist congregation in rural Massachusetts. Inspired by outrage over the state's legalization of same-sex marriage, the congregation supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Paul, who has been out to his family for nearly 30 years, confronted her: "I said, 'What hurts most is that were the situation reversed, and your rights as a Christian were somehow imperiled, your marriage at risk of discrimination, I would be the first to stand up for you.'"

Paul's sister had no answer to her brother's thoughtful moral challenge, and the two have not spoken since the conversation, which took place shortly before the election. But in the coming years, anti-gay evangelicals will be pressed to come up with a compassionate response. The "Christian" nature of their response will help determine the future of equality.

Read the entire article here --> http://www.planetout.com/news/feature.html?sernum=1004

Saturday, December 04, 2004

CBS and NBC Don't Want Gay People to Go to Church

And you thought television networks would air virtually any commercial if they could sell the air time. Not so! While almost anyone would understand censoring an ad that might be too violent or sexual, what about one from a group of churches that tastefully announces their doors are open to everyone? "Too controversial," say NBC and CBS. Interesting, isn't it, how these networks trip over themselves to produce programming targeted at and featuring gay people ‹ this is appropriate, they feel ‹ but still feel the need to police their paid advertising?

It makes me feel especially glad I leave the room when the commercials are on, anyway ‹ and generally prefer the shows on cable. The last round of Emmy Awards, where cable programming won most of the major awards, started to suggest network TV is on the brink of extinction, anyway. These network executives aren't going to be helping their own causes by making arbitrary decisions that don't take into account the public good.

Apparently, over at ABC -- home of desperate housewives who seduce NFL football players -- anything goes. In this case, I'm happy with that.

Columnist Scott Sherman does a good job of explaining the background of this story and pointing out NBC's and CBS's hypocrisy in more depth:

Playing the God Game

Friday, December 03, 2004 -- ...This week I had finished my column, and its topic was the hypocrisy and the hysterics of the mainstream media since the election. I was just pushing the send button to my editors when a press release clicked into my mailbox. I¹d like to share a little of what has happened in the past few days regarding one church that was going to invite gays and lesbians to come into its congregations and how NBC and CBS decided that its ad was just too controversial.

The United Church of Christ is generally known as the Congregational Churches. Many of Norman Rockwell¹s white steeple church scenes are Congregational Churches in New England, though the churches of that time and today are vastly different in beliefs. UCC has always been on the forefront of social reform, including the first woman pastor in America and the first African-American minister in an all-white church. UCC instituted the Open and Affirming (O&A) tenant of its denomination. It allows individual churches to openly accept GLBT members in their congregations. This program has been enormously successful, and I¹ve seen these O&A churches thrive.

UCC decided to launch another program called ³God is Still Speaking.² This program was to invite everyone to church. When I say everyone, I mean everyone. It was going to be the first program to nationally advertise an acceptance of GLBT members. More than $4 million had been raised to fund national advertising on television with two different 30-second commercials to air both on the alphabet and cable networks.

You can check out the ads at UCC's website. My favorite is the commercial in which two bouncers in front of a church admit people only dressed in Laura Ashley and suits. People of color, handicapped, and two men holding hands are turned away from the velvet rope by the bouncers. A nationally-known advertising agency developed these television ads and print version counterparts....

Presented to the networks to launch on Nov. 30, two networks decided not to air the commercials, deeming them too ³controversial.² I¹m finding it ironic almost to the point of hypocrisy on the part of NBC not to run these ads. Certainly the network of ³Will & Grace² and ³Saturday Night Live² is not one to shy away from controversy. I fondly remember when Matthew Broderick stood on stage and said penis more than 50 times in five minutes during a sketch on SNL. Hell, the Church Lady was an amalgam of every old lady in church. What¹s the beef with NBC?

The second station refusing the commercials is CBS. Now, I don¹t want too sound too bitchy, but it seems the only controversy that CBS likes to court is in the fact that its main anchor uses made-up documents for news stories. It would seem the network that has made millions off of God and church (³Touched by an Angel² and ³Joan of Arcadia²) would be a little more religious-friendly. If not because of the religion aspect, one would have to conclude that its problem would be the gays in the commercial.

Read the entire column here: http://www.outinchicago.com/arts/conservativelyspeaking.asp

No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome at the United Church of Christ.


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