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Anti-Gay Hate Group Uses Penn State Tragedy to Raise Money

11 Nov

Peter LaBarbera

Anti-Gay Hate Group, “Americans for Truth About Homosexuality” led by Peter LaBarbera has been a factory for lies and hatred of LGBT people for several years now. The lies perpetuated by LaBarbera have crossed the line of “offensive” and jumped straight into “crazy.” His obsession with gay pornography has earned him the popular nickname “Porno Pete,” and his unwavering dedication to spreading untruth and bile about the LGBT community is second-to-none.

But this evening, he has done something so hateful, so hurtful and outright malicious that I hope anyone observing will see the anti-gay movement for what it truly is.

In the past few days, a horrific story has come out of Penn State where an assistant football coach has been accused of molesting and raping several young boys. Even upon being observed raping a 10-year old boy in the school’s locker room, the accused was protected by the football coach, athletics directors and school administration. As if this was not bad enough, upon the firing of the football coach over these accusations, hundreds of Penn State students have abandoned any moral fiber within and taken to the streets to defend the coach who knowingly let these acts slide.

When these stories are being reported, it’s hard not to feel ill just thinking about what these children went through and how the defense of these people who covered up the atrocities must feel like they are being violated all over again.

This is all quite bad enough to deal with, but now that Peter LaBarbera has started reporting the story, he is not only using these horrific allegations to spread further lies about gay people, but he is trying to raise money off it as well.

When reading the words posted on his site, all of which have been debunked by the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association and every reputable medical association in the country, one cannot help but notice the enormous “DONATE HERE” button glaring on the right side of the story.

Some in this country still don’t believe in marriage equality, and I can understand that and work at having a coherent and respectful discussion about it. But this kind of propaganda and fear mongering, and the use of this horrible tragedy to raise money for your organization is simply beyond the pale.

The spreading of lies and hatred is one thing, but to try to make a quick buck off the story of these children is easily the worst thing I’ve seen in the modern anti-gay movement. LaBarbera should be ashamed. Please see the screen cap below to see what can be found on LaBarbera’s Hate Group’s website. Additionally, an email was sent to the organization’s list which featured the Penn State story followed by the following:


Matthew Shepard: 13 years ago today

6 Oct

On October 7, 1998, Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field in Wyoming. He wasn’t expecting that day to be different from any other beautiful sunny afternoon in the vast plains surrounding Laramie, but that day would change many lives.

Aaron spotted what he initially thought was a scarecrow next to a fence. Then he noticed a glisten of blood. The sun sparkled on what he barely recognized as a face. What Aaron had discovered was the 22 year-old Matthew Shepard, clinging to life.

Most of you know what happened next. Matthew held on for five more days and as his parents held his hand and prayed, Matthew slipped away quietly on October 12th, leaving in his wake a new movement for equality.

The outcries for justice and for greater protections were immediate and resonating.

Since then, Matthew’s mother Judy has made it her personal mission to protect all young LGBT people from Matthew’s horrific fate. In founding the Matthew Shepard Foundation, she has created safe spaces in and outside of schools for kids, and worked with parents to ensure their children learn to erase hate from their lives.

But overwhelmingly what you saw in 1998 was a community ready to act, ready to change something. And Matthew’s story was the catalyst for that. Many of you have seen or read the Moises Kaufman play, The Laramie Project – Matthew’s story as told through interviews of those who were living in Laramie at the time – some of his friends and some who just happened to be riding a bike through the plains of Wyoming that day. If you think of nothing else today, please consider the importance of telling your story – how your story can change the world around you.

This young boy, unbeknownst to him, has changed the world with his.

Texas Teacher Harassed by “Christian” Student Claiming 1st Amendment Rights

28 Sep

Dakota Ary

Some of you may have heard about Dakota Ary, the Fort Worth high school student who claims he was suspended for expressing his religious beliefs. Ary claimed that his German teacher broached the topic of homosexuality and Christianity when Ary stated “I am a Christian and I believe that homosexuality is wrong.” Ary was then sent from the classroom and suspended for 3 days.

Up until today, the teacher in question had not been allowed to speak about the incident, but via the group LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S., a rather different story is being told. According to teacher Kristopher Franks, a group of four students, (of which Ary is one) has been harassing him based on their suspicion that he is gay. Franks’ version of the story follows:

On the particular day in which this incident occurred, Mr. Franks was opening class when the topic of Christianity in Germany was broached by one student, who asked what churches were there, another whether they read the Bible in English, etc. Franks asserts that the topic of homosexuality was not broached in any way, and that Ary‘s assertions to the contrary are entirely false. At this point, Ary declared, with a class audience, “Gays can’t be Christians; homosexuality is wrong,” looking directly at Mr. Franks. Franks says he understands and affirms students’ right to free speech, and that he is perfectly prepared to lead a respectful discussion on topics such as gay rights that allows for the assertion of opinions with which he disagrees. He has led such discussion in the past in his sociology classes. But in this case, hr feels the context makes it clear that this remark was made ad hominem, aimed specifically at him to devalue him and any information he might share on the topic of religion, on the basis of his perceived sexual orientation.

LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S. goes on to request assistance in making sure Franks’ side of the story is heard fully. The contact info will be at the end of this post. One can’t help but consider the case of another student who took it upon himself to spread his beliefs about homosexuality while still young, impressionable and naive. We’ve written about Ryan Miner here before and his crusade to keep a Gay Straight Alliance group from forming on his former college campus. Miner  said some rather vile things in the press and like former Senator Rick Santorum, he now finds himself with a Google problem.

When Miner has applied for jobs, he’s admittedly found a great deal of difficulty in getting hired due to his previous bigoted statements. In this day and age, let’s face it – unless you’re working at the National Organization for Marriage, you will have to work with some LGBT people – and who wants to hire someone who is a known bigot and will likely cause friction among their coworkers? Miner has recently issued an apology for the things he said, though in an effort to discover Miner’s earnestness, we requested he do more (i.e. volunteer for an LGBT charity, donate to LGBT causes, etc). Our requests for Miner to back-up his new found “respect” for the LGBT community have gone unanswered.

Please read the rest of the post from LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S and help in any way you can.

It would be very helpful, and a grace rendered to the threatened teacher, Mr. Franks, if you and other community members would write letters and/or email messages to the school board members, assistant superintendent, and Western Hills High School principal, calling on them to give a respectful, caring, and full hearing to Mr. Franks’ side of the story. Time is of the essence: He is being interrogated by an external investigations group today, though no specific allegations have yet been made against him by the ISD. I will post their names, phone numbers and email addresses below. Please keep all messages respectful and restrained, calling simply for a fair, respectful and caring hearing of Mr. Franks’ side of the story, unswayed by the public outcry generated by the slanted media coverage. Do not go into the speculations or reports of his side of the case; that is for him to present.

Walter Dansby
Interim Superintendent
Fort Worth ISD
Email: walter.dansby@fwisd.org
Phone: 817.871.2000

James Wellman
Principal
Western Hills High School
Fort Worth ISD
Email: james.wellman@fwisd.org
Phone: 817.815.6000

Ray Dickerson
President
Board of Education
Fort Worth ISD
Email: ray.Dickerson@fwisd.org

Carlos Vasquez
Board Member, District 1
Board of Education
Fort Worth ISD
Email: carlos.vasquez@fwisd.org

Norman Robbins
Board Member, District 7
Board of Education
Fort Worth ISD
Email: norman.robbins@fwisd.org

Bradlee Dean: He’s a muslim, just thought you should know.

2 Dec

As we’ve written before the xenophobia and paranoia of evangelical groups, shock jocks, and extremist G.O.P. members is sometimes so extreme as to border hilarity.  Take for example Bradlee Dean (who?) of the religious ministry You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International.  On his AM radio show Saturday he ranted about Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to us Congress. Rep. Ellison is a strong supporter of LGBT rights. He supports Marriage Equality, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Hate Crimes Legislation, and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

But WAIT, he’s a muslim:

“What is Keith up to? I think we have to ask the question, Keith,” said Dean. “I’m just asking the gay communities what’s up with Keith Ellison because they are so foolish, blind and stupid not to figure out that their vice chair is a Muslim. This is no hidden secret, folks. This is in America. Who is this guy working for?”

“Why is this guy advocating the overthrow of the United States Constitution in the state of Minnesota?”

He goes on to say that Ellison is opening the door to Sharia Law (which he mispronounces as “sharee”) by advancing the homosexual agenda.  Setting aside, for the moment, that some interpretations of Sharia Law are consistent with Dean’s own views, the idea that the LGBT community would turn on an ally simply because of his religious heritage is absurd. Simply put, there is no way that advocating for LGBT equality would usher in extreme interpretations of any religious doctrine into the U.S. Constitution.

Normally this type of speech would go unnoticed.  It is increasingly the common language of the far right and is not particularly newsworthy.  What is unsettling is how close to the actual stance of the current GOP Dean’s views are, from the Minnesota Independent:

Dean and his ministry have close ties to the Republican Party and GOP elected officials and candidates including gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Secretary of State and current state Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, and state Rep. Dan Severson. Rep. Michele Bachmann has fundraised for the group extensively in recent years as well.

Read Bradlee Dean’s views for yourself and decide.

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