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8399NEWS -- 2014.03.05.Wednesday

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  • James Martin
    Mar 5, 2014
      Crimea and Putin Russia.
      Looks like the same thing as Hawaii and America.  We did the same thing to Hawaii beginning about 135 years ago.
      Princess Kaiulani
      2009 - PG - 97 minutes

      Lush scenery and gorgeous photography highlight this bio of Princess Kaiulani, a 19th-century Hawaiian princess raised in England but determined to maintain her people's independence from aggressive American businessmen.

      My comment ---
      An excellent movie detailing how America went in and took over.  A sad story indeed.  Just like Putin is doing in Crimea today.  His naval base is there, just like our was in Hawaii.  First we asked for naval facilities, then we just took over, overthrew the monarch (imprisoned her in her own house), and annexed all the islands.
      Putin is doing today the same thing that America did with Hawaii. 
      1) Racist Episodes Continue to Stir Ole Miss Campus
      2) PBS -- Integrating Ole Miss
      3) MPB -- Remembering the Freedom Rides
      4) Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission
      5) Quote of the past week -- Tony Perkins, FRC, decrying Arizona
      6) How conservatives lost the culture war
      7) Arizona veto moves gay rights into the mainstream
      8) Oklahoma appealing
      9) The dying right: Why Christian fundamentalists are in panic mode
      10) ALERT -- from the FRC
      11) Desmond Tutu warns of 'Nazi' parallel to Uganda anti-gay law
      12) Uganda tabloid prints list of 'top' homosexuals
      13) Many gays in Uganda now feel hunted and outcast
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAVPJH7IQxc Richie Havens sings Oxford Town (composed by Bob Dylan)
      lyrics included
      The Ole Miss campus is beautiful, but --->

      Racist Episodes Continue to Stir Ole Miss Campus

      OXFORD, Miss. — On the campus of the University of Mississippi, a few hundred yards from a monument honoring Confederate soldiers, a statue of the university’s first black student, who enrolled in 1962 amid rioting that left two people dead, stands as what administrators call a powerful symbol of progress.

      But when two unidentified men placed a noose around the bronze neck of James Meredith this week and left behind a flag with the Confederate battle emblem, it set into motion a new round of soul-searching in a place where past and present still restlessly coexist.

      “These events continue to happen semester after semester and year after year,” the student newspaper, The Daily Mississippian, said in an editorial. “All of our actions seem fruitless and impotent, leaving us broken, scared, humiliated and with burning, difficult questions: What we do we do about it? How do we stop these events from transpiring?”

      By many measures, the university, which hosted a presidential debate in 2008, is an entirely different place from the one Mr. Meredith entered, one that combines contemporary ambition with seductive charm. Nearly 41 percent of its undergraduates are from outside Mississippi, up from 33 percent a decade ago. Minorities make up nearly a quarter of the student body, and the university’s average ACT score is at its highest level ever.

      But reminders of the university’s Jim Crow past continue to permeate its idyllic campus, set among oaks and magnolias and fabled for the Grove, perhaps the most hallowed football tailgating spot in a region full of imitators.

      An epithet-saturated demonstration in the aftermath of President Obama’s 2012 re-election resulted in the arrests of two students.

      More recently, a September production of “The Laramie Project,” a play about the 1998 murder of a gay college student in Wyoming, gained notoriety after an outbreak of homophobic heckling by audience members.

      University officials readily acknowledge the residual intolerance that has so often called attention back to a place where the federal authorities had to force Mr. Meredith’s enrollment. And even as administrators note their successes, they concede that they are confronting a challenge with deep and difficult roots.

      “There are some people who see this institution through the eyes of the ‘60s and forever will,” said Donald R. Cole, the university’s assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs.

      Professor Cole and other administrators, including Daniel W. Jones, the chancellor, contend that while Ole Miss has made considerable headway in its quest to make peace with its past, change can take hold only so quickly.

      “The university has taken steps, both collectively and individually, to try to bring ourselves into the mainstream of America on thought about race,” Dr. Jones said. “If you look at how we behave and perform in most ways, we look more like other universities than we have in the past. That being said, you can’t erase the reality that the integration of this university was done in a more violent way than at other universities in the country.”

      But many students wonder whether the administration had exhausted its options and argue that the student body needs to mount a more aggressive stand against bigotry.

      “We don’t take ownership of this university,” Jonece Dunigan, a senior, said. “My life is kind of centered around work and going to school and studying until like 3 in the morning. The reason why these things happen again and again and again is because we allow them to happen again and again and again.”

      Ms. Dunigan, who is black, added, “Once the students step up and take ownership of the university and say, ‘This is our place, this is what we stand for,’ we can actually start making progress.”

      Fifteen fraternity presidents vowed in a statement to expel any member who participated in the attack on the statue, which they condemned as “a disgusting representation of a racist few.” The presidents said they did not know whether students had been involved in the vandalism.

      To others on the campus, university officials could do far more, and they believe that the administration’s careful pace has allowed the reputation of Ole Miss as a racial backwater to continue more than a half-century after Mr. Meredith enrolled.

      “If you bill yourself as Ole Miss and you call yourself the Rebels and the first thing a visitor to the campus sees is a Confederate monument, whether intentionally or not, it conveys an image,” said Charles W. Eagles, a history professor. “And that image is an image tied to the past, not a 21st-century image.”

      Professor Eagles, who wrote what many here believe is the definitive account of the university’s integration, argued that the university must take more forceful action that could anger its supporters.

      “If I could do one thing, the place would never be called Ole Miss again,” he said.

      In a state, though, where the university’s decision to change its official mascot from Colonel Rebel prompted a bill in the state Legislature to overturn that action, those words come close to heresy. And some, seeing the recent incident as an example of isolated misconduct rather than substantial problems, fear the administration could overreact to it.

      “It’s a mistake to base any decision on this, whether it was done by white racists or whether it was a hoax,” said Frank M. Hurdle, an Oxford lawyer and blogger. “Now, if you can show me that several hundred students got together in a meeting and did this, then I will be the first one to say that we need to have some systemic changes made. But we all know that’s not what happened.”

      And very little in Mississippi unfolds in entirely expected ways. Mr. Meredith, whose iconoclastic life included a stint as an aide to the arch-conservative Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, says the lessons of the incident have more to do with religion than race or higher education. “What has happened in America, particularly in Mississippi, is a breakdown of moral character,” Mr. Meredith, 80, said in a telephone interview. “It’s a lack of teaching of right and wrong and good and bad, the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer. That’s what the problem is.”

      Mr. Meredith said the “nonsense” episode would intensify his effort to have his likeness removed from the university’s campus.

      “It’s a false idol, and it’s an insult not only to God, it’s an insult to me,” Mr. Meredith said.

      University officials said they had begun taking steps to consider changes to the campus — where the road encircling the basketball arena remains Confederate Drive — even before this week’s incident.

      Dr. Jones said that Edward L. Ayers, the president of the University of Richmond, who worked in the Virginia capital to promote dialogue about the city’s own racial friction, would visit Oxford this weekend “to look at our campus, look at our names and offer us some advice.”

      But Ms. Dunigan said changes were also needed on a smaller, more personalized scale, among individuals who might carry with them traditions that quietly cause pain.

      “When we tailgate at the Grove, you still see people carrying their Confederate flag,” she said. “They say, ‘That’s my history. That’s my heritage.’ But do they know what that actually symbolizes? It’s still hurtful.”


      See also http://www.complex.com/city-guide/2014/02/university-of-mississippi-statue-honoring-james-meredith-defaced

      from Mississippi Public Broadcasting

      Integrating Ole Miss 

      Integrating Ole Miss presents the University of Mississippi as a microcosm for the Civil Rights Movement in the state and across the nation.

      In the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, James Meredith became the first Black student to enroll at Ole Miss. His application created an uproar that made news around the world and culminated in a deadly riot and federal intervention. Fifty years later, the university is fully integrated and, in 2008, international spotlight was once again on the university – this time, however, to cover a presidential debate that featured the man who would become America’s first Black President.

      From the status quo of 1960 to today, Ole Miss, like America, has grown and changed.

      My comment -- This is an excellent history of what happened.  It was produced by the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at Ole Miss, in association with Mississippi Public Broadcasting.  (Some people in Mississippi were not happy with this production!)
      See also
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8VvNkTXVCM James Meredith University of Mississippi 1962 Integration Riot
      See also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVqvCuOwpZU Deadly Riots at Ol' Miss
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUvHwoBDmWw Listening In: JFK on Integration in University of Mississippi
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAVPJH7IQxc Richie Havens sings Oxford Town (composed by Bob Dylan)
      lyrics included
      from Mississippi Public Broadcasting

      Remembering the Freedom Rides

      Every day during the month of May 2011, MPB TV and MPB Think Radio aired informational segments documenting the Freedom Rides in Mississippi. While the violence and turmoil in Alabama are often emphasized, the experience in Mississippi, which brought the efforts of the Freedom Riders to a head, is largely unknown. These pieces produced by MPB explain how the Rides came to an end in Jackson.

      Here is a sample of Southern Baptists at work in Mississippi in the 1960's. --->
      Spies of Mississippi
      PBS -- In the spring of 1964, the civil rights community is gearing up for "Mississippi Freedom Summer," during which hundreds, if not thousands, of mostly white student activists from the North will link up with mostly black freedom workers to accomplish what the Mississippi power structure fears the most: registering black people to vote. For the segregationists, Freedom Summer is nothing less than a declaration of war. The state responds by swearing in hundreds of new deputies, stockpiling tear gas and riot gear, and preparing the jails for an influx of summer "guests." But the most powerful men in the state have another weapon to fight integration. They have quietly created a secret, state-funded spy agency, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, answering directly to the Governor. During the height of the civil rights movement, sovereignty commission operatives employed a cadre of black operatives who infiltrated the movement, rooting out its future plans, identifying its leaders, and tripping up its foot soldiers. By gaining the trust of civil rights crusaders, they gathered crucial intelligence on behalf of the segregationist state.
      Southern Baptists continue their distastful behaviour today --->
      Quote of the past week ---
      Unfortunately though this is how fundamental freedoms are trampled. I mean you create a stampede by spooking politicians in the public with mis-information; but when the dust settles and the hired guns on the left go away, the people of Arizona are gonna realize that they were hoodwinked.
      --- Tony Perkins, Family Research Council (FRC), Wednesday 26 February
      --- live on Fox, repeated on The Reid Report/MSNBC
      How conservatives lost the culture war
      The triumph of gay marriage is rooted in the country's founding

      This is a demoralizing moment for combatants on the conservative side of the culture war. Every few days, it seems, a judge strikes down a state statute or constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. (The latest was in Texas.) The Supreme Court (or rather, Justice Anthony Kennedy) seems poised to nationalize gay marriage at any time. And of course there's the defeat of Arizona's anti-gay bill. The desperate effort of Arizona lawmakers to pass such a law in the first place (along with a similar ill-fated attempt in Kansas) recently inspired Andrew Sullivan to remark that we're living through the "death throes of the anti-gay movement."

      That may well be right. But what if we're living through something even more significant? A poll released this week by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute reinforces what a series of surveys have shown for years: An incredibly rapid and far-reaching shift toward public acceptance of both homosexuality and gay marriage. Indeed, PRRI's new numbers are so stunning that they inspired conservative culture warrior Rod Dreher to declare in no uncertain terms that "the culture war is over. The other side won."

      When it comes to gay issues, I think he's right. (Abortion is another matter altogether.)

      How did it happen? As I've argued before, the triumph of gay marriage can ultimately be traced back to the 2,000-year-old Christian ideal of equality. More recently, a shift in the definition of marriage took place after the introduction of the birth-control pill in 1957.

      But there's more to it than that. The traditionalist religious position on homosexuality was bound to lose as soon as it stopped shaping American culture as a whole, and became, instead, the outlook of one subculture among many. And that happened in the mid-1960s.

      (Much of what follows is adapted from my book The Religious Test.)

      Up until that time, Americans, and indeed most men and women in the Western world, considered homosexual desires to be gravely evil and acting on them even worse. This judgment was accepted by nearly everyone, including most homosexuals themselves, many of whom lived lives shot through with shame, denial, and self-loathing.

      Which is another way of saying that on matters of sexuality, Americans assumed a morality of ends, presuming that certain ways of living and acting are right or wrong in themselves, intrinsically, with their rightness or wrongness determined by the extent to which they conform to an ideal vision of humanity.

      One version of a morality of ends is taught today by the Roman Catholic Church, in an idiom derived from the natural-law writings of Thomas Aquinas. Human sexuality, the church claims, is ordered by God toward the end of procreation, and sexual desires and activities that aim primarily toward other ends (such as pleasure or intimacy) are essentially disordered and offensive to God — in a word, evil. Traditionalists from other religious groups, now and in the past, may describe their beliefs in less philosophically rigorous ways, but when they denounce homosexuality or any other form of extramarital and/or non-procreative sex, they inevitably do so in terms of some stated or implied morality of ends.

      But here's the thing: Our form of government isn't based on a morality of ends — and it isn't empowered to enforce one. It is based on and enforces a much more minimal morality of rights. Writing in the wake of Europe's religious civil wars, the liberal thinkers who most influenced the American constitutional framers (John Locke and Montesquieu) treated disagreement about ultimate ends as the normal condition of social life, and then sought to find common moral ground shared by every faction within society, regardless of the ends they pursued.

      That common ground turned out to be a belief in individual dignity and rights to life and liberty that flow from it. Most liberals have also added rights to private property and the pursuit of whatever ends (including happiness, however defined) the individual affirms, provided that those ends do not infringe on the equal rights of anyone else to do the same.

      But that leaves us with a puzzle: If liberal government is supposed to limit itself to upholding a morality of rights, how is it that the United States ended up with laws that forbade sodomy and policed other forms of sexual behavior when such laws are obviously expressions of a morality of ends?

      Here's how:

      The social and cultural consensus in favor of a morality of ends in sexual matters was so strong and so universally held that the government enforced it, despite its illiberalism. The consensus fundamentally shaped public opinion, which was echoed by elected public officials who wrote and enforced those restrictive laws. Meanwhile, no one thought to challenge those laws in the judicial branch of government; and even if someone did, judges (whose views are also shaped by public opinion) would have rejected it.

      As long as the morality of ends regarding sexual traditionalism held as a near-universal consensus, illiberal laws policing sex were safe. But as soon as that consensus started to break down — as soon as significant numbers of citizens started to make the case for sexual freedom — the liberal state was poised to begin withdrawing from enforcement of the newly contentious morality of ends and substituting a more minimal morality of rights. Short of overwhelming cultural and social consensus in favor of a morality of ends, this will always be the default position of the liberal state.

      From that point on, traditionalists would be perfectly free to continue adhering to their beliefs, but those beliefs would no longer have the force of law behind them because they now merely expressed the will of a part of society rather than the whole of society. What was once The Culture was now merely a subculture. (It remains an open question whether in the wake of the sexual revolution the U.S. has any unified culture at all — or if, instead, American "culture" is nothing more than the sum total of its subcultures.)

      That's how the liberal state began its inexorable retreat from enforcing a morality of ultimate ends in sexual matters — a retreat still underway but lurching closer to completion every day (with efforts to reverse it doomed to failure).

      It might sound obvious, but it's nonetheless true and too infrequently acknowledged: Conservatives lost the culture war in the 2010s because they lost the culture in the 1960s.

      Lots of comments at the URL.
      Late, but a prime example of a religion subculture needing some education --->
      my comment -- He does it so well. His bigotry, I mean.

      Arizona veto moves gay rights into the mainstream

      Why did Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer veto a 'religious rights' bill? The gay rights movement’s allies now include Chambers of Commerce, major businesses, and Republican lawmakers.

      By Brad Knickerbocker, Christian Science Monitor, March 1, 2014 10:41 AM

      Mark this as the week when gay rights – including the push for same-sex marriage – became clearly and perhaps irrevocably mainstream.

      Forty-five years after the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village protesting police raids on gay bars, then the first “Gay Pride” marches a few years later – events which shocked many Americans more used to homosexuality remaining in the closet – the movement’s newest allies are strictly conventional: Chambers of Commerce, major business groups, and Republican lawmakers.

      That’s clearly behind Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of a “religious rights” bill allowing commercial enterprises to refuse doing business with gay individuals and couples, including those shopping for wedding products and services. The message from opponents of the bill had been heard loud and clear, and it wasn’t just gay rights groups.

      As the Gannett news organization put it online:

      “Apple, American Airlines, Marriott, and American Express strongly opposed the legislation, saying it would be bad for business. The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee also called for a Brewer veto amid reports the NFL was looking at other sites for its 2015 championship game.

      “The state’s Republican US senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake … and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney also urged Brewer to nix the measure.

      “Five GOP lawmakers who had supported the bill said they regretted their votes because of the backlash and its potential impact on the economy and the state’s reputation.”

      In a letter to Brewer, the heads of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Greater Phoenix Leadership, and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council wrote: “We are troubled by any legislation that could be interpreted to permit discrimination against a particular group of people in the marketplace…. The bill could also harm job creation efforts and our ability to attract and retain talent.”

      The outcome in Arizona showed “there are economic consequences to discrimination,” Todd Sears, a former investment banker and the founder of initiatives focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality in business, told Politico.

      “You’re seeing corporations weighing in on the side of LGBT inclusion and social justice in a way that you would not have seen 10, 15, 20 years ago,” Mr. Sears said. “This is about good business and discrimination and helping our employees be better at their jobs.”

      It was a message quickly heard and acted upon by officials in other states considering similar “religious rights” legislation.

      The president of the Kansas Senate announced this week that his chamber would not take up a similar bill in the Kansas House, the Washington Post reported, and Ohio legislators withdrew their measure.

      Lawmakers in South Dakota and Utah tabled bills similar to Arizona’s, and a bill in Georgia is unlikely to make it out of committee. The sponsor of Tennessee's bill withdrew his sponsorship in early February.

      Meanwhile, a federal judge in Texas ruled against that state’s ban on same-sex marriage. That makes six states where judges have so ruled. (The others are Virginia, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Utah, and California.)

      Today, same-sex marriages are legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Given public opinion polls showing a majority of Americans – including a large majority of younger voters – now approving gay marriage, it seems likely that the number of such states will increase.

      While conservative churches and political organizations have fought that trend, a new study of public attitudes over the past decade indicates the challenges to that cause.

      “In the decade since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, Americans’ support for allowing gay and lesbian people to legally wed has jumped 21 percentage points, from 32 percent in 2003 to 53 percent in 2013, transforming the American religious landscape,” the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) reported this week.

      If anything, those who identify with a particular faith group are even more inclined to approve of gay marriage, the report finds. In addition to the 73 percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans who favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, majorities of Jewish Americans (83 percent), white mainline Protestants (62 percent), white Catholics (58 percent) and Hispanic Catholics (56 percent) currently support same-sex marriage.

      At the same time, churches which oppose gay marriage are finding a negative impact regarding younger members.

      “While many churches and people in the pews have been moving away from their opposition to LGBT rights over the last decade, this new research provides further evidence that negative teachings on this issue have hurt churches’ ability to attract and retain young people,” said PRRI chief executive officer Robert P. Jones. “Nearly one-third of Millennials who left their childhood religion say unfavorable church teachings about or treatment of gay and lesbian people played a significant role in their decision to head for the exit.”

      By KRISTI EATON, Monday 24 February 2014
      excerpt ---
      Lawyers who are appealing a federal judge's ruling that overturned Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage said in a court
      filing Monday that legalizing gay marriage would harm children, undermine society and make traditional marriages unstable.
      My comment ---
      Southern Baptists at work doing the lord's work. They think -- just like those in Africa they have abused and trained.


      Friday, Feb 28, 2014 05:34 AM PST

      The dying right: Why Christian fundamentalists are in panic mode

      The religious right knows that time is running out — and that makes them even more dangerous

      This article originally appeared on AlterNet.
      Like a cornered animal, which turns instinctively to confront pursuing predators, the Christian Right, knowing it represents the views of an ever shrinking number of Americans, is engaged in an existential fight to the death. Veto or no veto, Arizona’s anti-gay bill is just another of its many efforts to transform America’s secular democracy into a tyrannical theocracy.

      The Christian Right’s dirty little secret is they are acutely aware that changing demographics are running against them. While they may believe the earth is a mere few thousand years old, they’re not complete idiots. They can read polls, and the data tells them this: millennials are abandoning religious belief. According to a recent Pew survey, one in four Americans born after 1981 hold no religious belief, which is nearly double the national rate of atheism. Other studies confirm this trend, including a recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute showing more than half of non-religious Millennials have abandoned their childhood faith.

      With this in mind, the nation’s radical religious fundamentalists see an ever-shrinking window to impose their Bronze Age worldview on the gay, atheist, liberal, immigrant, heathen, and science book-reading masses. The American Taliban is as deeply troubled by the thoughts of a gay man “sneaking a peak” of a heterosexual man in an NFL locker room as much as they’re freaked out over seeing Cam and Mitchell, the gay couple on “Modern Family,” adopt an Asian child. For the intellectual infants of the American species, progressive culture is nothing more than a 24/7 infomercial for gay sex and abortion. That frightens our unfriendly theocrats because biblical fundamentalists are more concerned with the goings on in the bedrooms of others than they are within the guilt-ridden, sexless confines of their own.

      Brian Beutler writes that measures like Arizona’s SB1062 bill have emerged in a number of states out of “a wellspring of conservative panic about the country’s abrupt legal and cultural evolution into a society that’s broadly tolerant of gay people.” He adds, “Rather than deny the shift, or stop at trying to reverse it in legislatures, the courts and at ballot boxes, conservatives are instead attempting to erect a legal architecture that will wall them off from the growing portion of American society that supports equal rights for gay people.”

      These “religious freedom” bills did not arrive here overnight; they are three decades in the making. Prior to the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976, no serious presidential candidate ever claimed to have been “born again,” and the emphasis of faith for a politician seeking high office was as rare then as a candidate declaring his atheism is today. When Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson established the Christian Right (aka the Moral Majority) in 1979, no serious political commentator believed they could play a significant role in electoral politics. The screenwriter Norman Lear joked, “The Moral Majority is neither the moral point of view, nor the majority.”

      Long story short, the Christian Right swept Ronald Reagan into the White House in 1980. The Sarasota Journal wrote as much on Feb 9, 1981: “The merging of the political right with the religious right has taken the country by surprise.” It’s now 2014, and the most intellectually and morally stunted segment of American society continues to take this nation by surprise.

      The Christian Right has not only moved from the fringes to become the main strain of the Republican Party; it is the Republican Party. These radicals continually surprise us for the fact casual political observers mistakenly believe they represent the far-right fringe. You cannot sugarcoat the fact that a majority of Republicans in Arizona’s House, and also a majority of Republicans in Arizona’s Senate voted for this anti-gay law. Likewise a majority of Republicans in Kansas’ House voted for a similar bill. They voted for it because they want the freedom to discriminate against individuals they claim the Bible finds abhorrent.

      Worryingly, this act is a small part in a big pantomime to transform America into a theocratic nirvana—one that is absent gays, Muslims, immigrants, atheists, and science books. To achieve this, the instrument of choice is nullification. It is nullification of the federal government that weds theocrats together with libertarians and the neo-confederate movement. Since 2010, state legislatures have put forward nearly 200 bills challenging federal laws its sponsors deem unconstitutional. Typically, laws the nullifiers believe challenge “religious liberty,” the Affordable Care Act, and gun control.

      In an editorial for Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall observes that since the election of Obama and the rise of the Tea Party, “there’s been more and more reaching back to the discredited ideas of nullification, interposition and even, at the truly fringe extreme, secession. They are each efforts to preserve power for disempowered minorities after they’ve lost battles in the standard majoritarian system. More simply, they’re workarounds to get out of the consequences of losing political fights. And by definition they are rearguard actions. American history and constitutional jurisprudence has consistently ruled against them.”

      Marshall is right in part. But the point he misses is that elections are no longer determined by majority view, but rather by the availability of an endless pipeline of campaign cash, and on that social conservatives are no longer playing second fiddle to establishment Republicans. Thanks to Internet fundraising and changes to campaign finance laws, it’s now a case of the tail wagging the dog. According to the Federal Electoral Commission, Tea Party and social conservative groups raised nearly three times as much as GOP establishment groups in 2013, which is how you end up with a majority of Republicans in both houses of the Arizona congress voting for SB1062 in 2014.

      Salon’s Beutler writes, “The bad news is that this phenomenon isn’t limited to homophobia, and doesn’t always masquerade as an exercise of religious freedom. As America grows more liberal, conservatives are retreating into a variety of interlinking, but isolated subcultures and, when necessary, making or manipulating law to insulate themselves from contact with the masses.”

      The Christian Right’s ideology drives virtually all social policy debate within the Republican Party, whether it’s immigration, women’s reproductive rights, the death penalty, or same-sex marriage.

      Chris Hedges says the Christian Right’s ideology calls for the “eradication of social ‘deviants,’ beginning with gay men and lesbians, whose sexual orientation, those in the movement say, is a curse and an illness, contaminating the American family and the country. Once these ‘deviants’ are removed, other ‘deviants,’ including Muslims, liberals, feminists, intellectuals, left-wing activists, undocumented workers, poor African-Americans and those dismissed as ‘nominal Christians’—meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of the Bible—will also be ruthlessly repressed. The ‘deviant’ government bureaucrats, the ‘deviant’ media, the ‘deviant’ schools and the ‘deviant’ churches, all agents of Satan, will be crushed or radically reformed. The rights of these ‘deviants’ will be annulled. ‘Christian values’ and ‘family values’ will, in the new state, be propagated by all institutions. Education and social welfare will be handed over to the church. Facts and self-criticism will be replaced with relentless indoctrination.”

      While the Christian Right is becoming the dwindling minority, it remains an existential threat to civil rights, secularism and our democratic values. It’s a threat fueled by a seemingly unlimited supply of campaign finance, and a rabid base that believes it’s fighting for its place in a 21st-century world it can’t reconcile against an ancient book that says gays are an abomination. You know, like shellfish.

      CJ Werleman is the author of Crucifying America, and God Hates You. Hate Him Back. You can follow him on Twitter: @cjwerleman

      More CJ Werleman.
      "special rights" for rightwing southern baptists
      ALERT -- take action
      from the FRC -- Family Research Council -- political front for the Southern Baptist church
      March 4, 2014

      Dear _________,

      "Remember the Arizona" was the rallying cry of American forces in the Pacific during World War II. The fall of the U.S.S. Arizona, along with other ships and sailors at Pearl Harbor, became emblematic of the freedom for which Americans were fighting.

      Recent events have ensured that "Remember Arizona" will now become a rallying cry for religious freedom. Last week, amid a massive national misinformation campaign by the Left, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB1062 -- a bill that ensured the government couldn't force individual business owners to violate their religious beliefs. This bill improved the state's already existing Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which is like the Federal law, that prevents individuals and family owned businesses from being forced to trade their religious freedom for entrance into the public sphere. In other words, whether it's a wedding vendor, whose orthodox Christian faith will not allow her to affirm same-sex "marriage," or a business like Hobby Lobby or Conestoga Wood, whose faith bars them from providing drugs that have the potential to end a pregnancy, the provisions of RFRA would prevent discrimination against people of faith whether by the government or private parties using government laws and regulations.

      That's all the bill did -- ensure protection of the First Amendment rights of individuals. Fearing that religious freedom would slow the steady march of enforcing their comprehensive agenda, the Left began using their media allies to distort the truth and paint the bill as anything else but what it was. The media not only grossly distorted the bill but virtually ignored the plight of business owners like Aaron and Melissa Klein, Elaine Huguenin, Jack Phillips and many others who have had their livelihoods threatened or taken away because they refused to surrender their religious beliefs in the market place.

      Now that the bill has been defeated, Americans across the nation are waking up to the fact that the defeat of the Arizona bill has implications that reach much wider than Arizona. Commenting on the issue this week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told NBC, "...imagine now if you're a Southern Baptist or a Catholic or even evangelical photographer, who does not believe, because of your faith, in gay marriage. And because of that, you don't want to provide photographic services to a gay marriage. Should you be sanctioned by the state for refusing to do so?"

      To answer Senator Rubio's question: No! This not-so-veiled assault on religious liberty must not be allowed to give the Left momentum in suppressing our freedom as individuals to practice what we believe free of government interference. This bill, similar to those in 18 states and similar to the Federal RFRA which is the basis of Hobby Lobby's suit against ObamaCare's HHS mandate and which was supported by Senator Ted Kennedy should not be undermined by misinformation.

      Therefore, I'm asking you to do what Gov. Brewer wouldn't: join me in signing SB1062. Together, we'll send a message that our faith cannot and will not be quarantined behind the walls of our churches.

      Click here to stand for religious freedom by signing the bill that the Arizona governor wouldn't!

      Tony Perkins


      Desmond Tutu warns of 'Nazi' parallel to Uganda anti-gay law

      AFP – Sunday 23 February 2014
      Cape Town (AFP) - South African peace icon Desmond Tutu warned on Sunday that Uganda's controversial anti-gay law recalled sinister attempts by the Nazi and apartheid regimes to "legislate against love".

      The Anglican cleric said he was "very disheartened" to learn that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni intended to sign a bill that will see homosexuals jailed for life, urging him instead to clamp down on rape, child abuse and the sex trade.

      "In South Africa, apartheid police used to rush into bedrooms where whites were suspected of making love to blacks," Tutu said in a statement. "It was demeaning to those whose 'crime' was to love each other, it was demeaning to the policemen – and it was a blot on our entire society."

      Tutu dismissed the arguments of Museveni's science advisors who concluded that homosexuality was a learned, rather than genetically-determined behaviour -- and therefore could be "unlearned".

      "The history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste and race," Tutu argued.

      "But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love... There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever. And nor is there any moral justification.

      "Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, among others, attest to these facts."

      Uganda's anti-gay bill cruised through parliament in December after its architects agreed to drop an extremely controversial death penalty clause, although the bill still says repeat homosexuals should be jailed for life, and also outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires people to denounce gays.

      Museveni rallied behind the bill this month despite earlier opposing it.

      "My plea to President Museveni is to use his country's debate around the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as a catalyst to further strengthen the culture of human rights and justice in Uganda," Tutu said.

      He argued that Uganda should step up criminal sanctions against child sexual abusers, rape, sexual violence and commercial sex, "regardless of gender or sexual orientation".

      "Tightening such areas of the law would surely provide children and families far more protection than criminalising acts of love between consenting adults."


      see also
      Ugandan president signs anti-gay bill, defying the West
      By Elias Biryabarema | Reuters –  Mon, Feb 24, 2014



      Uganda tabloid prints list of 'top' homosexuals

      By RODNEY MUHUMUZA | Associated Press – Tuesday 25 February 2014
      KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A Ugandan newspaper published a list Tuesday of what it called the country's "200 top" homosexuals, outing some Ugandans who previously had not identified themselves as gay one day after the president enacted a harsh anti-gay law.

      Many of those named fear violence, and some want to leave the country, an activist said.

      U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday's signing of the bill by President Yoweri Museveni marked "a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights" and warned that Washington could cut aid to the government of the East African nation.

      "Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values," Kerry said in a statement.

      The Red Pepper tabloid published the n

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