Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Al Qaeda???" Excuse me??!! (Follow up on the radio this morning)

So it was the KPFA "Morning Show" and I ended up being up against a guy named Kevin "Seamus" Hasson from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

The subject was the "No Mob Veto" ads placed by the Becket Fund in the L.A. and NYTimes last weekend ... you can read more about it here ... and here's a "snapshot" of the ad itself:

The interview started off civilly enough ... talking about mutually deploring violence, working for freedom of religion, blah, blah, blah. (You can listen to it all here ... it starts at 33:45 into the show)

He was talking about "all the violent acts" that have characterized the No on 8 protests when the host of the show asked him to name some ... his initial reponse was "I'm sure there are some."


"I'm sure there are some" was the foundational premise for raising enough money to put full page ads in the LA & NYTimes describing No on 8 protests as "not demonstrations but nearly mobs seeking not to persuade but to intimidate"???????

And here's where we went from there:

AA: So, Rev. Susan Russell joins us, she’s with the Human Rights Campaign. Reverend, is the LDS or Catholic church victims here?

SR: Absolutely not. I agree with your other speaker—violence against anyone should always be deplored. I’m horrified, though, when asked have there been violent attacks against supporters of Prop 8 "I’m sure there have been," is the best they can come up with. That just doesn’t rise to the level of placing full page ads in the L.A. and New York Times stating so as a fact!

What we see here are exactly the same tactics used to pass Prop 8: people who are so convinced they have sole possession of the absolute truth that they’re willing to tell lies to achieve their ends. The protests in the streets have been by and large—when you look at the numbers of people who have been in the streets demonstrating against this heinous effort to write discrimination into the California constitution -- actually exemplary in the demeanor and the tone and the timbre and the respect with which they’ve been held.

The movement—Gay and Lesbian people—can no longer be held scapegoats for the acts of a few people who step beyond the bounds of what is appropriate. Our leadership has condemned those acts; we are working very hard at the leadership level to build bridges of understanding with both the Mormon Church and Roman Catholic Church to find a way forward through this. This kind of ad does nothing to bring people together, all it does is continue to polarize and it’s exactly the kind of thing we need to be stepping up and out against.

Seamus Hassan: Can I respond to that?

AA: Yes, of course.

SH: I gave one end of the spectrum and the other end of the spectrum. In between, there have been at least 10 churches painted with swastikas, threats to close down or else, there’s been six churches with small-bore rifle fire through their windows. By my count, there have been at least six instances of burning Books of Mormon on the church steps. These aren’t isolated occurrences here and there; this is an uprising of some sort. Let me be clear, neither in the ad or today here, have I said this is the work of the gay community. We say in the ad, this is opponents of Prop 8, 46% of the California electorate voted against Prop 8. My understanding is that 5% of the California population, approximately, is gay. At least 41% of the opponents of Prop 8 maybe radical secularists, opposed to the church’s position, took these kinds of measures.

AA: So, Rev. Russell was commenting, there may be a few individuals, but not a movement. Seamus Hassan, your response to that: if there are individuals, why are anti-Prop 8 movement folks being painted with that broad brush?

SH: Well, whether it’s an organized movement like Al Qaeda or whether it’s the Al Qaeda-like, um, inspired acts of terrorism elsewhere, people are right to be concerned about, um, radical Islamist violence—

SR: Can I jump in here?
AA: I was going to say--yes.

SR: I’m sorry, please.

AA: Seamus Hassan, let me just give Rev. Russell an opportunity to respond because the anti-Prop 8 protestors where just compared to Al Qaeda. And I think that’s—

SR: Absolutely. That is going to be the headline and it should be! I couldn’t do a better job of making my case then your other caller is making. These are people who are determined to paint American citizens, living out democracy in the streets, as similar to terrorists and Al Qaeda. We had members of All Saints Church, 40 years married, standing on corners with No on 8 signs and people drove by and called them terrorists and hijackers during the height of the campaign.

What we’re working to do is to lower the rhetoric, to end the polarization, to stop the violence. The title of their ad is “No to Mob Veto.” What they’re trying to do is frame the debate, already, as the Supreme Court begins to reconsider Prop 8. I’m confident we’re going to see the Supreme Court to come down on the right side of history on this in May. You can see what they’re doing right now, they’re framing the debate so that when that happens, they can say it was mob rule against democracy, they’re going to continue to compare us to Al Qaeda and I think the American people have got to stand up and say stop.

We’re a nation of freedom of religion; we’ve got to be a nation of freedom from religion. And allowing these religious bigots to write their discrimination into our constitution is something we should be in the streets about.


IT said...

WAY TO GO SUSAN. I'm posting this on TPM and DailyKos.


Kirkepiscatoid said...

You go, girl!

Interesting he starts with "I'm sure there are some," then suddenly he can spout numbers and percentages. I'm a little suspicious of that....

IT said...

Also look at the fallacy of his numbers. Did you know 41% of californians are violent secular radicals because they voted against 8?

I am doing my best to get this widely out there....as Mel Brooks pointed out, ridicule is a powerful powerful tool.


Frair John said...

For The Win!

Unknown said...

Susan, Rule No. One: Don't try to reason with a rattlesnake.

Unknown said...

Just FYI, from 365gay.com:

By 365gay Newscenter Staff
12.09.2008 12:40pm EST

(Torrance, California) A 23-year-old man will be held for trial on hate crime assault charges for beating a gay man during the Prop 8 aftermath.
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At a preliminary hearing, the 22-year-old victim, whose name is being withheld for his own safety, testified that he was terrified he would die in the attack, which occurred just days after Prop 8 was passed.

“I honestly, for a minute, didn’t know if I was gonna walk away from it,” the victim told Torrance Superior Court Judge Laura Ellison.

The victim identified his attacker as Joseph Storm.

Responding to questions from deputy district attorney Pat Carey, the victim said that he was wearing a “No on 8″ button and passed a sign in front of home with a “Yes of 8″ sign in front of it. The victim said that he gave the finger in front of the sign and was then attacked by Storm.

The victim said Storm hit him with the sign, then with his fists, and then began choking him.

During the attack, the victim testified, Storm yelled homophobic and racial slurs at him, although the victim is not African-American.

The victim also said Storm told him that if he ever saw him again “it’s gonna be worse.”

After the attack ended, the victim said he went to the home of a neighbor, fearing Storm would discover where he lived if he went to his own home. A friend took him to the hospital.

Storm’s attorney Donald Herzstein asked Judge Ellison to dismiss the hate crime allegation.

“Why?” Ellison demanded. “There’s overwhelming evidence of that.”

JCF said...

I heard that Pat Boone compared anti-H8 demonstrators to "the terrorists who shot up Mumbai", too.


JCF said...

One more thing:

Let's be clear: even the crudest anti-religious propaganda isn't illegal, and may not be constitutionally outlawed. But it's nevertheless wrong. It has no place in civilized society.

Funny: this group, as a whole, doesn't seem to have similar qualms about anti-gay propaganda, do they?


MarkBrunson said...

Look, this is serious.

These aren't just panicking bullies, but a coordinated plan to make us targets. They are trying to kill us, or at least get the mob to beat us into submission.

HRC has been notoriously weak - useless, really - in responding, and this is going to be life and death, believe me.

Perry Lee said...

Speaking of targets...

http://www.christianexaminer.com/Articles/Articles%20Dec08/Art_Dec08_09.htmlSACSACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gay rights supporters, dressed in pink and black, stormed a Lansing, Mich., church during its services Nov. 9 throwing condoms, pulling the fire alarm and yelling such things as “It’s okay to be gay” and “Jesus was a homo...”

MODESTO, Calif., Oct 13, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- In a violent display of intolerance, an opponent of Proposition 8 attacked and seriously injured a man who was volunteering on Sunday for the initiative to define marriage as between and a man and a woman.
Prop. 8 supporter, Jose Nunez, 37, was brutally assaulted while waiting to distribute yard signs to other supporters of the initiative after church services at the St. Stanislaus Parish in Modesto...

AP: SAN DIEGO - A pastor leading efforts to pass a ballot initiative that would end same-sex "marriage" in California says the campaign has become the target of vandalism and violence.
Rev. Jim Garlow says signs urging a "Yes" vote on Proposition 8 are being stolen, churches have been pelted with eggs, cars have been parked outside the homes of supporters bearing the message "Bigots live here," and some supporters have been physically assaulted. Garlow says a pastor even had the windows of his car shot out because he was displaying a "Yes on 8" sticker...

Fresno, CA, USA (KFSN) -- Police say they are close to making an arrest after someone e-mailed threats against Mayor Alan Autry and the pastor of a prominent Fresno church. The threat mentioned their support of proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that would ban same sex marriage...

Mormons Bear Brunt Of Anger Over Prop. 8
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ― Supporters of gay marriage, frustrated over a ballot-box defeat in California, have channeled much of their anger toward the towering white spires of Mormon temples.

For months, the Mormon church sought to portray itself as just one member of a coalition of Catholics, evangelicals, black Protestants and others supporting Proposition 8, a measure to stop gay marriage in California.

And that is just the first page at Google. All I did was google "proposition 8 violence" and you have to go pretty deep into the listings before you come to any violence against gays by straights.


Thanks, Pilgrim, for helping make our point!

The first two stories you point to are not "stories" but press releases from those perpetuating the same "message" the Becket Fund is focused on and Jim Garlow as one of the architects of Prop 8 and of the "spin" that now the straight-white-guys are "the victims."

The other stories are of unfortunate acts of the kind of violence we've decried as LGTB leaders both in and out of the church.

The POINT is [a] the orchestrated efforts of the religious right to paint those protesting Prop 8 as a violent mob (which we are not) and [b] all violence is bad. Period.

Thanks again for giving me some "exhibit A's" to post ... you evidently have more time on your hands to Google stuff during this busy Advent season than I do!

IT said...

I'm with Susan. most of Pilgrim's cites aren't from legitimate media. Pastor Jim can say what ever he wants....kinda like the guy Susan debated who is "sure" there has been enough violence to warrant adverts, but can't actually name any.

And there is a difference between dissent and violence.

So here's another one, Pilgrim. ONly its not just eggs.

From the AP (an actual news agency):

Authorities opened a homicide investigation Tuesday into a vicious attack on an Ecuadorean immigrant whose assailants shouted anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs, then beat him with a baseball bat and kicked him.

Only the guy wasn't gay, just drunk and holding onto his brother.

I have participated now in numerous protests, some very large. They have been peaceful, and p ositive. The only arrests? The Pro-Hate side, for trying to start a fight.

But as MarkB says, this is an effort on the Pro-Hate side to MAKE US LEGITIMATE TARGETS OF VIOLENCE. This terrorism meme is an effort to shape the discourse and make US offenders.

This is them being afraid. They are off balance because they didn't expect us to push back. So we have to keep the lights relentlessly on the violence of THEIR words and THEIR acts.

And we have to stop it.

IT said...

more for Pilgrim: using google search. violence is wrong whereever it happens.

example 1
My wife appeared with an “Ex-Mormon 4 Equality” sign and that fueled a personal attack that was verbal and in-your-face, literally 2-3 inches from her. It included prolonged screaming, taunting, name-calling and anti-gay hate speech including things like “you need to be f’d by a man.” That was one thing, but when they actually circled around her and began closing in physically (grabbing at her), she called for the police officer nearby.

Example 2
A woman on her way home saw a bunch of pro-Prop 8 types and a few counterdemonstrators, so she got out her phone and started taking video. Having turned off her phone to approach after a particularly ugly confrontation between an angry pro-8 woman and a man who was against it (and who stayed calm while the woman got in his face), she was approaching when the pro-Prop 8 types threatened her (”Get that shit out of here. I’ll knock it out of your hand.”).


example 3
Joseph Storm, the Torrance man who attacked a gay man with a "Yes on Prop 8" sign and was charged with a felony hate crime assault charge and a misdemeanor count of interfering with another's civil right, has been ordered to stand trial.

MarkBrunson said...

Given how many times your side has lied, Pilgrim, why should we believe you guys?