“Kill The Gays” Pastor Not Going Anywhere
Last week the New York Times ran a horrifying story under the mostly innocuous headline “Ted Cruz and the Anti-Gay Pastor.” It started out like every other Good Christian Fella Ted Cruz news blurb we’ve read this past year: He’s buddies with a pastor who loves home schooling, hates Harry Potter, and thinks Princess Elsa has some kind of master plan to turn all young girls into lesbians. (That’s Queen Elsa to you, sir.) But the further the NYT pulled back the curtain on this guy, Kevin Swanson, the more sinister his whole deal revealed itself to be. Yeah, he’s a kook, but he’s a powerful, incredibly well connected kook who fully believes God is calling him to unleash a genocide on all the gay people in America. And Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz are all courting his support.
This movement is a power to be reckoned with in Republican Party politics. Mr. Cruz, for one, is basing his strategy on winning its support. Ben Carson told a Liberty University convocation this month of his concern that so many people “are trying to push God out of our lives.” And early this year, Mr. Jindal hosted a religious revival rally on the Louisiana State University campus that was sponsored by the American Family Association.
But the real influence of the movement is in the less visible realm of state legislatures. In 2015 alone, 87 religious refusal-related bills were introduced in 28 states.
Prior to the NYT story, Rachel Maddow tackled the lunacy of Kevin Swanson’s National Religious Liberties Conference — at which Huckabee, Jindal, and Cruz spoke — calling it, “A ‘kill the gays’ call to arms.”
Now that his bigotry and hatred have made their way into the mainstream spotlight, Swanson has ramped up the rhetoric on his terrifying break from reality. He called the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris “humanist devil worshipers,” insisted that criticism against him is criticism against God himself, and has promised to drown his children before he lets them read Harry Potter. According to Right Wing Watch, Swanson told listeners of his radio show that the “media firestorm” that broke out last week after his connection to three GOP presidential hopefuls was revealed is proof he’s doing the Lord’s work.
“Any time the nation has taken up a fight with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator of the universe, you don’t pick a fight with the Creator of all of the galaxies, all of the planets, this entire solar system, you don’t pull together a couple of ants and lift a fist to the Almighty and think you can get away with it,” he said. “This is, I think, the reason why the media firestorm — we have touched the conscience of a nation and they realize they’re in trouble, they’re in trouble with the God of the universe.”
Unsurprisingly, neither Cruz nor Huckabee nor Jindal have apologized for participating in Swanson’s hate mongering “religious liberties” conference or tried to distance themselves from his unhinged fire-and-brimstone bigotry. ThinkProgress has a really good breakdown on the way the GOP has successfully framed themselves as the victims in the war on religious freedom, a narrative that is sure to continue through the 2016 election as Republican candidates try to justify their racism, xenophobia, and homophobia.
Elsewhere in The GOP Primary
+ Donald Trump has doubled down on his lies and callousness, and it’s working. He’s pulling away in the polls (though Nate Silver thinks we all need to calm down about it). This week, Black Lives Matter activist Mercutio Southall Jr. was attacked by Trump supporters at a rally, a thing Trump fully supported, saying he deserved to be “roughed up a little.” Southall shared his story about the assault with ThinkProgress. Trump also tweeted some completely fabricated racially charged stats to seemingly justify his supporters’ decision to ambush Southall; the numbers were so egregiously inaccurate that even Bill O’Reilly called out Trump on it.
Black Lives Matter
+ Five Black Lives Matters activists who were participating in a sit-in in Minneapolis’ Fourth Precinct — near the spot where 24-year-old Jamar Clark was killed by police — were shot by an armed white supremacist who fled the scene. Miska Noor, a Black Lives Matter spokesperson told the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “A group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights … [and] opened fire on about six protesters.” All five activists were treated for non-fatal wounds. Mike Huckabee thinks it’s hilarious.
Huckabee notes protesters are free, won't get shot, and jokes "I know there’s some people in the audience that wish they would," to laughter
— Alexandra Jaffe (@ajjaffe) November 21, 2015
+ Over the weekend, a video surfaced of Jamar Clark moments after he was shot by police. Governor Dayton told reporters that the video footage, which was retrieved from an ambulance, was “inconclusive.”
+ NYT columnist Charles M. Blow visited Tamir Rice’s mother on the one-year anniversary of his death.
Since the killing of Trayvon Martin, I have interviewed many — too many! — of these mothers with holes in their hearts. There is an eerie sameness to the arc and articulation of their sorrow.
On top of this, these mothers are forced to share their children with the world, to suppress some of their own grief so that they can be a composed instrument to serve a message. There is also the disconcerting feeling of being famous because of another’s infamy, of being exalted for extreme loss, of having your voice amplified while your personal space feels invaded.
+ The Chicago police officer who shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times last year will face first degree murder charges.
+ In the wake of Transgender Awareness Week, the Associated Press ran a longer form story on the horrifying number of trans homicides this year, noting the “22 killings so far this year of transgender or gender-nonconforming people — including 19 black or Latina transgender women.”
+ Openly gay former congressman Michael Michaud has been confirmed as the assistant secretary of labor for veterans’ employment and training.
+ The KKK is alive and well in Florida and turning its attention toward bashing gay people.
+ The Alabama Supreme Court is at it again! This time, they’re refusing to validate a Georgia-approved adoption that granted parental rights to a lesbian mother who had three children with her former partner with the assistance of a sperm donor.
The Unicorns began to consider themselves Boy Scouts last fall, after they enrolled in a skills-building course, Learning for Life, that is affiliated with the organization and is offered to boys and girls. Several Unicorns had tried the Girl Scouts but found the experience too sedate: rest time and whispering instead of playing tag and lighting fires.
Once again, I mourn that there’s no real life Lumberjanes.
+ Amazon and New York’s MTA have tag-teamed to create the worst marketing campaign I have ever seen in my entire life.
Seats on 42nd Street subway Shuttle cars are wrapped with symbols from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, intended to carry commuters into the alternate history of the Amazon TV series, The Man in the High Castle, in which the Axis Powers were victorious.
“Half the seats in my car had Nazi insignias inside an American flag, while the other half had the Japanese flag in a style like the World War II design,” said straphanger Ann Toback. “So I had a choice, and I chose to sit on the Nazi insignia because I really didn’t want to stare at it.”
+ ThinkProgress thinks the campus speech wars might be heading to The Supreme Court.
Senior Editor Yvonne is traveling today for the holidays, but will be back next week for your Tuesday News Fix!