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h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW

Today in Bryan Fischer stupidity: On both his radio show and his OneNewsNow column, he DEFENDS ISIS’s reasoning that the Yazidis are “devil worshippers.”

The Raw Story:

Christian radio host Bryan Fischer is in agreement with the Muslim extremist group Islamic State (ISIS) that a minority religion in Iraq is made up of “devil worshippers.” And he’s irate that Presdient Barack Obama is authorizing a humanitarian mission to help the Yazidi people, who are stranded and dying of thirst after ISIS launched an attack on them, Right Wing Watch reported.

[…]
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the Yazidis were not allowed the option given to Iraqi Christians of converting or paying a “tax” for practicing their faith. Instead, ISIS condemned the group to death.

“They consider us infidels so they are killing us and taking away the women,” Iraqi Parliament member Vian Dakhil, herself a Yazidi, was quoted as saying. Fischer apparently shared ISIS’ belief that the Yazidi religion’s emphasis on seven angels, including one who refused to bow to Adam, is an allusion to the devil.

Besides criticizing Obama on his radio show, Fischer also wrote an online column blasting the Yazidi faith.

Justin’s Political Corner, via Right Wing Watch:
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer is outraged that the U.S. is intervening in Iraq to stop ISIS, who has been attacking Christians and other Muslims throughout the country.

Fischer believes that President Obama only intervened to stop the extermination of the Yazidis, who practice an ancient religion yet are considered by ISIS fighters and others to be “devil worshipers.” He began today’s edition of “Focal Point” by railing against Obama, saying the president only decided to launch airstrikes in Iraq in order to defend “devil worshipers.”

“They go after devil worshipers and all of the sudden the entire weight of the United States government is sent in there to relieve them and to avenge them,”he said. “Those are the Yazidis.”
“In a rare point of theological accord, both Muslims and Christians agree that the archangel revered by the Yazidis is in fact the Prince of Darkness,” he writes in his column today. “The New Testament describes him this way,” “Satan (who) disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), eager to deceive the gullible into believing that he is good rather than evil. The Yazidis have fallen for his lies.”

Brandon Stephens (@iamredsky) says what needs to be said about Fischer and folks like him:

From the 08.08.2014 edition of AFR’s Focal Point:

See Also: Justin’s Political Corner: Bryan Fischer Agrees With ISIS That Yazidis Are Devil Worshipers And That’s Why Obama Defends Them

(cross-posted from JGibson at Daily Kos

dailykos

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Hey, Mr. Garlow, Prop 8 IS DEAD!!! 

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

It disgusts me as a Christian that some of those evangelicals/fundies claim that opposing immigration reform is seen as a “Biblical mandate.” 

h/t: Gina Piccalo at Mashable

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

h/t: Christian Dem in NC

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Megyn Kelly was supposed to be a harbinger of Fox News’ “gay rights revolution,” but she’s used her primetime spot to enable some of the country’s most extreme anti-LGBT activists.

At the height of the controversy over Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s homophobic remarks in a December 2013 interview with GQ magazine, Kelly invited GLAAD consultant Jeremy Hooper to appear on The Kelly File and weigh in on the firestorm.

She also invited Tony Perkins, president of the notorious anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council (FRC), to appear immediately afterward.

During his segment,Hooper urged Kelly to hold Perkins accountable for his extensive history of bigoted rhetoric. “What specifically? Because I’ll ask him,” Kelly promised. Hooper pointed to Perkins’ endorsement of a Ugandan bill that would have imposed the death penalty for homosexuality, his claim that gay people face “eternal damnation,” and his comparisons of gay people with terrorists.

In the segment that followed, however, Kelly didn’t ask Perkins to explain his virulent anti-gay rhetoric. Instead, she introduced him as the leader of “a group whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and culture from a Christian worldview”:

Kelly’s failure to hold Perkins accountable is a case study in her broader habit of mainstreaming anti-gay hate.

In the seven months since The Kelly File launched in October of 2013, Fox’s 9 p.m. hour has been a friendly forum for some of the country’s most odious anti-gay extremists, including Perkins, the far-right legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and, most recently, the Benham brothers, the home renovators whose rabidly anti-gay activism led HGTV to cancel their planned reality show.

Since Kelly’s promotion to Fox’s prime-time lineup, she has hosted Perkins six times. (Filling in for Kelly on the December 27 edition of the program, Shannon Bream hosted Perkins an additional time.) Perkins has used his appearances to condemn Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R-AZ) veto of her state’s license-to-discriminate bill, champion anti-LGBT discrimination, opine on openly gay NFL draftee Michael Sam, and lambaste HGTV for cancelling the Benham brothers’ planned show.

Kelly’s willingness to grant Perkins a platform isn’t a recent development. As a daytime host on Fox’s America Live, she provided Perkins the opportunity to peddle anti-gay talking points with impunity - and often parroted the same talking points herself, asking Perkins why gay rights activists are so intolerant and defending him and other “openly religious” leaders against charges of bigotry.

Meanwhile, Kelly has invited ADF to defend anti-gay business discrimination on her program. While other cable news anchors have exposed ADF’s anti-gay extremism - including its international work to criminalize homosexuality - Kelly gave the group the same treatment she afforded Perkins, failing to hold ADF to account for its disturbing work.

The Benham brothers could also count on Kelly to downplay their history of strident anti-gay and Islamophobic activism, including condemning homosexuality as “demonic" and "destructive.” On the May 19 edition of her show, she called the backlash to their activism “incredible,” asking them to enlighten viewers on their “more traditional views”:

One group that hasn’t had the chance to convey its message on The Kelly File is the American Family Association (AFA), an anti-gay hate group whose spokesman believes gay men were responsible for the Holocaust and has assailed Kelly herself as “resentful,” “angry,” “hostile,” and “bitter.” But the AFA was actually slated to be featured on the October 16 edition of the show, an appearance bumped by breaking news coverage of Congress’ 11th-hour resolution to its debt ceiling standoff.

At a network that all too often conflates homophobia and Christianity, whitewashing of anti-gay extremism hardly stands out. But Kelly is supposed to be a different kind of Fox anchor. Breaking with many of her colleagues, Kelly has staked out pro-LGBT positions, prompting BuzzFeed to herald Kelly in 2012 as a sign of how “the gay rights revolution” had arrived at Fox News (a premise that continues to prove flawed).

What makes Kelly arguably the best friend an anti-gay extremist could have on Fox isn’t that she agrees with people like Perkins on every issue. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It’s precisely because Kelly isn’t seen as an anti-LGBT hack that her willingness to elevate groups like the FRC and ADF to positions of respectability  makes her so dangerous.

The more that groups like the FRC can convince people like Kelly to take them seriously, the easier time they’ll have billing themselves as credible organizations, their records notwithstanding. As a self-professed straight shooter, Kelly shouldn’t fall for such ploys. It’s one thing to treat viewers to spirited debates on issues of current affairs and public policy. It’s quite another to treat toxic homophobic activists as legitimate participants in those debates. Megyn Kelly may have earned accolades for her occasional pro-LGBT commentary, but her willingness to cozy up to some of the country’s most fanatical anti-LGBT bigots will leave a much bigger stain on her legacy at Fox News.

METHODOLOGY

Equality Matters searched news transcripts provided by LexisNexis for “Tony Perkins” between October 13, 2013 - the launch of The Kelly File - and May 21, 2014.

H/T: Luke Brinker at MMFA

mediamattersforamerica

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

Todd Starnes, Fox News’ resident culture warrior, wants to reclaim God for an America of gay pride paraders, hipsters, twerkers, and vegetarians. That, at least, is what he sets out to do in his latest tome, God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.

It’s a book that’s been generously promoted on the Fox News commentator’s network. Starnes’ publicity tour has taken him to such programs as Fox & Friends, HannityThe Kelly File, Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight, and the radio show of Fox contributor Laura Ingraham.

During his publicity tour for God Less America, Starnes has homed in on a consistent message: religious, specifically Christian, values are under attack, largely thanks to an all-out assault allegedly led by the Obama administration, aided and abetted by LGBT activists and advocates for secularists and adherents to minority faiths. Obama, Starnes asserts, is at the forefront of a conspiracy “to eradicate the Christian faith” from the public square.

But Starnes’ book isn’t really about the state of Christianity in the age of Obama. It’s primarily about Starnes himself, and the cultural resentments that define his worldview. Portraying himself as a down-home Southerner who loves sweet tea (a fact he reminds readers of no fewer than nine times), Duck Dynasty, guns, and his hardline Southern Baptist faith, beneath Starnes’ folksy veneer is a far more venomous culture warrior.

What Starnes repeatedly - if unwittingly - reveals is that he isn’t so much afraid of the impending loss of religious liberty as he is fearful that his exclusionary vision of America no longer holds the sway it once did.

Cultural Chauvinism and Muslim-Baiting

What particularly rouses Starnes’ ire about the state of contemporary America is that it’s led by, as he pointedly notes, “Barack Hussein Obama.” Starnes laments throughout the book that Obama’s America is no longer the one in which in grew up - a country he depicts as more wholesome and unapologetically Christian, when women knew their place and gay people weren’t being as obnoxious with all that equal rights stuff:

I grew up in a much simpler time - when blackberry was a pie and dirty dancing meant somebody forgot to clean out the barn for the square dance. It was a time when father still knew best - when the girls were girls and the men were men. I grew up in a time when a rainbow was a sign of God’s promise, not gay rights.

To Starnes, Obama perfectly symbolizes the fading of that America. For one thing, Starnes not-so-subtly hints that the president has an affinity for Islam - referring to Obama as someone who “professes” to be a Christian, twice assailing him for calling the Muslim call to prayer “one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset,” and suggesting that Obama hasn’t secured the release on American pastor detained in Iran because the pastor had left the Islamic faith.

Starnes also lambastes the president for stating that we’re “not just a Christian nation,” but also a nation of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and secularists. A less paranoid observer might view Obama’s remark as an affirmation of the country’s religious diversity, but Starnes can’t help seeing anti-Christian bias. (Starnes writes that it’s “puzzling” that any “follower of Christ” would make such a statement.”) Likewise, restrictions on proselytization in the military aren’t, say, a sensible response to the harassment of non-Christian believers, but part of a “Christian cleansing” executed by the Obama administration. And just as he did in an appearance on Fox’s Hannity to promote the book, Starnes compares officials enforcing the First Amendment’s establishment clause to Adolf Hitler. “Hitler was not a big fan of the Baby Jesus,” Starnes writes in a chapter titled “Nazis, Communists, and the USA.” “Neither were the Communists. And apparently some American employees and schoolteachers share an equal disdain for the little Lord Jesus.” Starnes is just saying.

Anti-LGBT Bigotry

But the bulk of God Less America is devoted to propping up the defining feature of Starnes’ worldview - his acute persecution complex when it comes to LGBT equality. The longest chapter in the book is bluntly titled “Gay Rights vs. Religious Rights,” but several others focus on LGBT topics like Chick-fil-A, Duck Dynasty, and the Kinky Boots performance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. All are meant to reinforce the right-wing myth that any progress towards LGBT equality must come at the expense of liberty for Christians. We’re not far from a day, Starnes predicts, when pastors will be “brought up on charges of hate speech against homosexuals.”

Starnes has made his name on Fox News as the network’s mouthpiece for the country’s most extreme anti-LGBT organizations, including hate groups like the American Family Association (AFA) and the Family Research Council (FRC). His close relationship with those groups is evident in his writing: he cites FRC ten times in the book. The FRC even hosted a launch party for the book at its offices, featuring Starnes and Fox correspondent Shannon Bream:

Starnes also cites the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a group working internationally to criminalize homosexuality, another ten times. These groups are relied on to offer commentary on a number of overblown or outright fabricated horror stories Starnes offers about the movement for LGBT equality. 

When he’s not using scare tactics to warn about basic protections for the LGBT community, Starnes’ discussions of LGBT people are marked by stereotypes as stale as the Southern country boy trope with which he hits readers over the head.  Gay men are Dolce & Gabanna-obsessed, body hair-grooming, sissies who can’t appreciate manly men’s men like Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, who notoriously compared homosexuality with bestiality and equated gay people with “drunks” and “terrorists.” According to Starnes, GQ,  the magazine in which Robertson made his infamous remarks, is the kind of publication typically read by “men who prefer body waxing and manicures,” not the Robertsons’ down-home homophobia.

Like Phil, Starnes thinks that the gays could be putting us on a slippery slope to bestiality, writing an entire chapter that envisions a Supreme Court ruling legalizing bestiality by 2025.

Starnes’ transphobia is just as rabid as his homophobia. When discussing transgender people, he misgenders them and suggests - despite all evidence - that transgender people pose public safety dangers if they’re allowed to restrooms that match their gender identities. Such ugly, bigoted remarks make clear that when Starnes complains about how this is no longer the America he grew up in, what he’s really upset about is that it’s an America where long-oppressed groups are beginning to assert their basic rights.

All Grievance, Little Godliness

In his conclusion, Starnes gloomily predicts that “[t]hey” could soon “throw us in jail.” On what grounds? And who are they? It isn’t quite clear. Starnes’ mission is to awaken readers to the danger President Obama and the liberal elite pose to their cherished religious freedoms. All he has to offer, however, are apoplectic condemnations of LGBT equality, religious diversity, and Brooklynites who wear skinny jeans and eat tempeh and take their tea unsweetened. Yet Starnes and his ideological brethren have continued to thrive in Obama’s America - not despite, but because of, a president and a set of ideas they hysterically denounce as grave threats to the American way of life.

Instead of demonstrating how an America that embraces more of its citizens threatens conservatives’ liberties, all Starnes has done instead is illuminate the baseless fear and paranoia that motivate the right wing’s professional culture warriors.

h/t: Luke Brinker at MMFA