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We are all human, and we all deserve our rights.

(via thepoliticalfreakshow)

I grew up listening to Jars Of Clay in the 1990′s. They burst onto the scene in 1995 with a hit, “Flood,” that was played quite a lot on mainstream alternative radio, but if you bought their record, you would learn quickly that they were a decidedly Christian band, and have remained so for coming up on twenty years now. That said, regardless of your feelings about religion, being a musician, I always have judged music firstly on the question, “yes, but is it good art?” Jars Of Clay has produced quite a bit of material that, in my humble opinion, is fantastic music. It’s hard to underestimate their impact on Contemporary Christian Music, either. They were at the forefront of a handful of acts that forced the rest of the industry to step up its game, in a big way.

Fast forward to 2014, and frontman Dan Haseltine is on Twitterexpressing support for marriage equality and forcing his followers to have a really hard conversation about why many of them are so unwilling to see their LGBT brothers and sisters as humans:

Contemporary Christian music isn’t a format where one might think to look for vocal supporters of same-sex marriage, but as with anything else times are changing. Dan Haseltine, front-man for the popular Christian band Jars of Clay, yesterday took to his Twitter account in a series of posts supportive of same-sex marriage, posting “Not meaning to stir things up BUT… is there a non-speculative or non ‘slippery slope’ reason why gays shouldn’t marry? I don’t hear one.” He went on to write “I’m trying to make sense of the conservative argument. But it doesn’t hold up to basic scrutiny. Feels akin to women’s suffrage. I just don’t see a negative effect to allowing gay marriage. No societal breakdown, no war on traditional marriage. ?? Anyone?”

Haseltine compares the issue to civil rights struggles in the past, and asserts regarding Biblical arguments against same-sex marriage that “I don’t think scripture ‘clearly’ states much of anything regarding morality.” He goes on to write that “I think the vast interpretation has left room for people to deal inhumanly and unlovingly toward others that don’t fit their guidelines” and that “I don’t particularly care about Scriptures stance on what is ‘wrong.’ I care more about how it says we should treat people.”

Some readers may be surprised at this, but I’m not. Knowing musicians for my entire life, I am well aware that, even among conservative Christian circles, the artists are always ahead of the rest of the pack when it comes to acceptance, tolerance and understanding people different from them. Moreover, the Christian music industry, just like the rest of the music industry, is chock full of gay people.

Regardless, there are lots of gay Christian teens out there whose days might be just a little better today knowing that the lead singer of one of their favorite bands has their back.

Dan, if you’re reading this, you ought to consider making a NALT Christians Project video. It’ll help people.

Since this is a post about music, I would be remiss not to include a music video of some sort. This was always one of my favorite Jars Of Clay songs.

The usual screaming banshees on the religious right (Fischer, Barber, LaBarbera, Harvey, Higgins, Swanson) are going to be very mad and even go as far to demand boycotts of Jars of Clay. Their songs will likely get blacklisted by many CCM stations. 

H/T: Evan Hurst at TruthWinsOut

h/t: Zack Ford at Think Progress LGBT

From the 04.22.2014 edition of AFR’s Focal Point:

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW 

From the 04.22.2014 edition of FRC’s Washington Watch:

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

breakingnews:

Chelsea Manning’s name change request approved
AP: A judge approved a name change request Wednesday to formally change convicted WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning’s name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.
"Hopefully today’s name change, while so meaningful to me personally, can also raise awareness of the fact that we (transgender) people exist everywhere in America today, and that we have must jump through hurdles every day just for being who we are,” Manning said in a statement.
Photo: AP file via NBCNews.com

breakingnews:

Chelsea Manning’s name change request approved

AP: A judge approved a name change request Wednesday to formally change convicted WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning’s name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

"Hopefully today’s name change, while so meaningful to me personally, can also raise awareness of the fact that we (transgender) people exist everywhere in America today, and that we have must jump through hurdles every day just for being who we are,” Manning said in a statement.

Photo: AP file via NBCNews.com

Kevin Swanson is not happy that country singer Kacey Musgraves won album of the year at the 2014 ACM Awards, warning that the singer is pushing the destruction of America and causing demons to dance in its ashes.

Swanson said on his April 10 radio program that if Musgraves had performed her song “Follow Your Arrow” any time between the 1880s and the 1960s, it would have prompted calls for her to be killed: “Let me say this, if she had sang [sic] that thing in a country bar in the 1920s or 1880s in Denver, Colorado, somebody would’ve called for a rope, ‘Get a rope!’ You know what would have happened, she would not have made it out of town in the 1880s, 1920s, 1940s or 1960s.”

“But things have changed, friends,” he lamented.

The Religious Right talk show host later explained that Musgraves’ “promotion of homosexuality” is undermining America.

“When you can turn a once-Christian nation into Sodom, that’s when the demons do their celebration, their dance in the end zone,” he said. “So she’s got to promote homosexuality and she’s got to promote the abandonment of the traditional church in the same song. That’s critical for the dismantling of the Christian faith in the heartland.”

From the 04.10.2014 edition of Generations With Vision’s Generations Radio:


h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is trading on his medical reputation to ride a wave of media hype, but upon closer examination, many of his views are contradictory or emulate the uninformed chatter of a right-wing radio shock jock.

Carson rose to prominence in the conservative media last year for a speech attacking the Affordable Care Act at the National Prayer Breakfast with President Obama. After that, he was hired by Fox News, became a regular on the conservative speaking circuit, joined Newt Gingrich’s dubious political action committee, and launched an online magazine in coordination with the Washington Times (where he also writes an opinion column).

Carson has experienced increased media attention as The National Draft Ben Carson political action committee announced that it had brought in $2.4 million in donations in the first quarter of 2014. The Washington Post reports that the PAC, which operates independently of Carson, has spent an unusually high percentage of its income on fundraising.

Despite his newfound media spotlight, Carson has espoused extremist views on several issues, has used incendiary, decisive rhetoric to attack things he disagrees with, and has apparently inverted his view on health care in order to appeal to his new conservative constituency.

Carson Said Obamacare Was “Slavery, In A Way”

In a speech to the 2013 Values Voters’ Summit, Carson said that the Affordable Care Act is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” and went on to describe the law as “slavery, in a way.”

Carson Said “Socialized Medicine Is The Keystone Of The Arch To The Socialist State”

In an appearance on Fox’s The Kelly File, Carson argued, “Vladimir Lenin, one of the founders of socialism and communism, he said socialized medicine is the keystone of the arch to the socialist state. In other words, you’ve got to get the socialized medicine as the foundation because it gives you control of the people. Once you have control of them, you can do what you want.”

Carson Now Opposes Obamacare, Once Said “We Need To Get Rid Of For Profit Insurance Companies”

Carson’s record shows previous advocacy for greater government involvement in health care, which appears to contradict with what he now advocates.

He told Politico that “If you just go back and read the neo-Marxists, you’ll see why getting control of health care was so important to them.”

But in a 2009 interview with Mega Diversities, Carson said “the entire concept of for profits for the insurance companies makes absolutely no sense,” going on to argue that “the first thing we need to do is get rid of for profit insurance companies.”

Carson added, “We have a lack of policies and we need to make the government responsible for catastrophic health care.  We have to make the insurance companies responsible only for routine health care.”

Carson Compared Marriage Equality Advocates To Pedophiles, Described Marriage Equality As “Extra Rights”

In his speech earlier this year to the conservative CPAC conference, Carson argued that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to “get extra rights” and that “they don’t get to redefine marriage.”

It was a continuation of his incendiary rhetoric on homosexuality.

In a 2013 appearance on Fox’s Hannity, Carson said, “Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.”

After those comments, students and staff at Johns Hopkins Medical School criticized Carson, who was scheduled to be the commencement speaker for the class of 2013. He pushed back on these complaints by attacking white liberals as “the most racist people there are” because “they put you in a little category, a little box, ‘you have to think this way, how could you dare come off the plantation?’”

In his 2012 book, Carson said marriage equality “is a slippery slope with a disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire.”

Carson Praised Vladimir Putin As He Attacked America

In a column Carson praised Russia’s Vladimir Putin for describing America as “godless,” saying “there may be some validity to his claim.”

Carson Questioned The Ethics Of People Who Support The Theory Of Evolution

Carson said people who believe in the scientific theory of evolution “might have more difficulty deriving where their ethics come from,” compared to “Those of us who believe in God and derive our sense of right and wrong and ethics from God’s word” who “have no difficulty whatsoever defining where our ethics come from.”

In an interview with an anti-evolution podcast, Carson claimed that “one of the most damning pieces of evidence against evolution is the human genome” because it contains “sophisticated coding mechanisms” which are proof of an intelligent designer in its creation.

h/t: Oliver Willis at MMFA
mediamattersforamerica

h/t: Zack Ford at Think Progress LGBT

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: J. Lester Feder at BuzzFeed

Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute – the state affiliate of the American Family Association – is very unhappy about Dan Savage’s appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher last summer.

Two weeks ago, Higgins urged her group’s members to watch a video of Savage’s “repugnant” appearance on the show. Today, in response to criticism from a reader who was offended by the Savage/Maher video, Higgins offered a long essay titled “ Random Thoughts on the Rapacious Rainbow Revolution.”

Higgins explains in detail why she felt obligated to share the “loathsome” video because “many conservatives do not fully realize the evil nature of the enemy we fight” and “merely describing it does not adequately convey how profoundly wicked it is.” She compares her sharing of the Dan Savage video to the showing photos of Nazi concentration camps and lynchings.

“I am not equating the enormity of the evil of the Holocaust and the American genocide of pre-born babies to that of the homosexuality-affirming movement,” she clarifies. “I am, rather, illuminating the necessity of occasionally viewing the evil in our midst about which humans have a remarkable capacity to delude themselves.”

She adds that she feels she must expose the horrors that LGBT people await in the afterlife: “As Christians, however, we should remain conscious of the fact that a life of unrepentant homoerotic activity will result in eternal separation from God,” she writes. “How do we measure the magnitude of temporal suffering relative to that of eternal suffering?”

“Christians should consider whether appearing to affirm that which God abhors is pleasing to God,” she adds.

I received an email last week from a Christian who was upset that I published the loathsome video of Dan Savage even though I provided ample warning that the content was offensive. It seems appropriate, therefore, to revisit the reasons we occasionally publish either obscene hateful emails we receive, excerpts from offensive novels taught in our public schools, or video reminders of infamous homosexual “anti-bullying” bully, Dan Savage.

We do not expose the dark realities of this pernicious movement in order to be sensationalistic or titillating. We do it because Americans are inundated daily with images and words about homoeroticism intended to desensitize, sooth, and confuse. These words and images are built on a foundation of unarticulated and/or unexamined false assumptions and lies that are persuading even Christians that wrong is right.

Unfortunately, many conservatives do not fully realize the evil nature of the enemy we fight. And merely describing it does not adequately convey how profoundly wicked it is. Without a fuller apprehension of the nature and extent of the evil, many Christians are complacent and silent. Often it is only an encounter with such evil that generates a proper response from Christians.

Why view photos from Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen? Why view photos of lynchings? Why view photos of aborted babies? Why view the photo of the young napalmed Vietnamese girl? Why view photos of animals caught in steel leg traps or baby seals bludgeoned to death? Aren’t these images shocking and obscene?

I am not equating the enormity of the evil of the Holocaust and the American genocide of pre-born babies to that of the homosexuality-affirming movement. I am, rather, illuminating the necessity of occasionally viewing the evil in our midst about which humans have a remarkable capacity to delude themselves.

As Christians, however, we should remain conscious of the fact that a life of unrepentant homoerotic activity will result in eternal separation from God. How do we measure the magnitude of temporal suffering relative to that of eternal suffering?

Well, here are some other ideas on which Christians should spend some time ruminating:

· Christians should consider whether appearing to affirm that which God abhors is pleasing to God.

· Christians should consider whether affirming or appearing to affirm homoerotic activity, which the Bible teaches will prevent entrance into Heaven, is a loving act.

What dupes and cowards Christians are. What poor servants of the one who was willing to die for us. While Christ died a humiliating and horrifying death for us, we’re unwilling to endure any degree of discomfort for him. As we welcome each sophistical lie with a secret sigh of relief for being offered a rationalization to justify either our silence or capitulation, we facilitate evil. Those who experience unchosen same-sex attraction are not evil. They are sinners just like every other human-save one-who has ever existed. We all experience myriad powerful, persistent, unchosen feelings. Our task as moral beings is to figure out upon which of these feelings it is morally legitimate to act. Christians do no service to God, women, children, men, or their country when they refuse to speak the truth about homosexuality. Instead, we help push America into the historical abyss.

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Almost every week, a new one appears.

At first it made sense. Colorado. Oregon. Wisconsin. But then, wait—Mississippi? Florida? Alabama? Marriage equality lawsuits have been filed now in all but five states in the nation—the final five that remain out of the game are North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Alaska and, yes, Georgia.

In 2004, Georgia voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and woman. But since that time a sea-change has taken place in the nation with polls showing more than 50 percent of the country supporting same-sex marriage.

So the dockets are full with same-sex marriage suits almost everywhere else in the country, and everywhere else in the south, but here—this despite wins in every federal court case since the United States v. Windsor decision last June when a major portion of the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down.

“I’m just as befuddled as everyone else,” says constitutional scholar Anthony Kreis who has done political work for Georgia Equality and HRC-Atlanta. “I don’t think there’s any strong reason why Georgia shouldn’t have a challenge to the marriage amendment.”

Nashville attorney Abby Rubenfeld knows about the challenges of fighting a same-sex marriage suit in the south, but that didn’t stop her from filing. She is the lead attorney on Tanco v. Haslam, the district court case in Tennessee that led the judge to rule last month that three gay couples’ marriages performed out of state are legal. The case is currently under appeal.

“I did not wait for anyone to tell me what they thought about the Sixth Circuit or Tennessee or anything else,” Rubenfeld tells GA Voice. “I thought that the Windsor ruling means all such discriminatory laws and constitutional amendments are unconstitutional, and why should the south be any different?”

“I think that change will come here when we all push it, so I push it in Tennessee,” she continues. “I think our movement is going to win these cases wherever we bring them and the time is now.”

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an enormous amount of movement happening behind the scenes by people and organizations across the country to find a judicial solution to make same-sex marriage a reality in Georgia. And one national organization is closer to filing than you think.

Beth Littrell, senior attorney in the Southern Regional Office of Lambda Legal, says marriage announcement coming "very soon." (photo via Lambda Legal)

Beth Littrell, senior attorney in the Southern Regional Office of Lambda Legal, says marriage lawsuit announcement coming “very soon.” (photo via Lambda Legal)

‘GEORGIA WON’T BE LEFT BEHIND’
When filing a same-sex marriage lawsuit, it’s possible to do so with a private attorney, but typically the suit is arranged or at least backed up by a major national organization like Lambda Legal, the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center or Freedom To Marry. All four and more have been at work identifying the right situation in which to file in Georgia, but one of them hints about how close they are to filing.

“We have been working to identify the best course of action to bring marriage equality to Georgia,” Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Beth Littrell tells GA Voice. “We will be announcing the result of that work very soon. I can assure you Georgia won’t be left behind when it comes to marriage equality.”

The primary challenge most often cited by Lambda Legal and others who are looking to file suit is a 2004 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit based in Atlanta that banned gay adoption in Florida—Lofton v. Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services.

That ruling was based on now widely discredited evidence that straight couples make better parents than gay ones. The Eleventh Circuit includes Georgia, Florida and Alabama. A Florida district court of appeals later overturned the adoption ban, but the Lofton case and all testimony and findings regarding how fit gay people are to be parents remains on the books in the higher court.

However, doubts remain about the danger posed by the Lofton case.

“I think it’s highly implausible that the circuit court will give that 2004 decision a lot of weight,” Kreis says. “The legal landscape has dramatically shifted in favor of same-sex couples’ rights.”

Kreis points out that the Lofton decision came just six months after Lawrence v. Texas, which made same-sex sexual activity legal across the country, and just a few months before Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage.

“I think [Lofton] was made at a time when the court may not have understood where the trajectory of the law was going. That’s further factored by the Windsor decision last June,” Kreis says. “I understand the caution that some folks have because the Eleventh Circuit is very conservative, but that hasn’t stopped other people from filing suit.”

ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Debbie Seagraves says, “There is no denying that the situation that folks are in right now is unjust. Unfortunately, the law and justice are not always the same thing. What we want to do is get justice through the courts, but we have to do it right.”

ISSUE MORE COMPLEX THAN FINDING SOMEONE WILLING TO SUE
Lambda Legal says they are hearing from gay couples throughout Georgia willing to file suit, but that it’s not that simple.

“Having outraged couples willing to be plaintiffs has never been the problem,” Littrell says. “There are lots of folks willing to put themselves out there to help move the ball along and win marriage equality in all states. But the calculus is just a little more complex than, ‘Can you find someone that’s willing to sue?’”

While mostly it’s the merits of the case and past case law that factor into whether to file or not, the experts say there are many other factors at play.

“Certainly compelling narratives are helpful in convincing a court. Longevity in terms of relationship and commitment are helpful. Edie Windsor’s story reflects that,” Littrell says. “But at the same time she had a very identifiable harm which allowed her to sue. You need an identifiable harm and a state official who is causing that harm.”

Technically, anyone could walk into district court right now with their lawyer and file a same-sex marriage lawsuit. But it’s not recommended. The amount of time, money and resources needed to undertake a successful case are large enough, but there’s also an enormous loss of privacy.

“That’s the difficult thing about constitutional litigation is folks just want to live their lives and be left alone,” says Kreis. “But in order to conserve those rights, you have to give up that privacy.”

“Some couples think they want to be the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit and have second thoughts,” Lambda Legal’s Littrell says.

The ACLU of Georgia’s Seagraves points out that in addition to those factors, you have to look at the wording and the scope of the particular marriage ban in place in each particular state.

“If you don’t do that, you run a danger of making bad law and making the next case that someone else brings harder,” Seagraves tells GA Voice.

Lambda Legal’s Littrell concurs, saying, “It could stop the momentum, and we want to keep building on that. That’s a fear—a case brought haphazardly or just based on principle and not thought through.”

That kind of case, by all accounts, could set the fight back by years. But while many disagree on the timing of such a lawsuit, everyone agrees on one thing.

“There will be people that challenge the Georgia law,” Kreis says. “I think that, especially in the legal and academic community, a clear understanding of the Windsor decision is that all these state marriage bans have to fall. It’s just a matter of time.”

STATES WITH CASES IN FEDERAL COURTS
Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia

STATES WITH CASES IN LOWER COURTS
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Source: Freedom to Marry

Source for Article: Patrick Saunders for The GA Voice 

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW