Nel's New Day

November 10, 2013

Evangelicals Need Jews to Bring Jesus Back to Earth

Skip Thanksgiving—the far-right wingnuts have commenced the war on “War on Christmas” beginning with Sarah Palin’s new book. According to Steve Benen, the three-fold attack of this tome is a tribute to the holiday, an explanation of Christianity’s superiority to atheism, and a guide to opposing all those “litigious secularists.” Anyone trying to understand why a business wanting customers from all beliefs should incorporate inclusive holiday-season language or why a non-Christian might not want to listen to governments showing a preference for Christianity over all other beliefs won’t find help in Palin’s directions. Instead, she thinks that these fringe beliefs endanger religious freedom in the country.

Palin probably ignored the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht yesterday. Literally “Crystal Night” and also called the Night of Broken Glass, the term names the attacks against Jews in Germany and parts of Austria by Hitler’s forces and non-Jewish civilians that killed 91 Jews and arrested and incarcerated another 30,000 in concentration camps. The name came from the broken glass covering the streets because attackers smashed windows in Jewish businesses, homes, hospitals, and schools. That horrific event changed the persecution from economic and social to beatings, incarceration, and murder.

Seventy-five years after the turn toward open violence that led to a world war, anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe again. Two-thirds of respondents to a poll believe that this prejudice is a problem, 76% thought that anti-Semitism had increased over the last five years, and 46% said they worried about being verbally assaulted or harassed in public because they were Jewish. One-third of the respondents were worried about being physically attacked, and 57% said they had heard or seen someone claim over the last year that the Holocaust was a myth or had been exaggerated.

Almost 6,000 Jewish people in eight EU member states–Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the UK–took part in the survey. About 90 percent of the EU’s Jewish population lives in these eight countries. The survey found 29% of those surveyed had considered emigrating because of concerns about safety, with particularly high figures recorded in Hungary (48%), France (46%) and Belgium (40%). One in five respondents had personally experienced at least one anti-Semitic verbal insult and/or a physical attack in the year before the survey.

One British respondent said the Internet communicated a “phenomenal” amount of anti-Semitic material: “This is in some ways setting us backwards as now young people are circulating content like the [anti-Semitic hoax] Protocols of the Elders of Zion which had, prior to the Internet, pretty much died out.” The report also said that Jewish people faced discrimination in schools and the workplace.

This week the U.S. and the World Jewish Congress criticized the far-right Hungarian Jobbik party for unveiling a statue of the wartime leader Miklós Horthy, who allied Hungary with Nazi Germany.

Not all people in the United States are open to Judaism, including the immediate (appointed) past president George W. Bush. This coming week he is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser in Irving (TX) for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute. Its purpose is to train people in the world to convert Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The goal is to “restore” Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ. The Dallas-based MJBI claims that it acts like the Apostle Paul in helping to “educate Christians in their role to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy and thus save some of them (Romans 11:11-14).”

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said he is disappointed that Bush cannot “accept the validity of the Jewish covenant.” Rabbi David Wolpe of Los Angeles’ Sinai Temple was more direct when he tweeted, “This is infuriating.” Bush follows last year’s star, Glenn Beck, who received a “Defender of Israel” award. The tickets this year range from $100 to $100,000. MJBI refused to say whether Bush would receive a speaking fee and, in fact, took his name off the website as keynote speaker.

MJBI board member Rabbi Marty Waldman of Baruch HaShem, a Messianic congregation in Dallas, explained that money is needed to hasten the return of Jesus. When there are “enough” Jewish people who call Jesus their savior, “some sort of a trigger will go off in heaven, and our father in heaven will say, ‘Okay, son, it’s time to get your bride,'” Waldman said.

These are some characteristics of people who “call Jesus their savior”:

Ignorance: While protesting the bill on legalized marriage equality in Illinois, a state representative failed to understand why people would advocate for civil rights in the debate. According to him, the United States was founded on “the scriptures,” not the constitution.

Fraud: LGBT-hater Dave Wilson used a creative way to get elected to the Houston Community College Board of Trustees by pretending to be black. Right-Wing Watch reported:

 “Wilson’s campaign fliers were filled with black faces that he admits to simply pulling off of websites, along with captions such as ‘Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson.’ Another flier announces that he was ‘Endorsed by Ron Wilson,’ which is the name of an African-American former state representative. Only by reading the fine print will voters discover that the ‘Ron Wilson’ who actually endorsed Dave is his cousin. The cousin lives in Iowa.”

Wilson beat long-time incumbent Bruce Austin, who really is black, in the African-American district.

phillips_family-427x193Hypocrisy: Doug Phillips, married and father of eight children, has preached about his strong belief in “biblical patriarchy” over women and home-schooling. Women should not “work alongside men as their functional equals” outside the home, according to Phillips. Last week he stepped down from his position as president of Texas-based Vision Forum Ministries. Phillips wrote:

“I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman. While we did not ‘know’ each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.”

Phillips’ ministry took in $3.3 million in 2011; the related for-profit group, Vision Forum Inc. was paid $193,176 in 2011 for “labor and services.” Phillips plans to retain ownership of the for-profit business. The photo of Phillips and his family is from Vision Forum Ministries.

Bigotry: American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer accused First Lady Michelle Obama of inviting “demons into the White House.” She hosted an event honoring the Hindu “festival of lights.” Fischer said:

“This is a counterfeit religion. It is an Eastern religion. It is, in essence, an occult religion.  It’s a counterfeit, a false alternative to Christianity.  It ultimately represents the doctrine of demons, that is what you have with Hinduism and now this is being celebrated in the White House.”

Fischer called on the people of the nation to elect a Christian president. He missed the fact that George W. Bush also celebrated the Hindu holiday.

Intolerance: After the Rev. Frank Schaefer officiated his son’s same-sex marriage “because I love him so much and didn’t want to deny him that joy,” the pastor faces a church trial with accusations that he broke his pastoral vows by performing the ceremony.  Hundreds of other Methodist ministers have rejected anti-LGBT doctrine, and some of them also face discipline. Today 50 clergy members showed support for Schaefer by presiding over a same-sex ceremony in Philadelphia, one which will not have state support because of Pennsylvania’s ban on marriage equality.

Stupidity: Pat Robertson has been awarded the British Stonewall “Bigot of the Year” award reserved for “an individual who has gratuitously caused hurt and offense to gay people around the world,” according to the Daily Mail. In the U.S. right-wing extremists are rejecting Robertson because he has said that the world is older than 6,000 years. He was mocked because he denied the myth about the Earth’s age because the 6,000 years came, not from the Bible, but from a book by Ireland’s Archbishop James Ussher in the seventeenth century.

Next Sunday, I’ll fill you in on how everyone knows that humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs. If you can’t wait, you can Google it!

October 27, 2013

Republican Jesus™ v. Tea Party Jesus

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 2:10 PM
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During the past few decades, conservative groups have adopted Republican Jesus™ as the motivating factor behind their politics.

  • Are you not white? Republican Jesus™ hates you.
  • Are you a woman? Republican Jesus™ hates you.
  • Are you gay? Republican Jesus REALLY hates you. And so on.

The problem with Republican Jesus™ is that he isn’t Republican enough. Thus extremists developed Tea Party Jesus. At birth, Tea Party Jesus swore that he cared nothing about social issues, just those economic ones called Taxed Enough Already and Obamacare. He ignored the fact that taxes were the lowest in 50 years.

And that the namesake for Tea Party Jesus was an 18th-century “tea party” that didn’t protest taxes. The protester opposed a tax cut for the international corporation East Indian Company that undermined local businesses. While he uses “Taxation Without Representation!” for a slogan, Tea Party Jesus has the best representation that billions in corporate money can buy as corporations destroy small businesses.

Republican Jesus™ really liked Tea Party Jesus because he voted against President Obama, the only thing that Republican Jesus™ really cared about at the time. Even when Tea Party Jesus obsessed about President Obama’s birth certificate and constantly made racist remarks about the president, Republican Jesus™ didn’t seem to worry. But it kept getting worse.

  • Tea Party Jesus believes that being taxed lower than he was in Reagan’s 1980s is the same as being overburdened with taxes.
  • Tea Party Jesus believes that the financial crisis of 2008, brought on by Wall Street running amok, is proof that we need less government regulation.
  • Tea Party Jesus is absolutely positive that the deficit has gone up since Obama took office.
  • Tea Party Jesus knows, just knows, that President Obama is a secret Muslim.
  • Tea Party Jesus believes that ACORN stole the 2008 election.
  • Tea Party Jesus also believes ACORN stole the 2012 election. They’re not entirely clear how that is possible since ACORN ceased to exist in 2010 but, darn it!, they believe!

Republican Jesus™ does have strong similarities to Tea Party Jesus. Both love guns more than they do people. Both love the rich like a dog loves its abusive master. Both love the free market even if they can’t define it. And both love the Constitution—at least the Second Amendment.

The two of them, however, part ways at hate. Republican Jesus™ uses hate because it sells well, but he’s willing to drop any hate rhetoric if it hurts him at the voting booth. Tea Party Jesus really does hate, so much that he thinks he can say his angry rhetoric openly. Republican Jesus™ knows that open racism is bad for his business, just as trashing women and bashing gays doesn’t get him votes. Tea Party Jesus, however, takes great pride in his hate.

  • Tea Party Jesus wants you to know how much he hates homosexuals. But don’t you call him a bigot!
  • Tea Party Jesus wants you to know how much he despises the poor.
  • Tea Party Jesus wants you to know how little he thinks of women’s rights.
  • Tea Party Jesus wants you to know he thinks rape isn’t really a crime.
  • Tea Party Jesus wants you to know how much he hates porch monkeys crackheads n*ggers black people. But don’t you call him a racist!
  • Tea Party Jesus wants you to know how much wetbacks drug mules dirty illegals Latinos disgust him. Still not a racist!
  • Tea Party Jesus wants you to know how much he sneers at the lazy young who only want the same affordable college and job opportunities and pensions and Social Security benefits that HE got. Tea Party Jesus EARNED all that good stuff by being born at the right time to the right family! Get your own!
  • Tea Party Jesus wants you to know how much he hates Muslims.
  • Tea Party Jesus wants you to know how much he loathes contraception in all its forms. If whores have sex, they should pay for it with disease and pregnancy.
  • Tea Party Jesus wants you to know how much he hates the very idea of government and that’s why you should put him in charge of it.
  • Tea Party Jesus says these things in private, in public, on stage and in front of cameras. Over and over and over again. It’s like a form of Tourette’s except instead of cursing, he says what he’s really thinking. Loudly.

Republican Jesus™ wants Tea Party Jesus to be quiet, but his bubble protects him. Inside the bubble, voices tell Tea Party Jesus “You’re the smartest boy in the room, Tea Party Jesus!” “Everyone loves you, Tea Party Jesus!” “You’re going to win the election in a landslide, Tea Party Jesus!” If he fails, Tea Party Jesus cries and rants, “It’s not MY fault! It’s Republican Jesus’™ fault! Bad Republican Jesus™! You’re just not conservative enough!”

Republican Jesus™ keeps trying to clean up Tea Party Jesus’ messes, failing to remember that he raised Tea Party Jesus to be blind, hateful, and angry. Getting closer to reality, Republican Jesus™ is making plans to defeat Tea Party Jesus in the next election. The question is whether Tea Party Jesus has gotten so strong that they will take the primaries and lose the general election. We’ll know what happens in a little more than a year.

A few examples of Tea Party Jesus in action:

Televangelist Pat Robertson wants his money and doesn’t mind letting his listeners know. When an elderly woman concerned with her husband’s medical bills asked Robertson it was okay if she didn’t tithe, Robertson blamed her for the illness. He told her that if she had tithed that he would have stayed healthy.

In another response, Robertson blamed a woman for being bad at praying away her young son’s deafness. He claimed that he could cure deafness through prayer. If she hadn’t done so, she’s doing something wrong. Another of Robertson’s blame game is that tornado victims are responsible for the disaster because they should have prayed it away.

Bryan Fischer, spokesman for the American Family Association, is well known for hatred. Most recently, the AFA supported the anti-LGBT crusade in Russia that cheers people openly beating up others for their sexual orientation and gender identity. The Christian group also uses hate speech against Muslims, pro-choice supporters, and atheists.

Because of AFA’s attack on the LGBT community with lies and hate speech, The Southern Poverty Law Center classified AFA as a hate group in 2010. Now the AFA is threatening to sue the U.S. military because an army instructor said that AFA is a hate group. Fischer claims that the AFA loves everyone:  “We love homosexuals enough to tell them the truth about the moral, spiritual and physical dangers of homosexual conduct.”

The Pentagon rewarded Fischer’s bad behavior deciding that the instructor was wrong to classify AFA as a hate group. That’s why Tea Party Jesus wins. He wails “Unfair,” and others back off. AFA accused the military of generally attacking Christianity by labeling one Christian group as a hate group, yet AFA’s membership is 180,000 out of the 316 million people in the nation, 77 percent of whom identify as Christians.

Tea Party Jesus was present in a restaurant when a group of self-identified Christians left a message telling their waiter that they refused to leave a tip because he is gay. The message read:

“Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD. Queers do not share in the wealth of GOD, and you will not share in ours. We hope you will see the tip your queer choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for GOD’s love, but none shall be spared for queers. May GOD have mercy on you.”

Last month, customers left the message “None, n***er” in the designated space for a tip after they were served by a young black woman. The month before, a South Carolina restaurant denied service to a group of blacks on the others of a white customer.

Under the guidance of Tea Party Jesus, TV host Glenn Beck told his audience that parents should beat their children to teach them that their rights “come from God.”

The question is, do we continue to support Tea Party Jesus–or even Republican Jesus™?

June 13, 2013

Good News Other Than Rampant Bigotry

Congress is lower than cockroaches, found one poll six months ago. The nation’s legislative branch isn’t doing any better now; it’s at the bottom of 16 institutions—for the fourth consecutive year. Only 10 percent of the respondents had confidence in Congress, almost 25 percent down from last year. The rating is the lowest level of confidence that Gallup has ever found for any institution on record.

Despite the low rating, there is some good news, some of it from Congress itself. The 60-vote GOP mandate in the Senate has bitten the party that has obsessively used this super majority. The GOP-proposed amendment to immigration reform that border security must satisfy them for at least six month before any other action got only a 57-43 vote today. Two Democrats voted against tabling the amendment, and five Republicans joined the Democrat majority to vote it down.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who introduced the amendment, said, “This vote proves this ‘open and fair process’ is a farce. The majority is afraid of having a true vote on my amendment.” His problem is that the GOP senators have blocked almost all action in the Senate for year, excessively using this mythical super majority mandate.

The bill already has provisions for border security, requiring apprehension of 90 percent of people trying to cross the southern border illegally. In addition, the bill has very restrictive conditions. If the immigration reform bill were to become law, undocumented people in the U.S. could not approach legal status for at least 13 years. That could only happen after people undergo a background check, pay a fine and back taxes, learn English, and wait in line for a green card.

While Congress remains inert, the courts are moving forward. With less than two weeks to deliver all its decisions for the past session, the Supreme Court announced a unanimous ruling that companies cannot patent parts of naturally-occurring human genes. This reverses almost 30 years of  the lucrative practice of awarding gene patents, which included one company controlling the test on a genetic disposition toward breast cancer. Myriad Genetics was sued because its ownership to the human gene kept other companies from developing tests.

Surprisingly, the silent Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the decision that maintained laws of nature, natural phenomena and abstract ideas are not patentable. The court did throw companies a bone, ruling that they could patent synthetically-created DNA.

SCOTUS still has not announced before they recess, possibly on June 27. A year ago, the most waited-for decision, Obamacare, came out at the end of the court’s year, giving Chief Justice John Roberts a chance to get out of the country a few days after he voted on what the conservatives perceived to be the wrong side. The marriage equality decisions will probably be announced immediately before the end of June as was the June 26, 2003, decision on Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state laws banning same-sex intimacy. 2003.

A recent federal court decision involving the Supreme Court may be appealed to SCOTUS. Judge Beryl A. Howell ruled against the law that bans organizing protesting and signs in front of the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional, calling the 1949 legislation passed by Congress “unreasonable” and “substantially overbroad.”

Charles A. Whitehead, founder of the Rutherford Institute, said about the decision:

“Judge Howell’s frank, no-holds-barred ruling affirming the Supreme Court plaza as a free speech zone throws a lifeline to the First Amendment at a time when government officials are doing their best to censor, silence and restrict free speech activities.”

Another First Amendment right, separation of church and state, is being celebrated this week in the 50th anniversary of School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp. This case stopped daily Bible readings and saying the Lord’s Prayer in schools, declaring the practice unconstitutional. In the past few years, the Pennsylvania legislation has regressed, having declared the year 2012 as “The Year of the Bible,” October 2012 as “Prayer Month,” and May 3, 2012 a “Day of Prayer.” William Penn, early champion of religious freedom, probably wouldn’t agree.

On the negative side, however, the lizard part of conservatives’ brains promoting bigotry was active two days ago:

George Zimmerman’s murder trial: Discussing jury selection for the man  who stalked, shot, and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, former NYPD detective Harry Houck said, “Listen, Trayvon Martin would be alive today, okay, if he didn’t, alright, have a street attitude.” This is the excuse for someone who ignored a 9/11 dispatcher’s order to stay in his car before he followed his prey.

The Boy Scouts of America’s decision to permit gay members: On his 700 Club show, televangelist Pat Robertson said:

“[The LGBT community is] willing to rip apart the framework of traditional marriage, to rip apart an organization that has done so much good for young people… All for one thing, that the way they do sex will be accepted in the mainstream of society…  It’s been a marvelous institution, and to see that torn up in order to accommodate a few kids who want to do sex with each other, I mean, it boggles the mind.”

Muslims’ complicity in extremist terrorism: Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) said on the House floor that Muslims in the United States did not condemn acts of Islamic extremist terrorism against the U.S. and are therefore complicit in attacks, past and future. Accusing them of deafening silence, he himself did not hear the ways that Muslim leaders and communities have condemned the terrorists’ violence and extremism. For example, immediately after the Boston bombers were identified as Muslim, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a statement:

“As Americans, we are a united force against any form of tyranny, whether it be in the form of terrorism or otherwise…Terrorism has no allegiance to faith or ethnicity, and we have been witness to that over the past few years. What happened in Boston and Watertown last week does not reflect on anyone except for those who carried it out. It is not a reflection of ethnic identity, religion, or national affiliation.”

The Obama administration’s announcement that it will not block access to Plan B for any woman or girl: Laura Ingraham angrily responded, “It’s a good deal for pedophiles, a good deal for people who commit statutory rape against young girls.”

The virulent attack against an 11-year-old boy through Twitter: Singing phenomenon Sebastien de la Cruz (pictured above with his parents), featured on America’s Got Talent, gave a beautiful rendition of the national anthem at the San Antonio Spurs game. The unleashing of racist hate was unforgivable as shown by two of the disgusting tweets:

“This lil Mexican snuck in the country like 4 hours ago now he singing the anthem” –@A2daO

“Who let this illegal alien sing our national anthem?” –@MCyrus2

De la Cruz, the son of a Navy sailor, was born and raised in San Antonio. With grace, he answered the rants:

“People don’t know, they just assume that I’m just Mexican. But I’m not from Mexico, I’m from San Antonio, born and raised; a true Spurs fan.”

This response shows that there is hope for the future.

May 23, 2013

Virginia Sets Tone for GOP Crisis

The Virginia election for governor is over five months away on November 5, and the Democratic primary for their candidate is set for June 11. Yet the race is worth watching not only because of GOP stupidity but also because of the dissention between the conservatives who don’t  hide their anger and bigotry and the ones who know that showing this behavior might lose them elections.

In the case of the Virginia GOP selection for governor and lieutenant governor 2013 candidates, the stupidity comes from the Republicans decision to select these candidates through a convention of GOP activists, sure to pick an extreme-right winter, rather than letting people select candidates in a primary.

And what picks they are. People  shook their heads about Republican gubernatorial candidate, Ken Cuccinelli with his  extreme record for anti women’s and LGBT rights. He even challenged a court decision that ruled Virginia’s anti-sodomy law unconstitutional. Until last weekend, he represented the extreme right wing of the party. The selection of E.W. Jackson for  lieutenant governor, however, moves Cuccinelli toward the center.

Scott Keyes wrote:

“If you were to put the dregs of conservative Internet comment sections into a pot, boil them down to their essence, then run the resulting product through a sieve to get it to its rawest, most pure form of vitriol, it would probably look something like E.W. Jackson’s Twitter feed.”

Keyes also picked 20 of Jackson’s 662 tweets to show the man’s nature. One of them said that LGBT people make him feel “ikky.”

Jackson

Jackson is notorious for his off-the-wall—one might say unhinged–statements:

Gays and lesbians: Jackson said that they have “perverted” minds, are “very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally,” and are bigoted against African Americans and Christians. […]”

Homosexuality: “It attempts to poison our children, divide them from their parents and the teaching of the church and basically turn them into pawns for that movement so that they can sexualize them at the earliest possible age.”

Gays and lesbians in the military: The “repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ law is a disaster of historic proportions and it must be reinstated.”

President Obama: He has “Muslim sensibilities” and sees the world “from a Muslim perspective.” Also he “seems to have a lot of sympathy for even radical Islam” and “certainly does have a lot of affection and favor for Islam, that seems to be his priority…Christianity, I don’t really think about that with him, I really don’t, that’s a joke.”

President and Michelle Obama: President Obama and the First Lady “don’t understand our country, I don’t think they even like it,” warning that the Obamas are “the intellectual cousins and heirs of a Communist, collectivist way of thinking which is anathema to what this country is all about.”

Democrats: The party embraces a policy agenda “worthy of the Antichrist.” He’s argued that the “repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ law is a disaster of historic proportions and it must be reinstated.”

Democratic leaders: They are like “slave masters” who make sure that black people who disagree with them are “punished.”

Liberals: Those who support gay rights “have done more to kill black folks” than the “Ku Klux Klan.”

Planned Parenthood: “The Democrat Party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions. Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was.”

While he was running for Senate in 2011, Jackson called the Constitution’s original clause to count blacks as three-fifths of a person an “anti-slavery amendment.” The purpose of the clause was to increase voting and political power in the South while not giving slaves any rights. Jackson’s statement was directed against President Obama because of a sermon in the church that he attended. Arguing that it was inappropriate for the president to remain in a church where the pastor would bring up slavery, Jackson said, “This is 2011. The issue of slavery was settled 146 years ago.”

During his campaign last year, he said that God would turn the blacks “overwhelmingly” against the president. That’s the election in which President Obama received 95 percent of the black vote.

While a minister and attorney in Boston 25 years ago, he opposed desegregating public housing developments, calling it “social engineering.” After the federal government discovered that the city had prevented blacks from moving into this low-income housing, it ordered Boston to have a plan that would allow them into these developments. In a speech, Jackson said that he believed people should be allowed to live apart from other races and that he, too, didn’t like being told what to do.

When the interviewer asked Jackson if he felt he was being “used” by white politicians, Jackson said, “Well, the scripture says it’s a good thing to be used in a good cause.” With the GOP desperately searching for minorities, Jackson is again useful.

Jackson didn’t get the nod from the GOP conference until the fourth ballot. Last year, he came in fourth in his U.S. Senate campaign and received about 5 percent of the vote.

How do the less extreme Republicans feel about Jackson’s pick? Virginia Lt. Gov Bill Bolling said that the surprise GOP pick to succeed him had made “simply indefensible” comments in the past that would only serve to reinforce negative perceptions about the party.

Asked if Jackson was trouble, another senior Virginia Republican responded, “Oh. My. God. Yes.” The danger, the Republican said, is that Jackson will bring Democrats to the polls who might otherwise stay home. “You just don’t want one candidate to rile up the base of the other side. That’s what you’re trying to avoid.”

Cuccinelli can’t afford to alienate the people who put Jackson into his running-mate position, but he also can’t afford to be so extreme that he loses the more moderate vote. To effectively separate himself from Jackson, Cuccinelli issued this statement:

“We are not going to be defending our running mates’ statements, now or in the future. The people of Virginia need to get comfortable with each candidate individually, and that’s what this process is all about.”

Cuccinelli can afford to separate himself: in Virginia, the two top positions are decided separately so he still has a chance even if Jackson loses. Twenty years ago, Republican George Allen kept his distance from conservative homeschooling Mike Farris and won the governor’s position while Farris lost to a Democrat for lieutenant governor. The same kind of ticket splitting happened in 2005.

When questioned about his extreme views, Jackson said, “I say the things that I say because I’m a Christian, not because I hate anybody, but because I have religious values that matter to me.” He also calls himself “Virginia’s Hermann Cain.”

The Virginia election this fall is the symbol of the GOP crisis—the more common-sense Republicans working toward rebranding while the extremist Tea Partiers just let it all hang out. Virginia GOP spokesman Garren Shipley said, “The race for lieutenant governor will be fought on economic ground as opposed to social policy.” Time will tell.

March 6, 2012

Is Bigotry Brave?

Is bigotry brave? This question came up when Piers Morgan (CNN) called former child actor Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) “brave” when Cameron said, “I believe that marriage was defined by God a long time ago…. Do I support the idea of gay marriage? No, I don’t.” He added, “It’s [homosexuality] unnatural, it’s detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.” Cameron made his opposition more clear to Morgan when he said that he wouldn’t support any of his six children who came out to him.

How far would Morgan—or others who agree with him—go in declaring a bigot brave? Would they say that the members of the Kansas Baptist church protesting homosexuality are brave? The ones who carry signs saying “Thank God for dead soldiers” because there are gays and lesbians in the U.S.?

One person responding to the Salon article about Cameron pointed out that it’s not particularly brave to voice anti-gay views if the speaker surrounds himself with others, like fundamentalist Christians, who hold the same views. “So no, it is not brave for Cameron to voice his bigoted views, when after the interview, he goes back to his people ready to pat him on the back for it, having nobody who really matters to him be at odds with his statements,” said the person responding.

Cameron may have been surprised to find himself surrounded with opposition. In response to all those criticizing him, he asked for their debating such issues “with greater love and respect.” Does Cameron find his words loving and respectful? I don’t.

Would Morgan think that Rush Limbaugh is “brave” for his bigotry? As of today, at least 34 advertisers have decided that they don’t want to be connected to the man who called a 30-year-old Georgetown law student a “slut” and “prostitute”—among many other things. Limbaugh hasn’t stopped. Today he spent an hour railing against Tracie McMillan, author of The American Way of Eating. “What is it with all of these young, single, white women, overeducated — doesn’t mean intelligent,” Limbaugh said about the woman he called an “authorette.” McMillan grew up in a rural area outside Flint (MI), earned a B.A. in college (overeducated?), and then researched her book by working low-paying jobs for almost a year at Wal-Mart, Applebees, and other places in the food industry.

Other attacks on women came from Rick Santorum and the state of Wisconsin. “We are seeing the fabric of this country fall apart, and it’s falling apart because of single moms,” Santorum said when he ran for the Senate in 1994. He hasn’t changed his mind since then—just softened the rhetoric. According to Santorum last October, single moms are “the political base of the Democratic party. Why? Because it’s so tough economically that they look to the government for help and therefore they’re going to vote. So if you want to reduce the Democratic advantage, what you want to do is build two-parent families; you eliminate that desire for government.” I always have trouble understanding Santorum. Is he saying that if women get married, they will vote Republican?

Wisconsin doesn’t bother with sugar-coating their message. State senator Glenn Grothman, has introduced a bill that would require the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to include single mothers as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, one-third of Wisconsin parents are single. There are approximately 13.7 million parents in the United States, with mothers outnumbering single fathers five to one.

Like, Santorum, Grothman contends that financial benefits drive the rise in single motherhood among low-income moms. A scary statistic is that 14 percent of the voters to the article agree with Grothman. Women in Wisconsin are poorer than they were a year ago, because this is in one of those Republican-ruled states that have taken money from the poor and middle-class workers to give to the wealthy and the corporations.

So the question stands. Is bigotry against LGBT people, women, single mothers, etc. brave? Or just ignorant?

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