2014 in Quotes: LGBT Equality and Semen-Flavored Coffee

As legal recognition for same-sex marriage came to state after state this year (but not Texas, unfortunately), the right exploded in fury — with overheated rhetoric that alternated between ridiculous and nakedly bigoted. Here’s what we heard from the right in 2014 about LGBT equality. Click here to read more quotes from the right in 2014.

“My suspicion is that they’re getting their semen from sodomites. Semen flavors up the coffee and makes you think you’re having a good time.”

– Anti-gay Pastor James David Manning of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in New York City, claiming that Starbucks flavors its coffee blends with semen from gay men.

“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that. I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”

– Texas Gov. Rick Perry, comparing gay people to alcoholics.

“They need some basic plumbing lessons.”

— U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, talking about federal judges who have ruled in favor of marriage equality.

“But you know what, it’s a different kind of fighting, it’s a different kind of war and if you’re sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into a big, planned battle, then you’re not going to last very long.”

– U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, making a strange argument against allowing gay people to serve in the military.

“So it is amazing that in the name of liberality, in the name of being tolerant, this fascist intolerance has arisen. People that stand up and say, you know, I agree with the majority of Americans, I agree with Moses and Jesus that marriage was a man and a woman, now all of a sudden, people like me are considered haters, hate mongers, evil, which really is exactly what we’ve seen throughout our history as going back to the days of the Nazi takeover in Europe. What did they do? First, they would call people “haters” and “evil” and build up disdain for those people who held those opinions or religious views or religious heritage. And then the next came, well, those people are so evil and hateful, let’s bring every book that they’ve written or has to do with them and let’s start burning the books, because we can’t tolerate their intolerance.”

– U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, comparing gay rights supporters to Nazis.

“I am not shocked that Mayor Parker decided to elope to California for a marriage that is unconstitutional in Texas. This is obviously part of a larger strategy of hers to turn Texas into California.”

— Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, reacting to news that Houston Mayor Annise Parker married her longtime partner. Patrick won election as Texas lieutenant governor later in the year.

“Because same-sex relationships do not naturally produce children, recognizing same-sex marriage does not further these goals to the same extent that recognizing opposite-sex marriage does. That is enough to supply a rational basis for Texas’s marriage laws.”

— From a brief from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott defending the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, arguing (without a shred of evidence) that opposite-sex marriage “increases the likelihood” that a married couple will produce and raise their children in “stable, lasting relationships.”

“Actually, the reason why you’re uncertain about it is because I didn’t answer the question. And I can’t go back and answer some hypothetical question like that.”

– Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, in his campaign for governor, answering questions about whether he would have defended the state’s ban on interracial marriage as he is doing with the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“I have thought about it and I’ve decided that I’ll change my definition when God changes his.”

— Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, one of four Republicans who ran for lieutenant governor this year, answering a question about same-sex marriage.

“The national leadership of the [Boy Scouts of America] cannot be trusted. They can’t be trusted not to open the door for more infiltration from the gay agenda. Eventually we’ll have gay scouts and gay scoutmasters and gay troops. They’ll keep coming until their mission is fulfilled.”

— Don Huffines, Texas state senator-elect, talking about gay Boy Scouts.

“We do not accept the homosexual agenda, that is what we are talking about here. If those who embrace that homosexual agenda want to move to a state that does embrace homosexual marriage, there is a state of Massachusetts that they could move to.”

– Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum and former chair of the Texas Republican Party, suggesting that gay people get out of Texas.

“Homosexuality- Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that have been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nation’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples. We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.

Reparative Therapy- We recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.”

– From the Texas Republican Party’s 2014 platform

“There has never been a state in this country that has ever banned gay marriage. That is a liberal lie.”

— Right-wing radio talk show host Michael Medved, speaking on a CPAC panel.

“And the thing that I think is getting a little tiresome is the gay community have so bullied the American people and they have so intimidated politicians that politicians fear them and they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere. Well, not with the Constitution you don’t.”

— Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaking on one of her favorite topics.

“The fascists at the Homosexual Lobby are thrilled that [gay NFL player Michael] Sam has strolled out of the closet in support of their twisted, tangled, tawdry agenda. The homosexual leaders are the most vile, vicious, and vitriolic people in the world.”

Former Indiana House of Representatives member Don Boys, writing in an online screed against homosexuality.

“I’m beginning to think, are re-education camps next? When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?”

– Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, referring to gay rights supporters, after the Colorado Civil Rights Commission unanimously upheld a judge’s ruling that a Colorado baker had discriminated against gay customers.

“There’s no way that the state of California can deny a marriage license to four spouses now, eight spouses. Or, I would say, three human spouses and the canine they absolutely love because if love is the foundation of marriage, they can love their dog, too.”

– Dr. Keith Ablow, the resident psychiatrist at Fox News, asserting that legalized same-sex marriage would lead to bestiality.

“Today, there is a growing intolerance on this issue, intolerance towards those who continue to support traditional marriage. And I promise you that even before this speech is over, I will be attacked as a hater, a bigot or someone who is anti-gay.”

– Florida Senator Marco Rubio, making accusations against same-sex marriage advocates.

“The progressive movement is out to destroy our country as it has existed. It is against patriotism. It is against religion in general and is in particular hostile to evangelical Christianity and traditional Catholicism. It is against borders. It is against capitalism. It is for high taxation and government control and regulation of almost everything.”

– American Family Association president Tim Wildmon, airing his grievances in a fundraising email sent to AFA members.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is the Dred Scott of gay marriage. Legalizes something morally indefensible.”

– The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, offering a remarkably offensive comparison between the Supreme Court’s pre-Civil War decision that black people were property and not citizens and the high court’s decision this summer not to hear appeals to lower court rulings striking down laws banning same-sex marriage.

“It started in South Carolina with the Civil War, as you know, for the same kind of issue: states’ rights. Obviously the issue is different. I mean, slavery was different than obviously this. But, I mean, it was a states’ rights issue.”

– Frank Turek, anti-gay activist, on the American Family Association’s radio broadcast “Today’s Issues,” comparing efforts to stop gay marriage to slavery during the Civil War.

“Benjamin had been annihilated. They had killed all the women, they had killed a good portion of the fighting men, they burned a number of their cities, it was a complete mess. Why? Because they had defended these rapist homosexuals. Is that a message for Houston? For someplace else in America?”

– Pat Robertson on “The 700 Club,” not so subtly suggesting that the legal battle around Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance could lead to destruction as seen in the biblical city of Gibeah.

Posted in TFNEF, The Year in Quotes | 1 Comment

2014 in Quotes: The War on Science

It’s time for the Texas Freedom Network’s review of the nonsense we heard from the far right this year. We’ll take up a different subject each day. Today: The right’s war on science — especially on climate science and the teaching of evolution — roared onward in 2014.  Click here to read quotes from the right in previous years. Let’s get started:

“When it comes to creationism, not only should it be taught, it should be triumphed. It should be heralded.”

— State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, expressing his support for teaching creationism in the state’s public schools during a debate with his Republican opponents in the race for Texas lieutenant governor. His GOP opponents also said they supported teaching creationism in public schools. Patrick won the election and will take office as lieutenant governor in January.

“I was not following this issue previously until a mom down in Corpus Christi showed me a a lesson plan that said ‘Fossil fuels are bad because …’ and then you filled in the blank. And the child filled in ‘because they pollute and are not renewable’ and that was the right answer! And as I delved into this more and more, I began to see a curriculum on energy that was completely biased against fossil fuels — this is in Texas! In Texas public schools, talking about the fact that oil and coal and gas pollute!”

— Failed Texas attorney general candidate Barry Smitherman, talking about Common Core, the multi-state education curriculum standards currently the subject of innumerable tea party conspiracy theories.

“I certainly think all students should be aware of creationism. They should be aware of that, absolutely. Teaching it as a science, it should be taught on equal footing.”

— Don Huffines, who defeated incumbent Texas state Sen. John Carona in their Republican Primary and will take the seat in January, offering his peculiar views on creationism and science.

“Whether global warming is a myth or whether it’s actually happening, that’s very much up for debate. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.”

– David Bradley, a Republican member of the Texas State Board of Education.

“So I was just wondering how that related, like, for example, to global warming and eventually global cooling. And I may want to get your cell phone because if we do go through a couple cycles — global warming and then back to global cooling — I need to know when to buy my long coat on sale. You know, I just don’t know how y’all prove those hypotheses going back 50, 100 mill — what you might say thousands, even millions of years, how you postulate those forward.”

— U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, attempting to mock a scientist testifying before a House panel.

“How’s he going to look? Is he going to look … uh … like the people who threw Galileo out?”

— Glenn Beck, claiming that Bill Nye the Science Guy, who opposes teaching students about creationism as science, is no different than the people who tried to silence Galileo. Of course, the Roman Catholic Church silenced Galileo.

“(T)hey are imposing the religion of naturalism/atheism on generations of students. They are imposing their ideology on the students, that everything is described by natural processes. That is a religion.”

— Creationist Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, speaking during a “debate” with Bill Nye The Science Guy about the Texas Freedom Network and other supporters of science education.

“Let’s be real, let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”

— Televangelist Pat Robertson, rebuking Ken Ham and other young Earth creationists a day after Ham debated Bill Nye the Science Guy.

“You have to be deaf, dumb and blind to think that this Earth that we live in only has 6,000 years of existence. It just doesn’t. I’m sorry.”

Pat Robertson, speaking in a remarkable moment of clarity.

“Pat Robertson illustrates one of the biggest problems we have today in the church — people like Robertson compromise the Word of God with the pagan ideas of fallible men!”

 Creationist Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, responding to Pat Robertson’s criticism of young Earth creationists.

“You know, the word ‘science,’ it’s kind of a magical word. ‘I believe in science.’ It just means knowledge, that’s all it means. There’s different areas of science, different areas of knowledge. When you say the Bible is not a science book, you’re saying it’s not a knowledge book? It tells us how God created the Earth!”

— Creationist Ray Comfort, arguing that Cosmos host and astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, misrepresented the Bible.

“I see some people that like to mock and ridicule, especially about the dinosaurs, how did they put the big old dinosaurs on there? Well, I would suggest to you they didn’t take the big old dinosaur — they would have taken the younger ones. You think of a guy like me, if you’re going to go repopulate a planet, you’re not taking me with you. I’m old. My repopulating days are done. You take my son or my grandson. My grandson is a whole lot smaller than I am.”

— Carl Kerby, clearing up confusion about how Noah’s ark had room for all those big dinorsaurs.

“So we have a decision to make: do we believe what an environmentalist group says and choose to live in a world where we’re attempting to make everything as clean in the air as possible, or do we believe what the Bible says, that these things were going to happen and that rather than try to clean up all of the air and solve all of the problems of the world by eliminating factories, we should start to tell people about Jesus Christ who is to return?”

– Matthew Hagee, the son of San Antonio megachurch Pastor John Hagee, explaining the the planet is not experiencing climate change, but rather the second coming of Jesus Christ.

“You can mix a donkey and a horse and get a mule, but mules cannot reproduce. They can only reproduce after their own kind. We have no species change. Why would a whole theory, everything taught in our schools, be based on something that is something that is so outrageously not only ridiculous, it’s impossible.”

– MorningStar Ministries founder Rick Joyner, claiming in a sermon that that there’s no evidence of species evolving.

“I think everyone here is doing it because we believe in the message and we ultimately want people to be saved. We want people to realize the Bible is trustworthy in matters of history and when it touches science. And because you can trust it in those areas, you can trust it when it comes to how to inherit eternal life.”

– Jason Lisle, an astrophysicist and research director at the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research, explaining why he wants to show that science proves the biblical version of creation.

“We live in a day and age where there are a whole lot of people who tell us we don’t have a purpose. The arguments couldn’t be more clear in this age when so many people worship science as the end of all things. There are some who believe we are an accident of primordial goo, particles bumping into each other after the Big Bang, creating bacteria which created amoeba which created something that led to something that led to something — a missing link! And then men. Somewhere in there there’s a monkey apparently. But we’re an accident.”

– Right-wing blogger and commentator Erick Erickson, deriding evolution and science in a speech at the religious right’s Values Voter Summit.

Posted in science, TFNEF, The Year in Quotes | 1 Comment

The Week in Quotes (Dec. 14 – 20)

Here are some of the week’s most notable quotes culled from news reports from across Texas, and beyond.

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Texas Isn’t the Only State Where the Right Is Pushing Indoctrination Instead of Education in Public Schools

Members of the Texas State Board of Education aren’t the only politicians pushing the national campaign to turn public schools into tools for indoctrinating students with right-wing ideology. A columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel looks at how that campaign is unfolding in other states.

In Florida, for example, lawmakers are pushing a bill that would require high school students to watch a film about America written by and starring conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza. D’Souza is the author of numerous diatribes — in columns, books and film — that essentially describe President Obama as a Marxist out to destroy America.

Even fellow conservatives have labeled these claims by D’Souza as ridiculous. But now some Florida lawmakers want to force students in their state to watch a film from the same incendiary propagandist. (D’Souza, by the way, is also a law-breaker. He was fined and sentenced to eight months in a community confinement center last September after admitting that he deliberately violated U.S. campaign finance law.)

The Sun-Sentinel columnist, Rhonda Swan, explains how those Florida lawmakers are tied to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). That right-wing group has in other states been pushing similar legislation that would require students to learn a sanitized and distorted version of American history. Here’s how Swan describes one part of the campaign:

[ALEC] wrote the Founding Principles Act, a bill the North Carolina legislature passed that requires high school students to pass a course on the founding principles of government. Earlier this month, North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction made a proposal to “highly recommend” the curriculum include material from the Bill of Rights Institute. The conservative Koch family, billionaires who finance an extensive political network, fund the institute.

Criticism of the institute’s social studies material mirrors that of the [D’Souza] movie: they seek to sanitize American history, downplaying the negative consequences of capitalism and the country’s mistreatment of people of color and the poor.

“D’Souza gives the impression,” Variety said in its movie review, “of someone obsessed with whitewashing any and all dark chapters in U.S. history books.”

It’s as if conservatives can’t handle the truth.

Swan also notes the textbook battles at the Texas State Board of Education, and she explains why the right-wing campaign to politicize public education is dangerous:

Students go to school to learn how to think for themselves. They do that by learning the facts — good and bad. Not by getting a partisan spin — liberal, conservative or otherwise — on those facts.

There is a reason educators, not politicians, design curricula. Lawmakers should leave the teaching to the experts.

If only it were true that politicians weren’t in the business of designing curricula. We’ve seen politicians on the State Board of Education rewrite curriculum standards for Texas public schools and then pressure publishers to make sure their textbooks conform to those politicized standards. That’s why we now have history textbooks that teach Texas students how Moses was a major influence on the writing of the U.S. Constitution — even though scholars across the country have denounced such a claim as nonsense.

You can read Swan’s column here.

Posted in education, TFNEF | 1 Comment

The Reason for the Season?


We suppose nothing says “Jesus is the reason for the season” better than a photo of … uh … Santa Claus.

It’s amusing how the Austin-based, religious-right group Texas Values is promoting the so-called “Merry Christmas Law” it helped pass last year. The group says the law protects religious freedom. And this month it held a press conference to highlight the law with a couple of legislators and Santa Claus. Yeah, nothing says “putting the Christ in Christmas” more than a fat man in a red suit standing next to politicians. Ho ho ho.

The law says school district employees and students can wish each other Merry Christmas (or any other holiday greeting they like) at school. Of course, the First Amendment has protected that right for well over 200 years, and the rare and misguided attempts to prevent such greetings get swatted down pretty quickly by the courts. But cynical groups like Texas Values know one good way to raise money is to persuade Christians — who make up the vast majority of the population in this country and celebrate Christmas openly and publicly, along with countless businesses and public entities — that the mythical “war on Christmas” is real and that they are being persecuted.

Well, we wish the folks at Texas Values a warm Merry Christmas. Or if any of them are Jewish, Hanukkah Sameach. And to everyone, whatever your faith or tradition, whether you celebrate any religious or cultural holidays or just the New Year, Happy Holidays!

Posted in TFNEF, war on Christmas nonsense | 5 Comments

The Week in Quotes (Dec. 7 – 13)

Here are some of the week’s most notable quotes culled from news reports from across Texas, and beyond.

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Texas Pastor: ‘Dirty Faggots’ Want to Rape Your Kids

Remember our post about the hateful Arizona preacher who insists that the cure for AIDS is to execute gay people? It turns out that he has “ordained” Donnie Romero, a preacher at Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth. The two are like peas in a pod, apparently. Our friends at Right Wing Watch have a clip from a recent sermon by Romero:

“I’m not going to let any of these dirty faggots inside my church. … They are all pedophiles. … They’re always trying to rape and hurt other people. They’re relentless. They are relentless. They are predators and given an opportunity to snatch one of your children, they would do it in a heartbeat.”

We can’t defeat hate by ignoring it. It’s important to drag it into the sunlight for all to see.

UPDATE: Romero also preaches anti-Catholic bigotry. From another of his sermons:

“The Roman Catholic Church is a false religion. … They’re leading people astray. The pope is a wicked man. He’s gonna burn in hell. He’s a false prophet. … I believe the Catholic church is wicked. It’s out of hell.”

Posted in LGBT issues, TFNEF | 2 Comments

Texas Lawmaker: Discrimination Is Over, End Protections for Women and Minorities

The religious right rallied anti-equality activists to a Plano City Council hearing on Monday, in what was ultimately an unsuccessful attempt to persuade city leaders to table a proposal to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s existing non-discrimination ordinance. The proposal passed by a 5-3 vote.

But before the vote, Collin County Commissioner and state Rep.-elect Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, had an interesting take on why the council should reject the ordinance. Shaheen pointed to his own election, then pointed to the fact that Plano and the country both elected African Americans to lead them as an argument not only to deny LGBT individuals discrimination protections, but also as an argument for stripping women, African Americans and other minorities of existing protections.

In the age of 9/11, you have a Middle-Eastern man standing before you that has been elected three different times to represent a predominantly white community, two times overwhelmingly … The president of the United States and the mayor of Plano are African American. What I would suggest you do as a city council is not look at this ordinance and look at classes to expand to, I think as a city council you ought to look to see if there’s items you can remove.

We can all go home, y’all. Shaheen says discrimination is over.


Posted in LGBT issues, TFNEF | 2 Comments

Religious-Righters Threaten to Sue Plano for Right to Discriminate

Plano on Monday joined the growing list of cities across Texas with ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as well as other characteristics like sex, race, religion and military status. Predictably, religious-righters are angry that they might be stopped from firing, evicting or denying public services to people they don’t like — especially gay or transgendered people.

Dave Welch, executive director of the right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council, sent a particularly offensive email to the Plano City Council. (HAPC is also trying to overturn the the Equal Rights Ordinance passed by the Houston City Council in May.) In his email on Monday, Welch trots out the tired (and discredited) scare tactic about “biological males” using women’s restrooms. He sneeringly refers to LGBT people as the “sexually and gender confused.” He even claims that LGBT people don’t face discrimination:

“On behalf of our ethnic minority pastors we openly challenge the deceptive and offensive use of these ordinances as a ‘Trojan Horse’ for those with an agenda to hijack the Civil Rights movement use the power of public policy and force acceptance of their sexual behavior and gender confusion on the rest of society. Let us make this clear – there is NO DOCUMENTABLE evidence of class or even legitimate anecdotal discrimination against the tiny LGBTQ population.”

It’s impossible to treat as credible someone who says such ignorant and twisted nonsense. After all, Welch himself is promoting the right to engage in something he claims doesn’t exist — discrimination again LGBT people.

The Austin-based, anti-gay lobby group Texas Values also sent out an email on Monday calling the anti-discrimination measure in Plano “dangerous and divisive.” It also trotted out the absurd scare tactic about men using women’s restrooms:

“[T]he ordinance does not specifically protect women and children against men using women’s bathrooms.”

Liberty Institute, the Plano-based litigation group that birthed Texas Values, sent an email to the City Council warning that it will sue:

“If the Proposed Ordinance is enacted, Liberty Institute will be forced to take legal action against the city to fight such a blatant attack on the religious liberty rights of the residents of the City of Plano.”

That’s right: they’ll go to court to defend the right to fire law-abiding people or toss them out on the street simply because of who they are. Jesus’ command to love one another? They say: “Nevermind!”

Good on the Plano City Council for doing the right thing: taking a stand for equality and against discrimination.

Posted in LGBT issues, Liberty Institute, Texas Values, TFNEF | 3 Comments

Exporting Hate

The Houston Area Pastor Council/Texas Pastor Council isn’t satisfied with trying to repeal Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). Now the extremists at HAPC are working to defeat similar anti-discrimination measures in other cities, like Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The Houston City Council passed HERO last spring, barring discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, race, religion, military status and other characteristics. HAPC calls the measure’s protections for LGBT people (as well as a similar measure passed last year in San Antonio) an “atrocity” supported by “the enemies of God.” The religious-right group is suing in court to get repeal put to a citywide vote.

The Fayetteville City Council, on a 6-2 vote, passed similar protections in August. Voters there will decide whether to repeal it tomorrow (December 9). HAPC’s leaders have traveled to Fayetteville and are asking the group’s members to provide prayers and other support to anti-gay activists in Arkansas. From an HAPC email to activists yesterday:

“Fayetteville is the first opportunity in the nation to repeal one of these terrible ordinances that assault the laws of God, basic decency and public safety as well as the U.S. Constitution.”

That’s right. Discrimination is good because God wants it, or so say the extremists at HAPC — who refer to Houston’s Mayor Parker as a “sodomite” leading a “gay takeover” of the city. (One prominent HERO opponent has even admitted that she believes people should be able to discriminate against almost anyone, including Jews, for religious reasons.)

Fortunately, many religious leaders and others in Houston have made clear that their faith calls on them to stand for equality and oppose discrimination. People of faith are also speaking out for equality in Fayetteville and elsewhere. There will be setbacks along the way, but the tide of history is turning toward equality for all.

Posted in LGBT issues, TFNEF | 2 Comments