The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
The Republican National Committee is heading to the Holy Land, compliments of a hate group that has denigrated Muslims, African Americans, the LGBT community and even Jews.
But the RNC isn’t answering any questions about its American Family Association-funded trip, scheduled to begin tomorrow. Email and telephone messages left Friday with Kirsten Kukowski, the RNC’s national press secretary, were not returned. Presumably the trip is still on despite a week of bad press for the AFA.
Last week, the SPLC wrote to all 168 members of the RNC urging them not to accompany the AFA on the trip because of the group’s long track record of bigotry and hate. The SPLC has named the AFA as a hate group due to its history of making false, demonizing statements about the LGBT community.
Longtime AFA Bryan Fischer, for example, has claimed that “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler … the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.” He has also characterized African Americans as “people who rut like rabbits.”
The AFA responded by seeking to distance itself from Fischer and redefine its character by removing him from his duties as its chief spokesman and director of issues analysis. Fischer, however, will remain as a talk show host on the AFA’s radio network – a bullpen of bigoted pundits known for incendiary statements.
In a letter this week to the Southern Poverty Law Center, AFA general counsel Patrick J. Vaughn wrote, “AFA has concluded that it must renounce some statements made by American Family Radio talk-show host Bryan Fischer. In its 37-year history, AFA has never held these views and wishes to clarify that it still rejects such sentiments.”
SPLC President Richard Cohen responded in a letter, “[T]he AFA’s 11th-hour disavowal of Mr. Fischer appears to serve only one purpose: to give the AFA a degree of plausible deniability while it continues to spew hateful rhetoric. It’s a shell game and a transparent one at that.”
While the AFA has taken a job title away from Fischer, he isn’t the only mouthpiece spewing hate on its network. AFA officials, including its president, Tim Wildmon, and founder, Don Wildmon, also have made similarly bigoted statements. “Hollywood and the theater world is heavily influenced by Jewish people,” Don Wildmon once said.
The RNC has predictably chosen to remain nearly silent on these developments, and at least presumably, some of its members are still planning to make the trip to Israel. Kukowski told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that they were “glad AFA has severed ties with him.”
But just like the AFA trying to weather the storm by “rejecting” Fischer’s statements while keeping him on the payroll, the RNC not talking about the trip won’t make the questions about its relationship with a known hate group go away.
Texas-based white supremacist and activist Preston Wiginton, best known for bringing racists to college campuses, is at it again, this time sponsoring anti-LGBT pastor James Manning to speak at Texas A&M University next month.
The topic of Manning’s speech will be “The True State of Black America”—an interesting title considering Manning is African American speaking at the invitation of a man who once claimed, “beating down a mud [person of color] when they try to poisen [sic] one of our own or when they try to seduce one of our [white] girls may not be God inspired, but rather a righteous act of collective preservation.”
Last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) faxed and sent letters to every member of the Republican National Committee (RNC) regarding an upcoming trip to Jerusalem being organized by RNC Chair Reince Priebus.
The letters expressed concern about the organization paying for the trip, the American Family Association (AFA), which the SPLC has listed as an anti-LGBT hate group since 2010.
In particular, the letters asked RNC members not to lend their good offices to an organization with a long track record of making anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim and other hateful statements. An email to Priebus’ director of communications about this matter was not responded to.
As a follow up to our letters, SPLC staff also called all of the RNC state offices for comment about the trip. In particular, we wanted to ask if members were aware of AFA’s extremism. Here are some notable examples:
- An AFA leader has said, “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.”
- The same staffer said African Americans “rut like rabbits” and women have no place in politics or the military.
- Another has argued that Hispanics are “socialists by nature” and come to the United States to “plunder” our country.
- And the group has repeatedly made the point that non-Christians are second-class citizens—“we are a Christian nation, and not a Jewish or Muslim one.” (Find a comprehensive look at AFA’s extremist statements and positions here).
In early December, Time reported that 60 members, or about a third, of the RNC had decided to travel to Israel. But you wouldn’t know that from the calls we made. We left dozens of voicemails and sent many, many emails, none of which were replied to.
In Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Oklahoma and Tennessee, communications directors were unaware of the trip and promised to speak with RNC members and get back to us. They did not. Other state communications directors, like those in Maryland and Louisiana, said they knew nothing of the trip and could not answer questions. In Idaho, a communications staffer told us she had no idea what we were talking about, but that she would have known about a trip if there was one.
The communications director in New Mexico had not heard of the trip, but was shocked at AFA’s views. And the communications director in Utah was quite surprised about AFA’s views, but knew nothing about the trip. A communications staffer in Mississippi verified that none of his members would be traveling with AFA. No one from Massachusetts will be attending, nor will the chair of the Connecticut RNC.
The bulk of the states simply ignored our requests for comment, but in some cases, our calls were met with hostility. That happened in Wyoming, where a woman who answered the office phone refused twice to identify herself. She did say that no one from Wyoming was going on the trip and that she had “no idea who that group [AFA] is,” nor did she seem to care. Then she said “your argument [about AFA’s extremism] is kind of moot since no one is going” and hung up on me.
Meanwhile, AFA staffers continue to put out a stream of extremist propaganda. Just in the last few weeks, AFA’s Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy Bryan Fischer has said you can’t support gay rights and call yourself a Christian, railed about a Muslim congressman being appointed to the House Intelligence Committee and claimed that Duke University is “inviting the Demons of the Abyss” onto its campus by planning a Muslim prayer rally. And those comments are only from the second half of January. Imagine what is to come in the rest of 2015.
Even as same-sex marriage expands (36 states, as of last week) and even in the wake of numerous former leaders in the so-called ex-gay movement admitting they didn’t change (including former Exodus vice president Randy Thomas, who came out as gay with “bisexual tendencies” yesterday) and even after the closing of Exodus, the largest ex-gay ministry in the country, a hardline fringe continues to push for reparative therapy, a pseudoscientific practice that claims to change homosexuals to heterosexuals.
Case in point.
The Christian Post reported last week that Voice of the Voiceless, an ex-gay group that claims to “defend your rights and the rights of all who desire to fulfill their heterosexual dreams,” is planning to sue the District of Columbia over its ban of so-called reparative (or conversion) therapy of minors.
Challenges to similar bans in California and New Jersey have also been mounted. The Supreme Court rejected the California challenge last summer while the ban in New Jersey was upheld by a federal appeals court in September.
But that hasn’t deterred Christopher Doyle, founder and president of Voice of the Voiceless (VoV), who told The Christian Post that the group is in the process of seeking a plaintiff to bring a lawsuit against the government of D.C. over the ban, which became law in December. Upon the passage of that ban, Doyle, who is married to a woman and claims to be “ex-gay,” lamented that it was a “victory for gay pedophiles everywhere.”
That’s at least according to Craig James, assistant to Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins, who last week said on the group’s radio show that “gender identity has become the flashpoint” in the culture wars, and that the enemy was clear.
“That might be the next thing that we have to combat in this war that we’re on with the LGBT community and those who are challenging sexuality,” James said on the FRC’s radio program, Washington Watch.
At the time, James was speaking about transgender equality with Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at FRC who once advocated for the deportation of homosexuals from the United States, backpedaled from that claim a week later with a lukewarm apology, then doubled down in 2010 when he told Chris Matthews that “there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.”
No real surprise, then, that James would make such a statement, since FRC openly holds the idea that “homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed”—not to mention its a long history of demonizing LGBT people.
But what is surprising is the open admission of a war against a group of people that is maligned and subject to violence in many places around the world, including the United States, where transgender people, especially, experience high rates of discrimination and anti-LGBT violence.
Three Phoenix-area rabbis were recently tricked into participating in the production of an anti-Semitic film by Steven Anderson, the Arizona pastor who has made headlines with his vitriolic rants about LGBT people and President Obama.
Anderson, whose Tempe-based Faith Temple Baptist Church is among the most hardcore anti-LGBT hate groups in the country, has attracted attention for his rants wishing death upon President Obama and gays and lesbians, as well as for declaring that birth control was turning American women into “whores.” At one point, Anderson was tasered at a checkpoint on the Mexico border while defying a patrolman’s orders. He recently made headlines by predicting that America could have an AIDS-free Christmas if all gays are killed, as the Bible demands.
But in recent months, Anderson’s ministry has also taken a decidedly anti-Semitic turn, as Stephen Lemons explored in a recent Phoenix New Times post.
Anderson has given sermons—preserved on YouTube—covering such subjects as “The Jews and Their Lies,” “Hebrew Roots Movement Exposed,” “The Jews Are Antichrists,” “Jews Worship a Different God Than Christians,” “The Jews Are the Racists,” and the ever-popular “The Jews Killed Jesus.”
Anderson and his cohort, Paul Wittenberger, are currently coproducing an anti-Semitic film titled Marching to Zion, described on YouTube as providing “Scriptural evidence that the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people.” It also purports to reveal that rabbinical Judaism’s Messiah is the Antichrist; among the “topics covered” are “Blasphemous teachings of the Talmud and Kabbalah,” “Modern DNA evidence of the Jews’ ancestry,” and “Proof that Christian Zionism is a modern phenomenon.”
Four Phoenix-area rabbis are interviewed for the film, which has prompted outrage in the Jewish community.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a statement saying it was “deeply troubled by the upcoming release of a new ‘documentary’ geared toward Christian audiences that purportedly will focus on ‘the history of the Jews,’ but in fact will likely serve as a tool for denigrating Jews and Judaism.”
Anderson recently boasted during one of his Internet radio broadcasts how he came to include the four rabbis:
Well, here’s how I got the four rabbis to participate. I got a list of every rabbi in Arizona, and I think I got 41 rabbis. And I just figured, you know, if I contact enough rabbis, somebody’s going to agree to do it. And so I actually contacted all 41 of them, and I told them I was making a film about Judaism and the history of the nation of Israel, which is true, and I gave them a whole list of questions and those questions are the questions that I asked in the interview.
So they knew the questions they were being asked going in. I told them it was going to be about Judaism and the nation of Israel, but I didn’t tell them whether it was going to be positive or negative. Well, they just assume it’s going to be positive, because they assume that I’m going to be like the rest of evangelicals in Christianity and bow down to the chosen ones and worship them and say how great they are.
So basically, all four of them are going to hate this movie, of course, but it’s the truth, they’re false prophets and they deserve to be exposed and I didn’t lie to them, I mean, everything I told them was the truth.
According to the Jewish News, the rabbis who took part did not realize the nature of the production. Anderson allegedly described himself as “an interested layperson” making a documentary explaining elements of the Jewish faith.
Rabbi Irwin Wiener, one of the four Jewish interviewees, was outraged: “The subterfuge that he used to get these interviews from us is beyond belief.”
According to the report, Anderson had told the interviewees that he was making the documentary for the Public Broadcasting System. “When he used the words PBS to me, it sounded legitimate and I didn’t pursue it any further,” Wiener said.
Another interviewee, Orthodox Rabbi Reuven Mann, was blindsided by the discovery that he had been tricked, since he felt a responsibility to explain his faith to anyone interested. “I’m very open about this and I don’t suspect that anyone has any ulterior motives,” he said.
But Anderson was defensive in his Internet broadcast when his interlocutor about the rabbis—who in fact, was Stephen Lemons—pressed him on whether he had deceived his subjects, notably with the claim to be making a PBS documentary.
“Well, guess what, who is a liar but he that deny that Jesus is the Christ,” Anderson retorted. “He’s anti-Christ. So basically, if somebody is lying and saying that Jesus isn’t the messiah, it also does not surprise me that they would lie and say I was selling the film to PBS.”
Lemons then asked Anderson if he was being deceptive himself. “Ooh,” he said mockingly, “it’s possible that I could be lying too. It’s also possible that the Bible could be lying but guess what the Bible’s not lying and it’s the Jews that are lying.”
Anderson then hung up on Lemons, and continued with his anti-Semitic rant: “So obviously this is somebody who is calling in trying to defend the anti-Christ Jews and he’d rather listen to somebody who calls himself a rabbi and spits on the name of Jesus Christ and calls Jesus a bastard and his mother a whore, and he thinks I’m lying because I supposedly claimed I was selling the film to PBS? No I never said any such thing, and the lying Jewish rabbi that told you that made it up.”
Five members of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) in Spindale, North Carolina have been indicted on kidnapping and assault charges for allegedly attacking and beating a fellow church member, who is gay.
Matt Comer at QNotes reports that a grand jury on Tuesday indicted Justin Brocke Covington, Brooke McFadden Covington, Robert Louis Walker, Jr. and Adam Christopher Bartley on second-degree kidnapping and simple assault charges. Sarah Covington Anderson was also indicted on second-degree kidnapping, simple assault and assault by strangulation charges.
A federal appeals court has denied pastor Scott Lively’s petition to dismiss a lawsuit that alleges he violated U.S. law by trying to influence the laws of a foreign country.
The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled last Thursday against Lively, president of anti-LGBT hate group Abiding Truth Ministries. The lawsuit charges Lively, who is also the author of the discredited Holocaust revisionist book The Pink Swastika, with helping foment anti-LGBT sentiment in Uganda.
With this ruling, the lawsuit will now proceed in federal court.
Filed in 2012 by the U.S. based Center for Constitutional Rights and Sexual Minorities Uganda, a non-profit LGBT advocacy group based in Uganda, the lawsuit alleges that “Lively’s involvement in anti-gay efforts in Uganda, including his active participation in the conspiracy to strip away fundamental rights from LGBTI persons, constitutes persecution.” Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Lively encouraged government-backed acts of violence against LGBT people through his anti-LGBT rhetoric, particularly remarks he made when addressing members of the Ugandan parliament in 2009.
Lively, 56, has stirred up anti-LGBT sentiment around the world, first traveling to Uganda in 2002. Frank Mugisha, director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, alleged in Mother Jones that the anti-LGBT bill first proposed in Uganda in 2009 “is essentially [Lively’s] creation.” Anglican priest and Political Research Associates senior religion & sexuality researcher Kapya Kaoma noted that “These people had never heard of anything called the gay agenda, but Lively told them that these predators were coming for their children. As Africans hearing it for the first time, they believed it was true—and they were burning with rage.”
The 2009 Ugandan bill included life imprisonment in some circumstances and the death penalty for certain acts of “aggravated homosexuality.”
President Yoweri Museveni signed a version into law earlier this year that calls for life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which is defined as repeated sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex, same-sex acts involving a minor, a disabled person or a person infected with HIV. But in August, Uganda’s Constitutional Court annulled the legislation, ruling that the bill was passed by members of parliament without the requisite quorum and was therefore illegal.
Some MPs have reignited the battle to pass the bill, with calls to pass it as a “Christmas gift for the people of Uganda.”
This is the first known Alien Tort Statute case that seeks accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The speaker-designate of Nevada’s State Assembly is declining the position just days after reports surfaced detailing his controversial views on blacks, women, gays, Israel and fellow Republicans.
The views of Republican legislator Ira Hansen – considered racist by many – received extensive attention in Nevada and elsewhere, including the Washington Post, after they were first reported Thursday by Dennis Myers, a columnist and news editor for the Reno News & Review.
Hansen has written that women should only have limited roles in the military and that “homosexuals downplay the grossly disproportionate numbers of child molesters” in their ranks. He has opined that the “relationship of Negroes and Democrats is truly a master-slave relationship,” said that “Negro leaders” should own up to “the lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery” and that the Clinton Administration was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
Hansen expressed his views between 1994 and 2010 while writing a weekly column in the Sparks Tribune. Another of that paper’s columnists, Andrew Barbano, wrote last week that Hansen “is an overt bigot, racist and homophobe who also tortures little animals for days in his animal traps.”
Hansen, who is Mormon, opposed the presidential candidacy of fellow Mormon and Republican Mitt Romney, who he called too liberal. Hansen wrote that he has a Confederate battle flag on the wall while writing his columns. “I fly it proudly in honor and in memory of a great cause and my brave ancestors who fought for that cause.”
While he didn’t show up for the stand-off earlier this year between the Bureau of Land Management and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy (who is also Mormon), Hansen has been critical of the BLM.
He frequently used the term “Negro” without capitalization. In a 2009 column Hansen wrote that there was a myth-making “cult of negro worship” surrounding the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who Hansen called “a hypocrite, a liar, a phony, and a fraud.”
Myers reviewed those approximately 650 past columns of Hansen by spending six days reading past editions of the Sparks Tribune on Microfilm at a local library.
The reaction to his piece on Hansen has been overwhelming, Myers told Hatewatch today. “It goes both ways. There have been a lot of people who have thanked us.”
Hansen obviously also received reaction before announcing his decision over the weekend to not become the next speaker of the larger of the two houses of the Nevada Legislature.
“For the greater good of the State of Nevada and the cause I support it is necessary for me to withdraw as Speaker Designee,” Hansen said in a statement obtained by Myers and posted on his newsview blog.
Hansen said he was the victim of a “carefully orchestrated attack to remove a conservative Republican from a major leadership role in State government.”
“The deliberate character assassination and the politics of personal destruction have totally distorted my views and record,” said Hansen, elected to his third two-year term in this month’s general election.
As Fury Mounts Over Obama Actions on Immigration, SPLC Releases Major Report on Nativist Movement Rebirth
Just a day after President Obama announced a series of executive actions meant to allow millions of undocumented residents to remain in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center is releasing a major report on the apparent rebirth of the nativist extremist movement that swept the country between 2005 and 2011.
Today’s release of “Back to the Border,” the cover story of the new issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, comes amid a rising din of anti-immigrant fury from both the mainstream and the radical right about Obama’s moves, unilateral actions that an array of enraged nativists claim could set political violence. The new report traces the resurgence of the movement to early July, when a furious mob turned back buses carrying undocumented and unaccompanied minor immigrants to a Border Patrol facility in Murrieta, Calif. The new edition of the quarterly investigative journal carrying the story can be read at www.splcenter.org.
The confrontation in Murrieta led to a series of similar nativist outbursts around the country and the massing of antigovernment militias and other radical groups on the U.S.-Mexican border in the months that followed. The movement grew large enough that it sparked worries about the return the Minuteman and other nativist groups that harassed undocumented immigrants in recent years. Now, with Obama’s Thursday night speech on immigration already setting off a renewed round of enraged attacks on the president, the threat of a major nativist resurgence seems strong.
“The success of a howling mob in turning back buses filled with undocumented immigrant children bound for a shelter was the first spark to reignite the nativist extremist movement,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and author of the new report. “Now, with the new executive action initiative announced last night by President Obama, that spark may turn into a conflagration.’
This issue of the Intelligence Report also examines another radical movement experiencing a revival — the racist music industry. Racist bands are using iTunes, the world’s largest music vendor, to distribute their music following the collapse of several racist music labels and distributors. Although its terms of service appear to make iTunes off limits to these groups, the Report found that the music of at least 54 well-known racist bands was being sold by the music service this fall.
“The racist music industry, long a major source of money and new recruits for the white power movement, had been in decline in recent years,” Potok said. “But the discovery of iTunes by racist bands, and the fact that iTunes seems unwilling to move against them, has helped this industry find new hope and profits.”
Also in this issue of the Intelligence Report:
- “Warrior for God” profiles retired three-star general William “Jerry” Boykin, a longtime anti-Muslim activist now serving as executive vice president of the Family Research Council.
- “War Dreams” investigates how the neo-Confederate League of the South is forming a secret paramilitary unit called “The Indomitables,” another step in its continuing radicalization. The group now appears to include white supremacists, former Klan members and neo-Nazis.
- “East of Eden” examines how a small group of racists are promoting the Orthodox Church as a home for fascism. Although the church has its share of extreme-right officials, it vigorously rejects any association with such groups.
- “Redeemed” is an interview with Yvette Cantu Schneider, a woman who worked in religious-right “ex-gay” ministries for years, but recently joined other former activists in renouncing the movement.