Pat Buchanan made clear that he isn't a fan of Pope Francis, condemning the pontiff for his overtures to the LGBT community and women.
In his November 15 syndicated column, Buchanan - who popularized the notion of a "cultural war" with an inflammatory speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention - accused the pope of "non-belligerence, if not neutrality, in the culture war for the soul of the west." Buchanan excoriated the pope "sowing seeds of confusion" for Catholics with his statements that he wouldn't "judge" gay people and that the church had grown too "obsessed" with social issues. Comparing the women's and LGBT movements to the mass slaughter of Mao's Cultural Revolution, Buchanan wrote (emphasis added):
"Pope Francis doesn't want cultural warriors; he doesn't want ideologues," said Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Wash.:
Yet here is further confirmation His Holiness seeks to move the Catholic Church to a stance of non-belligerence, if not neutrality, in the culture war for the soul of the West.
There is a small problem with neutrality. As Trotsky observed, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you." For the church to absent itself from the culture war is to not to end that war, but to lose it.
The cultural revolution preached by Marxist Antonio Gramsci is continuing its "long march" through the institutions of the West and succeeding where the violent revolutions of Lenin and Mao failed. It is effecting a transvaluation of all values. And it is not interested in a truce with the church of Pope Francis, but a triumph over that church which it reviles as the great enemy in its struggle.
Indeed, after decades of culture war waged against Christianity, the Vatican might consider the state of the Faith.
"Who am I to judge," Pope Francis says of homosexuals.
Well, he is pope. And even the lowliest parish priest has to deliver moral judgments in a confessional.
The shift in tone ushered in by Pope Francis is merely the latest cultural development to provoke Buchanan's ire. In August, he fondly reminisced about the days of school segregation. Homosexuality, he believes, is "unnatural and immoral," while marriage equality is an "Orwellian absurdity." With LGBT people beginning to win basic legal protections and social recognition, Buchanan pines for the days when that was unthinkable - before society believed "[t]hat all races, religions and ethnic groups are equal," before , as Buchanan puts it, there were too many Jews on the Supreme Court. His model for a better, more "moral" society? Vladimir Putin's Russia.
In the latest sign that it's the go-to news outlet for anti-LGBT bullies, The Daily Caller published an article lashing out at a Massachusetts high school student for objecting to the inclusion of a derogatory definition of "gay" in Apple's Macbook Pro dictionary.
A November 13 article by Daily Caller education editor Eric Owens reported that 15-year-old Becca Gorman wrote a letter of protest to pro-equality Apple CEO Tim Cook after finding that Macbook included a definition of "gay" as "foolish" or "stupid." Gorman, the daughter of lesbian parents, was conducting research for an essay on gay rights. Owens went after the "dictionary-repressing," "censorship loving" teen, baffled that she just couldn't understand that that's what gay means:
A Boston-area high school student is very angry that the dictionary in her Apple Macbook Pro laptop has not suppressed the knowledge that the word "gay" can be used to mean "foolish" or "stupid."
Gorman demanded that Apple change its dictionary, and also sought an apology "to the gay community, a good amount [sic] of your customers."
The incensed student said she got a very rapid response from someone at Apple.
"They said that Apple streams its dictionary from four separate sources so they'd have to figure out how to get it removed, but they were also really surprised," Gorman told WFXT.
It's not clear if Apple has censored or scrubbed the offending meaning of "gay" yet.
Gorman, who swears she is committed to seeing her dictionary-repressing crusade through to the bitter end, said she would accept an addition to the definition that offends her, noting that the meaning is pejorative.
This isn't the first time the rabidly anti-LGBT Owens has targeted a teen for ridicule. Making fun of transgender youth is one of his journalistic hobbyhorses. After transgender homecoming queen Cassidy Lynn Campbell posted an emotional YouTube video describing the transphobic bullying she'd encountered, Owens mocked her "interminable" "Youtube meltdown" - and, for good measure, misgendered Campbell. Earlier, Owens derided the "big fuss" made by California transgender students seeking access to proper facilities and school programs.
Owens has certainly made a name for himself as one of The Daily Caller's biggest practitioners of anti-LGBT cyberbullying, but he hardly stands alone at the website. The Daily Caller has repeatedly published defenses of Russia's anti-gay crackdown, ran a column by a white, non-disabled man claiming to be a black, female "cripple" to criticize California's law guaranteeing access to appropriate facilities for transgender students, and published a column complaining about how boring gay people have become since laws banning gay sex were stricken down and LGBT people won some basic legal rights.
Sensible people might call it cyberbullying, but to Daily Caller writers, publishing crude, boastfully offensive anti-LGBT commentary is simply what makes readers "comfortable."
Conservative media figures are touting a far-right coalition's sensationalist claim that the U.S. military is rife with anti-Christian hostility, ignoring the lack of evidence to substantiate the charge and allowing anti-LGBT hate groups to drive coverage of the issue.
Restore Military Religious Freedom (RMRF) - a coalition of right-wing organizations including Liberty Counsel, the Heritage Foundation, and Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)-designated hate groups the Family Research Council (FRC) and American Family Association (AFA) - is leading the charge with this bogus claim. In early November, RMRF released a video featuring interviews with current service members making sweeping statements about the alleged anti-Christian bias permeating the armed forces. The video listed a few examples of apparent attacks on religious liberty in the military, but those examples don't withstand scrutiny.
Hinting at the real motives behind the RMRF's effort, the video includes a soldier complaining about the new wave of "tolerance" sweeping the military - a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to the repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy. For years, the organizations behind RMRF have crusaded against open service by gay and lesbian soldiers, often using vitriolic language. Depicting the armed forces as anti-Christian has been central to the right's attack on the post-DADT military.
Anti-LGBT hate groups decided long ago that their ultimate solution must be the end of open service, but it was a solution in search of a problem. In its Christian persecution narrative, social conservatives have managed to manufacture that problem, despite that it consists of made-up anti-LGBT horror stories. Right-wing media are happy to take the hate groups' bait.
On the November 11 edition of Fox & Friends, FRC President Tony Perkins sat down with co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Brian Kilmeade to promote RMRF's campaign. While he didn't cite a single example of anti-Christian retaliation by the military, Perkins asserted that "all evidence would suggest" that the Obama administration is "on a search-and-destroy mission as it pertains to religious liberty." Hasselbeck didn't ask Perkins to back up his claim, but she did make sure viewers knew about RMRF's website:
In the latest sign that it considers transgender youth acceptable targets for ridicule, The Daily Caller mocked a California law guaranteeing transgender students access to proper facilities and programs as a "choose-your-own bathroom law" designed to placate confused students.
On November 12, The Daily Caller published an article by education editor Eric Owens, who noted that the right-wing coalition fighting to repeal the law recently announced that it had gathered enough signatures to put the law up to a vote in November 2014. Owens made clear where he stood on the law (emphasis added):
If the state deems that at least 505,000 of the 620,000 submitted signatures are valid, the law -- commonly known as Assembly Bill 1266 -- will no longer be implemented on Jan. 1. Instead, the issue will appear on a November 2014 ballot.
California voters would then decide if students with penises should use bathrooms and locker rooms designated for males and students with vaginas should use restrooms designated for females, or if those places should be free-for-alls based on how students say they feel.
Supporters of the choose-your-own bathroom law insist that allowing students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that don't match their genitalia is a vital civil rights issue. They also say it's necessary to prevent bullying.
Owens appears to have something of an obsession with transgender students' genitalia. In a September article making fun of bullied transgender homecoming queen Cassidy Lynn Campbell, Owens couldn't resist noting Campbell's "various male appendages." Earlier in September, he reported that a Pennsylvania high school had disqualified transgender student Kasey Caron as a homecoming king candidate "because [Caron] apparently still has a vagina."
At any rate, Owens' description of the California law is characteristically off-base. School districts that have implemented similar policies state that they've seen no instances of misconduct and experienced "nothing but positive results." The only reported instance of bathroom harassment was actually fabricated by the anti-LGBT Pacific Justice Institute. Claims that boys will be sneaking into girls' locker rooms are based on nothing more than statements from right-wing talking heads like Fox News' Bill O'Reilly and Greg Gutfeld that they themselves would do so.
Meanwhile, Owens' insinuation that you never know how students will "feel" from one day to the next shows that he simply doesn't understand gender identity, which the American Academy of Pediatrics says is typically established by about the age of four. But who needs expert opinion when it's so much easier to make transphobic remarks?
Continuing its misinformation campaign against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which bans workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, The Washington Times published a column falsely asserting that the legislation would trigger a wave of lawsuits, impose quotas, and lead to the criminalization of conservative religious denominations.
In a November 10 column for the Times, American Civil Rights Union senior fellow Robert Knight blasted ENDA as a bill that would "expand government and repeal the Bible":
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act doesn't say that directly, but its core meaning is that employers -- and their employees -- must accommodate every sexual expression under the sun or face federal prosecution and nuisance lawsuits by the American Civil Liberties Union.
House Speaker John A. Boehner said the bill would not reach the House floor. People who believe in the freedoms of speech, religion and assembly, not to mention what's left of property rights, had better hope he keeps his promise. This is about so much more than the threat of "frivolous lawsuits."
Even if you're not persuaded by moral arguments, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is a massive expansion of federal power and a gift to trial attorneys, who are among the largest donors to the Democratic Party.
In reality, no serious observer expects ENDA to spur a rash of lawsuits. A study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examining states with LGBT workplace protections demonstrated that only a tiny fraction of states' employment discrimination complaints were based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Over a five-year period, less than five percent of California's discrimination complaints were from LGBT workers. In Colorado - which tracked sexual orientation- and gender identity-based complaints separately -- only 5.5 percent of employment discrimination complaints were based on sexual orientation, and a mere 0.29 percent were based on gender identity. In Iowa, the respective figures were 3.6 percent and 0.6 percent. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects ENDA to increase complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by a modest five percent.
Knight proceeded to distinguish other protected categories, like race and sex, from sexual orientation and gender identity, which "no one would know" about if not for employees' "behavior":
Far from ensuring equality, the bill is a radical departure from civil rights laws, whose protected classes stem from immutable characteristics with no moral content, such as skin color, place of birth or sex. The exception is religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment.
What makes "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" different is that these categories are vague, not immutable, and the associated behaviors have moral implications. In fact, behavior defines the groups. Otherwise, unlike race or sex, no one would know.
The Weekly Standard touted Stephen Jimenez's book arguing that Matthew Shepard's 1998 murder wasn't an anti-gay hate crime but the result of a meth deal gone awry -- ignoring overwhelming evidence of his killer's homophobic motives and denunciations of the book from investigators and lawyers involved in the case.
In the November 18 edition of The Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson lauded Jimenez's The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shepard. Playing into Jimenez's inflated self-image as a fearless reporter whose commitment to revealing the truth proved consistently "dangerous," Ferguson began the review by marveling that it's a wonder Jimenez "hasn't been burned in effigy, yet, or heckled mercilessly, yet, or denounced, at least by anybody that really matters, as a traitor to the cause. Yet." This sets the stage for a review devoted more to singing Jimenez's praises than to critically evaluating the arguments put forth in The Book of Matt.
Take Ferguson's handling of the book's most shocking claim (emphasis added):
More surprisingly, Jimenez concludes that Shepard's death had nothing to do with homophobia. It was instead the horrific result of a drug deal gone wrong. Indeed, in The Book of Matt, Jimenez offers lots of circumstantial evidence that Shepard and one of his murderers, a violent and drug-addled bit of tumbleweed called Aaron McKinney, were rival dealers in crystal meth. Several named witnesses told Jimenez that the two even had a sexual relationship.
For the most part the conservative press was undeterred by the fact that The Book of Matt, as impressive as it is for the author's tirelessness and courage, is something of a mess. When it comes to gay true-crime investigator-writers, Jimenez is no Truman Capote. He has chosen to tell the story of Shepard's life and death through a first-person account of his own investigations. It is thus not so much a book that tells a story as a book that tells a story about telling a story, a bit like the famous totalitarian mural titled "The Struggle of the Little People to Finish the Mural." This technique plays hell with the chronology, and it's often difficult for the reader to tell which character said what when. The reader's unease is compounded knowing that many of Jimenez's sources are the kind of witnesses usually considered unreliable: meth heads, hustlers, hookers, drunks, various species of trailer trash.
In his defense Jimenez says that if his witnesses seem unreliable, it is only because this is the sort of people Shepard and his murderers associated with. They knew the participants firsthand -- and these are the same witnesses that authorities relied on to get a conviction. For each of his more striking claims Jimenez has been careful to gather multiple sources, usually named. No alert reader can come away from the book still believing the approved story of a shy young man robbed of his life because of his assailants' "fear of the other." The myth that thrilled the progressive heart for 15 years cannot survive Jimenez's accumulation of evidence.
Faced with intense criticism for writing a column suggesting that gays have become "totally boring" since winning some basic legal protections, Daily Caller reporter Patrick Howley defended his promotion of old stereotypes about gay culture, stating that such stereotypes "make people feel comfortable."
On November 6, Howley highlighted Senate action on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to lament that gay people are no longer the "daring, transgressive" people they were back when gay sex was illegal and homosexuality was considered a mental illness.
Howley waxed nostalgic for the "outlaw" gays of yore who "pranced their corseted, high-heeled bodies around to midnight screenings of great American movies like 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show,' 'Pink Flamingoes,' and 'Mommy Dearest.'" Howley's use of such tropes prompted this Twitter exchange with Atlantic reporter Jordan Weissmann:
In its latest effort to downplay the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), Fox News spent a mere 19 seconds covering its historic passage by the Senate on November 7.
The Washington Times marked the U.S. Senate's historic vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) by publishing a column from an anti-LGBT hate group leader who baselessly asserted that the legislation permits "reverse discrimination" and doesn't truly exempt religious employers.
On November 8 - one day after the Senate voted 64 to 32 to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity - the Times granted Tony Perkins, president of the hate group Family Research Council, a platform to smear ENDA as "a major threat to liberty." Perkins attacked the bill's religious exemption as inadequate and claimed that the legislation promotes "reverse discrimination" against social conservatives:
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act contains a very narrow "religious exemption," but previous experience with similar laws and similar "exemptions" at the state and local level give little confidence that they will fully protect conscience when the law is applied. Sometimes, the enforcers will seek to limit the exemption to actual clergy but insist that church employees who do not proclaim the faith are not exempt. Some will exempt all employees of actual churches, but leave nonprofits and parachurch ministries unprotected. Sometimes, religious nonprofits are protected, but not if a significant part of their work is "secular" in nature (such as feeding the poor or educating children). In any case, any exemption is unlikely to apply to any profit-making entity -- even a religious publishing house or radio station.
Unfortunately, the mere language of a legislative "exemption" is inadequate to predict how liberal activists on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or in the courts will interpret it.
Even more alarming than the lack of a strong religious exemption, however, is the prospect that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would lead to a form of reverse discrimination, whereby anyone who expresses or promotes a view of family or morality that can be interpreted to be a disapproval of homosexual conduct or disagreement with elements of the homosexual political agenda (such as the redefinition of marriage) will be subject to retaliation and discrimination.
Despite Perkins' eagerness to frame ENDA as an unprecedented assault on religious freedom, Section 6 of ENDA explicitly exempts religious organizations, affirming that the same religious organizations exempt under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are also exempt under ENDA. Since Senate debate began on the bill, the right of religious organizations to discriminate against LGBT individuals has only been reaffirmed. On November 6, the Senate adopted by voice vote an amendment from ENDA supporter Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) prohibiting retaliation against religious organizations.
Moreover, businesses required to comply with ENDA's non-discrimination requirements won't see any loss of religious liberty. There's a stark difference between personal religious views against homosexuality and discriminatory public business practices against LGBT people. Just as civil rights protections for racial minorities don't punish private racist thoughts, ENDA won't deploy the thought police to go after religious conservatives.
Fox News largely ignored a historic vote on November 4 when the U.S. Senate voted to take up the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that bans workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While CNN and MSNBC covered the vote, Fox devoted half of its already-scant coverage to dismissing ENDA as a "distraction."