Pam Spaulding: Arizona Pastor Calls for Violence Against Gays, Congressman, President

Jodi Jacobson

Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend reports on an Arizona Pastor who spews hatred toward--and even calls for killing of citizens, congressman and the president--from his pulpit, all while taking those nice tax exemptions.

Pam Spaulding (of Pam’s House Blend), a leading voice on GLBT issues and equality, whom I had the privilege of meeting in person last week at Netroots Nation 2009, writes:

Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona is a bible-quoting hellfire and damnation sort of guy. He calls for the execution of gays in numerous sermons [linked at House Blend].

The good Pastor has said:

"The same God who instituted the death penalty for murders is the same god who instituted the death penalty for rapists and for homosexuals, sodomites and queers"

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And:

"The sodomites are recruiters and you know who they are after? Your children. They are being recruited by the sodomites. They are being molested by the sodomites. They recruit through rape, they recruit through molestation, they recruit through violation"

There’s more, again, at Pam’s site.

Of course these folks don’t want any of "their" tax dollars going to support women’s basic reproductive health care (forget about abortion, I am talking basic prevention and contraception), HIV prevention, syringe exchange or other evidence-based health interventions, but they will gladly take tax exemptions from the government to spew hatred like a high-power fire hose.

Commentary Religion

Where’s Your Shame, Woman?! Fundamentalist Pastor Takes to YouTube to Fault Women for All Social Ills

Vyckie Garrison

Popular conservative Christian pastor says "America is over" because shameless women who have sex and vote are running wild and screwing everything up.

Ever wonder what goes on inside the small minds of fundamentalist Christian men? Want to know how they justify their blatant anti-woman policies and practices? Are they for real? Do they even know how hateful and intolerably ignorant they sound? 

Thanks to Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a fundamentalist black pastor and up-and-coming Republican leader, there’s now a YouTube video which perfectly sums up the Religious Right’s core beliefs about women.

“One thing I know for sure, without a doubt, women cannot handle power,” says Peterson, in a 12-minute tirade posted to the “bondinfo” YouTube channel recently as a part of the Reverend’s “Exploring Your Destiny” video series.

“It is not in them to handle power in the right way,” he continues, “they don’t know what to do with it.” Really? That’s some blatant misogyny right there, folks.  Ah – but Rev. Peterson is just getting started …

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“It’s not real power anyway … it’s all ego-building. Real, true power come [sic] from God, and God is the one that gave man the power and authority over the wife, and to spiritually guide the world in the right way to go.”

According to the website listed at the end of the video, “BOND, the Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny, is a nationally-recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to ‘Rebuilding the Family By Rebuilding the Man.’ BOND was Founded by Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson who is also its President.”

Rev. Peterson has been busy lately making himself a reputation for strident religiously-motivated bigotry. In January, the Tea Party leader and author of “Scam: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America,” caused a stir by suggesting that unemployed African Americans need to be sent “back to the plantation so they would understand the ethic of working.”

“I hope that once [black people] hear the truth, they will pull away from the Democratic Party and their godless leaders,” Peterson told the Huffington Post. “When you tell them the truth first, they become upset … They think if you’re black and conservative, you’re an Uncle Tom. Once you let them yell and scream and carry on — because they will carry on — and when they calm down, they understand.”

“Women are now degraded. Women have no shame,” Peterson laments in reference to Sandra Fluke’s courageous congressional committee testimony. “This woman’s sitting there testifying about … all the sex they having [sic] … and it’s really all about maintaining the freedom to kill babies in the womb.”

During his sermon, Rev. Peterson is wringing his hands as he explains how “all these women are into all this stuff [sex out of wedlock] with no shame – women would not have done that in the good old days.”

That’s right – it’s all about shameless women, whom Peterson says, do not realize they present themselves as sluts.

Apparently emboldened by the fact that none of the Christian women in his audience objected by hurtling heavy objects at his imbecilic head, Peterson continues, “It’s unfortunate that women are allow.., that men are so weak, they’ve been so intimidated that they allow these women to just run wild and screw up everything – including their souls, and their children.”

In the good old days, men knew that women are crazy and they knew how to deal with them … sadly for religious wannabe-cave dwellers, those days are gone …

“And if you speak up about it, Satan got [sic] it set up – through the women – that you’re gonna be punished in some kind of way.”

The Reverend is certainly not going to play into the Devil’s hands by refusing to speak his mind when it comes to the inherent, abysmal flaws of shameless women.

“They can’t handle stress. They can’t handle anything. You walk up to them with a issue [sic], they freak out right away. … They go nuts. They get mad. They get upset – just like that. They have no patience because it’s not in their nature. They don’t have love. They don’t have love.”

Heard enough? The majority of people who commented on this vile video could not watch more than a minute or two without feeling nauseated and violently angry due to the straight-out ludicrousness and unqualified misogyny of Reverend Peterson’s sermon.

Those lacking a masochistic proclivity to endure malicious, hate-filled bible-thumping missed the ironic spectacle of a black man bemoaning the evils of women’s suffrage:

“I think that one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote. We should’ve never turned this over to women,” Peterson complains. “And these women are voting in the wrong people. They’re voting in people who are evil who agrees [sic] with them who’re gonna take us down this pathway of destruction. And this probably was the reason they didn’t allow women to vote when men were men. Because men in the good old days understood the nature of the woman. They were not afraid to deal with it. And they understood that, you let them take over, this is what would happen.”

He goes on to blame women for all the supposed evils of modern society: homosexuality, “this gay marriage thing,” losing our right to bear arms, freedom to “speak truth,” … all this debauchery “because women are in a position of power.”

“Wherever women are taking over, evil reigns.”

It is no surprise that religious misogynists focus on shame when attempting to keep women in line. According to psychologist Dr. Darrel Ray, author of Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality, “religions have found shame to be a powerful tool for maintaining religious conformity and to control or limit sexual behavior.”

There is nothing so disheartening to me as when I hear women defending “The Big Guy” – and African American men who rationalize and advocate for the subjugation of fellow human beings in the name of God are no less pathetic.

As PZ Myers points out, Rev. Peterson is “incoherent and stupid, completely lacking in charisma, with a speaking style that makes you wonder if he’d been stunned with a hammer …” – so what’s the big deal? Nobody takes this loser seriously, do they?

As a former fundamentalist Christian woman and editor of a “pro-life, pro-family” Christian political newspaper for 16 years, I spent a lot of time in the company of patriarchal right-wing men – and from my experience, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson is not exceptionally extreme or outlandish in fundamentalist circles. What makes Peterson “edgy” is that he has the audacity to speak aloud what most right-wing men truly believe about women – the Reverend is aberrant only because he is outspoken enough to post his misogynist views on YouTube.

Recently, conservative analyst, Kristen Powers, confronted Rev. Peterson about his misogynistic sermon when she and Peterson appeared together on Sean Hannity’s “Great American Panel.” Watch as Powers shamelessly hijacked Hannity’s program to lambaste Peterson, saying, “You are a pastor distorting God’s word for misogyny … when you say you leave a woman alone in charge a family and she destroys the family.”

Notice that when Powers directly called on the host to denounce Peterson’s regressive views on women, Hannity, who is a BOND advisory board member, issued not a single word of censure, but chose instead to steer the conversation back to the topic of President Obama taking credit for killing Osama bin Laden.

Peterson has endorsed Mitt Romney, saying, “Love of God, family and country are the most important values in my life. All are under attack in America as never before. I believe that Governor Romney, though not without flaws in his record, is a decent, highly capable man who believes in these same values.”

Yes, America is under attack – and she’s going down because brazen women are taking over.

Where’s your shame, right-wing Christian political leaders? Where are the outcries of socially conservative evangelicals protesting the Reverend’s anti-woman screed? Their silence speaks volumes. 

The real shame is this: as an ultra-conservative black man, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson is the darling of the Religious Right. What he says is the undiluted substance of what the Republican troglodytes believe about “their” women.

Supreme Court Watch: Here Come The Judge(ments)

Jodi Jacobson

The sun has not yet set on the first day of Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court and already the sexist language, inferences, and other forms of irrelevant judgment have started to circulate, coming from both the ultra-right in the Republican party, anti-women's rights/anti-gay rights advocacy groups, and the mainstream media.

The sun has not yet set on the first day of Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court and already the sexist language, inferences, and other forms of irrelevant judgment have started to circulate, coming from both the ultra-right in the Republican party, anti-women’s rights/anti-gay rights advocacy groups, and the mainstream media.  These groups seem determined to ensure that whatever her merits based on actual judicial temperment, capability, views, and intellect will be drowned out by innuendo and speculation.

Let’s start with the media and the issue of “experience.” A page A5 article in today’s Washington Post carries the headline: “High court nominee never let lack of experience hold her back.”

Huh? 

No matter what else you can say about her, Kagan is, as I noted earlier today a woman of stellar qualifications, a contender as a judge no matter how you slice it. She has degrees from Princeton, Harvard, and Oxford.  She’s worked in the Senate, the White House (two administrations), and as a clerk for the esteemed Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  She was dean of Harvard Law School. She might have been an appeals court judge but for a Republican-led Senate that refused to bring her nomination to the floor for that “up or down” vote they are always seeking.

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None of this means she shares my own or your views on anything per se.  It just means she is qualified for many things, at least on paper. 

But that doesn’t stop lots of innuendo and speculation about Kagan’s “experience,” a meme already developed by Republican Senators looking for a reason on which to obstruct Obama’s nominations.

Today, Senator John Kyl (R-AZ), stated:

There are two key things that all lead to a central point. The first is the relative lack of experience. And I’m not suggesting that anyone has to have been a judge to serve as a justice — though that is a good experiential basis for it. But her experience is pretty thin, practicing law only for a couple of years for example.

Indeed this is a theme embedded in the Post article, which is primarily based on the premise that even though she was not a judge, Kagan didn’t let not having been a judge hold her back from being nominated as a judge. (I don’t get it either).

Was John Roberts or anyone else for that matter born with a gavel in his hand? Moreover, is there something I am missing in the transition from not playing a specific role to playing that role for the first time? How exactly, for example, could Kagan’s nomination to be an appeals court judge be seen as “not letting a lack of experience hold her back,” if that were her first nomination to any court.  And hold her back from what? Other people’s admiration for her other experience and skills?  At some point, she’d never been dean of a law school, yet somehow Harvard decided she was up to the job.

While it is true that most nominees to the Supreme Court in the past four presidencies have previously served as judges, we are talking about a relatively small group of people for a very few slots.  Richard Nixon nominated two men with no prior judicial experience–William Rehnquist and Lewis Powell. Was their experience questioned the same way?

Even the Post article, based on the lame premise heretofore described, notes that despite her lack of judicial experience she “has appeared on every list of people a Democratic president should consider for the high court.” 

Theme two? She may be gay.

My first inclination is to say “who cares?” and “what difference does it make?” I care less about her sexual identity than her positions on women’s rights and glbt rights in all their dimensions, including the ability of all persons to exercise their basic human rights.  I don’t really care if she is gay or she is not. To paraphrase Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), “a public official’s (own) sexuality is my business only if they make mine theirs.”

But of course the far right in their obsession with sex has made everyone’s sexuality their business.  The American Family Association stated today:

It’s time we got over the myth that what a public servant does in his private life is of no consequence. We cannot afford to have another sexually abnormal individual in a position of important civic responsibility, especially when that individual could become one of nine votes in an out of control oligarchy that constantly usurps constitutional prerogatives to unethically and illegally legislate for 300 million Americans.

The stakes are too high. Social conservatives must rise up as one and say no lesbian is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. Will they?

Not qualified or too scary?  With issues like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and gay marriage on the political front burner, the right fears a “gay sympathizer” on the court, never mind that personal sexuality identity is not the sole determining factor of the support of freedom of all people to be who they are, free of discrimination and stigma.

And, as Suzy Khimm writes at Mother Jones:

[T]here’s another issue coming down the pipeline that could also bring gay rights to the front burner this summer. The Employee Non-Discrimination Act—which would prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sexuality or gender identity—is currently before the House Education and Labor committee. Written by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), ENDA already has 202 co-sponsors, prompting gay rights advocates to push for a vote in the House as early as this month. The momentum behind the legislation has prompted anti-gay activists to slam the bill as “the Cross-dresser Protection Act,” as the Family Research Council calls it. The Traditional Values Coalition has urged a newly formed group of the House’s most conservative Republicans to take up the issue. And The Washington Times has already editorialized against the bill for subjecting “kids to weirdos,” arguing that it would make it impossible for parents remove their children from the classrooms of “she-male” teachers.

Nevertheless, writes Khimm:

It’s unclear whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring ENDA to the House floor this summer, for fear of putting endangered Democrats before another politically contentious vote just months before the midterm elections. Meanwhile, any movement on the bill could prompt anti-gay conservatives to use ENDA, along with the Kagan nomination, as evidence that Obama’s Washington is advancing a radical, pro-gay, left-wing agenda.

Yep, that radical agenda.  The one that left women with fewer reproductive rights after health reform than they had going in. In fact, the real question according to some observers may be whether and how the White House handles this issue.

All of this, writes Pam Spaulding on Pam’s House Blend is:

“about scare and demonize; we knew this kind of BS would come from the right. I say the more meaningful thing to watch out for are  the reactions by the Obama admin, the Hill and the media.”

The Administration did so poorly on first standing up clearly for and then defending the right to choose whether and when to have a child during health reform (a right Obama unequivocally supported throughout his campaign) that I am not hopeful about their efforts to deal effectively with this one.

And then we have theme 3: Slavery and the Constitution.

Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele criticized Kagan for an article she wrote in 1993 about Justice Thurgood Marshall.  The article detailed Marshall’s critiques of a constitution used to support slavery. Kagan wrote:

During the year that marked the bicentennial of the Constitution, Justice Marshall gave a characteristically candid speech. He declared that the Constitution, as originally drafted and conceived, was “defective”; only over the course of 200 years had the nation “attain[ed] the system of constitutional government, and its respect for… individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today.”

In other words, Marshall believed that the Constitution was a force for good to the extent that it was seen for what it was “a living document” needing to focus on the ultimate promise of freedom for all, including freedom from slavery.

Greg Sargent, writing in the Post, says “That’s the basis for the RNC’s claim. As many have already pointed out, it turns out that Marshall was talking about slavery. Presumably the RNC agrees this was a defect that needed to be corrected.”

He further quotes more of what Kagan wrote in that original article:

For in Justice Marshall’s view, constitutional interpretation demanded, above all else, one thing from the courts: it demanded that the courts show a special solicitude for the despised and disadvantaged. It was the role of the courts, in interpreting the Constitution, to protect the people who went unprotected by every other organ of government — to safeguard the interests of people who had no other champion. The Court existed primarily to fulfill this mission.

“That seems like a pretty straightforward claim,” writes Seargent.

Kagan says Marshall believed the Constitution should safeguard the individual rights of those who have been failed by all other organs of government. That seems like Civics 101. Does the RNC really disagree with this?

Maybe so. But in the words of the American Family Association, will they “rise up as one and admit it? Will they?”