Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Rachel Maddow annihiliates 'ex-gay' Richard Cohen over Uganda bill


 From Daily Kos:

Rachel Maddow just completed one of her patented epic takedown interviews.  This one was with Richard Cohen author of Coming Out Stratight and Gay Children, Straight Parents.  Cohens work is one inspiration for the proposed homosexual death penalty law in Uganda.  

. . . As soon as the interview commenced Cohen condemned the proposed Ugandan law, claiming that he was a proponent for tolerance and understanding of gay people.  Maddow pointed to a section of Coming Out Straight in which Cohen quotes a debunked study claiming that most molestation of children by teachers is by gay teachers, that gays target children for recruitment and so on and so forth.  Cohen promised to remove that section of his book when the 3rd edition is released, and acknowleged the faultiness of the study's.   Score one for Maddow.

And it gets better:

Maddow also asked Cohen to justify a quote from Gay Children Straight Parents in which Cohen lists a series of reasons on why children may be gay.  Amongst those reasons were divorce, and race.  Maddow asked how race could possibly be a factor and initially Cohen denied that was in the book.  Maddow held the book up, read the page number and the list again at which point Cohen pleaded that she was reading out of context.  Maddow read the preceding paragraph from the book, in which Cohen explains there are several reasons children may be gay etc etc...  Cohen then challenged Maddow to read the passage following the list, and it had no pertinence to the question.  Finally Cohen just came out and admitted that race has no influence on whether or not a child may be gay.

One of the most electric moments in the interview came when Maddow told Cohen that he had "blood on your hands" because his work was being used to justify the persecution of gays.  It was just riveting.

I've seen the interview and the words of Daily Kos does not do it justice. To borrow an old term, Maddow figuratively "ripped out Cohen's heart and held it front of him so he could watch it beating while slipping away."

I especially liked the part where she takes Cohen to task for using discredited researcher Paul Cameron ( if Maddow wanted to do a future show on Cameron and how the religious right continues to use his work, she could have a series of shows).

It just goes to show that having a "fierce advocate" is nice but nothing beats having one of your own take down the right.

It's like a narcotic. I need more of it.

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Associated Press covers Ugandan anti-gay bill; religious right amazingly silent

Earlier today, I talked about how CNN is talking about the anti-lgbt bill in Uganda that would criminalize homosexuality.

Now the Associated Press is hitting on the issue:

Proposed legislation would impose the death penalty for some gay Ugandans, and their family and friends could face up to seven years in jail if they fail to report them to authorities. Even landlords could be imprisoned for renting to homosexuals.

Gay rights activists say the bill, which has prompted growing international opposition, promotes hatred and could set back efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. They believe the bill is part of a continentwide backlash because Africa's gay community is becoming more vocal.

"It's a question of visibility," said David Cato, who became an activist after he was beaten up four times, arrested twice, fired from his teaching job and outed in the press because he is gay. "When we come out and ask for our rights, they pass laws against us."

The legislation has drawn global attention from activists across the spectrum of views on gay issues. The measure was proposed in Uganda following a visit by leaders of U.S. conservative Christian ministries that promote therapy for gays to become heterosexual. However, at least one of those leaders has denounced the bill, as have some other conservative and liberal Christians in the United States.

More here.

Granted, the connection between the bill and the anti-lgbt activists who gave tacit support to the bill (i.e. Scott Lively and company) isn't covered, but this is a start. A good start.

While the bill may pass, still attention needs to be devoted to it, as well as the people behind it.

And I have noticed something else. While the religious right are playing their annual "War on Christmas" nonsense as well as playing the martyr (via the Manhattan Declaration) while attacking marriage equality, I have yet to hear any of them comment on this bill.

Not Focus on the Family

Not the American Family Association, especially via the phony news site One News Now.

Not Peter LaBarbera

Not Matt Barber or the rest of the Liberty Counsel.

Not any of them.

All of it goes to show that when accessing just who are moral or righteous, sometimes the silence says more than the words.

Related posts:

US Christian Leaders oppose Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill

Full coverage on Uganda’s “Kill Gays” legislation - Since February, the webpage Box Turtle Bulletin has covering the situation in Uganda, including the conditions leading up to the bill. It should be commended for its excellent coverage.

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CNN finally covers Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill story and other Tuesday midday news briefs

Why is Uganda attacking homosexuality? - CNN covers anti-lgbt bill in Uganda. It certainly took them long enough!

Living With Mental Illness - An excellent personal piece by Autumn Sandeen, an online buddy of mine.

How the Religious Right Stole Christmas - This "War Against Christmas" is getting ridiculous. Getting? It's past the point of ridiculous.

Gay, lesbian judges in Cook County note their progress - We need more articles like this one.

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Right-wing plan against Kevin Jennings: Tell a lie, let it get refuted, wait a while, repeat lie again

Say what you will about the attacks on Dept. of Education appointee Kevin Jennings, they definitely give a window into the modus operandi of not only the religious right but some facets of the American right in general.

From Media Matters:

Fox Nation and Big Government are trumpeting the latest smear on Department of Education official Kevin Jennings: that Jennings is, in the words of Fox Nation, "linked to shocking teen sex talk," referring to a recorded exchange that occurred during a "Queer Sex and Sexuality" workshop during a 2000 conference sponsored by Jennings' organization, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

There are so many problems with this, but here is the big one:

In fact, Jennings reportedly criticized "some of the" workshop's "content" when the recordings were first released in 2000, and the people involved in conducting the controversial discussion -- none of whom were GLSEN employees -- were either terminated or resigned.

And here is the other thing wrong with this incident: it has already been looked at, covered, and dissected by the right - especially the religious right, and has proven to be nothing.



Folks on the right  have been distorting this situation (incredibly named "fistgate") since June as a part of their efforts to hurt Jennings. I covered the situation during that time.

And here is what I said:

Kevin Jennings wasn't even present when the situation took place. His organization, other than co-sponsoring the event where the unfortunate incident took place, wasn't involved in what transpired.

Three state employees, including one Margot Abels, who took part in the discussion was either fired or resigned.

Abels later sued the Massachusetts Department of Education, Brian Camenker (head of the anti-lgbt hate group Mass Resistance), and Scott Whiteman; the two men who illegally taped the workshop and made the taping public,  for "violating her civil rights and the state's anti-wiretapping law."