Yesterday’s in-depth report on Charlotte-area anti-LGBT religious leader Dr. Michael L. Brown and his Monday radio show on anti-LGBT legislation in places like Uganda elicited a short response from the radio host and ministry school leader on Tuesday (emphasis added):

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…I noticed some tweets from one gay journalist who has constantly misrepresented my positions over the years. He was making reference to what I said on the radio show yesterday, different comments I made regarding Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. I haven’t released a full statement; there is much to say on it. There are things that I fully understand why they’ve done what they’ve done. There are other measures that I think we would all call draconian. But, in any case, no surprise to be misrepresented when things are taken in a non-contextual way. But, hey, I noticed this post brought me a smile last night from this journalist, “I’ve had it with the insanity of Dr. Michael Brown’s radical bigotry for tonight.” Well, God bless our friend and hopefully he’ll come to experience the truth and love of God.

Two things of note:

  1. Brown doesn’t specifically mention my report, only some tweets. It’s because he knows my report is the furthest thing from misrepresentation. Brown is fond of simply claiming that I and others “misrepresent” him. It’s his common, stock response when a critic points out his problematic or extremist views. I believe that any rational, thinking person can understand no misrepresentation exists when they hear you say there are “very strong reasons” for Uganda’s problems with “homosexual practice” and then hear me say that such a statement shows sympathy or a defense of the law.
  2.  Brown’s comments on-air on Monday, as quoted by me, speak for themselves. They are not out of context. I spent several hours listening and re-listening to Brown’s Monday broadcast to ensure the accuracy of quotes. Indeed, a great deal of my initial report are Brown’s very own words, not mine. You can listen to the whole radio show from Monday and then reference back to my report to decide for yourself.

And, the kicker…

Brown continues to show sympathetic views or a defense of Uganda’s law, even after repeated requests by me and others for him to repudiate the law and others like it, along with the violence now being sparked against LGBT people across the globe as a direct result of these types of laws.

Brown says, “There are things that I fully understand why they’ve done what they’ve done.” Then, he further states, “There are other measures that I think we would all call draconian.” Yet, no where in his Monday broadcast did Brown condemn or repudiate any portion of the currently-enacted law as being harsh, draconian, misguided or potentially harmful.

I’m not misrepresenting Brown. He is misrepresenting himself and his own words from his Monday broadcast.

As for the statement? Where is it? What takes so long? Is it really so difficult?

As I noted in yesterday’s conclusion:

I’ve asked Brown repeatedly — as a man of God given a uniquely large and, indeed, international, platform and voice — to repudiate and condemn the Uganda law, as well as similar laws in places like Nigeria, Russia and India. I’ve asked him repeatedly to come out forthrightly and to strongly condemn the violence being perpetrated against LGBT people in nations like these. All he can offer are justifications based on “morality” and “health.” All he can offer are excuses about “cultural differences.” All he can point to are century-old tales of a supposedly deranged king.

Humans, indeed, have many cultural differences. But, as a man of God, Brown should understand that the rights to life, dignity and safety are among the “universal moral principles” to which he clings so dearly. Or not.

It’s not that difficult, Dr. Brown. I’ll write the statement for you, if you can honestly say you’d stand by it. But, at this point, I’m afraid that’s unlikely.

Update (Feb. 26, 2014): Brown responds briefly, continues sympathy for anti-LGBT criminalization in Uganda. Listen to the audio clip…

For several years now, the global community has been debating proposed — and now signed and enacted — legislation in Uganda that places harsh criminal sanctions on LGBT people, including, in its current enacted form, up to life imprisonment for LGBT people and up to seven or more years imprisonment for those who “aid and abet” homosexuality, including life in prison for any person who “purports to contract a marriage with another person of the same sex.”

A small portion of that debate has included Charlotte-area, anti-LGBT religious leader Dr. Michael L. Brown, who was first, perhaps, unwittingly tied to the controversy due to his close associations with conservative evangelical Lou Engle. Brown has worked closely with Engle in the past, inviting the religious leader to Charlotte for local Pride festivities. Engle, whose use of radically violent and militant religious rhetoric equally matches that of Brown’s, has been criticized for his involvement in and support of lobbying for Uganda’s anti-LGBT law.

Because of Brown’s ties to Engle, I reached out to Brown in 2009 for a statement on the then-proposed Uganda law, which included — unlike its current form — a death penalty for some homosexual offenses.

At the time, Brown stated:

“While I do not pretend to understand the dynamics of Ugandan culture and law, and while I share the government’s concerns with the goals of homosexual activism and the dangers of homosexual practice, I have very serious issues with the proposed law as currently constructed. I believe it has the potential to hurt far more people than it could possibly help, potentially inflicting great suffering on many.”

I remarked, at the time, that Brown’s statement fell “far short of a outright condemnation of the law.” It’s striking that he said he “share[d] the government’s concerns” over homosexuality and had only “very serious issues” with the law as “currently constructed.” Brown continued in ensuing years to give a more-than-sympathetic ear to those who would seek to criminalize LGBT people in Uganda and elsewhere abroad, saying he was concerned about the death penalty but failing to raise any significant concern about the bill — or the resulting violence and witch hunts in Uganda — as a whole.

In 2010, a primary proponent of the Ugandan legislation, Uganda Pastor Martin Ssempa, appeared on Brown’s radio show. Brown’s associates at his Voice of Revolution blog challenged their followers to truly ask if Ssempa were, indeed, a “‘Liar’? ‘Cowardly’? ‘Compulsive liar’?” by listening to the show.

If Ssempa’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he was made globally (in)famous for his “eat da poo poo” remarks as he lobbied for the extremist legislation.

It was precisely because of Brown’s past involvements that I reached out to him via email last week to ask for a new statement on the Ugandan legislation as it passed through that nation’s legislature and awaited President Yoweri Museveni’s signature. (I posted the same request on Facebook and tagged Brown, where he responded publicly, but never issued a statement directly responding to my request.)

Though Brown has yet to publicly issue an official statement — which he says might do at some point in the future — he did discuss the issue of anti-LGBT legislation in places like Uganda, Russia and India on his radio broadcast on Feb. 24. During the two-hour broadcast, Brown also discussed recent legislative proposals in U.S. states like Arizona and Kansas, but I’ll limit my commentary here to the global issues discussed on Monday.

Brown’s radio show ran nearly two hours. And, it included a great deal of commentary, much of it twisted and convoluted. It’s a lot to unpack, but I’ll try to do so diligently. That requires some level of in-depth conversation, hence the length of this blog post. I’m breaking it up into easily digestible sections in hopes that you’ll be able to more easily follow along.

The Game Plan

First, I’ll address Brown’s so-called “condemnation” of anti-LGBT violence. Brown is fond of claiming I misrepresent him, so it’s best to go ahead and address these issues first. To be fair, I have only once gone too far in my criticism — saying Brown was a “vocal supporter” of the Ugandan legislation — which I have acknowledged and retracted, and for which I apologized. But, after Monday’s radio broadcast, I’m beginning to think my apology and retraction were a bit premature.

Second, we’ll delve into other statements in support of and sympathetic to the Ugandan legislation made by Brown during his broadcast, parse them out and add in my own responses and commentary.

Lastly, we’ll end with Brown’s most forthright defense and justification of the Uganda law.

I’ve included approximate timestamps that mark the beginning of each quoted portion of the show. You can follow along by visiting to listen to or downloading Brown’s Feb 24 radio broadcast from his website.

‘I’d stand side by side with you against them’

Brown has often said something like, “I’d stand side by side with you against anyone who would cause you harm.” I believe that, in some weird, twisted way, he believes he harbors no ill will to LGBT people. I’ve said as much before, stating in my in-depth report on his violent, militant religious rhetoric that, “I do not believe Brown or most of his followers would ever act in any overt, physically violent manner.”

Yet, what most concerns me is the combination of Brown’s consistent advocacy against even the basic of LGBT protections or recognition and his overly consistent way of qualifying such seemingly supportive statements with accompanying conditional statements. It’s never “I’ll stand by you.” It’s always, “I’ll stand by you, if…” or “I’ll stand by you, but…”

If one is truly opposed to anti-LGBT violence and harm, there should never be an “if” or a “but.” It should just simply be, “I’ll stand by you.” If you want a qualifier, add this: “…because violence is always wrong.” That sort of qualifier rarely accompanies Brown’s statements. I don’t find this particular issue difficult to grasp. Here’s an example: “Dr. Brown, if anyone ever threatened to harm you, your church, your school or your congregants or students, I would be the first to stand up and condemn it. Violence is always wrong.” No ifs. No buts. No qualifiers. No need to bring up my sincere disagreements with the man. Just simply, “Violence is always wrong.” And, that’s no matter if it occurs in the U.S., in Uganda, Russia, Nigeria, Spain, Timbuktu or Antarctica. “Violence is always wrong.” See how easy that is?

Brown offered only two examples — yes, only two remarks out of two hours worth of commentary and conversation — of this kind of seemingly gay-supportive rhetoric. I’ve emphasized Brown’s qualifiers.

‘Stand with you,’ (34:23)
Obviously I would stand with you against anything that would provoke violence and anger and hatred in society against someone that said they were same-sex attracted and if you had a crowd outburst like the horrible things in South Africa where they are going to rape a lesbian and think they are going to cure her of her homosexuality, these horrors, I’d stand side by side with you against them. But, can you see that a nation that wants to outlaw mini-skirts and suggestive music videos is going to have quite an issue, say, with homosexual activist curricula in children’s schools or redefining marriage? Does that seem that odd to you?

As noted, Brown can’t simply condemn the violence. He must add a qualifier. In this instance, Brown, as you’ll see later, attempts to justify the actions of the Ugandan legislature and president by pointing to other social “norms” in that nation. He just can’t simply bring himself to admit that state-sponsored, homophobic terrorism — just as state-sponsored, sexist terrorism does to women — is bring horrific mob violence and harm directly to the doorsteps and homes of LGBT people in Uganda and elsewhere. Further, he links, as he is often wont to do, LGBT people to “indoctrination” of children. It’s an ugly, ugly lie predicated on the even uglier lie that gay men are pedophiles. And, this somehow excuses Uganda’s legislation? Give me a break.

Egged home (1:13:10)
Please hear me. Please hear me. If somebody in my neighborhood I knew was to be same-sex attracted or let’s say there were two men living together — they are not breaking the law, they are living together in my neighborhood — and somebody came by and egged their house or painted graffiti on it, I would try to be the first one there to make it clear that this is reprehensible, to speak out against it to help them clean up and to say that we are here to protect you so that no one can hurt you and attack you. At the same time, I would say that what you are doing is morally wrong and I would absolutely not fight for you to — quote — have the right to marry that person, but if there is hatred towards you or discrimination against you, of course, I would stand against that like I would for any other human being. You are fellow human being; you are created in the image of God just as much as I am. We are all fallen. We are all broken. We all need help. Jesus died for homosexual and heterosexual just the same. But, please hear me, you may live in a state where you say we are safe and secure because we already passed a constitutional amendment in our state saying marriage is the union of one woman and one man. No, no, no. There’s nothing secure. These rules are being challenged … as unconstitutional in state after state after state. Gay activists have made it clear … that within five years they would like to see every state in America recognize the union of two men or two women regardless of how the people voted.

Here again we find Brown condemning violence, but only so for his theoretical neighbors. He does not extend this to the mass mob violence experienced by LGBT people in places like Uganda or Russia or Nigeria. And, even so, he does it again with a qualifier; he would only help if he also had the opportunity to demean and judge his neighbors’ lives. What’s more is his seemingly contradictory statement; he’d stand up if there were “discrimination against you,” but two sentences later advocates discrimination against LGBT people. The words “inconsistent” and “insincere” aren’t descriptive enough for this kind of circular logic and double-speak. And, be sure to notice: Brown will stand up against someone egging or tagging a gay couple’s home. But, where is his condemnation of the front-page newspaper witch hunts in Uganda (including one on Tuesday, one day after Uganda’s bill became law)? Where is his condemnation of the horrifically violent rape, beating and murder of a Russian gay man or the countless other intimidations, violent harassment and abuse by far-right nationalist groups there? Where is his condemnation of the rounding up and mass incarceration of Nigerian gay men? On these real-life examples of bloodcurdling, horrific terror — in the same nations where he defends, justifies or excuses the enactment of harsh, anti-LGBT legislation — Brown is curiously and frustratingly — and tellingly — silent.

In one other instance, Brown condemned violence, but not toward LGBT people. And, once again, there was a qualifier. Nothing in Brown’s world can ever just simply be wrong. Despite his insistent belief of “universal moral truths,” he must always provide a qualifier distancing himself from direct condemnation of violence or horror. Again emphasized.

Level of shame (19:55)
There are many parts of the world where if a girl has sex outside wedlock, she could never marry after that. She would be shamed. There are parts of the world where the family would actually kill that person. Of course, that’s horrific. That’s utterly horrific and inexcusable on every level. I’m simply saying there’s that level of shame associated with, say, a teenage girl having sex, where it’s the norm in our culture, and we’re going to lecture the nations?

‘Culture’ an excuse to cause violence?

Brown’s comments in the “Level of Shame” quote above, and those below, help to paint a picture of Brown’s justification for not strongly condemning anti-LGBT laws and the violence that often results.

His argument is two-fold: First, he believes that “each culture is different” and cannot be judged in the same ways (again, despite his belief in “universal moral truths”). Second, Brown believes the U.S. has no moral standing on which to “lecture” other nations on issues of sexual morality.

He lays out his argument at the top of his show, asking, “Do we as Americans have a moral imperative to speak to other nations about morality? When can we speak and when are we just being hypocrites?

He then boasts of his Sunday-night dinner with far-right attorney Matt Barber — yes, the same Barber of Liberty University and Liberty Counsel who calls gay activists “a swarm of locusts,” says tolerance is a “cancer” and crudely defines gay love as ”one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’”

Yes, this is who Brown turns to for guidance, providing him with the second prong of his argument (6:07):

We were taking about a lot of gospel-related and culture-related issues last night and [Barber] mentioned an article he had written about sexual immorality being the chief export of America. I have to say as an American, in many ways I’m proud of my country … there have been many things about our country that have been wonderful and are wonderful and have helped the world … but on the flip side, you think of it and we are the world’s leader in exporting pornography and in quite a number of other social indicators we are really low on the moral level, in terms of single parent homes, in terms of teen pregnancy and teen drug use and, of course, with our gay activism. We’re proud of that. Many in our nation are proud of that and are speaking to other nations to get with it. Of course, it is shameful to see where we have gone. … It strikes me as quite hypocritical about morality when we lecture other nations about marriage and family and tell them to get their act together. To me, that is the height of hypocrisy.

Alright, I get it. We all get it. The U.S. isn’t perfect. On this much, we agree. Progressive activists have been clamoring for change for years. We want reform in the criminal justice system and the school-to-prison pipeline, for example. But, do you know what few things the U.S. does have, seemingly, more than other nations like Uganda, Nigeria, Russia and others? The right to life and dignity. The right to safety and security. The right to free speech and association. On these counts, we aren’t perfect. But, we’re a hell of a lot more secure than in places like Uganda, Nigeria or Russia, where now even the tiniest hint of homosexuality can result in mob violence, arrest, imprisonment or death.

But, oh no, we can’t judge! Brown says we have too much pornography, and because of that, we are simply unable to speak what Brown, I’d assume, would consider a “universal moral principle” — governments shouldn’t be in the business of jailing otherwise peaceable people or creating policies that inspire violence and terrorism against their citizens.

More examples of and commentary on Brown’s argument below…

Each culture is different (13:15)
Each culture is different and distinct. When you have a culture that is going as far as outlawing certain dress — a lot of this stuff is coming in from the West. A lot of this stuff is coming in from America. … Now, we are going to turn around and lecture these nations on what is right and what is wrong. To me, it’s the height of hypocrisy.

Three words: “universal moral principles.” Does that include Ugandan LGBT people’s right to life and security, Dr. Brown? He refuses to answer.

Universal moral principles? (16:17)
The first comments that I make when I’m asked about this nation, what about laws in that nation … is that each nation is distinct. In other words, we cannot look at another nation based on our culture. We can say there are universal moral principals we agree on. That would be true. … There are massive cultural differences. It is arrogant for us to just assume that across the board that we can tell other nations how they should live and what they should do and what they should not do.

Do massive cultural differences prevent us from saying that people should have the basic security of knowing they can live their life in peace, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender? Brown doesn’t seem to think so.

Porn and music (17:28)
And, again, with regard to Uganda and laws regarding homosexual practice, this is part of a wide-ranging series of laws that are banning different issues with pornography and even suggestive music videos.

Are you kidding me? (18:13)
All I am saying is this, very, very simply, is that you can’t even begin to understand the mindset of the people of Uganda in terms of homosexual practice until you look at the larger view of sexual morality in the culture. Think of this for a minute — a culture that says no to mini-skirts for women and they don’t want suggestive music videos on TV for kids and so on, that culture is going to say, ‘Oh, but if two men want to get married, that’s perfectly fine.’ Are you kidding me?

This issue isn’t about marriage. Brown consistently ties it to marriage. This issue is rather simple: LGBT people in Uganda, as in Nigeria and elsewhere, are asking for the simple right to safety and security. Brown must be deluded if he believes activists in Uganda have marriage at the top of their agenda.

Absolutely not (30:10)
…[D]oes America have the right to lecture other nations about sexual morality, about marriage, family? I say absolutely, certainly not.

Let’s play along here. For the sake of argument, let’s say that America has no “absolute” or “certain” right to “lecture” other nations on marriage, sexual morality or family. But, Brown is a religious leader. He biblical scholar. President of a theology school. He’s held himself up as a pastor. Can he not simply cite, “Thou shall not kill”? Can he not simply say, “Dear Ugandans, you are putting forth policies that are inspiring witch hunts and violence. Perhaps there is a better way.”? If the U.S. doesn’t have the “moral imperative” to speak, does a man of God? I’d say so, but Brown, through his silence, obviously disagrees.

Do not follow America (38:01)
There may be some politics reasons for it. As for Russia, I wouldn’t even begin to understand everything that is happening there. You have the high rates of alcoholism, the high rates of abortion … then you have the anti-gay propaganda issue … I do not understand everything that is happening in Russia or what is motivating Vladimir Putin. But, I will say this — I absolutely agree that if I could go to every nation in the world, I would say, ‘Do not follow American’s example in these ways.’

Yes, yes. Because the rape, maiming, brutalization, imprisonment and murder of LGBT people is so incredibly more worthy of global emulation, amarite?!

Uganda has ‘very strong reasons’ for law, and ‘rightly so’

Early in his show, and repeated elsewhere, Brown forcefully defended (or, justified, excused, etc.) Uganda’s adoption of its new Anti-Homosexuality Act. In doing so, he used several examples linking gay people to child predation,AIDS and death, and, once again, he relied on “cultural differences” as a defense of the law. He ends chastising America for its moral decline and saying Uganda “looks at the whole package” and, in his opinion, “rightly so.”

Very strong reasons (8:55)
Bear in mind, Uganda has many professing Christians. Bear in mind, Uganda practices polygamy. So, it’s a very different nation than America in terms of Christian perspective there. But, Uganda has some very strong reasons for having issues with homosexual practice. There is one day a year in Uganda which is a national holiday which remembers these young men who basically refused to comply with the king’s desires — you can fill in the blanks there. They were killed for it. They were martyred for their refusal to go along with the king’s sexual desires as young men and boys. That is celebrated in a national holiday remembering them for their courage and their Christian conviction, as I understand the story. Not only that, but Uganda has been terribly ravaged by AIDS. The decimation there — we’re just talking about in the heterosexual community — the decimation it has brought to some of these African nations who have had a good part of a generation wiped out. … They have had a decimating problem with AIDS. … But the rate of AIDS contagion among those practicing same-sex practices, men having relations with other men, is off the charts higher. Well, that’s another reason they do not want to see it encouraged in their country. … But, let’s just put it into context. I have not released an official statement about the bill. I’ve been asked to do so and I will at some point … Uganda has said we are against gay propaganda in the schools, against kids being indoctrinated into these things or being told this is normal and acceptable. We are against open homosexual practice, and you may have some laws that seem harsh and draconian, but it’s also part of African law and culture. … You’ve got to understand that in the context of Uganda, they are talking about outlawing mini-skirts because they find these things to be inapprorpriate. … That’s the culture we’re dealing with. We are talking about a culture where until recently adultery was illegal and fornication remains illegal. .. All they’re doing is having equivalence for homosexual relations.

Rightly so (37:04)
I have no idea what fuels the fire of the president of Uganda … but I do know that many of the people speaking into this situation are speaking based on moral issues, based on health issues. Again, we can’t relate, with all the horror we’ve had with AIDS … men and women, heterosexual and homosexual, we can’t relate to what’s happened in a country like Uganda and the devastation of this. And, when you have — the stats are somewhere about 10 times higher that men having sex with men being AIDS transmitters in Uganda — that’s a behavior you’re going to discourage every way you know how. … They look at the whole package of where we’re going, and I think rightly so.

So, there you have it: Brown’s defense, justification and excusing of Uganda’s anti-gay laws. Why? Because gays are causing higher “contagion.” (Yes, you read that right: “Contagion.”) Because Uganda doesn’t want children “indoctrinated.” Because of some big, bad pedophile king who lived more than a century ago and, Brown tells us, had sexual desires for “young men and boys.” (The king, Brown regrets to tell us, was 16-18 years old when the executions happened, primarily because of their conversion to Christianity, not necessarily sexuality.)  At the end of the day, Brown’s argument devolves into the same, tired and hateful rhetoric we’ve always heard from American evangelicals: Gays are sick. Gays are sinful. Gays are predators. And, as such, “That’s a behavior you’re going to discourage every way you know how.”

Brown says he’ll release an official statement. What’s the need? He spent two hours discussing these issues on record on his radio boradcast. I’ve listened to the whole broadcast several times — twice all the way through, and several more as I gathered these quotes. Brown’s views seem abundantly clear to me: Uganda’s law is justified “in the context of Uganda” — “universal moral principles” like life and safety be damned.

Yet, Brown and a guest on his show, Joseph La Rue of anti-LGBT legal outfit Alliance Defending Freedom, are more than willing to push for legislation here in the U.S. that protects their right to discriminate. In another segment of the show, which I’ve not delved into here, Brown and La Rue discuss the controversial Arizona legislation that would give anyone the right to refuse service to any other person based on a “sincerely held religious belief.”

La Rue explains his reasoning for supporting the law, with which Brown agrees and praised La Rue for his “courageous stand.” La Rue remarks (1:04:37):

Since when is religious liberty about discrimination? Since when is wanting to defend religious liberty equal to bigotry? It’s just preposterous what’s being said. The bottom line is this: The government has no business, none whatsoever, telling its citizens what they can’t say or what they must say and the government must be stopped from punishing its citizens for their ideas and beliefs. We are seeing that happen right now in America, and the government must be stopped.

Yet, such guarantees of liberty, safety and security simply do not exist in Uganda, in Nigeria, in Russia and in the dozens of other countries where LGBT people are violently oppressed — including 10 nations where they may be sentenced to death. While Brown and people like La Rue fight in the U.S. for their right to discriminate, they stand united with governments like that in Uganda, where basic rights to life and safety are being stripped away — either directly by law or through mob violence inspired by state policies.

Why must those governments not be stopped? Where is the fiery condemnation there? Brown has none. Because Brown is all-too-sympathetic with a national and, indeed, worldwide movement, of which he is firmly part,  to silence and oppress LGBT people, even here in his home nation and in his home town.

I’ve asked Brown repeatedly —  as a man of God given a uniquely large and, indeed, international, platform and voice — to repudiate and condemn the Uganda law, as well as similar laws in places like Nigeria, Russia and India. I’ve asked him repeatedly to come out forthrightly and to strongly condemn the violence being perpetrated against LGBT people in nations like these. All he can offer are justifications based on “morality” and “health.” All he can offer are excuses about “cultural differences.” All he can point to are century-old tales of a supposedly deranged king.

Humans, indeed, have many cultural differences. But, as a man of God, Brown should understand that the rights to life, dignity and safety are among the “universal moral principles” to which he clings so dearly. Or not.

It’s not that difficult, Dr. Brown. I’ll write the statement for you, if you can honestly say you’d stand by it. But, at this point, I’m afraid that’s unlikely.

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Baby steps: GOP taking a stab at jobs?

[Ed. Note -- In the original version of this post, we incorrectly identified Josh Stein has a Republican. As testified to in the comments, Stein is not a Republican and has, in fact, been a great ally to many communities in this state, including LGBT people. We regret the error, and wish'd we'd had, perhaps, another cup or two of coffee before writing this morning. Thanks.]

Hey, at least it’s a start.

N.C. Sen. Pete Brunstetter (R-Forsyth) and Josh Stein (D-Wake) filed a bill yesterday to expand the duties and purpose of the (soon-to-be renamed?) Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight Committee. (They also want to create a global engagement study committee.)

It’s nice to know that GOP legislators like Brunstetter have decided to take a stab at this jobs and economy thing. Though with such a simple bill, you have to wonder why it wasn’t filed last week (especially for a committee that’s yet to have been appointed members and hasn’t had a substantial meeting since last April). I don’t know about you, but I’m still waiting to see exactly what the GOP’s priorities are this session. It’s not looking good, so far.

Dear GOP: Surprise me, please, by doing the job you sold to Tar Heel voters last fall.

Dr. Michael Brown, founder of several Charlotte-area ministries including the activist Coalition of Conscience, says he has “serious concerns” about the anti-gay Ugandan law that would punish homosexuality by death.

His statement was emailed to me as I was writing an article on the subject for Q-Notes. Despite his “concern,” his statement falls far short of a outright condemnation of the law. More below the fold…

Continue reading this post…

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‘Their blood shall be upon them’

There’s a lot of talk here recently over a proposed anti-gay death penalty law in Uganda. Activists and news organizations have linked the legislation’s Ugandan proponents to several high-profile American religious leaders and politicians.

The law, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, would make gay sex a crime punishable by death. The legislation has been endorsed by Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa, a man invited to speak at Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church and “embraced warmly” by Warren and his wife.

Jeff Sharlet, author of an exposé on the secretive American group, “The Family,” has linked the Ugandan legislation’s mastermind, David Bahati, back to the ultra-conservative group.

Continue reading this post…

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Special rights: We’ve finally got them

After all the rantings and ravings of the religious right and their fear of “homosexual special rights,” us queer folks finally have them:

For a limited time, Travelocity is offering LGBT travelers an additional $150 off its already discounted 5-night or longer flight and hotel vacation packages to major cities in Europe as well as many other destinations around the world including Costa Rica, Australia and Venezuela.

Read more about the special deal.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. will sign on to a U.N. declaration on the decriminalization of homosexuality. Officials have notified the French sponsors of the intent to sign on. George Bush had refused to sign the statement, leaving the U.S. as the only Western nation refusing to do so. Read more.

(h/t Bilerico, UKGayNews)

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On the need for stronger HIV/AIDS prevention

A young journalist from Britain writes that the LGBT community needs a stronger and more effective HIV/AIDS prevention program:

Craig’s story brings home the reality of barebacking – a reality missed by the glossy HIV prevention adverts and messages aimed at my generation of gay men (I’m 23). Those responsible for the ads, organisations such as the Terrence Higgins Trust and GMFA, the gay men’s health charity, insist that harder hitting representations of life with HIV do not work and that they stigmatise those living with the virus.

But I believe that a refusal to show the harsh reality of HIV is encouraging attitudes like that of one of the three men infected. John, 22, told me and Newsnight (video) that he wasn’t bothered he had HIV, and that being gay he always knew he’d get it. Time Out’s Paul Burston told the debate’s audience of a conversation he’d had with a 22-year-old in Liverpool, who said he was more worried about catching gonorrhea than HIV.

[..snip..]

Yet instead of giving us a picture of what our lives could be like if we bareback, they choose to “empower” us. They do that by saying: “If you are the active partner you’re less likely to get HIV” and “If you withdraw, then you and your partner are at less risk of contracting HIV.”

When was the last time you were told that if you’re going to drink drive you should opt for a bottle of wine instead of tequila slammers? Or saw the withdrawal method advocated to prevent pregnancy?

The very nature of sex, when arousal clouds your judgment, means even stronger messages on safe sex are required. You need an authoritative voice at your shoulder, not a voice as clouded as your judgment telling you that you’re at less risk if you do this or that.

Read the whole commentary at The Guardian.

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The ‘Enlightened’ Prince

Remember Monday morning’s post on Prince Harry’s royal racist and homoerotic tendencies?

Well, discounting the racism, of course, legendary Brit gay activist Peter Tatchell is saying King-never-shall-be Henry is “enlightened” and is praising the lad for his apparent comfort with male-male intimacy:

The video, obtained by the News of the World tabloid, also includes images of Harry on a night out with friends in which he mouths to one soldier: “I love you” before kissing him on the cheek and licking his face.

Another extract shows Harry asking a colleague how he felt after an army exercise, adding: “Gay, queer on the side?”

But Peter Tatchell, an Australian-born human rights activist who made his name focusing on gay rights, said he had no problem with Harry’s use of the word “queer” and praised his show of affection.

“For him to happily give his soldier friend a public kiss and lick his face strikes me as rather liberated and enlightened, for a straight man,” he said.

“If only more heterosexual men were relaxed about same-sex affection like Harry, the world would be a better place.”

Tatchell added: “The context and intention of words is crucial in deciding whether they are offensive or not. I don’t find anything objectionable about the context in which Harry used the word queer.”

Heterosexual men rarely kiss their male friends or family members in stiff upper lip Britain, preferring to greet each other by shaking hands.

Maybe Harry’s really gay and all this macho-jock-boy-cool-and-down-with-the-gays thing is a cover-up?

I think this story is almost as good as, and maybe even better than, Prince William’s penis pictures (NSFW).

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Royally screwed

harry-kiss1Prince Harry just doesn’t ever seem to get it. Nazi uniforms. Smoking weed around the palace. Sucking a friend’s nipple. Licking and kissing a friend on the face. Calling military colleagues “Paki” and “raghead.”

Sounds like average-joe, racist, redneck, military jock talk and behavior to me. It certainly isn’t behavior you’d expect from a member of the most powerful royal house in Europe.

This is what happens when you give a hot boy complete access to the world’s privilege and power expecting no responsibility in return. You don’t see big brother William acting like this. Maybe Harry should be told he’ll be his brother’s future co-regent. Maybe then he’ll shape up. Some responsibility might do him some good. I doubt William would appreciate sharing the throne, though.

But on the other hand… I kind of feel bad for the guy. He’s 24 years old, he’s never had a normal life and he’s part of a family he certainly had no choice to belong to. I kid about him having no responsibility; that certianly isn’t true. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to grow up with the whole world watching, nit-picking over every little part of my life.

More: News of the World