The Christian Action League, perhaps among one of the most far-right, anti-LGBT hate groups in North Carolina, posted yesterday an extraordinary insight into their religiously-bigoted efforts to write discrimination into our state constitution and further increase the hate-filled, divisive politics that has become the brand of modern-day right-wing ideologues.

The Rev. Rocky Carpenter, pastor of Harmony Community Church in Peachland, N.C., has started up a weekly prayer effort to guide Tar Heel bigots in their quest to constitutionalize discrimination against LGBT people in North Carolina. “Harmony,” it seems, is a state of being to which queer folk don’t get access.

From the Christian Action League:

“At the first Vote FOR Marriage NC meeting I went to, Tami Fitzgerald (Vote FOR Marriage NC chairwoman) asked for a prayer leader. God quickened my heart, and after praying for a week, I called her to let her know that I was the man to lead the prayer effort,” said the Rev. Carpenter. He said his beautiful wife of 27 years, four children and two grandchildren were also among the reasons he stepped up to the plate.

“We must preserve marriage God’s way,” he added. “God is calling his elect to boldly and lovingly stand for the preservation of marriage according to his word in this great state of North Carolina!”

He said to be victorious in this battle, Christians should “pray without ceasing” and “enlist as many as possible to pray.”

For that reason he is calling on pastors and their congregations to use their e-mail and social networking sites to spread the word about the importance of defending traditional marriage and the need to call on God for his help. He said it will take pastors to lead the charge, but that all believers should be joining in prayer since James 5:16 promises that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

The Rev. Carpenter is also designating Friday of each week as the Vote FOR Marriage NC corporate prayer day since the sixth day of the week corresponds to the sixth day of creation when, according to Gen. 1:26-28, God created man and woman.

According to the anti-gay activist group, Carpenter is asking folks to pray for three outcomes (again from Christian Action League):

  • “Pray for the salvation of our gay and lesbian neighbors (Isaiah 59:1,2),” he wrote, reminding recipients of the message that homosexuals are not the enemy (Ephesians 6:12).
  • He also asked for prayer for Vote FOR Marriage coalition leaders (1 Tim. 2:1,2), for workers (Matthew 9:37, 38), and for financial provision (2 Cor. 9:7).
  • Most of all, he challenged marriage supporters to pray that “God would be glorified in this effort! (Rev. 4:11)”

I hereby propose an alternative to Carpenter’s prayer Fridays: On Fridays through May 8, I hope you’ll join me for “Freaky Fanatic Friday” tweets, highlighting some of the insane and horrendously bigoted comments being made by anti-gay activists in North Carolina.

Some examples:

  •  Gay “have to wear a diaper or a butt plug just to be able to contain their bowels.” Patrick L. Wooden, Upper Room Church of God in Christ, Raleigh, N.C.
  • “I know of a case where in a hospital a homosexual male had a cellphone lodged in his anus and as they were operating on him the phone went off, the phone started ringing!” Patrick L. Wooden.
  • Gay sex “will most certainly mean the extinction of the human race.” Patrick L. Wooden.
  • Gay people are a “darkened, twisted, immense depository of depravity.” Rev. Ron Baity, Berean Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • Loving, committed same-sex couples are “greatest threat to marriage and morality in this country.” N.C. Family Policy Council.
  • On the amendment: “It’s also to put a big letter of shame on the behavior. We don’t want them here. We don’t want them marrying. If you’re going to do it in San Francisco, it’s your own business.” Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James.
  • “The public in my opinion knows the difference between perversity and diversity.” Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James.
  • Homosexuality is “caused by something radically wrong with the human heart!” Rev. Mark Creech, Christian Action League.
  • Homosexuality is “unnatural,” “biologically destructive,” caused by “abuse or acquired taste.” N.C. Family Policy Council.
  • Durham lesbian blogger Pam Spaulding needs “man [to] rock her world, in the name of the Lord.” Patrick L. Wooden.

(Sources: Right-Wing Watch, New Civil Rights Movement, Good As You, Pam’s House Blend, News & Observer, )

 

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Family Honors on this Memorial Day

Though they knew not the family they would father decades and centuries later, they fought bravely — ensuring my freedom today and tomorrow. A grateful thank you to all those who have served and shaped this nation and its history in ways still untold.

 

Michael Easter II (abt. 1760-April 28, 1821) Revolutionary War, Infantry

 

Michael Easter (June 21, 1828-Feb. 6, 1914), Civil War, (2) Co. F, 29th Virginia Infantry, C.S.A.
Levi Easter (Oct. 15, 1830-Sept. 14, 1917), Civil War, (2) Co. F, 29th Virginia Infantry, C.S.A.

 

W.M. Comer (March 19, 1928- ) World War II & Korean War, Marines

 
(Re-posted from May 28, 2007)

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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.

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Anti-gay incumbents reelected to WSFCS board

On Sunday, I started up a last-minute campaign to raise awareness on the anti-gay history and records of seven incumbents on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. It was a last-ditch effort to get folks out to the polls and aware of some of the outrageous statements and behavior of board members Buddy Collins, Jane Goins, Victor Johnson, Donny Lambeth, Jeannie Metcalf, Marilyn Parker and Jill Tackabery.

For three years, Winston-Salem’s CHANGE (Communities Helping All Neighbors Gain Empowerment) had led the effort to turn the education races from partisan to non-partisan and to raise awareness on issues like school choice and diversity.

In addition, long-time advocate Janet Joyner penned a four-page, in-depth history of these seven members’ anti-gay records. That history was published along with my Sunday-Tuesday effort to get people to “Say NO to BIGOTRY in Winston-Salem Schools.”

It was a valiant effort, yes. But it came too late for any real good. I know that. All of the WSFCS Board of Education’s incumbents were reelected yesterday. There was one positive outcome: Lori Goins Clark, incumbent Goins’ daughter, was not successful in her bid for office. Had she been elected, she would have been the eighth anti-gay member of the board. West Forsyth High grad and straight ally Mark Shields addressed that point perfectly in a May 2010 letter to the editor on Metcalf’s history and Clark’s position on bullying.

Perhaps, in the future, a more organized campaign can be mounted to finally oust these members and vote into office true defenders of education — people who will vow not only to educate our young people but also keep them safe while these youth are in their care.

Until next time… keep on keeping on.

It’s a year of anti-incumbency. All across the nation, conservatives and Tea Partiers are pushing to oust any and all incumbents who haven’t stuck to their hard-core anti-establishment, anti-immigrant, anti-working class, anti-gay, anti-[fill in the blank] agenda.

Yet, in Winston-Salem, N.C., there’s a different kind of anti-incumbent fever sweeping through the races for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education.

Here at my site, I’ve documented over-and-over, time-and-time again the outrageous anti-gay zealotry and bigotry exhibited by members of this board. As an alumnus of their district (RJRHS ’04), I know first-hand the effects of this board’s inaction. In high school, I joined with local advocates in attempting to persuade these people to do something about the rampant anti-gay harassment and bullying in their schools. Their response was nothing short of jaw-dropping: board members either treated us with silence and a cold shoulder, or others chose to make purely hateful, anti-gay comments all of which are recorded and documented by area media. Pam and her host of Blend baristas have also become attuned to not only the words, actions and beliefs of America’s religious right, but also of those in this state and in Winston-Salem.

The board of education there is overwhelmingly composed of incumbents who’ve had their seats for almost a decade or longer. In the same amount of time, local advocates’ pushes to get the board to do anything at all to protect LGBT students went no where. And, after all that time, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education was ultimately forced to protect LGBT students when the state legislature passed the School Violence Prevention Act in 2009. Yet, board members there continue to ignore real problems. They might have an inclusive policy, but that doesn’t mean its being enforced.

Longtime advocate Janet Joyner, a former five-year member of the State Department of Education’s Safe Schools Advisory Board, is circulating an in-depth history of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education’s anti-LGBT actions. The document, which you can read after the jump, is extraordinary. That any school official, elected or otherwise, would go to such amazing lengths not to protect students boggles the mind and chills to the bone.

The board of education is being reelected, finally, on non-partisan tickets. Joyner and a host of other advocates are hoping the non-partisan races will give them a chance to defeat longtime, anti-LGBT incumbents.

I encourage you click on past the jump and read Joyner’s history below. It’s a shocker, and all the proof anyone needs to vote against every incumbent on this board of education on Tuesday.


PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT:
Say NO to BIGOTRY in our schools. Throw Them Out!
Visit the Facebook Group and spread the word.

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‘Porn’ at the Greensboro library?

An old Greensboro friend and blogging buddy Roch Smith asked me a couple weeks ago if I’d be willing to help him out with a little project. Of course, I said yes.

The Greensboro City Council was considering the addition of stronger pornography filters to the computers at its libraries. Unfortunately, most porn filters end up filtering out more than just porn. Many times, the filtering software limits access to non-obscene, medically accurate and beneficial information. Sometimes that is an unforeseen byproduct of the service/software providing the filtering. Other times, as was the case in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System when I was a student there, improper filtering of non-obscene material is by design. Continue reading this post…

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Public prayer losing ground in North Carolina?

buncombecountysealCounty commissioners in the sleepy, liberal town of Asheville, N.C., have made a “consensus” decision to end public prayer at their meetings.

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners are set to bring the topic up for official discussion on Jan. 5. They’ll likely vote to stop opening board meetings with prayer. The move comes after a federal magistrate recommended a similar public prayer policy in Winston-Salem, N.C., violated the the First Amendment.

Continue reading this post…

Good news from my childhood hometown and school system: The North Carolina Senate passed a “local bill” on Monday, changing current Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education elections from partisan to non-partisan. Already passed by the House and not in need of the governor’s approval, the bill is now law. The Winston-Salem Journal has the full report.

This welcome change from partisan to non-partisan elections is a longtime coming. Starting in 2010, non-partisan elections will benefit Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school children and open the door to electing more fair-minded and LGBT-friendly candidates like Sandra Mikush, who ran unsuccessfully on a non-partisan ballot in 2006.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education has long been dominated by conservative, anti-gay Republicans. Among the most outspoken have been Buddy Collins, Donny Lambeth and Jeannie Metcalf.

In a Feb. 4, 2003 Journal article, Metcalf was quoted saying, “I think homosexuality is a sin. If they want to make fun of them, I don’t have a problem with it.”

By their very essence, non-partisan elections create an atmosphere in which more people untainted by the gotcha games of party politics have a better chance of being elected and serving their communities. If left to partisan politics, the Winston-Salem board would have surely remained as anti-gay and conservative as it has always been.

It remains to be seen whether the change to non-partisanship will bring about the much more needed change for the area’s LGBT students, who remain without fully-inclusive anti-bullying and non-discrimination protections. My guess is that non-partisan elections will bring those students closer to safety than ever before — if the General Assembly, by passing the School Violence Prevention Act, doesn’t do it for them first.

Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags, via Tiago Pereira, Flickr

Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags, via Tiago Pereira, Flickr

In April 2007 (and in other past posts), I spoke on the public prayer controversy hitting the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners. The County, whose seat is my hometown of Winston-Salem, passed a policy allowing public prayer before its meetings, led by various clergy who signed up to lead the prayers. In that policy, the County Commissioners will not lead the prayers or censor them.

Regardless of the seemingly equal opportunity for all clergy laid out in the policy, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and the Winston-Salem chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State filed suit against the county. The plaintiffs — Janet Joyner, Constance Lynn Blackmon and Osborne Mauck — are all members of the local Unitarian-Universalist congregation led by the Rev. Charlie Davis.

Both Janet and Charlie have been my longtime friends, mentors and confidants.

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