[Note: Video above is a March 15, 2012, re-release of the original March 13, 2012, video shared in this post.]
Filmographer Eric Preston has released a lengthy video recounting the day back in February when Republican Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Paul Coble brought forth a resolution in support of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment.
Coble, a nephew of the late, great hater U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R), is also running for the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District.
Three takeaways from the video:
- Embarrassing: “King Paul” Coble’s knowledge (or lack thereof) of the law, of the harms of the amendment he supports and his inability to run an orderly public meeting is an embarrassment and disgrace to the citizens of Wake County and North Carolina.
- Arrogant: “King Paul” Coble’s treatment of his fellow commissioners and his Wake County constituents is nothing short of arrogant. His attempts to silence public comment and his fellow commissioners, his continual ignoring of citizens’ remarks and his refusal to allow a roll-call vote on the amendment speak to his Coble’s character — one that is willing to push his and only his agenda at the expense of all other people and considerations.
- Dangerous: His inability to run an orderly meeting and his refusal to allow a roll-call vote are sure signs of how “King Paul” Coble views his place in government. He is not a representative of the people. He is not a custodian of the law. He is not a public servant in representative democratic government. No. No. He is a monarch whose will must be obeyed. Such a mindset is dangerous to citizens and to the very fabric of our republic.
Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a new and updated list of anti-gay organizations it has named to their infamous list of hate groups. The list continues to include the Family Research Council, which is taking a leading role in fighting for Amendment One, the proposed anti-LGBT amendment to the North Carolina state constitution. The Family Research Council’s president, Tony Perkins, appeared in Charlotte on Sunday. You can read my in-depth review of his appearance here, or check out this week’s “Sex, Cash & Politics,” for more Perkins’ history of work in the field of hate…
Amendment One supporter’s ‘fruit’ is rotten to the coreOn March 4, Tony Perkins, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council delivered a guest sermon at Charlotte’s First Baptist Church (click here for an in-depth review). His presence at the home church of North Carolina Baptist State Convention President Mark Harris is significant and comes as voters soon head to the polls to vote on Amendment One, the constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions and domestic partnerships for unmarried opposite-sex and same-sex couples alike.
Despite his pleas to God and Christ’s Gospel, Perkins is no run-of-the-mill Christian conservative and his fruit would be unrecognizable to Christ, who said his disciples would be known by their love for one another. I have faith that other Christians voting in May won’t be so easily deceived. The truth will be apparent to them: Perkins’ discord, divisiveness and hate are no sign of Christ or the Gospel. To the contrary, Perkins’ work is the perfect Gospel antithesis.
This post is an in-depth review of the March 4, 2012, worship service at First Baptist Church of Charlotte — its pastor, Mark Harris, the president of the North Carolina Baptist Convention — and its guest sermon by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins (reported by The Charlotte Observer here). Quotes from Harris and Perkins, along with the full audio, follow initial commentary. In addition, other commentary by Matt Comer is provided in red and [in brackets]. A YouTube video with Perkins’ most direct comments on marriage and North Carolina’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment, young people and LGBT people is included at the end, along with a transcript. A final commentary and a call for Perkins and Harris to end their harm against LGBT youth and people follows at the conclusion of the post. Finally, my first column in the new weekly series, “Sex, Cash & Politics,” will delve into Perkins’ hate group connections. The column will be delivered today to print and online publications across North Carolina and cane be used free-of-charge as an op-ed or guest commentary. Click here to learn more about the column and subscribe for free.
You gotta hand it to Southern Baptists. They know how to put on a show. Blaring trumpets, waving flags and soaring patriotic melodies blended together with a little bit of soul and spirit in calls for defending “God and Country.”
It was Durham-based blogger Pam Spaulding that alerted me to the Family Research Council‘s Values Bus Tour stop on Sunday at First Baptist Church-Charlotte. I and an acquaintance decided to go. Mostly I was curious: Why in the world was Mark Harris, the pastor of one of Charlotte’s landmark Baptist churches and president of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention, allowing a man like Family Research Council President Tony Perkins to speak at his church? Why would a seemingly Christ-loving, people-loving pastor allow the leader of a hate group to speak to his congregants?After more than an hour of First Baptist worship, the reason became clear.
“Tony Perkins…has been willing to step up and speak out,” Harris told his congregants, affirming that Harris’ brand of Christianity is just as hate-filled and exclusive as Perkins’.
Marriage and the church are under attack, First Baptist Church-Charlotte Pastor and N.C. Baptist Convention President Mark Harris and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said on Sunday. And, it is up to the faithful to defend against the attacks of Satan. For any keen observer — and, no doubt, to any of the few LGBT young people in the audience (of which I am sure there are quite a few, given how large a congregation First Baptist is) — it’s clear who Harris and Perkins think are on the satanic side of the LGBT equality debate. For all their whimpering over faith and freedom, what they really wish to create is a heterosexuals-only, exclusive country club.
Take, for instance, the First Baptist choir’s performance of the song, “Livin’ in the Homeland,” before Perkins’ sermon. A recording of the song (not of the choir itself, sorry) and portion of the lyrics:
Livin’ in the homeland, not afraid to take a stand,
Every woman, child and man deserves to be free.
Stand tall. Don’t fall. All for one. One for all.
That is the battle call for you and for me.
Side by side, hand in hand, for freedom’s cause we’ll take a stand!
March! March with our flags held high.
Not afraid to fight. Not afraid to die.
March! March for the cause is just.
‘Tis a sacred honor, ‘tis a holy trust.
Freedom and liberty demand a high cost.
Many rights gained through so many lives lost.
The brave and the free know it goes hand in hand,
If you dare to dream, dare to dream,
Dare to dream of livin’ in the homeland.
And, they call gay people militant? That’s another debate for another day (and one we’ve had before…). But, one can’t help but find it ridiculously funny that Harris, Perkins and Co. believe they are the ones whose rights are under attack. I see no proposed constitutional amendments seeking to limit their rights. I see no organized movement to send Christians to “ex-Christian” camps. I see no state legislatures taking up “Don’t say Christian” bills. I see no school principals or school boards in mass denying the formation of Christian school groups or expelling heterosexual students and their boyfriends or girlfriends.
It’s a topsy-turvy world Harris and Perkins live in. The whole weight of a discriminatory body of law weighs down on the lives of LGBT people, yet it’s the WASP-y Christians who are oppressed? Talk about delusional. Continue reading this post…
The Charlotte Observer last week noted their slate of 36 different awards and honors from the N.C. Press Association. Among them was columnist Peter St. Onge, who was honored with awards for three columns on LGBT issues — two in the serious columns category and one in the lighter columns category.
The first serious column honor included one on his gay brother and his impending marriage in New York. A snippet:
This week, N.C. legislators dug in harder on keeping the wedding day away from gays, approving a constitutional amendment outlawing homosexual marriage that will go before voters next May. Our state already has a law against gay marriage, of course, but a consititutional amendment is harder to change than a simple law. Gay marriage opponents know it’s their best chance at defending an institution they believe is under attack.
That’s a word – attack – that sneaks often into this gay marriage debate. And also this word: agenda. It’s how those who fear homosexuality separate gays from the rest of us, by painting them as “others,” as an occupying force that wants to diminish the things we hold important.
St. Onge was also honored for his serious column on the Mecklenburg County Commission’s inadequate response to Commissioner Bill James’ “sexual predator” comments. The kicker:
What did politeness accomplish Tuesday night? We got a thoughtfully worded resolution that opposed, in principle, speech that could hurt others. We also saw several members of Charlotte’s gay community speak eloquently on the issue and remind everyone, with their presence, that there’s pain at the other end of the arrows people fling.
Lastly, St. Onge’s lighter column on Wells Fargo’s rainbow lights show on its Uptown Duke Energy Building on National Coming Out Day in October 2010 also received a nod. In it, St. Onge recounted Wells Fargo’s fumbling over questions about who requested and decided to “light the Southern city’s evening sky with a 48-story stamp of approval for a gay and lesbian event.”
Congratulations, Peter! And, thank you. Charlotte is much better place because of your outspokenness and word wizardry.
Metro Weekly‘s Chris Geidner has the run down on Breitbart’s recent support of LGBT inclusion. The publication released an unpublished portion of a past interview:
“I just don’t get it. I go into middle America, and I don’t see people hating gay people as a part of their agenda. Are there anomalies? … Yes,” he continued. “The majority agrees on the humanity of gay people – and to treat gay people like you treat all people. It doesn’t make sense that the political polarities represent such a small percentage. It’s a two percent versus a two percent versus the rest of the 96 percent of the country that is living our lives integrated.”
Be sure to hop over to Metro Weekly to read the rest of Chris’ piece and other Breitbart comments.
Breitbart’s support of LGBT inclusion is important, especially because of his pivotal role in conservative America. But does his support on this one issue outweigh his support of measures that hurt other minorities or the poor? In other words, how much of an ally can we say Brietbart was if he remained hostile to significant portions of our community who are not wealthy, white and otherwise privileged?
Today, MeckPAC, the Mecklenburg Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Political Action Committee, of which I am a member, released the following statement. It is, in part, a response to comments made this morning by Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James, as reported by The Charlotte Observer.
Charlotte City Council and Mecklenburg County Commission need to take stand against constitutional amendment
Local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group encourages elected officials to pass resolutions opposing Amendment One
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — MeckPAC, the Mecklenburg Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Political Action Committee, is calling on the Charlotte City Council and Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners to take a strong stand against discrimination by passing resolutions opposing Amendment One, the anti-LGBT, anti-family and anti-business constitutional amendment slated for the May 8, 2012, primary ballot.
Amendment One would require that the state recognize opposite-sex marriage as the “only domestic legal union” in the state. Legal professionals and scholars have said the vague and overly-broad language of the amendment would ban marriage, civil unions and domestic partnership benefits for both unmarried same-sex couples and unmarried opposite-sex couples.
The amendment would also ban domestic partner benefits currently offered to public employees by local governments like Mecklenburg County. It is vitally important for the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners to defend their LGBT employees who depend on county domestic partner benefits in order to provide healthcare and other needs for their families and children. The amendment would also prevent governments like Charlotte, which has been debating domestic partner benefits, from extending such measures to employees in the future.
Several local elected leaders have spoken out personally against the amendment, including Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. Speaking at the Human Rights Campaign Carolina Gala on Saturday, Feb. 25, Foxx said: “When I go into the ballot box in May … I’m going to be voting against Amendment One.” Last fall, Mecklenburg County Commissioner and then-Chairman Jennifer Roberts signed on to a letter with six other municipal government leaders from across the state urging legislators not to place the amendment on the ballot, noting that the amendment would “threaten important protections for contributing North Carolina citizens, and will significantly harm the future of our state.”
On June 1, 2004, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution in support of the then-proposed anti-LGBT constitutional amendment. At the time, local LGBT leaders called on the county to reverse its decision and David Moore, then-editor of QNotes, Charlotte’s local LGBT community newspaper, called the resolution a “shameful, embarrassing blot on the face of the Queen City” showing “contempt and prejudice sanctioned by the government.”
The 2004 resolution has never been reversed and remains just as shameful and embarrassing today as it did eight years ago.
MeckPAC calls on the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners to reverse their 2004 position and, with the City of Charlotte, join with leaders like Mayor Foxx and Commissioner Roberts in passing a resolution opposing Amendment One and its many potential harms to North Carolina families and children, residents, citizens and businesses.
Similar resolutions and official statements opposing the anti-LGBT Amendment One have already been approved by the elected bodies of Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro and Raleigh.
# # #
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx appeared at the Human Rights Campaign Carolina Gala on Saturday evening, welcoming the nearly 1,400-person dinner to town with a speech that included his newly-minted public opposition to Amendment One, the anti-LGBT constitutional amendment on the primary ballot on May 8, 2012.
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx personally welcomed those at the gala – a sign that things have changed since 2005, when then-Mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican, refused to issue a welcoming letter for the gala in Charlotte that year.
During his remarks Saturday, Foxx also spoke out against the proposed constitutional amendment reaffirming North Carolina’s ban – already in state law – of same-sex marriage.
Saying he’d heard from gay and lesbian city workers and police officers who could not take bereavement time or care for their partners, Foxx told the crowd that “when I go into the ballot box in May … I’m going to be voting against Amendment 1.”
He said he was concerned that passage of the amendment would scare away from Charlotte – site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention – those businesses that want to attract talented gay and lesbian employees.
“They … don’t want a ‘Not Wanted’ sign hung over their front (door),” Foxx said.
Foxx’s remarks are a welcome and appreciated transformation on his part. Finally, Charlotte’s mayor has spoken out against the amendment in a personal way. The Foxx of Saturday night has come a long way since the Foxx of last year, who could rarely bring himself to utter the words “gay” or “lesbian” in public and who, at an LGBT business seminar in September, found it difficult to strongly condemn the amendment and declined to comment on how he would vote personally.
As I’ve noted, Foxx’s speech Saturday is a step forward for the city’s top elected official, the result of many conversations, public and private, pushing him to do and say more in support of his LGBT supporters and constituents. I am thankful Foxx has now spoken out so publicly against the amendment. I hope he continues to do so and that he takes his message from the largely friendly crowd at the gala to the voting public. Preaching to the choir is great (sometimes the choir needs the encouragement), but speaking out in the not-so-friendly public is what will eventually help to change hearts and minds — and votes.
And, as ever, there remains so much more work to be done. The Charlotte City Council has yet to take up a public vote on an LGBT-inclusive employment non-discrimination ordinance or domestic partner benefits. If Mayor Foxx truly supports our community and if the stories of those LGBT city workers and police officers were truly as impactful as he claims, then I’m confident Mayor Foxx will publicly renew his desire to have the council move on LGBT equality issues, as he told QNotes in November 2009: “I’d like to see the City Council move on the non-discrimination issue very early in the next term and I’d like to see us do that in a bipartisan way. I know there are members of City Council within both parties who have expressed support for including sexual orientation in the non-discrimination ordinance. Given that, I’d like to see action on that very early.”
Pleasant words, accommodating speeches and pretty rainbow lights on Uptown skyscrapers are nice and we should be appreciative and thankful for all of them, but they can never be an acceptable replacement for or alternative to decisive action. It is time for this city and its elected leaders on council to take a firm, public stand against discrimination by casting their votes in favor of LGBT-inclusive ordinances.
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) released a statement to mainstream and LGBT media and bloggers this week outlining her opposition to the state’s proposed anti-LGBT constitutional amendment.
From Hagan’s office:
In today’s hyperpartisan political environment, I view any attempt to alter our state constitution with a critical eye. Amendment One has far-reaching negative consequences for our families, our children and our communities. North Carolina is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, and this amendment would harm our state’s ability to recruit the innovators and businesses that are driving our economic recovery. Jobs are my number one priority, and we cannot afford totake our eye off the ball and give businesses a reason to grow and expand elsewhere. The people I hear from everyday - the families that make up the fabric of the Old North State – tell me they are sick and tired of watching their jobs and their livelihoods fall victim to divisive partisan posturing. In North Carolina we say our state is “Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great.” Amendment One harms our state’s resolve to make all people and all families great, and as a proud daughter of North Carolina, I urge all North Carolinians to join me in opposing it.
The statement comes as the Human Rights Campaign is set to hold its Carolina Gala in Charlotte on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Local leaders, too, have taken a stab at speaking out, saying they are “on board for equality” in a “Welcome to Charlotte” video released by HRC this week. The video includes Mayor Anthony Foxx, Mecklenburg County Commissioners Jennifer Roberts and Dumont Clarke, City Councilmembers Patsy Kinsey and LaWana Mayfield and state Rep. Becky Carney. There’s still no word on how “on board for equality” some local leaders are, and if such rhetoric extends to using their offices and votes to take a greater stand for equality (see my commentary last week in Creative Loafing, “Queen City? She’s no reigning monarch when it comes to LGBT equality”),
The N.C. Baptist State Convention has made their position on discrimination and bigotry quite clear, and despite their pressure to either ignore completely or twist the Gospel to fit their own needs, there are plenty of Baptists across North Carolina who are willing and ready to step up and speak out against hate and, especially, hate in God’s name.
Above all others, Baptists have a history that enables them to stand up for the true Gospel. The misdeeds of our forbears should be lesson enough to prove that the Gospel cannot be a message of hate, exclusion, division and bigotry. To the contrary, Jesus’ ultimate message of radical love and inclusion is “good news” to the masses. Our God is the Lord of salvation, mercy, freedom, justice and love.
To that end, national Baptist organizations, local churches and local Baptist leaders and congregants will gather in Charlotte this weekend for the first in a series of events in the “Many Voices, One Love,” campaign sponsored by the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (AWAB), the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (BPFNA), and the Alliance of Baptists.
The event, “NC Baptists Against Amendment One: Justice, Equality and Personal Freedom,” will be held at Myers Park Baptist Church, 1900 Queens Rd., Charlotte, N.C., Feb. 25, 2012, from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
A featured panel discussion will be held 9:45-10:45 a.m., moderated by Dan Murrey and featuring Myers Park Pastor Stephen Shoemaker, as well as Ken Godwin, Chaz Seale and Ricky Woods. Angela Yarber, pastor of my hometown Wake Forest Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., will also be a panelist.
Representatives from The Human Rights Campaign, the Faith and Justice Servant Leadership Group of Myers Park Baptist Church and The Coalition to Protect NC Families will also be present at the event.
Great news for outgoing Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, who will be making one of his last public appearances as “professional gay” head honcho at this weekend’s HRC Carolina Gala in Charlotte: Solmonese has been named a national co-chair of President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, according to The Miami Herald‘s Steve Rothaus.
But, I saw something like that coming. Who couldn’t have.
From my Feb. 18 Q&A with Solmonese at the old day job:
Where do you see your life taking you now?
I’ve given some thought to what I’ll do next. I haven’t decided how I’ll spend all of my time, but I know I’ll spend a fair amount of time between now and November working to reelect President Obama.
But, the move out of HRC wasn’t the only topic of my chat with Solmonese. There was some great conversation on ENDA, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” voter mobilization, the progressive movement and North Carolina’s impending vote on an anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment.
I have to say, I was quite proud this Q&A was one of my last duties as editor of QNotes — so, count me as biased as I highly encourage you to read the full thing at goqnotes.com…