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‘Sometimes You Have to Pay a Heavy Price to Live in a Free Society’ August 24, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Criminal Justice, LGBT, Whistle-blowing, Wikileaks.
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Roger’s note: We need to get used to calling her Chelsea and using the female pronouns.  She is the same person as the one we have been calling Bradley Manning all this time.  This statement of hers shows us the real Chelsea/Bradley Manning, someone of whom we can continue to be proud, a far cry from the “disturbed” soldier portrayed before the judge during the sentencing hearing.  I can imagine the sniggers amongst the idiots of the right about the transgender nature of Chelsea Manning.  Recently I came across this quote from Charles Bukowski: “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubt while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”  Although this is a sweeping generalization, I see some truth to it.  Note how the quote works by replacing the words “intelligent people” with “middle class liberals” and the words “stupid ones” with “bigoted tea party.”

The following is a rush transcript by Common Dreams of the statement made by Pfc. Bradley Manning* as read by David Coombs at a press conference on Wednesday following the announcement of his 35-year prison sentence by a military court:

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on a traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

manning_3

Manning invoked that late Howard Zinn, quoting, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people”

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

*(Subsequent to this statement on the following day, Manning announced, via legal counsel, the desire to be regarded as a woman and to be called Chelsea, a request Common Dreams intends to honor moving forward.)

Stop the Flood of Commie Sexy Lesbian Transgender Abortion-Loving Thin Mints Before It’s Too Late February 21, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Indiana, LGBT, Right Wing, Women.
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Roger’s note: I have long suspected the Girl Scouts of being a subversive organization and a threat to national security.  These thoughts began for me when, as a young impressionable youth at summer boy scout camp (Camp Mohican, New Jersey), adjacent girl scouts were a constant temptation to our state of mind and bodily purity.  It is obvious that young girls should not be allowed to “scout” when they need to be learning how to cook, clean house and — above all — obey.  We can thank Indiana representative Morris for exposing this insidious danger.  Repeat after me: NO GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!  Try substituting genetically modified foods.  It is good for the economy.

02.21.12 – 11:51 AM, Abby Zimet, www.commondreams.org

Okay, deep breath here as we confront yet another insidious threat to our great Republic. Asked to sign an Indiana House resolution honoring the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, alert GOP lawmaker Rep. Bob Morris did some research and found “disturbing” evidence that the group is a “radicalized organization” and “tactical arm of Planned Parenthood” that supports abortion, promotes homosexuality, encourages girls to have sexy sex, believes in giving basic human rights to transgender females and otherwise works for “the destruction of traditional American family values.” Understandably, Morris thus voted – alone – to oppose the resolution. He also plans to yank his daughters out of the grasp of these heathens and take them to American Heritage Girls Little Flowers, where they will “learn about values and principles that will not confuse their conservative Hoosier upbringing,” and hopefully enter a 12-step program to free themselves of the addictive grasp of Thin Mints and other ungodly items. We wish them well.

From the Journal-Gazette of Fort Wayne, the text of letter from Indiana state Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, to fellow lawmakers.

February 18, 2012

Members of the Republic Caucus

Dear Fellow Representatives:

This past week I was asked to sign a House Resolution recognizing the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts of America. After talking to some well-informed constituents, I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing. The Girl Scouts of America and their worldwide partner, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), have entered into a close strategic affiliation with Planned Parenthood. You will not find evidence of this on the GSA/WAGGGS website—in fact, the websites of these two organizations explicitly deny funding Planned Parenthood.

Nonetheless, abundant evidence proves that the agenda of Planned Parenthood includes sexualizing young girls through the Girl Scouts, which is quickly becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood instructional series and pamphlets are part of the core curriculum at GSA training seminars. Denver Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley of Denver last year warned parents that “membership in the Girl Scouts could carry the danger of making their daughters more receptive to the pro-abortion agenda.”

A Girl Scouts of America training program last year used the Planned Parenthood sex education pamphlet “Happy, Healthy, and Hot.” The pamphlet instructs young girls not to think of sex as “just about vaginal or anal intercourse.” “There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!” it states. Although individual Girl Scout troops are not forced to follow this curriculum, many do. Liberal progressive troop-leaders will indoctrinate the girls in their troop according to the principles of Planned Parenthood, making Bishop Conley’s warning true.

Many parents are abandoning the Girl Scouts because they promote homosexual lifestyles. In fact, the Girl Scouts education seminar girls are directed to study the example of role models. Of the fifty role models listed, only three have a briefly-mentioned religious background – all the rest are feminists, lesbians, or Communists. World Net Daily, in a May 2009 article, states that Girl Scout Troops are no longer allowed to pray or sing traditional Christmas Carols.

Boys who decide to claim a “transgender” or cross-dressing life-style are permitted to become a member of a Girl Scout troop, performing crafts with the girls and participate in overnight and camping activities – just like any real girl. The fact that the Honorary President of Girl Scouts of America is Michelle Obama, and the Obama’s are radically pro-abortion and vigorously support the agenda of Planned Parenthood, should give each of us reason to pause before our individual or collective endorsement of the organization.

As members of the Indiana House of Representatives, we must be wise before we use the credibility and respect of the “Peoples’ House” to extend legitimacy to a radicalized organization. The Girl Scouts of America stand in a strong tradition that reflects with fidelity the traditional values of our homes and our families. The tradition extends from coast-to-coast and back through the past one hundred years. That said, I challenge each of you to examine these matters more closely before you extend your name and your reputation to endorse a group that has been subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics and the destruction of traditional American family values.

I have two daughters who have been active in the Girl Scouts of Limberlost Council in Northeastern Indiana. Now that I am aware of the influence of Planned Parenthood within GSA and other surprisingly radical policies of GSA, my two daughters will instead become active in American Heritage Girls Little Flowers organization. In this traditional group they will learn about values and principles that will not confuse their conservative Hoosier upbringing.

I have been told that, as of today, I am the only member not supporting the Girl Scout Resolution.

I challenge each of you to examine these matters and to decide carefully whether or not to sign the resolution.

Respectfully,

Bob Morris

2 Comments so far

Posted by Stonepig
Feb 21 2012 – 1:16pm

What a bunch of pig headed freaks, to attack an age old conservative place where girls could learn about camping and cooking, crafts and cookies.  Good lord.  And no one in their right mind is actually PRO-abortion, to say that of anyone is just sick.  It’s pro-choice, as in your right to do what you want with your body.  I am so sick of people talking about something they don’t know anything about, and lying to cover their own sick agenda.  Bob Morris is a FredPhelpian, and probably got off writing that letter..

 

Posted by skeptimist
Feb 21 2012 – 1:29pm

Gee, when I was in the Boy Scouts we never had anywhere near that much fun.

ENDA Times: LGBT Groups, Echoing the Civil Rights Era, Approach Churches March 8, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights, Religion.
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The Human Rights Campaign, while lobbying for the passage of a comprehensive federal nondiscrimination bill, is hoping to “reclaim the moral ground” from the religious right by targeting churches with its new curriculum.
I don’t care what you say. You were born a man and you’ll always be a man, no matter what you do!”Those words were yelled at my friend Jenny, a male-to-female transgender person, by a coworker when it was announced that “Jim” would now be known as “Jenny.”

“My boss didn’t do anything,” Jenny remembered. In fact, it was the beginning of what Jenny called the “psychological war” launched against her by her coworkers—one that escalated to the point of police officers patrolling the office to deter threats of violence against her.

“The first day I came in as Jenny, I was terrified,” she said. She didn’t know exactly what to expect, but the attacks were subtle, and humiliating: being called by her old name or “sir,” being “assigned” a unisex bathroom by her boss. She had turned down the company’s offer of a personal bodyguard, knowing it would only make things worse.

The company had hoped to avoid dealing with Jenny. They offered to buy her out or transfer her to another office, all to avoid the flak they knew was coming. She refused. Now, two years later, Jenny says some people still give her trouble, but overall most coworkers are using her legal name, and she recently received a glowing evaluation from her boss, along with a raise.

Jenny is luckier than many transgender people in the workplace. Her company is large enough to have a policy that prohibits discrimination against her, though there remains no federal law that prohibits companies from discrimination against transgender people.

In April 2007, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was introduced to Congress, including a provision to protect transgender people. By September, that provision was stripped from the bill to make it more palatable to members of Congress concerned that including transgender people wouldn’t play with their constituents back home. That bill, which came to be known as the “non-inclusive” ENDA, passed the House two months later, though it failed to pass the Senate.

After languishing during 2008, a new transgender-inclusive version of ENDA is expected to be introduced into Congress within the next few weeks, according to Harry Knox, director of the Religion and Faith Program for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights organization in the country. Advocacy for the bill, which has not yet been introduced into the current Congress, is already beginning, according to Knox. The first test for the LGBT community before ENDA will be to find enough support to pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act—which was stripped out of a Department of Defense bill in the last Congress. Knox expects the hate crimes bill to come up for a vote before ENDA and if support for the hate crimes is strong, the road to ENDA may not be as difficult.

“No one should assume that it will be easy to get those votes on the hate crimes bill because we had an easy election cycle,” Knox said. “Many of the new Democrats who were elected come from conservative districts, so there is a great deal of work to do to get a strong showing for that bill. This is no time to rest on our laurels or make assumptions about the new Congress. We have to bring the full court press on both pieces of legislation.”

For the HRC, the passage of an inclusive ENDA bill is paramount if they are to regain the trust of many in the LGBT community. HRC became something of a pariah after they supported the “non-inclusive” version, which sparked accusations that they were willing to sacrifice the rights of transgender people in the name of political expediency. Even today, there are some LGBT people and organizations that won’t trust HRC or contribute to them for their perceived “betrayal” of transgender Americans. Sharon Groves, the Deputy Director of HRC’s Religion and Faith Program, calls the flap over ENDA the Human Rights Campaign’s “ordination.”

“We came to realize that no matter how people fall on HRC’s decision, the one place we have common understanding is that more educational work is needed. And it needs to happen at the local level so that it would not be such a hard sell to members of Congress when ENDA comes up again,” she said.

In that spirit, HRC has released a new curriculum on transgender issues aimed at faith communities. Gender Identity and Our Faith Communities: A Congregational Guide for Transgender Advocacy is a three-hour course that incorporates the personal stories of transgender people and their families with educational material to help people understand the legitimacy of gender identity issues.

The curriculum is available for any congregation, but it was specifically designed to be distributed to congregations in 40 congressional districts across the nation where representatives may have supported a “non-inclusive” ENDA, but would have voted against a version that included transgender people. Already, 33 of the districts targeted by the HRC have scheduled sessions. Knox hopes all 40 will eventually use the curriculum.

“This curriculum gives people a better understanding of what’s behind gender identity,” Groves explained. “It’s not an issue of choice, but is essentially who they are as people. Among transgender people—like lesbian, gay, and bisexual people—many have known their identity since childhood, and do not feel that they are in the appropriate gender. We need to understand what’s behind gender identity and understand their legitimate claims.”

Groves said they specifically targeted churches for the curriculum to tap a lobbying resource rarely used by progressives: people of faith.

“If we can have people of faith speak on transgender issues from their faith perspective, it’s a very powerful argument. It takes us away from the juggernaut that the religious right always seems to be able to claim that religion is antagonistic to LGBT people. If we can reclaim the moral ground, that’s very powerful.”

HRC is encouraging congregations that use the curriculum to invite their member of Congress to attend. If they can’t get their representative to show, though, Groves said they hope pastors of the churches using the curriculum will attend HRC’s Clergy Call to Action in May and lobby their representative personally. 

“So much of our work is about empowering ordinary people of faith and religious leaders to speak out on justice. Civil rights movement showed the power of the pulpit to shape public policy. Want to empower religious leaders to be a voice for change,” she said.

Getting an inclusive ENDA will be an uphill battle, even with a newly-minted Democratic majority in Congress and a fully supportive president in the Oval Office. While the recent Harris survey commissioned by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) shows that 51 percent of those polled support laws outlawing discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, only 41 percent of the very politically vocal group of evangelical Christians approve of such laws. Among mainline Christians, however, the support for measures like an “inclusive” ENDA are 57 percent. The HRC is hoping its curriculum will help that majority find its voice and be willing to work to educate members of Congress on the importance of including transgender people in employment protections. Jenny understands the importance of those protections.

“If corporate had not signed off on my transition plan, I would have been fired. I have a job because they had a nondiscrimination policy.”

That’s the message Congress—and the new president—needs to hear, especially from people of faith.

Why Gay Students Don’t Feel Safe February 25, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights.
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by Deb Price

Imagine being a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender teen who loves singing in the school chorus.

Now imagine that experience being spoiled by a thoughtless, homophobic adult — the music teacher who ought to be striving for harmony.

“My choir teacher constantly makes gay jokes,” a 12th-grade Latino student reported in a new national study. “And he doesn’t realize that he makes it so uncomfortable for us because it’s choir. There’s a large LGBT community in choir, and he sits there and cracks gay jokes all the time.”

In its groundbreaking report, “Shared Differences,” the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network captures what school feels like for America’s LGBT youth of color.

The survey results paint a grim picture of kids so hardened to anti-gay remarks, shoving or worse that they don’t even bother reporting the abusive incidents to a school official or parent.

These students rarely read about LGBT people in textbooks, nor do they learn about gay history or people in class.

What they too often learn firsthand is that school is a place where they can expect to be hurt — emotionally or physically. The predictable but sad result is that many of these kids skip classes and see their grades drop.

GLSEN has found that the best antidote is to make sure schools have gay-straight student clubs, LGBT-supportive officials and textbooks, and anti-harassment policies that clearly include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The report, available at glsen.org, draws on data collected during the 2006-2007 school year on 2,130 GLBT students, ages 13 to 21, who are African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific islander or multiracial. In addition, researchers listened to small groups of students.

Key findings:

  • Biased barbs: More than 80 percent of LGBT youth of color often heard the phrase “that’s so gay” or similar uses of “gay” at school to put people down. Two-thirds heard “faggot,” “dyke” or other anti-gay name-calling.

In a particularly alarming finding, more than half of these students said they had heard teachers, principals or other adults at their school make homophobic remarks.

  • Ignored cries for help: Only about one-fifth of students reported that school officials “most of the time” or “always” stepped in when anti-gay remarks were made in their presence.

Report co-author Joseph Kosciw says some educators are sending the message that anti-gay remarks “aren’t just tolerated in school but acceptable.”

Only about one in 10 LGBT students of color said other students stepped in when they heard anti-gay comments.

  • Frightened: More than half of these students said they felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; one-third said they felt unsafe because of how they express their gender.

Close to half of LGBT students said they had been physically harassed or assaulted in the past year in school because of their sexual orientation.

But this experience varied widely by race and ethnicity: 33 percent of LGBT African-Americans said they’d been subject to physical violence in school. Among LGBT American Indian students, the percentage was 54 percent.

  • Who am I?: Only 14 percent of LGBT students of color said their schoolbooks include information about gay issues, and only 11 percent said their schoolwork has included positive portrayals of gay people.

Our educators are failing America’s LGBT kids of color. And that’s certainly nothing to sing about.

Faith Leaders from LGBT Groups Issue Joint Statement Denouncing Vatican, Supporting UN Resolution December 20, 2008

Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights.
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WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization, along with faith program directors from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and National Black Justice Coalition today issued a joint protest over the Vatican’s recent decision to oppose an initiative to decriminalize homosexuality.  Advocates are pushing the U.S. State Department to support the initiative and urging media to cover this life and death concern.

The following joint statement was issued on United Nations Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“For far too long people around the world have been ostracized, imprisoned, tortured and denied basic rights to housing, health care and employment simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). In more than 70 countries people can be imprisoned for homosexuality and in several countries same gender love is a crime punishable by death.

“This is why the French government, backed by 27 European Union nations, put forward a proposal, on Human Rights Day to recognize that LGBT rights are human rights and to decriminalize homosexuality. Such a statement simply affirms the most basic of rights for LGBT people: that they be allowed to live in dignity and safety. As faith leaders who work every day with LGBT people who feel the stigma of discrimination, this UN initiative speaks to our core belief that we show our love for God when we care for our neighbors, particularly those who are shunned and marginalized.

“As faith leaders we were shocked by Vatican opposition to this proposed initiative. By refusing to sign a basic statement opposing inhumane treatment of LGBT people, the Vatican is sending a message that violence and human rights abuses against LGBT people are acceptable. Most Catholics, and indeed most Catholic teachings, tell us that all people are entitled to live with basic human dignity without the threat of violence. The Catholics we know believe that Scripture asks us to be our brother and our sister’s keeper. Many are speaking out against this immoral stance in the name of religion.

“Compounding the Vatican’s opposition is the inaction to date of the government of the United States. As faith leaders and citizens of the United States, we call on the U.S. government to join the 50 countries throughout the world that have officially supported this U.N. proposal.  We urge U.S. leaders to stand against discrimination. It is time to let the teachings of the world’s great religions guide us toward justice rather that encouraging prejudice, fear and violence. It is time for the U.S. to stand as a moral leader for LGBT people and to help create a more just world for all of us.”

Harry Knox, Director
Religion and Faith Program
Human Rights Campaign Foundation

The Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, Director
Institute for Welcoming Resources and Faith Work
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Dr. Sylvia Rhue, Director
Religious Affairs
National Black Justice Coalition

Ann Craig, Director
Religion, Faith & Values Program
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

 The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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