Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Los Angeles Movie Premiere Canceled After Religious Right Filmmaker’s Anti-Gay Past Is Exposed By Americans United
Christian Action Network President Lies To News Media
About Group’s Controversial Fund-Raising Letters
March 24, 2010
The Los Angeles premiere of a Religious Right group’s film has been canceled after Americans United for Separation of Church and State exposed the organization’s track record of virulently anti-gay rhetoric.
Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament, had been scheduled to attend the premiere of “Islam Rising: Geert Wilders’ Warning to the West,” a film produced by the Christian Action Network (CAN). He canceled after learning about CAN’s record of anti-gay extremism.
Other supporters of the May 1 event have dropped out as well, leading to the premiere’s cancellation.
Wilders, who frequently works to convince gay rights groups in the Netherlands about the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism, cut his ties with CAN after a Dutch newspaper reported on the organization’s history of harsh anti-gay activism.
The newspaper, De Pers, contacted Americans United yesterday for information about the Virginia-based CAN. Americans United provided copies of several CAN fund-raising letters from the 1990s and early 2000s.
In one of the letters, CAN President Martin Mawyer attacked comedian Ellen DeGeneres, saying she had “DUMPED HER FILTHY LESBIAN LIFESTYLE IN THE CENTER OF YOUR LIVING ROOM” and referred to her as a “SODOMITE.”
In another letter, Mawyer blasted a gay-themed event at Disney World, labeling it “disgusting” and “vile.” In yet another, he attacked gays for adopting children and becoming foster parents, calling it “absolutely sick, demented and perverted!”
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, said the incident should be a lesson to politicians in the United States and abroad.
“We’ve warned political leaders for years not to work with extreme Religious Right organizations,” Lynn said. “These groups have a radical track record, and sooner or later things will blow up in your face.
“The Christian Action Network is a low-rent outfit with a plain history of extremism and bigotry,” Lynn continued. “I don’t know why anyone would want to be associated with it.”
Contacted by De Pers, Mawyer at first tried to deny that CAN had issued the letter about DeGeneres, even though it bears his signature. He called it an internet hoax. But AU provided De Pers with a copy of the letter as well as several other anti-gay CAN letters signed by Mawyer.
After that, Mawyer, a former protégé of the late TV preacher Jerry Falwell, stopped talking to the newspaper. (In recent years, CAN has switched its emphasis from gay bashing to attacks on Islam.)
AU’s Lynn called Mawyer’s lies reprehensible.
“Mawyer claims to run a Christian organization,” said Lynn, himself an ordained Christian minister, “but I think there’s one biblical admonition he overlooked: ‘Thou shall not bear false witness.’”
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.
complete at: http://www.au.org/media/press-releases/archives/2010/03/los-angeles-movie-premiere.html
Posted by Jim N at 7:34 PM
Church - State Separation Info: Committee Members who will be voting this week on the bills
Thanks to the research and activism of Rob Abiera, here are the names of the committee members who will be voting this week on the bills we've been discussing.
If you can only contact one or two legislators, other than your own, consider contacting the chair and vice-chair of each committee.
All contact information for Oklahoma Legislators is available here:
ACTION ALERT UPDATE: Bible bills in committee
I suggest that we also contact the committee members:
SB1338 - the "NCBCPS" bill - has been assigned to the House Common Education Committee.
Next meeting is Wednesday - SB1338 is NOT on the agenda. [ This bill is still "live" and the agenda can change in the blink of computer cursor. Don't wait until it's too late. ]
Rep. Coody, Ann - Chair
Rep. Kern, Sally - Vice Chair
Representative Blackwell, Gus
Representative Buck, Samson Ray
Representative Cannaday, Ed
Representative Cox, Doug
Representative Dank, David
Representative Dorman, Joe
Representative Jones, Tad
Representative McDaniel, Jeannie
Representative Sears, Earl
Representative Shumate, Jabar
Representative Sullivan, Daniel
HB2321 - the "Christian Bible" bill - has been assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
This committee meets on Wednesdays. The agenda for this week's meeting has not yet been posted. [ This bill is still "live" and the agenda can change in the blink of computer cursor. Don't wait until it's too late. ]
Senator Mike Johnson - Chair
Senator David Myers - Vice Chair
Senator Patrick Anderson
Senator Randy Bass
Senator Brian Bingman
Senator Randy Brogdon
Senator Kenneth Corn
Senator Brian Crain
Senator Johnnie Crutchfield
Senator Mary Easley
Senator John Ford
Senator Jay Paul Gumm
Senator Jim Halligan
Senator Ron Justice
Senator Charlie Laster
Senator Debbe Leftwich
Senator Richard Lerblance
Senator Mike Mazzei
Senator Susan Paddack
Senator Jim Reynolds
Senator Gary Stanislawski
Senator Anthony Sykes
Senator Jim Wilson
Posted by Jim N at 11:21 AM
Sunday, March 21, 2010
graphic from: http://www.brucefeiler.com/blog/2007_03_01_archive.html
Bible Study in Public Schools -- Two Oklahoma Bills that Need Time-Out
Oklahoma chapter -- www.okau.org
National AU office -- www.au.org
Dear First Amendment Separationists:
Below you'll find a summary of two important bills that are pending in the Oklahoma legislature. The SB1338 was originally introduced by Sen Ivester, but as we know, once thrown in the hopper of the legislative mill, centrist ideas quickly morph beyond all recognition.
Such is the case SB1338.
The language of HB2321 has also morphed from an opportunity for a reasonable educational elective class into a dogmatic requirement for
the use of the explicit word "Christian" to be used.
The respective committees to which these bills have been assigned will likely hold hearings this week of March 22.
Please contact your legislator, both senator and representative, by phone as time is critical. You can use the talking points outlined below as the office assistant won't have much patience with anything longer. You can Identify your legislators and obtain all other contact information:
Bible Study in Public Schools
SB 1338 mandates that courses use curriculum materials created by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, a curriculum that has been ruled unconstitutional by a Federal court in Gibson v. Lee County School Board.
The founder of NCBCP, Elizabeth Ridenour has stated the reason for creating this curriculum is “to expose the kids to the biblical Christian worldview.”
Bible study in public schools must be taught in a secular, objective and academic manner, as well as expose students to critical perspectives on the bible and diversity of biblical interpretations. This bill does not do that.
Mark Chancey, a biblical studies professor at Southern Methodist University, as well as other biblical scholars and religious organizations have determined that the NCBCPS curriculum contains a distinct pro-Christian agenda and fails to meet scholarly standards.
It is unconstitutional under Sec. II-5 of the Oklahoma Constitution to expend public money to advance religion, which this bill clearly does.
For these reasons, this bill should be rejected.
HB 2321 was amended to refer only to the Christian Bible, thus eliminating numerous other bible versions and translations from study.
Including “Christian” before every single reference to the Bible is clear evidence of a religious purpose in passing this bill.
Thus, this bill has the obvious purpose of promoting Christianity, which is unconstitutional under both the US Constitution and Sec. II-5 of the Oklahoma Constitution prohibiting the expenditure of public money to advance religion.
For these reasons, this bill should be rejected.
Posted by Jim N at 8:01 PM
Monday, March 8, 2010
Bible Bill Specifically Names Unconstitutional Material
for Public School Students
Senate Bill 1338
In last week's Huffington Post there was an artilce reporting the Oklahoma Surpeme Court's displeasure with the Oklahoma Legilsture deliberate waste of tax money by passing blataltly unconstututional bills into law.
You can read it here: http://tinyurl.com/yah7hzn
And so what does the Oklahoma Senate do the very next week? You guessed it! They kept on with their wasteral ways!
This is from Rob Abiera, an OKC activist:
I hereby strongly recommend to everyone who has any reservations about this
bill whatsoever: NOW is the time to contact your state representative and
let him or her know how you feel about this! This bill has made it through
the state senate and is now headed to the state house. Go to
http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/ to find your representative and their contact info. A phone call is quickest - email is the best bet for those of you who want to compose your thoughts before sending them off. Snail mail is the least timely option here.
I also recommend contacting House Speaker Chris Benge & it wouldn't hurt to
include Governor Henry as well - but your first priority should be your own
As soon as I have information about committee assignments I will pass it
by: World's Editorial Writers
Monday, March 08, 2010
3/8/2010 7:26:43 AM
The proposal to teach elective courses on the Bible in Oklahoma public
schools is another step closer. And the closer this gets to becoming law,
the more caution must be taken.
The Oklahoma Senate overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 1338 last week, 38-4.
That is no surprise. One has to wonder if the vote was an endorsement of
teaching the Bible as history and literature or a vote to not be branded as
anti-Bible come election day.
One part of the bill that is of great concern is the authorization of course
materials from the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools.
That organization claims that its curriculum is in 532 school districts in
38 states, serving more than 360,000 students.
A 2005 study out of Southern Methodist University found that the National
Council promotes a fundamentalist Protestant interpretation of the Bible,
often ignoring other beliefs such as those of Catholics, Jews and even
mainline Protestants. Critics claim that it teaches as historic truth the
stories of the Exodus, the flood, the destruction of the Tower of Babel and
the resurrection of Jesus.
There are other sources of course materials. One is the Bible Literacy
Project that sets strict guidelines. We hope the House takes a closer look
at alternative sources.
We share the concerns of the four Democrats who voted against the Senate
bill — Tom Adelson, Tulsa; Judy Eason McIntyre, Tulsa; Andrew Rice, Oklahoma
City; and Jim Wilson, Tahlequah. The Legislature and schools must guard
against any group seeing this as an opportunity to promote a religious
viewpoint in the public schools.
Copyright © 2010, World Publishing Co. All rights reserved
Posted by Jim N at 9:03 PM
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Court Declines Review Of Appellate Decision That Ten Commandments Monument Improperly Endorses Religion
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court today let stand a federal appeals court ruling that that a government-sponsored Ten Commandments monument placed on a county courthouse lawn is unconstitutional and must be removed. By rejecting an appeal by the commissioners of Haskell County, Oklahoma, and declining to review the case, the Supreme Court left undisturbed a unanimous June 2009 decision by the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that the county commissioners sought to promote their personal religious beliefs by erecting the monument. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Oklahoma on behalf of a local resident.
“The Tenth Circuit’s decision was an important victory for religious freedom and we are pleased that the Supreme Court left that ruling undisturbed,” said Daniel Mach, Director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. “Churches and private citizens, of course, are free to erect religious monuments on their property, but when the government places a religious symbol on government property, it sends an improper religious message – one forbidden by the Constitution.”
In its June 2009 decision, the federal court of appeals ruled that the monument violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because a "reasonable observer would view the monument as having the impermissible principal or primary effect of endorsing religion." The monument is unconstitutional, the court held, because the proposal to erect the monument, its approval by the Haskell County Board of Commissioners and the commissioners' expressly religious defense of the monument "strongly reflect a government endorsement of religion.”
“The government should not be in the business of promoting religious viewpoints,” said Joann Bell, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma. “All Oklahomans, of all creeds – and not just those who share the beliefs of those in power – should feel welcome at the county courthouse."
The ACLU and the ACLU of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit challenging the display of the monument in October 2005, a little over a year after the Haskell County Board of Commissioners approved its placement on the county courthouse lawn. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma ruled against the plaintiffs in August 2006, prompting an appeal to the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Tenth Circuit reversed the decision, unanimously ruling in favor of plaintiffs, and later rejected defendants’ petition for a rehearing en banc, i.e., in front of all of the court’s judges.
Lawyers on the case include Mach, Heather L. Weaver of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, Charles S. Thornton of the ACLU of Oklahoma, and cooperating counsel Micheal Salem of Salem Law Offices.
Additional information about the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief is available online at: www.aclu.org/religion
Tulsa World article:
Ten Commandments monument to come down soon
This follows news that the U.S. Supreme Court won't hear the case.
Posted by Jim N at 8:50 AM