One million moms are complete idiots

The recent campaign against Ellen DeGeneres by the American Family Association epitomizes the total intellectual bankruptcy of the anti-gay movement. Even though their so-called “One Million Moms” project failed to find any plausible reason why she shouldn’t be the new spokesperson for J. C. Penney, they didn’t let that stop them – they went right ahead and said she’s wrong for the job simply because she’s gay. No further explanation was needed beyond that. She’s gay, and that’s bad, and that’s all there is to it.

According to these million moms, just hiring someone who’s gay is so intolerable to “traditional families” that they supposedly won’t want to shop at J. C. Penney now. That’s not just offensive to gay people. It’s offensive to those families, because it implies that this entire category of people is so uniformly homophobic that they can’t even bear to do business with a company that employs gay people. What makes them think every “traditional family” would agree with that?

They further demand that J. C. Penney “remain neutral in the culture war.” But since when does neutrality require the total exclusion of gay people from jobs just because they’re gay? How could that possibly fall under any imaginable concept of what it means to be neutral? It sounds more like they’ve tried to redefine “neutral” as only doing what they want, and to do otherwise must be a departure from that. How else could someone believe it’s neutral to discriminate against gay people for no reason whatsoever?

After their attack on Ellen backfired tremendously, they sent out an email claiming that “Ellen is attempting to indoctrinate our children.” Apparently she’ll be doing that via her role as a department store spokesperson, in which she’ll naturally be serving as an exponent of sexual morality. Clearly, that must be what J. C. Penney hired her to do. If they did decide to replace her, do those million moms expect that someone more representative of “traditional families” would use their position to instruct people on how they should be having sex? “Attention shoppers: Please don’t be gay! It makes a million moms really sad!”? How is this even tangentially related to their job? Are company spokespeople supposed to be a source of moral guidance now?

But they didn’t stop there. The American Family Association’s radio host Fred Jackson was unusually revealing when he said, “What makes Ellen DeGeneres dangerous is that she’s a nice person”. And he’s right: Ellen is dangerous. Not to the rest of us, of course. No, she’s dangerous to these people. She provides them with no way to use her as an example of the alleged depravity, sickness and misery of gay people. She’s proven that an openly gay woman can be accepted, appreciated, and even admired by middle America and “traditional families”. She absolutely overturns their reality in a way they cannot respond to without retreating to simple prejudice.

The sheer breadth of her achievement incinerates their claims that gay people are doomed to a life of isolation, desperation and ostracism. The only way they can try to rescuscitate their failed perspective is by working to force that exclusion and disapproval upon Ellen herself, as if to prove that life must really be that bad for gay people – and if it’s not, they’ll do their damnedest to make sure that it is. This is their last resort: trying to roll back progress by hand.

And how dare these “million moms” suggest that motherhood must mean shielding children from the fact that gay people can be successful? Fuck everything about that! Children deserve better than to be told that happiness and accomplishment are off-limits to anyone who isn’t straight. I’d rather have my kids “indoctrinated” by Ellen, because they should know that the world can be theirs no matter who they love. And I bet there actually are a million moms who agree with that.

WHAT? TWENTY THOUSAND!?

I’m subscribed to the American Family Association’s mailing list, since I like to keep track of what they’re up to – I suspect many people are subscribed for the same reason. Today, they sent yet another riveting missive: “An unusual request from American Family Association”. My immediate impression was, wait a minute, everything they do is unusual by any rational standard. Like calling Home Depot the “Homo Depot”, which I’m sure is really amusing if you’re 12. Their latest cause, however, actually is pretty unusual:

With your help, YouTube has agreed to feature an AFA-produced patriotic video on their front page!

A few months ago, AFA commissioned Christian songwriter/singer Eric Horner to write a moving patriotic song to honor our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

Without any fanfare, we posted it on YouTube. The response was so overwhelming that YouTube called us to find out what was going on!

The fact is, the video is patriotic and inspiring, and it shares the message of faith. People love it!

YouTube has told us that if we can get 20,000 people to watch the video, they will feature it on their front page. That means that the tens of millions of people who visit YouTube’s website each day will be offered the opportunity to watch the video – a video with a Christian message!

Okay then. First of all, if your video currently has fewer than 20,000 views, YouTube is not going to be calling you about it. Maybe if it was 2 or 20 or 200 million views, but it’s still rather implausible that YouTube would actually call you to “find out what’s going on”. (YouTube, being YouTube, would likely have a better idea of that anyway.) It is possible that they would email you and invite you to enroll your video in the Individual Video Partnership revenue-sharing program so that they can run ads on it. But this is fairly common and part of an automated process – it isn’t that exceptional.

Getting 20,000 views on a video may seem like a lot, but in an absolute sense, it’s still not especially significant. For instance, an above-average video of mine might get 20,000 views. This has happened many times, and it’s not such an “overwhelming response” that anyone was calling me about it. Just for a sense of scale, here are a few select YouTube videos and their respective view counts:

This is what your anvilicious Christian takeover anthem, now sitting at 51,076 views, is up against. Good luck!

Now, as for their video being featured on the front page of YouTube if it gets 20,000 views, this is almost certainly false. That’s not a guarantee that it will appear on the front page, and that specific number likely has nothing to do with it. There are videos with both higher and lower view counts that are listed in the featured section of the front page, and YouTube has stated that featured videos are now selected by an algorithm, not manually chosen. As for including them in the spotlight section of the front page, it seems unlikely that YouTube would choose to place a controversial and partisan message front-and-center on the site. That’s something they tend to shy away from. And even if they were willing to do so, a threshold of only 20,000 would mean having to feature millions of other videos which meet that same requirement.

However, it’s quite possible that their video will be featured in general, which is distinctly different from being highlighted on the front page. According to a YouTube employee I met with, videos that are enrolled in the revenue-sharing program are automatically entered into the pool of videos that can be “featured”. Videos which are marked as featured aren’t necessarily featured on the front page; they can be displayed as featured at the top of the related videos on an individual video page, or alongside search results. Many of my own videos have been featured in this way despite having fewer than 20,000 views, often being placed atop the pages of people criticizing me – which they just love.

In any case, there’s no assurance their their video actually will be shown on the front page, and 20,000 views is a pretty low target to meet. It’s hardly an “overwhelming” response – for me, that’s just a decent day on YouTube. If anything, I’d expect their video to get more views from being mirrored on one of the many channels that ridicules tacky religious nonsense. Aim high, guys!

How dumb does Gary Glenn think we are?

Ruth JohnsonAs dumb as he is, apparently. Ruth Johnson, Republican candidate for Michigan secretary of state, recently tried to match her opponent Paul Scott prejudice-for-prejudice by declaring that she also doesn’t support allowing transgender citizens to have their gender officially changed on their driver’s license. Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan, who previously suggested that states should criminalize being gay, offers his thoughts:

“In an era of identity theft and national security concerns, we’re glad that Ruth Johnson has now joined Rep. Paul Scott in expressly stating her opposition to the Secretary of State policy of allowing men to falsely identify themselves as female on their state-issued driver’s license, and vice versa,” said Campaign for Michigan Families chairman Gary Glenn.

“The people of Michigan should at minimum be able to trust their state government to tell the truth, not enable certain individuals’ psychological and emotional delusions by officially and legally identifying them as something they biologically are not. We urge all candidates for Secretary of State to let voters know where they stand on this honesty-in-government issue.”

Whatever gender you may identify as, this doesn’t mean that you’re identifying as someone else. Your identity, regardless of gender, is your own, not that of another person. So where exactly does “identity theft” enter into this? Whose identity is at risk of theft? And how is it truthful, honest or trustworthy for the government to designate a female-identified, female-presenting woman as male? That’s not even accurate, let alone honest. It’s just confusing, and it doesn’t foster any kind of trust when the law refuses to recognize citizens for who they are.

Acknowledging the reality of gender and its nuances, and by extension, the genuine identities of trans people, is a responsibility of the government. Indulging the ignorance and discomfort of people like Gary Glenn is not.

Bryan Fischer’s failure of character

Bryan FischerIn the aftermath of Wednesday’s historic Prop 8 ruling, some social conservatives have been getting just a little heated. Like Bryan Fischer, the AFA blogger who thinks we should once again make it illegal to be gay. His solution to the Prop 8 ruling? Impeach the judge. And you’ll never guess why…

Although almost no other organizations other than the American Family Association are making an issue of this, Judge Walker should have recused himself from this case since he is a practicing homosexual. This created a clear conflict of interest, and he had no business issuing a ruling on a matter on which he had such a huge personal and private interest.

So, any gay person can be assumed to be biased when judging a case regarding the legality of gay marriage? Does that mean all heterosexuals are similarly biased about cases pertaining to whether marriage should be reserved as a heterosexual privilege? Of course not. This isn’t about sexuality, it’s about impartiality. And there’s nothing to suggest that someone’s sexual orientation automatically renders them incapable of making an impartial judgement. Claiming otherwise means implying that, while heterosexuals are able to put aside their personal preferences when deciding cases, gay people absolutely can’t. Why? What is it about being attracted to the opposite sex that makes you inherently less susceptible to bias? This is akin to saying that female judges are obligated to recuse themselves from any cases about gender inequality, and black judges should be required to recuse themselves from cases involving racism, because their personal qualities mean they would never be able to remain impartial.

His own personal sexual proclitivies [sic] utterly compromised his ability to make an impartial ruling in this case. After all, the bottom line issue is whether homosexual behavior, with all its threats to psychological and physical health, is behavior that should be promoted in any rational society.

You may have missed it, Mr. Fischer, but we’ve already been over this, and the answer is that it is not the place of the government to discourage anyone from being gay. Further, it seems you’ve failed to realize that stopping gay people from marrying does not stop them from being gay. And if you think Judge Walker’s ruling was “compromised” by his sexuality, I suggest you read it for yourself. It is a remarkably thorough and well-sourced decision, citing a vast array of factual findings, expert testimony and legal precedents which clearly establish that Proposition 8 was in violation of the United States Constitution.

And if it were handed down by a straight judge, it would have been just as sound.

He is Exhibit A as to why homosexuals should be disqualified from public office. Character is an important qualification for public service, and what an individual does in his private sexual life is a critical component of character. A man who ignores time-honored standards of sexual behavior simply cannot be trusted with the power of public office.

What comes to mind when you think about character? Is it integrity, resilience and courage? Honesty, fairness, discretion and respect? Trustworthiness? Loyalty?

For Bryan Fischer, it’s about nothing more than who you find attractive: men or women. I challenge anyone to find a more irrelevant and uninformative basis for judging character. Being gay, or straight, or anywhere in between, tells us nothing about a person’s honor, virtue or moral uprightness. It only tells us who they love – not who they are.

It’s worth noting that there have been many different “time-honored standards of sexual behavior”. Historically, polygamy has been one of the most common. Homosexual pederasty was a well-established practice in ancient Greece and Rome for centuries. For much of history, marital rape was fully legal, with no recourse for the wife. And in some parts of the world today, men have continued the time-honored tradition of taking child brides, who often die from intercourse or childbirth.

Certainly some of these standards are worth ignoring.

Citing “time-honored standards of sexual behavior”, and nothing more, only serves as an excuse to avoid explaining why these standards should hold any weight. Note that he isn’t appealing to anything like, say, elementary sexual ethics. “Standards” are all he has to offer, because these standards are the only place he can hope to find support for something as ridiculous as a moral injunction against being gay. How are such “time-honored standards” defined? In this case, by the widespread condemnation of gay people and gay sex. For Fischer, “time-honored standards of sexual behavior” is just a disguise for an appeal to common bigotry: “a lot of people think being gay is bad, so it is!”

So, what does all of this tell us about Bryan Fischer’s character? Well, what does it say about your character when you derive your morals from irrational hate? What does it say when you appoint yourself as automatically superior to anyone who doesn’t share your personal preferences? What does it say when you declare people to be “compromised” and untrustworthy because of who they love?

What does it say when you would tell our most outstanding, most competent, most qualified aspiring judges and leaders that they are never worthy of holding office, simply because they aren’t heterosexual?

Nothing good.

Bryan Fischer has vividly demonstrated why Prop 8 was rightfully overturned:

Whether that belief is based on moral disapproval of homosexuality, animus towards gays and lesbians or simply a belief that a relationship between a man and a woman is inherently better than a relationship between two men or two women, this belief is not a proper basis on which to legislate.