Religious-righters claim that barring discrimination against LGBT people violates their religious freedom to, well, discriminate against people they don’t like. Now Tony Perkins, head of the national organization Family Research Council (FRC), is arguing that Christians who support LGBT equality don’t deserve religious freedom themselves.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Perkins’ FRC as an anti-gay hate group. Speaking on the FRC’s May 8 radio program Washington Week, Perkins revealed himself also to be a religious bigot. He suggested that Christians who support marriage equality don’t have “orthodox religious viewpoints” and, therefore, have no legitimate claim to religious freedom:

“I would use that term ‘Christian’ loosely. That title is — let’s talk biblical, here’s the deal, it’s like with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that we worked on in Mississippi and failed in Arizona and other places, here’s a test of what is a true religious freedom, a freedom that’s based on orthodox religious viewpoints. It has to have a track record, it has to come forth from religious orthodoxy.

You cannot point to the Christian faith and say that same-sex marriage has been a key teaching of the church. You can only point to the opposite, that the church has stood against… Read More

Guess who’s not getting an invite to the religious right’s Values Voter Summit or to CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference). U.S. District Court Judge John Jones III, that’s who. Earlier today Jones ruled the Pennsylvania same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional and, unlike in some other states, the ruling was not stayed. That means gay and lesbian couples are walking down the aisle in the Quaker state even as we type. The ruling also means that the entire northeast part of the country now has marriage equality.

That’s probably bad enough in the eyes of the religious right. But wait, it gets better (or worse if you are one of those religious righters).

Jones signed one other famous federal court ruling. In 2005 he ruled that “intelligent design” was just another way of saying creationism and teaching it in public school science classes was therefore unconstitutional. That was the Kitzmiller v. Dover case.

But wait, it gets better still. There’s this:

Judge in Pennsylvania #SSM case is a GWB appointee recommended by then-Sen. Rick Santorum. http://t.co/uOJBs2vxNo h/t @MSignorile

— Jacob Lupfer (@jlupf) May 20, 2014

Rick’s probably not happy today.

We don’t know… Read More

If you’re not following Houston attorney Kris Banks on Twitter, you missed a fascinating, firsthand account from the religious-right rally against the proposed Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) this evening (Sunday, May 18). The proposed HERO would bar discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, gender, religion, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity and a number of other protected characteristics. The anti-HERO rally was promoted by the right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council. Banks estimated that about 300 attended the event at Grace Community Church.

Many of the rally’s speakers appear to be the same ones who railed against the proposed ordinance before last week’s Houston City Council meeting. (Grace pastor Becky Riggle also spoke this evening, but it appears she didn’t repeat her claim that religious freedom should permit someone to discriminate against Jews as well as LGBT people. Her husband, Steve Riggle, also spoke. He’s the Riggle noted in one of the tweets below.)

Tonight’s rally seethed with hate and contempt for LGBT people. According to Banks’ tweets, speakers apparently decided that launching personal attacks on Mayor Annise Parker and ridiculing transgender people are the way to block passage of the HERO. A few of Banks’ tweets:

Dave Welch: Mayor… Read More

This, folks, is a case of a religious-righter being forced to follow her absurd argument to its unavoidable conclusion.

Kudos to Houston City Council Member Ellen Cohen for making clear what opponents of the proposed Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (ERO) are really saying when they argue for the religious freedom to discriminate against LGBT people. The ERO would bar discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, race, sex, military status and a number of other protected characteristics. Houston is the last major city in Texas without such a comprehensive civil rights ordinance.

Religious-right activists have focused almost exclusively on the ordinance’s protections for LGBT people. They argue that business owners and others have the right, because of their religious beliefs, to discriminate against someone who is gay or transgender. (Many mainstream faith leaders, we should note, have strongly supported passage of the measure.)

So check out the short exchange in the video clip above between Cohen and Becky Riggle, a pastor at Houston’s Grace Community Church. Riggle was testifying against the ordinance, arguing that it violates the religious freedom of business owners and others in Houston who think LGBT people are sinful. If a business owner has the right… Read More

UPDATE: The Houston City Council today delayed a final vote on the proposed Equal Rights Ordinance for two weeks. We’ll keep you updated on news about the ordinance and how you can take action in support.

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At some point, you have to wonder whether the supposedly God-fearing activists on the religious right are capable of telling the truth about even basic things.

The most common and disgusting attack on Houston’s proposed Equal Rights Ordinance is the absurd claim that it will allow sexual predators into public restrooms. Now the Houston Area Pastor Council is also distorting the facts about Tuesday’s events surrounding the debate over the proposed ordinance.

Today the group sent out a press release that inaccurately claims “1,500 pastors, citizens and elected officials” rallied at City Hall against the proposed ordinance. That’s more than a little exaggeration. The crowd looked less than a third that size to us. In fact, the Houston Chronicle pegged it at around 300.

The same press release also suggested that Houston pastors were “united” in opposition. Not true. In fact, about 70 religious leaders from across Houston have signed on to an open letter sent to City Council on Tuesday supporting the ordinance. The… Read More