NOM finally responds with predictable, disingenuous gay-blaming

In the days following the release of confidential strategy documents from the National Organization for Marriage, the silence from NOM has been deafening. Thus far, their only response to the revelation of their explicit ‘gays against blacks’ proposals and Latino identity engineering tactics has been a few paragraphs buried in their weekly newsletter, and a softball interview with Maggie Gallagher on MSNBC. Most tellingly, everything they’ve said in their defense is completely in accordance with the talking points outlined in their documents.

NOM president Brian Brown says:

Let me be the first to say that the tone of the language in that document as quoted by the press is inapt. Here’s something I know from the bottom of my soul: It would be enormously arrogant for anyone at NOM to believe that we can make or provoke African-American or Latino leaders do anything. The Black and Hispanic Democrats who stand up for marriage do so on principle – and get hit with a wave of vituperative attacks like nothing I have ever seen.

He continues, saying:

To Joe Solmonese and the Human Rights Campaign and Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry I would say: This is your movement. You are its leaders. Only you can hope to change the vicious attacks being made on Black and Hispanic Democrats (or white Republicans for that matter!) who don’t agree with you on gay marriage.

This is a textbook example of NOM’s plan to “find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right”, and “provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.” So while he may claim it was “inapt” to say that “the strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks”, that’s exactly what he’s doing right now by accusing marriage equality advocates of attacking black and Latino people!

On MSNBC, Maggie Gallagher added: “I don’t like the language because I think it makes us sound way too big for our britches”, and “it makes me seem much more – or NOM seem much more powerful than it is. It’s insulting to suggest that these African American or Latino leaders are standing up because NOM is manipulating them.” But Maggie Gallagher was chairman of the board at NOM when all of these documents were circulated to the board of directors. If she doesn’t like the language, why did she allow this to be published as an official document “prepared by the National Organization for Marriage”?

And if she and Brian Brown think it’s so impossible that NOM could influence black and Latino people to oppose gay marriage, why did NOM budget $1.1 million for targeted radio and TV ads to black neighborhoods, $50,000 for African-American “next generation leaders conferences”, $70,000 for their “black bloggers project”, $180,000 for an African-American outreach coordinator and spokesman, another $180,000 for a Hispanic outreach coordinator, $100,000 for radio and TV ad production under their “Latino project”, $1 million for Spanish radio and TV ads, $100,000 for YouTube productions and viral marketing outreach, $70,000 for PR outreach to Hispanic publications, $100,000 for Hispanic “next generation leaders conferences”, $200,000 for direct mail and email, and another $200,000 on robocalling to Latino zip codes? That’s over $3 million NOM spent on selling their anti-gay message specifically to black and Latino people, and now they tell us they couldn’t possibly make blacks and Latinos do anything. As Joe Biden Sr. said, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Brian Brown had the gall to say: “Rich white guys like Mayor Bloomberg, Tim Gill and Howard Schultz are determined to push gay marriage on us ‘whether we like or not!'” This, coming from a white guy whose multi-million dollar organization privately admits to using black and Latino people as human shields to deflect criticism of the anti-gay movement. A man who intentionally exploits a history of violent racial strife to make people too uncomfortable to call out homophobia is really trying to claim that “rich white guys” are “determined to push gay marriage on us”. This is just one more shameless, disgusting step in their continued attempts to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks”.

And to top it all off, Maggie Gallagher made this asinine offering on MSNBC:

…if we could get together with the gay community and take the idea that it’s bigoted or discriminatory to stand up for marriage off the table, for black people or for white people, we’d be happy to do it.

Yes, Maggie, I’m sure you would be very happy if we believed there was nothing bigoted or discriminatory about calling gay relationships unworthy of marriage. That would just make your job so much easier! It’s no surprise when political figures are out of touch with the public, but it’s really impressive when they manage to be so out of touch with human decency itself.

And throughout their mendacious orgy of denials, excuses and victim-blaming, the most notable thing is what they haven’t said. Not once has anyone from NOM renounced their strategy of turning blacks and gays against each other and making “Latino identity” inherently homophobic. No, their only defense is that they weren’t able to make it happen. It’s not that they didn’t want to, it’s not that they weren’t trying – they just couldn’t get it done. If they honestly wanted to repudiate this, all they would have to say is: “We do not want to drive a wedge between gays and blacks.” But they haven’t. We’re still waiting – and I suspect we’ll be waiting a long time.

NOM finally responds with predictable, disingenuous gay-blaming
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Secret NOM documents reveal disgraceful, racist, anti-family strategy

In 2009, the National Organization for Marriage contributed $1.8 million to the campaign to overturn gay marriage in the state of Maine. Maine’s campaign finance laws require groups soliciting over $5,000 for a ballot question to file disclosure reports, but NOM did not file any reports. The Maine Ethics Commission voted to investigate, and NOM responded with a lawsuit alleging that the state’s reporting requirements are unconstitutional. NOM lost their case in the District Court of Maine and the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court declined to hear it.

This week, the Human Rights Campaign released previously confidential NOM documents that were entered into the trial record. These internal memos articulate NOM’s strategies for fighting the legalization of gay marriage, as well as their plans for fomenting opposition to gay rights on a cultural level. These are some of the most revealing materials from NOM that have ever been uncovered, and they explicitly detail the organization’s intent to evade campaign disclosure laws, coordinate with the Catholic Church for fundraising, associate gay marriage with pornography, solicit celebrities to speak out against gay equality, promote racial division to serve their own ends, and even turn gay families against themselves. This is their playbook of underhanded tactics to roll back our equal rights, and it’s one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever read.

In their “National Strategy for Winning the Marriage Battle” from 2009, they say:

“We are working closely with the Catholic Church and Bishop Malone of Portland. NOM Executive Director Brian Brown serves on the Executive Committee of the Maine Campaign alongside Mark Mutty, the Catholic Church’s Director of Public Affairs. The seed money that NOM initially provided has encouraged Bishop Malone to lead the fundraising effort – to date he has raised $150,000 and more than matched our initial funding.”

Under the heading of “Catholic Clergy Project”, they say:

“All clergy are key influencers on gay marriage, but Catholics are a key swing vote and Catholic clergy are notoriously difficult to personally reach. The Catholic Clergy Project aims to use NOM’s close relationships with Catholic bishops to equip, energize and moralize Catholic priests on the marriage issue. NOM has provided this service to bishops in New York, New Jersey, Rhose Island, Iowa and Kansas to date.”

Explaining how their “State Emergency Reserve Fund” can be used to keep their donors secret and get around disclosure requirements, they say:

“…we face a serious hurdle in getting state ballot initiatives and candidate campaigns funded because donors must be disclosed. However, if NOM makes a contribution from its own resources that are not specifically designated for one of these efforts donor identities are NOT disclosed.”

Under the heading of “The American Principles Project”, they say:

“Expose Obama as a social radical. Develop side issues to weaken pro-gay marriage political leaders and parties and develop an activist base of socially conservative voters. Raise such issues as pornography, protection of children, and the need to oppose all efforts to weaken religious liberty at the federal level. This is the mission of the American Principles Project.”

They further add that “APP has launched a project to contact Congress on keeping the Guantanamo prison open”. They explain that the APP’s Preserve Innocence Project

“…will monitor all administration initiatives from the White House, Department of Justice, Education Department, and the Health and Human Services Department that affect the welfare of children. We will put a special focus on exposing those administration programs that have the effect of sexualizing young children. We will provide a weekly update to Congress, to conservative leaders and to the national media on personnel or policy threats to childhood innocence.”

Attempting to find any famous people who are willing to promote their anti-gay message, they say:

“Hollywood with its cultural biases is far bigger than we can hope to be. We recognize this. But we also recognize the opportunity – the disproportionate potential impact of proactively seeking to gather and connect a community of artists, athletes, writers, beauty queens and other glamorous non-cognitive elites across national boundaries.”

The document budgets $120,000 for the apparent purpose of finding children who are willing to speak out against their own gay parents, allocating it toward “Children of same-sex couples and their concerns – outreach coordinator to identify children of gay parents willing to speak on camera”.

Under “The Latino Project: A Pan-American Strategy”, they say:

“Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We can interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity.”

They continue:

“With the help of Schubert Flint Public Affairs, we will develop Spanish language radio and TV ads, as well as pamphlets, YouTube videos, and church handouts and popular songs. Our ultimate goal is to make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of ‘Anglo’ culture.”

In a board update, they explain their “Not a Civil Right Project” as follows:

“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks – two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party. Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates and persuading the movement’s allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue. Consider pushing a marriage amendment in Washington D.C.; find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally.”

Where do we even begin with all this? While many of their plans come as no surprise given their past statements and campaign activities, these documents reveal an organization that’s so outrageous and so openly ruthless, there’s simply no tactic that’s beneath them in their fight against our rights. The extremes to which they’re willing to go make them look like a cartoon supervillain. How singleminded and amoral do you have to be when you’re willing to encourage racial hostility just so you can take away the rights of American citizens? How revoltingly self-obsessed must you be to think a bunch of white people should be the ones to define Latino culture and identity? And after all of this has come to light, the only response from NOM and Maggie Gallagher has been to restate that they work with black and Latino churches. All they have to say is a big “So what?”

Well, here’s what: You’ve been working across the country using millions of dollars from secret donors to influence elections with racial tension and fear. You’ve been trying to make entire races hate gays, because you decided they just weren’t homophobic enough for your purposes. You’ve been using black and Latino people solely because they’re minorities, only taking an interest in them so that you can force your manufactured racial conflict into our rights, our marriages and our lives.

I don’t suppose you gave any thought to the fact that there are black and Latino people who are gay, and that your gays-versus-blacks narrative also means pitting gay people against gay people, and black people against black people. And as if that wasn’t enough, you even went looking for people who were willing to criticize their own parents for being gay. This has gone so far beyond just marriage, the truth behind your group is undeniable: Your entire movement relies on making people hate each other, because that’s what it takes for them to oppose gay rights. They have to be trained to hate, and that is what the National Organization for Marriage is doing to our country. That’s the only reason you exist. And that’s what you will always be known for.

Secret NOM documents reveal disgraceful, racist, anti-family strategy

Frank Turek’s embarrassing details

Christian apologist Frank Turek has recently made a name for himself as the premier hate-martyr for the National Organization for Marriage. As part of their so-called Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance project, Turek recounts the tragic story of how he was let go as a consultant for Cisco and Bank of America after they discovered he had written a book about “How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone”. In reality, his views on homosexuality go far beyond merely opposing gay marriage, and he neglects to mention his history of claiming that gay people are “on the road to destruction”, that they “hate Western Civilization”, that they’re predisposed to “bad behavior” comparable to pedophilia and alcoholism, that they should be banned from the military, and that they’re “acting like racists” by seeking legal recognition of their marriages. Yes, these are the words of a man who presents himself as the victim here. Ironically, Bank of America had hired him to present a training seminar about adapting to diverse personalities in the workplace.

When he’s not angling to join the ranks of brave moral crusaders like George Wallace and Hazel Massery, Turek has made a living out of defending Christianity in books like “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist”. In the course of trying to convince people that the Christian faith is more well-supported than any other belief, he unleashes a particularly shameless argument. He calls it the “principle of embarrassment”, a phrase which he attributes to unnamed “historians”, but only seems to appear in the context of Christian apologetics, and was probably invented for that very purpose. Briefly, Turek claims that the authors of the New Testament included embarrassing details about themselves, such as failing to understand what Jesus was talking about, which they would have omitted if they were trying to pass off a fictional narrative as true. He contends that there would be no reason to make themselves look bad rather than good if they were making it all up. He also refers to this as “the duh factor”.

However, for any of these things to be genuinely embarrassing to their authors, they would first have to be true. And how do we know that they’re true? This would require that the New Testament is true. But the truth of the New Testament is exactly what Turek is trying to establish by citing these supposedly embarrassing details. If we don’t know that the New Testament is true, then we don’t know that the embarrassing incidents in the New Testament are true, either. And if we simply assumed that these details of the New Testament are true, then we could just as well assume that the entire New Testament is true, without having to appeal to any of these embarrassing details. With this oversight, Turek has failed to establish the truth of either.

More crucially, the fatal flaw of this criterion of embarrassment is that Turek and his fellow apologists do not have privileged access to this concept. They’re certainly not the most uniquely brilliant people on earth, and if they were able to imagine that such a standard could be used to judge the believability of a given narrative, then why couldn’t others realize this as well? Couldn’t they anticipate this principle, and thus account for it when writing these stories? If you want your fictional narrative to be seen as believable, then why wouldn’t you aim to fulfill this requirement? Even stories that are acknowledged as fiction from the outset still have to maintain a degree of believability by making their characters realistically flawed. Failing to do so, and instead writing all of them as utterly perfect, makes the story unrelatable and generally intolerable to read. Frank Turek was not the first person to discover this.

The real “duh” factor here is that he thinks he can pass this off as a compelling argument for Christianity – and the worst part is that maybe, he can. If it weren’t for people who are willing to accept anything they hear so long as it confirms their beliefs, Turek wouldn’t even have an audience for this tripe. He’s little more than a huckster peddling hollow justifications for faith to people who don’t know better, or just don’t care, all the while knowing that a child could poke holes in this. Now that’s an embarrassing detail.

Frank Turek’s embarrassing details

Frank Turek's embarrassing details

Christian apologist Frank Turek has recently made a name for himself as the premier hate-martyr for the National Organization for Marriage. As part of their so-called Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance project, Turek recounts the tragic story of how he was let go as a consultant for Cisco and Bank of America after they discovered he had written a book about “How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone”. In reality, his views on homosexuality go far beyond merely opposing gay marriage, and he neglects to mention his history of claiming that gay people are “on the road to destruction”, that they “hate Western Civilization”, that they’re predisposed to “bad behavior” comparable to pedophilia and alcoholism, that they should be banned from the military, and that they’re “acting like racists” by seeking legal recognition of their marriages. Yes, these are the words of a man who presents himself as the victim here. Ironically, Bank of America had hired him to present a training seminar about adapting to diverse personalities in the workplace.

When he’s not angling to join the ranks of brave moral crusaders like George Wallace and Hazel Massery, Turek has made a living out of defending Christianity in books like “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist”. In the course of trying to convince people that the Christian faith is more well-supported than any other belief, he unleashes a particularly shameless argument. He calls it the “principle of embarrassment”, a phrase which he attributes to unnamed “historians”, but only seems to appear in the context of Christian apologetics, and was probably invented for that very purpose. Briefly, Turek claims that the authors of the New Testament included embarrassing details about themselves, such as failing to understand what Jesus was talking about, which they would have omitted if they were trying to pass off a fictional narrative as true. He contends that there would be no reason to make themselves look bad rather than good if they were making it all up. He also refers to this as “the duh factor”.

However, for any of these things to be genuinely embarrassing to their authors, they would first have to be true. And how do we know that they’re true? This would require that the New Testament is true. But the truth of the New Testament is exactly what Turek is trying to establish by citing these supposedly embarrassing details. If we don’t know that the New Testament is true, then we don’t know that the embarrassing incidents in the New Testament are true, either. And if we simply assumed that these details of the New Testament are true, then we could just as well assume that the entire New Testament is true, without having to appeal to any of these embarrassing details. With this oversight, Turek has failed to establish the truth of either.

More crucially, the fatal flaw of this criterion of embarrassment is that Turek and his fellow apologists do not have privileged access to this concept. They’re certainly not the most uniquely brilliant people on earth, and if they were able to imagine that such a standard could be used to judge the believability of a given narrative, then why couldn’t others realize this as well? Couldn’t they anticipate this principle, and thus account for it when writing these stories? If you want your fictional narrative to be seen as believable, then why wouldn’t you aim to fulfill this requirement? Even stories that are acknowledged as fiction from the outset still have to maintain a degree of believability by making their characters realistically flawed. Failing to do so, and instead writing all of them as utterly perfect, makes the story unrelatable and generally intolerable to read. Frank Turek was not the first person to discover this.

The real “duh” factor here is that he thinks he can pass this off as a compelling argument for Christianity – and the worst part is that maybe, he can. If it weren’t for people who are willing to accept anything they hear so long as it confirms their beliefs, Turek wouldn’t even have an audience for this tripe. He’s little more than a huckster peddling hollow justifications for faith to people who don’t know better, or just don’t care, all the while knowing that a child could poke holes in this. Now that’s an embarrassing detail.

Frank Turek's embarrassing details

Yep, you’re a bigot!

Nowadays, one of the most common arguments made by opponents of gay marriage is that they would be considered bigots if gay marriage is legal. The National Organization for Marriage gets a lot of mileage out of the claim that children will be taught that their parents are bigoted, and people of faith will be seen as discriminatory. Recently, former senator Rick Santorum got into an argument with a high school student, where he complained:

I had Piers Morgan call me a bigot – because I believe what the Catholic Church teaches with respect to homosexuality, I’m a bigot. So now I’m a bigot, because I believe what the Bible teaches – now, 2000 years of teaching and moral theology is now bigoted.

Well, yeah! That’s because it is. This fatuous argument reveals two important things about Mr. Santorum and other anti-gay Christians. First, they’re much more concerned about being perceived as bigots than whether they might actually be bigoted. Second, they are unable to conceive of any kind of moral progress that could be inconvenient to their positions or contrary to a particular faith. The sheer self-absorption of this mindset is breathtaking. Imagine if any other prejudice were defended with such an argument. How seriously would we take the protests of white racists that they would be seen as bigots because of integration? How much would we care about the complaints of men that they would be considered bigoted if women are allowed to vote?

It’s plain to see that the discomfort that bigoted people may have with their bigotry being recognized does nothing to change the fact that it is still bigotry. And the idea that we should accommodate their preferred self-perception by continuing to deny equal rights to the targets of their bigotry is so brazenly narcissistic it defies all comprehension. You are not that important! If you have to put up with being seen as bigoted so that people can finally receive their equality under the law, then you’ll just have to deal with it. It’s too bad you got the short end of the stick on this one, but if every hint of moral realization and social change was immediately quashed because some people want to be assured that they’ll always be in the right, there would never be any kind of progress.

And no, your religion does not have the power to legitimize bigotry. Bigoted beliefs do not become excusable just because a church or a book endorses them. You don’t get a pass on bigotry by claiming that a god agrees with you. People came up with the very same justifications for all kinds of prejudice. It changes nothing. Like it or not, your religion will evolve. It might deny this, it might lag behind, but religions are dragged along with the moral climate of society at large. The Catholic Church doesn’t hold trials of alleged witches anymore. Mormon leaders decided that God changed his mind about allowing black people to be ordained. And some day, you will have to face the reality that your 2,000 years of moral theology are helpless next to a moment of moral reflection.

By focusing only on the legal aspects as the key factor in whether or not they’re considered bigots, they’ve failed to understand that this is just a symptom of ongoing social progress. We already see them as bigots, and that’s the very reason why the legal standing of gay people is now a point of contention. The moral validity of anti-gay prejudice has been cast into doubt, and homophobia is no longer regarded as an unquestionable constant of our society. Fighting this on a legal front is just trying to close the barn door after the horse is long gone. It’s not going to stop anyone from seeing you for exactly what you are. And no law, whether earthly or divine, will change that. The only one who can keep you from being a bigot is yourself.

Yep, you’re a bigot!

Yep, you're a bigot!

Nowadays, one of the most common arguments made by opponents of gay marriage is that they would be considered bigots if gay marriage is legal. The National Organization for Marriage gets a lot of mileage out of the claim that children will be taught that their parents are bigoted, and people of faith will be seen as discriminatory. Recently, former senator Rick Santorum got into an argument with a high school student, where he complained:

I had Piers Morgan call me a bigot – because I believe what the Catholic Church teaches with respect to homosexuality, I’m a bigot. So now I’m a bigot, because I believe what the Bible teaches – now, 2000 years of teaching and moral theology is now bigoted.

Well, yeah! That’s because it is. This fatuous argument reveals two important things about Mr. Santorum and other anti-gay Christians. First, they’re much more concerned about being perceived as bigots than whether they might actually be bigoted. Second, they are unable to conceive of any kind of moral progress that could be inconvenient to their positions or contrary to a particular faith. The sheer self-absorption of this mindset is breathtaking. Imagine if any other prejudice were defended with such an argument. How seriously would we take the protests of white racists that they would be seen as bigots because of integration? How much would we care about the complaints of men that they would be considered bigoted if women are allowed to vote?

It’s plain to see that the discomfort that bigoted people may have with their bigotry being recognized does nothing to change the fact that it is still bigotry. And the idea that we should accommodate their preferred self-perception by continuing to deny equal rights to the targets of their bigotry is so brazenly narcissistic it defies all comprehension. You are not that important! If you have to put up with being seen as bigoted so that people can finally receive their equality under the law, then you’ll just have to deal with it. It’s too bad you got the short end of the stick on this one, but if every hint of moral realization and social change was immediately quashed because some people want to be assured that they’ll always be in the right, there would never be any kind of progress.

And no, your religion does not have the power to legitimize bigotry. Bigoted beliefs do not become excusable just because a church or a book endorses them. You don’t get a pass on bigotry by claiming that a god agrees with you. People came up with the very same justifications for all kinds of prejudice. It changes nothing. Like it or not, your religion will evolve. It might deny this, it might lag behind, but religions are dragged along with the moral climate of society at large. The Catholic Church doesn’t hold trials of alleged witches anymore. Mormon leaders decided that God changed his mind about allowing black people to be ordained. And some day, you will have to face the reality that your 2,000 years of moral theology are helpless next to a moment of moral reflection.

By focusing only on the legal aspects as the key factor in whether or not they’re considered bigots, they’ve failed to understand that this is just a symptom of ongoing social progress. We already see them as bigots, and that’s the very reason why the legal standing of gay people is now a point of contention. The moral validity of anti-gay prejudice has been cast into doubt, and homophobia is no longer regarded as an unquestionable constant of our society. Fighting this on a legal front is just trying to close the barn door after the horse is long gone. It’s not going to stop anyone from seeing you for exactly what you are. And no law, whether earthly or divine, will change that. The only one who can keep you from being a bigot is yourself.

Yep, you're a bigot!