"Like all great satire, the book is cerebral, irreverent and hilarious, while also edifying" Publisher's Weekly
"This book is hilarious... [Lanham] didn't skimp on his research. The book provides a telling overview of the religious right's leadership, the beliefs they espouse, and just how incredibly absurd and hypocritical they are." The Campaign to Defend the Constitution
Editor's Pick: "From the author of The Hipster Handbook comes this irreverent navigation of all things Evangelical. Learn enough slang to fit in at a church picnic or why SpongeBob SquarePants is an agent of the Devil" Chicago Sun-Times
"This guy has written quite a funny book." Alan Colmes, Fox News
"A funny book with some funny cartoons on everyone from Rick Warren as the evangelical Jimmy Buffett to a guide for Christian haircuts that is hilarious... I was chuckling until I saw that I am the postscript" Mark Driscoll, pastor of the largest megachurch in Washington State
"Every good little liberal will have this book on order as a stocking stuffer come Jesus' birthday." Time Out
"A handbook for coping with bible thumpers.... When considering the power and influence evangelical Christians wield in this country, you have to laugh to keep from crying. Robert Lanham... understands this well and offers much needed, totally biased comic relief." Village Voice
"Not only is this an important book, it's a funny book." Marc Maron, Air America Radio
"Author Robert Lanham is an observer... but with his latest, The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right, Lanham's keen eye has hit perhaps his most entertaining target." Metro Paper
"It’s hard to remember a more pointed and scathing attack… Lanham launches a focused, sustained barrage on the Pat Robertsons and James Dobsons of the world… He’s done his homework. The book is thoroughly researched and packed with quotes and analysis of the famous and not-so-famous leaders of the evangelical right… the research is truly impressive. " The Reader
"An utterly biased, humorous one-stop guide to the major evangelical players." Details
"Check out Robert Lanham's (author of the fabled Hipster Handbook and former Bible Belt resident) Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right. It's funny because it's true." Elizabeth Spiers, founding Editor of Gawker
"Like the Daily Show or The Colbert Report, it's humor reveals the basic truth. Which is to say that the "sinners" of the world may be closer to Jesus and the divine than those who use God's name for personal enrichment, power building, and political gain." Buzzflash
"The book does for religion what Jon Stewart does for politics." CanWest News Service
"Informative, laugh-out-loud funny and horrifying at times, check out this snide, leftie-geared guide to the major evangelical players... Robert Lanham has a writing style that resembles... McSweeney's, and the irony-stacked humor of TV programs such as "The Daily Show" Style Weekly, Richmond VA
"Hilarious... go out and buy this book now." Sam Seder, The Majority Report
"This book should lay at the lifeless feet of your corpse as a silent, yet
powerful and all encompassing explanation as to why you took your own life."
David Cross, Arrested Development
The presidential candidates are dividing starkly along party lines on one of the signature fights of the 1990s: whether the 14-year-old policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” should be repealed and gay men and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military.
In back-to-back debates in New Hampshire this week, every Democratic candidate raised his or her hand in support of repealing that policy, while not a single Republican embraced the idea. Democrats argued with striking unanimity that it was time to end the uneasy compromise that President Bill Clinton reached in 1993, after his attempt to lift the ban on gay men and lesbians in the military provoked one of the most wrenching fights of his young administration.
Republicans countered that the policy should not be changed, certainly not in time of war.
It is a dispute that underscores the continuing power of social issues -- like gay rights and abortion -- in each party’s nominating contest, even as the larger debate revolves around a divisive war. And it shows the Democrats returning to yet another issue that confounded them in the past -- like universal health care -- with the conviction that the public is more ready for change this time.
Christine Bakke walks into a church in suburban Denver, a long, low building that used to be a supermarket. It’s closed, but the 35-year-old graphic designer, whose wide smile and quick wit have always opened doors, tells the security guard that she is a former congregant and just wants to see the old place again.
He lets us into the hangar-size sanctuary, and Christine strides up front to a stage, then stops. “This is where it happened,” she says, no longer smiling. “And after it was over, this is where I was on the floor crying.”
She still remembers the excitement in the air that night, the music pounding, the people pogo-ing up and down in revelry. “The preacher wanted me to say something,” she recalls. “I didn’t want to, at first, so he kept saying, ‘Repeat after me, repeat after me,’ until I finally yelled it out at the top of my lungs: ‘I want to be the woman God created me to be!’ It was this real heal-the-lesbian moment.
Christine saw her choices as stark and self-limiting: To be a “real Christian,” she felt she could no longer be a “real lesbian.” She began investigating various ex-gay programs and thinking about starting her life over. Initially she was drawn to a residential boot camp program, but the literature made it sound too restrictive. The many rules included a ban on computers (so you couldn’t see anything gay online) and no time alone for the first three weeks (not uncommon in ex-gay programs--one even times how long people stay in the bathroom to prevent masturbation).
November 30, 2006
Southern Baptist Convention Official: White House Appointee Is A "Sodomite"
Mark Dybul being sworn into the State Department with his partner
Southern Baptist Convention official criticized the White House for putting an openly gay physician in charge of the United States policy to combat global AIDS.
"I think it's a tragedy to have a sodomite living with another man and being the AIDS coordinator," Wiley Drake, the SBC's second vice president said in Agape Press, "because we all know that if we do away with sodomy we'd almost eradicate AIDS."
With First Lady Laura Bush standing by, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice swore in Mark Dybul as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, a post with the rank of ambassador, Oct. 10.
Dybul took the oath of office with his hand on a Bible held by his domestic partner, Jason Claire. Rice referred to Claire's mother as Dybul's "mother-in-law," raising hackles among the Religious Right.
"I am truly honored and delighted to have the opportunity to swear in Mark Dybul as our next Global AIDS Coordinator," Rice said, according to a transcript on the State Department Web site. "I am pleased to do that in the presence of Mark's parents, Claire and Richard, his partner, Jason, and his mother-in-law, Marilyn."
"You have a wonderful family to support you, Mark, and I know that's always important to us," Rice said.
Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council, called the secretary's comments "profoundly offensive" and said they fly in the face of the Bush administration's endorsement of a federal marriage protection amendment. READ IT ALL
A picture book about two male penguins raising a baby penguin is getting a chilly reception among some parents who worry about the book's availability to children -- and the reluctance of school administrators to restrict access to it.
The concerns are the latest involving "And Tango Makes Three," the illustrated children's book based on a true story of two male penguins in New York City's Central Park Zoo that adopted a fertilized egg and raised the chick as their own.
Complaining about the book's homosexual undertones, some parents of Shiloh Elementary School students believe the book -- available to be checked out of the school's library in this 11,000-resident town 20 miles east of St. Louis -- tackles topics their children aren't ready to handle.
Their request: Move the book to the library's regular shelves and restrict it to a section for mature issues, perhaps even requiring parental permission before a child can check it out.
For now, "And Tango Makes Three" will stay put, said school district Superintendent Jennifer Filyaw, though a panel she appointed suggested the book be moved and require parental permission to be checked out. The district's attorney said moving it might be construed as censorship.
October 25, 2006
New Jersey Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Same-Sex Unions
The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that “same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals in New Jersey, but that lawmakers must determine whether the state will honor gay marriage or some other form of civil union.” READ IT ALL
This week, a list that is said to name gay Republican staffers has been circulated to several Christian and family values groups -- presumably to encourage an outing and purge. McClusky acknowledged seeing the list but said his group did not produce it and had no intention of using it.
Gerry Studds, the nation's first openly gay congressman, pushed the country to another landmark development when he died Saturday: the federal government for the first time will deny death benefits to a congressman's gay spouse.
The federal government does not recognize the 2004 Massachusetts' marriage between Studds and Dean Hara, and won't provide a portion of Studds' $114,337 annual pension to his surviving spouse.
The federal law, defined by the Defense of Marriage Act, not only trumps the Bay State's gay marriage law but reveals its limitations.
"A gay spouse will not receive any sort of pension or annuity or anything like that," said Chad Cowan, a spokesman for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which administers the congressional pension program under federal law.
"It's not anything that anybody in our office has seen before," he added.
Wives and husbands of deceased lawmakers have for years found financial comfort in their ability to collect more than half of the generous.
October 16, 2006
The Gay Old Party Comes Out
Mark Dybul being sworn into the State Department with his partner
In case you missed it, Frank Rich's column in the NY Times yesterday is essential reading. We especially liked the part about "altoid boy."
Paging Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council: Here’s a gay Republican story you probably did not hear last week. On Tuesday a card-carrying homosexual, Mark Dybul, was sworn into office at the State Department with his partner holding the Bible. Dr. Dybul, the administration’s new global AIDS coordinator, was flanked by Laura Bush and Condi Rice. In her official remarks, the secretary of state referred to the mother of Dr. Dybul’s partner as his “mother-in-law.”
Could wedding bells be far behind? It was all on display, photo included, on www.state.gov. And while you’re cruising the Internet, a little creative Googling will yield a long list of who else is gay, openly and not, in the highest ranks of both the Bush administration and the Republican hierarchy. The openly gay range from Steve Herbits, the prescient right-hand consultant to Donald Rumsfeld who foresees disaster in Iraq in Bob Woodward’s book “State of Denial,” to Israel Hernandez, the former Bush personal aide and current Commerce Department official whom the president nicknamed “Altoid boy.” (Let’s not go there.)
If anything good has come out of the Foley scandal, it is surely this: The revelation that the political party fond of demonizing homosexuals each election year is as well-stocked with trusted and accomplished gay leaders as virtually every other power center in America. “What you’re really seeing is the Republican Party on the Hill,” says Rich Tafel, the former leader of the gay Log Cabin Republicans whom George W. Bush refused to meet with during the 2000 campaign. “Across the board gay people are in leadership positions.” Yet it is this same party’s Congressional leadership that in 2006 did almost nothing about government spending, Iraq, immigration or ethics reform, but did drop everything to focus on a doomed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
The birds and the bees may be gay, according to the world's first museum exhibition about homosexuality among animals. With documentation of gay or lesbian behaviour among giraffes, penguins, parrots, beetles, whales and dozens of other creatures, the Oslo Natural History Museum concludes human homosexuality cannot be viewed as "unnatural".
"We may have opinions on a lot of things, but one thing is clear -- homosexuality is found throughout the animal kingdom, it is not against nature," an exhibit statement said.
Geir Soeli, the project leader of the exhibition entitled "Against Nature", told Reuters: "Homosexuality has been observed for more than 1,500 animal species, and is well documented for 500 of them."
The museum said the exhibition, opening on Thursday despite condemnation from some Christians, was the first in the world on the subject. Soeli said a Dutch zoo had once organised tours to view homosexual couples among the animals.
"The sexual urge is strong in all animals. ... It's a part of life, it's fun to have sex," Soeli said of the reasons for homosexuality or bisexuality among animals.
One exhibit shows two stuffed female swans on a nest -- birds sometimes raise young in homosexual couples, either after a female has forsaken a male mate or donated an egg to a pair of males.
One photograph shows two giant erect penises flailing above the water as two male right whales rub together. Another shows a male giraffe mounting another for sex, another describes homosexuality among beetles.
One radical Christian said organisers of the exhibition -- partly funded by the Norwegian government -- should "burn in hell", Soeli said. Laws describing homosexuality as a "crime against nature" are still on the statutes in some countries.
The debate over same-sex marriage was a black-or-white proposition two years ago when voters in 11 states barred gay couples from marrying.
But this year shades of gray are everywhere, as eight more states consider similar ballot measures. Some of the proposed bans are struggling in the polls, and the issue of same-sex marriage itself has largely failed to rouse conservative voters.
In some cases, other issues, like the war in Iraq and ethics in Washington, have seized voters’ attention. But the biggest change, people on both sides of the issue say, is that supporters of same-sex marriage this year are likely to be as mobilized as the opponents.
I was so surprised to hear that you expressed feminist beliefs during an interview with David Rakoff. According to him, you said that men can't transmit the HIV virus to women because, and he quotes you here, "the human vagina can take a lot of punishment."
Now, I understand what you were trying to do--frame AIDS as a homosexual disease--but by doing so, you suggested that lady parts are tougher than our little soldiers. That sounds like feminist propaganda to me. It's like The Great Feminist 3+ Inch Thingy Lie. Such statements make men feel inadequate.
September 27, 2006
‘Values Voter Summit’ Features Attack on ‘Faggots,’ Claim That Gay Rights Movement Inspired ‘From The Pit Of Hell Itself’
This weekend, some of the nation’s leading conservatives -- from Tony Snow and Attorney General Gonzales to Sen. George Allen (R-VA) and Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK) to Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity -- appeared at the Family Research Council’s “Values Voter Summit.”
An hour and a half after Snow’s speech, Bishop Wellington Boone, founder of the Wellington Boone Ministries, took the stage and announced, “I want the gays mad at me.” Boone said that while “the gays” are “saying a few things” about him, “they’re not coming at me strong.” In an effort to change that, Boone declared:
Back in the days when I was a kid, and we see guys that don’t stand strong on principle, we call them “faggots.” … [People] that don’t stand up for what’s right, we say, “You’re sissified out!” “You’re a sissy!” That means you don’t stand up for principles.
As Right Wing Watch notes, another speaker at the conference later claimed “the gay rights movement was inspired ‘from the pit of hell itself,’ and has a ’satanic anointment.’ … He suggested that the anti-Christ is himself gay, citing a verse from the book of Daniel saying the anti-Christ will have no desire for a woman.” READ IT ALL
September 07, 2006
'God Hates Fags' Leader Takes On Jon Stewart And His "Hooligan Sidekick" Stephen Colbert
This is priceless. Turns out, the "honorable" Rev. Fred Phelps (who also starred in Poltergeist 2) was offended by Colbert's "good evening Godless sodomites" remark at the Emmys. Funny, because we thought Fred would rather enjoy Colbert's remark. [Thanks Jeff via Comedy Central]
Randall Terry doesn't run away from "family values issues" in his state Senate race.
Among the conservative Christian's pledges are preserving traditional marriage and opposing gay adoptions. He has touted efforts to stop abortions. His campaign mailers sum up the value he puts on family: they show a picture with his wife, a daughter and three grinning young sons taken before a fourth was born this summer.
But Terry's adopted son Jamiel says the picture is missing two people: he and his sister Tila, also adopted. Both have been estranged from Terry since Jamiel came out as a gay man and Tila had a child out of wedlock.
Jamiel Terry said the self-image that his father is crafting and the campaign message about strong families ignores part of his own family history. He said voters have a right to know about that.
"He is very big on image," Jamiel Terry said. "In a large way Tila and I mess up that image."
Jamiel Terry, 26, said in interviews last week and Monday that voters in the northeast Florida district where his father is trying to unseat Sen. Jim King in the Republican primary should know more about the candidate's family.
Randall Terry said he's upfront about his whole family and has never tried to hide anything about his children, even those with whom he has deep disagreements. He said voters don't care anyway.
"I don't think it would affect one vote, one way or another. Everybody has problems in their family," said Terry, who founded Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion protest group.
Meanwhile, the United States is actively recruiting minorities in Wal-Mart parking lots and forcing Reserve soldiers to extend their tours of duty. [from NY Times, hat tip Right Rev Rabbi Judah]
The Defense Department discharged 726 service members last year for being gay, up about 10 percent from 2004, figures released by a gay rights group show.
The group, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, obtained the information through a Freedom of Information Act request. A spokeswoman for the Defense Department, Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, confirmed that it had released the information.
On Monday, the legal group released a breakdown of discharges by installation. A sharp increase occurred at Fort Campbell, Ky., where in 1999 a soldier was bludgeoned to death in his barracks by fellow soldiers who thought he was homosexual. In 2004, 19 service members from the base were discharged, a number that climbed to 49 last year.
Fort Sill, Okla., had 27 dismissals last year, up from 8 in 2004. Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., had 60 dismissals, up from 40 in 2004, and the Marine base at Parris Island, S.C., discharged 22, up from 12.
Episcopal churches in Arkansas can offer blessing ceremonies for gay couples, the state's bishop said in a letter to clergy.
"It is my belief that seeking ways of recognizing and blessing faithful, monogamous same-sex relationships falls within the parameters of providing pastoral concern and care for our gay and lesbian members," wrote the Right Rev. Larry Maze, bishop of the 14,000-member Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas.
Maze noted in his letter sent to clergy Wednesday that no other national or state Episcopal leaders have produced or approved official rites for the blessings of same-sex unions.
He said the ceremonies will be local observances in each church, not approved formal rites. Arkansas has banned gay marriage, so same-sex couples will have no legal standing in the state.
Two churches St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Little Rock and St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville plan to offer the ceremonies.
Who Knew?! God Sends A Plague Of War To Cancel Gay Pride Parade
At least according to Christian Zionist Christine Darg: [big hat tip to Bartholomew]
Military events in Israel are now likely to force the cancellation of the World Pride homosexual desecration of Jerusalem next month...
Believers in Israel and all over the world have been bombarding Heaven for God to intervene . . .. But sometimes God answers in ways that nobody wants. War is never pleasant, but its security demands take precedence over something as frivolous as a gay parade.
NPR has provided a handy interactive map where you can track anti-gay marriage initiatives state by state. Check it out here.
June 21, 2006
It's Not The Gays.... GOP Guilty of Defiling The Institution of Marriage
Not only are red staters and Christians more likely to get a divorce than blue staters and secularists, respectively, three of the top contenders for the 2008 GOP ticket have less than virtuous marital histories:
[From Washington Monthly via Huff post] Three Republicans who have topped several national, independent polls for the GOP's favorite 2008 nominee: Sen. John McCain (affair, divorce), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (affair, divorce, affair, divorce), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (divorce, affair, nasty divorce). Together, they form the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history.
[From the AP via HufffPost] A Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, decades after mental health experts abandoned that position.
The document outlines retirement or other discharge policies for service members with physical disabilities, and in a section on defects lists homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.
Critics said the reference underscores the Pentagon's failing policies on gays, and adds to a culture that has created uncertainty and insecurity around the treatment of homosexual service members, leading to anti-gay harassment.
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. fired one of his appointees to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority yesterday after the board member asserted on a local cable talk show that homosexuals lived a life of "sexual deviancy." ...Smith's remarks came during a show taped June 9 that has aired at least three times since. The discussion included a proposed federal gay marriage ban.
"That doesn't mean that government should proffer a special place of entitlement within the laws of the United States for persons of sexual deviancy," Smith said in the conversation about the rights of gays and lesbians.
Gay Episcopal Bishop Says: "I Am Not An Abomination"
[from the AP] The first openly gay Episcopal bishop said at a packed church hearing Wednesday that he is "not an abomination," as he pleaded with the denomination not to bar gays from the office of bishop, even temporarily, for the sake of Anglican unity.
If Episcopalians "see Christ in the faithful lives of our gay and lesbian members," they should have the courage to say so, no matter the potential consequences, said Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
"I am not an abomination before God," he told the Episcopal General Convention. "Please, I beg you, let's say our prayers and stand up for right."
June 07, 2006
Senate Rejects Ban on Gay Marriage
Not a big surprise. Nobody actually thought this unpopular bill would pass. Read the story here. The proposed ban was obviously political pandering to the religious right during an election year. And Dobson and company took the bait, hook line and sinker. We're yet to hear any of the Rapture Right's leaders call their bluff.
May 23, 2006
"Clergy for Fairness" Seeks to Block Gay Marriage Amendment
Clergy for Fairness Want Bill Frist to Rethink Writing Hate Into the Constitution
Despite the corny name, the Clergy for Fairness are the type of Christians for whom we have the utmost respect. Click here to sign their petition urging Bill Frist and Congress to block the gay marriage amendment. From NY Times:
Clergy Group Aims to Block Gay Marriage Amendment
An interfaith coalition of clergy members and lay leaders announced a petition drive on Monday aimed at blocking a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill on a vote along party lines last week, and the full Senate is expected to vote on it the week of June 5.
About 35 representatives of the coalition, Clergy for Fairness, said at a news conference that more than 1,600 clergy members had signed an online petition against the amendment. The group's Web site has postcards that lay people can print out and send to members of Congress.
By the end of this week, the site should have an electronic postcard as well, said Joe Conn, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, an organizer of the lobbying effort but not in the coalition.