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The Right Enemies: A Look Back at Right-Wing Attacks on Eric Holder

Holder resignation

BY LAYNE AMERIKANER

Attorney General Eric Holder, who this week announced his plans to resign, has been a leader in addressing systems of racial discrimination and protecting the fundamental rights of every American to be treated equally under the law and participate in our democracy.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that the Right loves to hate him.

Tim HuelskampIn February of this year, the American Family Association demanded Holder’s impeachment after he had the audacity to treat married same-sex couples like married opposite-sex couples with regard to a host of legal rights and recognitions. Shortly after, both Faith and Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed and Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp [pictured right] echoed the call for Holder’s impeachment because of his support for marriage equality. Televangelist Pat Robertson also joined the impeachment parade, alleging that under Holder, “sodomy” was being “elevated above the rights of religious believers.”

Holder’s commitment to redressing racial injustice was no more warmly received by the Right than his work in support of LGBT equality. After Holder spoke out against voter ID laws, which disproportionately harm people of color, Texas Gov. Rick Perry accused him of “purposefully” “incit[ing] racial tension.” Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt argued that Holder’s open discussion of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system means that he is the real “racist,” asserting last year that Holder wants to “intimidate the rest of the country so that we don’t think about defending ourselves” against “attacks by black mobs on white individuals.” Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association went so far as to say that Holder would never “prosecute someone if the victim is white.” And after Holder visited Ferguson, Missouri last month, David Horowitz outrageously commented that the attorney general was leading a black “lynch mob.”

And those are just a handful of the attacks the Right has leveled against Holder for his work protecting equality under the law.

The fact that the far Right has reacted with so much vitriol to the attorney general’s leadership is a sign not only of how uninterested they are in the civil rights that the Justice Department is meant to protect, but also of how effective Holder’s work has been. The next attorney general should share Holder’s deep commitment to protecting the rights of all Americans – and, by extension, make all the “right” enemies among those hoping to turn back the clock on civil liberties.

This post originally appeared on People For the American Way's blog.

This post originally appeared on the PFAW blog.

Southern Baptist Pastor: Gays Should Be Put To Death, God Can Cure Homosexuality - VIDEO

Robert Gallaty

Robert Gallaty, a pastor at a Southern Baptist church near Chattanooga, Tennessee, said in a sermon last week that god wants LGBT people to be put to death, reports The Raw Story.

In the hour-long sermon, Gallaty also claimed that although Christians have repented for racism, they will never repent for homophobia because African-American people cannot change the color of their skin.

Said Gallaty:

“A black man can’t change his race, a white man can’t change his race, a homosexual can stop engaging in homosexual acts. See, sexuality is a choice. Gender and race are not.”

Explaining the biblical basis for the death penalty, he said:

“God said that the sins of the people had infected the very land in which they live. So what happens to people who engage in this activity, this sexual immoral activity? Go to Leviticus 20, god gives us the punishment for engaging in these sins… ‘If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed a detestable thing. They must be put to death. And their blood is on their own hands.’”

Comparing homosexuality to addiction, he said that same-sex attractions is “the same desire I had to get high and score dope years ago.”

Gallaty also suggested that God is active in the “ex-gay” movement, claiming he told a gay member of his congregation that he “may have to remain single for the rest of your life...the cool thing is this: God, over time, will heal you.”

Back in June, Rick Perry made a similar claim when he said that a homosexual deciding not to be gay is the same as an alcoholic choosing to not have a drink.

Watch the full sermon and the edited highlights, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Southern Baptist Pastor: Gays Should Be Put To Death, God Can Cure Homosexuality - VIDEO" »


Texas Governor Rick Perry Indicted On Felony Charges of Coercion and Abuse of Official Capacity

Perry

In a move that might complicate Rick Perry's 2016 presidential ambitions, a grand jury in Texas has just indicted the long-time governor on two charges related to his effort last year to force District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunken driving arrest. 

LehmbergLehmberg [pictured], the first woman and first openly gay District Attorney in Travis County, runs the state’s Public Integrity Unit (PIU) which is charged with investigating wrongdoing by state officials. After her arrest and guilty plea for a drunk driving incident in April 2013, Perry called on her to resign and threatened to withhold $7.2 million in state money from the PIU if she refused.

Lehmberg refused and Perry carried through with his veto threat. The two felony charges, abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official, stem from this.

The AP reports:

Several top aides to the Republican governor appeared before grand jurors in Austin, including his deputy chief of staff, legislative director and general counsel. Perry himself did not testify, though.

Grand jurors indicted Perry on abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony with potential punishments of five to 99 years in prison, and coercion of a public servant, a third-degree felony that carries a punishment of two to 10 years. [...]

"I took into account the fact that we're talking about a governor of a state — and a governor of the state of Texas, which we all love," said Michael McCrum, the San Antonio-based special prosecutor. "Obviously that carries a lot of importance. But when it gets down to it, the law is the law."

The Austin-American Statesman continues:

Lehmberg supporters said Perry’s actions constituted political retribution; Many Republicans have said the Public Integrity Unit has unfairly targeted their party for prosecutions. The Travis County District Attorney’s office has for decades been led by Democrats, including Lehmberg.

As head of the PIU, Lehmberg was credited in 2010 with convicting U.S. House Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay for money laundering. Had Lehmberg resigned after her arrest and conviction, Perry would have been able to name her replacement, likely a Republican.   

Austin's KXAN adds that an indictment indicates the grand jury believes the state has a strong enough case to send to trial and is not an admission of guilt. McCrum told reporters he plans to meet with Perry's attorneys on Monday.


President Obama Fist Bumps Gay Comedian in Texas

By night, Daniel Rugg Webb is an aspiring comedian based out of Austin, Texas. By day, he’s a cashier at Franklin Barbecue: the same Franklin Barbecue President Obama dropped by last Thursday as a part of his brief tour through Texas.

"If Rick Perry would've walked in, I would have lost my job. Webb told the Austin Chronicle. “I would've taken that old queen to town."

Fist_obamaInstead, Webb met face to face with the President, and, ever the performer, still managed to find a choice set of words, as he recounted to Buzzfeed:

“Equal rights for gay people!” he exclaimed.

Obama reacted without missing a beat. “Are you gay?”

Taken aback by the directness of the question, he said, Webb responded, “Only when I’m having sex!”

The president laughed, then, realizing there was a group of children near the two, said, “Not in front of the kids!”

Webb, more than mere taking the opportunity to banter with the Commander-in-Chief, saw the exchange as a chance to take a pointed stand against current governor Rick Perry.

“We are an anti-gay state. We are a state with a whole bunch of hungry children and sick old people, and [Rick Perry is] grandstanding on things that will get him a better election,” Webb explained. “I would like to see Rick Perry negatively influenced by any kind of attention. Even Obama laughing at something as, hopefully, acceptable as sexuality can show the difference.”

Watch a clip of Webb’s standup at the Austin Encyclopedia Show AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "President Obama Fist Bumps Gay Comedian in Texas" »


Rick Perry Says He 'Stepped Right In It' with His Remarks on Homosexuality and Alcoholism: VIDEO

Perry

Rick Perry, speaking at a Christian Science Monitor luncheon, told the crowd that he "stepped right in it" when he compared homosexuality to alcoholism in a recent interview.

Said Perry:

"When you get distracted, I'm thinking San Francisco. I got asked about issues and instead of saying 'you know what, we need to be a really respectful and tolerant country to everybody,' and get back to talking about, whether you're gay or straight, you need to be having a job, and those are the focuses that I want to be involved with. I readily admit, I stepped right in it...If you're really going to be the party that's going to talk to everybody, and say 'listen, you may not agree with all of my positions but getting you and your family and your loved ones the opportunity to live a better life because we've created a climate in this country where you're going to have a job and a good job and a good-paying job, if we'll do that then I think we'll be successful...We are an incredibly diverse mosaic of a country."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Perry made the comments a week ago in a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California. He has been hammered about them since from everyone from NJ Governor Chris Christie to CNBC's Joe Kernan, to Stephanie Cutter last night on Crossfire.

Continue reading "Rick Perry Says He 'Stepped Right In It' with His Remarks on Homosexuality and Alcoholism: VIDEO" »


Rick Perry Won't Explain Why He Stands Behind Texas GOP's Gay Reparative Therapy Platform: VIDEO

Crossfire_perry

Rick Perry continues to be blasted for his remarks comparing homosexuality to alcoholism and the Texas GOP's platform, which supports gay reparative therapy.

Stephanie Cutter repeatedly asked him to explain himself last night on Crossfire. Perry said he would leave that to the psychiatrists and doctors.

Cutter: "Who have rejected it. They've rejected it....So you have no opinion on any of this then? You have no opinion on either side. (laughs)."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rick Perry Won't Explain Why He Stands Behind Texas GOP's Gay Reparative Therapy Platform: VIDEO" »


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