Was Ronald Reagan anti-gay? Part 2 – The CPAC boycott

Yesterday, a group of groups boycotting the Conservative Political Action Committee convention ran this full page ad in the Washington Times.

Reagan is incredibly popular among conservatives and the current fight is over whether or not Reagan would support the social conservatives in their dispute with CPAC over the inclusion of GOProud at the convention. In an earlier post on this topic, I noted that Reagan was clearly pro-life but he did not have much to say on gay issues.

In that post, I examined one statement attributed to Reagan that seems to indicate his willingness to discriminate against gays. Here is what I wrote then:

About gay issues, Coulter provided an unsourced quote attributed to Reagan:

“Society has always regarded marital love as a sacred expression of the bond between a man and a woman. It is the means by which families are created and society itself is extended into the future. … We will resist the efforts of some to obtain government endorsement of homosexuality.”

Looking for a source, all references to the quote I can find point to a 1984 edition of Presidential Biblical Scorecard, a publication from the Biblical News Service. I can’t find any current website for this publication, but have contacted some people for leads about the accuracy of the quote. It may be that the quote is a paraphrase of Reagan’s perceived position.

One reason I wonder if the quote reflects what Reagan’s views were at the time is because he was instrumental in helping to defeat a California anti-gay ballot measure in 1978. Proposition 6, also called the Briggs Initiative after GOP state Senator John Briggs, would have forbidden schools from hiring gay teachers and allowed schools to dismiss teachers who promoted homosexuality.

I contacted David Balsiger, who ran the Presidential Biblical Scorecard at the time, and asked him if the quote came directly from Reagan, the campaign or was derived in some other fashion. Mr. Balsiger wrote back to say, “I do not seem to be able to find the quote” and then he asked me where it was in the publication. Since I don’t have it, I don’t know. And apparently, he doesn’t know either.

On August 17, 1984, the publishers of the Scorecard put out a press release that made a definite claim about the quote.

On homosexuality, a subject many had thought Reagan was intentionally avoiding since taking office, the president told the Scoreboard:

“In the Judeo-Christian tradition it (marital love) is the means by which husband and wife participate with God in the creation of a new human life.  In part, the erosion of these values has given way to a celebration of forms of sexual expression most reject.  We will resist the efforts of some to obtain government endorsement of homosexuality.”

Reagan’s position on homosexuality clearly distinguishes him from Walter Mondale, who is a frequent speaker at gay funding events and an endorser of the Gay Rights bill (S.430) before the U.S. Senate. The Democratic Party platform also incorporates a number of gay activist planks calling for federal legislation to legitimize homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle.

Now, the publisher cannot find the source of the quote.

Of course, I don’t know for certain what happened. However, there is some reason to doubt that Reagan made the quote or even knew it was being circulated. According to a September 20, 1984 report in the Baltimore Sun, Reagan’s campaign used the statement but Reagan might not have seen it.

WASHINGTON — In a new departure for a presidential candidate, Walter Mondale is making a strong but quiet effort to win the votes of homosexuals, a minority group that has become increasingly politicized in recent years. Mondale has appointed a member of his campaign staff, Sandra Gillis, as a full-time liaison to homosexual groups.

She says she’s the first aide to a presidential candidate ever assigned to deal with homosexuals — and that there are enough homosexuals in the country to ensure a Mondale victory. The Mondale effort contrasts sharply with that of President Reagan’s. Reagan and Bush do not have a liaison to homosexuals, and John Buckley, a campaign spokesman, said no consideration was ever given to such a position. Instead, the Reagan campaign has been circulating a statement by the president that is critical of homosexuals.

“We will resist the efforts of some to obtain government endorsement of homosexuality,” Reagan is quoted as saying. Actually, Reagan never said exactly that.

The statement was drafted by campaign officials in response to a questionnaire from a conservative Christian group.

Then, it was submitted to the White House, where it was approved as Reagan’s position. Gillis criticized the Reagan statement as irrelevant.

“If the issue was endorsement of a life style, we’d speak to it,” she said in an interview yesterday.

“But that’s not the issue … the position we maintain is one in favor of civil rights for all Americans.” Mondale backs a Senate bill that would ban discrimination against homosexuals in employment.

Even Mondale’s gay liaison did not want to talk morality at the time (“If the issue was endorsement of a life style, we’d speak to it…”), but she wanted to clarify that Mondale endorsed civil recognition of gays. And, according this article, Mondale believed his position was about the same as Reagan’s.

We are in the process of talking to every gay activist in the country.” Mondale, however, has emphasized his support for gay rights while campaigning, and Gillis said she did not know of “any specific events that are planned” to appeal to homosexuals. But the issue arose last Thursday when Mondale was asked at a Tupelo, Miss., appearance, why he supported “perversions” such as “gay rights.”

He answered: “I saw Reagan on a news conference a couple of months ago and someone said that about homosexuals.

He said, I wouldn’t discriminate against them.

That’s my position.

Does that draw a distinction between us?”

I have been unable to find any record of the Reagan news conference to which Mondale referred. Clearly, though, Mondale thought Reagan would not discriminate against gays. As I noted in my prior post on this subject, Reagan did not believe in discrimination, at least as it related to teaching jobs. Reagan was a pivotal figure in the 1978 defeat of the Briggs Initiative (Proposition 6) in CA. That ballot initiative would have forbid gays from holding teaching positions in public schools. Reagan opposed it and helped secure defeat of the proposition.

That the Baltimore Sun article reported on the quote indicates that it was circulated at the time but it is not clear at all to me that Reagan was aware of it. It doesn’t really sound like Reagan and his actions as California governor and even some as President (e.g., the gay couple to spend the night in the White House did so during the Reagan Presidency) seem to run counter to it.

So what would Ronald Reagan think of CPAC today? Not being a Reagan scholar, I can only guess, but I doubt he would boycott it.

Thanks to Kyle Mantyla for the Baltimore Sun reference.

Note: I just noticed that the question about gay rights put to Mondale came in Tupelo, MS, the home of the American Family Association. Not much has changed in Tupelo.

Bryan Fischer prefers European depravity to the native kind

I don’t know where to start, or even if I should, on this op-ed from Bryan Fischer.

Native Americans Morally Disqualified Themselves From the Land (now removed from the AFA website, but archived here.)

In all the discussions about the European settlement of the New World, one feature has been conspicuously absent: the role that the superstition, savagery and sexual immorality of native Americans played in making them morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil. 

International legal scholars have always recognized that sovereign control of land is legitimately transferred in at least three ways: settlement, purchase, and conquest. Europeans have to this day a legitimate claim on American soil for all three of those reasons.  

They established permanent settlements on the land, moving gradually from east to west, while Indian tribes remained relentlessly nomadic.

Much of the early territory in North American that came into possession of the Europeans came into their possession when the land was purchased from local tribes, Peter Minuit’s purchase of Manhattan being merely the first.

And the Europeans proved superior in battle, taking possession of contested lands through right of conquest. So in all respects, Europeans gained rightful and legal sovereign control of American soil. 

But another factor has rarely been discussed, and that is the moral factor.

Apparently, given Fischer’s analogy to “the Canaanites,” he believes Native Americans deserved their fate at the hands of the Europeans. This is absurd, of course, which even Fischer has to explain later in his rant.

Here is a moral factor for Mr. Fischer to expound upon: The Trail of Tears.

What happened on the Trail of Tears?

Federal Indian Removal Policy

Early in the 19th century, the United States felt threatened by England and Spain, who held land in the western continent. At the same time, American settlers clamored for more land. Thomas Jefferson proposed the creation of a buffer zone between U.S. and European holdings, to be inhabited by eastern American Indians. This plan would also allow for American expansion westward from the original colonies to the Mississippi River.

Between 1816 and 1840, tribes located between the original states and the Mississippi River, including Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles, signed more than 40 treaties ceding their lands to the U.S. In his 1829 inaugural address, President Andrew Jackson set a policy to relocate eastern Indians. In 1830 it was endorsed, when Congress passed the Indian Removal Act to force those remaining to move west of the Mississippi. Between 1830 and 1850, about 100,000 American Indians living between Michigan, Louisiana, and Florida moved west after the U.S. government coerced treaties or used the U.S. Army against those resisting. Many were treated brutally. An estimated 3,500 Creeks died in Alabama and on their westward journey. Some were transported in chains.

Those Native Americans who could pass for white did so to avoid the nearly 1000 mile trek across country. Many had to walk the entire distance. Families were uprooted from their homes. Many Native Americans had roots throughout the targeted areas and were not nomadic as Fischer claims. More from the Trail of Tears site:

In December 1835, the U.S. sought out this minority to effect a treaty at New Echota, Georgia. Only 300 to 500 Cherokees were there; none were elected officials of the Cherokee Nation. Twenty signed the treaty, ceding all Cherokee territory east of the Mississippi to the U.S., in exchange for $5 million and new homelands in Indian Territory.

More than 15,000 Cherokees protested the illegal treaty. Yet, on May 23, 1836, the Treaty of New Echota was ratified by the U.S. Senate – by just one vote.

“Many Days Pass and People Die Very Much”

Most Cherokees, including Chief John Ross, did not believe that they would be forced to move. In May 1838, Federal troops and state militias began the roundup of the Cherokees into stockades. In spite of warnings to troops to treat the Cherokees kindly, the roundup proved harrowing.

Families were separated-the elderly and ill forced out at gunpoint – people given only moments to collect cherished possessions. White looters followed, ransacking homesteads as Cherokees were led away.

Three groups left in the summer, traveling from present-day Chattanooga by rail, boat, and wagon, primarily on the Water Route. But river levels were too low for navigation; one group, traveling overland in Arkansas, suffered three to five deaths each day due to illness and drought.

Fifteen thousand captives still awaited removal. Crowding, poor sanitation, and drought made them miserable. Many died. The Cherokees asked to postpone removal until the fall, and to voluntarily remove themselves. The delay was granted, provided they remain in internment camps until travel resumed.

By November, 12 groups of 1,000 each were trudging 800 miles overland to the west. The last party, including Chief Ross, went by water. Now, heavy autumn rains and hundreds of wagons on the muddy route made roads impassable; little grazing and game could be found to supplement meager rations.

Two-thirds of the ill-equipped Cherokees were trapped between the ice-bound Ohio and Mississippi Rivers during January. As one survivor recalled, ” Long time we travel on way to new land. People feel bad when they leave Old Nation. Womens cry and make sad wails. Children cry and many men cry…but they say nothing and just put heads down and keep on go towards West. Many days pass and people die very much.”

Some drank stagnant water and succumbed to disease. One survivor told how his father got sick and died; then, his mother; then, one by one, his five brothers and sisters. “One each day. Then all are gone.”

By March 1839, all survivors had arrived in the west. No one knows how many died throughout the ordeal, but the trip was especially hard on infants, children, and the elderly. Missionary doctor Elizur Butler, who accompanied the Cherokees, estimated that over 4,000 died-nearly a fifth of the Cherokee population.

Is this moral? How Christian was this?

Many Christians opposed this policy and treatment at the time and yet here is a high profile christian celebrating the subjugation of native people. It appears that Mr. Fischer of the American Straight White Christian Family Association prefers the European-American depravity to the native kind.

UPDATE: As of 2/10, the Fischer article has been removed from the AFA website. He also removed it from another website but you can read it here in the Google cache and here permanently.

Christians protect praying Muslims in Egypt (Photo)

This from the twitter feed of Queen Noor of Jordan:

Where’s Bryan Fischer?

Note the Coptic cross on the wrist of this young man…

CNN seems to get this backwards, although perhaps the Muslims returned the favor.

[Update 10:00 a.m. in Cairo, 3:00 a.m. ET] Egyptian Coptic Christians are expected to gather at Tahrir square to pray for those who have lost their lives since the protests started. Muslim protesters said they will form a ring around the Christians to protect them during the service.

Rachel Maddow on David Kato’s murder

Rachel Maddow adds commentary to the controversy over David Kato’s murder.

Those close to Kato have told me that Kato did not pay prostitutes and that the scenario developing around him is implausible. If they are correct and Enock Nsuguba killed Kato for other reasons, I suppose a gay panic type defense might be a strategic move in order to avoid the hangman.

Maddow here may overemphasize the direct American influence on this bill. However, she certainly is correct that the rhetoric offered by Scott Lively and Caleb Brundidge (I leave out Don Schmierer because his talk included very little about reorientation and was nothing like Lively’s venom) was supportive to the plan of certain Ugandans to create the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Lively’s nuclear bomb cannot be wished away with confusing and hateful op-eds. The only productive stance by people who misled the Ugandan people is to repent and ask them to follow the example of Jesus when he prevented the mob from killing a women believed to be a sinner.

Police say David Kato was murdered over a “personal disagreement”

So says this Reuter’s report:

David Kato, one of the country’s most visible gay campaigners, was beaten to death with a hammer at his home on Thursday and died on the way to hospital.

Homosexuality is taboo in many African nations. It is illegal in 37 countries on the continent, including Uganda, and activists say few Africans are openly gay, fearing imprisonment, violence and loss of jobs.

Kato had been featured in an anti-gay newspaper in October that “outed” people it said were gay and called on the government to kill them. His photograph was published on the cover under the headline: “Hang Them.”

The activist said he had received death threats since the publication.

“The prime suspect, Nsubuga Enock, was arrested today at around 4pm when he went to visit his girlfriend,” police spokesman Vincent Ssetake told Reuters.

“He has confessed to the murder. It wasn’t a robbery and it wasn’t because Kato was an activist. It was a personal disagreement but I can’t say more than that.”

Currently, there is no objective way to know what that disagreement was about, if indeed that is accurate. Many of Kato’s Ugandan friends tell me privately that they doubt this narrative and are also seeking to find the truth.

UPDATES:

CNN (Nsubuga was a gardener) and AFP (Nsubuga was a prostitute) add detail and suggest that Nsugaba was hired for sexual reasons. As one of those providing comment said, Kato had been accused before of rape. Nothing came of those charges which are suspicious due to their source. At this point, I am still withholding my opinion about the plausibility of the narrative which has developed.

Police arrest suspect in murder of David Kato

According to the BBC, Ugandan police have arrested Enock Nsubuga in connection with the murder of David Kato.

Ugandan police have arrested a man over last week’s murder of David Kato, a gay activist who sued a local newspaper which outed him as homosexual.

Police say Enock Nsubuga, the second person arrested in connection with the killing, is their main suspect.

They deny that Mr Kato was killed because of his sexuality and that initial inquiries point to robbery.

It is not a good sign when the police think they know the motive before they arrest the suspect.  An Enock Nsubuga has this Facebook profile (this Enock likes his beer) but I don’t know if this is the same person.

NJ abortion clinic mentioned in Planned Parenthood sting has troubled history

In the Planned Parenthood expose video revealed today, clinic manager Amy Woodruff (who has now lost her job) refers to the Metropolitan Medical Associates (the actor on the video says Metropolitan Medical Association but this appears to be the same place) as a place where teens can get an abortion with minimal oversight and no identification.

After being down for at least a couple of days, the MMA website is now working. One may also find a link to the clinic at NewJerseyabortion.com, a portal that also links to Women’s Choice Medical Center in Hackensack. The Women’s Choice Medical Center is a smaller clinic than MMA and does abortions for women who are under 14 weeks along. MMA does abortions for women under 24 weeks, according to a source at the clinic.

Recently, the organization has had some medical and regulatory problems. In 2007, the clinic was temporarily shut down due to a failed inspection of the facility following the death of a patient. The patient died as the result of a failed abortion. The inspection revealed dirty and unsafe conditions.

After the incident was reported [the death of the patient], state inspectors found dirty forceps, rusty crochet hooks used to remove IUDs and a quarter-inch of dark red “dirt and debris” under an examining table in the Engle Street clinic.

The state let the facility reopen in March 2007.

Regarding the claim on the Planned Parenthood video that MMA is an easier place for a teen to get an abortion, I note that the front page of the clinic website promotes the fact that one does not need parental consent in NJ. Most of the pictures seem to be of young teens. On the what to expect page, I could find nothing spelling out if there are any age restrictions. There was also an online discount coupon with a restriction on one use per person.

Planned Parenthood video generates controversy (UPDATED)

UPDATE: The clinic manager at the center of this controversy, Amy Woodruff, has been fired. Planned Parenthood condemned the manager’s actions but also had harsh words for Live Action, the group that conducted the sting.

….

CBS News covers the controversy over the Planned Parenthood video released today showing a PP clinic manager referring a man posing as a pimp to an abortion clinic where underage abortions can be secured, and appearing to help the actors skirt the law.

An anti-abortion rights activist today released an edited undercover video she says exposes Planned Parenthood for “aiding and abetting the sex trafficking of underage girls” and “covering up sex abuse.”

The latest release follows similar undercover video releases from young conservative activists, most notably the James O’Keefe-led ACORN videos. And like those videos, which were later revealed to have been selectively edited, this one has immediately generated controversy.

The video is below. By the way, the Live Action group has no association with James O’Keefe. The unedited footage is here and here.

The video does not seem to be heavily edited, especially in crucial parts where the clinic manager refers the sex workers to Metropolitan Medical Association and where she advises the pimp how to get underage girls services without “getting anybody in trouble.”

Planned Parenthood has confirmed that Amy Woodruff is their employee, according to CBS News:

Planned Parenthood said in a statement that the action taken by the employee as portrayed in the new video “is not consistent with Planned Parenthood’s practices, and is under review.”

The CEO of Planned Parenthood New Jersey added that “the behavior of our employee, as portrayed on the video, if accurate, violates PPCNJ policies, as well as our core values of protecting the welfare of minors and complying with the law, and appropriate action is being taken.”

Woodruff certainly does seem to be operating in contrast to what she believes other staffers would do so I do not dismiss Planned Parenthood’s statement lightly. I will watch closely to what “appropriate action” PP takes.

Given that PP has acknowledged that this manager is one of their employees, I don’t see how supporters of PP can do anything but condemn the actions portrayed here. This incident, along with the clear lack of regulation of abortion clinics recently uncovered in PA and DE, makes a convincing case for more stringent oversight of abortion clinics. As noted in the Philadelphia grand jury report, legitimate operators will not mind this.