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Republicans’ convention targeted by atheists and gays

Republicans’ convention targeted by atheists and gays

When delegates arrive next week in Cleveland, Ohio, for the Republican Party’s national convention, they will be be confronted by two giant billboards calling on them to stop being so damned religious and homophobic.

According to this report, the first billboard, above, was erected by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and the second by Planting Peace, the non-profit organisation behind The Equality House, a rainbow-coloured abode located across the street from Westboro Baptist Church, in Topeka, Kansas.

The billboard, below, shows an illustration of Donald Trump poised to kiss Texas senator Ted Cruz beside a caption that reads “Love trumps Hate. End homophobia.”
GOPbillboard

In this report, Aaron Jackson, President of Planting Peace, said the billboard is a direct response to the Republican party and the messages of hate it sends to marginalised groups – particularly the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

What Donald, Ted and the Republican party either fail to realize, or realize and just don’t seem to care about, is that their words and actions toward our LGBT family – especially LGBT children – have meaning and impact. LGBT children hear these messages telling them they are nothing but second class citizens and are left feeling broken or ‘less than’.

The proposed GOP platform, which will come up for ratification by delegates at next week’s convention, is one of the most anti-LGBT in history. According to CNN:

It opposes same-sex marriage rights, supports efforts to restrict bathrooms to individuals’ birth gender and protects businesses who refuse services to individuals based on religious objections to gay marriage.

Jackson said:

When children are dying because of negative messages, then it’s time to change the message. Planting Peace calls for the immediate change in the Republican party platform with regard to our LGBT family and LGBT rights. Never again shall a negative, hateful message be uttered in the name of ‘religious freedom.’ We are calling for action that brings full, fundamental rights to the LGBT community, and a narrative that empowers LGBT people to live and love freely.

Planting Peace has sponsored other political billboards in the past, many calling out political bigotry surrounding rights for LGBT individuals. The organisation previously sponsored a billboard in North Carolina blasting the anti-queer House Bill 2, another in Mississippi in response to the state’s “religious liberty” legislation and a third in the hometown of anti-same sex marriage clerk Kim Davis.

What delegates will NOT be seeing is a pro-Christian message advertising the DVD release of God’s Not Dead 2. That’s because the billboard company, Orange Barrel Media, may have considered the the message it conveys needlessly provocative.

The 32 x 60 foot sign promoting this shitty little abomination of a movie would have been draped down one side of a large building in downtown Cleveland and was to feature a picture of Melissa Joan Hart, who plays a teacher in trouble for invoking scripture in the classroom. Alongside the image of the actress was the text:

I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.

Orange Barrel told Pure Flix, the distributor, it didn’t like the “judged by God” message, calling it “too political” and “way too incendiary”, according to emails obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. On another occasion, insiders said the billboard company complained that even the title of the film was considered problematic.

18 responses to “Republicans’ convention targeted by atheists and gays”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    That’s right – god isn’t dead. To be dead he would have had to exist in the first place. As such, ‘God isn’t actually anything 2’ might have been a much more accurate title for the movie.

  2. Laura Roberts says:

    I wish Orange Barrel hadn’t refused the Christian billboard. It really makes me angry when billboard companies refuse relatively benign atheist messages for precisely the same reason. Refusing a message on the grounds of “controversy” is an affront to free speech no matter whose message is being refused.

    Plus, had they allowed it, it would stand (however briefly) as a monument to just how desperate religious conservatives have become in recent years. The very title of the movie conjures memories of the very worst of Christian cinema — it’s pathetic. My guess is, the billboard would outlast that movie’s theater run. Too bad the irony won’t get its day in the sun.

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    “Never again shall a negative, hateful message be uttered in the name of ‘religious freedom.’”

    I support freedom of speech and I oppose this goal.

    “words and actions toward our LGBT family – especially LGBT children – have meaning and impact.”

    There are no such thing as magic words that force people to harm themselves.

    My freethought accommodates people who disagree with me. I know I might be wrong sometimes. When words and sounds and images are banned by law (and law is always and only backed by threats of physical violence) then freethought dies.

  4. Broga says:

    The Christian bigots no longer get everything their own way. The challenges grow.

  5. AgentCormac says:

    Just to keep things moving on a slow Friday evening, here’s one of those tragic-yet-revealing stories from a few years back about a disabled woman who went on a healing pilgrimage to Lourdes and came back with her left leg broken in three places and her right leg broken in another. Irony, anybody? Anyway, sorry for going OT.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1298252/Sick-woman-went-Lourdes-cure-cerebral-palsy-returns-broken-legs.html

  6. Broga says:

    @AgentCormac: “A devout Roman Catholic, she had travelled to Lourdes several times hoping for a miracle healing.”

    I wonder how many times she would have travelled to Lourdes? The racket is so good that even after going to Lourdes several times they keep going to waste money I am sure they can ill afford. Has this sad experience left the relatives still devout RCs?

  7. barriejohn says:

    The reasons that Orange Barrel give for banning the banner are laughable. They’re making rationalists look as precious as the religious.

  8. CoastalMaineBird says:

    AgentCormac: Linkee no workee..

  9. Laura Roberts says:

    @TrevorBlake: “‘words and actions toward our LGBT family – especially LGBT children – have meaning and impact.’ There are no such thing as magic words that force people to harm themselves.”

    Sorry, have to call bullshit on that one Trevor. Verbal abuse of children does indeed have a lasting impact that may lead some to commit suicide. No, they’re not being “forced” to kill themselves anymore than suicide bombers are “forced” to do what they do, but the influences and the results are just as predictable and devastating (see, e.g., D’Augelli et al., “Predicting the Suicide Attempts of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth”, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 2005). Full disclosure, verbal abuse is not as predictive of suicide as physical or sexual abuse (e.g., Joiner et al., “Childhood physical and sexual abuse and lifetime number of suicide attempts: A persistent and theoretically important relationship”, Behaviour Research and Therapy, 2007) but all forms of abuse are unnecessary and damaging. And as often as not, stem from perverse religious dogma.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Laura: I agree. There are a number of oft-rehearsed arguments that really get under my skin, and the “sticks and stones” one is one of them. It’s just not true; verbal abuse DOES have consequences, especially for the young and the vulnerable. The “absolute freedom of speech” one is another; it’s far too simplistic, and life – as we are constantly reminding the religiots – just isn’t like that. I’m a liberal, but that means that I believe that the state needs to set boundaries to protect and balance people’s rights. We won’t always get it right, but we all know, as in economics, what a free-for-all means!

  11. AgentCormac says:

    @CoastalMaineBird
    Linkee workee fine for meee

  12. Daz says:

    @TrevorBlake

    Sorry to dogpile, but I think, as do Laura and barriejohn, that you’re wrong on this point.

    Stripping your statement down to its basics, I don’t understand how you can view speech as both an effective tool which can be used to persuade people into this or that viewpoint, and an ineffective tool which cannot be used to do any such thing. It seems a paradoxical position to take.

  13. Gill Kerry says:

    Agent Cormac, even more ironic is that the woman died shortly after. So that cure worked then. And now her sisters are sueing for loads of dosh. So they will emerge smelling of roses

  14. Trevor Blake says:

    Laura and BarrieJohn: thank you for your words. Do you have an explanation for how most people can hear cruel words and not experience lasting harm, not kill themselves, not hurt others? My explanation is the cruel words in themselves do not cause harm. There might be other explanations.

    If cruel words and terrible conditions made people kill themselves or harm others, wouldn’t 100% of the Nazi death camp survivors killed themselves or become murderers? And why do some people who didn’t hear those cruel words kill themselves?

    I don’t know the cruel words you’ve heard and you don’t know the cruel words I’ve heard, as children or adults. We both know we didn’t kill ourselves. Why? I say the cruel words in themselves aren’t the reason it happens.

    To Daz: thank you as well. Free speech can indeed be weak, but lack of free speech is always strong. Lack of free speech always works while free speech only sometimes does. What lack of free speech succeeds in doing is less of what I want than what free speech sometimes does. So I side with free speech, even if it fails most of the time.

  15. barriejohn says:

    Trevor Blake: What a load of rubbish!

  16. Daz says:

    @TrevorBlake

    “Do you have an explanation for how most people can hear cruel words and not experience lasting harm, not kill themselves, not hurt others?”

    Isn’t it obvious? Not all people are the same. Some abusers are simply better at what they do than are others. Some abuse victims are, for whatever reason, more able than others to withstand psychological abuse through the luck of having an innate ability to do so and/or because of ameliorating factors in other parts of their lives.

    Frankly, “It doesn’t harm me therefore it can’t hurt you” is extremely simplistic and completely lacking in empathy. Most abuse—especially domestic abuse—is not simply a single beating or a single iteration of some cruel words, and I’m actually quite shocked that an obviously intelligent person such as yourself seems to be so ignorant of the subject that you are able to casually dismiss it as a mere “hearing of cruel words.”

    “Free speech can indeed be weak, but lack of free speech is always strong. Lack of free speech always works while free speech only sometimes does. What lack of free speech succeeds in doing is less of what I want than what free speech sometimes does. So I side with free speech, even if it fails most of the time.”

    Whut‽

    How can the restriction of free speech be a powerful tool, if the speech it restricts is not itself a potentially powerful tool?

    Also I note that you use caveats such as “can” and “most of the time” when referring to the alleged lack of power of speech to affect others. You, yourself, are tacitly admitting, by such phrasing, that sometimes speech does have powerful effects.

    And you seem to forget that it was words—”Christ-killers,” “impure,” “war-profiteers”—which led, ultimately, to the existence of those Nazi death-camps you mention.

  17. Trevor Blake says:

    BarrieJohn: I have been wrong before. Perhaps I am wrong now.

    Daz: thank you for your words. Daz wrote I’m actually quite shocked that an obviously intelligent person such as yourself seems to be so ignorant of the subject that you are able to casually dismiss it as a mere “hearing of cruel words.” Daz, I wrote “I don’t know the cruel words you’ve heard and you don’t know the cruel words I’ve heard, as children or adults.” It’s true. You don’t know what I’ve heard, and you also don’t know what I’ve experienced. You do not, full stop. If you’re ever in Portland I’ll take you out for a beer and tell you a story or two. Until then, remember that just because we disagree does not mean I’m automatically guaranteed to be ignorant of the subject.

    Daz wrote: How can the restriction of free speech be a powerful tool, if the speech it restricts is not itself a potentially powerful tool? In the same way a dripping faucet might leak out a tiny, tiny bit of life-giving water, but a closed faucet definitely will leak out no water at all. In the same way ten million scientific experiments will end in failure, and one will end in success. In the same way a candle is a small bit of light, but darkness is darkness. In the same way “some abuse victims are, for whatever reason, more able than others to withstand psychological abuse through the luck of having an innate ability to do so and/or because of ameliorating factors in other parts of their lives.”

  18. Daz says:

    @Trevor Blake

    “If you’re ever in Portland I’ll take you out for a beer and tell you a story or two.”

    With respect; please don’t. I have enough trouble with my own nightmares. To give you some idea of my perspective, the physical aspect of my abuse was bad enough that at the age of nine years old I seriously believed I would be killed before my tenth birthday; and the verbal/psychological abuse—the topic under discussion—was roughly on a par with the physical. Still an’ all, if you do have personal experience of abuse, your apparent inability to understand how others’ abuse might affect them is, if anything, even more puzzling to me.

    As to the matter of free speech and restrictions thereof, I don’t see how your analogies are analogous.