Peter LaBarbera has such a sad right now, y’all.
He seems to be genuinely burned by the fact that he’s being held accountable for his words and deeds over the past years, his Americans For Truth [sic] website having been newly classified as a hate site by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The designation, of course, was a long time coming, and as Jeremy Hooper has been reminding us, this is not the first time Peter LaBarbera’s dishonesty and vitriol has been recognized by the SPLC:
Back when Peter was the executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, Pete gave what the SPLC called a “full-throated endorsement of [Paul] Cameron” when he, in a piece on the discredited researcher’s work, said: “Paul Cameron’ work has been targeted for ridicule by homosexual activists, and he’ been demonized by the left”…”but this should not discount his findings.“). This endorsement of Cameron earned the IFI a place on the SPLC’s dubious “hate groups” list in the anti-gay category: Solely because of Peter’s actions. After current IFIer Laurie Higgins (a major LaBarbera pal) took down the offending piece and pressed the SPLC for removal, the civil rights group did eventually remove IFI from their list. Because as we said: The SPLC’s threshold is not willy-nilly, designed add anyone who does anything anti-gay. A group or person has to do something particular, and in the case of IFI it was Pete’s action that did it.
Right. And Peter STILL defends Paul Cameron. Not only that, but he also has defended the perpetrators of the anti-gay genocide legislation in Uganda, pleading that those of us who have shone a light on the goings-on in that country are afflicted with “activist arrogance.”
But you see, this is Peter’s game: He says godawful things, he maligns an entire community of people based on trumped up accusations against a few, he lies and tells his readers (whoever they are) that being gay, itself, is a danger to society, etc., and then when he’s called it on it, he cries “But I’m just a nice boy who loves Jesus!”
Give us all, collectively, a break, Peter.
Now let’s go through his post and see what he had to say. As I mentioned in the headline, Peter thinks we at TWO should be on the list too, based on well, one time Wayne yelled on a megaphone, you see, and this is just as bad as the Holocaust, because…
Energetic ideological debate is one thing ‚Äî and pointed and colorful rhetoric flows in both directions (it’ not called a “Culture War” for nothing) ‚Äî but I can’t even imagine screaming through a bullhorn into the window of a “gay” church. Yet this is precisely what homosexual activist Wayne Besen did in Boston last year ‚Äî to protest an ex-gay seminar designed for pastors. Are you investigating his group, Truth Wins Out, as a potential “hate” group? If not, why not?
Oh, he’s playing so innocent, and so cute with the facts. It’s been covered here before, but since Peter posts his favorite picture of Wayne Besen In Shorts With a Megaphone once a week or so, and since he never tells the story of what was actually happening there, let’s just cover it again. This is from our press release on the event, last year:
Truth Wins Out joined local Boston GLBT advocates to demonstrate against Exodus International, which hosted a training seminar on Tuesday to teach people to “pray away the gay.” The protest was held at the site of the “ex-gay” symposium — the Park St. Church.
“We thank Join the Impact MA for coordinating an effective response to the damaging misinformation Exodus International peddles to vulnerable people,” said TWO Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Speaking up and educating the public is the first step in exposing the ex-gay myth. I was honored to be part of this bold action.”
The protest, at one point, moved to the burial grounds of some of America’ Founding Fathers, which was next to the church where the seminar was held. The radical, anti-gay organization, Massachusetts Family Institute (FMI) filmed a poorly shot video of the protest. Interestingly, their own video shows that protesters had not “desecrated” the graveyard, as they had stated in a press release.
“It is amazing that people who claim to represent ethics and morality would not only lie — but capture their dishonesty on videotape,” said Besen. “What the Massachusetts Family did was reprehensible and they should be ashamed of their blatant lies.”
Indeed, MassResistance (ANOTHER SPLC hate group — nice company, Pete keeps, isn’t it?) reported the protest in utter hysterics:
Tuesday afternoon, April 28, several major homosexual activist figures, including a prominent state employee, led a screaming demonstration to terrorize a downtown Boston church while it was holding a peaceful religious training event inside. Using a bullhorn, they illegally trampled through an adjoining Revolutionary War-era cemetery in order to be directly outside the church’s windows. Despite numerous apparent violations of the law, the Boston Police talked with them but refused to make any arrests.
And the Boston Police Department went right along with it. There were obvious violations of the law, including at the very least (1) a clear violation of the Massachusetts Civil Rights statute (2) holding a demonstration (in the graveyard!) without a permit; and (3) creating a public disturbance. But the one uniformed Boston Police officer and two plainclothes officers who were there made no effort to arrest anyone. The uniformed officer asked them a few questions and went on his way (see our video). The Boston Police Department told us yesterday that there were no arrests in the incident.
Uh…huh. No arrests were made. But MassResistance (again, a certified hate group) gnashed their teeth, beat their breasts, and wailed that it was all a conspiracy, because the Boston Police went along with it! Right. Everyone is out to get them, surely.
Or could it just be that protests are not illegal on public property, and that it was non-violent, so the police had no reason to arrest anyone?
Note that these hysterical hate groups accused the gay protesters of “desecrating” a cemetery, and let what they’re really saying sink in: that the mere presence of gay people on public property is, itself, desecration. Does that sound like a hate group to you? Because it sounds like a hate group to me.
So, to sum up, the protest had the following characteristics:
1. Was legal.
2. There was no church service going on, but instead a meeting of leaders from Exodus, who had just come back, incidentally, from the anti-gay conference in Uganda where Scott Lively (ALSO on the hate group list) stated that gays caused the Rwandan genocide.
3. Those protesting were on public property.
4. No arrests were made.
Oh, by the way, would you like to know what Wayne was saying into that megaphone that day? “Uganda!”
Considering what’s happened over the past year with “Uganda,” would you say Truth Wins Out is looking more hateful or less hateful than the man who is currently bitching about being recognized as a grade-A hatemonger?
Anyway, that’s that. Let’s look at the outline of Pete’s letter to Mark Potok of the SPLC.
Playing nice nice:
Am I and Americans For Truth opposed to homosexual behavior and any activism seeking to advance homosexuality/bisexuality/transsexuality as normative and acceptable? Absolutely. Do I “hate” people? Not at all. In fact, I am constantly responding to (often vicious) emails from pro-gay activists who write in to AFTAH via our website with my message that we can disagree with hating each other. That is the essence of civility and true tolerance, IMO [in my opinion] ‚Äî i.e., tolerating opinions with which we disagree while continuing to aggressively debate our viewpoints.
Neglects to mention that he posts the meanest letters he gets as a way to broadbrush LGBT people as “the reel haturs,” yet never posts these nice conversations he supposedly has.
I don’t expect you to sympathize with AFTAH’ views, but from a practical standpoint, you must know that your credibility is waning among people whom the SPLC needs to reach to stay viable. America is a center-right country (perhaps many liberals would say centrist) ‚Äî and while you may have success in fund-raising by reaching out predominantly to the Left, you cannot build credibility with unfair, politicized attacks on religious conservatives that appeal to base, uninformed stereotypes.
Oh yes, that’s right. Peter is so concerned for the credibility of the SPLC. Additionally, his suggestion that he’s just like the other evangelical groups who oppose LGBT people is asinine. There’s a reason Focus on the Family is not on the list, while AFTAH and MassResistance are. Focus is obnoxious, and they play cute with the truth, but they don’t tend to cross the line into the sort of bilious hatred Peter spews out on a daily basis. (Do I need to provide a corroborating link for that, or do you just want to set up a Google alert with his name and see what the hell he says every time he gets on the computer?)
As Pam Spaulding would say, protect your keyboards for this next part, folks:
What about the hateful rhetorical attacks against me and AFTAH and nasty shibboleths that come routinely from the Left? “Porno Pete”? Honestly, this is the type of malicious, hateful slander I experience on a daily basis (it is analogous in its ugliness to Phelps’ use of the term “Fag”).
OMG. He’s comparing “Porno Pete,” a silly name that we sometimes use, because “Pete” has an insane predilection for posting albums full of photographs of leathersex events (as a way to smear, again, all LGBT people) which are decidedly Not Safe For Work, all the time, to the term “fag,” which, as Jeremy Hooper points out, is used in virtually every gay bashing attack:
The word “f*g” is among the most heinous on the landscape, used in most every gay bashing to ever occur. To relate it to a silly web nickname that applies to a supposed affection for pornography (something that many would gladly own up to)? And to compare those who use the silly name to the Phelps family from Westboro Baptist, who protest people’s funerals and tell the parents that their child is burning in hell?!?! That is completely out-of-line!
Peter and his pal Matt are trying with all of their might to spin the script so that gay activists are the “haters.” It is a completely futile exercise. Not a single one of us who fight for equality want to be doing this. We do this because folks like Pete have demanded it of us, and we’re scared of where we’d be if we didn’t resist the onslaught! The on the socially conservative side declared this so-called “culture war” against our inclusion in the spectrum of normalcy, which puts them in the aggressor seat from day one. Some folks like Peter, who so things like personally attack people’s weddings, have just taken it to a whole other level!
Uh yeah. And if you don’t know what Jeremy is talking about when he says “personally attack people’s weddings,” it was Jeremy’s wedding, and Peter sent him a personal attack e-mail the week of. Click the clicky to read about it.
Peter needs to get over it. He earned the nickname “Porno Pete,” and a silly nickname is not “hatred.” It’s a silly nickname. Let us know when it’s used as a slur against an entire group of, um, Porno Petes.
Anyway, Peter also wants the SPLC to investigate Joe.My.God as a hate group, because Joe makes fun of Peter sometimes. Oh, and also ACT-UP, which really wouldn’t have had to exist if the Reagan administration and social conservatives hadn’t been absolutely evil in their misinformation and neglect of the HIV/AIDS issue as it arose suddenly in the ’80s.
In fact, over the years there have been numerous assaults by pro-homosexual militants against people of faith and churches ‚Äî do you recall the attack against Hamilton Square Baptist Church in San Francisco in 1993 in which pro-gay activists were literally pounding on the doors of the church? What about ACT UP’ invasion of St. Patrick’ Cathedral in New York City in 1989, or more recent attempts by homosexual activists to intimidate supporters of Prop 8 and traditional marriage?
Goddammit, does Peter even know what the word “assault” means? Because banging on the doors of a church doesn’t leave a trail of blood. We on the pro-LGBT/pro-equality/pro-human side can, unfortunately, provide a list a mile long of LGBT people who have been beaten and murdered simply for who they are. And Porno Pete is going to bitch about the fact that a couple of church services were disrupted?
There’s a bit of wishful thinking as Peter brings his letter to a close:
Rest assured that SPLC’ reckless mischaracterization of AFTAH has touched off deep resentment within the pro-family, conservative community.
Actually, no. Peter is upset that there is very little resentment among the part of the greater “pro-family” community that retains a semblance of respect in this country. Peter has seen over the past year, up close, that he’s unwanted in his own movement, that he embarrasses his movement. Peter and his friends were shoved to the sidelines during the anti-gay fight in Maine, because they were deemed too embarrassing to be associated with. In fact, that was probably Yes on 1’s smartest play. That they misrepresented their own views in an effort to appear un-hateful to Mainers, that they shoved their most embarrassing players (Peter, Mike Heath, etc.) into Siberia, may be why they were able to inch over the top. It’s no longer socially acceptable in this country to espouse the kinds of views Peter LaBarbera emits onto his keyboard every day. Peter is upset because he knows that being on the SPLC list pushes him even further into Siberia from his own movement.
But he deserves the honor. Aside from Matt Barber (who’s probably not too far away from being on the list himself, but I won’t conjecture), the only people in the “pro-family” movement who will even have Peter are the others on the hate group list. He’s in the company he deserves, and in the bed he’s made for himself.
That’s why he’s literally begging to be taken off the list. Not only is his zealous hatred of gay people passionate, but it’s also his livelihood.
But the fact that Peter can’t control himself enough, can’t restrain his own hatred, his lies, his fake victimization — none of that is our fault. It’s not the SPLC’s fault. It’s not Joe Jervis’s fault. It’s not Jeremy Hooper’s fault. It’s not Wayne Besen’s fault. It sure as hell isn’t my fault.
It’s Peter’s fault.
UPDATE: Joe Jervis has also responded to Peter’s desire for Joe.My.God to also be on the hate group list:
LaBarbera clearly doesn’t like my near-daily habit of “smearing” Christian conservatives by quoting their idiocy verbatim. They hang themselves by their own words, Petey, and I rarely need to do more than provide a photo and a headline. If that’s hate, you need to speak to my team of writers: Matt Barber, Tony Perkins, Brian Brown, Harry Jackson, Pat Robertson, James Dobson….and YOU.