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Republican Leaders Beat War Drums in Congress to Demonize Gays

Cokie Roberts: Gay Bashing Divides GOP and the Nation

Pat Robertson Suggests Florida Forest Fires Have Divine Origin
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By Jack Nichols

Three prominent Republican politicians last week fired their party's first strategic electoral shots, declaring war on Gay and Lesbian America. Clearly, these shots were intended as a revival attempt for macho-code politics, a WCW-style declaration of all-out political war against same-sex love and affection.

Thursday, four more GOP congressmen from Alabama, Texas, Indiana and Colorado, maneuvered to overturn the Clinton Administration's May 28 executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colorado) introduced "the Hefley amendment", tacked to the Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill, with the intention of making gay men and lesbians vulnerable to job losses without recourse. hefley.gif - 58.54 K
Rep. Joel Hefley

But the bigots' political ploys seem to becoming more obvious each day to mainstream America. Newspapers across the nation have called for a House vote about which Republicans are stalling because they're afraid the highly-qualified philanthropist James Hormel will be too easily confirmed as America's first openly gay Ambassador.

"The Republicans are not listening to the people. Americans are tired of seeing their neighbors beat up -- on the streets and in the Chambers of Congress." said DNC Executive Committee Member and Chair of DNC Gay and Lesbian American Caucus, Jean O'Leary. "The public wants more from their leaders-safe streets, good schools, affordable health care and a place where all Americans -- including gays and lesbians -- have equal opportunity for success and happiness."

"I am sickened by the determination of the Republican Party to continue bashing gay Americans," said Democratic National Chair Steve Grossman, "What they forget is that we are living in an America where 80 percent of the public believes that citizens should not be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation." [Pollster - the Tarrance Group, 1997]

"This Republican Party is getting out of hand. They are unwilling to pass legislation to strengthen public education, to secure a patient's bill of rights, or to keep kids away from cigarettes" said DNC General Chair Roy Romer, "but they are sure willing to deny hard working men and women equal opportunity on the job."

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ABC News' Cokie Roberts
"The GOPs golden oldies (once used to stir election-time passions) don't work so well anymore," wrote ABC-TV's Sunday Morning News co-host Cokie Roberts, with her husband, Steve. "Attacking Democrats as wasteful spenders falls flat in the face of budget surpluses. The embers of anti-communism, always ripe for a good stirring, have grown cold."

Mr. And Mrs. Roberts explained Wednesday in their New York Daily News column: "The strategy of some Republican leaders is now clear. They intend to make gay-bashing a central part of their campaign this fall."

Deploring the behavior of Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, and Texas GOP state party spokesman Robert Black for having made anti-gay statements that are "much worse" than crass, the Roberts' wrote of anti-gay Republicans: "Their cynical decision to demonize gays is meanspirited and un-American…They deserve to be repudiated."

The four latest Republican congressmen maneuvering to institutionalize anti-gay prejudices and gay and lesbian job-loss fears, have written a "Dear Colleague" letter asking fellow members of Congress to support the new Hefley amendment. The propaganda in this letter, according to the Human Rights Campaign, is enveloped in "a panoply of untruths."

It is signed by House Majority Whip, Tom Delay (Texas), Joel Hefley (Colorado), Joe Aderholt (Alabama) and John Hostettler (Indiana).

"The GOP leadership is escalating its crusade against equality for gay Americans," The Human Rights Campaign announced. There is, says HRC, "a barrage of attacks against Gay Americans intensifying as the extreme right's grip on the GOP leadership tightens."

What kinds of extreme-right grips are the Roberts' and the Human Rights Campaign talking about? First and foremost, those of the religious-political fronts and financial empires run by Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Gary Bauer.

Pat Robertson was not to be outdone by four anti-gay congressmen in his bid for media attention Thursday .While raging fires engulfed the Florida Peninsula , the self-congratulatory Christian Coalition top-man claimed credit on the "700 Club" as an accomplished plague-predictor.

Expanding on his June 8 remarks about Orlando's being too gay-friendly, Robertson had first claimed such friendliness might easily result in hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist bombs "and possibly a meteor".

Mr. Roberston's Thursday "explanation" for the current bacon-ization of the Sunshine State again brought forward the issue of certain gay-donated rainbow flags— those flying with the City Beautiful's approval on downtown Orlando streets. The multi-colored flags, he believes, are capable of eliciting Old Testament style plagues, the quirky behaviors of a God of wrath.

"And you know," he said, "as I've been reading and praying, we had quite a flap the other day when we were talking about that gay pride day in Orlando and everybody laughed, but nevertheless, here's what I saw in the Bible…"

Robertson noted that the Florida fires have often been caused by lightening. He cited Biblical prophecy. Quoting from Revealtion 8:7, Robertson said, " 'There was an angel who sounded' it said, 'his trumpet and there came hail and fire'—and, of course, fire is lightening—'and it was hurled down upon the earth'…….And that's exactly what's happening."

Quoting from another passage in the Bible, Robertson said people must 'Turn from their wicked ways" and pray to bring rain and stop the fires. He urged city councils, mayors and religious leaders to declare days of fasting and prayer.

"Pat Robertson just doesn't get it," said Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. "Respect for diversity is not wicked. It is deplorable that Robertson is using the tragedy of these fires to promote his religious and political agenda."

" 'Homo is the biggest no no,' is the main social rule in Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition , and this loony tuner and those like him have infected the leadership of the Republican Party with the same weird cry," said gay activist Bob Kunst.

Robertson's anti-gay Christian Coalition, with its powerful influences on Republican political circles, works closely with other anti-gay zealots such as those from the anti-gay 'Focus on the Family' (James Dobson) and the anti-gay 'Family Research Institute' (Gary Bauer).