Pam Spaulding

The gay-bashing fundie caravan heads to Florida

Filed By Pam Spaulding | August 17, 2007 8:42 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Media, Politics
Tags: Family Impact Summit, Florida, fundamentalists

Oh boy, you folks down there in the Sunshine State better be prepared for the fundie invasion ahead. The best and brightest of the professional right-wing fundamentalist fearmongerer set are coming to "inform and empower involved Christian citizenship," according to the event's web site.

Tampa will host the Family Impact Summit, which will feature Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, failed Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer, the American Family Association's Don Wildmon, the Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land, Katherine Harris (just when we thought we'd seen the last of her!), Ohio vote vacuumer Ken Blackwell, Bob Knight of the Media Research Center, as well as "ex-gay" promoters Nancy Heche (actress Anne's mom), and the "ex-gay-for-pay" President of Exodus International, Alan Chambers.
There will be no fewer than six panels on homosexuality (Homosexuality & Ministry, Homosexuality & Youth, and the Homosexual Agenda are covered on Saturday and Sunday). Ah, our friend Bishop Harry ("Obama's misinformed") Jackson is in that motley crew.

As Right Wing Watch reports:

In between the gay-bashing, there will also be panels on "Christian Citizenship" and "Community Decency," as well as keynote addresses from Bauer, Perkins, Ken Blackwell, and Harry Jackson. What you won't find at this summit, as of yet, is GOP presidential candidates - even though most of them are reportedly scheduled to be attending the "Values Voter Debate" in Fort Lauderdale on September 17, which is being hosted by a separate, but not mutually exclusive, group of influential right-wing leaders.

The debate is being sponsored by the people who brought us the "Values Voters' Contract With Congress," which was itself launched at Vision America's "War on Christian and Values Voters Conference" in 2006 and supported by right-wing stalwarts such as Phyllis Schlafly, Alan Keyes, Lou Sheldon, Janet Folger, D. James Kennedy, Rod Parsley, and others.

You can watch the promotional video here. The conference organizers have made sure to provide travel pointers to "clean hotels" that are free of in-room, pay-per-view TV porn.

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Michael Bedwell | August 17, 2007 7:24 PM

I’m sure Pam is well aware of all of this, but for those who aren’t, Florida is a popular pit stop for such events. And Katherine Harris and Ft. Lauderdale’s Official Psycho, excuse me, mayor, aren’t the only religionist snakes spreading poison throughout the sunshine state. Anita Bryant may long since have stopped leading them in choruses of “Where the Peaceful Orange Juice Flows,” but Florida is overflowing with professional homohaters connected with the national antigay industry.

Numero Uno for years was the Rev. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian church in Fort Lauderdale, mentioned above. Last year, my friend, Miami’s Freedom Democrats president and “Amazing Race” winner Chip Arndt was among those who protested a so-called ex-gay “Love Won Out” orgy being held there.

Until a massive heart attack right before last New Year’s left him, ironically, speechless, Kennedy was one of the biggest mouths for antigay propaganda yet oddly flew under the radar of most media. “Rolling Stone” called him “the most influential evangelical you've never heard of...the godfather of the Dominionists—biblical literalists who believe God has called them to take over the U.S. government.” His empire was funded in large part by exploiting fears of gays. In an industry known for its turf battles, even James Dobson, the fuhrer of Focus on the Fascist Family, called him, “one of the nation's most powerful defenders of righteousness.” With 10,000 church members, the sale of Bibles, other books [“I WAS Gay”], pamphlets [“Fast Facts on Gay Adoption”], audio tapes & CDs [“Redeeming Love: Christ's Love For The Homosexual”], and videos ["Hate Crimes Laws:" Censoring the Church and Silencing Christians”], and viewers/listeners to his broadcasts in nearly 200 countries, including 81st of US households, his annual income was estimated at nearly $60 million. Too brief attention was paid to him a few years ago when some LGBTs protested the $8 million that the wife of then-AOL head Steve Case gave to Kennedy’s own K-12 school that she had attended.

One of the most likely guests of honor at the event planned for Tampa is Mary Gray Black, the City Commissioner from nearby Largo who led the torch-bearing villagers to drive the "transgender monster," er former City Manager, Steve now-Susan Stanton, out of town this spring. Hell, they'll probably erect a statue to Black, and the other City Commissioners who shamed themselves by joining her. Maybe they’ll also honor the four male cops who threw Equality Florida director Nadine Smith to the floor and arrested her for the “crime” of distributing leaflets protesting Stanton’s virtual lynching.

Closer to Tampa, Rhonda Storms, who as a former Hillsborough county commissioner, introduced a resolution to prohibit the county from recognizing or participating in gay pride events is sure to be welcomed with open arms. She also created a tempest about gay-friendly books in her local library, and is now a Florida state senator.

One particular appearance would, no doubt, send the faithful into religious orgasms: Florida US Senator Mel Martinez, Chairman of the GOP, who was elected in a viciously antigay campaign, abetted by his gay Repug campaign finance director, Kirk Fordham, whom HRC honcha [sic] Hilary Rosen publicly urged sympathy for when he got caught up in the scandal of his later boss, Mark Foley. In sum, for the religionist antigay industry, Florida is the land of milk and money.