Methodist church split about homophobia


This 22 October 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Homophobic Comments Made to UMC Pastors in the LGBTQ Community

The following statements are actual things said to pastors who are members of the LGBTQ+ community in United Methodist Churches in Greater New Jersey. Some by congregants, some by other pastors.

We invited several pastors who identify as straight to read them aloud. They have not seen these statements before being filmed.

Read more here.

By Orion Rummler in the USA, 3 January 2020:

Methodist church proposes plan to split over LGBTQ inclusion

United Methodist Church leaders announced plans on Friday for a historic split of its 13 million-plus denomination over allowing same-sex marriage within the church and LGBTQ clergy members.

What’s next: The church is expected to vote on the measure to implement the division of America’s second-largest Protestant domination at the general conference in Minneapolis this May.

Flashback: Momentum for the separation got underway last February, when the church’s “Traditional Plan” — to maintain status quo of banning LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriages — won over a new, LGBTQ-inclusive plan.

Details: The proposal for a formal split was reached between progressive and traditionalist groups within the church, including the Reconciling Ministries Network, which has advocated for LGBTQ inclusion in the Methodist faith since the 1980s.

The proposal says that the right-wing homophobes will get $ 25 million when they will split.

Some well-known Methodist homophobic politicians were British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and United States Republican President George W Bush.

Hungarian homophobic government bans Eurovision song contest


This February 2017 video says about itself:

Muslims and gays ‘are unwelcome here’ – BBC News

A village in Hungary has banned Muslim dress, the call to prayer and “homosexual propaganda”. By leading what it calls “the war against Muslim culture“, it hopes to attract other Christian Europeans who object to multiculturalism in their own countries.

Its mayor, Laszlo Toroczkai, says that while he would welcome people from Western Europe to live in the area, “we wouldn’t like to attract Muslims to the village”. Lesley Ashmall reports.

After the right-wing government ban on Ukrainian participation in the Eurovision song contest this year because they hated Ukrainian participant Ms Anna Korsun, now a right-wing government ban on Hungarian participation in the 2020 Eurovision song contest because of governmental homophobia.

From daily The Independent in Britain today, by Samuel Osborne:

Hungary’s far-right government pulls out of Eurovision song contest because it is ‘too gay’

Commentator describes competition as ‘homosexual flotilla’ and says country’s mental health would be better if it did not participate

Hungary has pulled out of the Eurovision song contest amid speculation the competition is “too gay” for the country’s far-right government.

Although no official reason has been given for the withdrawal, a source inside Hungary’s public broadcaster reportedly said they assumed hostility to the contest’s LGBT+ links were behind the decision.

One pro-government commentator described Eurovision as a “homosexual flotilla” and said the country’s mental health would be better if it did not join the competition.

A source inside MTVA, the Hungarian public broadcaster which typically hosts its own song contest where the winner goes on to represent the country at Eurovision, told The Guardian: “I was not surprised. It comes from the organisational culture of MTVA.”

Positive coverage of LGBT+ rights in the media was discouraged, they told the paper.

It comes after Hungarian website index.hu quoted public media sources speculating the country had withdrawn because Eurovision was considered “too gay”. …

Hungary’s decision not to participate in Eurovision was then confirmed last week when the list of competing countries was published.

“I welcome the decision, including from a mental health perspective, that Hungary will not take part in the homosexual flotilla that this international song competition has been reduced to,” said Andras Bencsik, the editor of a pro-government magazine, said.

“Many young people thought that this is something for people under 18, but at this event the destruction of public taste takes place with screaming transvestites and bearded women.”

Associates of Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, have gained control of a large swathe of the country’s media in recent years and his Fidesz party has taken control of state media.

The prime minister has launched a policy to promote traditional family values and boost birth rates, amid a rise in homophobia.

Flooding disaster in Britain


This 8 November 2019 Channel 4 TV video from Britain says about itself:

North of England flooding: Woman’s body pulled from water in Derbyshire

In some areas, a month’s worth of rain fell in just one day.

Hundreds of people were forced from their homes and the transport network is paralysed. Tonight there are more than 100 flood warnings still in place across England – and along the River Don, there are six severe weather warnings – meaning a possible danger to life.

The United States nazi site Daily Stormer blames the floods on God being angry at gay people in England. Like a politician of the right-wing UKIP party did doing earlier floods.

While the real causes are, eg, years of Conservative governmental neglect of flood control, and rich, mostly Conservative toff grouse shooters ruining moorlands’ capability of absorbing water.

Corbyn condemns government’s ‘woeful’ response to flooding as he announces £5.6bn fund: here.

McCarthyism, from Joseph McCarthy to Donald Trump


This 28 January 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

“Where’s My Roy Cohn?”: Film Explores How Joseph McCarthy’s Ex-Aide Mentored Trump & Roger Stone

Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone, who was arrested on Friday, and Donald Trump share a unique history: Both were heavily influenced by the infamous attorney Roy Cohn, who served as a chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Red Scare in the 1950s and would later become a leading mob attorney. Cohn represented Trump for years and once claimed he considered Trump to be his best friend. Cohn is the subject of a new documentary at the Sundance Film Festival titled “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” We speak to the film’s director, Matt Tyrnauer.

By Fred Mazelis in the USA:

Where’s My Roy Cohn?: A documentary on McCarthy’s right-hand man, mentor to Trump

7 October 2019

The title of this newly released documentary refers to a tirade reportedly unleashed by Donald Trump early in his presidency, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the federal investigation into Trump’s alleged ties to Russian “meddling” in the 2016 campaign.

Although Cohn had by then been dead for 31 years, Trump was wishing he still had the services of the man who became infamous as the 26-year-old second-in-command to the notorious senator from Wisconsin Joseph McCarthy at the height of the anti-communist witch hunt of the early 1950s. Cohn later became the mentor to the New York real estate developer who now occupies the Oval Office. Many observers have already noted the similarities in style and politics between Trump and Cohn—the barefaced lying, gangster mentality and tactics, disdain for elementary democratic rights, and fanatical hostility to socialism and communism—but further examination of the connection between the two men is certainly appropriate.

The film, directed by Matt Tyrnauer, a journalist for Vanity Fair magazine, adds little to what is already known about Cohn’s life and fails to offer a serious explanation of Cohn’s rise to prominence or his legacy. That legacy, however—the contemporary role of the ultra-reactionary politics he personified—makes this a timely film, if only for its archival material.

A generation that was not even born when Cohn died in 1986 can learn something from the newsreel footage, old television interviews and other elements presented. Among those interviewed for this film are journalists David Cay Johnston, Ken Auletta and Sam Roberts; Cohn’s cousins Anne Roiphe and David Marcus; and others. There are snippets of television journalist Mike Wallace, as well as a brief excerpt from an angry televised exchange between Cohn and writer Gore Vidal.

As recounted in the film, Cohn was born in 1927 into a wealthy New York City Jewish family. His father was a judge. His mother had by all accounts the greatest influence on him as he grew to maturity. He attended private schools in the city, and then Columbia College and Law School, from which he graduated at the extraordinarily young age of 20. He was only 21 when, thanks to family connections, he became an assistant US attorney.

Soon he joined the prosecution team in the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who had been charged with conspiracy to commit atomic espionage for the Soviet Union. As the documentary notes, Cohn, along with trial judge Irving R. Kaufman, was used to immunize the government against charges of anti-Semitism.

The authorities were well aware that a large percentage of American Jews were influenced by the Communist Party and by the left in general. They used the prosecution both to whip up anti-Semitism and also, at the peak of the Cold War, to secure the allegiance and obedience of that section of the Jewish population that occupied a prominent place in government, business and academia. Cohn played a particularly filthy role in railroading the Rosenbergs, and it was later revealed that he had had telephone discussions with Judge Kaufman, a flagrant violation of judicial ethics, to insist that both defendants be put to death.

Cohn’s aggressive role in the Rosenberg trial brought him to the attention of J. Edgar Hoover, the fanatically anti-communist director of the FBI. Hoover then recommended Cohn to Joseph McCarthy, who, as chairman of the Senate Special Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, was riding high in his crusade against suspected communists and their sympathizers in government, the media and elsewhere.

Cohn’s role with McCarthy came to an end in 1954, after the Army-McCarthy hearings. Cohn was accused by the Army of repeated and improper attempts to secure special treatment for G. David Schine, his “close personal friend”, who had been hired as a consultant to the McCarthy committee and drafted into the Army in 1953.

Part of the hearings were televised to a wide audience, as shown in video footage in the documentary. Behind the specific charges leveled against Cohn were bitter tactical differences within the ruling establishment. The proceedings led eventually to McCarthy’s censure by the Senate in December 1954, a blow that proved fatal to his political career and was followed by his death a few years later.

Cohn had been forced to resign from his Senate staff position. The young anti-communist crusader did not disappear, however. On the contrary, as Where’s My Roy Cohn? explains, he went on to enjoy a lucrative legal career.

Cohn became a partner in the New York firm of Saxe, Bacon and Bolan. Business executives and various white-collar criminals were eager to make use of his services. Cohn used his trademark methods to amass great wealth over the next several decades. His clients included the New York Yankees and the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. In the 1970s, Cohn became prominent as the attorney for the biggest Mafia families, including those headed by the likes of Carmine Galante, John Gotti and Tony Salerno.

It was during this period that Cohn was also retained by Donald Trump. The Trump Organization had been sued by the US Justice Department in 1973, accused of racial discrimination in the rental of apartments it managed in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Cohn countersued for the improbable sum of $100 million. While the countersuit was dismissed, Trump was able to settle the case out of court a few years later. Cohn became a mentor to the young Trump, who at the time was not yet 30 years old.

Alongside his wealth, and despite his notoriety, the former McCarthy aide continued to enjoy significant political influence during the 1970s and 1980s. Cohn was always able to get through to the White House during the Nixon and Reagan years, serving at times as a kind of unofficial adviser.

In the late 1970s he met Rupert Murdoch, who had bought the erstwhile liberal New York Post, his first major foray into the US media market. It was Cohn who later introduced Trump to Murdoch. There is thus a fairly direct connection between the McCarthyite prosecutor of the 1950s and today’s Fox News, the semi-official media outlet for the Trump White House.

Cohn never lacked for friends in high places, in both business and government circles. These connections are illustrated in the film in striking photographs of Cohn at various social and political functions. One shows him with Trump and New York Mayor Ed Koch. Another has Cohn between former Vice President Hubert Humphrey and New York’s arch-right-wing Francis Cardinal Spellman (one of Cohn’s strongest supporters). Other footage shows Cohn at New York’s Studio 54 nightclub, hobnobbing with the likes of Andy Warhol.

Although he was the subject of federal investigations on several occasions in the 1970s and 1980s, Cohn—no doubt helped by many friends among both Democrats and Republicans—was able to either avoid charges or win acquittal. In 1986, this support began to wane.

The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court disbarred Cohn, citing, among other things, misappropriation of clients’ funds and pressuring a comatose client to amend his will. The documentary dwells on this latter case, concerning Lewis Rosenstiel, the multimillionaire founder of Schenley Liquors. Cohn lifted the hand of the unconscious and dying man. The resulting “signature”, shown to somewhat comical effect on screen, was ruled indecipherable and inadmissible in court.

Only five weeks after his disbarment, Cohn was dead of AIDS. His refusal to the very end to acknowledge either his homosexuality or his illness is highlighted at some length in the film. What makes this pertinent is Cohn’s own use of right-wing homophobia. In the 1950s he assisted McCarthy in the so-called Lavender Scare, during which homosexuals were hounded out of their federal jobs on the grounds that they were security risks. Thousands suffered ostracism and humiliation, and a few committed suicide.

It is necessary to understand Cohn and not merely to describe him. On this score, Where’s My Roy Cohn? gives generally shallow answers. How did he become so prominent when he was still in his early 20s? Why was he able to go on to a life of wealth, privilege and continuing political influence even after he was disgraced in the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954? And why, above all, has he seemingly been reincarnated in the Trump White House today?

The usual answers, including attributing Cohn’s behavior to his mother’s influence or to some inexplicable lust for power, are either false or misleading. Cohn’s vitriolic anti-communism drove him from the beginning. He never wavered for an instant, never softened his views during the more liberal decade of the 1960s. He is shown in an interview toward the very end of his life. Asked whether he had any regrets about sending the Rosenbergs to their deaths, he replies, “If I could have pulled the switch, I would have done it myself.”

His rabid anti-communism made Cohn useful to the ruling elite. The McCarthyite Red Scare, with Cohn playing such a prominent role, must be understood in the post-World War II context. The American ruling class faced a massive strike wave in the years immediately following the end of the war. At the same time, it had to confront the Chinese Revolution of 1949, the growth (based in part on the prestige of the Soviet Union, despite the crimes of Stalinism) of the Communist Parties in Western Europe, especially in France and Italy, and the colonial revolution sweeping much of Asia and Africa.

A major aim of the anti-communist hysteria was the purging of the labor movement, especially the housebreaking of the CIO, which had emerged out of the industrial union struggles of the 1930s. A major reason for the shift in the political winds against McCarthy by 1954 was the consolidation of a bitterly anti-communist and pro-imperialist bureaucracy in both the AFL and CIO. The two union federations merged in 1955 on the basis of ferocious anti-communism and support for US imperialism in the Cold War against the Soviet Union. The development of the AFL-CIO bureaucracy as a bulwark in defense of capitalism persuaded sections of the ruling class that the Wisconsin demagogue, with the reptilian Cohn at his side, was no longer necessary—especially when he began to attack the pillars of the capitalist state, including the Army.

As noted, Cohn did not fade away, despite pious liberal denunciations of McCarthyism in subsequent years. For capitalism in the period of imperialist decay, democracy is always disposable. The ruling classes may prefer to rule when they can through forms that allow for open debate within the establishment, along with the promotion of certain democratic illusions for the masses. The past century has shown how quickly these democratic forms are dispensed with, however.

Cohn’s friendships in high places were an indication that his methods were still being held in reserve. The whole McCarthy era passed, but the impact of the devil’s bargain made by American liberalism with the most reactionary anti-communist forces continued to be felt. Cohn’s brand of semi-fascism was put on the shelf, but never buried.

Which brings us to the Trump presidency. Where’s My Roy Cohn? clearly aims to point the finger at Trump with an eye to the 2020 election. To the extent this film has a message, it is that today’s self-proclaimed “progressives” are the answer to the dangers emanating from the White House.

Since the theft of the 2000 election, it has become increasingly clear that there is no longer any constituency within the US ruling class … for the defense of democratic rights at home, as well as throughout the world.

This finds expression today both in the Trump presidency and the Democrats’ efforts to attack Trump from the right. In the White House itself, Trump’s 34-year-old chief aide Stephen Miller struts about like a resurrected Roy Cohn. Trump, the political descendant of McCarthy and Cohn, has ascended to higher office than his mentor and is encouraging the formation of a fascist movement. Yet such is the depth of the political crisis of American capitalism that Trump can argue, with some perverse justification, that he is the victim of a witch hunt, as the Democrats play the national security card over issues such as Ukraine and Russia.

The author also recommends:

New York Times column compares Trump probe to hunt for Soviet “atomic spies”
[3 April 2017]

Trump: An American Dream—Documentary traces rise of New York real estate billionaire
[11 June 2018]

‘Conversion therapy’ quackery boss admits being gay


This 31 August 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Former conversion therapy leader McKrae Game disavows movement he helped fuel

In June, McKrae Game publicly announced he was gay and severed his ties with the conversion therapy movement. Now, the man once billed as a leading voice in the movement is trying to come to terms with the harm he inflicted while also learning to embrace a world and community he assailed for most of his adult life.

McKrae Game is not the first ‘conversion therapy‘ boss to admit the bankruptcy of this quackery. Earlier, David Matheson, bigwig of a Mormon church version of that quackery, also admitted it was all a con game.

From The Hill site in the USA:

Conversion therapy group founder comes out as gay, apologizes

By Jessica Campisi – 09/03/19 12:17 PM EDT

The founder of one of the nation’s largest conversion therapyLGBTQ conversion quackery ban in Malta programs, who spent decades leading the organization, now says he is gay, apologizing for his role in the practice.

McKrae Game, who founded and led Hope for Wholeness in South Carolina, publicly announced he was gay in early June, more than two years after the organization’s board of directors abruptly fired him.

In a Facebook post last week, Game, 51, said he was “wrong”, adding: “Please forgive me.”

“I certainly regret where I caused harm,” he wrote. “Promoting the triadic model that blamed parents and conversion or prayer therapy, that made many people believe that their orientation was wrong, bad, sinful, evil, and worse that they could change was absolutely harmful.”

“It’s all in my past, but many, way TOO MANY continue believing that there is something wrong with themselves and wrong with people that choose to live their lives honestly and open as gay, lesbian, trans, etc.,” he added. “Learn to love yourself and others.”

In an interview with The Post and Courier published Saturday, Game called conversion therapy “a lie” and “false advertising” and called for the dissolution of conversion therapy practices or ex-gay ministries.

Game is one of several former gay conversion therapy leaders who have since cut ties with the movement and have come out as LGBTQ.

Almost 700,000 LGBT-identifying adults have gone through some form of conversion therapy as of 2018, according to UCLA’s Williams Institute, The Post and Courier notes.

Eighteen states and at least 50 cities and counties across the country have laws or regulations “protecting youth from this harmful practice”, the Human Rights Campaign says.

American anti-Semite threatens to kill Bernie Sanders


This 27 August 2019 video from the USA about the presidential election is called Bernie Sanders’ Sudden Surge Utterly SHOCKS Pundits on MSNBC.

From Reuters news agency in the USA:

August 23, 2019

A Florida man was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Friday for threatening to behead U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, federal prosecutors said.

The man, 58-year-old Robert Pratersch of Kissimmee, in September 2018 left three voicemail messages at Sanders’ Vermont office where he made anti-Semitic threats and threatened to kill Sanders by beheading him in an “ISIS-style” video.

Pratersch was convicted in April of threatening a federal official and making threats over interstate communications media in April. He could have been sentenced to as much as 15 years in prison.

Somehow, I have a feeling that if Mr Pratersch of Kissimmee would have been black and/or a Muslim, then he might have gotten 15 years imprisonment instead of 15 months, like now.

In Donald Trump’s USA, the government does nor really consider white nationalist terrorism to be terrorism. And as for the homophobia in the death threat tweets by Mr Pratersch of Kissimmee, the Trump administration is hardly blameless itself.

Anti-Semitic graffiti was painted on the exterior walls of a synagogue in Connecticut. The graffiti on the Congregation Adath Israel synagogue building in Newtown was discovered at 7:30 Saturday morning: here.