United States religious fundamentalist’s half-retraction of ‘stone gays’ advocacy


This video from the USA says about itself:

Stone Gays To Death Or Risk God’s Wrath, Says GOP Candidate

16 June 2014

“Scott Esk, a Republican candidate for the Oklahoma state house, endorsed stoning gay people to death last year in a comment thread on Facebook.

By David Edwards in the USA:

Bob Jones apologizes 35 years after saying gays should be ‘stoned’ — still calls them ‘sinners

22 March 2015 at 10:09 ET

Bob Jones III, chancellor of Bob Jones University, shocked LGBT activists by apologizing for anti-gay comments that he made 35 years ago.

Bob Jones University is a fundamentalist Protestant organisation, (in-)famous inter alia for denying evolution science, for racism, etc. Similar in many respect to the self-styled ‘Liberty University’, founded by Bob Jones’ colleague fundamentalist preacher Jerry Fallwell; an institution where President Obama’s Democratic Party is banned.

In 1980, Jones made the remarks to the Associated Press while he and other fundamentalist Christian pastors were visiting the White House to oppose equal rights for LGBT people.

“I’m sure this will be greatly misquoted,” Jones told the AP. “But it would not be a bad idea to bring the swift justice today that was brought in Israel’s day against murder and rape and homosexuality. I guarantee it would solve the problem post-haste if homosexuals were stoned, if murderers were immediately killed as the Bible commands.”

His comments were recently in the news again when authors of a 3-year-old Change.org petition noted that Jones had still not apologized.

Over the weekend, Jones shocked activists by finally apologizing for the comments.

“I take personal ownership of this inflammatory rhetoric. This reckless statement was made in the heat of a political controversy 35 years ago,” Jones said in a statement. “Upon now reading these long-forgotten words, they seem to me as words belonging to a total stranger—were my name not attached.”

“I cannot erase them, but wish I could, because they do not represent the belief of my heart or the content of my preaching. Neither before, nor since, that event in 1980 have I ever advocated the stoning of sinners,” he added.

BJ Unity Executive Director Jeffrey Hoffman told WSPA that the apology was shocking.

“It is never too late to say you’re sorry,” Hoffman said. “Most people are just shocked. We never expected to see an apology.”

But he pointed out that the apology was only a first step because LGBT people were still struggling for equality in South Carolina, where Bob Jones University is located.

“It’s been the Gays versus the Christians, which ignores and erases a large number of Gay Christians who live in the upstate of South Carolina,” Hoffman explained. “We think that this is the time to start to talk about how to make Bob Jones University safer for its LGBT students.”

Missouri Republican’s anti-Semitism caused suicide


This video from the USA says about itself:

3 March 2015

More than a thousand people packed a Clayton, Missouri church on Tuesday morning to say goodbye to Tom Schweich. The State Auditor fatally shot himself last Thursday in what police said was an apparent suicide. KRCG 13’s Mark Slavit reports Schweich’s funeral had a controversial eulogy.

From AlterNet in the USA:

‘Politics Gone Hideously Wrong': Anti-Semitic Bullying Said to Contribute to a Missouri Official’s Recent Suicide

Sen. John Danforth says politics of anti-Semitic bullying played key role in Tom Schweich’s suicide.

By Kali Holloway

March 5, 2015

The suicide last week of Tom Schweich, a Missouri auditor and candidate for governor, sent the state’s political scene into a tailspin. Now, the chair of the Missouri Republican party is accused of leading an anti-Semitic smear campaign that contributed to Schweich’s decision to take his own life.

U.S. Senator John C. Danforth, for whom Schweich served as chief-of-staff earlier in his career, delivered the eulogy at his colleague’s funeral early this week. In his remarks, Danforth spoke openly of his “overwhelming anger that politics has gone so hideously wrong, and that the death of Tom Schweich is the natural consequence of what politics has become.”

It was a pointed criticism of the ugly tone the GOP primary race for governor had taken in recent weeks. A group called Citizens For Fairness, a backer of Schweich’s opponent Catherine Hanaway, aired a radio ad that took personal jabs at Sweich’s appearance. “Is he a weak candidate for governor?” a voiceover in the ad asked rhetorically. “Absolutely. Just look at him. He could be easily confused for the deputy sheriff of Mayberry.”

But friends and colleagues say Schweich was most troubled by rumors being spread by John Hancock, chair of the Missouri Republican party, that Schweich was Jewish. According to Schweich, Hancock was hoping to exploit anti-Semitic sentiments among donors. Hancock has since denied the allegations, although he recently wrote that “it is possible that [he] mentioned Tom’s faith in passing.”

“There was absolutely nothing malicious about my intent, and I certainly was not attempting to ‘inject religion’ into the governor’s race, as some have suggested.”

Schweich, whose grandfather was Jewish, was a practicing Episcopalian. In a conversation with an editor from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the days just before his suicide, Schweich reportedly said he was “very proud of his connection to the Jewish faith.”

For his part, Danforth made clear that he rejects Hancock’s claims of innocence. At one point in Schweich’s eulogy, he described the aforementioned radio ad as “bullying.” He added: “And there is one word to describe the person behind it: ‘bully.’”

“Tom called this anti-Semitism, and of course it was. The only reason for going around saying that someone is Jewish is to make political profit from religious bigotry. Someone said this was no different than saying a person is a Presbyterian. Here’s how to test the credibility of that remark: When was the last time anyone sidled up to you and whispered into your ear that such and such a person is a Presbyterian?

“Words do hurt. Words can kill. That has been proven right here in our home state.”

For the full text of Danforth’s eulogy, click here.

United States Republican politician Rudy Giuliani, animated cartoon


This animated cartoon is by Mark Fiore from the USA. He writes about it:

2 March 2015

I know he’s just crying out for attention, but Rudy Giuliani saying “I do not believe that the president loves America,” highlights some deeper issues in the Republican party and our democracy in general. For one, the failed presidential candidate and former mayor made the statement at a private dinner featuring Scott Walker, one of the top Republican presidential contenders.

United States politician’s suicide because of Republican colleague’s anti-Semitism


This video from the USA says about itself:

Was Tom Schweich Assassinated by GOP?

27 February 2015

Tom Schweich, Missouri Auditor And Gubernatorial Candidate, Dead At Age 54

Schweich attended Yale University and then Harvard Law School, made his political debut in 2009. He had initially considered running for the seat being vacated in 2010 by Republican U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, and he had the encouragement of his mentor, former U.S. Sen. John Danforth. But Schweich defered to Rep. Roy Blunt to avoid a divisive GOP Senate primary and instead challenged and defeated Democratic State Auditor Susan Montee in the 2010 election.

Schweich spent last weekend wooing fellow Republicans during the state GOP’s annual conference in Kansas City. He spoke energetically, frequently touting his work rooting out government waste and corruption as auditor.

But he also emphasized charity, citing his Christian beliefs as a source of compassion and promising to cut back on government spending and misuse without hurting the poor.

“Part of being a Christian is you gotta help people,” Schweich said while speaking to about a dozen members of the Missouri Republican Assembly on Saturday, his wife watching from the back of a small conference room in the Kansas City Marriott Downtown.

Later that day he scooped dollops of ice cream for supporters until his hands hurt.

Schweich was Danforth’s chief of staff for the 1999 federal investigation into the deadly government siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and followed Danforth to the United Nations, where he was chief of staff for the U.S. delegation.

President George W. Bush appointed Schweich to the State Department in 2005 as an international law enforcement official. Two years later, Bush picked Schweich to coordinate the anti-drug and justice reform efforts in Afghanistan.

By Nick Barrickman in the USA:

Missouri Republican candidate, apparent target of anti-Semitic comments, commits suicide

28 February 2015

Missouri’s state auditor Tom Schweich died Thursday from a single gunshot to the head in what police are ruling an “apparent suicide.” According to a spokesperson for Schweich, he had been preparing to go public with allegations of anti-Semitism against state Republican Party Chairman, John Hancock.

Schweich, a practicing Episcopalian with a Jewish grandfather, had announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor of Missouri in the 2016 elections. Hancock, who is alleged to have made disparaging remarks about Schweich’s faith and ethnicity in private discussions, had worked as a consultant for rival Republican gubernatorial candidate, Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway.

“The campaign had been difficult, as all campaigns are,” said Schweich’s spokesman Spence Jackson. “There were a lot of things that were on his mind.” Attempts to identify Schweich as Jewish were seen as potentially damaging to his chances of appealing to the Christian fundamentalists who play an enormous role in Republican primary elections.

Hancock denied the claims, stating that, “I don’t have a specific recollection of having said that,” while adding that it was “plausible that I would have told somebody that Tom was Jewish, because I thought he was, but I wouldn’t have said it in a derogatory or demeaning fashion.”

According to Tony Messenger, the editorial page editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Schweich had contacted him personally the morning of his death, requesting reporters be sent to his residence for a videotaped interview on the matter. Messenger said in a public letter that Schweich had been experiencing “significant angst” in the days prior to the suicide, and that “he had heard from campaign donors that while political consultant John Hancock was doing work for gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway, he would mention in passing that Mr. Schweich was Jewish.” Messenger stated that Schweich had said he had a number of donors who would go on record to support the allegations.

A series of phone calls on the day of his death suggest that Schweich was undergoing some sort of crisis or breakdown. He called first the AP, then the Post-Dispatch, setting up appointments for interviews on the charge of anti-Semitism, but shot himself a few minutes later.

Whatever the circumstances that precipitated the fatal events, Schweich had held a series of responsible, high-stress positions in the federal government, beginning with a 1999 appointment as chief of staff for former US Senator John Danforth, who headed the federal probe into the FBI’s actions at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.

He worked as chief of staff to the US ambassador to the United Nations for three years, serving three successive ambassadors—Danforth, then Anne Patteron, then John Bolton. He was also principal deputy secretary of state in the administration of President George W. Bush, responsible for international law enforcement, with a particular focus on illegal drug trafficking in Afghanistan under the US occupation.

That such an individual could be driven to suicide—if indeed that is what happened—speaks volumes about the toxic political environment in the American political establishment, and particularly in the fever swamps of the Republican Party’s right-wing.

See also here.