Learn more now so that you can be prepared for our large-scale demonstrations on October 29th.
Now, he's launching a grassroots campaign against homophobia.
Use this space to post your ideas for our protest against the "Love Won Out" conference to be held October 29th at 88 Tremont Street. A planning meeting will be announced in the near future.
Some of my ideas: Picketing, Non-Violent Direct Action, Interfaith Prayer Circle, Flyering/Outreach, Speeches.
Pastor Roberto Miranda of Congregacion Leon de Juda in Roxbury is a threat to Boston’s welcoming culture. In Wednesday's Globe Miranda boasted of his meetings on how to "market" right-wing Christianity to people as a "product." Since when is Christianity a product that should be marketed? Is Miranda admitting that his version Christianity does not stand on its own? Is he calling for a well-funded campaign of deceitfulness?
It is disgusting when radical pastors like Miranda spend millions of dollars building mega-churches in lower-income neighborhoods while promising to have the answers to life's difficulties. They tirelessly utilize their well-rehearsed dynamic personalities to recruit more followers and instill their congregations with a fear of the unknown. And their Karl Rove style campaigns are a tricky combination of lies and fear mongering.
Marc Solomon of MassEquality said, ''…beneath a gentle exterior is someone who holds truly extremist views about being gay. His views are so out of the mainstream that they would be laughable if they weren't so hurtful toward gay people."
Solomon is correct, but the troubling fact is that Miranda does not just hold extremist views on gayness. His entire worldview is a dangerous violent attack on our diverse humanity. He wishes to "reclaim" Massachusetts and “give it back” to “true Christians.” What about the Mainstream Christians, Jewish People, Buddhists and Muslims who reside here?
Miranda should focus on living in the example of Christ’s compassion instead of angrily proclaiming judgment throughout our communities. Those of us in the true mainstream of political thought must not allow the right-wing views of people like Miranda to gain momentum. We need to be equally loud and proud of our more tolerant worldview.
I am the first to admit that I am ignorant to the politics of President Hugo Chavez and the current political climate of Venezuela. I hope that some of you will join me in learning more!
From what I have read so far, I couldn't agree with his socialist ideas more. But do his ideas and his actions correlate?
Who is protesting Chavez?
Who is Chavez - encyclopedia Bio.
Another viewpoint here!
Gay activism goes too far
The homosexual movement's outrageous attempts to intimidate the Tremont Temple Baptist Church expose the brutal nature of gay activism ("Anti-gay conference draws fire," Aug. 16).
The conference in question has a message that homosexual activists vehemently want to stop: People can be healed from the pain of homosexual behavior by embracing God. A prominent lesbian like Anne Heche is now happily married to a man. Gay activism can't stand that discussion.
Now even religious programs in churches are targets. Is this the "civil rights" they keep talking about?
Brian Camenker, Newton
Learn more about Mr. Camenker.
I do have a slight disagreement with the tone of Reilly’s last paragraph, though. He writes, “Take a deep breath everybody. If that’s the best Love Won Out can do, Massachusetts has nothing to worry about.” I get the impression that he’s suggesting “ex-gay” groups are so clearly nutty that no one will take them seriously. Actually, these anti-gay bigots will give us "something to worry about" if everyone treats them like harmless kooks and quacks.
“Ex-gay” groups have been getting a lot of unwarranted media attention and many of the claims they have made on the air have gone unchallenged. Several times, spokespeople for these groups pulled statistics out of thin air. For example, a few representatives of “Love in Action” claimed on CNN that “hundreds of thousands” of people are “ex-gay.” That it took Robert Spitzer, who did a very controversial study of “ex-gays,” sixteen months to find just two hundred people who claimed “change” shows how absurd and unscientific this claim of “hundreds of thousands” is. But don’t expect the mainstream media, which doesn't have a good track record when it comes to critically assessing right-wing claims (e.g. WMDs in Iraq), to point that out.
Furthermore, these “ex-gay” groups are targeting public schools to use as soapboxes for their anti-gay propaganda. See here and here, for instance. Because queer youth have such a difficult time with harassment and intimidation in secondary schools, for “ex-gay” groups to be stoking the fires of homophobia in public schools is beyond disgusting. These groups are becoming more and more confident and they will only stop when they are stopped. We must work to expose their lies and, especially, their right-wing political connections.
If you are looking at gay rights issues from a lobbyist, legislative perspective you may not see the importance of taking action against homophobes. If you are looking at it from an activist perspective, and as someone who wants to change the social and political climate in this country, the importance of standing up to “ex-gay” bigots is a little clearer.
Group clarifies mission
As a member of QueerToday and participant in the demonstration, I am pleased to see media coverage ("Anti-gay conference draws fire," Aug. 16). However, the Herald's interpretation of the event, and QueerToday, is inaccurate.
QueerToday is an organization founded to advocate for the equality of all LGBT people, specifically queer youth, an often overlooked segment. Instead of speaking with our organization, the Herald quoted a direct of the Freedom to Marry Coalition, who has nothing to do with our group and was not even at our demonstration. Nor were there any Herald reporters present.
Focus on the Family's "Love Won Out" is a direct attack on queer youth, designed to suppress their voices and rights.
--Andrea Garvey, Boston
As the congregation poured out of Bostons Tremont Temple Baptist Church after services Aug. 14, decked out in their Sunday best, they were met by a group of 10 young activists who urged them to close the church doors to Focus on the Family (FOTF), which is set to hold a 1000-person ex-gay conference at the church Oct. 29.
The activists, members of an LGBT activist group called QueerToday.com, spent an hour in conversation with parishioners and church officials about the Love Won Out conference in hopes that they could persuade parishioners to rescind their agreement with FOTF to use the church for the fall conference.
Continue reading Bay Windows>
Read Jenn's reflections on the event >
Read Mark's reflections on the event >
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence connecting James Dobson with people who were against repealing segregationist language from Alabama's constitution and who have spoken at white supremacist rallies.
Gil Alexander-Moegerle was a co-founder and for ten years was senior vice-president of Focus on the Family. He is now speaking out about James Dobson's racism in his book "Dobson's War On America." Alexander-Moegerle says that he overheard Dobson say, "You know, that's the very same thing about the fact that blacks are genetically intellectually inferior to whites and we could document that if anybody would do that research. But you can't get that research done because that is politically incorrect."
James Dobson founded the Family Research Council. The president of that organization, Tony Perkins was fined for paying a KKK leader for their mailing list and spoke in front of a white supremacist group. - The Nation Magazine
Dobson is a loud vocal supporter of Roy Moore (the Alabama 10 Commandments judge), and Moore's aide, Tom Parker (Dobson's former State Director). Roy Moore and Tom Parker were both against removing segregationist language from the Alabama Constitution.
Parker (Dobson's former State Director) is seen here wearing a confederate flag next to white supremacists. He has been known to distribute confederate flags at rallies.
"Giles was aided by a virtually unparalleled Alabama celebrity in his battle against the amendment, distributing testimonials from former chief justice Roy Moore, whose fame was sealed in 2003 when he defied a federal court order to remove a two-ton granite Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court. They were joined by former Moore aide Tom Parker, who handed out miniature Confederate flags this fall during his successful campaign for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court. " - Washington Post
On an evening when Jews were celebrating the second night of Passover, Dobson claimed, "The biggest Holocaust in world history came out of the Supreme Court" with the Roe v. Wade decision. On his syndicated radio show nearly two weeks earlier, on April 11, Dobson compared the "black robed men" on the Supreme Court to "the men in white robes, the Ku Klux Klan." - The Nation Magazine
"Tolerance is a kind of watchword of those who reject right and wrong... It's a kind of desensitization to evil of all varieties. Everything has become acceptable to those who are tolerant." -James Dobson
About 250 people of all races, ages, classes, and sexual orientations gathered at Park Street in Boston last night to honor Cindy Sheehan and her call for an end to the occupation of Iraq. There were over 1600 such vigils & rallies promoted by moveon.org and organized by local hosts throughout the nation. The Park Street vigil was hosted by QueerToday.com founder Mark Snyder.
I am writing in response to “Anti-Gay conference draws fire,” August 16, by Jessica Fargen. As a member of QueerToday since its inception, and as a participant in Sunday’s demonstration, I am pleased to see coverage of our cause in the media. However, I feel that Fargen’s interpretation of Sunday’s event, and QueerToday’s cause, are inaccurate.
QueerToday is an organization founded to advocate for the equality of all LGBT people, specifically queer youth, which is an often overlooked segment of the queer community. According to the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by our state government, LGBT Youth in Massachusetts are 5 times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth. However, in schools with Gay Straight Alliances, the risk drops to the same level of straight youth. Research proves that letting LGBT youth know they are welcome, accepted, and protected saves their lives.
Instead of speaking with our organization, the reporter of Tuesday’s article quoted a director of the Freedom to Marry Coalition, who has nothing to do with our group and was not even present at our demonstration on Sunday afternoon. Nor were there any Herald reporters present—the only media who showed up were from Bay Windows.
Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” conference is a direct attack on queer youth, designed to suppress the voices and rights of young people throughout this country. Let’s focus our attention on the youth, who have been overshadowed far too long.
I was not troubled by the members of the congregation that were nervous or fearful of our presence. I was not hurt by those who walked by and ignored my smile and my extended handshake. The people who I found most hurtful were those who tried to explain that Tremont Baptist Church was merely renting space to Focus on the Family.
Many assured me not to confuse FOF with their church and their congregation. They wanted to make it clear that the church was not anti-gay and that they truly welcome everyone. It is difficult for me to understand that some church members can live with the contradiction of welcoming all people into their church, while simultaneously hosting the Love Won Out conference. LWO is detrimental to the queer community. Lies, hate, and bigotry are spread because of this group and their national conferences.
• How can Tremont Baptist Church stand by idly and detach themselves from the situation by inviting the enemy into our community?
• How can this loving, positive church disassociate itself from the hate it has brought into our neighborhood?
While the pastors and congregation all loudly proclaim their love of others they support Focus on the Family through passively hosting their LWO conference.I am hoping that in the upcoming weeks I will have a greater understanding of the Tremont Baptist Church and the people who worship there. It is difficult for me to struggle with the contradiction of feeling so embraced and welcomed by so many, while the same people who value diversity ignore the hurt and harm Focus on the Family is bringing to their church and our community.
Q & A with the blogger
Why do you identify as queer?
My politics, my lifestyle, my culture, my friends, my relationship ( my boyfriend is FTM trans) are all counterculture, and I love it.
They have accused us of terrorizing the Baptist Church. I think if you speak to any of the loving congregation members of that church they will tell you that our conversations were far from terrorist in nature. In fact I recall a hug and many handshakes from the congregation that day.
The real terrorists are the crazies who spread lies about LGBT people on their "blogs."
QueerToday has been and always will be nothing but loving and respectful.
Where are these thousands of ex-gays Article 8 speaks of? Is there a secret ex-gay registry?
I've only heard of a few ex-gays and most of them including members of Exodus end up getting caught in gay bars.
Our next meet & greet with the church is on Sept. 18th.
Our large-scale protest is on October 29th.
Take a moment to register if you plan on coming.
Bring your own candles. This is a silent vigil, but you may bring signs against the war / pro peace.
They were all very kind and loving except for one man who murmured "You'll burn in hell."
Some members of the church didn't know the conference was coming. The younger members of the church were shocked that a conference that tried to change gays to straights was coming. "That can't be done," yelled one girl and her boyfriend.
Another woman gripped my arm tightly and kept repeating "Jesus loves you, you can change, follow his word." I told her I knew that Jesus loved me the way I was and I didn't need to change.
Another woman proclaimed her support for Focus On The Family, "I listen to them every day I love them. Jesus loves you. He's not anti-gay! No we're not anti-gay," she said. When I tried to inform her that James Dobson thinks gays are sick, she refused to listen.
Several members of the congregation said they did not support the conference but Focus On The Family was renting the space, and they let anyone rent the space. "Free Speech," they said.
The Secretary of the church said she prayed for us because she knows our lifestyle is difficult. I said, "Over there is my boyfriend and we are very happy and healthy together." She informed me that she has received many of our calls and she prays for us, and she does NOT support the conference. She also said she was not that informed about our cause. But in the next breath she defended the church for renting the space to FOTF.
Some members of the congregation said they were told just before today's service was over that the conference was an evangelical Christian conference. They were intrigued when they discovered the true reason for the conference through our flyers and conversations.
It was a good day. We were able to see what the sentiments in the congregation are - and wow do they vary! The congregation has the supporters, the misinformed, and the anti-gays. Let's hope our supporters start to speak up in the next few weeks. Let's hope people start expressing concern to Interim Pastor Ray!
Our next official meet & greet with the congregation will be on September 18th at noon.
Sunday's demonstration has been getting a lot of attention. The editors of BayWindows and InNewsWeekly have encouraged folks to join us. Be sure to thank them!
I want to remind everyone that our first demonstration is not about protesting the Baptist Church. This Sunday is about kindly asking them not to hold this conference, and exposing the hateful lies spread by Focus On The Family.
I urge all of you who attend to be warm and kind to the congregation of the Tremont Temple Baptist Church.
Ask them to hear your personal story. Tell them how much you appreciate the history of their church. Ask them what they know about "Love Won Out" and FOTF.
All of that said, I assure you our tone and actions will change on October 29th, when Focus On The Family rolls into town.
In the spirit of compassion,
Mark D. Snyder
"If you can, join QueerToday outside the church. Those engaging in "religious terrorism," as organizer Mark Snyder describes reparative therapy, need to be called out. - Susan Ryan-Vollmar (Editor, Bay Windows)
According to my father, we will probably lose this vote. However, there is hope within the Lutheran Church and evidence that things are changing.
Thanks Dad for being an ally and fighting homophobia from within the church!
Let's take a look at number 6.
6. A tendency to walk, talk, dress and even “think” effeminately.
ALL ARE WELCOME! Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim: Stand Up Against Hate.
Ex-gay movement plans Boston confab
LGBT youth group organizing a series of protests
By Ethan Jacobs
Published: Thursday, August 11, 2005
Media Credit: Marilyn Humphries
QueerToday.com founder Mark Snyder stands outside Tremont Temple Baptist Church, where the ex-gays will gather this October.
The ex-gay movement is coming to Boston this fall, and a group of young LGBT activists plans to start protesting early. On Oct. 29, the Tremont Temple Baptist Church will welcome Focus on the Family's Love Won Out conference, which is expected to draw a crowd of about 1000 people seeking information on the ex-gay movement. In response, QueerToday.com, a long-dormant group of youth activists that made headlines in June 2003 with a protest outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, will begin demonstrating outside Tremont Temple Baptist Church Aug. 14 in anticipation of the October conference. QueerToday founder Mark Snyder said he hopes to hold several protests between now and October, leading up to a larger protest the day of the event, and he hopes the community turns out to voice their disapproval."Of course we would love it if the church would cancel the conference, but that looks unlikely, so now we want to voice our concern and let people know that this is happening in Boston," said Snyder.Love Won Out, which holds six conferences in North America each year, promises to bring the heavyweights of the ex-gay movement to Boston. Speakers slated to attend include Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, the largest ex-gay resource and referral organization; Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, president of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), and Nancy Heche, the mother of actress Anne Heche and a crusader in the ex-gay movement. The elder Heche's husband was a gay man who died from complications of AIDS and Anne Heche had a highly publicized relationship with Ellen DeGeneres before marrying a man.Wayne Besen, an activist against the ex-gay movement and author of the 2003 book Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, described the Love Won Out conferences as the most respectful face of the ex-gay movement, due in large part to the slick production values and funding supplied by Focus on the Family to stage the conferences."Love Won Out conferences are the anchor for the ex-gay movement. They're important because the people running them are a lot more PR-savvy than the rest of the ex-gay movement," said Besen, who has attended one conference and protested outside two others. "This is Broadway, the others are Off Off Broadway. This is a slick production, very well put together and designed."As a result, he said, Love Won Out conferences usually attract more media coverage than other ex-gay functions.Melissa Fryrear, an ex-gay speaker at the conference and gender issues analyst for Focus on the Family, said the conference workshops are designed to give people information on how to "cure" homosexuality, either in themselves or in loved ones."The largest group of people who come are parents who have a son or daughter living homosexually. The next largest group are pastors and church leaders. And we also have educators and counselors attend, certainly lay people from churches, others from the community. We have people certainly themselves who are struggling with homosexuality and are considering, wanting to come out of homosexuality," explained Fryrear.Snyder said QueerToday targeted the Love Won Out conference in large part because the group, which he said comprises 10-15 active members in their 20s, believes the ex-gay movement is particularly damaging to LGBT youth. He said the message that homosexuality can be prevented and cured drives LGBT youth to commit suicide and accused Love in Action of "religious terrorism.""[Focus on the Family] uses their interpretation of the Bible to attack our community, spread lies about our community and encourage people to hate us.... These people do inflict terror in our community. They make us feel unsafe. They make us afraid. That's terrorism in my opinion," argued Snyder. QueerToday's only previous protest at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross garnered headlines as activists disrupted a Sunday service to protest the anti-gay rhetoric of the state's Catholic bishops.Snyder's argument, if not his rhetoric, is supported by the mainstream medical community. The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all agree that there is no medical benefit to reparative therapy, which those in the ex-gay movement use to try to "cure" people of homosexuality. The latter two groups concur that reparative therapy can actually have a negative impact on the mental health of those who undergo it.The impact of the ex-gay movement on LGBT youth became particularly visible recently through the case of Zach Stark, a 16-year-old gay blogger from Tennessee sent to an ex-gay facility called Refuge against his will last June for eight weeks. Prior to entering the program, Stark caught the attention of other bloggers, posting information about his story and about Refuge on his blog, and the story garnered the attention of the gay press and, to a lesser extent, the mainstream media. Although many LGBT activists used Stark's case as a rallying point against the ex-gay movement, Stark posted a statement on his blog Aug. 1 defending the program following his release.Snyder said QueerToday will gather at Tremont Temple Baptist Church Aug. 14 at noon to protest the church's decision to hold the conference, and they have invited likeminded members of the community to join them. The group hopes support from the community will be strong enough to carry out several more protests leading up to October, but no other protests have yet been scheduled.Snyder said his group asked the church to pull their sponsorship of the conference but the church has remained steadfast. Representatives of the church did not return a call from Bay Windows seeking comment for this story.Besen said QueerToday is taking the right approach in publicly opposing the conference, which he accused of swindling the public with false claims of curing homosexuality. He argued that the only "success stories" in the movement who attend the conferences are professional ex-gays who have a financial stake in selling the movement."It's heartbreaking because the majority of people [at the conference] are friends and family members of someone who recently came out, and they're incredibly sad and vulnerable and desperate for answers, and what they're going to get is only going to drive their family and friends further apart. What you don't see is most important of all is ex-gays, because ex-gays don't exist," said Besen.Fryrear disputed Besen's claim, saying that there are plenty of success stories, but that those people often keep quiet to avoid intimidation by the gay community. "Literally thousands of men and women have successfully overcome homosexuality. Not everyone feels safe to share their story publicly because to be honest, in my own life, I have to have personal security when I travel. I could never repeat to my mother the things that are said to me," said Fryrear. "There's a lot of hatred directed towards former homosexuals, and people don't want to share that publicly."Bostonians will have the opportunity firsthand to decide whether they believe the rhetoric of the ex-gay movement when the conference comes to town, although it will cost them $60 at the door to attend. In the meantime, Snyder said anyone hoping to protest the event is welcome to join QueerToday outside the Tremont Temple Baptist Church on Aug. 14."We think it's time to be on offense. We're sick of being attacked and being on defense, and we want to get our message out now," said Snyder.
Ethan Jacobs is a staff writer at Bay Windows. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
On the Tremont Temple Baptist Church web site you proudly proclaim the ideals your church was founded upon. Your church has always stood up for the rights of those who were silenced. Your church has always been open to all - as the sign on the temple still reads.
In your letter you promise your congregation will "stand against all of those forces that cause pain, loneliness and alienation." Focus On The Family is the most powerful right-wing organization in the world. It is one of the strongest forces to cause pain, loneliness, and alienation among the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Community.
Tremont Temple Baptist Church would better serve LGBT people by welcoming them to worship without the onslaught of lies and misinformation distributed by the "experts" who lead Focus On The Family.
There are many churches in the Boston Area who identify as welcoming and affirming congregations. Those churches are fighting against the true forces that cause pain and alienation. I urge you and your congregation to follow their lead.
However, we are committed to conducting non-violent protests against Focus On The Family and the "Love Won Out" Conference in front of your church until you open your hearts to our community and cancel this event.
Mark D. Snyder
LIES & DENIAL
Focus On The Family, the organization presenting the anti-gay “Love Won Out Conference” in Boston, has a radical interpretation of the Bible that contradicts science and encourages discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
The American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and American Medical Association agree:
Sexual orientation is not a choice.
Scientific evidence does not show that conversion therapy works and that it can do more harm than good.
Gays have not been found to differ markedly either in their overall mental health or in their approaches to child rearing nor have their romantic and sexual relationships been found to detract from their ability to care for their children.
Gay Marriage & Adoption can provide families with the care and benefits they need to stay healthy and protected.
According to the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by our state government, LGBT Youth in Massachusetts are 5 times more likely to attempt suicide. However, in schools with Gay Straight Alliances they are of equal risk to their straight peers to attempt suicide. Science proves letting LGBT youth know they are welcome, accepted and protected saves their lives.
Keep Focus On The Family out of your churches and schools. Their lies are deadly.
They are the ones obsessed with sex. They also consistently ignore science. Abstinence only education has been proven not to be effective in preventing pregnancy, HIV & STDs among teens. Focus On The Family is a radical right wing powerhouse that must be shut down!
Finally there are other LGBT people brave enough to openly criticize the gay marriage movement in print. We must always question our opposition and ourselves.
"Beyond Gay Marriage"
Please keep him in your thoughts!
"(Orlando, Florida) Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America expressed anger, hurt and confusion about what role gays should have in their denomination at a hearing Tuesday on an upcoming vote at their national convention." - 365gay.com
Sunday Aug. 14 at noon, join us as we make a public plea to the Tremont Temple Baptist Church not to host the anti-gay "Love Won Out" Conference produced by Focus On The Family.
We will offer to tell our stories to the congregation at Tremont Temple. We will ask them what they know about "Love Won Out" and share our reasons for why it is wrong.
We will offer our support to those members of the congregation who are against Focus On The Family.
We will hand out flyers that expose lies perpetrated by Focus On The Family. We will also distribute our "Letter To Pastor Ray."
We will call for a larger louder rally and demonstration to occur on Oct. 29th when the enemy (Focus On The Family) rolls into town.