Religion and Politics: March 2015

March 2, 2015 in General

Limerick, Ireland: A lesbian couple was brutally attacked by two men hurling homophobic slurs in Limerick, Ireland, leaving one of the young women unconscious, the other badly beaten and in shock.


Illinois: ¬†A US Christian Right group is arguing that not only would¬†¬†Illinois legislators not be protecting children by enacting a ban on ‚Äúreparative therapy,‚ÄĚ they would be engaging in ‚Äúa form of child abuse,‚ÄĚ according to a man who claims to have become “exgay” ¬†three decades ago.

Stephen Black of the “Restored Hope Network”¬†¬†told the Illinois Family Institute¬†that pseudo-scientific ” reparative therapy” ¬†helps minors who struggle with allegedly “unwanted” lesbian and gay desires. The Restored Hope Network formed after a split within the ‘exgay’ movement and the closure of the Exodus International “exgay’ network. ¬†While LGBT rights advocates have said that psychological counseling to reduce sexual attraction violates truth in advertising laws and borders on torture, Black ¬†is deceptive about its actual extent, describing ¬†it euphemistically as little more than ‚Äúpastoral care for people who want to come out of homosexuality.‚ÄĚ

The¬†Conversion Therapy Prohibition Act¬†(H.B. 217),¬†introduced¬†by Democratic State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, would protect LGBT adolescents through baning ¬†such therapy for minors as well as subjecting medical professionals to discipline by the licensing or medical review board. Black protested¬†that such legislation “undermines the family”, which may wish to steer a child away from homosexuality.¬†Legislation such as H.B. 217 says that ‚Äúgovernment knows best,‚ÄĚ according to Black, and ‚Äúconflicts with religious liberties.‚ÄĚ

Congressman Ted Lieu of California is cited by Black. As a state senator, Lieu introduced the¬†ban on reparative therapy, signed into law¬†by Gov. Jerry Brown. Lieu said at the time,¬†‚ÄúThe attack on parental rights is exactly the whole point of the bill.‚Ä̬†Barack¬†Obama endorsed Lieu¬†in his successful race for U.S. Congress in 2014.¬†Stephen Black says he “benefited” from reparative therapy himself. After he became a fundamentalist , he says he eventually “abandoned” his gay desires. ¬†He ruminated about ” traditional moral stands” , but he and Restored Hope Network continue to uphold fundamentalist dogma and opposition to any ¬†sexual activity outside straight marriage, however unpopular his view.¬†The¬†Illinois House rejected¬†a reparative therapy ban in April 2014. The Illinois Family Institute and Concerned Women for America, among other US Christian Right pressure groups , have¬†asked¬†citizens to urge elected representatives ¬†to oppose this new legislation.

Auckland:  Conservatives leader Colin Craig says the party decided it would not stand in the Northland byelection because it did not want to split the centre-right vote and help Winston Peters. Its candidate also had a new baby and was not available, he said.


Cairo:¬†Reports ¬†have emerged that Egyptian police have arrested seven young people for ‚Äúdebauchery‚ÄĚ in the country‚Äôs latest anti-LGBTI sting.


¬†Sacramento: In California, a fundamentalist¬†activist has filed a proposed ballot measure to create a ‘Sodomite Suppression Act’ that would punish homosexuality with death.The measure was filed with the California Attorney General‚Äôs by a man identified as Matt McLaughlin. It also prohibits progay “propaganda.”

Dallas: A Texas Republican who is on his fifth marriage has complained Рafter a judge ruled that two women could not be prevented from marrying once.