Saturday, April 6, 2013

Why Is It Still OK To Demean Gay People?

Todays blog can be thought of as an extension of last weeks in which I talk about how many in religion have made LGBT people into their chief enemy....abandoning all pretense at love or the message of Jesus to espouse a political viewpoint in "the culture wars". This week picks up the topic again with Pastor David James Manning of the YouTube channel ATLAHworldwide.

Earlier this month Pastor Manning produced a video called "Age Matters All The Time" in which Pastor Manning attempted to make the point that anyone below the age of thirty was not mature enough to vote. For an example of this Pastor Manning used my son Daniels video letter to Chief Justice John Roberts, using his image and his full name to accuse my husband Jay and myself of being child molesters and child rapists for allowing our son to not only understand the issue of same-sex marriage...but to allow him to voice his opinion about a topic that directly effects his family.

Now, that video was up for several days before ultimately being flagged and pulled from YouTube to be reviewed for inappropriate content. It was at this point that Pastor Manning made a video in which he attempted to reframe his video as not attacking our family and calling us child molestors...but simply one in which he was trying to talk about how age matters in political discourse...a complete falsehood.

However, due to complaints from Mannings viewers, Youtube put his video back up....disgusting accusations and all. We were completely flummoxed that a human being at YouTube actually watched that video and then re-approved it. Yet as angry as we were, we had resigned ourselves that there was nothing much we could do about it....until the popular political blog AmericaBlog picked up the story and highlighted the advertisers who were having their products linked to Pastor Mannings message.....prompting YouTube to immediately yank the video again and finally acknowledge that it  violates its own posted community guidelines for hate speech.

The entire Journey we have been through with Manning has highlighted for me that not only do certain religious people see the gay community as the ultimate evil...but also that it still seems to be ok to express such insulting comments as Pastor Manning made as long as the target of those comments are gay people. Read on after the jump to watch the videos and to find an answer to why it's till ok to debate and talk about gay lives in a way that it would be considered unacceptable if the subject was another race, religion, or women...

Since the original video was taken down(finally) by YouTube  The only piece of his original speech that we have is within our video response to Pastor Manning. In order to get an idea of just how much Pastor Mannings "opinions" crossed the line from mere editorial commentary to something deeply dangerous begin watching at 1:25 and keep a barf bag close at hand:

Now we were understandably angry as hornets over this and who wouldn't be to see their family talked about this way. But....there didn't seem to be a lot we could do about it because YouTube doesn't tend to want to get involved in issues it regards as a difference of opinion, religion, and free speech issues. About all we could do was make this video to refute Pastor Manning's claims. Our viewers reported Manning and the video was taken down for review, and a warning email was sent to Manning about a possible strike on his account. Not closure....just a strike. This was his response:

Following this video, Pastor Mannings viewers went to YouTube and complained that the video be put back which YouTube agreed. It was then that AmericaBlog got involved and ran a story on it's widely read site. In that story they listed the major advertisers who's ad's were being ran within Pastor Mannings videos. Advertisers like Pepsi, Taco Bell, and Procter and Gamble. Within a couple of short hours YouTube was on the phone to AmericaBlog(not us) to let them know they removed the video siting accordance with their own posted User Guidelines.

So my question is....What changed?

When it was just us and our viewers asking YouTube to take down the was taken down...then Mannings viewers asked them to put it back up on religious/free speech grounds...and right away it was back up. It was not until a national publication took up the issue and addressed their advertisers that the issue was finally acknowledged as a violation and taken down for good. Had AmericaBlog not taken on the story, would that video still be up even now?

Of the points that Pastor Made in response...this one stood out for me the most, (emphasis mine):

"...At some point they are going to walk into church and tell me that we are going to have to stop preaching about homosexuality as a sin. It's coming! I give it about 17...18 months...maybe less than that. You're going to see legislation coming down and churches being intimidated that you can not say that same-sex marriage's racial it's bigoted, it's discrimination, ....uh, it's like preaching against black people or any other race...and so they gonna restrict church's. It'll happen.

Paranoia and his attempt to flip the script and make himself the victim being put aside for one moment...I find it odd that Pastor Manning can not see the truth of that point. I wonder how he would feel if the very same video he made about same-sex marriage were taken and all reference to gay people replaced with references to Black and African American people? Would he be outraged if some white pastor were speaking about his family with those same words? Surely it has been done and Manning is old enough to remember the I find it surprising that he is able to turn around and return that discrimination using the Bible as an excuse.

the whole issue with YouTube reviewing the video and putting it back up...even after seeing the dangerous and and inflamatory accusations that Manning makes...highlighted for me that it is still acceptable for a whole lot of Americans to talk about gay people in ways that would cause cries of outrage if those same comments where directed at any other group of people.

And even if Pastor Manning said "it" aught to be considered child rape...pointing with his words to an issue and not a person(using images instead to point to us as persons)....would the video and Mannings words be acceptable on the basis of religious difference and freedom of speech if Manning had featured the child of a Muslim family calling on tolerance? IF he had made a video featuring that child and then referred to that video as child rape? What would happen? ....The internet would explode, that's what would happen. But when the subject is the lives and loves of LGBT people, society thinks it's totally ok to say insane, insulting, and outright dangerous things and it's supposed to be all ok...

During DADT we had to put up with people with serious faces talking about how gay soldiers should not be allowed to serve because they would rape their fellow heterosexual soldiers. During all of Prop 8's long path to the Supreme Court we have had to listen to people talk about gays as if we our selfish adults trying to steal the word marriage, who's relationships are only about sex, and who don't have families of our own needing legal protection....and we just have to sit there and listen to it as if it's sane dialogue.

That Pastor Manning does not agree with same-sex marriage is fine. That anyone disagrees with same-sex marriage or gay people is their right to do so. That Manning preaches on YouTube and in his church that homosexuality is a sin is totally his business. But....when you post the image of my family...or any and call us child molesters and child rapists that takes the argument out of the realm of protected religious opinion as I don't think anyone would tolerate it if those same comments were directed at a person of another faith. There is language that expresses dislike and disagreement...and there is language that demeans people, treats them as if they are children who's lives are fit for their judgement and furthermore ...language that causes harm as Pastor Manning has done.

If we no longer accept this type of language when talking about gender, racial, or religious equality....when are we going to get to the point when we acknowledge that for gay and trans people as well. When will it no longer be acceptable to make veiled and not-so-veiled references of pedophilia and rape? Through out history LGBT people have lost homes, jobs, and families to these same falsehoods. We have born that shame undeserved for long enough. It's unacceptable even by the standard of religious disapproval...and it's time to stop.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered people are you're neighbors...your sons and daughters ...your parents...people who work beside you...people who sometimes protect you in an emergency. We have families we love as much as yours and we are entitled to the same common respect and human dignity we have learned to demand for others who once stood on the outside.

Until next time dear readers...


  1. I'm sorry to hear that this man did this. The least he could have done, was thought about Daniel seeing that video and considered his feelings on the matter. How could such a "holy" man do that? He didn't even stop and consider the fact he called Daniel a victim of rape. How DARE he say such despicable words! Holy my ass, that was downright inconsiderate and unkind. I wonder how happy his God is with that.

  2. The video by Manning, I refuse to label him a pastor, was reprehensible. I was angry for you and your family. What I don't understand is that to date there has been no discussion of this as slander, which I believe it to be. I'm sure you probably just want it to go away and not give him anymore press but if I were in your shoes I'd be sorely tempted to sue him for his remarks.

  3. It's rather disgusting to me that our society is so afraid of the possibility of gay men raping other men in the military, but the fact that rape against women is commonplace in the military, and the fact that women are discouraged from reporting it, hardly ever even gets a raised eyebrow from the same people who supported DADT.

  4. I think the main reason youtube reacted fast the 2nd time around was because of money.

    Simply put, youtube can do what it wants, when it wants... unless they are at risk of losing money because of their actions. These "community guidelines" mean nothing because the rulebook only comes out and gets enforced when youtube stands to lose money of any amount.

    If the article were to have gone viral, theres a big chance that P&G, Pepsi etc, could have pulled out a little futher from youtube, meaning.... their money goes down. To protect this, youtube will react fast in the hope that nobody at P&G has seen the article or is drawn to where their products are being advertised.

    Hopefully, society will learn the difference between free speech and hate speech one of these days and that hate speech can join the long list of illegal things.

  5. Jay/Bryan, I have become engaged in this debate since I discovered Daniel's YouTube letter to Justice Roberts, and I have been supportive of your actions and words all the way down the line. I was particularly incensed by Mr Manning's video because the words he used were to do nothing more than instill bias, hatred and falsely insinuate that you were horrible people, let alone parents, simply because of the person you love. I might not be as articulate as you are, but I can no longer remain quiet, I will point out hypocrisy and lies where I find them, especially when it comes to the vile and hate filled words of people like Mr Manning. Thank you, for being the wonderful guys you are, for raising two incredible kids, and for standing up in place for those of us that haven't gotten the guts to get on the podium (yet)!!!

  6. Hi Bryan

    I am not too sure of the specific copyright law and protection in the USA. There should be innate copyright in the video clip which Manning used without your family's permission.There could be probable infringement of copyright. That should be enough ground for the hateful clip to be removed or at least the removal of the segment which contain Daniel...

    To believe that one has free rein in speech and religion is foolish. If everyone could be a little wiser and realise that the curtailment of any rights in the Constitution would be love and basic respect for others.


    1. (disclaimer: I am not a lawyer) In the US, copyright law allows for fair use of material, specifically when used to analyse or discuss said material. It could be argued that Manning used bits of the video in which Daniel reads his letter to Chief Justice Roberts in the same way that Jay and Brian used bits of Manning's video in order to call attention to that video--in other words, neither of them are making illegal use of the other's videos.

      I couldn't stomach to listen to the whole video while it was up, but what little I heard from what Jay and Bryan showed was enough to incense me because it could easily be construed as accusing them of molesting Daniel--however, a lawyer could probably argue, if the case were brought to court, that unless such words were said, the implication is not enough to sue (or win a suit) for slander.

      As for free speech, it is the first and one of the most important amendments to the constitution, and as such it has very specific limitations--Wikipedia page on this here. Seems to me that only the first two--incitement and false statement of fact--would apply in this case, if Jay and Bryan were willing to take the matter to court.

  7. I might agree that the minimum age to vote should be 30. You really haven't lived until you hit that age. So your experiences are still shaping you up to that age. I know I'm a VERY different person now than I was in my 20's.

    But the reality is there are varying levels of maturity when it comes to voting. For example, in the last cycle of elections I bumped into an older gentleman who was spouting some serious racist shit about the President. So I do what I always do, I ask them where they heard that.

    When they can't answer I'll suggest the usual suspects such as Fox News, Breitbart, WorldNewsNow (That's a popular one btw!)

    I ask them to challenge the status quo and do a little research excluding the above listed.

    1. I disagree, passionately. It's youth which has brought change to the world--and if people can sign up for the military, or to be cops or firefighters, which puts their lives at very real risks, once they turn 18, doesn't it seem a little odd--if not hypocritical--to then say they shouldn't have a voice regarding the way the country they serve is run?

  8. "Dr. Manning" - ..... a great "salesman", because it's ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!!! Any reasonable person can see through his bull$#!+. He would be what I would call a "Professional Bully". There will always be "that side of the planet", and most of his 23,000 subscribers will probably follow his lead, no matter what discourse or logic is laid before them.

    Marriage equality is becoming a reality because the vast majority who have no pre-determined opinion, one way or the other - when LISTENING to the debate on the issues, will weigh the facts and come to the correct conclusion ...... I think :/ I can only "keep the Faith" on that one.

  9. Jay and Bryan, I was very angry to see Manning's original video back up, and I'm happy that youtube finally yanked.

    Lesson: next time, contact the advertisers (or the mainstream media) and point out what those companies are endorsing by their silence.

    I disagree with you on this, though: "If we no longer accept this type of language when talking about gender, racial, or religious equality.."

    The truth is that this language and similar language is still used for women and immigrants and anyone/everyone who is different.

    It's only when egregious instances of verbal abuse for minority groups and/or women make the news that the politicians or whomever apologize--otherwise, no one cares.

    Remember Sandra Fluke and Rush Limbaugh? Limbaugh only apologized after the mainstream media made noise--and his comments only came after a House committee discussing the matter of birth control coverage refused to let her testify. A woman, not allowed to testify on matters affecting her own body. After all the noise and thunder, only Democrat representatives deigned to listen to her.

    Google Anita Sarkeesian and see what people consider perfectly acceptable to say to her/about her for "fun" (trigger warning: there are many violent and vile videos out there, including a 'game' where people can beat her up) because she dares analyse/criticize games from a feminist point of view--the cheek, invading the male dominated real of gaming!

    The fight for equality is as much a struggle for women and ethnic minorities as it is for gays. Please do not dismiss our plight, we are all allies, and we are all so much stronger when we stand together and for each other.

  10. For some unknown reason humans seem to need an "other" to hate. To struggle against and ultimately triumph over. We've read about it in our history books and it continues on into today.

    I'm afraid that after DOMA is struck down, equal marriage is going to be nibbled away with restriction laws, just as the antiabortion folks have been doing since Row v Wade was ruled on.

    At least the younger crop is against hate towards lbgt and women, which is why Manning thinks that those under 30 shouldnt be allowed to vote. Stupid bigoted man

  11. I know this is going to be an unpopular thing to say but.. Get rid of the bible, it's homophobic. If the bible is the word of god then that god should not be praised. If it isn't, then what good is it?. If the bible is only partially true, then who's to say what's true and what's not? If the reader is deciding then you don't need a god, you've already drew you own moral guidelines and you don't need the bible to do it for you. If, however you do get rid of the bible then you've thrown out what little evidence there is for believing in the Christian god. Point is, the bible is used as a weapon against homosexuality and this priest is not wrong in suggesting that the bible believes homosexuality is against god. People hold up the bible and say its the good book, it's the word of god, it has to be respected. If your a Christian you support this book, if you gay and a Christian you support your own and others hatred of you.

  12. I was very upset when I heard that the video was put back up by YouTube and could not figure out why they would re-post it, it was obviously hate speech and was also obviously attacking your family too, both violations of YouTube community rules.

    I don't know why it is still acceptably to attack gay people with such speech and for it to be thought part of a publicly acceptable discourse. Although I don't think that such speech about women (or minority's by extension) has gone away and it is still very acceptable in some circles the issues arise when what is said gets picked up by those outside of said circles and gets widely broadcast, that is when the outrage hits the feaverd pitch. I think that the issue is that the circle of acceptability when it comes to discourse around "gays" is much bigger then that around women or other minority's

    That is my two cents

  13. hello my name shannys I was 8 I was born in brazil sao paulo I also have been adopted by gay (male) child his most humiliating me but my friends tell me your too lucky having two fathers but it will not all children will accept and selena and too cute

  14. Looking at all of the people in his congregation..I cannot stop thinking about all of the gay children who certainly are there listening to his hateful words. People like him have blood on their hands. How many kids will commit suicide because they believe his hate?

    1. This, this exactly. People preaching hatred for those who are different don't really care about who they harm, because they refuse to see that "those people" are right there.

  15. life has been crazy lately. . .and then this crap (manning's o/c). i needed to pace myself. oi.

    as one who sometimes speaks with the authority of spirit- i know of a few spirits that would be well fed by manning's manure. im not offering to sic them.

    as one who can be quite hateful in regards to certain behaviors and select individuals-i have no nice whatsoever for people who commit certain crimes up to and including calling those individuals by the most vile terms that i am aware of-its not entirely voluntary. the jaded cynic in me wonders if this guy is projecting because he has to use 'religion' as a crutch to prevent himself from committing acts he believes to be immoral.

    i am curious how he defines rape so broadly and expects it to be of any applicable secular legal standard. how is the unwelcome use of a childs image and name by a complete stranger any less a rape? you and jay have full legal authority and responsibility for daniel as any parent does. one would think that as a pastor(by human appointment) he would understand that there is a difference between practicable law in terms of social ethics and criminal behavior and any applicable (by tradition) spiritual laws. his claims that churches would be prohibited in anyway are nothing more than paranoid delusions- governing bodies here tend to stay as far out of church as possible- unless the practices involved are extreme and violate certain laws and ordinances. the worship service calls for skyclad celebration by all participants-so what so long as no one is being forced to participate in unwilling sex acts or to unwillingly witness sex acts then gtf over it we arent bound by your hangups.

    as far as daniel's knowledge of what is family, let alone the worldly knowledge of any ten year old: to a point on certain levels yes the understanding of anything is limited for a ten year old- as it is for all persons especially when they decide they know it all and are unwilling to be an empty cup. daniel himself has been very articulate where he can be about what he knows and ya'll have been pretty well upfront about the nature of many of his experiences; it strikes me(based entirely on my own experience and opinions o/c) that daniel is probably better qualified in certain ways to talk about what is 'family' than many others- it seems fairly straight forward when one considers going from 'no one will ever want you, at all, to a happy well adjusted(apparently i could be wrong) 'normal' teenager with thoughts and opinions all his own at his current level of understanding.

    what daniels definition and understanding lacks in nuance and social construct is made up for in the simple everyday realness of it.

  16. My church no one every preaches about devote a whole service to it..thinking about the only thing my church really does is pray,fast,read the Bible ,and heal. The healing part scares me so I'm never around for that.
    I always thought it was strange they didn't mention it though..

  17. I'm so sorry to hear that you've gone through all of this, and it really galls me that your family has been defamed and denigrated by a man who claims to be a Christian. When a man of the cloth bears false witness, there are definitive repercussions.

    I heard your son read his beautiful letter at the March for Marriage Equality in San Francisco, and hope that you can shield him from the ugly behavior that Pastor Manning and his flock represent.

    I wrote about bigotry and religious leaders today - and hope you can check it out.

    You have a beautiful family, and nothing will ever change that. Stay strong and keep blogging, because the written word combined with a strong conviction and advocacy - strengthens your voice - while you energize and inspire everyone around you.


    Roy Steele

  18. I flagged his video (the replacement one) and it went down a day later (not sure if it was because of me or others. It probably got put back up or something. I don't even want to revisit his bigoted YouTube videos and give them more hits.

    The man clearly lacks civil ethics. He operates on a selfish and/or closed-minded mentality that is disturbing and yet sadly is not particularly surprising. At best, he's been brainwashed to be pitifully ignorant and bigoted, but that's no justification for him being a douchebag.

    I think the gay community gets targeted by certain religions, because it's easier to "other" us and personify evil by singling out a social group rather than try to rally a congregation to fight more abstract concepts like poverty, sickness, etc. It's easier to point at a group of different people and rouse people up against a "bad people" or "villains" or "sinners" as an enemy rather than try to be like, "Hey guys let's help other people!". Sadly, fear tends to be a more effective motivator than emotions and values like charity.

    In Pastor Manning's case, behind the veil of his religious position, he's just like any other worker, but he gets his paycheck and status by being a leader of his religious institution. He has a vested interest in manipulating others and exploiting the ignorant and impressionable for his own selfish gain whether he's aware of this consciously or not. He's a Demagogue who's using time-tested sensationalist, paranoia, and mass media tactics so that he can gain power for himself. Unfortunately, gays are his scapegoat and he's trying to use Daniel for some aspect of that campaign. I'm not even going to dignify his antics or give him the benefit of the doubt that he just needs to be educated and reasoned with. I have no doubt that he probably is delusional and actually believes the shit he spews. All the more, he needs to be brought down to earth and treated just like any other internet troll out there. Unfortunately, he does have followers and power, but at the end of the day he's still just an asshole...just with a bigger platform to influence others with

  19. Just because someone is erercising their free speech does not free tbem from charges of slander, liabel and defamation of character. By attacking Daniel and accusing you fof being child molesters ( how Spanish Inquisition!), you should sue his balls off

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