Friday, September 30, 2011

The Naked Bigotry of the American Family Association

Venango County is headquarters for the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, the state affiliate of the Tupelo, Mississippi-based Hate Group known as the American Family Association (AFA).

People for the American Way says this about the AFA's national spokesperson, Bryan Fischer, whose program airs on Venango County's "Christian" Radio Station, WAWN Franklin:

“Bryan Fischer’s stunning record of public bigotry would make him a pariah in any sane political movement. But his long record of hate speech doesn’t seem to bother the supposed ‘mainstream’ GOP politicians."

When will Venango County's public leaders stand up and say enough is enough?

We reported [1] yesterday that American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer will not only be speaking at the upcoming Values Voter Summit but will immediately follow Mitt Romney. Today, People For the American Way released a statement [2] urging Romney and fellow Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum to condemn Fischer’s unmitigated bigotry [3] rather than lending it legitimacy by appearing with him:

• Fischer, the chief spokesman for the AFA, has insisted that American Muslims have no First Amendment [4] rights, has said that Muslims should be banned from the U.S. military [5], and has called for a ban on the building of new mosques [6] in the U.S.

• Fischer has written that “gay sex is a form of domestic terrorism [7],” thinks gays and lesbians should be “disqualified from public office [8],” claims that gays are responsible for the Nazi Party [9] and that gay people today will “do the same thing to you that the Nazis did to their opponents in Nazi Germany [10].”

• Fischer has insisted that Native Americans are “morally disqualified [11]” from controlling American land and insists that American Indian communities are “mired in poverty and alcoholism” because not all have converted to Christianity [11].

• He has written that African American welfare recipients “rut like rabbits [12].”

• Last year, Fischer insulted Medal of Honor winner [13] Sal Giunta, who saved the lives of two fellow soldiers under heavy fire in Afghanistan, saying “we have feminized the Medal of Honor” because "we now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them."

People For the American Way president Michael Keegan urged Romney and his fellow presidential candidates to denounce Fischer’s bigotry before appearing with him at the event.

“Bryan Fischer’s stunning record of public bigotry would make him a pariah in any sane political movement,” Keegan said. “But his long record of hate speech doesn’t seem to bother the supposed ‘mainstream’ GOP politicians like Mitt Romney and Rick Perry who are sharing the stage with him at an event sponsored by his employer. Candidates don’t have to agree with the views of everyone they appear with – but they should be wary of lending legitimacy to those who peddle hate and fear of their fellow Americans.

“If Mitt Romney wants to appeal to mainstream audiences, he should publicly disassociate himself from Fischer’s bigotry before handing him the podium.”


And, of course, this, from Venango County's own Diane Gramley, President of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Call for LGBT Rights & Equality in Hate Group's Home Town

Tupelo Coalition Announces Day of Events for Gay Rights & Equality

Tupelo, Mississippi – October 10, 2011

Tupelo, MS – A very special series of events will take place in Tupelo on Monday, October 10, to help raise public awareness about the lives and concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Mississippi and throughout the South and to help build support for ongoing local, state, and regional efforts to make our communities more just, inclusive, humane, and safe for LGBT and all people who call them home.

In line with recent high profile public debates about bullying and youth suicides, safe schools, family equality, military service, racial intolerance and other civil and human rights concerns, there will be an emphasis on the perspectives and needs of LGBT youth, as well as efforts to help bridge the gaps that have divided families, friends, churches and communities on these issues for far too long.

Tupelo holds special significance as the setting for these events as headquarters for the American Family Association (AFA), a national organization recently designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center for the “thoroughly discredited falsehoods and demonizing propaganda it pumps out about homosexuality and other sexual minorities.” (Venango County is home to the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Family Association.)

The Give Hate A Holiday events will begin with an 11:00 AM press conference at Tupelo's Link Centre, featuring coalition representatives, to offer statements and answer questions about its purpose and goals. Mark Potok, Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project will also unveil a highly anticipated new Intelligence Report on Bryan Fischer, the AFA's prominent, and controversial, spokesperson. Additionally, Southern Clergy for Inclusion will release “A Southern Proclamation” in which they proclaim God’s love for all, including LGBT persons and publicly apologize where they have been silent.

The public events start at 12:00 Noon with a peaceful and colorful public gathering outside the Link Centre where participants are invited to demonstrate, with signs, chants and other creative forms of public witness, their commitment to the struggle for inclusion, fairness and equality and to call out to others to join the movement and take a stand in their community.

At 2:00 PM, in the Link Centre Concert Hall, there will be a Free Public Screening of OUT IN THE SILENCE, the acclaimed, hopeful and entertaining documentary film about courageous local residents confronting homophobia and the limitations of religion, tradition and the status quo in their conservative small town, followed by a dynamic Town Hall-style Public Forum aimed at engaging the audience in an action-oriented dialogue about inclusion, fairness, and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all people in Mississippi, throughout the South, and across the country. Filmmakers Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer will be on-hand to help lead the discussion, and the public is invited to participate and to share their perspectives and ideas for promoting positive change with the audience. (There will be a Repeat Film Screening and Town Hall Forum at 7:00 PM for those unable to attend the afternoon showing.)

Following the film screening and town-hall forum, participants are invited to continue the conversation in the Link Centre's Reception Hall and to visit with representatives of local groups and organizations to learn about their work and about how to get more involved and take action. (Groups or organization that would like to set-up an information table should contact Melanie Deas at:

Co-sponsors of the Give Hate a Holiday event include: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tupelo -- Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Oxford -- All Saints' Episcopal Church of Tupelo -- PFLAG Tupelo -- PFLAG Oxford/North Mississippi -- Gulf Region PFLAG -- University of Mississippi Gay-Straight Alliance -- OUTlaw at The University of Mississippi -- Mississippi Workers' Center for Human Rights – ACLU of Mississippi – Unitarian Universalist Mid South District -- Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations "Standing on the Side of Love" Campaign – Believe Out Loud – Americans United for Separation of Church and State -- Tennessee Equality Project -- Georgia Equality -- Equality Federation -- Out Now Youth (Springfield, MA) -- GetEQUAL.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Venango County Minister, Substitute Teacher, Admits Seeking Sex with 13 Year-Old Girl

Diane Gramley (pictured left), and the Venango County-based Hate Group she heads, the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, pump out demonizing propaganda trying to link lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people with pedophilia in the public's mind.

In this case, however, one of their own proves them wrong:

Ex-Trooper, Minister, Substitute Teacher
Admits Seeking Sex with 13-year-old

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

A retired state trooper who also worked as a substitute high school teacher has pleaded guilty to charges that he traveled from his home in Venango County to the Pittsburgh area because he hoped to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex.

State prosecutors say 61-year-old Lawrence McElroy, of Cooperstown, had actually been chatting online with an undercover officer prior to the meeting in Canonsburg in April, where he was arrested.

Mr. McElroy has served as a minister at three Western Pennsylvania churches since retiring from the state police in 1993 and was a substitute teacher in several Venango County high schools when arrested. Prosecutors say he made three calls from one of those schools to the undercover agent.

When arrested, Mr. McElroy had Viagra, a new computer web cam and a silver necklace he planned to give to the "girl."