Fred Phelps, the founder of a Kansas-based group known for its anti-gay protests and picketing of military funerals, died of natural causes on Wednesday night at the age of 84. Westboro Baptist Church, a small but vocal congregation, was founded in 1955 to warn the world of God’s wrath toward our “deeply corrupted nation and world.” Since the 1990s, they have staged protests meant to disrupt and cause emotional distress to a number of people in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Traditionally, the butt plug has been used to stimulate the rectum for sexual pleasure, but Florida artist Fernando Sosa wants to repurpose it as a tool of dissent. A week ago, Sosa unleashed on the world a plug based on Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. Initially, Sosa wanted to use his 3-D printer to make a voodoo doll, but he determined that casting Putin as an object representative of the thing he considers most corrosive to Russian society was the better bet.
James David Manning is the pastor of the ATLAH World Church in Harlem, New York. Last week, his website posted a video through which the pastor educated his community about the dangers of the “white homo,” a demon Manning believes is coming to take black men. This is fear-mongering at a level you’ve never seen it before.
Conservative Christians around the nation have been clamoring for increased religious protections to match the advances made by by gay rights groups. The latest attempt fell flat yesterday in Arizona when Republican Governor Jan Brewer vetoed Senate Bill 1062, which would have effectively sanctioned discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by businesses in the state.
In August, Russian officials issued an edict against anything that struck, in their opinion, as a “nontraditional” relationship, citing concern for the easily corruptible minds of Russian children. This gay ban was met with a great deal of protest from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual allies and activists and now, the group FCKH8, best known for manufacturing gay marriage equality t-shirts, has stepped up with a coloring book for children depicting the story of little Misha, a little boy with two moms. It’s the most heart-breaking thing you’ll ever see.
Apple came under fire last week when a Massachusetts teen discovered that their dictionary app gave the definition “foolish, stupid” for the word “gay.” The 15-year-old Becca Gorman, who had looked up the word while doing research for a paper on gay rights, was surprised that this definition was listed as “informal,” but that the dictionary seemed to provide no indication that the usage of the word in this context was derogatory. An Apple representative called her right away to let her know they were looking into it. What happened there?
A little video from Fine Brothers Productions, which owns a corner of the reaction space on YouTube, has been making the rounds online featuring reactions of 13 California kids between the ages of five and 13 to two different gay marriage proposals. “The opinions of children about these issues can give incredibly valuable insight into where our society currently stands and where we are headed as people,” write the creators. “It’s important to discuss these topics openly in the hopes of a better tomorrow through dialogue and conversation.”
Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, said that it was not for him to judge gay people. “If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalized because of this (orientation) but that they must be integrated into society.” Despite what seems like a revolutionary reversal in doctrine, the pontiff aligns with the Catholic Church’s belief that while homosexual orientation is not a sin, homosexual acts are.