Archive for the ‘NPR Stuff’ Category

I’ve been catching up on my NPR podcasts — I know, I’m a nerd for having so many NPR podcasts — and in the process I listened to a really interesting interview with Frank Schaeffer, the author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. He talked about his life helping his father to politicize evangelical leaders and how he became enamored with the process.

“We gradually, I think, really started to enjoy the feeling that we could not only change America and bring it back closer to God’s intention for Godly societies, whatever the agenda was, but also just the process of meeting with high powered people and being listened to.  And I think really the bottom line is that became addictive, and that addiction meant that we were increasingly telling people how to vote and not really appealing so much to conscious as to political expediency.”

It was interesting to hear his perspective on the right wing’s views towards homosexuality.  He pointed how that he never heard, growing up, that homosexuality was some special case.  Schaeffer believed the right-wing realized this “cultural political stuff” was bigger when it came to fund raising and giving them access to power, than simply “talking about Jesus” or “helping the poor.”  Schaeffer said, the evangelical right couldn’t only talk about abortion and there was a new “scandal of the week” to go after.  So, the gay movement emerging in tandem during this same period presented a good target.

“Essentially once the religious right got into the habit of playing “church lady” to the whole culture and both judging and condemning and also offering a solution, which was to put their people in power, you needed to keep cranking it up.”

He also talked about witnessing the hatred towards gay people and felt their “personal antipathy was rabid.”

I can’t wait to pick up his Crazy for God book.  His story is so interesting and enlightening and I appreciate his views on the gay community and his bravery to condemn the hatred he witnessed.  I also agree with his views on Barack Obama inviting Rick Warren to the inauguration.  Here are some excerpts from what he wrote on The Huffington Post.

“Unlike his lefty critics lamenting Obama’s ideological impurity, the President-elect is actually positioning himself to help gay rights. That is because he is going to actually govern, not stand on the sidelines complaining. As such he needs to do all he can to soothe the idiots, when it comes to the tough social/political issues that are the residue of 30 years of culture wars.”

Here’s the point for all you progressives that only talk to yourselves and haven’t a clue about the “other” America: in a country where a national evangelical leader is fired for just voting for Obama, and thinking friendly thoughts about gays, the new progressive president has his work cut out!

Progressives are too used to failing. Stop worrying about little battles, you just won a war. It’s all about real results now, not words, and not symbols. It is time to think like winners. The issue now is governance, not symbols.”

Check out the Fresh Air interview.


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I can’t wait to see the new movie “Milk” starring Sean Penn.  The movie, a biopic about the first openly gay man elected to office, is currently in limited release but opens in more theaters this Friday.  I’ve been so fascinated about his life and the work he did for the gay rights movement.

Dustin Lance Black, the screenwriter of the film, was also inspired by the life Harvey Milk.  Dustin Lance Black is openly gay and grew up in the Mormon faith in San Antonio, Texas.  Hearing about Harvey Milk and his sacrifices encouraged Black to come out to his family and friends.

“Texas kept me very quiet. I became intensely shy, I had thoughts of suicide. I was a pretty dark kid, because I had an acute awareness of my sexuality, and was absolutely convinced that I was wrong. In his Hope Speech, Harvey Milk says, ‘There’s that kid in San Antonio, and he heard tonight that a gay man was elected to public office, and that will give him hope.’ And when I first heard that speech, it really did that. It really, really gave me hope, for the first time.”

Terry Gross, from NPR’s Fresh Air, recently had a great interview with the screenwriter of the film, Dustin Lance Black.  Talking about his experiences growing up in the Mormon Church, researching for the film,  and what it meant to him about the passage of the same-sex marriage ban.  It’s a great interview and I love his insight on gay rights.  I’m so glad NPR has been running pieces on Harvey Milk and other gay rights activists during that time.  And for Fresh Air to have Dustin Lance Black on the show.  It’s great to hear open gay public figures share their experiences.  It’s so important to share experiences and let people know who is being affected.  It’s what we need to achieve equality for gay Americans.

Check out the interview.  And while you’re at it, listen to Terry Gross’s interview with James Franco, who co-stars in the film. And listen to a review of the film by their film critic, David Edelstein.  Did I mention I’m excited to see this film?

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On my way to work this morning I caught the NPR interview with Kim Gandy, the president of NOW, announcing their endorsement for the Obama Biden ticket.

Kim Gandy said they had a new sense of urgency after learning about Sarah Palin’s Vice Presidential nomination.  Gandy feels Sarah Palin is “being portrayed as a supporter of women’s rights and as a feminist.” However, Gandy believes Palin’s positions on some issues are “out of step” with American women.

She also said, they had members support the McCain Palin ticket, but the majority felt the need to support Obama’s campaign.  “The overwhelmeing feedback we got from members and leaders is that we should endorse and support Obama and Biden because they’ve stood by women.”  I thought it was pretty interesting to hear that NOW rarely endorses in a general election.

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