Thursday, September 12, 2013

Falling Into History

It's a day too late in the sense that a 9/11 essay should have been printed on 9/11, but on 9/12 it still resonates.  I found it on "Mock, Paper, Scissors," the delicious blog of my friend, Tengrain.  It is powerful and very moving and sad.  But it puts the event into perspective and rightly castigates those who joined the jingoist bandwagon even before the smoke cleared.

Tengrain's Introduction:

This is from the SF Chronicle from 2006, which seems like a lifetime ago; It was written by Neva Chonin, who has long since gone from there. I still think this essay remains the best writing about September 11 that I have encountered. This essay has fallen into the void and is no longer on their servers. I want to ensure that it remains on the web, so I am including it verbatim. Oh, we're keeping it on top today!

He’s one of those average men you pass without noticing. A little tubby, wearing beige Dockers and a pink polo shirt. Not much to look at, were it not for the fact that this particular guy is flying. No, flying is the wrong word — he’s falling, falling through the blue sky, a lifetime of memories clutched in his outstretched hands and nothing we know about below.

He’s falling into history.

I can’t remember when or why I started Googling the words “Sept. 11″ and “falling.” I was looking for … something. Chills? Answers? What I found were pictures of the jumpers — the people trapped on the upper floors of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, who chose to breathe free one last time before dying. Some leaped from their offices holding hands, lines of them, clinging to one another until gravity and wind tore them apart. A solo jumper, dubbed “The Falling Man” by media, went on to become emblematic of that day’s unanswered questions.

But it’s the guy in the Dockers, my own private falling man, who haunts me. He’s helped me, too, because five years later I think I finally know why the day of his death owns a horror all its own. It’s got nothing to do with flags and national security and God bless America. It’s basic and internal. It’s this: the disorientation of witnessing the average turn surreal, like a Magritte painting that has escaped its frame and invaded the world to upset the equilibrium of what we earnestly call “reality.”

This, too: It’s the shock of seeing an arrogant and seemingly untouchable superpower sucker-punched on its own turf for the first time, not by another superpower but by humans as puny as we are, whose only weapon is their confounding will to die. It’s the eeriness of watching two iconic towers taken out by passenger planes turned passenger missiles. It felt, then as now, like a conspiracy against reason. Jets do not fly into buildings. Except when they do. A guy in Dockers doesn’t fall from the sky. Except when he does. The whole day defied logic, because it couldn’t have happened. Except it did.

I can grasp the horror of civilians in war zones, living under daily bombardment and burying neighbors and family after every air raid. That was my mother’s life, and her stories are programmed into my brain. What I can’t imagine are the feelings of those trapped in either missiles or targets on Sept. 11. I can’t, for instance, fathom seeing office cubicles disintegrate around me, or watching from a coach-class window seat while my plane descends toward the World Trade Center or the wretched Pentagon or, in the case of United 93, a rolling rural blankness. 

These experiences remain so defiantly strange and outside the repertoire of war that I’m left without context, and without context I’m bewildered. Their singularity defies description. Maybe it was like walking on the moon or surviving a death camp; you had to have been there to know what it was like.

That’s the revelation my falling man gave me: That I will never understand. For me, the tragedy of Sept. 11 has always been measured in political fallout. I remember a friend commenting, two days after the planes hit, “Well, that’s it for Iraq.” He saw the future closing in even then, and he wasn’t the only one.

But the rest of the country — liberal, conservative, atheist, evangelical, gay, straight, black, white — was too busy waving flags to hear reason. Polls continue to show that at least half of the American public believes Saddam Hussein was involved in the attacks. Yes, they are just that stupid. Don’t make excuses for them. Don’t blame Fox News for telling them what they want to hear.

Let’s talk about liberal responsibility, instead. Let’s talk about why Democrats of all stripes felt free to put our civil rights into our president’s neoconservative hands. Do you remember what you were doing in the weeks following Sept. 11, 2001? Do you remember your cowardice? I do.

I remember Sandra Bernhard, daring to tell an anti-Bush joke at the Warfield that fall, being booed by a “liberal” San Francisco audience. I also remember writing a column at about the same time questioning where all the flag-waving and jingoism would lead us, and receiving hundreds — yeah, hundreds — of hate letters. That’s not counting the death threats. And I remember getting a few pathetic messages from self-identified Bay Area “progressives” saying they shared my misgivings, but “would never say so in public, of course, ha ha” (actual quote).

Ha ha. See you at the next protest picnic, heroes. If you still think the White House cared about anything more than its own agenda and the cost of real estate when it watched the twin towers go down, if you still believe Bush and company shed one tear for the people trapped in those buildings, well. Wherever your mind’s at must be a sweet, peaceful place. I hope I never go there.

Five years after reality went boom, taking our Constitution, civil rights and common sense with it, I can finally cry for the people who died that day, those whose deaths have been so ruthlessly exploited and memories abused. This, thanks to the image of a guy in Dockers falling through the warm September air. I cry for the unique terror of his death, and I cry because he reminds me of how far we’ve all sunk. His descent lasted less than a minute; we’ve been in a free fall ever since.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Report on Ken Cuccinelli by People For the American Way

Ken Cuccinelli: The Attorney General of the Tea Party

Table of Contents:


In the first test for a Republican Party that is still reeling from the disastrous 2012 election, Virginia’s gubernatorial race could have provided the GOP an opportunity to temper its ultraconservative platform or restrain its partnership with the Tea Party. But the choice of state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli to be the party’s presumptive nominee for governor indicates that the GOP is moving even further to the right and letting go of any pretense of moderation or bipartisanship.

Throughout his career, Cuccinelli has been something of a bellwether for the course of the Republican Party. He won his first political office in 2002, when he deposed a moderate, pro-choice Republican incumbent in Virginia’s state senate, leading the incumbent to lament, “The GOP picked someone whose thinking is so ancient, he would be an embarrassment to Northern Virginia.” In 2009, he was on the front lines of the Tea Party movement, winning election to the state attorney general’s office on a wave of anti-Obama rhetoric and renewed culture-war spirit.

As Virginia’s attorney general, Cuccinelli has become a right-wing rock star. He’s picked fights with the Obama administration, scientists, colleges and universities, and supporters of gay, immigrant and reproductive rights, and strategically allied himself with birthers, climate change deniers, Religious Right activists, Tea Party members and the NRA.

Now, Cuccinelli’s gubernatorial candidacy may be a test of how far the GOP is willing and able to take its recent lurch to the right. If the choice of Cuccinelli to head the party’s ticket in Virginia is any clue, the GOP has abandoned any pretense of reflection and soul-searching and decided to go all in on its embrace of the Radical Right’s policies and rhetoric. Whether he succeeds, and whether the national Republican Party will continue to embrace Cuccinelli and the extremism he represents, may tell us quite a lot about the future of our politics.

Health Care

Cuccinelli emerged as a hero of the Tea Party movement when he filed suit against the Affordable Care Act five minutes after it was signed into law. While the Supreme Court ultimately determined the law to be constitutional, Cuccinelli used the legal battle to gain national attention and publicity, especially after he won an initial challenge to the individual mandate in a federal district court. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network about his challenge to the health law, Cuccinelli suggested that God made him attorney general to save the Constitution from President Barack Obama. He told the conservative website CNSNews that by signing the law, Obama proved himself to be a greater tyrant than King George III.

Not one for subtlety, Cuccinelli told Patrick Henry College students that the health care reform law was “one of the greatest erosions of liberty in your lifetime or mine.” In a column for the far-right American Spectator, he called the law an “onslaught on our liberty” that would lead to an “enormous loss of liberty [that] is antithetical to America’s founding principles.”

He bizarrely asserted that the Affordable Care Act could give the government the ability to “order you to buy a Chevy Equinox.” At a 2010 rally, he went even further, saying that the law might put people in jail: “If the federal government can order you to buy anything with the penalty of going to jail, then you are not a free man or woman in the United States.” There is, of course, no provision in the law regarding jail time for people who do not purchase health insurance.

When the Obama administration ruled that under the ACA, health insurers must provide contraception coverage free of copay, Cuccinelli urged opponents to prepare to “go to jail” rather than comply with the mandate.

He has even implicitly compared his fight against universal health care and opposition to marriage equality to the civil rights movement, citing Martin Luther King, Jr. in a speech to Virginia clergy.
Cuccinelli is an outspoken critic not only of the health care reform law but also of social safety net programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. In his 2013 book, The Last Line of Defense: The New Fight for American Liberty, he claims that people receiving such benefits are “dependent” on the government and “feel they can’t afford to have the programs taken away, no matter how inefficient, poorly run, or costly to the rest of society.” He writes that such programs were created by “bad politicians [who] set out to grow government in order to increase their own power and influence” by winning the support of the people who are “getting the goodies.”

Abortion Rights

In his 2012 commencement speech at Patrick Henry College, Cuccinelli recalled that he “first got into politics” a decade earlier because he objected to his Republican state senator’s support for abortion rights. Cuccinelli went on to defeat that state senator, Warren Barry, in the 2002 Republican primary in his Northern Virginia district. Barry, displaying some prescience about the future of the Republican Party, endorsed Cuccinelli’s Democratic opponent, saying, “I don’t want to make a habit of endorsing Democrats but, in this case, the GOP picked someone whose thinking is so ancient, he would be an embarrassment to Northern Virginia.”

Cuccinelli’s views on reproductive rights are indeed “ancient.” He has argued that the anti-choice movement is similar to the fight to abolish slavery. “Over time, the truth demonstrates its own rightness, and its own righteousness,” he said. “Our experience as a country has demonstrated that on one issue after another. Start right at the beginning: slavery. Today, abortion.”

He is a proponent of radical “personhood” legislation, which would classify zygotes as “persons,” thereby criminalizing all abortions, several common forms of contraception, stem-cell research and in-vitro fertilization. Such “personhood” laws could even prohibit doctors from treating life-threatening ectopic pregnancies.

As a state senator, Cuccinelli proposed a bill that would require doctors to anesthetize the fetus before an abortion, a procedure that could jeopardize the life of the pregnant woman. He also sought to require any doctor performing abortions on a minor to “preserve fetal tissue extracted” during the procedure and send it to the state Department of Forensic Science “for the purpose of identifying the father of the fetus and determining if a crime was committed.” [PDF]

As attorney general, Cuccinelli successfully pressured Virginia’s Board of Health to overrule a previous judgment and approve “TRAP” (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws that will likely result in the closure of the majority of the state’s abortion clinics.

According to The Virginian-Pilot, Cuccinelli “threatened Board of Health members that they could be denied state legal counsel and have to pay for their own defense if they again disregard his advice about relaxing controversial abortion clinic rules and litigation ensues.”

Cuccinelli has tried to defund Planned Parenthood in Virginia and has made the outrageous claims that the organization is involved in sex trafficking and targets the black community. He has also praised and raised money for the radical anti-choice website LifeSiteNews and spoken in favor of abstinence-only programs, warning that sex education promotes “destructive” activities and is part of an “anything goes agenda.”


In 2010, Cuccinelli signed on to an amicus brief defending Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant SB 1070 and said that he was “stunned that the government has sued Arizona.” He even issued a legal opinion in Virginia that mirrors one of SB 1070’s most controversial provisions, authorizing local police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop, detain or arrest for any reason.

While in the state senate, Cuccinelli introduced a resolution [PDF] urging Congress to call a constitutional convention to rescind the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship. In addition, Cuccinelli tried to amend labor laws [PDF] to allow employers to fire employees because of the “inability or refusal to speak English at the workplace” and to disqualify such workers from receiving unemployment benefits. He twice opposed bills that would allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at Virginia public colleges and universities.  He even opposed the immigration reform plan proposed by the Bush administration, arguing that the bill was “something like amnesty” and represented “something of a ‘last straw’ for ordinary Republicans.”

Not only has Cuccinelli embraced the extremist policies of the anti-immigrant Right, he’s adopted their dehumanizing rhetoric as well. For instance, in a 2012 radio interview, Cuccinelli compared the deportation of undocumented immigrants to pest control.

Gay Rights

Cuccinelli, who voted in favor of a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions, used part of his commencement speech at the ultraconservative Patrick Henry College to chastise President Obama for his endorsement of gay marriage, claiming Obama thinks he knows “better than God”:

One [issue] I deal with is when the government and the media want to assault our faith and try to convince the world that their way is better than God’s way, like the president of the United States is doing this week. Where are we going to stand? We’ve got to fight to protect Christian values in a world that often tries to bury them, to say the least.

He also commended the Virginia Christian Alliance for distributing a “Real Men Marry Women” bumper sticker and warned that the “homosexual agenda” was a threat to the family:
One of the things that I faced in the Senate when I would be defending the continual assault, and it’s always going on, the homosexual agenda is there every year and it’s carried forward every year and there is this discussion of the word ‘family.’ I would tell you there are elements of our society that aren’t real well-connected with the dictionary; it’s a real problem for them.
He has argued that same-sex unions “harm children” and defended sodomy laws after the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas found them to be unconstitutional.
In March 2010, Cuccinelli sent a letter [PDF] to Virginia’s public colleges and universities directing them to drop job protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression:
It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including “sexual orientation, “gender identity,” “gender expression,” or like classification, as a protected class within its non-discrimination policy, absent specific authorization from the General Assembly.
He defended his position by arguing that LGBT persons are not protected under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause because categories like “sexual orientation” would “never have been contemplated by the people who wrote and voted for and passed the 14th Amendment.” Of course, in 1996 the Supreme Court found in Romer v. Evansthat laws promoting anti-gay discrimination do indeed violate the Equal Protection Clause.

A year later, Cuccinelli reversed the legal opinion of his predecessor and barred the State Board of Social Services from implementing a proposal to allow same-sex couples to adopt children. He also ended a contract between the attorney general’s office and a law firm after the firm refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of the House Republican leadership.

As a member of the state senate, Cuccinelli opposed legislation that permitted companies to voluntarily extend health benefits to employees’ domestic partners and condemned homosexuality as “intrinsically wrong” and “not healthy to society”:
My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law-based country, it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that. ... They don’t comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society.
Cuccinelli routinely works with anti-gay groups, including Concerned Women for America, Faith and Freedom Coalition and Liberty Counsel, and with far-right activists such as Del. Bob Marshall and Virginia Christian Alliance board member Joe Ellison. His Religious Right bona fides were further confirmed when he tried to censor Virginia’s Great Seal by covering up the goddess Virtus’ bosom, a move for which he offered shifting explanations.

Voting Rights

Cuccinelli has spoken out against Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires the Department of Justice to review changes in voting practices in states that have a history of state-sanctioned racial discrimination, claiming that Virginia has “outgrown” Justice Department oversight. As a state senator, he voted against efforts to make it easier to cast an absentee ballot and twice opposed efforts to restore voting rights to nonviolent felons before he switched his position to follow Governor Bob McDonnell.

Education and Church-State Separation

Cuccinelli wants to abolish the U.S. Department of Education and has endorsed tax credits that are a back door for private and parochial school vouchers. He is also a proponent of the conservative homeschooling movement, which seeks to reject public schools and raise a generation of Christian Right activists. (His own five children are homeschooled.) In his 2012 commencement address to the homeschooling movement’s flagship Patrick Henry College, Cuccinelli offered up classic culture-war rhetoric, telling graduates, “The fight is against the tide of political correctness, the intelligentsia and the media.”

Cuccinelli, a Roman Catholic, has lamented that the Catholic Church’s emphasis on social justice and service to marginalized groups has “helped create a culture of dependency on government, not God” and made Church leadership appear “soft and weak.”

He also worked with the right-wing Virginia Christian Alliance in 2011 to give advice to pastors on how to get involved in politics without risking their churches’ tax-exempt status and fondly recalled a time when candidates for public office “couldn’t of run for office in most parts of this country if you weren’t known in your community to be a man of faith.”

“The secular humanist attack is very real, very alive,” he warned the VCA, telling members to “Google up the Humanist Manifesto” of 1933 to “read the game plan for the other side, as if there is a vast left-wing conspiracy, and you will find out there is. They had a plan eighty years ago and if you read it now it reads like unfolded history, including the attack on God himself.”

Cuccinelli told the group that it “drives me a little bit nutty” that the voter guide of the Catholic Herald, the newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, lacks “discrimination between issues,” meaning that it doesn’t emphasize stances on topics like abortion rights over those like combating poverty and immigration reform.

Hostility to Science

Cuccinelli has created a hostile climate for the scientific community – which he criticized, along with the media, for being “viciously secularized” – and has used the attorney general’s office to go on a witch hunt against climate scientists.

As attorney general, Cuccinelli attempted to compel the University of Virginia to hand over the emails and research documents of Environmental Sciences professor Michael Mann for review under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.

Both a county court and the state supreme court blocked Cuccinelli’s request for what the Washington Post described as “five grant applications prepared by former professor Michael Mann and all e-mails between Mann and his research assistants, secretaries and 39 other scientists from across the country.”

Dr. Mann said in response to the lawsuit that Cuccinelli and other climate change deniers have tried to make “targets out of individual scientists whose work has played a prominent role in the discourse on climate change.” Mann added that Cuccinelli was trying to “intimidate climate scientists” and “chill the scientific discourse surrounding a topic that he obviously feels uncomfortable about, human-caused climate change.”

Cuccinelli also unsuccessfully sued the Environmental Protection Agency for seeking to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, arguing that the EPA based its decision on the “unreliable, unverifiable and doctored” findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He pointed to the so-called “Climategate” scandal to claim that scientists are manipulating data to make the case for climate change. The scientists implicated in the manufactured right-wing scandal have been exonerated.

Conspiracy Theories

In a campaign town hall meeting, Cuccinelli said that his family is considering not registering his son for a Social Security number “because it is being used to track you.”

Shortly after being sworn in as attorney general, Cuccinelli gave credence to birther conspiracy theories when he said that President Obama’s birth certificate “will get tested” once “someone is convicted of violating [a federal law] and one of their defenses will be it is not a law because someone qualified to be president didn’t sign it.” He even said that it was “possible” that the attorney general’s office would look into birther claims, maintaining that it “doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility” that Obama was born in Kenya. In a statement after his comments leaked, Cuccinelli backed down, saying he was merely offering a “hypothetical legal response” to a question and that he doesn’t believe in the birther conspiracy theory himself.

Cuccinelli also backed the claims of two radio talk show hosts who doubted the validity of President Obama’s reelection because Obama lost the four states — Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas and Indiana — that have the country’s strictest voter ID laws, telling them: “You’re preaching to the choir.I’m with you, completely with you.”

He even falsely claimed that the government of Washington, D.C., was working to deliberately displace rats to Virginia.

Gun Activism

A close ally of the National Rifle Association, Cuccinelli has championed the concealed carrying of weapons in bars, restaurants, public parks and churches. He called officials at George Mason University “idiots” and “crazy” because the school prohibits guns in campus buildings, and he issued a legal opinion that “people with concealed carry permits are not subject to a University of Virginia policy prohibiting individuals from bringing guns into school facilities without permission.” As a state senator, he helped defeat a bill that would have closed the gun show loophole on background checks.


Far from an aberration, Cuccinelli’s candidacy shows how far to the right the GOP has moved in recent years. Many predictions about a time of Republican self-reflection and moderation after the party’s 2012 defeats have failed to materialize. Instead, the GOP seems all the more determined to elevate right-wing candidates like Cuccinelli, embracing his attacks on everything from Social Security to the “homosexual agenda,” and confirming that Tea Party extremism is now an entrenched part of the Republican platform.

Note:  More info is available at People For the American Way.  Photo credit:  Gage Skidmore

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Christian Radio Host Says Gays Who Marry Should Die

The so-called "Christian" radio host has a name. It's a rather common name. Kevin Swanson. Mr. Swanson "believes" the Bible and if the Bible says something is a sin, and the person who commits that sin should be killed, well, that's God's word and Mr. Swanson wants to get God's word out to all people.

 In the Hebrew Bible, book of Leviticus, there are at least a couple of passages which indicate God would be displeased if a man lay with a man as with a woman. Oh, and a woman should not lay with a beast. That would make God very angry.

Mr. Swanson, having read at least one verse in the book of Leviticus (20:13), is insistent that gay people should be put to death for that is God's command. He doesn't seem to want to kill them himself but he is willing to tell them that God wants them to die so he's trying to be invited to as many gay weddings as possible so he can lay before those involved God's holy word and tell them they "have done an abhorrent thing; [that] they shall be put to death." [Mr. Swanson's version of Leviticus is a bit different than mine because he's not been reading the Jewish Bible but a Christian version of the Hebrew Bible]. In Mr. Swanson's version, gays have "committed an abomination." It's still deserving of death, though, any way you look at it.

Part of the problem comes in pronoun form. The Bible refers specifically to males. So far, at least, lesbians are off the hook.

But one must wonder why that particular verse sticks in Mr. Swanson's craw. Really. God has much more to say in that very chapter. Let's list them:

1. If you offer your child to the god, Molech, you should be stoned to death.
2. If you turn "to ghosts and familiar spirits and ... [go] ... astray after them" God will cut you off from his people.
3. If you insult your father and mother you shall be put to death.
4. If you commit adultery with a married woman both you and the woman shall be put to death.
5. If you commit incest, both involved shall be put to death.
6. If you marry a woman and her mother, the whole bunch of you will be put to death.
7. If either a man or woman has intercourse with a beast, the people and the beasts shall be put to death.

Let's go back to chapter 19 of the book of Leviticus and see what God says there.

1. You shall keep God's sabbaths. Now Sabbath refers to the 7th day which we call Saturday. I wonder if Mr. Swanson keeps God's sabbaths?
2. There are a series of commands which follow similar to the so-called 10 Commands, such as prohibitions against stealing and lying and defrauding others.
3. "You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind."
4. You shall not favor the rich and you should judge your kinsmen fairly.
5. Don't hate. "Love your fellow as yourself." (Wait, didn't Jesus say that?) Don't seek revenge.
6. Don't wear clothing which mixes two different kinds of materials. Oops!
7. Do not eat any animal with its blood. No more rare filet mignon, Mr. Swanson!
8. Do not engage in divination or soothsaying. That means most media folks are in a heap of trouble!
9. Do not, Mr. Swanson, "round off the side-growth on your head, or destroy the side-growth of your beard."
10. Do not "incise any marks on yourselves."  No tattoos!
11. You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old. I don't think you do that very well, Mr. Swanson!
12. And speaking of immigration: "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself..."

Now we're almost done, for this is not meant to be a comprehensive list of God's laws, but simply some representative samples. There are a few yet to be added. In Leviticus, Chapter 23, we read:

1. You may not do any work at all on the Sabbath! None. Nada. Saturday is a holy day to the Lord!
2. This is followed by a long list of necessary observances of "sacred occasions," and the rules are quite strict. For example, "In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a passover offering to the Lord, and on the fifteenth day of that month the Lord's Feast of Unleavened Bread. You shall eat unleavened bread for seven days. On the first day you shall celebrate a sacred occasion: you shall not work at your occupations. Seven days you shall make offerings by fire to the Lord..."

Chapter 24 says something about blasphemy.

1. "Anyone who blasphemes his God shall bear his guilt; if he also pronounces the name Lord, he shall be put to death." Uh oh! I know lots of people in serious trouble. Anyone cursing his God and pronouncing the name of YHVH is doomed!
2. If you kill a human being you shall be put to death.
3. If you maim someone, you shall be so maimed, "fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth."

Okay, that's enough. The point should be obvious but I have known literally many hundreds of Christians who miss it. The point is this: If you are going to pick one passage from the Bible, whether it's the book of Leviticus or another, and claim that has validity for us today, then you must say the same thing about all the commands that God gives in the Bible.

You cannot pick and choose. You cannot say, "Well, that was valid then but times have changed and so we must interpret things differently today."

 Mr. Swanson is my foil and I don't give a wit about him as he is an ignorant and vicious person who defames the name of his Lord. But there are too many ignorant souls who believe as he does. You cannot claim that homosexuality is an "abomination" or an "abhorrence" while at the same time neglect to honor the Sabbath or fail to follow the rules for God's "sacred occasions."

And you cannot say that the latter apply to the ancient Hebrews but not to us today and especially not to Christians today because we are no longer bound by the "old" Law. For if that were true then the passage relative to homosexuality must be thrown out along with the rest of the commands that God gave in the book of Leviticus and elsewhere. You can't grill a hamburger on your patio and claim homosexuals deserve to die. You cannot get a tattoo and shave your beard and treat illegal immigrants poorly! It comes down to this: If homosexuality is wrong, so is wearing a piece of clothing which contains a mix of materials.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Swanson! 

Notes:  The photo comes from Raw Story.  There is an article dealing with this topic at Raw Story here.  

Biblical quotations are from "The Jewish Study Bible - Tanakh Translation."