Saturday, March 27, 2010

Geert Wilders Film Premiere Cancelled Over Gay Rights Dispute

The American Right has run into yet another snag in it's courtship of Geert Wilders.

The May 1st premiere (in Los Angeles) of the film "Islam Rising: Geert Wilders' Warning to the West" has been scrubbed. Wilders himself precipitated this by his decision to, in effect, boycott the premiere and sever any connection with the film's backer, The Christian Action Network (CAN).

Wilders decision came after homophobic actions and statements by CAN and its founder, Martin Mawyer, were brought to his attention. Wilders and his Party for Freedom are pro-gay-rights, including gay marriage.

At first Wilders was only told that the CAN was opposed to gay marriage. His response to that was 'I totally disagree with them about this [gay marriage] . . . . But they can make a film about me.'

But when more information about CAN and Mawyer's hatred of gays was made available in the Netherlands, Wilders quickly called the whole thing off.

CAN was founded by Martin Mawyer in 1990, the year after Jerry Fallwell's original "Moral Majority" closed up shop. Mawyer had been the longtime editor of that groups mouthpiece, the Moral Majority Report. In 1997 Mawyer attacked Ellen Degeneres for "dumping her filthy lesbian lifestyle right in the center of your living room."

In 2000, CAN produced an attack ad against Hillary Clinton, then running for US Senate, which said, in part, "It is rumored that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian . . . . Sometimes, rumors are true. Shouldn't you know the truth?"

Mawyer also sent out a fundraising mailer in 2000 that said, in part: "I am not ready to give this great nation over to one-world government extremists ... radical, disease-carrying homosexuals ... anti-family lesbian feminists ... or anti-American U.N. globalists!"

Some have tried to portray Wilders as tainted by this episode, for even considering having anything to do with CAN in the first place. But Wilders has actually done nothing that suggests any willingness on his part to deviate from a principled position of supporting gay rights and opposing all forms of bigotry, including racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and homophobia.

Consider Wilders' willingness to accept support from people who oppose gay-marriage, while still explicitly stating his own disagreement with that position. Compare that to Barack Obama's alliance with anti-gay "preachers" while campaigning in the South for the Democratic nomination in 2007, including Donnie McClurkin, a leader of the "ex-gay" movement! And unlike Wilders, Obama has never and still does not support gay marriage!

For more on CAN, see, for example, this 2005 profile of them over at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

For more on the film itself and the recent dust-up, here is a blog entry over at the right-wing pro-Wilders blog Gates of Vienna, from just before the debacle. Here is a similar item from a similar right-wing site (the "Inernational Civil Liberties Alliance").

And here is a fairly straightforward news item reporting on Wilders' decision to pull out, from

I hope that Wilders continues to demonstrate that it is possible to take a principled stand against Islam on the basis of defending individual liberty against a totalitarian ideology masquerading as a religion. Such a principled stand has nothing to do with evil bigots like Martin Mawyer.