The annual banquet of "Americans For 'Truth' About Homosexuality" (AFTAH) will be the subject of a protest by pro-gay forces at 5:30 PM, Saturday, Nov. 13th at the "Christian Liberty Academy," 502 W. Euclid Avenue in Arlington Heights.
AFTAH is listed as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization which tracks extreme racist, sexist and anti-gay groups, and the purpose of the protest is further expose AFTAH's hate to public scrutiny.
The group's hatred of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people is so extreme that its Executive Director, Peter LaBarbera, supports Uganda's notorious "kill the gays" bill which calls for capital punishment for gays. That country's #2 most powerful politician, David Bahati, recently vowed to reintroduce the bill and claimed passage is near. A newspaper campaign in the country calling for hanging gays and publishing names and photos of gays has led to a pogromist atmosphere in the country.
"AFTAH claims they have nothing but Christian love for gay people, but out of the other side of their mouths, they promote Uganda's kill-the-gays bill," said Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network and an organizer of the protest. "'Hate the sin but love the sinner,' they say, but it's sort of hard to 'love the sinner' when he or she is dead as a result of legislation like Uganda's. It gives you an idea of what AFTAH would do in this country if given half a chance."
"If AFTAH were just another kooky publicity-obsessed group like Fred Phelps' Westborough Baptist Church, a group that is completely discredited and marginalized by its own outrageous statements and stunts, we could safely dismiss it," said Thayer. "But Peter LaBarbera and his AFTAH have been hotwired into Illinois Republican politics for years, serving as the primary local boosters of the Alan Keyes senatorial campaign in 2004 and pairing closely with Jim Oberweis's multiple campaigns for governor and senator. Twice LaBarbera has put considerable effort into attempts to get anti-gay referenda on Illinois' ballot, trying to generate the anti-gay hate climate that accompanied California's Proposition 8."
The keynote speaker at AFTAH's banquet will be Ken Hutcherson, a former NFL player, who is pastor of the Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Washington (home of Microsoft), where he has loudly opposed his daughter's high school's observance of the National Day of Silence, an event that brings attention to name-calling, bullying, and harassment in schools. Since 2005, he has waged a relentless but unsuccessful battle to pressure Microsoft to end its support for the state's anti-discrimination law that makes it illegal to fire people because of their sexual orientation.
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