It's no secret that Bob Good, the Republican canidate in VA-5, is running a campaign focused on anti-LGBTQ bigotry and right-wing extremism. Now his campaign is holding events to discuss how church leaders can defy legislation the Virginia General Assembly passed banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. See below from The New York Times for more:
NY Times: A Virginia House Candidate Campaigns By Attacking ‘A Man Dressed as a Woman’
By Stephanie Saul
Bob Good, a self-described “biblical conservative” who is the Republican nominee for a House seat in his conservative Central Virginia district, is hoping to rally clergy members with meetings this week attacking a new state law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which he characterizes as an assault on religious liberty.
And in at least one of the invitations directed at clergy members and Republican county leaders, which was obtained by The Times, the organizers of the event make clear that they intend to leverage anti-L.G.B.T.Q. sentiment in the district to generate enthusiasm for Mr. Good.
“What happens when a male member of your congregation goes on vacation and returns four weeks later as a female?” the invitation said, adding, “What do your church bylaws state regarding a man dressed as a woman who attends a church function and expects to use the women’s restroom.”
The offensive language about transgender people came in an invitation signed by Travis Witt, a former Virginia Tea Party official who identified himself as the Faith Coalition leader for Mr. Good’s campaign. The subject heading of the invitation was “Re: when a man becomes a woman.”
Mr. Good’s campaign has scheduled a series of six “Virginia Liberty Summits for Pastors” in three cities to discuss the new law.
“Religious liberty in America is under assault like never before,” said an Eventbrite posting for one of the meetings, scheduled for Tuesday at a Charlottesville church. “Failure to act in its defense is concession, and if we fail to act religious freedom in America will be lost, not just for our generation, but for the next.”
Mr. Good’s nomination followed the defeat of the Republican incumbent, Representative Denver Riggleman, which was widely viewed as a reaction to his decision to officiate at a same-sex marriage last year. And the invitation, along with other language in Mr. Good’s campaign, illustrates just how far to the right Virginia Republicans have veered, taking positions that have prompted worries from some party members.
With the party badly fractured, the Republican-leaning Fifth Congressional District in Central Virginia is now on the radar screen of Democrats as possibly within reach. It is one of only four seats held by Republicans in the state’s 11-member delegation to the House of Representatives.
Cameron Webb, the Democratic candidate facing Mr. Good, is a practicing physician who also teaches at the University of Virginia. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, citing Mr. Webb’s performance in the Democratic primary, has pledged assistance to his campaign. If elected, Mr. Webb would become the first Black physician in Congress.
One poll suggested that Mr. Webb was only two points behind Mr. Good in the district, where divisions over L.G.B.T.Q. rights have permeated recent politics. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic that has infected over 100,000 Virginians and a recession that has put millions across the country out of work, but all Bob Good wants to focus on is same-sex marriages,” said Grant Fox, a spokesman for the Virginia Democratic Party. “Virginians need help, and Bob Good is spending his time convening church officials to figure out how to best discriminate against the L.G.B.T.Q. community.”
“I have a biblical view of marriage, very different from the congressman’s view on that,” Mr. Good said in February, referring to Mr. Riggleman. He also posted a letter from supporters on his website that said, “Homosexuality is a very complex subject that medical science has confirmed is psychological moreso than genetic.”
When Mr. Good was elected to the Campbell County Board of Supervisors in 2015, he signed a resolution declaring the U.S. Supreme Court “lawless” for legalizing same-sex marriage nationally. He also voted for a county resolution urging that the state and federal governments “not recognize gender identity as a protected class” and allow Campbell County to bar transgender people from public restrooms.
In addition to anti-L.G.B.T.Q. statements, Mr. Good has taken policy positions against immigration and in favor of making English the nation’s official language. Mr. Good also failed to disavow comments made by a key supporter, Eddie Deane, that surfaced on social media this year.
In the clip, Mr. Deane went on a diatribe against a Black Lives Matter march, using racist and homophobic language. Mr. Deane’s language was subsequently denounced by the Fauquier County Republican chairman, Greg Schumacher, who said it would detract from Republican efforts to build bridges.
“I was struck by how things like this set back our very real and sincere efforts as Republican individuals and party organizations at all levels to build bridges to and to welcome people not historically associated with us,” Mr. Schumacher wrote in an editorial.
On July 1, Virginia became the first Southern state with a statute prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The invitation to pastors in Central Virginia, obtained by The New York Times, cites the new law as a call to action.