Digby summed this story up pretty nicely in one sentence. "Where do they find these people?" The wingnuts and gay bashers are coming out of the woodwork in droves these days. Apparently it's alright for a state government official to cyber-stalk a student because he doesn't like the fact that he's gay.
For nearly six months, Andrew Shirvell, an assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan, has waged an internet campaign against college student Chris Armstrong, the openly gay student assembly president at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Using the online moniker "Concerned Michigan Alumnus," Shirvell launched his blog in late April.
"Welcome to 'Chris Armstrong Watch,'" Shirvell wrote in his inaugural blog post. "This is a site for concerned University of Michigan alumni, students, and others who oppose the recent election of Chris Armstrong -- a RADICAL HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVIST, RACIST, ELITIST, & LIAR -- as the new head of student government."
Among other things, Shirvell has published blog posts that accuse Armstrong of going back on a campaign promise he made to minority students; engaging in "flagrant sexual promiscuity" with another male member of the student government; sexually seducing and influencing "a previously conservative [male] student" so much so that the student, according to Shirvell, "morphed into a proponent of the radical homosexual agenda;" hosting a gay orgy in his dorm room in October 2009; and trying to recruit incoming first year students "to join the homosexual 'lifestyle.' "
Of course he told CNN's Anderson Cooper that he's not a bigot.
COOPER: No, I read the state's definition of what a cyber-bully is. There's a pamphlet that the state hands out, and that's the definition. And, you know, it seems to apply to you.
SHIRVELL: Well, I don't meet -- I don't meet the definition. I have never contacted Chris. I have never spoken to him.
COOPER: Yes, you have followed him around and you stood --
SHIRVELL: A cyber-bully is somebody that --
COOPER: -- stood outside his house and videotaped.
SHIRVELL: I don't -- I do not follow him around. I protest with a sign. That's exercising my First Amendment rights, Anderson. That's not following anybody around. I don't live anywhere near to Ann Arbor. I have been down there maybe or four times since I started the blog.
That's not cyber-bullying --
COOPER: Have you ever been to his house and hung outside his house and videotaped?
SHIRVELL: I have protested outside of his house, yes.
COOPER: Do you consider yourself a bigot?
SHIRVELL: Absolutely not.
I'm a -- I'm a Christian citizen exercising my First Amendment rights. I have no problem with the fact that Chris is a homosexual. I have the fact that he -- I have a problem with the fact that he is advancing a very radical agenda.
COOPER: I -- I bring up the bigot question because, you know, Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines bigot as a -- quote -- "person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her opinion and prejudices; also one who regards or treats the member of a group with hatred and intolerance."
I mean, labeling the student a Nazi, Satan's representative, picketing his house, it certainly makes you appear intolerant, at the very least. It seems like you hate this guy because he's gay.
SHIRVELL: No well, Anderson, that's your spin on it.
The real bigot here is Chris Armstrong. I don't have any hate in my -- in my body at all. I recognize that Chris is a child of God. However, that -- just because he's a homosexual doesn't mean he gets a free pass and we can't criticize him.
That doesn't make you a bigot to criticize somebody or somebody's agenda. He's a political figure, Anderson.
COOPER: You're expected, though, to uphold the law as equally and impartially for all Michigan residents. I mean, in your work, how can you do that, if you openly display, you know, attitudes toward this guy like this, if you're calling this guy a Nazi, if you're calling this guy, you know, Satan's representative on the student council?
SHIRVELL: Anderson, I stated --
COOPER: I mean, would a gay person feel comfortable being defended by you?
SHIRVELL: Anderson, I stated that I wouldn't talk about any aspects of my employment. I have a right, as an alum and as a private citizen to criticize him in my after-hours work.
COOPER: No one's questioning your right to do it, just, I guess, your -- questioning your judgment.