"You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality," according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed since she was a child.
Palin's conservative Christian views have energized that part of the GOP electorate, which was lukewarm to John McCain's candidacy before he named her as his vice presidential choice. She is staunchly anti-abortion, opposing exceptions for rape and incest, and opposes gay marriage and spousal rights for gay couples.
Focus on the Family, a national Christian fundamentalist organization, has scheduled the "Love Won Out" Conference for Sept. 13 in Anchorage, about 30 miles from Wasilla. Palin, campaigning with McCain in the Midwest on Friday, has not publicly expressed a view on the so-called "pray away the gay" movement. Larry Kroon, senior pastor at Palin's church, was not available to discuss the matter Friday, said a church worker who declined to give her name.Gay activists in Alaska said Palin has not worked actively against their interests, but early in her administration she supported a bill to overrule a court decision to block state benefits for gay partners of public employees. At the time, less than one-half of 1 percent of state employees had applied for the benefits, which were ordered by a 2005 ruling by the Alaska Supreme CourtPalin reversed her position and vetoed the bill after the state attorney general said it was unconstitutional. But her reluctant support didn't win fans among Alaska's gay population, said Scott Turner, a gay activist in Anchorage.
"Less than 1 percent of state employees would even apply for benefits, so why make a big deal out of such a small number?" he said.
"I think gay Republicans are going to run away" if Palin supports efforts like the prayers to convert gays, said Wayne Besen, founder of the New York-based Truth Wins Out, a gay rights advocacy group. Besen called on Palin to publicly express her views now that she's a vice presidential nominee.
"People are looking at Sarah Palin as someone who might feasibly be in the White House," he said.
Partisanship is strongest on Palins' opposition to legal abortion; 57 percent of Republicans say these views make them see her more favorably, while just 29 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats agree. Positive responses to her position on abortion peak, at 66 percent, among evangelical white Protestants.
VOTE IMPACT -- As noted, predisposed partisans on each side are more apt to react favorably to Palin and Biden. On Palin, conservatives by a 34-point margin say her addition to the ticket makes them more likely rather than less likely to support McCain; among Republicans it's a 37-point positive margin, and among white evangelicals, 32 points. These are all heavily pro-McCain groups in the first place, but these numbers may reflect an enthusiasm -- somewhat lacking in his campaign -- that could impact their turnout.
At the same time, the story in the ideological center is different: Among moderates, Biden registers as a net 15-point positive for Obama. In the same group, Palin shows no effect on support for McCain.
If you do one thing today - watch this clip from the Daily Show With Jon Stewart. It shows exactly how the Republicans lie. Don't take my word for it - watch the following clip and judge for yourself why the Republicans simply can't be trusted and see how the are empty suits who offer nothing but cynical spin.
When presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain introduced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate last Friday, the Arizona senator emphasized her role as the commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard.
But, now the truth is coming out - that she has barely lifted a finger in this role. Once again, the GOP is trying to make the Tyro from the Tundra look experienced, when any honest person would admit that she is uniquely unqualified for the job.
Furthermore, the Alaska National Guard is in crisis with severe personnel shortages that make its aviation units the most poorly staffed in the nation.
When will John McCain and the Republicans do what is right for the country and take this neophyte off of the ticket?
Tonight, the GOP took off the gloves and tried to rip the heart out of the Democrats. It was a vintage Republican affair, with the speakers viciously skewering Obama. The headliner of the nearly all-white event was the unqualified Sarah Palin, who showed that what she lacks in stature, she makes up in striking ability - like a cobra.
Palin was downright nasty and disrespectful to Obama. She lacks charisma and is fundamentally unlikable. The VP nominee talks with an angry sneer - we'll call it the "Sarah Snarl." This habit of delivering venomous lines with a scowl will soon wear thin with the American people.
That said, her inherent bitterness plays extraordinarily well with Republican extremists and she will appeal to a significant portion of angry women and men in small towns. She also will benefit the campaign, because she can be the enforcer, while allowing McCain to take the high road. My prediction is that Palin, a divisive figure, will initially be somewhat popular in certain circles, but end up with far more enemies than friends in her political career. And - there are still more revelations coming out by the day about her extremism and tabloid-friendly life.
One more observation: Palin looked freaked out when McCain came on stage to kiss her and coldly pulled away. They looked very unnatural together and it was far from a chummy picture they provided. The body language was simply embarrassing and they need to practice hugging so they don't look like a mismatched couple in the middle of a divorce.
Earlier in the evening, Rudy Giuliani gave a powerful speech that also smacked down the Democrats. His speech was the most effective of the evening and framed the argument for McCain well - despite a creepy, out-of-place cackle that he occasionally unleashed. Mike Huckabee's speech was good - but disappointing. He's a gifted politician and has done much better on the stump.
Mitt Romney, the phoniest man in politics, gave a speech that only reinforced his image as "Plastic Man." A former governor of Massachusetts and a tycoon worth more than a half billion dollars, he had the nerve to upbraid the Eastern elite - and portray his namby-pamby, pampered self as an outsider. The truth is, Romney is a spoiled brat and a product of the Northeastern corridors of power. He comes from a wealthy political family in Michigan and has never done a day of hard labor in his self-indulgent, coddled and cocooned life. Romney can best be described as a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth, who has spent the past three years working to convince Republicans that the utensil is really made of aluminium. To put it bluntly, Romney is a fake and "full of Mitt." America gets this and that is why he could not even buy his way to the nomination.
The Democrats ran a positive convention and the Republicans ran the most negative one since 1992. This will fundamentally come down to a referendum on naughty vs. nice. Americans say they don't like negative campaigns and ads, but they usually elect the biggest thug in the race.
I hope Democrats follow up on their fantastic convention by coming out swinging - with brick bats. In my view, they will need to be tougher and nastier than the GOP to win. I know many of my liberal friends want to "rise above" the ugliness - but this is politics. I am more interested in winning and "rising above" the GOP in the polls. I have little interest in basking in moral superiority....with President McCain. Our nation simply can't take four more years of arrogant, short-sighted and ruinous policies.
When the Republican smear-fest ends, the Dems must strike back brutally hard and make the GOP rue the day they went negative. For example, it is time voters are reminded that Palin is embroiled in a scandal in Alaska and McCain was one of the Keating 5.
Truth Wins Out expressed deep concern today after learning that Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin's church appears to support so-called "ex-gay" ministries. These programs that aim to "pray away the gay" are ineffective and have harmed thousands of gay and lesbian people. TWO urged the media to ask Palin if she supports such programs and what her views are on this topic.
In a background article on Palin, Time Magazine revealed that Wasilla Bible Church, where the Palins worship, had a Sunday morning program insert advertising an upcoming Focus on the Family conference on curing homosexuality in Anchorage called Love Won Out. Truth Wins Out's Executive Director, Wayne Besen, will be in Anchorage next week to oppose this anti-gay symposium.
"We are deeply concerned that Sarah Palin may share the extreme and medically unsound view that gay and lesbian people can and should be cured," said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. "We call on Palin to express her views on this issue so we have a clear idea of where she stands. We hope this is an area where she disagrees with her church."
Focus on the Family's notorious "ex-gay" road show will take place at an Anchorage mega-church on Sept. 13. Besen will join several clergy and parents of gay children to speak out on the harm of ex-gay programs on Sept. 11. The seminar will be at the Metropolitan Community Church (7208 Dubin Avenue) at 6:30 PM.
"Sarah Palin is against recognizing our relationships, against domestic partner benefits, and against hate crimes laws. The more we find out about her record, the more frightening her record becomes," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese
However, it is very clearly a relevant issue because her mother's sex ed policy is ignorance over education. There are thousands of Bristols who are pregnant or have STD's because of such "abstinence only" curriculms in schools.
So, it is legitimate to ask Sarah Palin if this real world experience has changed her views on such programs and does she now support science-based comprehenive sex ed? If not, why hasn't the pregnancy of her daughter forced her to reevaluate these programs and why would she now inflict such ignorance on the daughters of other people?
The truth is, abstinence only education is the wacky idea that if you teach our children nothing about sex - they won't have it. In actuality, they will still have it - but at an elevated risk for unsafe sex, pregnancy and STDs. This is hardly in the best interest of our children and puts political ideology ahead of sound science - and thus the health of our children.
How can such a damaging policy promote so-called "family values?"
In 1992, the gay and lesbian community galvanized around Bill Clinton in what is now seen as the first "national gay vote." The stark contrast between Clinton and the rabidly homophobic GOP, which declared a culture war at its Houston convention, was the reason for this unified support.
This year offers a similar disparity between the parties. The Democrats proved at their Denver convention to be GLBT supportive while the GOP in Minneapolis will most likely rail against equality for gays in their effort to bring home their socially conservative base.
It was made clear by the major Democratic stars -- Ted Kennedy, Hillary and Bill Clinton and Barak Obama -- that we, the GLBT community, are included in their vision for America. In Minneapolis, I suspect the few references to the existence of GLBT people will be as a threat to the family, with some speakers explicitly calling for a federal Constitutional Amendment to prohibit equal marriage rights. It is unfathomable that a gay person – except the most delusional - would be comfortable voting for such a party, no less trolling and tripping over conservatives in the convention hall.
McCain's first nod to the conservatives came when he plucked a tyro from the tundra to serve as his gunning mate, er, running mate. Alaska's moose stew-loving governor, Sarah Palin, energized social conservatives who quickly aborted their ostensible concerns about national security for their narrow desire to secure the termination of Roe v. Wade. They were so thrilled to have Palin on the ticket, that the Family Research Council excused her teenage daughter, Bristol, for her out of wedlock pregnancy. Imagine the uproar from these Moral Majority types if this had instead been Chelsea Clinton!
Like a comedy sketch, John McCain's wife, Cindy, said on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, that the inexperienced Palin was qualified to handle a resurgent Russia because, "Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia." Isn't that a bit like saying I'm an expert on Cuba because I grew up in Miami?
If Palin's resume were any thinner, it could be a Vogue runway model. Prior to her two-year stint as Alaska's governor, Palin was the mayor of Wasilla, an Anchorage suburb with 7,000 residents -- which is probably less than the number of people who live on my block in Brooklyn.
Considering McCain is 72 and has had past health issues, Palin was a reckless and potentially ruinous choice. McCain's main appeal was his experience, but elevating Palin makes it infinitely more difficult for McCain to credibly make this argument.
Let's be honest, this is tokenism and selecting Palin as a substitute for Clinton is reminiscent of President George H.W. Bush nominating Clarence Thomas as a Supreme Court replacement for the legendary Thurgood Marshall.
This pander pick will win over few Clinton supporters following her eloquent, unifying speech in Denver. It is ludicrous to think that these educated women will be enthusiastic about Palin, who is anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-environment and who even supported arch conservative Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign. Indeed, Buchanan told Chris Matthews on Hardball that Palin was a "brigader for me in 1996."
Unfortunately, I still get a lot of e-mail from misinformed gay people who think that John McCain and Barack Obama have the same record on GLBT issues simply because they both oppose allowing gay people to marry. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. Obama is light years ahead on our issues and a vote for McCain is a tragic mistake that will usher in four more years of discrimination and humiliation. I suggest those in doubt visit a new website, "LGBT For Obama," that highlights the superiority of the democratic nominee's record.
In November, we can wake up to a new day where job discrimination is outlawed, openly gay soldiers are able to serve our nation with the dignity they deserve, GLBT people are finally included in hate crime laws, our families are offered a measure of protection and America will have a moderate Supreme Court for years to come.
Or, we can rise to a dark November morning that ushers in four more ugly years of persecution, right wing demagogues on the president's speed dial, invisibility for our families, Arabic translators kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation and a retrograde and a reactionary Supreme Court that sets our movement back decades.
The GLBT community needs to unify and rally around the Obama campaign as we did for Clinton in 1992, or we will live in a regime that rules like it's 1892. The choice for the future is clear and stark. We must mobilize in swing states and win or the GOP will be taking gratuitous swings at our families for the next four years.