So, the Democrats in the New York State senate are thinking of backtracking on marriage. All I can say is, "go to Hell."
When they wanted our community's money and votes, they kissed our asses and made promises. It is essential that these promises are kept. It is unacceptable that they now hide behind the economy or political considerations and calculations.
It also appears that the defeat in California is giving some backbone-free politicians cold feet.
"We want to get there, but we want to get there the right way or else we risk setting ourselves back another decade," said Senator Liz Krueger, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side. "I think the California proposition and the recognition that entities with large amounts of money who oppose same-sex marriage have decided to be large players in this have a lot of people going back to the drawing board."
Krueger wants us to wait our turn - yet, again - and we won't. How naive is she to act surprised that wealthy anti-gay churches gave money and time in California? Did she expect Focus on the Family to march in the gay pride parade if marriage were passed in the Senate? It is time she gets off her rear end and starts passionately defending GLBT people, instead of making lame excuses.
And, what is wrong with the Empire State Pride Agenda? I almost never directly criticize GLBT organizations - as I understand their challenges. But, I was shocked to read the group's quote in the New York Times, which said the organization was in a "quiet period" and would not respond to questions about the Senate dropping the ball on marriage. (Let's hope this was a Thanksgiving food coma, and not official policy)
Um, we've been in a "quiet period" in the Senate for 40 years. It is time to be vocal and shake the slumber. Does ESPA actually think that anyone would be shocked if the statewide gay group endorsed an early vote on marriage? What kind of signal are they sending to wavering politicians if even they won't advocate a timely vote? I'm sure they think they are being "strategic," but it sure seems like just plain stupid to me.
Look, if they can't get it done, others will try to fill the void. We will organize and march on Albany, if that is what it takes. We need GLBT leadership that will stand firm and stand up to wimpy politicians who have only their best interests in mind - not that of a key constituency that got them elected.
Outspoken activist Stephen Bennett has officially failed as an "ex-gay" spokesman and has finally found a real job. I can only guess that the foundering economy caught up to him and forced this media-seeking stage horse to discover Monster.com. We wish him luck in his exciting, new real estate career and suggest that his big hair go condo.
The world is a better place today, now that Bennett has moved on. We can only hope that cutbacks at Focus on the Family extend to its failed Love Won Out program, so Melissa Fryrear can get a real job at McDonalds and finally get a date with her beloved redhead - Ronald.
On Sunday, New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof discussed religious and cultural extremism in Pakistan, where a new cabinet member, Israr Ullah Zardari, defended the torture-murder of five women and girls who were buried alive (three girls wanted to choose their own husbands, and two women wanted to protect them.) The Times had another article on Monday about an all-girl rock band in Saudi Arabia that is forbidden from playing live concerts because of their gender.
At home, former Arkansas governor and pastor, Mike Huckabee, appeared on ABC's "The View" and said that gay and lesbian equality was not the same as civil rights because homosexuals have not had their skulls cracked and were not hosed down by police. Apparently, he is unaware of the latest FBI hate crime statistics that show bias attacks based on sexual orientation making up 15.5 percent of all reported hate crimes.
In Rome, Pope Benedict XVI is being criticized this week for questioning the usefulness of Interfaith dialogue in a letter he wrote to Italian politician Marcello Pera. What the Pope fails to point out is that thanks to intransigent absolutists, like the pontiff, finding common ground is nearly impossible.
How can we expect interfaith dialogue when we can't even have Interstate dialogue between two Mormon universities 45 miles apart because they have literally turned religion into a political football? When the secular University of Utah played its religious school rival, Brigham Young University (BYU), last weekend, the teams treated the End Zone as if it were the Promised Land.
"It's like a lot of other rivalries, except for those at the extremes," Michael Anastasi, managing editor of the Salt Lake Tribune told the New York Times."For them, it's not only that your school is weak, you're going to Hell too."
Two years ago, the rivalry was further soured after BYU quarterback John Beck threw a touchdown pass to receiver Jonny Harline, who sank to his knees -- as if in prayer -- to make the winning catch. Describing the "miraculous" play, another B.Y.U. receiver, Austin Collie, concluded it occurred because students at the religious school lived cleaner lives.
"Obviously, if you do what's right on and off the field, I think the Lord steps in and plays a part in it," said Collie. (For the record, the holier-than-thou BYU was crushed 48-24 in this weekend's game. I'm guessing the Lord was upset at Mormon involvement in California's Prop. 8 banning same-sex marriages)
If religious groups become fratricidal based on football allegiance, it seems there is little hope for genuine reconciliation with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. We must still work to enlighten the flock where we can, but fundamentalist leaders will only transform their anti-gay views when popular opinion decidedly turns against them -- as it did with race relations in the 1960's and 1970's.
The strategy for the GLBT movement has been to circumvent the ideologues and create change within mainline denominations. I wholeheartedly support such efforts and have contributed to them. Unfortunately, there is scant evidence to suggest that these religious institutions will thrive and form a substantial bulwark against fundamentalism.
In "America Theocracy," author Kevin Phillips documents the steep decline of reasonable religion in favor of the rabble-rousing variety.
"Between 1940 and 1985 mainline Protestantism's share of all U.S. religious adherents was steadily plummeting...Between 1960 and 1997 -- the Presbyterian Church, The Episcopal Church, The United Church of Christ and the Methodists lost between 500,000 and 2 million members each. In the meantime, the Southern Baptist Convention added 6 million, the Mormons 3.3 million, the Pentecostal Assemblies of God 2 million and the Church of God (Tennessee) some 600,000."
The implications are that the GLBT movement may be placing its eggs in a basket that is rapidly fraying. It seems that people are either gravitating towards religious extremism or secular humanism, with little appetite for mainline faith. The Internet also offers easy access to eclectic spiritual beliefs that one can follow without organized religion. So, the hope that mainstream religion, as we know it, will supplant anti-gay denominations seems far-fetched.
The trends of urbanization and the discrediting of corporate Republican-style religion will lead, in my view, to more people losing their faith. However, fundamentalist sects will continue to consolidate market share for those who feel estranged or displaced by modernity. In other words, America will look much like Europe in the coming decades -- with a secular majority and a small, but still vocal, fundamentalist minority. (Mostly Islamic in Europe)
I can hear objections from those who rightfully point out that America is more religious than Europe. But, Kevin Phillips reminds us that Europe was once was hyper-religious too -- but circumstances change over time.
"As the 21st Century began," writes Phillips. "None of the western countries in which Reformation Protestantism bred its radical or anarchic sects nearly five hundred years earlier -- England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands -- still had congregations of any great magnitude adhering to that theology."
Earlier today, I wrote about Mychal Massie's World Net Daily article where he erroneously claimed that I call blacks who oppose same sex marriage, "particularly appalling and ignorant." Today, he offered a swift apology - which shows humility and class. I thank him for his effort to set the record straight.
Wayne...as we have already discussed...I give you my most sincere apologies in misquoting you...I pulled your quote from memory and obviously made a misstake...also...as I indicated to you earlier...there is much with which we have to disagree without my intentionally attempting to defame or malaign you...it was an unintentional oversight on my part...also as I shared with you previously...I am unapologetic in my positions...but regardless of our positions we are both on the frontlines..attacks of our positions are part of what comes with being on same...but to that point I have never knowingly or intentionally made up things or misquoted those with whom I disagree...thank you for your kind response as well...I look forward to debating you down the road...if such opportunity occurs...be assured my first comment will be to apologize to you for my inadvertent error...all the best...
I have been very critical of the Log Cabin Republicans. Well, today they have found their voice. In a letter, the beleaguered group articulated how it can play a positive role in creating a big tent GOP. I hope they continue down this path and help forge a new party that is inclusive and marginalizes the social conservatives who have killed the party. It is time they stop kissing ass and start kicking it.
According to the letter:
There's a battle going on for the GOP's future. Log Cabin is pleased to be in the middle of this fight, but we need your help.
It remains to be seen whether our Party will learn the right lessons from the GOP's defeat. Not surprisingly, social conservatives want to push the GOP further into the ditch. But there's good news--more and more leading Republicans understand we need to build a Party of the future, not a Party of the past.
* Last weekend, one of the new Republican leaders in the House outlined a positive path forward focused on what unites us not what divides us. Congressman Pete Sessions from Texas spoke at the annual Grand 'Ol Party hosted by Log Cabin--Dallas. Sessions is the newly elected Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). As head of the powerful and important NRCC, he'll lead candidate recruitment and election strategy for House Republicans in 2010. Hearing his speech to our members in Dallas and speaking with Congressman Sessions, I am encouraged by his message. He understands more of the same is a recipe for defeat. At last Saturday's Log Cabin event, Sessions said, "Our Party needs new focus, new energy, and new ideas. For the Republican Party, it's been real easy to get elected...just run on the things you already know about: guns, God, gays, taxes..you get elected! The bottom line is that our Party can no longer successfully do that, and should not...do that."
* Even Republicans from a conservative state like South Carolina get the message. GOP governor Mark Sanford told his colleagues at last week's Republican Governors Association meeting that the GOP must do better reaching young voters (66% voted for Obama compared with the 59% support Reagan received from young voters in 1984). Gov. Sanford specifically cited the party's intolerance on gay issues as one big reason why so many young voters are supporting Democrats.
* Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele is gaining momentum in his effort to become Chairman of the Republican National Committee. The leader of the RNC will be the most important person in shaping the Party's future. Steele believes in a big tent GOP. He has worked closely with Log Cabin ally Christine Todd Whitman at the Republican Leadership Council. In an interview with NPR this week, he specifically mentioned the importance of reaching out to Log Cabin and other mainstream GOP groups as the Party looks to chart a future course.
Even with this positive progress, our opponents are formidable. We need your help to confront people like Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council--who absurdly says the GOP must go further right on social issues to win again. What planet has he been on? Exit polls show moderates made up 44% of the electorate and 60% of them voted for Barack Obama. Perkins says the passage of California's anti-marriage Proposition 8 shows the potency of social issues. Earth to Tony! The California results actually prove the opposite. Sen. Obama received 61% support in California; even as the amendment passed--demonstrating that just because someone opposes marriage equality doesn't mean they'll vote Republican. In fact, 37% of the yes on Prop 8 votes came from Obama supporters.
Perkins also fails to point out that a similar measure in California passed with 61% in 2000. This year, it passed with only 52%. Momentum is on our side. More Republicans support basic fairness for gay and lesbian people. An ABC news poll shows 64% of Republicans support allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military, up from 32% 15 years ago. Another poll shows almost 80% of Republicans don't believe a business should be able to fire someone because of their sexual orientation.
We need your help to take on people like Tony Perkins. If he has his way, our Party is heading for a generation in the minority. Instead, let's move forward with an inclusive agenda and new ideas that make conservatism relevant to the challenges facing our nation. The road back is long, but we are already seeing progress as leading Republicans want our Party to take the right path, not the Perkins path of division and defeat that took our Party off a cliff in the first place.
In Mychal Massie's World Net Daily article today, he erroneously claims that I call blacks who oppose same sex marriage, "particularly appalling and ignorant." This is a misquote or an outright lie and is not something that I have ever said or written. If you google the term "particularly appalling and ignorant" with my name - the only reference you will find is Massie's dishonest piece. The actual quote that he botched is:
"Still, there is something particularly galling and repugnant about people who have felt the sting of discrimination, turn around and step on another minority. What happened at the ballot box feels like a personal betrayal and the hijacking of history."
It is one thing for Massie to have his opinion and quite another to invent fake quotes in the pursuit of defamation. What he has done is journalistic malpractice and an insidious smear designed to damage and injure my reputation. I will not allow it to stand and will take swift and appropriate action to clear my name and ensure people see his poor journalistic "standards." I look forward to World Net Daily correcting the record and offering an apology.