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Religion Last Updated: May 16th, 2008 - 01:23:02

The �pro-family� ruse and other Christianist machinations
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

May 16, 2008, 00:10

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Upwards of 50 million American citizens do not have healthcare coverage. That�s a national disgrace.

One would think that everyone -- especially the �religious� who profess such concern for individuals and families -- would welcome ways and means to provide coverage for some of those individuals and their families through employers who are more than willing to offer such benefits.

But not Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth, or Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan, or Richard Thompsom of the Thomas More Law Center. LaBarbera chirped with sadistic glee in the preface to an article from the Catholic News Agency:

Great News: Michigan High Court Rules that Marriage Amendment Bans Same-sex Partnership Benefits

Congratulations to the Thomas More Law Center, AFA of Michigan and all the pro-family groups, legislators, citizens, and churches in Michigan for successfully defending marriage in your state!

LANSING, Mich. (Catholic News Agency), May 8, 2008 � The Michigan General Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the state�s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages also blocks Michigan governments and state universities from offering �domestic partnership� benefits for homosexual couples. . . .

�The people of Michigan have constitutionally protected marriage as exclusively the union of one man and one woman, period, and that includes prohibiting the recognition of homosexual relationships as equal or similar to marriage for any purpose, including offering spousal-type benefits to the homosexual partners of government employees,� said Gary Glenn, one of the co-authors of the Marriage Protection Amendment and head of the American Family Association of Michigan. Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, praised the decision, saying, �The Michigan Supreme Court courageously upheld the will of the people.�

How can these men claim to be �pro-family� while congratulating themselves for hurting families? A February 2007 Business Week article highlighted one of the families these Christianist �pro-family� groups took pleasure in hurting:

Dennis Patrick, a professor at Eastern Michigan University, worries that Michigan�s ruling will strip his partner�s health insurance.

The couple have adopted four foster children, one with a developmental disability, and Tom Patrick works part-time so he can care for them.

�If he has to go back to work full-time, that hurts our family. Or we have to pay for health benefits out of pocket, which hurts our family,� Dennis Patrick said. �To me that either demonstrates a lack of understanding of how this can affect our family or other families, or it�s just mean and cruel.�

It is just plain mean and cruel. It�s the �pro-family� fraud.

Put it in perspective. When the total number of gay and lesbian Americans -- �Hunter College released the results of a groundbreaking poll Wednesday [April 30, 2008] that found only 2.9% of Americans older than 18 identify as LGB [lesbian, gay, bisexual]� -- and the even smaller percentage of partnered gays and lesbians and their families who would be helped by domestic partner benefits are considered, the �mean and cruel� nature of LaBarbera�s, Glenn�s and Thompsom�s words and actions become painfully obvious.

The �protect marriage� crowd -- including the Republican lawmakers who crafted Michigan�s and other states� constitutional amendments -- may be chirping now, but repercussions from such actions are already well known:

Pending Gay Marriage Amendment, Lack Of Partner Benefits Drives "Superstar" Prof From Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin) Fears of a gay �brain drain� over Wisconsin�s pending vote on banning same-sex marriage, and the lack of partner benefits for gay employees of state institutions, may be starting to come to fruition.

Rob Carpick, an associate professor of engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher who has won millions of dollars in grants for his research in the field of nanotechnology, is leaving for the more gay-friendly University of Pennsylvania.

He takes with him the funding -- some $3.4 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, branches of the U.S. military and private companies since 2000.

�After six and one-half years of working very hard, I found it�s problematic to work in an environment where you are not treated equally,� Carpick, 37, told The Associated Press. �Fortunately there are other entities that are more enlightened than the state of Wisconsin on this issue . . ."

Study after study has shown the benefit of benefits and equality:

Study: Gay Marriage Boon To Business

(Los Angeles, California) Giving same-sex couples marriage rights will be good for the economy, according to a new study, released Wednesday.

�The Effect of Marriage Equality and Domestic Partnership On Business and the Economy,� was prepared by the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles.

The study says that gains to businesses from happier and healthier workers that would outweigh new costs for benefits. The economy would also gain from the positive effect of equality on state government budgets it says.

�Policymakers and businesspeople have not fully recognized the enormous potential gains to the economy from treating same-sex couples equally,� noted Dr. M. V. Lee Badgett, study co-author and research director of the Williams Institute.

�Our study shows that equal treatment of couples in the business world attracts heterosexual employees and creates more productive workplaces for gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees.�

The study documents numerous research findings on different aspects of the economy.

Massachusetts provides the proof:

Gay Marriage Attracting Skilled Workers To Mass.

(Boston, Massachusetts) Massachusetts is reaping huge financial gains as a result of same-sex marriage.

The Boston Business Journal reports that the only state in the country to allow gays to marry is become �a powerful lure for same-sex couples who want to live in a place where they can get married, gain legal rights and have access to spousal health benefits.�

The �protect marriage� crowd uses high-sounding, moralistic rhetoric, but their cause is anything but high-minded or moral, which helps explain why the original article to which LaBarbera added his sadistic chirping was generated by the Catholic News Agency. There is no institution on the planet more out of touch with reality than the Catholic church:

VATICAN CITY, Italy (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged Saturday [May 10, 2008] that the Vatican�s teaching against birth control was difficult as he praised a 1968 Church document that condemned contraception.

In a speech marking the 40th anniversary of the document, Benedict reiterated the Church�s ban against artificial birth control as well as more recent teaching against using artificial procreation methods.

Pope Paul VI�s 1968 �Humanae vitae� (�On Human Life�) encyclical prohibits Catholics from using artificial birth control. . . .

Doesn�t this old man who lives in a palace and dresses in the white robes, a gold hat and designer shoes that cost more than many people make in a year understand that there�s an overpopulation problem in many parts of the world? Clearly the pope is ignorant about the joys of sex, and apparently clueless that many (most?) people -- including married couples -- want to enjoy them without risking having a child they don�t want or can�t afford.

And then there�s the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Condoms help prevent the spread of the virus. But the pope doesn�t seem to know that either or care. All Benedict knows is dour, anti-human dogma custom-made to make everyone feel guilty and sinful so they�ll put some more money in the collection plate and do as they�re told.

But let�s return to the other pontificators . . .

Peter LaBarbera, Gary Glenn, and Richard Thompsom are out to hurt gay and lesbian Americans -- and their families -- as much as possible. Plain and simple. Interestingly, they forgot to tell their �readers� that their action and the court decision also hurt heterosexual domestic partners and their families. Do they care? No. Fanatical hate and bigotry are blind. Collateral damage is of no concern to them. All that matters is getting the gays.

LaBarbera and his organization claim to be �standing for God-ordained sexuality.� Yet despite their holier-than-thou rhetoric, they don�t campaign against heterosexuals -- or married couples -- who practice sodomy: �anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex.� (That�s both the dictionary and the legal definition.) They don�t campaign to have divorce made illegal. And they don�t campaign to have non-virgin brides stoned to death as mandated in the Bible they consider �inerrant.� That�s the same Bible that sanctions polygamy, another �God-ordained sexuality� and marital arrangement they conveniently overlook.

LaBarbera�s and AFT�s raison d�etre is clearly stated: �single-minded determination to opposing the radical homosexual agenda.� U.S. Representative Barney Frank succinctly expressed what LaBarbera and his organization call a �radical homosexual agenda�:

Specifically, we want all people in the United States to enjoy the same legal rights as everyone else, unless they have forfeited them by violating the rights of others. We believe this should include some things that are, apparently, very controversial.

They include the right to serve, fight and even die on behalf of our country in the military; the right to earn a living by working hard and being judged wholly on the quality of our work; the right for teenagers to attend high school without being shoved, punched or otherwise attacked; and yes, the right to express not only love for another person, but a willingness to be legally as well as morally responsible for his or her well-being.

We also believe that we, and all Americans, should enjoy full access to healthcare . . .

�Radical�? Equality and fairness always seem like radical ideas to self-righteous bigots.

Gary Glenn and his American Family Association of Michigan are minions of Don Wildmon and the American Family Association. Wildmon is so neurotic, so pathological that he can�t even bring himself to spell �gay� or �homosexual�:

Procter & Gamble heard from the g-ys, then changed its rules
Company changed procedure after allowing g-ys time to call

Following its support for the h-mos-xual agenda, Procter & Gamble established a toll-free number for people to register their opinions for or against P&G�s promotion of the g-y agenda, including open mouth kissing between g-ys. It gave a toll-free number which was heavily promoted on g-y Web sites for a week to give those favoring the promotion of h-mos-xuality an opportunity to call. Monday, after AFA had put out the word that P&G wanted to hear from AFA supporters, P&G abruptly ended it.

And it�s not just �gay� and �homosexual� Wildmon has trouble spelling, as evidenced in his May 8, 2008 Action Alert:

Sign the petition asking Marriott to drop in-room a-ult mov-es

In the next few days I, along with four other persons, will be meeting with officials from Marriott Hotels, asking them to stop offering a-ult mov-es from its hotels.

Can you spell �pathetic�?

And then there�s Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center that identifies itself as a �ministry�:

The Thomas More Law Center is a not-for-profit public interest law firm dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life. Our purpose is to be the sword and shield for people of faith, providing legal representation without charge to defend and protect Christians and their religious beliefs in the public square. . . .

Our ministry was inspired by the recognition that the issues of the �cultural war� being waged across America . . . [italics added]

A ministry of lawyers hell bent on encoding their religious beliefs (selectively chosen, of course) into secular law so they can then be forced upon everyone. How very ignoble.

As for the �culture war� label, it�s a fabrication of the Christianist Right. They do so love war metaphors. What they�re fighting against is social change, just as their predecessors -- with Bible in hand -- fought against abolishing slavery, granting women the right to vote, racial integration and interracial marriage. But civility and civil rights won every time, perhaps that�s why one of TMLC�s brethren organizations -- that champions many of Wildmon�s causes -- is proposing theofascism: using the pulpit for purely political purposes (in defiance of the rule of law they so vigorously defend when it suits their purpose):

Conservative Law Group Urges Pastors To Break IRS Ban On Partisan Politics

(New York City) Conservative legal advocates are recruiting pastors nationwide to defy an IRS ban on preaching about politicians, in a challenge they hope will abolish the restriction.

The Alliance Defense Fund, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., will ask the clergy to deliver a sermon about specific candidates Sept. 28 [2008]. . . .

The Thomas More Law Center and the Alliance Defense Fund are lawyers for the Christianist Taliban. If you disagree with them, you�re �anti-Christian� and, by implication, immoral. And since they and they alone believe they know exactly what �God� wants and what is right and wrong for everyone, if you�re a Christian who disagrees with them, you�re a fraud according to very well paid �Televangelist John Hagee [who] in a recently aired sermon, outlined what he meant by the term �counterfeit Christians�: those who take public policy positions he disagrees with, on issues from abortion and gay marriage to welfare. Watch . . ."

�Counterfit Christians�? Their names are obvious: Peter LaBarbera, Gary Glenn, Don Wildmon and John Hagee, the Thomas More Law Center and the Alliance Defense Fund. They have turned religion into a weapon to intentionally hurt others.

Rev. Mark H. Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc., also uses religion and the Bible as weapons to try to hurt others. He believes �universal health care . . . is another example of America�s departure from its strong Judeo-Christian roots.� Moreover, Rev. Creech believes universal healthcare would �perpetuate or construct dependence or reward sloth . . . while those who are indolent prosper.� Appropriately, Creech�s March 22, 2007 article was republished by Wildmon�s AFA �news� service, as well as on the Renew America website of dominionist Alan Keyes, who kicked his own daughter out of the house. So much for �pro-family� values.

Aside from the fact that he is comfortable with -- and encourages -- the needless suffering of men, women and children in the name of his perverted version of Christianity, and aside from the fact that Jesus spoke of helping the needy and the poor, not stomping on them when they�re down, Creech�s remarks are blatantly insulting to millions of hard-working Americans.

Many of those Americans are called the �working poor.� They often work two jobs while simultaneously raising a family, but since their employers keep them on part-time status, they don�t qualify for healthcare benefits. How dare Creech call these parents slothful and indolent?

There�s another group of incredibly hard-working citizens that Creech would deem slothful, indolent and unworthy of basic healthcare coverage. They�re America�s future leaders: today�s college students.

This is one of many similar messages I -- and professors nationwide -- receive from students every semester: �I�ve been very sick this semester and I can�t go to the doctor because I don�t have health insurance. It's too expensive. . . . I have two jobs and I�ve been pushing myself to the limit just to make it by financially. . . ."

Does Creech believe this student and the tens of thousands like her are slothful? Indolent? And just for the record, this student�s cumulative grade point average was near 3.7 on a 4.0 scale.

Are there abuses in the welfare system? Will there be abuses in universal healthcare? Of course. Doctors and hospitals billing for services never rendered. Pharmaceutical companies gouging senior citizens on prescription drug costs while the Bush administration thwarts every effort to lower prices or allow citizens to buy their prescription drugs from neighboring countries that care more about their citizens than corporate profits.

But to argue against basic healthcare for everyone and the safety net welfare represents for the most underprivileged is twisted, malicious and just plain evil: an accurate description of the �pro-family� ruse and the Christianist agenda.

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