They howled and claimed the sky was falling when the Supreme
Court of Massachusetts ruled in favor of civil equality: "Unless the
people of the State of Massachusetts rise up with one voice in opposition to
this lawless and socially destructive behavior [same-sex marriage], it will
destroy society as we know it." --Steve Crampton, Chief Counsel, Center
for Law and Policy, American Family Association, December 2003
James Dobson, lord and master of Focus on the Family, self-appointed spokesman for �God� -- and that �God�s� chief profiteer,
proclaimed in his 2004 book. Marriage
Under Fire: Why We Must Win This Battle,
that if gay people are allowed to marry, �the culture war will be over, and the
world may soon become �as it was in the days of Noah� (Matthew 24:37).�
That�s right folks: the end of the world if two consenting
adults are allowed to marry. What�s truly amazing is that so many sheeple still
believe in and send money to this Chicken Little. (For a repudiation of
Dobson�s other bizarre and intentionally misleading claims see �Out of Focus on
the Family: A Response to Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage,� Popular Culture Review, 16:1, February
Massachusetts has not been washed away in a gigantic flood
sent by a wrathful, mean-spirited �god.� Heterosexual marriage in as vibrant as
ever in the Bay State. And tens of thousands of couples are now married and
they -- and their families -- are
enjoying the same social, legal and economic recognition other Massachusetts
After the California Supreme Court refused to stay its order
for civil equality, another Chicken Little Christianist, Tony Perkins of the Family Research
Council, wailed and, as usual, twisted, distorted and misrepresented
in order to scare the sheeple and justify discrimination: "The ruling
coming just two weeks before Father�s
Day, effectively abolishes the
meaning of motherhood and fatherhood. . . . The social science data is overwhelming and clear - children do best when raised by a mom and
dad. Two mothers will never equal a father and two fathers will never equal
a mother." [italics added]
Just two weeks before Father�s Day, Mr. Perkins obviously
chose to ignore the tens of thousands of gay fathers doing a fine job raising
their children. And it is those children who will directly benefit from their fathers being able to legally marry in
California. But those real families are of no concern for Mr. Perkins or the
�Family Research Council.�
�Effectively abolishes the meaning of motherhood and
fatherhood.� What is this man talking about? Such a preposterous non sequitur statement goes well beyond
hysterical ranting. Unless Mr. Perkins is talking about clones, all children
have a mother and a father. Whether those gamete-contributing �parents� are
present in the child�s life is another matter. When they�re not, Mr. Perkins
and his ilk would prefer to see those children remain without committed parents
rather than having them accepted into loving homes with same-sex parents. Case
in point: a February 2007 Business Week
article highlighted one of the families �pro-family� Christianists groups took
pleasure in hurting:
Dennis Patrick, a professor at Eastern
Michigan University, worries that Michigan�s ruling will strip his partner�s
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. But that, in essence, is the Christianist agenda: hurt people,
hurt families, and feel good about it.
Mr. Perkins asserted that �the social science data is
overwhelming and clear -- children do best when raised by a mom and dad.� But
contemporary, peer-reviewed social science research shows that children reared
in same-sex household develop no
differently than children reared in opposite-sex households, despite the
claims of Christianist leaders who have frequently been caught
misrepresenting legitimate research. And then there�s the fact that the American Medical Association, the
American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association have
all issued statements asserting that a parent�s sexual orientation is
irrelevant to his or her ability to raise a child.
It�s interesting to
note that Family Research Council -- as well as other Christianist groups such
as Dobson�s Focus on the Family, Don Wildmon�s American Family Association and
Louis P. Sheldon�s Traditional Values Coalition -- have been
known to cite the social science �research� of discredited
�psychologist� Paul Cameron:
At the 1985 Conservative Political
Action Conference, Cameron announced to the attendees, �Unless we get medically
lucky, in three or four years, one of the options discussed will be the
extermination of homosexuals.� According to an interview with former Surgeon
General C. Everett Koop, Cameron was recommending the extermination option as
early as 1983. --Mark E. Pietrzyk,
News-Telegraph, March 10, 1995
On June 16, 2008 Jennifer Mesko, managing editor of Focus on
the Family�s CitizenLink, posted an article that
contained some very odd comments. ��God is not having an anxiety attack over
same-sex �marriage,� said Peter Brandt, senior director of government and
public policy at Focus on the Family Action.� Apparently Mr. Brandt�s �God� is
susceptible to human maladies.
�In the past few months, God made
Himself evident throughout the course of bringing more than 1.1 million
signatures to qualify for the ballot,� [Ron Prentice, executive director of the
California Family Council] said. �The tremendous response from churches was
never before seen in California, and the participation from religious
communities continues to grow.�
Not quite, Mr. Prentice. As Tim Rutten pointed out in a June
4, 2008 article
in The Los Angeles Times,
Protect Marriage, the organization seeking to overturn
the recent decision by the California Supreme Court, presented the secretary of
state with a petition bearing 1.1 million signatures -- and yet it is hardly a
mass movement. California allows professional contractors that pay people to
gather signatures for political measures, so anyone with enough money to spend
can get an initiative on the ballot.
In this case, most of the money came from two wealthy Orange County residents
who also happen to be fervent evangelical Christians. Billionaire Howard
Ahmanson donated $400,000 through his Fieldstead & Co., and Edward
Atsinger, owner of a chain of Christian radio stations, gave $12,500. (Each man
previously contributed $100,000 to Proposition 22, the statute struck down by
the Supreme Court�s May 15 ruling.) Another significant contributor -- $133,000
-- is Colorado-based Focus on the Family. Its founder, James Dobson, is a
leader in the religious right�s anti-gay wing.
But perhaps the most overtly theofascist comments were made
by Ted Baehr in his article
�The Illegal Attack on the Family� that appeared on the website of Peter LaBarbera�s
Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, an organization whose sole (and soulless) purpose is to
demean, denigrate and foster discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans.
Baehr began with this statement: �California is destroying
the family, and the United States is on the verge of a self-inflicted spiritual
�Destroying the family�? How can two people committing their
lives to each other and, in so doing, forming a family possibly be �destroying
the family?� Baehr�s accusation is nothing less than self-serving,
megalomaniacal bigotry at it most insidious and most pathetic. It is, however,
quite common among the profiteers of the Christianst Right as was so well
documented in a recent fund-raising
letter sent by Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President for Government and Public
Policy at James Dobson�s Focus on the Family Action:
May 15, a cultural earthquake rocked our nation that threatens to permanently
alter marriage and families in America.
Of course, I�m talking about the California Supreme Court ruling . . .
Homosexual activists across the nation will be emboldened to push their anti-family agenda . . .
For years now, Focus on the Family Action has been working coast-to-coast on
the battle to save marriage. The California
decision is forcing us to further expand these and other efforts that we simply
could not have budgeted for. That�s where you come in.
Will you make a special gift today to Focus Action to help us defend marriage . . .
The California homosexual marriage �earthquake� could forever change the cultural landscape of our nation -- unless pro-family citizens like you and me
take a stand. . . . [italics added]
Note the �anti-family� non
sequitur, followed closely by the equally inane �saving/defending marriage�
claim. Saving marriage from whom? People who want to get married? Saving
marriage from what? Divorce?
Evangelicals and �born-again� Christians -- stalwart
supports of Dobson and the Christianist Right -- are pretty bad at
�saving/defending� marriage and �the family.� On September 8, 2004 -- during
the height of the pre-election campaign to �save traditional marriage� -- the
Barna Group, a Christian marketing-research organization, issued a report
titled �Born Again Christians Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians.�
It documented that �among married born again Christians, 35% have experienced a
divorce. That figure is identical to the outcome among married adults who are
not born again: 35%.� Barna also documented that �nearly one-quarter of the
married �born agains� (23%) get divorced two or more times.� No doubt more than a few of those multiple divorces among
born-again Christians reported by the Barna Group involved adultery. And no doubt more than
a few of those divorced parents had children.
Nevertheless, the �anti-family� and �save marriage� clich�s
persist. In a mid-June �values voters� gathering sponsored by FRC Action, Focus
on the Family Action, American Values and the Alliance Defense Fund and
specifically designed to �equip voters to defend marriage, life and religious
rhetoric was ubiquitous: ��Family advocates may feel disheartened in light
of the attack on marriage in California,� said Sonja Swiatkiewicz, director of
Issues Response for Focus on the Family Action.�
How does allowing people to marry constitute an �attack on
marriage�? If anything, the more
than 2,700 wedding licenses issued in California in the first two days of
legal same-sex marriage show support and respect for the institution.
And then there were the comments of Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly, a featured speaker at the
briefing, [who] said she is hopeful the California court decision will inspire
others to fight to save marriage in their states.
�We should make sure
that all the other states stand up and say, �We are not going to follow the
leadership of California or recognize the unconstitutional things that they�re
doing,� � she told Family News in Focus.
Aside from the �save marriage� ruse, how is a state supreme
court�s upholding the state constitution�s guarantee of equality for all
But back to Baehr�s other claim that �the United States is
on the verge of a self-inflicted spiritual holocaust.� Here he has a point, but
his timing is off. The holocaust has been underway for some time. The victim --
spirituality -- has been tortured, killed and buried under the hate-based dogma of
the Christianist Right, as Baehr so well illustrated:
It must be emphasized that marriage
between one man and one woman is a God ordained, God defined, biblical act. . .
In 1837, the Rev. Henry Morris complained that the state had usurped the
authority of God in marriage. Norris railed against the passage of a law on
marriage by providing a detailed look at the institution of marriage. He
painstakingly exegeted the Scriptures in establishing his point that marriage
is most importantly a religious institution, and therefore it should not be
relegated to a strictly civil character . . .
The Rev. Norris adds that the Biblical position is that only God ordains
marriage. So, in the light of history and God�s Word written, the judges in
Massachusetts, California or any other state or federal court have nothing to
say about Christian marriage and have no authority to define, ordain or
desecrate it. . . .
The church has to reclaim marriage as its unique institution. Whatever anyone
wants to do outside of the church may be their business, but it is not
sanctioned by God�s Law. The state has the right to regulate what they do,
because there is no liberty for license. But, the state does not have the right
to tell the church that any couple outside of the faith is happily married.
We need to stand for God�s Law in the face of the power grab by those in civil
authority, who know no restraints.
California and Massachusetts have not only
violated God�s Law, they have also violated their own constitution . . .
Baehr packs so many logical flaws, irrationalities and non sequiturs into these lines that it�s
difficult to know where to start.
�Violated their own constitution�? How could upholding
constitutional guarantees of civil equality possible violate the constitutions
And as for the civil
institution called �marriage,� suffice to say it existed centuries before
the �God� Baehr refers to was conjured. Actually, the Christian church didn�t
get involved in marriage ceremonies until the early Middle Ages.
Religious fanatics -- theofascists --
such as Rev. Morris and Ted Baehr, James Dobson and Tomy Perkins cherry-picked the Bible and cobbled together
a �God� in their own image: mean-spirited, eager to hurt and discriminate, and
full of dogmatic dictates. The very �God� Christopher Hitchens debunked in his
book God Is Not Great. In commenting
on that text, Christian theologian Rev. John Shelby Spong had this to say:
"Christopher Hitchens� book, God Is Not Great, is a description of the theistic God
of the past who is dying. The theistic God certainly appears in the Bible and
is guilty of many things that are genuinely immoral, like killing the firstborn
male in every Egyptian household, stopping the sun in the sky to allow more
time for Joshua to slaughter the Amorites and ordering genocide against the
Amalekites through the prophet Samuel. Christians need to remember that it has
been the theistic God who has been responsible for the development of such
things as anti-Semitism, the Inquisition, and the oppression of people of
color, women and homosexual persons. This deity has also been perceived as
justifying war, fighting crusades and creating slavery. Let us agree with
Christopher Hitchens that this God is not great."
Rev. Spong suggested a better approach: "I think of the
God experience as the power of life, love and being flowing through the
universe and coming to consciousness in human self-awareness . . . I therefore
feel that by living fully, loving wastefully and being all that I can be I can
make the God experience visible. I also believe that it is my Christian
vocation to build a world where all people have a better chance to live, love
and to be. It is when I do these two things, I believe, that I am engaging in
the essence of worship."
�Christian vocation to build a world where all people have a
better chance to live, love and to be.� Those are exactly the things the
leaders of the Christianist Right vehemently oppose.
Not surprisingly, the 1837 law Rev. Morris railed against
gave the authority to perform marriages to justices of the peace. And rightly
so, since marriage licenses are issued by civil governments, not churches. But
like his 19th century hero, Ted Baehr wants churches -- Christian churches --
to have sole jurisdiction over the civil institution of marriage. They already
have jurisdiction over who they will marry and who they won�t, but to extend
those dogmatic, theological decisions into civil law is beyond preposterous
unless, of course, one is advocating a theofascist state, which is exactly what
Dr. Baehr is doing. It�s what the Christianist Right has been trying to do for
some time as Chris Hedges documented in his 2006 book, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.
Nothing made that clearer than Baehr�s statement: �We need
to stand for God�s Law in the face of the power grab by those in civil
authority, who know no restraints.� Theofascist dominionism, pure and
The real �Good News� is that America is waking up and
recognizing the Christianist Right for what it is. Poll after poll shows that civil equality is
trumping religious bigotry, especially among younger Americans: The Pew
study [released mid-June 2008] . . . marked a decline in opposition toward gay
marriage among women, college graduates, and senior citizens. Opposition among
women has dropped from 56 percent in 2004 to 46 percent in 2008. While 46
percent of college graduates opposed gay marriage in 2004, only 38 percent
oppose it now. Opposition among senior citizens (ages 65 and up) has dropped 10
percent since 2004, from 68 percent to 58 percent.
The Christian Right�s antigay movements are failing in the
Abandons Push to Repeal Maine Gay Rights Law
An evangelical group has abandoned its campaign to overturn Maine�s law
protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination, days after California began
issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
�We�re pulling the plug,� Michael Heath, executive director of the Christian
Civic League of Maine, said Thursday. The group failed to attract the voter,
volunteer, and financial support it needed to continue its campaign to put a
repeal measure to a vote, he said.
The group collected only a third of the 15,000 voter signatures it had set as a
goal for primary election day June 10, Heath said. Citing tags opponents had
applied to initiative backers, he said potential volunteers �don�t want to be
aligned with bigotry and homophobia and hatred.� [link added]
They are also failing in the West:
of Oregon gay rights law abandon repeal effort
SALEM -- Social conservatives and
church groups are admitting defeat in their efforts to collect signatures for
initiatives to repeal two Oregon gay rights laws in this November's election.
The campaigns were aimed at derailing a domestic partnership law and another
new law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. Both were enacted
by the 2007 Legislature.
Opponents say they are dropping their efforts to qualify the repeal initiatives
for this fall�s ballot because neither has received a state-approved ballot
title and the deadline for turning in signatures is only a few weeks away --
Discrimination is the past; equality is the future.
to all the newlyweds in California . . .