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Religion Last Updated: Aug 27th, 2008 - 02:11:49

America�s religious fascists waging war on love, people and families: Part 3, California�s Proposition 8
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Aug 27, 2008, 00:17

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Today, civil equality and marriage are the primary targets for America�s religious fascists. They were unsuccessful in overturning equality in Massachusetts, so California�s Proposition 8 ballot initiative is now their focus, especially since California has no residency requirement for people marrying in the state. Their greatest fear is that civil equality will spread, especially since Massachusetts has repealed the 1913 law banning out-of-state marriages.

Equality for all citizens has always been fascism�s greatest fear and its archenemy. Using religion to justify campaigns of hate and discrimination was also the tactic of one of history�s most notorious fascists and, not surprisingly, America�s Christo-fascists have adopted his rhetoric in calling on the sheeple to mount a �blitzkrieg moment� against civil equality. Of course, they also had to throw in their usual nonsensical claims and a biblical scare tactic echoing James Dobson�s claim that the world would end if civil equality is affirmed:

Right Gears Up to Fight �Armageddon of the Culture War�

For two hours earlier this week, pastors gathered at more than 200 sites throughout California, Arizona, and Florida to be exhorted by national Religious Right leaders like Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Maggie Gallagher, and Chuck Colson and others to hold nothing back in their efforts to fight against marriage equality. The People For the American Way Foundation today released a memo [PDF] chronicling the call and outlining the Right�s plans for the weeks ahead.

The primary focus of the call was Proposition 8 in California, described by Colson as �the Armageddon of the culture war.� Many speakers invoked the language of warfare, raising up an army of believers, putting soldiers in the streets, being on the front lines of a battle. Lou Engle actually described a massive rally planned in Qualcomm stadium on November 1 as a �blitzkrieg moment.�

While speaker after speaker spoke of the dire threats same-sex married couples pose to �traditional� marriage, religious freedom, and civilization itself, the overall tone of the call was confidence that victory would be won with God�s help . . . [italics added]

Same-sex married couples -- who can better provide for their children -- pose a dire threat to �traditional marriage�? How?

Same-sex married couples -- who can better provide for their children -- pose a dire threat to �religious freedom�? How?

Same-sex married couples -- who can better provide for their children -- pose a dire threat to �civilization itself�? There is no better word to describe that claim than �stupid.� But it is akin to Hitler�s claim that Jews were responsible for all the ills in the world and posed a threat to �civilization itself.� Those who bought the F�hrer�s claim were lied to and purposely mislead. Those who buy the Christo-fascists� claim -- given history�s lesson -- either embrace religious fascism or they�re just plain stupid.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --George Santayana,�Reason in Common Sense�

How appropriate Chuck Colson of Watergate infamy is among Christo-fascism�s spokesmen. A similar infamous figure is stating the movement�s goals quite plainly. In late July, People for the American Way noted

that former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay had joined one of his �closest friends,� Rick Scarborough of Vision America, for Sunday services at Scarborough�s Texas church. Now, Vision America has helpfully posted the audio of DeLay�s rambling sermon on its website in which he explains that �America was created by God to spread the Gospel; to spread the word of Jesus Christ and to propagate Christianity� [Listen (mp3)]:

�I know that America was created by God and it was created by God, not for wealth, personal wealth. It wasn�t created by God so that we would have the resources that we now have. It wasn�t even created by God to have the freedom that we have now. America was created by God to spread the Gospel; to spread the word of Jesus Christ and to propagate Christianity. And the reason I know that is because my entire political career is exhibited by that. The Lord walked with me . . . I came to Christ in the first year in Congress and now I�ve been walking with the Lord [and] he has trained me and showed me why he created this nation: to spread the Gospel.� [italics added]

While he was House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay openly admitted he was �on a mission from God to promote a �biblical worldview� in American politics.� On October 19, 2005 an arrest warrant was issued for the former U.S. House Majority Leader. The warrant listed two felony charges, conspiracy and money laundering in a campaign finance scheme tied to his political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority. Mr. DeLay�s �entire political career� was indeed dedicated to and �exhibited by� Christo-fascism and its inherent corruption.

DeLay is gone, but there�s a new �warrior for Judeo-Christian values.� Oklahoma state representative Sally Kern has announced �God� has chosen her for the position:

Oklahoma state legislator Sally Kern first came to national attention back in March [2008] when an audio clip of her declaring that the �homosexual agenda is destroying this nation, OK, it�s just a fact . . . I honestly think it�s the biggest threat that our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam, which I think is a big threat� was posted on-line by the Victory Fund. . . .

Kern has been quite for the last several months but she up for re-election in November and has now begun
declaring that God put her in the statehouse to be �cultural warrior for Judeo-Christian values� . . .

�I am not saying everyone has to be Christian; this is not a homogenous nation . . . What you have to be is someone who believes in a Judeo-Christian ethic, in other words, in knowing there�s a right and wrong. Not all lifestyles are equal; not all religions are equal . . . My Lord made it very clear to me that I�m a cultural warrior for Judeo-Christian values.�

So according to Kern, only Christians know right from wrong and, as a card-carrying (and gun toting) Christo-fascist, it�s her divinely ordained political duty to imbed her definitive knowledge into civil law and make sure everyone conforms.

It�s that kind of �thinking� -- we know what�s right for everyone, how everyone should be and live, and everyone must obey -- that�s feeding the feverish funding of efforts to pass California�s Proposition 8. Dobson�s Focus on the Family has donated several hundred thousand dollars, Wildmon�s American Family Association recently donated half a million dollars to end gay and lesbian Californians� civil right to a civil marriage.

Because all citizens now have the same right to marry, California�s attorney general had to summarize the proposition in relation to that reality. The new ballot label reads:


Changes California Constitution to eliminate right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Fiscal Impact: Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact to state and local governments.

Dobson, Wildmon, Perkins and the rest of the �Christian leaders� are irate about the wording and, of course, a lawsuit was filed. But in the written decision issued August 8, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley ruled that the wording accurately summarized the proposition. The point was made in several articles like this one: �Since the right to same-sex marriage now exists in law and has already been exercised by thousands of same-sex couples, the court reasoned, Prop. 8 would not simply limit marriage -- it would in fact eliminate an existing legal right.� (On August 11, the �Yes on 8� campaign said that it would not appeal to the state Supreme Court.)

An August 8, 2008 Los Angeles Times editorial made the point not only about Proposition 8, but about the whole issue:

It�s the same sentence as in 2000: �Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.� Yet the issue that will be put before voters Nov. 4 is radically different. This time, the wording would be used to rescind an existing constitutional right to marry. We fervently hope that voters, whatever their personal or religious convictions, will shudder at such a step and vote no on Proposition 8. . . .

What voters must consider about Proposition 8 is that, unlike Proposition 22, this is no longer about refining existing California law. In the wake of the [state supreme] court�s ruling, the only way to deny marriage to gay and lesbian couples is by revising constitutional rights themselves. Proposition 8 seeks to embed wording in the Constitution that would eliminate the fundamental right to same-sex marriage. . . .

Supporters of Proposition 8 insist that the measure is in no way intended to diminish the rights of gays and lesbians, but instead means to encourage ideal households for the raising of children and to put a stop to activist judges. Besides, they say, domestic partnerships provide all the same rights as marriage.

In a meeting with The Times� editorial board, supporters argued at length that children are best off when raised by their own biological, married mothers and fathers. Even if that were true -- and there is much room for dispute -- this measure in no way moves society closer to such a traditional picture. Gay and lesbian couples already are raising their own children and will continue to do so, as will single parents and adoptive and blended families. Using the supporters� own reasoning, it would be better for same-sex parents to marry. . . .

[T]he very act of denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry -- traditionally the highest legal and societal recognition of a loving commitment -- by definition relegates them and their relationships to second-class status, separate and not all that equal.

To be sure, the court overturned
Proposition 22, a vote of the people. That is the court�s duty when a law is unconstitutional, even if it is exceedingly popular. Civil rights are commonly hard-won, and not the result of widespread consensus. Whites in the South vehemently rejected the 1954 Supreme Court decision to desegregate schools. For that matter, Californians have accused the state Supreme Court of obstructing the people�s will on marriage before -- in 1948, when it struck down a ban on interracial marriages.

Fundamental rights are exactly that. They should neither wait for popular acceptance, nor be revoked because it is lacking. [link added]

The equality of all citizens -- that�s what fascists have always feared. Christo-fascists hide behind perverted religious dogma, but their goal, as Hedges pointed out, is a �master race� made in their own image. And just like the fascists of Germany in the 1930s, they need a �sub-human� group to persecute, to rally the faithful against. The Nazis focused on Jews, the mental and physically disabled, gypsies, and homosexuals. Given today�s political realities, America�s religious fascists focus solely on homosexuals.

Hitler used the Bible and �Christianity� to justify his agenda just as America�s Christo-fascists do to justify theirs. He lied. So do they. Dobson, Wildmon, Kennedy, Perkins, Sheldon et al love to quote the Bible in their campaigns against gay and lesbian Americans, but as ReligiousLeft.US pointed out in a recent article:

There is no word in biblical Greek or Hebrew that is equivalent to the English word homosexual. The 1946 Revised Standard Version (RSV) New Testament was the first translation to use the word homosexual.

There is no word in biblical Greek or Hebrew for �sodomy� or �sodomite.� A Sodomite would have been simply an inhabitant of Sodom, just as a Moabite would have been an inhabitant of Moab, though the word sodomite does not show up in biblical Greek or Hebrew. Any translation of the Bible making use of the words sodomy or sodomite are clear interpretations and not faithful translations.

The Bible really does not fully address the topic of homosexuality. Jesus never talked about it. The prophets never talked about it. In Sodom, homosexual activity is mentioned within the context of rape (raping angels nonetheless), and in Romans 1:24-27 we find it mentioned within the context of idolatry (Baal worship) involving lust and dishonorable passions. 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 talk about homosexual activity in the context of prostitution and possibly pederasty.

Nowhere does the Bible condemn a loving and committed homosexual relationship. To use the Bible to condemn such a relationship, as we see, involves a projection of one�s own bias and a stretching of the Biblical text beyond that of which the scriptures speak. [italics added]

Several of the other myths propagated by Christo-fascists have also been exposed. The propaganda usually sounds something like this: �gays don�t really want to marry . . . they�re just using the issue to destroy the sacred institution of marriage.� Wrong again:

Study: Gays Rush To Couple
07.31.2008 2:47pm EDT

(Los Angeles, Calif.) A study released Thursday [July 31, 2008] said that same-sex couples are eagerly taking advantage of the ability to marry or form civil unions when presented with the opportunity.

The study, prepared by UCLA�s Williams Institute, found more than 85,000 couples have already signed up for legal recognition in 11 states -- 40 percent of all same-sex couples in these states.

The report compiles data from the 11 states that recognize same-sex couples through marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, or other legal statuses. These data also show that same-sex couples who marry or register are more likely to be female couples than male couples, and same-sex couples tend to be younger than existing different-sex married couples. . . .

�Marriage clearly gets the most enthusiastic response from same-sex couples, as we�re seeing in California,� explained co-author M. V. Lee Badgett, research director of the Williams Institute and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

�In Massachusetts, 37 percent of gay and lesbian couples got married within the first year that marriage was available, but only one in 10 gay couples registered a civil union or domestic partnership in the first year after the introduction of those statuses.�

The study predicts that if every state offered marriage to same-sex couples today, approximately 370,000 couples would marry in the next three years.

Dobson and LaBarbera are particularly fond of claiming partnered gays are so promiscuous that their relationships are inherently unstable. Wrong again. As co-author of the UCLA study and senior research fellow of the Williams Institute, Gary Gates, concluded: �Not only are same-sex couples getting legally partnered, but their relationships are just as stable as marriages of different-sex couples.�

The �protect the children� mantra is ubiquitous in the anti-gay rhetoric of Dobson, Wildmon, and Perkins. The LA Times editorial addressed the �protect the children� ruse used by Proposition 8 supporters, but those supporters have a new, equally specious argument:

�The narrow decision of the California Supreme Court isn�t just about �live and let live,�� Prop 8 supporters write in their argument. �In health education classes, state law requires teachers to instruct children as young as kindergarteners about marriage. . . . If the gay marriage ruling is not overturned, teachers will be required to teach young children there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage.

�We should not accept a court decision that results in public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay. That is an issue for parents to discuss with their children according to their own values and beliefs. It shouldn�t be forced on us against our will,� the argument states.

In commenting on the possibility of such a �requirement,� Tina Jung, spokeswoman for the California Department of Education, said, �I just don�t know where that�s coming from. . . . [it�s] probably someone�s opinion.� Yes, probably someone who has no legitimate, rational, cogent arguments and chooses, therefore, to resort to scare tactics and outright lies. Bob Egelko�s July 27 article in the San Francisco Chronicle clarified the reality:

The text of the education law . . . doesn�t specify that health education programs at every grade level must include marriage, or that same-sex marriage must be discussed at all. State law also allows parents to remove children from any health class that violates the parents� religious beliefs.

An opponent of Prop. 8, attorney Shannon Minter, who represented same-sex couples in the state Supreme Court case, said California law requires only that students be taught at some point before high school graduation about the legal and financial aspects of marriage.

The state Department of Education recommends that marriage be discussed in high school, but each school district designs its own program, with parental input, said Minter . . .

�This is a pure fabrication,� he said of the Yes on 8 ballot argument. �They are trying to inflame people by making up these falsehoods about kids.� [italics added]

Fascism has traditionally relied on scare tactics, distortions and lies to promote its agenda. Religious fascism does the same. Proposition 8 supporters claimed �if the gay marriage ruling is not overturned, teachers will be required to teach young children there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage.� The �required to teach young children� has already been shown to be a lie on several levels: the state Department of Education recommends marriage be discussed in the later high school years (when it has relevance to students� lives), and state law allows parents to remove their child from health classes that violate their religious beliefs.

But consider the second part of the pro-Proposition 8 statement -- �no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage� -- in light of California law that �requires only that students be taught at some point before high school graduation about the legal and financial aspects of marriage.� Right now, gay marriage and traditional marriage are the same legally and have the same �financial aspects.� The same will be true when Proposition fails. Is teaching high school students about reality wrong? It is for Christo-fascists.

Dobson, Wildmon, Perkins, Sheldon, and LaBarbera constantly refer to themselves as �pro-family� and claim that same-sex marriage is �anti-family,� as well as �godless.� They�re lying, yet again:

Belief in God, parenthood prompt gay partners to make commitment

Which gay and lesbian couples are more likely to legalize their relationship and hold a commitment ceremony? Those with children and strong religious beliefs, says a new University of Illinois study.

�Opponents of relationship recognition for same-sex couples often say that we have to protect children, or that same-sex relationships are against God. But this study suggests that lesbians and gay men who seek relationship recognition may be acting to protect their children and enact their own religious beliefs,� said Ramona Faith Oswald, a U of I associate professor of family studies. . . .

�This study is an important contribution because it separates the legal and ritualistic aspects of solidifying a relationship. Not all same-sex couples want legal protection or ritual recognition. However, those who do appear to take these steps for the same reasons straight people often do -- parenthood and religious commitment,� she said.

�This common ground should be part of our policy debates,� she added.

Common ground. Something all fascists refuse to recognize, even when it makes sense and everyone wins. Christi-fascists� sanctimonious criticism of Rick Warren for working with non-Christians �to promote the common good� made that painfully clear. And they�re not exactly happy with the Archbishop of Canterbury�s recognition of common ground either:

Rowan Williams: gay couples reflect the love of God: Archbishop of Canterbury expresses optimism that the church might change its stance on homosexuality

Gay relationships can �reflect the love of God� in a way that is comparable to marriage, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

In a series of letters from 2000 and 2001, when he was still archbishop of Wales, Williams wrote that scriptural prohibitions against homosexuality, such as those in Leviticus, were addressed �to heterosexuals looking for sexual variety in their experience.�

In the correspondence, an exchange with an evangelical Christian, Williams argued that passages criticizing homosexual activity were not aimed at people who were gay by nature.

�An active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.�

He also expressed his optimism that the church might change its stance on homosexuality: �The church has shifted its stance on several matters, notably the rightness of lending money at interest and the moral admissibility of contraception, so I am bound to ask if this is another such issue.�

Fact: marriage is a civil institution. Marriage licenses are issued by the state, not churches. Divorce decrees are issued by a court, not churches.

Fact: churches currently can refuse to marry opposite-sex couples that don�t meet their dogmatic criteria, but those same couples can still be legally married in a civil ceremony. Both civil and church ceremonies have the same legal standing.

Proposed common ground: everyone currently eligible to marry can do so in a state-sanctioned civil ceremony. Those wishing a church ceremony instead of a civil one can have one provided the church agrees. Churches that do not wish to marry same-sex couples or certain opposite-sex couples can refuse to do so, just as they can now.

But common ground in which neither side has to relinquish its principles is not what Christo-fascists want. It has to be their way, or no way.

I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good . . . Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country. We don�t want equal time. We don�t want pluralism. --Randall Terry, President, Campaign for Children and Families

That�s their bottom line, and the bottom line is the bottom line. Dobson, Wildmon, Perkins, Sheldon and the other leaders of America�s Christo-fascist movement make their living -- and they all do live large -- by waging �holy war� on civil equality and by promoting hate and discrimination in the name of their bastardized version of �Christianity.�

Their campaigns against marriage -- and the American citizens who want to marry -- use exaggeration, hyperbole, and outright lies. They use abstract, fallacious arguments and can offer no concrete, empirical evidence to support their claims. They use caricatures, stereotypes and myths. But most of all they exploit ignorance in order to engender fear, as the follow-up to the August 8 LA Times editorial so well illustrated:

The Times editorial board formulates its positions on ballot measures not only by research, but by inviting representatives of both sides to (separate) meetings with the board. It�s a good forum for probing an issue, and the results sometimes are surprising.

So it went with the supporters of Proposition 8 . . .

At one point, the conversation turned to the �activist judges� whose May ruling opened the door to same-sex marriage, and how similar this case was to the 1948 case that declared bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional. According to one of the Prop. 8 reps, that 1948 ruling was OK because people are born to their race and thus are in need of constitutional protection, while gays and lesbians choose their homosexuality. So much for the expert opinions of the
American Psychological Assn. and the American Academy of Pediatrics that people cannot choose their sexuality. Oh, those activist doctor types.

In any case, one Prop. 8 supporter said, gay rights are not as important as children�s rights, and it�s obvious that same-sex couples who married would �recruit� their children toward homosexuality because otherwise, unable to procreate themselves, they would have no way to replenish their numbers. Even editorial writers can be left momentarily speechless, and this was one of those moments. Aside from this notion of a homosexual recruitment plot -- making it understandable where the word �homophobia� came from -- this made no logical sense at all. [Many] Same-sex couples, whether married or not, already have children. Marriage wouldn�t change a thing about this picture except, perhaps, to model for children that parents tend to be married.

While Christo-fascists and their Proposition 8 supporters talk of �the Armageddon of the culture war,� and as their �master race� army spews out propaganda and prepares for a �blitzkrieg moment� on November 4, those who oppose them talk about real people and their real families in the real world of everyday life. They intend no harm to anyone. They believe in the institution of marriage, which is why they�re fighting so hard to keep the right to participate in it. They believe in their families and want the best for their children.

What do Christo-fascists believe in?

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