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Religion Last Updated: Jun 2nd, 2006 - 00:31:11

The Christian Right yanks Bush�s chain: A �welcomed� presidential endorsement
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jun 2, 2006, 00:24

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For months now the Christian Right has been whining about how Congress and the Bush administration have not fulfilled their agenda. In a May 25 article for Focus on the Family�s Family News in Focus newsletter, Kim Trobee moaned, �For the remainder of the [congressional] session they�re working hard on ethics, energy and immigration, but family issues are missing.�

And what are those �family issues�? They were succinctly summarized in an April 15 CNN article:

GOP hones its core agenda
Flag burning, gay marriage, abortion top Republicans� Senate plan

Between now and the November elections, Republicans are penciling in plans to take action on social issues important to religious conservatives, the foundation of the GOP base, as they defend their congressional majority.

In other words, those �Christian� family issues are curtailing freedom of speech, embedding religious dogma and discrimination into the U.S. Constitution, and negating the right of women to make one of the -- if not the -- most personal of decisions.

At the moment, embedding religious dogma and discrimination -- against certain Americans and their families -- into the Constitution is at the top of the �pro-family�s� list of �family issues.�

Given that the president�s ratings are at an all time low and that the GOP is likely facing major losses in the coming elections, it came as no surprise to read that George W. Bush, the uniter-become-divider, will appear on June 5 in the Rose Garden before a gathering of amendment supporters and, a White House official says, �strongly support� the Marriage Protection Amendment. The president has rarely mentioned the amendment in the past. The choice of the Rose Garden as a venue means he is raising the marriage amendment to a higher level on his agenda, his wife�s advice notwithstanding. [link added]

The �gathering of amendment supporters� will undoubtedly include some familiar faces from the politicized Christian Right and a number of clergy -- perhaps even a cardinal or two from the pedophile scandal-ridden Catholic Church -- to give the impression that all denominations uniformly support the amendment. Nothing could be further from the truth. (See �June 6, 2006: An appropriate date.�)

It�s a foregone conclusion that no one from the First United Methodist Church of Omaha will be invited to the Rose Garden press conference. In a truly Christian spirit they�ve adopted �a policy offering the church�s help to same-gender couples seeking religious commitment ceremonies resembling marriage.� Nor will anyone from the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church of Indianapolis, Indiana be invited:

A gay-friendly church has begun an advertising campaign that includes yard signs, bumper stickers and newspaper ads asking whether Jesus would discriminate against gay people.

The Jesus Metropolitan Community Church is spending $55,000 on the campaign. About 300 volunteers are distributing 650 bumper stickers, 720 T-shirts, 2,000 yard signs and 25,000 door hangers.

Church members hope the ads will spark a conversation about the issue, and they are also planning a town hall meeting on homosexuality and the Bible.

�Jesus defended social and religious outcasts,� said the Rev. Jeff Miner, senior pastor at the church. �Yet many in today's Church seem to specialize in beating up on those who are different. What's wrong with this picture?�

According to virtually every commentator, observer and political pundit (and Sen. Bill Frist), the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) has no chance of passing, much less being added to the Constitution, but is simply being used to rev-up religious zealots prior to the November elections. The MPA is a sinking ship, so it�s appropriate the presidential rat go down with the ship. (Note that the press conference is only one day before the scheduled vote, on 6-6-6. Does that sound �enthusiastic� to you?)

Actually, given his abysmal ratings and the fact that the vast majority of Americans don�t believe much of anything he says, it�s a good thing Bush is holding a high profile press conference to lend his support to the MPA. Tony Auth�s cartoon in the May 31 edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer made clear why: another politically �convenient untruth� from George W.

And then there�s the Christian Right pulling Bush�s strings. These self-appointed spokesmen for �God� -- like the politicians on their leash -- have become pathetic caricatures. Lee Salisbury�s articleWhat is on trial in the United States is not just George Bush, but also his God� made the case:

George Bush gladly represents bible-believing Christianity. Millions of Christians led by the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson intercede for him. George Bush claims to make his decisions through prayer. Supposedly, Christianity�s omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God has an American President representing Him, a President whose every decision should parallel this God�s alleged values of righteousness, justice, wisdom and integrity.

So where is the righteousness, justice, wisdom and integrity in George Bush�s decisions? Read the above list [see Salisbury�s article] again and show me where these alleged qualities are? Is this the benefit of being �one nation under God?� Most Christian Bush supporters would rather keep playing church [than] face these realities. What is on trial in the minds of Americans is not just George Bush, but his God and his brand of Christianity.

George W. is doing as his masters order, no doubt so too will another of the Christian Right�s pocketed politicians, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who has championed the Christian Right�s causes against gay and lesbian Americans but who now is also facing their wrath as they frantically seek any scapegoat to explain the failure of their �family issues� agenda:

GOP Presidential Hopeful Blamed for Massachusetts� Marriage Fiasco
By Jim Brown
May 30, 2006

(AgapePress) - Some pro-family groups and the conservative media are being accused of covering up the fact that Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is �the founding father of homosexual marriage� -- or so says a parents coalition leader in that state.

The Massachusetts-based Parents� Rights Coalition (PRC) claims it was Governor Romney�s �illegal� executive order that imposed homosexual �marriage� in the Bay State, not the controversial Goodridge court decision in November 2003. PRC�s John Haskins contends the 2008 presidential hopeful committed an impeachable act by violating several articles of the Massachusetts Constitution.

According to Haskins, PRC and the Article 8 Alliance -- another Massachusetts-based pro-family group -- notified conservative media outlets such as The Weekly Standard, National Review, and the American Spectator that Romney was personally advised in advance that he was violating the state constitution.

�The real tragedy here is that many pro-family groups and the conservative media continue to cover up for Governor Romney and ignore the plain meaning of the Massachusetts constitution,� asserts Haskins, �which says that neither the governor nor any court can strike down laws -- only the Legislature can do that.�

Consequently, he adds, �homosexual marriage is still illegal here in Massachusetts -- and yet it�s conservatives propping it up by pretending it�s legal.� [italics and link added]

�Imposed homosexual �marriage��? Did it ever dawn on these people that the reason courts keep striking down faith-based discrimination is that civil law and civil constitutions call for the equality of all citizens in relation to all civil institutions?

But, being a quivering tower of political Jell-O, Romney will no doubt redouble his efforts and further suck-up to the Christian Right, just as he did when the scandal-ridden Catholic Church wanted an exemption from anti-discrimination laws in relation to adoptions in Massachusetts. How sad that a state pivotal in America�s fight for freedom -- religious freedom and freedom from religion -- is in the hands of such a �governor,� for the time being at least.

The current �grassroots,� faith-based efforts on behalf of the Marriage Protection Amendment seem to be spearheaded by James Dobson�s Focus on the Family syndicate. That�s not really surprising since FOF has been a leading anti-gay organization from its inception. The current issue of their Citizen magazine attests to their rabid anti-gay agenda almost as well as one of Dobson�s �reasons� for opposing same-sex marriage. According to �the kingmaker,� if gays are allowed to enter into a civil marriage, �The culture war will be over, and the world may soon become �as it was in the days of Noah.��

Citizen magazine�s current cover story -- appropriately titled �Showtime� -- is by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council that, in collaboration with Dobson�s FOF, sponsored the theocracy-on-parade Justice Sunday shows (JS I, JS II, JS III). It�s as nonsensical as Dobson�s �reason.� According to Perkins, �the radicals� -- his term for those who oppose writing faith-based discrimination into the U.S. Constitution -- �do not want to increase the number of happily married couples; they want to end marriage altogether.�

What is this man talking about? Perhaps if he�d crawl out of his theocratic bubble Mr. Perkins would notice that gay and lesbian Americans are fighting for the right to participate in the civil institution called �marriage.� That hardly seems like the behavior of people trying to �end marriage altogether.� But scare tactics are all the Christian Right has left in their losing campaign to legitimate discrimination and remake America in their own perverted, theocratic image.

Those who seek to use the Bible and their own twisted version of �Christianity� to justify legalizing discrimination would do well to read the story of Brent Childers relayed in Deb Price�s article ��Jesus wouldn�t discriminate� against gays�:

�Is that a very Christ-like attitude to have?�

Brent Childers was startled by the question his 62-year-old mother asked three years ago in response to his venomous dinner-table declaration that �You don't want queers taking over society.�

Childers, a conservative Christian living in North Carolina, was forced to reflect upon his uncharitableness, self-righteousness and acid tone. His mom�s words, he says, were like �an alarm going off. It was like, �Hold on. Let�s think about this a bit.��

Some months later, Childers remarked to another conservative Christian, �I don�t think a homosexual can practice that lifestyle and be a Christian.� The woman immediately disagreed and told him about a friend who was both gay and devoutly Christian.

Nudged for the second time, Childers seriously began to wonder how he could reconcile his attitude that those of us who are gay are �wicked, unclean people with no chance of eternal life� with the loving underpinnings of his Christian faith. His questions propelled him along a spiritual journey that took him away from prejudice.

That journey presented him with an unlikely opportunity last February, when Childers� advertising agency was approached about creating a series of ads designed to prod anti-gay religious folks into thinking about how religion was used to justify such wrongs as slavery and denying women the right to vote.

After praying, Childers agreed to help create the ads and drew on his own 180-degree transformation in developing them. The resulting nine ads are heart-and-mind tuggers:

One, picturing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who is African American, with his wife, Virginia, who is white, asks, �Offense before God?� The ad -- which explains that the Bible was cited as recently as 1967 to try to defend laws banning interracial marriage -- was published in Roll Call, a newspaper targeted at Congress, during the confirmation hearings on Justice Samuel Alito. . . .

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