Online Journal
Front Page 
 Special Reports
 News Media
 Elections & Voting
 Social Security
 Editors' Blog
 Reclaiming America
 The Splendid Failure of Occupation
 The Lighter Side
 The Mailbag
 Online Journal Stores
 Official Merchandise
 Progressive Press
 Barnes and Noble
 Join Mailing List

Religion Last Updated: Jun 19th, 2006 - 10:40:41

MPA: The Money Producing Amendment
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jun 19, 2006, 10:38

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

For weeks the media had been filled with reports on and arguments about the Marriage Protection Amendment, which was soundly defeated in the Senate on June 7, as everyone knew it would be. But it served its fund-raising purpose nevertheless.

�I don�t believe there�s any issue that�s more important than this one.� That statement by Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter underscored the absurdity -- there is no more appropriate word -- of the Marriage Protection Amendment.

After its defeat, Don Feder made a similar claim saying that the MPA represented �the most important social issue of our time.�

Forget the disaster in Iraq. Forget the enormous -- and still growing -- deficit. Forget that the government is spying on private citizens. Forget that education is failing miserably. Forget that 43 million Americans have no health insurance. Forget Medicare already pays out more than it takes in. Forget the homeless. Forget the poor. Preventing gay and lesbian Americans from committing to each other is, for Mr. Feder, �the most important social issue of our time.�

Who�s Don Feder? His self-description says it all: �I�m to the right of Sharon on Zionism, to the right of Pat Buchanan on immigration and Americanism, to the right of Mother Angelica on abortion, to the right of Chuck Heston on Second-Amendment rights, and generally make the legendary Atilla [sic] look like a limousine liberal.�

Lots of words, lots of sound and fury, and lots of fund-raising, all well orchestrated. The carefully planned failure of the MPA on the floor of the Senate was meant not only to rev-up the Republican�s ultra-conservative, evangelical power base and generate funds for the fight on the state level -- �Foes Secretly Hoping For Gay Win In State Courts� by Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press -- but also to �embarrass� senators who voted against it. That particularly strategy may have backfired.

Lou Dobbs is definitely not a �liberal,� nor is he especially a friend of the gay and lesbian community, especially when it comes to civil marriage, but even he lashed out.

Dobbs said that "a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is utter and complete nonsense. It�s an insult to the intelligence of every voter, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative."

In conclusion, he said, "I wonder if the president�s political advisers know just how ill-advised and smarmy this wedge issue looks to the millions of us who want solutions to the critical, urgent problems facing this nation. Worse, I wonder if they even care."

Sadly, �caring� is not part of the program of those who supported to MPA. In his June 3 radio address and again in his June 5 press conference, President Bush said he, his �handlers� in the Christian Right, and the Marriage Protection Amendment sought �to strengthen families not undermine them.� Knowing -- as he must -- that gay and lesbian parents are rearing hundreds of thousands of children, such a statement is the epitome of not caring.

But clearly, the MPA had another purpose, as Sylvia A. Smith so astutely noted in her June 11article, �Marriage brouhaha all about money�:

The Family Research Council, Traditional Values Coalition and likeminded ilk won�t admit it, but they and their buddies on Capitol Hill were in cahoots last week to make fools out of the social conservatives who are the Republicans� most reliable voters.

That wasn�t their stated agenda, of course. What they said they were doing was saving every American married couple from inevitable divorce and preventing American society from crumbling under a force more powerful than the al-Qaida attacks five years ago: two lesbians who join their lives and their finances.

In fact, the three days the Senate devoted to blathering about a constitutional amendment to ban marriages between two men or two women was a cynical sham. . . .

So why are some in Washington defying both their states�-rights roots and the wishes of a majority of the country? Because of political jobs and interest groups� bank accounts.

Interest groups of all stripes are always in need of more cash. There is no better way to get sympathetic Americans to grab the checkbook than to present them with a crisis. A hurricane tears apart an entire region of the country, and generous Americans respond. A �grave moral crisis� threatens the fabric of society, and Americans dig deep to help the crusaders fend off the apocalypse.

(If you have any doubts about the manufactured hysteria of these interest groups, consider this overheated warning by the Traditional Values Coalition: �The homosexual activist movement and organized pedophiles are linked together by a common goal: To gain access to children for seduction into homosexuality.� Does anyone really think Dick Cheney�s daughter is out trolling for 12-year-olds? What a crock.) . . .

My disgust is with the interest groups who exaggerate the situation for the purpose of raising money -- and with the politicians who are using gay marriage as a way to create a froth among a voting class they can�t afford to lose.

One of the attendees at Bush�s June 5 press conference further attested to the ploys and non-caring attitude, as well as the money trail.

Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, the nation�s largest �ex-gay� group, was an invited guest at the White House press conference. Why?

Wayne Besen, author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, explained in a recent article, "The reason the president is embracing Exodus is because polls show that Americans who believe homosexuality can be cured are far more likely to support anti-gay legislation. For example, a November 2004 Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates poll shows that 79 percent of people who think homosexuality is inborn support civil unions or marriage equality. Among those who believe sexual orientation is a choice, only 22 percent support civil unions or marriage rights."

For-profit �ex-gay� therapies and like-minded �ministries� have been called �dangerous� and �harmful� by every legitimate medical authority, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the American Counseling Association.

But would anyone be surprised to see some �faith-based initiative� federal money making its way to organizations who run �ex-gay� therapy programs? Does anyone doubt the Christian Right and their pocketed politicians will use the �ex-gay� sham to increase contributions to fight the "scourge" of �the homosexual agenda�?

The Christian Right and the politicians indebted to them will, without doubt, continue to fight for an amendment to the Constitution. It�s good business: keeps the money flowing into their coffers.

The call-to-donate was subtle but clear in Star Parker�s June 13 article, �Marriage amendment: It�s not over yet�:

 . . . the Senate's vote this past week rejecting the federal Marriage Protection Amendment may be a battle lost, the prospects for long-term victory in the cultural war to preserve traditional values in America remain excellent. . . .

The reverence that Americans have for our Constitution is inherently good news. It is this attitude that distinguishes our country. Other nations write constitutions that wind up in the trashcan in short order. Ours stands as it does because Americans both love and understand the importance of freedom, and hold our national institutions in awe and respect that can only come from a truly religious people. . . .

The prodigious moral, social and economic costs of delay on taking action on protecting marriage will become increasingly clear. The same factors that cause some Americans to be skeptical of the marriage amendment will, I think, ultimately lead them to support it.

The issue is the cost of waiting. . . .

So donate now to your favorite pro-discrimination organization and the reelection campaigns of their Republican gofers.

James Dobson appeared on Hannity and Colmes on Fox �News� on June 9. He offered the same flaccid arguments -- �marriage is under attack� by �imperious judges� out to destroy the family -- as Hannity unctuously praised Dobson and hawked his 2004 book Marriage Under Fire.

Given Focus on the Family�s and its political arm Focus Action�s track record, no doubt Dobson�s latest TV appearance brought in some major money to �continue the fight� against those �imperious judges� hell bent on destroying �Christian values� and those nasty, subversive gay and lesbian American citizens who have the audacity to want to commit to each other in a state-sanctioned civil marriage.

In the first six months of its existence (April through September 2004), James Dobson�s Focus Action took in $8.8 million, all from �individuals� whose identity is protected, so there�s no way to know if these �individuals� actually represent political and religious organizations and/or corporations. Shouldn�t there be a public record of who�s contributing large sums of money to help influence government and public policy?

One hundred fifty-two donors contributed $5,000 or more. The largest contribution was $150,000. Five donors contributed $100,000 each. �That is quite a lot of money,� noted Frances Hill, tax program director at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. "But with Focus on the Family, it is not so surprising. They have an enormous money engine.�*

Pastor Roger Ray of National Avenue Christian Church in Missouri made the obvious point in his June 14 OpEd, "In the gospel of Luke we see a sad portrayal of Pilate, as a politician, having Jesus flogged in order to satisfy a mob of people whose support he hoped to win.

"The gospels tell us that Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, but he gave the order to have him flogged and crucified to make himself more popular with his 'voters.' This image came to me the moment I heard that President George W. Bush was once again dragging the more than 20,000,000 gay and lesbian Americans into the public square to flog them in order to mobilize conservative voters. . . .

"There is no benefit to society by keeping same-sex couples from sharing in inheritance rights, access to health insurance or child custody regulations.

"Gay people pay the same taxes as the rest of us. They are productive members of society and they bear absolutely no threat to traditional heterosexual families since, after all, they are not heterosexuals!

"Note that the state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation is Massachusetts, which is the only state in the union that presently allows for same-sex marriage.

"There is no evidence that same-sex marriage will do anything harmful to the rest of society."

But fairness, equality, and common sense have nothing to do with the Money Production Amendment.

* From �Following the money trail: The profitable business of discrimination and hate,� OnLine Journal, June 11, 2005.

Copyright © 1998-2006 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

Top of Page

Latest Headlines
Theo-political prostitution: Bush and the Christian Right
Ban Ki-moon: Is he or isn't he a Moonie?
The conversion factor
The bully pulpit, sanctimonious Santorum, and the meaning of �zero�
A new low, even for the Traditional Values Coalition
For God's sake
Pious right-wing Republicans smear the name of Jesus and ravage the image of Christianity
Tolerating intolerance
The Panzer Pope pontificates on Muslim violence
Et tu, Benedicte?
Neocon pope
The role of religion in political affairs
The curse of radical Islam as a political religion
Schwarzenegger caves to bigots and bullies in vetoing Bias Free Curriculum Act
Theocrats or theofascists? The Religious Right�s true colors
November 2006: The GOP and Christian Right, inbreeding and infighting
Scapegoats and bloodlust
�Subornation of false muster�: The case against �Dr. Dino� and Young Earth Creationism
A �New Vision� prompts a new low
Christian right steps up pro-Israel lobbying