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
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Massachusetts has repealed the 1913 law banning
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
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
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
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]
married couples -- who can better provide for their children -- pose a dire
threat to �traditional marriage�? How?
married couples -- who can better provide for their children -- pose a dire
threat to �religious freedom�? How?
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
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
--George Santayana,�Reason in Common Sense�
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.�
While he was House
Majority Leader, Tom DeLay openly
admitted he was �on a mission from God to promote a �biblical worldview� in
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  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.�
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.
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:
RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY
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.
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
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
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]
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
(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.�
�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
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.�
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
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
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.
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,
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.�
marriage is a civil institution. Marriage licenses are issued by the state, not
churches. Divorce decrees are issued by a court, not churches.
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
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.
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.
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
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.�
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.
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.
do Christo-fascists believe in?
Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor