More non sequitur arguments from the Christian Right�s dogma of duplicity
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Nov 25, 2008, 00:15
The �Yes on 8� campaign in California that, for the time
being, succeeded in revoking some citizens� basic civil right to a civil
marriage used scare tactics and non sequitur arguments based on
misrepresentations, distortions, and deceptions. And they�re still at it.
The �Yes on 8�
campaign -- funded primarily by the Mormon Church ($20,000,000), the Catholic Church
($1,300,000 from the Knights of Columbus and �priceless� pulpit politicking by
Catholic priests) as well as the minions of the Protestant Christian Right,
such as James Dobson�s Focus on the Family ($622,000 in monetary and
non-monetary contributions) and Don Wildmon�s American Family Association
($500,000) -- flooded Californians� television screens with ads claiming that
if the Prop 8 failed, kindergarten children would have to be taught about
homosexuality and gay marriage. They were misrepresenting, distorting, and
A lesson about Prop. 8: Despite what proponents say, its defeat would not change what California�s
Californians tend to be an open-minded crowd that wouldn�t take kindly to a
campaign attacking homosexuality or attempting to strip away people�s rights.
So the well-financed and savvy backers of Proposition 8 have produced waves of
advertising aimed instead at making voters believe that supporters of same-sex
marriage are intent on stripping away everyone else�s rights, and that this
ballot measure is the only way for traditionally religious people to retain
With the defeat of this proposed ban on gay marriage, they say, schools would
begin indoctrinating children as young as kindergartners to be wholehearted
supporters of such marriages. . . .
This is emotional stuff for many parents. But the dry reality of California
education law tells a different story. Under SB 71, which passed in 2003, the Legislature set out the framework for
comprehensive sex education, which includes the brief reference to marriage
from which these dire Proposition 8 warnings are drawn: �Instruction and
materials shall teach respect for marriage and committed relationships.�
Schools aren�t required to teach comprehensive sex education, but if they do,
this is one of many rules they must follow. The law also gives schools the
option of discussing gender, sexual orientation and family life, though that�s
not required as part of the more comprehensive program.
Most important, the law contains paragraph after paragraph guaranteeing parents
the right to review the material being taught and to have their children
excused from all or any part of it. . . .
Proposition 8 would change none of that. The measure would do one thing: use
the state Constitution as the device to take away an existing, fundamental
right from a particular group of people, so that a loving adult in that group
could not marry the person of his or her choice. . . .
On October 21, 2008, California
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O�Connell and former Superintendent
of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin further exposed the deceptions:
Officials Slam New Ads For Prop. 8
State education officials spoke out Tuesday against a series of ads released by
the �Yes on 8� campaign that claim same-sex marriage would be taught in public
schools if the statewide initiative fails. . . .
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O�Connell and his
predecessor Delaine Eastin spoke out against the campaign today, along with
California State Board of Education president Ted Mitchell, saying the
proposition is not tied to public schools.
�There is nothing about Prop. 8 that is connected to public education in any
way,� Mitchell said. �There is nothing in California state law that would
require the teaching of marriage in any of its forms.�
Mitchell said state law allows parents to opt students out of lessons they find
to be out of keeping with their personal beliefs. The �Yes on 8� advertisements
suggesting that students will be taught about same-sex marriage if the
proposition fails are untruthful, he said.
Mitchell said he is �disgusted� by the �Yes on 8� campaign, �in particular this
misleading set of advertisements about the impact of Prop. 8 on education. This
is political campaigning at its worst,� he said.
It seems these
�religious folks� are true Machiavellians: the ends always justify the means. And they�re still at it: misrepresenting,
distorting, and deceiving. Case in point, Marcia
Segelstein�s November 18, 2008 article on the American Family Association�s propaganda organ, OneNewsNow. Ms.
Segelstein began her deception by citing a fellow Machiavellian deceiver:
Karnick, writing in the autumn issue of SALVO
magazine, points out that homosexuals may already �marry� in any number of
places, under the auspices of any number of organizations. Churches such as the
Episcopal Church USA, the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Church of Christ,
and numerous others �either explicitly allow the consecration or blessing of
same-sex �marriages� or look the other way when individual congregations perform
No law prevents these religious organizations
from conducting such rituals, nor would most Americans expect or want the
government to dictate doctrine to churches.
Salvo magazine is published by The Fellowship of St. James:
was incorporated in the early 1970s to uphold biblical, orthodox Christianity.
It has three goals: (1) to promote and defend classical Christian doctrine, (2)
to encourage the life in Christ, (3) and to foster a united witness to biblical
Christian truth to a secular society. FSJ is not a church or a membership
association, but a Christian non-profit corporation that publishes periodicals
and holds conferences and lectures. It seeks to provide a place where Christians
of various backgrounds can speak with one another and witness together to the
truth of historic Christianity.
Not exactly an
objective or open-mined publication, is it?
What Karnick (and
Segelstein) failed to note, of course, is that the marriages performed by these
churches have absolutely no legal status.
Ms. Segelstein apparently agreed with Karnick�s ludicrous statement that such
marriages represent a �truly liberal and tolerant position.� That�s akin to
saying, �Hey! Black people . . . what�s the problem? You have your own drinking
fountains that don�t work, but they are supplied by the same municipal water
supply as the drinking fountains reserved for us normal White people, so shut
up and be happy.�
Then, Ms. Segelstein
invoked other non sequitur arguments from the �Yes on 8� playbook:
at issue here is government-enforced recognition that same-sex �marriage� is
legally identical to traditional marriage, no matter the individuals� or
institutions� religious beliefs.
Government intrusion on religion is what�s at stake.
Despite what proponents of gay �marriage� argue, there are serious and
wide-ranging implications for society by redefining something so fundamental.
Despite what religious
fanatics think -- and would like everyone to think -- marriage is a civil
institution. Marriage license are issued by the state. Divorce decrees are
issued by civil courts. �Religious beliefs� have nothing to do with either
civil matter. That being FACT, it is not government intruding on religion, but
religion intruding on civil matters, the civil equality of all citizens to be
Yes, there would be
�serious and wide-ranging implications for society by redefining� marriage, as
there were in the past when �marriage� and �equality� were redefined, and those
changes were always for the better as MSNBC�s Keith Olbermann noted. Redefining �citizen� meant recognizing African Americans as equals.
Redefining �marriage� meant men and women of different races could legally
marry. �Redefining� the outdated helps America live up to its promise of
equality for all. But �equality for all� is precisely what the Christian Right
concluded her sermon with the familiar duplicitous dogma the Christian Right is
so fond of propagating:
at risk in this fight is not the civil rights of homosexuals. What�s at risk is
religious freedom for every American. That and the not-so-small problem of undermining
what has been for centuries the very foundation of society.
The first line of
Proposition 8 read: �ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY.� Prop 8
eliminated the existing civil right
of same-sex couples to enter into a civil marriage. Of course �this fight� is
about �the civil rights of homosexuals.�
How does civil
marriage endanger �religious freedom�? Based on their religious dogma, every
church and synagogue and mosque can refuse to marry a couple. That would not be
affected in any way by civil equality. Beyond that fact, �religious freedom�
refers to everyone�s right to practice the religion they choose, but also the
freedom not to have any specific religion and its dogma forced onto everyone or
encoded into civil law. Freedom From
problem of undermining what has been for centuries the very foundation of
society�: the family. Apparently Ms. Segelstein can�t -- or simply refuses to
-- understand that same-sex couples also form families, just ask the 53,000 children
being raised by same-sex parents in California. Statistics from May 17, 2004 --
the day marriage equality began in Massachusetts -- told a similar tale:
- 50 percent of the same-sex
couples who applied for marriage licenses had been together for at least a
- The most predominant age
group was 40 to 49 years-old; the median age was 43.
- 40 percent of those female
couples said they had children in their households.
Comments by Senator
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) featured in Maureen Dowd�s November 23, 2008, New York Times OpEd referenced the deception and unfounded scare tactics used by the �Yes
on 8� campaign. They also said a lot about the true meaning of �family�:
gays were outfoxed by their opponents. In both Prop 6 in 1978 [�which sought to
root out gay teachers from California public schools�] and this year�s Prop 8,
the specter of children being converted to a gay orientation was raised.
Feinstein said the TV ad of Prop 8 supporters insinuating that �gay marriage
would be taught in school really hurt.� (�I can marry a princess,� a pigtailed
girl told her mom in the ad.)
�I think people are beginning to look at it differently, I know it�s happened
for me,� Feinstein said of gay marriage. �I started out not supporting it. The
longer I�ve lived, the more I�ve seen the happiness of people, the stability
that these commitments bring to a life. Many adopted children who would have
ended up in foster care now have good solid homes . . . It�s a very positive
But those children,
those families, those parents just don�t matter for Ms. Segelstein and the
Christian Right. Indeed, they seem to enjoy hurting them. Is that . . .�Christian�?
The American Family
Association�s propaganda organ, OneNewsNow, has always been a fountain of
hypocrisy and distortion, but recently ONN writers have been outdoing
themselves. On November 20, 2008 ONN featured an article -- �The insane rage of
the same-sex �marriage� mob� -- by Michelle Malkin, a �syndicated columnist�
with Creators Syndicate that also represents Robert Novak and Bill O�Reilly:
Election Day, national media handwringers forged a wildly popular narrative:
The right was, in the words of New
York Times columnist Paul Krugman, gripped by �insane rage.� Outbreaks
of incivility (some real, but mostly imagined) were proof positive of the
extremist takeover of the Republican Party. The cluck-cluckers and tut-tutters
shook with fear.
But when the GOP took a beating on Nov. 4, no mass protests ensued; no
nationwide boycotts erupted. Conservatives took their lumps and began the
peaceful post-defeat process of self-flagellation, self-analysis and self-autopsy.
In fact, in the wake of campaign 2008 there�s only one angry mob gripped by
�insane rage�: left-wing same-sex marriage activists incensed at their defeat
in California. . . .
Gee, Ms. Malkin, do you think revoking people�s existing civil rights just
might piss them off a bit? And one can only presume you are either ignorant
about or just chose to ignore the
fact that Vermont Senate Majority Leader
John Campbell received a death threat the day �after the Democrat announced he would introduce a marriage equality
bill in the new session of the legislature. The threat was made by an anonymous
woman angry over the proposed bill who telephoned Campbell. Campbell said she
threatened to blow up his home.� Doesn�t that sound like �insane rage� coming
from the ultra-conservative, holier-than-thou Christian Right wing of the GOP?
Ms. Malkin then went
on to decry the fact that equality �activists have published on the Internet an
�Anti-Gay Blacklist� of Prop. 8 donors. If the tables were turned and Prop. 8
proponents created such an enemies list . . .� Oh but they did, Ms. Malkin. Did
you -- and another ONN writer, Charlie Butts, in his November 221, 2008 article -- forget?
Yes on 8 Folk
Threaten No on 8 Donors
Here�s a new way to get campaign
donors in a tight race: contact the opposition�s supporters and threaten that
they donate the same amount to you or
That�s exactly what the Yes on 8 campaign did this week in a letter to a San Diego
realtor who had donated to the LGBT civil rights non-profit Equality
California. The letter, signed by the Yes on 8 campaign chairman Ron Prentice
reads, �If you were to elect not to donate comparably it would be a clear
indication you are in opposition to traditional marriage. The names of any
companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to
ProtectMarriage.com but have given to Equality California will be published.�
The No on 8 campaign is calling it a brazen intimidation tactic for supporters
of LGBT rights.
�These are businesses that donated to Equality California that are being
targeted in what certainly smacks of a small time extortion campaign,� says
National Center for Lesbian Rights Director Kate Kendell. �As we talk to
colleagues that have been involved in political campaigns, even some rough and
tumble ones, they�ve never seen these tactics used so brazenly, an actual
letter threatening due harm to corporations signed by a campaign executive
Additional details and
the names of those who sent the letter were provided in an October 23, 2008
report by Lisa Leff of the Associated Press:
Calif. gay marriage
ban backers target businesses
Leaders of the campaign to outlaw same-sex marriage in California are warning
businesses that have given money to the state�s largest gay rights group they
will be publicly identified as opponents of traditional unions unless they
contribute to the gay marriage ban, too. . . .
�Make a donation of a like amount to ProtectMarriage.com which will help us
correct this error,� reads the letter. �Were you to elect not to donate
comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in opposition to
traditional marriage. . . . The names of any companies and organizations that
choose not to donate in like manner to ProtectMarriage.com but have given to
Equality California will be published.�
The letter was signed by four members of the group�s executive
committee: campaign chairman Ron Prentice; Edward Dolejsi, executive director
of the California Catholic Conference; Mark Jansson, a member of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Andrew Pugno, the lawyer for ProtectMarriage.com.
A donation form was attached. . . .
And then, of course,
there�s the irrefutable fact that Don
Wildmon and his American Family Association have launched boycotts against
several companies that supported civil equality for all citizens. Disney, Kraft
Foods, Procter & Gamble, Ford Motor Company, Hallmark, and McDonald�s have
all been the subject of Wildmon-led boycotts. AFA�s latest target is PepsiCo.
When the sanctimonious
Christian Right boycotts and blacklists companies it�s �justified,� but when
others do the same it�s not. Can there be any more precise definition of
�hypocrisy�? Or perhaps that should be spelled �hypocri$y:�
Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which watches extremist groups and
began watching conservative Christian advocacy groups like the AFA after the
U.S. Supreme Court overturned the nation�s sodomy laws, said the AFA�s media
savvy in targeting well-known corporations and TV shows is simply a way to
�Boycotts like theirs do chase some advertisers away, but they are replaced by
other advertisers,� Potok said. �But it helps them raise money.� . . .
As Bill Berkowitz pointed out in his
April 19, 2007 article
�Still Cranky After All These Years,�
According to AFA�s 2005 IRS 990 (its
tax return), founder Donald E. Wildmon received about $110,000 with benefits,
plus over $30,000 in expense account and other allowances -- including a
housing allowance of over $31,000. AFA president Tim Wildmon got about
$100,000, and the organization�s secretary, Forrest Daniels, received slightly
more than $80,000.
The organization gives �scholarships� to any full time employee at �any
accredited college or university,� which added up to about $54,000 in
scholarships. As the blogger Kevin�s Space pointed
out on March 30 , �the kids of these people get their university
education paid for, with funds that are donated, supposed to fight for the
family. But it is clear the people who benefit are the Wildmon family.�
One can only assume Mr. Wildmon�s salary and perks have
increased substantially since 2005, as have the assets of AFA. In his July 21,
2008 article �Gay
Marriage to End �Culture Wars�?� Mr. Berkowitz noted that the American Family
Association �has an annual budget
exceeding $15 million and net assets of more than $30 million; it feeds
programming to nearly 200 radio stations, [and] employs about 100 at its
home-base� in Tupelo, Mississippi.
reading and Bible-thumping to promote bigotry is a lucrative business. Live large by promoting
bigotry and hate . . . and then claim to be a victim. That�s the Wildmon Way.
A November 20, 2008
OneNewsNow article by Charlie Butts underscored the victimizer�s hypocrisy:
Gay activists engage
in �hate crimes� against Christians
Homosexual militants have been conducting legal demonstrations in opposition to
Proposition 8�s victory in the election; however, one Christian believes the
increased attacks and harassment of supporters of traditional marriage are
illegal and should be treated as such. . . .
Dr. Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC) is calling on
law enforcement to provide protection . . .�Had the same level of violence and
rhetoric been directed toward homosexuals or their groups, there would be
accusations of hate crimes,� he suggests. . . .
Wildmon�s American Family Association, James Dobson�s Focus
on the Family, Tony Perkins� Family Research Council, and �Lucky
Louie� Sheldon�s Traditional Values Coalition have vehemently argued
against hate-crime legislation that included gay and lesbian Americans. Their
partyline has always been all crimes should be treated equally, and that gay
people don�t deserve �special protection� since, they argue, sexual orientation
is a choice. Virtually all legitimate medical and scientific research strongly suggests homosexuality is not a
choice. On the other hand, �religion� is clearly �a choice.� One can change
religions on a daily basis. But now, those who chose to be Christian fundamentalists or Bible literalists and used
their �religion� as a means to deny some American citizens equal civil rights
want �special protection.� Hypocrisy 101.
Ms. Malkin claimed
�Conservatives took their lumps and began the peaceful post-defeat process of
self-flagellation, self-analysis and self-autopsy.� Wrong again.
Opponents Want Prop 8 Retroactively Enforced
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) -- Lawyers
for the Yes on 8 campaign said they would argue the California Supreme Court
should not only uphold the state ban on gay marriage but invalidate same-sex
weddings performed before November 5. . . .
�The biggest question mark right now is the question of what happens to the
marriages that were valid when they were performed, but now the constitution
says they are not recognized,� said Yes on 8 attorney Andrew Pugno.
The Christian Right
and their conservative allies are hardly, as Ms. Malkin claimed, inertly
introspective. They are actively still trying to hurt American citizens and
their families. Watch the Olbermann clip again. Why is hurting gay and lesbian
Americans and their families the prime directive of ultra-conservatives and the
Christian Right? Answer: Schadenfreude, plain and simple.
APA: Gay marriage bans harm mental health
Amendments that restrict civil marriage rights of same-sex couples -- such as
Proposition 8 that recently passed in California -- have led to higher levels
of stress and anxiety among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults, as
well as among their families of origin, according to several new studies the
American Psychological Association said Wednesday [November 19, 2008]. . . .
Brent Mallinckrodt, Ph.D., editor of the
Journal of Counseling Psychology, said the three articles provide empirical
evidence of the harmful psychological and emotional effects of such measures.
�This information is especially timely, as we see the emotionally charged
reactions from LGBT people in the wake of the Proposition 8 passage in
California,� he said. �Psychologists serving LGBT clients and their families
need to be aware of the real impact of these political forces on the everyday
lives of the people most directly affected.�
So please, Ms.
Segelstein, Ms. Malkin, Mr. Butts, and your brethren bigots who hide behind
perverted religion, don�t play victim when you are, in reality, the victimizer.
You would do well to read �Gay Christians Embody the Best of the Philosophy
of Jesus� by Steve Shives.
Gay and lesbian
Americans only wanted equality and the same civil right to marry that you have.
You and the Christian Right used deception, misrepresentation and bogus
arguments to scare people into denying them that equality. And you�re still
You and the Christian
Right perverted and used religion in a campaign to revoke an existing civil
right. Are you proud of yourselves? Do you feel self-righteous?
in a way, you may have helped. You�ve made the LGBT community and its allies
stronger, more united, and more determined than ever. The house of cards you�ve
built on deceptions, misrepresentations and distortions will inevitably fall.
And no amount of Mormon money -- or their �magic underwear� -- will prevent
equality�s ultimate victory and history�s relegating you to ignominy . . . which
is exactly where you belong.
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