Friday, August 13, 2010

Ninth Circuit Court Asks for Plaintiffs Response to Stay Motion

Just in, the 9th Circuit court has issued an order on the Stay request by the Defendants in the Prop 8 Case.

From the Courage Campaign...

The Ninth Circuit just issued an Order stating that the Plaintiffs’ response to the Motion to Stay is due by 11:00 p.m. tonight. The Prop 8 supporters’ reply, not to exceed 15 pages, is due by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, August 16, 2010. This suggests that the Ninth Circuit is preparing to rule on the Motion to Stay before Judge Walker’s temporary stay expires on August 18th at 5:00 p.m.
It’s surprising that the Court only gave the Plaintiffs about 9 hours to file their brief, and gave the Appellants until Monday to Reply.  But I wouldn’t read too much into this.  They know that everyone anticipated the Motion and that everyone’s briefs are essentially written already.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Prop 8 Supporters Have asked for Emergency Stay from the 9th Circuit Court

This just in...full text of proponents emergency stay request can be found below. In their request, the proponents of Prop 8 give the generic reasons why they should be able to appeal...basically saying that Judge Walkers decision ignored almost all of human history, voter feeling, and Supreme Court decisions on the matter. They then claim that because of the certainty of repeal by both the Ninth Circuit as well as the Supreme Court that there should be a stay, saying...
 For all of these reasons, as well as others elaborated more fully below, the district court’s decision will almost certainly be reversed by this Court.It is thus imperative that a stay pending appeal be entered on or before August 18, 2010 at 5p.m. Pacific Time (the time the district court’s judgment is set to go into effect,see Doc. No. 727 at 11), to avoid the confusion and irreparable injury that would surely flow from the creation of a class of purported same-sex marriages entered in reliance on the district court’s decision but in direct contravention of a lawful provision of the California Constitution and the manifest will of the people of that State
They also claim that they have the authority to appeal the ruling that Judge Walker made, stating...
Contrary to the district court’s suggestion, see Doc. No. 727 at 3-6, Proponents’ standing to appeal is no obstacle to staying the district court’s judgment. Proponents have standing to appeal the district court’s judgment because they have“authority under state law,” Karcher v. May, 484 U.S. 72, 82 (1987), to defend the constitutionality of an initiative they have successfully sponsored “as agents of the people of [California] . . . in lieu of public officials” who refuse to do so, Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 65 (1997).
Proponents also have standing to appeal because of their own particularized interest in defending an initiative they have successfully sponsored, an interest that is created and secured by California law. See, e.g., Diamond v. Charles, 476 54, 65 n.17 (1986) (state law may “create new interests, the invasion of which may confer standing”).Under California law, the right to “propose . . . constitutional changes through the initiative process” is a “fundamental right,” Costa v. Superior Court, 128 P.3d 675, 686 (Cal. 2006), that affords proponents a “special interest” and “particular right to be protected over and above the interest held in common with the public at large,” an interest that is “directly affected” when an initiative they have sponsored is challenged in litigation, Connerly v. State Personnel Bd., 129 P.3d 1, 6-7 (Cal. 2006) (quotation marks omitted). For all of these reasons, California courts have repeatedly allowed proponents to intervene to defend initiatives they have sponsored.8

Perry v. Schwarzennegger - 9th Cir. - Emergency Motion for Stay Pending Appeal

Breaking News!! Judge Denies Stay for California Gay Marriage!!!

It is confirmed that Judge Vaughn Walker today  denied  a permanent stay on gay marriage in the state of California. As most of my readers know, the judge declared unconstitutional Proposition 8 - California's ban on gay marriage - stating that it violated both the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the United States Constitution.

The temporary stay is in effect until August 18th - during which time, the pro prop 8 groups can appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. But Walker refused to stay his ruling permanently...

The full text of the Courts order can be found here

From the Los Angeles Times

 A federal judge today refused to permanently stay his ruling overturning Proposition 8's ban of gay marriage but extended a temporary hold to give supporters time to appeal the historic ruling.
U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who overturned the measure on Aug. 4, agreed to give its sponsors until Aug. 18 to appeal his ruling to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. No new marriages can take place until then.
Walker said the sponsors of Proposition 8 do not have legal standing to appeal his order because they were not directly affected by it. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Names To Stay Sealed in Washington Domestic Partner Referendum While Judge Hears Case

As many of you know, the state of Washington held a referendum last fall asking the voters whether the state should keep marriage like benefits for Domestic Partners. By 53%, voters approved the measure, making Washington a state with one of the most "marriage like" domestic partnership laws in the country.

Those who opposed the law, aka. those who signed the petition to put the measure on the ballot, sued in federal court the elections committee in the state, saying that they would be harmed by the release of their names. The case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that releasing the names did not block any constitutional rights. The court did say that a lower court should be able to make the final judgement though...and the judge assigned to the case has ordered that the names not be released until he hears the case. Could this be a foreshadowing of how he will rule? From the Seattle Times...

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that signed petitions calling for a state vote on expanded domestic partnerships for gay couples are barred from public release while he hears arguments on whether to block them for good.
The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in June that release of the signatures does not violate constitutional rights, but said the group behind the Washington state initiative can still try to prove the release would put petition signers in danger.
Referendum 71 asked voters to either keep or reject the "everything but marriage" law that expanded already established domestic partnerships for gay couples in Washington state. It was approved last fall with 53 percent of the vote.
Protect Marriage Washington, which was opposed to the new law, spearheaded the effort to get the referendum on the ballot.
The group turned in nearly 138,000 signatures last July, with 121,780 being accepted and qualifying for the ballot. Two gay rights groups, WhoSigned.Org and, previously said they would post the names online, sparking legal action to keep them private.
Referendum campaign organizer Larry Stickney said he and others in the campaign were subjected to threats and harassment for their involvement in the effort.
U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle ruled Wednesday to extend a restraining order that bars public release of the signatures while the case moves forward. He said that if the names were disclosed before a hearing on the case, it would essentially make the case moot.
"The release of the names and addresses could not be undone," he said.

CNN poll shows Americans Evenly Divided On Gay Marriage!!

In a  CNN poll just released today, conducted between August 6 and August 10, 49% of Americans said that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marriage while 51% say that they do not. I personally think that this is a HUGE step towards marriage equality. Poll after Poll is coming out and showing that the American people are embracing the idea that marriage should not be denied because of your sex. Though we are still in the "minority" of 49%, ten years ago we would not have even got that much!! It also shows that the younger the poll respondent the more open they were to gay marriage.  From CNN

Nearly half of all Americans think the Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll.
Forty-nine percent of respondents think gay and lesbian couples have the constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law, while 51 percent say those rights do not exist.
The gap widens dramatically when age is taken into account. Nearly six in ten Americans under the age of 50 say gay rights are protected under the Constitution. Only 38 percent of Americans over the age of 50 say the same thing.
"This is one of the few instances when independents side with one party rather than falling in between the Dems and the GOP," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "56 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Independents think the Constitution conveys the right to marry to same-sex couples. Only a quarter of all Republicans agree."

In a separate question, some respondents were asked whether the Constitution should (rather than does) give gays and lesbians the right to marry.
"That's different than asking respondents what they think is currently in the Constitution," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
In that separate question, 52% said that same-sex couples should have the constitutional right to marry; 46% say the Constitution should not convey that right.

The actual poll results can be found here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Breaking News From Costa Rica!! Supreme Court Blocks Anti-Gay Referendum!!

After the situation in Mexico, I thought that it could not get any better...but it has!! The Catholic Church in Costa Rica sponsored a referendum that would ask the citizens of the country if Civil Unions should be allowed for gay and lesbian couples. The Supreme Court said that there would be no referendum, since no majority vote can restrict another disadvantaged minority groups rights.

From the AP.
Costa Rica's top court has blocked the electoral tribunal from holding a referendum that would have let voters decide if same-sex civil unions should be allowed in the Central American country.
The Constitutional Court's 5-2 decision released Tuesday says such a referendum would put a minority at a disadvantage in a largely Roman Catholic country. It also says gay civil unions is a legislative issue and not an electoral one.
The court says it considers homosexuals a group that is at a disadvantage and the target for discrimination, requiring government authorities to protect their rights.
The electoral tribunal had planned to hold the referendum Dec. 5, when Costa Rica also is holding municipal elections.

Breaking News!! Non Discrimination Resolution Tabled In Memphis because of "Christian" Fears

In yet more, though expected, bigotry, the Christian Right in Memphis, Tennessee have stated that businessmen should be allowed to hire and fire those people whose personal decisions they do not agree with.

From Memphis - EyeWitness News -

A Memphis City Council committee’s plan to move forward with a homosexual anti-discrimination measure is on hold.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010, a number of local pastors and Christians joined a council committee discussion on the matter that would make it illegal to discriminate against hiring gays for city work. The measure would also extend to businesses that contract with the city.

Council woman Janis Fullilove, who sponsored the ordinance, tried to extend an olive branch to the conservative faith based community by amending the measure so as not to extend to churches and church owned facilities. But her efforts came up short.

“I thank you for the inclusion of the churches being exempt,” Pastor Alton Williams from World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church said. “But there are so many Christian business owners that would be impacted by this; who because of their Christian beliefs or values may feel they would be forced to hire people whose behavior is contrary to their beliefs.”

Williams who sat alongside Pastor Steve Gaines form Bellevue Baptist Church at the committee table said Christians often come under fire when they don’t conform to the normalization of homosexuality and that’s what could happen if the council approved the ordinance as it currently stands.

Williams cited a number of situations where Christians lost their jobs because of their stance on homosexuality, including a Christian counselor who referred a gay couple to another counselor instead of taking them on herself and a Kodak employee from New York.

“Rolf Szabo, a Kodak employee in Rochester, New York, did not want to receive any more memos inviting him to a gay coming out party. He was fired because he would not sign an employee commitment plan.”
Thankfully the resolution is only tabled for two weeks while Council woman Fullilove rewords it to appease the "Christians".

My favorite line from the whole thing was "There are many Christian business owners that would be impacted by this; who because of their Christian beliefs or values may feel they would be forced to hire people whose behavior is contrary to their beliefs."

First of all "Pastor" Williams - I put Pastor in quotations because this man, by opposing this, is very obviously not emulating Christ - most gay people would not want to work for companies that were expressly Christian, we know where and where we are not welcome.

And Second, this resolution would be with companies that the city contracts with...thus these companies would be getting taxpayer money. I do not want MY taxpayer money to be going towards upholding your private religious beliefs. You can do it on your own dime - but when you are getting money from me, I expect that you will not discriminate.

Sadly, I think that the end result to this resolution will be defeat...since the real people who are running the city of Memphis are not the councilmen and women, but instead the high ups in the large Churches.

Breaking News From Mexico!! Gay Marriage Must Be Recognized In ALL Mexican States!!!

Whooohooo for Mexico!! Now gay marriages performed in the capital city of Mexico City must be recognized in all other states within the country!! From the Associated Press

Mexico's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that all 31 states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in the capital, though its decision does not force those states to begin marrying gay couples in their territory.
In a 9-2 decision, the tribunal cited an article of the constitution requiring states to recognize legal contracts drawn up elsewhere.
It did not specify what degree of recognition must be granted to same-sex couples.
Mexico City's same-sex marriage law, enacted in March, extends to wedded gay couples the right to adopt children, to jointly apply for bank loans, to inherit wealth and to be covered by their spouses' insurance policies. Some of those may end up applying only in the capital.

If the Right Wants Marriage To Be Defined Religiously - So Be It

If we thought that the debate over gay marriage was bad before the Proposition 8 ruling, it is nothing compared to the furor that we have seen coming from the Religious Right over the past few days. From Chuck Colson to Tony Perkins we have seen those on the Right say that an unelected judge in California cannot define what marriage is,  because God himself has defined it. Thus, good Christians will stand up for the definition of marriage given to mankind by God in the Bible. Fair enough, im not going to argue with people saying "God says something" even though that should automatically give us pause; Instead I am going to point out that by arguing that "marriage" is a religious institution defined by the Bible and God, those who use this argument are shooting themselves in the foot. 

Any first grader growing up in America today knows that religion is built upon what is known as Faith. Faith is the key element of religious belief, for without any sort of Faith, religion would just be science - rational and objective science. In the Christian Tradition - which will be the group that this post is directed towards, since not many other religious groups have voiced as virulent an opposition to the Prop 8 decision - Faith is defined as " the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1). Thus religion is built upon a conviction and a hope/assurance of things that cannot be definitively proven or seen. This leads to Websters definition of Faith, which is the understanding of most people...
"An unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence."
Now where am I going with this. Well first, we have established two things. 

1. The main opposition from the Religious Right on the issue of  gay marriage is that they believe that God instituted marriage between one man and one woman. 

2. Christian belief structure is built upon Faith. - Most Christians would not argue this, for if they did, then they would have to claim that Christianity was rationally provable, something that they cannot do, because that would destroy the whole foundation of Christianity. 

So if they believe that God defined marriage in the Bible between one man and one woman; it is just that, a belief. It is as Hebrews and Websters says, not provable, and not something that we know for sure!! Even I can claim that I ascribe to another divinely inspired book which might say that marriage is only between two people of the same sex, thus making every heterosexual couples marriage invalid, and because I believe its true then it is...for me at least. 

You see this is the problem with basing a definition of something off of a religious belief, no matter what religious belief it is. What one person may believe, another one might not. So therefore whose definition is correct? Is it the person who has the most people believing what he believes? Is it the person who only believes it individually? Thus, in order for there to be an established definition of marriage for government to go by, there has to be some other arguments involved. Not just "God said it was so" arguments.  Using the God said so arguments undermines the position of those against gay marriage, for one can just say, and many have, that they are just trying to push their belief system upon people who don't believe the way that they do. This my friends, is a failing argument in a pluralistic democratic society.

Later I will address another argument against gay marriage - that being the historical argument of marriage. So stay tuned!! And please feel free to comment.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Is the Target Boycott Counterproductive?

I have been thinking and reading about the boycott that Gay Rights groups have been waging against the super giant retailer Target. Because of Targets donation to Minnesota Forward, an organization that has given money to anti-gay politician Tom Emmer, groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and, are calling for all LGBT and progressive people to show Target that we will not support them if they do not support us.

Now, Target has suffered a little bit because of the Boycott as Christopher Scott of the Kansas City GLBT Business Examiner explains.

Target stocks (NYSE: TGT) have slumped over the last couple weeks, partially in fear of boycott, since CEO Gregg Steinhafel first defended the company's controversial contributions on June 27th, costing the company over $1 billion in stock market capitalization, according to Minnesota's Pioneer Press, but today's market performance suggests that the heat may be lessening. 
Reporter Tom Webb wrote that "Shares in the Minneapolis-based discount retailer have declined 3.5 percent" in the first week after the news about the donations broke, and the stocks were still off, but slowly climbing, as the week closed. 
At today's closing bell, however, Target stocks were higher than they've been since June 18, closing at $53.67, and some analysts are predicting that the stocks will continue to climb, without even a mention of the recent PR nightmare the company has faced.
No additional response from Target makes it seem like they're waiting for the storm to blow over, and while LGBTQ and liberal groups and allies are certainly still upset, it seems the weather is starting to clear despite them.
But is this momentary "business suffering" that Target is experiencing really going to get our point across?I really don't think so, in fact I belive that the LGBT communities reaction to the Target donations will actually help the company in the long run.

Though the LGBT community makes up a very vocal minority, that is still what we are...a minority. Those who are against us - the Religious Right -  make up an estimated one-third of the U.S. population.  So, though the LGBT community might stop shopping at Target because of its donations and stance on the "gay" issue, Christian Conservatives - now knowing about the Target boycott because of the media frenzy that has surrounded it, are more likely to direct their shopping there; as they will be supporting a company that politically and morally falls in line with their beliefs.

So is the boycott going to work? I think that it wont, though I would like to see it work. Target is out to make money, it really does not care about the civil rights of its shoppers. And being that it is out to make money, if the anger of the LGBT community increases the Christians to their store, I'm thinking that they will go with the latter. And though I believe that we as the LGBT community must do something about Targets support for anti-gay politics and politicians, I don't think that a Boycott per say is the answer that we are looking for. Any thoughts on what else we might be able to do?

The Prop 8 Judge Is A Liberal Activist!!!

Where You Live Might Impact Reporting On Gay Marriage

In a study that will be released in next months Social Science Journal, newspaper reports from the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune were compared over the course of two years. In Chicago - the paper emphasised morality more than legal equality. In New York on the other hand - the paper emphasised equality over moral issues. Very more at the Calgary Herald

"In terms of the big picture, the two newspapers looked at gay marriage very differently: one from the perspective of human equality, one from the perspective of human morality," says study co-author Juan Meng, assistant professor of public relations at the University of Dayton, in Ohio. 
Researchers examined 120 news stories published by the papers between Nov. 2002 and Nov. 2004. That is, the year before and the year after gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts. 
Leading up to legalization, 33.6 per cent of stories sampled from the Times focused on equal rights, compared to the Tribune's 19.1 per cent. By contrast, 17.5 per cent of the Times coverage emphasized tradition and family values, versus the Tribune's 22.2 per cent. 
The Times highlighted religion in 11.9 per cent of gay marriage stories, while the Tribune did so in 19.8 per cent.
The year following legalization, the Times began quoting dramatically more sources identified as gay — 20 per cent, compared with 5.4 per cent before the ruling — while the Tribune stayed somewhat consistent, rising to 11.8 per cent from 10 per cent.

Lets Burn the Koran!!

The logic that this pastor uses in this interview is ridiculous!! He claims that his church is implementing "Burn A Koran Day" so that the peaceful Muslims will not fall off the wagon into fundamentalism. Yet at the same time the pastor bristles when Signorile asks how he would feel if others would burn the Bible. This my friends is how the fundamentalists view other religions. If you do not agree with us, we will burn your book, but when you start to "persecute" us by threatening to burn our book then we will protest. I think that Signorile beautifully shows the stupidity of the fundamentalists logic.

Abolish Democracy!! Establish A "Christian Iran"

Though the title to my post might seem rather extreme, it is exactly the kind of attitude that I wanted to convey. This post is an extension of two previous posts of mine - No Religious Freedom and Christian Freedom is Really just Democratic Slavery.

I was reading an article that was on my facebook today from Christianity Today entitled "What is the Gospel Response to the Proposition 8 Decision". Though you had people on both sides of the aisle - those who say that Christians must fight for government and morality, and those who said lets just all love each other - one quote in particular gave me chills.

Sarah Sumner, dean of A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary:
In a democracy, Christians can love others best by voting for laws that uphold the truth as revealed by God. When a law lies by saying something forbidden by God is permissible in society, people are set up for long-term hurt. God's universal laws are for the benefit and welfare of all people, not just Christians. It's just as harmful for an unbeliever to be involved in same-sex sin as it is a Christ follower.
That is the key right there..."In a democracy, Christians can Love others best by voting for laws that uphold the truth as revealed by God." This my friends is what the fundamentalist Christians want to do in American society. They feel that they MUST and are REQUIRED too uphold the "truth" contained in the Bible. In doing so, they will be "saving" society from the hurt that it inflicts upon itself.

This my friends, is exactly what authoritarian regimes, such as the one in Iran do. Under the guise of Fundamentalist Islam, the Iranian government stifles all dissent in society, for they say that they are "protecting" society from evil influences.  It does not allow dissent, for in a religious government all dissent against the establishment is looked at as dissent against the truth that "God" has given to man.

Though Ms. Summers may not realize where her logic leads, it is patently obvious. In a theocratic state, no matter what religion, the government is supposed to uphold the morality and beliefs as taught in the sacred texts. By doing so, the government is effectively protecting its people from evil, outside, dangerous, and secular influences. It is protecting its people against "hurt".

The Right Wing fundamentalists might not directly say that they want to institute a theocratic state, but their rhetoric insinuates such. By stating that the government has to establish a moral code, and that it has to be theirs, it is not allowing dissent. Any dissent that is allowed is viewed by them as allowing a "religion of secularism" to take hold. The Religious Right is slowly realizing that they are losing the battle for the majority, so therefore they are having to accomplish their agenda through other means.
Matthew Lee Anderson, author of the forthcoming Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life into a Broken Faith and blogger at Mere Orthodoxy:
Practically, I think we have relied too heavily on the will of the majority as our foundation for our legal actions. While political orders must on some level be representative of the people to be legitimate, our founding fathers set up a representative democracy for a reason. Without rejecting efforts like Proposition 8, politically conservative evangelicals should shift their focus toward equipping the next generation of leaders with the philosophical and theological training they need to affect society and government from the "top-down." Majorities are unstable, and while traditional marriage has the upper hand now, it may not in 20 years.
This is the reaction of the Right, and its way of "fixing" the "decline" in morality. The last two lines should be read over and over again. "Without rejecting efforts like Proposition 8, politically conservative evangelicals should shift their focus toward equipping the next generation of leaders with the philosophical and theological training they need to affect society and government from the "top-down". Majorities are unstable, and while traditional marriage has the upper hand now, it may not in 20 years".

All I can say is, God help us.

Breaking News!! Philippines to Enact Workplace Protections for Gays and Lesbians!!

As the United States federal government, states, and cities across the nation continue to debate workplace protections for LGBT people, other countries around the world are realizing that you should not be fired because of who you are. This just in from the PhilStar...

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is drafting new labor policies to protect the rights of women and homosexuals in work places. 
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the department has launched a forum on developing a sustainable solution for workplace discrimination. 
“This is a proactive and timely approach towards ensuring equal opportunity and promoting (a) gender-sensitive environment for all Filipino workers, not only in the private sector, but in the public sector as well,” Baldoz said. 
During the forum, representatives of gay and lesbian groups complained that employers turn down job applicants because they are homosexual. 
They said employers still prefer to hire male workers because they are considered stronger and do not need maternity benefits. 
DOLE’s Institute of Labor Studies (ILS) executive director Cynthia Cruz said there is still a lot to be done to bridge the gender divide in work places. She said that in the past, the labor issues faced by homosexuals did not receive much attention.
Congrats to the Philippines!! Though the new regulations are not putting gender expression into a protected class, to have any sort of protection in the Philippines is something to rejoice over!! As more and more countries come on board in establishing workplace rights for gays and lesbians, the United States will hopefully realize that the promises of freedom and liberty are not American values any longer; other nations are outshining the example that we are supposed to set forth.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Why the GOP must address the Prop 8 ruling to Win in November

Political commentators, as well as the GOP themselves, are saying that the Republican party will not make the Proposition 8 issue a big deal for the coming midterms, and will instead be focusing on "bread and butter" issues such as the economy. Though the ruling, and gay rights in general, are getting reactions from some Republicans, the overall GOP response has been very well muted.

As Politico Reports...
When a federal judge in California last week ruled the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, several political observers braced for a flood of Republican blasts on the issue that could end up resonating in campaigns nationally.
Instead, the anticipated GOP bang over the ban — known as Proposition 8 — amounted to little more than a whimper. There were angry columns and cries of protest from right-wing groups and conservative writers, but the majority of the Republican establishment kept on a bread-and-butter message — and party leaders are encouraging them not to stray.
The logic is simple. “Both sides fear this,” explained a senior Democrat. “(This) election is all about independents who are ambivalent on (certain social issues) right now."

A veteran national Republican strategist agreed, saying, “It raises an issue (Republicans would) rather not have to deal with ... (it’s) hard to walk to the line of opposing same sex-marriage and displaying enough tolerance to keep independents and Democrats comfortable enough to vote for you.”
Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, put it simply: “A modern party does not want a campaign that’s built around a crusade on gay rights. ... it won’t work, for one thing, and for another, it’s so controversial that it would obscure the nonpartisan appeal of the economic issue.”
He added, "I don’t think that moderates and independents get very excited about this.”
In fact, the people who tend to get the most excited on both sides are the party’s bases. Yet this year, in both the Republican and Democratic ranks, the bases are already raring to go.
In my humble opinion, I think that the Republicans are making a very very big mistake here. Much of the Republicans base are part of the Religious Right; a voting base that is very much "one trick pony" Aka - if you are not pro-life or pro-traditional marriage, they will not vote for you. Why is this important? Because, as Politico notes, the party bases are raring to go, yet in an attempt to woo moderates and independents to their side by not making social issues that important - possibly not mentioning them at all - the Republicans face the possibility of alienating a key core of their base - the value voters. 

The Value Voters will most likely see the Republican establishments "silence" on the Proposition 8 ruling in two ways. 

1. A cave to the pressures of the anti-Christian left; or
2. Putting political gain above the pro-traditional marriage principles.

Neither of these options will keep the value voters excited about the election. So Republicans, stop trying to woo the moderates, you first need to keep your base. 

Ted Olson Vs. Fox News - Awesome Interview!!

Christians Persecuted!!! Oh The Horror!!

With the recent Proposition 8 ruling we are seeing the normal virulent reactions from the far right, as I pointed out yesterday in my post on Focus On The Family. But that being said, I find the next reaction to the ruling very very amusing, taken from Charisma Magazine

"It's a chilling moment," said TheCall founder Lou Engle, who organized a prayer rally in support of Proposition 8 in September 2008. "Democracy is crumbling, and I believe, again, we're going to see the persecution of the church. ... Across the board, religious freedom now is being trumped by gender freedom."
Garlow said in several areas where gay marriage has been legalized, Christians have lost personal and religious liberties. He points to Swedish pastor Ake Green, who was jailed after preaching that homosexuality is a sin, and to a Christian camp in Ocean Grove, N.J., that lost a discrimination lawsuit filed after it refused to allow a lesbian couple to hold a commitment ceremony at its facility.
"If we lose on this one, we lose the capacity to be able to proclaim the gospel as we know it," Garlow said.
Yes I know that I just posted on "religious freedom" and how that is important, but this is fundamentally different than that in two distinct ways.

1.  Christians are supposed to be happy when they are "persecuted" and are supposed to rejoice when they are "reviled", not complain and demand to fight back.
Matthew 10:22-23 - "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes."
Matthew 5:11-12 -  "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." 
2. That phrase that Garlow says, "proclaim the gospel as we know it." does not really apply to the gay marriage debate. In my understanding of the gospel, you only have to accept Jesus as your personal savior. Nowhere is there a passage saying that "in order to be a Christian you must not be gay married."

In my opinion, Christianity has become a religion of pansy's in this country. Even if all of their fanciful notions that they are going to be persecuted religiously comes to pass, they should be happy about it!! Because only by doing so are they truly showing the world what a "Christian" is supposed to be. But instead, they want to stay comfortable and live their life of ease and leisure...not something that I think Jesus would be to happy about.

Australian Adoption Agencies Want "Special Rights"

As ABC news reports, two adoption agencies in Australia, Anglicare and Centacare are urging the government to squash a gay adoption bill or give them an exception because of their religious beliefs.

Anglicare has written to MPs urging them to vote against the bill and is threatening to withdraw its adoption services if the laws are introduced.
Community Services Minister Linda Burney says Cabinet will this week discuss amending the bill so Anglicare and Catholic Agency, Centacare, can refuse gay couples adoption rights.
"Their argument - and I respect their argument - is that it is an anomaly to them; it's not part of what their faith can, or believes in, or can cope with," she said.
Though I appreciate the "problems" that these religious organizations might have with gay adoptions, and though I am sure that many children would be harmed if these organizations would stop helping place children in homes, I believe that by in caving to these organizations and giving them a special right to circumvent the law, that the government would be sending a very dangerous precedent.

When does religious views trump the law? Or a better question to ask, when are you allowed to have religious freedom? When you are involved in the public sphere, though not directly subsidized by the government, are you allowed to not abide by the law when you do not like it?

An issue exactly like this was hotly debated in Washington D.C. earlier this year, when the District legalized same-sex marriage. Catholic adoption agencies then withdrew from putting children into homes because the District would not exempt them from adopting to gay couples.

So what is the right answer? What line should be drawn in this debate? Realistically there is no easy answer, for freedom of conscious and religious freedoms are something that should not be violated. Yet at the same time, would we allow an adoption agency to not adopt to blacks or aboriginals because they might have a religious problem with them?

My personal opinion is that if we keep allowing "religious objections" to reign over our laws, then what is the point for fighting for equality anyway? If a large body of organizations can still discriminate against people legally, then we are not achieving equality - we are achieving pseudo-equality.

I welcome your thoughts; especially from my Australian readers, since this issue affects them directly.


Over the past few months, New York City has been embroiled in a controversy over religious freedom with the proposed establishment of a Muslim community center about two blocks from Ground Zero. Though I am not surprised by the outrage of the people of New York over this community center, given the fact that it is near Ground Zero, I am surprised at the level that we have stooped to attempt to eliminate religious freedom in this country. 

Many people claim that Islam is not the issue, and that the issue is the building of a Muslim center near a site that has such significance. Though this might be the case for some people, the New York Times shows that opposition against Islam is on the rise, and not because of where they might put a certain Mosque. 
While a high-profile battle rages over a mosque near ground zero in Manhattan, heated confrontations have also broken out in communities across the country where mosques are proposed for far less hallowed locations.  
In Murfreesboro, Tenn., Republican candidates have denounced plans for a large Muslim center proposed near a subdivision, and hundreds of protesters have turned out for a march and a county meeting.
In late June, in Temecula, Calif., members of a local Tea Party group took dogs and picket signs to Friday prayers at a mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center on a vacant lot nearby.
In Sheboygan, Wis., a few Christian ministers led a noisy fight against a Muslim group that sought permission to open a mosque in a former health food store bought by a Muslim doctor.
At one time, neighbors who did not want mosques in their backyards said their concerns were over traffic, parking and noise — the same reasons they might object to a church or a synagogue. But now the gloves are off.
In all of the recent conflicts, opponents have said their problem is Islam itself. They quote passages from the Koran and argue that even the most Americanized Muslim secretly wants to replace the Constitution with Islamic Shariah law.
This is what fundamentalism does in a country. As I have been stating over and over, fundamentalism is based upon control of thought, truth, and freedom. Dissent is not allowed in a fundamentalist state. Because fundamentalist "Christianity" sees Islam as a threat to their control over the United States, they assert that the religion should not be protected in American society...

“As a mother and a grandmother, I worry,” Ms. Serafin said. “I learned that in 20 years with the rate of the birth population, we will be overtaken by Islam, and their goal is to get people in Congress and the Supreme Court to see that Shariah is implemented. My children and grandchildren will have to live under that.”
“I do believe everybody has a right to freedom of religion,” she said. “But Islam is not about a religion. It’s a political government, and it’s 100 percent against our Constitution.”
In American History we have seen this anger play out not only against Muslims for their supposed "violence" or "attempt to institute Shariah Law", but we have also seen it come against Catholics - who would subvert mainline protestant American culture with the will of the Pope - and Jews - who were "Jesus killers" and who would infiltrate American society with evil morals and communism. Yet the same people who were persecuted because of their beliefs in this country are now doing it to practitioners of Islam. Yet, why do we have such hatred for each other? It can be summed up in one word: Fear. People fear the other; they fear the one they do not understand. 

Hopefully the Muslim community in the United States will not cave to the pressure of the fundamentalists, and will instead be a shining light in the Islamic community. This last quote, though making me sad that they have to resign themselves to this mentality, gives me hope that one day we will stop having these petty arguments over religious freedom...
“Every new group coming to this country — Jews, Catholics, Irish, Germans, Japanese — has gone through this,” Dr. Mirza said. “Now I think it’s our turn to pay the price, and eventually we will be coming out of this, too.”
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