Friday, November 21, 2008

Why do the religious right make the appropriate sound so nasty?

Thank you to all who read and spread my blog entry Message to the Religious Right to other blogs, their friends, and neighbors.

It was something that I felt needed to be said. I had no idea that it would have as much of an impact as it did.

But I am glad for it.

I do want to make something clear just in case I see my post as a religious right talking point (yeah I'm being presumptuous but never put anything past the religious right). In no way did I advocate violence of any kind in my post. I think I made it very clear when I said:

" . . .any display of violence on either side of the argument should never be tolerated."

And also when I talk about the religious right, I do not mean religious people in general. I do not mean Christians or anyone who thinks that homosexuality is a sin.

I respect these opinions. I may vigorously disagree but I respect them.

When I say the religious right, I mean the groups, organizations, and talking heads like the American Family Association, Americans for Truth (in name only), Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, the Traditional Values Coaltion, Lou Sheldon, Peter LaBarbera, Robert Knight, Janet Porter, Matt Barber, Tony Perkins etc.

I am talking about the groups and folks who claim to be "pro-family" but have a very limited definiton of family. I am talking about groups who seem to think that James Dobson sits on the right hand of God and America belongs to them solely.

That's who I mean by the religious right.

Now some of the comments I have received have been supportive, some have been rude and others have been very thought-provoking.

The most annoying I have received embraces that old standby argument of capitulation, "you don't tolerate my intolerance so that makes you intolerant."

Before yesterday, my biggest annoyance used to be the song "One Bad Apple" by the Osmonds. Just the chorus was enough to make me cry in agony.

That has been replaced by the nonsense of folks who put up straw man arguments of the gay community as hypocrites simply because we dare to challenge someone's idea that we have no right to family and happiness.

The fact of the matter is there are things we should all be intolerant of; lies, dehumanization, and making the unknown seem like boogeymen.

Like the following from my friend P. LaBarbera:

President-Elect Obama Lays Out Pro-Gay Agenda President-elect Barack Obama is committed to creating special rights for homosexuals and trampling on traditional marriage. He laid out his agenda on his Web site []:

Expand hate-crimes legislation (which would create a new category of crime for actions said to be motivated by bias toward a person’s actual or perceived “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Sexual-orientation hate-crimes laws have been used to prosecute speech in the U.S. and abroad);

Support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (which would create special rights based on an employee’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and could force Christian employers to hire against their religious beliefs);

Oppose a federal marriage-protection amendment;
Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (which would open the door to forcing all 50 states to recognize same-sex “marriage”)

Expand gay adoption (which would leave vulnerable children without either a mom or a dad);
Repeal the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (which would jeopardize military readiness by allowing open homosexuality in the armed forces).

And here I thought Barack Obama was a man who was elected president and therefore is interested in helping folks. Peter makes him sound like Baron Samedi conjuring up zombies.

Why don't we see what President Obama really wants to do:

Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. Barack Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.

Fight Workplace Discrimination: Barack Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees' domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. Obama also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.

Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: Barack Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.

Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell: Barack Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. Obama will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.
Expand Adoption Rights: Barack Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.

Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, Barack Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. Obama will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. Obama also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma -- too often tied to homophobia -- that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. He will continue to speak out on this issue as president.

Why does Peter have to use such spooky language? And better yet, what's wrong with Obama wanting to do these things?

Lastly, why can't the religious right use concrete evidence. I mean it. I want to hear a clear argument as to why these goals are bad.

And I don't mean phony talking points about the "uniqueness of families" or stupid comparisons between marriage and chocolate chip cookies. No fear stories about innocent boy scouts being led into the woods by leering scoutmasters. No anecdotes that are distorted and taken out of context. And above all, no phony studies.

Based on Peter's comments, I am sure the religious right will use the above examples in their attempts to stop Obama from implementing his plans.

And it will be more proof regarding their lack of a soul.