Marriage Wars 2.0: As millennials divorce church and state, evangelical elders regress

September 6, 2010 at 12:53 pm 93 comments

(With our 72-hour coverage of TheCall Sacramento ending this Labor Day weekend, we want to extend the conversation within the Prop 8 Trial Tracker community about the role of church and state and the shifting ground beneath religious extremists (of all kinds). In this piece, cross-posted at Good As You, Jeremy Hooper explores the generational rift that frightens folks like Lou Engle, Brian Brown and NOM. — Eden)

By Jeremy Hooper

So Lifeway Research, a Christian polling and data outfit, released a new report that says 61% percent of those Americans born between 1980-1991 are either Screen Shot 2010-09-03 At 9.15.16 Amsomewhat or strongly accepting of same-sex marriage. Which even sounds low to us, knowing what we know about this generation. But again: Lifeway is a conservative evangelical firm, so — yea.

Okay, so in this data, Lifeway also reported this finding:

Two-thirds of those with no religious preference agree strongly there is nothing wrong with same-sex marriage, while only 1 in 7 of those who say they trust Christ as Savior agree strongly. Further, 46 percent of those who say they trust Christ as Savior strongly disagree and in fact find fault with marriage between members of the same gender.” [SOURCE]

Not a big surprise. While there are welcome exceptions, we pro-LGBT peeps know that the evangelical church is still our most reliably consistent well of opposition. Kids who are brought up in the church are typically injected with fear about LGBT people from the moment they start putting two Barbies together in one dream house. Anti-gay indoctrination is the all-too-reliable order of the evangelical day.

But the good thing about that: We LGBT activists and lawyers and varied equality voices are talking about CIVIL marriage equality. CIVIL. As in disconnected from the church by law. As in a custom where the religious ceremonial component is fully optional, but the CIVIL marriage license is a requirement (at least if the couple wants the state/fed. rights and benefits). Civil marriage, as in the institution that all heterosexual Americans experience now, with churches free to make whatever decisions they want in regards to the couples they will and will not marry or solemnize or recognize or chicken dance-erize.

So in a perfect world, the above passage about evangelicals’ personal faith-based feelings should not even come into play into the civil marriage conversation. Those feelings are for their own family, in terms of what weddings they will or won’t attend and what gift registries they will and won’t acknowledge, and their own church membership bodies, in terms of what weddings they will accommodate. We *FULLY* respect their right to make these decisions.

Unfortunately, the evangelical opposition is not willing to afford us the same respect. Here is Lifeway president Thom Ranier talking to Focus on the Family:

It will be a critical issue for churches – soon to be led by Millennials – to establish their biblical positions on the issue of same-sex relationships,” he said. “If it is to find relevance with Millennials, the church must be willing to deal directly with the issue of same-sex attraction and relationships. The church must voice a clear, biblical ethic of sexuality.” [SOURCE]

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! Here we have research that shows milliennials are more supportive of gay people’s civil rights than any generation to come before (and again, we think the Lifeway data is still low). We also see, unsurprisingly, that evangelical Christians are one of the biggest sticking points (the survey also cites Men, African-Americans, and Southerners as greater resisters).

But the man whose firm conducted this survey responds by saying that more church-infused opinion is the answer? That more condemnation of same-sex relationships is the way we handle gay people’s placement within civil society? That more church injection into American politics is the answer, even while similar studies show that millennials are increasingly turned off by the church, with anti-gay attitudes cited as a reason why?

What modern-day “culture warriors” like Mr. Ranier and Focus on the Family need/must do is realize/admit that their overwrought attempt to control civil law with personal faith is something that has wounded modern American politics/government! The Falwell era? Well, it may have Fared-well for a spell, but it ultimately FAILed-well too. It divided us deeply. The hand was overplayed, with the overreaching both exposing the inadequacies of the evangelicals’ argument against LGBT people’s rights, as well as raising questions among increasingly inquisitive younger generations about why, exactly, the church feels like it has any kind of right to set public policy in such a way.

It is past time for the religious right to admit these mistakes, learn from these missteps, and move on to a more tenable position. A position that absolutely utilizes their own religious freedom to shout their anti-LGBT biblical interpretations with a ferocity, a right that we would theoretically join them in court in defending.

But it’s also a position that must stop acting as if all Americans, by virtue of birth, chose one of two options: (1) To willfully join their national church, or (2) sit quietly and doodle on the church bulletin while the national sermon shapes the constitution. Just like choir director Barbara Jean’s reliably inedible covered dishes, this sort of forced national church fellowship is primed to spoil even before a young chuch-goer can complete the question, “aren’t their homeless and hungry people who could use our time, energy, and funding?

Entry filed under: Right-wing.

NOM’s strategy of hypocrisy Are you a pro-gay bigot?

93 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kathleen  |  September 6, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Just subscribing

    Reply
    • 2. Ann S.  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      moi aussi

      Reply
  • 3. AndrewPDX  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Why do these FotF types insist on pushing their version of religion into law, violating the First Amendment?

    I can’t wait until this is all over and we can finally work together on helping the homeless and the hungry and the sick.

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
    Andrew

    Reply
    • 4. Paul in Minneapolis  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:15 pm

      All over? Do you honestly expect this to end?

      I don’t. Not in my lifetime, anyway.

      Oh, I think it’s entirely possible that I will see marriage equality in the USA before I die. But that will not be “the end.” FotF, NOM, CWA and their ilk will continue to spew their lies and hatred.

      The volume of their wailing will lessen as their numbers decline, but they themselves will never go away entirely. Slavery was outlawed 146 years ago and white supremecist groups still exist today.

      We will always have to watch over our shoulders. Equality under law does not guarantee that no one will hate us. Or try to harm us.

      By all means, keep fighting for marriage equality, greater undestanding of GLBT issues, and liberty and justice for all. Help the homeless, the hungry and the sick.

      But never let down your guard.

      Reply
      • 5. Sheryl Carver  |  September 6, 2010 at 4:22 pm

        Absolutely correct, Paul.

        I forget who said it, but “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” This has been and probably always will be true, unless there someday is a huge, complete evolutionary shift in our DNA that eliminates any possibility of bigotry. Not likely to happen any time soon.

        We can & will get full legal civil rights, we can & will get the hearts & minds of the majority of people. But as you pointed out, there are still those who think women should be kept barefoot & pregnant, all non-white people are inferior, etc. We must NEVER forget they are out there, for like harmful bacteria, they will be quick to take advantage of weakness.

        Reply
      • 6. GRod  |  September 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm

        @Paul in Minneapolis
        Your perspective fits well with mine. It is essentially that there be a clearer demarcation of church and state. If the church wishes to be a political player and advocate, it should be prepared to give up its tax status.

        Reply
      • 7. Paul in Minneapolis  |  September 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm

        @GRod, I agree 100%.

        The idiots who would impose their religious beliefs on all via theocracy would scream the loudest if someone else’s beliefs, with which they disagree, were imposed on them in the same manner.

        A strong church-state wall of separation is the best way to guarantee everyone’s right to freedom of (and from) religion and freedom of conscience. It is infuriating that so many people do not seem to understand this very simple and basic concept.

        The price we all pay for freedom is that we must allow others to make choices with which we may personally disagree — whether that means marrying a person of the same gender or carrying distasteful signs near a funeral.

        It is a minimal price, in my humble opinion. The alternative is unthinkable and decidedly un-American.

        Reply
      • 8. AndrewPDX  |  September 7, 2010 at 7:07 am

        No, I don’t expect this struggle for equality to end anytime soon… but it don’t mean I still don’t wish for it. :)

        @Sheryl, “The price of freedom” quote is from Thomas Jefferson — who woulda guessed that?

        Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
        Andrew

        Reply
      • 9. Anonygrl  |  September 7, 2010 at 9:44 am

        I absolutely agree about the tax status, and so did my father, who was a minister. His feeling was that if the church wanted to be involved in lobbying the government (which he felt was inappropriate because of the US Constitution) it should be prepared to lose its tax exempt status. He felt this was true of ANY organization that had a lobbying arm. He felt if you want to participate in government, you should pay your share. He would have insisted that if NOM wants to have a say in how the government works, they should most certainly be paying their fair share for the running of it.

        Reply
    • 10. Dalow  |  September 7, 2010 at 10:02 am

      I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to interject some thoughts in the First Amendment. This discussion is close enough, so ‘witnesseth’!

      Founding Father and second U.S. President John Adams was a Deist as were Thos. Jefferson, Geo. Washington and others. They rejected organized religion and the divinity of Christ and held that reason is the path to knowledge, including knowledge of God.

      From the ‘Treaty of Tripoli,’ ratified unanimously in the Senate and signed by Adams into law, 1797: “The United States of America is in no sense founded on the Christian Religion.”

      Thomas Jefferson contributed: “State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights…Erecting ‘the wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.”

      This information was handily gleaned from “The Quotable Atheist,” by Jack Huberman, copyright 2007.

      Thanks for listening.

      Reply
  • 11. Tomato  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    “If it is to find relevance with Millennials, the church must be willing to deal directly with the issue of same-sex attraction and relationships. The church must voice a clear, biblical ethic of sexuality.”

    My church did. It found that same-sex attraction and love and marriage are gifts from God, and must be honored equally as all other gifts from God.

    FotF and their ilk are interfering with my religious freedom.

    Reply
  • 12. anonygrl  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Homeless and hungry do not feed the evangelicals’ need for power, for control. LITTLE churches feed the hungry, TINY parishes house the homeless, or it can be left to the government to do.

    What gives these folks power (and a big paycheck, and a mansion with a swimming pool, and several illegal immigrants to clean same) is the blind obedience of the flock. And what makes the flock blindly obedient is fear and guild (as mentioned so clearly by Linda) and so these people leave you and me to take care of the odds and ends of homelessness and hunger, which probably wouldn’t exist if homosexuals (who are a bigger, higher profile target) would stop taking jobs and housing away from good Christian folk, and stop destroying their marriages, and their families.

    Reply
    • 13. Carpool Cookie  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:28 pm

      Besides, for their followers, it isn’t any FUN feeding the homeless.

      Beating people up is.

      Reply
    • 14. anonygrl  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:29 pm

      Guilt. Oops.

      Reply
  • 15. Bolt  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    What is the date the Ds are expected to submit their failure of a legal argument to the 9th?

    Reply
    • 16. GRod  |  September 6, 2010 at 6:13 pm

      @Bolt
      http://www.dallasvoice.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Gay.Divorce.pdf

      The 5th District Texas Court of Appeal, while recently addressing a SS divorce matter, was under impressed with Walker favoured arguments made in the prop 8 case. Indeed the court endorsed the state’s interest in procreation favored by Cooper et al. Not as failed a legal argument as one might have thought!

      Reply
      • 17. Ray in MA  |  September 6, 2010 at 6:30 pm

        These TexASS Judges were elected or appointed.

        Many of them were appointed by some a$$hole named Rick Perry.

        http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/court/justices.asp

        6 Out of 9 judges were annointed by Perry:

        Chief Justice Jefferson was appointed chief justice September 14, 2004, by Gov. Rick Perry.

        Gov. Rick Perry appointed Justice Medina

        Justice Johnson was appointed to the Court on March 15, 2005, by Gov. Rick Perry.

        Don Willett was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in August 2005 by Governor Rick Perry

        Justice Eva Guzman was appointed to the Court October 8, 2009, by Texas Gov. Rick Perry

        Debra H. Lehrmann was appointed to the Court by Governor Rick Perry on June 21, 2010

        Why did waste all that time and money in this decision…looks like Rick Perry decided it all for them!

        I can now see why the Governor of Texas is such a powerful position… I hope we don’t see another President coming out of that place!

        Reply
  • 18. Kathleen  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    It’s due Sept 17. I don’t expect them to file it until the due date.

    Reply
    • 19. Bolt  |  September 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      Thanks, Kathleen, I don’t expect them to either.

      Reply
    • 20. Carpool Cookie  |  September 6, 2010 at 4:09 pm

      I wonder if they’ll call in outside counsel to contribute to the brief. We’ve all read that there’s insider criticism among the Extreme Right that they botched the trial.

      (Not that, realistically speaking, there was much more of a defense anyone could have mustered.)

      Reply
      • 21. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 6, 2010 at 5:15 pm

        I dunno, but if they couldn’t score either legal or eloquence points with a high-prestige attorney like Cooper, you’d think they’d realize the hole they’re in and move on.

        That would presuppose the ability to rationally assess situations, however….a quality which, as we’ve all seen, the drivers of this campaign do not possess.

        Reply
  • 22. Sagesse  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Wonder how one would target a messaging campaign to young Evangelicals who are devout, but have a broader social awareness than their elders. Do an end run around the church hierarchy.

    Reply
    • 23. Tomato  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm

      Pointing out how the Evangelical m.o. is pretty much the exact opposite of everything Yeshua taught might just do the trick. You can love and follow Yeshua, and leave Evangelism behind.

      I highly recommend anything by Marcus J. Borg (including “The Five Gospels”) as raw material for this work.

      Reply
    • 24. Sagesse  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:57 pm

      To elaborate, NOM, FoF, Engle et al know exactly how to get their message to the older generation. If we could figure out where (virtually and physically) to reach the younger generation THAT THEIR PARENTS DON’T GO, marriage equality could devise a message campaign that NOM, FoF, Engle and the elders never see, and know nothing about.

      Reply
      • 25. Sagesse  |  September 6, 2010 at 7:48 pm

        @Watchful Eyes

        That you, Felyx? Great idea! This group is so clever :).

        Reply
    • 26. Don in Texas  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      Basic principles of advertising:

      1. Identify the target audience (young adults)
      2. Determine the media that can be used to reach them
      3. Craft the message to convince them
      4. Prepare a budget/funding to pay cost of the campaign

      Reply
      • 27. Linda  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm

        You tube is probably the easiest, cheapest, and most successful way to reach young adults.

        Reply
      • 28. Watchful Eyes  |  September 6, 2010 at 7:19 pm

        It is called the internet! No need for funding, social media has it covered. Keep up these sites and posting on facebook, youtube, etc and you will reach all of us.

        If you really want to make a profound impact on exactly this target audience, then lobby multiplayer video game makers to include more LGBT presence. WoW, DaoC, Spore, etc.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_characters_in_video_games

        Read this article and notice how the censoring is being dropped. Trust me, Maggie, Brian, Rick Perry, Ranier, NOM, FotF, etc. have not only never even heard of these games but wouldn’t have a clue as to how to interact or even play!!!

        Work it people! I got my eyes on a hot guy and I want to be able to marry him someday! (PS Thank you all!!)

        Reply
      • 29. Watchful Eyes In Russia Too!  |  September 6, 2010 at 7:21 pm

        Did I mention Second Life?!!!

        Felyx

        Reply
      • 30. Sagesse  |  September 6, 2010 at 7:50 pm

        @Watchful Eyes

        Whoops. Posted in the wrong place…. That you, Felyx? Great idea! This group is so clever :).

        Reply
  • 31. Bob  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    great strategy Sagesse, and I think it is happening on some level, just by our discussing it here, those young uns, still need to stand up to the hierarchy, and some of the stories here have been good examples, and offer encouragement.

    maybe a site for more open dialog with the devout, with lead bloggers like BZ, and Reverend Russel. The most important thing is for young minds to know they have options, and holy books have various interpretations, we just need to give them back the freedom to engage in their own siritual discovery. sure they’d appreaciate that. It may need it’s own space thogh cause as you know a lot of people who aren’t involved in those issues and training , want nothing to do with it.

    love the end run around the popemobile, and touch down in the Holy C, at the Vatican, it’s in progess, with all those gays already in that circle, just need some coaxing to be real, and then don’t forget the ordained woman priests, fluanting their ex-communication, and waiting to step in, oh but I digress, we’re talking about young evangelicals.

    Reply
    • 32. Carpool Cookie  |  September 6, 2010 at 4:20 pm

      What would help would be if the faiths that support Marriage Equality would put out really visible messages. I don’t know that those churches did really strong opposition efforts against Prop H8. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

      I know they signed petitions and contributed to the amicus brief, but if they could really get their congregations enthusiastic about taking an active part in fighting this intolerance, all the people these congregants came in contact with would end up more enlightened, just through everyday social interaction.

      Reply
      • 33. Kathleen  |  September 6, 2010 at 4:47 pm

        I think some of the phone banks and public rallies in opposition to Prop 8 were organized by churches, and pro-equality clergy were interviewed and participated in public debate on the issue. I was most aware of the churches near home, so know of the activity of All Saints Episcopal Church (Rev. Russell joins in the discussion here sometimes) and the Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church, both in Pasadena.

        Reply
      • 34. Tomato  |  September 6, 2010 at 7:36 pm

        Many churches were involved in a lawsuit against Prop 8 filed November 17, 2008, that’s some pretty strong opposition! (California Council of Churches http://www.calchurches.org/publication_pdfs/PetitionWritMandate.pdf )

        Congregations have been very visible at Pride Parades across the country. Ministers refuse to sign marriage licenses until they can legally sign them for all.

        My minister went to jail for civil disobedience action against Prop 8.

        Congregations have taken out full-page ads in newspapers against bigotry in DOMA, Prop 8, DADT, etc. There have been murders commited INSIDE A CHURCH during service (Tennessee Valley) by a bigot who wanted to punish liberals, yet the faith didn’t stop,in fact they came out stronger and created Standing On the Side of Love. http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org

        If you want more visible efforts from the churches, how about joining them and adding your voice to the outcry? How about kicking in some $$ to your local United Church of Christ, MCC, or Unitarian church?

        Reply
      • 35. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 6, 2010 at 8:29 pm

        And I for one, am going to go online and see if I can find something about the Jewish synagogues that are affirming and stand against discrimination. When I do, I will post the links I find.

        Reply
      • 36. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 6, 2010 at 8:36 pm

        Here’s the first link, to the World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews.

        http://www.glbtjews.org/

        I will continue to look for links and post them as I find them.

        Once again, everyone here has caused me to find something that will continue to increase my knowledge, learning, and wisdom. Thanks, everybody!

        ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

        Richard

        Reply
  • 37. Bob  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Sagesse, on second thought , perhaps just a referral to Soulforce.org, they are doing an amazing job with that dialog

    Reply
    • 38. Bennett  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      Yes, soulforce is an excellent resource. Interesting fact: Soul force was founded by Mel Whilte. Remember that paperback book “deceived” about Jim Jones that was as ubiquitous at yard sales as Dianetics? He wrote it. And a lot of Jerry Falwell’s Pat Robertson’s and Billy Graham’s speeches. I think that is right. One fault of Soul force is there tendency to not respect private property rights for which they some time get arrested.

      Reply
  • 39. Linda  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    It seems to me that perhaps one reason why the younger generation, even those who are church goers, are more accepting of LGBTs in general is because they actually know some. And it’s much more difficult to swallow the lies those who oppose us spew when those young people rub shoulders with real LGBTs who are nothing like that.

    The “Gays are perverts, deviants and pedophiles” line is pretty hard to take seriously when you actually know gay people; and I think that’s what is happening.

    We are our own best advocates, really. Just doing our day-to-day routine; just being people who happen to be LGB or T, is probably our best offense. And that is probably why our opposition wants us back in the closet.

    Reply
    • 40. Bennett  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:10 pm

      May i share my first exposure to the gay issue. Don’t answer that cause Im gonna tell you anyway!

      It was in a little back yard game called “smear the queer.” Its played with a football if i remember correctly

      Always inquisitive, “Whats a queer” i wanted to know. Its “two men on top of each other” came the reply.

      “Oh! a totem pole!” I thought.

      Reply
      • 41. draNgNon  |  September 6, 2010 at 4:46 pm

        I remember “smear the queer.” at my school we called it “anyball”, since anyone could have the ball, and it would be played with, well, any ball. a common tactic was to deflate the ball.

        I remember a high school friend telling me in her grade school it was called “smear the queer.” I of course knew what “queer” was, but never made the connection with that game. I was then, and am still now, pretty sure the name came out of children’s instinctive desire for rhyme, assonance, alliteration.

        I’m pretty sure you will have schoolyard rebellion if you ban the game based on the name.

        Reply
    • 42. Felyx  |  September 6, 2010 at 7:25 pm

      Commenting on Linda’s comment…

      It is hard to look at a 21 yo lesbian and think she has had any time to become ‘perverted’… and I challenge anyone to call a 16 yo gay boy a pedophile!!! (Go ahead NOM, FotF… I dare ya. I double DOG dare ya!!)

      Felyx

      Reply
      • 43. Felyx  |  September 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm

        BTW, I knew at the age of five… the only ‘philia’ anyone could accuse me of at that point in life was graophilia… it is reality people!

        Felyx – Suffering from Russophilia :P

        Reply
      • 44. Paul in Minneapolis  |  September 6, 2010 at 8:00 pm

        You knew at age five? So did I! Well, I knew I liked boys at age five; didn’t know that meant I was gay.

        I clearly remember being attracted to some of the other boys in my kindergarten class. Yes, it was sexual. (And yes, my taste in males grew with me; I am not a pedophile.)

        I’ve actually had arguments with people who couldn’t believe that I had sexual feelings at such a young age. While I do not think that having such feelings at age five (no matter what one’s sexuality) is the norm (and I could be wrong), clearly it happens.

        In any case, five-year-olds do not choose their sexual orientations. Even if they understood what was happening at the time, they couldn’t possibly control the process.

        Reply
  • 45. Tim in Sonoma  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I wish we could “share” these post on facebook as I don’t tweet.

    Reply
    • 46. Ann S.  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:07 pm

      Just copy the URL and paste into FB.

      Reply
    • 47. Ann S.  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      Also, if you friend Courage Campaign on FB, you’ll see links to the posts there, and can share them.

      Reply
  • 48. Fr0zt  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    “Fared-well for a spell, but it ultimately FAILed-well too.”

    *facepalm*

    Reply
  • 49. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    As you said, this is their rallying cry. And it is very effective within their hard-core membership, as we have seen by the various trolls who have invaded here. It is one thing to have differing opinions on a forum such as this, but when those who stop in that are not P8TT family come here only to judge us, only to try and force all of us to believe that their way is the only way, then they are trolls, and are not here to learn anything, or to open their eyes to the fact that this is a civil rights battle, a human rights battle. To them, this is a religious battle pure and simple. And they have been so conditioned into thinking that their religion is the only right religion from such an early age, that it is nearly impossible to undo all of the damage the brainwashing has done. To be honest, I truly pity them, and pray for them daily, that they will see the error of their ways and come into the light of allowing full civil and human rights for all of us, and put an end to the discrimination that they are so fervently trying to put into our Constitution and civil laws. I truly pray that they will come to realize that this is a pluralistic, Constitutional democratic republic and not a theocracy, otherwise, discrimination in this country will begin with the Rainbow Tribe as its first victims in the legal system, and then spread to the Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccan, Druids, Celts, Taoists, scientists, and anyone else who does not buy into their theocratic rantings and ravings. And we will then see a society like that of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. And that truly has me very frightened indeed. These folks would liike nothing better than to be the impetus of the first totally nuclear war and the extermination of all except those who believe completely the same exact things they believe.

    Reply
  • 50. Andrew Adaro  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Random question, what is the current status of the prop 8 case? When will we hear about whether or not there is standing for appeal, future of the case, etc? Or am I just behind?

    Reply
    • 51. Kathleen  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:33 pm

      The briefing schedule for the appeal has been set and the 9th Circuit will hear oral arguments the week of Dec 6. The Court will take up the question of standing – for both the Proponents and Imperial County – at the same time. For the schedule, see:

      Imperial County’s appeal and request to intervene has been given a separate case number, but will be dealt with at the same time.

      Reply
      • 52. Andrew Adaro  |  September 6, 2010 at 3:05 pm

        thank you :D

        Reply
      • 53. Kathleen  |  September 6, 2010 at 3:23 pm

        you’re welcome.

        Reply
      • 54. MJFargo  |  September 7, 2010 at 8:36 am

        Kathleen, in re-reading the link that you posted, we know the court put this on an “expedited” schedule without really saying why (other than the parties requested so). But is it usual for them to add “The provisions of Ninth Circuit Rule 31-2.2(a) (pertaining to grants of time extensions) shall not apply to this appeal.” Or does “expedited” mean that rule 31-2.2(a) does not apply. I guess I’m asking is this double-double-expedited?

        Reply
      • 55. Kathleen  |  September 7, 2010 at 11:10 am

        I don’t know the answer to that. It certainly seems reasonable that when the Court puts an appeal on an expedited schedule, it would automatically remove the option for time extensions. Otherwise, a party could use extensions to defeat the purpose of the expedited schedule. However, I don’t know if that’s the case.

        Maybe someone who has experience with federal appellate procedure can answer that for you.

        Reply
      • 56. MJFargo  |  September 7, 2010 at 5:01 pm

        Thanks, Kathleen. I ran a quick search and brought up only three Google pages with “Ninth Circuit Rule 31-2.2(a).” About half of those had to do with articles on Prop 8, so while it has been invoked in other cases, it seems rare…Google wise.

        Looking through some of the articles, however, I found this one that was interesting (and hopeful, some others weren’t):

        http://fwix.com/elpaso/share/9362259193/tea_leaves_prop_8_proponents_will_not_have_standing

        [I particularly enjoyed the commentary following this article.]

        Reply
      • 57. Ann S.  |  September 7, 2010 at 5:57 pm

        MJFargo, that was an interesting article and commentary, thank you.

        Reply
      • 58. Sagesse  |  September 8, 2010 at 8:41 pm

        @MJFargo

        Timothy Kincaid in one of the comments repeats a point that rarely gets mentioned:

        “Sometimes the authors of a proposition recognize that it will not be popular with politicians and write within the language that they will defend the proposition against legal challenge. Thus it becomes part of the law that they have standing.

        The Prop 8 folk were either too shortsighted or careless and did not make such a provision. I think they never expected a Federal challenge and just assumed that it would all be over in November 2008.”

        The seeds of the problem with standing (to appeal) have been there from the beginning.

        Reply
      • 59. MJFargo  |  September 9, 2010 at 8:24 am

        Sagesse, what isn’t clear to me, though, is whether Justice Ginsberg’s “grave doubts” in the Arizona case would still be at issue or not whether the language had been included in the initiative. It would have made Judge Walker’s decision to let the Intervenors in tidier, but I’m not sure whether it still would have mattered at appeal. Anyone?

        Reply
      • 60. MJFargo  |  September 9, 2010 at 8:31 am

        A more ominous (for the Proponents) sentence in Justice Ginsberg’s ruling is

        “Federal courts lack competence to rule definitively on the meaning of state legislation, see, e.g., Reetz v. Bozanich, 397 U.S. 82, 86-87, 25 L. Ed. 2d 68, 90 S. Ct. 788 (1970), nor may they adjudicate challenges to state measures absent a showing of actual impact on the challenger,”

        Reply
  • 61. Don in Texas  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    It seems to me that avenues can be found to convince younger people that, indeed, ours is a civil rights struggle, that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and that everyone in both state and federal government is sworn to uphold it. This means that we must uphold the Constitution at every turn. As Judge Walker has shown — as Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas have shown — LBGT people enjoy exactly the same rights as everyone else.

    And we must remind them that the rights of no one are secure until the rights of everyone are secure.

    Reply
  • 62. Don in Texas  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    “The First Amendment protects religious freedom by forbidding religion access to the coercive powers of the state. It’s a simple and elegant contract: We agree not to impose our beliefs on others in order to be free from having others impose their beliefs on us.” — David Machacek

    Reply
    • 63. Linda  |  September 6, 2010 at 2:58 pm

      And that is now my facebook status. Excellent quote, Don; thanks.

      Reply
      • 64. Don in Texas  |  September 6, 2010 at 3:27 pm

        You’re welcome, Linda.

        I agree completely with your observation that YouTube is an excellent medium for reaching the younger generation. Perhaps the Courage Campaign, and others — with our support and financial backing — can devise videos that would catch the attention of this target audience and convey our story in opposition to the hate-mongering of the religious fanatics.

        BTW, there is an excellent essay on anti-gay history at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website.

        Reply
  • 65. Bennett  |  September 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Reconciliation of faith and equality is not that difficult. I find it very convincing.
    The Basics:
    The story of Sodom had nothing to do with homosexuality. The Bible even tells us what the “sin of Sodom” was and calls it inhospitality.
    The story of David (after God’s own heart) and Jonathan has a decidedly homosexual attraction bent. “Do I not know that you have choosen the son of Jesse to the confusion of your mother’s nakedness.”, Saul said to David. David and Jonathan made a covenant, kissed, and at least one party actually shed their clothes in the recorded telling of the story which seems pretty intimate.” And, David “exceeded”, what might that mean? King Saul said “I am your father in law in the twain” referring to David’s relationship with Jonathan and the political marriage to his daughter Rachael I think.
    Other more obscure possibilities are eunuchs, Ruth and Naomi, and Jesus himself.
    As for traditional marriage, the bible doesn’t support that at all. Adam and Eve of course were a man and woman, but who officiated at their wedding? I rather think Adam looked at Eve and thought “Whoa Man” and we have the first act of what we now call fornication. Adam could quite possibly have been the straightest man ever for lack of choices, but as for their “marriage?” Maybe not the best example. Then there is that matter of Jesus coming back to marry his bride the church, which is filled with both men and woman. So much for traditional marriage. Also consider that Jesus had two fathers, Joseph the carpenter, who raised him but was not his biological father, and God, his actual father (by way of a virgin in the ultimate act of responsible procreation?) Don’t worry about the slippery slope, we have procreation between human woman and Holy Ghosts right there.
    This is to say that the Bible is full of friendly ideas. If this sound a little sacrilegious, just read your Bible. It has a few things to say that you might not hear at your local Sunday social reinforcinge what you think you know.
    Also consider the words of Paul, “because of the hardness of your hearts, let each man have his own wife.” isnt exactly a ringing endorcement of one man one woman for life, more of a pragmantic stop gap mesure to bring some peace to that group of naredowells.
    What to tell the young people. Read. Consider how Catholics beget Catholics, Mormans beget Mormans, Christians beget Christians, and so on. Dont assume you were lucky enought to be born into the right religeon. Think about it.

    Reply
    • 66. Don in Texas  |  September 6, 2010 at 3:32 pm

      Oh, yes, read your Bible — especially all of that “begatting” that went on, probably without benefit of religious blessing.

      Reply
  • 67. Bill  |  September 6, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Are we TRULY to take seriously any scientific polling data that contains the phrase, “46 percent of those who say they trust Christ as Savior??????”

    Christ. I think I just peed in my pants a little bit.

    Reply
  • 68. Bennett  |  September 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Then there is the incest and rape, not to mention the fact that every single sexual encounter in the book of Genesis resulted in a pregnancy, whether with a prostitute, family member, or daughter of an enemy of israel. Seems woman were very fertile or else someone ignorant of human biology made it all up.

    Reply
  • 69. Bennett  |  September 6, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    As for why we need separation of church and state. Consider that Catholics believe in transsubstantiation, in a word canabalism, the actual turning of communion elements into actual flesh and blood upon ingesting.

    Mormans believe in magical glasses and holy underwear, as well as mythical creatures that roamed the american plains of which no fossil or evidence has ever been found, not a good basis for regulating education materials.

    Christianw believe that a man was swallowed by a whale and spit up live three days later.

    So it seems that if the story of little black sambo were in the bible, religeous people would believe that he turned into butter from being chased so fast around a tree by tigers. If religeon get control of things, we will soon be asking ourselves. “Who is running this asylum?”

    Reply
  • 70. Tomato  |  September 6, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    “If religeon get control of things, we will soon be asking ourselves. ‘Who is running this asylum?'”

    I believe we’ve been asking that question for thousands of years already.

    Reply
  • 71. Fulton  |  September 6, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    P8TT has, for the most part, been good about this, but I am often shocked by the virulent comments posted about Christianity and religion on sites such as joe.my.god and towleroad. Their words are as hateful as any written by Maggie G and they turn away any allies we may have in the young, evangelical crowd.

    I understand the anger…I grew up in an evangelical high school. Walking down the hall, I was often asked if I had been saved. You get hit with a stick long enough and you begin to hate the stick. For me, a part of coming out involved reacting with anger against religion and against all things Christian.
    Then, I met some of the most amazing people in my entire, short life who have been and are Christian. A good friend challenged my views of the Jehovah’s Witness by just being the loving and affirming person that she was. She didn’t care that I was gay. She cared that I was a friend. I have a ways to go yet before I view Catholicism with anything but anger, but a catholic co-worker is doing his best to help me by being one of the wisest men I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting a Mormon that I respect, but I do not discount the future possibility.

    Religion is not the problem and when we focus on the evils of religion, we distract from the true source of
    hate…the homophobia, the misogyny, the fear of progress.
    NOM and FotF would find other means of hating us if religion were off the table. Discounting religion will not change their means but it will limit our allies.
    I say celebrate religion…encourage religion…there is much in Jesus, Mohammad, the Buddha, and Lao Tzo worth our attention,and maybe, as Mr.Hooper notes, the young, evangelical crowd will begin to question why their movement is so focused on hate and destruction, rather than on helping the poor, the homeless, and the imprisoned.

    Reply
    • 72. StraightSupporter  |  September 6, 2010 at 5:28 pm

      I am happy that there are moderate religious people and those that do not believe in shoving their beliefs down the throats of everyone else. But I think the basics of religion is part of the problem. The uncritical acceptance of claims based on revelations, vague prophecies, emotional experience, various texts, etc is IMO the base foundation of dogmatism. Yet this seems to be the case with most of the religious people I know, even the moderates. There is something they just ‘know’ is true regardless of anything.

      What I mean is, when one just knows that they are right no matter what, even without any actual evidence, even when other people also know they are right about something in a contrary way, this leads to dogmatism. It is this dogmatism that can lead to and fuel extremism.

      The extremists just know that they are right, that the LGBT groups are evil and must be stopped, and so on. They are uninterested in any other views, or listening to what people on the other side of issues are saying (except perhaps to misrepresent them), because they already know that they are right.

      If people where more interested in really trying to figure out real truths (well as best as we can determine from reality around us), I think there would be less problems in the would. But this is not possible when people already know that they have the truth and are uninterested (or perhaps afraid) of hearing anything contrary to their claimed truth.

      Reply
    • 73. Carpool Cookie  |  September 6, 2010 at 6:10 pm

      [b]”P8TT has, for the most part, been good about this, but I am often shocked by the virulent comments posted about Christianity and religion on sites such as joe.my.god and towleroad. Their words are as hateful as any written by Maggie G and they turn away any allies we may have in the young, evangelical crowd.”

      Well, maybe I’m too close to it to really see the damage…but everyone’s free to call each other names. No one on the left is calling to have religious people’s civil rights taken away, or their right to worship.

      And there’s certainly more basis to have legitimate distaste for the extremely religious than there is for gays and lesbians.

      After all, what, in truth, did homosexuals ever do to people? Nothing. Yet what did religious groups do to homosexuals? A LOT.

      It would certainly be easier for the secular public to understand that the extreme “Christianists” are not allied with the broader concept of religion if your everyday religious groups stepped forward more visibly to condemn their hate. But……that hasn’t quite happened to the degree it could have, it seems to me.

      Reply
      • 74. Tomato  |  September 6, 2010 at 9:03 pm

        We are stepping forward. And we are constantly shouting out. But we don’t have the money and we don’t have the media attention.

        Look at some of the videos from the NOM events. See all those orange “Standing on the Side of Love” signs? Those are from churches.

        Stop criticizing us, and start helping us be heard.

        Reply
      • 75. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 6, 2010 at 9:12 pm

        Also, look at the Jews who are involved in fighting discrimination. Look back at Stephen Greenberg with Garden State Equality in New Jersey. Even among the Courage Campaign there are Jews, and the link I just posted earlier. I can see saying something about the ones who are JINO’s and CINO’s who are anti-equality, but folks, let’s also recognize those who are true followers of whatever belief system they follow that are showing it by being anti-discrimination and pro-equality. Let’s help get the word out for the Christians, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Wiccans, the Muslims, and all the other congregations that are anti-discrimination and who are fighting right alongside us to help us gain our equality. Tomato is right.

        Reply
      • 76. Tomato  |  September 6, 2010 at 9:24 pm

        How to Help The “Everyday” Religious Groups Be Heard

        1. Invite local ministers, rabbis, imams, etc. and congregations to events and demonstrations in your area. Meet with them, stay with them, don’t let them fade into the woodwork at the event.

        2. Interview a local minister or rabbi or imam etc. for your local gay newspaper.

        3. When February 14th rolls around and you go to the County Clerk for the annual marriage license attempt, invite every religious leader you have connected with over the year. The halls at our County Clerk’s office are lined every year with religious leaders and congregants there simply to witness and give support.

        4. Ask local ministers (etc) to speak at the meetings of the equal rights commitees you are involved with.

        5. Link liberal church (etc) sites and news on your facebook page.

        6. Turn out to support clergy who are on trial or are being defrocked for performing gay marriages (like Rev. Jane Spahr). There are so many, and they are being punished in silence. Let them be heard!

        Reply
      • 77. MJFargo  |  September 7, 2010 at 8:55 am

        I’m a firm believer that a rant is good for the soul, and there’s no better place than the internet to share it. One of my survival methods as a gay person growing up was: “Never do or say anything you don’t want to read about in the papers the next day.” That doesn’t mean I was a goody-two shoes nor active (and loud) in my politics. But it did mean that I was comfortable with what I was doing and saw no shame in it.

        Expressing hatred for others, however, is something I’m not comfortable doing. I can get angry, of course, but hate is something I try to work on because as we saw in Sacramento this weekend, I belong to a group of people who are the target of hate. I use words of hatred to expose my foes, and assume that the reverse would be true.

        This country was settled by people who were escaping religious intolerance, and our Constitution was a tricky–and brilliant–response to keep those who escaped intolerance from also perpetrating it. Not entirely successful unless there are people willing to apply the tenets of the Constitution, usually through a court of law where reason and objectivity can be used to persuade.

        But expressing hatred of others, however justified, I’ve learned can be turned against you. And oddly I learned that from a Christian upbringing (the turn-the-other-cheek thing). But I also understand why people need to express their “extreme frustration” with proponents of Prop 8. I just don’t like giving them one single excuse to justify their bigotry towards us, and that would include showing bigotry towards them.

        Reply
    • 78. Bennett  |  September 6, 2010 at 7:21 pm

      May I suggest, based on my experience, that Jehovah’s witnesses are more tolerant pleasant people because their religion is internalized. It is a belief system that gets they themselves somewhere and they are happy to share. If you choose not to take part in it, then after this life you are just, well, dead. No riches in glory for you, but maybe a long peaceful sleep is what you really want, to each his own.
      I don’t see the Jehovah’s witnesses getting overly political and trying to take away other peoples rights. Maybe I missed it. My only gripe with them is they will let their children die if a blood transfusion would save them. So. . . to the extent that they might feel that taking away peoples right to marriage is somehow protecting children like the more pernicious religions do, I think that they just harm themselves.
      If the Maggies of the world continue their assault, I am encouraged to think that we might win and they can just pay tax. But there is that other matter of how religious people feel they have a free hand to beat their children. What is this good that comes out of religion. Church is for Christians. Education of children should be left to the state who should teach good citizenship. Judges should be independent. Presidential powers should limited. Checks and balances are they only thing that is good. What is this good in religion other than to its adherent?

      Reply
      • 79. Bennett  |  September 6, 2010 at 7:24 pm

        Religion in its place may or may not be good or bad. Thats what I am trying to say. Keeping it in its place has been a challenge.

        Reply
  • 80. Linda  |  September 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Looking at the survey cited I see that 1200 ‘millenials’ were polled.

    6 in 10 strongly support SSM, but only 1 in 7 *Christian* millenials were in support.

    Does that mean that out of the 1200 polled, only approx. 40% identified themselves as Christian? Is that an accurate reflection of this age group?

    Reply
  • 81. Bennett  |  September 6, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    I just wish religion would occupy its rightful place, in the the heart of its adherent. Maybe a certain interpretation of it is true. I believe that to be the case. But I know that Jesus told his deciples to lay off, and fight after the Kingdom of heaven was established. So, unless the Kingdom of Heaven has been established, Christians need to enjoy the protections of a civil government and lay off. Can’t we all just get along, seriously!

    Reply
    • 82. Carpool Cookie  |  September 6, 2010 at 6:13 pm

      History has proven, No, we can’t all get along.

      There’s always going to be some really bad apples….and unfortunately a bunch of the bad apples seem to be really ambitious for power and attention.

      Reply
  • 83. Sagesse  |  September 6, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Perhaps this is a way to reach the younger generation. I believe it is current.

    Reply
  • 84. Ray in MA  |  September 6, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    From: http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/quote-j.htm

    The atheist, agnostic, or secularist … should insist on the need to engage in a meaningful debate on the entire issue of the truth or falsity (or probability or improbability) of religious tenets, without being subject to accusations of impiety, immorality, impoliteness, or any of the other smokescreens used by the pious to deflect attention from the central issues at hand.
    — S T Joshi, “Introduction,” Atheism: A Reader (2000), p. 20

    Reply
    • 85. Judy  |  September 6, 2010 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks for the link, Ray. I’ve bookmarked it. I like one of their lines: “Insisting on truthfulness is the highest form of ethics”. And perhaps, morality.

      I feel like yelling sometimes, “Get your magic and superstition out of my government!” If I weren’t upset, I’d say “our” government, but I digress.

      Being a new freethinker makes this whole anti-gay religious argument all the more scary. They’re not really concerned about their “book”, or they’d live entirely different lives. My only hope is in a quiet humanity that might reside inside us all.

      Reply
    • 86. Fulton  |  September 7, 2010 at 4:35 am

      Excellent quote…
      as a Taoist who seeks to return to the source, I insist the same engagement applies in return…calling Catholics ‘cannibals’, calling the deeply held beliefs of good people ‘fairy tales,’ ends the meaningful debate and turns away one of our strongest supporters…the religious.
      Did I surprise you? If I had, perhaps the argument between bigotry and gay rights has become so loud, it drowns out all other voices…all the churches who have ordained gay clergy, who have marched with us during every gay pride event, who have preached compassion and inclusion for all people.

      All I wanted to suggest, @Tomato said better with the list of suggestions on ‘how to help everyday religious groups be heard.’ We should print that out and tape it to the fridge.
      The way to win the young evangelicals is to engage them on their turf…not the secular, but on the sacred. And there is plenty of room for full engagement in the compassion of Jesus and Buddha, in the ethics and questions of Lao Tzu and Zen.

      Reply
      • 87. Santa Barbara Mom  |  September 7, 2010 at 8:41 am

        Thank you, Fulton, for the nice message…………definitely added a positive start to my day.

        Reply
      • 88. Sydney  |  September 7, 2010 at 10:13 am

        Coming out of long time lurker mode to say I couldn’t agree more with Fulton and Tomato. 100% spot on.

        Reply
  • 89. Michael  |  September 7, 2010 at 2:43 am

    Jeremy always does a great job. The good news out of all this is that radical anti-gay activists, smelling defeat, will become ever more extreme and hateful. As they do so, more will defect from their side, in turn, making the remainder more hateful and vicious still. And all of this just proves our point that they are bigots and hate-mongers. So, the reality that the hatred has completely blinded them to is that they are only helping propel us to equality.

    Reply
  • 90. MarriedCalGuy  |  September 7, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    If we want to win our right to marry we have to stop trying to change their beliefs about marriage. We need to tell the opposition that – its OK TO NOT BELIEVE IN GAY MARRIAGE. – that is what makes America great.
    We all have our beliefs and our rights. But just because they have that belief it is NOT RIGHT TO MAKE BELIEFS OF ONE GROUP THE LAW OF THE LAND.

    I have this discussion often with people. “Some people believe they should only wed in their own race – but they dont impose that belief on all Americans. Some people believe that they should only wed in their own religion. But they dont impose that belief on all Americans. And guess what – its ok to NOT believe in gay marriage – BUT DO NOT IMPOSE THAT ON ALL AMERICANS.”

    Then they kind of stop and say – “oh – your right. I an have my own beliefs and you are not trying to take them away from me”

    I also like to add that “If we chose rights based on popular vote – then the south would still be segregated”

    and on “activist judges” – use the example of the Chicago law passed by voters to outlaw guns – that was thrown out by a judge because of course its UNCONSTITUTIONAL…. yet I dont see anyone calling him an activist….

    I think in this fight we have to not try so hard to change the other side – but to show them that this is America and what they are doing is actually anti-American. We are not going to take away their rights – we just want to make sure we have ours!!!

    Reply
  • 91. Hattie  |  November 2, 2010 at 11:37 am

    How do people not understand that the “church” IS part of the public? Churches are groups of people of like faith. All “church people” live in this country just as everyone else and thier opinions ARE public opinions.

    Reply
    • 92. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  November 2, 2010 at 1:02 pm

      Oh, really, Hattie? Churches, synagogues, mosques, Buddhist temples, Wiccan prayer circles, Native American sweat lodges are all public? Then show me the receipts where they have paid their taxes and are allowed to work toward ending the separation of church and state and turn this country into a theocracy. And while you are at it, tell me why your brand of religion is better than mine when mine is older than yours. Tell me why any one group of religious people should be allowed to formulate governmental policy in a country that is NOT a theocracy. Yes, you can express your opinions in public, but what the churches do NOT understand is that this is not the same as being allowed to take absolute and total control of the government and totally destroy the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, just because a judicial ruling holding a law unconstitutional goes against your personal religious beliefs and so-called moral code.

      Reply
  • 93. Bob  |  November 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    which Church Hattie????? who’s god??? there are many churches, and God speaks to people in different ways, or they interpret his message differently, so people from many different churches live in this country, as well as many many pople who do not go to church. Please answer which church you attend and how that churches opinions are public. i.e. does the public then get to vote on how that church operates

    Reply

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