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19 November 2008


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Barbara Saunders

As a progressive and a minister's daughter, I have to raise a bit of an objection to the association of religion, "right wingnuts", and insitutional religious organizations.

It is true, and more than unfortunate, that right wingnuts have co-opted the public discourse on faith and have gained undue influence in the realm of institutional religion.

At the same time, many individuals fight for justice specifically on the basis of their religious beliefs about ethics, compassion, and love. Every mainline church in the United States contains enough of these people acting up enough that some are considering splitting in two over marriage and ordination limitations around sexual orientation. Even more individuals have left organized religion altogether while maintaining their affiliation with the faith.


I'm thinking of taking up Wiccan, myself. I already spoke to one, who told me what books I should check out. Organized religion and all that it entails gives me a migraine. Seriously.


Well, Red, if you ever wanna talk about Wiccan stuff, let me know. ;)


Barbara Saunders

This just mailed to me, in a press release of the National Center for Lesbian Rights:

"On November 17, 2008, the California Council of Churches and other religious leaders and faith organizations representing millions of members statewide, also filed a petition asserting that Proposition 8 poses a severe threat to the guarantee of equal protection for all, and was not enacted through the constitutionally required process for such a dramatic change to the California Constitution."


I limited my comments to the religious right, Barbara. THEY are the ones making the wackjob association with religion, THEY are the ones making the insane statements about sexual orienation.

However, I don't believe churches should have special legal rights. If they're charities, then they should be bound by all the rules and laws of charities. If they're PACs, ditto. If they're social groups, the same. But I don't believe there should be a special category for churches as opposed to other groups.

But that doesn't mean I think all churches are part of the religious right. Obviously that's not the case.


I too think we should open the discussion of the special laws (especially tax exemptions) that apply to churches! I hope that is one of the good things that comes out of the whole Prop 8 mess.


These idiots have been around from the beginning of time. Their religion is the only religion. Their way of believing the only way of believing. They fought crusades, burned people as witches and don't believe man landed on the moon. Oh yeah - don't forget the earth is the center of the universe and everything revolves around it. It is narrow minded people who don't believe that the Constitution was written as a living document and think the Bible is God's word written in stone. ( oh and don't forget - God, Jesus and all the folks involved in creating the Bible spoke American English) They obviously slept through History Class. Any true theologian can punch holes into the Bible is carved in stone discourse. These people are the first to stand up and fight for their rights to believe when and how they want and to use the Constitution as their club but God forbid anyone else does the same. They are no better than the hardcore fundamentalists of other religions such as the Taliban but if you told them that to their faces, their heads would spin and they would spew pea soup. There is no talking sense to them - you just have to keep fighting them back down to a minority and overriding them at every turn. It will be a battle we must fight until the end of time.


Why don't you mention the religious LEFT? The Religious RIGHT had their people in power for almost a decade and yet it took the coat tails of Obama and minority voters in California to push 8. Why don't you acknowledge that?

Democrats have been scaring voters with bogus claims that Republicans are fascists, are going to take away social security, overturn Roe, pass national amendments to the Constitution... blah blah blah.

None of those things happened under George "Evangelical" Bush.

Given that Obama isn't for gay marriage, McCain's personal savings account plan that would allow anyone to leave their Social Security benefits to anyone they want (including their gay spouse) is actually superior to the Obama/Democrat/StatusQuo Social Security policy that isn't fixed with civil unions and doesn't allow gays to pass along benefits to anyone.

You're a pragmatic voter, you say? Lesser of two evils? Well then eat the irony of Obama's coat tails in a state that was NEVER going to matter for the national election causing minority voters to turn out in unprecedented numbers to vote for 8.

The religious right you complain about? They stayed home.

Fiscal conservatives have had to acknowledge that their end of the Reagan coalition has been damaged severely by the religious right who are decidedly non-libertarian. So why is it so hard for you to acknowledge that the Big Tent Democrat party is still a circus underneath?


As a straight Christian... I couldn't agree with you more. I'm so embarrassed by my fellow believers; the only right that should come with religion is the right to practice that faith in a free, secular country.


Christopher, wow, you make my fucking head spin. You say pro-choice people should embrace the Republicans because they didn't manage to overturn Roe v Wade? Do you not think if they'd had ONE MORE SUPREME COURT APPOINTMENT they'd have done just that? I mean, it's in their fucking platform. It's what they want; the fact that they didn't have the political ability to do it doesn't mean they wouldn't.

They WANTED to pass amendments to the federal constitution, they just weren't able to pull it off.

It must be hard to see the Republican Party fall so crushingly low, but if somehow we poor progressives, queers, and feminists weren't able to somehow magically divine that they were the party with the answers for us from out of the crazy wacked out mixed messages and, you know, chaos that was their campaign -- this is our fault, how?

Maybe if the Republican Party purged itself of the poison of the religious wingnuts, stopped mocking intelligence and education, embraced its libertarian principles, and left my heart, genitals, and womb to my own conscience -- something you'd think a conservative would just do out of principle -- there would be something to talk about it.

As it is? Nice try. But you clearly have no concept of what the right has become in this country.


The official villains aren't just religious fundamentalists, but white fundamentalist christians. I haven't seen protests at NAACP headquarters. And Muslims, more numerous than Mormons (and who were instructed in Mosques to vote for Prop. 8) are not mentioned at all. Why?

Because criticism is to break away from presumed solidarity with oppressed groups -- minorities -- and weaken the argument that gay marriage is a matter of civil right.

Why do we continue to want government to dispense "marriage" and to define it? Why can't the state oversee property and inheritance contracts, and "marriage" between anybody and anybody can be a private matter, religious if you want it that way? What business is it of the government who I pledge my life to and who I love? Why do we need the state involved in this at all?

I'd like to see an initiative for a referendum that henceforth the state will have nothing at all to do with marriage, period.

And after that we can tackle the tax-exempt status of religion.


I didn't say anything about embracing the Republicans (although Log Cabin is a valid choice for people). I made a plea for being honest instead of a partisan, blind and unable to criticize the actual people worthy of your wrath. You are NEVER going to win over the religious zealots, so count those votes as lost. But you've found common cause with the minorities on other issues, and they are the ones who betrayed you on 8.

As Catherine has noted, the "community"'s selective choice of targets for their protests are decidedly racist. Do you think giving the minorities a pass is going to fix the situation?

Oh don't feel sorry for me, I'm not hurt by the "crushingly low" fall of the Republican party, although the rumors of their death are greatly over exaggerated. They weren't delivering what I want (although no Democrat will). And it's hard to consider them dead when 46% of the country voted for their ticket.

And your points about "they wanted to!" are silly. A real pragmatic voter should look at what government actually does. And the one thing government does all the time, very well, is tax and spend.

That's no boogey man scare tactic, it's reality. And that impacts me, and everyone, much more strongly than any single issue. And that's how I vote.

Roe is a crap decision, not because of the outcome, but because of the way it got there. And you know that, that's why there is such fear over it. I personally think it should be a state issue (like most other things), but I will never ever ever cast a vote based upon abortion. I simply don't care enough and if I had to comment on the morality, I'd say it's justifiable homicide just like wars for oil and land and greater freedoms and killing home invaders, etc.

Trying to define a fetus as a person is stupid. Shall we assume that this means that the government would then have to appoint a social worker to every pregnant woman to consult on every medical decision...multiples if there are twins?, since people need representation and there are obviously times when the mother's interests and the fetus-person's interests would be at odds.

But saying that a fetus isn't alive is stupid as well. You can't circumvent a moral choice by saying you don't have to make one in the first place because it's just a parasitic tissue until it's born.

I don't want to live in a country where people who can't even use birth control are forced to raise unwanted children or dump them into the state's control. I don't want to pay for that.

And as far as gay marriage goes, I really don't understand why the word is important at all. People who are willing to give gays all the same privileges (and there are more privileges on the table here than rights... i.e. spousal medical insurance is not a right) seem like fools if the issue is really the word marriage. The same can be said on the gay side. You can't legislate acceptance.

I don't see why people should be blocked from entering any arrangement they want with other consenting adults. Why should we stop polygamy...the supposed next step if we allow gays to marry? Polygamy seems to be the boogey man that goes along with gay marriage, but really, if adults want that, why should the state stop them?

I find it delicious that Obama's first major accomplishment was not to bring people together, but to show that the democratic party is more fractured than the unity and solidarity makeup would have us believe. The rhetoric is enough to choke on.

And I do think that gay marriage will be mainstreamed and legalized... perhaps government "marriage" done away with entirely in the next decade.

Since the gays have already won the battle for the money (i.e. health insurance benefits) with civil unions... the only thing left is the illusive "marriage" word... and really, if it's a sacrament, it should stay in the church and the government should have a different word for it.

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