Focus on Focus on the Family – Letter from 2012

November 21, 2008

 

before-you-vote2

  

 

Shortly before November election Focus on the Family, James Dobson’s ministry organization, released a fictional letter from an evangelical Christian in the year 2012.  The document is titled “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America.”   A one page introduction explains the 15 page letter to follow.  The letter itself is a very detailed account of all the ways America has failed under President Obama.   The letter was denounced widely by people with functioning brain cells:

  

[this letter] scrapes the bottom of the hate barrel.

Clarksville Online, The voice of Clarksville, Tennessee (this is an excellent, ranty post)

 

James Dobson, you owe America an apology.  The fictional letter released through your Focus on the Family Action organization… crosses all lines of decent public discourse.

Jim Wallis, Huffington Post

 

The so called “letter from 2012” released by James Dobson is one of the most disingenuous pieces of political rhetoric I have ever encountered.

Welton Gaddy, beliefnet blog

 

 

Ok, so if you are not an evangelical Christian living in fear, you didn’t much like the letter – no surprise there.  But what the hell was it all about?  Really?

 

The letter was released in mid October 2008, just prior to the election – at a time when all signs pointed to a victory for Obama.  Nothing short of a miracle (or voter fraud) would have secured the election for McCain.  Dobson had little hope of influencing the outcome of the presidential election at this point.  So, what did he want?  Maybe he just wanted to get his flock to the polls.   The religious right was under-enthused about McCain to begin with; some were threatening not to vote.  If they stayed away from the polls, other critical issues might not go the Right way (abortion rights, gay marriage rights).  The introduction to the letter makes it quite clear he was attempting to influence the election – perhaps just not the presidential election:

Many of [the changes described in this letter], if they occur, will have significant implications for Christians.  This letter is addressed particularly to their concerns so they will be aware of what is at stake before the November 4 election.

 

 

Is that all he wanted though; good voter turnout?  Maybe, but I think the letter was designed to make clear his political agenda for the next four years – and take the first steps to ensure he has the resources to necessary to move that agenda forward.  First he gave his followers a good scolding for allowing Obama to be elected:

Christians didn’t take the time to find out who Barack Obama was when they voted for him.  Why did they risk our nation’s future on him?  It was a mistake that changed the course of history.

 

Then he explained to them, in detail, how the tragic demise of America is the inevitable result of Obama’s presidency.  The letter details travesties from terrorist attacks on US soil, to a Muslim takeover of the UN, to abortions in the streets.  He breaks down the letter, section by section, detailing the doomsday-like scenarios that will unfold over the next four years.  How better to drive your flock into the pews with open wallets than to scare the living shit out of them?  I read enough “pro-Letter” posts to know he did his job well. 

 

So, take out all the rhetoric and fear mongering, and reduce the letter to a list – what’s leftover is the religious right’s agenda.  Point by point, from his letter, the agenda is:

  1. The Supreme Court
  2. Gay Marriage
  3. Religious Speech in the Public Square
  4. Abortion
  5. Pornography
  6. Gun Ownership
  7. Education / Home Schooling
  8. Military Policy
  9. Health Care
  10. Taxes, the Economy and the Poor
  11. Talk Radio
  12. Christian Publishers
  13. Prosecution of Bush Administration Officials (the avoidance of)

 

So, what’s my point?  I have so many I don’t know where to start.  I’m starting to focus on Focus on the Family and it is scaring the shit out of me, and i just wanted to make sure every thinking person in America is aware of this letter.

 

 

For “fun,” here’s an excerpt from the letter dealing with my favorite topic, “marriage” equality:

The most far-reaching transformation of American society came from the Supreme Court’s stunning affirmation, in early 2010 (That soon?  I hope sure hope so), that homosexual “marriage” was a “constitutional” right that had to be respected by all 50 states because laws barring same-sex “marriage” violated the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.  Suddenly, homosexual “marriage” was the law of the land in all 50 states, and no state legislature, no state Supreme Court, no state Constitutional amendment, not even Congress, had any power to change it.  The Supreme Court had ruled, and the discussion was over (Funny how that works, hah?).  This was a blatant example of creating law by the cour, for homosexual “marriage” was mentioned nowhere in the Constitution, nor would any of the authors have imagined that same-sex “marriage” could be derived from their words. But it just followed the precedents that had been set by the state supreme courts in Massachusetts (2003), California (2008) (Bad call there Jim) and Connecticut (2008).

 

President Obama repeated his declaration that he personally was against same-sex “marriage”, but he told the Nation there was nothing he could do.  The Supreme Court had ruled, and it was now the law of the land.  The president asked the nation to support the decision.

 

After that decision, many other policies changed, and several previous Supreme Court cases were reversed rather quickly – raising the question, “Is America still the land of the free?”

 

1. Boy Scouts: “The land of the free”?  The Boy Scouts no longer exist as an organization.  They chose to disband rather than be forced to obey the Supreme Court decision that they would have to hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with young boys (Uh huh, because it’s fags who are pedophiles not Catholic priests?).  (This was to be expected with a change in the court, since the 2000 decision Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, which affirmed the right of the Boy Scouts as a private organization to dismiss a homosexual scoutmaster, was a 5-4 decision, with Stevens, Ginsburg, Souter and Breyerdissenting even then.)

 

It had become increasingly difficult for the Boy Scouts to find meeting places anyway, because in 2009 Congress passed and President Obama gned an expansion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which extended federal civil rights protections to people engaging in homosexual behavior (gasp!  NO!).  So they Boy Scouts had already been kicked out of all public facilities (WTF??  Illogical?  Does that even begin to describe this nonsensical statement)??

 

2. Elementary schools:“The land of the free?  Elementary schools no include compulsory training in varieties of gender identity in Grade 1, including the goodness (did he seriously use the word “goodness?”) of homosexuality as on possible personal choice.  Many parents tried to “opt out” their children from such sessions, but the courts ruled they cannot do this, noting that education experts in the government had decided such training is essential to children’s psychological health.

 

Many Christian teachers objected to teaching first-graders that homosexual behavior was morally neutral and equal to heterosexuality.  They said it violated their consciences to have to teach something the Bible viewed as morally wrong (don’t even get me started on this sentence).  But state after state ruled that their refusal to teach positively about homosexuality was the equivalent of hate speech, and they had to teach it or be fired.  Tens of thousands of Christian teachers either quit or were fired, and there are hardly any evangelical teachers in public schools any more.

 

Non-Christians found this hard to understand.  “Why not just teach what the school says even if it’s not your personal opinion?  So what.  We can’t have every teacher deciding what he or she wants to teach, can we?”

 

But the Christian teachers kept coming back to something Jesus said: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned to the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).  And they quit by the thousands, no matter the personal cost, rather than commit what they believed to be a direct sin against God.

 

In addition, many private Christian schools decided to shut down after the Supreme Court ruled that anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation extended to private institutions such as schools and that private schools also had to obey the law and teach that homosexuality and heterosexuality are both morally good choices.

 

3. Adoption Agencies:“The land of the free”?  There are no more Roman Catholic or evangelical Protestant adoption agencies in the United States.  Following earlier rulings in New York and Massachusetts, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 ruled that these agencies had to agree to place children with homosexual couples or lose their licenses.  Just as the Catholic Charities adoption agency had closed down for this reason in Massachusetts in 2006 so all similar agencies across the United States have now closed down rather thanvilate their consciences about the moral wrong of homosexual behavior.

 

Christians parents seeking to adopt have tried going through secular adoption agencies, but they are increasingly excluding parents with “narrow” or dangerous views on religion or homosexuality.

 

4. Businesses with government contracts:“The land of the free”?  All businesses that have government contracts at the national, state or local level now have to provide documentaion of equal benefits for same-sex couples.  this was needed to overcome “systemic discrimination” against them and followed on a national level the pattern of policies already in place ni San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle.

 

5. Public broadcasting:“The land of the free?”  the bible can no longer be freely preached over radio or television when the subject matter includes such “offensive” doctrines as criticizing homosexual behavior.  The Supreme Court agreed that these could be kept off the air as prohibited “hate speech” that is likely to incite violence and discrimintation.  these policies followed broadcasting and print restrictions that were in place prior to 2008 in Canada and Sweden.

 

6. Doctors and lawyers:“The land of the free”?  Physiscians who refuse to provide artificial insemination for lesbian couples now face significant fines or loss of their license to practice medicine, folowing the reasoning of a decision of the California Supreme Court in North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group v. Superior Court of San Diego County (Benitez)which was announced August 18, 2008.  As a result, many Christian physicians have retired or left the practices of family medicine and obstetrics & gynecology.  Lawyers who refuse to hadnle adoption cases for same-sex couples similarly now lose their licenses to practice law.

 

7. Counselors and social workers: “The land of the free”?  All other professionals who are licensed by individual states are also prohibited from discriminating against homosexuals.  Social workers and counselors, even counselors in church staff positions, who refuse to provide “professional, appropriately nurturing marriage counseling” for homosexual couples lose their counseling licenses.  Thousands of Christians have left these professions as a result.

 

8. Homosexual weddings:“The land of the free”?  Church buildings are now considered to be a “public accomodation” by the Supreme Court, and churches have no freedom to refuse to allow their buildings to be used for wedding ceremonies for homsexual couples.  If they refuse, they lose their tax-exempt status, and they are increasingly becoming subject to fines and antidiscrimination lawsuits.

 

9. Homosexual church staff members:“The land of the free”?  While churches are still free to turn down homosexual applicants for the job of senior pastor, churches adn parachurch organizations are no longer free to reject homosexual applicants for staff positions such as parttime youth pastor or director of couseling.  Those that have rejected homosexual applicants have had their tax-exempt status revoked, and now the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has begun to impose heavy fines for each instance of such “discrimination,” which, they say, is “contrary to the U.S. Constitution as defined by the Supreme Court.”  These fines follow the pattern of a precedent-setting case in February 2008, in which the Diocese of Hereford in the Church of England was fined $94,000 (47,000 UK pounds) for turning down a homosexual applicant for a youth ministry position.

 

10. Homesexuals in the military: One change regarding the status of homosexuals did not wait for any Supreme Court decision.  In the first week after his inauguration, President Obama invited homosexual rights leaders from around the United States to join him at the White Huose as he signed an executive order directing all branches of the military to abandon their “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and to start actively recruiting homosexuals.  As a result, homosexuals are now given special bonuses for enlisting in military service  (to attempt to compensate for past discrimination) (Oh Please!?!?!  As if our government would ever give a bunch of queers money?  They still haven’t apologized for slavery for God’s sake.), and all new recruits, and all active duty and reserve personnel, are compelled to take many hours of “sensitivity training” to ensure they demonstrate positive attitudes toward those with different sexual orientation and practices.  Any one who seems hesitant or who objects is routinely passed over for promotion.  In addition, any chaplain who holds to an interpretation of Scripture that homosexual conduct is morally wrong and therefore does not espouse “mainstream values,” is dismissed from the military.  This is not the land of the free for them.

 

 

I’m not positive but I think he gave the most space to homosexuals.  🙂  For some reason, I love that.

 

Click here for a more detailed analysis of the entire letter.


Mothers across California say NO on Prop 8!!

November 3, 2008

 


Parents Demand Prop 8 ad Taken Down

October 27, 2008

 

Outraged Parents of Children Featured in Latest Prop 8 TV Ad Demand that Commercial be Taken off the Air Immediately
Latest Campaign Gimmick Termed Exploitative and Shameless by Parents

SACRAMENTO – The parents of the two children most prominently featured in the latest multi-million dollar Prop 8 political spot today termed those ads “distasteful and exploitative” and demanded that the ads be taken off the air immediately. Both sets of parents – Laura Hodder and Matt Alexander and Jen Press and James Moore, sent two hand-delivered letters this morning. The first letter is to the Prop 8 Campaign demanding the ad be removed from its television and its Web site where it is being used as a fund raising tool. The second letter to the San Francisco Chronicle asks them to intervene on their behalf. The Prop 8 campaign manipulated video that the Chronicle has posted on its Web site.

In their letter to the Prop 8 campaign, the parents wrote: “We are absolutely outraged that you have chosen, without permission, to shamelessly hijack the images of our innocent children to promote a cause that we in no way, shape or form support. It is even more maddening that you have willfully and calculatingly edited the images of our children, with menacing music in the background, in a way that is completely contrary to their nature and harmful to them.”

The footage manipulated by the Yes campaign, without authorization from either the parents or the Chronicle, was originally captured on Oct. 10 when the children took a field trip with their classmates and several parents to share the moment of their teacher’s wedding to her longtime partner. All parents were notified well in advance of the trip which was organized by some parents, and, in fact, two families chose to have their children not participate under California’s broad opt out law.

“I’m a school principal so I know something about education and parents’ rights,” said Matt Alexander whose son, Ben, is featured in the ad. “And the opt out law is something we readily apply all the time. So, let me join every other educator in the state and ask Prop 8 to also stop lying about the opt out law.”

From: http://www.noonprop8.com/headlines/outraged-parents-demand-that-commercial-be-taken-off-the-air-immediately/#extended


Six Consequences of Prop 8 Failing Rebuttal – First Consequence

October 24, 2008

 

Much has been made of the anonymous document circling the web entitled “Six Consequences the Coalition Has Identified if Proposition 8 Fails” (in support of Prop 8).  In case you haven’t seen it, I’m posting it here along with Morris Thurston’s rebuttal. Morris Thurston is a Harvard educated lawyer and Professor at Brigham Young University.  He is also an active member of the LDS Church.

Six Consequences the Coalition [in Support of Proposition 8] Has Identified if Proposition 8 Fails – First Consequence

1. Children in public schools will have to be be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage.

The California Education Code already requires that health education classes instruct children about marriage. (#51890)

Therefore, unless Proposition 8 passes children will be taught that marriage is between two adults regardless of gender.  There will be serious clashes between the secular school system and the right of parents to teach children their own values and beliefs.

Thurston/Response: This is untrue.  California Education Code 51890 provides that “pupils will receive instruction to aid them in making decision in matters of personal, family and community health.”  The focus is on health.  The statute provides for community participation, including lectures by practicing professional health and safety personnel from the community. Things that are to be taught include, for example, drug use and misuse, nutrition, exercise, diseases and disorders, environmental health and safety, as well as “family health and child development, including the legal and financial aspects and responsibilities of marriage and parenthood.”

Another section of the Education Code (51933) deals with comprehensive sexual health education and HIV/AIDS prevention.  It provides that instruction shall be age appropriate and medically accurate, shall teach “respect for marriage and committed relationships,” and shall encourage a pupil to communicate with his or her parents about human sexuality.

Therefore, no provision of the Education Code requires any teacher to teach that same-sex marriage is “just as good” as traditional marriage. Teachers are to teach respect for marriage and committed relationships, and Proposition 8 will not change this law. 

Click here to read the Second Consequence and Rebuttal
Click here to download and read the entire document, including Thurston’s citations.


California Teachers Say No on Prop 8

October 23, 2008

 


Fact vs. Fiction – The truth about Proposition 8

October 21, 2008

 

About the fact and fiction…

The videos were taken from www.protectmarriage.com the group which introduced Proposition 8 to the ballot, and the site www.preservingmarriage.org, a Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church, Utah) site dedicated to passing Proposition 8 in the State of California. 

The Fact and Fiction arguments were taken from www.noonprop8.com/about/fact-vs-fiction and from Morris Thurston’s rebuttal to the document “Six Consequences the Coalition [in Support of Proposition 8] Has Identified if Proposition 8 Fails.”

The Notes are mine.

 

Fiction: Churches could lose their tax-exemption status.

Fact: Nothing in Prop 8 would force churches to do anything. In fact, the court decision regarding marriage specifically says “no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.”

 

Fiction: A Massachusetts case about a parent’s objection to the school curriculum will happen here.

Fact: Unlike Massachusetts, California gives parents an absolute right to remove their kids and opt-out of teaching on health and family instruction they don’t agree with. The opponents know that California law already covers this and Prop 8 won’t affect it, so they bring up an irrelevant case in Massachusetts.

Fiction: Unless Prop 8 passes, CA parents won’t have the right to object to what their children are taught in school.

Fact: California law clearly gives parents and guardians broad authority to remove their children from any health instruction if it conflicts with their religious beliefs or moral convictions.

Fiction: Teaching children about same-sex marriage will happen here unless we pass Prop 8.

Fact: Not one word in Prop 8 mentions education, and no child can be forced, against the will of their parents, to be taught anything about health and family issues at school. California law prohibits it.  Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley has already ruled that this claim by Prop 8 proponents is “false and misleading.” The Orange County Register, traditionally one of the most conservative newspapers in the state, says this claim is false. So do lawyers for the California Department of Education.

Note: With regard to education and the passage of Proposition 8, the California Teachers Association is the biggest contributor to the No On Proposition 8 campaign.  If the CTA is not concerned about what will happen in public schools if homosexuals are allowed to marry, why should you be?  You trust teachers with your children every day, trust them on this.

 

 

Fiction: Prop 8 does not discriminate against gays. 

Fact: Prop 8 is simple: it eliminates the rights for same-sex couples to marry. Prop 8 would deny equal protections and write discrimination against one group of people—lesbian and gay people—into our state constitution.

 

 

Fiction: People can be sued over personal beliefs.

Fact: California’s laws already prohibit discrimination against anyone based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. This has nothing to do with marriage.

Fiction: Pepperdine University supports the Yes on 8 campaign.

Fact:The university has publicly disassociated itself from Professor Richard Peterson of Pepperdine University, who is featured in the ad, and has asked to not be identified in the Yes on 8 advertisements.

Fiction: Four Activist Judges in San Francisco…

Fact: Prop 8 is not about courts and judges, it’s about eliminating a fundamental right. Judges didn’t grant the right, the constitution guarantees the right. Proponents of Prop 8 use an outdated and stale argument that judges aren’t supposed to protect rights and freedoms. This campaign is about whether Californians, right now, in 2008 are willing to amend the constitution for the sole purpose of eliminating a fundamental right for one group of citizens.

Note:  Actually I believe “No on Prop 8” groups should be more forthcoming about this issue.  A discussion of judicial activism is relevant within the context of this case.  Many legal scholars, including some who support gay marriage, believe this was a clear cut case of judges overstepping their bounds.  This should concern everyone, even opponents of Prop 8.  In this case the judges decided in our favor, the next time we might not be so lucky.  Judges are not supposed to use the bench as a pulpit.

To complicate things, there is debate about the issue – reputable people on both sides disagree about whether or not the CA Supreme Court went to far.  Additionally, there is a history of judicial activism around the issue of civil rights.  A strikingly similar situation existed in the sixties with regard to interracial marriage in the 1960s in which the court approved interracial marriage even though it was opposed by a majority of the population.  There are many cases in which the courts act according to a higher law – that the majority of the people cannot and should not impose their will on a minority if that will is discriminatory. 

A group of people representing a minority of the population believed that current state law was discriminating against homosexuals in denying them the right to marry.  They brought suit against the State of California and won.  This is what I chose to focus on.  In any case, the bottom line is that you should be concerned about judicial activism, but that does not mean you should vote Yes on 8.

10/23/08: Update

From Morris Thurston’s rebuttal to the “Six Consequences…” document, rebuttal to the “6th Consequence”:

The gratuitous comment concerning “activist judges” seems to be framed as an appeal to fear and paranoia.  In fact, today’s justices on both the California supreme court and the United States Supreme Court can hardly be called “activist.”  Six of the seven justices of the California Supreme Court were appointed by Republican governors; seven of the nine justices of the United States Supreme Court were appointed by Republican presidents.  Most legal scholars would agree that they are moderate to conservative in their leanings and have a healthy respect for constitutional principles.  The California Supreme Court has a high reputation throughout the land.  A recent study indicates that its decisions are approved of and followed by out-of-state courts far more than are the decisions of any other supreme court in the United States.

Ronald M. George, the chief justice of the California Supreme Court, who wrote the opinion for the majority in the marriage cases, is a judicial moderate who was never considered to be an activist judge.  He has an outstanding scholarly background (Princeton and Stanford) and worked as a prosecutor immediately after graduating from law school.  He was appointed a Superior Court judge at the early age of 32 by Republican Governor Ronald Reagan.  Though young, he quickly gained a reputation as fair-minded, insightful, hard working and tough on crime.  He was widely praised for his handling of the difficult trial of the Hillside Strangler, Angelo Buono.  He rose in the ranks of judges until he was appointed to the California Supreme Court by Republican Governor Pete Wilson.

As Justice George considered the marriage cases, the decision “weighed heavily” on his mind.  He remembered a long ago trip he made with his European immigrant parents through the American South.  There, the signs warning “No Negro” or “No colored” left “quite an indelible impression on me,” he recalled.  As a judicial conservative, it would have been safest for him to vote against the petitioners and avoid the backlash that he knew would come  But, as he put it in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, “I think there are times when doing the right thing means not playing safe.”

The function of judges is to evaluate cases before them and apply constitutional principles to assure that minorities, as well as majorities, receive justice.  In controversial cases they are bound to anger some portion of the electorate regardless of how they vote.  Their unenviable job is to ignore public opinion and apply the law as they see it. [emphasis mine]  Some decisions are so difficult that reasonable minds can differ.  The Supreme Court decision in the marriage cases was that sort of decision.  Nevertheless, four of the seven justices on what is considered to be a moderate to conservative court agreed on the verdict that was rendered. This decision cannot be written off as merely the whim of “activist judges.”

 

My conclusion, people who support Prop 8 are not all evil, ignorant or intolerant.  Practice tolerance if you wish to be the beneficiary of it.  Take the time to understand if you want to be understood.  Be patient when you educate, not everyone comes from the same space as you.  Was your consciousness raised by getting screamed at and bullied?  I don’t think that works as a general rule.

We have 14 days left, and we’re losing.  Get our message out there!  Support Civil Rights, Vote No on Prop 8!