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.


CA Supreme Court will hear cases regarding Proposition 8

November 19, 2008

 

This is wonderful news!!

 

California Supreme Court Grants Review in Prop 8 Legal Challenges

 Court to Determine Constitutionality of Prop 8

Today the California Supreme Court granted review in the legal challenges to Proposition 8, which passed by a narrow margin of 52 percent on November 4. In an order issued today, the Court agreed to hear the case and set an expedited briefing schedule. The Court also denied an immediate stay.     

On November 5, 2008, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of Proposition 8 in the California Supreme Court on behalf of six couples and Equality California. The City of San Francisco, joined by the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and Santa Clara County, filed a similar challenge, as did a private attorney in Los Angeles.

The lawsuits allege that, on its face, Proposition 8 is an improper revision rather than an amendment of the California Constitution because, in its very title, which was “Eliminates the right to marry for same-sex couples,” the initiative eliminated an existing right only for a targeted minority. If permitted to stand, Proposition 8 would be the first time an initiative has successfully been used to change the California Constitution to take way an existing right only for a particular group. [emphasis mine] Such a change would defeat the very purpose of a constitution and fundamentally alter the role of the courts in protecting minority rights.   According to the California Constitution, such a serious revision of our state Constitution cannot be enacted through a simple majority vote, but must first be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature.   

Since the three lawsuits submitted on November 5, three other lawsuits challenging Proposition 8 have been filed. In a petition filed on November 14, 2008, leading African American, Latino, and Asian American groups argued that Proposition 8 threatens the equal protection rights of all Californians.

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. On the same day, prominent California women’s rights organizations filed a petition asking the Court to invalidate Proposition 8 because of its potentially disastrous implications for women and other groups that face discrimination.

In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court held that barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and violates the fundamental right to marry. Proposition 8 would completely eliminate the right to marry only for same-sex couples. No other initiative has ever successfully changed the California Constitution to take away a right only from a targeted minority group.    

Over the past 100 years, the California Supreme Court has heard nine cases challenging either legislative enactments or initiatives as invalid revisions of the California Constitution. In three of those cases, the Court invalidated those measures.

Via EQCA.  For more about the cases click here.


Will black people riot if Obama doesn’t win?

October 30, 2008

 

It’s funny, two different people hear that question and you get two different answers.  Wendi C Thomas in Will White People Riot, on October 20th, on The Root answers the question this way:

Would black people riot if Sen. Barack Obama didn’t win the election?” That was the question a white man in Memphis recently asked a racial reconciliation group with which I am involved.

After five years of being a columnist for the daily paper in Memphis, I wasn’t surprised by the absurdity of his query. Many whites still labor under the illusion that black folk act en masse and that if you ask the right one, you can get the official position of some 40 million people. If a few of us get angry, that logic allows, it must surely result in a riot.

Riot because we didn’t get our way? Please. Black people have more than their share of experience with disappointment and dashed dreams. (See: King, Martin Luther; Evers, Medgar; Chaney, James.) Matter of fact, I’d go so far as to say we’re experts in making the best out of a losing hand.

The reply to the curious white gentleman: “No! There is no reason to believe black people will riot if Obama does not win.”

Of course reading it this way, I cannot escape the inherent racism in the question.  It is patently absurd.  The idea that Ms. Thomas can answer for 40 million people or that all 40 million people would feel and respond the same way is ridiculous.  It ignores the fact that all black people do not support Obama as well as all the white people who do.  It’s utterly preposterous.  But what I thought when I heard the question is, why wouldn’t black people riot?  Why wouldn’t we all?

I thought of the fact that the last two elections have essentially been fixed and we’ve had a president for 8 years who was not elected by the people of this country, but by the Supreme court.  He was put into office by politicians (including his brother the governor of Florida), the CEO of Diebold (manufacturer of electronic balloting machines) who promised to “deliver him the state of Ohio” in 2004, by dangling chads and most of all by the apathy of the American people.  We should have been rioting back then.  Why wouldn’t we riot now?

Obama has been ahead in the polls and in the estimated tally of Electoral College votes he will garner on the fourth for so long that a McCain victory at this point would almost certainly mean our election has been hijacked for the third time in a row.  Will black people riot?  I should hope so, I plan to.  If he doesn’t win I will be in San Francisco rioting for the first time in my life and I’ll be in DC shortly thereafter.  I will riot, and strike, and protest and fight until the wrong has been undone.  Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Greens, Peace & Freedomers and Democrats should take to the streets and take back our government.  Whether you vote for Obama or not, it should scare you that the citizens of this country have not picked the president in the last two elections, and if McCain wins, in a third.

Riot?  I should hope so.


Sixth Consequence – Six Consequences of Prop 8 Failing Rebuttal

October 24, 2008

 

Click here to read the Fifth Consequence and Rebuttal

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

6. It will cost you money.  This change in the definition of marriage will bring a cascade of lawsuits, including some already lost (e.g., photographers cannot now refuse to photograph gay marriages, doctors cannot refuse to perform artificial insemination of gays even given other willing doctors).  Even if the courts eventually find in favor of a defender of traditional marriage (highly improbably given today’s activist judges), think of the money – your money – that will be spent on such legal battles.

Thurston/Response: The argument concerning cost is fallaciuos and calculated to engender fear.  In actuality, the net fiscal effect of Proposition 8 will be an influx of revenue to California because of the anticipated increase in marriage ceremonies and the related boon to the economy.  The change in the definition of marriage will not bring a “cascade of lawsuits” because heterosexual registered domestic partners already have all the rights of married couples in California.  None of the lawsuits alluded to in this paragraph has anything to do with gay marriage.

The wedding photographer case was in New Mexico, a state that has no gay marriage law.  The medical doctor case was in California, but was based on our existing non-discrimination laws and would not be affected one way or the other by the passage of Proposition 8.

In the California case, a medical clinic that provided intrauterine insemination (IUI) to its patients, refused to treat one of them because she was a lesbian.  California’s broad anti-discrimination laws expressly ban discrimination by any business establishment that offers to the public “accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges or services.”  This statute bans discrimination against heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, as well as married people and domestic partners.  Therefore, the clinic had the option of either having a doctor on staff who would perform IUI services on a non-discriminatory basis, or cease performing the services at all.  Whether we agree with this decision or not, the fact is that the law upon which this ruling was based will not be affected by the passage of Proposition 8, so there is no “consequence” if the proposition fails.

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.”

Conclusion

In summary, the arguments used in “Six Consequences… If Proposition 8 Fails” are false, misleading, and based on faulty logic.  Almost every legal case alluded to is misrepresented.  The passage or failure of Proposition 8 will not affect any of the scenarios posed by this document; all of the so-called adverse consequences are illusory.

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


In very strong language the CT supreme court demands gay marriage

October 12, 2008

 

Connecticut Supreme Court Demands Gay Marriages

The Connecticut Supreme Court today issued an astounding opinion on a gay marriage case, saying that the unavailability of marriage to all people is unconstitutional. The language, particularly addressing the inequality of the state’s currently available civil unions, was unbelievably stern. “Especially in light of the long and undisputed history of invidious discrimination that gay persons have suffered … we cannot discount the plaintiffs’ assertion that the legislature, in establishing a statutory scheme consigning same sex couples to civil unions, has relegated them to an inferior status, in essence, declaring them to be unworthy of the institution of marriage…. Accordingly, we reject the trial court’s conclusion that marriage and civil unions are ‘separate’ but ‘equal’ legal entities.” Wow.

And also: “That prejudice against gay persons is so widespread and so deep-seated is due, in large measure, to the fact that many people in our state and nation sincerely believe that homosexuality is morally reprehensible.” And! “[G]ay persons clearly lack the political power that African-Americans and women possess today…. We therefore agree fully with the California Supreme Court’s recent observation in recognizing gay persons as a suspect class under the California constitution….”

But what of the marriage-rights crowd? “Although we acknowledge that many legislators and many of their constituents hold strong personal convictions with respect to preserving the traditional concept of marriage as a heterosexual institution, such beliefs, no matter how deeply held, do not constitute the exceedingly persuasive justification required to sustain a statute that discriminates on the basis of a quasi-suspect classification.” Holy smokes.

The means by which the unavailability of gay marriage in Connecticut will be fixed is yet to be determined.

In 2005, Connecticut passed a civil-unions bill. The year previous, a gay-marriage case was brought; it went down in Superior Court in 2006, because the court regarded civil unions and marriages as giving the same rights. (They do not, actually! Civil unions do not grant the many rights accorded on a federal level to a marriage.) The case was appealed to the state Supreme Court last year. Meanwhile, a bill was approved in the legislature’s judiciary committee to grant full marriage rights to gay people; it has stalled, because the governor has promised to veto. Currently, only California and Massachusetts have gay marriage; California may lose that in the election next month.

http://radaronline.com/exclusives/2008/10/connecticut-gay-marriage.php

Thanks for this Angie!


So SUPREMELY Unqualified – This is the part of Katie Couric’s Sarah Palin interview the McCain campaign pressured CBS not to air…

October 2, 2008

 

“Come on Sarah, can you think of any Supreme Court decisions you disagree with?  You can do it!”

“Besides Roe v. Wade Sarah?”

“Well, try this one – Can you think of any Supreme Court decisions at all?”

“Sarah, besides Roe v. Wade”

“Ok, no.  How about naming any of the Supreme Court justices?”

“Besides that ‘that Italian guy,’ do you know how many other justices sit on the bench?”

“No, Sarah, don’t worry.  They have chairs.  Nice big comfy arm chairs.  They don’t have to sit on an actual bench.”

“Yes, I agree, that would be very uncomfortable.  Ok, then.  Right.  Here’s an easy one Sarah, where is the Supreme Court?”

“Um, no Sarah.  Washington State and Washington DC are two different places.

“Oh, that was a joke.  Ok, I get it.  Seattle.  And, not that it really matters, but Seattle’s not actually the capitol of Washington.”

“It’s Olympia Sarah.”

“Um, yeah, right… I’m sure most people do think it’s Seattle.”

“Yes, it is GREAT that you can name a city in Washingtion.  Well done!”

“Yes of course, you can.  Can we continue the interview when you’re done going potty?”

“Sarah?”

 


Palin & Biden On Roe V. Wade Video – CBSNews.com

October 2, 2008

 

I’m actually surprised Sarah knows the word Federalist.

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