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NOM Exploits Supporters with Casual, Offhand Lie

Rob Tisinai

November 3rd, 2011

The National Organization “for” Marriage recently issued another one of its regular pleas for money, and this one contains — surprise! — a lie.  In an article about Illinois adoption agencies, NOM president Brian Brown writes:

Now that government is refusing to work with Christian adoption agencies…

This is a lie.

  • I called St. Mary’s Services, an Episcopalian adoption agency (847-870-8181).  The state government still works with them.
  • I called Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (847-635-4600), which offers adoptions services.  The state government actually funds them.  (This may also be true of the other agencies, but I have not confirmed it.)

The government is not “refusing to work with Christian adoption agencies.”  If NOM were committed to honesty, it could have written, “Now that government is refusing to work with adoption agencies that violate anti-discrimination law…” but that’s got a pretty low martyr factor.  And NOM needs that martyr factor.

Their big project now is developing a persecution narrative.  It’s a desperate strategy.  When judges mandated same-sex marriage, NOM decried judges who legislated from the bench. When state legislature passed same-sex marriage, NOM complained about legislators legislating from the legislature (!), and called for referendum by popular vote.  Now that public opinion is turning firmly against them, they’re trying to lay groundwork for judges to legislate from the bench by declaring same-sex marriage an infringement on religious freedom.

Apparently they can’t do that without lying.

What’s even more disturbing, though, is the contempt they show their own supporters.  NOM spread this lie in a fundraising appeal.  They have no compunctions about deceiving their followers in order to extract cash from them.

And of course, it’s not just about the money.  This is another contribution to the anti-gay echo chamber.  By offering this falsehood in a casual, offhand way, their readers accept it as a simple, obvious truth.  They’ll repeat it, not realizing it’s a lie.  Good, innocent folk will repeat it after them.  NOM isn’t just exploiting people’s wallets; it’s exploiting their trust.  And soon enough, once again, a lie will become the “truth.”

I don’t know why I still find it so astonishing when our opponents hold themselves up as moral guardians while lying to the very people them claim to protect.

But, somehow, I always do.

Comments

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tavdy79
November 3rd, 2011 | LINK

Now that public opinion is turning firmly against them, they’re trying to lay groundwork for judges to legislate from the bench by declaring same-sex marriage an infringement on religious freedom.

Apparently they can’t do that without lying.

What do you mean “apparently”? It’s bloody obvious they can’t do it without lying! It’s impossible to do it with anything approaching honesty.

Hyhybt
November 3rd, 2011 | LINK

I’m not sure whether this makes it better or worse, but from their side, this wouldn’t be considered a lie. At least, a large chunk of their support doesn’t consider anyone not opposed to gay marriage to *be* Christian, belief in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit notwithstanding.

Blake
November 3rd, 2011 | LINK

What really yanks-my-chain about this is that this false controversy is completely manufactured. Come-on people! Orphans really don’t need to be pawns in the culture wars. I wish Catholic Charities and other agencies would just swallow their hubris and admit that gay couples can be fine parents.

But since they won’t, how can defuse this fake controversy?

Perhaps we could offer up a concession to Catholic Charities in IL through legislation that simultaneously calls them out on their bigotry while allowing them to continue to provide services. Maybe some sort of deal wherein they can discriminate for a period of time while further study is undertaken. Say 5 or 10 years. That should be time enough for more non-biased studies that will show, once again, that gay couples make fine parents. Or perhaps tie the time they can discriminate to the amount of time it will take to complete a state-funded study that will show the same.

These are just suggestions and I’m open to others, but lets be the better people here and recognize that orphans’ rights don’t need to be co-opted by the culture wars.

DN
November 3rd, 2011 | LINK

NOM is so fond of pointing out how “Massachussetts shut down religious adoption,” and I’ve tried at least a dozen times to post that the Mormon church has no problem operating in that state without adopting to gays. The trick?

The Mormons don’t take government funds.

For all the bleating they do about free speech, I’ve been banned from posting there for at least a year.

I don’t know which bothers me more: their lying or their hypocrisy. But I do know what bothers me the most about them: the fact that they sow discord amonng the American people in order to raise money for themselves.

Timothy Kincaid
November 3rd, 2011 | LINK

Rob, excellent piece.

And while they are lying without hesitation, I think this also reveals something even deeper.

I think that in the minds of NOM, “Christian” is defined differently than we might define the word. When they say “government is refusing to work with Christian adoption agencies”, they are speaking as much about those agencies as they are about government.”

I’ve long believed that the culture war is not over gay issues or abortion or any other “morality” issues. The great Culture War is actually about who gets to be the voice of moral authority to the secular world.

Will it be mainline Christianity and their message of “do unto others” and “help the downtrodden”? Or will it be conservative Christianity with their message of “conform to the rules”? Will it be a moral authority that seeks to convince others or will it be a moral authority that seeks to coerce others into compliance?

And as Lutherans and Episcopalians seek to preach and convince the world to live better lives and to be a positive influence rather than seek to coerce the world to follow the demands of Leviticus and Romans, then their adoption services aren’t “Christian”.

But that doesn’t excuse the fact that they are lying. They know full well that they are putting out lies. They just simply don’t care. The morality of Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher is flexible enough to allow them to be as dishonest as they like to be in service of their “greater good”.

David Waite
November 3rd, 2011 | LINK

These people ‘earn’ their living from their lies. Why would any of you give them the benefit of the doubt by assuming they were at all sincere about having religious convictions? Do any of you believe George Rekers has an honest bone in his body? If your answer is no, then why do you judge Brian and Maggie by a different standard? In all three cases, their “greater good” is their financial statements.

Does any reader of this blog believe that RC bishops who preach against homosexuality are sincere, bearing in mind that a much greater proportion of RC clergy are gay than can be found in protestant denominations? If they were sincere, would they not be inquisitorially seeking to remove the beam from the church’s eye?

Shouldn’t the readers of this blog be constantly reminded, in every post about Uganda, that Ugandan citizens only started hating same sex attraction under colonialism, after Catholic, Anglican and Muslim clerics competed with each other to make monstrous what had been an accepted part of Bugandan culture? Under Yoweri Museveni’s dictatorship, Ugandans have always used false accusations of homosexual conduct to destroy political opponents of the regime.

All of the historical and current actors I named here are or were con artists. When one concedes the possibility of sincerely held belief to a con artist, one gives their criminal behavior at least conditional legitimacy, and inadvertently aids their confidence game.

PLAINTOM
November 3rd, 2011 | LINK

I am waiting for a news worthy story,” NOM told the truth today”.

steveinmi
November 3rd, 2011 | LINK

the adoption agencies you phoned are not True Christian ™ organizations… If they were, they would not be supporting Satan’s gay agenda!

Rob Tisinai
November 3rd, 2011 | LINK

Ah, the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. Yes, we see a lot of that.

NOM’s Ruthblog has a frequent commenter named Glenn E. Chatfield. He runs a blog of his own, rooting out true Christians from apostates. It’s a hoot:
http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/

What’s funniest, though, is that he’s quick to denounce Mormons and Catholics — two of NOM’s main sources of income! The “no true Scotsman” blade cuts everyone eventually.

DN
November 3rd, 2011 | LINK

Interesting point of view, Timothy. As an atheist, I’d certainly prefer the “do unto others” side to win the culture war rather than the “conform” side. But at the same time, I’d much rather some other side won that accepted people who don’t share a person’s convictions.

Erin
November 3rd, 2011 | LINK

They have been using this lie and different variations of it for years. Other groups, such as FRC have parroted this crap as well. Sadly, this lie has grown and spread, and you need only argue with folks on the interwebs about gay rights to see the influence these lies have. Still I appreciate sites and writers like this who keep debunking them. You give us links to paste when we have such arguments.

Richard Rush
November 3rd, 2011 | LINK

Obviously, little they say is true, but I’m often not convinced that they are lying – assuming that lying is defined as deliberately and knowingly making false statements. They live in their own world of fantasy and delusion where things become “facts” or “true” via magical processes. They deal in Magic Facts and Magic Truth. The notion of empirical evidence as most of us understand it is merely an irrelevant triviality.

tomchicago
November 4th, 2011 | LINK

Sorry, but it is not surprising to me that they demonstrate “contempt for their supporters”. It is a traditional value, isn’t it?

Priya Lynn
November 4th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy said “I’ve long believed that the culture war is not over gay issues or abortion or any other “morality” issues. The great Culture War is actually about who gets to be the voice of moral authority to the secular world.

Will it be mainline Christianity and their message of “do unto others” and “help the downtrodden”? Or will it be conservative Christianity with their message of “conform to the rules”?”.

Do you think only religious people should get to be the voice of moral authority over the secular world?

Timothy Kincaid
November 4th, 2011 | LINK

DN and Priya Lynn,

Perhaps those who are atheists should develop a code of morals (or ethics, if you prefer) that is formalized and set in specific and identifiable principles that address real issues. They they could compete for the voice of moral authority.

I think that they would have a decent chance at winning that debate.

Timothy Kincaid
November 4th, 2011 | LINK

Priya,

My language was “…the voice of moral authority TO the secular world…”, not “over” the secular world.

Priya Lynn
November 4th, 2011 | LINK

“My language was “…the voice of moral authority TO the secular world…”, not “over” the secular world.”.

Yes, not seeing a big difference there.

And I have a code of morals:

“Do whatever you want, but harm no one.”

Everything follows from that although admittedly it gets complicated when we have to balance different people’s freedoms and ideas of what harm is.

Priya Lynn
November 4th, 2011 | LINK

If you were to say “A” voice of moral authority to the secular world, that’d be different, but to say “THE” voice of moral authority to the secular world I find that pretty scary.

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