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Maine’s marriage opponents are off to a perfect start

Timothy Kincaid

April 9th, 2012

Today the opponents of equality took efforts to ensure that Maine’s gay couples will soon achieve equality. That isn’t, of course, what they intended, but – being delusional – their misguided efforts can only work to our advantage. As we noted earlier today, the rhetoric employed by the wackadoodle Paul Madore and Mike Heath can only serve to our advantage.

And here is a sampling of news coverage they’ve received about their kick-off at a college campus on Pride Week:

Boston’s more conservative paper, the Herald reports

Madore said he opposes legalizing same-sex marriage because he considers it an attack on religious liberties. He further said homosexuality represents a “culture of death” because of its links to AIDS and because it “doesn’t bring forth life.”

In a press release, Madore characterized pride week as a time when students and faculty are encouraged to be proud of “sexual deviance.”

In the AP story, the reporter’s wry observations clearly express his opinion of Madore and Heath’s credibility.

As the name implies, the goal of the No Special Rights PAC is to convince voters that allowing members of the same sex to get married amounts to “special rights,” Heath said.

“There’s no basis in nature for a right to sodomy or a right to call two men or two women who are choosing to relate to one another sexually as a marriage,” he said. “There’s no intrinsic or natural right to that. So we believe that these are special rights.”

Heath and Madore’s PAC has yet to raise any money, and the amount of funds raised will determine what it does during the campaign, Heath said.

And the Bangor Daily News reporter happily relayed the impact of the Special Rights effort.

Michael Heath and Paul Madore, the PAC’s leaders, argued that Maine voters were being intimidated to change their minds after a similar gay marriage referendum failed in 2009.

Madore said gay marriage advocates are turning to the legal system to “force people to accept the homosexual lifestyle.”

The men distributed pledges to passers-by that ask potential voters to oppose “sodomy-based marriage” in November and contribute to the political action committee.

“We intend to take the gloves off,” said Madore, adding that he expects his group will be heavily outspent by gay marriage supporters.

About an hour after the press conference, a group of UMaine students, officials and faculty stood around a flagpole on the mall and cheered and applauded as a rainbow flag was hoisted into the air.

Evan McDuff, president of UMaine’s Wilde Stein Alliance for Sexual Diversity, said he was pleased that the demonstrations and announcement from the anti-gay marriage political action committee all occurred around the same time.

“It’s always good to have discussion, right?” McDuff said with a grin.

It seems no one sent a photographer to the press event.

In 2009, Micheal Heath was sent packing by the coalition who was funding and organizing the opposition to marriage. He was considered a liability and his speech far too incendiary to be affiliated with the movement. But Heath seems to be the primary leader of the anti-marriage position this time around.

And it’s still early. It may be that the Catholic Church assigns someone with a brain to fight their battle and sends Heath packing again. But it may also be true and anti-gay power-players see this as a losing battle and have turned the cause over to the loons.

Comments

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RavenBiker
April 10th, 2012 | LINK

If Heath and Madore have a right to be bigots,

I have the right to be a Faggot.

Reed
April 10th, 2012 | LINK

“Heath and Madore’s PAC has yet to raise any money, and the amount of funds raised will determine what it does during the campaign, Heath said.”

I have a nagging suspicion that there WILL be money going into this PAC (a lot of it), and that a few “anonymous donors” will be wearing birettas and red cassocks.

Rob in San Diego
April 10th, 2012 | LINK

“Madore said he opposes legalizing same-sex marriage because he considers it an attack on religious liberties.”

That’s funny, I consider his religion an attack on my personal freedom!

And I thought we are suppose to have freedom from religion…?

Timothy Kincaid
April 10th, 2012 | LINK

Rob, I have no idea why you would think that. We have freedom of religion, not from it.

“Freedom from religion” is kinda like freedom from homosexuality or freedom from racism or freedom from liberal ideology or freedom from bad eating habits.

Those are all fine ideas if you apply them to your own life. But the minute you think that you should be “free” from other people living their lives in the manner they choose and espousing the ideas that they find appealing, then you become exactly like Heath and Madore: opponents of freedom.

Freedom is something you experience, not something you impose on others.

Rob in San Diego
April 10th, 2012 | LINK

Why would I think that you ask? I agree with you that we have freedom of religion, but I also believe that we have freedom from religion. That no one has the right to impose their religious beliefs on others. Would you like others to impose their religious beliefs on you Timothy? I certainly don’t.

The way you make it sound Timothy is that we HAVE to have religion in our lives? Do atheists or spiritual people have to have religion in their lives? Is it a requirement to have some sort of religion in our lives?

Timothy Kincaid
April 10th, 2012 | LINK

They don’t have to have it in their lives, but they are not entitled to be “free of it” in their lives.

A few years back Dr. Michael Brown (Charlotte’s primary anti-gay activist) insisted to me that he wasn’t anti-gay, he merely was reacting to homosexual activists shoving their immorality into his private family space.

By that, he meant that if gay people were so audacious as to publicly exist and to get into the news, then it would undoubtedly become talked about at his grandkids’ schools. And he had a right to oppose that imposition on his family and their values.

Brown believes he’s entitled to a life free of homosexuality, and should we insist on existing then we are imposing on his freedom.

You consider Madore’s religion to be an attack on your personal freedom. And you state that you are entitled to be free from religion. It’s difficult to see what other possible meaning that you could have other than that you are entitled to a life that does not include Madore having or expressing his religious views.

But your insistence on freedom from religion is no more valid that Brown’s insistence on freedom from homosexuality. It’s a demand that others cease to exist – or at least be silent about their existence.

That is not a “freedom” that I can support.

Rob in San Diego
April 10th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, I don’t know of any gay people who go door to door with gay pamphlets trying to inform the uninformed heterosexual about the gay life style just as you point out Brown would think. However I couldn’t tell you how many knocks I get on the door from various religious groups who want to spread the word of Christ to me.

So you believe in proselytizing then?

Religion is what’s keeping us from having our personal freedoms. Think about it, if people weren’t Christians, Catholics, Muslims, or jews, then there would be no word of GOD to dislike and disapprove us. I mean isn’t the majority of the population against us (who is against us)because of religion?

StraightGrandmother
April 10th, 2012 | LINK

Rob in San Diego =”I mean isn’t the majority of the population against us (who is against us)because of religion?”

StraightGrandmother = Yes.

Your comments remind me of tat John Lennon Song, “imagine all the people”

Timothy Kincaid
April 10th, 2012 | LINK

Really? Do tell? That many?

I’m guessing the pro-gay political folks who knock on doors don’t bother you so much. And the guy writing emails to the signers of Referendum 71 in Washington State, well I doubt you think he’s proselytizing.

If you want me to respect your rights, start respecting the rights of others. (I would say “treat others the way you want to be treated” but you might accuse me of imposing my religion on you.)

Timothy Kincaid
April 10th, 2012 | LINK

I mean isn’t the majority of the population against us (who is against us) because of religion?

No, actually.

I’m always amazed at how very confused non-religious people are about religious people. I mean it’s not like their exotic creatures on a distant continent. Get to know some and you’ll discover that the cartoon caricature is really as far off as the “radical militant homosexual who is trying to destroy Western Civilization” or the “bitter atheist who hates God because in his heart he knows he is a defiant sinner”.

Let me let you in on a little secret: People go to church where they agree with what is taught, not the other way around.

If someone goes to a fire and brimstone condemnation church, it’s because that’s what they want to hear. It’s confirmation of what they already believe. People don’t get their anti-gay views at church, they get them from their culture and import them into their church.

Désirée
April 11th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy,
I do believe what is meant by “freedom *from* religion” is that we should be free from the influence of someone else’s religious beliefs in our personal life. That is not limiting anyone’s freedom in any way. It is say “you can believe what ever you want, but you don’t get to force that belief (or the consequences of it) on me.”

How you could possibly equate this to homosexuals merely existing and thus “forcing homosexuality” on some one who wants to live free from it, baffles me. The anti-gay person saying that is saying “I don’t want to know gays exists and any acknowledgement that they do is an imposition on me thus gays should be silenced in public.”

That is nothing at all like a gay atheist saying “don’t use your religion to oppress me.” In the first case, the person is trying to deny reality. His actual freedoms of life, liberty or property are not affected by knowing of the existence of gay people.

You are trying to equate one person trying to deny our very existence with another simply not wanting religious belief to affect him. There is a huge difference. “Freedom from religion” doesn’t mean banning religion or denying believers the right to believe what they want; it doesn’t deny religion exists or has an impact on culture. His “right” to be “free from homosexuality” doesn’t exist, since the existence of homosexuality doesn’t affect him.

My right to life, liberty and property is however affected by his religion if he uses it to oppress me. So yes, we have a freedom *from* religion if we so choose.

Priya Lynn
April 11th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy said “Rob, I have no idea why you would think that. We have freedom of religion, not from it…But the minute you think that you should be “free” from other people living their lives in the manner they choose and espousing the ideas that they find appealing, then you become exactly like Heath and Madore: opponents of freedom.”.

Timothy, you’re misunderstanding the phrase “freedom from religion”. Freedom from religion does not mean that one is entitled to a life where religion is never spoken of or practiced, it means one is entitled to a life where others don’t get to force you to live by their religious beliefs. If there is no freedom from religion in the American first amendment then one is obligated to follow a religion although one can choose which one that would be. Part of the first amendment is that not only is one free to choose their religion one is free to choose not to have a religion at all. To suggest otherwise is absurd although there are religionists who do make that claim.

Once again, freedom from religion does not mean one is free to not experience other’s being religious. Your analogy to Michael Brown is false. Michael Brown says he is reacting to people forcing their “immorality” into his private family space, that he’s entitled to a life free of gayness, and should gays insist on existing then they are imposing on his freedom. The problem with that is no one is forcing him to be gay or enter a same sex marriage – he is free from gayness, no one is imposing it on him. It is the same with freedom from religion. No one asking for freedom of religion is saying others can’t be religious, what they’re saying is that you can’t force me to be religious, you can’t force me to not work on Sunday or you can’t force me not to eat bacon or you can’t force me into an opposite sex marriage in a church.

Timothy Kincaid
April 11th, 2012 | LINK

Desiree,

I believe what you are describing is called freedom of religion. It was the principle behind Roger Williams founding Providence. So that (in his words) “the most paganish, Jewish, Turkish or antichristian consciences and worships” could peacefully coexist.

The founders understood freedom of religion in the context of how they had seen in oppressed. Recall that many of our first European settlers came here at least in part to “worship as they please”.

The issue was not necessarily the “worship” part. Europe was big on enforcing worship. It was the “as they please” part that was the problem. It was as much to get away from someone else’s religion as to practice their own that drove them to seek less hostile lands. Consequently , ingrained in our national consciousness is a resistance to being told how to worship.

And it was in those terms that the Constitution was written. Not promising everyone their own religious freedom, but promising that the state would not impose anyone’s views on anyone else.

That is “freedom of religion”, American style. And that is what you and Priya Lynn (and I) agree is freedom.

However, when I hear the term “freedom from religion”, it has always presented by those objecting to someone else’s religion and expressing how much better we all would be if that person over they didn’t have their religion. It has been – in my experience – expressed with an underlying premise that the other person publicly expressing their views is an imposition and should not be tolerated.

Of course, that is only what I’ve personally experienced and there may be many who use the term otherwise.

But if we look at Rob’s statement, it doesn’t look like a declaration that he will not be forced to not eat bacon or not work on Sunday:

That’s funny, I consider his religion an attack on my personal freedom!

And I thought we are suppose to have freedom from religion…?

It appears to me that implicit in this statement is the presumption that Rob is entitled to be free of Mr. Heath’s religion in a way that included freedom from Mr. Heath expressing his religious views and seeking to impact public policy based on such views.

This appears to have been confirmed by his subsequent argument that suggests that he opposes (I am guessing the legality of) proselytizing and finds religion to be the source of all persecution.

I will defend Rob’s right to live without any religion being required of him and without being forced to live according to another’s dogma. And if that is all he means, then we are in agreement.

But if he is suggesting that his dislike of religion trumps the rights of another to practice religion openly and with rights comparable to mine or yours to espouse our views on matters we hold important, then I cannot agree.

Rob in San Diego
April 11th, 2012 | LINK

Thank you Straightgrandmother, Desiree, & Priya Lynn. For a moment there going back and forth with Timothy I really thought I was going to go insane.

No Timothy I don’t get knocks from pro-gay groups or emails from them either.

And it’s called the Golden Rule and yes I do believe in it. I don’t go around flaunting my sexuality or religion on others, it’s none of there damn business. You see, this is the problem with the vast majority of Christians, Mormons, Muslims, jews, etc… they all think it’s their GOD given right to spread the word of GOD and to try and recruit others.

Timothy you say “If you want me to respect your rights, start respecting the rights of others…..” I don’t need to respect the rights of others to shove their religion down my throat Timothy, I can’t believe you actually said that. Is this gay Timothy speaking, or religious Timothy speaking?

And your amazed at how non-religious people are confused? I was raised Catholic and your raised jewish, can you point to me where in the Constitution it talks down on gay people? Can you point to me where in the Bill of Rights it talks down on gay people? Now can you point to me where in the Bible, torah, Koran, and other books where it talks down on gay people? Kids aren’t taught in school (for the most part besides their peers) to hate gay people, their taught from their parents who got it from the church. The peers who do teach our kids to hate got it from their parents who got it from the church.

Now I will say there is 1 church that seems to believe in marriage equality and that would be the Methodist church. If I have missed any others my apologies.

Timothy, I’m shocked that we actually had to have this conversation. I can’t believe you said some of the things prior.

Timothy Kincaid
April 11th, 2012 | LINK

Rob,

Yes, they do have the right to propagate their beliefs and recruit others. Whether GOD gave them that right or not, our constitution certainly did.

Just like the Republicans and the Democrats and Greenpeace members and the executive board of HRC, religious people are free to try and convince you that they are right. So do you.

You have the right to state your beliefs in public, be they Catholic, Jewish, Atheist or Leave-Me-The-Hell-Alone. You have the right to pass out flyers, “witness” to strangers in the supermarket and be a colossal annoying fool. So does Mr. Heath.

Of course the golden rule is best. But you have the right to ignore it and rant to people about the hippies, the commies, the Mormons, or the gays. So does Mr. Heath. That it is obnoxious and counter-productive does not impact one’s rights.

People have the right to be wrong (regardless of what Santorum says). They have the right to be petty. And hateful. And irritating.

Let’s support those rights.

Now as to churches.

I understand that you believe that kids learn to hate gay people from their parents who got it in church. All I can say is that my experience says otherwise – that people seldom are automatons that parrot doctrine and dogma. While religion seeks to impact culture, it is also a part of culture and parishioners live in the culture and are a product of it.

And sorry, you got it wrong on the pro-gay churches list. Currently marriage equality is supported by

The Episcopal Church

The United Church of Christ

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (kinda sorta – they support gay pastors in relationships but do not yet provide religious marriage – while a bit unofficially supporting civil marriage)

Disciples of Christ (for example) – there are a number of liberal denominations whose members support gay civil marriage. Some of them have sufficient congregational autonomy to allow for churches to perform marriages, but have not yet declared it an official position of the denomination.

The United Methodist Church, however, is in the midst of a battle over gay rights. They have an unusual structure in which congregations in Africa and Asia can send delegates to the US to vote on church policy. The minority of American conservatives have allied with foreign congregations to block marriage equality as a doctrine of the church.

Individual methodist congregations however have been among our biggest supporters. They will get there soon.

Désirée
April 11th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy said:
“It appears to me that implicit in this statement is the presumption that Rob is entitled to be free of Mr. Heath’s religion in a way that included freedom from Mr. Heath expressing his religious views and seeking to impact public policy based on such views.”

And ya know what? I do oppose Mr. heath using his religion to impact *public* policy if his religions idea of what should be public policy conflicts with mine and if by getting his (religious) way, then my freedom and rights are infringed. Public policy in America absolutely must be free *from* religion it its creation and implementation since public policy by definition affects the public i.e. everyone, whether they are of a particular religion or not. So when I say I want freedom *from* religion, that is what I mean – I want public policy that affects my life not to be influenced by anyone elses religious beliefs. And that has no equivalence in the other direction, nor does it have equivalence with any other group affiliation based on race, political ideology or interest. If you want to influence public policy because scientist have declared global warming to be a problem or because you think taxes are too high or because you think too many accidents are cause by texting while driving that is one thing. To want to influence public policy because you think an unseen supernatural being doesn’t like gay people is simply unacceptable in a multicultural, secular society. Reasonable people can debate the facts in the former cases, but in the later, there is no debate possible.

Rob in San Diego
April 12th, 2012 | LINK

Well said Desiree!

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