About those seven million, Maggie…
June 15th, 2010
Tomorrow is closing arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case over whether Proposition 8 was in violation to the US Constitution. Here’s what National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher has to say about it:
This is an outrage that never should have happened: 7 million Californians exercised their core civil rights to speak, to donate, to organize and to vote for marriage. Around the country millions of other have invested their time and their treasure. And Ted Olson today will be asking the courts to nullify our right to vote for marriage.
Well 7,001,084 does sound like a lot of folks. But let’s just for a moment put it in perspective.
- In 2008, the population of California was 36,756,666. So about 19.0% of Californians voted for Prop 8.
- In 2008, there were 23,208,710 people eligible to vote in California. About 30.2% of eligible Californians voted to take away marriage rights.
- At the time of the election, there were 17,304,091 people registered to vote in the state. Of registered voters, about 40.5% showed up at the polls to “vote for marriage” restricted to heterosexuals.
- A total of 13,743,177 voters turned up to vote. Of them 50.9% voted for proposition 8.
- There were 13,402,566 votes cast on Proposition 8. Of them, 7,001,084 (or 52.2%) voted for the proposition and 6,401,482 (or 47.8%) voted against it.
Yes, Proposition 8 won. But let’s not pretend that Californians as a whole were so fired up about marriage that they all couldn’t wait for the chance to vote against equality. Less than a third of eligible voters supported this bill enough to show up and vote for it.
New Hampshire results silence NOM’s Maggie Gallagher
March 20th, 2010
On March 10th, National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher was euphoric. She was joyously reporting that the residents of New Hampshire had voted to reject same-sex marriage (National Review Online)
Of the vote results reported by the Union-Leader, along with a couple from the Concord Monitor, seventeen towns approved and three rejected the article.
Voting for a marriage amendment were: Charlestown (620-305), Kingston (719-346), Milton (385-285), Littleton (912-627), Wakefield (504-242), Dunbarton (77-58), Kingston (719-346), Windham (1,428-832), Epsom (422-225), Bedford (2,783-1,040), Hampstead (1,190-499), Allenstown (383-198), Auburn, Swanzey (542-422), Stark (unanimously), Pittsburg (64-4), and Belmont.
Rejecting were Newhampton, Salisbury (30-27), and Northumberland (57-104).
This is a partial list; still looking for full electoral info.
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! She chortled in her joy.
To understand what this means, we have to take a step back and look at how same-sex marriage came to New Hampshire and what these town votes mean.
New Hampshire is one of two states in which the legislature passed a bill which was signed by the governor which changed the family law code to allow same-sex couples to marry. This was not due to a lawsuit or other court action but was an act of the purest representative government.
To reverse this law, anti-gay activists have a few options.
They can vote for representatives who oppose marriage equality who could then repeal the law. But while it is possible for marriage rights to appear and disappear with the change (or whim) of the elected representatives, many legislators are hesitant to play so cavalierly with the lives of their constituents. Further, the representatives are aware that changing laws back and forth create complexities and legal confusion which would both make their jobs more difficult and open them up to criticism.
They can lobby for a change in the constitution, a one-time fix. However, New Hampshire does not have a initiative process and the constitution can only be changed in two ways.
The state has a provision by which a constitutional convention can be called. Every ten years (or by a majority of both houses) the people vote on whether to call a convention (the next vote is scheduled for 2012). Then delegates are elected and a convention convened. Amendments to the constitution require a 3/5 vote of the delegates and a 2/3 vote of the people. Anti-gay activists may encourage a “yes” vote on the next constitutional convention question.
The second method for changing the constitution for both houses, by a 3/5 vote, to place an amendment on the ballot. Such an amendment would require a 2/3 affirmative vote of the electorate. And it was towards the last method that the rhetoric of the anti-gay activists was directed. NOM (among others) sought to demonstrate that it was the will of the people that they be allowed to vote on the issue. And this was the focus of their language: marriage is too important to be decided by the legislature, it should have the input of the people.
NOM was hoping that folks who were moderate or even supportive of marriage would agree that a “people’s vote” was needed. And once it was on the ballot, they would dump tens of millions of dollars (from undisclosed sources) to fund a campaign of bald-faced lies and seek to enshrine the doctrines of some religious organizations into civil law.
To put pressure on the legislature and create an impression of public support, anti-gay activists used a political mechanism that is peculiar to New England states: the town meeting, a gathering of the residents to determine town business. They sought to have the towns demand of the state that the residents be allowed to vote on marriage equality.
There are (basically) two types of town meeting. A traditional type, which is a public gathering on the second Tuesday in March, works well for small communities. And, since 1995, the state has allowed a two-part meeting (called an SB2 Meeting) in which first a deliberate session is held, which creates wording, and then residents vote through polling places. These votes occur on the second Tuesday of March, April, or May. To get a matter up for consideration at a town meeting, concerned citizens can collect twenty-five signatures on a petition.
So anti-gay activists organized to have towns pass a non-binding resolution, an “opinion of the people”, if you will, to ask the legislature to “let us vote. And using the town meeting approach was actually a pretty smart move. Cities, such as Portsmouth or Dover, don’t have a non-binding resolution process, so any results would skew towards smaller towns or rural communities where conservative sentiment was more likely to thrive. Further, those fired up to “fight the homosexual agenda” were more likely to attend than residents who weren’t much interested either way.
The best scenario for anti-gay activists would be for each town to endorse the “let us vote” effort by 2/3 of the residents. This could allow NOM to spin the results as evidence that a constitutional amendment would pass and that residents demand their rights. But success would be a majority of voters – or a majority of towns – which would allow Maggie and Brian to claim that they speak for “the people”.
Even “a majority of those towns which voted”, while meaningless, would allow Maggie a press release (for NOM it’s all about perception and spin) and a “victory”. Any result which could be stretched to suggest that the legislators were out of touch with the residents of New Hampshire.
Thus the gloating comments she made at NRO.
But it seems that Maggie forgot to comment once the “full electoral info” was found. And she has good reason not to want to discuss the decisions of the New Hampshire towns.
28 towns supported the anti-gay effort
61 towns did not provide enough signatures
31 towns tabled the bill, refusing to even vote on it
33 towns voted “no” on the measure
1 town flipped the effort and voted to commend the state for supporting equality
31 towns supported the anti-gay effort
10 towns did not provide enough signatures
14 towns amended the language in the deliberative session, killing the petition
1 town flipped the effort but failed to vote to commend the state for supporting equality
There are 11 towns yet to decide. But of the 210 towns which could have supported the efforts of the anti-gay activists, only 59 chose to do so. Few of those were by a 2/3 vote.
Of course NOM and the other participants at LetNHVote are seeking to spin this as a victory. They simply don’t count the towns in which the motion was tabled or in which the deliberative sessions killed the effort, and claim that of the towns in which the residents did decide to vote, they won a majority.
But their claims ring a little hollow. It’s a bit like celebrating because the people inside the ice cream parlor voted that they like ice cream.
And for some reason, Maggie’s chortling has turned to silence.
Linda Harvey takes purer-than-pure to a whole new level
March 8th, 2010
Most social conservatives are not wild eyed hate-filled bigots who would like nothing more than to see gay folks burnt at the stake. Most folks who don’t support civil equality for their gay fellow-citizens really don’t know much about gay folk and don’t actually wish us individual harm. It’s more of a “them liberals” kind of thing.
And over the past decade Americans – including many folks who think of themselves as conservative – have began the process of seeing gay folk as human. We are neighbors, friends, coworkers, and family. We no longer are “confirmed bachelors” and “maiden aunts” living with “lifelong friends” who are a shameful secret, but instead are respected and acknowledged parts of our community.
And, as such, it is no longer socially acceptable to just oppose anything and everything to do with our lives. Yes, polls suggest that the nation isn’t quite ready to joyously celebrate marriage equality, but blatant discrimination is frowned on, even in right-wing circles. Especially if it sounds too hateful.
Ah, but not everyone is on board with the “treat ‘em like human” idea. As we saw with the recent brouhaha at CPAC, some folks can’t even be in the same room with gay folk – even those who agree with most of their agenda. The uber-conservative CPAC crowd got a taste of excitement when the purer-than-pure conservatives attacked their brethren for not being adequately anti-gay.
But no one has ever accused Linda Harvey of noting being adequately anti-gay. In fact, few can live up to her standard. And now Linda is letting conservatives know just how pure she is, in the offensive over-the-top inflammatory language she’s know for.
Linda has decided that some people aren’t really conservative because they “support homosexuality”. And by “support homosexuality”, Linda means pretty much anything other than venom-spewing declarations of disgust and intolerance. Anything short of piling up the firewood and calling for the torches is seen by Linda as selling out.
And the list of “Conservatives who aren’t” is pretty impressive. Folks who just aren’t as pure as Lina include:
- CPAC, for allowing GOPride to be there
- “Bill O’Reilly and his feebly-informed culture warrior, Margaret Hoover” because they ” endorse repealing the ban on homosexuality in the military”
- Charles Krauthammer, who thinks that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is discriminatory
- Dick Cheney, for “listening to a self-declared ‘born-that-way’ homosexual relative”
- “Cindy McCain and her silly daughter” for backing same-sex unions
- Mitt Romney, because ” in 2004, ordered reluctant clerks to issue marriage licenses to Party A and Party B. A genuine conservative might have held off until forced.”
- Ted Olson, for the obvious
- Stand for Marriage Maine, for saying “we want to be tolerant of gays”
- Maggie Gallagher, because she can’t be depended on to “always articulate clear objections to homosexual behavior. Sometimes, she bows the knee to the vaunted ‘identity’”
- The Catholic Church, because it says that it “respects and accepts gays”
Oh yes, when it comes to being a real conservative, Linda is purer-than-purer-than-pure.
It’s behavior, it can be changed and it’s always wrong.
Teach kids to “respect” this behavior? No! Respect for others, yes, but people are born with the anatomy for heterosexuality, not homosexuality. Genuine respect involves telling the truth, and citing the risks, limitations and sinfulness of this perversion.
Ah, but lovely Linda has an extra-special place in her contempt for one fellow who is worse than anyone: Warren Throckmorton. Ya see, Warren actually thinks that you should treat gay people the way you want to be treated. Such heresy!!
And Warren has gone so far as to suggest that instead of storming out of school on the Day of Silence, conservative Christian kids should observe the Golden Rule and hand out the following message.
This is what I’m doing:
I pledge to treat others the way I want to be treated.
Will you join me in this pledge?
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31).
But not Linda. She’s having none of that.
If I were a parent who discovered my minor child had been counseled in this way, I’d bring the largest and most aggressive medical malpractice suit I could launch against this counselor at Grove City.
Golden Rule? Not on your life.
And so now Warren is the pet project for Linda and her buddy Peter LaBarbera. LaBarbera has run a series of denunciations of “heretical” Dr. Throckmorton and has asked his readers to
TAKE ACTION: Contact Grove City College (President Richard Jewell: 724-458-2500; firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask them if GCC professor Warren Throckmorton’s unorthodox views on homosexuality represent “authentically Christian” teachings on this issue. (GCC advertises itself as a solid, “authentically Christian” institution.) Request a written response as to whether Throckmorton’s writings on and approach toward homosexuality honor Grove City’s Christian charter “rejecting relativism and secularism.”
Yes, it looks like Warren should be fired; he just can’t be counted on to be a hater. Nor Bill O’Reilly. Nor even the Catholic Church. Or at least not up to Linda’s and Pete’s standards. It’s a sad sad world.
But at least Linda and Pete have each other. And Pete’s porn collection.
Maggie Gallagher’s gays
March 4th, 2010
In Maggie Gallagher’s recent debate with Andrew Sullivan at the Cato Institute over whether there is a place for gay people in conservatism and conservative politics, the following exchange took place:
Sullivan: Can you name a single gay person who agrees with you?
Gallagher: Yes… I told you, I have them. They work for me.
Sullivan: Name them.
Gallager: Well no, I’m not going to name them. Because I’m not going to out them.
Sullivan: Why not? Earlier you said you don’t want to out an openly gay person?
Gallagher: As being anti-gay marriage, I’ll let them do it. I’m not outing them as being gay, I’m outing them as being on my side.
Not very many, but I do know them…
She goes on for a while giving illustrations of secret confessions of support and emails.
But setting aside Maggie’s flustered blunder and momentary honesty (she never admits to being “anti gay marriage”, only in favor of retaining blah blah blah), the important point that Andrew identified is that even considering the large number of conservative gay men and women, and even considering that our community is very diverse in age, culture, attitudes, religion, and perspective, no one is willing to publicly support Maggie Gallagher and her campaign against their rights.
So who, then, are these hand full of gay people who are secretly “anti-gay marriage”, in Maggie’s words. And why is it so important that she “know them.”
I’ll answer the second part first.
I believe that Maggie thinks of herself as a good person. She doesn’t want to acknowledge that she is engaging in deliberately hurtful, unjust, and discriminatory behavior. She doesn’t want to think of her motivations as being based in bias, animus, and religious supremacy.
Behind all of her “don’t call us haters” mantra is a real fear that she, truly, might be acting out of less than admirable instincts. She doesn’t want to even consider that possiblity, so it is the one thing that she finds most objectionable.
So it is extremely important that Maggie know people who can confirm to her that she isn’t hurting them. If I read her correctly, in order that she not see herself as being homophobic, she needs to believe that some gays – the ones who truly value the country and not their own selfish interests – agree with her. So, like every politician who doesn’t want to be seen as evil, she now “has gay friends”.
But who are these mythical gay friends that we never ever seem to meet?
Well, we do now have an answer in part. From none other than the National Organization for Marriage, of whom Maggie is the voice and face.
This comes from the amicus brief that NOM filed to support Proposition 8 in Perry v. Schwarzenegger:
Even at least a few gay people oppose gay marriage (see, e.g., “Gays Defend Marriage,” at http://www.gaysdefendmarriage.com), and we welcome their participation as fellow citizens in our shared mission.
Oh, yes, I kid you not. Maggie’s “gays that agree with her” are epitomized by David Benkof. Yes, a celibate convert to Orthodox Judaism who spent a brief period trying to convince the world that he was just an ordinary gay guy who was concerned about marriage. Yep, the same one who is “gay” or “bisexual” or “not gay” or anything else he thinks will be convincing at the moment.
Yes, Maggie’s gays – or at least the one she presents – are sad, sad creatures indeed.
(hat tip to reader Mel, with whom I incorrectly argued about whether this exchange took place)
NOM latches onto “Miss Beverly Hills”
February 25th, 2010
Oh you saw coming, didn’t you? You just had to know that Maggie Gallagher would see the lovely Lauren Ashley, hear her opposition to marriage equality, and see an opportunity to create a new martyr. (Fox News)
And while the City of Beverly Hills is shunning the pageant princess, she has garnered strong support from the National Organization for Marriage.
“I’m not surprised that Miss Beverly Hills, Lauren Ashley, opposes gay marriage — after all 45 percent of young Californians voted for Prop 8, as did 7 million Californians generally,” the organization’s president, Maggie Gallagher, told us. “But I have to say, I am impressed with her courage in coming forward and for speaking up for Carrie. The elected officials of city of Beverly Hills are not demonstrating tolerance or kindness by continuing the avalanche of hatred against supporters of Prop 8.”
Ah, such courage it took to fill out the paperwork, claim a city she doesn’t live in, call up a news reporter for a conservative network, and desperately beg for attention. Yeah, courage, un-huh.
But Maggie should be careful. The last time she latched onto a paragon of heterosexual-only virtue it turned out that she had her own sex tape. Who knows what this little delusional attention-starved girl has in her closet?
Perry v. Schwarzenegger: a very Republican conversation
January 11th, 2010
Vaughn R. Walker, the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, is a Republican. He was nominated for the bench by Republican President George H.W. Bush.
And though independently minded, Walker has taken positions in the past that show him not to be universally a gay advocate. In fact, Walker’s first nomination (by President Ronald Reagan) was held up due to controversy over a gay-related issue. Walker was representing the US Olympic Committee in their demand that the Gay Olympics (now the Gay Games) not be allowed to use “Olympics” in their name.
So when lead co-counsel Republican Ted Olson speaks to the court, it will be a very Republican conversation. This is important to recall when anti-gay activists scream about judicial activism and the bias of the court – which they have already begun to do.
Prop 8 supporters fight to keep cameras out of the courtroom
January 9th, 2010
Judge Vaughn Walker has decided that the Olson-Boies case to find Proposition 8 in violation of the US Constitution will be recorded and available on YouTube. Those defending the proposition and seeking to keep California from legally recognizing same-sex marriages are desperate that this not happen.
Their public argument is that video coverage would turn the case into a “media circus” and that they would be targets of retribution. In a fiery denunciation of the judge’s decision, National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher raged:
On Oct. 22, the Heritage Foundation released a report titled “The Price of Prop. 8,” which concluded that “supporters of Proposition 8 in California have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, vandalism, racial scapegoating, blacklisting, loss of employment, economic hardships, angry protests, violence, at least one death threat, and gross expressions of anti-religious bigotry.”
To deliberately and needlessly expose these people to a new wave of publicity and attacks by televising the trial is outrageous.
And indeed one of the five official sponsors of Proposition 8 (whom I’ve never heard of) has requested to be removed from the case.
On Friday, Tam told U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker that he fears for his and his family’s safety. In his court filing, Tam’s lawyers say the trial will bring him unwanted publicity and expose him to retribution from gay marriage supporters.
Tam also says the case has been more time-consuming and more intrusive into his personal life than expected.
But what Gallagher and Tam and the other supporters of Proposition 8 fail to mention is that they volunteered for this case. In fact, when Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Brown expressed no interest in defending the initiative, Tam petitioned the court requesting that he be allowed to do so.
And their concern that they be identified or targeted seems disingenuous. The proceedings are not going to occur in a secluded and private setting where the witnesses will be kept a secret. Every witness will be known and every testimony blogged about.
Tam certainly got more media attention from dropping out of the case than he would have if he’d just gone through with it.
And yet they are frantic that there be no video. The supporters of Prop 8 appealed the judge’s decision, but yesterday they were denied (SJ Merc)
A federal appeals court on Friday rejected a bid by Proposition 8 supporters to block the broadcast of the upcoming trial involving a challenge to California’s same-sex marriage ban, refusing to stop a plan to post the proceedings on YouTube.
In a one-paragraph order, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the Proposition 8 campaign had not presented reason for “intervention by this court” in the broadcast issue.
But this wasn’t the end of their effort. They have now made an emergency application to the Supreme Court asking Justice Kennedy to block camera coverage. The Olson-Boies team has until noon on Sunday to respond (the case starts on Monday).
I do not believe Gallagher and the Prop 8 supporters’ public reasons for wishing to keep the trial from being recorded. I think that their true motivation is better understood from another argument they made. (Law.com)
Lawyers representing the Yes on 8 campaign objected to any broadcast beyond an overflow room in the San Francisco federal building, arguing that witnesses would be intimidated, or change their testimony. [emphasis added]
Change their testimony?
If their witnesses are telling the truth, wouldn’t their testimony be the same in either case?
It seems not. And here is why.
There is a record made of every word said at every trial. But this record generally is not readily accessible to the public. Words said, arguments made, all are lost to dusty volumes and forgotten.
Further, few people ever hear or read what any individual witness has to say. In a high profile trial, reporters will provide the gist of a testimony or paraphrase but the public doesn’t really hear or see
But a video recording of testimony makes their words accessible and permanent. There will be transcripts posted across the internet and for the rest of our lives there will be ready and immediate access to video of each witness making statements in support of banning gay Californians from marrying.
And clearly some of their witnesses are reluctant to testify publicly. They want to say words that the public will never hear and for which they will never be held accountable.
What is it that they don’t want the public to know? What are they reluctant to say in front of the voters who they claim to defend?
“Those who want to ban gay marriage spent millions of dollars to reach the public with misleading ads, rallies and news conferences during the campaign to pass Prop. 8. We are curious why they now fear the publicity they once craved,” said Chad Griffin, Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. “Apparently transparency is their enemy, but the people deserve to know exactly what it is they have to hide.”
I suspect that regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, this case is a winner for us. This lawsuit will expose the intents, methods, and agenda of those who oppose equality. And video of their testimony will be, I believe, a very valuable tool to achieving equality.
And voter initiative battles will never be the same.
Gallagher and crew aren’t afraid that they will be targeted for hateful email or a vengeful grocery clerk squishing their tomatoes. They aren’t worried that their witness will have someone call them a bigot.
I think that what they truly fear is that what they have to say in court will look ugly and obscene when played on the news or in commercials during the next “protect marriage” battle.
A review of the Manhattan Declaration
This commentary is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.
November 20th, 2009
A group of conservative Christians released today their manifesto of their agreement across lines of faith and tradition. Entitled Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience, this document lays out areas in which the signatories declare commonality of purpose.
Who they are
First, let us say what this document is not. It is not, as the NY Times described it, a situation in which “Christian Leaders Unite on Political Issues“. Indeed, this is but a segment of Christian thought, claiming the mantle of Christian history and tradition but excluding broad segments of the faith.
One need only glance at the signatories to know the nature of the alliance. Present are some who are well known names in the political culture wars who have long striven to impose their religious views by force of law on the unbelievers: Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Gary Bauer, and Tony Perkins. Some are religious leaders who have been recently shifting their realm of influence away from faith towards secular domination: Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Albert Mohler, and Jonathan Falwell.
But this is not just broadly social conservatives. There is, instead, a concentration of those who focus on “opposing the homosexual agenda”. There are a few religious activists who seem dedicated and committed (obsessed, one might think) to fighting equality for gay people: Ken Hutcherson, Bishop Harry Jackson, and Jim Garlow. And then, inexplicably, some who are not religious leaders at all but social activists whose primary occupation is in seeking the political institutionalizing of inequality to gay people: Maggie Gallagher, Frank Schubert, and William Donohue.
Perhaps the most difficult to explain, and by far the most troubling name present, is The Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, Primate, Anglican Church of Nigeria.
There is no explanation provided as to what relevance Akinola has on what is a uniquely American collection. But his participation is not accidental. And, as I will discuss momentarily, his is perhaps the key that explains the true nature of this manifesto.
This could be seen as nothing more that “the usual suspects”, a rehashing of the Moral Majority or the Christian Coalition or any other of the loose groupings of religious authoritarians, were it not for one import inclusion. There are nine Catholic Archbishops who signed on to this document.
Ideologically as dissimilar as possible, these two Christian extremes – one whose doctrine is based in tradition, liturgy, and hierarchy, the other whose doctrine is based in reform, spirit-led worship, and direct divine revelation – have set aside ancient hostilities and theological beliefs that doubt the other’s right to be considered “Christian” and have now joined in a common purpose: denying your rights.
But as important as who is present, is who is absent.
Among the signatories I was unable to find any members of the United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), Friends (Quaker), Disciples of Christ, Unitarian Universalists or American Baptists. There was one United Methodist minister.
In short, a whole branch of Christianity, Mainline Christianity, was missing, including many who no doubt would agree with the goals of banning abortion and forbidding same-sex marriage. This exclusion is, I believe, integral to understanding the true purpose of this manifesto.
The agreed upon issues
While this alliance is one that does not reflect the face of Christianity, it also is not a declaration of a new-found position of agreement based on shared Christian teaching and ideology. There is no mention of shared faith in creeds or teachings, no virgin birth, no resurrection, no divine redemption.
Rather, this is a statement of political purpose by an alliance of socially conservative activist who oppose abortion and marriage equality. Indeed, although the document speaks in lofty terms of Christian tradition and religious freedom, the only commitments it makes are to oppose legal abortion (some day down the road) and the immediate attack on the ability of gay people to avail themselves of civil equality.
This is, in short a political alliance. It is a pact and a threat.
What it means
While on the face of it, this manifesto purports to be a rededication to fight two specific political issues, I think that this is but surface dressing for a deeper meaning.
This is not a war over civil marriage definition – nor, indeed, has that ever been the real motivation behind anti-gay marriage drives. Rather, this is a war over religious domination, a fight over who is “really a Christian” and an effort on the part of a long-suffering religious subset to spite those who have long had what they coveted.
Political power in the United States had long been in the hands of what is now called Mainline Christianity. Our presidents have included over a dozen Episcopalians (as is the National Cathedral), about ten Presbyterians, with most of the rest being Methodists, Unitarians, Disciples of Christ, and Quakers.
There has been exactly one Catholic. There have been four Baptists, of whom the two Southern Baptists were Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. There have been no Pentecostals and no members of mega-Churches. In fact, though some Republican presidents have been religious and conservative, there has never been a President of the United States that was both denominationally and ideologically within the fold represented by the signatories of this Manhattan Declaration.
And now they want theirs. And, not content at the rise of their own political power, they will not be happy unless they can diminish those denominations whom they seek to replace.
Note the presence of the second signatory, Peter Akinola? He is the Nigerian Anglican who has been missionizing the United States in an effort to hurt the Episcopal Church. His inclusion is a very clear message sent to the EC that they are a target for the Catholic Church and the evangelical churches who will use whatever political power they may wield in the future to thwart her position in the nation.
This manifesto is, I believe, less a declaration of war on gay people and those with unplanned pregnancies than it is a declaration of war on other Christian faiths.
One absence that seems to confirm this alliance is a denomination that one might have expected to be quick to affirm its commitment to the right to life and protection of the family. But there are no representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons). The exclusion of this church, considered by most conservatives to be “NOT Christian”, suggest that this manifesto has less to do with social goals and more to do with Christian definition.
This manifesto says, in effect, “We are the Christians. We are the ‘heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God’s word’, and we alone will speak for the faith.”
What the manifesto reveals
In addition to highlighting the division in the Christian body, there are also some clues as to future items on the agenda of this newly affirmed political alliance. Here is how I translate some of their declarations.
we note with sadness that pro-abortion ideology prevails today in our government … truly Christian answer to problem pregnancies is for all of us to love and care for mother and child alike
Only lip service will be paid to the shared objection to abortion. Little time, money, or political capital will be spent on this already lost goal. However, should opportunity ever swing in their direction, they will stop at nothing short of a full ban on all abortions without any consideration of rape, quality of life, or the life of the mother.
But absent the abortion issue, these allies have but one other shared issue: attacking you and your life.
Around the globe … take steps necessary to halt the spread of preventable diseases like AIDS
The situations in Nigeria and Uganda are not accidental nor unrelated to the efforts of conservative Americans. Although virtually all of the spread of AIDS in Africa is related to heterosexuality, this will be an excuse to pass draconian laws seeking to repress, incarcerate, or execute gay men and women.
In addition to being a slam against the Episcopal Church, the inclusion of Akinola announces that pogroms against gay Africans will have the endorsement of both the Catholic Church and conservative evangelical churches.
We should not expect the calls for criminal prosecution of gay people to be limited to foreign soil. Should such a fervor be fostered internationally, it is unquestionable that this will lend support to efforts to reinstate or bolster oppression here.
It is no longer a matter of curiosity that the Catholic Church has not spoken out against the Kill Gays bill in Uganda. Nor had Dr. Mohler or Dr. Dobson. Nor, indeed, has any signatory of this document.
The impulse to redefine marriage in order to recognize same-sex and multiple partner relationships … there are those who are disposed towards homosexual and polyamorous conduct and relationships … Some who enter into same-sex and polyamorous relationships no doubt regard their unions as truly marital … the assumption that the legal status of one set of marriage relationships affects no other would not only argue for same sex partnerships; it could be asserted with equal validity for polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships
The Manhattan document does not in any place refer to same-sex relationships without simultaneously mentioning multiple-party relationships. This will no doubt translate to a new commitment on the part of the signatories to try and tie the two together in their political campaigns.
Frankly, I wish them godspeed in that decision. Americans have, I believe, moved beyond the point in which gay couples are viewed as identical to polygamists.
as Christ was willing, out of love, to give Himself up for the church in a complete sacrifice, we are willing, lovingly, to make whatever sacrifices are required of us for the sake of the inestimable treasure that is marriage.
This probably tells us nothing but the extent to which these people are self-righteous and truly deeply smarmy. They are willing, lovingly, to sacrifice your life and freedom and equality, not their own. Oh how loving. Oh how Christ-like.
Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.
There are, as we all know, no requirements for any churches or ministers to act contrary to their faith. We have long since debunked their claims of oppression and shown them to be nothing more than a retraction of special privilege when the religious groups in question wanted to use taxpayer dollars to discriminate against gay taxpayers. There are no instances in their recitation in which religious groups were forced to compromise in any areas of faith in the administration of their own funds or time.
That is of no consequence. Liars lie. We expect the morally bankrupt to behave without integrity.
But what I think we can anticipate, based on their conclusion, is a concerted effort at political stuntery. A dedication to dishonesty. And an ongoing campaign of lies.
As a Christian, it distresses me to see the name of my faith and the mantle of its history usurped by those who have no respect for its greater principles but instead gleefully glom onto its darker bloody history. Rather than exalt in the liberties that have evolved from Christian thought, they seek to equate the faith with its most prejudicial, superstitious, exclusionary and dictatorial moments.
But perhaps something good may come of this.
It is possible that out of this declaration of war, the moderate and liberal branches of the faith may find common cause, if nothing else in defense of their own good name. Perhaps they will decide that they have a purpose and meaning in modern America and will let go of residual guilt and angst and take up the mantle of protector of the oppressed and champion of justice and mercy.
Let us hope and pray that they do.
Carrie Prejean’s Closeup
November 13th, 2009
Ah yes. It seems like only yesterday:
- Peter LaBarbera hailed Carrie Prejean as one who “sought to please God rather than politically-correct man.”
- Randy Thomasson gushed that she “is the #1 voice in America educating people that there is a war against free speech and against marriage.”
- Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily called Prejean “an example for all believers torn between conformity to the world’s standards and honoring God’s standards.”
- The National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher signed her up as spokesperson for the organization, saying she was, “very proud of [Carrie] and look forward to cheering from the sidelines about all the important things she will accomplish and all the people she will inspire to speak truth to power.”
- Brian Brown boasted that “She’s a young woman of great beauty who chose truth over the glittering tiara that Hollywood offers… her values are in the right place.”
I guess that “right place” must be her chicha, if her 30 nude photos and eight sex tapes are any indication:
On one tape Carrie is wearing just a flowing white blouse as she touches her own body in an alluring manner. Carrie can be heard moaning on a few of the tapes.
In her newly released book Carrie wrote, “God gave us our bodies, and it’s perfectly right that we use them in ways where we can give glory to God by making our bodies, our temples of the Holy Spirit, strong and fast.”
Maggie’s Anti-Biblical Marriage
October 2nd, 2009
Maggie Gallagher, as the head of the National Organization for Marriage, is quite fond of extolling the virtues of “traditional marriage.” And, for those uncertain as to what “traditional” means, her protege Carrie Prejean, lets us know that it is marriage which is “biblically correct.”
Well, when I was growing up in a “biblically correct” family, one of the scriptures often quoted to Christian kids of dating age was 2 Corinthians 6:14
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?
And lest any kids have any uncertainty about the application of that scripture or the meaning of “unequally yoked”, they were told in no uncertain terms that they were to only date other Christian kids. Marrying a non-Christian would be tragic.
It’s Maggie’s marriage!
It turns out that for the last 17 years, Maggie has been married to Raman Srivastav, who just happens to be Hindu. Oh, my.
Well I guess we now know why Maggie un-traditionally uses her maiden name and why her husband is kept invisible.
Now I have no problem with Maggie being married to a person of any faith or no faith at all. But, then again, I don’t demand that marriage laws in this country be based on the Christian Bible.
(hat tip Bilerico)
Maggie Thinks You’re a Bully… and She Wants You to Pay For It
September 8th, 2009
Maggie Gallagher, president of National Organization for Marriage seems to be getting shriller every time I hear from her. In her latest rant on Townhall, Maggie equates even the most cautious of concern for gay people as an accusation that she is a hater and a bigot:
Most of the people in Maine were enthusiastic, but one clergyman asked me, “Shouldn’t we live with our neighbors in peace?”
His question haunts me for its debased presumptions: Is using democracy to fight for shared values somehow an act of war against our neighbors? “Agree with me or you’re a hater” is not the authentic voice of peace and tolerance. But the question underscored an increasingly obvious truth: Gay marriage advocates now rage against Americans who disagree with them, no matter how civilly we conduct the debate. They believe only one side has the moral right to be heard.
Perhaps the Townhall readers can, with Maggie, hear rage, denial of a right to be heard, and an accusation that she’s a hater in the clergyman’s, but to me she’s sounding more and more like a loon. And a selfish entitlement-obsessed loon, at that.
Here’s the truth: You will now be called a hater and a bigot merely for standing for marriage as one woman and one man. What do we make of this sad truth? So far, the bullies pay no price for their meanness and their rage.
Oh, but you know that if Maggie can get her way, you’ll pay and pay dearly. How dare you question her authority?!
Which may be why I’ve finally figured out who Maggie Gallagher reminds me of: Delores Umbridge. They seem to share the same perspective on life.
NOM Loses Big in Iowa
September 2nd, 2009
Maggie Gallagher gambled big in Iowa. Her National Organization for Marriage spent over $86,000 to buy television ads for the Republican candidate, Stephen Burgmeier, who supports putting marriage equality up to a vote.
While $86,000 might not be a large sum in, say, the New York gubernatorial campaign, it towers in comparison to the $63 K Burgmeier raised on his own or the $43 K pulled in by his opponent. But this flood of cash did not accomplish what they had hoped. (Iowa Independent)
Democrat Curt Hanson has defeated Republican Stephen Burgmeier by 107 votes in Iowa House District 90, according to unofficial results released by the Iowa Secretary of State’s office Tuesday night.
Hanson will replace former state Rep. John Whitaker (D-Hillsboro), who was appointed to a position with the USDA. The balance of power in Iowa’s lower legislative chamber remains unchanged, with Democrats holding on to a somewhat volatile 56-44 majority.
But the bigger loss for Maggie and NOM may be procedural and in reputation. As in Maine, questions have arisen about whether NOM is flouting campaign law and illegally money-laundering contributions. (Los Angeles Times)
Last month, W. Charles Smithson, the director of the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, wrote to NOM to “make sure everyone was on the same page” and that the group was familiar with Iowa election law. One point Smithson made was that NOM would need to register as a political action committee if donors are giving $750 or more for “express advocacy activities” – as well as disclose the identities of donors.
When NOM did not register as a PAC or disclose the source of the television ad funds, One Iowa and the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund filed a complaint with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.
As these complaints continue to stack up, state by state, eventually Gallagher will find herself explaining to a judge a good deal more about the structure and funding of the National Organization for Marriage than she wishes. And if Fred Karger’s accusation about NOM being a front-group for the Mormon Church has any basis whatsoever, such a disclosure could be devastating to her efforts.
I hardly see how gambling on a long-shot candidate in Iowa in flagrant violation of campaign laws could have been considered a wise bet.
Maggie Gallagher Makes Her Predictions
August 20th, 2009
As we noted earlier, Steve Chapman challenged three same-sex marriage opponents to predict the consequences of same-sex marriage in those states where it is legal. None of them took him up on his challenge. But after protesting that Chapman’s question was a “game of ‘gotcha’,” Maggie Gallagher changed her mind and decided to give it a go:
- In gay-marriage states, a large minority people committed to traditional notions of marriage will feel afraid to speak up for their views, lest they be punished in some way.
- Public schools will teach about gay marriage.
- Parents in public schools who object to gay marriage being taught to their children will be told with increasing public firmness that they don’t belong in public schools and their views will not be accomodated [sic] in any way.
- Religous [sic] institutions will face new legal threats (especially soft litigation threats) that will cause some to close, or modify their missions, to avoid clashing with the government’s official views of marriage (which will include the view that opponents are akin to racists for failing to see same-sex couples as married).
- Support for the idea “the ideal for a child is a married mother and father” will decline.
This looks like a preview of the Maine battle in November. Have you donated yet? What are you waiting for?
Conservatives Refuse To Predict Dire Consequences For Same-Sex Marriage
August 20th, 2009
Townhall.com is probably the last place one would expect to find an article supporting arguments made by proponents of same-sex marriage, but Steve Chapman is mystified that no one who opposes same-sex marriage is willing to take him up on his challenge. His challenge is simple: We now have five states with same-sex marriage, with a sixth one (Maine) pending a November referendum. (By the way, have you donated lately?) Most of the others offer no recognition of same-sex unions whatsoever.
Chapman believes that this presents perfect laboratory conditions: an experimental condition and a control group. He writes, “in the next few years, we will have a chance to compare social trends in the states permitting same-sex marriage against social trends in the others.” So Chapman contacted three conservative opponents to same-sex marriage — Maggie Gallagher, Stanley Kurtz, and David Blankenhorn — and asked them to offer their predictions:
You would think they would react like Albert Pujols when presented with a hanging curveball. Yet none was prepared to forecast what would happen in same-sex marriage states versus other states.
Conservatives often predict catastrophic consequences for states that recognize same-sex marriage. Maggie Gallagher has even likened it to the end of civilization.Stanly Kurtz started a cottage industry blaming the decline of marriage in Scandinavia on same-sex marriage. But when put to the test, none of them will stand behind their statements. What does that tell you about their convictions?
Maggie Gallagher In 1996: DOMA Is “Timid” Because Schools Can’t Expel Heather
July 28th, 2009
According to her 1996 op-ed, she wasn’t exactly wild about the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” because it was too timid:
But consider what the bill, in its timidity, does not do: It does not ban gay marriage. It doesn’t even require that states that adopt gay marriage do so through democratic means. To the citizens of Hawaii, where a handful of lawyers appear poised to impose gay marriage on the majority, the federal government turns its back, offering no relief. A nation which a hundred years ago unself-consciously refused to admit Utah as a state unless and until it renounced polygamy, no longer has enough moral confidence to insist on a common culture of marriage.
As I said: timid.
More significantly, Gallagher worried that with same-sex marriage, schools would not be able to expel Heather and her two mommies. She asked, “On what grounds, if homosexual marriage is no longer an oxymoron but a legal category, could schools keep them out?” Yes, she actually wrote that.
[Hat tip: Jeremy Hooper]
NOM Loses It Over Carrie’s Lost Glittering Tiara
June 10th, 2009
Here is the National Organization for Marriage’s full press release in all of its fabulous hystronic wild-eyed glory:
THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE RESPONDS TO THE FIRING OF MISS CALIFORNIA USA CARRIE PREJEAN:
(Princeton, NJ) – Today, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) issued the following statement in response to the firing Miss California USA Carrie Prejean:
“Hollywood hates Carrie. First they abuse her, then they try to get her to recant, then they threw mud, and now they are doing what they wanted to do from day one: Get rid of Carrie.
This cover story about a contract dispute doesn’t pass the smell test. Americans aren’t fooled that easily. God knows, and we know, the truth about Carrie: She’s a young woman of great beauty who chose truth over the glittering tiara that Hollywood offers,” said Brian Brown, Executive Director for NOM. “Of course they will try to punish her, but we know she will be fine in the end, because her values are in the right place.”
“Hollywood will dance its tribal war dance over her body–the hatred generated against her has been extraordinary–but Carrie will be free to define her own mission and message from now on. Congratulations,” stated Maggie Gallagher, President for NOM.
Cue the war dance.
I’ve been informed that depicting Maori and other Indiginous Peoples is a “racist misappropriation” and that “acontextual stereotypes of Native people being warlike and savage” are offensive. Although I doubt that my Native American ancestory would qualify me as entitled to use a depiction of a Cherokee war dance, I trust that my Scottish ancestory and last name will suffice to allow for a Highlander to be shown. So I have replaced the photograph of the Maori dancers with a painting by Robert Griffing which depicts a Highland war dance, the Sword Dance.
Although it probably isn’t the type of “tribal war dance” that Gallagher was picturing, it is likely the only image that would be deemed acceptable by those who do such deeming. Scots don’t much complain about such imagery. And if anyone continues to be concerned about the racist misappropriation of the honorable Highland Scots, it may calm your concerns to note that this particular dancer appears to be wearing Kincaid Plaid.
Maggie Gallagher’s Bogus Poll
May 22nd, 2009
By now, none of us really expect that anything coming from Maggie Gallagher or her National Organization for Marriage is the truth. But sometimes her utter contempt for the truth is so blatant as to be astonishing.
Take, for example, her 2009 NOM Massachusetts Marriage Survey.
Now, of course, this is not really a poll that is seeking to determine attitudes about marriage in Massachusetts. Rather, this is simply her attempt to try and come up with an artificial opposition to marriage equality and to try and convince the public that marriage has hurt Massachusetts.
But even for a push poll, this is laughable.
First, her sample is as far from representative as you can get. While about 60% of Massachusans are between the age of 18 and 50, this is only 20% of Maggie’s sample. And while those over 75 make up about 9% of the population, they are 24% of her survey. What did Maggie poll, retirement communities?
And though only about 31% of Massachusans attend church “almost weekly”, about 47% of Maggie’s group does.
Then look at the claims she makes in a press release:
Do Children Need a Mom and Dad? Majority Say Yes
But what did the survey really ask?
13. Here’s one more statement: “All things being equal, it is better for children to be raised by their married mother and a father?” Do you agree or disagree with that statement?
Well who would disagree with that? Not me – not the way it’s phrased. So it’s hardly a surprise that 76% agreed.
But do I think “children need a Mom and Dad”? Nope.
Maggie goes on pretending that her findings suggest that “Massachusetts voters remain sharply divided about gay marriage”. They don’t.
Afraid to ask whether marriage should remain legal in the state, Maggie tried to appeal to personal dislike of gays or personal discomfort with gay marriage. But even then she failed. 43% of respondents were generally personally favorable and another 14% couldn’t care less.
9. Do you personally favor or oppose same-sex marriage generally?
14% DON’T KNOW/NO RESPONSE
Maggie goes on to try and spin her survey results to support her cause using percentages of percentages, but in the process provides us with some interesting information about the attitudes of Massachusetts voters.
- 44% think that opposing gay marriage is discrimination comparable to racial discrimination. And while
- 16% think that “people may try to hurt you” if you are an anti-gay-marriage activist, only
- 7% know someone who “feels they were harassed or intimidated” because of their anti-gay marriage beliefs
(Maggie calls this “a surprisingly substantial minority of voters”)
But getting around Maggie’s loaded questions and her contorted analysis, a picture emerges of the Massachusetts voter.
About half are personally supportive of marriage equality while the rest seem fairly content. Most support the right of dissenters to disagree and only a tiny fringe think that their views are being suppressed. They aren’t worried about whether their kids (or grandkids) are being taught about same-sex couples in school. And they tend to think that anti-marriage activists are distasteful, if not downright bigots, and acknowledge that the state has broad social support for the institution. And these are the opinions of the old religious folk.
In short, the sky hasn’t fallen. The citizens aren’t upset. Massachusetts has now seen that marriage equality is a good thing.
Maggie Gallagher Gives False Information About El Coyote Owner
May 4th, 2009
I don’t object to National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher having any view she wishes to endorse. Nor do I oppose her opining wherever she gets the chance.
But Gallagher is not entitled to make claims that are contrary to the facts.
On Larry King Live (with Joy Behar sitting in as guest host), Gallagher said the following:
After Prop 8 … we had a waitress who gave $100 to support marriage and people were calling for her job, they wanted her to lose her job because she supported marriage as a man and a woman.
That, of course, was a reference to the response when gay Angelenos found out that Margie Christoffersen contributed to Proposition 8. Margie was not “a waitress”.
Margie is the “face” of El Coyote Mexican Restaurant, the family member selected to represent the family owned establishment to their customers. She is the daughter of the titular owner and the wife of the business manager for the company; they operate the restaurant together.
When gay patrons of the restaurant, most of whom had been customers for decades, found out that Margie had smiled at them one day and gave money to remove their rights the next, they demanded a meeting. In that meeting Margie was completely dismissive of their concerns.
Christoffersen has never been a waitress. Gallagher knows the facts of this story, she’s written on it before. This was nothing but a false attempt to elicit sympathy for a powerless woman who feared for her next paycheck, a woman who does not exist.
The New Look of Conservative Christian Values
May 1st, 2009
Many in the world of anti-gay conservative Christianity have praised Miss California, Carrie Prejean, as having courage, belief, convictions and Christian values.
Maggie Gallagher: Her example resonates, especially to many young Americans, because she chose to stand for truth rather than surrender her core values.
Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins: Prejean’s Christian beliefs were no secret to the organization; she quotes a biblical passage in her official bio on the Miss California USA website, citing Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” as a daily source of inspiration.
American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon: What I was most impressed with was Miss California’s courage, as she knew her answer could very well cost her the opportunity to fulfill her dream to be Miss USA. But she went ahead and expressed her convictions.
Carrie Prejean: We have to be strong and true to our faith and our beliefs.
Carrie has become the poster girl for Christianity – or at least the anti-gay variety. And this pictorial from the center fold of B!isss Magazine must be the new look of Conservative Christian values:
I hope that some Christians will recognize the irrationality of rushing to embrace anyone, no matter who, so long as they espouse an anti-gay agenda. It’s time that conservative Christians do some soul searching and distinguish between a principled position based on their theological understanding of scripture and a knee-jerk homophobic endorsement of anything anti-gay.
The Marriage Movement’s Face Doesn’t Speak
May 1st, 2009
Earlier this week, National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher nominated Carrie Prejean as the “new face of the marriage movement.” And after meeting with Carrie, she went on to feature her in NOM’s new ad and to have her speak at their press conference.
But now Maggie has released a statement suggesting that the face of the marriage movement doesn’t speak for the marriage movement. How fitting.
A number of media sources have described Carrie Prejean as a spokesperson for the National Organization for Marriage.
As we made clear at our press conference yesterday: Carrie appeared with NOM as a private citizen; she does not work for the National Organization for Marriage. She is a spokesperson for her own views, as anyone watching her can tell.
We are grateful to Carrie Prejean for her willingness to stand up for marriage. We would love to work with Carrie in the future if she chooses, and we wish her well in all her future endeavors whatever she chooses. We’re proud of her. Americans are proud of her. She is a remarkable young woman. Thank you, Carrie.
It’s hardly a surprise that Maggie is trying to downplay Carrie’s authority as the voice of the “marriage movement”. Calling in to Greta Van Susteren on FoxNews, it was quite clear that Carrie’s thoughts on recognition and rights for gay couples are less than thoroughly developed.
VAN SUSTEREN: What is your thought on civil unions?
PREJEAN: My thought on civil unions? You know what, Greta? I don’t have the answers to everything. I’m not running for political office. I don’t have the answers to everything, you know, in the world out there.
But I think that there should be rights for people, you know, especially in California. I think that people that are homosexual should have some rights, you know, hospital rights, and things like that.
But I would like to be more educated on that, so when I do have a better answer for you, I will get back to you on that one.
But so far I just support traditional marriage, and that’s my main focus.
VAN SUSTEREN: What about adoption?
PREJEAN: Greta, I am focusing on marriage right now, not adoption, not civil unions, just traditional marriage, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to promote that.
VAN SUSTEREN: I understand, and I understand your position on traditional marriage. I’m just sort of trying to figure out where you draw the line in terms of what kind of rights that you think that a man and woman should have that maybe two men, two women, shouldn’t have.
And that’s why I was asking the question on civil unions and adoptions. I was just trying to sort it out for myself what you think.
PREJEAN: Well, I’m not a politician, so I can’t give you an answer to that.