Saturday, October 18, 2008

I meet the Prop 8 people today -- Halloween came early.

I was out shopping earlier today and ran into some Yes on 8 people standing at the shopping mall with their signs for this proposition to strip gay people of marriage equality. The one sign said “Protect Parental Rights”. So I parked and walked over to ask them how gay marriage violates parental rights.

The man pulled out a campaign brochure and I said: “No, I’d like to hear why you think gay marriage violates parental rights.” He looked dumbfounded for a moment, having to think for yourself is hard work, especially when you’re not used to it.

He then started to repeat what the Yes on 8 people told him. He started with: “In Massachusetts....” I interrupted and pointed out that we live in California and Massachusetts state law doesn’t apply in California.

He responded with a claim that in sex ed classes in California kids will be taught gay marriage. I pointed out to him that under California law all parents are free to remove their children from sex ed classes if they wish and thus no child will be taught this without parental permission. His reply was: “Well, that won’t be the case of Prop 8 doesn’t pass.”

Actually Prop 8 does nothing about parental permission for sex ed courses and, while gay marriage is legal now, the law still stands. Obviously the legalization of gay marriage had no impact on that law at all. Just because Jewish marriage is legal that doesn’t mean kids are taught Judaism at school. The whole argument is absurd.

At this point another Prop 8 person came over to play interference. The old guy's job was to wave silly signs at the public. This second guy was your basic angry white guy who hasn’t a clue what is going on. Really, not a bad guy, just pissed off and someone who doesn’t know what is happening—in other words, pretty much uninformed.

He started complaining how “one federal judge” could overrule millions of voters and how that was unfair. Of course, there were no federal judges involved at all. This was purely a ruling of the California Supreme Court, based on the California constitution. He insisted it was federal interference, even the old guy interrupted him and corrected him. As I said, he’s basically uninformed.

This guy doesn’t like gays, but then he doesn’t like immigrants, free trade and a host of things. We discussed them briefly. I asked him what happens with the US dollars that go to China for the shoes we buy here (he was worried about American produced shoes for some reason). Don’t those dollars have to eventually come back to America if someone wants to spend them? He seemed convinced that some of it does come back to Hillary Clinton and Diane Feinstein. Really, I’m not making this up.

I pointed out that billions of dollars in trade go overseas and surely it doesn’t all go to politicians. He wasn’t sure at this point but complained about cheap foreign products and how they destroy jobs. Again he seemed unaware that the US has among the lowest unemployment rates around. I asked him how it was that trade was destroying our jobs if our unemployment rate is so low? He said he didn’t know. But he blamed the problem, which he was sure existed, on the NAFTA/NAMBLA agreement! (I’m not making this up—that is precisely what he said!)

At this point he accused me of wanting to take away his guns! I was very amused considering I’m a passionate defender of the 2nd Amendment (all ten amendments, in fact). I corrected him and he said: “Well, at least your consistent.”

The old guy chimed in again and told me that allowing gay marriage rewrites the Bible. I asked him how and he couldn’t explain but he said gay marriage is against the Bible. I pointed out that the United States is not a theocracy and that US law isn’t based on the Bible. His response said it all: “It should be.” He very explicitly said it was his right to impose Biblical law on America.

Angry White Guy chimed in and pointed out that Leviticus wants gay men killed, but said he was surprised lesbianism wasn’t covered. I noted that was correct but that was Biblical law. Old Guy said he didn’t want to kill gays. I pointed at him and told Angry White Guy: “See, he’s a liberal who doesn’t want to obey God’s law.” They both laughed. I told them I had to go as I had groceries in the car.

I said: “I won’t say, it’s been fun.” Old Guy said, “We’ll, at least we’re friends.” I said: “No, not really.” I can’t be friends with someone who wants to use state power to take away rights from people.

My second encounter with Prop 8 supporters was on-line. Some conservative was spreading lies about the school field trip in San Francisco. That’s the one where some parents wanted their kids out of school to greet their teacher after her wedding to another woman. The Prop 8 people called it “indoctrination” and purposely deleted the fact that the parents were behind this. This fellow basically repeated the same claims. He said it was “blatant indoctrination” meant to “warp the children’s sense of normality.” He said this was a “criminal abuse of children.”

Someone noted that the parents approved this and he attacked the parents and claimed: “I’m pretty sure the parents didn’t come up the with the idea.” I commented that it was a parent who came up with the idea and other parents approved it. I asked how it was “indoctrination for parents to teach their values to their children.”

He admitted that the only article he read didn’t mention the parents, but he didn’t care. Now, he sees parents were “warping their child’s perception of sexuality, marriage and family.”

I noted that basically he just confessed to posting his article without bothering to check the facts first. I asked why the Yes-on-8 people were so deceptive and left this information out. I noted that when people are allowed to make choices, which we don’t necessarily approve of —its called freedom. But, more importantly we were now getting to real reason he wants Prop 8, and it doesn’t have anything to do with parental choice and control. He said gays are unnatural, immoral, unhealthy, self-destructive and a whole string of other negative traits. His campaign isn’t about protecting parental choice—he just wants to hurt gay people.

He finally came out of the closet and admitted he was doing what he was because he was “a follower of Christ.” Now, in all my time in seminary I never found that Bible verse about Jesus passing ballot propositions. It must have been in the Revised Standard translation and we used the King James version.

But, here are two incidents, and in both, after some debate, the Prop 8 supporters finally came out of the closet and cited their religion as the motivation for their attack on the rights of gay people. Jenny Roback Morse is running around California talking against gay marriage and then hiding the fact that she does so, not based on the arguments she gives, but on her rabid Catholicism. I have no problem if she wants to sit in adoration of a cracker that she thinks literally becomes the body of Jesus. But, when her worship of a magic cracker becomes the foundation of a campaign to strip people of rights, then I have problems with it.

We know the Proposition 8 campaign is dominated by Catholics, Mormons and fundamentalists. That’s where the money comes from. And when they talk in their churches they invoke God and the Bible (well, the Mormons invoke the Book of Mormon and their God). When they come into the light they change tunes. Suddenly they are protecting parental choice, even if no parents rights are being violated.

For all their talk about morality, they are not above deception. Why don’t their commercials tell the public the real reason they want to pass Prop 8? Why don’t the commercials say: “Vote Prop 8, put God’s law into practice.” They don’t say it because they know the public won’t buy it.

I’m open about why I support marriage equality. I don’t believe the state has the right to discriminate. And forbidding gay marriage is state discrimination since the state regulates marriage. Get the state out of marriage and it is not an issue to me. The Prop 8 people don’t want the state out—not at all. They want state protection and the monopolization of marriage because they want their religion to have the force of government behind it.

The Prop 8 people are deceitful on numerous levels. They won’t tell the public why they wrote the amendment and what they are trying to accomplish. Since they won’t tell the truth about their real motivations, they are forced to come up with alternative explanations. And to do that, they resort to inventing lies, distorting the truth and scaring people.

Once again I urge my readers to make a donation to the No on 8 campaign, they are still being outspent by the forces for theocracy. I don’t care if you’re gay or straight. That isn’t the main issue here—even if it is the excuse. The main issue is whether or not California law ought to be based on facts and reality, or on theological beliefs. This is as much about separation of church and state as anything. Stop the theocrats here and it will be a blow to their entire campaign to use the law to impose theocracy on America.

This is an issue they want to win badly. This is the one issue they still think they have a chance on winning. This is like first base for them, its easy to get there. But if they don’t get to first, then they can’t go to second or third. Put a stop to the theocrats on gay marriage and it helps undermine their efforts to impose prayer and creationism in the schools, impose censorship at the state level, restrict reproductive choice, etc. All these matters are tied together because it is secularism versus Biblicalism. If you want to fight the Biblicists and don’t want them in your backyard, then defeat them here.

Contribute here. Please!
I’m going to make my second donation and this is hardship but important.

Note to my readers: I suspect that I'll be blogging on Prop 8 a bit more. This blog is very event driven and about the issues of the day. And since the religious fanatics are heavily attacking the rights of gay people I'm going to be taking my stand here, for what it's worth. If this were 1933 I would be spending a lot of time talking about the situation of the Jews in Germany. I honestly believe this is an issue we should all worry about. Theocracy is dangerous and these people will be as cruel as the God they believe in. Please help stop them. The video is a commercial that Ellen DeGeneres has put together and which she is funding to televise. I always liked her. Please do your part as well.

P.S. Watch this space. I'm trying to write a very difficult, very emotional piece for me. I want to get it right and it is very difficult. My problem is that as I research the matters my emotions so overwhelm me that I find it emotionally wrenching to talk about it. I will try to do it and post it soon. Please watch for it, read it, think about it.

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