I blogged the other day about the fact that Chick-fil-A seemed to have pulled a Komen and caved. Now they’ve issued another statement, plus a statement from Huckabee. These two statements seem to indicate that Chick-fil-A carefully carved out a loophole for itself. All I can say is Hmmm…. It’s hard to do business in today’s Witch Hunting climate.
Remember when the Susan B. Komen foundation pulled out funding for Planned Parenthood, because PP provides almost no services relevant to breast cancer? And remember how conservatives defended the decision because PP provides almost no services relevant to breast cancer? And then remember how the Komen foundation ignored conservative approbation and caved on PP funding?
I hope you do remember that saga, because we seem to be seeing a repeat? Remember how Chick-fil-A made a stand for traditional marriage? Remember how conservatives all across America supported Chick-fil-A in overwhelming numbers — and with the numbers that count, namely product purchases?
Well, now you can remember how Chick-fil-A has ignored conservative approbation and caved on its alleged principles:
The Chicago alderman whose opposition to Chick-fil-A over the restaurant owner’s santi-gay marriage stance made national headlines last month, has announced the company has agreed to stop funding those organizations, according to the Chicago Tribune.
A press release posted on a Chicago-based civil rights advocacy group web site quotes a letter said to have been sent to the alderman from Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate”
“The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.” Winshape, a non-profit funded by Chick-fil-a, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT groups, including some classified as hate groups, such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage. In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations.
An internal memo declaring the company will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender” and that their “intent is not to engage in political or social debates,” was also said to have been distributed and included in an official company document called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.”
Even when conservatives go against type and become squeaky wheels, they don’t get the grease; they just get the shaft.
MoveOn.org has created an online poster that has been getting a fair amount of play on Facebook. The page is entitled “The #1 Reminder Every GOP Lawmaker Needs To See.” It then quotes “American Hero” Jamie Raskin, a law professor, before successfully running for Maryland’s State Senate himself, testified before the Maryland State Senate in 2006. Back then, he had this to say:
Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn’t place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.
That sounds very clever, doesn’t it? Nice parallelism, and a definite superficial truth: American politicians don’t swear to uphold the Bible. Of course, that cute little parallelism ignores a deeper truth, which is the fact that the Constitution includes this nifty little Amendment called the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The classic religions (as opposed to recently created New-Age spiritualism) all define marriage, and they all define it as a union between a man, on the one hand, and a woman, on the other hand. Freely exercising ones religion means that, constitutionally speaking (and lawmakers are charged with upholding the Constitution), the government doesn’t get to redefine marriage to include other sexual variations.
In 2008, during the Prop. 8 debate (when California voters were asked to, and did, pass a Proposition defining marriage as being between a man and a woman), I spoke with a very smart, very liberal friend who couldn’t understand why the Catholic Church was taking a stand against Prop. 8. I suggested to him that the Church was concerned that there would come a time when it would be sued for refusing to perform a gay marriage and that it might lose that suit if gay marriage is deemed a civil right. He scoffed: “The Church is opposed to abortion, but no one sues it for that.” What he couldn’t grasp is that the Catholic Church doesn’t perform abortions, but it does perform marriages.
The HHS fight over funding contraceptives and abortifacients proves that the concern I raised in 2008 is precisely correctly. Suddenly, through the purse, a Leftist government was trying to get the church to perform abortions.
When Leftist government passes laws that conflict with a religion’s doctrinal points, it has no problem ignoring the First Amendment and using the power of the state and the purse to force the religious organization and its practitioners to abandon their doctrinal concerns. In other words, Leftist government is happy to enact and enforce policies that essentially prohibit the free exercise of a religion.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the government should get out of the “marriage” business. The government’s control of “marriage” is residue of a time when church and state were inextricably intertwined, rather than Constitutionally separate. Let’s leave “marriage” to the religious organizations, and let them define it as they will. The state, which has a huge interest in promoting stable unions that result in healthy, happy children, should then bend itself to the task of figuring out how best to promote those unions. Promoting them, of course, boils down to money. The state needs to figure out how to entice people (hint: tax breaks) into joining together and having stable nuclear families. Civil unions, folks. In this day and age, it’s the only way to keep the state’s hands off the church.
Looping back to law professor and ignoramus (oh, and American Hero) Jamie Raskin, someone needs to give him a constitutional refresher course: When the lawmakers place their hands on the Bible and swear to protect the Constitution, they are also swearing to protect people’s rights to practice their Biblically based, life-affirming beliefs without state interference.
I’m not commenting on the merits of the decision, which I haven’t read, or on the merits of Prop. 8, which we’ve already hashed over at this blog. I am commenting, however, on my utter lack of surprise with this ruling from the 9th Circuit, affirming the district court decision finding Prop. 8 unconstitutional. Of course, the 9th Circuit is the most overruled appellate court in America, so advocates of gay marriage might want to hold off on getting too excited.
One other thing: I have a lot of gay friends on Facebook, since I grew up and lived in the Bay Area. Intriguingly, though, the ones who are most aggressive in their support for gay marriage are my straight friends. What’s up with that? Is this the “straight guilt” equivalent of the “white guilt” that transformed the Civil Rights movement from a Constitutional equality issue into a racism industry?
Cassie Jay is a young woman who makes unabashedly Leftist films. Back, in 2010, she made a documentary called “Daddy I Do” that attacked abstinence-only education. Even in liberal Marin, this movie caused a bit of a kerfuffle, as the local art cinema first agreed to show it, then backed off from that agreement, and then, when the liberal fit hit the media shan, finally agreed to show the movie. The debate garnered headlines, and undoubtedly drew more people to the movie than would otherwise have attended. My bet is that, at the end, a lot of people paid for tickets, not because they actually wanted to see her movie, but because they wanted to show solidarity.
Ms. Jay now contends that she’s stumbled into cultural clash, and she didn’t see this one coming at all. On its face, Jay’s newest movie ought not to have ruffled any feathers on the Left. It’s a straight down-the-line Progressive encomium for the virtues of gay marriage. The Marin Independent Journal assures readers that her latest, “The Right to Love: An American Family,” is “a compelling case for legalizing gay marriage.” Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I haven’t seen it yet — indeed, few have — so I’m not qualified to comment.
Jay claims, however, that there are those in the gay community who have seen it and they are very unhappy with the movie. You see, in addition to promoting gay marriage, which is a good thing, the gay activists watching the preview discerned a Christian subtext, which is a very bad thing indeed:
“The Right to Love,” which premieres Monday at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, focuses on the Leffew family of Santa Rosa, a legally married gay couple and their two adopted children. When the trailer was released this past fall, it included a scene of the family saying a Christian prayer at their breakfast table.
The reaction it unleashed from a segment of the gay community was angry and venomous, and caught Jaye off guard.
“It just erupted online,” she recalled. “It totally caught me by surprise. I was shocked by the backlash. All these LGBT (lesbian-gay-bixexual-transgender) people were attacking the Leffew family for being religious, saying, ‘How can you be a part of an institution that doesn’t see us as equals and thinks we’re an abomination? How can you be a member of that club?’ I never intended to include that prayer as a controversial issue, but there was a lot of hatred toward them being Christian.”
Here’s the incendiary trailer (the prayer shows up 38 seconds in):
As for me, I think this is a publicity stunt. I scrolled through the 280 comments at the trailer and found a few comments to the effect that “religions should let us marry and they’re bad ’cause they don’t” stuff, but I don’t see any evidence of the firestorm Jay claims erupted over her film — more specifically, that she claims erupted because of that two second prayer scene in the trailer. Unless Jay deleted all the hardcore anti-Christian comments as spam, they’re just not there. I also did a couple of Google searches for the name of the film along with the words “Christian” and “religion” but, aside from several dozen sites singing rapturous praises about a pro-gay marriage movie, found only a few newspaper articles quoting Jay about the claimed firestorm.
I’m willing to acknowledge that my research skills may be abysmal, and that I’ve managed to miss the dozens of comments and posts in which activist gays threaten to burn crosses on the lawns of those gay families who are stupid enough to cling to Christianity. I may also have a different idea of Jay as to what constitutes a truly controversial issue. She may think one crackpot makes a controversy. I don’t.
What’s rather amazing, though, is that Jay is promoting her film by pointing to a subject that has nothing to do with the film itself. The film is about gay marriage. There is a built-in audience for this movie. Gays will see it. Elites who want to prove their moral superiority on the issue will see it. But Jay is promoting it, not by pointing to its substantive issues, but by talking up the fact that (according to her) many in the GLBT (or LGBT or whatever other order the letters should appear) community are no longer asking for religion to change. Instead, they’re attacking religion at the root. For her, this is a selling point.
Jay’s right, too, in her assessment that, in Obama-world, attacking religion is a selling point for any movie that one markets to the Left. The Obama administration’s direct, frontal attack on the Catholic church (and other religious institutions) demonstrates as nothing else could that the Left, now that it holds two out of the three seats of power in American government, intends not to amend religion, or carve out secular exceptions, but to destroy it entirely. Under the new ObamaCare mandate, the churches are left with only three choices all of which range from damaging to destructive: they can deny their principles and provide insurance, which destroys them morally; they can refuse to provide the insurance, which will trigger penalties or lose them so many employees they’ll be destroyed financially; or they can simply shut down their outreach, which destroys their place in their community and the missions that are an intrinsic part of their doctrine.
My guess is that Jay is astutely tuning into a strong cultural subtext roiling the Left in order to market her film. Even if there is no fight between gay activists and religion, there ought to be, and she’s going to use that paradigm to broaden her audience beyond the Prop. 8 crowd. She can expect to see attendance increase as those on the Left attend the film, either to show their solidarity with religion (Christ’s gospel is good, even if the church has perverted it) or to protest the fact that anyone in the LGBT (or GLBT) community would dare to ally itself with a hate-filled, archaic institution that should be destroyed, rather than reformed.
I think the saying is that, in show business, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
What do you think?
In connection with the British judges’ decision barring as foster parents people who disapprove of homosexuality, I posited that making gay marriage a Constitutionally protected civil right could expose conservative faiths to lawsuits. Many had a hard time envisioning this, but legal expert Richard Epstein had exactly the same thought:
To this day there are thoughtful people in religious groups that continue to hold fast against gay marriage, and their rights to determine what happens to their membership are necessarily impacted by this decision, for there is nothing in the curt statement from the Obama administration which explains why the Constitution should not be read to require the President of the Congress to impose obligations on these organizations to accept gay couples into their ranks. Orthodox Jews and Roman Catholics beware!
Rodney King got his 15 minutes of fame for (a) getting beaten up while resisting arrest; (b) having his name attached to some horrific riots; and (c) plaintively asking “Can we get along?” The last is a great thought. I’d like to get along with people better myself. “Getting along,” though, presupposes that people have the same goals and values. In our pluralist society, even when we have differences, we mostly limp along all right. Elections shuttle different value systems in and out of power and (at least when the unions aren’t rioting) Americans expect a peaceful transition.
Still, even pluralist societies have bottom line values, things as to which we’re not willing to bend (although, lately, it’s getting harder to pinpoint just what those values are). Up until recently, one of those values was that “marriage qua marriage” was a one man, one woman deal. In recent years, we were willing to contemplate “civil unions,” but “marriage” remained sacrosanct.
Also, because of the First Amendment, another American bottom-line is that the government cannot meddle in religious doctrine. Some confused people think the First Amendment outlaws religion, or outlaws religious people from participating in politics, but most understand that — unless they’re calling for human or animal sacrifice, or polygamy — the American government leaves religion alone.
I have said all along that the main problem with the gay marriage debate is that, by creating an entirely new bottom line (gay marriage) we’re going to see two bottom lines crash into each other. You see, traditional male/female marriage meshed nicely with the vast majority of traditional religious norms. Gay marriage, however, does not mesh with traditional religion. While Progressive churches and synagogues have opened their doors to gay marriages, more traditional ones, especially the Orthodox Jewish faith and the Catholic Church, have not done so.
When I’ve raised this concern to people, they scoffed. One liberal told me that, even though abortions are legal, the government has never gone toe-to-toe with the Catholic Church. He looked a bit taken aback, and had no response, when I pointed out that the Catholic Church doesn’t provide, or withhold, abortions; it simply speaks against them doctrinally. The Church does, however, marry people, and that leaves open the possibility that a gay couple will sue the church for refusing to perform a marriage service.
Others, while acknowledging that my point has a certain intellectual validity, say that it will never happen. I’m not so sure, especially after reading a story out of England involving a Pentecostal couple who were told that, as long as their religion held that homosexuality is not acceptable behavior, they could not foster needy children:
A Christian couple morally opposed to homosexuality today lost a High Court battle over the right to become foster carers.
Eunice and Owen Johns, aged 62 and 65, from Oakwood, Derby, went to court after a social worker expressed concerns when they said they could not tell a child a ‘homosexual lifestyle’ was acceptable.
The Pentecostal Christian couple had applied to Derby City Council to be respite carers but withdrew their application believing it was ‘doomed to failure’ because of the social worker’s attitude to their religious beliefs.
The couple deny that they are homophobic and said they would love any child they were given. However, what they were ‘not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing’.
What’s relevant to this post is that the judges explicitly held that homosexual rights trump religious rights:
Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson ruled that laws protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation ‘should take precedence’ over the right not to be discriminated against on religious grounds.
Admitted, Britain does not have a First Amendment. However, as I noted above, First Amendment or not, our government bars, and (when Mormons are involved) actively prosecutes, polygamy. It does so despite the fact that polygamy was official doctrine for the Mormons and is official doctrine for the Muslims. Likewise, although Voodoo is recognized as a religion, we don’t let practitioners engage in animal sacrifice. In other words, First Amendment or not, the government will interfere in religious doctrine if it runs completely afoul of a bottom-line American value.
If gay marriage is deemed Constitutional, we suddenly have two conflicting bottom-line values — gay marriage and religious freedom. I’m not predicting how this will turn out. I’m just saying that, if I was the Catholic Church or an Orthodox synagogue, I’d start having my lawyers look at this one now.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News
In an earlier post, I said that Obama’s decision to turn his back on DOMA, despite his professed support for traditional marriage, does not make him a Harry Truman. Rich Lowry explains much better than I could why Obama’s current position is not a principled stand but is, instead, another step towards a pre-planned goal. The whole pattern also reminds me of the way in which Obama lies, which is incrementally.
I’ve always admired Harry Truman for his ability to go forward with moral acts despite the fact that these acts were at odds with his personal prejudices. Although he was a good old fashioned Southern anti-Semite, in 1948, at the UN, he voted for the State of Israel, because it was the right thing to do. Likewise, even though he was a good old fashioned Southern racist, he authorized the military’s integration, because it was the right thing to do.
Obama is a self-avowed proponent of traditional marriage, yet he has just announced that a federal law upholding traditional marriage is unconstitutional. Is this a Harry Truman moment? Is he putting aside his own prejudices to do the right thing?
Sorry, but no, it’s not a Harry Truman moment. You see, Harry Truman didn’t flim-flam voters by promising never to support a Jewish state or an integrated military, and then changing his mind. These were issues that arose out of the blue, so to speak, that were not part of a national debate, and that had never required Truman to sell his position — any position — to the American public. They were deeply personal decisions for him: do the right thing at that moment, or do the prejudiced thing at that moment. He chose the former course both times, marking him as an ethically brave man.
Obama, however, sold the public a bill of goods. He campaigned as a proponent of traditional marriage. Jeffrey Anderson summarizes nicely:
President Obama has now decided that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional. Thus, the Obama administration says that it will no longer defend that federal law in court. On the campaign trail, President Obama repeatedly asserted that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Now, the president has apparently decided that his own view, at least when codified as federal law, is unconstitutional.
Rather than appearing Truman-esque, Obama simply increases the perception that he is a con man. At the very least, if he’s had this kind of change of heart, he should be explaining to the public the reasoning behind the change. He’s not making any such noises, though, because there are no such noises to make.
The Indiana legislature is working on a bill to ban gay marriage. On my “real me” facebook, several of my friends characterized this as an act motivated by hate: “Stop the hate!” “Boy, they really hate us.” “Could they be more hateful?” I found this formulation interesting, perhaps because semantics has been such a big issue lately, what with the liberals trying to redefine Reagan so that they can redefine Obama. (For two excellent articles on the politics of semantics, check out this and this.)
Saying that people are motivated by hate is a very powerful and demeaning argument. Most everyone at whom such an argument is aimed reacts instinctively to deny that he or she is hate-filled. Often, to prove that there is no hate, the person will back of from the allegedly hate-filled position.
I’m wondering, though, if there is any merit to the “hate” argument when it comes to gay marriage. I don’t like gay marriage because I’ve increasingly come to believe (here come the semantics again) that it would be better if “marriage” was kept to religious institutions, with civil unions belonging to the state. The state can then decide how best to advance the goal of stable two parent families, which are the backbone of every growing, healthy society.
To allow state gay marriages as a civil right raises the horrible specter looms of a gay couple being denied a Catholic marriage, only to sue, alleging that the couple is being discriminated against under the Constitution. The Church, of course, reasonably responds that, under the same Constitution, the government has to stay out of its doctrinal practices, and where are you then? In other words, I don’t hate gays; I just hate the idea of gay marriage.
Those who oppose gay marriage for other reasons also don’t seem motivated by “hatred” for gays. They may believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman; they may believe gay marriage is a slippery slope to polygamy; they may believe these matters should be put to the popular vote, not the courts or even the legislatures; they may believe that their religion prohibits gay marriage; or they may believe something else entirely. But what one hasn’t heard from the majority in the gay marriage debate is personal animus towards gays. Ignoring the fringes, one hasn’t heard “hate.”
Or am I misdefining hate? Is it hatred if you place obstacles in the path of a specific group, without explicitly demeaning, deriding, insulting or attacking that group? What if you justify those obstacles on grounds unrelated, or reasonably unrelated to the group?
I actually don’t have answers, just questions. Nor am I seeking to open a debate about gay marriage. I’m simply wondering about politics, semantics, and identity groups.
Yesterday I mentioned John Hawkin’s post explaining why he is sponsoring HomoCon. I thought a nice companion piece would be Nick Gillespie’s post reprinting the HomoCon platform, a platform I think that all conservatives will find agreeable.
Remember (as if you, my dear readers, ever forget): Unlike the statists/regressives/so-called liberals, we are not the party of identity politics. We are the party of small government and big security. We welcome those who agree with us on those issues, regardless of their race, color, creed, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or country of national origin. We also acknowledge that there will inevitably be disagreements on the ideological periphery. We know, though, that under America’s two party system, we cannot win federal elections if we allow our attention to wander too far from the core issues that currently threaten to destroy the country entirely.
My sense is that, aside from the belief many hold that homosexual activity is sinful, I believe that gay marriage is the single most divisive political issue right now between conservative gays (at least, those conservative gays who support gay marriage) and other conservatives (at least, those other conservatives who don’t support gay marriage). It shouldn’t be.
As I’ve said before, I am not a fan of gay marriage, since I think marriage is, at its core, a religious issue. The smartest way to resolve it would be for the state to get out of the marriage business entirely and, instead, limit itself to allowing those “domestic partnerships” that it deems are in the state’s interest.
Right now, we probably all agree that heterosexual partnerships fall in that “state interest” category. A slight majority of Americans would add homosexual partnerships to that category, something that should be worked at through societal consensus, not judicial fiat. And if the specter of “dogs and cats, living together” comes up, we’ll deal with that too. And then let those various partners find the churches that will unite them before their God(s). End of story.
That’s my view, for what it’s worth. But my question for those opposed to gay conservatives who support conservatism on the most important political issue of the day is this: Can you afford to get into a divisive fight over what is, temporarily at least, a less significant issue than saving our entire country from frighteningly potential internal economic collapse and external terrorist and military attack?