In a country that doesn't (officially) recognize state-sponsored religion, whose Constitution says "all men are created equal," where bigotry and bias are abhorred — why do otherwise intelligent and sensitive people feel they can engage in hate speech against gay people?

Despite tenets such as [More...]



We're seeking other writers who would like to monitor news reports and file their discoveries and perspectives here. If you're interested, click here to send an e-mail.



Saturday, November 27, 2004

"She Fails."

Chris Bull, senior political correspondent at planetout.com, accesses ABC News correspondent Elizabeth Vargas's success at unearthing a new justification for Mathew Shepard's murder. He gives ample reasons why Vargas's strained arguments are suspect, but he summarizes the broader point nicely when he says, "She fails."

When Hate Isn't Hate
...What new light could correspondent Elizabeth Vargas shed on the now mythical story? She reports, portentously, that in the months before his death, Shepard was deeply troubled. He tested HIV-positive. He had been beaten and raped by three strangers during a family vacation. This trauma, she speculates, had caused the depressed and withdrawn 21-year-old to turn to crystal meth. Aaron McKinney, she suggests with little evidence, was bisexual and acquainted with Shepard.

The problem with these sensational tidbits (with no relevance to the murder) is that they had already been widely reported in a far more timely fashion. The real justification for the new look are prison interviews with McKinney and his co-conspirator, Russell Henderson, both of whom are serving double life sentences.

As any experienced crime reporter knows, relying uncritically on the testimony of convicted killers can lead to distortions, especially since the only person who knows the truth has been eliminated. McKinney and Henderson, it soon becomes clear, are desperate to make the case that their crime was not motivated by hate after all. Shepard died "not because me and Aaron had anything against" homosexuals, Henderson claims.

Instead, the men, egged on by Vargas, contend that a combination of meth-fueled rage and a desire to rob Shepard for drug money motivated Henderson to lash Shepard to a deer fence while McKinney bashed him with the butt of a handgun until his face — a mass of bruises and blood — was unrecognizable to his own mother.

There you have it: The world according to "20/20." The world's most famous gay-bashing was not a gay-bashing at all. Gay activists had labored for half a century to draw attention to the role of lethal animus in attacks on gay men. Now, in an hour-long report, Vargas labors to debunk that compelling narrative in the case that has come to exemplify it.

She fails. At the trial, McKinney's lawyers invoked "gay panic defense," claiming that McKinney, shielding a gun behind his back, became enraged when Shepard put his hand on his leg during a truck ride. Now McKinney says he and his lawyers concocted the defense to save his skin.

Vargas quotes a meth expert to demonstrate that the highly addictive stimulant can trigger homicidal rages. Had Vargas been interested in balance, she would have turned to an anti-gay violence expert, who would have provided a far more credible explanation. In fact, it is extreme prejudice that causes young men not only to kill; hatred drives them to obliterate their victims, an urge known as "overkill." It strains credulity to believe that the sadistic torture and highly symbolic stamping out of Shepard (was) the mere result of (a) drug binge.

I spent 2000 in Texas on a fellowship, examining a string of 28 anti-gay killings. These cases were, without exception, eerily similar to Shepard's. Young men, fueled by drugs and/or alcohol, believing it a harmless diversion, searched for gay men to harass and rob. Based on anti-gay stereotypes, they believed that gays carried lots of cash, were easy to overpower and unlikely to report attacks to police, who tended to look the other way.

Once apprehended, these young men invariably claimed they had been propositioned and were only defending themselves. They believed they were doing society a favor by ridding it of one more queer. One teenager said he "felt like an executioner" when he pulled the trigger that killed. They expressed shock when they learned that their crime might actually land them behind bars for the rest of their lives.

That it took a complicated mix of lethal motives to trigger murder in no way made these killings any less a product of savage bigotry. To minimize any part of this equation is to do a disservice both to the truth and to efforts to prevent this deadly cycle of violence and societal prejudice that took the lives of Matthew Shepard and hundreds of more anonymous victims.

Perhaps it is sign of progress that McKinney and Henderson would rather be known as drug-addled killers than hate-inspired killers. Perhaps, looking back through a drug-induced haze, they really believe their new story. It is far harder to understand how a team of highly regarded journalists could facilitate a return to the days of denial.

Read the entire article here -->

ABC: Another Bad Creation

I watched "20/20's" piece on Mathew Shepard last night and today read the GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Viewer's Guide I linked to in my previous post. Even before reading the Viewer's Guide, I thought the "20/20" exposé was inherently poor — an attempt by ABC News to irresponsibly concoct a story the facts did not support. The GLAAD guide does even more to brand the episode as shoddy and sensational, pointing out 10 inconsistencies and weaknesses within the ABC report. Review GLAAD's 10 questions here -->

I have an advanced journalism degree, and one of the main tenets that training taught me is that a news organization's credibility is everything. This is not the first time I have heard of ABC News irresponsibly trying to advance an argument — ignoring detractors, ignoring statements of record, ignoring reality — in order to "create" a story where there is none. However, this is the first instance where the offense seems so blatantly insensitive and sinister.

I'm pretty certain I will never trust another "20/20" episode again.

Can of Worms

If you ever need a good dose of feel-good inspiration or clever thoughts from fair-minded Americans tired of intolerance in the name of religious fervor, check out the ABC News forums that have cropped up in response to Friday evening's program about Matthew Shepherd. A whole cadre of people have stepped up to counter the stupidity and bigotry from some moron who (ironically) calls himself Moral_Choice. If this discussion is a microcosm of the exchanges we can look forward to as members of the Religious "Right" try again to assert themselves, we have nothing to worry about at all.

Link: http://forums.go.com/abcnews/thread?threadID=96998

Friday, November 26, 2004

ABC's Hindsight Less Than 20/20

From the Human Rights Campaign:


Tonight — Friday, November 26 — ABC's '20/20' program promises to "uncover stunning new information about the brutal 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard." Instead, ABC is rewriting history with sensationalistic claims and distortions.

The Human Rights Campaign is joining GLAAD (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), the Matthew Shepard Foundation and other GLBT rights groups in voicing our deep concerns about tonight's broadcast. We urge you to learn more about the program before it airs by reading GLAAD's detailed viewer's guide and sharing it with your family and friends.

>>> Click here to see GLAAD's viewer's guide to tonight's program
>>> Voice your opinion about the program on ABC's "20/20" message board
>>> Visit the Matthew Shepard Foundation's web site

The following information comes from GLAAD's press release about the program:

In response to a piece airing tonight on ABC, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the family of Matthew Shepard today called on the media and the viewing public to scrutinize the sensationalistic claims and distortions offered by "20/20" in its attempt to rewrite the history of Shepard's murder case.

"This piece says much, much more about '20/20' than it does about the murder of Matthew Shepard," said GLAAD Executive Director Joan M. Garry. "'20/20's' misleading oversimplifications and distortions do a tremendous disservice to a complicated case. This simply is not a credible piece of journalism."

People with first-hand accounts of what happened in Laramie — among them Judy Shepard, Dave O'Malley (the Laramie police captain whose comments to "20/20" are selectively represented), Moises Kaufman (author of The Laramie Project, whose team interviewed more than 200 residents of Laramie in 1998 and 1999) and Romaine Patterson (who was close friends with Matt during the last two years of his life) — dispute the accuracy of '20/20's' piece.

"Dennis and I were dismayed and saddened by the tabloid nature of the show and its lack of serious reporting of facts in evidence," said Judy Shepard. "Though I was not permitted by '20/20' to view the segment, the copy made available to the press left all of my relevant comments regarding the direction of the show and the facts in this case on the cutting room floor. My remarks were reduced to a few very personal maternal comments taken out of context to make it appear as if I agreed with '20/20's' theories. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Click here to read the viewer's guide — and please, forward this information to friends and family as well. It is critical that the GLBT community and all fair-minded Americans dispute ABC's distorted view of Matthew Shepard's murder.

Friday, November 19, 2004

What's the Difference?

The BBC News web site explores the suggestion that President Bush will seek to repay religious conservatives for their support in returning him to the White House. They ask, to which extent is President Bush is indebted to America's religious conservatives, and how might they be rewarded for their support?

Six commentators from various organizations and think tanks in America, both right-wing and left, weigh in. But, perhaps the most astute and cogent comment is this one from a man in South Africa:

"Odd how the religious right wants the choice on abortion to be given to individual states, yet wants the choice on gay marriage taken away from the individual states."
— Warren, South Africa

Read all of the comments here --> Viewpoints: Bush's Moral Mandate?

Monday, November 15, 2004

New Study Validates Same-Sex Parenting

I usually don't prefer to reprint articles word for word, but every bit of this report by HealthDay writer Karen Pallarito is valuable.

Teens With Same-Sex Parents Well-Adjusted
Adolescents who have two moms as parents are no different from teens growing up with a mother and a father, a new study finds.

On measures of psychosocial well-being, school functioning, and romantic relationships and behaviors, the teens with same-sex parents were as well adjusted as their peers with opposite-sex parents. The authors found very few differences between the two groups. A more important predictor of teens' psychological and social adjustment, they found, is the quality of the relationships they have with their parents.

"This is the first study that has looked at adolescents with same-sex parents in a national sample, and it shows clearly across a wide range of variables that they're doing pretty well," said study author Charlotte J. Patterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

The research, published in the November issue of Child Development, draws data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a school-based study of the health-related behaviors of kids in grades 7 to 12.

Dr. Ellen C. Perrin, a professor of pediatrics at Tufts School of Medicine and an expert on the development of children with gay or lesbian parents, said that few studies have focused on adolescents of same-sex parents. What data there is has been subject to attack. Critics complain that the studies reflect researcher bias and non-random participant selection.

"In this case, neither of those critiques are valid," Perrin said. The new study uses data from a broad population-based survey conducted for entirely different reasons. "That makes it very clean, so to speak; no one could argue that there was any bias involved."

Estimates of the number of teens living with same-sex parents are hard to come by. As of 1990, 6 million to 14 million children were living with a gay or lesbian parent, says the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, a service of the U.S. Administration for Children and Families.

Perrin believes that a majority of these children were born into heterosexual families. "Only recently have there been increasing numbers of kids born or adopted into already stable same-sex couples," she explained.

The study sample included 44 children, 12 to 18 years old, parented by same-sex couples and an equivalent number of peers with opposite-sex parents. The two groups had an equal number of girls and boys and other similarities, including ethnic background, family income, and parents' level of education.

Overall, researchers found no significant differences between the two groups. Teens with two moms, for example, were neither more nor less likely than their peers with two opposite-sex parents to report having been involved in a romantic relationship during the past year or ever having sex. Both groups were generally well-adjusted, with relatively high levels of self-esteem, relatively low levels of anxiety, and good achievement in school.

The study reveals a minor difference: "The kids of same-sex parents said that they feel more connected at school," Patterson said. In other words, they felt their teachers were more open to them, and that people at school were fair and cared for them. "I think that may be a chance finding, frankly," she said.

While family type wasn't a factor in how teens fared, family relationships were. When parents reported more positive relationships with their teenagers, for instance, the teens reported lower levels of depressive symptoms.

"The qualities of teenagers' relationships with their parents are much better predictors of their overall well-being," Patterson noted.

Originally found at --> Teens With Same-Sex Parents Well-Adjusted

Saturday, November 13, 2004

He Just Got It

(I suppose it's not good form to make fun of someone's ailments, but — what can I say? — I'm not perfect.)

This is how I imagine Dick Cheney before his trip to the hospital this weekend:

"She's (gasp, gasp)...a...(gasp, gasp)... WHAT?"

Cheney Undergoing Hospital Tests
US Vice-President Dick Cheney is taken to hospital after experiencing shortness of breath.

--> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4010175.stm

Friday, November 12, 2004

Urgent: Respond to ABC News

Please respond to ABC News' plans to air an upcoming investigation of the Matthew Shepard murder. The piece, set to air on the program "20/20" Nov. 26, contends the killing was not a hate crime.

Read more about the issue below, in yesterday's post titled, ABC News: The Hate Criminals' Best Ally.

Send e-mail to 2020@abc.com and support@abcnews.go.com

Direct telephone calls to (212) 456-7777.

Send letters and/or postcards to: ABCNews, 7 West 66th Street; New York, NY 10023.

Mention that you feel reexamining the murder trivializes Shepard's death and irresponsibly exonerates his attackers. Say you will boycott ABC News programs and will contact their advertisers to express your concern.

Spite, Vengeance, Resentment: Christian Values?

Weren't these the people who said God Himself put George W. Bush back in office for a second term? Where is their faith in him? And where is their faith in Him?

Evangelicals Want Faith Rewarded
Christian Leaders Fear that Influence on Bush, Despite Wide Support, Could Be Short-Lived

WASHINGTON — Christian evangelicals provided much of the passion and manpower for President Bush's reelection. But even as they celebrate his victory, many of the movement's leaders are experiencing post-election anxiety, worried that their strong support for the president might not translate into the instant influence they expected.

They are flexing their muscles to block Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), an abortion rights supporter, from a Senate leadership post overseeing judicial nomination debates — but Specter appears likely to get the job. They want clear-cut ban on same-sex marriage, but Bush's newly stated support for civil unions makes them wonder how strongly the president will back their efforts.

And as much as they turned out in force for Bush on election day, many are worried that their power could be short-lived, given that a number of prominent Republicans who support abortion rights and gay rights are positioning themselves to succeed Bush in 2008.

In recent days, some evangelical leaders have warned in interviews that the Republican Party would pay a price in future elections if its leaders did not take up the issues that brought evangelicals to the polls.

...Robert Knight, who heads an affiliate of Concerned Women for America, a Christian conservative advocacy group, called the Specter issue "a very big test" to see if the GOP leadership understood "the depth of what occurred on Nov. 2."

"If they decide to elevate Specter anyway, they will alienate millions of people who counted on them to begin pushing back liberalism instead of aiding and abetting it," he said.

Adding wrinkles to their relationship with the White House, some evangelical leaders worry that Bush's circle of advisors includes aides who are insufficiently committed to conservative social values.

Some see Andrew H. Card Jr., the president's chief of staff and a former Massachusetts state legislator, as too moderate. They note that Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a lesbian daughter, has said that the issue of same-sex marriage should be left to the states, in contrast to evangelicals' call for a constitutional ban.

Bob Jones III, president of the Christian conservative Bob Jones University in South Carolina, recently urged Bush to purge moderates from the White House.

"If you have weaklings around you who do not share your biblical values, shed yourself of them."

Read the entire article here -->

Thursday, November 11, 2004

ABC News: The Hate Criminals' Best Ally

ABC News could be devoting precious time and resources looking into the precarious state of health care in the nation or the increasingly bloody war in Iraq. Instead "20/20" is preparing an investigation of the Matthew Shepard gay-bashing murder that contends it might not have been a hate crime — but simply a mugging gone wrong.

Presumably, this will make the heinous crimes committed against Shepard — a 22-year-old, gay college student who was tied to a fence, beaten and left to die — much more palatable.

The prime sources for the new "revelations"? Aaron McKinney and Russell A. Henderson, the two attackers, who will violate the plea agreements they signed at their sentencing by talking with ABC. According to the New York Post, the men agreed never to talk to the media about the case as part of the arangement that spared them the death penalty.

In a statement, Romain Patterson, one of Shepard's close friends, said: "Does it make Aaron McKinney and Russell A. Henderson any less guilty of the crime that they committed? Absolutely not."

"You just don't kick someone in the crotch over and over again unless you have a real problem with their sexuality. To imply otherwise, in my opinion, is irresponsible, and I think it's irresponsible to be giving a voice to two very guilty men."

I couldn't agree more.

Although ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider contends, "Exploring and re-examining the facts around that murder in a very thoughtful and in-depth way is the very essence of responsible journalism," I can't help but wonder — what greater purpose does this misguided "exposé" serve? Schneider must have mixed up his words, probably meaning to say the program is the very essence of "divisive and sensational journalism."

Details will follow about ways to contact ABC News as well as to boycott their news programs.

Read more here -->

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Church(es) of the Poisoned Minds

At some point, actions like the one taken by this small-minded Florida Baptist church congregation are going to reveal that some churches are getting too political — and should be thus be rejected by true people of faith and stripped of their not-for-profit status for abusing public money.

Baptist Delegates Agree to Push Gay Marriage Ban

If at First You Don't Secede

If this comes to fruition, I'm game.

Blue States Buzz Over Secession

...Mr. O'Donnell raised the subject of secession on "The McLaughlin Group" during the weekend. "Ninety percent of the red states are welfare-client states of the federal government," said Mr. O'Donnell, who was an aide to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York Democrat.

In a telephone interview, Mr. O'Donnell said the red states that went to Mr. Bush "collect more from the federal government than they send in. New York and California, Connecticut — the states that are blue are all the states that are paying for the bulk of everything this government does, from...Social Security to everything else, and the people in those states don't like what this government is doing."

The Internet has exploded with talk of a blue-state confederacy, including one screed circulating by e-mail that features a map of a new country called "American Coastopia" and proposes lopping off the Northeast, the West Coast and the upper Midwest to form a new country, away from the "rednecks in Oklahoma" and the "homophobic knuckle-draggers in Wyoming."

"We were all going to move to various other countries, but then we thought — why should WE move?" the anonymous message asks. "We hold our noses as we fly over you. We are sickened by the way you treat people that are different from you. The rest of the world despises America, and we don't want to be lumped in with you anymore."

Read the entire article here -->

In the Interest of Transparent Elections

Urge your representative to join Representatives Conyers, Scott, Nadler, Watt, Wexler and Holt in calling on the Government Accountability Office to immediately undertake an investigation of the efficacy of electronic voting machines. Whether your candidate(s) won or not last Tuesday, you ought to support this measure to ensure that Americans' faith in the election process is maintained and strengthened. Democrat or Republican, you never know what might happen next time, as this article points out --> Hackers Rigging Voting Machines A Real Possibility

--> Act Now

Love Rocks!

The Dixie Chicks, Melissa Etheridge, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mandy Moore, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Dido, Carole King, Yoko Ono, Simply Red, Cyndi Lauper, Kimberly Locke & Oleta Adams are only some of the 32 artists that have joined forces to celebrate marriage equality by donating songs of love and inspiration to Love Rocks, a new benefit album from the Human Rights Campaign. Love Rocks shines a light on the fact that the love and commitment between two people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity, respect and equality. All of the net proceeds from the album will benefit HRC's work towards marriage equality.

Find out more or order the CD here -->


Even though there is a ton of evidence that suggests the election was rigged, I don't feel compelled (yet) to clamor for a criminal investigation. However, such evidence should make any American cringe when someone in the Bush administration uses the word "mandate," as they've done ad nauseam this past week.

An article by William Rivers Pitt on truthout.org sums up the most telling details. A few excerpts:

Worse Than 2000: Tuesday's Electoral Disaster

...Is there any evidence that these machines went haywire on Tuesday? Nationally, there were more than 1,100 reports of electronic voting machine malfunctions. A few examples:

• In Broward County, Florida, election workers were shocked to discover that their shiny new machines were counting backwards. "Tallies should go up as more votes are counted," according to this report. "That's simple math. But in some races, the numbers had gone down. Officials found the software used in Broward can handle only 32,000 votes per precinct. After that, the system starts counting backward."

• In Franklin County, Ohio, electronic voting machines gave Bush 3,893 extra votes in one precinct alone. "Franklin County's unofficial results gave Bush 4,258 votes to Democratic challenger John Kerry's 260 votes in Precinct 1B," according to this report. "Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct. Matthew Damschroder, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, said Bush received 365 votes there. The other 13 voters who cast ballots either voted for other candidates or did not vote for president."

• In Craven County, North Carolina, a software error on the electronic voting machines awarded Bush 11,283 extra votes. "The Elections Systems and Software equipment," according to this report, "had downloaded voting information from nine of the county's 26 precincts and as the absentee ballots were added, the precinct totals were added a second time. An override, like those occurring when one attempts to save a computer file that already exists, is supposed to prevent double counting, but did not function correctly."

• In Carteret County, North Carolina, "More than 4,500 votes may be lost in one North Carolina county because officials believed a computer that stored ballots electronically could hold more data than it did. Local officials said UniLect Corp., the maker of the county's electronic voting system, told them that each storage unit could handle 10,500 votes, but the limit was actually 3,005 votes. Officials said 3,005 early votes were stored, but 4,530 were lost."

• In LaPorte County, Indiana, a Democratic stronghold, the electronic voting machines decided that each precinct only had 300 voters. "At about 7 p.m. Tuesday," according to this report, "it was noticed that the first two or three printouts from individual precinct reports all listed an identical number of voters. Each precinct was listed as having 300 registered voters. That means the total number of voters for the county would be 22,200, although there are actually more than 79,000 registered voters."

• In Sarpy County, Nebraska, the electronic touch screen machines got generous. "As many as 10,000 extra votes," according to this report, "have been tallied and candidates are still waiting for corrected totals. Johnny Boykin lost his bid to be on the Papillion City Council. The difference between victory and defeat in the race was 127 votes. Boykin says, 'When I went in to work the next day and saw that 3,342 people had shown up to vote in our ward, I thought something's not right.' He's right. There are not even 3,000 people registered to vote in his ward. For some reason, some votes were counted twice."

...A poster named 'TruthIsAll' on the DemocraticUnderground.com forums laid out the questionable results of Tuesday's election in succinct fashion: "To believe that Bush won the election, you must also believe: That the exit polls were wrong; that Zogby's 5pm election day calls for Kerry winning Ohio and Florida were wrong (he was exactly right in his 2000 final poll); that Harris' last-minute polling for Kerry was wrong (he was exactly right in his 2000 final poll); that incumbent rule #1 - undecideds break for the challenger - was wrong; That the 50% rule - an incumbent doesn't do better than his final polling - was wrong; That the approval rating rule - an incumbent with less than 50% approval will most likely lose the election - was wrong; that it was just a coincidence that the exit polls were correct where there was a paper trail and incorrect (+5% for Bush) where there was no paper trail; that the surge in new young voters had no positive effect for Kerry; that Kerry did worse than Gore against an opponent who lost the support of scores of Republican newspapers who were for Bush in 2000; that voting machines made by Republicans with no paper trail and with no software publication, which have been proven by thousands of computer scientists to be vulnerable in scores of ways, were not tampered with in this election."

Read the entire article here --> Worse Than 2000: Tuesday's Electoral Disaster

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Real Threat

Finally! With all this false rhetoric about gay unions being a threat to marriage, a public official is drawing attention to the real, tautological threat to marriage — divorce. Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee plans to convert his vows into a "covenant marriage" next Valentine's Day and calls other serious couples to consider doing the same.

A covenant marriage, which is also an option in Louisiana and Arizona, requires pre-wedding counseling and allows divorce only in cases of adultery, imprisonment, abandonment, abuse and after a substantial waiting period. In my opinion, these should be mandatory for anyone who espouses that gay people shouldn't be allowed to unite because their union challenges the supposed sanctity of the bond. In too many cases, these evangelical fanatics are on their own second or third marriages. It's simply hypocritical that they can play loose with the tradition while denying other Americans (those who are gay) the same prerogative.

At this point in time, half of the marriages in this country end in divorce. Does it need to be pointed out that gay people have not had a part in contributing to such a dismal track record? Just how sacred is heterosexual marriage, anyway?

Link --> Arkansas Governor Embraces Covenant Marriage

A Matter of Values

I'm undecided whether I believe all the hype about George W. Bush winning the election because he embodied the "American values" voters were jonesing for. In any event, syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman gets a "Right On" from me for these comments in her opinion piece this week. I am happy to populate the "Immoral Minority" with her and am glad to have her as one of our clear-thinking spokespersons.

Morality Not Exclusive to Religious Right

...We are now well on the way — with a little help from our conservative friends — to making this the central narrative of the 2004 campaign. It was the morals, stupid. It was the culture wars, dummy. It was, as Gary Bauer said cheerily, "the year of the values voter." This story line is rapidly connected to the gay marriage amendments that brought out conservatives in 11 states.

I find this absolutely maddening. Check the choices put before the exiting voters. They could pick, among other things, Iraq, the economy or moral issues. The underlying conclusion was that anyone who picked the war, say, or jobs was not voting their values.

I suspect that the people answering the exit polls also accepted the categorical divide between the pocketbook and the Bible, between economic and moral issues, between war and values. Anyone who isn't a member of the anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, fundamentalist right is categorized — or caricatured — as someone who checked her values 100 yards from the polling booth.

Well, speaking for the designated Immoral Minority, there are a whole lot of folks who believe that starting a pre-emptive war on false premises is a moral issue. There are a whole lot who believe that giving tax cuts to the rich and a deficit to the grandkids is a matter of values. There are a whole lot who put our faith, secular and sacred, in the most religiously diverse country in the world.

But the entire moral vocabulary is now a wholly owned language of the religious right.

...The blue candidates will never convert people who believe that homosexuality is a sin, or that the fertilized egg is a human being, or that evolution is a scam taught by secular humanists. But among the not-so-red voters are those who believe in legal protection for gay couples, who value a child with diabetes over a frozen embryo in a fertility clinic. They regard poverty as a moral issue and tolerance as an American value. They don't want their country racked by the fundamentalist religious wars we see across the world. And they need to hear the moral framework for these views.

Read the entire piece here -->

Monday, November 08, 2004

Makes Sense to Me

>From an e-mail I received, post-election (the edits are mine):

Official Announcement:
The government today announced that it is changing the American emblem from an eagle to a condom. Spokespeople for the Bush administration say it is because a condom more accurately reflects the government's political stance.
A condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives you a sense of security while you're actually being screwed.

It just doesn't get more accurate than that.

Saturday, November 06, 2004


Since the talk is that George W. Bush was reelected based strongly on his appeal to voters concerned about "moral" issues, Democrats are trying to ascertain whether the influx of gay marriages last year hurt the chances of putting their man in office. What good is such second-guessing? I have to say I side with Martin Luther King, who said, "There's never a good time for civil rights movements," as well as Geoffrey Kors, who recently said, "To scapegoat people for having the audacity to ask for equality is outrageous."

Kors, executive director of Equality California, the state's largest gay rights lobbying group, astutely points out that Democrats failed to successfully advance their own set of values to challenge the religious-extremist set.

"There was never any attempt to counter the minority, right-wing religious morality that Bush was preaching with morality about equality and being in a country that welcomes and embraces diversity and is based on freedom of religion and freedom of beliefs," Kors told the Associated Press.

Many gay advocates point out that fundamentalists were motivated by Bush's stands on other issues besides gay rights — such as abortion and abstinence-only sex education — and to square the election defeat on the gay issue is simply bad logic.

In fact, voters in several states Bush won, including Idaho and North Carolina, elected the first openly gay candidates to their state Legislatures. In Oregon, where an amendment banning gay marriage was passed, voters sent an openly gay judge to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Equality California reports that new exit polls reveal that a new number of Americans (60 percent) now support marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples.

I'm all for Democrats doing some rethinking. But maybe success lies in not trying to be more like Republicans but instead in starting to fully embrace their own ideals.

Read more here --> Gay Advocates Examine Role in Election
Another excellent article here -->

They Have Gay Marriage, Right?

Never let it be said that Americans take a minor setback lying down, as this article from Reuters News Service shows:

Americans flock to Canada's immigration Web site

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The number of U.S. citizens visiting Canada's main immigration Web site has shot up six-fold as Americans flirt with the idea of abandoning their homeland after President George W. Bush's election win this week.

When we looked at the first day after the election, November 3, our Web site hit a new high, almost double the previous record high," immigration ministry spokeswoman Maria Iadinardi said on Friday.

Read the whole article here -->


No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome at the United Church of Christ.


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What A Bunch Of mASSholes!
My Point: Mary Matalin Is A Disingenuous, Morally-...


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