The ruling by the California Supreme Court that marriage discrimination was unconstitutional brought down the wrath of those who make a living by promoting discrimination in the name of “God.” In unison they vomited forth the same old rhetoric, the same old claims, the same old lies and, of course, the same old plea for more money to fight for discrimination.
That was abundantly clear in the late May 2008 fund-raising letter sent by Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President for Government and Public Policy at Focus on the Family Action, one of the many branches of James Dobson’s anti-gay Focus on the Family empire.
Dobson, a child psychologist who advocates spanking, was once known as “the Religious Right’s New Kingmaker.” The “king” he helped make was George W. Bush, who tops “the list when American voters pick the worst U.S. President in the last 61 years.” As a prominent character in the Bush-Rove nightmare, Dobson set himself up as a religiously-based political dictator bent on getting us to support his personal view of legislated morality.
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And what’s even worse, Dobson goes to great length to use Scripture to support his view, and yet according to Time magazine he doesn’t even have any formal theological training. In short, Dobson, using his position as a radio psychologist, has set himself up as our moral authority and asks us all to blindly follow.
His FOF empire is considerable, although not as powerful as it once was. A mid-September 2007 article from The Denver Channel.com reported that “Focus on the Family is laying off 30 employees and reassigning 15 others, due in part to a drop in projected revenue …”
Many Americans have grown tired of Dobson’s and his “Christian ministry’s” anti-gay bombast and absurd arguments such as those in his 2004 book Marriage Under Fire: Marriage Under Fire: Why We Must Win This Battle. If gay people are allowed to marry, prophet Dobson proclaimed “the culture war will be over, and the world may soon become ‘as it was in the days of Noah’ (Matthew 24:37).” For a repudiation of Dobson’s other bizarre claims, see “Out of Focus on the Family: A Response to Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage,” Popular Culture Review, 16:1 (February 2005), 45-75.
Nevertheless, minion Minnery did his master’s bidding and mouthed the same old claims and the same old lies in his fund-raising letter:
On May 15, a cultural earthquake rocked our nation that threatens to permanently alter marriage and families in America.
Of course, I’m talking about the California Supreme Court ruling
Homosexual activists across the nation will be emboldened to push their anti-family agenda
For years now, Focus on the Family Action has been working coast-to-coast on the battle to save marriage. The California decision is forcing us to further expand these and other efforts that we simply could not have budgeted for. That’s where you come in.
Will you make a special gift today to Focus Action to help us defend marriage…
The California homosexual marriage “earthquake” could forever change the cultural landscape of our nation – unless pro-family citizens like you and me take a stand. … [italics added]
Let’s begin with the “anti-family” nonsense. How can two people committing their lives to each other and, in so doing, forming a family possibly be “anti-family”? What Minnery means, of course, is that those same-sex families are not likely to donate to FOF’s pro-discrimination campaigns and since Dobson is “God’s” right-hand profiteer and THE final word on everything, these families must be “anti-family.” In other words, FOF’s “anti-family” accusation is self-serving, megalomaniacal bigotry at it most insidious and most pathetic.
Equally self-serving and megalomaniacal, insidious and pathetic is the claim that FOF is “saving” and/or “defending” marriage. From whom? People who want to get married? From what? Divorce? It seems the born-again community – stalwart Dobson supporters – haven’t done a very good job of that in their own lives. On September 8, 2004 – during the height of the pre-election campaign to “save traditional marriage” – the Barna Group, a Christian marketing-research organization, issued a report titled “Born Again Christians Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians.” It documented that “among married born again Christians, 35% have experienced a divorce. That figure is identical to the outcome among married adults who are not born again: 35%.” Barna also documented that “nearly one-quarter of the married ‘born agains’ (23%) get divorced two or more times.”
And then there’s Minnery’s claim that civil equality would “change the cultural landscape of our nation.” Yes, it would, as it has done so many times before and, hopefully, will continue to do. The “folks” at Focus on the Family advocate their leader’s goal: a theistic America with James Dobson speaking for “God.” The Dobsonian Taliban wants a society frozen in time: no change, no evolution, just blind obedience to their dogmatic dictates.
Dobson and the rest of the leaders of the Christianist Right cherry-picked the Bible and cobbled together a “God” in their own image: mean-spirited, eager to hurt and discriminate, and full of dogmatic dictates. The very “God” Christopher Hitchens debunked in his book God Is Not Great. In commenting on that text, Christian theologian Rev. John Shelby Spong had this to say:
Christopher Hitchens' book, God Is Not Great, is a description of the theistic God of the past who is dying. The theistic God certainly appears in the Bible and is guilty of many things that are genuinely immoral, like killing the firstborn male in every Egyptian household, stopping the sun in the sky to allow more time for Joshua to slaughter the Amorites and ordering genocide against the Amalekites through the prophet Samuel. Christians need to remember that it has been the theistic God who has been responsible for the development of such things as anti-Semitism, the Inquisition, and the oppression of people of color, women and homosexual persons. This deity has also been perceived as justifying war, fighting crusades and creating slavery. Let us agree with Christopher Hitchens that this God is not great.
And neither are those who use such a “God” to advance their own sociopolitical agenda. Dobson is not alone of course. The names of the others are also familiar to anyone who’s read Chris Hedges’ 2006 book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America: Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Gary Bauer of American Values, devout “declarationist” (aka, Dominionist) Alan Keyes of America’s Revival, and their kindred preachers such Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Washington and Grant Storms of the Reformer Ministries in Marrero, Louisiana.
Storms was one of several speakers at the “International Conference on Homo-Fascism,” a gathering of people who railed against gays. Action Wisconsin obtained an audio recording of the conference and publicized remarks that the group said incited violence and hatred. In his speech, Storms said gay rights’ opponents should “start taking it to the streets.” He mimicked gunfire: “Boom, boom, boom, boom. There’s twenty! Ca-ching,” according to a transcript.
Would “God” approve of premeditated murder? Yes, the nasty old bugger of the Old Testament would. He did so many times, as Rev. Spong noted. The Christianist Right claim to be following the teaching of Jesus. They’re not. Jesus said absolutely nothing about homosexuality or homosexuals. Dobson et al rely solely on the Old Testament and on the writings of misogynist “Saint” Paul, who authored the most repressive parts of what became Christian dogma: “suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
Rev. Spong suggested a better approach:
I think of the God experience as the power of life, love and being flowing through the universe and coming to consciousness in human self-awareness … I therefore feel that by living fully, loving wastefully and being all that I can be I can make the God experience visible. I also believe that it is my Christian vocation to build a world where all people have a better chance to live, love and to be. It is when I do these two things, I believe, that I am engaging in the essence of worship.
“Christian vocation to build a world where all people have a better chance to live, love and to be.” Those are exactly the things Dobson, Sheldon, Wildmon, Perkins, Bauer, Keyes, Hutcherson, Storms, and the other fundie fanatics argue against. Something else Rev. Spong wrote needs to be repeated:
Since human beings are creatures of both time and space, and since we know from the work of Albert Einstein that time and space are relative categories that expand and contract in relation to each other, then we must conclude that any statement made by anyone, who is bound by time and space, will never be absolute. There are no propositional statements, secular or religious, that are exempt from this principle. Words reduce all human experiences to relativity. That is why every religious formula must be questioned; that is why no word of any book is inerrant; that is why no proclamation of any ecclesiastical leader is infallible; and finally, that is why no religious system or institution can ever claim to possess the true faith. Religion is a journey into the mystery of God. It is not a system of beliefs and creeds and when it becomes that, it always becomes idolatrous and begins to die.
And dying is exactly what the Christianist Right and their “God” are doing, for both theological and secular reasons, and to the benefit of all people.
If someone can look at Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon – who have been together for 55 years – and see the destructive forces Dobson and the Christianist Right claim will come from marriage equality, well, perhaps they’re only seeing outside the evil and hatred that are within them.
And let’s be clear about this. Despite his grandfatherly persona, Dobson and the rest of the leaders of the Christianist Right are evil. They are dedicated to propagating hate. They are dedicated to fostering discrimination. They are dedicated to encoding bigotry into civil law. They are dedicated to turning America into a theofascist state with them in charge.
Problem is (for them): Americans are waking up and seeing the negativity and rot Dobson, Sheldon, Wildmon, Perkins, Bauer, Keyes, Hutcherson, Storms, and their ilk represent…. and they’re turning away in increasing numbers.
63 percent say gay marriage is a choice
Jun. 3, 2008 04:46 PM
Six in ten Americans say the government should not regulate whether gays and lesbians can wed the persons they choose, a new survey finds.
As same-sex couples start lining up to get marriage licenses in California on June 17, the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found 63 percent of adults say same-sex marriage is “strictly a private decision” between two people.
And then there’s this:
This time, gay marriage won’t galvanize voters
By Albert R. Hunt, Bloomberg News
Published: June 1, 2008
Desperate times, it is said, call for drastic measures.
In the United States, the Republican Party is certainly desperate; it’s in fundamentally worse shape in this presidential election than in probably any since Watergate.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that some conservatives want to capitalize on the recent ruling by the California Supreme Court overturning a ban on gay marriage to galvanize voters in the presidential election.
The court decision will deliver a generation of children “straight into the arms of the homosexual activist community,” warned James Dobson, the Christian evangelical leader. Dobson is calling on citizens in California and elsewhere to mount a protest.
That dog, as they say in the American South, won’t hunt this time.
Indeed it won’t. Dobson knows that, as well as the fact that his Christianist gay-hunting god is losing followers. And that’s the way all phony gods die.
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