John, thanks for your comments. I have a column today called "National Mind Your Own Business Day" that deals with a similar subject.
There's a battle going on in the "evangelical community" about what constitutes a decent (i.e., Christian) response to alternative ways of life. I regard myself as a (relatively) mild-mannered evangelical -- Roman Catholic -- who has known many GL people and regard them as a lot like everyone else. The have the same virtues and vices as people generally.
Some gays and some straights engage in very risky sexual behavior, but it's very hard to generalize about either group.
The evangelicals who get quoted most (people like Dr. Dobson, Tony Perkins, and the now-disgraced Ted Haggard of Colorado and Jimmy Swaggart) are of course the extremists. There's poll data that more evangelicals favor Giuliani, relatively liberal on GL issues, than they do the candidates inclined (key word) toward homophobic statements.
I believe Mike Huckabee, who is a decent man, would like to make more moderate statements, but he fears losing his political base. Every time he has challenged evangelicals (on abortion, on amnesty, on the rights of Black Americans) many of them have responded negatively. .
The "bad" evangelicals -- the extremists -- are about 10-15% of the category. They are very loud but not extremely numerous.
Some politicians believe the gay-lesbian vote is not important. It's true that CNN exit polls showed the GL vote in the last presidential election was under 5% (roughly 7 million votes). However, these people all have parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, friends and co-workers who also vote. It's conceivable that anti-gay politicians could be writing off 10% or more of the voting public.
Again, John, thanks for commenting.
1 John 16-20: "God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. . . . Those who say "I love God,' and hate their brothers and sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen."
Two decades ago, Tom Hritz wrote a sometimes acerbic and often humorous column for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Tom was a staunch critic of Democrats in general and of Democratic Gov. Bob Casey, Sr. (father of the current Senator). Near the end of Casey's second term someone asked Hritz how he would evaluate the Governor's administration.
The columnist replied, "Look, after two terms of Bob Casey, Pennsylvania is lucky that it's still a . . . state."
Tom and his (equally acerbic) wife loved to smoke cigarettes.
On one occasion, a colleague at the P-G asked Tom if he was going to participate in The Great American Smokeout.
Hritz harumphed and said, "I'm going to spend the day lobbying for a new national holiday called "Mind Your Own Business Day."
Shortly before Tom made that comment, I had discovered the great value of minding my own business -- especially when it came to issues like gay marriage. What consenting do is their own business. And they have a right, as Senator McCain reminded us recently, to be free from discrimination. If gay and lesbian couple want to engage in civil unions or marriages, I invite them to "be my guest." Actually, it's none of my business. However, making sure that people get equal treatment under the law is very much my business -- and yours.
Is Mike Huckabee Really a Christian? One Wonders
In Galatians 5:13, the Apostle Paul said the following: "For you were called to freedom brothers and sisters [in Christ]. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence [which Mike Huckabee is doing in his statement below on marriage]. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment. 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another." (Revised Standard Version) Earlier, in Galatians 4 through 5.1, Paul says: "So then, friends, we are children not of the slave but of the free woman. For freedome Christ has set us free." (RSV) These statement are Paul at his very best. When he says the WHOLE LAW is summed up in the word "love your neighbor as yourself," he says a mouthful.
Here's what Mike recently said in reaction to a (false) report that he believed in letting states set their own standards for what constitutes marriage:
September 27, 2007 Little Rock, AR -- Former AR Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee today issued the following statement in response to a news story stating that he is "open to state-sponsored civil unions that would bestow the legal rights of marriage on gay and lesbian couples": He said, "This report is simply inaccurate. I do not support legal recognition of alternative unions. I strongly, firmly and unequivocally believe that the traditional definition of marriage is for 'one man, one woman, for life.' That is why I worked hard in Arkansas to enact legislation at the state level to protect traditional marriage, and why I have vowed to work hard for federal language as President.
He added, "While I believe that people have a right to decide how they live their personal lives, they have to respect not changing the definition of marriage." (The pomposity of this patronizing statement is overwhelming, because he implies that people have to right to live as they wish requires some sort of "belief" on his part. It doesn't.)
I find this statement to be absolutely remarkable. It demonstrates a major misunderstanding about what America is.
Mike's statement on marriage is little more than to his (tiny) evangelical base -- and perhaps to homophobes like Dr. Laurence White, Rev. James Dobson and other know-nothings. Why on earth would any sane person become agitated by the thoughts of gays and lesbians marry? How on earth would that diminish anyone's marriage? The Mike Huckabees of a generation ago used to condemn gays for practicing fornication because they could not get married. Now, the argument seems to have gone in reverse.
I'll also be talking this week about Ciel and Han. They're a lesbian couple living in Austin, not all that far from Homophobia Central in Houston (where Laurence White and Larry Perrault reside with their dog-eared copies of the Book of Leviticus, the Mosaic Law that St. Paul said in Galatians is null and void for Christians.)
Oh, I forgot to mention: Ciel and Han also are evangelical Christians -- much better ones than the two guys in Houston. They have a web site you can link to at: http://fearoftheabomination.blogspot.com/
Here's what the heading on their blog says about the documentary they created. "A provocative, independent documentary film created in Austin, TX, about the experiences of a lesbian couple who went undercover as a heterosexual couple inside an Evangelical Organization. The film is currently in post production."
(More Later Today . . .)