100K Match Pledge – Donate To No On Prop. 8 Now

The effort to protect gay marriage in California is in need of our support. Tim Gill and Scott Miller have offered to match No On 8 donations up to $100,000. The campaign needs to raise 1.5 million by midnight tonight and your help is needed.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

The effort to protect gay marriage in California is in need of our support. Tim Gill and Scott Miller have offered to match No On 8 donations up to $100,000. The campaign needs to raise 1.5 million by midnight tonight and your help is needed. I’™m publishing the following request from No On 8 and I ask you to consider making a donation.

This morning’™s Field Poll carries news that Prop 8 is narrowly losing, 44 to 49%.

This initiative battle is razor thin. We know that 7 to 10% of voters are still up for grabs.

And Tim Gill and Scott Miller will match your donation up to $100,000 if you respond NOW.

We knew we needed something more. Something big. Something to remind California voters that there were times in our history when we did not stand up against discrimination, and these are times we now regret.

So our new ad ‘” which we call ‘œHistory’ ‘” focuses on the central fact of this campaign: it is wrong to discriminate and wrong to treat people differently under the law.

This new ad, narrated by renowned actor Samuel L. Jackson, drives home the message that discrimination is always wrong. Watch the ad and make a donation to keep it on the air.

Now it’™s our turn. It’™s our turn to make sure we do everything we can do so the next generation grows up in a more decent society ‘” a society where discrimination against LGBT Americans remains part of that sorry past rather than enshrined in our Constitution.

We must keep this ad on television statewide through Election Day. To make that happen we must raise at least $1.5 million today. Please donate NOW.

With your help, we will defeat Prop 8. Please continue your support with a donation and ask the people who care for you to do the same.

In solidarity,

Geoff Kors

Executive Committee Member

No On 8

DONATE. HERE. NOW.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Friday, October 31st, 2008 by Richard Blair |

2008 Election: Why The Supreme Court Matters

The 2008 election will either reignite the culture wars or provide the first signs that the American public will no longer tolerate the politics of division. Should the electorate choose the former, the war will be extended for a generation by virtue of the Supreme Court appointments that will ensue.


Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

Sarah Palin’s selection as John McCain’s running mate has evangelicals feeling all warm and fuzzy. Her presence on the ticket has energized the conservative base and rekindled concerns that this election will see the reemergence of a full-scale culture war. Truth be told, the culture war had never ended…it had just been sent into a funk with the selection of John McCain.

While many in the media have focused on the enthusiasm Palin has brought to this election cycle (high ratings and ad revenues anyone?), few have actually attempted to impart the significance of the Palin selection. It’s my suspicion that John McCain, unable to gain traction in the polls, elected to heed the lessons learned by those who are now leading his campaign…those who previously crafted the campaigns of George W. Bush. What this means is that the GOP, once thought to be moving away from values politics, has again opted to return to what it knows best…the politics of division.

Those who think this is a momentary relapse may want to think again. The appetite for wedge issue politics is immense…and the size and enthusiasm of the crowds, at the once lukewarm McCain campaign stops, is all the evidence one needs.

While I believe there is a movement in the evangelical community towards expanding their list of relevant issues…a movement that would likely lead some values voters to reconsider the merits of always voting with the GOP…there must be concern that the Palin selection will do little to advance that shift. Frankly, who could blame these fledgling pastors for abandoning their efforts to expand the consciousness of their followers and return to the red meat issues that have proven so successful in motivating the masses. If nothing else, it becomes a question of financial viability. Vegetarian values may seem vogue…but it’s still the red meat that sells.

What is often lost in the media’s focus is an understanding of the actual objectives of those voters who have seen a new dawn in the selection of Sarah Palin. Yes, the generalized analysis offered by the media chooses catch phrases like “God, guns, and gays”…but the stakes that underlie this culture war are far more ominous.

In fact, the tactics used by the GOP are much the same as those employed by the religious right. An example may be beneficial. For years, Christian conservatives have utilized a strategy of repetitious rhetoric…designed to define their opponents as an imminent threat to their beliefs. The best example is the constant assertion that there is a “militant homosexual agenda”.

Now aside from the Stonewall Riots, a skirmish between subversives in skirts and the police department that sought to harass them, the notion of militancy is strictly hyperbole. Regardless, this hyperbole establishes an extremely effective mindset in the moral minions…one that believes the enemy seeks to vanquish their values and install a new world order. Where this strategy deviates from past propaganda employed by partisan politicos is in its effort to cast the opposition as the aggressor…not the aggrieved.

I’m of the opinion that the lessons learned in the civil rights era serve as the foundational basis for this new strategy. The efforts to maintain segregation (think George Wallace) were eventually viewed as extreme by a majority of Americans. Proponents of maintaining racial inequality did little more than voice their prejudice…exposing their objectives and alienating the fair minded.

In the last thirty to thirty five years, many of those who shared these ideological leanings have reconstituted themselves as evangelicals. Let me be clear…by no means am I implying that all evangelicals hold the same views or that being an evangelical is evidence that one does. What I am saying is that it became the chosen vehicle for a group of like minded individuals intent upon waging war against the social issues they opposed.

Call it a softer gentler strategy…at least on its surface. Insert language that implies one is defending family values and Christian principles…from militant groups who have no regard for our long standing cultural traditions…and one begins to see the shift, subtle as it may be. At the same time, it is essential to argue that the enemy’s objective has no connection to civil rights or constitutional inclusion; rather it is a rogue lifestyle intent upon undermining our values.

Now let’s look at goals. Again, a look at the civil rights era sheds light on the strategy. What was learned from the civil rights era is that any legitimization is apt to insure more…eventually leading to judicial justification, legislative affirmation, and ultimately societal acceptance. When social conservatives invoke the slippery slope argument, they are actually explaining their own perceptions of the process that led to racial inclusion and therefore guides their opposition to any and all measures that validate homosexuality.

Like their black and white interpretations of the Bible, they see the battle against gays in the same manner. The rush to embrace Biblical literalism represents the commitment to this new strategy. As such, any compromise is akin to capitualtion…which means ideology must be absolute if one is to successfully repel the efforts of the enemy. At the same time, the ultimate goals must be disguised and deflected with rhetoric that is palatable to the general public. The door must be shut (constitutional amendments) before they can ultimately unveil their moral manifesto.

That leads me to the latest and clearest evidence of the obscured, but unfolding, objective. I wrote about this subject previously, when it was in its foundling state. As it turns out, the first foray into the execution of the plan has proceeded and is scheduled to be implemented at the end of this month. Take a look at the details.

From The Washington Post:

Declaring that clergy have a constitutional right to endorse political candidates from their pulpits, the socially conservative Alliance Defense Fund is recruiting several dozen pastors to do just that on Sept. 28, in defiance of Internal Revenue Service rules.

The effort by the Arizona-based legal consortium is designed to trigger an IRS investigation that ADF lawyers would then challenge in federal court. The ultimate goal is to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out a 54-year-old ban on political endorsements by tax-exempt houses of worship.

“For so long, there has been this cloud of intimidation over the church,” ADF attorney Erik Stanley said. “It is the job of the pastors of America to debate the proper role of church in society. It’s not for the government to mandate the role of church in society.”

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Monday, September 8th, 2008 by Daniel DiRito |

Compare & Contrast: Family Values & The 2008 Election

Reducing elections to comparisons on two or three moral conundrums is an oversimplification. It keeps us from having to look more closely at our candidates, our country, ourselves, and our collective actions. Family values must go beyond the cardboard caricatures we construct.


Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

The GOP has, for years, claimed to be the party of family values. Unfortunately, that title is more like a badge worn on one’s lapel than an innate commitment to morality. Even worse, this carefully chosen description is primarily tailored to encompass those issues the GOP feels will garner votes. This seeming manipulation is no accident. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that the GOP practices selective morality…the kind that makes a revelation of hypocrisy all the more significant.

Consider the facts. John McCain wants us to believe he shares the values of the evangelical voters he seeks to court. Unfortunately, his own history suggests something else…yet that hasn’t stopped McCain from moving to claim he’s always been aligned with Christian values. Well, if one believes that Ralph Reed represents family values, perhaps John McCain is entitled to wear his new badge.

In the first of the two following videos, Dems Rapid Response sheds some much needed light on the kind of values the GOP has actually come to represent under the leadership of men like George Bush. Yes, they consistently rail against abortion and same-sex marriage…while condoning deceit, deception, and dishonesty…the kind that robs hard-working Americans of opportunities and insures that the political elite will maintain their hold upon wealth and power.

The truth of the matter is that Ralph Reed, once a burgeoning star in the GOP (who diligently mouthed the party’s moral mumbo jumbo), was exposed as the corrupt cash chasing charlatan he’s always been. In fact, his rapid ascendency was formulaic…and his speedy demise deservedly mimicked that of many of his crooked Christian cohorts.

The fact that John McCain is happy to attach his fundraising efforts to Reed is a testament to the priorities he and his party share. The hypocrisy is revealed in their simultaneous attempts to connect Barack Obama’s secular sensibilities with all things un-American…and therefore paint them as lacking moral justification.

In the second video, Matthew 25, a Christian political action committee, offers some much needed contrast…and begins the difficult work of dislodging the faithful from many of the fraudulent fabrications about Barack Obama that are being fostered by legions of GOP loyalists.

Sadly, we’ve become a nation that finds much of its worth in the denigration of others…and the blinding bravado of dogmatic intransigence. If it isn’t the gays or those who favor a woman’s right to choose or the hotel chain that offers adult movies to patrons or the network that allows Janet Jackson to expose her breast, it’s the French and those other nations that have chosen secularism and the full separation of church and state.

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Friday, August 15th, 2008 by Daniel DiRito |

On The John Edwards Affair – The Stop & Stare Society

The fact that John Edwards engaged in an extramarital affair rightfully leads us to question his honesty and integrity. Unfortunately, our fascination with these examples of human frailty is also evidence of our own proclivity to engage in denial and double standards.


Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

It’s common knowledge that car accidents cause traffic jams…even after the vehicles involved have been moved to the shoulder of the road. I’ve often wondered what causes us to slow down and gaze out our windows as we pass by. Is it out of concern for the passengers or is it some morbid curiosity as to the carnage?

As I’ve pondered the possibilities, the first image that comes to mind is a herd of zebras, standing and staring with ears perked, as the lion they’ve just eluded puts the finishing clench upon the zebra that didn’t get away. What makes a herd of animals suddenly stop to watch, as their comrade becomes an unwilling victim of the food chain, moments after running frantically for their lives?

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this rather morbid musing, I’ve been looking for a way to make sense of our fascination with John Edwards’ admission that he engaged in an extramarital affair. Let me be clear…I’m troubled by the deceit that preceded the revelation…but I’m more troubled by our seeming inability to focus upon the underlying issues.

You see, John Edwards may be unique in having had the opportunity to run for president of the United States, but his affair puts him on a par with the majority of the American public. The fact that we stop to gawk at him underscores our similarity to a herd of zebras, while our holier-than-thou looks of disdain uncover our propensity for self-forgiving double standards.

As we approach the November election, we’re being confronted by the all too familiar rhetoric that same-sex marriage is threatening to destroy the family. Frankly, this is a manufactured issue that serves the purposes of politicians and preachers and serves as a distraction from what actually ails the family. Truth be told, the preoccupation with same-sex marriage and the affairs of others is the equivalent of watching the zebra in the grasp of the lion. It gives us something to look at while counting our blessings that we avoided capture…not by the lion…but by the discovery of our own undisclosed indiscretions.

Yes, I’ve long argued that gays should be entitled to the same marriage rights afforded to heterosexuals…but I’ve also argued that the institution is at best broken. In fact, I suspect that it is, in its current form, contrary to human nature. In saying as much, I’m not suggesting that we eliminate marriage. At the same time, I’m in favor of beginning the process of an honest assessment of the expectations we attach to our marriages and, therefore, the manner in which they’re created…and dismantled.

Yes, I’m embarking upon an unpopular task that mimics the myth of Sisyphus…but then again…so are most of the individuals who choose to marry. If we admit that pushing the rock over the pinnacle is the equivalent of perfection, we should quickly understand the reason for Sisyphus’ perpetual failure…as well as our own with regard to marriage.

Look, the human heart is fragile…it can fall as fast as it can harden…and in that dichotomy is revealed the precarious nature of love…as well as the inability to predict its path. While the mind can promise the heart, the heart cannot always be expected to abide. That’s a reality we prefer to ignore…until someone’s heart is broken.

Where we miscalculate is in our expectations of ourselves and others…antecedent to our marriages as well as the moment at which we recognize the one we’re in is broken. In each of these moments, rather than acknowledge our human nature, we demand that another defy their own in order to protect the fragility of ours…and visa versa. Yes, this works well on the front end…but it fails miserably at the other.

In many ways, we humans are victims of our own success. In that it provided us with more choices and greater flexibility, it has also diminished our dependence on each other as well as the affiliations we believe we’ll need to form in order to survive (make a living, raise a family, etc). Hence, marriage is no longer the essential sociological glue it used to be. While necessity may be the mother of invention, the lack of necessity has allowed us to reinvent our understandings of the roles we play as mothers…and fathers. As such, we’ve reached the point at which one can choose to be either without the requirement of the other.

On the other hand, this freedom may also provide us with the opportunity to choose our partners absent many of the historical calculations and contrivances. Unfortunately, our actions with regards to relationships seem to lack the full awareness of the evolving terrain. At the same time, there are those who experience this changing dynamic as anxiety which leads them to recoil and call for a return to conventionalism. Unfortunately, rolling back progress is akin to rolling our mythical rocks over the pinnacle. Sadly, the time spent doing so simply detracts from the time we can spend adapting and adjusting our relationships (and the expectations we bring to them) to the current paradigm.

It’s time to admit that the idyllic image of marriage, invoked by those who claim to be its protectors, is no longer the nature of the institution. That which no longer exists cannot be preserved. Notwithstanding, the painfully natural, though imperfect, human emotions that facilitated the creation of marriage will remain…and they warrant our awareness and our embrace. Were we to refocus our efforts upon understanding the essence of these emotions, and establishing our expectations accordingly, perhaps the next announcement of an indiscretion could be met with introspective analysis rather than preoccupied projections.

When the voyeurs are enthralled in watching the lion lay waste to the zebra, the bonds that connect them with those they love are left unattended…hanging perilously exposed…ever ready to attach themselves to the first heart that has taken the time to acknowledge, accept, and allow its innate humanity to flourish. When this happens, the heart of the voyeur is apt to be crushed…not by the lion…but by the weight of its own untenable judgments.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Saturday, August 9th, 2008 by Daniel DiRito |

The “Order” Of Things: Let Them Kill…Yes – Let Them Marry…No

Underlying the polling related to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and same-sex marriage is a snapshot of a society still encumbered by gender disparity. The juxtaposition of the masculine and feminine highlight an unhealthy hierarchy. The order of things is disordered.


Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

I’m always amazed at public opinion…especially when it provides some insights into human nature in 21st century America. Over the years, I’ve always marveled at the prudish obsession with all things prurient.

I could be wrong, but I suspect a majority of Americans would rather allow their children to watch depictions of violence on television and at the movies than anything remotely sexual. In some ways, I understand how this happens, but in my moments of lucidity, I wonder why we never take the time to understand or alter this seemingly incoherent ideation.

To find evidence of this phenomenon, one need look no further than the polling relevant to same-sex marriage and the military’s policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Despite the occasional outlier, it’s fairly safe to state that more Americans oppose same-sex marriage than favor it. At the same time, numerous polls in recent years suggests that a significant majority of Americans are in favor of allowing gays to serve in the military. I find those two incongruent positions fascinating.

First, a look at the latest polling on both issues.

From The Washington Post On DADT:

Public attitudes about gays in the military have shifted dramatically since President Bill Clinton unveiled what became his administration’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy 15 years ago today.

Seventy-five percent of Americans in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll said gay people who are open about their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, up from 62 percent in early 2001 and 44 percent in 1993.

Today, Americans have become more supportive of allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the armed forces. Support from Republicans has doubled over the past 15 years, from 32 to 64 percent. More than eight in 10 Democrats and more than three-quarters of independents now support the idea, as did nearly two-thirds of self-described conservatives.

From CBS News On Same-Sex Marriage:

(CBS) Most Americans continue to think there should be some legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples, and 30 percent say same-sex couples should be allowed to marry – the highest number since CBS News began asking this question in 2004.

Twenty-eight percent think same-sex couples should be permitted to form civil unions, but more than a third – 36 percent – say there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship.

Americans’ views on this issue have changed since 2004, although opinion has not changed substantially in the last two years. In November of 2004 (soon after the presidential election) just 21 percent of Americans supported the idea of same-sex couples being allowed to marry.

Majorities of both men and women support some form of legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples, but more women (36 percent) than men (24 percent) back the idea of same-sex marriage.

With regard to DADT, it seems fairly clear that the country is ready to embrace gays serving in the military. Virtually every constituent group agrees. As such, it would be difficult to contend that the favorable response is due to the vague or uncertain nature of the survey question.

With regard to gay marriage, the results are more nebulous. Don’t get me wrong, there’s little doubt that the trends are encouraging. In fact, one could make the argument that a narrow majority of Americans actually favor some recognition of same-sex relationships. Defining the specifics of that recognition would likely provide less encouraging results.

I’m intrigued by the disparity. On the one hand, it seems that patriotism and a desire to defend one’s nation elicits thoughts of equality on the part of the electorate. In other words, if gays are willing to kill and die for their country, by God, we shouldn’t deny them that opportunity. [Wave flags now] On the other hand, who a gay person chooses to love and how that love is recorded by society apparently elicits thoughts of moral rectitude on the part of the electorate. [Cover eyes now]

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Sunday, July 20th, 2008 |

Focus On The Family Attacks Tim Gill’s Activism

Focus on the Family and its leader, James Dobson, must be concerned that their influence is waning. Recent attacks on Barack Obama and a new screed aimed at LGBT activist Tim Gill suggest the organization feels threatened. I suspect these latest actions are designed to raise cash.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

Did you know that Tim Gill is a homosexual activist who operates under the radar as a stealth politico intent on changing the political landscape and adding the scalps of God fearing Christians to his belt? This latest video offering from Focus on the Family’™s Turn Signal has to be one of their most transparent attempts to pander to their followers by portraying gay activism as a sinister effort to undermine conservative family values.

As I watched this video, I couldn’™t help but think back to my days in commercial real estate. OK, I’™m sure you’™re wondering how in the hell is this related to the FOF video? Stay with me. After spending fourteen years in the business, I honed my skills at spotting tenants who were manipulative and on the precipice of having financial problems. One of the tell-tale signals was a sudden surge in complaints about their space’¦the AC wasn’™t working right, the janitorial staff was doing a lousy job, the tenant next door was too loud, and on and on.

Generally speaking, the strategy was to go on the offensive and portray oneself as a victim in anticipation of lacking the wherewithal to pay the rent or fulfill the remaining term of one’™s lease. When I first started in the business, these tenants had me standing on my head trying to please them, but over time I realized that more often than not, their complaints had nothing to do with me or the service our company was providing. It was simply the strategy of a cash strapped tenant to create mitigating circumstances for the moment when they were unable to pay rent’¦and their ultimate goal usually included being let out of their lease.

That brings me back to Focus on the Family and this video segment. First, Focus on the Family is far from bankrupt; having total receipts in excess of 140 million dollars each of the last three years. However, when one looks more closely, the arm of the organization that funds political activities, Focus Action, has seen a steady decline in revenues over the last three years.

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Saturday, June 28th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

More On That Plan For A Theocracy…How About Anarchy?

Americans look overseas when thinking about sectarian conflict. If the November election is viewed by religious ideologues as a significant shift towards secularism, it could serve to trigger comparable extremism here in the homeland. This video may provide a preview.


Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

Take a look at the following video and tell me you can’t imagine that extreme religious groups in America could ever trigger the same sectarian strife that currently plagues the Middle East. I don’t think the thought is that far fetched…and I’m convinced that the evidence supports the contention that ideological intransigence has led some religious leaders in the United States to the precipice of promoting acts of anarchy.

The gist of this video and many of the sermons that are being delivered in churches around the country is that the Bible is the only valid law. Further, the inference is that it is acceptable to ignore the laws of the nation when they conflict with God’s law. What remains to be seen is the level of resistance that these religious zealots are willing to promote.

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Thursday, June 26th, 2008 |

Rep. Sam Graves: Bringing San Francisco Chic To Missouri?

Representative Sam Graves (R-MO) seems to think his Democratic opponent wants to import San Francisco values into the ‘œShow-Me’ state. Unfortunately, the images Graves uses to make his point suggest he may be living in ‘œla la land’’¦and I’™m not talking about Los Angeles.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

It looks like San Francisco has become the new France (freedom fries anyone?)’¦at least for some members of the GOP. Representative Sam Graves (R-MO) has taken to featuring those awful ‘œSan Francisco values’ to attack his Democratic opponent, Kay Barnes.

He’™s apparently doing this because he wants Missourians to believe that Barnes’™ singular goal is to take solid midwestern values and transform them into a San Francisco style Sodom & Gomorrah. Unfortunately, the music and images are a miserable melange comparable to what one might expect to find on a late night TV commercial promoting a singles hook-up phone line.

I could be wrong, but it looks to me like Rep. Graves has spent too many restless nights on the couch in front of his television. A more sinister interpretation of the image might suggest that Graves wants his constituents to ponder the slippery slope mentality one would expect to hear from Rick Santorum’¦you know, the one that thinks gay marriage is just the tip of the iceberg in the progression towards allowing ‘œman with his favorite pet marriages’.

All that’™s missing from this multi-racial, pansexual, menage a trois Solid Gold meets Queer as Folk dance club image to complete this ludicrous mindset is a dirty dancing German Shepherd and a pair of ‘œin sync’ silver-haired sister spinsters.

Rep. Graves (R-MO) First San Francisco Values TV Ad (VIDEO)

Rep. Graves (R-MO) Second San Francisco Values TV Ad (VIDEO)

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Saturday, May 31st, 2008 by Richard Blair |

Family Research Council: Black & White Is As Clear As Mud

The Family Research Council cherry picks the issues they employ to fleece their flock. With global warming, they argue God has a plan and the faithful shouldn’t have to sacrifice financially. On the other hand, when it comes to defeating gay marriage, they must have money and activism.


Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

The Family Research Council has followed in the footsteps of Focus on the Family with the introduction a new video segment on their web site. FRC calls their program The Truth in Black & White, and it features Tony Perkins, the president of FRC, and Bishop Harry Jackson.

I’ve included two of their videos below. In the first, Perkins and Jackson tackle stewardship of the earth and global warming. In the second, they take on the recent ruling of the California Supreme Court to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage.

The contrast found in the logic of these two videos is notable and indicative of the hypocrisy that is so often demonstrated by the religious right. Note that in the first video, Perkins and Jackson suggest that global warming hysteria is fear mongering and a fabrication of men like Al Gore. Apparently the God that speaks to Al Gore is a fraud…and men like Perkins and Jackson are here to tell us which God is real…and which problems the real God wants us to address.

They suggest that while we need to be good stewards of the earth, God knows what he is doing with his creation (the earth and its people) and he will sustain them according to his own plan. In fact, Perkins states that we shouldn’t “surrender national autonomy nor do we need to sacrifice the family budget and the income that families are making” when addressing that stewardship. Little did I know that God finds it acceptable for us to put the interests of the United States above those of the rest of the world and that he doesn’t expect us to give up any of our wealth in order to preserve his creation. Apparently God intends to subsidize this particular issue.

So let me see if I’ve got this straight. Men like Perkins and Jackson don’t think Americans should sacrifice any of their income to protect the planet…at least not in accordance with Kyoto or any of the plans put forward by the likes of Al Gore. On the other hand, these are the same people who routinely expect their followers to open their wallets and contribute generously to the FRC and the causes they deem to be necessary and in need of immediate attention.

That brings us to the second video which is on the subject of same-sex marriage. In this instance, apparently Perkins and Jackson don’t think God has a sufficient plan for addressing the issue of homosexuality…even though God would had to have known it would exist (and had a plan to address it) just like they contend he would have known that fears about the climate of the planet would eventually trouble some of its inhabitants.

Here’s where we begin to see the inconsistency and the hypocrisy. Perkins and Jackson conclude that the FRC and the religious right need to step in and take an activist role in preventing gays from obtaining the rights afforded to their heterosexual counterparts. Is this because God’s plan is lacking when it comes to gays? Funny how, in this instance, families are routinely asked to dig deep into their budgets to fund the FRC and their efforts to pass amendments in California and other states to ban same-sex marriage. Far be it for me to know what God deems a justified financial sacrifice…though Perkins and Jackson seem convinced they know.

In other words, with regards to global warming, God wants us to be good stewards but we need not and should not do anything drastic because he knows what he’s doing and he doesn’t expect us to crimp our budgets. On the other hand, he needs us to do everything we can to stop the gays. Is that because he doesn’t have a plan or because gays have somehow figured out how to outsmart God? Apparently Perkins and Jackson have concluded that God needs his hetero human subjects to become his proxy warriors in addressing homosexuality because he just can’t go it alone.

Perkins and Jackson seem to think all of this is completely black and white…but I contend it is merely more of the same cut and paste pontificating that has come to define their inane ideology. Talking in circles may suffice for those who are willing to suspend rational thought and ignore reasoned analysis…but I find it to be the equivalent of washing the windows with a bucket of dirty water.

Yes, the effort might make one feel better but it sure as hell does nothing to enhance one’s view and one’s understanding of what lies on the other side. Rather, it serves to preclude those on one side from ever having to consider arguments that might undermine the absolute ideology they embrace and the fears that endear them to it.

In the end, it’s obvious that Perkins and Jackson believe that personal faith should intervene in public policy…but only when doing so furthers the issues of faith they have conveniently chosen to cherry pick. Perhaps they think that’s black and white. I think it’s about as clear as mud.

Perkins & Jackson On Stewardship & Global Warming Hysteria (VIDEO)

Perkins & Jackson On CA Supreme Court Gay Marriage Ruling (VIDEO)

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Sunday, May 18th, 2008 by Daniel DiRito |

California Supreme Court Overturns Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

The march towards equality for gays took a step forward today with the ruling by the California Supreme Court. While this is a day for celebration, there may well be setbacks should an amendment banning same-sex marriage pass in November. The battle is far from over.


Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

I realize I should be excited about the California Supreme Court’s decision to remove the ban on same-sex marriage…but the pragmatist in me simply won’t allow it. I’ll explain my thinking after the following excerpt on today’s ruling.

SAN FRANCISCO – – The California Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples should be permitted to marry, rejecting state marriage laws as discriminatory.

The state high court’s 4-3 ruling was unlikely to end the debate over gay matrimony in California. A group has circulated petitions for a November ballot initiative that would amend the state Constitution to block same-sex marriage, while the Legislature has twice passed bills to authorize gay marriage. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both.

Schwarzenegger, who has vetoed two measures that would have authorized same-sex marriage, today said he would abide by the court’s ruling.

“I respect the court’s decision and as governor, I will uphold its ruling,” he said in a statement. “Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.”

But as early as November, voters could be asked to render their opinion on an amendment that would again attempt to ban same-sex marriage.

A coalition of religious and conservative activists has submitted 1.1 million signatures to qualify the amendment, which would say that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Andrew Pugno, an attorney for the initiative’s sponsors, said the Supreme Court decision is a boost for the measure because opponents have been saying there is no real threat that same sex marriages will happen.

“This decision draws a line in the sand and makes it clear that this is the last chance for voters to have a say,” Pugno said. “This is proof positive for voters that the courts are out of control and the voters have to step up.”

First, the timing of this ruling isn’t advantageous. As we approach a critical election in which the Democrats are poised to take the presidency as well as additional seats in the house and the senate, giving the rabid right wing an issue to rally around is apt to boost the GOP’s fundraising, motivate evangelicals to get out and vote, allow John McCain to exploit the differences between the GOP and the Democratic Party with regards to same-sex issues (including forcing the Democratic nominee to clarify his or her position on the ruling and same-sex marriage), and give supporters of an amendment to add a ban on same-sex marriage to the California constitution ample ammunition to fund and promote their ballot measure (every right wing organization is going to pour money into this ballot initiative).

Secondly, I believe that the mood of voters had changed since the 2004 election. That change included less of an emphasis on values driven politics and more of a focus on issues that endear voters to the Democratic Party. Today’s ruling may return us to the days of God, guns, and gays…with a particular emphasis on gays. Should that happen, it would allow the detractors of the Democratic party to reemphasize the fact that they are generally in favor of extending more rights to gays, accepting of court rulings that expand rights even if the voters wouldn’t vote to approve them, and in favor of appointing more judges with similar views.

Let’s look at the chronology to better understand the shift that took place since 2004 and the likelihood that this ruling could facilitate a step backwards in terms of renewed voter resistance. Following on the heels of Massachusetts allowing gay marriage as a result of a 2003 court ruling, in February of 2004, San Francisco and other municipalities began issuing marriage licenses to gays. While all of these actions felt empowering and led to numerous celebratory moments, it was short lived (except in Massachusetts) and likely assisted in the passage of amendments to ban same-sex marriage in eleven states.

Following the 2004 election, Iraq, the economy, and other issues pushed the values agenda to the back burner as voters focused on other concerns. The outcome of the 2006 election supports that contention. As we’ve approached the 2008 election, the general perception has been that God, guns, and gays had fallen into disfavor with voters (or at least been overtaken by other priorities) and would not play a significant part in this election cycle.

If one believes that history repeats itself…and that the U.S. has a history of vacillating between left and right (in a manner reminiscent of a pendulum) when it comes to issue of morality…this ruling could create the momentum needed to effect a shift to the right…or at the very least a halt to the current swing leftward. While these back and forth swings seem inevitable, the timing of this ruling may be the accelerant that sets in motion the unfavorable shifts noted above…sooner than they would have otherwise occurred. That would be a classic example of an unintended consequence…but an unwelcome and unfortunate one no less.

Look, I also believe that the affording of rights can’t always be scheduled for maximum advantage…nor should they be delayed accordingly. History will undoubtedly view this ruling as one of the important steps in the chronology of granting gays equal status. Nonetheless, the journey between now and then may well include events that (similar to this ruling), at the time they occur, seem to be a step forward but that ultimately precipitate a temporary step backwards. As such, the soldiers need to be prepared for the times when retreat and retrenchment are the order of the day.

Today is a time for celebrating…but tomorrow may be another story. It is imperative that we remain vigilantly mindful of the impact our actions will have on the ever shifting political terrain. This means that it is essential for us to be aware of the positions each of the combatants holds on the battlefield. In the end, regardless of the victories and defeats, the march towards equality must never cease. Today we’ve won a battle…tomorrow the war proceeds.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Thursday, May 15th, 2008 by Daniel DiRito |
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