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Thursday, December 25, 2003

Response to Rep. Karen Klinzing

Klinzing's response to my post on Creationism was picked up by PZ Myers who maintains the Pharyngula blog who gave it a good fisking.

I had written Klinzing a response (I can never resist when things things fall into my inbox so to speak). Here it is.

Rep. Klinzing:

First of all - I'm curious - do you have a background in Science? I do.

At 01:23 PM 12/24/2003 -0600, Karen Klinzing wrote:
Dear Ms. Eva,

Are you suggesting that public schools should not teach about the John T. Scopes trial? Most Social Studies teachers do, Ms. Young. It's in all of the text books. In order to teach about that trial in the public school history classes, the Social Studies teachers may need to define terms involved in all sides of the trial, including creationism and evolution. Sounds like your one-sided perspective about history, aka "evolution - only" perspective, might be the more skewed, (or in your terms "wacky") perspective on history.


EY: No, certainly not. The Scopes trial belongs in Social Studies classes. However, Creation Myths don't belong in biology classes - unless there is empirical evidence for them - and empirical evidence doesn't mean - "we don't understand this, so therefore it must have been created by an intelligent designer". Should the Flat Earth Society also be given "equal time" in Science Classes?

Belief in God is religion - and proving whether God exists or not is not the type of question Science can answer. Science answers questions about how things work.

Most mainstream parents would find it a travesty to learn that their students did not learn the DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES that created America. I have been a public school social studies high school teacher in East Bloomington for 11 years, where many Minneapolis students have taken advantage of open enrollment options to attend our public high school. Along with Minneapolis students, at least 20 % of my classes include students who grew up in East Bloomington learning about and believing in creationism. Is it the responsibility of the American Goverment to disregard their belief system any more than to disregard that belief system of an atheist or evolutionist such as yourself? How can public school teachers respect the DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES in the classroom without presenting all sides of the debate? To teach that evolution is not a debate is to choose your side of the issue.

EY: Ms Klinzing: Do you teach Biology? Or are you teaching social studies? I'm not discussing the Social Studies Standards - I'm discussing the Science Standards.

Evolutionary theory is applied in much of the molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics and other research here in Minnesota and elsewhere. I'd challenge you to show one application that's been produced as a result of "Creation Science".

I'm concerned that Minnesota not follow the road Kansas did with putting Creationism into the Science Standards. When the Kansas School Board (state wide - elected) put something in the standards that questions about evolution shouldn't be tested for in the biology tests - Faculty Recruitment at the University of Kansas was much more difficult.

Governor Pawlenty wants to make sure Minnesota becomes a biotech powerhouse. Dumbing down Science Standards to avoid all mention of the age of the Earth (as Maple River Education Coalition/Edwatch is proposing) will not help in that endeavor.

I believe that faith in God AND believing the theory of Evolution are not mutually exclusive.

EY: No argument here. However I don't think it's possible to experimentally show the existance or nonexistance of God. That's something you take on faith.

Who is to say that YOUR evolution-only persepctive should prevail in the public school classroom at the expense of disrespecting 20 % or more of the students. 85% of the students, be they Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, in the public school classes have read the Book of Genesis about the creation of the world in Sunday school. Why should n't they learn about the diverse perspectives that formed the context for the John T. Scopes court trial which changed curriculum in American public schools. Would you also suggest that we disrespect 20% of the students who are a racial minority when we teach about the Civil Rights movement....probably not. You would like to pick and choose the views to fit your agenda and not present all of the perspectives. Who deemed your perspective on the world the most correct? The point of a free-public education in a democracy is to about all of the sides of the debate not

EY: I'm saying that in Biology Classes, things like taxonomy, anatomy, physiology and the scientific method should be taught. Reading the bible isn't part of the scientific method. I'm also curious if kids are going to be reading the book of genesis in the public schools, should they also be reading the Koran? What about learning about Pagan beliefs?

Remember that Galleleo got in trouble with the Catholic Church when he pointed out that the evidence showed the Earth revolved around the Sun and not the other way around.

I'm disapointed in your false representation of Senator LeClair's and Senator Bachman's viewpoints. You dishonorably smear their honorable characters by claiming that Bachman is "wacky" and "bears false witness.". Your aim to create a history that lacks diverse perspectives is dishonorable to the principles of democracy on which this country is founded. Your misguided and one sided propaganda is a danger to free, democratic, public education.

EY: She did bear false witness - when she stated that the Stillwater Gazette retracted their story. They retracted the headline.

I'm also not addressing the Social Studies Standards. I'm addressing Bachmann's view on the Science Standards.

Here's a useful resource about Countering Creationist Arguments

MN Legislator Responds to the Issue of Sen. Bachmann and Creationism

Dear Ms. Eva,

Are you suggesting that public schools should not teach about the John T. Scopes trial? Most Social Studies teachers do, Ms. Young. It's in all of the text books. In order to teach about that trial in the public school history classes, the Social Studies teachers may need to define terms involved in all sides of the trial, including creationism and evolution. Sounds like your one-sided perspective about history, aka "evolution - only" perspective, might be the more skewed, (or in your terms "wacky") perspective on history.

Most mainstream parents would find it a travesty to learn that their students did not learn the DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES that created America. I have been a public school social studies high school teacher in East Bloomington for 11 years, where many Minneapolis students have taken advantage of open enrollment options to attend our public high school. Along with Minneapolis students, at least 20 % of my classes include students who grew up in East Bloomington learning about and believing in creationism. Is it the responsibility of the American Goverment to disregard their belief system any more than to disregard that belief system of an atheist or evolutionist such as yourself? How can public school teachers respect the DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES in the classroom without presenting all sides of the debate? To teach that evolution is not a debate is to choose your side of the issue.

I believe that faith in God AND believing the theory of Evolution are not mutually exclusive. Who is to say that YOUR evolution-only persepctive should prevail in the public school classroom at the expense of disrespecting 20 % or more of the students. 85% of the students, be they Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, in the public school classes have read the Book of Genesis about the creation of the world in Sunday school. Why should n't they learn about the diverse perspectives that formed the context for the John T. Scopes court trial which changed curriculum in American public schools. Would you also suggest that we disrespect 20% of the students who are a racial minority when we teach about the Civil Rights movement....probably not. You would like to pick and choose the views to fit your agenda and not present all of the perspectives. Who deemed your perspective on the world the most correct?
The point of a free-public education in a democracy is to about all of the sides of the debate not (sic)

I'm disapointed in your false representation of Senator LeClair's and Senator Bachman's viewpoints. You dishonorably smear their honorable characters by claiming that Bachman is "wacky" and "bears false witness.". Your aim to create a history that lacks diverse perspectives is dishonorable to the principles of democracy on which this country is founded. Your misguided and one sided propaganda is a danger to free, democratic, public education.

EY: Hmm..... How do dissenting views, strongly expressed threaten a free, democratic, public education?

Update: This was picked up by PZ Myers on the Pharyngula blog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Leviticus Crowd Divisions on FMA

Mass News has a couple of excellent articles on the subject. On the Focus on the Anus Empire and more specifically about Focus vs Other Anti-Gay Organizations on the FMA. Both articles give a good insiders look at the major players among the Leviticus Crowd.

Senator Bachmann Pushes Equal Time for Creationism in Public School Biology Classes

A letter written to Bachmann on the subject - published on talk.origins - and this letter was not written by me.

Dear Senator Bachmann;

http://www.stillwatergazette.com/story.asp?cat=NEW&story=6538 [now unavailable]

District 52 Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, a Lutheran, said she has never advocated against teaching evolution in Minnesota public schools she simply wants teachers to discuss creationism as well.

The public schools are for education, not religious indoctrination. The proper place for religious indoctrination is in the home and churches. Note: Comparitive religion classes would not be indoctrination and so are proper in public schools.

There is not only nothing to discuss with creationism, but there are myraid of creation myths. The oldest creation myth I'm aware of is the Sumerian "Tiamat the Dragon" at some 5.5 thousand years of age. Such is much older than the xtian deity who's stories were stolen from other religions with names, times, and places filed off and changed. (Such was unrepentant wholesale theft which was against the "Commandment" against theft)

Creationism is not a theory, nor a law. It's not even a hypothesis. It's unsupported assertions and lies mixed with broken logic. It's rubbish from start to finish. Creationism provides no answers, no information.

"I have no problem with teaching the various theories ... of origins of life. ..." She said. "But, I think theres one ... philosophy ... that says only one could be taught and that one would be evolution. And because the scientific community has found that there are flaws in abiding by that dogma, I think its important to teach that controversy."

I'm sorry to say, but you're seriously misinformed.

First, evolution does not deal with the origins of life. Evolution deals with things after life has appeared. One of the theories of the origins of life is abiogenisis. Fifty years ago the basic building blocks of life were constructed in a lab.



Because "eminent, reasonable minds" in the scientific community disagree with the theory of evolution, Bachmann said, "I would expect that teachers would disagree, and students would disagree, and the public would, certainly."

Really? Please provide names, dates, and flat quotes of these 'eminent, reasonable minds in the scientific community who disagree with the theory of evolution.' No quote mining need apply. What is it that they 'disagree' with? Please don't insult people by providing names such as "Behe, McDowell, Gish, Hovind" and the like.

By the way, the following URL provides information on the scientific
method which is a tool. It would do you great good to read it.

http://www.scientificmethod.com/i_13.htm


More.....

Senator Michele Bachmann Bears False Witness on Creationism

The Stillwater Gazette published a covering Senator Michele Bachmann's views on Creationism. Talk.origins has a thread discussing this article. Several of the posters wrote Bachmann. One of the talk.origins posters, posted Senator Michele Bachmann's response to his email criticizing her views on the Science Standards:

I emailed Senator Bachmann and received a personal reply as well as an attachment indicating what she wrote to the newspaper.

/quote
Thank you for your email, I appreciate you taking the time to write.

The Stillwater Gazette has retracted the story in which they wrongly attributed my position on this issue. I am attaching a statement I sent to the Gazette clarifying my
position.

Sincerely,

Michele Bachmann

October 1, 2003
Statement from Senator Bachmann

A famous quote says, "You can't unring a bell." Similarly, once a false statement is made, it can't be fully taken back. The Gazette did that to me in the Monday edition by attributing views to me that I do not hold, nor did I say.

Over the years, the Gazette has gotten plenty of quotes and information wrong about me, but I have usually let it go and tried to overlook the mistakes. This time I can't do so because the Gazette blew it "big time."

The Gazette reported in a headline that I said "schools should teach creationism." That is a false statement. I told the reporter that I believe all scientific evidence surrounding an issue, in this case the
study of the origin of life, should be brought into the classroom. In other words, academic freedom and balance for students should include respected, science-based critiques of evolutionary theory.

The reporter also asked me my personal views on origins and I answered his question. Like the followers of any of the leading religious faiths in America, I believe that the world was ultimately a product of design rather than a product of time and random chance.

But at no time in the interview did I say creationism should be taught in public schools, nor did I suggest my beliefs become the curriculum.

The Gazette wrongly placed my photo beneath a quote that did not represent my views or accurately and professionally report an interview. Both the readers and I were done a disservice.

/quote

From Skeptical News - Bachmann is bearing false witness on this one.

Gazette only retracted creationism story's headline, not entire article
http://www.stillwatergazette.com/story.asp?cat=NEW&story=6544
(Created 10/16/03 9:53:00 AM)

STILLWATER - The Stillwater Gazette last month did not retract a Sept. 29 article about creationism's place in public education.

"We retracted and corrected that article's headline, but not the article itself," Managing Editor Greg C. Huff said.

On Sept. 30, the Gazette published on its front page an apology for the headline which appeared above the print version of the Sept. 29 article. The mis-reprensentative headline indicated erroneously that Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, and other local Republican lawmakers believe that Minnesota educators should teach creationism. The Gazette's on-line version of the article carries a more accurate headline.

Although the Gazette both retracted and apologized for the mis-representative headline, Huff said, "we absolutely did not retract the article itself, and continue to stand by it."

Huff wrote the Sept. 29 article.

Who said what?

Neither Bachmann, nor District 56 Sen. Brian LeClair, R-Woodbury, specifically told the Gazette that Minnesota educators should teach creationism. And although District 56A Rep. Eric Lipman said that "exposing students to the tenets and outlines of creation science" is as important as teaching the ideas of Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and Darwin, he did not specifically use the term "creationism."

And although Bachmann - in reference to long-standing debates between evolution and creationism advocates - told the Gazette in an interview that "I think it's important to teach that controversy," she later clarified that she did not mean by that statement that Minnesota educators should teach creationism as fact. And LeClair said only that in 12 years of Catholic school he "spent time discussing both evolution and creation."

Bachmann later clarified that the Sept. 29 article's original headline mis-represented her political opinions, "as a senator," that "all science-based evidence on a topic should be allowed in the classroom," that "government should not censor scientific evidence," and that "in this subject area, students and teachers benefit from academic freedom."

In the interview for the Sept. 29 article, Bachmann also confided several of her personal beliefs about mankinds' origins, which she neither recanted nor challenged the veracity of. And while those statements did not justify the article's original headline "Local Republicans: Schools should teach creationism," Huff said, "the ensuing article is 100-percent accurate."

Monday, December 22, 2003

Bloggers on Senator Michelle Bachmann

Daily Kos:

This is simply an attack on gay folks by two bigoted legislators. Last year, during a debate on benefits for same-sex partners of state employees, Senator Bachmann actually pulled out stats from Paul Cameron, provided by the idiots at Concerned Women For America's "research" project, about lower life expectancies for gay men.

Ryan Anderson:

Oh lordy, save us from the gays! The gays are coming! What ever shall we do now that Massachusetts judges have ruled that banning gay marriage is against the state's constitution? Never fear, Senator Michele Bachmann, a Republican with an untouchable anti-gay record is here to save the day along with Mary Liz Holberg who has a similarly shiny record! Oh save us ladies! Amend our state constitution to ban gay marriages! I'm begging you! Stop the terror that is behind all of the world's evil, stop the gays!

Moderate Left:

Constitutional Fun!

Constitutional amendments are the hip, happening thing right now. Republicans are currently proposing two to the Minnesota constitution: the "Taxpayers Bill of Rights" amendment and an anti-gay marriage amendment. (Both are being pushed by that paragon of right-wing, Sen. Michele Bachmann [R-Stillwater].)

Meanwhile, the GOP nationwide is also pushing their own anti-gay marriage amendment to the Constitution, one which may or may not strip gays of even the possibility of civil unions.

Now, I'm unsupportive of all of these amendments on their ideological merits. But even if they were reversed, I'd question the wisdom of enshrining contentious political issues in the Constitution.

For instance, take Bachmann's "Taxypayers Bill of Rights"--please. The amendment is designed to put a stranglehold on spending. The idea is that taxpayers need some sort of mechanism to prevent the government from overspending.

But taxpayers already have a mechanism to prevent the government from overspending. It's called the ballot box. Minnesotans have elected a Republican governor and a Republican House. Republicans control the state pursestrings. If Republicans can't hold the line on spending, I suggest they cede the "party of fiscal responsibility" label.

And what happens if the people change their mind, and want money spent freely? They'll elect Democrats. That's the way our system works.

The Constitution of the United States has worked well because it's an aggressively non-partisan document. The only contentious political issue enshrined in the document was the prohibition of alcohol--and that didn't exactly work out well. If the Republicans want to cut spending, by all means, do it. You're the party in power. But don't think that what you believe now is what will be always.

Wendy:

Raising concerns about the possibility of "judicial tyranny" after a Massachusetts court supported the legality of gay marriage, a group of Minnesota legislators is proposing a constitutional amendment ensuring that marriage in Minnesota would remain a union only between a man and a woman.

Voters would see the issue on the November 2004 ballot under a plan announced Thursday by Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, and Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville.

"If the people of Minnesota want to change the definition of marriage, then let them decide that question at the ballot box," Bachmann said. "This is the question of our day. Who will make this decision that could forever change our people? The people or, in Minnesota, four judges?"



Now, for starters, my money is on the fact that Sen. Bachmann and Rep. Holberg are in the closet lesbians who are trapped in shitty marriages and are secretly in love with each other. But I'm just guessing...

On a serious note, though, lawmakers in Minnesota push constitutional ban on gay marriage, but my question is this: WHY?

Is it hurting people? Is it causing some type of civil war? Is it violating something that will effect so many people that it could cause utter anarchy? No, it's not.

And because the answer to those questions happens to be no, I find it really hard to believe that a state's legislature would spend/waste any time at all trying to prove why this type of a law should or shouldn't be passed in any state, when I'm sure there are much more pressing things that need to be addressed.

How about we looking in to some sort of additional aid for the homeless people that file into jam packed buildings and churches every night just to have a spot to lay their head and a place their kids can sleep without worrying being bothered? How about we spend a little time and money trying to prevent the spead of life taking diseases? How about we put a little effort in getting kids off the street so they don't smoke weed and snort cocaine in the alley behind the grocery store while their momma's inside spending her government assistance on cigarettes and booze?

By candidates using it as a forum to sway votes one way or the other, it simply puts the entire equal rights agenda on a plateau that the Massachusetts court spoke out against: "It isn't up to government to decide moral questions of this sort. Its task is to treat people as people."

Its task isn't to treat gay people as gay people, and straight people as straight people - PEOPLE AS PEOPLE. Is that so hard?

Alice Through the Cyberglass

This gem is from the now defunct RaucousCaucus site. Ken Avidor - site administrator did not author this one.

Eva

Alice walked through the looking glass and entered a kingdom of "nice" people in a flat land. There was something about the flatness that seemed very curious.

A white rabbit told Alice to visit the royal court in the city with the dry spring. On her way, she came upon many odd characters with strange tales. Alice wondered what kind of city they had built.

Among the quickest of the nobles, there was Duke Matthew Thomas Reinback, who was a master of illusion. His friends called him "M.T." for short.

Alice asked the Duke why he would come and go so quickly.

He purred, "Hey, I'm building community for my subjects. I'm a progressive visionary. I'm the change guy."

"But I really wish you wouldn't disappear so quickly," replied Alice.

"All righty then," said the Duke. And this time he vanished quite slowly, beginning from his toes, and ending with a grin, which remained some time after the rest of him had gone.

Alice wandered on and came to a small doorway that was only a foot high. She took from her pocket the mushroom she had found at the "Dystopia for Lackeys" shop and set to work nibbling on it until she was about a foot high.

After going through the door, Alice walked down a little passage and found herself in a great room full of peasants all hunched over phosphorescent screens. Many of them were curiously flat and shallow, like playing cards. Some were ornamented with diamonds or clubs, while others had green hearts on their backs.

The white rabbit had followed Alice and now whispered to her, "This is the Great Hall of E-Bauer. You must be very careful not to upset the Queen. She's very temperamental, you know."

Alice whispered back, "Why is that so?"

The rabbit only replied, "Why does a leopard have spots?"

Alice stood quietly in the corner, doing her best to be inconspicuous. All of the cards seemed to be telling tales and criticizing one another. Some were brash, and some were timid; some were direct, and others were roundabout ­ or least as roundabout as a card can be.

At the head of the table sat the Queen, with a smug look and darting eyes. She repeatedly interrupted the various conversations with admonitions to be nice and to only speak about the affairs of her kingdom. But many of the guests were well-traveled, and they repeatedly tried to find ways to speak of the whole world.

Alice heard the Queen impatiently scolding one of the knaves. "You are not to speak of these things!"

"But your majesty ..."

"Enough! You've had your warning!"

After some time, Alice was amazed to see the smile of Duke M.T. again. There it was, lingering in the hot air above the room.

Others had noticed the smile too, and they made remarks about how silly it seemed. That prompted a new squabble among the various cards at the table.

"Decorum! Decorum!" admonished the Queen.

The din subsided, but Alice could see several cards still snickering and giggling over how dreadfully silly the floating grin looked in the rafters.

The Queen was not amused. "You're getting into some very dangerous territory here, Seven."

The white rabbit was whispering in Alice's ear again. "She has quite a fondness for the Duke, you know."

"But why?" responded Alice. "He's just a foolish toothy grin. He's no deeper than his cavities."

"Hush!" warned the rabbit. "You mustn't say that here!"

"Very well," whispered Alice, "I shall have to write it in my diary."

Just then, a page rushed in with the news that a plague of locusts had descended on a neighboring kingdom, destroying all of its crops and creating widespread panic. The room was instantly buzzing over the terrible tragedy.

"This is not an issue that concerns our kingdom!" barked the Queen.

"But your majesty," replied a spry peasant with many hearts, "there may be many poor souls coming to stay here."

The Queen turned crimson with fury. "We do not condone any discussion of the rulings! Off with his head!"

At that point, two executioners leapt out of the shadows and dragged the peasant from the room.

A joker protested, "That's not fair!"

The Queen snapped, "What makes you think you can challenge me?"

"Why is a raven like a writing desk?" replied the joker.

The Queen was not amused. "Off with his head!"

In the growing commotion, many other cards became oblivious to decorum. The four of clubs even wondered out loud whether the Duke's grin could help the peasants in the neighboring kingdom.

"Off with his head!" bellowed the Queen.

As the pandemonium grew, with cards and guards rushing to and fro, the Queen turned apoplectic and went stamping about the room, shouting, "Off with his head!" or "Off with her head!"

The white rabbit whispered to Alice, "We'd better leave."

Alice agreed, and they slipped down the hallway. In the distance, Alice could still hear the Queen.

"Off with their heads!"

Acknowledgement: The authors would like to thank Lewis Carroll (and other cowardly satirists who hide behind pseudonyms) for their inspiration.

Disclamer: Any similarities between the royalty in this story and actual satraps, grinning dukes or neighborhood playing cards, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

AFA Poll Results

I oppose legalization of homosexual marriage and "civil unions" 36.54%
(174603 votes)
I favor legalization of homosexual marriage 55.14%
(263441 votes)
I favor a "civil union" with the full benefits of marriage except for the name 8.32%
(39757 votes)

Who needs Crime Fiction: When you have Reality in River City

David Shove recently wrote an insightful piece to Minneapolis Issues on a fictional takeover of the Park Board. Unfortunately David Shove's piece on "owned legislators" is more than "just fiction". Yes, right here in
"River City". Unscrupulous businessmen do attempt to take over neighborhoods to loot their NRP dollars and access publicly held land. Mafia like people do try to bribe City Council Members to assist with such activities. They brag that they "OWN" public officials and "THEY" will provide the officials
"real retirement". The City Council and Mayor do turn a blind eye to such things and allow them to continue even after that person is under indictment by the Federal government. Somali immigrants come, and in their eagerness to become businesspeople and achieve the "American Dream", they become victimized by such unscrupulous people. Forced and coerced by the "Boss" to vote the way the Boss wants or they lose everything.

A City official asked Jim Graham last week why there was not a Somali Zone with Somali "OWNED" businesses and Somali owned buildings; such as the Asian owned businesses down Nicolett and in St. Paul or the Hispanic owned businesses down Lake Street. The answer was that because of their eagerness the Somali people were easily preyed upon. That as they attempted to start a business the City assisted "Boss" waited to rent them a small cubicle for several hundred dollars. Waited to drain the fruits of their handwork and economic vitality so effectively that the Boss became a multi-millionaire while the Somali people who are so eager would remain impoverished. Such a drain, and their adherence to their faiths proscription against interest, kept them from amassing the economic wherewithal to buy their own buildings.

Right here in River City (good old Minneapolis) our City Council passed as
a "consent item" the sale of an entire city block of land to a person under indictment for bribing a City Councilperson to access NRP funds and City owned land. The whole Metropolitan area watched this on the Ten O'clock News, Channel 4, Channel 5; Channel 11, and the others. The bribed City Council Member has served his time in prison, yet the briber continues to walk free. Not only walk free, but be allowed to buy whole City blocks by consent of the WHOLE City Council and then signed off on by the present Mayor. What "favors" must have occured for that blindness to occur? What favors indeed needed to be given to not even need discussion about such an injustice? I am sure the reason there was not discussion was by design.
So Members could later plead ignorance and "they just didn't realize what was happening".

So the victimization continues and the "racketeering" continues. It continues and indicates that yes indeed you can buy your justice, "Right here in River City".

That sale becomes final next week and that's not fiction. What should be
a TV fiction on early Alfonso Capone on the "Southside of Chicago" is indeed reality right here on the "Southside of River City".

Jim Graham,
Minneapolis

DNC Blog Covers Bush Support for Anti-Gay Amendment

"If this issue is going to be taken back - it's important to ask whether anti-gay "Defense of Marriage" type bills reduce the heterosexual divorce rate - that's the real threat to marriage."

The "Defense of Marriage" bill passed the house 342-67 and the senate 85-14. And yes, to be honest, I do consider a constitutional ammendment a far truer democratic process than a decision by appointed judges. The house and senate would not have passed these bills by such a wide margin unless their constituents contacted them.

It is a loosing issue to oppose this. Most Americans do not want a constitutional ammendment, because they don't want to face the issue. But if the courts thrust it on them, not only will they support it they will take out their anger on those that forced them to do so.

Posted by Joel Axenroth :: 12/18/03 05:16 PM
Joel said:

"The "Defense of Marriage" bill passed the house 342-67 and the senate 85-14. Most Americans do not want a constitutional ammendment, because they don't want to face the issue. But if the courts thrust it on them, not only will they support it they will take out their anger on those that forced them to do so."

Let's remember that every legislator (up for re-election), including Senator John Kerry, who voted against the DOMA was re-elected.

All nine of our candidates have taken a public position against this amendment, which as others point out, would immediately repeal hundreds of laws enacted by state legislatures to provide benefits to gay and lesbian Americans.

Conservatives want to reinstate the holiding of Bowers v. Hardwick so that anytime a GLBT plaintiff steps into a courtroom, this amendment can be used to deny rights to the plaintiff and/or repeal existing pro-gay laws.

Let's also remember that even if same-sex couples are permitted to marry in Mass next year, they will still not have the right to benefits governed by federal law (Social Security, pension, veteran's benefits, etc.).

Only a Democratic President will sign into law federal protections for GLBT families. While GLBT activists all across the country are working tirelessly to win our community the freedom to marry, we all need to work doubly hard to elect a Democratic President so that we can have rights at both the state and federal level.

Happy Holidays! Eric Stern DNC Director of GLBT Outreach

Posted by Eric Stern :: 12/19/03 10:15 AM

EY: I don't agree with Eric Stern's conclusion. Remember that DOMA was passed during the Clinton years.

Q and A

Recently I posted this on the Minneapolis Issues list:

At the same time, when I and others from the Republican City Committee and LCR have staffed a booth at Gay Pride - or at the Rainbow Families Conference - it's inevitable to get a few people coming up with the "how can you be a republican - that's like being a jew for Hitler" type nonsense.

Another list member responded privately:

Eva,

My gut reaction is to ask why it is nonsense? It strikes me as pretty on target.

====================================
Here's my answer - this column was originally published in Lavender Magazine in December 2002.

Will Shunning Gay Republicans Move the Ball Forward?
By Eva Young

"I guess if you're gay but you're also rich, and you like to pollute, and
you don't like black people, then you vote Republican. But it's not
rational to think that voting Republican is the best way to advance the gay
agenda."
--Barney Frank, quoted in Jake Tapper, "A Log Cabin Divided," Salon
(on-line), April 6, 2000

"I can't in good conscience urge the rest of us to do what part of me
really would like to do: slap them silly and throw them off the Washington
Avenue Bridge."
--Richard Osborne, "The Gay Agenda - Don't "Just Say No" to Republican Homosexuals - Say Nothing To Them At All," Lavender, November 29, 2002 (become a member of mn-logcabin yahoogroup to read this).

"Gay Republicans make as much sense as African American Klansmen"
--Pete Wagner, Editorial Cartoon, The Minnesota Daily, April 18, 2000

Items like the foregoing are rather typical of what many gay Republicans face from other members of the gay community.

What is ironic about these items is that we frequently are treated to lectures from the "progressive" left about the need for tolerance and inclusion. However, items like the ones cited above show that tolerance and inclusion is only for those who hold the standard orthodox left political views.

Osborne's column quotes antigay segments of the Minnesota Republican party
platform. He suggests that by being active in the Republican Party, gay Republicans are supporting these antigay elements in the party platform.

Osborne's solution is to shun gay Republicans socially in order to bring them in line with liberal orthodoxy. What I don't understand is how shunning gay Republicans is going to help the gay community as a whole in our struggle for equal treatment under the law.

The items at the beginning of this column demonstrate a complete ignorance of the work Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) is doing across the country - educating Republican candidates, elected officials, party leaders (at all levels), and gay and lesbian individuals about both sides of complicated, politically charged issues that face us all as Americans.

LCR does what no other gay and lesbian organization or individual is strong enough to do. It puts a human and personal face in front of Republican officials; it educates the "gay community" about Republicanism and our party's issues; and it boldly stands in the face of "politics as usual" to ensure that the two-party system works to guarantee equality for all Americans, specifically gay and lesbian Americans.

None of this is easy work. None of it is rewarded by members of either side.

In fact, in my experience, gay and lesbian Republicans get more punishment and grief from the far left in our own community than from the far right. But we are committed to stand in the face of those who ridicule us, in order to change the Republican Party and, in the process, build a better America.

Do the nutcases in the GOP still have too much influence in the party? I certainly would give an unqualified yes to that one.

I just heard from a friend who managed a campaign for a candidate in the western metro suburbs. My friend met with a GOP theocratic activist who is a major player there. Candidates in the area greatly fear this activist because she is known as a kingmaker--and breaker.

The activist asked my friend what church he attends. (He is Catholic, but doesn't attend church regularly). Then, she started going on in rather vivid detail about "gay bowel syndrome," and whatever else. My friend wasn't quite sure what this had to do with the campaign.

As gay and lesbian Americans, we should band together on those things we can agree on. We should take a stand on our issues and communicate it to
all elected officials in a unified voice.

We must recognize the validity of both parties in our legislative system. We need to know that our struggle only can advance when we work from within
each party to argue the validity of equality for our community.

In this past election, the Republican Party achieved significant victories in Minnesota, gaining seats in the Minnesota Legislature, as well as winning the gubernatorial and U.S. senatorial races.

Now that the election is over, as a community, we need to figure out how most effectively to deal with this situation. As a community, we should start reaching out to our Governor Tim Pawlenty and Senator Norm Coleman.

Certainly, significant challenges on gay issues exist within the Republican Party. A segment of the Republican "base" is motivated by antigay bigotry of the sort promoted by Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Allen Quist, Tom Prichard, and company.

However, the one way to change that sort of thing among politicians is to challenge and expose it when it occurs, and to make sure that antigay messages lose politicians more than they gain. It also means becoming active with volunteer and financial support for GOP politicians who support us.

Pawlenty heard quite a bit from antigay bigots when he voted in favor of the Minnesota Human Rights Act GLBT Amendment in 1993. I always have wondered how many people wrote Pawlenty to thank him for his vote.

Gay activism in the Democratic Party isn't going to do anything to counteract the excessive influence antigay theocrats have in the Republican Party. And shunning gay Republicans isn't going to help in this regard, either.

The only way to counteract the antigay element in the GOP is by being active in the party, and by working with other people in the Republican Party who want to bring it back to its historic roots as the party of Lincoln.