The Coming Storm in Massachusetts
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 01:39:41 AM EST
Even as gay and lesbian civil rights have dramatically progressed in the past few decades, there is no question that the religious right has mounted an organized and often, hate-infused backlash movement. The particular wedge issue for the religious right these days, is marriage equality.

Marriage equality promises to be one of the central issues of our time. I live in Massachusetts, where an antimarriage equality amendment will probably be on the ballot in 2008.  

It will change political life in my state forever.

As has been widely reported, antimarriage equality amendments to state constitutions have been passed by voters in a number of states, primarily via ballot initiatives, and these initiatives have been used to rally voters to the polls, primarily for the benefit of conservative Republicans.

Massachusetts is the only state where there is full marriage equality, thanks to a ruling of the Supreme Judicial Court.

The religious right, led by the Massachusetts Family Institute,(MFI) along with the Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts, have succceeded in getting the signatures they need to get on the ballot for 2008. The initiative still needs to get 50 votes in two successive sessions of the state legislature to make the ballot. Since this seems likely, it is reasonable to assume that this initiative will be on the ballot.

In my recent speech at Blog Left Massachussetts, I stresed that it is is necessary for Massachusetts citizens to get ready. I promised that Talk to Action would help track the activities of the religious right as it bears down on our state. Fortunately blogger Marry in Massachusetts was on hand to write down my remarks:

He concluded his presentation with a major theme on same-sex marriage. He said that the current struggle with change the face of politics in Massachusetts forever.

"Massachusetts is ground zero," he said. He predicted that a tremendous amount of resources, financial and human, will pour into the commonwealth for this effort.

Bloggers will have a special responsibility, he added. This includes:

Being aware of who's coming.
Learn why they're coming.
Keep track of what they do here.
Help the media and political leaders understand what they are doing.
There are only two years to do this. Bloggers can make a huge difference.

As part of this effort, I want to call attention to one of my previous posts at Talk to Action, detailing the way that the MFI is part of a national network of state level political groups which serve as fronts for James Dobson's Focus on the Family.

Several years ago, I wrote a study about state level conservative think tanks and advocacy groups, published by Political Research Associates (pdf file). There were two, related networks started in tandem in the late 1980s. One emphasized the business/libertarian part of public policy, and the other emphasized the policy issues dear to the religious right. The latter, was the network of Family Policy Councils affiliated with James Dobson's Focus on the Family. The details have changed since I published that study, but the general trajectory remains the same. Most importantly, these groups are at the forefront of antimarriage equality campaigns nationwide, and their role as fronts for Focus on the Family are not widely understood and that Dobson's organization has active, organizational tentacle in 34 states, in addition to his radio program which is available just about everywhere.

For example, the point group in the recently defeated effort to repeal anti-discrimination laws in Maine, was the FOF affiliate, the Christian Civic League of Maine.

There will, no doubt, be many religious right organizations that will be targeting resources on Massachusetts. But when we look at the role of the Massachusetts Family Institute, it is important to noltice the long shadow of James Dobson and Focus on the Family.

I will be writing more about all this over time, as will my Talk to Action co-founder Bruce Wilson, who also lives in Massachusetts.  We are in it for the long haul.




Display:
I am a 73 year old widower and former pastor.  When we pledge the flag, we say "... with liberty and justice for ALL."  I ask any Christian, "what part of 'ALL' don't you understand?"  I believe that gays should have all the civil rights that other citizens enjoy, but I believe it to be a doomed political strategy to insist on using the  term "marriage" to apply to their domestic partnerships.  It has always been, and will always be a hetero term.  Why do gays want to imitate heteros anyway?  If gays are a special culture, why not develop their own unique nomenclature to describe their partnerships?
Then heteros could stand down, and gays could move on ... possibly!    ... Kyle


by Kyle on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:43:56 AM EST
A wise person recently noted in response to a concern not unlike yours, that civil rights struggles are never convenient.

While I appreciate you taking the time to offer your perspective, the matter of whether marriage equality is a good thing is off topic, as we sought to make clear in the site guidelines. We believe that equality in this matter should be a settled matter of civil, human and constitutional rights.

There has been lots written about this subject, especially about what has happened here in Massachusetts. I suggest you read up on the subject. Your questions are easily answered. It is not a matter of terminology. It is a matter of equal rights under the law as determined by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

No matter what any of us thinks, the terms of debate have already been established and this is an issue that is here to stay.

The only question before us now, is given these circumstances, how shall we proceed?

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:23:06 AM EST
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Arguments which suggest that gays adopt some other term for legal union other than "marriage" come freighted with an implicit claim - that Christianity invented the institution of marriage.

Christianity did not invent marriage - which as an institution seems to go far enough back in time to be completely untraceable. It vanishes in the mists of prehistory. The institution of marriage seems to predate written history and  is ubiquitious enough such that no culture or tradition can lay claim its creation.

But conventions as to what marriage is and entails have varied wildly even through American history.

Larry R. Peterson, PhD., provides a bit of perspective on this:

"Marriage was strictly a civil and not an ecclesiastical ceremony for the Puritans in Massachusetts Bay until 1686.

The Pilgrims outlawed courtship of a daughter or a female servant unless consent was first obtained from parents or master.

Until 1662, there was no penalty for interracial marriages in any of the British colonies in North America.  In 1662, Virginia doubled the fine for fornication between interracial couples.  In 1664, Maryland became the first colony to ban interracial marriages.  By 1750, all southern colonies, plus Massachusetts and Pennsylvania outlawed interracial marriages.

Under English common law, and in all American colonies and states until the middle of the 19th century, married women had no legal standing. They could not own property, sign contracts, or legally control any wages they might earn.

In 1848, New York became the first state to pass a Married Woman's Property Act, guaranteeing the right of married women to own property.

Throughout most of the 19th century, the minimum age of consent for sexual intercourse in most American states was 10 years. In Delaware it was only 7 years.

As late as 1930, twelve states allowed boys as young as 14 and girls as young as 12 to marry (with parental consent).

As late as 1940, married women were not allowed to make a legal contract in twelve states.......

In 1978, New York became the first state to outlaw rape in marriage.  By 1990, only a total of ten states outlawed rape in marriage.  In thirty-six states rape in marriage was a crime only in certain circumstances. In four states, rape in marriage was never a crime.

These examples, and there are more, clearly document that marriage has not been an unchanging institution with unchanging definitions of who can marry and under what circumstances. Those who claim otherwise distort the historical record." [ emphasis mine ]



by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 08:04:46 AM EST
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Nothing that I wrote even suggests "that Christianity invented the institution of marriage."
That would be absurd.  A more careful reading will show that I identify "marriage" with heterosexuals.  That is a radical difference.

by Kyle on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 11:04:49 AM EST
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For example - to quote Larry Peterson ( cited below ) :
"From the 5th to the 14th centuries, the Roman Catholic Church conducted special ceremonies to bless same-sex unions which were almost identical for those to bless heterosexual unions.  At the very least, these were spiritual, if not sexual, unions."


by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 08:09:23 AM EST
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I'm fascinated by the kind of social history research that Bruce Wilson cites, and I look forward to reading more about Dr. Larry Peterson's work on this area. In particular, I have an interest in the social history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 17th Century. This kind of research, especially when it refers to primary source documents, can be very useful in reclaiming citizenship, history, and faith. We need more of this.

On the other hand, on a political level, the debate will not be won "down in the weeds" by engaging in scholarly discourse on the meaning and relevance of arcane historical documents. (Again, I do not wish to take away from the absolute importance of doing this kind of research; I'm just saying that by itself, it will not persuade most voters.)


Rather, this is a matter of message-framing, organizing, and coalition-building. Message framing: defining the terms of the debate, and positioning your viewpoint in a way that most people can hear it, understand it, and agree with it. Message framing is about appealing to values that all Americans hold dear. For example, this debate could be framed as one about justice and the rule of law.

I could imagine a press conference outside the state Supreme Court, framing the message something like this: "We have a passion for justice; we respect for the rule of law. This debate is not about protecting marriage -- marriage is not under attack. In fact, we're all agreed that marriage is a good thing, and that no one should be denied the fundamental right to marry the person whom they love. No, this is a debate about people who believe in justice, and the rule of law, and those who, on the other hand, seek to impose their interpretation of the Bible on the American justice system. They believe the bang of their Bible should be heard louder than the bang of the gavel. But the American justice system is here to protect all of us, because we want to make the world a safer place for our children and families, an equal community without favoritism or discrimination. That's a message we can all agree on."


by jhutson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 10:04:59 AM EST
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Until, and unless, a bonafide ecclesiastical source is provided for the notion that the Roman Church blessed same-sex marriages, I consider it an argument by assertion.  I am a friend of gays so I have no intention of continuing to be "off topic."  -fin-

by Kyle on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 11:31:27 AM EST
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Is exactly why the matter of the validity of same sex marriage is off topic. Rather than a focus on the gathering political attack on MA, we are off in arcane areas of history and definitions.

Kyle was very clear in what he said. He argues that marriage is a hetero intstitution and that it is a bad idea for GLBT people to seek the same institution, when equivalent civil unions might be available. This is a widely held view. Recent legislation in Connecticut seeks to try that.

Here in Massachusetts, marriage is the only issue. The court has rejected altnerative arrangments as creation of a second and inferior class of marriage, that is an evasion of the equality standards of the state constitution. There will probably be a ballot initiative to amend the constitution to say that marriage is to be defined as strictly hetero.

That is the battle we have. In other states, where there no real efforts to advance the idea of marriage equality, the religious right demagogued the issue into divisive ballot intitiatives.

It was smart, if nasty politics.

I say let's beat them back in Massachusetts.

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 02:11:20 PM EST
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I agree. Let's beat them back in Massachusetts.

To do that, we need to frame an effective message, and organize ourselves and build coalitions around that central message.

One effective message would be to frame the debate as being not about marriage -- because we're all agreed that marriage is good. This debate is instead about justice and the rule of law. Because we believe in justice, we believe that the state Supreme Court should interpret the state constitution. And the law should be applied in a fair manner, to protect everyone's rights. Marriage is not under attack; but the rule of law is under attack. We support the rule of law; we believe that the state constitution should govern here, not someone's opinion about the Bible. And because we believe in justice, we believe the state supreme court should interpret the state constitution, and that sectarian religious opinions from self-appointed religious leaders like James Dobson or Pat Robertson should not trump how state courts interpret the law.

What do Massachusetts citizens stand to gain if they sign a petition calling for referendum on banning same-sex marriage? Nothing. Marriage is already protected in Massachusetts. Neither the government nor any self-appointed prophet can tell you not to marry the person you love.

What do Massachusetts citizens stand to lose if they sign a petition calling for a referendum on banning same-sex marriage? What we stand to lose is this: justice. Justice that protects all of our children, and all of our families. Justice that lets married people visit each other in the hospital when they're sick. Justice that lets people transfer property to their family members when they die. Justice that lets children grow up in loving families, with parents who are committed to each other and to the raising of children. Justice that recognizes nothing is more important, and fundamental, and worth preserving, than the right to marry the person whom you love. If freedom means anything, it means the right to marry the person whom you love.

Marriage is not being attacked in Massachusetts; the right to marry the person whom you love is being honored. The right to raise children in loving families is being honored. More people want to join in this tradition, with its rights and responsibilities, without taking away anyone else's right to get married, too. What is being attacked is justice, and the rule of law, and it's being attacked by people who want to substitute their private religious views for the wisdom and judgment of the state supreme court, and who want to impose their opinions on everyone else.

Theovanna has contributed a diary about the importance of speaking to values. Justice is a value, a moral value, on which all citizens of Massachusetts can agree. Because we have a passion for justice, we support your freedom to marry the person whom you love, and we honor the freedom of all families to raise children in hope and love.

by jhutson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:09:06 PM EST
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And also that historical points about the institution of marriage aren't relevant to the looming battle over gay marriage in Massachusetts.

What I think is necessary to the fight, though, is a focused effort to pop the overheated, puffed up,  hot air case the Christian right has ceaselessly made recently on the alleged harm that gay marriage is supposed to cause. Although the case has never been honestly made, relentless allegations to that effect have created an association in the minds of segments of the public that there is proof gay marriage has sort of negative impact on society and families.

A one-two punch seems in order to me : 1) gay marriage causes no harm 2) the issue isn't gay marriage in the first place.

The Christian right argument is based in fear - I think that fear has to be allayed before the issue can be productively re-framed.

Also - I mentioned this on Michelle Goldberg's thread - I wonder about a concerted "false witness" campaign against Wildmon, Dobson, and others who allege a "gay conspiracy" that sounds extremely similar to the "The Protocols of The Elders of Zion" conspiracy canard with "the gays" substituted for "the Jews".

It seems to me that the honest elements of American Christendom have a responsibility to publicly condemn such hate speech and call out lies.... and that they are complicit to the extent they fail to do that.  

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:31:26 PM EST
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The idea of framing this as bearing false witness sounds powerful and valid to me.

However if were to be publicly taken forward,it ought to be argued by those who credibly speak from the Christian tradition.

Nothing rings hollower in these discussions than arguments by non-Christians about what Christians should or should not be doing if they were "real" Christians.

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:40:25 PM EST
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that's why I mentioned those "honest elements of American Christendom"......

Indeed, there are quite a few honest Christians on this site.

I certainly agree - to sound authentic such accusations come best from within the Christian faith.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 04:02:40 PM EST
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I agree with Bruce Wilson's comment that people's fears need to be recognized and allayed. Throwing logical arguments and data points simply won't convince people whose fear of survival has been triggered. And theocratic arguments about "defending the family" do trigger people's subconscious fears for the safety of their children. Throwing corrective data points does not allay people's subconscious fears, and preaching at people to behave or think differently based on intellectual arguments alone is not an effective way to persuade people.

The most effective way to trump such a fear-based argument is to frame a message in a way that takes that fear head-on, and gives a higher, competing value. An argument "for justice" could be effective in this debate, because people associate the concept of justice with equality, stability, predictability, and rule of law -- necessary conditions for children and families to live in a safe world. Without justice, evil is out of control. With justice, we can build a safer world for children and families.

It's also important to frame messages in a postive way, not in a negative way. For example, let's consider your suggested sermon topic: "A one-two punch seems in order to me : 1) gay marriage causes no harm 2) the issue isn't gay marriage in the first place."


Would that same approach work if you were trying to persuade someone to drink cheap tap water instead of expensive bottled water? Would you open your radio ad by saying, "First of all, folks, that water in your kitchen sink is not as polluted as many people claim; it causes no real harm. Oh, they'll tell you that it's toxic, but here, let me give you some data points. And second, water pollution isn't really the issue here..."

I think not. I think that, to be persuasive, you'd open with something like: "Of course you care about safe drinking water for your children and family. We share your concern; nothing's more important to us than the well-being of your family. That's why we want you to know that our tap water has actually won awards for being the cleanest in the universe, and it's free! Oh, you could pay more by buying one of those pricey bottled waters from out-of-state. But choosey mothers choose tap water, because it's best for children and families."

by jhutson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 04:06:38 PM EST
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I don't find that sort of marketing perspective intuitive ( yet, anyway ) so thanks.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 04:39:26 PM EST
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I have argued from the beginning that framing the issue is important to success.  That is exactly why I would avoid the word "marriage" because it is an emotionally loaded term among heterosexuals which implies one man and one woman.

It would be nice to think that framing the debate in terms of "justice" for gays will prevail, but given the penchant of religious fundamentalists to willfully select what they refuse to hear, and to willfully craft their debate in hyperbole and distortion, I suspect that they have no interest in "justice" as the rest of us understand it.  ... Kyle R. Simplot

by Kyle on Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 01:53:29 AM EST
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I was derailed. My points  - concerning the facts that 1) Christianity didn't invent marriage and 2) the institution of marriage has changed quite substantially through US history - aren't relevant to this thread though they might be of some use in other, later fights on the gay marriage issue which might occur elsewhere.

But here in Massachusetts we have gay marriage - and given that we've had it for about two years one would think that some sort of negative consequences would have occured had the claims of Dobson, Wildmon, et al had some merit.

In fact, the much heralded end of the world, the family, Western Civilization, and so on ( probably including all other conceivable evils including the destruction of the kitchen sink ) has not happened. The apocalyptic event that the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts was alleged to be has come and gone and proved to be a bit of a yawn.

The sun still rises. Massachusetts families are doing just as well as before. Western Civilization is intact.

But, outside forces - "Focus on The Family" , The "American Family Association" , and others - are nonetheless gathering to whip up trouble in Mass. over the non-issue of gay marriage.

Beware of busybodies.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 03:09:29 PM EST
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We here in California will face the "marriage storm" sometime in 2006, in fact, we may face TWO storms, one in the June primary election and one in the November general election. Wisconsin looks as though it is going to have a real Northern in 2008 as a proposed constitutional amendment makes its way through the legislature.

It is interesting that the RRR has conceded the issues of discrimination in jobs and housing. My Baptist Bible College schoolmate, Jerry Falwell, was recently quoted saying as much and James Dobson may be coming around as he was talking about Hazel Meirs nomination to the Supreme Court and her affirmation to the Dallas Gay Political Caucus that gays should not be discriminated against, said:

"You know what? I do," Dobson said, affirming her response. "I don't believe that homosexuals should be denied a job. I don't believe that they should not be able to buy a house. I don't believe that they should not have the same rights everybody else does. I just don't believe that there should be special rights given to homosexuals that are not given to everybody else." (Focus on the Family Email Newsletter - Citizenlink - 10 October 2005) (emphasis mine)

The RRR will eventually have to concede the marriage issue as the courts rightly interpret the Federal and state laws our Congress and legislatures have passed that say the government may not discriminate against its citizens in the matter of marriage.

We stand fast and face them down.

Jonathan Hutson has made some very good marketing ideas which, to me, sound a lot better than the "fairness" strategy the glbt community has used in losing 22 elections in the last few years.

by JerrySloan on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 07:53:39 PM EST

This is a group project here : we're working to accelerate the left's learning curve on a number of issues, and you've already pioneered one of those lessons : stand your ground ! In the battle against the theocratic Christian right, capitulations almost always are lost ground.

So, the "marriage storm" will hit CA next....

Anyway - "My Baptist Bible College schoolmate, Jerry Falwell".....  It's so nice to bring these things down to a human level.    

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 08:05:02 PM EST
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I had been planning to respond to a prior post but since the discussion seems to have moved, I'll add to this thread. Since there seems to be a consensus that it's desirable to address same-sex marriage issues as long as we focus on understanding the sources of religious right attitudes and providing information/strategies for responding, I'd like to add to the discussion and perhaps provide some useful information. I think it's also important to look at successful religious right strategies and what drives them if we are to understand who and what we're framing for. As a battle-scarred veteran of the culture wars in OH, I wish you luck and good skill in MA, Frederick - and yes, we do have a FoF affiliate here as well as other strong theocratic groups.

One of the religious right's successful PR strategies has been to assemble a stable of professionals with impressive-sounding degrees (MD, PhD, etc.) who seem to speak knowledgeably on a range of issues of concern to them - such as ID and SSM. Since it's very difficult for casual observers to evaluate the credibility of their credentials, experience, or information, the naive tend to be impressed and frequently quote them to buttress extreme claims. In reality, these "professionals" are regarded as charlatans and political hacks within their professional communities. Not only are their opinions not mainstream; they frequently "cherry-pick" and distort reasonable studies and site fraudulent or "junk science" data in support of their views.

One such individual is Warren Throckmorton, a PA psychologist, who has waged an aggressive campaign against gays and gay marriage and in support of reparative therapy. In 2003, he was recruited by the theocratic right in Ohio to testify in support of a defense of marriage bill then moving through the House. Members of the state psychological association were concerned lest legislators vote on the basis of disinformation and offered to testify about current mainstream professional views and the peer-reviewed research on which they're based. Although the DOMA bill passed in spite of their efforts, I thought it might be helpful to link to Drs. Jensen and Fradkin's testimony (both 12/3/03 under 125th General Assembly) since it is a reasonable reflection of current professional thinking and, in addition to rebutting Dr. Throgmorton's claims, it presents research that's may be helpful in countering religious right claims. However, as noted up-thread, "just the facts" aren't always persuasive.

In regard to the seemingly successful claim that SSM will destroy straight marriage, it's a bit of a sticky wicket: first, because religious right claims are vague and second, there's been no research on the effects of SSM since it's hardly existed here. However, that hasn't prevented conservatives from going across the pond to find data to support their views. The most "coherent-sounding" argument I've seen in regard to the evil consequences of SSM comes from the political right (and may be used by the religious right to support their claims). Kurtz's Weekly Standard article uses (or misuses) data on gay marriage and registered partnerships in Europe to construct a case that SSM will basically destroy civilization as we know it. Amusingly, the rebuttal in this case comes from the Log Cabin Republicans who link to an important study (pdf) with which you may be familiar by Badgett, an econ professor at U Mass Amherst, that examines the European data and ably challenges Kurtz's conclusions. Recommend reading all these links for the details if you haven't already done so. It should be pointed out that many of Kurtz's claims are based on the common misperception that correlation equals cause and effect.

The Weekly Standard article is also notable for revealing some of the thinking behind the agenda and ways in which religious and political right goals may complement each other. In an aside on general cultural mores and marriage, Kurtz notes that:

 

In Sweden, as elsewhere, the sixties brought contraception, abortion, and growing individualism. Sex was separated from procreation, reducing the need for "shotgun weddings." These changes, along with the movement of women into the workforce, enabled and encouraged people to marry at later ages. With married couples putting off parenthood, early divorce had fewer consequences for children. That weakened the taboo against divorce. Since young couples were putting off children, the next step was to dispense with marriage and cohabit until children were desired. Americans have lived through this transformation. The Swedes have simply drawn the final conclusion: If we've come so far without marriage, why marry at all? Our love is what matters, not a piece of paper. Why should children change that?

Two things prompted the Swedes to take this extra step--the welfare state and cultural attitudes. No Western economy has a higher percentage of public employees, public expenditures--or higher tax rates--than Sweden. The massive Swedish welfare state has largely displaced the family as provider. By guaranteeing jobs and income to every citizen (even children), the welfare state renders each individual independent. It's easier to divorce your spouse when the state will support you instead.
----------------
There are also cultural-ideological causes of Swedish family decline. Even more than in the United States, radical feminist and socialist ideas pervade the universities and the media. Many Scandinavian social scientists see marriage as a barrier to full equality between the sexes, and would not be sorry to see marriage replaced by unmarried cohabitation. A related cultural-ideological agent of marital decline is secularism. Sweden is probably the most secular country in the world. Secular social scientists (most of them quite radical) have largely replaced clerics as arbiters of public morality. Swedes themselves link the decline of marriage to secularism. And many studies confirm that, throughout the West, religiosity is associated with institutionally strong marriage, while heightened secularism is correlated with a weakening of marriage.

Hmm...not all about sex and the bible, is it? Welfare state, big government, higher taxes - maybe some economic concerns there.  And then there's feminism, gender equality, those uppity, independent women who can walk out - egads, how will male dominionism survive? And what if the US follows Europe's march toward secularism - social scientists deciding what's moral instead of clergy? People might begin to think for themselves. And who would support the mega-churches, the "prosperity gospel" clergy, and the "Christian" empires? Better not let that secular ball roll any further downhill with gay marriage. Keep the women barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. And keep everyone in church where they can be told what to think and who to vote for.

Just trying to be realistic, not discouraging, but in thinking about strategies, we'll have to do more than frame. The justice frame makes a  lot of sense to me but how will it play to people who don't give a damn about justice, or any of those evil "secular values." It seems that to be successful we'll have to be aware of some of the self-centered and dysfunctional thinking that underlies their agenda and be able to alleviate the fears of those who feel that the world is spinning out of control and leaving them behind. They would prefer to leave us behind.

by Psyche on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 12:06:34 AM EST

Sorry - it seems to be broken. This is the link.
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/660zypwj.asp?pg=1

by Psyche on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 12:46:21 AM EST
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I may just be in touch with badget.

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 02:30:50 PM EST
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COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)

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