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The truth: These kids don't want to cease fire!

by Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images  Good As You Images  Good As You Images  Good As You Images  Good As You Images  Good As You Images  Good As You Images  Good As You Images  Cc Images Serve 0,,1461188,00-1-3The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins (or a ghost writer) has posted the following in his "Washington Update" section. Read it and then we'll get back to you:

No Surrender

Discussions of the "culture wars" in America remind me of the Cold War. Some people were willing to end it by surrendering much of the world to communist domination. Ronald Reagan's approach was simpler: "We win, they lose." Similarly, some people want to bring the "culture wars" to an end by quitting the fight for core moral principles. A new report released this week by the "progressive" organization Third Way seeks to identify "shared cultural values between progressives and evangelicals." It says that homosexuals deserve the same "public benefits" (i.e., marriage or civil unions) as others. It also suggests uniting around the goal of reducing abortion by distributing contraception -- even though abortion has skyrocketed in the years since the introduction of the birth control pill. If this is "common ground," we'd prefer to stand our own ground in defense of the natural definition of marriage and family and the unalienable right to life of every unborn child. However, we do take comfort in the fact that the "culture wars" are not shooting wars, and that civil dialogue is possible. That's why our Washington Briefing next week will feature a debate on the differences between conservative and "progressive" evangelicals featuring Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners.

We respond:

You F***ing Militarized It!

Discussions of the "culture wars" in America remind us of the insane strategy the social conservatives concocted to keep certain "issues" debatable in this modern day. Some people are willing to realize that life is complex and that we can have reasoned discussions on socio-political issues without using words like "war" to describe them. But the "pro-family" movement's approach is simplistic: "We make it seem as if the other side is militant and we must literally fight them, and the American public is taught they must pick one side and arm themselves with certain talking points." Whereas most rational, intelligent, free-thinking people have been wanting to bring the "culture wars" to an end since the early 90's (when Pat Buchanan popularized the term), the social conservatives have desperately held on to the uber-polarized, us vs. them, aggressively myopic assessment.

new report released this week by the progressive (no quotation marks) organization Third Way seeks to identify "shared cultural values between progressives and evangelicals." In terms of gays and lesbians, the report says:

"•Affirming the human dignity of gay and lesbian people. One of the most difficult cleavages between Evangelicals and progressives is attitudes about public policies that relate to gay and lesbian people. We propose a three-part statement unequivocally affirming the human dignity of gay and lesbian people, which is designed to create a foundation for discussions of these issues. Importantly, we also affirm that no legislation to protect the human dignity of gay and lesbian people should or need abridge the religious liberty of religious communities. "

In terms of abortion, the report says:

"• Reducing the need for abortion. Evangelicals and progressives can find common ground on the goal of reducing the need for abortion in America. We propose a concrete set of policies, “The Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act,” which seeks both to prevent unintended pregnancies and to support pregnant women who wish to carry their pregnancies to term."

Now, first off, we absolutely hate when the social conservatives connect these issues in a way that makes it seem that a pro-gay person must have one specific view on abortion, while an anti-gay person has a contrasting opinion. Again, life and people are complex, and the "culture war" strategy of linking these two issues is meant to more fully polarize. But that all being said, you only need to look at the way Tony Perkins (or ghost writer) presented the two issues to see just how unwilling he and his team are to come to any sort of compromise on either. In terms of gays, Third Way is asking for an agreement that gays and lesbians deserve human dignity, and that religious people like Perkins will never have their freedoms abridged in the name of gay rights. But instead of agreeing that gays do in fact deserve human dignity and thanking Third Way fro recognizing that religious freedoms should be respected (something progressives tend to always support), Tony just makes it sound as if Third Way is push for nothing other than gay marriage (which he labels as a benefit rather than a right). And in terms of abortion, Tony takes what is a full and complex statement from Third Way, and boils it down to a short-sighted and dangerously inaccurate attack on contraception. And he of course uses both strategies on both issues because narrow assessments of intricate topics are the grenades of their "culture war" army!

Tony (or ghost writer) closes out his lil' piece by giving thanks that this culture war is dialogue driven, not literally militarized. However, this overlooks a few things. First and foremost, the ideological outlooks that have been fueled by their battles in this "war" have ABSOLUTELY led to casualties! Abortion clinics have been bombed. Gays have been attacked. Non-encouragement of condoms had led to unnecessary disease for many. So yes, while we too are VERY THANKFUL that their side, typically the more gun-supportive of the two, has not, by and large, fired literal bullets. However, their war-like battle cries have certainly led to wounds!

Lastly, Tony (or ghost writer) PRs his upcoming
"Washington Briefing" event as if it is a rational place for reasoned debate. Yet historically, this event has been an all-out attack on gays and liberals, with a complete absence of speakers on site to present any viewpoint other than the "pro-family, pro-marriage, pro-life" army! The fact that Tony cites this as if it is some sort of counterpoint to Third Way's call for a less-polarized war further exemplifies just how fully these kids DO NOT GET IT! To them, it seems that reasoned debate is whether to treat the LGBT community like its 1952 or to treat the LGBT community like its 1954.

Tony Perkins (and, likely, his ghost writer) does not want to see the "culture war" idea come to an end. In terms of gay issues, the only reason why there is even still a "battle" is because they are fighting against the "radical" notion that the LGBT community is worthy of respect and equality. And they have created the illusion that this is a two-sided skirmish in which both sides have equal merits and justifications for war. In reality, however, it is a situation in which one side is rightfully demanding what they should already be guaranteed, while the other is misguidedly placing barricades around the brass ring of fairness. They have no reason for "war" other than the fact that they do not wish to see gay people treated decently!

But then again, their army is the one most readily credited for giving Bush a second term. So It would seem that "justifications for war" would not be something that steers their actions!

No Surrender (2nd Item) [FRC]

***For more on Third Way's "Come Let Us Reason Together" project: Go here

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Your thoughts

My understanding, from some very reliable sources, is that the whole anti-gay/"ex-gay" industry has seen a MAJOR downturn in support and funding.

They are having to resort more and more to free internet propaganda and less and less on costly seminars, workshops and public appearances.

Of course that is just causing them to become more shrill and more over the top in their desperation. It's the last desperate gasps of a dying movement. Thing Mississippi/Alabama in the 1960's. The more people realize their once powerful movement is falling apart, the more violent and hateful the few remaining die hard extemist will become.

We can expect some serious vein popping from the likes of LaBarbara, Perkins, Dobson, Hutcherson, Wildmon and Sheldon as their sheep stop sending in checks and the flock begins to disperse.

It can't come soon enough for me.

Posted by: Zeke | Oct 15, 2007 8:42:05 PM

Agreed on all points, Zeke. And we will continue to challenge them until we reach that day (and even after). No matter how extreme they get, they can't win against the tools on our side: truth, reason, science, research, and creativity.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 15, 2007 9:25:23 PM

I thought you might want to hear from a gal who's conservative Republican and Christian, but social libertarian that you are 100% on point.

I think the whole anti-gay issue is a mute point with most Americans. Even the straightest, bible thumping Christian has someone in their lives who is gay, so easy to be bigoted anymore. I'm fine with marriage being amended to be "two adults." Straight marriage isn't what it used be after the last 30-40 years of free for all divorce anyway.

As for the linking of gay marriage and abortion politically, that's about the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Gay relationships are not adding to the numbers of abortions, now are they?

My feeling is that the conservative camp must abandon the failed concept of "abstanance only" sex edu before we can begin to have serious discussions about making all pregnancies wanted pregnancies. We know from scientific data that kids who attend such programs do not abstain til marriage and then are much less likely to use condoms and birth control. What works is honest, open discussion of sex and science, best done by loving parents.

I would rather abortions never happen, but shutter at the idea of the law coming between a woman and her doctor. Early term especially is something that I do not feel should be legislated. A culture of it's okay to be smart and safe is more what I feel could nearly end abortion.

May someday the fanatic on both left and right be silenced by the rest of us who can agree to meet in the middle, and butt out of other people's lives.

Posted by: Tina Kubala | Oct 15, 2007 10:34:10 PM

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