Monthly Archives: November 2008

NYT pieces on Prop 8: The black vote and yes to probing the Mormon cult

The New York Times has two op-ed pieces on Proposition 8 this weekend; it’s interesting how California’s Prop 8 (the hateful, anti-American and anti-Californian ballot proposition that wrote homo-hatred into the state’s constitution with 52 percent of the vote) has become a national issue.

Times columnist Charles Blow (no guffaws), who is black, argues that blacks didn’t push the passage of Prop 8 over the edge, and he’s probably right; although about 70 percent of California’s blacks voted yes on hate — er, on 8 — blacks comprise only about 7 percent of the state’s population, which doesn’t make them a huge political force in the state.

It’s pretty much a no duh, but Blow attributes blacks’ homo-hatred to their church attendance. He writes:

[The] high rate of church attendance by blacks informs a very conservative moral view. While blacks vote overwhelmingly Democratic, an analysis of three years of national data from Gallup polls reveals that their views on moral issues are virtually indistinguishable from those of Republicans. Let’s just call them Afropublicrats.

Yup. Black “Christian” churches are strikingly similar to white “Christian” churches. Fundamentalism is fundamentally fucked, whether it’s black or white.

Blow writes that more black women than black men vote, so “gay marriage advocates need to hone their strategy to reach them [black women].”

There’s that fucking gays-must-supplicate-blacks “argument” again, it seems. And, strictly practically politically speaking, it makes little sense for Blow first to argue that blacks didn’t put Prop 8 over the top and then to argue that gay men and lesbians need to start kissing black ass.

Still, it’s a social issue that we need to continue to talk about, that so many blacks are just as ignorant, fearful, hateful and bigoted as are so many whites. And just as I won’t be kissing any bigoted white ass any century soon, I won’t be kissing any bigoted black ass any century soon, fuck you very much.

Blow does make one suggestion that might have some effectiveness: remind black women that making homosexuality so fucking taboo only encourages black men to lie about their homosexuality, which can backfire on black women. Blow writes:

…Show black women that it backfires. The stigma doesn’t erase the behavior, it pushes it into the shadows where, devoid of information and acceptance, it become more risky….

So many black men hide their sexual orientations and engage in risky behavior. This has resulted in large part in black women’s becoming the fastest-growing group of people with HIV. In a 2003 study of HIV-infected people, 34 percent of infected black men said they had sex with both men and women, while only 6 percent of infected black women thought their partners were bisexual. Tragic. (In contrast, only 13 percent of the white men in the study said they had sex with both men and women, while 14 percent of the white women said that they knew their partners were bisexual.)

So pitch it as a health issue. The more open blacks are to the idea of homosexuality, the more likely black men would be to discuss their sexual orientations and sexual histories. The more open they are, the less likely black women would be to put themselves at risk unwittingly.

And, the more open blacks are to homosexuality over all, the more open they are likely to be to gay marriage. This way, everyone wins.

I don’t think it would be all that simple and easy, like the ending of a Disney movie in which everyone lives happily ever after, but demonstrating to black women that voting for homophobia actually harms them when their male partners, in an atmosphere of homophobia, lie to them about their sexual orientation and sexual history, might be somewhat effective. This isn’t ass kissing — it’s demonstrating to people who aren’t very insightful that they actually vote against their own best interests when they vote for homophobia.

Unfortunately, although it can be like pulling teeth to get people to do the right thing, when they see that something actually is in their own best interests, they might be turned from the dark side…

The other New York Times piece is this great editorial:

California’s fair-elections commission is investigating a complaint against the Mormon Church’s role in campaigning for Proposition 8, which made marriage illegal between people of the same sex. Based on the facts that have come out so far, the state is right to look into whether the church broke state laws by failing to report campaign-related expenditures.

Proposition 8, which California voters passed on Nov. 4, overturned a ruling by the California Supreme Court and wrote discrimination against one particular group of people into the State Constitution. After it passed, tens of thousands of people rallied in cities across the country in support of same-sex marriage. The California Supreme Court said recently that it would review whether Proposition 8 was constitutional.

Mormons were a major force behind the ballot measure. Individual church members contributed millions of dollars and acted as campaign foot soldiers. The church itself also played an unusually large role. Michael R. Otterson, the managing director of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — the full name of the Mormons’ church — said that while the church speaks out on other issues, like abortion, “we don’t get involved to the degree we did on this.”

Fred Karger, the founder of a group called Californians Against Hate, who filed the complaint, contends that the Mormon Church provided significant contributions to the pro-Proposition 8 campaign that it did not report, as state law requires. The Fair Political Practices Commission of California is investigating, among other things, commercials, out-of-state phone banks and a Web site sponsored by the church.

If the commission finds that the church violated state reporting laws, it could impose penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, and sue for additional amounts. The Mormon Church, which says it is sending information to the commission, says it did nothing wrong.

Churches, which risk their tax-exempt status if they endorse candidates, have more leeway in referendum campaigns. Still, when they enter the political fray, they have the same obligation to follow the rules that nonreligious groups do.

Yup. If the Mormon cult could do it over again, I doubt that the “Christo”fascist motherfuckers would have pushed Prop 8 like they did.

The Mormon motherfuckers counted on us fags and dykes to just roll over and play dead.

Instead, in the aftermath of Prop 8, far from the ushering in of the “Christo”fascist era that the Mormon motherfuckers and their ilk so desire, what has happened is that the disinfecting spotlight of truth has been directed squarely at the Mormon cockroaches. And they won’t survive the light.

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Why they call it ‘Black Friday’

New York Times photo

Temporary Wal-Mart worker Jdimytai Damour, a 34-year-old native of Brooklyn, was sacrified to the golden calf on “Black Friday.” After they trampled him, bargain hunters simply stepped over his body as they streamed into the store, The Associated Press notes. We’ll blame the greedy shoppers, of course, but what about the corporatocrats and plutocrats who encourage such animalistic behavior?

I just wanted to note that Friday — while swinishly materialistic and consumeristic Americans were busy trampling a 34-year-old temporary Wal-Mart employee to death and sending others to the hospital (and refusing to leave the store after the store announced that it was closing because of the death) and shooting each other dead in a Toys “R” Us — I didn’t buy a thing. I spent not one fucking penny anywhere on anything. Yes, it is possible.

Many if not most Americans are patting themselves on the back for having elected a half-white, half-black guy who never would have been elected to the White House if he acted like an “angry” black.

Woo hoo! We’ve conquered all of our spiritual problems! these Americans (more or less) declare.

No — as long as we Americans continue to worship the golden calf, valuing consumer goods that we don’t even need over human life, we are going to remain spiritually fucked.

P.S. (December 12, 2008): In case it isn’t clear, by “Black Friday” in the headline I mean “black” in the sense of dark and tragic. It is not a reference to the victim’s race…

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Quote of the week

“…[W]e’ve seen these tactics before. We know how much the right likes to play political and cultural hardball, and then turn around and accuse us [gay men and lesbians] of [having lashed] out first. You give a pass to a religious group — one that looks down upon minorities and women — when they use their money and membership roles to roll back the rights of others, and then you label us ‘fascists’ when we fight back…. You should be more afraid of the new political climate in America, because there is no place for you in it.”

Candace Gingrich, lesbian sister of wingnut Repugnican Newt Gingrich, in a letter to him

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California to investigate Mormon cult

I just received this press release via e-mail from Californians Against Hate:

 

California Fair Political Practices Commission to Investigate Mormon Church Involvement in Prop 8

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – Fred Karger, Founder of Californians Against Hate, received a letter today from the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) regarding the sworn complaint that he filed on November 13, 2008. The complaint requested the FPPC investigate the alleged lack of reporting of numerous non-monetary contributions to ProtectMarriage.com/Yes on 8, A Project of California Renewal I.D. #1302592 by the Mormon Church. The letter from FPPC Executive Director, Roman Porter, dated November 21, 2008, was received by fax. Below is the text of the letter from Mr. Porter.

 

 

Fair Political Practices Commission 

428 J Street, Suite 629, Sacramento, CA 95814-2329

(916)322-5660 Fax (916)322-0886 

 

November 21, 2008

  

Re: FPPC File No. 08/735; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a.k.a. the Mormon Church of Salt Lake City, Utah

 

Dear Mr. Karger:

 

This letter is to notify you that the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission (the FPPC) will investigate the allegation(s), under the jurisdiction of the FPPC, of the sworn complaint you submitted in the above-referenced matter. You will next receive notification from us upon final disposition of the case. However, please be advised that at this time we have not made any determination about the validity of the allegation(s) you made or about the culpability, if any, of the person(s) you identify in your complaint.

 

Thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to our attention.

 

Sincerely, 

 

Roman G. Porter

Executive Director

 

cc: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a.k.a. the Mormon Church of Salt Lake City, Utah

  

 

“We are very pleased that the FPPC has agreed to launch an investigation based on our complaint,” said Fred Karger. “My four-page letter to Chairman Ross Johnson and California and Utah Attorneys General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Mark Shurtleff with all of the alleged unreported activities is available on our blog at: http://californiansagainsthate.blogspot.com/. We’re hopeful the Mormon Church will fully cooperate with the investigation, and that we will find out the full extent of their involvement in the Yes on 8 campaign.”

 

 

This is good news. Of course an investigation is just an investigation, but my hunch is that the Mormon cult was so sure on its hatred and bigotry that it probably overlooked lots of fair political practices laws.

Best-case scenario, of course, would be that the Mormon cult loses its tax-exempt status for having inappropriately involved itself in the political process.

Citizens of the United States of Amnesia forget how their own fucking government is supposed to work, but here’s a reminder: we’re not supposed to be a fucking theocracy. Reminds me of that anti-Prop 8 protest sign: “Prop 8 = American Taliban”…

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It’s time to play ‘Who’s a Terrorist?’

I read an Associated Press news article that begins like this — 

DALLAS – A Muslim charity and five of its former leaders were convicted [today] of funneling millions of dollars to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, finally handing the government a signature victory in its fight against terrorism funding.

U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis announced the guilty verdicts on all 108 counts on the eighth day of deliberations in the retrial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, once the nation’s largest Muslim charity. It was the biggest terrorism financing case since the attacks of Sept. 11.

“Money is the lifeblood of terrorists, plain and simple,” U.S. Attorney Richard Roper said. “The jury’s decision attacks terrorism at its core.”

— and the thought struck me: Who gets to decide what is and what is not “terrorism” and who is and who is not a “terrorist”?

Whoever is the more militarily mighty gets to decide that, apparently; the AP notes that “The U.S. designated Hamas a terrorist organization in 1995 and again in 1997, making contributions to the group illegal.”

According to BBC News, from the end of September 2000 to mid-January 2005, more than three times as many Palestinians were killed by Israelis than vice-versa. And this body count was done by an Israeli human rights group.

Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

Yet Americans who give money to Israel aren’t charged with supporting terrorism — although, it seems to me, they are doing just that, if you use my dictionary’s rather broad definition of terrorism, which is “the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion.” My own personal definition of “terrorism” has always been something along the lines of “the use of fear and intimidation for political gain.”

You know, under the/my broad definition of terrorism, certainly those who give any money to Israel that is used in Israel’s terrorist campaign against the Palestinians can be said to be supporting terrorists. But we Americans don’t prosecute those terrorist sponsors. No, we Americans love to kiss Zionist ass, and it’s Israel that dictates our policy in the Middle East. And although the Israelis slaughter far more Muslims than vice-versa, we never call the Israelis “terrorists.” They’re our allies, for Christ’s sake!

Shit, since the intention of Proposition 8 was to intimidate gay men and lesbians for political gain, and since Proposition 8 was funded mostly by the Mormon cult and the Catholic church, I might just consider them to be terrorist organizations, which means, of course, that anyone who has given money to the Mormon cult or the Catholic church has given money to a terrorist organization, and anyone who gave to the pro-Prop 8 campaign is a sponsor of terrorism, of course.

After all: “Money is the lifeblood of terrorists, plain and simple.”

Gee, getting to define who is and who isn’t a “terrorist” or a “sponsor of terrorism” sure is fun!

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Why the ‘Christians’ hate us

Salon.com has an interview with gay Catholic and Mexican-American writer Richard Rodriguez (shown at left) on Proposition 8 and religion that’s worth reading. In the interview Rodriguez attempts to explain the passage of Proposition 8 and he suggests how gay men and lesbians can fare better among the religious.

Rodriguez correctly identifies that discrimination against gay men is more along the lines of misogyny than racism, since what it is that really seems to make gay men feared and hated is that many if not most of them represent the feminine, which is feared and hated. (And gay men have always seemed to me to be more reviled than are lesbians.)

But what it all really boils down to, I think, is that gay men and lesbians are dangerous to the blind obedience that the Mormon cult, the Catholic church and other organized “Christian” religions expect of their members.

Gay men and lesbians throw a monkey wrench into the patriarchal order that the “Christo”fascists want to impose upon everyone.

Yes, everyone. A huge goal of both the Mormon cult and the Catholic church is to overrun not just the United States, but the entire world, with their members. Thus their emphasis on irresponsible over-reproduction, including opposition to birth control and to abortion rights.

We gay men and lesbians — well, most of us — don’t reproduce like good little breeders “should,” so the Mormon cult and the Catholic church attack us.

And gay men especially tend to display liveliness and love and creativity and spark that the “Christian” organizations feel the need to snuff out. We gay men are, or at least often are, anathema to the doom and gloom and guilt and self-hatred and walking deadness that the “Christian” institutions espouse. Therefore, we should be eliminated; if we can’t be physically eliminated (as AIDS was just allowed to decimate gay men), then our rights should be restricted as much as is possible. Minimally, we should be minimized at all costs.

And, of course, as Rodriguez points out, as organized “Christianity” continues to crumble in the United States — because organized “Christianity” refuses to change and grow with the times — the “Christians” have to blame someone. Racism is out of fashion, but good ol’-fashioned homo-hatred is still acceptable among at least half of Americans, I estimate. As they say: gay is the new black.

I do have some disagreement with Rodriguez. In his interview with Salon.com he states: “I think gay activists … should not present ourselves as enemies of religion. I am not prepared to leave the Roman Catholic Church over this issue. The Catholic Church is my church.”

Hmmm…

I am not fully decided as to whether gay men and lesbians should remain in their churches and try to reform them — or leave their churches and let their churches die the natural death that they need to die. (I lean toward the latter, however.)

After Prop 8 passed, a Latina friend of mine who opposed Prop 8 (and who went to two anti-Prop 8 protest rallies with me here in Sacramento) announced, to my shock and awe, that she was considering joining the Catholic church.

She and I then had a strained conversation about this.

Her position was that people like she should try to reform the Catholic church. I don’t know, I told her; when I think of one institution on the planet that is the most resistant to change, it’s the Catholic church. (The Mormon cult would be No. 2 on my list, mainly because it’s much younger than is the Catholic church.)

Among the many things the Catholic church and the Mormon cult have in common, besides gay-bashing and involving themselves in right-wing politics, is that both excommunicate dissenters who oppose a serious threat to the established order. What better way to resist change and to preserve the status quo than to expel anyone who represents real change?

I told my Latina friend that should she make any real headway in helping to significantly change the Catholic church, they’d boot her out.

I understand her desire for community and service, but the Catholic church?

Not all Catholics are bad, she said.

True, but, I asked her, how can you support an institution that creates harm without contributing to that harm yourself? I mean, even if someone was just a daycare worker for the Nazis, didn’t that person help the overall Nazi cause, even though she or he never harmed a single hair on the head of a single Jew? How can one so neatly separate himself or herself from the evils that others within his or her institution commit? How can you support the Catholic church, even peripherally, without helping the church to oppress gay men and lesbians, since a big chunk of the church’s agenda is to continue to oppress gay men and lesbians? 

Anyway, while I generally oppose violence, as does Rodriguez, I disagree with Rodriguez’ assertion that we gay men and lesbians must not offend the religious. Oh, fuck the religious. They routinely offend me with their ignorance, fear and hatred that they cloak with the name of Jesus Christ — I mean, what worse blasphemy than to commit evil in the name of Jesus Christ? — so fuck them if I offend them. They don’t worry about offending me, so I won’t worry about offening them. They need to be offended.

There is this belief that no matter what ignorance and hatred the “Christians” spew forth, we are still to “respect” their beliefs. You know what? I “respect” their homo-hating beliefs like I “respect” the Nazis’ anti-Semitic and white supremacist beliefs.

No, trying to change monolithic “Christian” institutions from within is too much like banging your forehead against a wall ad nauseam.

Better to create something new, different and wonderful outside of these institutional dinosaurs and let these institutional dinosaurs go extinct by starving them of our time, energy and money, which is better spent creating something new, different and wonderful.

Boy, did I digress.

But read Rodriguez’ interview.

But if you don’t, these are the excerpts that I found the most poignant:

  • “…Latinos and blacks [took] part in this terribly tragedy [the passage of Prop 8]. We persecute each other. The very communities that get discriminated against discriminate against other Americans.”
  • “I know a lot of black churches take offense when gay activists say that the gay movement is somehow analogous to the black civil rights movement. And while there is some relationship between the persecution of gays and the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, I think the true analogy is to the women’s movement. What we represent as gays in America is an alternative to the traditional male-structured society”
  • “Then there is the Roman Catholic Church, my own church, which has just come off this extraordinary season of sexual scandal and misbehavior in the rectory against children. The church is barely out of the court and it’s trying to assume the role of governor of sexual behavior, having just proved to America its inability to govern its own sexual behavior.”
  • “…[I]t’s one thing for the churches to insist on their right to define the sacrament of marriage for their own members. But it’s quite another for them to insist that they have a right to define the relationships of people outside their communities. That’s really what’s most troubling about Proposition 8. It was a deliberate civic intrusion by the churches.”
  • “To my knowledge, the churches have not accepted responsibility for the Bush catastrophe. Having claimed, in some cases, that Bush was divinely inspired and his election was the will of God, they have failed to explain why the last eight years have been so catastrophic for America.”
  • “The divorce rate suggests that women are not happy with the relationship they have with men. And whatever that unhappiness is, I would like people to know that, as a gay man, I’m not responsible for what’s wrong with heterosexual marriage. On the other hand, whatever is wrong with the heterosexual marriage does have some implication for the world I live in. Women are redefining sexuality in a way that’s going to make it easier for me to be a gay man.”

Rodriguez’ next book, which I’ll probably buy, is on what he calls the “desert religions,” Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which, he asserts, need to be “feminized” — not taken over by women or the feminine, but balanced out by the feminine, I believe he means.

“If the male is allowed to hold onto the power of God, then I think we are in terrible shape,” he says.

Yup. And it’s the male power that wants to continue to hold on to its power that finds us gay men and lesbians, especially us gay men, so threatening.

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Yeah, what I was just saying…

I just read this news item from Reuters. I’ll just copy and paste it; no commentary is necessary, as I’ve already commented extensively on the topic

California‘s gay marriage ban could open the door to legal discrimination against unpopular groups if the state Supreme Court allows the voter-approved measure to stand, blacks, Latinos, Asians and other minorities said.

The November 4 vote, supporting an end to legal same-sex marriage in the most populous U.S. state, has caused a nationwide furor as opponents of the measure decry what they consider a civil rights violation.

California’s highest court agreed on November 19 to hear a challenge, based on whether the state constitution requires support from the legislature — as well as a majority vote of the people — to strip rights from any group.

The court had recognized such marriages in May, and about 20,000 same-sex couples wed before the November vote. Those marriages may now hang in the balance. Connecticut and Massachusetts are the only states that allow gay marriage.

Legal scholars say the measure, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, breaks new ground by limiting the courts’ ability to protect minorities.

“They could take away any right from any group,” said University of Southern California Law Professor David Cruz, who filed a brief in favor of gay marriage in an earlier case.

Equal protection “subversion”

The ban, California Proposition 8, amended the constitution with 52 percent support — less than is required to approve some state bond measures.

“The entire purpose behind the constitutional principle of equal protection would be subverted if the constitutional protection of unpopular minorities were subject to simple majority rule,” read a brief by black, Asian and Hispanic groups challenging the ban. “This case is not simply about gay and lesbian equality.”

It is unlikely that relatively liberal California would approve restrictions on racial and religious minorities, especially ones that clash with the protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, Cruz and others say.

“We are past that as a realistic matter. We just elected an African-American president, for Christ’s sake,” said University of California, Berkeley, law professor Jesse Choper, who also filed on behalf of gay advocates in the original gay marriage case.

Other groups — from prisoners to undocumented workers — might not have public opinion on their side.

“The history of California demonstrates with sobering clarity the potential for disfavored minorities to be subjected to oppression by hostile majorities,” the minority groups say in their brief, pointing to segregation laws and one excluding Asian-Americans from land ownership as examples.

“Track record”

“It is not hypothetical. It’s a track record,” said Stanford University law professor Jane Schacter, who has not filed briefs in the case.

Indeed, a central argument in support of the gay marriage ban is that majority-vote constitutional amendments can change rights.

“That power is broad and deep and, by nature, populist. It has often been used to be make significant changes in state government and to override judicial interpretations of the Constitution with which the people disagree — including interpretations involving basic constitutional rights,” lawyer Andrew Pugno argued in court papers.

He also argued that defining marriage as between a man and a woman simply re-established the situation before the court recognized gay marriage in May.

The California high court could hear arguments in March. Berkeley’s Choper says it will be an uphill battle to persuade the judges that the measure requires legislative action.

Choper said he understands why the groups are fighting the ban and he is sympathetic, “but that’s not the way the system works.”

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