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FF Sparks (Casual)

[Politics] Evangelical Revolution

Oh, what fun. No, I know Falwell doesn't speak for all conservatives, but he sure likes to sound as if he does... and sadly, I have to admit he's right. He says that the election was won on the grounds of Christian fundamentalist morality, and that liberal actions were what energized them into action.

Falwell Plans for 'Evangelical Revolution'
Associated Press Writer

RICHMOND, Va. - Seeking to take advantage of the momentum from an election where moral values proved important to voters, the Rev. Jerry Falwell announced Tuesday he has formed a new coalition to guide an "evangelical revolution."

Falwell, a religious broadcaster based in Lynchburg, Va., said the Faith and Values Coalition will be a "21st century resurrection of the Moral Majority," the organization he founded in 1979.

Falwell said he would serve as the coalition's national chairman for four years.

He added that the new group's mission would be to lobby for anti-abortion conservatives to fill openings on the Supreme Court and lower courts, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and the election of another "George Bush-type" conservative in 2008.

"We all, for the first time, began to realize the potential of religious conservatives, particularly evangelicals, when something over 30 million of them went to the polls," he said, noting most supported the president and anti-abortion candidates, and voted to approve 11 initiatives across the country banning gay marriage.

Also, a decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court allowing gay marriages "helped energize our people," Falwell said.

And when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom began performing gay marriages, it "really caught the attention of people of faith in this country, and what we have been saying could happen actually happened," he said.

"The timing could not have been better. That, along with the abortion issues and the terrorism issue, helped us to get our people awakened."

While overseeing the coalition, Falwell said he would leave day-to-day operations of Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist Church - both of which he founded - to his sons Jerry Jr., 42, and Jonathan, 38.

Mathew Staver, founder of the conservative law group Liberty Counsel in Orlando, Fla., will be the coalition's vice chairman; Jonathan Falwell will be its executive director. Theologian Tim LaHaye will be the board chairman.

For me, I can't understand why conservatives in general seem to feel so threatened by the idea of gay marriage. Certainly not why they want to amend the Constitution to ban it. I've heard plenty of arguments, but none of them seem to hold water to me...

It's prohibited in the Bible. Leviticus 18:22, I think, right? But who gave folks the right to decide that only that part of Leviticus was valid, and not any of the other wackiness in it (it being a sin to eat shellfish, for instance)?

For that matter, how is that one passage more important than one of these little rules called the Ten Commandments? Last I checked, one of them was 'Thou Shall Not Kill.' Not 'Thou Shall Not Kill, Unless Thy Oil Reserves Are In Danger Or Thou Believeth Thine Enemies Possesseth Weapons of Mass Destruction.' (Disclaimer: I'm Quaker. I think ALL wars are wrong. Period. End of story.)

Ah, but it's the 'sanctity of marriage,' it defiles the concept to have two men expressing their love for each other! Let's get real. We're in a world where divorce rates are depressingly high, where there are reality shows along the line of 'Who Wants To Marry A Complete Stranger Based On Votes From Viewers' or 'Can He Trick These Women Into Thinking He's Rich So One Of Them Will Marry Him' and whatnot, where you can be spontaneously married in Vegas while too drunk to remember it.

For the record, I'm against gay marriage. Lemme say that again. I'm against gay marriage. But you know what? I'm against the government having any say in straight marriage, too.

The key to this is the word 'marriage.' It's a religious matter; the government has no right to say what a given church can or cannot say is a valid pairing between their members. The only things a government should care about in terms of partners are things like insurance rights (do you get health insurance coverage if your spouse is covered), do you get to file joint taxes, and so on. The government has no right to say a church must allow gay marriage, but neither does it have any right to say a church /cannot/ allow gay marriage.

I'm all for civil unions. I think that's all the government should care about, whether the marriage is heterosexual, homosexual, xenosexual, ambisexual, or whatever other random prefixes I can come up with. From a government's point of view, that's all they should see; a civil union, a partnership entered into for life (or divorce, anyway), and the implications thereof for insurance, taxes, census and so on. Straight marriages should be civil unions to the government, gay marriages should too.

Ah, but some would say that they simply don't want 'gay marriage' because there will never be children born, and the legal rights which go with marriage are intended to ease the financial burdens of raising children. Fair enough... but if you follow that logic, then you must also deny those marital rights to any straight couple who have decided to declare themselves child-free, or who are sterile. And if you want to grant rights to the sterile ones who adopt, then how about the gay couples who've adopted, or who have a child by a previous relationship?

I guess what it boils down to is that I see no justification for government to enter into trying to legislate what a church can or cannot recognize... but neither do I see any reason the government should NOT recognize -- for purposes of taxes, insurance laws, inheritance laws and so on -- same-sex unions.

My $0.02, I suppose, and worth about that much.


Noooo!!! This is almost the worst thing I could imagine for conservatives. Someone please ask him to stop.

Jerry Falwell and Michael Moore are two sides of the same coin. They both drive people in droves to the other side.

I don't think Falwell speaks for more than 5% of conservatives, in all honesty. Even the conservative Bible Belt Christians I've talked to dislike the guy. He puts his feet in his mouth so deeply and so regularly that he might as well install toothbrushes between his toes.

The guy's a grade-A jerk, and unfortunately saw an option for free press - so jumped on the bandwagon. And it makes any other conservative person, regardless of party, look horrible.
I...guess I can sort of support your position. Except it's grossly unrealistic. You know that, right?

I'd also be all for separating the legal and religious institutions of marriage, because I'm primarily concerned with acquiring legal rights like shared property and hospital visitation for myself and the same-sex love of my life. Also, as a Buddhist/atheist, I could give a toss what Christians think is going to happen after I die as a result.

But it isn't going to happen. And marriage for straights/civil unions for gays is, in practice, a sort of "separate but equal" doctrine. History shows just how well that works.
I suppose the more cogent summary (i.e. 'I had a glass of Dr. Pepper and my brain cut in again, thus I can reply without rambling') is:

I have, in my lifetime, known many stable, healthy, wonderful same-sex relationships, with or without extended families. Many have actually been /more/ healthy than some of the straight ones I've seen; I don't think this is because one is inherently 'better' than the other, but I think it also attests that neither is /worse/ than the other. I see no reason to deny someone legal rights associated with a life partnership simply based on their sex.

People argue that the government has no business endorsing or legitimizing gay /marriage/. If they want to argue from that position I'll get behind that, and carry it further to say the government has no business endorsing or legitimizing straight /marriage/, either, because from a certain standpoint it's true; the legal concept of a 'union' should not be associated with any one religious concept of a union.

And once religion is out of it (as much as it can ever be taken)... well, if someone finds their world-view is still threatened by the idea of two men or two women being able to file their taxes jointly, or claim coverage on the other's health insurance, or have visitation rights in a hospital... then there's not too much else I can do to sway anyone. Because those are the only sorts of things the government should be enforcing with regards to a union between two people.
Well, I do agree completely; the best thing *would* be for "marriage" to be a religious institution, side by side with but legally unrelated to government-issued civil unions for two people, regardless of sex, who want to pair up for life. It would just solve so much to do it that way.

But I don't see it happening. I wish I did.
The thing is, they already /do/ do it that way; it's why you need a marriage license, and why you can be married by a civil servant rather than a religious one. This just seems like a logical extension of the existing situation. Of course, 'logic' has little place in government, and even less when it becomes a matter of interpreting religious doctrine and dogma... :(

I know, pragmatically, that you're right and it almost certainly won't happen. Part of me is optimistic enough to hope it might happen /someday/, but I admin I am not holding my breath. Still, that won't stop me from trying to make the point; right now I'm in that mood where it feels better to tilt at windmills than to take no action at all. :/
We pretty much agree.. Hence why I was so pissed at the Massachusetts Supreme Court; they had but one answer to their ruling and they chickened out and performed compelled legislation, which is a complete abuse of the separation of powers.
I'm with you 100% on this one.

I honestly think the big thing with many people about gay marriage is the very term marriage itself. It implies a religious bent. We obviously and absolutely cannot dictate what a church accepts; freedom of religion goes both ways. I'm not in the slightest bit religious, so I often consider the whole concept of marriage to be a largely legal construct. After all, you require a marriage license for it to be valid. The church wedding by a member of the clergy is just window dressing -- you have to have the license. If it was a religious construct, you wouldn't be able to be married by a JP. However, it's woven in with the whole terminology, so it gets confusing. I have no objection to members of clergy being allowed to perform the ceremonies... but you still have to have that license, so I don't see much difference.

Funny how a change in language can alter things legally.
I agree. Abolish gay marriage. Abolish straight marriage. Or, at least, make the one where you get tax breaks and can speak for your partner in the hospital and such a civil union, and the ones done in a church a religious union, and never the twain shall have anything to do with each other.

I just had this discussion with blackgryphyon a few days ago, too.

BTW, according to Leviticus, abortion isn't a sin. That's because, according to Leviticus, a baby isn't a human until it's been named, about 6 days after birth. Or maybe it's 12, I don't remember. Also according to Leviticus, if a man harms a pregnant woman, and the fetus dies, the man still only beat a woman, no murder charges will prevail. If he hurts a pregnant woman and she dies, then it's murder. It's very clear-cut, if a Christian chooses to disallow gay marriage based on the word of God, then s/he has just mandated abortion.

(Just for some extra piss-off-the-thumpers factor.)
The gay marriage controversy is actually about straight marriage.

The people who are most upset at the idea of gay marriage -- right-wing religious Protestants, especially in the South -- have really high divorce rates. They also have a self-image which defines them as morally superior to secular society, which means they can't admit to themselves that they have high divorce rates, and thus can't actually talk about the problem. So they need a scapegoat.
That's an interesting, and depressingly plausable-sounding, explanation. :(