Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Karen Ocamb: Surprising Last Minute Religious Rallies for Both Sides of CA's Proposition 8

(As an expatriate Californian I hope that Californians will resist the multi-million $$$ hateful propaganda that has been shoved down their throats by reactionary groups. Support the loving relationships of all people and vote no on Proposition 8. For those Christians who have been swayed by political pundits and religious leaders, stop for a moment, and ask yourself, what would Jesus do?)

Surprising Last Minute Religious Rallies for Both Sides of CA's Proposition 8
By Karen Ocamb

The final push both for and against California's proposition 8 to terminate marriage rights for gay couples was made by various religious groups.

In synagogues and church pulpits across California the Sunday before the Nov. 4 election, rabbis and preachers admonished their flock on how to vote on Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that would eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry.

In Sacramento, Rev. Rodolfo Llamas told congregants at St. Peter's Catholic Church to vote for Prop 8. "This vote is insulting God," Llamas said at early Mass, the Sacramento Bee reported. "When civil power steps on religious power, then there is a problem." Two hours later, the Rev. Ginny Curinga urged her church members at Sierra Arden United Church of Christ to vote No on Prop 8 as a matter of civil rights. "It has angered me so much to hear the propaganda about Proposition 8," Curinga said. "We need to stand up and vote against this kind of hatred."

Sunday night, however, hundreds of demonstrators from both sides took to the streets in what local television news station CBS13 reported were "violent" clashes resulting in three arrests. "You know, if my child grows up and decides they're going to be gay and they get married, I want them to have that right," Christina Rothman told the CBS13 reporter. "That's why I'm here."

On the other side, a Prop 8 proponent shouted: "Think about your future for your kids. What's going to happen when they grow up?" Not surprisingly, there were no such confrontations at a large get-out-the-vote No on Prop 8 rally in West Hollywood Sunday afternoon. One rally that did surprise the country -- and the organizers -- was a quiet vigil against Prop 8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. More than 600 people showed up at Salt Lake City's Library Square heeding a call from three Mormon mothers of gay children.

"I am so touched that you would be here," said a tearful Millie Watts, the mother of six who organized the vigil, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. "This is what happens when people in California say mean things about our gay kids. The mothers come out of the closet."

Linda Barney, another Mormon mother/organizer, said her heart "reaches out to young Californians, teens who are not out of the closet who are alone ... listening to hateful [rhetoric]...They need to hear from us. They need to know there are people with loving hearts." Watts said she felt "disappointment and betrayal" by the Church of Latter-day Saints, which, according to the independent group Californians Against Hate, has raised $22 million to pass Prop 8. LDS Church and the Yes on 8 campaign, Watts said, is "dividing families."

As a result, some Mormons have left the church. Tiffany Lewis, 21, however, found a way to remain a Mormon and still support her gay brother and oppose Prop 8. "Everyone should have equal rights," she told the Tribune. "You can't help who you love. People deserve to be together."

Famous former San Francisco 49er quarterback Steve Young, who is a descendant of Mormon founder Brigham Young, also demonstrated their opposition to Prop 8, the Bee reported, by posting "No on 8" signs in front of their Palo Alto home. His wife Barbara also contributed $50,000 and issued a statement saying, "our family will vote against Prop. 8."

But Prop 8 has its own big guns -- including Focus on the Family's James Dobson and Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, who showed up for a Christian evangelical rally Saturday at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The massive rally was organized by TheCall's Lou Engle and Dr. Jim Garlow, Senior Pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church.

"Lou Engles is regarded as a prophet and apostle in what is known as Latter Rain, Manifest Destiny, Third Wave, Joel's Army movement," says longtime Religious Right-watcher Jerry Sloan. "Most mainstream media simply does not understand the implications of this theology. A bigger part of this movement is found in a world wide effort to win 1 billion people over to its teaching ...They are virulently anti-gay and want to be able to have people who are in places of authority in governments everywhere."

To Read the Rest of the Article

Why African Americans Should Oppose California's Proposition 8
By Sikivu Hutchinson

Voting for Prop 8 is a betrayal of civil rights principles and a hypocritical denial of some of the real crises that imperil black families.

On the corner of King Blvd and Crenshaw black street preachers goose step their way through anti-gay slogans, adding an unwelcome touch of street theater demagoguery to the flow of everyday pedestrian traffic. A few blocks away, Yes on Proposition 8 (the California ballot initiative that would amend the state Constitution and outlaw same-sex marriage) signs have begun springing up like weeds, a final appeal to black and Latino conservatism by the anti-gay marriage regime.

The perception that black folk in particular are more receptive to homophobic propaganda is partly grounded in reality and partly grounded in stereotype. Polls have shown that African Americans are 10 percent more likely to support Prop 8 than other racial groups. Because the pro and con polling numbers for Prop 8 are so tight, black support for the measure could put it over the top. And what exactly do black straight people like me have to be threatened by? Cultural nationalist supporters of Prop 8 argue that homosexuality and the insidiously labeled "gay lifestyle" (a slur that presumes that gays and lesbians are monolithic) threaten the already besieged black family. Given this belief, African Americans are presumably more invested in propping up heterosexism because of the pathologization of black families. Yet Prop 8 rests on the same logic that prohibited interracial marriages, a premise that the California Supreme Court cited in its ruling in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages. Slavery and antebellum patriarchy were rooted in rigid definitions of family and marriage aimed at preserving property rights, lines of descent and white purity. This legacy continues to influence the gender hierarchies underlying so-called traditional family structures and to police families that aren't nuclear or heterosexual.

Voting to amend the California Constitution will extend this legacy. It signifies a concession to flat earth politics, a betrayal of civil rights principles and a hypocritical denial of some of the real crises that imperil black families. As straights we live in communities that are devastated by the large number of black children in foster care due to parents who are either unwilling or unable to take care of them. As straights we lament the absence of affirming role models for children in a racist hyperviolent culture that devalues black lives, yet fail to connect this to a cult of masculinity that demeans women and gays and lesbians. As straights we engage in the schizoid rhetoric of championing black self-determination yet vilify full citizenship for gays and lesbians as a "European" thing. As straights we cherry pick who is "rightfully" part of the community based upon heterosexual privilege while disrespecting the valiant heritage of black liberation struggle exemplified by gay freedom fighters such as Audre Lorde and Bayard Rustin.

To Read the Rest of the Essay

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