Showing posts from 2006

A Portrait of a Real Life Fundamentalist

{This is a reprint of the reply I made to hr_conservative's comment on my previous post. He runs a blog: Virginia Conservative Analysis. I hope you will take the few minutes to read it}

Hello: hr_conversative

For those new to my blog, let me introduce you to the poster of the above comment. This poster, who goes by the handle of hr_conservative, runs a blog, Virginia Conservative Analysis. And he has been an obsessed campaigner for the recently passed Virginia Marriage amendment. And he characterizes himself as a devout Christian – an errantly reading, word-for-word Bible follower – not just the Bible, but THE Bible, the King James Version in English. And it is ONLY his interpretation of The King James Version of the Holy Bible in English that, according to him, is the correct and God desired scripture on which one is to conduct one’s life. And despite his implied commitment to the laws and Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he maintains that his Biblical interpreta…

The Legacy of Fundamentalism

Today on International AIDs Day let’s take a moment and put some portion of the blame for the 25,000,000 lives lost in painful and agonizing death on Christian fundamentalists.

If you are one of these Christian fundamentalists just give me a moment. Surely promiscuity and sharing of needles by drug abusers are not to be dismissed. But let’s take a moment and look at where some large portion of blame for this worldwide pandemic squarely rests – on Christian fundamentalists.

Those who are willing to realistically look at the history of the response when AIDS first appeared in the United States, during the Regan administration, will conclude that a disease that attacks queers, Haitians, and IV drug users had a muted national response. At a time when the disease could possibly have been contained, it was only considered a back burner issue. Those who compare the earlier response to Legionnaire's disease, which broke out after a convention of American veterans in Philadelphia, can su…

Interview With Terri Beirne - Interim Supervisor of Chesterfield County

Recently I sat down with Terri Beirne and discussed her experience as the new interim supervisor representing the Midlothian District of Chesterfield County. I found her to be refreshingly candid and very comfortable to talk with. She gives some insight into the county and her brief experience on the board.

As a mother of five and an attorney representing significant clients, how have you been able to take on this new responsibility of being on the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors? How much time a week do your board responsibilities take?

Well, the month of August was a bit of a blur – I should have probably been fired from here because of the work I wasn’t doing for my clients – but fortunately in August many clients are on vacation. August was tough, just getting acclimated and getting orientation from various department heads in the county, and understanding who I could go to, to get answers I needed for constituents. I think one of the reasons people are able to do this…

A Political Disconnect In Virginia


The above pie charts tell a story of the political disconnect between the people of Virginia, the electorate, and their elected delegates to the Virginia legislature.

The people spoke yesterday and they are far less in favor of amending the Commonwealth’s Bill of Rights to define marriage than is the legislature. The Virginia Senate, by the way, voted 100% for the amendment.

Although reported in the press at the time and well known to the opponents of this legislation, the politics of this measure deserve revisiting. This measure was spirited through the legislature at the beginning of this year’s session with remarkably little debate for so momentous an alteration to the state's highest law. And this was largely due to the obsessive crusade of Delegate Robert Marshall, to minimize the opportunity of the opposition to present fact and rational argument.

But it more importantly shows how a legislature, who often see their seats, due to the p…

Acknowledging the Delegate Marshall Effect

I’m sitting here in the early morning hours waiting to see if three of the possible four states undecided will swing the Senate. I’m disappointed but surprised at the outcome of the Virginia Marriage amendment. And I’m wondering – wondering what could have erased the knife-edge difference between Allen and Webb.

And it comes to me that there had to be a large number of religiously conservative voters who were motivated to the polls by the marriage amendment. Without those votes I would imagine that Webb would have won easily.

And the tireless crusading of one Virginia Delegate – Robert Marshall, largely propelled that marriage amendment.

Now should this eventually comedown to Webb losing and because of that loss the Senate remains under Republican control, then a lot of credit will go to Delegate Robert Marshall.

Who would have imagined that Mr. Marshall would have been in the position of king maker – of having tipped an election that tipped the Congress that tipped the balance of powe…

Will November 7th Be Virginia's Kristallnacht?

This is the type of crap being put out by supposed conservatives – this from the Cultural Insurrectionist blog. And most of these blogs supporting the Virginia Marriage Amendment are too cowardly to even post comments opposing their views – but I and others need to “out” these red neck bigots.

On the Cultural Insurrectionist blog is this sentence – I suggest you go to the blog to see the type of Brown Shirt bigotry that should be an embarrassment to all Virginians. This is an example of the type of arguments they present to their intellectually challenged audience.

“It is a sad day in our Commonwealth when such action has become necessary. George Washington, Virginia’s greatest son, had sodomites drummed out of his army.”

I say, grow up – that was over two hundred years ago.

Merriam-Webster definition of sodomy - anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex

From the National Center for Health Statistics: Among adult males 25-44 years of age, 97 percent have had sexu…

The Advantages of Marriage in Virginia

The following are the rights that are conferred on a married couple in Virginia:

>> Accidental death benefit for the surviving spouse of a government employee
>> Appointment as guardian of a minor
>> Award of child custody in divorce proceedings
>> Beneficial owner status of corporate securities
>> Bill of Rights benefits for victims and witnesses
>> Burial of service member's dependents
>> Certificates of occupation
>> Consent to post-mortem examination
>> Continuation of rights under existing homestead leases
>> Control, division, acquisition, and disposition of community property,
>> Criminal injuries compensation
>> Death benefit for surviving spouse for government employee
>> Disclosure of vital statistics records
>> Division of property after dissolution of marriage
>> Eligibility for housing opportunity allowance program of the Housing, Finance and Developmen…

A Discussion On The Virginia Marriage Amendment

To defend traditional marriage, as sacrosanct or impervious to change, just because you contend it has been that way, is not a sufficient argument. It is only an argument against change. We certainly have experienced significant drift in the notion, perception, and reality of marriage in Virginia in our lifetimes. A characterization of marriage and the state of marriage in the 1940’s and 1950’s is far different from that of today, whether we are in agreement with that change. The causes of these changes are widely known and have had the result of redefining the relationship between men and women in society, largely increasing the power and franchise of women relative to men.

These changes occurred outside the conversation on homosexuality in society.

To argue that same sex marriages are a dysfunction to society or in some way a threat to the institution of marriage would require a logical argument, so far not introduced. To argue that the purpose of marriage is the production and…

Gay Marriage Hasn't Hurt Europe

The Richmond Times Dispatch just published an article that was originally in the Wall Street Journal and should be required reading for anyone voting this Tuesday on the Virginia Marriage Amendment.

It should put to bed the arguments that same sex marriage will threaten traditional marriage, or that same sex marriage is a slippery slope to other forms of marriage.

Facts have already been proffered that being gay or lesbian is concluded by science to be a state of being and not a moral choice. And that theologians debate whether the scant applicable Bible verses even apply to gays and lesbians in committed relationships.

The legal consequences to unmarried couples are unknown:

Consider an unmarried couple, gay or straight, that decides in Virginia that they want to approximate the rights and benefits of marriage and who go to an attorney and pay untold amounts of money to have wills, contracts, visitation rights, declarations concerning life sustaining procedures, child custody, etc. etc…

The Iraq War Is Now Longer Than World War II

I recently lived in a middle class neighborhood in Riyadh for six years and I traveled extensively in Saudi and a bit in the Middle East. I don’t pretend to be an expert. But I knew quite a bit about the Sunni/Shia animosity. I had a rudimentary knowledge of the centuries old unresolved conflicts in the region. I had traveled in 22 countries.

But my experience here is more than our “C” grade president. Reports indicate that before the Iraqi war George Bush was not even familiar with Sunni and Shia divisions. He had never traveled outside the states. He had an appallingly scant worldview.

And now this “compassionate conservative”, this “I’m a uniter; not a divider” president is going around the country telling audiences that Democrats are “cut and run”, and implying ludicrously that a vote for Democrats is a vote for terrorists. Shame on him and shame on those who continue to support his policy in Iraq.

Democratic Senator Joe Biden has for some time argued a rational and pragmat…

Ted Haggard – The Face of Evangelical “Christians” – A Telling Video

This is a super video that shows the real face of evangelical “Christians” and their hypocritical ministry.

The Devil Masquerading As A Preacher Man

I have a habit of getting up far too early on Sunday mornings. At a time in the morning when it seems that almost every channel has some smarmy preacher in his sanctimonious preachy preacher voice conducting more of an anachronistic morality play than a contemporary discussion about good and evil and man’s search for spiritual uplift.

And unmistakably there comes a moment when the plate is passed, the pitch is made. Last Sunday there was even the opportunity to take a tropical vacation with the evangelist, where interspersed with some Bible readings the onboard congregation can delight in the wonders of God’s tropical paradise – and I’m sure give the pastor and his family a gratis cruise.

And here in Virginia we are seemingly blessed with the embarrassment of two of the extremes of this evangelical nonsense – Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. We have seen over the years the travails of the likes of many other evangelical scandals and it should surprise no thoughtful person that there …

Top 10 Consequences Of Voting Yes On The Virginia Marriage Amendment

The following is offered as there are opposing lists being circulated by the religious right. So, here are my Top 10 Consequences of Voting Yes on the Virginia Marriage Amendment.

1. Voting Yes is unnecessary, as marriage is already defined in Virginia by statute.

2. Voting Yes ignores the facts – ignores the accepted medicine and science on this subject.

3. Voting Yes to constitutionalize such a socially charged issue, in flux, is clearly in opposition to Jeffersonian Democracy.

4. Voting Yes is an unabashed ploy by cynical Republicans to get out their base.

5. Voting Yes is in opposition to the maintaining of a bright line between church and state.

6. Voting Yes could bring about a myriad of unintended consequences to unmarried heterosexual couples.

7. Voting Yes will continue to paint Virginia as a cultural backwater and an unfriendly place for the location of new high tech businesses.

8. Voting Yes will hardly benefit the thousands of children in gay families nor give hope to many orphan…

Yes Virginia, There Are Homosexuals – In Spite Of Mean-Spirited Marriage Amendments

You don't need to be a lawyer to write a marriage amendment apparently, but you could use some common sense. A high school student could have written a better amendment than the proposed Virginia marriage amendment. And if it weren't so poorly written, this topic wouldn't be the subject of debate and discussion all across the Commonwealth.

Just using words like "approximate" and "qualities . . . of marriage" for example --- these words mean something different to every one who reads them.

At least, you will have to admit that for a constitutional amendment to our Bill of Rights, this language is far from ideal. And more importantly is not easily and consistently communicated to the general populace.

But why tiptoe around this. Delegate Robert Marshall has admitted in interviews and debates that he seized onto this quest after Lawrence v. Texas and his homophobia and obsession with sodomy (overlooking that oral sex within heterosexual couples is sodomy …

The Richmond Times Dispatch Reluctantly Opposes The Virginia Marriage Amendment

The Richmond Times Dispatch editorial in opposition of the marriage amendment was the most unenthusiastic, begrudging argument I’ve ever read. It’s almost as if they felt they could just not put together a credible and intellectually honest position to support this outrageous amendment no matter how hard they tried, and so reluctantly had their most junior and pathetic writer put together this drivel.

No mention of the impact this will have on the ability of this state’s gay and lesbian citizens, in the light of the growing tolerance of young people and educated people, to revisit this subject in the future. No mention of the real threats to traditional marriage. No suggestion that homosexuality is now known by medicine and science to be a state of being and not a moral choice. No mention of the trend of giving gays equal civil rights in many western countries with the lack of any noticeable consequence other than an expansion of societal inclusion.

So much for authentic conservativ…

After The Virginia Marriage Amendment – What New Amendment?

Here is a suggestion for an amendment for the next session of the Virginia legislature:

"That only right-handedness may be handedness valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for left-handedness that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of right-handedness. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another handedness to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of right-handedness."

Arguments are that being left-handed is immoral. That it will somehow threaten right-handedness. That children raised by left-handed persons may grow up to be left-handed. That society should not have to provide accommodation to those who are left handed.

Sound ridiculous? Well it wasn’t too long ago in our history that being left-handed was considered immoral. People…

As Jefferson Turns Over In His Grave – The Virginia Marriage Amendment

The fourth panel of Jefferson’s words at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington states:

"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

By engraving this legislation, the Marshall/Newman marriage amendment as an amendment to our Constitution, this does create a very formidable piece of legacy legislation that will prevent future Virginians from changing civic policy by normal legislation routes. And this is contrary to Jeffersonian democracy.

Judge James Harvie Wilkinson, III, is a cons…

How Would Jesus Vote On the Virginia Marriage Amendment?

Perhaps at some future Judgment Day, we will be called on to answer for our actions and perhaps then we will not be able to justify those actions as being the way we were taught or told – the clear message of unconditional love and non-judgmental behavior may overrule. Perhaps the ability God gave humans to independently think, reason, and question, is both a way we are related to God; and the use of that gift, the criteria on which we will be judged.

We are privy to the lessons of history and to the evolution of civilizations – and the lessons we might learn about how peoples have been misled by religious zealots and fundamentalists are many. In a lifetime in America we have witnessed substantial change in attitudes about black Americans, about women, and about the mentally ill. And, much earlier in time, issues such as whether the Earth is flat, whether the Earth is the center of the universe, and whether scientifically proven evolution is to even be considered, have been disput…

Not The Brightest Light In Virginia

Vote for Jim Webb – Virginia deserves better – the problems require better.

Vote NO on the Marriage Amendment – Virginians don’t care to write discrimination into our Bill of Rights.

Virginia Marriage Amendment Debate at the University of Richmond

The moot court room of the University of Richmond’s T. C. Williams Law School was filled to capacity last night as Delegate Robert Marshall, supporting the Virginia Marriage Amendment, debated Senator John Edwards. And I felt an apology was due to Delegate Marshall after all the eye rolling, audible sighs, looks of incredulity, and suppressed hissing that greeted his defense of his pet project – the proposed amendment to Virginia’s Bill of Rights to define marriage. More properly this measure might be called, after Marshall's opening statement, the amendment to stop the gay agenda.

In fairness to Delegate Marshall, the crowd, as I looked around, was stacked against him – they tended to be educated and/or young – and coincidentally the educated and the young are far more tolerant of the homosexuality that Marshall obviously finds immoral. Certainly he would have been more comfortable among authoritatively controlled rural evangelical fundamentalists. He even explained how aft…

How Should a Christian Vote On the Virginia Marriage Amendment?

Remember that Nazi Germany was a Christian country, that the KKK was a Christian organization, that the Spanish Inquisition was Christian, that our Christian Congress failed in fifty successive attempts to give women suffrage, that it was Christian preachers in our country that supported segregation and fought against interracial marriage.

Will the Christians of those times be able, before God, at their own judgment, be able to argue that they only did what they were told, what their leaders told them was defensible?

The Nazis used their anti Semitic laws as a political ploy to play on the fears and prejudices of the German people. Today, in America, more subdued, but in a similar vein, politicians are using fear and underlying prejudice to tap into the psyche of the electorate to enact anti homosexual laws that are sweeping across our country.

Just as Jews were held accountable for the failings in prewar Germany, homosexuals are today being blamed for the demise of marriage in Americ…

In Defense of Mark Foley - Where to Draw the Line

Maybe I’m just a bit thick, but I don’t quite get this Foley hoopla. Not from the right, not from the left, not from the media. Of course the actions of Foley were inappropriate. But compared to what? Tell me, why does this so catch the American imagination? Why is this something, like the Michael Jackson trial, seemingly titillating and magnetic, while at the same time intuitively abhorrent?

And why is this destined to become a footnote of history? It is a three to four week media feeding frenzy in the making.

And it detracts from far more important actual real time news, such as: the war (both of them), illegal immigration, social security and tax reform, jobs, environment, health care and education.

But how in our hypocritical national psyche are we immune to any of the other following real news events that also happened today – and just about every day?

➢ The barely nineteen year old American soldier in Iraq who is gunned down today by a 16 year old Sunni kid hiding behind a s…

Senator, What About The Separation of Church and State?

How it not a violation of law for a dozen or so black ministers to call a press conference today at Brown’s Island, and with Senator George Allen, both endorse the upcoming marriage amendment vote AND stand before the press and endorse Senator George Allen in his senate race against Jim Webb?

How blatant does this have to become before the tax-exempt status of these churches are at risk?

I follow some Virginia conservative blogs, and because of that I got wind of George Allen’s news conference this morning at Brown’s Island.

It was scheduled for 10:00AM and I got there early. I went out of curiosity, I had seen Allen in person only twice before and as this was to be a news event following a prayer breakfast, I was wondering if this was to be about the marriage amendment. There were four TV stations and half dozen reporters, but except for me; I was not able to identify a single individual citizen who was at the event.

Allen arrived with about a dozen or so ministers all with Vote “YES” …

Come On America – Where Is Your Common Sense?

Just watched a news segment on CNN about bio terrorism possibilities on our food crop farms. An “expert” feigns concern over the accessibility of spinach fields from a public road and has the temerity to recommend that such fields be fenced and monitored by camera. And he then turns to a heftily chained and padlocked irrigation pump, frets over how easy it would be to bypass this security and contaminate a whole field.

For heavens’ sake – how alarmist can the media get? How disruptive of our free and open society will events, less threatening to the average American than a lightning strike, become? Can anyone in their 60’s, as I am, not look back to the good ole days when we never even locked our front door, had no idea where our kids were roaming (and learning about life and about risk taking), and certainly not concerned that someone was about to steal our identity, or put anthrax in our junk mail.

We all know that good news is not news – only the horrific, scandalous, and shocki…

George W. Wants To Eliminate Inheritance Taxes

It seems that George Bush believes that taking away the privilege of passing on great wealth from generation to generation -- that to somehow impinge on this fortunate one percent of our wealthiest -- would bring a halt to investment in new enterprise, stifle entrepreneurship, and disturb the foundations of capitalism. And that he believes that this billionaire class is the wellspring of the American economy

It is significant that billionaires such as Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and George Soros disagree and oppose the elimination of the death tax.

I say Mr. Bush is merely catering to his patrician roots and to his moneyed supporters, and has not an iota of interest in the fairness to all Americans or to the growing divide between rich and poor.

And the Karl Rove type of disingenuous propaganda that says that elimination of the ”death tax” or the reinstatement of the inheritance tax, would destroy small business, destroy sub chapter “S” corporations, destroy family farms, has somehow beco…

Thoughts From a Recovering Southern Baptist

There is an interesting snippet and comments from Richard Dawkins new book The God Delusionon the BBC website, and I highly recommend that you give it the two or three minutes it takes to read. It follows a growing concern about religious fundamentalism in the world – in Muslim countries and in Christian countries -- and is certainly worth considering in these times where disparate religious armies again arise to spread terror or abuse in the name of God.

The Internal Inconsistency of the Righteous Religious Right

With the increased intrusion of the religious right into civic government, now is the time to ask who these people are. I suggest that they are authoritatively controlled conservatives who are basically hypocrites.

Hypocrisy: a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially: the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion

Is a Christian someone who tries to model their life after Jesus and who asks when making their choices in life, “What choice do I believe Jesus would make”? Should a Christian use their belief in the example of Jesus as a guide to how to live their life?

I ask the readers and posters visiting this blog to respond to the following hypothetical situations and answer as to how they believe Jesus would have them respond.

1) Would you, just after marriage, but before choosing to procreate, choose instead to adopt one of the millions of children in the world who otherwise would not have a chance at a healthy and happy life, with loving …

Allen Vs. Webb Debate In Fairfax

The debate between George Allen and Jim Webb moderated on last Monday in Fairfax, Virginia by George Stephanopoulos is available for viewing on this LINK.

A Call To Moderate and Tolerant Christians

Learned, scholarly, contemplative, and qualified Christian theologians have differing interpretations, even today, of various parts of the Bible. However, the overriding and foundation message that came from Jesus is more readily held in congruence. To imagine that the Bible, some text written a considerable time after Jesus, is inerrant and inspired, while not considering that God has continued to inspire men as to his will, is to diminish and second guess God.

And it would seem hypocritical to so attack homosexuality, using one’s interpretation of rigid reading, while at the same time not rigidly adhere to ALL of scripture (many examples are available, may I only give Sabbath laws as one). I suggest Matthew 7:1-3 be considered.

“Biblical scholarship can also be "critical" of the New Testament texts themselves in ways that the "historical-critical" model did not allow. It can be challenged morally, religiously, and theologically for its adequacy, consistency, and…