Wake Up People

What times we live in! This threat to our democracy – a threat that is not communists, or socialists, or fascists, but is fundamental religious zealots. Zealots, who in a power grab, overrun that bright line, that firewall, that separates church and state – and leads those who will follow the rest of the crowd. We have seen those crowds before - all through history - do I need to list them out for you? Good people who do bad things caught up behind the seemingly God inspired leaders.

No, I’m not speaking of Hezbollah, or Hamas, or the Islamic Jihad, or even Al-Qaida.

I’m talking about Southern Baptists. Baptists, who not too many years ago were relatively independent and loosely associated Protestant churches, that have now been overtaken and strictly organized by an aging but fanatical, and inerrantly believing their word-by-word interpretation of the King James Version of the Christian Bible, group of zealots -- who believe they alone have God’s personal blessing.

They hate the direction that American families have gone, adultery, rampant unwed mothers the rule, single family parenting, abortions, soaring divorce. And like the power grabs of religious fundamentalists everywhere – there has to be a devil. For the Islamic zealots – it’s Israel. For Southern Baptists – it’s the queers. Queers are responsible for the decline of the American family and their queer agenda has to be stopped.

How stupid really are Americans? Didn’t Lincoln say you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time – but you can’t fool the American people forever. Hopefully forever comes before November – because in November the Virginia electorate go to the polls – those relatively few who can drag themselves away from work and shopping to take the few minutes behind the curtain. And fewer still will have any idea what the first ballot issue is about – an amendment – to our Bill of Rights – to for the first time in our history to engrave in our most hallowed document of state, a state endorsed and prescribed discrimination against a minority of our citizens.

Why? Because it is a low and debased trick to energize the fundamentalist Republican base, who might otherwise notice that in the past six years, with their party in control of all branches of federal and most state governments – that just about any measurable quality of life has deteriorated. It plays on ignorance and it plays on fear and it plays on bigotry and it plays on the basest of human emotions.

They know – science and medicine knows – enlightened people know – homosexuality is NOT a moral choice – it IS a condition of being – probably closer to being left-handed. There is not an iota of evidence that giving our gay citizens equal civil rights to their straight families, neighbors, coworkers – there is not one iota of valid argument that giving homosexuals equality in civil law with heterosexuals will adversely affect anyone’s marriage or anyone’s family.

Virginians – where is your commonsense? Commonsense argues that allowing, finally, for gays to have stable and civil recognized relationships, and the attendant responsibilities and benefits, will be a step towards embracing family values. To offer equal protection to the gay children, natural or adopted, by gay parents is an embracing of family values.

But, I have to say, by making an issue out of gay marriage Republicans cleverly hope to divert attention. Gays have little if anything to do with the state of marriage today in America and legislating away their arguably inalienable rights is not going to either help marriage or help homosexuals. But that is not the intention. The intention is to divert attention – and to ensure their hold on the reins of power.

Sort of like the Muslim religious fundamentalists – who also have crossed long ago that bright line, that firewall between church and state - a protection our forebears so wisely crafted when they originally formed this union.

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First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Martin Niemoelle

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