Saturday, February 03, 2007

Subjugation Part II

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Public universities and local governments can't provide health insurance to the partners of gay employees without violating the state constitution, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Friday. Read more here.



Our local moral crusaders in Massachusetts have been pushing the fact that they are bigots to the side, and have formulated the argument that people of the state have the right to vote on important issues, like marriage equality. They say that they are not intolerant of others, yet when Michigan's Supreme Court stripped gays of their same sex partner insurance, here is what Tyler Dawbin of Article 8 Alliance had to say, "Thank you, Michigan."

You see, it seems clear now that the whole protection of marriage argument is a ruse, and is only phase one of a war campaign that ends in the utter subjugation of the gay community. To people like Tyler, we are not worthy of anything from the government, and his comments that he would favor same sex unions and benefits now all seem to be a lie.

Sit back and relax GLBT across America, I'm sure someone is fighting this cause for you, right? This methodology is working so well, right?

"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" ~Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

18 comments:

Jerry Maneker said...

John: A terrific post that all decent people should heed! The fact that professing Christians aren't standing up to this intolerance and the denial of basic civil rights speaks volumes about what so much of the organized Church has become.

John Hosty said...

Thanks for commenting Rev. Dr. Maneker. It is a sad realization that brings me to say we have to stop talking about making peace and start talking about the war that has been brought upon us. Our society is at a dangerous place right now, and my hope is that if people wake up and do something now, we can avoid how ugly this is about to become. I'd love to hear your thoughts on our social evolution since you are a professor of sociology at U.C. Chico. Would you care to share your thoughts on where we are at, and what you expect the future will hold?

John said...

" we have to stop talking about making peace and start talking about the war that has been brought upon us."

Hit the nail on the head. I concur. You have noticed that I have already started changing my tone.

Let's not forget though the war is not lost in Michigan. This will be appealed to Michigan's Supreme Court.

I'll keep my eye on Brayton's blog Monday. He is in Michigan and his blog attracts constitutional experts.

Jerry Maneker said...

John: "I'd love to hear your thoughts on our social evolution since you are a professor of sociology at U.C. Chico. Would you care to share your thoughts on where we are at, and what you expect the future will hold?"

I honestly don't know for sure, but I do believe that although in the foreseeable future same-sex marriage will become a reality, as will the acquisition of equal civil rights for LGBT people, it will not occur without taking the fight to the courts, to the politicians, to the media, and to the streets. I don't believe in human evolution, in the sense that the human condition has shown itself to thrive on discrimination against minority groups that are viewed as being safe targets to persecute.

Once LGBT civil rights are acquired, for example, another minority groups that is perceived as being safe to persecute will appear in the spotlight of those who perceive themselves to be in the dominant group. Unfortunately, that seems to be the human condition, and the sociologist Vilfredo Pareto called that phenomenon "the circulation of elites."

The most recent, and egregious, example is the notorious homophobia in the black community and black churches. If people really did "evolve," one would think that one historically oppressed group would empathize with another historically oppressed group! However, that is clearly not the case!

Unfortunately, the fight for civil rights and dignity is going to have to be continually fought for, without let up, by a string of minority groups, or groups that are discounted by others in some way. We saw this among black people, women, and now the fight must be far more assiduously fought by LGBT people and allies. However, my concern is that most LGBT people seem quite content to sit in the back of the bus, and be regarded as second class citizens, as long as they are able to be left alone.

This phenomenon may well have a great deal to do with so much self-loathing and shame that has been internalized by so many LGBT people due to the hostile rhetoric coming from assorted quarters, not the least of which is the Church. However, regardless of the reason, if LGBT people don't get off their duffs and fight for their dignity and civil rights, the realization of those rights will not occur until they can shake off the shackles of their low self-esteem and lethargy and realize that civil rights are never freely given by the dominant group but must always be strenuously fought for.

What many don't realize is that like all school yard bullies, if you give the dominant group an inch allowing denial of civil rights they will take a mile, as we just saw in Michigan. LGBT people and allies are going to have to become far more militant in demanding full and equal civil rights in every venue possible if equality is to be won; if there isn't sufficient militancy by LGBT people and allies, they are capitulating to the hegemony of the dominant group that will only lead to further erosion of their basic dignity and denial of civil rights!

In this case, lethargy equals second class citizenship! There is no room for compromise in the struggle for the acquisition of civil rights! That's one of the reasons I'm against domestic partnerships and civil unions. No one must settle for anything less than "marriage," as to do otherwise still places lesbian and gay couples as "different," "the other," "the deviant." When it comes to civil rights, it must be all or nothing!

And right now, on the federal level, it's nothing! And on the state level, there is no civil right that has been conferred that can't be removed by the stroke of a pen, as we just saw in Michigan.

If the denial of dignity and equal civil rights doesn't motivate people to stand up and fight this good fight, I don't know what will!

John Hosty said...

As always you're a pleasure to have here on LLL. You're a wealth of information, and I hope that people give some serious thought to what you've said. Many thanks sir!

Paul Jamieson said...

People are not motivated and people are not protesting because they do not believe that gay marriage is a civil right.

It is really that simple.

No matter how hard you try to make it so, the black community will never embrace the gay rights movement because they know it doesn't jibe.

And for all the old hippies looking for a war to protest or a cause to rally around, its not working.

John Hosty said...

Paul, I don't mind dissenting opinions here so long as they are based on fact and not just meant to incite your rivals. Feel free to post here, but bring something besides anger to the table.

The major problem I see between our two sides is an accute lack of respect, and I think that is true on both sides. What do you propose we should do about this problem? What is your vision of us living together in peace?

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks so much, John. I don't agree, however, with your response to Paul, as I don't see LGBT people seeking to deprive black people, or any other people for that matter, of civil rights! There can be no meeting of the minds when one side seeks to disparage and denigrate the other that doesn't seek to do anyone any harm! He's flat out wrong! And we're not all "old hippies!" We're just Christians!

John said...

For the record, I am an old hippie.

Jerry Maneker said...

For the record, I'm just old. :))

Jeff said...

Of possible relevance...

I've had the conversation with a Christian friend of mine on several occasions, saying how I'm actually surprised that Christian groups don't actually support -- or at least do not oppose -- the legality of things like same sex marriages. He was shocked. Why would I think that? Why would they support or not oppose something that their religion preaches against?

The obvious answer to me is that issues like same sex marriage are moral issues for them. As Americans, I would think that the _legal_ answer would be that moral issues should not be decided on by any particular religion. Were you to maintain that all the laws should follow you religion, then you are invalidating the very thing that allows to to practice you religion constitutionally: freedom of religion itself. Christians should, in my opinion, be all for freedom of religion. In fact, I'd think the smaller the branch of the Christianity tree you are on, the more you should think that way, since if you freedom of religion goes away, suddenly you could find yourself forced to follow the doctrines of, say, the Church of America instead of the Assembly of God.

Note that none of this means that the Christian in question have to agree with the moral rightness of same sex marriage. Far from. I know perfectly well that the doctrine followed most Christian organizations says that this is unacceptable. I understand this. They aren't about to marry any same sex couples on any of their properties, perform any marriage ceremonies, or even acknowledge that such couples are truly joined in some spiritual way accepted by the deities they worship. I expect that. It makes sense to me.

But the _legality_ of it in the free society we seem to aspire to in this country, a core tenant of our constitution, and a major reason for pilgrims to migrate to this country in the first place... these things seem to all point to the fact that same sex marriage needs to be legal. If it's not because of someone else's religious doctrine, then the rights of all of us are diminished, whether it actually affect you personally as an individual or not.

This point has been utterly lost on him.

John Hosty said...

Jeff,

I love your points! Truly the radical right does not seem to understand they are trampling the very principle by which their freedoms are upheld.

The trouble is that they are waging a very effective misinformation campaign, where gays are the aggressors, intimidators, and evil. They are in no way trying to find a common ground, or looking for a way for us all to live in peace. Instead they simply want the gay community to go away; an unrealistic expectation.

What we need to do is expose the lies where we find them, and make sure we are spending our time talking to people that might listen, rather than draining our batteries on the people who are too caught up in their own vitriol to see the light of their own religion shining through. Love can move mountains, but all too often it is fear and hatred that organized religion brings to the table.

I am glad to see a few religious leaders that are unafraid of speaking on this fact, and reminding the public that all religions are based on love and peace. Love and peace is the approach that will bring about a solution, but I fear that a solution is not what is wanted. More likely the gay community will continue to be used as a reason to polarize our society, and re-energize their dying base. We have seen this cycle before with Rock and Roll, Heavy Metal, Dungeons and Dragons, etc.

John said...

"We have seen this cycle before with Rock and Roll, Heavy Metal, Dungeons and Dragons, etc"

As a straight man, I am pleased that one of the "etc." that they fought against and lost, was short skirts :)

Jeff said...

In trying to rally people in a feeling of unity, one useful tool is to have an enemy. Something beyond just a reason that your group of people is better than everyone else, but someone whom you can speak ill of, pretty much all the time. As the Nazi has the Jews, co now the Fundies have their homosexuals. Listening to the words of such prestigious people as Anita Bryant, who spoke to us of such concepts as "homosexual recruitment of children" and tried to make the word "gay" be synonymous with things like "child molestation" and "sleeping with St. Bernards." In fact, all of the Fundies seem to try to point to homosexuals as child molesters (and being transgendered, as I've commented before).

I read a while ago that with the fall of communist Russia people needed some new enemy to fear. I'm not sure how true that it is, but I do know that Fundies make homosexuals out to be some huge enemy to all they hold true and dear... and for no good reason that I can see None of what I hear people rant about is ever based on logic or facts, and certainly never out of first hand accounts.

You mentioned D&D. How many times had I heard people saying, "My minister says that game is evil!" A lot when I worked at a hobby store. On those rare occasions when I asked if the person in question had ever looked at/read the game himself, I was dismissed. I can only conclude that this was something no one who hated the game so very, very much knew anything about the game.

When watching the 700 Club once about D&D... well, suffice to say that the information was either highly in error (most of it) or actually heartening (wow, sounds those who play D&D have a substantially lower chance odds of being a suicide statistic).

With such a stellar record of truth, experience, and understanding, I personally view the point of view of the Fundies on homosexuality as mis-information to the point of being criminal, cult-like activity. It's all just to give people a rallying cry against something. It certainly isn't based on facts or anything wholesome.

John Hosty said...

Jeff,

you have an amazing insight and clarity for the truth. My question for you is why do you think so many people are apathetic to this? Why does the Christian misinformation campaign have so much strength?

Incidentally, I read today on a google alert I have set for "gay marriage" that Russia is taking steps to re-criminalize homosexuality. Their supporters are neo-nazis, the KKK, former communists, and of course the Christian right.

Is it me, or does it seem that the idea of a state enforced moral code that excludes gay rights is much like communism? Like a mob mentality; we all have to think like the hive. That's my rant for today. Ciao!

Jeff said...

Problem is, as far as I can tell, that the good sane people generally aren't interested in such political stuff. They aren't looking to change the world. They aren't squicked by the fact that other people are different than themselves. They aren't afraid that people who have differences of opinion or do different things. And, most of all, it seems to me they have better things to do with their lives.

I'm not sure exactly where the urge lies that says "Hey, those people are different, let's go to where they hang out with some baseball bats." It doesn't make sense to me. And it seems to not make sense to people I know who are gay, or not white, or whatever. I don't know, maybe they just need to get laid more often. Maybe they need to stop having their minds filled with fear-mongering propaganda from their social groups/cults (the negative term, not some dictionary definition) that's looking to control them and make them give them money.

I'm guessing that the apathy on many people's parts isn't a complete negative, though. Seriously, do you actually care, to the point that you'd want to pass legislation or go to a church somewhere and start picoting with badly-made signs and rioting, because some xian group is talking about... I don't know... pretty much anything you'd find odd... the virtues of drinking raw bull's blood and how the missionary position is really the only way... whatever. Assuming no one is being hurt by this, no one is being incited to riot, or whatever... would you go out of your way to ridicule these people? Go down and beat them with bats? Call your congressmen? (BULL'S BLOOD! It's supposed to be wine!) I'm guessing not. Sure, comments might be made. Jokes told. But you wouldn't shoo them away from your children during the big school bake sale, or call them evil, or the like. You'd live and let live.

The people who have that level of apathy you describe are like that. They just want to live their lives. They aren't foul, obnoxious people who want laws passed the screws over everyone's rights, including their own, because they can't separate the religious views from the laws around them or the fact that there are other people not them.

You recall the quote from someone that the people who want political power are the ones who really shouldn't have it? Woefully, the same thing is applying here, I think.

---

Side note, perhaps unrelated: did you go to the city hall in Boston years back when they opened at midnight and gave marriage licenses to same sex couples? The crowds were huge. People with signs, contra dancers, people cheering... it was great. I was there until 3 or so. I stayed until my friends came out. But many were there all night.

There were also Fundies there. People who paid an aweful lot of money for expensive looking but really bad-looking signs. There weren't many of them at all. And they all left as soon as the news vans did. When the 11 o'clock news team left, these protesters were also gone. They stayed long enough to get on TV, and then went home. My opinion? This was not a matter of passion for them. This isn't something that's really important at all. They were just there to make it look like it was important to them. They threw money from the collection plates to make some signs, put zero effort into even that, and had people there just long enough so they could say how "they were there" at church.

I felt moved to apathy, as I didn't start picoting their churches.

John Hosty said...

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Voltaire said, "I do not agree at all with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Where are the people who understand how government works enough to know that if we continue down this road that brings a constitutional change to ban gay marriage, it will limit their children's rights? Our society has prospered because we have a melting pot of cultures and wide diversities all put together and learning from one another. How can we allow one group to say that another group is dangerous, and then enact legislation against that group without the due process of them proving why?

Unless we can wake the public from their stupor, and help them realize what they are doing, we doom ourselves to dragging the process of social evolution out much longer. I am confident that in the end we shall see Dr. King's "Dream" come true, but I for one don't want to sit back and wait for it to happen on it's own. I know that the people who I have reached out to have had a change of heart. People like you Jeff, and John who is straight, as well as Dr. Maneker, you make a difference. Yet we have apathy even in the gay world too. How do we break through? Is it meant to be a slow process, and it is just wishfull thinking to hope for more?

My thoughts were to get the gay community to be more organized, so that our efforts were not wasted or overlapped by other groups trying to accomplish the same goals. I have spoke at length to Amy Mello of MassEquality.org about this, and I gues there is an effort to do just that.

My second thought was that if our opposition os going to engage in a misinformation campaign, let's have an equal and sustained campaign of truth. There are enough lawyers, politicians, PhDs, and MDs on our side to back up the benefits of social equality.

Third and no less important is a campaign that involves getting to know us. We the gay community need to reach out and make a conscious effort to allow the vast moderate middle to get to know us better. Some might say that TV is doing this job for us, and it did help in the 70's to have many black shows when we as a nation were trying to unlearn racial discrimination.

In the end I am only wanting for a day when that fat, the black, the Wiccan, the elderly, the dissabled, and the gay mingle in the public without having to worry about what they are. Their actions and the content of their character should be what we judge them by.

John said...

"They aren't afraid that people who have differences of opinion or do different things. And, most of all, it seems to me they have better things to do with their lives."

That is a real good insight. I have had similar thought myself. I don't care what others do or what they believe, but I do care that everyone be free to choose their own path.

And if it weren't those who want to deny equal rights to others, you would never know what I think.