Indocrination – BOO!

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Oct 262008
 

An article at the Florida Bilerico project points out the lengths to which the American Taliban will go in order to scare people. John Stemberger, lead proponent of Florida’s Amendment 2, is claiming that if Amendment 2 fails, the schools will have to indoctrinate children to gay marriage.

John Stemberger

John Stemberger

Failing to ban gay marriage in the state constitution could result in the indoctrination of schoolchildren into a gay lifestyle. Florida schools might have to teach that gay weddings are the same as traditional unions if the proposal fails at the polls.

In the first place, there remain four (one wasn’t good enough for the American Taliban) Florida statutes on the books which prohibit gay marriage, and they will still be on the books after this election. They have been challenged in court, and have, so far, stood a state constitutional examination.

In the second place, when the hell did any teaching of “marriage” enter the school curriculum anyway…straight or gay? I admit to forgetting a lot, and it’s been a long time since I was in school, but I just don’t remember ever being taught “marriage.” But hey, if you’re crazy and desperate, anything goes, right?

And on top of all that, despite being an attorney (or maybe because of it), Stemberger and Florida4Marriage.com are being accused of violations of campaign finance laws. It seems that political organizations must disclose from whence comes their funding. Well Stemberger, who incorporated Florida4Marriage, also incorporated Florida Family Action as a not-for-profit. As such Florida Family Action would not have to disclose their donors. Now it turns out that Ads being run in favor of Amendment 2 say they are paid for by Florida4Marriage, but it turns out they actually paid for by Florida Family Action.

In fact, Florida Red and Blue, who filed the complaints, has a memo written by Stemberger encouraging people to donate to Florida Family Action rather than Florida4Marriage. When he was asked about it, The Florida Times Union reported the following:

Stemberger said having donors contribute to the lobbying group is proper and understandable – especially considering past backlash against donors like Amway Corp. founder Richard DeVos, a major donor.

“Some people want to remain anonymous. It’s because of the intimidation of our opponents.”

This to me sounds like an admission of guilt. The law says you can’t hide contributions for this kind of activity, regardless of the reason. The GOP has often been a primary benefactor of these kinds of initiatives, and have been in Florida up to recently. People don’t take actions like this unless they have a good reason to hide something. So let’s make Mr. Stemberger disclose who contributes to both organizations.

Oct 062008
 

Here in Florida there is a ballot iniative to enshrine bigotry in the State Constitution by adding a ban on gay marriage (already illegal here). This is, of course, being spearheaded by an Orlando attorney who most likely has political aspirations, and thinks he’ll gain some points with the Rethuglicans by having this on the ballot, to hopefully turn out the good ole boys down here to vote for McCain. Right now it appears to be a toss up.

A similar measure is on the ballot in California, but unlike in Florida, it is now legal for gay people to marry. Once in a rare while, in the political discourse of this country, there is a flash of courage and clarity of thinking. One such flash has happened in California. Father Geoffrey Farrow of the Saint Paul Newman Center on the campus of the University of California (Fresno) is a courageous cleric. Here is a man who has spoken truth to power, and perhaps ended his career. Below is the entirity of his Homily from this past Sunday.

As most of you know, I was appointed pastor here at the Newman Center on April 15th of this year. When I arrived, I set out to address a series of various projects to repair our facilities. To date, most of these deferred maintenance items have been addressed. In the middle of dealing with contractors, the parish finance committee, the building department of the diocese, neighbors, etc., I received a FAX from the bishop’s office on the 30th of June. It was the bishop’s pastoral letter for the month of July.

This single FAX threw my whole summer, and in fact, my whole life into a turmoil. Recently, I was speaking with some of our parishioners who advocate for the ordination of women. In the course of our conversation, a question arose which has haunted me: “At what point do you cease to be an agent for healing and growth and become an accomplice of injustice?” By asking all of the pastors of the Diocese of Fresno to promote Catholics to vote “Yes” on Proposition 8, the bishop has placed me in a moral predicament.

In his “Pastoral,” the bishop states: “Marriage is much more than simply two persons loving each other. Marriage is naturally, socially, and biologically, directed to bringing forth life.”

Actually, there are TWO ends to marriage: 1) Unitive and 2) Procreative. The unitive end of marriage is simply a union of love and life. The Procreative end is, of course, to create new life. It is important to understand that the unitive end of marriage is sufficient for a valid marriage. The Church sanctions, and considers a sacrament, the marriage of elderly heterosexual couples who are biologically incapable of reproduction. So, if two people of different genders who are incapable of reproduction can enter into a valid marriage, then why is that two people of the same gender, who are incapable of reproduction, cannot enter into a valid marriage.

The objections which are raised at this point are taken from Sacred Scripture. Scripture scholars reveal the problematic nature of attempting to use passages from the Hebrew Scriptures as an argument against same gender relationships. Essentially, these scriptures are addressing the cultic practices in which sex with temple prostitutes was part of an act of worshiping Pagan gods. With regard to the Pauline epistles, John J. McNeill, in his book: “The Church and the Homosexual,” makes the following point: “The persons referred to in Romans 1:26 are probably not homosexuals that is, those who are psychologically inclined toward their own sex-since they are portrayed as ‘abandoning their natural customs.’” The Pauline epistles do not explicitly treat the question of homosexual activity between two persons who share a homosexual orientation, and as such cannot be read as explicitly condemning such behavior. Therefore, same gender sex by two individuals with same sex orientation is not “abandoning their natural custom.”

In 1973, as a result of a greater understanding of human psychology, the American Psychological Association declassified homosexuality as a mental illness. In 1975, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Church’s watchdog for orthodoxy) produced a document entitled: “Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics.” In this document, they made the most remarkable statement. They stated that there are “homosexuals who are such because of some kind of innate instinct.” While these statements are hardly glowing affirmations of gay and lesbian persons, they represent a watershed in human perception and understanding of gay and lesbian people.

These new insights have occurred as a result of the birth and development of the science of psychology and understanding of brain development in the 19th and 20th centuries. The California Supreme Court cited and quoted an amicus brief filed by the APA in the Court’s opinion issued on May 15, 2008 that struck down California’s ban on same sex marriage. Specifically, the court relied on the APA’s brief in concluding that the very nature of sexual orientation is related to the gender of partners to whom one is attracted, so that prohibiting same sex marriage discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, rather than just imposing disparate burdens on gay people.

In directing the faithful to vote “Yes” on Proposition 8, the California Bishops are not merely entering the political arena, they are ignoring the advances and insights of neurology, psychology and the very statements made by the Church itself that homosexuality is innate (i.e. orientation). In doing this, they are making a statement which has a direct, and damaging, effect on some of the people who may be sitting in the pews next to you today. The statement made by the bishop reaffirms the feelings of exclusion and alienation that are suffered by individuals and their loved ones who have left the Church over this very issue. Imagine what hearing such damaging words at Mass does to an adolescent who has just discovered that he/she is gay/lesbian? What is the hierarchy saying to him/her? What are they demanding from that individual? What would it have meant to you personally to hear from the pulpit at church that you could never date? Never fall in love, never kiss or hold hands with another person? Never be able to marry? How would you view yourself? How would others hearing those same words be directed to view you? How would you view your life and your future? How would you feel when you saw a car with a “Yes on 8″ bumper sticker? When you overheard someone in a public place use the word “faggot?” Continue reading »

Apr 302008
 
This entry is part 11 of 29 in the series Gay Marriage

This is the final in the series analyzing the debate between John Stemberger and Nadine Smith at the Orlando Tiger Bay club luncheon. This debate was held on March 27, 2008. This will analyze the Question and Answer section, and the closing comments by Smith and Stemberger.

As noted in a comment on a previous article in the series, “Studies of places that have a high “creativity quotient, which attract talented young people to move to these places, show that acceptance of LGBT folks is high on the list of criteria that these young folks look for, when they consider moving.” In light of that, the first question from the audience concerns the fact that fully one-half of Fortune 500 companies offer domestic partner benefits. The questioner points out that they probably don’t do this to pay more for insurance, but to attract talent. His question is, won’t this make it more difficult for Florida to attract talented people? Continue reading »

Apr 182008
 
This entry is part 8 of 29 in the series Gay Marriage

At the end of March, Nadine Smith, Co-Chair of Fairness for All Families, took on John Stemberger of Florida Family Council at the Orlando Tiger Bay Club for debate on the Amendment 2, the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment. Basically, he got his ass handed to him by Ms. Smith, but I don’t think she was aggressive enough.

The event was videotaped, and posted on Youtube in four parts. There are other versions of the debate as well, including one between Mr. Stemberger and the other heterosexual Co-Chair of Fairness for All Families at the Tallahassee Tiger Bay Club. The two sets are essentially the same. I’m going to use the Orlando recording and provide a separate commentary on each of four videos.  Continue reading »

Mar 312008
 
This entry is part 7 of 29 in the series Gay Marriage

This will be the first in what I expect will evolve into a series of articles related to the upcoming election and the vote on Constitutional Amendment #2. This is the krazy kristian kooks attempt to have a large conservative turnout in Florida, so instead of fielding a worthy candidate, they go for the divisive issue. Amendment #2 is, of course, a “marriage protection” amendment for the Florida Constitution.

Continue reading »

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