Tag Archives: National Organization for Marriage

My New Favorite Movie: Doubt

Every once in awhile, a film comes along that is perfect. Doubt, by John Patrick Shanley, is such a film. Originally a play that won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2005, it must have been written in 2004, probably after Bush was “re-elected”, and the fear and despair that reasonable people felt about suffering through another four years of his administration was at its height.

While the film tells the story of a power struggle between a priest and a nun at a Catholic school in 1964, the real struggle is ideological. It is about hope vs. fear, compassion vs. hatred, good vs. evil. The Harry Potter books offer the same theme, but in Doubt there is enough ambiguity to keep you on your toes and really make you think. Throw in some racism and homophobia and you have a film that speaks to our times even though it takes place 45 years ago.

This film is about the current culture war. Meryl Streep’s portrayal of an embittered, cynical, old nun who only sees the worst in people reminds me of Maggie Gallagher at the National Institute of Marriage. They are the ones who recently put out that awful, fear-mongering ad about Teh Gays. But already YouTube is filled with videos countering that hateful message. To see a good selection, check out this post at The Gaytheist Agenda.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was great in Capote not so long ago, was excellent as the priest. As a child, I attended a Catholic church circa 1970 that had similar ideas to those that Hoffman’s character espouses. He reminded me so much of the priest that I knew that it was uncanny.

One other theme that really makes this film great is the idea of change vs. entrenchment. The priest wants to bring the school into the modern age. The nun is incapable of changing. She sees evil everywhere. Love and compassion are alien concepts too her. So the question remains: Are we moving toward a new era of acceptance or are we doomed to be ruled by our fear? And isn’t religion and its antiquated notions of heaven and hell part of the problem?

I gave up on Catholicism thirty years ago, but I would urge Catholics everywhere to watch this movie and really think about what it means. I suppose it is asking too much for the Pope to step into the modern age, but I can hope, can’t I?

streep-doubt

Gay Marriage: Time to Get Active

This is my last post on the National Organization for Marriage. I know that sending these emails to Brian Brown is not very effective. So after hearing on Gay USA last week, that people from out of state can volunteer to call California voters, I’ve done just that. It’s been great so far. Lots of people have already pledged to vote yes. And I’m hoping I’ve nudged some undecideds in the right direction. If you want to find out how you can help, visit the No on Prop 8 website.

Here’s the latest email I received:

Dear Arym,,

Victory on Prop 8 is coming down to whether we can raise the money to get the truth out.

The LA Times ran a story on Oct. 18, “Prop. 8 battle rages over whether gay marriage would be taught in schools.”

“They just made something up in order to scare people and change the subject,” said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

On AM 640’s “Jon & Ken show”–the top radio show in its time slot in San Diego–the hosts, after making fun of a poor woman who believes in prayer and fasting, started making fun of the idea that letting the Supreme Court impose gay marriage on California is going to lead to children being taught about gay marriage in public schools.

Jon, Ken, can we get real for a moment?

Imagine Prop 8 goes down to defeat. Some day very soon, maybe Nov. 5, a public school teacher, who reads to her kindergarteners every day, is going to decide to read “King and King,” the nice fairy tale about a prince who marries a prince and lives happily ever after.

A parent, let’s call her Anna, will hear about this and object to the teacher and/or principal.

What will happen to Anna if we lose on Prop 8? It’s not hard to see: Anna will be told that gay marriage is the law of the land, and a civil rights victory to boot. Other points of view are just bigotry–the Supreme Court has said so!

Because the book is not part of a sex education curriculum, Anna will be told by the principal she has no right to exclude her son. She has no power to protect her 5-year-old boy from being taught in public school that gay marriage is good and normal.

This is going to happen. It already happened to countless parents in Massachusetts after that court ordered gay marriage.

I got an email this week (maybe you did too) from one parent who wrote, “At my own children’s high school there was a school-wide assembly to celebrate same-sex ‘marriage’ in early December, 2003” (i.e., a month after the supreme court decision legalizing same-sex marriage). “…Literature on same-sex marriage–how it is now a normal part of society–was handed out to the students.”

Moreover, I’m willing to bet that a lot of the people in California vigorously claiming public schools won’t teach about gay marriage (certainly Sharon Minter, maybe even Jon and Ken?) are going to turn right around if Prop 8 loses and say, “Of course it’s okay for teachers to read stories of gay marriage to second-graders. It’s legal in California!”

In Florida and Arizona the big lie is: Gay marriage is not a threat, because we have laws against gay marriage. How they can go around saying such things the same year that two supreme courts threw out states’ marriage laws and imposed gay marriage?

Gay rights advocates said the same thing in California in 2000, remember? “Oh, it’s ridiculous to imagine gay marriage ever coming to California, we don’t need a new law.”

And what did they say in California as they passed civil unions, remember? “Oh, it’s just scaremongering to imagine this has anything to do with marriage.” (That was right before the same activists used the civil union law in court to strike down the marriage laws.)

“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me hundreds of times and….”

How many times in a short space of time can gay marriage advocates tell us blatant untruths about their plans and expect us to continue to believe that theirs is a voice of truth and tolerance?

All we are asking for is simple honesty and basic fairness: Tell California voters the truth about what gay marriage–“No on Prop 8”–really means.

Second graders will be taught, using our tax dollars in public schools, that gay marriage is something to be celebrated. That’s because gay marriage is not about what a couple does in private, it’s about what government is going insist we all believe in public.

Oh yes, and one other thing to gay marriage advocates: Could you have the decency not to target people for punishment based on their religion? Gay marriage advocates are specifically targeting donors who are Mormons and trying to dig up dirt to punish them for donating to Prop 8.

People who would do such a thing are not nice people. They are not tolerant people. They do not care about the civil rights or even commonly decent behavior towards fellow citizens with whom they disagree.

I’m hoping and praying such people do not represent most gay marriage advocates.

We can do better, and be better than that. A Yes on Prop 8 vote does not take away a single practical benefit from same-sex couples, who remain protected by civil unions. It will protect our traditional understanding of marriage–in law, in public schools, and in the society as a whole.

This is our last chance to get the truth out. The whole future of marriage hangs in the balance. Can you reach down and make one last sacrifice? $10, $100, $1,000, or if God has given you the means, $10,000?

(I feel presumptious even asking for such sums, but I have to ask–it’s down to the wire. Gay marriage opponents raised $4 million in the last few days.)

We are so close to victory. What if your contribution could bring one more voter–the winning margin–to stand for God’s truth against the deceptions of our opponents?

Whether you can or not, I know how much you care, and how much you’ve sacrificed for this issue. From the bottom of my heart: thank you.

Thank you for standing up for the truth about this great, sacred good called marriage.

It’s an honor to be fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with folks like you.

Yours in Christ,
Brian Brown

And here’s my final reply:

Dear Brian,

In your letter you wrote: “Gay marriage advocates are specifically targeting donors who are Mormons and trying to dig up dirt to punish them for donating to Prop 8.

People who would do such a thing are not nice people. They are not tolerant people. They do not care about the civil rights or even commonly decent behavior towards fellow citizens with whom they disagree.”

I could say the same thing about you and your fellow prop 8 supporters. You are specifically targeting gay people with this legislation. Yourcampaign will hold up one incidence of violence and call all gay people intolerant. You do not care about the civil rights of gay people or even commonly decent behavior towards fellow citizens with whom you disagree.

If you think being gay is a choice, you are sadly mistaken. I am just as much a normal human being as you are, and as such, I demand to have the same civil rights. Thanks to the hatred I feel emanating between the lines of your emails, I have decided to join the No on 8 campaign. Even though I live a few states over from California, I will volunteer my time to reach out to voters and explain why prop 8 singles out one group of voters for unfair treatment under the law.

Arym

So ask yourself not what prop 8 can do for you, but what you can do for prop 8.

National Organization for Marriage Strikes Again

Brian S. Brown of National Organization for Marriage doesn’t mess around. Apparently, he also doesn’t read his email because he sent me another one today, although I should clearly be removed from their list. Here’s the email I received:

Dear Arym,

You’ve probably seen by now a copy of “Gay Marriage and Schoolkids” by the National Organization for Marriage’s President Maggie Gallagher, which appeared in the New York Post and papers around the country.

Maggie asks a really terrific question: “What do gay marriage advocates think public schools should teach about marriage, if gay marriage is the law of the land?”

Well, we don’t have to wonder any longer. The smart folks at Schubert Flint had the bright idea: Let’s take a look at what the same gay marriage groups saying one thing in California recently told courts in Massachusetts about whether parents should have a right to opt out of gay marriage curricula in public schools.

From the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Amicus Curiae Brief:

“In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where the right of same-sex couples to marry is protected under the state constitution, it is particularly important to teach children about families with gay parents.” [p 5]

From the Human Rights Campaign Amicus Curiae Brief:

“There is no constitutional principle grounded in either the First Amendment’s free exercise clause or the right to direct the upbringing of one’s children, which requires defendants to either remove the books now in issue — or to treat them as suspect by imposing an opt-out system.” [pp1-2]

From the ACLU Amicus Curiae Brief:

“Specifically, the parents in this case do not have a constitutional right to override the professional pedagogical judgment of the school with respect to the inclusion within the curriculum of the age-appropriate children’s book…King and King.” [p 9]

Like Maggie asked, “Could we have a reasonably honest discussion please about what you have in store for California’s second graders?”

We got bad news last week from Connecticut where once again a narrow majority decided to toss 2000 years of human wisdom out the window.

This is my week for quoting Maggie.

On National Review Online’s blog The Corner, she expressed her views on the Connecticut decision this way: “Let’s see, on the one hand we have the consensus of the human race over thousands of years and hundreds of societies that there is something distinctive and unique about unions of husband and wife–on the other hand we have the wisdom of Harvard Law school, invented five minutes ago, that anyone who sees a difference is either insane or full of seething malice towards gay people.”

The New York Times, in their October 11 story “Using Biology, Not Religion, To Argue Against Same-Sex Marriage,” also quoted Maggie in response. “Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, a group set up expressly to fight the movement toward gay marriage, said the decision could also spur action to pass constitutional amendments in California, Florida and Arizona that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

“‘I think everyone that feels outraged by this Supreme Court decision is going to take renewed energy that we have to rein in the courts,’ Ms. Gallagher said.”

I couldn’t put it better myself.

We try hard to be your voice here at the National Organization for Marriage: the voice that is not afraid to speak truth–in love–to power for this generation and for the generations to come. (To help us fight for marriage for your children and grandchildren, donate $25, $50, or $100 here.)

The other side is getting increasingly nasty, desperate–and, in at least one case, violent, according to the campaign:

“Prop. 8 supporter, Jose Nunez, 37, was brutally assaulted while waiting to distribute yard signs to other supporters of the initiative after church services at the St. Stanislaus Parish in
Modesto.

“The assailant grabbed about 75 signs and yelled at Nunez accusingly, ‘What do you have against gays!’ Although Nunez replied that he had nothing against gays, he was attacked anyway. The assailant punched Nunez in the left eye and ran off with the signs.” (From a Protect Marriage press release.)

It’s incredible that anyone would be so filled with hate they would want to attack a fellow citizen simply for standing up for God’s truth about the nature and purpose of marriage. But that’s apparently the times we live in.

I also know the vast majority of gay people are ashamed and embarrassed by the actions of hooligans like this. If Prop 8 passes, same-sex couples will keep all the legal protections of civil unions. But that doesn’t stop leaders in the anti-Prop 8 crowd–not low-level thugs like the man who attacked Jose, but the high-level leaders–from engaging in mean-spirited boycotts intended to economically punish whole businesses because one person involved supported Prop 8. That doesn’t stop high-level leaders from relentless name-calling, labeling California voters they disagree with as “anti-gay” and “liars.”

Frankly, I do think these leaders’ actions fosters an environment where ugliness like the attack on Jose happens. And I think their relentlessly nasty attacks (of which the “lies” campaign is just more of the same) is going to backfire among fair-minded California voters, too.

It’s an honor to have the chance to meet and work with so many Americans–especially here in California–who refuse to be intimidated from common sense, or the larger moral truth: Marriage is good. It’s an ancient honorable estate, not rooted in animus towards anyone.

“I am still trying to discuss it with my daughter who was brainwashed in government class in public high school,” one incredibly persistent pro-marriage volunteer named Barb wrote to Maggie recently.

Barb is an amazing example of the outpouring of love and energy bringing together people from all walks of life, every creed, every color across this country to protect marriage.

Barb started by asking us for help in approaching her priest to preach on marriage. “What should I say to Father Michael? Thanks in advance,” Barb asked.

Maggie wrote back: “Say, ‘There’s an important vote on Prop 8, and the Catholic bishops have endorsed it.’

“Say, ‘I really really need help explaining to my children and/or grandchildren why it’s important to protect this understanding of marriage as a husband/wife thing. Would you please help me teach the next generation why our church teaches that marriage really matters to the whole society?'”

This week Barb wrote back to say she’ll be manning a booth outside of three masses this Sunday, distributing flyers for Prop 8!

Way to go Barb! She’s my new hero–but one of many new heroes for marriage coming out of this fight.

Way to go each and every one of you who’ve taken action to protect marriage! Whether it’s donating time or money, calling a friend, asking your minister to preach Yes on Prop 8 in California (or Yes on Prop 2 in Florida or Yes on Prop 102 in Arizona)–we’d be nowhere without you.

Pray for Jose and his family.

And I pray that God rewards each and every one of you for your courage and fidelity.

Yours in Christ,

Brian Brown

Brian S. Brown
Executive Director
National Organization for Marriage
20 Nassau Street, Suite 242
Princeton, NJ 08542
bbrown@nationformarriage.org

Then there was a reprinting in there entirety of five hateful articles they have managed to get published since October 11th and October 15th. My, they certainly are busy.

And here’s my reply:

Dear Mr. Brown,

As a lesbian who has raised two children and sent them to public schools, I know first-hand how cruel children can be when they find out a classmate has two mothers. Fortunately, this was a minority of children. I think, however, many children would benefit from learning from their teachers that families with gay parents exist. These families will exist whether or not gay marriage becomes the law of the land. They just won’t have the same legal rights as the families headed by heterosexual couples.

As for where you got the idea that human history has only existed for 2000 years, I haven’t the faintest notion. Most anthropologists would agree that human civilization has been around for 10000 years. Those were harsh times, filled with disease, famine and worship of sun gods and various agriculture deities. I’m sure gay people back then were too busy struggling to survive day-to-day to worry about getting married.

In modern society, this is no longer the case. Marriage is more of a legal institution than a “sacred” privilege. Much research shows that Christianity and other major religions are mere re-tellings of the pagan beliefs of Ancient Egypt. Isn’t it time that you set aside 10000 years of superstition and bigotry and step into the modern world? You’ll feel better when you do.

Sincerely,

You can write to him, too. His email address is shown above. I have also linked to NOM in the first line of this post. Have fun!