Last Monday morning I sat on the set of the prestigious Washington Journal program on C-SPAN. Most folks have seen this program which features phone calls and e-mails from the Democratic, Independent, or Republican perspective. In this way many points of view are aired. The topic was religion in politics. My fellow guest (opponent) was an ordained minister who runs a politically liberal non-profit organization. It was a great discussion, but I came away troubled about several things.
My opponent’s opening salvos attempted to say that same–sex marriage and abortion were wedge issues. He stated that conservatives were polarizing the country. He intimated that fair-minded folks, like himself, wanted to avoid these incendiary topics in order to “keep the political peace.” During the program, I thought that the rhetoric being used by the liberal clergy man was similar to some things I had heard before. Further research revealed that he was speaking from a “pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion script.”
Let me explain. The Washington Blade (a leading gay newspaper) reported that gay leaders from around the country planned to meet in Washington, D.C. September 8, 2006 in order to strategize how to enlist non-gay people into their cause. The Blade reported that 16 national organizations were expected along with state gay civil rights groups.
Gay rights attorney, Evan Wolfson, defined the purpose of the meeting as follows, ”It’s really less about a meeting and more about what we are doing to enlist non-gay people and to move public opinion.” They would like to get one million people to sign their petition which states, “I support the right of every American to marry, including gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender couples. I believe that marriage and other civil rights protections are essential to making all families safer and more secure.” The goal of the radical gay fringe is to receive “legal recognition for a wide range of relationships, households, and families, and for the children in all of those households and families, including same-sex marriage, domestic partner benefits, second-parent adoptions, and others”(according to Beyondmarriage.org).
To add insult to injury, despite the long speeches made by the Democrats in both Congress and the Senate this summer; there is a five-point plan in place to block any legislation prohibiting homosexual marriage. Last summer, in morally condescending tones, we were told that the war, gas prices, and immigration were the most important issues of the day. All the while, Democrats were using rhetoric to make conservatives and evangelicals seem petty and bigoted. Damien Lavera, spokesperson for the DNC, articulated these five strategic points to the Washington Blade. My best representation of these points is as follows:
1. Label anti-gay ballot measures as divisive
2. Train state party operatives in all 50 states on how to campaign against anti-gay ballot measures.
3. Work with National Stonewall Democrats to develop talking points.
4. Equate pro-family values arguments with racism
5. Enlist celebrity backing and endorsements.
Despite the rhetoric of Democratic legislators this summer, they were working feverishly behind the scenes on an anti-marriage agenda. Their language was rehearsed and unified. Unfortunately, most of them lied to the public about their motives for not wanting to fully discuss a constitutional amendment to protect marriage. The DNC allowed the protection of marriage to become a Republican issue. They let the RNC own the role of protector of family values. Unfortunately, their apathetic approach contributed to Bush’s victory in 2004. Values voters who came to the polls to support marriage also voted Republican. This was painfully obvious to the Democrats in the Ohio 2004 race.
The Democratic Party could have chosen to honor the role of tradition family and fragment the bi-partisan support Republicans have garnered. It is widely rumored that President Clinton offered John Kerry a winning strategy just before the 2004 election. This strategy was simply to declare that he wanted to protect traditional marriage, while offering gays several civil rights concessions – instead of advocating complete acceptance of gay marriage. If this story is correct, Clinton’s advice would have diffused the moral fury that the prospect of same sex marriage had released in many of the Red States.
Instead, Kerry pandered to his party’s most liberal fringe element, while attempting to deceive mainstream voters. The entire party has continued with this approach, even though it doesn’t make sense. They march out Barack Obama and others to talk publicly about spirituality and a broad moral agenda; while intentionally abandoning many of the very values they public espouse. When the moderate democratic base fully grasps the magnitude of the moral values deception, there will be some political fall out.
Sleight of hand only works in magic!