Friday, November 06, 2009

Maine Defeat: The Lessons Learned

There are countless post mortem being done on the success of the anti-marriage equality in Maine this past Tuesday. There is blame being cast by some who are playing Monday morning quarterback while others are acknowledging that the pro-marriage equality forces overall ran a good campaign. One factor that is hard to counter is the toxic message and tactics of the Christianists. These false Christians demonstrate an unbelievable willingness to deliberately lie and fear monger in the most calculating manner. Truth means absolutely nothing to these people and it is difficult to compete with people who are basically amoral despite their self-congratulatory claims of religiosity. No lie is too big or too outrageous if our opponents believe that it will frighten the uninformed and ignorant. Lurking behind all of the lies is the added difficulty of conversing with those who have been religiously brainwashed and who are unwilling to listen to valid legal arguments or use any mental thought processes when confronted with the legitimate difference between the civil laws and religious belief. Jeremy Hooper at Good As You calls this the "faith issue" and describes it as follows:
The faith question: Americans have MAJOR trouble disconnecting civil marriage from religious ceremony. It's nobody's fault, really. We're given the whole church, white dress, marry at the altar meme from birth. So many people never stop and think about the civil marriage license, other than in terms of it being a mere formality that they they have to do before their big day. And many who marry in a house of worship or via the voice of a person of faith never think about the millions of folks who marry without any religious component whatsoever. But Americans do understand church/state separation. In my opinion, the church-state issues, and the specific faith motivations of the opposition, have never been highlighted as effectively as they could be.
One of the problems we face is the refusal of the Main stream media to get tough on the lies put out by the Christianist elements. Nowadays, too many reporters and anchors think that mindlessly parroting what our opponents say is legitimate reporting. God forbid that they ever ask for proof of statements made or focus on the fact that one set of religious beliefs are being given the force of law while other religious views are trampled and delegitimized - even though the U. S. Constitution guarantees religious freedom to ALL citizens. Or at least that's the spin the USA puts on it when self-congratulating itself and lecturing other nations.
Personally, I believe we need to do more to highlight the religious based bigotry off the opponents of GLBT equality. Likewise we need to do more to debunk the "Christian nation" lie disseminated by our enemies. We also need to do more to run a stake through the heart of the myth that sexual orientation is a choice and the myth that sexual orientation can be changed. Were we to prevail on this issue, the Christianist lies about gays recruiting children would wither away. Medical and mental health experts support the untruth of these favored Christianist myths, yet again, the media refuses to flat out challenge and refute the lies we hear again and again on this front.
I and others need to figure out how to challenge the lies and untruths of our opponents and exposes them for the liars and hypocrites that they are. We also need to find a way to hold the media's feet to the fire and revive investigative reporting and the willingness of media personnel to call liars for what they are regardless of how tightly the liars wrap themselves in the flag of religion.

1 comment:

Ken in MS said...

Great post, Michael. That is exactly what we have to do. We have to figure out how to break through. Somehow we have to use their own "strengths" against them. That is always the way of the true victor.

The only thing I can even remotely think to do that is to use the idea that what they want is a return to the kind of society that is very fundamentalist Islam in nature, the exact type of "third-world" culture that they purport to hate so much. It's inherently dangerous, I know, because of the hate it can inspire towards Middle Easterners of any faith, and also because they may very well want a world of Christian sharia law. So I don't know. But something along these lines has to be done to break through and use their own fear and loathing and arrogance and misplaced pride against them.

I've made the argument in comments on various sites. All the issues of mobilizing, legal strategizing, and political patronizing will only get us so far. We've got to figure out how to make the ARGUMENT.