Saturday, May 05, 2012

Will Homophobia and Hate Win Out in North Carolina?

Nate Silver analyzes the numbers in a New York Times piece and makes my stomach churn when he predicts that Amendment One will likely pass next Tuesday.  It gives me a sad sense of deja vu as to what happened here in Virginia in 2006 when the vile Marshall-Newman Amendment to Virginia's Constitution passed with a 57% approval rate.  Back then, the only consolation was that the loss wasn't as bad as had been the case in Deep South states like Mississippi where anti-gay amendments passed by more that 75%.  Now, LGBT citizens of North Carolina are on the verge of finding out whether a majority of voters in their state basically view them as human garbage because, regardless of what the Amendment One proponents say, that's the real message they are seeking to send.  "Protecting marriage" is just the ruse that is being used to dupe the ignorant and gullible. First, some highlights from Nate's piece and then commentary from Religion Dispatches about the Christianist venom behind Amendment One.  Here are highlights from the Times piece:

On Tuesday, North Carolina will vote on a state constitutional amendment that declares, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized,” thereby banning recognition of same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships of any kind.

Both recent polls of the state and an analysis of past ballot initiatives in other states suggest that the measure,  Amendment 1, is likely to pass, although there is ambiguity over the outcome because of voter confusion about what the amendment seeks to achieve.

Most recent polls show that voters are likely to approve the ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions, although results differ substantially from survey to survey because of the wording of their questions.  The most recent poll was conducted by Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank whose poll results have generally shown little partisan bias in the past. That survey polled Democratic and Republican primary voters separately, but projected that the measure would win by 16 percentage points when it combined the results.

An April poll by Public Policy Polling, which conducts polling for Democratic clients but whose surveys also have a track record of nonpartisanship, had the measure prevailing by 14 points.

Both the Civitas and Public Policy Polling surveys directly read the text of the amendment to the voters they were polling. Conversely, some polls that described what the amendment would do but did not read the ballot language have sometimes showed it failing, often by clear margins.

A model I published last year, which uses the results of past ballot initiatives to project support for these measures based mainly on religious participation in each state and whether the initiative would ban civil unions in addition to same-sex marriage, implies that the amendment is likely to pass.

So there's the data analysis.  For the hate and bigotry behind Amendment One, here are excerpts from a piece in Religion Dispatches:  

In the religious right’s effort to put a pretty face on its anti-gay bigotry, it has become standard for opponents of legal equality for LGBT people and their families to declare that they are not motivated by hatred but by love for gay people or for the institution of marriage. Of course, often in the next breath they are denouncing gays as demonic enemies of faith and freedom. One North Carolina pastor even said in April that allowing same-sex couples to marry would be the equivalent of a nuclear holocaust.

Perhaps the star of this sad show is the Rev. Patrick Wooden, whose outrageous diatribes have included reminiscing about times when anti-LGBT violence was considered “normal.”  .   .   . 
But you don’t have to look far beyond Wooden’s own words to find just how much bigotry is “in it.”

• This week, the wife of a state senator sponsoring the anti-gay amendment reportedly stated that the amendment was needed because “the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to uh, reproduce.”

• Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville encouraged churchgoers to squash “like a cockroach” any signs of effeminate behavior among their young sons and to essentially beat the gay out of them

• Also this week, a person who declares on his YouTube account, “I vote for the Bible,” posted a video – since removed – of himself urinating on a “Vote No” sign.

• That followed the posting of a video by a teenager shooting at a vote no sign he says someone put up near his house and concluding, “that’s how we deal with it around here.”

Sadly, the principal face of Christianity today - at least as reported by the news media - is one of hatred and hypocrisy.  I find myself with less and less desire to have any connection to a religious system that now defines itself on its hatred of others, be they gay, minorities, immigrants, liberals, or non-Christians.  There is absolutely no love to be found in conservative Christian denominations and at times, such as now, I truly believe the world would be a better place if Christianity were a dead religion.

No comments: