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Four Decades Along the Rainbow Road

Friday, December 14, 2007

Separating State from the Church

For gays, keeping Huckabee out of the White House is a must.

by Steve Charing

THIS COUNTRY, AND specifically the LGBT community, does not need an Ayatollah sitting in the White House. And that's exactly what we would get if the current flavor-of-the-week, Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas should, in comeback fashion, meander his way through the primaries to win the GOP nomination and then upset the Democratic candidate in November of 2008.

We have already experienced a devastating seven years with George W. Bush at the helm, who some have dubbed the "minister-in-chief. While the federal government is technically secular, this president has seen to it that administration policies and personnel meet with the approval of the Christian conservatives who, in no small way, helped to elect him twice and embraced him as one of their own.

You can point to the disproportionate number of Department of Justice employees who have graduated from none other than Rev. Pat Robertson's law school as an example of this influence. Then there was the inappropriate White House-backed intervention in a personal family matter in the Terri Schiavo case. Add that to the successful appointments of two very conservative Supreme Court justices as well as other anti-gay administration appointees who were the darlings of the religious right.

Not to be forgotten and just as egregious for gays was the cynical use of faith-based dollars and other incentives to influence church leaders, including African-American ministers, to rail against "gay marriage" during the 2004 campaign, especially in the battleground state of Ohio to help bolster Republican turnout.

After this Bush presidency you would think the electorate would yearn for a return to secular and competent governance. But on the strength of a friendly persona that contrasts with an immigrant-hating, terrorism-obsessed angry field of GOP competitors and a well-timed but not necessarily funny quip during the recent CNN-YouTube Republican debate, Huckabee, an ordained minister, is seeing his stock rapidly rise.

This is scary, particularly for gays.

HUCKABEE ONCE ADVOCATED for the isolation of people with AIDS from the general population. "If the federal government is truly serious about doing something about the AIDS virus," he wrote, "we need to take steps to isolate the carriers of this plague."

Although he recently backtracked somewhat from that earlier stance saying that there was uncertainty with respect to the transmission of the virus, his pronouncement occurred in 1992, not 1982. By that point in time there was a much better understanding of how HIV was transmitted, that is it cannot be spread by casual contact, but that didn't alter his archaic, bigoted stance.

And why would it? "I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk," Huckabee wrote then.

The religious right has yet to coalesce behind a particular candidate for a variety of reasons. But they are taking a second look at Huckabee and are impressed by his virulent anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage positions. They are beginning to view him as one of their own and with good reason.

TO THIS POWERFUL voting bloc that is crucial in the GOP primaries, John McCain cannot be trusted. Flip-flopping Mitt Romney is a Mormon, which many Christian conservatives regard as a cult. Fred Thompson has had a checkered past with respect to the issue of abortion. And Mr. 9/11, Rudy Giuliani, is way too immoral because of his moderate positions on choice and civil unions, not to mention his two divorces.

They're a sullen bunch, but the sunny Huckabee (read: Reaganesque) with his clergy status and his unabashed Christian dogma is catching on with evangelicals in Iowa, and fast.

Here is a man who admitted on national television during one of the earlier debates that he does not believe in evolution and, therefore, by extension, science. That has to be discouraging to those who have witnessed a president since 2001 who has placed little value in science.
And since Huckabee eschews science by believing in Creationism, how is this going to help solve the global warming crisis that is looming? Or energy independence? Is he simply going to pray for these critical problems to be solved?

The next president will have the opportunity to potentially appoint two, perhaps three justices to the Supreme Court. With a possible Huckabee presidency, you can expect such nominees to be anti-choice and anti-gay. For it would be those positions that will have helped to elect Mike Huckabee.

We cannot afford to have an Ayotollah leading our country—again.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you 110%, Steve. But it goes beyond Huckabee. This man is the icon for all that's wrong with the evangelical movement and its current hold on our government.

However, I believe that all of the Republican candidates are pandering to the evangelicals to some extent. We need not only to keep the separation of church and state intact, but to begin to repair the damage that has already been done to that concept by the Bush administration and its Republican toadies. In my opinion, the only surefire way to take the first step toward accomplishing that goal is to elect a Democrat president. We had better all work toward that goal or we might be answering to an American Ayatollah some day!

I want to send a message to the Robertsons, Wildmons and Dobsons out there in the Bible Belt: Get your religion out of my government. If you're so sure you're right about the way all of us should live, then work within your church to convince us.

That should keep 'em busy!!!


Anonymous said...


To all the straight dudes like me out there:

It’s the day before the election.

By the end of tomorrow, my best friend will know whether or not he can be legally married in the state of California. And as the polls stand right now, it looks like he won’t be able to do that. And that bums me out, brother.

If you told me when I was growing up that my best friend would be gay I’d have laughed in your face, maybe even punched you in it. I grew up in a rural area of Maryland filled with mullets, acid wash jeans and the good ole boys that wore them both. Hell, I was one of ‘em… part of me still is. I went to Catholic school, a private university and didn’t know an openly gay person until I moved to Los Angeles.

I played “smear the queer”, called my friends “faggots” and if someone did something silly or stupid, I’d call him “gay”. I simply had no frame of reference. Perhaps if you are reading this, you don’t either and I can appeal to you in these final hours…

I know every single one of you (whether you are man enough to admit it or not) hopes to find your perfect partner… dare I say soulmate? Personally, I have visions of finding “love at first sight”, going through the first stages of love where I can’t get enough of this beautiful woman, falling madly in love with her, marrying and living happily ever after where we both die peacefully in our sleep holding hands.

Guess what? We aren’t the only ones that have those feelings. Gay men and women have the exact same dreams that we do, because that is what PEOPLE do… dream. We dream of what we want to be when we grow up, the kind of house we want to live in, where we are going to vacation and what our perfect relationship looks like. And just like all of us straight guys where we prefer blondes over brunettes over redheads, there are some people that prefer others of the same sex. That’s really all there is to it. Believe it or not, they aren’t doing it to spite you.

I know that some of you who oppose same sex marriage want to make this into a huge deal where the door will be open for people to marry rabbits and aliens and anything else you can imagine, but the simple fact of the matter is, that argument doesn’t work.

My gay best friend doesn’t want to marry a rabbit any more than I do. Or an alien for that matter. (Although I would have sex with that hot alien chick on the new Battlestar Gallactica.)

I am in the entertainment industry and since moving to L.A., I have met hundreds of gay guys and I have to tell you all a secret… “Shhhh… they are people EXACTLY like you and me except they happen to like other dudes.” I know that seems weird to you. It did to me too when I first moved out here, but since then I have observed them and taken notes and this is what I have found:


1) They have feelings just like you and me. They experience love, hate, jealousy, disappointment and elation.
2) Some of them actually have more successful relationships than we do. Imagine that. Two people in a relationship that actually works. What would you give for that? I’ve looked up to the sky and offered God ANYTHING for a successful relationship. I’m still waiting and I envy ANYONE that can make that work.
3) Gays are PEOPLE. They are entitled to the same things all other people are: the right to vote, the right to free speech and should be afforded the right to marry one another. It’s simply a matter of equality.
4) Gays are generally clean. This has nothing to do with anything, but I wanted to share ALL of the data with you.

My best friend is an amazing singer and one late night, we were hanging out with a few friends and he sang, “Loch Lomond” (look it up). When he was finished, without even thinking about it, I said, “One day, I want you to sing that at my wedding.” He was honored.

And then I started thinking about what honor I could bestow upon him to reciprocate. And it hit me that I may never be able to do something like that for him if Prop 8 passes tomorrow.

I’ve seen him these last two weeks in the throws of a budding relationship and it has been a real education for me. I’m not used to being this tight with a buddy who also happens to be gay and I have to say there are still things that open my eyes.

He’s in that beautiful, romantic phase of a new relationship where they want to spend every moment together. I’ve never seen him so happy. So inspired. And that makes me happy. Although it is still hard for me to understand how he can be physically attracted to another guy (we’re loud, sweaty and not that smart), what I do understand and appreciate are the feelings. And it is absolutely amazing to witness.

I hope he falls madly in love with this guy, they move in together and if they so choose, are allowed to marry one another in the eyes of the law and all of their “fabulous” party guests. If that happens, I’m sure I’ll cry. (I’m a sucker for weddings).

And in the meantime, I’m going to remain positive and think about what I can do for him at his wedding. It’s only fair. As it looks between the two of them now, I better start taking guitar lessons tonight.

So from one bro to another, I’d like to ask this favor: Please vote No on Prop 8.

Even if you don’t want to do it for the gay guys because you don’t know them, do it for me… a straight dude.

Because I really can’t stand having to owe anyone anything!

Thank you for reading this.

NO ON 8!

By: Stirling Gardner