What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding?

For whatever reason, an Elvis Costello lyric jumped to mind when I read, Bil Browning’s post entitled The politics of personal destruction. Following his leadership of a protest against SJR 7 which would amend the Constitution to prevent gay marriage and limit the potential rights of non-married couples, Bil was subjected to some troubling responses: Phone calls to his unlisted number telling him he was a sinner, he was going to burn in hell, and he should be run out of town. That, and someone busted out the window of his car in a way that looks a lot like it’s related to his advocacy for gay rights.

It’s this kind of thing that ratchets up my interest in gay rights. As a policy matter, I know what I think. But, I have no real visceral interest in the subject because it doesn’t really affect me much. But when a guy like Bil gets harrassed personally and privately for advocating his political views publicly, it puts a much less abstract face on the whole debate. Hang in there Bil.

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  1. says

    Thanks Doug. I appreciate the kind words. I can’t say for certain that it’s kooky wingnuts that broke out the car window – it could have been local vandals. But with everything else that’s happened lately, I just don’t know what to think. Since nothing was stolen and they were obviously inside the car, I can’t help but think that the motive wasn’t robbery.

  2. Branden Robinson says

    The bigoted fucktards who do this sort of thing in the name of Christianity are the same ones who scoff when defenders of Islam declaim it to be a “religion of peace”.

    Thanks to these fine ambassadors for Jesus, we can see that, by the same standard, claims of “Christian love” are equally hollow.

    Philosophy, whether noble, odious, or just plain incoherent, takes a back seat to character every time.

    Bill, I haven’t been over to your site lately to see if you’ve already done this, but I advise you to make digital copies of all the nasty phone messages and take photos of the damage your car sustained, and put them up on your web site. Let people who believe themselves to be good Christians see for themselves the work of their co-religionists. Give them a look behind the masks of those who claim to be “defending marriage”.

    Maybe some of them will then live up to the finer ideals of their tradition, and take a stand against these fanatics and their rank electioneering.

  3. says

    Deutsche Welle TV recently presented a parallel documentation of worldwide fundamentalism,both Islamic and Christian and should give us a reason for concern for our culture, as we know it.It’s chilling stuff. In both religions,the leaders of fundamentalism skillfully use tolerance as a wedge to intimidate those who question their tactics,but once in a position to call the shots,they refuse to grant the same tolerance,’because there is no need to discuss truth’. Democratic values and tolerance have been in many countries won through great sacrcifice,and it’s as if democracies all over the world are in jeopardy of a fundamentalism based coup d’etat.. Neither Christian nor Islamic fundamentalists see a need to negotiate or compromise,although it may be a tactic before they have gained control. In both cases their goal is the complete take-over of government based on religious principles, as they define them.It was a very depressing documentary covering the EU and the USA.It was pointed out that TV religious programing serves almost exclusively the fundamentalist factions of religion,and seek to speak for all Christians or all Muslims.Our humanism ,or blief in democratic compromise and tolerance will do us in, was the dire warning.
    Maybe some of us are just too naive and trusting,and reading some of the legislation being proposed, it brings into focus a well-planned agenda that some of us have been regarding as merely the folly of a few ‘wingnuts’.

  4. says

    In today’s New York Times p. A15, an article by Nicholas Wade brings out that ‘significantly flawed date’ was used to prove that isolated stem cells from an adult could change into all major issues types of the body. This study was used as evidence that Bush type restrictions on stem cell studies wouldnt hinder scientific research. The article states the study may still be valid with further study but the point is this religious-based catholic reseacher,Catherine Verfaillie,from the Catholic University of Leuven,Belgium set out to prove that something she believes as faith( my assumption, I admit) was true,and that’s a corrupution of scientific method as many of us understand it.
    This case may fit into the general category of how religious belief can undermine objective conclusions.We are all subjective in our observations(imo), that’s why we must follow a definite procedure accepted scientifically.But ALL must follow the same procedure,then any suspicions as to hidden motive would be moot.

  5. says

    Lou –

    A couple of notes on stem cell research:

    The first federal funding of embryonic stem cell research occurred during this administration.

    The restriction is that federal funding of such research will be limited to existing embryonic stem cell lines.

    There is no restriction on performing such research, if it is privately funded.

    It is worth noting that adult stem cell research has resulted in over 70 treatments, and has been the subject of over 1300 clinical tirals, thus far.
    [ “Code of Silence” by Michael Fumento]

    As to the subject of the posting, I would be more than happy to see those who are harassing Bil Browning prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    They are in no way acting in a ‘Christian’ manner, as I have ever understood the term – but there is a long sad history of people using the name while turning their back on the man.

  6. says

    T.says :
    The restriction is that federal funding of such research will be limited to existing embryonic stem cell lines.
    I only question on what criterium that research is limited.From everything I’ve read from scientific sources, new cell lines should be opened up for greatest possibilty of success.Just who says otherwise? I don’t understand the different criteria for private and for federal research…Someone is wasting resources it would seem.

    T posts:
    They are in no way acting in a ‘Christian’ manner.

    What the Bush administration could be doing is leading an honest dialogue on what ‘gay rights’ are or aren’t,and does religion determine that or not? . Are they civil rights? What are the moral issues, if any? What are citizens’ Constitutional civil rights and what are we NOT entitled to as rights and why? But find it in the Constitution and don’t bother looking anywhere else. The Bush legacy now is whether Christian bashing or gay bashing is worse than the other.

  7. says

    Lou –

    When did I become ‘T.’? Just curious.

    For more on stem cells (adult and embryonic), the link in my posting has more. Fumento has opinions, as you can read, but I have tried in my posting just to offer some facts.

    Not sure how you don’t understand the difference between federal and private research, but be assured that if you want to put up money for ESC research, including new cell lines, you can.

    In your final paragraph, you go further than anything I was talking about – those who are harassing Bil Browning are both wrong and un-Christian.

    Having them stop (or be stopped) was my focus – I hope that can be handled locally by law enforcement, rather than by dialog at the federal level.

    The current reference to a constitutional amendment is about Indiana’s state constitution, if I understand correctly – which makes a Bush reference kind of a reach, I think.

    For me, the heart of Christ’s teachings is in his summary of the law, which I find to be both profound and very hard to even try to live up to.

  8. says

    My question was on what basis is public money allocated,and why would private research allow more complete research than public,and isn’t it then a waste of money then to divert public money for restricted research?
    I accept you point that bringing Bush into the issue was a reach .But my broader point was that the Bush administration could do much more to facilitate understanding by encouraging discussion on what basis we have rights.But that could be done on a state -wide basis
    And you posted:For me, the heart of Christ’s teachings is in his summary of the law….
    I have never looked at Jesus teachings as ‘law’. That sounds like Moses on the Mountain,and the ground rules for the establishment of the Hebrew peoples. But the Law wasn’t enough,was it? . What ever happened to the Christian ecumenical movements of the 60s and 70s?
    I don’t know why I referred to you as T. I’m entering my dotage years. Perhaps that’s why.

  9. says

    Yes,the ‘Golden Rule’ is the law. I accept that as the one non-variable in Christian teachings.Love God with all your heart and treat your neighbor as yourself. This is the ‘liberal God’ that I believe in.But that’s my own projection of faith and that’s why I’m Christian..It’s very important to define terms and by ‘law’ what has always comes to mind first is a set of laws,such as the 10 Commandments,which have been greatly exploited and politicized beyond intent. Also the ‘hygiene laws’ of Leviticus are greated politicized. Thank you for Luke 10:25 on this Sunday morning!

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