Sunday, September 30, 2007

Headlines that soothe this momma’s soul: The religious right’s political power ebbs

I’m downright gleeful! My day is complete. Any article with the above headline and opening paragraphs like this:

Palm Sunday two years ago was a glorious day for Christian conservatives.

A president who'd proclaimed Jesus his favorite philosopher was racing back from vacation to sign a bill rushed through a compliant Congress at their bidding — a last-minute gamble to keep alive a severely brain-damaged woman in Florida.

That, however, was the peak of the Christian conservatives' political power.

Today, their nearly three-decade-long ascendance in the Republican Party is over. Their loyalties and priorities are in flux, the organizations that gave them political muscle are in disarray, the high-profile preachers who led them to influence through the 1980s and 1990s are being replaced by a new generation that's less interested in their agenda and their hold on politics and the 2008 Republican presidential nomination is in doubt.

"Less than four years after declarations that the Religious Right had taken over the Republican Party, these social conservatives seem almost powerless to influence its nomination process," said W. James Antle III, an editor at the American Spectator magazine who's written extensively about religious conservatives.

… just tickles this momma pink.

But wait! The article has a dynamite ending as well:

Many social conservatives themselves are debating their political priorities, with some suggesting that fighting AIDS or poverty is as or more important than defending heterosexual marriage. That could further complicate the political role of Christian conservatives — if Republicans nominate Giuliani.

"They are making a very grave miscalculation if they nominate a pro-choice candidate like Giuliani," said Richard Land, a Tennessee evangelist and the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

"Most evangelicals have been voting Republican because they were given a bright-line choice between a pro-life candidate and a pro-choice candidate. If that issue were taken off the table, then other issues get oxygen, issues where evangelicals are not nearly as certain that Republicans offer the best answer. Issues like economic justice, racial reconciliation, the environment.

"If the Republicans are foolish enough to nominate a pro-choice candidate, they give the Democrats a license to go hunting evangelical votes."

So James Dobson’s glory days might soon be over? Be still my heart. And …

Pop the champagne!


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ahhhhhh bummer, Newty is taking his ball and going home

Ok, I confess, I was really looking forward to the mother of all “Family Values” hypocrites running for the Republican nomination for President. It would have been a complete hoot listening to this thrice married adulterer get up there and preach to us about how he is going to restore honor to the White House and make Family Values the focus of his campaign. But my excitement was very short-lived, I heard the bad news today.

Gingrich rules out run for president:

Two days after hinting he wanted to try for the White House, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich decided he would not run for president, his spokesman said Saturday.


Gingrich told supporters in Marietta, Georgia, on Thursday that if they pledged at least $30 million to his campaign over a three-week period starting Monday, he would compete for the Republican nomination.

I guess he chickened out. And I guess I don’t blame him. I mean who’d want to expose themselves to this kind of heat again:

[T]he most notorious of them all is undoubtedly Gingrich, who ran for Congress in 1978 on the slogan, "Let Our Family Represent Your Family." (He was reportedly cheating on his first wife at the time). In 1995, an alleged mistress from that period, Anne Manning, told Vanity Fair's Gail Sheehy: "We had oral sex. He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, 'I never slept with her.'" Gingrich obtained his first divorce in 1981, after forcing his wife, who had helped put him through graduate school, to haggle over the terms while in the hospital, as she recovered from uterine cancer surgery. In 1999, he was disgraced again, having been caught in an affair with a 33-year-old congressional aide while spearheading the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.

See why I was getting all excited? Who could ask for more excitement than this?

Buh-bye Newty, it was fun while it lasted. Share

General Peter Pace: Let me be clear, my upbringing dictates that I am still a rabid homophobe

Ummm maybe the soon-to-retire chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, should have just declined Senator Tom Harkin’s invitation to amend his earlier remarks about gays in the military. It seems the General might’ve done better to have just kept his mouth shut and retired, knowing the dust would eventually settle and he’d soon be just another holier-than-thou bad memory in a very long line of bad memories over these past 6-plus years. But unfortunately for the General, he actually thought he could clarify his earlier remarks, redeem himself, and go out in a blaze of pious glory, but oops, his homophobia got the best of him - again:

"We need to be very precise then, about what I said wearing my stars and being very conscious of it," he added. "And that is, very simply, that we should respect those who want to serve the nation but not through the law of the land, condone activity that, in my upbringing, is counter to God's law."


Pace said he would be supportive of efforts to revisit the Pentagon's policy so long as it didn't violate his belief that sex should be restricted to a married heterosexual couple.


"I would be very willing and able and supportive" to changes to the policy "to continue to allow the homosexual community to contribute to the nation without condoning what I believe to be activity -- whether it to be heterosexual or homosexual -- that in my upbringing is not right," Pace said.

Now did you get that? What the General actually meant was that he is more than willing to put up with those icky nasty immoral gays and lesbians who join the military and put their lives on the line for this country just as long as we don’t create laws that would treat them as equal citizens if and when they come back alive and in one piece. You see, the good General’s upbringing tells him that God’s law would be violated if we were to treat these brave men and women with the respect and equality they fought to ensure for everyone else. And we can’t go offending the good General’s upbringing, now can we? I mean he is a good Christian and all ---- right?

What the hell?

Well let me tell you something General, I don’t give a flip what your fricken upbringing tells you is right or wrong, moral or immoral. You are more than welcome to believe whatever the hell you want, but when it comes to setting public policy your upbringing is no more a deciding factor than mine.

Morality is a relative term sir. What do you say to the people whose upbringing tells them that your participation in conducting an illegal war in Iraq, which has killed almost one million people, maimed, wounded and dislocated millions more, tortured countless thousands, and in general brutalized and destroyed a once sovereign, secular country, wreaking havoc and disgrace in the world for your own country is “immoral and counter to God’s law”?

And what do you say to the people whose upbringing tells them that someone who dishonors 60,000 gay and lesbian troops on active duty and jeopardizes national security by supporting a discriminatory policy that denies people the right to be who they are and serve openly in the armed forces is “immoral and counter to God’s law”?

Oh and General, how about you explain to all those mothers and fathers who’ve lost gay and lesbian children serving this country how your upbringing deems their beloved dead children immoral. I’m sure they'll completely understand once you explain to them how your upbringing was so much better than theirs.

Have a good long retirement sir. You should have quit while you were ahead. Share

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Evolving opinions, newfound empathy, and a lesbian daughter

I know this is now old news, but I have been somewhat out of the loop and off the computer this past week moving our daughter into the dorms and getting her settled. So I am just now getting around to commenting on this rather amazing and pleasantly surprising development in San Diego.

It seems that the Republican mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders, has had an epiphany of sorts on the issue of gay marriage:

The Republican mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders, announced in a highly emotional speech on Wednesday that he had decided not to veto a council resolution that would have reversed California's ban on same sex unions. "My opinions on this issue have evolved significantly," he stated "as I think the opinions of millions of Americans from all walks of life have."

Sanders, who was police chief before becoming mayor, had originally intended to veto the resolution in order to remain consistent with his campaign promises and with the sentiment of most of his supporters, and he changed his mind only at the last minute.

Hmmm, what could have caused his newfound empathy and complete last minute about-face on the issue? I mean one minute he was completely at peace with denying a whole segment of the population the very same rights he enjoys with his wife, and then bam, he learns that one of the people who’d be profoundly and forever affected by his decision would be his very own beloved daughter. Talk about a last minute walk in someone else’s moccasins…

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m really not meaning to sound as cold-hearted as I’m coming off on this post (and I’m really grateful he did finally see the light), but can I ask a few questions here? Why is it that so many people don’t have the capacity to see an issue from another person’s perspective until they are force-fed that perspective? I mean really, why couldn’t he see how unfair and cruel it is to deny people rights he enjoys until he learned his own daughter was gay and would be one of the people denied those rights?

And look at Nancy Reagan. She didn’t have a problem with the GOP “pro-life” stance (which effectively caught stem cell research in its wide-reaching net) that her husband so voraciously embraced for political purposes. And she continued to have no problem with it until her very own beloved husband ended up being someone who could possibly benefit from stem cell technology. And then the moment her husband gets diagnosed with a disease that could maybe one day be cured as a result of stem cell research, she too has a “bam” moment which results in an epiphany, and becomes a very powerful advocate for stem cell research ---- powerful enough I might add to even change John McCain’s mind on the issue.

There are so many more examples I could site to make my point, but I think you get my drift. We seem to be a nation that has a hard time understanding all sides of an issue unless that issue directly impacts us in a negative way. Those “protect marriage” sound bites worked just fine and dandy for Jerry Sanders when he was running for mayor, but it took finding out that he had a lesbian daughter before he realized that even catchy little sound bites can have big consequences.

Now again, I am ultra grateful for the mayor’s very sincere and profound change of heart, and I am hyper-aware that there are parents out there with hearts of cold hard stone (Family Values shill Alan Keyes and religious right icon Phyllis Schlafly come immediately to mind) who have gay children they’d rather not even acknowledge, but why why why was it ok for the good San Diego Mayor to deny my son the right to marry, but then not ok when he learned that he had a daughter who would also be denied those those rights?

Just asking…

And for anyone who might not have seen the very emotional press conference, here it is:


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No more kids at home

We are back from Seattle. Our daughter is moved into the dorm. And my husband and I are officially empty nesters (although we have my mother living with us right now).

I am in kind of a funk. I miss my kids something awful, but I am excited for them. This is such a wonderful time in their lives and I really want them to get the most they can out of it.

And one more thing, there was NO COMPARISON between moving our boys into the dorms and moving our daughter into the dorm. The boys were a breeze…

My husband and I are exhausted. Share

No surgery

My mother will not have to have surgery. She is responding to the medications she is on and the bleeding has stopped. The hematoma has gotten a little bit smaller. And even though the Neurosurgeon called the change subtle, he was happy with the general trend and the fact that even that subtle change was enough to relieve a good deal of pressure on the brain. It is going to take time, and lots of hard work, but my mother will recover. Share

This momma was handed the perfect chance to confront a real live closet case hypocrite and what did she do?

Nada, zip, nothing!

And I am still sitting here thinking about all the woulda, coulda, and shouldas that are going to haunt me til the day I die ----- and kicking myself but good for letting the opportunity of a lifetime slip on by me.

Oh my, if I had a dollar for all the times I daydreamed about just this kind of chance to “let er rip” against a world-class hypocrite homophobe like this guy and I completely blew it!

Here is what happened:

My mother, my husband, and I went for an unusually early dinner to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in Scottsdale. The host seated us in an area of the restaurant which at the time was completely empty but for one other table of patrons. At first I didn’t pay any attention to the other table of diners, but once we were seated and quietly studying our menus, I couldn’t help hearing parts of their animated conversation, which made me instinctively turn in their direction, and when I did, I almost dropped my cerveza in my lap.

We were sharing the room with none other than the “former homosexual” and very much disgraced “Reverend”, Ted Haggard. And there he sat – in all his sanctimonious, hypocritical glory --- looking no worse for the wear --- and in fact looking pretty darn untouched by all the harm and damage he has caused his family and the gay and lesbian community at large.

Damn him! Just damn him.

And damn me for not marching over there and saying something to him. But as much as I wanted to tell that man just what I thought of him, my sympathy for his wife, who was sitting right there next to him, stopped me from doing or saying anything.

I had the chance to confront one of the biggest hypocrites and enemies to the gay and lesbian community ever and I simply couldn’t do it. I just could not hurt his wife any more than she’d already been hurt. No matter how good it would have felt to have let that man have it, it would not have been worth the guilt I would have felt for possibly causing his wife more pain.

So Ted, if by some far out chance you are suffering from severe heartburn from that enchilada you had tonight and happen to be up surfing the web and by chance stumble upon this momma’s pad, please know that the stars were aligned just right for you today and you were spared. But also know that there is at least one momma out here in sunny Arizona who has already let you off the hook once, but will not let you off again.

The only good thing I can say is that at least my son will not grow up loathing himself and hurting everyone around him like you did. You, Ted Haggard, have confirmed for many mothers and fathers just why we must encourage our beloved children to come out of the closet before its toxic affects damage them the way they did you. And thanks to you and Larry Craig and the many many other hypocrites just like you, we actually might get to see a whole generation of gay and lesbian children grow up healthy, happy, and well-adjusted rather than twisted, shamed, and mocked. And I think even you could agree that is a good thing --- right? Share

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The long limp home

My mother is home now from the hospital. We have moved her in with us and she is continuing her physical therapy on an outpatient basis. There have been some setbacks along the way, she broke her foot during a physical therapy session the day before she was set to be discharged from the hospital, and she is now effectively nursing boo boos on both ends of her body. But for the most part, she is doing very very well.

This Friday is a big day. She meets with the Neurosurgeon and we should learn at that appointment whether or not they are going to have to do brain surgery or rule it out for good. My gut says they will not have to do any surgery, but every once in a while I have to do a reality check with myself and allow for the possibility so that I am not completely thrown if they decide it is necessary.

Unfortunately I will be leaving tomorrow for Seattle to take our daughter to college, get her settled in, and visit with our son who is already there preparing for his senior year. Our daughter is the baby of the family and I just cannot miss this trip, but it means not being with my mom when she sees the Neurosurgeon. One of my 4 brothers flew in from California to stay with her while we are gone and he has assured me he will call me the second they leave the doctor’s office and let me know the scoop.

I don’t think I am going to sleep a wink Thursday night.

So life has been hectic. Moving my baby out, moving my mom in, nonstop out-of-town and in-town traffic, and up to this point a lot of uncertainty. But I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it feels good.

I can’t wait to get back to the blog. I miss it. But I don’t see that happening for at least another week or so.

Thank you, thank you to all the wonderful people who have written throughout this ordeal. It has meant so much. I love you all and feel so lucky to have you. Share