Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Fake Out

American has moved to the Right. We are more conservative than ever. The Religious Right represents a honking majority of US citizens. Not. I don't think so. Particularly regarding gay people. So, I was stunned to hear of the United Methodist decision to not only defrock the self-outed lesbian Reverend Irene Stroud but reinstate the Reverend Edward Johnson, who had been suspended him for refusing membership to a gay man.

Stroud's defrocking wasn't all that surprising. Sad to hear, given the UMC's recent campaign slogan of "
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors", but not surprising. Their denominational rules made the outcome a fait accompli.

But Johnson's reinstatement is shocking. This is a denomination that has proclaimed itself open to gays. It says "All persons are of sacred worth." But some are more worthy than others, apparently. So now the UMC has approved a two-tiered approach to membership that I likened last week to 19th century views of blacks and slavery. Better watch out, all you sinners down there in Virginia. Pastor Johnson may decide, with his pastoral discretion, to refuse you membership next.

Is this in keeping with the views of America? I don't think so. While rummaging around the internet, I came upon a fascinating 30 minute newsweekly PBS show that I'd never heard of before called
Religion and Ethics. Religion and Ethics commissioned a poll on religion and the family. You can see the results here.

Americans appear to be pretty big on the traditional notion of family. At the same time, fewer and fewer people actually live in those "traditional" families. And, as a whole, we are less likely to want to judge those living in non-traditional ways as wrong. For example, almost 80% of those surveyed believe that it's best for children if their parents are married and 70% think "God's plan" for marriage is the traditional one. Yet 55% of the respondents also agree that
"Love is what makes a family and it doesn't matter if the parents are gay or straight, married or single."

Another poll found that a majority of US (53%) support civil unions for gays. Doesn't it seem as though mainline religion is painfully behind the American public in accepting gays? All of this gnashing of teeth over something that over half of us already believe.

Another group that is painfully out of step with the American public is the Bush administration. He's gone and done it again. Nominated a highly intellectual, well-spoken, terribly nice Radical wingnut. Only this one has the paper trail John Roberts didn't, thus making the Radical Right happy.

Why do I call Judge Alito radical? Well, he doesn't support Roe v. Wade. Poll numbers say that 55% of Americans believe that abortion should be, generally speaking, legal. Only 42% believe that abortions should be harder to get. True, most of US are conditional in our support of abortion. A bit squeamish. But there's no true majority groundswell for overturning Roe v. Wade.
Yet we may get that overturning, if we accept the Radical Alito.

How else is Alito radical? His previous cases demonstrate him to be anti-workers. A good example is his opposition to the Family and Medical Leave Act. See this article for more information on Alito's worker bias, as shown by his opposition to changes in the minimum wage, public employee rights, unions, and discrimination issues.

Don't have any polling data on this. But I think most of us are in favor of a law that allows us to take time off to care for our family in times of crisis. It seems pretty radical to me to oppose such legislation. Seems pretty radical to me to oppose the will of the American public in so many different areas.

Then again, radical is normal for the Bush administration. After all, how many of us want to be at war in Iraq? How many of us would've supported this war early on if we'd known that Bush lied to us? Alito is just another wingnut Radical idea, brought to you courtesy of the administration so well-versed in such ideas.

Until tomorrow,


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