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March 11, 2004

Leviticans in Action

First, an administrative note: This is the 400th Whatever since I started using Movable Type. It comes a little less than a year after I started using it (about two weeks shy of a year, actually), so I'm averaging a little more than an entry a day. Not bad when you consider I take off days at a time.

Second, another administrative note: A reminder that from today through next Monday I'm in New York and am reasonably unlikely to update. It's not to say I absolutely won't, but, you know, don't hold your breath. I will do minimal updating for the By The Way (on account of I get paid for that), so if there's nothing new here, you might try over there.

Now, in case you're wondering what a Levitican looks like up close, take a gander at Michael Heath, the executive director of Maine's Christian Civic League, a group whose goals include, among other things, "to reflect, in all ways, a genuine Christian compassion and respect for all people." This group was agitiating for a state constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriage, but this idea didn't get far, as the Maine Senate decided against creating a committee to draft such an amendment. In apparent retaliation, Heath announced on the CCL Web site that the League would start trolling for information on the sexual orientation of Maine's legislators:

In this age of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "Sex in the City," it is only appropriate that all of us here in Maine understand the "sexual orientation" of our leaders. Since this matter of "sexual orientation" is of such fundamental importance that we must turn civilization on its head to accommodate it, we feel duty-bound to help you gain a better understanding.

We will therefore be writing about state leaders in coming months regarding their "sexual orientation." We are, of course, most interested in the leaders among us who want to overturn marriage, eliminate the mother/father family as the ideal, etc. The list is long, so we won't lack for material.

Heath asked readers to send "tips, rumors, speculation and facts" for the project. So, in effect, Heath was looking to start a witch hunt and asked the faithful to bring the torches. Heath of course denied this: "This isn't a witch hunt, but this is about sexual orientation in terms of what is going on as it pertains to public policy." The implication being that if you're for same-sex marriage, you're probably a fag, and it's best that you're publicly branded as a sodomite, just so we good folk can know what to expect from the likes of you.

The good news here is that it appears Heath got his little initiative stuffed: There was outcry from all sides of Maine's political community, and Heath ended up retracting and apologizing on his organization's Web site:

I am sorry for indicating that the League is going to keep a list of the "sexual orientation" of public policy makers and leaders. In the midst of fighting for something I feel very strong about I wrote and said things that I should not have written and spoken.

Which is excellent news, although the wording of the apology makes me wonder if the League isn't still interested in the information, even if it has no plans for "outing" politicians in a public fashion. But let's be Christian and assume the fellow is indeed truly sorry for his obnoxiousness.

As a contrast to this, I submit to you the story of Michigan Republican Lorence Wenke, whom I wrote about for the Detroit News politiblog. He was one of the three Republicans in the Michigan Lege to vote against a proposed marriage amendment there, thus sending the proposed amendment to defeat:

He believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. But he had watched as a childhood friend was pressured into a disastrous marriage, with children, followed by divorce. The friend, now openly gay, married his partner last year in Canada. And Wenke also felt guilty about not helping another minority — blacks — battle for their civil rights...

“I do not support gay marriage,” said the 60-year-old rookie lawmaker who graduated from a Christian high school. “I do, however, support the creation and recognition of a legal arrangement between same-sex couples. Clearly, the intent of this amendment is to make sure homosexuals don’t get the same benefits as others.”

For his pains, declared a spokesperson for the American Family Association or Michigan, he's likely to be challenged in the primary by another Republican. I presume one who is for keeping those uppity homos down.

To ask a purposely leading question, whose actions here seem more "Christian" to you: The fellow leading an ostensibly Christian organization who planned to pry into the sexual lives of legislators until he was shamed out of his plans, or the legislator who, although opposed to the idea of same-sex marriages, nevertheless voted down a constitutional amendment because he believed it was wrong and unfair? Who, to use the Christian Civic League's words, reflects in all ways a genuine Christian compassion and respect for all people?

I'll give you a hint, in case you need one: It's not the guy who has the word "Christian" embossed somewhere on his business card. Isn't that funny.

Posted by john at March 11, 2004 09:06 AM

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