Monday, March 26, 2012

American Family Association Takes A Stand Against Anchorage Proposition 5; Black Pastors Insulted By Comparisons Of Gay Struggle To Black Civil Rights Struggle

The Alaska Family Council and its Proposition 5 publicity arm, Protect Your Rights: Vote No On 5, has picked up an important and experienced ally in the struggle to prevent passage of Proposition 5, the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative, during the April 3rd, 2012 municipal election. The American Family Association (AFA) has joined the Alliance Defense Fund in taking a public stand against the measure.

The AFA's stand is in the form of an e-mail campaign to likely supporters of their position. I received one of those e-mails, which is replicated below:

In other recent and pertinent Proposition 5 news:

-- On March 23rd, the Catholic Anchor reported that dozens of Black pastors in Anchorage oppose Proposition 5, and the accompany insinuation that "gay is the new black". Most prominently outspoken is Rev. Alonzo Patterson, the senior pastor at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Patterson explained that he had no choice in being born an African-American, and considers equivocating the gay civil rights cause with the Black civil rights cause to be a major insult, because he considers homosexuality to be immoral behavior. Rev. Patterson also noted that the national NAACP is in the midst of an internal struggle over how to approach the homosexual rights movement. Current NAACP President Ben Jealous is a vocal supporter of homosexual and transgender rights, but prominent national NAACP board members disagree with the direction Jealous is taking the organization. The Anchorage NAACP leader Wanda Green is a supporter of Prop 5, much to the chagrin of her pastor father, Rev. Dr. William Green. Rev. Patterson also claims that he doesn't know of a single Black pastor in all of Alaska who supports Prop. 5.

-- On March 20th, the Catholic Anchor reported that Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz issued a pastoral letter urging local Catholics to oppose Prop. 5. Archbishop Schwietz’s letter warns that Proposition 5 threatens the religious freedoms of churches, schools, businesses and other organizations. Although the letter denounced any attempt to promote disrespect or unjust discrimination against people of homosexual orientation, it unequivocally stated that there is an essential distinction between unjust discrimination, which is the arbitrary violation of human rights, and the necessary limitations on the exercise of our rights when it is required to protect the justice that is due to others, and the common good. The names of at least three Catholic priests, identifiable by their title of Father, show up on the list of 85 local ministers who signed a letter opposing Prop. 5.

-- Identity, Inc. released their 132-page Anchorage 2011 LGBT Discrimination Survey Final Report, and I found it no more persuasive than their preliminary report issued much earlier. While there are incidences of discrimination in housing and employment documented, some of it is based more on feelings that facts. Furthermore, gays who moved to Anchorage more recently reported less discrimination than those who lived here much longer, which indicates that the problem is being solved naturally through the passage of time. Most landlords and employers have a market incentive not to discriminate.

-- On March 23rd, at least 50 people showed up for a Religious Freedom Rally at Town Square in Anchorage (six photos HERE). While the primary purpose was to protest Obama's mandating of contraceptive coverage, it also became a rally against Prop. 5. While most of Robert Flint's speech (look for it at No. On 5) addressed the contraceptive mandate, Flint also held forth on Prop. 5, saying "In our community, the supporters of Proposition 5 loudly claim tolerance is the good and bigotry is the opposition, but Anchorage is, in fact, a tolerant community. There is no animus against homosexuals, the few cranks to the contrary notwithstanding. You know that you are not bigots. In the name of tolerance, intolerance, to a degree now absent in our community, will greatly increase against individuals and religious institutions if Proposition 5 passes. As usual, the loudest cries for tolerance always seem to come from the most intolerant. This initiative is pernicious, intolerant, and unnecessary".

-- On March 26th, the Anchorage Daily News published a useful story entitled "Legal experts predict challenges if voters pass Proposition 5". If passed, Prop. 5 would be enforced by the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission. If a person believed they'd been discriminated against solely on the basis of their sexual orientation or transgender identity, they could complain to the Commission, which is a nine-member, all-volunteer board that hears cases alongside four paid investigators and an executive director who also acts as staff attorney and a clerk. The commission has no power to charge anyone with a crime, but can assess penalties of fines and up to 30 days of jail time. There is no record of anyone being jailed over a complaint since the commission was first established in 1975. What the story doesn't mention is that gay rights groups could choose to send out "narcs" or "testers" to try and induce or entrap a prospective landlord or employer into making actionable statements, then file a complaint based upon those statements. Other civil rights groups have employed this tactic elsewhere in racial issues.

-- And finally, also on March 26th, the Anchorage Daily News decided to publish a gaggle of Proposition 5 letters to the editor. Most disturbing is the fact that 13 of the 14 letters expressed support for Prop. 5. While I'm not conspiratorial enough to accuse ADN of deliberately manipulating LTEs, I find it difficult to believe that Prop. 5 has that type of grass-roots support. The number of pastors openly opposing Prop. 5 outnumber those who openly support it. I will be intellectually honest enough to admit that it could pass, but however it ends up, it will be a close vote.

No comments:

Post a Comment