Sunday, October 22, 2006

CLUMC Forum on Amendment C

I attended a forum on Amendment C held this evening at Canyon Lake United Methodist Church. Unfortunately it wasn't well attended, but those that were there found it quite interesting and engaging. (There's another one next Sunday night; I highly recommend it!) Elizabeth Krause was apparently scheduled to defend her prize child of a constitutional amendment, but, was not able to attend. Pity. So at the table above you see Bill Nachalilo, who identified himself as the West River Coordinator for the South Dakota Family Policy Council, Bruce Crosswait, who (bravely) moderated the discussion -- my dear Mom would have been proud of his panache and firmness in that role-- and at right, Michael Coats, West River Coordinator for South Dakotans Against Discrimination.

Nachalilo sure impressed me as a really good guy, he's a retired teacher, has adopted kids and said he had hosted more than 170 foster kids. Hats off to him, I really respect that. But I don't respect or appreciate what he had to say--he made the usual weak arguments, based on the usual bad science, or good science taken out of context, to promote discrimination against families that don't look like his. You've heard it all before: "gay families are bad for kids, kids do best with two heterosexual biological parents, marriage between one man and one woman is the basis of our civilization and in the last ten years, gays have threatened to destroy it all, polygamy (or worse) is next." He even took a swipe at no-fault divorce, knocked single-parent families in general damaging to children, etc. (As a grateful son of a successful single parent, and a dedicated step-dad, I tend to get kind of cranky when people start talking to me like this.)

This stuff was RIGHT out of the current Family Policy Council talking points, and how do I know this? Well, the arguments Nachalilo cited are listed (almost in order) on this recent post (9/21/06) refuting them based on, uh, peer reviewed research taken in context.

(BTW, I highly recommend reading the post as it doesn't only refute these arguments, but goes on to offense, pointing out that the real research doesn't only disprove the assumptions of the anti-gay-marriage folks, but actually indicates that harm is done to children by the authoritarian parenting, abstinence-only sex ed, and chastity pledges so favored by fundamentalists Christians under the guidance Dr. Dobson, Gary Bauer, et al.)

The real peer-reviewed science is so compelling that the gender of parents is immaterial to the welfare of children that the red-state Arkansas courts (who'd have thunk?) have had to allow gay parents to adopt children. Here's what they said:
The court found that there was no validity to the arguments made by opponents of gay adoption, noting that: Children of lesbian and gay parents are just as well-adjusted as children of heterosexual parents; Being raised by gay parents doesn?t increase the risk of psychological, behavioral, academic, gender identity, or any other sort of adjustment problems; Being raised by gay parents doesn?t prevent children from forming healthy relationships with their peers and others; There is no factual basis for saying that gay parents might be less able to guide their children through adolescence than heterosexual parents; There is no evidence that gay people, as a group, are more likely to engage in domestic violence or sexual abuse than heterosexual people; The exclusion of gay people and people with gay family members may be harmful to children because it excludes a pool of effective foster parents.
Mike Coats kept his cool a lot better than most of the small audience; he pointed out that most of the real meaning of Amendment C will have to be worked out in the courts by the very "activist judges" it's purportedly designed to protect us from. And that gays aren't the only ones that could be hurt by this law. This is the common ground that led the South Dakota Episcopalians to vote to recommend non-support of C four to one. Mike pointed out correctly that a change in the constitution trumps any contracts and laws retroactively, so should a lawyer find a loophole, we have given them new tools to invalidate contracts. It's that simple and that scary. We just don't know. He also pointed out that none other than the Ohio affliate of the Family Policy Council (of which SDFPC is one as well) is working to shield abusers from prosecution using the Ohio "gay marriage" constitutional amendment. I thought this was all about protecting children?!?

The one and only Bob Ellis dropped in halfway through the session. Should have gotten a picture of him with the Radical. Maybe next time. (Hey Bob, nice to meet you in person. Warm greetings from one passionate blogger to another. [Not that there's anything wrong with that.])

Next week, Canyon Lake UMC is having another forum, this time on Referred Law 6, 3500 Canyon Lake Dr, 6-7:30 pm. All are invited.

Let's hear it for the United Methodists over by Canyon Lake. They are a brave bunch!


  1. NoC Yes623:36

    Thanks for reporting back on this; I was hoping to attend but was unable to.

  2. Thanks for the "honorable mention." It was good to meet you in person, too.

    It's sad that you think so little of traditional families. I won't waste my time and yours by trying to refute everything you've just said, other than to say that it's both tragic and arrogant for human beings to think that we can improve on God's model for the family. He's infinitely smarter than we are; we should listen to what he says is best for adults and children rather than trying a social experiment that leaves a lot of wrecked lives and destroyed souls in it's wake.

    Again, nice to have met you in person.

  3. Funny, the evangelical point of view of Scripture never came up. Was that designated as off-limits in the discussion, or was the presentation intended to keep the Scriptural analysis off the table, given you in a church that doesn't go for the evangelical far-right Biblical interpretations on homosexuality??

  4. Anonymous08:34

    I understand a definition of liberalism or modernism in connection with theology is the need to making old writings like scripture conform with current practices, thinking, mores. No one wants to be seen as old - fashioned.

    Under this particular doctrine, man is basically good, so the need for God is different than that of historic Christianity. In theological liberalism, certain aspects of Christianity are emphasized while others are not, which stems from an unbalanced view of scripture and the higher criticism that has corroded liberals' theology.

    I suppose the desired scriptural analysis would be seen to be time consuming and unconvincing, since in the view of liberals, scripture is often not seen as especially authoritative or understandable by people today.

    In 2006, the radicals are those who are enabled to see their sin and need for God's saving power.

  5. In theological liberalism, certain aspects of Christianity are emphasized while others are not, which stems from an unbalanced view of scripture and the higher criticism that has corroded liberals' theology.

    Gee, i was just about to say that about American Christian fundamentalism. Talk about unbalanced--Ronald Sider and David Kuo, not exactly liberals, go on and on about how the evangelical church has recently ignored the fact that Scripture speaks more of economic justice by FAR than these divisive social issues. The American church used to really be there, back in the 19th century--but has strayed from those noble roots.

    Time to see the light--conservative Christians have been USED and their faith has been manipulated by the Ahmansons of the world to keep the church silent on issues of economic justice and peace.

  6. Leah16:45

    Cool blog; esp the Joan Chittister words! "traditional" families, hmm makes me think of legal wife rape and the many other rights women did NOT have for centuries. Krause mentioned "6000 years" of such traditions??!! Gee, I don't think women could even run for office 6000 years ago! Oy, C must be defeated on the basis of plain logic. If these "Christians" want to enforce their model of the traditional family they need to work at outlawing divorce and seizing all children that do not live in that supposed paradise of mom and dad.
    Signed, a
    Christian stay at home GAY mom.

  7. Thanks for the update...I was wondering how it went.

    Nice blog by the way...

  8. Bosh! Traditional families arise out of old tribalism and women and children as property. Unfortunately much of the baggage of that still carries over as seen in the growing domestic violence problem of South Dakota. It belongs to you so you can whup on it.

    Yes, there are traditional families that work, but there are also "traditional" families that are abusive and dysfunctional.

    This has been going on since beyond the dawn of history. It's just that abused persons (and I acknowledge the fact that men can be the abused party in an abusive relationship) are more "educated" by the media (read: talk shows such as Oprah, etc.) as well as other venues (other abused persons speaking out, etc.) and are more likely to seek assistance in alleviating the situation.