Portland Bloggers Win! Ira Glass moves talk away from anti-gay church.

IraglassIt all started with a little blog post from LeLo in NoPo, that got picked up by BlueOregon, Onward Oregon, Metroblogging Portland, Just Out, KGW's Talk of the Town, Furious Nads, Mercury Blogtown, and even by County Commissioner Jeff Cogen's blog. Here's LeLo:

I love Ira Glass but I won’t be setting foot into a right wing conservative Christian church to see him... New Hope Community Church who is one of many churches right now actively seeking signatures against Oregon’s newly passed laws of civil unions and protections against discrimination.

And now, the Oregonian reports that OPB has decided to change their venue, in part because of the personal intervention of Ira Glass himself.

Complaints about the church's stance against same-sex marriage prompted Oregon Public Broadcasting on Thursday to move the Oct. 7 event to the Oregon Convention Center. "I'm glad that it was moved," Glass told The Oregonian. "There's this outpouring of people saying they're offended. And you can't argue with that."

The Oregonian credits LeLo with raising the alarm.

The move speaks to the power of Portland's blogosphere... LeAnn Locher protested the choice of New Hope on her personal blog, Lelonopo.blogspot.com, and rallied support for a change.

"I have heard so many stories from gay and lesbian and transgendered people on Ira's show," Locher said. "To think he would speak in a church that is so ingrained in discriminating against gay and lesbian people, it didn't seem right."

Of course, OPB just had to take one last swipe at the blogosphere -- amusingly enough, on the OPB blog:

Comments on that blog and others are calling for people to cancel their membership and questioning OPB’s stance on gay rights and are spreading the usual blogosphere load of rumors, misinformation and hype.

Cue LeLo:

Their response makes me more sad than mad, really, because my intent here was never to flame OPB, but to help generate a response so that they would listen and examine what they were doing. ... I used my venue here on the blogosphere, not to flame and bash OPB, but to encourage a call to action for others to contact them, and to contact Ira Glass to apply pressure on OPB. If OPB isn't going to listen to their own community, I would think they would listen to Ira Glass. ...

So while I am so glad to know that pressure and feedback applied to OPB caused them to change the venue, I'm disheartened in how they are now bashing blogs ... I don't blog about what I do for a living here on my blog, but I'll out myself that as a seasoned PR professional, I'd have to say this is a prime example of how not to handle a situation like this.

So now that the event's been moved to the Oregon Convention Center, buy your Ira Glass tickets here.

Discuss.

Comments

  • Torri (unverified)
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    First of all three cheers for LeLo and the Mercury for breaking the story!

    And three cheers for Ira Glass.

    And now, from WBEZ, Chicago, it's This American Life~

    Today's episode of This American Life: Strange Bedfellows.

    In our first act: "You Say Tomato" ~Why a public radio station would invite a noted left wing intellectual to a right-wing mouth-breathing christian-rocking queer-bashing church to tell stories laced with free-thinking, irreverence and shall we say... a tint of male effemininity.

    In our second act: "Is Denial a tributary of the Willamette?" ~How public radio in Oregon loves the holy water, despite the fact that most of its listeners would rather count themselves as among the unwashed.

    In our third act: "Power to the People" ~In this act we tell the story of how, thanks to local bloggers and a weekly periodical that has not (yet) won a Pulitzer, plus, of course, their friends who get all those forwarded emails from the aforementioned, how they all rallied to get an media juggernaut - in this case the one with the highest listenership in the state's largest media market - how they got them to make a very public about face. Here's a teaser - it involves going over the heads of the bean counters - It involves talking to talent. And by talent, I do mean WBEZ's Torey Malatia.

    All this, and more in this week's episode of This American Life.

    Enjoy the show.

  • Jason Locher (unverified)
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    very very good job, I'm proud of you Sis!

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    Another stunningly revealing example of the true tolerance of the tolerance crowd.

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    Posted by: Rob Kremer | Aug 31, 2007 10:54:23 AM Another stunningly revealing example of the true tolerance of the tolerance crowd.

    Are you suggesting that progressives should be 'tolerant' of bigotry?

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    So, 57% or Oregonians are bigots. Ok.

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    (Ignore the troll, people. Even if he's a troll that once ran for statewide office.)

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    Posted by: Rob Kremer | Aug 31, 2007 11:22:27 AM

    Over 70% of Americans opposed mixed-race marriages too back in the day. So yeah, 57% bought into the bigotry you push, but that number is falling rapidly and more people turn away from discriminatory bigotry like yours.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Kari, why do you call everyone who posts something conservative or provocative a troll? Whether they really want to engage in debate or just throw bombs doesn't really matter -- they exist, and if we don't start engaging them, we're never going to achieve the progressive society we're all striving for. If they're being unreasonable or the debate is unproductive, we're all adults. . . we can handle it.

    As for Rob's comment, yes, 57% of Oregonians are bigots when it comes to gay rights. And it's only when we start labeling bigotry as bigotry that we can start moving people away from it. If we allow it to be characterized as an "acceptable" view, then we won't make progress.

    Your side can continue saying it's okay to be hateful towards gays. My side will continue to say it's not. That's democracy. (Oh, and guess what, my side is winning.)

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    Interestingly, they are bigoted in something close to the original meaning of the word, which referred explicitly to religious opinions. A 1979 edition of Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines a bigot as "one obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own church, party, belief or opinion," and provides an etymology to Middle French which indicates that in the late middle ages in French it also had a gloss as "hypocrite." Possibly a more recent dictionary would reflect the now common usage focusing on categorical prejudice toward identity groups, perhaps paradigmatically racial and ethnic groups, a subset of opinion in the definition above I suppose.

    Miles, I half agree with you, but only half. I think we should engage with people who really do want to engage, even if not every word they write is serious -- I think of PanchoPDX and some others. But a taunt like Rob Kremer's above is just name-calling.

    Your choice to respond as you did is worthwhile because it articulates a point about how to address not so much Kremer in this setting, but folks who voted for the same-sex marriage ban but may change their minds later. You made lemonade of lemons, but you did not really engage Kremer. Rather you engaged Kari, about an important consideration involving persuasion with which I suspect he would not entirely disagree, though perhaps you'd draw lines at different places.

    Kremer may change his mind later, or not. If he wants real discussion I'd agree we should engage (provided it isn't designed to sidetrack a topic). But we shouldn't engage drive-by name-calling and motives attacks.

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    Ok, something wrong is going on here... in the past 48 hours I have found myself in agreement with Stephanie V and Miles on things.

    ;-)

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    I thought trolls were pretty much by definition anonymous.

    The problem with labelling anyone who does not support same sex marraige a bigot is that it is intended to cut off, rather than engage, debate.

    Miles I appreciate you calling Kari out, but if I read your post right, you want to engage people who oppose same sex marraige by calling them bigots. Great starting point for a conversation.

    Seems to me the epitome of intolerance is to label anyone who thinks differently than you on some position as some form of evil.

    Lestat made my point beautifully, if unwittingly. His immediate response was to make the bigot charge.

    I've got news for you all: If you want to change the hearts and minds of those who see things differently than you, a good starting point IS NOT to call them bigots for holding their viewpoint.

    But if your intent is to demonize anyone who openly holds these views by way of hoping to make others not admit they share them, then maybe you are on the right track.

    So demonize 57% of Oregonians. Please.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Miles I appreciate you calling Kari out, but if I read your post right, you want to engage people who oppose same sex marraige by calling them bigots. Great starting point for a conversation.

    So let me clarify. If someone, after serious thought, arrives at the view that gays and lesbians should be discriminated against, he is a bigot. If someone holds that view because they've been taught to hold that view and have never really examined it, he is simply ignorant (and I mean that not in a perjorative way, but in the same way that I'm ignorant about quantum physics).

    I'm fine alienating the former group because they're a lost cause. It's the latter group whose minds can be changed through a two-fold strategy: 1) gays and lesbians who are coworkers, colleagues, fellow parishioners, or whatever need to come out so that they can see that homosexuality is not deviant or evil -- just normal for a small percentage of the population; 2) labeling the anti-gay viewpoint as bigotry. Will we lose some through that label? Maybe. But others will say "Whoa, I'm not a bigot, so why is that group telling me that I am?" If we label it as just another acceptable viewpoint in modern society, they may never be forced to examine it.

    I do see a parallel here with racism. Many people growing up in the south held racist views because that's what they were taught. When those views started to be labeled as wrong, the hard core fought back -- thus the struggle for civil rights. But the "ignorant" started thinking about it, and over time most of them have abandoned those views. We still have a ways to go with race relations, but if we can make the same progress in the way people view gays and lesbians that we have in the way they view minorities, that will be a huge victory.

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    Posted by: Rob Kremer | Aug 31, 2007 1:30:25 PM The problem with labelling anyone who does not support same sex marraige a bigot is that it is intended to cut off, rather than engage, debate.

    Not supporting full equal rights under marriage law for same-gender couples is bigotry. Period.

    So demonize 57% of Oregonians. Please.

    Not demonizing 57% of Oreognians. I am demonizing those who bamboozle Oregonians into supporting bigoted views through FUD (fear uncertainty and doubt). As more people actually think through the issue and notice that gay people are not demons out to rape their schoolchildren and are just like everyone else, average Joe's and Jane's trying to live their lives, many raise children, and live and let live... the more Oregonians are coming around.

    Your bigoted positions are losing ground (thankfully) and as I pointed out up-thread, it took the courts to uphold overturning anti-miscegenation laws which were favored by well over 70% of the population nationally and upwards of 90% in many states until they were overtruned by the 1967 Supreme Court ruling Loving v. Virginia. In fact a 1958 Gallup pole showed that 96 percent of white Americans dissapproved of interracial marriage. Becuase a majority can hold a bigoted view doesn't change it from being bigoted. That has changed (however there are still some who still disapporve of mixed-race marriages (but a clear minoirty nowadays).

    Thankfully the bigoted attitudes are changing dramatically nationally and here in Oregon as they did about mixed-race marriages. Your side is losing and I will keep it up. Because over 80% of people under the age of 25 support equal rights under marriage law (or CU equivalents in all areas of law at the Federal and States level) and if you fake "conservatives" GOPers (Goldwater supported ay marriage if you need a touchstone to what true conservatism meant) keep this up, your views will go the way of the Whig party within the next 10-20 years. I can persoanlly attest to the how the fake "family values" moralizing is going to finally drive the nail in the coffin of the GOP since it turned me, who was raised in a Rockfeller Repbulican military household into leaving the GOP and am now a yellow-dog Democrat.

    Furthermore, if your bigoted buddies do manage to get your bigoted measures on the ballot this time, we can add hypocrites to your side as well since even the Oregon Family Council who pushed measure 36 said they were not trying to prevent CUs nor going to help the current anti-gay refferedum.

    Also, please spare us the tripe of your pretending to seek a dialog on this issue. Your post was nothing more than a failing attempt to sow animus at equality towards non-heterosexuals and attack liberals and progressives for championing equality, while you and your side are destined to be on the wrong side of history on this (like numerous other issues as well I might add).

    As I already noted, if Barry Goldwater, considered the father of modern conservatism of the last half-century, was fully supportive of gay marriage based on actual conservative principles, you might want to step back and see how far off the path you have wandered.

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    OK, now your scaring the crap out of me Miles, because I am heartily seconding what you just posted.

    (wry grin)

  • Harry (unverified)
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    Kari (Caahh-reee) is basically a troll, or ignorant or both.

    The wiki definition of a troll includes somebody who calls others "trolls", which continues the hi-jack of a thread off-topic. Kari know this def. He must enjoy trolling the trolls.

    Back to the sub-topic: Rob asks about tolerance and lesta reveals his bigotry.

    Can a tolerant person justify being intolerant or even bigoted?

  • Mick (unverified)
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    Rob is right about calling people bigots. I think a more constructive approach is find out the basis for which they feel the state can discriminate (this word is not being used perjoratively here, it is according to definition) based on the sex of the couple. I would imagine that discussion would take several minutes. Now, if it proceeded to the point where the person essentially says "because the Bible told me so", I recommend ending the discussion.

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    Posted by: Harry | Aug 31, 2007 2:39:44 PM

    ROFLMAO

    Yeah, I am bigoted because I refuse to accept bigotry. Have fun with that Möbius strip bit of logic.

    Posted by: Mick | Aug 31, 2007 3:10:46 PM Rob is right about calling people bigots. I think a more constructive approach is find out the basis for which they feel the state can discriminate (this word is not being used perjoratively here, it is according to definition) based on the sex of the couple.

    Mick, there is no basis other than bigotry or ignorance. That said however, Rob was/is not at all interested in discussion, he was simply sowing animus against liberals and non-heterosexuals because a Church which is pushing bigotry and bias against non-heterosexuals under the law are being stood up in public for what they are.

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    Posted by: Harry | Aug 31, 2007 2:39:44 PM The wiki definition of a troll includes somebody who calls others "trolls", which continues the hi-jack of a thread off-topic.

    No it doesn't.

  • Mick (unverified)
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    "Mick, there is no basis other than bigotry or ignorance. That said however, Rob was/is not at all interested in discussion, he was simply sowing animus against liberals and non-heterosexuals because a Church which is pushing bigotry and bias against non-heterosexuals under the law are being stood up in public for what they are."

    lestatdelc, if you assume that there can be no other basis, then you will never find out if there is. Furthermore, you have no idea what Rob is or is not interested in. Questioning motives doesn't further the argument, it only serves to debase your opponent. Rise above their tactics, dude.

  • Ted Gleichman (unverified)
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    Mucho additional applause to Torri, and further congratulations to LeLo; sweetly done!

    And for those of us who thrive on "rumors, misinformation and hype," let’s turn back to the key issue: I believe OPB has no right to support the common misconception that Rob exemplifies.

    The vital point, stated by many in this thread: Tolerance, like free speech, is not unlimited – and cannot be, for constitutional democracy and civil liberties to be fully protected. The intolerant do not deserve unlimited tolerance.

    New Hope Community Church obviously has the right to: - give money to anti-marriage-equality ballot measures, - to seek anti-domestic partnership and anti-anti-discrimination petition signatures, and - to claim that the mother of Jesus was a virgin.

    Btw, I speak here as an active left-wing pro-equality evangelical Lutheran. I think Jesus was serious when he said (as channeled through the Portuguese Sephardic Jew Emma Lazarus), "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." I think he meant everybody. I think New Hope violates their own core faith.

    But regardless of my theology, their free speech would not include an unlimited right to shout "kill the queers" in a crowded theater. And we have seen anti-gay attitudes slide into murder.

    And the right of the voters to express bigotry (or unease, or concern, or ignorance, or misunderstanding, or whatever it is that persuades people to vote against a specific group) is also not unlimited.

    Recall that the 1992 attempt by 53% of the Colorado voters to prohibit any anti-discrimination laws protecting the LGBT community was overturned by the (former) Supreme Court in Romer v. Evans in 1996. (No bets on what the current court would do.)

    So New Hope gets to try to sell its bigotry; that's OK -- though only up to a point. But should OPB buy it?

    Does OPB have that right, as a community-based non-profit that received almost $2.6 million in public funds in Fiscal 2005?

    After all, the public is split. Even though New Hope was part of the majority in 2004, they are part of fighting against the majority (as represented by the State Legislature and the Governor) in 2007.

    When OPB’s John Bell says to the Mercury’s Amy J. Ruiz, “My position is that OPB serves a broad constituency,” does renting from New Hope qualify? Should OPB’s activities EVER include financial support of a church engaged in such a bitter set of public controversies?

  • Harry (unverified)
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    Posted by: lestatdelc | Aug 31, 2007 3:35:18 PM

    Posted by: Harry | Aug 31, 2007 2:39:44 PM The wiki definition of a troll includes somebody who calls others "trolls", which continues the hi-jack of a thread off-topic.

    <h2>No it doesn't. (so said lestatdelc, kindly providing a link)</h2>

    Thank you lesta, for providing the link.

    Please read the whole link you referenced: Go past Etymology... Further past Early History and Trolling in the 1990s... Go past Intent and Identities and you get to Usage.

    I have cut the actual text of the whole Usage section, but you can go to the bottom line to see for yourself.

    <hr/>

    Usage The term troll is highly subjective. Some readers may characterize a post as trolling, while others may regard the same post as a legitimate contribution to the discussion, even if controversial. The term is often used to discredit an opposing position, or its proponent, by argument fallacy ad hominem.

    Often, calling someone a troll makes assumptions about a writer's motives. Regardless of the circumstances, controversial posts may attract a particularly strong response from those unfamiliar with the robust dialogue found in some online, rather than physical, communities.

    A sign warning not to "feed the trolls".Experienced participants in online forums know that the most effective way to discourage a troll is usually to ignore him or her, because responding encourages a true troll to continue disruptive posts — hence the often-seen warning "Please do not feed the troll".

    The word troll is often and easily (mis)used as an ad hominem attack against someone whose viewpoints and input cannot otherwise be silenced (i.e., via banning). Its successful use and misuse reveals much about how starkly different the world of technicians is compared to normal social and political discourse.

    The term troll should be used with attention since it is a very easy way of undermining an opposing point of view. Sometimes, overly using the word "troll" may constitute trolling in itself. -------------------End of Wiki citation--------

    Now, you may quibble that it says may constitute trolling. I agree that it is not the most common definition, but it is a definition of trolling, as per Wikipedia.

    I guess my overall objection to Kari's "troll" name calling is this: If Kari really thought Rob was a troll, he probably just would heed his own advice: "don't feed the trolls".

    He did not. He behaved like a troll. And he used the "troll" name calling to undermine Rob's opposing point of view. Kari is usually much better than that.

    Have a nice labor day weekend, everyone!

    Harry

  • Frank Rodo (unverified)
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    First, enough of engaging Rob Kramer and/or discussing the definition of a troll.

    I emailed Becky Chinn from OPB a couple of times. Very cordial but obtuse. The string follows below in reverse order.

    I'm saddened but not surprised that OPB would use the "balanced and fair" defense (as in "we serve the far left as well as the far right"). If this were an aggressively anti-black or anti-semitic church, which was sponsoring a racist ballot initiative, they wouldn't view it the same way. It shouldn't matter if they have as many right wing listeners as gay ones; it's wrong to rent from a group which tells other people they are sinful, second class citizens.

    Dear Frank, Thanks for writing again. I'd ask you to consider that perhaps the quote was printed out of context.

    Ultimately, I imagine that this is an issue where we will end up agreeing to disagree regarding our original choice of the church as a venue.

    We do feel that OPB has been anything but stubborn throughout this process. As soon as we received the first complaint, we reacted. We began discussions internally here at OPB and with Ira and his agent. This wasn't a decision that could be made overnight. We truly always want to do the right thing... for OPB and for the community. We did receive feedback from people on both sides of the issue and took it all into consideration.

    We take our service to the community very seriously. We know that we serve audience members on the far left and the far right. We serve people who attend the New Hope Community Church and we serve people who are members of the gay and lesbian community. We know (because we hear from hundreds of people each week on various issues) that our viewers, listeners and members hold vastly different opinions on all sorts of issues. Everyone deserves a voice, and we aim to treat everyone with respect.

    Anyway, I assume we won't agree on this issue in the end, but I'm glad that we have been able to have a dialogue about it all. It's important, and I'm pleased that you are willing to speak up and let us know what you think.

    Becky

    Dear Ms. Chinn

    Thank you for your prompt response. It is still upsetting to me that OPB cannot see the offensive nature of its original choice of venues. Its "neutral" stance is disheartening--you'd be paying good money to a hateful church that would use that money to strip me of my basic rights to work and rent a home. I doubt OPB would consider "being stubborn" (as you are quoted as saying) if it found out that it was going to be renting from a white supremacist church.

    Sincerely,

    Frank Rodo --- membercenter@opb.org wrote:

    Dear Frank,

    Thanks for writing about the Ira Glass event. We spoke at length with Ira yesterday, and ultimately, made the decision to seek a new venue so as to end the distraction from the purpose of his visit. We will have a new venue secured by the end of the week.

    We regret that our choice of venue upset you. Our choice was made based on space and financial considerations alone.

    Part of the mission of public broadcasting is to create a space where people of differing views and opinions can meet and explore issues in a spirit of community and understanding. Our intention is not to endorse any political or religious belief.

    We hope that this satisfactorily addresses your concerns. Tickets are available at opb.org/tickets.

    Thanks again for sharing your opinion. I look forward to having you as an OPB member soon.

    Becky Chinn Membership Director

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    Harry asks:

    Can a tolerant person justify being intolerant or even bigoted?

    Yes, tolerant persons can justify being intolerant of forms of intolerance that threaten the fundamental conditions of tolerance. This has a long tradition in the broad liberal spectrum that ranges from conservative classical liberalism to democratic socialism/social democracy (defining commonalities: rule of law, equality before the law, law derived from the will of the people). I will provide examples if someone desires.

    However, reasonable and tolerant people may disagree on where to draw the line as to when toleration of intolerance becomes complicity and thus a threat to the fundamental conditions of tolerance. Likewise differences in philosophy & ideology create different emphases and evaluations of the importance of threats.

    An obvious case is constitutional and legal intolerance of racial discrimination. The Fourteenth Amendment imposes protection and non-violation of individual constitutional rights on the states as well as the federal government, and requires that equality not be denied for reasons of race, color or previous condition of servitude. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (& renewals/extensions/amendments) and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 give specific modern statutory content and methods of enforcement to the Fourteenth Amendment as respects race.

    These amendments and laws demand intolerance of two forms of intolerance. One is the legal requirement of racial discrimination in public accommodations, education, freedom to marry and other matters, most extensively but not exclusively practiced in the former slave states of the Civil War Era (as someone previously noted "anti-miscegenation" laws were nationwide, and anti-Asian and anti-Indian laws had currency in some Western states. Although it became a dead letter after the Fourteenth Amendment, an Oregon constitutional provision purporting to prohibit black people from entering the state remained in the state constitution for a long time). States were prohibited from making such laws or enforcing them on private persons.

    The laws also demand intolerance and sanctions against voluntary discrimination by public agencies, organizations and individuals. This had much wider applicability geographically, as prior to the 1960s a great many states did not require racial discrimination, but permitted it, more or less extensively, so that it was widely practiced in matters of employment and promotion, pay, housing access, restrictive covenants in real estate, privately owned public accommodations, application of federal and state government policies and programs, military service and so on.

    In my view the features of racial discrimination that make it a threat to the liberal social order (in the broad sense defined above) apply as well to sexual orientation and identity discrimination. The creation of classes of citizens with differential rights based on inherent or ingrained and defining personal characteristics destroys equality before the law and equal protection by it. So to does the assertion by some citizens of a right to impose legal inequality on others based on inherent personal characteristics and to permit discrimination against them.

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    Response to Harry pt. II

    In many ways the crux of the issue about whether opposition to same-sex marriage constitutes intolerable intolerance is how we see sexual/love/mating orientation and sexual identity as personal characteristics.

    That is why the Oregon Citizen's Alliance and many currently active anti-homosexual religious conservatives have insisted that sexuality is merely behavior and purely a matter of choice, and don't acknowledge the idea of sexual orientation as a human condition with a spectrum of manifestations (like skin color). If sexuality is merely a chosen pattern of behavior, then a proposition that denying legal recognition and protection to same sex marriages does not discriminate, because gay men have an equal right to marry a woman as straight men and vice versa for lesbian women, could be something other than sophistical formalism.

    Conversely, if sexuality and sexual/love/mating orientation are inherent characteristics of ours, matters of who we are, beyond what we do, such claims of formal equality become complete nonsense. Laws against same-sex marriage then are a denial of equal protection of the law to a class of individuals based on inherent characteristics.

    I think there is growing recognition that sexual/love/mating orientation is a matter of who we are, not what we do, coupled with appreciation that "love makes a family," as the name of one organization elegantly puts it. I thing that is what's turning the tide of anti-GLBTQ prejudice and bigotry. The bigots are afraid of that recognition, which is why they try to censor expression of the idea e.g. in effort to suppress books like Heather Has Two Mommies.

    To me, however, this principle does not depend on a "genetic" definition of inherence of a characteristic. Changeable characteristics still can be unjust bases of legal discrimination -- consider say speech accent.

    A more profound and pertinent example and point is that personal sexual identity or orientation is a matter of freedom of conscience, comparable to one's religious faith (or lack thereof). Just because someone in principle can change their religious beliefs does not justify imposing discriminatory laws on them if they don't. Same with sexual/love preferences, even if they are in some degree changeable or malleable.

    <h2>Legally enforced sexuality bigotry creates unequal protection of the law, even if sexual/love/mating orientation is something "merely" deeply ingrained. Suppose it is not narrowly genetic, like skin color or hair texture. Suppose it is the result of some ineffable combination of biology, personal history, and perhaps spirit or soul, if one believes in such things. It is a quality that someone should no more have to change to be treated with full legal equality and personal dignity than one's faith.</h2> <h2>A different level of answer to Harry's question is more a matter of personal ethics. I not only believe that a tolerant person can justify being intolerant of intolerance, but that that he or she often has an ethical duty to do so -- a duty of solidarity, a duty to stand up for a friend, or just a fellow human being, who is under unjust attack, especially if he or she is present, but also if not. This is a matter of self-respect, of respect for the person(s) attacked, and even of respect for the person acting intolerantly, whether from ignorance, family/cultural background, or bigotry. It is respect for the attacker in the sense that challenging him or her recognizes a capacity to change, to be persuaded, or at least to deal with being challenged. Keeping quiet can be a cop-out, a form of paternalism, or even both.</h2>

    The fact that someone doesn't think he or she is a bigot doesn't make it true, and it's even less necessarily true when dealing with groups. Denial of prejudice can be a relatively subtle thing. The defense of use of Confederate symbols with the phrase "heritage not hate" has an understandable appeal. Yet it fails to recognize how hate is inextricably tied up with the heritage, reaching back through Jim Crow, Redemption (from Reconstruction) and the peak era of lynchings and urban anti-black pogroms, to slavery and meretricious defenses of it. It especially fails to acknowldge that Confederate battle flag was not always in state poitical symbolism. Rather it was revived and placed in state flags explicitly as a symbol of "massive resistance" to integration. It was part of efforts to defend legally enforced and permitted discrimination and bolster resistance to the Civil Rights Movement, including murderous violence, in the 1950s and 1960s.

    Or denial of bigotry can be grotesquely and horrifically funny, even while angering and terribly sad. Consider a photo in the New York Times in the 1980s of white opponents of a largely black civil rights march into the white Howard Beach neighborhood, after the murder of a black man there for being in "the wrong place" after his car broke down. A woman (I think) is shown holding up a handmade sign saying "We Are Not Racists." The man next to her is holding up a slice of watermelon.

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    Answer to Harry, pt. III

    <hr/>

    Can a tolerant person justify being bigoted?

    Well, if you define bigoted as something like intolerant-on-steroids, yes in the sense of justifying intolerance discussed above, but especially strongly for opposing violent or otherwise severely harmful intoleranc.

    If we take "bigoted" in the one of the senses I cited in an earlier post, as "obstinately devoted to his own ... belief or opinion," no, a tolerant person can't justify being bigoted, given the definition of "obstinate" as "perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose or course in spite of reason, arguments or persuasion."

    The difficulty here, of course, is that one person's deeply held conviction according to the lights of his or her long-considered reason is another person's perverse adherence to opinion or belief, especially when reasoning starts from profoundly different assumptions.

    Consider for example possible assumptions about the status of the Christian Bible. Is it inerrant revealed truth with a singular interpretation that is authoritatively known? Is it holy scripture that itself warns us of human fallibility in interpreting it, so that claims of singular correct interpretation should be deeply questioned or rejected? Is it a profoundly human creation colored by the history and institutional politics of its compilation, inclusion and exclusion of texts claiming scriptural status, and multiple translations, of the human (and hence imperfect) cultural and human circumstances out of which it emerged, and the human (and hence imperfect) cultural and human circumstances in which it is interpreted? Is it thus not to be taken as literal or singular truth in any sense, even if potentially of value as a tool for moral, ethical and spiritual reflection?

    Is it the erroneous text of a mistaken religion? An imperfect text predating the appearance of the final definitive prophet? Just a collection of myths, often used and abused over the centuries as justification for authoritarian exercise of power?

    Equally high quality honest reasoning based on each of these assumptions will produce radically different results.

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    Miles wrote... Whether they really want to engage in debate or just throw bombs doesn't really matter -- they exist, and if we don't start engaging them, we're never going to achieve the progressive society we're all striving for.

    You may be right, Miles, but not on this blog. BlueOregon is not - REPEAT NOT - a blog for engaging conservatives in debate.

    I refer you to our mission statement, unchanged since July 17, 2004:

    BlueOregon will be the water cooler around which Oregon progressives will gather.

    There are other blogs designed to engage in debate or discussion across party lines. This blog, however, is intended to be a place for progressives to explore the nuances or our views and differences among ourselves.

    The left/right fist-fight is boring and predictable. Above all else, BlueOregon will not be boring.

    Rob Kremer wrote... I thought trolls were pretty much by definition anonymous.

    No, Rob, anonymity has nothing to do with it. Here's a definition, from Wikipedia.

    Someone who intentionally posts messages about sensitive topics constructed to cause controversy in an online community such as an online discussion forum or USENET groups in order to bait users into responding.

    Your "they're all bigots, eh?" comment was PRECISELY a troll comment. In fact, it might be the single best and shortest example of a troll comment ever - especially since our folks couldn't manage to leave it alone... you baited them into it, quite successfully.

    Folks, please don't respond to the trolls. It only makes them happy.

  • Ted Gleichman (unverified)
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    Thanks, Chris, for your excellent essay. Full and thorough (fair and balanced) explication.

    And thanks, Frank, for the effort with Becky Chinn. Re her comment: We know that we serve audience members on the far left and the far right.

    The essential logical cluelessness of this reminds me of the old joke from the Sixties, where Arkansas Governor Orville Faubus is reputed to have said: "We-all oppose the extremists on both sides, those who want to close the schools and those who want to keep them open."

    Ms. Chinn and OPB can't have it both ways! They CAN say that their obligation to serve all means that they must always use neutral venues.

    But therefore they cannot logically claim that using a right-wing venue is serving both sides! Nor would it be "equal" if they then used a so-called left-wing venue for another event. Angering both sides cannot be construed as serving both sides.

    OPB still needs to acknowledge that the core point about a public institution pandering to bigotry remains: Right now, based on the official action of our state government, Oregon is opposed to discrimination against the LGBT community.

    That is official state policy. It may be put up for referendum, and it may be overturned, but right now, that is the enacted law, scheduled to take effect January 1, 2008 (absent a referendum). Talking about the 57% of voters supporting Measure 36 begs the question of current policy.

    At some point a social issue crosses the line for these pseudo neutrals. Even for the mainstream fundamentalist Republicans, one would hope that slavery is off the table... Of course, I'm so old I can remember when a known racist like Trent Lott was still a member of the US Senate -- and even a member of the GOP leadership! Oh, wait....

    OPB needs to learn and admit that for them, in their special community role and partial-public status, supporting those who support discrimination is wrong. Thank you, Frank, for trying to make that clear to them.

    I wore my evangelical Christian hat for my prior post; for this one, let me note that I am part of an OPB-membership household.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
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    “This blog, however, is intended to be a place for progressives to explore the nuances or our views and differences among ourselves.”

    So at what point does a progressive expressing a viewpoint that is at odds with other progressives earn a “troll” label?

    It appears most who post on this website don’t mind a little spirited give and take on issues and ideas. They recognize it is the best way to become informed and for opinions to evolve. That is what keeps things from getting boring.

    Those stuck in the two party mindset seem the most threatened by honest intellectual exchange, often resorting to name calling in place of sound arguments. Maybe they should post on the major party websites and leave this site to real progressives.

  • Wendy (unverified)
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    The word "discrimination" has been used in many a court case. What it really means is a distinction in treatment . . . given to different individuals because of their different race, religion or national origin. Discrimination is the unreasonable differentiating of treatment based upon perjudice. But it's the "unreasonable" part in question. For instance it is entirely reasonble to differenciate between legal and illagal immigrants yet it is often said by the left that anyone who makes this distinction is an unreasonable bigot. Likewise, anyone who opposed homosexual marriage for any reason is called a bigot.
    As more and more efforts are made to make all things equal we are asked to not recognize any differences in anyone for any reason. When journalists and newspapers are reluctant to mention the race of a wanted criminal for fear of being cast as discriminatory it is clear the whole discrimnination thing has been taken far from reasonable. Specific to the homosexual movement there is little doubt there are many who would force this church to allow and include homosexuals in their congregation and ministry and prohibit by law anyone from differentiating treatment based upon the behavior of, lifestyle or born with homosexuality. As if it is reasonable to view homosexuality as a race.

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    Wendy, no one is trying to force this church or any church to do what you say. Under the constitution religious bodies have nearly complete freedom to define their internal relationships and rules and condtions for membership and statuses. No one is trying to change that.

    If anything it is the other way around -- the anti-gay movement among other things in Oregon has succeeded in prohibiting the civil state from recognizing and giving equal religious protection to same sex-marriages created in churches and other religious groups that recognize, conduct and bless such marriages. This discriminates against the religious faith and moral convictions of heterosexual members of such religious groups as well as against all homosexual people.

    At bottom I don't think you, I or anyone else should get to vote on granting or denying certain basic rights to anyone.

    Basically the religious justification for denying the civil protections of marriage (NOT the religious blessing -- the law is against even purely civil same-sex marriages) is that you, I presume, and many others, think that homosexuality is morally wrong, is a sin.

    Suppose the shoe were on the other foot? Suppose a majority of people in a state developed a genuine religious faith and conviction that denying marriage to homosexuals was wrong, sinful and against God's will. Suppose they passed a referendum that the state would not recognize any marriage conducted by a church or religious group that denied marriage to homosexuals. Suppose they passed a law requiring an oath or affirmation that a couple believed in the right of homosexuals to be married as a condition of getting a marriage license?

    Would that be right or reasonable? I don't think so (apart from being unconstitutional).

    I believe same sex marriage should be legal, and that discrimination against homosexual people is immoral. But just because I think such anti-homosexual actions and beliefs are immoral doesn't give me the right to try to deny basic civil rights to people who disagree with me. That would be unreasonable.

    I think it is unreasonable for you to deny the freedom of conscience and love to other people, and the freedom to enter into a relationship that carries civil rights, and also moral commitments generally considered to strengthen relationships, families and society, just because you disagree with their views of morality.

    If homosexuals can be denied the right to marry or even have legally recognized domestic partnerships because it is a sin under Christian theology according to many, where does it end?

    According to Christian theology, ultimately not becoming Christian is the worst sin against God of all, a stubborn pride that leads to eternal damnation. It is even worse than homosexuality.

    A person could be an active homosexual all their life, and yet have an honest conversion, accept Jesus as their savior, confess their sins and ask forgiveness and be saved, according to conservative Christians. But a non-Christian, whether an atheist, agnostic, or believer in another religion, who led a conservative life including heterosexual marriage, marked by ordinary human imperfections but no great human/secular crime, who was offered a last chance to convert and refused, would be damned for eternity.

    So if not being Christian is a worse sin than homosexuality, does that mean Christians should be able to take away the right to marry from non-Christians?

    Trying to claim the right to vote on other person's fundamental rights is not reasonable. It is wrong.

    (Just out of curiosity, supposing two Central American evangelical protestants, a woman and a man, immigrated illegally to the United States, fell in love here and decided to get married. Suppose their pastor approved of this and wanted to marry them, which would grant them certain civil rights under U.S. & state law. Would it be reasonable to deny such civil benefits of marriage to such a couple because their residency here was illegal? How far does "reasonable" discrimination against persons illegally resident go?)

  • Laura C (unverified)
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    Specific to the homosexual movement there is little doubt there are many who would force this church to allow and include homosexuals in their congregation and ministry

    C'mon really? How many? Got a number? Cite a scientifically valid and impartial poll or study? I'll take a guess that the number is about the same as the number of people of color who would force the Aryan Nation/Church of Jesus Christ Christian to accept them into thier congregation and ministry.

    prohibit by law anyone from differentiating treatment based upon the behavior of, lifestyle or born with homosexuality.

    Yep, when it comes to employment, housing, insurance, staying in a hotel, eating in a resturant, medical treatment, serving in the military, right of survorship, to have a family, and generally just have the same and equal rights as any other citizen. Really what's so scary?

    As if it is reasonable to view homosexuality as a race.

    Don't you really mean: As if it's reasonable to view homosexuals as human.

    Please note I did not call you a bigot.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Anyone who has ever worked for a corporation which offers domestic partnership benefits, and there is a gay person who regularly eats in the lunchroom, knows there are gay people who may not be as threatening as those who have never met a gay person may indicate. There are going to be people working for that company who know the gay man by name or as "that guy who keeps the ---- dept. running" rather than getting into this whole debate.

    Some decades ago there were people who decided they no longer wanted to belong to a church which would not accept black members and formed their own church. If a church doesn't want gay people to come through their door, they have that right---but others have the right to say they won't walk through that particular church door either.

  • patti clark barnett (unverified)
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    Mick, how wrong can you be!? You've got it bassackwards. Discussions should BEGIN-not-"End" within the frame work of what Holy Scripture says on all matters, especially on those controversial issues like homosexuality. How wrong it is for the pro gay community to label those disagreeing with their lifestyle as bigoted haters. Of course, the well grounded in their faith are familiar with this ploy at force feeding acceptance. However, it tends to defeat the homosexuals' purpose. I am a perfect example of THEIR bigotry target. As a Christian, I know what God has to say on the subject. And it's a lot and none of it is good. So, either I accept what the greatest book ever written has to say, and reject the homosexual lifestyle-not the homosexual-or the converse would be the case. Can't have it both ways Lutheran Rev. As for the gays, on a personal basis, I've found them to be some of the most charming, sweet and creative people I've known. And I have had friends and even dated (I now suspect)them. However my feelings toward them, which is benign, even cordial, does not, should not necessitate checking my Biblical belief, faith and knowledge at the door.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    This blog, however, is intended to be a place for progressives to explore the nuances or our views and differences among ourselves. The left/right fist-fight is boring and predictable.

    I just can't let this go. I'm new here, so I wasn't familiar wtih your mission statement. Now that I am, I consider myself more informed -- and disappointed. Your intent with Blue Oregon is really to create a blog designed to be insular and provincial? How is getting people who agree with one another to talk about how much they agree (or, more commonly, to blow small nuances up into extravagant debates) helping move Oregon towards a more progressive future? Listen to Jefferson Smith's words on this: The base root of our political problem is not that we fail to take up sides, but that we fail to engage our neighbors no matter their political persuasion. Our communities have become more ethnically diverse, and more politically segregated.

    The left/right fistfight is only boring and predictable when those engaging in it are narrow-minded and partisan. When those engaging in it are "progressive", no matter their philosophical outlook, the debate can be truly enlightening.

    Your "they're all bigots, eh?" comment was PRECISELY a troll comment.

    Well, I was accused of being a troll when I questioned whether the impeachment of Bush should really be a forgone conclusion. . . and I'll put my progressive cred up against yours any day. Rob's question was legitimate: If those who oppose equal rights are bigots, what are we really saying to the 57% who approved M36? It's an issue that progressives must address -- but probably not a critique that will come from other progressives.

    It's your blog, Kari, but I'll continue to respond to trolls that I deem worthy of response. I hope others do as well.

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    Your intent with Blue Oregon is really to create a blog designed to be insular and provincial?

    No, of course not. Don't be silly.

    How is getting people who agree with one another to talk about how much they agree (or, more commonly, to blow small nuances up into extravagant debates) helping move Oregon towards a more progressive future?

    Because when we launched BlueOregon there weren't many places where Oregon progressives could gather to discuss issues, debate options, explore values, etc. This isn't "insular and provincial", it's movement-building.

    The left/right fistfight is only boring and predictable when those engaging in it are narrow-minded and partisan.

    True. Welcome to political debate on the internet. Lots of narrow-minded and partisan folks on both sides. We seem to attract plenty from the other side.

    When those engaging in it are "progressive", no matter their philosophical outlook, the debate can be truly enlightening.

    Well, we define "progressive" differently - but I agree, ideological discussion can be very enlightening. That's just not what we're doing here.

    If you believe you can create a blog that engages in meaningful and interesting left/right ideological discussion that doesn't generate into chaos, meanness, and name-calling... well, I'll do everything I can to help drive traffic your way.

    America is run by the people who show up. You just did. Make it happen. I'm looking forward to it.

  • Mack Wack (unverified)
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    The question is not whether the church is "anti gay" or not, but if they turn away gay church members or not. If so, I think it is within the right of Ira Glass to want to change the venue. But in the true spirit of inclusion and tolerance (words you hear constantly from lefties) if the church is in fact open to gay members I do not see what the problem is?

    Face it people, gay marriage is a farce. Gays are able to shack up and spend every waking minute together if that is their choice. Marriage is and has always been between members of the opposite sex. It will never change and if it is forced through by judges and courts it will only breed resentment towards gays.

    I think if Ira Glass and his fans were truly open to diversity and tolerance, they would show up at the church and keep their mouths shut and show that they are the better people. But no, they have to make a big stink about it (pardon the pun) and show themselves for the true facists that they are. Not a way to win over converts to their side.

  • ws (unverified)
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    It's fortunate that such a groundswell community effort could be involved in averting this major faux paus.

    Did Jesus didn't write the bible? I've never heard that he did. Did he tell everybody to go around being christians? I guess everybody will, or should decide that for themselves. At any rate, the institution of marriage does not originate exclusively from Jesus or the bible, so it really does not seem reasonable to keep dragging up this excuse as a reason to prohibit people of the same sex from being married to each other.

    If the New Hope Community Church doesn't want people of the same sex married to each other within the confines of their facility, let that be their right. Meanwhile, let the rest of the world move on towards fairness for all people.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)
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    Rob Kremer - we do not tolerate Christofascists, otherwise known as the American Taliban.

    These religious extremists must be fought against with all our might. They HATE AMERICA, and want to turn it into their own theocratic playground, with a Christian version of Sharia law.

  • patti clark (unverified)
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    Shouldn't have, "Fed the troll" Rob! All you highly sophisticated, intellectual progressives out there had better be careful or those narrow minded, bigoted,r.w con. partisan, Christofascists-American Taliban-(say what?)are gonna gitchya good. Talk about an honest,open, balanced and intelligent debate!! You guys are so scared and freaked out at the mere mention of the Bible or true morality that you go into immediate loon/attack mode when you even see the word! Lighten up, man! Come to my weblog site and be entertained by my songs, be enlightened and edified by my political,socio/religious commentary and views. You will enjoy because I know you are broad minded enough to appreciate genius even with which you disagree:)) patti@pcbarnett.com

  • (Show?)

    So are you picket Red Lobster, stoning to death people who wear mixed fiber clothing? Or are you just hiding behind the writings of bronze-age Semitic witch-doctors in order to justify discriminating under law against couples who have the same genitalia?

    I am not afraid of what the central message of Jesus was, too bad most "Christians" like those opposed to equality for all under the law, don't seem to get what it was/is.

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