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  • « Commenting troubles | Main | The Week on GNW (Dec. 14-20) »

    December 21, 2008

    Warren-gate and the First Amendment

    Posted by: Chris

    Roymoore There is a deeply disturbing undercurrent to the arguments made by those who want Barack Obama to rescind the invocation invitation to Southern Baptist evangelist Rick Warren in favor of a minister with friendlier views on gay marriage or homosexuality. While you and I might view this campaign as well-intentioned, the 16 million members of Warren's denomination understandably feel otherwise, as do many millions who belong to faith traditions with similar views.

    We gays are very accustomed to Southern Baptists and other evangelical and fundamentalist faiths attempting to have their beliefs about homosexuality enshrined into law, always at the expense of our freedom or civil rights. But now the shoe is on the other foot.

    The angry blogosphere, D.C.-based gay groups and their progressive allies are basically demanding the president-elect remove one minister from his role in a major public ceremony because of his religious beliefs and replace him with one who is more acceptable. Their demand ought to trouble everyone, particularly LGBT Americans and anyone else who values the First Amendment separation between church and state. 

    The use of public ceremonies to show official government favor of one group over another runs directly afoul of the First Amendment's "establishment clause," which prohibits the government from establishing an official religion, or even from sending direct or indirect signals that some faith groups or views are preferred over others. The clear motivation for Obama showing favor for one set of beliefs over the other, as well as the obvious effect, is for the new president to signal that religious beliefs like Warren's are on the "outs," and religious beliefs approved by gays and progressives are on the "ins."

    That same intent, and that same obvious effect, are why the First Amenment does not permit official prayers in public schools and high school football games, and why we no longer have manger scenes at Christmas time in front of city halls and state capitols. That's why Roy Moore was removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the courthouse rotunda.

    In my public school here in the suburbs of Memphis, Tenn., we began each and every day with the Pledge of Allegiance ("under God" included) and the national anthem, but that wasn't all. We also sang along to Kate Smith on "God Bless America," and our principal led the students in reciting "The Lord's Prayer." Jewish students stayed quiet, obviously, and Jehovah's Witness adherents stepped out into the hallway for our morning intercom revelry.

    The motivations behind these official displays of religious preference, and certainly their impact, are directly analogous to why gay folks are demanding that Warren be removed from the inauguration, and the obvious effect on the public if Obama ultimately caves. 

    To be fair, it is partly Obama and Warren's fault that church and state are entangled here. The president-elect's decision to include a religious invocation and benediction, while noncontroversial and in keeping with tradition, opens the door to these kinds of debates. What's more, marriage as an institution is a conflation of law and religion, "vesting power" in ministers to officiate at a religious ceremony that has legal effect.

    Warren makes matters worse, of course, by basing his opposition to gay marriage and support for Proposition 8 on his religious beliefs about homosexuality. I've long believed that laws excluding gays from civil marriage are, in and of themselves, a violation of the First Amendment establishment clause, since the primary objections to marrying gay couples -- repeated in one form or another by conservative politicians and pastors alike -- are their personal religious views about "the sanctity of marriage." The government ought not to be choosing which denominational views about marriage by same-sex couples will be enshrined in the law.

    So do we really want to jump into the Blblical battle over marriage, asking the president-elect to signal to the public that views held by Warren and millions of others are disfavored by the government? Shouldn't we be arguing that the Bible and religion are an illegitimate basis from excluding gays from a fundamental freedom and civil right?

    Gay folk and progressives exorcised by the selection of Warren would be much better served focusing on winning the political debate over marriage, in part by arguing for the separation of church and state, than by trying to use the president-elect to show our religious beliefs are in favor. Not only is that fight an anathema to the First Amendment, it's a loser with the majority of church-going Americans today.

    (Pictured is former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and a cake honoring the Ten Commandments memorial that federal courts had removed from the courthouse of the state supreme court.)

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    Comments

    1. jim on Dec 21, 2008 5:46:01 PM:

      dude,you just don't get it. and I cant figure out why. the separation of churc and state argument doesn't fly with warren evangelicals anymore than the current concerns raised about warren. obamas mistake is 2fold: suggesting that - if religions and prayer are to be included in the inaugurtaion - a limited representation of protestant christianity is all that gets to come to the table and 2. fcailing to understand the power of symbol - either in religious liturgy or a national secular liturgy like the inauguation. the choice of warren is a symbol that advances credibility and acceptance of an anti gay equality agenda. that's not acceptable anymore. of course, maybe obama does get the power of symbol in this national liturgy, at which point its even more time for lgbtq folk to assert our voice, right, and presence as the choice to trust and wait for our rights doesn't really work. I fear your advice does no more for us than hrc during the prop 8 debate. rage against me if u'd like, but if we're to be without rights id rather argue that pub lically than proclaim tolerance for those who are intolerant

    1. John on Dec 21, 2008 10:22:43 PM:

      I don't have a problem with Obama picking a minister who opposes gay marriages. I do have a problem with the president-elect inviting one who lumps incest, and pedophilia in with gay relationships when justifying his or her opposition to gay rights. For reasons that need, I believe, no explanation, it should be obvious to all that raising the pedophilia comparison is not an act of engaging in civil debate but rather an act of vilification.

      Inviting someone who is known to have made such comparisons legitimizes them by suggesting that they are open for discussion. We don't need to honor those who engage in uncivil conduct.

    1. Chuck on Dec 21, 2008 10:58:27 PM:

      I hear you, John. How would Rick Warren and the religious worshippers he represents feel if a leading spokesman for the LGBT community, say Joe Salmonese, for the sake of argument, were to get on National TV and make the unfounded comparison of Christian wives to prostitutes and Christian husbands to wife/child beaters?

    1. gkruz on Dec 22, 2008 2:26:53 AM:

      Separation of church and state should mean no invocation by any clergyperson, left, right or center. No Rick Warren, no Gene Robinson, no Dalai Lama, no Rabbi Boteach or Cardinal Mahony. If the First Amendment's establishment clause were taken seriously by politicians, including Barack "faith-based initiatives" Obama, this is how it would be, and there would be no divisive controversies such as this. But Barack "God's in the mix" Obama doesn't believe in separation of church and state any more than George "God told me to invade Iraq" Bush, so get used to this, for this is what you're going to get for the next four years.

    1. Double T on Dec 22, 2008 10:14:58 AM:

      Religion has become the safe haven in American politics for Hatred.

      1)if Obama is going to allow a religious figure, keeping with Obama's rhetoric, it should be one that UNITES, not divides.

      2)Warren is a liar. He continues to promote that Marriage has a 5,000 year old definition. IT DOES NOT, having another person as a piece of property is not a martial partner. WHY, OH WHY? does no one call him on this bullshit.

      And to have him stand up at this time to represent the entire nation, to set the tempo for coming change, is an almost f-cking insult.


    1. Double T on Dec 22, 2008 10:22:54 AM:

      OH...one more thing.

      I hope the next time Mr. Obama visits Warren's church, I wish someone would put up a signing reading "My grandfather owned your grandfather."

      Nothing wrong with that right? It's in the Bible.

    1. Kris on Dec 22, 2008 10:35:50 AM:

      The question I have for all of you Obsessed Obama "he can do no wrong" Supporters, is do you think Hillary would have thrown LGBT Americans under the bus like Obama? Buyers remorse is a bitch. I can see Obama in the future signing the FMA in the Rose Garden while smiling and saying he loves and supports LGBT Americans.
      New bumper sticker
      "O"
      NO
      The President

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Dec 22, 2008 10:59:03 AM:

      Interesting theory, Chris, but a stretch. Removing Warren as the person giving the invocation and replacing him with someone more progressive on LGBT issues has nothing to do with religion--it has to do with gay rights. Because this is a gay rights issue, and not a religious issue, the Establishment Clause does not apply.

      In fact, based on your theory, I would argue that Obama's refusal to rescind the invitation to Warren is an even greater violation of the Establishment Clause. By selecting two Christians, Lawery and Warren, to be involved with his inauguration, isn't Obama "signaling" to Christians that their religious views are preferred to those of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and other non-Christians? Doesn't THAT run afoul of the First Amendment?

    1. Kara on Dec 22, 2008 11:35:13 AM:

      I like this take, I read:

      "But we are never going to win the fight for gay marriage and transform the United States into an inclusive country where gays and lesbians have equal rights until we get the fairy-tale believing bigots on our side.

      I wish it weren't that way, but it is. We have to accept that tere are way to amny of them and get about changing minds and then the laws will change as well.

      Fairy-tale believing bigots will not see things our way if we keep them outside the process. We have to welcome them into the conversation and let them play.

      Rick Warren adds a touch of credibility to Barack Obama's inauguration for millions of people who'd rather pretend this isn't such a big deal. They'd like to ignore this moment in history. They want to stay angry and bitter and opposed.

      And now they can't because their hero is gracing the event with his and the Lord's presence.

      We have to be smarter than the fairy-tale believing bigots. Because that's how we'll win."

    1. Hawyer on Dec 22, 2008 12:01:10 PM:

      Chris. Chris.

      As a lawyer you ought to know better - that picking a preacher based on the criteria of his rhetoric has precious little to do with the establishment clause.

      Let's take this to the reductio ad absurdum. Suppose Obama had invited Rev. Fred Phelps to lead us in national prayer. Would you then extol the virtues his privilege to choose someone with his "viewpoint"?

      Or for that matter, suppose he had chosen Bishop Gene Robinson? Would that be OK, or would the first gay bishop be too divisive for you?

      Or maybe the Grand Klegle of the Klu Klux Klan - which is by point of fact a "Christian" organization. Check it out: "expressive organization" fully protected under the first amendment.

      The point is the peril of picking a preacher of any stripe to lead us in national prayer. Whoever he picks telegraphs a message of stature and honor. ....and Warren is a shitty message.

      BTW I hope none of us are "exorcised" by Warren (L-O-L) I think you meant "exercised"

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Dec 22, 2008 12:52:54 PM:

      I love this one.

      We have to be smarter than the fairy-tale believing bigots. Because that's how we'll win.

      The very phrasing of that statement makes it obvious that it's an impossibility.

    1. James on Dec 22, 2008 3:01:03 PM:

      You are right about separation of church and state being the important issue here. So does not Obama scare you? He is, after all, a self-proclaimed Christian, which apparently informs him that marriage is only between a man and a woman. So, if he believes this, which the evangelicals also believe, then the only difference is his "civillity" towards GLBT individuals and lip-service to equality under the law through civil unions. He doesn't demonize, he just puts us into a separate but equal box.

      Has not anyone seen how uncomfortable he is when addressing GLBT issues? Took him a long time to add us to his litany during the campaign (and then we were always at the end of his equality spiel). Gave very few interviews to gay media, usually after being harassed about it. McClurkin?
      His response to the criticism over the Warren invite? Cold, uncomfortable, and after all, we can diagree amiably on gays and abortion and "other SOCIAL issues."

      I do hope the outrage I have read on other blogs and the response to Gov.change will be a wake-up call for both The Obama team and progressives. For some of us, and I do not really understand why, completely, his pick of Warren has the emotional undertow of a new Stonewall.

    1. jomama on Dec 22, 2008 5:30:49 PM:

      One question:
      "What is the differance between Obama embracing Warren or Obama embracing farrakhan?

      answer none. Both are biggots, only the target is differant.

      It is not about prop 8. Not at all in my mind. It is about his stance on gays that is well documented.

    1. Chuck on Dec 22, 2008 8:50:38 PM:

      "For some of us, and I do not really understand why, completely, his pick of Warren has the emotional undertow of a new Stonewall."

      Because when the shit is up to your eyeballs and you can't see anymore, it's time to say "Enough, is enough.

      New York City's "finest" were not content with hefty payoffs they were getting from the mafia-ownd bay bars on Friday and Saturday nights. They had to keep pushing and pushing, until finally, they pushed us a little too far, and we came out slugging.

      I have a wake-up call for Religious Right, the Mormons, Obama and the Democrats. This WILL the new Stonewall.

      Bet on it. We've have enough. Again!

    1. Stephen Clark on Dec 22, 2008 8:54:02 PM:

      As much as I respect Chris, he's absolutely wrong on the Warren invitation, and this latest rationalization is the most pathetic so far. There is no basis whatsoever in the First Amendment or its jurisprudence for claiming that a president is restricted in whom he may choose to deliver prayers at his own inauguration.

      By his selection of Warren, Obama has used the bully pulpit of the presidency to send a clear message that equating gay couples with pedophiles is appropriate civil discourse on the marriage issue and, frankly, that gay-rights "social issues" are insignificant. Obama should be harshly condemned for having done that.

    1. Chuck on Dec 22, 2008 8:57:46 PM:

      Oops...this WILL be the new Stonewall.

      And I might also add that the LGBT community, on a grassroots level, is sick and tired of talk, talk, talk and no action.

      If people will not listen to us, we will see the mobs turning angry again.

      Let me just remind everyone. The black community did not get it's civil-rights until it began pushing back. Then, the people who had been paying no mind to the rhetoric, began to take notice.

      Talking is all well and good, if you have a receptive audience. But, if they are tuning you out, what are you alternatives?

    1. DavenPA on Dec 23, 2008 5:05:35 PM:

      I'm not sure what is more disturbing.

      Obama's pick for a 5 minute prayer, or the fact that Gays think Obama has us forefront in his mind when making all his decisions?!?

      Last time I checked
      1) there are a hell of a lot more "religious right", "evangelical", and "Christian" types than there are "gays"

      and

      2) "MOST" gays don't give two flying Figs about "prayer" or "church" because of being shunned and bad mouthed by churches for decades.

      To think that his assignment of Warren was a blantant slap across gays face shows how self-absorbed and gay-centric we are.

      How bout the view of him reaching out to a base that makes up most of the opposing party?

      Must every decision a president make be "All about Gays"?!?

      Sorry, I think we as Gays have bigger more important things to get fired up and upset about.

      My 100 - 98 cents,

      dave

    1. Chuck on Dec 23, 2008 7:51:22 PM:

      DavenPA said:

      "Last time I checked
      1) there are a hell of a lot more "religious right", "evangelical", and "Christian" types than there are "gays"

      Apparently this has something to do with something?

      It might interest you to know that it is not just the LBGT community that is fired-up and outraged by Mr. Obama's latest faux pas. Many mainline media outlets have also expressed their view that Mr. Obama's choice was inappropriate. Do a little online reading and Googling to familiarize yourself with what the rest of the world is thinking, besides just reading gay blog sites and dumping on them.

      So please, spare of of the self-loathing, LCR reproach about every decision being "All about gays".

      If you don't give, and I will use your own words here, give two flying Figs about your civil-rights, that's just fine and dandy. The rest of don't give two flying figs about your civil-rights either. After all, you really wouldn't have much need for them in the closet that you reside in anyway.

      So, would you kindly just step aside and let the rest of us through here, if you don't mind?

      You're blocking our way.

    1. DavenPA on Dec 24, 2008 6:27:08 AM:

      Chuck,

      You are very wrong about me. (As people who know me, like the owner of this Blog will Attest)

      I am out and proud.

      Out at work in a state where I can be fired because I make another co-worker "uncomfortable" because there are no worker protection laws for Gays in pennsylvania.

      Out in a small backward ass Western PA town where people, if they had a chance, would VOTE YES on a Prop 8 measure in a heart beat and gay bash me on the way leaving the polls.

      Although I didn't protest against Prop 8 before the actual election, because I live in PA and didn't think it would actually pass in a state like California (Shocked like most). I protested in the Post-Election "Join The Impact" rallies.

      So save your "Self Loathing" speech for a real LCR, closeted gay.

      And you misinterpreted my "two flying figs" comment and I stand by them. 99.9% of the gays do not care about Organized religion or Prayer. So getting upset over an "Assignment" (Not an appointment, it's not like this guy is on Obama's Cabinet or has his ear for issues) is to me a waste of energy and I will be saving my energy for a bigger much more impactful fight.

      But go ahead, soldier on! I'll join you when Obama backpeddles on repealing DOMA and DADT.

      Hugs and "Mary" Christmas.

      Your out and very proud friend,


      Dave

    1. Chuck on Dec 24, 2008 1:59:01 PM:

      Dave, I am very happy to learn that you are out and proud. That is a good thing. And from what you tell me, you have, indeed, put yourself out on a limb, as it were. You are to be commended for that. Kudos to you.

      Please note, that I did not challenge your comment about 99.9% of gays do not care about organized religion or prayer. As a non-believer myself, I would certainly hope that is the case for my gay brothers and sisters, although, I have to admit, that I do see an awful lot of gay posters staunchly defending thier religious convictions on these blogs and I find that very disturbing.

      How one can one possibly reconcile the Church rhetoric about homosexuality being an abomination and having our rights stripped away from us by them while seeking approval from these bigots and homophobes is totally beyond my comprehension?

      As to President-Elect Obama backpedaling on DOMA and DADT, well I guess we will just have to take a wait and see position. I will confess that while I voted for him, I am disappointed as all get-out by the three strikes he has made before even stepping up to the plate as our next sworn-in President.

      Add to that, the Bah-Humbug nose-thumbing we just received from Mr. Bush, I find it very hard to say Merry Christmas with a straight face or wish for the very best in the New Year to come. With these latest actions by the out-going SOB and our incoming PE, only an extremely blinded and optimistic "believer" would be able to sincerely utter the words Happy New Year.

      Instead, I will just simply say, fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy ride. Hang on tight and hope for the best.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Dec 24, 2008 3:51:49 PM:

      As a non-believer myself, I would certainly hope that is the case for my gay brothers and sisters,

      Why would you want all of us to be non-believers? What works for you may not work for everyone else.

      although, I have to admit, that I do see an awful lot of gay posters staunchly defending thier religious convictions on these blogs and I find that very disturbing.

      Again, why is it disturbing that someone wants to defend his religion? What is more troubling is that a gay person would feel the need to defend his beliefs.

      How one can one possibly reconcile the Church rhetoric about homosexuality being an abomination and having our rights stripped away from us by them while seeking approval from these bigots and homophobes is totally beyond my comprehension?

      Check yourself, Chuck. Not all of us religious folks are seeking approval from "these bigots."

      You are operating under a blanket assumption that all religious institutions are rife with anti-gay sentiment. That is patently false. There are several churches and synagogues which affirm same-sex relationships and which vigorously reject anti-gay teachings.

      In fact, I happen to know that a very prominent and established church right here in Sacramento vigorously opposed Prop 8. In about mid-September, the church vestry planted a prominent, "Vote NO on Prop 8" sign in the yard right outside the cathedral entrance.

      I will also tell you that a friend of mine, who is Jewish, married his partner in a local synagogue. They obtained their marriage license over the summer and the wedding was performed by my friend's rabbi right there in the synagogue.

      So please do not jump to conclusions. Not all religions teach the anti-gay nonsense mentioned in Leviticus. You are 100% correct that there are scores and scores of homobigots in many churches around the country. Sadly, they have the biggest megaphones and they have succeeded in convincing people like you that Christianity, Judaism, and other organized religions are all anti-gay. They are not. Many are friendly.

      Happy Holidays.


    1. North Dallas Thirty on Dec 24, 2008 4:43:57 PM:

      Again, why is it disturbing that someone wants to defend his religion? What is more troubling is that a gay person would feel the need to defend his beliefs.

      Yes, it's not like other gay people are going around saying that religion is nothing but "Middle Eastern fairy tales and lies", or insisting that religious people are "weak-minded fools who can't reason or think for themselves".

    1. Chuck on Dec 25, 2008 8:20:01 PM:

      Perish the thought. ;-)

    1. Chuck on Dec 26, 2008 3:13:40 PM:

      Strict Scrutiny, you said:

      "You are operating under a blanket assumption that all religious institutions are rife with anti-gay sentiment. That is patently false. There are several churches and synagogues which affirm same-sex relationships and which vigorously reject anti-gay teachings."

      I beg to differ with you.

      If you will re-read my comments you will see that I am attacking those Churches that are comdemning homosexuality and the people who voted yes on Propositon 8 in CA. I have no issue with the American Episcopalian Church, the United Unitarian Church or the pitifully few Churches who have no issue with homosexuality or the few Church.

      Fact: The Roman Catholic Church condemns homosexuality.

      Fact: The Pope condemns homosexuality.

      Fact: The majority of Christian Churches, like the Baptists, for example, condemn homosexuality.

      Fact: The Fundamentalists like Robertson, Dawson and Phelps condemn homosexuality.

      Fact: The LDS Church condemns homosexuality.

      Fact: Judaism condemns homosexuality.

      Fact: Islam condemns homosexuality.

      That said, you then stated:

      "In fact, I happen to know that a very prominent and established church right here in Sacramento vigorously opposed Prop 8. In about mid-September, the church vestry planted a prominent, "Vote NO on Prop 8" sign in the yard right outside the cathedral entrance."

      Wow! I am awed beyond words. A beacon in the dark, as it were. And happen to know a man who systematically exterminated six-million Jews. But, to his credit, he did love his dog Blondi, even more so than his wife, Eva Braun, who, btw, was a Catholic. So, by that logic, we should not be making blanketing assumptions about him as well.

      One church in California spoke up for us. That's very commendable, for sure, but that argument is as weak as saying that the Church helps feed the poor....as if they were the only ones in the world who might concern themselves with the plight of the poor.

      Thousands of organizations around the world feed the poor every day. The only difference is, you don't hear them slapping themselves on the back about it at every opportunity, and these organizations, incidentally, are not spending millions of dollars that might have fed the poor, on getting unconstitutional laws passed like Propositions 8.

      Doing "good" on the one hand, does not make up or compensate for doing evil on the other, like the Catholic who sins all week long and then makes "confession" on Sunday...all is forgiven bullshit. Stop committing the sins (and reveling in them) instead of thinking that you can get away with bloody murder but that all you have to do is "repent" and you will still go to heaven, nevertheless.

      And your piéce de resistance:

      "Sadly, they have the biggest megaphones and they have succeeded in convincing people like you that Christianity, Judaism, and other organized religions are all anti-gay. They are not. Many are friendly."

      People "like me" are asking, why are the "friendly" religious people not buying bigger megaphones and making themselves heard? Arguing that "Not all people, Christians, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, etc. are not like that" kind of arguments, are as comforting as the wife of a chronic wife-beater saying, "Well my husband may beat me all the time, but at least he doesn't kill me."

      When was the last time you saw a parade of Christians, Mormons, Jews or Muslims marching down Fifth Avenue protesting homophobia and the taking the rights of LGBT American Citizens?

      If and when that unlikely event occurs, I will continue to state, with certainty, and tons of proof to back it up, that our suffering for the past two-thousand years or more, has been brought about directly as the result of the fairy-tale believing bigots.

      The burden is upon people like you, to convince people like us of it being otherwise.

    1. Chuck on Dec 26, 2008 4:05:23 PM:

      PS: And while that last comment is still fresh in my mind, I would also like to state to those religion supporting gays among us who like to keep saying that we "must" strive to 'convince" these bigoted,fairy-tale believing bigots like Rick Warren, that we are not like them and be willing to sit down with them at the table for an open dialogue and discussion about our right to exist as humans...that this is pure, un⋅a⋅dul⋅ter⋅at⋅ed bullshit!

      Is the Episcopal Church and Peter Akinola in Nigeria willing to sit down at the table and have a 'discussion" with the gay community?

      Are the fag-bashing (killing) homophobes, including the police and the government in Haiti and other Caribbean countries willing to sit down at the table and have a "discussion" with the gay community?

      Is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, willing to sit down at the table and have a "discussion" about the gay community which, btw, according to his statement while visiting New York City last summer, is the same man who said "We have no gays in Iran." Tell that to the many homosexuals he has already hanged. It should give them great comfort.

      Is Benito Mussolini’s granddaughter, Alessandra, who is proud of her ancestral ties with "Il Duce" and is just as bitchy as her grandfather and who is condemning homosexuality in 2008 Italy, willing to sit down at the table to have a "discussion" about gays?

      And lastly, at peril of invoking Godwin's Law, was Hitler, who imprisoned and executed an estimated 10,000 gay men to death during the Holocaust, willing to sit down at the table and have a "discussion" about gays?

      Incidentally, Germany itself, after being liberated by the Allies, took the remaining gays that were still alive after the concentration camps were shut down, and sent them back to to prison to complete the sentences handed down by the Nazis, while the liberated Jews were sent home. The Allies (including the Americans) looked on and said nothing.

      Did anyone in post-Nazi Germany sit down at the table to have a "discussion" with the gay community about that, I wonder? If so, I never heard about it and cannot find anything in the history books or Google to prove me wrong.

      For all of you pacifists, religious or otherwise, I have a message that has been borne out throughout history.

      You may be able to sit down at the table and have a "discussion" with the enemy (anyone remember Neville Chamberlain's "discussion" with Hitler just before he invaded Czechoslavakia", but if you think that your enemy will NOT kill you when he gets the opportunity, then you are not paying attention.

      The only "discussion" that will be taking place, is the manner in which he kills you.

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