Wednesday, November 03, 2004

the moral issues vote

The number one issue for American voters (according to exit polls) was moral issues/values. Tease that out and you probably get gay marriage and abortion. There was a lot of "under-the-radar attempts by Karl Rove and associates to use fear of homosexuality to rile up voters. What super powers we gay people possess: we split churches, we motivate voters to turn out in elections.


Jeff Sharlet at The Revealer asks that question in a thoughtful essay this morning. Reflecting on his reporting of religious people in America, he found that the number one unifying theme among all of them is antipathy to gay people.

Sharlet writes:

So I’m proposing a story for some brave journalist, or novelist, or scholar. Tell us why so many of us build our understandings of the world around opposition to homosexuality. We’ll want to know about the various theologies. We’ll need to know about psychology, biology, sociology. But what I’m really waiting for is a full account of the faith that underlies this opposition. It’s neither simple nor shallow. My travels -- and this election -- suggest to me that it is deep, and profound, made up of many meanings, spiritual, physiological, political, metaphorical.

Andrew Sullivan has several posts here about the election and gay people.

He writes:
I've been trying to think of what to say about what appears to be the enormous success the Republicans had in using gay couples' rights to gain critical votes in key states. In eight more states now, gay couples have no relationship rights at all. Their legal ability to visit a spouse in hospital, to pass on property, to have legal protections for their children has been gutted. If you are a gay couple living in Alabama, you know one thing: your family has no standing under the law; and it can and will be violated by strangers.

1 comment:

marthachick said...

Yes, this is part of what I'm ruminating on lately, too... the need to understand, rather than simply condemn. What are the underlying fears? How is the issue being framed for them in such a way that triggers those fears?

I remember, growing up in Dallas as a Catholic girl, when my first gay friend came out to me. Having been raised as I was, I had to do some soul-searching about what I'd been taught as opposed to what I believed in my heart. Ultimately, I chose to love my friend and by being his friend, I learned I had nothing to fear or condemn, and therefore my ingrained prejudices just evaporated. I'm so grateful.

The opposite is true, too. I have friends who are Republicans. My entire family is Republican. So, I choose to try and understand where they're coming from, rather than meet prejudice with prejudice.

By understanding and empathizing, maybe we can find better ways to communicate and all the fear go "poof!" It may take more time than any of us want, but then again, I know who's really in charge of all of us.

Best blessings to you today.