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William Fisher: No ADD Here

No ADD Here

By William Fisher
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Wednesday 23 August 2006

I can't tell you how comforting it is to know that at least a few folks manage to keep their focus regardless of what's going on around them. No Attention Deficit Disorder here!

Take August 16, for example. In Iraq, there were the usual multiple car bombs and IED deaths. In Afghanistan, the resurgent Taliban continued to conduct lethal raids on Afghanis and coalition troops. In Lebanon, a thousand people died and a million found themselves displaced by Israeli bombs. In Northern Israel, terrified families poked their heads out of bomb shelters, waiting for more sirens and more Hezbollah rockets. In Darfur, the genocide persisted unabated, while diplomats diddled. In Britain, the cops discovered an alleged plot to blow up UK-US flights. Here at home, poor people went on getting poorer, kids got sicker because they had no health care, and Katrina victims were still waiting for FEMA trailers.

But August 16 was the day I realized that, despite all these cataclysmic events, some people were still keeping their eye on the ball. Because August 16 was the day I got an email from none other than Dr. James Dobson.

The chairman of Focus on the Family Action needed my help. He asked me to write to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California "to take a stand against a pair of pro-gay bills that could become law in the Golden State."

Specifically, he wanted me to "tell" the Governor to veto one bill, and "tell" state assembly members to vote against another.

Dr. Dobson piqued my curiosity. Grassroots democracy in action!

The good Dr. Dobson explained that the first bill "would forbid recipients of California government funding from portraying homosexuality, bisexuality and trans-sexuality in a negative light."

If passed, the other bill, he told me, "would force all public school teachers to present a one-sided message about homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender issues to students as young as five years old."

To compound this bias, the bill calls for all facets of education to be stripped of any negative messages on homosexuality.

My First Amendment rights under attack?

This bill "seemingly came out of nowhere," Dr. Dobson informed me, "with little fanfare. Both pieces of legislation are sponsored by openly gay State Senator Sheila Kuehl," Democrat of Los Angeles.

"The people of California have slept through this thing - at least some of them have - and they've got to wake up, because our kids, our churches, our schools are all at stake," Dobson said.

Typical of those laid-back Californians!

Then Dr. Dobson brought in a few allies to close the sale. The article on his web site reported that Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa, a Republican from Redding, California, had "pointed out that even the perception of homosexuality is protected, and Kuehl's bill does not provide for exemptions of any kind - not even a conscience clause."

The legislation, LaMalfa went on, "would require faith-based organizations, in order to remain eligible for certain funds, to violate their heart-felt beliefs in order to comply with this."

Trying to separate church and state, eh?

And Barbara McPherson, legislative coordinator for the California Family Council in Sacramento, said, "In fact, anyone who does business with the state and adheres to Christian principles when it comes to homosexuality would be at risk if the bill becomes law. "

"Christian businesses who do any type of contract work with the state - let's say a Christian vendor who sells water - could conceivably lose their contract," she explained.

She must mean Holy Water!

Then came Tom Minnery, senior vice president of government and public policy for Focus on the Family Action, who called the measure a "straightjacket."

"I don't know but that a liberal court in California will say, 'Well, if you can call a policeman, you're getting benefits from the state,' so you now have to abide by this horribly strict anti-discrimination law," he said.

Those activist judges again! Upholding anti-discrimination laws!

Then came the coup de grace. The Focus on the Family Action article reported that Gary Bauer, the high profile chairman of the Washington, DC-based group American Values, said, "homosexual activists have been pushing for decades to normalize homosexuality in the public mind."

"We've allowed homosexuality out of the closet, and with legislation like this, men and women who believe in Judeo-Christian values are being told to get into the closet and be quiet," Bauer said.

Gary Bauer in the closet? Clearly no laughing matter!

Well, as you can imagine, I mouse-clicked furiously to the "write" page of AOL to compose my letter to the Governator. There was no time to waste!

But then it dawned on me that, since I don't live anywhere near California, the Governor and the legislature would have little reason to pay attention to a non-voter.

Still, my hat's off to these folks who refuse to be diverted by the sorry state of the world.

So let's hear it for James Dobson, Gary Bauer, et al, and their Focus-on-Fear Action!


William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and in many other parts of the world for the US State Department and USAID for the past thirty years. He began his work life as a journalist for newspapers and for the Associated Press in Florida. Go to The World According to Bill Fisher for more.

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