Saturday, November 05, 2005

Star Lays Bare Miller's Extremist Religous Agenda

Score another one for the Indianapolis Star. Today’s edition features a front-page expose by Robert King on Senator Pat Miller’s anti-gay agenda, which is fueled by her extremist religious beliefs. The story opens by recounting Miller’s recent appearance before the League of Women Voters where she was asked whether she would introduce her assisted reproduction bill. King wrote, “Now the questioner was pointing to what had become one of the most glaring miscalculations of Miller’s political life . . . Critics, including conservatives, said it smacked of an Orwellian bid to dictate who has the right to reproduce. Some gay rights organizations accused Miller of being on a ‘witch hunt.’ Having sparked a firestorm of protest that reverberated across the state [and the nation], Miller ended up retracting her proposal.”

King’s article draws attention to Miller’s role as Executive Director of the Confessing Movement, an extremist element within the United Methodist Church, which advocates a decisively Christian fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, and which is distinctly anti-gay. Advance Indiana last week featured a report on the influence Miller’s role in the Confessing Movement has had on her legislative agenda, and the efforts of Rock Indiana’s Pepper Partin to expose Miller’s extremist views to her constituents at a protest she staged last week at Irvington’s Halloween Fest, dubbed, “Indiana’s Witch Hunt.” Miller failed to show at the annual event she co-sponsors after word of Partin’s protest spread throughout the community. The story gave good play to Partin’s organized opposition to Miller.

Miller complained to King about her Confessing Movement being defined by its stand against homosexuality. “Instead, she says those who chose to stray from the church’s teaching forced the fight over homosexuality.” Rev. Kent Millard of St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Indianapolis disagreed, arguing that the movement has been a divisive influence on the church. “He said its followers tend to view their interpretations of Scripture as the only correct reading of the Bible. Their strict stance on homosexuality . . . doesn’t adequately emphasize the ‘sacred worth’ of gays.” Rev. Kathryn Johnson of the Methodist Federation for Social Action was more blunt: “She described adherents of the Confessing Movement as ‘narrow in their theological understanding’ and outside the United Methodist mainstream.”

Returning to Miller’s appearance before the League of Women Voters, King described Miller struggling to find a common ground with the women attendees. “Probably everyone in the room is a Christian,” Miller said. King noted that someone from the audience quickly corrected her on that point, forcing an apology from Miller. Miller continued, “I think that most people want their elected officials to be people of integrity, or moral conviction. I don’t think they want us to blow in the wind with the first person who offers us something, that we’ll waffle around. I think people want us to be people of integrity . . . My religious views do impact my position on issues of what I think are moral, theological integrity for me.”

As Miller concluded her remarks, King said the room fell silent. “She had flung wide open the doors to her political soul. She had laid herself bare and left no doubt what she stands for.” And that’s why Senator Miller is such a dangerous influence in the Indiana legislature.

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