Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Nuvo On Puritan Politics

This week’s edition of Indy alternative newspaper Nuvo features a cover story by Laura McPhee entitled, “Puritan Politics: Reforming Inidana’s sex, family and marriage laws with faith-based legislation”. McPhee’s story is an excellent discussion of the impact the religious right is having here in Indiana and elsewhere in imposing its own moral code as seen through their eyes based upon the old and new testaments of the Bible on the rest of society through the legislative process. Specifically, the article focuses on the efforts of the Indiana Family Institute and its leader, Curt Smith, and Advance America and its leader, Eric Miller. She omits Micah Clark and his American Family Association of Indiana, an oversight that just might send him over the edge—again.

McPhee’s article traces a panoply of issues these groups have sought to legislate, often with success, including sex education, gay marriage and civil rights, unauthorized reproduction and covenant marriages in place of no-fault divorces. The article really puts into perspective the extent to which these religious zealots are willing to go to establish a Christian society as they see it through their tortured and rigid interpretation of the Bible.

If you think her article reserves criticism for conservative Republicans only, thing again. As McPhee bluntly puts it, “Perhaps the greatest success of the evangelical agenda is the lack of courage Democrats have shown in stopping it. At the state level, most are afraid to speak out against change in the Indiana Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman and withholding legal rights from couples.” To prove her point she quotes a high-ranking Democratic senator as saying, “I don’t like it, but if I vote against the amendment my opponent will use it against me in the next election. They’ll say I’m gay, or I support gay rights, and that will be all the campaign is about.”

McPhee also observed that most Democratic senators sat silently in the Health Finance Commission meetings this summer as Senator Miller began crafting her reproductive rights bill, and that several Democrats on the Indianapolis City-County Council voted against the HRO. She also quotes Democrat Patrice Abdullah, who represents the council district with the most gay citizens and voted against the HRO as saying: “I don’t think that I should be forced to compromise my integrity and my beliefs as to what God put here for us to obey and to accept.”

Advance Indiana is happy to see that Nuvo has finally arrived to the dance, even if it is a little late. It should also be observed that McPhee’s article borrows extensively from previous postings on these matters at and Advance Indiana without attribution. But as the saying goes, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”


RightDemocrat said...

One thing that Democrats and Republicans should agree on is that the traditional family has been a source of social stability. Support for traditional family values is not limited to evangelical Christians, but I commnend the religious right for keeping these issues in the public eye. I disagree with the religious conservatives on some issues such as teaching scientific creationism in the classroom and stem cell research. I do think that the "puritans" are right on target that we have become nation with garbage can values and it is time to end late term abortion, ban same sex marriage by federal constitution and time for states repeal no-fault divorce. A society that survives and thrives is pro-child and pro-family.

Anonymous said...

One thing that Democrats and Republicans should agree on is that the traditional family has been a source of social stability.

Is that because the "traditional family" provides that support, or because society creates an environment which encourages the
"traditional family", and in turn those families thrive?

I firmly believe that given a structure as well supported for non-traditional families, society would begin to see the same "benefits" from these families as well.

Let me give you a real-world example. I like where I work, so I would like to continue working there. However, several changes are happening and it is a very real possibility I could be out of a job soon. In the meantime, my partner of 22 years just found out her job had been eliminated.

If we were a "traditional" family, we would have more options or safety
nets - I could start my own business, she could go back for her masters degree, etc. However, since we aren't "married" neither of us can rely on the other for health insurance benefits while we are unemployed.

What happens if there is a catastrophic illness when someone is without insurance? Society picks up the tab.

By society closing down options for "non-traditional" families, society keeps these families from being responsible to society.

A society that survives and thrives is pro-child and pro-family

I'm not necessarily disputing that viewpoint, however I think you must add that a thriving society is one that grows, and in order to grow society must adapt to the changing circumstances.

There are some messed-up families on both the non-traditional AND traditional side of the spectrum. Likewise, there are some wonderful ones on the "non-traditional" side, and your viewpoint appears to refuse to acknowledge that.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Well said, Paula.