Patterico's Pontifications

9/1/2010

S.F. Chronicle visits Imperial County – what could go wrong? [Guest Post by aunursa]

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:24 pm

[The following post was written by Patterico reader aunursa and published at The Jury Talks Back. It has been promoted to the main page due to its exceptional original content. — P]

Tiny Imperial County could play a decisive role in the battle over same-sex marriage in California. In the 2008 election, citizens of the county, which is overwhelmingly Hispanic, voted by 62% for Barack Obama and by nearly 70% in support of Proposition 8. If Imperial County is granted standing to appeal Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision overturning Prop. 8, then it’s virtually guaranteed that the case will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle featured a front-page article that completely distorted the positions of Imperial County civic and religious officials regarding same sex marriage and the county’s attempt to defend Proposition 8 in court. The article, as described by the Imperial Valley Press, painted the county as a “queer-hating, Bible-thumping bastion of backwater bigotry.” I was disturbed by several aspects of the Chronicle reporting. According to the opening paragraph, Imperial County was “taking a lonely stand” — despite the fact that the initiative received support from 7 million voters. The county is described condescendingly as “an impoverished, sun-baked desert backwater pasted into the southeast corner of California”. One particular quote stood out like a sore thumb, in which the reporter summarized the position of county supervisors and religious leaders:

It’s not like we’re bigoted against gays and lesbians, they say. We feel Christian love for them. We just believe they are sinners, say county supervisors and religious leaders who are leading the pro-Prop. 8 fight here – and the sacred institution of marriage has no place for sinners.

The idea that sinners are not allowed to get married didn’t make sense to me, since everyone is a sinner according to the Christian Bible. I contacted four county civic and religious leaders to see if they agreed with the statement. All of them expressed disappointment in the article, and none recalls having made such a statement, and none of them agrees with it.

County Supervisor Wally Leimgruber spoke with the Chronicle reporter and photographer about the case for at least an hour. Leimgruber was interested in discussing the legal aspects of the case. However, when prompted by the photographer, he did respond that he agreed with the statement that the homosexual lifestyle is a sinful lifestyle. Fellow Supervisor Jack Terrazas did not recall himself or any other supervisor discussing marriage with respect to sinners. Terrazas wrote, “my reason for the appeal and the request to enter into the case was to follow the wish of the voters in Imperial County, who by an almost 70% voted for Prop. 8.”

Terrazas suggested that the reporter may have generalized the views of religious leaders and county supervisors as one view. So I checked with two members of the pastoral staff at Christ Community Church in El Centro. Associate Pastor Chris Nunn was portrayed in the article as a judgmental Bible-thumping bigot:

He opened up his Bible and began jabbing his finger at passages such as Corinthians 6:9-11, which lumps “homosexuals” and “sodomites” in with idolaters and thieves as being among those “who will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Nunn wrote to me that he was saddened by the distortion of his position in the article. “I can assure you that we did not say, nor do we believe that there is no place in marriage for sinners. I am a sinner. I am the first to admit it…. If I believed that sinners shouldn’t marry then I wouldn’t have been able to get married myself.”

Associate Pastor Steve Messick agreed that the article was “beyond recognition when compared with the topics and demeanor actually discussed during the interview with the Chronicle.” During our telephone conversation, Messick referred me to several passages from the Bible that discussed love and marriage. He also quoted Romans 3:23: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Obviously if sinners were excluded from marriage, then there would be no marriage in the first place. Messick was charitable to the Chronicle, saying that the distorted view was either a misunderstanding or a misquote.

A retired fish and game warden, Messick told the Chronicle about a memorable conversation he had during the battle over Proposition 8. On the street a lesbian woman yelled at him, “What have you people got against love?” He responded by going over and talking with her. Over and over the next half-hour, they discussed love from a personal and Biblical perspective. At the end of the conversation, Messick reports that the woman was moved to tears. Messick also discussed some of the ways that his church is impacting the local community. Located in a low income, high crime area, Christ Community Church is committed, in his words, “to seeing God change the area.” Its New Creations street ministry has helped hundreds of people affected by homelessness, substance abuse, and other afflictions. Yet none of this was reported — apparently it didn’t support the Chronicle’s desire to protray arrogant religious leaders.

I received no response to an email I sent to reporter Kevin Fagan.

However there have been a number of responses to the article itself. A letter to the editor criticized the “organized homophobia” of the “religious right”, claiming (based on the article) that church leaders want to deny marriage to gays and lesbians “because they are de facto sinners.” The Imperial Valley Press editorial called for Supervisor Liemgruber to be removed from office. And Leimbreiber forwarded correspondence that he received condemning him as a “bigot” whose “homophobic opinion” is “on par with the [mid-20th century] racism in the deep south”.

— aunursa

Buy Baldilocks’s Book

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:04 pm

Go here for details.

The Kindle edition is only $5.00.

Fiorina/Boxer Debate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:45 pm

I missed it. The family was watching a Star Trek re-run. Anyone know a place where there is a video clip available?

If you saw it, let me know how you thought Fiorina did. Here is the San Francisco Chronicle:

Fiorina said she and her husband have lived the American dream — she working her way to the top of the corporate ladder after starting as a secretary and he after starting out as a tow truck driver. But she said that chance at rising prosperity is being lost, in part because the U.S. is not doing enough to encourage business.

“I think the American dream is too hard for too many people,” she said.

She then took direct aim at Boxer, who is seeking a third term in the Senate, saying her long track record in Congress consistently hurt job creation and did too little to help the middle class.

“The results of her policies are devastating for this state,” Fiorina said.

Boxer, a tenacious campaigner, fired back. She criticized Fiorina for shipping 30,000 jobs overseas before being let go as CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co.

She said Fiorina fights not for average Americans, but for billionaires, millionaires and companies that outsource jobs.

“I’m in the United States Senate because I fight for the people, I fight for the dream,” Boxer said, noting Fiorina’s $21 million severance package after she was let go. “I don’t think we need those Wall Street values right now.”

What did you think?

Michael Bloomberg: Unamerican to Investigate Funding of Ground Zero Mosque

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:09 pm

When the amazing is predictable:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says it would be un-American to investigate a mosque that is planned for construction near where the World Trade Center once stood.

I’m listening hard for his condemnation of Nancy Pelosi’s call to investigate the mosque’s opponents, but I can’t hear it over all these damned crickets.

Thanks to Dana.

Right Wing Extremist Holding Hostages at Gunpoint at Discovery Channel Building

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:52 pm

What’s that, you say? He is an environmental nut, and therefore unlikely to be a right-winger?

Don’t worry. They’ll find a way to label him a right-winger — or at least a Tea Partier. Somehow.

You’ll see.

Anything but a lefty.

P.S. Allahpundit says it well:

I’m not going to blame the actions of a nut on all lefties and environmentalists. I will, however, be sure to remind them of this the next time they pull that on the right. Which they do, merrily, at every conceivable opportunity.

Indeed.

P.P.S. As I recently said in a related context:

It doesn’t really matter what this guy’s beliefs are; he alone is responsible for his actions. Any analysis that does not put that fact front and center is playing the other side’s game.

Blame the criminal, period. Too bad the left can’t learn this simple concept.

UPDATE: I should mention that the right wing extremist has been shot dead. Good riddance.

UPDATE x2: Right on cue, just as predicted, comes Think Progress and its brainless commenters.

L.A. Times: Sarah Palin Expected to Seek 2012 Presidential Nomination

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:13 am

They drop this comment casually, in a story about Murkowski’s defeat:

Miller, a Fairbanks attorney and decorated Gulf War veteran making his first try for statewide office, had trailed Murkowski in fundraising and in opinion polls throughout the campaign.

But he had Palin, who bucked state party leaders to endorse him; and the Tea Party Express, the political action committee that spent $600,000 on ads assailing Murkowski as insufficiently conservative and promoting Palin’s endorsement. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also backed him. Both Huckabee, who was unsuccessful in his bid to be the GOP presidential nominee in 2008; and Palin, the party’s vice presidential nominee that year; are expected to seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

I knew that a Palin run was considered a possibility, but when did the prospect become so solid that a major newspaper can factually report it as an “expectation”?

And, now that I have your attention: should she be seeking the nomination?

I’ll get the discussion started by saying “no.”

Ace: Chris Matthews Is a Racist

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:11 am

Whenever someone asks me why I read Ace of Spades,* I point to a post like this one — a rant about Chris Matthews’s racial condescension towards Obama:

Chris Matthews: Boy Howdy, I Can’t Tell You How Wonderful It Is to See A Black Man With a Wife and a Steady Paycheck!

More racial nuance from Chris “For a moment I almost forgot he was black” Matthews.

“Almost pluperfect,” he calls Obama.

His entire speech here is racist. Yes, racist. Most politicians “do everything right” in terms of getting an education, securing gainful employment, getting married and raising a family.

. . . .

Barack Obama’s agenda is Bill Clinton’s raised to the ninth power.

Now, if I didn’t oppose Obama, wouldn’t that be only due to the color of his skin, Chris? If I opposed a weak-tea form of Obamaism under Clinton, wouldn’t only race be my reason for accepting it from Obama?

Any black readers, take note: Here’s your totally-not-racist white liberal establishment, handing out gold stars and Certificates of Effort as if you’re mentally challenged.

Beautiful.

*Nobody ever actually asks me why I read Ace of Spades.


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