Today’s letter – Death to the Infidels, the sick, the poor, the young and the different

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I think that we are all on the edge of our seats about the plight of Gillian Gibbons, the teacher who was arrested in Sudan after she let her class name a teddy bear “Mohammed.” Yesterday, 600 protesters poured out of mosques chanting “By soul, by blood, I will fight for the Prophet Mohammed” and “Kill her, kill her by firing squad.”

This seems so alien and so backwards to us, I think, because the punishment does not seem appropriate to the crime. Who would call for somebody’s death for trying to do good? Thank God this can’t happen here in America. Or can it?

Religion makes Americans do unspeakable things to each other, with the full sanction of the Government. How many people will die unnecessarily because we have blocked stem cell research for six years? How many people will get AIDS unnecessarily because we blocked needle exchange and access to condoms? How many women will die in childbirth because we blocked access to basic sex education? How many gay teens will commit suicide because we block their hope of marriage?

All these ridiculous laws cause great harm by punishing people who have done nothing wrong, in order to satisfy a few religious whiners who lack the tolerance and goodwill to respect the life and liberty of their neighbors. I’m sure we look as irrational and intolerant to outsiders as Sudan does to us.

I am proud of you for stepping up to do the right thing on many of these issues, such as supporting stem-cell research, signing AB 110 for state funding of needle exchange programs, and signing AB 629 for truthful sex education – a critical life skill.

I wish you would join the people and the legislature on one more issue: tearing down the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. This unjustifiable ban costs the state money, deprives citizens of their personal liberty, and punishes committed couples for doing nothing wrong. Really, you don’t even need to sign anything – just start talking about how the punishment of Domestic Partnership does not fit the crime of Love.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Do Good Work

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Like many Californians, I’m not profoundly religious, and the Bible is a big puzzle. So I rely on people of faith to help me interpret that book.

The Most Reverend Jefferts Schori, a bishop of the Episcopal Church, told a congregation confused about the role of homosexuality in scripture that “Jesus didn’t say, ‘Sit there and throw words at each other,’ He said, ‘Get out there and heal the sick and help the poor.’ “

You know, she is right. You don’t get into heaven by punishing people here on earth. You get there by helping them.

I wish you and your Government would help couples like us get married, instead of punishing us for doing nothing wrong. Then you could focus on your budget and the churches could concentrate on helping people.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Separating sex and marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I just want to get married like everybody else. I believe that those who are opposed to giving me that freedom are confused about what I would do with it. Some groups claim that gays want to get married so they can get “special rights” and others so we can molest children.

I know that you come from a background where bodybuilders are often called stupid and homosexual, and you have spent your whole career correcting those assumptions. You must know how frustrating it can be to know the truth, yet have people perpetuate lies.

Parents want to do what’s best for their children, but anybody with the brains God gave geese knows that blocking my marriage does not protect kids from their “celebrate” parish priest and that punishing me when I have done nothing wrong does not stop wicked Uncle Ernie. If parents really wanted to do the best thing for their kids, they would not let pedophiles hide behind the smokescreen of heterosexuality, and they would not teach their kids that stereotyping a disliked group is OK – be it bodybuilders or homosexuals.

I wish you would work with fair-minded Californians to dispel the myths about same-sex marriage and support the freedom to marry for me and for all Californians.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Catholic Schools Teach Hate

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I just read a wonderful article in the Los Angeles Times titled Many Catholic schools fight to survive where the author, Carla Rivera, attributes the 40% decline in enrollment at Catholic schools to families leaving the urban core. As a recent dad, I think the real reason why enrollment is plummeting is that parents don’t want to send their kids to places that teach intolerance.

Anybody who has driven to Santa Monica lately knows that the area is not suffering from a lack of people. Over the last seven years, more than half of the population has not left the West Side. I do know one thing that happened seven years ago: the Catholic Church started attacking lesbian and gay families, starting with Proposition 22 and an attempted Constitutional Amendment, then following up with the 2004 “Defense of Marriage” acts now spanning 27 states.

The Boy Scouts have suffered a 35% decline in enrollment since 1977, and they too blamed it on urban shifts and the rise of alternative programs. But the Girl Scouts have the same external pressures and their enrollment actually rose 3% in the same time. The difference? The Boy Scouts fought for and won the right to exclude gay kids and leaders, while the Girl Scouts welcome everybody equally.

Polls conducted by the Barna Group show that in 2004, 52% of Christians aged 16-29 described Christianity as “hypocritical — saying one thing doing another,” and 80% of Christians polled picked “anti-homosexual” as a negative adjective describing Christianity.

As a parent, I think it would be irresponsible to send my kids to a place that taught that some families are better than others, or that their place in heaven depends on who they punish here on earth. A couple of years ago I might have thought differently, but looking in their eyes now I realize that hate is taught, and it is worth every penny to send them someplace where they will learn God’s love instead of the Catholic Church’s hate.

I wish their hate didn’t extend to my government. It’s too late for you to sign AB 43, but it is time to say that it is wrong to block the Freedom to Marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Hate is shrinking your base

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a voter of conscience, I don’t understand how anybody could pop a chad for a Republican. Last night’s slap at people of color piggybacked months of campaigns against Hispanic and Latino workers and years of attacks on lesbian and gay families.

Of these offenses, I don’t think any are as pronounced or as harmful to the GOP as their campaign against the freedom to marry. While African-American and LGBT voters are each roughly 7% of the voting population, 91% of LGBT voters cast ballots in the last presidential election. But those are direct votes.

When your party says – in your party platform – that my California Domestic Partner and I shouldn’t be allowed to get married because our genitals make us worse parents than Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, it alienates not only us, but also everybody who has ever met us. Currently, 75% of children are being raised in ‘non-nuclear’ families like ours – the kind you say are incapable of raising kids. 75% of families is a big base to permanently lose.

Just last week, former Republican congressman Jack Kemp told the Washington Post “What are we going to do — meet in a country club in the suburbs one day? If we’re going to be competitive with people of color, we’ve got to ask them for their vote.”

Think you’re above it all? Hardly. In 2004 you successfully lobbied the Attorney General to invalidate my marriage, in 2005 you vetoed AB 849 which would have let us wed, and now you’re on the verge of vetoing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.

All my California Registered Domestic Partner and I want to do is raise our kids with the simplicity and security of marriage. You and your party have worked your hardest to prevent that fairness and freedom. It is something that me, my family, my friends, my coworkers and my church are going to remember when they vote.

Let me once again ask you to give us some options at the polls: please sign AB 43 into law instead of vetoing your party further down the sewer.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Big Brother or March for Freedom

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I would much rather stay home tonight to watch Dustin and Amber lash out at Dick and Daniele on Big Brother 8, but instead I’m going to be down at your star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with hundreds of other people wondering why you insist on blocking civil rights legislation that the people have brought to you for the second time.

AB 43 would let me marry the person that I love, just like everybody else. It would let my Church perform the ceremony. It would save the taxpayers $24 million a year, and it would send the message that California welcomes its diverse residents with dignity and freedom.

All it needs is your signature. Please sign AB 43 so I can watch the new season of Survivor: China without getting a babysitter, and not miss an episode of Ugly Betty to plead for something that anybody with the brains God gave geese knows is the right thing to do.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Not every Church hates the gays

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am so proud of the Episcopal Church. In 2003, to underscore its belief that biblical teachings of tolerance and acceptance are paramount, they consecrated an openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Now, the 2.2 million-member Episcopal Church may separate from the global Anglican community over the issue.

I am really touched that the Episcopal Church would risk so much for me when they don’t have to; I am thoroughly embarrassed that my Governor won’t lift a finger to protect me when it is arguably his Constitutional responsibility.

I think it is pathetic that you would use a seven-year-old law about states rights as an excuse to block my access to the same security and simplicity of marriage that you so blithely enjoy. Please sign AB 43 and show that you do in fact believe in the dignity and freedom of all Californians.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Whose side are you on?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am writing to ask you to sign AB 43 and end the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California. Have a look at the groups that support and oppose AB 43 and the freedom to marry, and you decide which group you would trust with your health decisions and the safety of your children. It is time to let the health and social professionals do their job by signing AB 43.

Groups that support AB 43 and the freedom to marry:

the American Academy of Pediatrics,

American Psychiatric Association,
American Psychological Association,
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (District IX),
American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists,
American Psychoanalytic Association,
the National Association of Social Workers.
the NAACP California State Conference,
United Farm Workers,
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund,
Chinese for Affirmative Action,
California Teachers Association,
ACLU,
California Nurses Association,
Anti-Defamation League,
California National Organization for Women,
California Church Impact,
the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

AB 43 and the freedom to marry is opposed by:

the Campaign for California Families (CCF)
the Capitol Resource Institute

Who would you trust with your kids health and future? Who would you go to for relationship advice? Who is going to be out of business if you sign AB 43 and who is here to help? Whose platform is built on exclusion and whose on freedom?

Pragmatically,

Today’s letter – back to basics

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I was lucky enough to find somebody that I love, who loves me back. We have been together ten years, two months and twenty-one days, and our two kids are celebrating their first half-birthday today.

We want to get married just like you and Maria, and everybody else. The people, the legislature and our church all support our choice – why don’t you?

Please sign AB 43 and end the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – freedom to marry is the Christian thing to do

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a Christian, I believe that all couples should be able to get married, and that my Church should have the freedom to perform the ceremonies that it believes in.

Unfortunately, California’s ban on gay marriage, installed by the legislature in 1977, blocks same-sex couples from getting married and churches from marrying them.

Jesus was silent on the issue of homosexuality, but he was crystal clear on the sin of judgment. As Luke described in last Sunday’s gospel, “29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:22-30).

AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, would end government-sanctioned judgment and let committed gay couples get married just like everybody else.

We can disagree about God’s opinion of homosexuality, but we must agree on the right to follow God in our own ways. Please sign AB 43 and give us freedom instead of legislated salvation.

Yours in Christ,