Gay Rights

Decline Of Religiosity In America A Sign Of The Future In America

In the past few decades, we have seen the deleterious influence of the Christian Right in America, promoted in the 1970s and 1980s and beyond by the likes of the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

They and other preachers have utilized their influence to attempt to dominate American politics, and promote a right wing agenda that promotes intolerance and hate.

This includes opposition to women’s rights to control their own bodies (misogyny); opposition to gay rights and gay marriage; the repudiation of science for the teachings of the Bible; the rewriting of American history to make it seem that the Founding Fathers wanted a national religion and a theocracy to govern us; advocacy of war overseas against Islamic civilization; promotion of nativism on the issue of immigration; belief that school prayer will somehow change America in their direction; and attempts to legislate morality limits through control of government.

Originally known as the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition, many of these preachers have become super rich and gained the following of millions who have stopped using their brains, and just accept the unethical, hypocritical utterances of charismatic figures.

Despite this, there is now evidence that more Americans, particularly the young and disaffected, have abandoned organized religion and its narrow minded tenets. The Pew Research Center describes this group as the “Nones”, and they are 22.8 percent of US adults, up from 16.7 percent in 2007. Meanwhile, those who identify as Christian have declined nationally from 78 to 71 percent, including not only evangelicals but also Catholics and mainline Protestants and Mormons. There has also been growing disillusionment with the Catholic Church, mainline Protestant sects, and the Mormon Church.

The “Nones” outnumber Catholics (20.8 percent) and mainline Protestants (14.7 percent), demonstrating a constant decline in adults who identify as being Christians. “Nones” include those who have no religious affiliation, as well as those who say they are Atheists and Agnostics.

Evangelical Protestants still are the largest group at 25.8 percent, but they have declined, and it is clear that the “Nones” will eventually surpass them in the adult population of America over the next couple of decades, as many of the Evangelicals are older and will die off over time, as young Americans reject their divisive ideology!

The Evangelical Right And The Republican Party Future In 2016

The evangelical Right has an important impact in the Republican Party, but it also is a guarantee of failure for the GOP in the Presidential Election of 2016.

The evangelical Right can affect the results in the Iowa Caucuses and the South Carolina Primary, and in much of the South and the Great Plains and parts of the Midwest, but its candidates cannot win the Presidency.

Out of all of the potential and real GOP Presidential candidates, the following would have the ability to appeal to the evangelical Right:

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Retired Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson

Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry

NONE of the above six will win the GOP nomination, and the majority of the nation’s people (including mainline Protestants, Catholics, and Jews) believes in just the opposite of what the Evangelical Right believes:

They support gay rights and gay marriage as acceptable.

They support gun control laws of some kind.

They support abortion rights for women, possibly with restrictions, but the basic right of women to control their own bodies and future.

They are against religious interference in government policy making.

They support immigration reform, although disagreeing on details.

They support Obama Care, possibly with changes and modifications.

They support protection of the environment from the power of powerful energy companies.

They support a higher minimum wage and other labor reforms.

They are against corporate domination of the campaign finance system.

They are concerned about right wing extremism of all kinds.

The average American is much more tolerant and open minded than the evangelical Right, which, at most, might be able to gain backing of about one third of all Americans, and also of actual voters.

So appealing to the evangelical Right is NOT a path to victory for the Presidency, or even the nomination!

“Third Choice” Supreme Court Justices And Path Breaking Decisions On Abortion And Gay Marriage!

As the Supreme Court hears arguments today in the case of Obergefell V. Hodges, the gay marriage case, we are on the brink of a massive constitutional decision by the last day of June on this matter.

It now seems clear that the right to gay marriage in all of the states will be declared constitutional by a 5-4 or 6-3 vote, with Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and possibly, Chief Justice John Roberts, joining Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

The likely author of the upcoming decision should be Justice Kennedy, who has created a majority on three earlier gay rights cases decided by the Supreme Court, but even if not so, Kennedy is the person insuring that gay marriage will become the law of the land!

And this reality brings up an interesting situation: Justice Kennedy was the THIRD CHOICE for the Supreme Court of President Ronald Reagan, after the rejection of Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg, and if either had been confirmed by the US Senate, gay rights now would likely not be occurring as rapidly as it has been!

And it also fact that Associate Justice Harry Blackmun, selected by President Richard Nixon, after the rejection of Clement Haynesworth and C. Harold Carswell, the THIRD CHOICE, was the author of the momentous Roe V. Wade decision of 1973, legalizing abortion!

So it turns out that “third choice” Supreme Court nominees Harry Blackmun and Anthony Kennedy have had historic effects on two controversial issues that have divided the nation, but also move the nation forward on women’s rights and gay rights!

Martin O’Malley: A Potential JFK In The Making?

Former Maryland Governor and Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley is gaining more attention, as he travels to the early primary and caucus states, and it seems more likely as we enter April, that soon he will announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency, despite the massive lead in the polls of former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady Hillary Clinton, and the runner up in the polls, Vice President Joe Biden.

O’Malley has the advantage of being a generation younger than either Clinton or Biden, and a “fresh face” with an outstanding record as an executive leader, something that few other potential Presidential candidates have, to the extent that O’Malley does, with 16 years in running a government, arranging budgets, and coming to grips with problems in urban areas and on the state government level, and improving the lives of his citizenry.

O’Malley is handsome, well spoken, impresses people with his rhetoric, and like John F. Kennedy, is also Irish Catholic. Many people forget that Kennedy was seen as an “underdog” 55 years ago when he first announced, and O’Malley is a similar “underdog” today.

Three out of four times in American history, the next President has been born at a later date than the President he is succeeding, and the only way for the Democrats to do that is if they choose Martin O’Malley, as otherwise, having a younger, later born President requires Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, or Chris Christie as the occupant of the White House, none of them palatable in the least!

The three governors on the above list of Republicans cannot match the sterling record of Maryland and Baltimore under Martin O’Malley. Maryland leads the nation in education accomplishments, and is one of the most tolerant states on gay rights and marriage due to O’Malley. It is a great state for senior citizens and for disabled people. O’Malley offers a progressive vision, compared to the mean spiritedness and cynicism of Walker, Jindal and Christie. At the same time, he offers a substantial record of accomplishment as compared to Senators Paul, Cruz and Rubio.

It could be that O’Malley might not overcome Hillary Clinton or even Joe Biden, but his candidacy would offer competition and an alternative, and might put O’Malley on a short list with former San Antonio Mayor and presently Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro for the Vice Presidency, both of whom would be a great Number Two and safe to have as a backup for the Presidency if something untoward were to occur!

Hubris, Arrogance, Greed, Hypocrisy: The Definition Of Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock!

Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock has seen a swift rise and, now, a swift fall, from what had been a promising career in Congress, all due to the following characteristics: Hubris, Arrogance, Greed, Hypocrisy!

Elected to Congress at age 27, he is now resigning at age 33, and faces possible prison time for his ethics violations, including spending lots of money inappropriately, and engaging in questionable deals with lobbyists that have made him a millionaire at a young age.

Additionally, he has shown reckless and inappropriate behavior in taking office staff and assistants on foreign trips on taxpayer money, and has shown hubris to the extreme by posting thousands of personal pics of his activities on Instagram, and leaving the impression by his habits, dress, and statements that he is gay.

No one really cares about his sex life, but this is a man who has consistently voted against any legislation that gives any rights or privileges to gays and lesbians, so with his rumored gay connections, it makes him a total hypocrite, as many Republicans are, past and present, with indications that many on Capitol Hill are gay, apparently much more than Democrats who advance gay rights, including marriage.

How anyone who is trying to hide his gay tendencies has the gall to behave in a way that makes people think he is, and then to work against gay and lesbian rights at every turn, is beyond any sympathy from gays or straight people.

Schock will deserve whatever he gains in legal issues and possible prison, for his hubris, arrogance, greed, and worst of all, hypocrisy. The question which arises is why and how Aaron Schock could imagine that his misbehavior and actions would lead to anything else other than the grief and disgrace he now faces! He clearly is a very stupid young man, who has destroyed a promising future!

And if he goes to prison, with the image left that he is gay, he will experience what Republican Presidential possibility Dr. Benjamin Carson claimed to great criticism, that going to prison makes straight people gay. With Schock’s reputation, he will clearly face harassment in prison, and will not be able to count on his Congressional career to save him from assault!

Vice President Joe Biden: What Are You Waiting For? Time To Enter The Presidential Race Now!

With the questions arising over the viability of Hillary Clinton, it is time for Vice President Joe Biden, who has desired to be President now for the past 28 years, to put his “hat in the ring”, as Theodore Roosevelt called it when he announced his Presidential candidacy in 1912.

Joe Biden is one of the most colorful, charismatic, dynamic political figures to arise in a long time. He is more experienced than ANY Presidential candidate in the past, having served 36 years in the United States Senate, and eight years as Vice President by the end of 2016, a total of 44 years, unmatched by any President or nominee in American history.

Joe Biden has been at the center of American history since 1972, when he was elected, days before his 30th birthday, and overcame the personal tragedy of the loss of his wife and daughter in a horrific auto crash just weeks after his victory.

Joe Biden was a leading voice in the Senate on all kinds of issues that are important–civil rights, women’s rights, labor rights, the environment, and as Vice President on gay rights and gay marriage. He has also risen to chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate, and despite what Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has said, Joe Biden has been correct on most foreign policy issues, including his suggestion in 2003 that Iraq should be divided into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish sections, so obviously true that Iraq was the false creation that has been a nightmare since after World War I.

Joe Biden is the most genuine, real, authentic person in American politics, and one can feel he is a “regular guy”, a man who was the “poorest” in the Senate, only having his home, his salary and his wife’s salary as a professor as his assets, and truly not being a millionaire many times over, as most members of Congress are.

Yes, Joe Biden has faults and shortcomings, but who does not among us, and particularly among politicians?

Yes, he plagiarized a term paper one time in law school. Yes, he once copied wording of a speech of a British politician. Yes, he acts goofy at times with some of his public utterances, and at times of swearing in of Senators to their new terms of office. And yes, he has been sometimes too “touchy feely” with wives or daughters of other officials, something a bit weird, but he has never been accused or associated with any inappropriate liaisons with other women, and is very dedicated to his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, who has been a great Second Lady! He has never been accused of drunkenness or illegal drug use.

But he is so engaging and charming even when he blunders. Joe Biden does not have an evil bone in his body, and has never been personally nasty to anyone, and is even well liked by Republican opposition leaders, who feel they can work with him even when they seem to detest President Obama.

Joe Biden has been a very loyal and active Vice President, who has added to the office tremendously, and been invaluable in his advice , and he is a great emissary to Capitol Hill, a kinder, gentler version of Lyndon B. Johnson. He has been a tremendous asset to the President and the nation over the past six years, and has restored the dignity of the Vice Presidency after the decline in reputation and likability and trust and respect under the previous Vice President, Dick Cheney.

Joe Biden would bring excitement to the race with his oratory, and would know how to give the Republican Party “hell”, as Harry Truman did seven decades ago. And yet, he would still gain the respect of his opponents which he still has today in 2015 after 42 plus years in American politics, and how many other public figures can say that? And he made mincemeat of Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan in debates for the Vice Presidency in 2008 and 2012, and was one of the best debaters in the 2008 Democratic Party primary debates.

Yes, Joe Biden will be 74 right after Election Day in 2016, but Ronald Reagan was older in his second term, and there is no age limit in the Presidency constitutionally, and many of the other potential candidates will be around the same age, or in their 70s during the next Presidential term. Age is just a number, particularly, with someone as energetic and engaged as Joe Biden is.

If Joe Biden was our 45th President, America would be better for it, and Joe Biden would do his best in dedicating very minute of his time and every bone in his body to the advancement of America to a better position both in domestic policy and in foreign relations.

It Is Time For Other Democrats To Start Presidential Campaigns!

It has been a foregone conclusion to many political observers that former First Lady, former New York Senator, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to announce for President, and based on polls, is a runaway winner of the nomination, and likely to be our first woman President, and to be our 45th President of the United States!

It has never been a good omen that other Democrats have been reluctant to challenge Hillary Clinton, and are, seemingly, afraid to “test the waters” and announce their own candidacies.

Never in American history, except often when a sitting President or sitting Vice President is running for President, have we seen so many potential party challengers in either party simply stay on the sidelines, and of course, there have been challenges to sitting Presidents and Vice Presidents that make them sharper and insure they are better candidates. Such cases as Richard Nixon in 1960, Hubert Humphrey in 1968, George H. W. Bush in 1988, and Al Gore in 2000 have run better races because of challengers. Presidents such as Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush have had to work harder to gain a nomination for the next term, and they all failed to be elected, but this was part of the political game.

So why anyone, including Hillary Clinton, should expect to have no rivals, is outlandish, and not good for the Democratic Party or democracy.

And frankly, after Hillary Clinton’s poor, unacceptable explanation on her emails on Tuesday, refusing to hand over the server of her email, eliminating thousands of emails by her own decision claiming privacy rights, and basically taking a hard stand on the whole matter, there is a clear cut reason for challengers to her nomination for President. Hillary Clinton has opened up a major wound in her candidacy, and it will not go away, and now it seems highly likely she is a flawed candidate in a major way, and is not anywhere near insured that she could carry enough states and electoral votes to become our 45th President.

The Democratic Party and the nation NEED challengers, instead of putting all their “eggs in one basket”, gambling that Hillary Clinton will be able to overcome the old Clinton image of the 1990s, of cover ups, of deceptions, of victimization claims, of stalling tactics, of creating legal issues, that so soured many people about the Bill Clinton Presidency.

Yes, Hillary is brilliant, and qualified, and talented, and intelligent, but she is not the only man or woman who is such, but to put the future of the Democratic Party in her hands is a tremendous gamble, and the country needs a Democratic President more than they need Hillary Clinton herself!

Added to her stubbornness and secrecy about the emails is her stated refusal to return contributions to the Clinton Foundation from leaders and citizens of nations, many in the Middle East, who abuse women and deny them equal rights, a subject Hillary Clinton is well known for advocating since her time as First Lady, attending the conference in Beijing, China in 1995, and speaking up for equality and fairness for women around the globe. But now, suddenly, that issue is on the back burner, and the millions in contributions are more important, and that shows that, having become wealthy, and having tons of money in the foundation as well, that Hillary Clinton has lost her sense of values and principles, and just wants to be President, because she wants to be President, as Ted Kennedy wanted to be President in 1980, when he challenged President Jimmy Carter, but had no real agenda other than wanting to occupy the Oval Office!

Hillary Clinton is not entitled to be President, any more than any other candidate, but for the good future of the party and the American people, it is time for other Democrats to come out of the woodwork and declare their candidacies, and fight hard for the nomination, and save the American people from a horrific set of alternatives for President in the Republican Party.

At this point, Hillary Clinton could take down the Democratic Party and the nation, crashing in defeat, and as a result, leading to a GOP Supreme Court that would last for the next 30 years; and a repeal of much of the good programs of the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Great Society, and beyond!

We could see the good work done in domestic affairs by Presidents of both parties, including Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, destroyed by a right wing Congress, a right wing President, and a right wing Supreme Court.

We could also see the “neoncons” being triumphant, and taking us into more foreign wars, particularly in the Middle East, and leading to the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of American men and women, sent to fight by a burgeoning defense industry that would make record war profits!

And we might see the end of any sense of what is right and wrong about women’s rights, minority group rights, gay rights, labor rights, and environmental rights.

The nation’s future is more important than what happens to Hillary Clinton, as she has had a stellar career in so many ways, but that does not mean that she is automatically entitled to become our next Commander in Chief!

And if the next President is not a woman, so what? That will come in time, but should not be the crucial factor in selecting the next President of the United States!

So, Democratic Presidential “wannabes”, come out of the shadow, show courage, and announce for the Presidency, as time is afleeting!

Philadelphia The Site Of The Democratic National Convention The Week of July 25, 2016!

So the Democratic National Committee has chosen Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love”, the city of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutional Convention, the city of Benjamin Franklin, to be the host for the Democratic National Convention, which will nominate the next Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

The convention will be held in the last week of July, the week after the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

So therefore, there will be little time for a “bump” in the polls for the GOP Presidential nominee, and an extra month for the official campaign, which will now start in August, rather than around Labor Day in September.

This author had predicted that Columbus, Ohio, would be the site, and concedes that this time, unlike Tampa and the Republicans in 2012, that he turned out to have predicted incorrectly. The reasoning was that Ohio was in play as a “swing” state, while Pennsylvania is not really such.

However, Philadelphia is a great choice, and the general term “City of Brotherly Love’ actually fits perfectly, as the Democrats are the party of equal rights for gays and lesbians, while the Republicans, with a very few exceptions of office holders, still defy and oppose such equality, including marriage, although it is clear that the Supreme Court is about to declare this June that gays and lesbians may marry everywhere in the United States!

Alabama And Gay Marriage: The Shame Of Roy Moore, Clarence Thomas, And Antonin Scalia

So Alabama becomes the 37th state to see gay marriage in effect, and it is to the shame of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, and Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, that they will go down in history as hateful, divisive jurists who use Christianity to justify their hate and defile Jesus Christ at the same time.

Moore is the controversial top jurist in a state which still has the shame of being the center of civil rights controversies, including the bombing of a church in Birmingham which killed four young black girls; the use of police dogs, tear gas and high pressure water hoses against peaceful civil rights marchers in Birmingham; the spectacle of Governor George Wallace standing in the door of the Registrar’s Office at the University of Alabama to try to prevent two black students from registering for classes; and “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, when police attacked peaceful demonstrators on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, shocking Americans who could not believe what was happening, over what was the push for voting rights.

Fifty years later, the spectacle of the leading jurist in the state of Alabama, ordering legal authorities in the state to refuse to grant same sex marriage licenses, is a mockery of the rule of law, and of obedience to federal courts and the Constitution. And to see Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia make a public denunciation of their colleagues on the Court, refusing to stop gay marriage until the Court decides in June on this matter, is a rearguard action by two Justices who are a disgrace to the Court, and has displayed constant conflict of interest in their dealings with the Koch Brothers and others who they should steer clear of. It is a clear indication of the incompetence and arrogance of these two right wing Justices, the most right wing members of the Court in the past hundred years, and a disgrace to the Court’s history with their narrow mindedness and intolerance!

And the idea that Christianity is brought into this by Moore, and indirectly by Thomas and Scalia, is a mockery of a religious doctrine, which distorts the true teachings of Jesus Christ, a man who promoted tolerance, open mindedness, and understanding!

Supreme Court Accepts Same Sex Marriage Case: The Final Push For Marriage Equality Has Arrived!

The Supreme Court has finally accepted a same sex marriage case, to be argued in April, and decided by the end of June!

This will be a blockbuster case, coming at a time when 36 states already allow gay marriage, and the final push for marriage equality has finally arrived!

While there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of same sex marriage, it is hard to conceive of the Court rejecting it at a time when all but 14 states have accepted it, as the momentum is clearly in favor of acceptance.

Beyond that, the odds are good that at least five members of the present Court would support it, enough to bring it about, but it would be desirable if the vote was greater than that thin margin.

Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, all Democratic appointments of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, are seen as assured votes.

Ronald Reagan appointee Anthony Kennedy is the typical “swing” vote, and has supported gay rights in the past, and most particularly, in the case of Lawrence V. Texas in 2003, so it is expected he will go the same direction again.

But there is a chance that Chief Justice John Roberts could join the majority, and some observers imagine that Samuel Alito could join, also.

And even some think that Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, seeing the handwriting on the wall, might join and make it unanimous, which would be the most fantastic situation imaginable!

Imagine the extremist Christian Right bigots, and conservatives and Republicans, and how they will, figuratively, commit suicide if the Court rules in favor of same sex marriage!

It will transform the Presidential Election of 2016, as how could any Republican nominee come out and condemn the Court, and run on some crazy idea that he would lead a movement to overcome the Supreme Court decision?

Just the thought that many Republicans, including those running for President, will be squirming in public, is a source of delight, as human rights wins out once again!