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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004


    January 29, 2005
    A Matter of Respect

    Keith Olbermann's first commentary on the "Dr. Dobson vs. SpongeBob SquarePants" bruhaha appeared to this contributor to Olbywatch at the time to be merely an easy and opportunistic attack on conservative values. But KO has since become a lightening rod in this highly divisive traditional and religious values debate. Something that perhaps the management at MSNBC may not welcome for one of their news anchors---particularly following an election which in some respects became a national referendum on the issue.

    And what pivotal issue of our times triggered the backlash against Olbermann? The silly hoopla over allegations that a children's cartoon character appears to be proselytizing homosexuality! Yes, I do call it silly. I'm as much a secularist as Olbermann. But if I endeavered to become a commentator to be taken seriously, I wouldn't rest my case solely on the easy mockery of a character like Dr. Dobson. Indeed, it appears that cultural traditionalists are grilling Keith more for his smug self-complacency than for his secularist liberal views.

    That was precisely the subject raised in yesterday's op-ed by Gary Schneeberger, editor of Family News In Focus, who writes:

    ". . . when it comes to lobbying liberal journalists like Olbermann, the sad reality is that getting them to acknowledge--let alone to respond respectfully--to our point of view is the longest of long shots." [. . . ] "Giving socially conservative, Christian thought a fair public hearing is an invitation for professional ridicule, an admission that you might not believe anymore that the answers to anything that ails you can be found in your own wit and will, and that of your equally witty, willful colleagues."

    "Scour the 'morgues'--i.e., the old clip files--of some of the newspapers where I worked before coming to Christ in 1997, and you'll find the same kind of 'I'm-so-much-cooler-than-you-are' vitriol Olbermann has spewed forth in response to your criticism of his reporting on the SpongeBob story."

    (By "your criticism", Schneeberger is referring to an email writing campaign directed at Olbermann by CitizenLink.)

    Last night, Eric Deggans' op-ed in the St. Petersburg Times Online singled out Olbermann's "Will SpongeBob make you gay?" commentary as representative of that produced by media elites: By both not understanding the concerns of traditionalists, and by taking an ill-advised attack on a popular cartoon for kids, and using it as a facile means to ridicule conservative and traditional values.

    Deggans' piece was balanced, criticizing the use of code words and demonization employed by both sides of the debate. Noteworthy was his quote from liberal professor Barbara McGraw, who has studied this culture war:

    "You're not going to have millions of people following something that is completely stupid ... and there is a legitimate point about parents raising their children according to the values they have," [...] "One of (Dobson's) key points is that liberals are using buzz words to promote an agenda that goes beyond race and religion. The mainstream media need to be sensitive to that."

    All people wish to be treated with respect and their views taken seriously. One day, Keith may find himself favoring something that the liberal intelligencia opposes. That will be that day Keith will yearn for serious arguments instead of constant ridicule and condescension.

    And if at that time, he's no longer priviledged to be a news commentator for a major network, and unable to voice his views to the masses, he might feel as culturally disenfrachised as middle-America feels today.

    Update: As astute Olbywatch reader Cecelia points out in comments, while the most vocal of KO's critics may be religious people, this issue is ultimately about the intense desire of all parents---liberal and conservative---to instill in their children the values that they hold, particularly regarding the age-sensitive subject of sexual preference and lifestyles.

    "The spirit of liberty is the spirit that is never too certain that it is right" ....Justice Learned Hand.

    Something that people without a media megaphone already appreciate, and which Keith may come to appreciate in time.


    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (25) | | View blog reactions

    25 Comments

    I saw Dobson on Hannity and Combs the other night and he says that in remarks about the 'tolerance video' that's being promoted for the classroom, he did not call Sponge Bob or any other cartoon character "gay".

    The video includes a "tolerance pledge" that includes pledging tolerance towards differences in sexual identity. Dobson says he criticised using cartoon characters to promote acceptance of the gay lifestyle.

    Well, the merits of the video are arguable for sure, but a grade-school initiation into the world of sexual identity issues is a legitimate question that ANY parents needs to weigh for their child. Let alone those parents who religous views contradict the intention of the video.

    I don't know whether Olbermann was the first to try to turn a legitimate debate into something that made anyone with an opposing viewpoint feel like they were a complete fool, but that certainly seems the purpose for that bit of spin on Dobson's speech.

    Frankly, I agree with the author of the piece you blog. You can get a finer example of the sort of ridiculing media pile-on that completely distorts, muffles, meddles, and finally censors the true character of an unpopular position.

    Opps,

    I meant to say the group's website and teaching manuals included a tolerance pledge. The video did not.

    Read Bloggermann 1/27/05 and I don't think you'll find a finer example of Olbermann's lack of journalistic integrity.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6210240/

    Here Keith talks about the letter campaign that's been waged against him by Dobsonites. Keith uses the same defense against this brouhaha that he used for Dan Rather during Rathergate. Namely that Dobson was appraised of the piece and asked to comment and didn't. And just as Keith intimated that Rathergate was a karl Rovian plot because the WH didn't scream bloody murder after seeing the Killian documents, Keith charges that some of the Dobsonite letter contained threats that "we'll do to you what we did to Dan Rather."

    Does is matter what Dobson really said in his speech? Nope. Just like it doesn't matter that the Killian memos truly are unverified. What most of us would find to be key facts in the matter are just little twists in the conspiracy to Keith. No one rushed to supply a soundbite...oooooo... I smell a set-up....

    Bloggerman goes on to defend the story by saying that some of the news sources that picked up on the Dobson piece headlined that Dobson made reference to SpongeBob's sexual orientation. Read the transcripts of the show, including the promos for the piece and see if you think this is inexplicable...

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6867124/

    Finally, Keith utterly discounts the letters of the Dobsonites, and makes fun of their grammar and spelling. Does it occur to our "journalist" that any of them might have legitimate (valid to their religious views anyway) complaints about the video makers website and literature? Nope.

    Here's what Dobson cites from the group's website and literature:

    http://www.family.org/docstudy/newsletters/a0035339.cfm

    Does it occur to our "journalist" to do any sort of personal accountability check to assess his role in some of the misinformation in this story or to make any sign of recognition that some parents might be alarmed because of their opposing views that have been traditional for hundreds of years. Nope.

    To our "journalist" they are bigots to be ridiculed. Who cares about the fine points...

    Until MSNBC describes Countdown and host Keith Olbermann the way they describe Scarborough Country or the way they'd describe a show hosted by Michael Moore or Joe Conason, OlbermannWatch can't monitor this blinkered arrogant son-of-bitch enough.

    And one more thing... (this Bloggermann on Dobsonites has really gotten my back up)...

    Olbermann mentions that the Dobsonite letter campaign didn't generate as much mail as the Voter fraud story generated. Email IS the basic avenue for expressing your concerns, especially when you're unsure you're going to get a fair shake in the press, as Dobson and fans surely would be and as people concerned with election fraud were.

    Judging by left-wing blogs, I wonder just how many of those letters supporting Keith's contention about Ohio were every bit as grammatically inept and strident in tone.

    Nevermind. We'd have to take HIS word for it...

    WOW, Cecelia. We NEED you to be an official contributor to OW. What will that take?

    You made so many salient points, and supplied pertainent links to support them. Your attention to details is peerless.

    Your point that appealed to me most, and one I should have showcased more in my op-ed, was that this uproar is all about parental control regarding as sensitive a matter as sex. It is not about religious extremism, as KO refers to it in his Jan 27th Bloggermann post. And I say this as both an atheist, and one who generally supports tolerance of alternative sexual preferences and lifestyle.

    But for 20 years, I've also been a leader in the rights of parents to decide whether or not their children should be vaccinated. My legislation in Albany would extend those rights against the restrictive exemption provisions of the vaccine mandates for school children. I've learned from thousands of parents I met in New York that the most powerful force in nature is the parental bond, and desire to do what's best for one's child.

    In his liberal arrogance (i.e. dismissing parental rights) and blind adherence to political correctness (i.e. one must not challenge nor even debate the proper level of tolerance for public sexual expressions, etc.), KO really stepped in shit on this one, and it may cost him.

    I'm glad you also pointed out KO's pettiness and shallowness. It's another unbecoming trait. He really thinks that his opponents cain't spell? It doesn't occur to him that perhaps "Christain" were typos that were not proof read? He suspects conspiracy merely because Karl Rove didn't go ballistic when showed the Killian documents?! Does anyone remember when Rove EVER went ballistic during the campaign? Rebuttals to attacks on Bush's National Guard service all along had been quite restrained.

    Also, you're right that MSNBC promotes Olby as a witty offbeat commentator, and not a political ideologue. Yet you give them too much credit regarding Scarborugh. They often soft-peddle Joe's conservativism. Did you ever see that promo that begins something like: "somewhere between the left and the right you'll find Scarborough country..."? Somewhere BETWEEN?! JeezUS, he's a fuckin CONSERVATIVE! Would it gag those at MSNBC to say so? Perhaps uttering the "C" word would make them feel like a fair and balanced news network.

    I knew I shouldn't have used the SOB language.

    Thanks (I think), Gary.

    I don't think I've ever seen a group treated so distainfully by a "new anchor" as the Christian conservatives have been on Olbermann's site and blog.

    Consider that as bloggerman, this guy linked to Moveon.org's email campaign to "spam" our representatives about Ohio election irregularities.

    Back when Keith was concerned with voter fraud... he ended every Bloggermann with a pitch to keep those emails coming... Well have at it Christian Conservatives... don't stop voicing your concerns to this petty and spiteful human being.

    KO has a new blog up on this subject, perhaps you should check it out.

    www.bloggermann.com

    You know if you just happened upon that disingenuous huff you'd think that Dobson and his followers had initially attacked Keith. Instead of Olbermann picking up on something Dobson said and turning into an on-air spiel about Dobson attacking SpongeBob Squarepants. A charge that was delightedly picked up in the media. That Dobson hadn't called a cartoon character gay, Olbermann admits in Bloggermann 1/27/05:

    "Dobson came across as a nut job, the story was picked up around the world (often with the admittedly oversimplified headline �SpongeBob is Gay?�), and Dobson immediately blamed the messengers."

    All Countdown had done was to run a promo for the story:

    "And holy crabby patties. Christian conservatives attacking SpongeBob SquarePants? All that and more now on count COUNTDOWN."

    Imagine that dolt Dobson blaming Keith for the misrepresentation in the media...

    That Keith disagrees with Dobson and his followers concerning the normalization of homosexuality in society, is beside the point. Keith knows that if the majority of the public were polled, they'd more of less agree with Dobson, especially if they saw the literature. Here are what Olbermann calls the site's "three passing references".

    "How are you affected by homophobia?"
    "How would you be affected by your sexual orientation were it different than it is now?"
    "How will understanding these definitions change your thinking about compulsory heterosexuality and homophobia?
    "How will it change any of your behaviors?"
    From a handout entitled, "Talking About Being Out" there was this:

    "Do you know of any people in your school whose sexual orientation differs from yours?"
    "How do you know?"
    "Are you comfortable with that person or those people?
    "What are some factors that might encourage or discourage a person about being �out� as homosexual or bisexual in this class or school?"

    I can just imagine Keith's surprise and chagrin when some in the media didn't include the fact that the site had made "three passing references to homosexuality" but focused on the SpongeBob angle...

    But then this is a man who will refute an observation about big city newsrooms by mentioning that the operations of little ole MSNBC take place in small town in New Jersey.

    Just like he deflected from what Eric Deggans' op-ed in the St. Petersburg Times Online and a host of other media people have admitted is obvious: the secular nature of the media as opposed to the country at large.

    Can't have any acknowledgement of that sort of thing. Goodness no. Just like you can't have any acknowledgement that Dobson was warning his followers who are parents about something that contradicts their religious beliefs, beliefs that have been Christian doctrine for centures.

    That might lead to an actual discussion instead of a snark-fest. A discussion about and with real people. As opposed to one about cartoon characters...

    C-

    Kudos to you! You have done a wonderful job with the KO/Dobson issue! So I will leave those debates in your competent hands.

    I just wanted to point out that I read KO's new post, and this is what I found interesting. KO is not able to hold a discussion on anything without somehow finding a way to take a shot at President Bush (or some republican):

    "Several of his spammers warned of the coming Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriages (which the President many of them also claimed they personally elected used so efficiently in the campaign, but has already dropped with that �whaddya gonna do� shoulder shrug of his)."

    This is what I'm talking about when I say KO is a partisan HACK!

    Well, Trey, I am not a Dobsonite. I'm like Keith. I believe in God and pray every day.

    And I can truly say that I've never viewed anyone with amount of disdain and willful misunderstanding that Olbermann has for these folks and that includes the most paranoid leftists on the web.

    He's treated them that way with an impunity that he banks on, I'll add.

    Thanks, Gary. Now that's an even-handed article.

    What's amazing to me is that Olbermann and company act like it's revolutionary that Dobson would warn his flock over a group that advocates sensitivity training for kids about something they think is a mortal sin.

    What's next? Keith takes on Rev. James Kennedy about over his stance on pre-marital chastity?

    Keith is hardly a spring-chicken. He's known and likely loved many teachers, public figures, neighbors, pastors, etc...who have believed that homosexual acts are sinful but who have not advocated nailing gays to a cross.

    He's been alive pre-1968 in this theocracy... and has managed to live and thrive in AmeriKKKa such as it is... and knows the issue is more complex and deserves more SENSITIVITY and TOLERANCE than he's willing to give. Though sensitivity and tolerance are something he's demanded from others with the implicit threat of castigating them for their beliefs and casting them in the worst light possible on his show and blog.

    What a guy!...

    Mr. Krasner,

    You state that today middle America feels disenfranchised. Can you provide evidence to support this? Further, can you explain what constitutes middle America geographically, socially, politically, economically? What are its demographics? Do you contend that this alleged "disenfranchisement" underlies the "Religious Right's" chronic claims of persecution by the "liberal media"?

    You see, the thing about using such generalizations to bolster any argument or let others assume its validity, is that such concepts can generate a whole pyramid of rhetoric and logic that's as baseless as an unprovable premise.

    So, in an effort to avoid this disservice, can you please provide proof of this alleged disenfranchisement--or at least explain who these middle Americans are?

    I think it no small irony that many of those who are most obsessed with the alleged devious, subversive intrusion of the devil media into the sanctity of their upright Christian homes, including its secret language aimed at converting their families into hapless hordes of mindlessly rabid, gay dogs, have the audacity to call themselves Christian, a religion firmly rooted in tolerance. These self-righteous, Bible-thumping, pseudo-religious radicals prefer to selectively enforce their wills, citing as basis for their bad behavior, biblical passages they embrace at the exclusion of those "less convenient," all the while preaching exclusion, distrust and judgement--which are hardly true Christian fundamentals. They overlook Christianity as expressed by Christ's "Sermon on the Mount", favoring a more opportunistic version of the faith.

    As a practicing Christian, I don't deny that Satan is at work in our world or our mass culture. I do, however, disavow the notion that Jesus wants any of His creations to be treated badly by virtue of what he or she is. I'm convinced that, regardless of what biblical passages one cites, intolerance of any human being is inherently NOT Christian, and am I'm willing to stake my life on it. I also believe intolerence to be inherently (but not historically) un-American, but that's a different argument.

    "I'm convinced that, regardless of what biblical passages one cites, intolerance of any human being is inherently NOT Christian,..."

    I can tell...

    Paul,

    Thanks for your feedback and for contributing to OW generally. I'll address your comments in order listed:

    "You state that today middle America feels disenfranchised. Can you provide evidence to support this? Further, can you explain what constitutes middle America geographically, socially, politically, economically? What are its demographics? Do you contend that this alleged "disenfranchisement" underlies the "Religious Right's" chronic claims of persecution by the "liberal media"?"

    ---------> These are good questions and a fair ones. In this polygamut culture, there's obviously no sharp dividing line to demogragrically define "Middle America", or people in the socalled "fly-over states". There's lots of cross over catagories. But I see them as generally white, generally Christian, generally religious regardless whether or not they follow specific tenets, generally politically on the right, generally middle to upper income, and generally culturally conservative (ie. traditional values and mores). They're generally rural, or small town dwellers, but could be either white or blue collar.

    The evidence that they feel disenfranchised is quite obvious. They complain most about the mainstream media commentators and news bureaus often. Look at the Rathergate affair. They detect the agendas of Nightline, 60 minutes, CNN, ABC, CBS, NY Times and the major newspaper publishers, the latenight comics, the Hollywood liberal elites and the messages from their movies and TV shows. They detect the snide denigration of their values and political views. The "Olby Attitude", if you will. They wind up seeking comfort from Fox News and talk radio---ask those few outlets of conservative opinion and they tell you what their demographics are! (Some prefer CSPAN as the island of balance and fairness it represents.) Their feeling of powerlessness and being ignored and denigrated expressed itself on Nov 2nd.---the "get even" day, if you will. Check THOSE demographics! They end up voting in conservative legislators, perhaps partly in reaction. But during the remaining 364 days, they look at the mass media and feel that their views are not fairly represented.

    I live in the NYC. Most of my friends are libs. I WAS liberal. I KNOW exactly what they think, why they think it, and what they take for granted. And therefore I KNOW that Middle America suspects is right: liberals deem them to be slow talking racist bumkins. Look at the title of my op-ed.

    "You see, the thing about using such generalizations to bolster any argument or let others assume its validity, is that such concepts can generate a whole pyramid of rhetoric and logic that's as baseless as an unprovable premise."

    -----------------> It's unclear what you mean here. The foundation of any opinion or thesis REQUIRES the use of catagorization and generalization. The validity of the thesis depends on the accuracy of both the generalizations and the observations. The generalizations are considered self-evident by most observers: the schism in this nation exists, and one faction consists of that which I just described to you. The observation is also accurate: Articles swirling about this spongebob hoopla are real. Olbermann is named in them. I'm about to post another one. Thus the observations are accurate, and supports the thesis (ie: KO is becoming a lightening rod in the controversy; and the reason why, etc)

    So I therefore cannot agree with you that my op-ed is a "disservice" in any respect. But you may disagree with the op-ed. Do let me know if there are other parameters of the op-ed you wish to discuss.

    Your second post read:

    "I think it no small irony that many of those who are most obsessed with the alleged devious, subversive intrusion of the devil media into the sanctity of their upright Christian homes, including its secret language aimed at converting their families into hapless hordes of mindlessly rabid, gay dogs, have the audacity to call themselves Christian, a religion firmly rooted in tolerance.

    ----------------> Paul, with respect, I feel you rhetoric is extreme, and not representative of their complaint. They don't believe Dan Rather is the devil. They don't believe there's a "secret language" converting their children. They do believe that the PR people and defenders of the 100% tolerance, pro gay propaganda use code words to soften the sell. But it's not "secret". Lastly, no religion, least of all Christianity, tolerates "tolerance" of that which is inconsistent with its tenets, and what the leadership of that religion interpret as inconsistent. You are confusing the word "tolerance" with "forgiveness". Christians foregive any sin once committed. But not ongoing behavior among, or advocacy directed at their children that they deem antithetical to their beliefs.

    "These self-righteous, Bible-thumping, pseudo-religious radicals prefer to selectively enforce their wills, citing as basis for their bad behavior, biblical passages they embrace at the exclusion of those "less convenient," all the while preaching exclusion, distrust and judgement--which are hardly true Christian fundamentals. They overlook Christianity as expressed by Christ's "Sermon on the Mount", favoring a more opportunistic version of the faith. "

    -----------------> DUDE, they describe THEMSELVES as self-righteous. That's fine as long as they "enforce their wills" on themselves. They do in this case (but other times do not). We all descriminate. You and me. We dont want a noisy neighbor, or one who preys on children. So we often act to exclude; or as you put it: "preaching exclusion, distrust and judgement". Such behavior is warranted at times. But the only argument here, AND WHAT I PRESENTED EXPLICITLY in my op-ed, involves theit RIGHT to "preaching exclusion, distrust and judgement" SOLELY WHEN IT INVOLVES THEIR OWN KIDS. You may want to teach your children to embrace homosexuality. You have that right. They want the right not to. Get it? Are they wrong to denigrate homosexuality? Perhaps. Is it wrong to denigrate private property? Perhaps. Is it wrong to denigrate over-consumption? Perhaps. Is it wrong to denigrate Muslims? Perhaps. But it is undeniably the right of all parents to instill in their own children whatever values and opinions they wish, so long as it doesn't advocate stealing or killing someone.

    "As a practicing Christian, I don't deny that Satan is at work in our world or our mass culture."

    -----------------> As an atheist, I do. i won't ask you to provide the proof of your assertion (as you asked of me at the outset), because you obviously have no evidence for it. Nor do I feel your statement was a "disservice" for failing to furnish the evidence.

    "I do, however, disavow the notion that Jesus wants any of His creations to be treated badly by virtue of what he or she is."

    ----------------> I think this issue is solely about parents wanting to raise their children to believe that homosexuality is not a virtue. And not about treating gay people badly. I personally believe these parents are wrong to be so obtuse on this subject. But that's a separate issue, and one I didn't raise in my op-ed. So why do you raise it here? Why not write and article about it yourself? it's a worthy issue of debate.

    "I'm convinced that, regardless of what biblical passages one cites, intolerance of any human being is inherently NOT Christian, and am I'm willing to stake my life on it. I also believe intolerence to be inherently (but not historically) un-American, but that's a different argument."

    ----------------> The first clause of your comment is wrong, per my previous response. All religions are inherently intollerent of specific types of behavior and desires. That is what spawned them. Where there was no authority, they invoked a supreme authority to proscribe behavior commonly deemed to be bad. That was the law in civil society way back when. It was ALL about intollerance.

    Also, your use of the word "intollerence" as a stand-alone adjective is meaningless. I'm sure you're intollerant of murder, yes? I believe you're engaging in a word game to spin your case, instead of argue its merits.

    For example, instead of writing the more accurate:

    "intolerance of homosexuality is inherently NOT Christian"

    Instead, you wrote the fallacious:

    "intolerance of any human being is inherently NOT Christian"

    And, instead of writing the more accurate:

    "I also believe intolerence of homosexuality to be inherently (but not historically) un-American"

    Instead, you wrote the vague:

    "I also believe intolerence to be inherently (but not historically) un-American, but that's a different argument."

    My complements, as one propagandist to another. But your trick has been spotted, so don't continue with it.

    -- Gary

    Gary, I really apreciate your wonderfully lucid response.

    I'm especially appreciative of your saying, "Lastly, no religion, least of all Christianity, tolerates "tolerance" of that which is inconsistent with its tenets, and what the leadership of that religion interpret as inconsistent."

    I am not a fundamentalist, but I think if people were more familiar with the tenets of Christianity there might be dialogue that could foster some sort of meeting place between traditional religious beliefs and the freedom that is inherent in a secular society.

    Appeals to the inherent or fixed nature of homosexuals is not going to make any headway with a religion that teaches the fallen nature of man. To put it simply...that since the fall of man, we are inherently sinful right down to our genetic make-up, and far from excusing our conduct, our fallen nature is evidence of the necessity for...what is the central tenet of Christianity: the redemption and transformation of men by Christ. In Christianity there is no other form of redemption. Sin and the need for a redeemer is THE central tenet of Christianity.

    HOWEVER, the logical conclusion to the doctrine of the fall is that since the earth, along with man, is in a fallen state and is separated from God, there can be NO utopian vision for the world outside of the return of Christ. Anything else a goodness that is formed by man and leads to slavery.

    Jesus,Paul the other apostles, made it plain that any attempts at building some sort heaven on earth (theocracy) are attempts at self-justification that are just as futile as the rituals, rules and regulations that only served to point out the need for something beyond the law. Paul goes on and on about not putting fellow believers in the bondage of these rules and rituals.

    I think it is HERE that an understanding and compromise can come about. Christians are never going to accept that homosexuality is not immoral or accept it as the equivalent of heterosexuality and they certainly don't want their kids taught that. But there can be an uneasy peace with the majority of folks in both camps-- the ones who don't have the mindset that traditional religious faith must be marginalized and the camp that wants nothing less than their heaven (and everyone else's hell) on earth.

    I meant to say-- the majority who do NOT have the mindset that traditional religious faith must be marginalized and the camp that wants nothing less than their heaven (and everyone else's hell) on earth.

    doh!

    Gary,

    Sorry I couldn't respond sooner--too busy to blog. Thanks for your detailed reply. I'll try to be brief.

    To me, the problem with your argument lies in statements like--"there's obviously no sharp dividing line to demographically define "Middle America" But I see them as generally"--"The evidence that they feel disenfranchised is quite obvious"--and the like. Even though you can't qualify or quantify, you make representative statements about "Middle America". I feel this is misleading. "Obviously and generally" aren't "specifically". You have a right to your opinions, many of which may be extremely insightful, but have you data to support your claims? One can say most anything based on perception or even observation and those intuitive judgments may prove to be accurate, but appearances can mislead. A massive letter-writing campaign can appear to represent a wide public sector, when in fact; it turns out to be the creative politicking of a select few like-minded activists whose opinions hardly represent groundswell public opinion.

    While one may start with generalization, the proof is in the puddin'. Observations are indeed SELF-evident, subjective. We see things through a filter. You choose to state such observations, or theories, as fact and they're simply not. The more you opine based on generalization, the greater you risk misleading those who read your work. Op-ed is just that. Opinions--everybody's got one. It's not data.

    RE: Fundamentalists who use "tolerance" as a euphemism for "homosexual code," yes, my rhetoric is extreme, as is, I feel, theirs. Please note that mine is clearly stated as opinion.

    RE: Discrimination, yes, we all have biases. But there's a difference between treating someone differently due to their behavior and its affect on us (like a noisy neighbor) and disrespecting someone based on our prejudices. I feel that what Dobson does goes beyond trying to protect families who endorse his values. You have a right to your opinion.

    RE: My Christian faith v. proof. It's good that you don't want proof, for I've none. It's a matter of faith. My saying "I don't deny" leaves the door open for you and others who disagree. NOTE: I didn't say "OBVIOUSLY, Satan...(etc.)"

    "I think this issue is solely about parents wanting to raise their children to believe that homosexuality is not a virtue. And not about treating gay people badly. I personally believe these parents are wrong to be so obtuse on this subject" Well done. I disagree, but that's cool. Thanks for stating your opinion as such.

    RE: Intolerance: No word game intended; I'm not that clever. Pick your noun. Homosexuality? Perhaps, depending on how you weigh the scriptures. Murder? Certainly. Adultery? Indeed. Don't confuse intolerance with absence of forgiveness. Ideally, Christianity tolerates malfeasant behavior through divine forgiveness as it urges its members to forgive others. God is our judge and we're not permitted to intercede for Him. Also don't confuse Christianity with what has been done in its name. Waxing historical, again pick your target; Intolerance toward: American Indians, U.S. Japanese during WWII, minorities, labor unions/organizers, "Bonus Marchers," etc. Not intending to "play" you, bro, you're just seein' spots.

    Thanks, again, Gary.

    C,
    I think you're wrong to say "Christians are never going to accept that homosexuality is not immoral or accept it as the equivalent of heterosexuality and they certainly don't want their kids taught that." Many Christians, even those who acknowledge that homosexuality is immoral, already accept homosexuals (Judge not, lest ye be judged), figuring that if gays sin, it's between them and God, however many evangelical and fundamental Christians scorn and fear gays. The irony is that many of those who most vehemently rebuke homosexuals have had little exposure to gays. In this respect, the Bible aside (which I know is COMPLETELY unacceptable to fundamentalists) they show classis bias, which is a sin (Love thy neighbor...). It's this blind fear and loathing that, despite Christ's example of hangin' w/ lepers, consoling the downtrodden and bucking authority, stands in the way of meaningful compromise. Until the fundies can give a little, they won't get.

    I also savor the irony when those same devout Christians who profess belief in the 10 Commandments and God's exclusive power to forgive sin feel that it's moral for their states to kill. And to take it a step further, I've never been able to understand that if a convicted murderer can make a jail-house conversion, accepting Christ as his or her personal saviour, thus erasing all sin, why is it unthinkable that a homosexual can achieve similar forgiveness? And who's doing the forgiving here? How presumptuous is that?

    Paul

    Thanks for being brief. Because you're sounding like a world class putz. If you went on any longer, I'm not sure I could contain my patience with you.

    You must be a Democrat. Only Dems seem not to have accepted as prima facia the feelings of dienfranchisement of middle america. You want it quantified?! there are places you can go to read the polls and the election analyses. Sorry I didn't footnote them for you, but this isn't my thesis dissertation. it's an op-ed on a freakin weblog.

    My use of the word "generally" shouldn't be construed (except by overly pedantic people like you) as an indication that my opinions are not based on solid data and analysis. Rather, it's based on the FACT that there is indeed no precise way to identify that which you seek in the short-hand fashion we are communicating. I can't even communicate to you now about my varied positions in this limited space. It would take pages. I can only describe myself here as GENERALLY conservative in foreign policy, GENERALLY moderate on social issues, and GENERALLY intollerant of knuckheads who have nothing better to do with their lives other than waste my time. If you want polling data, you came to the wrong place. I only analyze data. I don't supply it.

    "You choose to state such observations, or theories, as fact and they're simply not."
    -----------------> Oops, I forgot to preface each sentence with "in my opinion"!!!?

    "The more you opine based on generalization, the greater you risk misleading those who read your work."
    -----------------> Again, my generalizations are based on a plethora of both hard and soft data. facts and theories. You never specified which. But it's irrelevent. Because all people---even you---base our most passionate theories and conclusions on generalizations and theories, whether we like to admit it of not. People tend to quickly form conclusions or theories about novel experiences or information based upon surprisingly little corroborative evidence. We arrive at a view of how the world works as early as childhood. By adulthood, we have developed a comprehensive system of social, political, religious, ethical, and philosophical beliefs that are all in accord with each other, as we see it. When new information comes to our attention, we test it against these constructs. If the information supports or helps to explain the construct, then the information is accepted as true and is seamlessly integrated into it. If not, then it�s the information that�s rejected; not the construct.

    One of the reasons for this relates to our need for certainty. All generalizations have one thing in common: they help people make decisions about their world. But it can be very costly to require experiential evidence for every novel event before we react to it. Perhaps you�ve never had direct experience caring for an infant, but you know never to let one hold a razor blade. You�ve never been mugged, but you know better than to walk down a dark alley in a bad area. You form opinions on everything based on extensions of that already learned. Not hard data on that one thing. Like I said, if this were a thesis, you'd get the hard specific data. But this is an op-ed, and it's about time you learned the difference.

    re: opinions vs facts:
    You must have a hard time using the web and reading blogs. such statements are not tagged the way you wish. you should assume it's an opinion unless otherwise noted; cited; referenced; etc.

    re: intollerance of blacks, indians, ie race vs labor unions etc etc.
    You can easily cloud this issue, because it draws a fine line. There only law against descrimination is very narrow. it involves race and gender; and solely in employment practices above a certain level of employees, and education involving institutions receiving public funds. That ain't much to justify the practice of secretly using cartoon characters to instill in other people's children the manner YOU wish to see other people treated---a class of people that practice something abhorent to their religious beliefs. As an atheist, I feel they're wrong. As parents, they get to decide tho. THAT is what you and KO cannot appreciate. THAT alone, and not the merits of showing tolerance in and of itself.

    Yes, I'm a democrat. Kudos, Carnac on your mastery of the obvious.

    Anyone can regurgitate talking points. What you're pushing is propaganda. You've got some nerve to accuse me of clouding issues. You're a virtual smoke machine. For having so little spare time, you're awful eager to waste it.

    Many who post here make claims they willingly substantiate and when asked to, don't get defensive and confrontational. That this is below you is fine with me.

    Yeah, we talk in shorthand here...all the more reason to throw in a source here and there to supply detail far too burdensome to convey in this format.

    You're obviously a smart fellow. I do feel you'd be more persuasive if you could dial down the lectures and your acidity a notch (or several, not that you give a hoot what I think). There are leaps of faith you willingly take that many of us are less eager to embrace.

    Finally, please forgive me for being such a pedantic, knuckleheaded, world-class putz. Many thanks for the high level of your insightful response.

    Paul,

    You asked what was the basis of my commentary. I supplied it. But it turns out you wanted me to supply published data from professional journals or something like that. If I knew that was where you were heading, I wouldn't have wasted my time!

    You go to blog posts to read a mixture of opinion and news. Don't expect to find there footnoted references, particularly to support the self evident and well discussed contention that I proffered. Not that there aren't people who disagree. You'll find people who disagree about everything. Perhaps you've met one them. i have.

    Paul,

    When I used the general term "christians" in my post, I mean fundamentalists or evangelical Christians. I didn't mean to suggest that Christians are some sort of monolith. Sorry. And I know I don't speak for these folks, but for conversation's sake, I'm going to try.

    I once read a wonderful quote. I can't remember where I read it, or who said it, and I can only (badly) paraphrase, but the gist of it is that no one ever gazed at a loved one and thought 'Well, she's messing up mightily, but I'll hold my tongue because who am I to judge.' In other words, letting people go on their merry way, doing what you believe to be utterly destructive is only achievable if you don't give a damn about them in the first place. *OR* if you don't believe that their actions REALLY are destructive.

    I think you're quoting "judge not lest you be judged" out of context. If you take Jesus' comments in the context of the whole of the Sermon on the Mount, you see that far from making things easier on us, he made the much worse. It's not enough not to engage in the sexual act of adultery, a lustful thought alone is tantamount to it. Rage in the heart isn't just a bad idea...it's the same as murder.

    Later, in the sermon, when Jesus says "judge not lest you be judged", he's not advocating some sort of moral relativism or casting the Church into a role that what would be a modern-day sensitivity session. He's banishing our sense of moral superiority that does lead to things like cruelty and violence towards gays It'stake the mote out of your own eye THEN you may try to help your brother with his... He is NOT banishing the principle that the Church should strongly defend what he has taught to be wrong or right. Jesus didn't only tell the prostitute that he would not condemn her, but "to go and sin no more."

    And the reality is that even the most liberal of churches engages in the practice of coming to judgements (and they should) even if it's condemning the "intolerance" of fundamentalists.

    I think the reality too is that there aren't alot of churches preaching and teaching that homosexual desire and homosexual sex is sinful AND also saying, "But it's between you and God". However, there are churches and christians who don't believe that such things are sinful in the first place. AND Paul, that is NOT the same as being forgiving-- because what does forgiveness mean if there is no offense or no offending....nor are they nonjudgemental or tolerant...when there is no difference of opinion or outlook, what's there to tolerate?

    I know this is a bit off the subject of making peace between fundamentalists and secularism. But we need to get this behind us. If you're going to make some comparisions between liberal churches and fundamentalist ones... at least do it with your eyes opened. And when you come to conclusions and judgements about them...know that is a natural and instinctive thing to do. Believing anything else makes for contradictory nonsensical debate such as 'can God make a rock so heavy he can't lift it'.... The answer is no... God doesn't do nonsense... and he doesn't define sin and then tell us to ignore it either.