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Volume 34
Issue 18
 
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Lesbian Notions by Libby Post
Love, hope, fear, and hate
"Anyone remember 'I'd like to teach the world to sing'?"

It's a question I routinely ask whenever I teach a workshop on not-for-profit marketing or political campaigning. Given the median age of my audiences, about three-quarters of people in the room nod their heads. I go on to explain that the advertising concept used by Coca-Cola when I was a kid was developed by a guy named Marc Gobe, a master marketer who wrote Emotional Branding, a book I often refer to in my work and my teaching.

Gobe's concept of emotional branding centers around four main emotions - love, hope, fear, and hate. I always tell my audiences that what not-for-profits do is based on love and hope, and what we saw in the 2004 presidential election, well, that was fear and hate. Again, most of the heads nod in agreement.

The upcoming 2006 midterm elections are not going to be any different. The fear and hate from 2004 never really stopped - the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and transgender community is still demonized and used as a political punching bag by the Radical Christian Right (hereafter referred to as "the RCR") in its never-ending campaign to scare the hell out of everyone. You and I both know that irrational fear turns into hate that becomes the homophobia we, as a community, must face each and every day.

But the RCR has taken its fear-mongering to a whole new level. Now, instead of LGBT people being the victims, the RCR has taken that mantle for itself. You see, the newest phobia on the block is Christophobia, or fear of Christ.

Your eyes may roll, just like mine did, but make no mistake: these people are turning the bedrock of our democracy - pluralism, freedom of religion, and freedom of thought - into an attack on the very fiber of Christianity.

This past March, about 400 RCR leaders and their blind followers went to Washington, D.C., to participate in a two-day conference called "War on Christians and Values Voters in 2006." Organized by Vision America, a group led by an East Texas evangelist, the Rev. Rick Scarborough, the conference was all about getting the flock involved in the 2006 midterm elections.

But instead of focusing on their victories (same-sex marriage bans, a decidedly right-leaning Supreme Court - just to name a few) and giving followers a sense of hope for what they consider to be a Christian America, Scarborough and his friends thought it best to wallow in fear and fabricate a political war on Christianity. By the way, in case you're interested, Scarborough's friends include such elected officials as former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), and Christian Right warhorses like Phyllis Schlafly, Gary Bauer, and Alan Keyes.

Quoted in the Washington Post, DeLay told the conference's lunch-time crowd, "We are after all a society that abides abortion on demand, that has killed millions of innocent children, that degrades the institution of marriage and often treats Christianity like some second-rate superstition. Seen from this perspective, of course there is a war on Christianity." I just love it when a disgraced political hack drapes himself in the proverbial robe of Christianity to try to save face, don't you?

Well, if these folks want to know what it feels like to live through a political war, perhaps they should walk a mile or two in our shoes. I haven't seen LGBT people and their allies beating up Radical Christian Rightists on the street. Their children haven't been ripped out of their homes by "activist judges" who consider their religious lifestyle harmful to raising a family. They certainly haven't been routinely fired from their jobs or denied housing, and no one has thrown a bible-toting Christian out of the military yet.

Hell, they're damn lucky. They're not facing a war. If anything, they're enjoying the relative calm that comes with political power. After all, they've got a president in their back pocket, a judiciary that fears for its ability to make decisions based on the Constitution and not on the Bible, and presidential candidates like Bill Frist and John McCain pandering for their support.

The war on Christianity is no more than another ruse in a political arsenal whose bullets keep women in their place and the LGBT community on the defensive.

My friends, it's time for us to go on the offensive. 2006 offers us an opportunity we haven't seen in quite a while.

Historically, the midterm congressional election of a president's second term has never been a pretty sight. Even if the Democrats can't quite get their act together, we can make a difference in our own back yards. There are plenty of races around the country where our work, our wisdom, and our wealth, whatever that may be, can help tip the scales. If there was ever an election year for the LGBT community to feel the love and embrace hope this is it.

After all, wouldn't you like to teach the country to sing a new tune?



Libby Post is the founding chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and a political commentator on public radio, on the Web, and in print media. She can be reached care of this publication or at LesbianNotions@qsyndicate.com.

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