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When PR flacks take over moral messaging
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 11/06/2009 @ 12:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
Pro-family forces prevailed on Nov. 3 in the state of Maine to preserve traditional marriage – for now – and praise God for that. Yet the Stand for Marriage Maine campaign ceded some precious ground in the process and threw long-time family activists under the bus instead of working with them as they could have.
Christian policy professionals all across the country were aghast after watching the last-minute TV ad by SMM, which said this:
Abandoning traditional marriage entails real consequences, yet we want to be tolerant of gays. Maine’s Domestic Partnership laws provide substantial legal protection for gay couples. Any problems remaining can be addressed without dismantling traditional marriage. It’s possible to support the civil rights of all citizens and protect traditional marriage at the same time.
This is a huge concession to the hopes and aspirations of “gay” activists. Are there indeed “rights” that need to be accorded to the behavior of homosexuality? No self-respecting Christian would take this position. This paves the way for the pseudo-marriage of “domestic partnerships.” The big question is: Why did “conservatives” do this?
Pardon my cynicism, but my background includes two decades in the wonderful world of advertising and public relations, where truth is a sometimes-disposable commodity and almost any position or product can be sold if you have enough media and research dollars.
So immediately I am thinking, “OK, what current or future client are the architects of Stand for Marriage Maine making sure they don’t alienate?” Because the compromised last-minute change in message made no sense.
The ads throughout most of the Maine campaign emphasized the effect on what will be taught to schoolchildren if marriage is legalized for homosexuals. This was a smart, winning strategy that also happens to be true, and school incidents in Massachusetts and California validate that claim. The group Mass Resistance in Massachusetts, headed by long-time pro-family activist Brian Camenker, has been invaluable in researching, tracking and revealing exactly how school-based homosexual advocates shove the lifestyle down the throats of families in that state, a tactic that went on steroids following the homosexual marriage court ruling in 2003. The incidents with the Parker and Withlin families were revealed to the nation primarily through the efforts of Mass Resistance.
In California, a lesbian teacher invited her grade-school class to her “wedding,” providing Exhibit A about the poor judgment empowered when same-sex marriage becomes law – and this incident was featured in the winning Prop 8 campaign.
But the student endangerment message made no sense paired with the last-minute, “We’re really tolerant” positioning of the campaign as cited above. Opponents would easily be able to see through the apparent hypocrisy: Why should parents worry about their children being indoctrinated into homosexual acceptance, if “gays” ought to be tolerated? If we ought to respect their “rights”? This sudden shift had a desperation tinge to it and leaves pro-family forces vulnerable in the future to accusations of lying through our teeth. Christians do not do well with hypocrisy. We need to tell the truth.
The Catholic Church in Maine made similar foolish accommodations. In reacting to the victory, Bishop Richard Malone said that the church upholds marriage yet “respects and accepts gays.” Really? The Catholic Church accepts homosexual behavior? Two men having sex with one another? Women excluding men from their lives and shacking up as lesbians? This is respectable and acceptable in Catholic teachings? This seems to say there might be truth to the claim of “gay” identity, something homosexualists would love for Christians to embrace.
When that happens, they have won the war.
Wait until the next marriage campaign in Maine and the left pulls that quote out of the historical record. Poor judgment – and false Christian doctrine, by the way.
Two weeks ago, Brian Camenker joined long-time pro-family warrior Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth and Maine’s Paul Madore at a press conference in Maine. These veteran pro-family professionals revealed what no one had yet talked about: the rotten core of homosexual activism behind the No on 1 effort. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, for example, has a not-so-long-term strategy to legalize every sexual behavior imaginable.
Sexual freedom – some would say anarchy – is where this is all headed. Marriage is not the issue: Gaining official permission for “sexual minority” lifestyles is, along with getting the muscle needed to silence the opponents. Marriage law is that muscle.
This information about the real objective needs to be taught to most of the public. After years of silence from the mainstream media about the realities of “gay” life and the true agenda, Americans need to be re-educated on this issue. Despite being flaunted as “pride” in annual homosexual parades all over this country and in Maine as well, most citizens don’t attend those, don’t frequent “gay” bathhouses or porn sites and remain unenlightened about how bold and extreme this movement has become.
But despite the teaching moment that LaBarbera, Madore and Camenker took advantage of, and despite the excellent media coverage their statements received, the Stand for Marriage campaign did not embrace them. In fact, they did everything possible to discourage their efforts, both in public and behind the scenes. Scott Fish of Stand for Marriage told the Maine media he “disavowed” any association with these brave pro-family warriors.
This happened despite the fact that, in its campaign, Stand for Marriage Maine utilized research on school impact provided by some of these very people. No good deed goes unpunished, apparently.
If one looks at the website for Frank Schubert, head public affairs consultant behind the Maine pro-marriage campaign, we read, “One of Mr. Schubert’s strengths is the ability to synthesize complicated public policy issues into understandable messages, helping his clients define the debate on their terms.”
Well, those “terms” ended up as compromised and confused, which doesn’t bode well for the future. Nor, by the way, is the message in line with Scripture. God has no tolerance for damaging, destructive homosexual behavior. This kind of short-term thinking may win a few battles, but will guarantee we lose the war.
Linda Harvey is a radio talk-show host and president of Mission America, a Christian pro-family organization.
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