Craig Myers is a surprising pen pal for me.
Myers is executive director of Concerned Oregonians, the group that tried—and failed—to get a measure on the Nov. 4 ballot that would have asked voters to overturn both of Oregon's new laws allowing domestic partnerships for same-sex couples and banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Myers, a 56-year-old self-employed, semi-retired real-estate businessman living in Salem, said last month he plans to try again in 2010. And so I've tried for the last month to interview him about that. But he has put me off.
Until recently. He asked by phone if I would share a 1,200-word article he has written in which he tries to explain his views. He presented this to me as an all-or-nothing deal. I could either print his article (which I've done online in its entirety) or I could interview him at a later date of his choosing. I told him I would print his letter. What I didn't tell him was that I would respond point by point.
Here, then, is Myers' letter verbatim, with my commentary in the margins: (Below is the text of Craig Myers' letter, mouse over the comments icon to read Byron's take on the ideas presented)
DIVISIVE LEGISLATORS, THE REAL MENACE TO DEMOCRACY
In the hope of building a respectful rapport with the members of Oregon's gay community, I would like to share the following thoughts. I can only speak for myself, and I do not presume to accurately reflect the convictions or opinions of all of our hundreds of members, many of whom I have not yet had the privilege of meeting. So far he sounds OK. We all want to be respected, don't we?
Contrary to their self-professed concern for "tolerance,"…OMG, did he just use "tolerance," the same word that Sarah Palin used in reference to her gay "friend" during the vice-presidential debate?
…some in the liberal media have branded Concerned Oregonians as an "anti-gay" organization.To quote Robert DeNiro: Are you talking to me?
The fact that we do not adhere to the secular humanist worldview does not mean that we are "anti-gay"! I have yet to encounter anyone within our organization or our affiliated organizations who is "anti-gay," meaning that they harbor hostile attitudes or opinions toward gay individuals.Let me introduce you to predecessor David Crowe, who was until recently the director of Concerned Oregonians. He actually said in an article he posted online at beliefnet.com: "[Hurricane] Katrina was an act of God upon a sin-loving and rebellious nation" caused in part by the 34th annual gay, lesbian and transgender "Southern Decadence" Labor Day gala.
Instead, we believe it is the choices…Gawd, how many times do we have to explain to you guys that our sexuality is not a choice?
…made by homosexuals or heterosexuals violating the moral laws of our Creator that destroy individuals and eventually societies, through their cultural influence.Dude, those are fighting words. By the way, do you own any Clay Aiken CDs?
In this context, homosexuality and other alternative sexual orientations are not different from adultery or any other form of sex outside of traditional marriage. This is why we are no more "against" gay individuals than we are "against" any of our own unmarried offspring who may be sexually active.Again, with the Sarah Palin references.
Our traditional worldview does not support legislatively encouraging individual choice when the consequences of such are destructive to our nation."Destructive consequences"? What are your thoughts on the unjust war in Iraq and its devastation of our economy?
Concerned Oregonians can only be accurately characterized by what it is for, not what it is against. Concerned Oregonians support: 1. America's founding documents and principles which acknowledge God as the author of our freedoms. 2. Morality as the foundation of a healthy marriage. 3. Marriage as the foundation of a healthy family. 4. Family as the foundation of a healthy nation. 5. Children as our legacy to America. Our Mission is to promote respect for Morality, Marriage, Family, and Children so that the people of America will reclaim their vanishing freedom and equal justice, and renew their dedication to God, family, and country.In most studies, almost half of all marriages end in divorce. Many gay couples love God—and marriage. And we can have families, too.
Thus, it is the "gay-rights agenda," and not gay individuals that we have an issue with.OK, so this "agenda"…does it come in PDF form? If so, I'd love to see it.
Nowhere is the gay-rights agenda more evident than in the radical new legislation being disseminated throughout America. For example, in 2007, some of the Oregon Legislature enacted Senate Bill 2, which amends a variety of statutes and needlessly escalates tensions between Concerned Oregonians and proponents of the agenda, many of whom are, of course, not gay themselves.I knew it. Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Republicans like state senator and pastor Frank Morse (R-Albany) and Sen. David Nelson (R-Umatilla) are radicals.
Section 3 (1) states, "It is declared to be the public policy of Oregon that practices of discrimination against any of its inhabitants because of…sexual orientation…are a matter of state concern and that this discrimination (*though it has not been demonstrated to be a significant problem) not only threatens the rights and privileges of its inhabitants, but menaces the institutions and foundation of a free democratic state. " Paragraph 3 (2) elevates (* presumably alternative) sexual orientation (* or at least the public display of it) to "civil rights" status.
This raises the question, "why aren't these extraordinary protections and civil rights status extended to every heterosexual form of promiscuity as well?"A committed, same-sex relationship is not a form of promiscuity.
Should self-professed adulterers and others who publicly declare that they're having sex outside of traditional marriage also be protected against potential practices of discrimination (* which apparently includes disapproval) in the workplace or housing? Shouldn't the virtues of adultery also be promoted in our public schools? And how is all of this consistent with Section (2), which states, "The purpose of this chapter (bill) is to…ensure the human dignity of all people within this state and protect their health, safety and morals from the consequences of intergroup hostility, tensions, and practices of discrimination..."?Schools are the last place gays want to spend any time in.
Whose dignity, health, safety and morals are really being protected by means of this legislation, and from what are they being protected? How does it "promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity" which "We the people" are seeking, according to the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution? To the contrary, this legislation aggressively and without justification elevates "intergroup hostility and tensions" by extending superior rights and protections to a small segment of the population while flagrantly sacrificing the "general welfare" and everyone's constitutional protections under the First Amendment.
This unnecessary controversy could have been avoided by adhering to the time-honored practice of keeping our sexuality a private matter.Reality check: This isn't 1955. Do you really expect gay people to go back in the closet? This is about protecting our basic rights.
But perhaps that would have failed to meet the true objectives of this legislation.
In his farewell address to the nation on Sept. 19, 1796, George Washington said the following: "And of fatal tendency…to put, in the place of the delegated will of the Nation, the will of a party; often a small but artful and enterprising minority…they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the Power of the People and to usurp for themselves the reins of Government; destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion….
by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate…it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens…facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity: gilding with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption or infatuation.
…ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot in insurrection. -It opens the doors to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the Government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another" (such as ours to the UN or EU)
I personally do not believe that "sexual orientation" has gained civil rights status because of discrimination, which we all experience from time to time regardless of legislation. Furthermore, civil rights protections are not legitimately granted to any group based on their chosen behavior.Again, it's not a choice. And I guess you've never been on a playground when somebody used the word "faggot"?
Those who engage in homosexual behavior are not a legally recognizable disadvantaged minority, according to the U.S. Supreme Court's criteria, which are economic deprivation, political powerlessness, and immutable characteristics.And?
Ironically, it is the extraordinary political influence, affluence, and education of the gay community that has made them a particularly useful tool in the hands of those who have other objectives beyond civil rights legislation. As George Washington himself stated, this sort of political exploitation happens all the time.We aren't trying to exploit anything. We are trying to save our asses.
Admittedly, the traditional American views of Concerned Oregonians, and for that matter the majority of Oregonians, on issues of morality, marriage, family, and children, as demonstrated by Measure 36, are very different from those reflected in the gay rights agenda. Despite what our arrogant liberal legislators imply in SB2, Oregonians have not shown that they are a threat to the dignity, rights and privileges of their fellow citizens. Oh, really. When was the last time you drove through Springfield, the homeland for the Oregon Citizens Alliance?
The history of our country has proven that the greatest threat to the foundations of our free and democratic state is citizens who neglect their duty to defend its Constitution and the principles it is founded upon. It is by our traitorous negligence that the self-serving politicians described by George Washington rise to power. Once in office, these cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled "representatives" promote intentionally divisive legislation like SB2, translating the menace of our negligence into a real threat to our freedom.