Yesterday, I sat in on a conference call sponsored by Concerned Women for America (CWA), and the leaders of California's ProtectMarriage campaign. Not surprisingly, I heard some interesting commentary, to say the least.
The call was led by Pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa who is the leader and initiator of Proposition 8. If that ballot initiative passes, an amendment will be added to California's constitution banning gay marriage and stripping gays and lesbians of the right to marry, which was granted by the California Supreme Court earlier this year.
"None of us really want to be doing this" Garlow said. "I could have been sitting on the beach. But I didn't volunteer, God drafted me. I don't have a choice. And God drafted you too, or you wouldn't be in the CWA."
Pastor Garlow said he would refer to the CWA women campaigning for Proposition 8 not as mere volunteers but as "draftees."
This militaristic-type rhetoric continued throughout the call. Garlow continued with a story emphasizing why CWA women needed to fight for Proposition 8.
"When I find myself up past the midnight hour," he said, "asking 'why am I doing this?' I think of the conversation that took place in Cairo, Egypt, between an Egyptian Christian pastor who has been severely persecuted by Islam and a man named Lou Engle" (Engle is the theocracy-minded founder of The Call, a fundamentalist youth movement, who is leading a 40-day fast to pass Proposition 8.)
"When Lou was in Cairo, Egypt," Garlow continued, "this pastor said to him, as a pastor that suffers at the hands of radical Islam, he said, 'The eyes of the world are on California. We're watching California and the vote on marriage. Because if you fail there to stop it, if you fail to stop it, what will be unleashed across the world will be a spirit worse than radical Islam.'"
Wow. So same-sex marriage is worse than terrorism? What kind of radical worldview is that?
According to the strategy described on the conference call, the ProtectMarriage campaign plans to enlist conservative churches to help spread their message. They will acquire from pastors across the state a contact list for members of their congregations. The campaign will call these members and use its propaganda to drum up support for Proposition 8.
It's support they desperately need, if public opinion polls are any indication. The Public Policy Institute of California released its latest survey that showed 55 percent of the state's likely voters would vote against Prop 8, while 41 percent would vote for it. The margin of error is three percentage points.
But the ProtectMarriage campaign is still hopeful.
"God's hand is on this project, CWA founder Beverly LaHaye said on this conference call. "God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman."
Religious Right groups have turned this public policy issue into a war between what they see as "good" and "evil." We at Americans United detected all along that advocates for Proposition 8 and other marriage amendments on Arizona and Florida's November ballots just want to overturn church-state separation and impose their religious viewpoints on the rest of the country.
Based on this call, it couldn't be more clear.