Note To Us: Keep Doing What We're Doing, Civilly of Course

Every week Julaine Appling, head of the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin and of the "Yes" campaign, puts together a radio commentary that airs on stations across the state. You can read and listen to the latest, usually updated Mondays, on the FRI website.

In this week's commentary, "Reality and Perspective Check," Appling writes that she became discouraged when she went to "A Civil Conversation," a discussion on the ban sponsored by UW-Marshfield and Marshfield Social Justice that featured nationally syndicated columnist Deb Price. (There's an article about the event here.)

During the event, Appling writes,
reality struck when a Presbyterian pastor disclosed himself and his position on homosexuals--for and affirming of--and the amendment--100% against. This pastor mentioned there were several members of the area clergy at the program who agreed with him.
Then she continues, "Note to Julaine: find pastors and churches anywhere who will speak up on this issue."

Appling next laments the widespread enthusiasm and energy displayed by those working to stop the civil unions and marriage ban. She particularly becomes discouraged to find this opposition in the key region of Central Wisconsin (didn't she just last week tell a tv station that our support came only from Madison?):
And the third reality was that 100 people on a small UW-System campus in a key Central Wisconsin city on a Saturday night in early March was really a pretty impressive crowd. It was apparent from the comments and questions during Ms Price's talk and by the general tenor after the program that these were people who were energized and ready to do what was necessary to defeat the amendment. Note to Julaine: keep persevering in amassing an army to win at the ballot box in November.
"Army." Her word. Not ours.

She then concludes: "I do know our omnipresent, omniscient God is greater than any campaign against His plan for marriage and family."

In case you missed the not-so-subtle rhetoric, Appling tells her listeners they comprise an army and their opponents are against God.

Tell that to the Winnebago Presbytery, or the La Crosse area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, or the Wisconsin United Methodist Conference, or the good people at the First Presbyterian Church of Wausau, who hosted Tuesday's kickoff event. Tell it to any of the faith-based organizations opposing the ban that represent nearly 500,000 Wisconsin churchgoers.

Appling's rhetoric is desperate, it's flat out wrong, and frankly, it's a little scary. But it also lets us--all of us, from every part of the state, from Marshfield to Milwaukee, from Superior to Peshtigo--know we're doing something right.

Sometimes the highest praise comes from the most unexpected places.



At 2:50 PM, Blogger Justin Sweet said...

Amen Ingrid. Our wins are Julaine's woes.

At 5:53 AM, Blogger Mike Fitzpatrick said...

Whether by accident or design, the recent use of church facilities for Fair Wisconsin events sends a subtle yet powerful message to people of faith and good will. As media coverage routinely reports the "where" of the Fair Wisconsin events, it also signals to those who take the source of their morality from Christ's two great commandments to love God and to "love thy neighbor as thyself" that there is now also a significant movement afoot to take back their faith from the self-appointed messengers of God such as Ralph Ovadal and Julaine Appling.
(It is interesting to note that the theme of the Central Midwest District conference of the Unitarian Universalist Association to be held in Madison April 21-23 is: "Taking Our Country Back From The Religious Right.")
Now if Fair Wisconsin can find a strategy to add the message that the best way to stop future divisive amendments is for truly conservative Republicans to take back their party from the so-called "social conservatives," we could win something that will resonate far longer than just the defeat of the marriage equality ban.

At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Todd said...

Problem with above is, then you give up on getting the votes of folks who consider themselves "social conservatives." I think it's reasonable to think 'no' votes will come from all sorts of conservatives, social and otherwise.

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Scott said...

I agree with Todd on that one-- especially after reading the post about Charlie Sykes. I think there are plenty of conservatives who will question the second sentence and the whole notion of changing our constitution.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Mike Fitzpatrick said...

Hey Todd & Scott:

Perhaps I was too subtle in using the term "so-called 'social conservatives'". The term social conservative (like it's political cousin, neo-conservative) is an oxymoron. I'm sure you've heard the classic examples: jumbo shrimp and military intelligence.

Any serious investigation of the "social conservative" political agenda reveals an intrusive, "big government solution" approach that betrays true conservatism, the type of conservativism so eloquently expressed in the Charile Sykes Isthmus piece March 9.

BTW, I read the "gay marriage = social stability" argument Sykes developed in the conservative journal The Economist over five years ago. Sykes rewrite was distrubingly near verbatim, I might add.

At 5:51 AM, Anonymous Todd said...

Mike, I still disagree. Seems to me liberals can be at our most obnoxious when we tell others that we know what's best for them. I took that to be the essence of your comment. Moreover, regardless of the discrepencies between various forms of conservatism, "social conservatives" nevertheless consider themselves to be conservatives, and they would no doubt be turned off by any campaign that basically says: distance yourself from these loonies. The No side may not win a majority of the s.c. vote, but we might yet win a surprising percentage.

On the newness question: does anyone make original arguments on this stuff any more? Seems with this debate, the most important element isn't originality, but what's said, by whom, in what outlet, and to what audience.


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