Friday, March 29, 2013

Would God Approve Judson U. Forum For War Criminal Tony Blair?

 Judson University, an evangelical Christian school in Elgin, IL, is heavily promoting the upcoming appearance of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at their third World Leaders Forum April 12. Print and online ads are everywhere. But call Judson and try to discuss their choice of known war criminal Tony Blair to be their keynot...e speaker on "Faith, Power and the Post Modern World" and Judson suddenly becomes mute. Apparently, Judson cannot comprehend that many folks take umbrage with their decision to give a high profile forum and a fat speaking fee to President George W. Bush's primary co-conspirator in launching the criminal war against Iraq ten years ago that cost trillions of dollars, millions of people their homes and hundred of thousands their lives.

I called Jessica who is coordinating the event for Judson. She was utterly flummoxed by my inquiry as to why Judson would promote a man who would likely be sitting in a prison cell for war crimes if there were justice in this world. She acted as if there neither was an Iraq war nor aware of Blair's involvement in making it happen. She did agree to pass on my concerns to her superiors. Then I called to speak with Interim President Dr. William Crothers. Advised he was not available, I asked his secretary to have Dr. Crothers call me back to discuss Judson's choice of Tony Blair to keynote the April 12 event, but have not heard back from him in three days.

Judson University leaders need not worry about me or any other mere mortal who might find their choice of Tony Blair to keynote their third World Leaders Forum deplorable and inexcusable. They should tremble at how it plays with the righteous God they believe created them and guides their actions for the betterment of mankind. Blair actually represents the second setback their chances of reaching the Promised Land has incurred. Two years ago Judson's choice to keynote their first World Leaders Forum was Blair's puppet master in unleashing criminal shock and awe upon Iraq, the war criminal in chief, George W. Bush. Only their second keynote speaker, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, for guiding the dissolution of the Soviet system and ending the Cold War, had merit and deserves praise.

Two out of three, Judson University, is very, very bad.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rep. Pihos Apparently Doesn't Listen To, Much Less Trust Anyone Under 30

The NY Times reported today that 81% of Americans under 30 support gay marriage. That massive majority among young adults tilts the overall support for gay marriage among all age groups to 58% against just 36% against. Yet my state representative Sandy Pihos continues to insist that she will vote against legalizing gay marriage in Illinois because "there remains strong opposition to same-sex marriage from the vast majority of my district constituents". I'm still trying to see the data Rep. Pihos is using to make such a statement that simply does not jibe with the seismic change in public opinion on gay marriage that has occurred in the past year. Could it be that its mainly the aging generation of homophobic folks, raised in an era when homosexuality was generally considered deviant and gays themselves were treated as lepers, that are bombarding Rep. Pihos with their fears and their ignorance and their hate to vote against granting gays basic human and civil rights?

When I was experiencing some of the hippie lifestyle back in the 1960's, our mantra was: "Never trust anyone over 30". It seems Rep. Pihos has turned that upside down when it comes to understanding the demographics of gay marriage support. She apparently doesn't listen to, much less trust, anyone under 30.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rep. Pihos AWOL On Great Civil Rights Issue Of Our Time

As a civil rights advocate for fifty years now, I've learned to be patient in the inexorable struggle to achieve full civil rights for every American; indeed, every human being. I rejoiced at seeing Jim Crow abolished by a relentless campaign of civil disobedience, legal challenge, and yes, political leaders who had the moral courage to sta...nd up to the ignorant, the fearful and the haters and say "Enough, we are going to grant full citizenship to all Americans, regardless of skin color". Two of the proudest moments came when President Kennedy went on national TV to use the Presidential bully pulpit to advocate for racial equality, and President Johnson speak about the historic Voting Rights Act he was signing which amounted to a tearing down of the Berlin Wall of voter disenfranchisement in the South.

But that was fifty years ago and here we are today engaged in the latest effort to grant full citizenship to a minority, marginalized class of Americans still seeking the American promise of freedom; the freedom of gays to marry the person of their choice. This campaign also includes ending every last vestige of homophobic conduct including job discrimination, bullying, even beatings and murder which occur more frequently than we care to admit. But freedom of gays to marry is the most symbolic and visible vestige of our sordid history on this issue and the last year has witnessed a seismic change in public opinion and courage by political leaders to move up the timetable of victory. First, Vice President Joe Biden, than President Barack Obama "came out" for gay marriage. Public opinion then shifted with the latest national poll favoring gay marriage 58% to 36%. On a national level, DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) appears doomed to fall in the Supreme Court possibly as early as this year. Illinois is on the cusp of becoming the tenth state to legalize gay marriage, and Governor Quinn, following the courageous footsteps of Biden and Obama, has come out strongly for marriage equality, promising to sign the bill into Illinois law immediately upon passage.

Alas, it is discouraging to report that my state representative, Sandy Pihos (GOP, 48th) has officially come out against passage of Senate Bill 10 (Marriage Equality Act). Is Sandy Pihos personally against gay marriage? Does she feel it will undermine opposite sex marriage? Is she worried it will allow gays to "weasel their way" into our schools to promote the gay lifestyle? Unlike Pihos' colleague and neighbor Jeanne Ives (GOP, 42nd) of Wheaton, who proudly proclaims those views, we don't know. Rep. Pihos says simply, "As with civil unions (which she also voted NO on) there remains strong opposition to same sex marriage from the vast majority of my constituents in my district, which I've been sent to Springfield to represent".

That's it. The great moral issue of our time and Pihos claims its simply majority rule in the 48th. Pihos provides no data on her alleged "strong majority". Is it 15 of 20 persons who've contacted her out of a constituency of over 100,000? I've been lobbying her to support gay marriage for five years now and she never responds to my request for the data. I've challenged her to go into any high school in our district and poll the students on gay marriage. They would almost certainly favor gay marriage by a much larger percent than the current 58% to 36% nationally. This is because the youth of our district, our state and our nation are not frozen in the fear, and ignorance and hate regarding gays that the older generations still are. Rep. Pihos can talk all she wants about majority rule being determinative. If that were true we wouldn't need persons in our legislature. We'd simply need a computer to tally opinions and then vote accordingly. Would Rep. Pihos support legislation to only allow sugary drinks in our schools if that's what a majority wanted? Of course not. She would use their views as a "teachable moment" to inform on the toxic effect of too much sugar. Some issues simply cannot be left up to a majority, real or imagined, particularly when it involves the rights of others. It took civil disobedience and courageous office holders to grant women the right to vote a century ago. Women got the right to vote and even hold office; and when that happened the world didn't come to an end for men governed by fear and hate and ignorance. The same holds true today for marriage equality and full citizenship for gays. Sorry, but heteros will still suffer a 50% marriage failure rate after gay marriage becomes law.

Regardless of her written statement, Rep. Pihos still has time to search her heart and her soul to provide a moral justification for impeding the goal of marriage equality in Illinois. She needs to stop hiding behind the mask of "majority rule" and be a leader, not a follower. Although there is still time madam Representative, don't wait too long. I'm getting old; and the historic vote looms.