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The disinformation campaign

Monday, Oct 28, 2013

* My Sunday Sun-Times column

“Where we go to church on Saturday or Sunday is under attack here,” insisted Rev. Lance Davis, pastor of Dolton’s New Zion Covenant Church, on Wednesday during a Statehouse rally against a gay marriage bill that’s languishing in the Illinois House.

Rev. Davis apparently has never read the legislation in question. There are no such threats in the bill, which specifically and unequivocably protects churches and pastors from all legal liability if they refuse to host gay weddings.

But, hey, let’s instill fear out there by violating a commandment against bearing false witness. Nicely done, pastor.

Jim Finnegan, the president of Illinois Choose Life, railed against homosexuality as a “dangerous, disease-filled, deviant and dead-end lifestyle” at the same Springfield rally.

Finnegan’s group (contributions, according to his website, are tax deductible) has been trying for years to convince and/or force the Secretary of State to issue “Choose Life” license plates. Money raised from the sale of the plates would be spent to promote adoption.

Apparently, Mr. Finnegan believes in only certain kinds of adoption.

But here’s a question for you: If you are truly convinced that all abortion is murder and are therefore committed to making adoption a far more viable alternative, then why limit adoptions only to heterosexual couples? Wouldn’t gay couples be doing the right thing by getting married and then adopting a baby, thereby lessening the chance that some women might have abortions?

I just don’t get it.

Rally participants brought lots of children with them, which boosted their estimated attendance to 2,500. One of those adorable little kids held a sign saying how he needed both his mom and his dad.

Well, of course he does. And I most definitely hope that little guy has both his parents for many long years to come.

But not all kids are so lucky. Sometimes, a parent dies. Sometimes, parents split up. Sometimes, one parent is never around. We don’t require as a society that all children always have both a mom and a dad. And, anyway, how does gay marriage take away either one of that child’s parents? It’s not like the state would be requiring people to marry somebody of the same sex. It just gives two consenting adults of the same gender the right to do so if they decide that’s the best option for them.

Plus, it would be pretty easy to find children who’d eagerly hold signs which read: “I need both my dads.” Should those kids be ripped out of the arms of their loving parents because some folks hate their “lifestyle”? And, if not, then why shouldn’t those parents be allowed to get married?

State Sen. Kirk Dillard also spoke at the rally. Dillard lost the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary to hardcore conservative Bill Brady by the slimmest of margins.

Since then, Dillard has decided to emphasize his social conservatism. He’s pledged to repeal the state’s civil union law, for example.

Dillard said at Wednesday’s rally that he was “honored and humbled” to be speaking that day and vowed to veto the gay marriage bill if it got to his desk as governor.

Dillard said the legislation would “denigrate marriage as we know it in this state.”

The last time I checked, the institution of marriage was chugging along fine next door in Iowa, where gay marriage is legal.

Want to live in a state with some of the nation’s lowest divorce rates? Well, move to Massachusetts, which has legal gay marriage. The same goes for New York and Minnesota and several others.

Let’s just ignore this disinformation campaign, pass the bill and join the 21st Century.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have written “just ignore,” I should have written “challenge with actual facts and then move beyond.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Demoralized - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 9:54 am:

    Religious people like to perpetuate this lie that their religion is somehow under attack. It’s a good strategy to get the blood pressure of people up. It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. People who are too lazy to check the facts will pick up on it and believe it. As I said, I have no problem with their opposition to this. But it’s pretty disheartening to see people who say they are Christian lie about things. I guess if you can’t argue on the merits your only alternative is to make stuff up.

    I’m also glad you bring up the point about kids. Those opposed to gay marriage argue that our kids are somehow in danger. They say they are “pro kid.” It doesn’t seem that pro kid to prevent people from adopting children.

  2. - walkinfool - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 9:59 am:

    Good, and fair reaction to the statements made at this rally. Their arguments are in fact confusing, because they are internally contradictory, and so removed from reality.

    Finnegan’s statements about homosexuals are beyond politically biased. They’re so false as to be delusional.

    The scary thing is he might actually believe in his paranoid world. And the press continues to report what he and his organization says, when we probably should just pity them.

  3. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:04 am:

    Capt Fax
    Haven’t you learned that challenging the whack jobs with facts is appalling abuse of your 1st Amendment rights?
    THe wing nut whack jobs must have a bucket of hate speech to roll out so they can feel good
    Hey speaking of religious hypocrites wonder in Springfield’s bishop of bling will give the media a tour of his recently remodeled 6th Street mansion. Paprocki is always telling everyone how to live their lives. Maybe we could get some decorating tips?

  4. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:14 am:

    Thanks once again, Rich, for an excellent column and your compassionate view on this issue. Kids are blessed if they have two parents who want them and love them, no matter what gender they are. If two gay people want to get married and have children, how much better is that than heterosexuals who have children but don’t want them or are negligent and irresponsible in raising them?

  5. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:17 am:

    What is the most disappointing, is that those opposed to SSM seem to think that scaring and hyperbole is the path to defeat, and reading a Bill you are “opposed” to, helps with credibility.

    Dillard’s quotes, with the vile language to descibe people who are sisters or brothers, sons or daughters, is dissapointing. Would the Kirk Dillard, the COS of Jim Edgar denegrate the sons and daughters with the words “disease”?

    Some things, you just can’t take back and say, “that is not me. You know me.”

    I guess we are getting to know the new, real Kirk Dillard more and more, and maybe that should scare the rest of us(?)

  6. - corvax - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:18 am:

    Bravo…great column

  7. - Bill White - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:24 am:

    === Bravo…great column ===

    I concur

  8. - downstate commissioner - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    Big rallies in Springfield… marriage or civil ceremonies or neither. You know, I just don’t care. Just wish it was over and done with.
    Dillard has screwed himself again and again; wonder if Thompson and Edgar are beginning to regret their decision to back him. There is no doubt in my mind that both of them, if they were in office at this time, would agree to sign a gay marriage law, although Edgar would proably make it plain that personally he didn’t like it.

  9. - Connor - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:33 am:

    It has become quite apparent to me that the fine Rich Miller happens to be a strident liberal, and it has disappointed me to the point that I may have to stop visiting this site.

  10. - Joe - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:34 am:

    Reflection after the March on Springfield:
    October 22, 2013 I took one of the buses from Oak Park to Springfield. It was the first time in Springfield for me and my goal was to petition my legislators to support Marriage Equality, what I came to realize was something that was obvious and disappointing, I don’t know why it has shocked me. Once we arrived, a small group of us went directly to the Representatives’ office building adjacent to the Capitol. The outer offices of the Representatives are cramped and some of the secretaries are chatty and some are gate keepers. I would like to tell about an encounter with one of the chatty ones.
    Our small group was making the rounds asking to see our representatives, we found ourselves in an office cull d sac talking to one secretary but in ear shot of 2 other secretaries. I struck up a conversation with the secretary closest to me. Without hesitation she began contributing to the conversation. She said her boss was indifferent and doesn’t really care either way but his Chicago district was calling in an urging him to vote no. I know this is a representative democracy of sorts, so be it, but not having an opinion after this piece of legislation has been in front of this representative for years was confusing. We continued knocking on the doors and exercising our prerogative to urge a yes vote then to the Rotunda to listen to the parade of elected officials swear their undying support for civil marriage and equal treatment.
    The rally, event speakers, and the march around the capitol were inspiring and actually fun. With this renewed spirit of dedication I began to ponder the issue a little more. Who does Marriage Equality hurt and who does it help? What is wrong with the status quo and what would moving forward actually mean.
    The Supreme Court, like most folks, has come to the realization that Civil Marriage for 2 consenting adults hurts no one. So what is the big deal?
    The status quo is the real issue, who does it help? Indecision may be necessary for many in Springfield and beyond. Keeping the population in the state of what IS verses what could be is actually advantageous for some people. Millions of dollars have been raised, lobbyists hired, and perpetual electioneering have been part of this insane process. Maybe the real fear is-If this issue is resolved the voting and donation habits of the dedicated people (both For and Against) will change.
    Indifference is the opposite of both love and hate. Elected officials who “really don’t care” about bills they are considering are the issue. What else don’t they research or care about? Pension reform? Highway safety? Education? My hope was they think about what will make the lives of citizens of Illinois better; that hope is fading.
    We were told this year we were redoubling the efforts “to make it happen”, “leadership and teamwork were going to win the day”, “Give us a larger majority and this is a done deal!” With all the lobbying and leadership; it would seem that finding an official without an opinion would be difficult, not so. Sadly I came to the conclusion that for some, profoundly altering my life is nothing to really care about. It’s just a way to pass the time, have a place to go, get a pay check, and, best of all, not much to think about. In the meantime, keep the fundraising appeals coming; good things will happen if you contribute!

  11. - MrJM - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:38 am:

    But the good news is we’ve entered the “we’ve got nothin’ so roll out the Big Lies” stage of SSM opposition.

    – MrJM

  12. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:41 am:

    Dillard’s desperate attempt to ingratiate himself with the cultural Right is transparent and pathetic. I know he wants to be governor and all, but at what price? And does he really think this represents a winning strategy?

  13. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:41 am:

    Connor, you haven’t been visiting this site long enough for anyone to notice your departure if you think Rich is a “strident liberal”. He is mostly a strident. On some things liberal, somethings moderate and some things conservative. Don’t let the door hit you . . . .

  14. - Demoralized - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:43 am:

    ==It has become quite apparent to me that the fine Rich Miller happens to be a strident liberal, and it has disappointed me to the point that I may have to stop visiting this site. ==

    First of all, I don’t think anybody will shed any tears over that. You obviously don’t come to the site that often are one of those pre-programed lazy cable news watchers who like to label others and whine about those who happen to disagree with you. I’m sure there are sites out there for you to pump up your pre-conceived views of the world.

    Second, I don’t think criticizing some of the ridiculousness that went on at the anti-gay marriage rally makes somebody a “liberal.”

  15. - MrJM - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:44 am:

    “Rich Miller happens to be a strident liberal”

    Depending on how you define “strident liberal” this statement is either blindingly obvious or untrue.

    – MrJM

  16. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:46 am:

    - Connor -,

    There have been days here, where Rich, in one Post, was accused of leaning Right, then the next Post, a commenter posted about Rich leaning Left.

    That in in One Day.

    Isn’t Rich’s column also about name-calling and labeling?

    Food for thought.

  17. - Mike - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:48 am:

    Oswego - hilarious.

    Although I really would like to see the accusation that Rich is right-learning.

    That would be a humorous read!

  18. - Denny Savard - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:49 am:

    Connor, we all know the only reason you come to the site is to see photos of Oscar the puppy.

  19. - Mike - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:53 am:

    Also…I’d really like to see a post in the same vein as above attacking the hypocrisy of the south side churches in impeding the civil unions bill at the state level.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those. It would be nice to get a spokesperson on record stating their position, why they and their constituents feel that way, etc.

    Put a south side face to the obstruction, so to speak.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:54 am:

    - Mike -,

    Illinois Issues…

    “Critics on both the left and right have accused Miller of ideological bias over the years. What a careful reading of Capitol Fax mostly reveals is a balanced contempt for all sides of the spectrum.”


    Read. Learn.

  21. - Wensicia - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:56 am:

    “Rich Miller happens to be a strident liberal”

    Oh, please…if you believe this, you’re really on the wrong blog.

  22. - zatoichi - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 10:58 am:

    So homosexuality is a “dangerous, disease-filled, deviant and dead-end lifestyle”. How is heterosexuality any different? Whatever stat you want to pick applies to both groups equally well. In shear numbers the straights far outnumber the gays in “dangerous, disease-filled, deviant” behavior. Dead-end life style? I guess divorce rates, affairs, multiple marriages, having kids with more than one person, and STDs are just trivial items that do not mean much.

  23. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 11:14 am:

    Connor: The only Rich is strident about is his dog and I wouldn’t go there if I were you.

  24. - reformer - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 11:19 am:

    == strident liberal ==

    Conor prefers labeling to explaining exactly where Rich is wrong. That suggests an inability to defend the indefensible.

  25. - 47th Ward - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 11:25 am:

    ===“challenge with actual facts and then move beyond.”===

    Yes, but zealots are impervious to facts or reason. They have faith, which overrides logic, and makes data easy to dismiss.

  26. - wordslinger - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 11:26 am:

    These sanctimonious haters, with whom Sens. Dillard and Brady proudly stand, would have civil law require the children of gay parents to wear a Scarlet G and be second-class citizens, in the name of Jesus and in “defense of the family.”

    What a warped and sad understanding of The Gospels. Apparently, Jesus only loves the right kind of families, as defined by the likes of the Illinois Family Institute, and civil law is required to enforce their removal from God’s grace. In the United States of America.

    “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do,” Luke 23:24.

    As for the children that the Illinois Family Institute and Sen. Dillard purport to be so concerned about, perhaps they should consider the words of Justice Kennedy, in striking down the despicable DOMA:

    –(DOMA)”humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” –

    Time is now. I hope the little girl across the street from me never comes to understand that civil law somehow considers her an outcast, unworthy of equal citizenship. I could never stand the shame.

  27. - Mongo - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 11:39 am:

    Hey Connor, go ahead, stop visiting the site. Or…try offering a cogent argument about an issue on either side of the issue. Those are welcome. I ain’t Mr. Miller, but he can say what he wants. In fact…so can you. Your pouting, petulant “I won’t visit again” is pretty amusing.

  28. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 11:48 am:

    OK, let’s give Connor a break and move along, please.

    After all it was his first comment here, unless you count the post from the same IP address that read

    Show your support for Dan Rutherford by liking Illinois for Rutherford today!

  29. - UISer - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 11:57 am:

    I’m beginning to think Dillard’s social positions make him unelectable in the General. I’m surprised he no longer wants to be viewed as a moderate.

  30. - Just Wondering - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 11:58 am:

    Was there any specific language in the legislation authorizing civil unions indicating that Catholic social service agencies had to promote adoptions by same sex couples or forfeit contracts with Illinois? No.

    It is not merely what is in the bill, it is how the courts interpret and apply the enacted provisions.

  31. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 12:04 pm:

    JW, Catholic social services is not a church. So that wasn’t about what a church could do, but the requirements of a social service group being awarded a state contract.

  32. - Hamilton - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    As someone who as only been around a few years, I’m not surprised at all by Dillard’s comments. Those of you that have been around longer, always seem surprised at his extremism. Does losing by 193 votes really chance a guy that much?

  33. - orzo - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 1:29 pm:

    Dillard has hurt himself the worst of anyone in this–ironic because I believe his core beliefs are not as bad as most of his opponents. He could have appealed to crossover voters because he could work with both sides. But he’s proven to be a real disappointment.

  34. - too obvious - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:05 pm:

    Phony as Kirk Dillard’s latest pandering may be, he’s made himself unelectable in a statewide general election. Contributors seem to know it.

  35. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:08 pm:

    I don’t recall a campaign that did not include disinformation. Who wins on just the facts?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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