Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Push-back is not optional

Mike Pence
Howard Dean teaches us that when we fail to promptly push back on false narratives they become common “knowledge” by default. That makes perfect sense. Tuesday at National Review Alexandra DeSanctis wrote: “Mike Pence Is Not a Bigot.” The subtitle to her polemic reads: “The Left’s smear campaign against Indiana’s governor is dishonest and shameful.”

DeSanctis continues:
As soon as Donald Trump officially announced Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate in July, people on the left hurriedly began gathering ammunition with which to slander Pence, seizing, in particular, upon his supposedly egregious record as a social conservative. Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Democratic politicians, liberal media outlets, and left-wing activist groups such as Planned Parenthood have spent the past few months intentionally misrepresenting facts in order to paint Pence as a bigoted, puritanical politician who will force LGBT individuals out of the public square, and permit pregnant women to die without proper medical care.
I desire to be neither dishonest nor shameful. So let us examine the record.

In 2000 at Mike Pence for Congress: The Pence Agenda for the 107th Congress [via Archive.org] Pence wrote:
Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage.
And:
Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s <sic> as a “discreet <sic> and insular minority” entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.
And, for good measure there is this obnoxia:
Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.
2010 in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Jansing:
I don't believe we should be using the American military
our armed forces to advance a liberal social agenda. Or, to engage in the practice of domestic politics. Look, what we ought to be focused on–is first, we ought to wait and listen to what that survey of our soldiers says. But, number two, we ought to learn the lessons of history ... (Chris Jansing interrupts)

Chris Jansing: And if it does say what the indication has been–that the vast majority of service members and their families don't have a problem with it?

Mike Pence: Well, I would still have a problem with it because there is no question that to mainstream homosexuality within the active duty military would have an impact on unit cohesion, an impact on readiness, umm, that's been established and written about and chronicled for many, many years and I believe we need to continue to keep the focus of our military on the mission of the military. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was a compromise back in the early '90s. It's been a successful compromise. We ought to leave it like it is and not run the risk of impacting the readiness of our military–or recruitment for our military–because of an effort to advance some liberal, domestic, social agenda.
Those are all the words of a bigot. I can find no instance where Pence has expressed any regrets whatsoever. The orthodox Catholic, now an Evangelical Baptist, is on a mission to serve Jesus as he believes Jesus should be served. It is one thing to have strong religious beliefs. It is another thing to impose those beliefs on public policy.

Pence served in Congress for 12 years.  Vote after vote after vote was in opposition to anything that would provide gay citizens with so much as a shred of dignity.

More recently there is the 2015 Indiana RFRA. After an uproar similar to what we are now witnessing in North Carolina the legislature enacted some fixes. Nevertheless, Pence signed into law an act crafted by Alliance Defending Freedom. Until some fixes, it was a broadly worded license-to-discriminate against LGBT citizens.

Among the highlights:
  • The Act targets LGBT citizens for discrimination.
  • Eviscerated municipal nondiscrimination laws. The federal RFRA has no effect on the states or their subdivisions.
  • Refusal to serve gay couples in marriage did not constitute anti-gay discrimination.
  • Defined a person whose religious beliefs had to be respected as any form of organization as well as individuals. A person could then use the Act as an affirmative defense to charges of discrimination. The federal RFRA defines a person as an individual.
Those are just some of the issues. Pence put the rights of Christians ahead of the rights of gay citizens and taxpayers. In essence Pence confirmed that he still holds the bigoted beliefs that he wrote about in 2000. That is Pence's record reflected in his own deeds and words.

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