It seems like the election campaign has been going on for
way too long, but actually election day 2008 is still almost
15 months away. At least a year ago, when the unofficial
campaigning began, it was our expressed conviction that
we would not comment or get involved until early in 2008.
That is still our position.

But when you read headlines like this one: "DEMOCRAT
CANDIDATES GET RELIGION," it alters our perceived
responsibility, and a comment seems to be clearly called for.
It was called an "historic Democratic forum on homosexual
issues" when 6 of the Democrat candidates engaged in a
"Debate" or at least a "discussion" of their views on gay and
lesbian issues on August 9. It was the first such event in U.S.
presidential election campaign history. The two hour forum
took place in a Hollywood film studio before an audience of
200, under the sponsorship of Human Rights Campaign, a
gay-rights group active in Democrat politics, and Logo, a
gay-oriented cable TV channel that aired the program live.

Two of the Democrat presidential hopefuls did not show up
for the program, Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd. Of the
six who did participate, only two favored same-sex marriage:
Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Senator Mike Gravel.

The other contenders, Senators Clinton and Obama, Governor
Richardson and former Senator Edwards all seemed to agree
that they do not support the idea of same-sex marriage, but
do endorse civil unions with full marriage rights, and do not
care for the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy in the military, put
in place by the Clinton administration.

The most honest in his evaluation of the same sex marriage
issue was Governor Richardson who stated, "The country is
not there yet on gay marriage," and said that what was
attainable was acceptance of civil unions.

Despite the indication that they are getting religion,
the candidates stayed away from the religious or Christian
concept of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
In addition to that ignoring of Bible based teaching on
marriage, was the equally ignored Bible based teaching that
in God’s sight, homosexuality is an abomination, and further
that homosexuals shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Senator Obama of late has made much of his conversion to
the Christian faith under the leadership of the Rev. Jeremiah
Wright, pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ,
saying that Mr. Wright, "took me on another journey, and
introduced me to a man named Jesus Christ. It was the best
education I ever had." However, he made no mention of any
Christian conviction in saying that it was merely a matter of
semantics involved in making any distinction between civil
unions and marriage.

Senator Clinton expressed her eagerness to be partners with
the homosexuals, saying, "I really hope that we can be
partners in trying to make our country a little bit better and
a little more progressive for all of us," adding that the Clinton
administration "didn’t get as much done as I would have
liked" on homosexual issues. Like Senator Obama, Senator
Clinton did not reveal any of the Christian teachings from
Billy Graham which she referred to in the nationally televised
ABC "20/20" TV program last week.

Former Senator Edwards who has moved from his almost
flippant disregard of Christianity during his vice presidential
try, to almost a Southern Baptist expression of the Christian
faith (but with a heavy emphasis on poverty being the greatest
moral concern) also made no mention of the Bible teachings
on homosexuality, nor did Governor Richardson.

In some respects, the forum was a "non event," but
David Mixner, a long time gay rights activist and Democrat
fund raiser, said, "It firmly establishes us a major constituency
in the Democrat Party. It is a real validation of our position
within the party." Mr. Mixner may be correct, or he may be
taking an entirely too optimistic view of the event. Demographic
reports vary, but the Composite U.S. Demographics list from
Adherents.com lists gay men as .70% of the population;
lesbians as .32%, and the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender) total as 1.51% of the population. By those
statiistics, all the LGBT adherents in America would total a
bit less than 4,500,000 – hardly a "major constituency."

It is our continued intention to avoid commenting on
the 2008 presidential election until sometime early in 2008.
However, when the subject happens to be, as in this case, of
a religious nature, rather than political, you may expect some
sort of comment within these pages.

An appropriate quote from a Founding Father: "The
aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first
to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to
discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of
the society, and in the next place, to take the most effectual
precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue
to hold their public trust." - James Madison, February, 1788.

Afterthoughts . . .

You haven’t heard the last of Kofi Annan. He has just
purchased a multi-million dollar estate near Tangier, Morocco
on the Mediterranean coast. This purchase followed shortly
after he bought another estate near Geneva, Switzerland.
Right now he is house hunting for something suitable in mid
town Manhattan. He will be here frequently to work with his
good friend and former patron, Bill Clinton, on Clinton’s
Global Forum which he operates in conjunction with the UN.
All this is solid evidence that Mr. Annan was thrifty and saved
his money during his days at the UN. They do learn quickly.

The foot washing issue keeps popping up. The University
of Michigan at Dearborn has announced that it will spend
$25,000 to install foot washing facilities for the convenience
of Muslim students in connection with their pre-prayer ablutions
five times a day. What you have to understand is that the rule
of "separation of church and state" is applied only to Christians
and the expression of their faith, but not to Muslims. When you
grasp that fact, all these foot washing facilities across America
are quite obviously not unconstitutional.

The Red Cross is being sued for using as an emblem,
what else: the Red Cross. It is true. Johnson and Johnson,
the health products giant which uses a red cross as its trade
mark in its advertising, has sued the American Red Cross for
using the red cross emblem on its products. They claim that
the Red Cross can only use the emblem on its relief material,
like on a bucket of water, or on blankets, or on boats to go
to the rescue of people in emergencies. It would seem fair
to make Johnson and Johnson wait till the cases where the
ACLU is suing the Boy Scouts of America for using camp
sites in a city park are settled.

Can you trust the news media? In these days when
almost everything is decided by polls (the president: 34%
approve of his performance; Congress: 14% or less approve
of their performance) now here is a new Pew Research
Center poll which shows that more than half of the
country, 55%, feel that news organizations are politically
biased and inaccurate. And for those who get their news
from the Internet (about 25% of Americans) 59% say the
reporting is inaccurate; 64% think they are politically
biased, and 53% say the news organizations fail to "stand
up for America." Incidentally, this lack of trust and a poor
opinion of news organizations has been increasing for
the last several years.

A growing trend in investment attitudes. Based on a
research study of two years, a United Methodist task force
in New England is urging its members, churches and
investment managers to stop investing in at least 20 major
companies which do business with Israel, and divest from
existing holdings. The conclusion of the report said that
"the church should not profit from the illegal Israeli
occupation of Palestinian land ..." This is not the first such
action by Christian churches in America; similar actions
have come previously from the Episcopal Church in
the USA, the ELCA, the UCC and also from the Church of
England. We are by no means an investment service, but
Israel is historically God’s chosen people, and remains as
America’s staunchest ally in the Middle East.

Another warning voice on terrorism. This past week
former CIA Director James Woolsey said that terrorists
would strike the American homeland, possibly with a weapon
of mass destruction, this Summer or early Fall. Asked what
three things were most urgent to make America safe, or safer,
Woolsey said the first and most important was not to tie the
hands of the president with respect to intelligence
collection. He equated efforts to require a court order for
intercepting international communications to "shooting
ourselves in the foot." Sounds very much like FBI Director
Robert Mueller in his previous comments cited herein.

Too good to miss: "I have wondered at times about what
the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had
run them through the U.S. Congress." - Ronald Reagan
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