Not long ago, freedom of religion meant freedom from others’ religions. This quintessential American principle was foremost among the goals of our nation’s founders, because early settlers came here to escape religious oppression.
But a growing number of right-wing religious leaders are on a crusade to overturn the great American doctrine known as “separation of church and state.” They’ve revised our history to read that our founders never intended the government to be free of religion, but rather to be a tool for enforcing their religion – fundamentalist Christianity.
When Congress gave then-President George W. Bush unilateral power to invade Iraq, there was an outcry from the Vatican. But no U.S. Roman Catholic officials sought to deny communion to lawmakers who voted for the resolution. As many as 114,000 innocent civilians died from 2003 to 2011 as a result of the unprovoked conflict.
Yet when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced her support for the contraception mandate in President Obama's health care reform law, priests flooded the Web with calls to deny her the rite.
As we dive into another supercharged political year, at least one outcome is guaranteed: a tsunami of corporate and special-interest cash will flood the political arena.
The obscene spending – and the resulting cronyism – that sullies our political process is a bipartisan problem. President Barack Obama spent $740.6 million in his 2008 presidential race, eclipsing the combined $646.7 million spent by George W. Bush and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004. Although Obama broke new ground in successfully soliciting small individual donors, he ultimately relied heavily on megadonor bundlers, whom he handsomely rewarded.
With the ongoing revelations of child sex abuse involving right-wing religious institutions and sports organizations – two of the nation's most homophobic settings – it's tempting to throw all the headlines back in their faces.
Tempting, but unfair. It's understandable that pedophiles would be drawn to clerical and coaching positions, which offer a high level of access to children.But just as there's no relationship between same-sex orientation and pedophilia, there's no evidence that religion, sports or homophobia are connected to the disorder.
“We are everywhere” is a longstanding motto of the LGBT civil rights movement.
Two decades ago, it was printed on T-shirts, baseball caps and other items to assert that we’ve had a presence in all communities and at all times. Today the message remains critical, both for American society at large and for the countless LGBT people still living in isolation and fear.
Perhaps Gov. Scott Walker's rich out-of-state donors should read the local news before writing those millions of dollars worth of checks to his recall campaign. If it's political favors they're after, Walker could have a hard time delivering them from a prison cell.
According to recent indictments from the ongoing John Doe probe of Walker's days as Milwaukee County executive, the evidence is getting closer to his door. Within 20 feet, in fact.
The holiday season is traditionally a time when families, friends, co-workers and communities come together in a spirit of love and good cheer. Unfortunately, the unprecedented level of political polarization in Wisconsin made for some tense moments around holiday tables in 2011.
It shouldn't be this way. As President Barack Obama has said, "We can disagree without being disagreeable." Ultimately, people on both sides of the political aisle need to check their tone. Becoming personal and angry fails to enhance any point of view.
When WiG began publishing two years ago, Wisconsin was a very different state. Progressive, pro-equality Democrats had control of both legislative chambers in Madison. Gov. Jim Doyle, an LGBT ally, held the keys to the Governor's Mansion.
But an ongoing economic crisis and a backlash against President Barack Obama – from both the left and the right – brought sweeping political change in November 2010. The change was abrupt and radical – its leaders uncompromising. It left Wisconsin Republicans and Democrats more divided than perhaps at any time in state history.
Gov. Scott Walker’s base loves him unconditionally. In the five surveys conducted by Public Policy Polling since Walker took office, his support among Republicans has grown from 86 percent to 92 percent. This slight gain has occurred despite the state having experienced the greatest political polarization in its history. Under his leadership, Wisconsin endured a six-month period of job losses that were among the very worst in the nation – and some months the absolute worse. Meanwhile, a John Doe investigation into corruption by Walker’s staff during his tenure as Milwaukee county executive inches its way closer way to the governor’s doorstep.
Yet Walker remains a virtual hero to the religious right, big business and the Tea Party. “I Stand with Scott Walker” yard signs flourish like ragweed on the lawns of Waukesha, Brookfield and other right-wing bastions.
Apologists for Gov. Scott Walker are struggling to downplay the historic filing of more than one million signatures seeking his recall.
Walker's supporters contend the number is inconsequential. They say Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett received more than a million votes in 2010 but still lost the gubernatorial race to Walker. They maintain that the recall election will be an ordinary race and that Walker will win again.
The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center is at a crossroads. Beset with a leadership crisis, another year of financial shortfall and a lack of community and donor engagement, the center faces challenges that could prove insurmountable.
LGBT Milwaukeeans and their allies must decide if they want the center to continue. If so, they must throw their dollars, energy and ideas behind it.
Scott Walker won a close race for governor largely on a promise to create 250,000 new jobs by 2015. Now, only 10 months into his tenure, Walker's own administration has acknowledged that he's going to miss that mark by a long shot.
The Department of Revenue released a report on Oct. 28 that predicted the state would add only 136,000 jobs in the private sector between 2010 and 2014.