Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dispatches from the Holy Wars: 02/25

Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff Paul Babeau's predicament offered a little comedy relief during holy wars of the week or so that was.

It's been eerily quiet out here in the Hawkeye state since "Resolute" Romney, "Courage" Santorum, "Consistent" Paul and "Cheerful" Gingrich moved on to campaign for President Obama in other states. Personally, I'm missing "Pitiful" Perry, but I'm sure Texans are glad to have him home again.

Fear and loathing at the Statehouse continues, but with the volume turned down --- in part because Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, gatekeeper for bills in the Senate, continues to block constitutional capers intended to end same-sex marriage.

There have been a few forays into other areas of divisiveness, of course, but HF 2033, intended to harass women who wish to have abortions and the doctors who provide them by mandating ultrasounds before the procedure seems to be dead in the water. That was a pet projet of Osceola Republican Rep. Joel Fry.

Tea Party loon Kim Pearson's HF 2298, which would have declared all terminated pregnancies (with the possible exception of miscarriages) to be "feticide" without regard for such factors as rape, incest or the likely death of the mother, failed to gain traction anywhere.


The freak fringe of the NRA-backed cold-dead-hands contingent, after deftly slipping a dove hunting season through the Legislature last year and turning Iowa into a "shall issue state" in 2010, continues to introduce bills, including a "stand your ground" measure that as nearly as I could tell would allow Iowans to shoot and kill anybody they took a dislike to without penalty. Another bill would prevent government agencies from barring weapons in public buildings and House Joint Resolution 2005 would amend the constitution to in effect eliminate all restrictions on guns.

These are unlikely to go far this session, but you never know. A recent Iowa Poll indicates 57 percent of Iowans are satisfied with the current gun laws and 26 percent actually believe tougher regulations are needed.  


My buddy Mary Ellen pointed me toward the news that Chuck "Iowa Boy" Offenburger, formerly a progressive Republican (and yes, Virginia, there used to be such a thing) has finally given up on the GOP and registered as an independent. If interested, you can read his announcement here.

Chuck, until a dozen or so years ago, probably was Iowa's most widely-known newspaper personality, writing folksy stuff for The Register as, you guessed it, Iowa Boy.


Elsewhere, this week, the Maryland Legislature passed marriage equality legislation, which Gov. Martin O'Malley backed and has pledged to sign. New Jersey lawmakers approved marriage quality legislation a week earlier, but as promised, Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed it. Washington appoved equality earlier in the month, a measure since signed into law.

Maryland brings to eight the number of states, including Iowa, where same-sex marriage is legal, as it also is in the District of Columbia. Five states offer civil unions for same-sex couples --- Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Rhode  Island and New Jersey.

The usual suspects, including the Roman Catholic male and allegedly celibate heirarchy, are leading the charge to challenge via referendum legislative action in Maryland, Washington and elsewhere.

The high comedy here involves those bishops in self-appointed roles as family values guardians. It's a little like letting a coyote loose in the chicken house to guard the old hens.


Arizona provided a little comedy relief this week in a "Cowboys are frequently, secretly fond of each other" vein, when Pima County's aggressively right wing Republican Sheriff (and congressional candidate), Paul Babeau, most widely known for his high profile war on illegal immigrants, was propelled out of the closet after allegedly threatening to deport his Mexican lover of three years, Jose Orozco.

Just a few days before, he'd been among freak fringe whackos featured at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. Then it turns out, the good sheriff (who quickly resigned as Arizona's "Resolute" Romney co-chair) really did post those photos of himself with and without underpants to the Web.

The studly Babeau, an Iraq War veteran, has since declared himself in favor of gay marriage and a born again follower of Ron Paul as he attempts to hang onto his political career and find a niche among Republicans.

I wish him well, really. And it's a wonderful example of what the closet can do to a guy (or gal). Or, as Granny used to say, "O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."


Kind of funny, too, is the "All Dead Mormons are Now Gay" Web site which allows users to make any dead Mormon gay for eternity.

This, of course, is a satirical take on the Latter-day Saint practice of baptizing the dead by proxy in line with church doctrine that requires all humanity, dead and alive, be offered the opportunity to covert (the dead actually have the right to decline).

Mitt Romney's candidacy, recent revelations that Romney's atheist father-in-law was dragged kicking and screaming into the church after his death, Jewish objections to the "conversion" of Holocaust victims and general LDS opposition to anything judged gay-friendly are among the factors in operation here.

I've always thought the LDS approach to conversion was rather nice --- much nicer than mainstream Christianity's habit of consigning anyone outside the fold to eternal hellfire.

But I just couldn't resist. So welcome, Joshua Saunders, whoever you may have been and wherever you may be, to the homosexual lifestyle.

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