Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Domestic Partnership, Equality, the Religious Right...and Blackwater

I'm really not easily shocked, and I don't know why I was when I was introduced to some seriously disturbing news last evening. Many may already know that Oregon's Domestic Parnership Law, scheduled to take effect on January 1st, 2008, has been the target of a referendum effort by the anti-gay zealots in Oregon. Recently, they failed to collect enough signatures to get a referendum on the ballot for next November. If they had succeeded, the law would have been put on hold until after the election.

Yesterday, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the referendum sponsors, against the state of Oregon and the Secretary of State, charging that they had collected enough signatures and that the state played favorites in the verification process.

The complaint filed in Federal Court by out of state attorneys alleges that Oregon's Secretary of State and a dozen county clerks erred by not creating special procedures to reinstate the signatures of people who said they had signed the petition, but whose signatures were found to be invalid using well established criteria.

Now, this lawsuit was not unexpected by me. It is pretty much par for the course as far as anti-gay and right-wing extremists are concerned. The lawsuit isn't what shocked me, nor is it what really frightens me now. What I find so disturbing here is who is behind the lawsuit, and their connections to other things.

The anti-gay forces in this case are being represented by an organization called the Alliance Defense Fund, an ultra-conservative group that began as a litigation funding pool for right-wing organizations, like Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice. Eventually, the ADF decided to get directly involved in the litigation fun.

What is so disturbing about this? Well, a little background on the ADF and more importantly, who is bankrolling it.

Much of the ADF's funding comes from some very powerful (and rich) far-right

“Some of the major donors include the Covenant Foundation, financed by the ‘Granddaddy’ of the Texas Christian Right, business mogul James Leininger, and the Bolthouse Foundation, which is underwritten chiefly with profits from Bolthouse Farms, a family-run California company whose products are often seen at organic markets and Whole Foods. Bolthouse requires recipients of its grants to pledge adherence to a statement of faith that includes the declaration that ‘man was created by a direct act of God in His image, not from previously existing creatures’ and a belief in ‘the everlasting blessedness of the saved and the everlasting punishment of the lost', and various members of the Amway-Prince Automotive empire, including the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation"

First of all, remind me not to shop at Whole Foods anymore!

I specifically want to focus on the Amway-Prince Automotive folks. Erik Prince, son of Edgar (who co-founded the
Family Research Council, a leading right-wing Christian group)and Elsa Prince, is vice-president of the Foundation, while his sister, Betsy is wife to Amway magnate, right-wing financier, and unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard DeVos. Erik, a former Navy SEAL and right-wing, born-again Christian, served as an intern in the G.W. Bush Whitehouse. A major Republican contributor, multimillionaire Prince is well-known for something else. As indicated by the title of this post, Erik Prince is tied directly to Blackwater USA, as its cofounder with another ex-Navy SEAL, Gary Jackson (Blackwater's current president). Prince serves as Blackwater's vice-president.

And we wonder why Blackwater gets a seemingly free ride with the administration, or why it makes billions for its work, in the name of the United States government?

Blackwater is a
private mercenary army that operates around the globe, and here in our own backyard. They provide the "security" in New Orleans and are building a huge "training camp" in California. This is a truly scary organization, and the fact that they are being legitimized by the United States government and directed by far-right Christian fundamentalists only makes them even more scary.

I remember reading last year sometime (I forget where) an editorial in which it was proposed that the neocon element of the Republican party had highjacked the religious right for their own purposes. That made alot of sense to me. At the time, and still, the dominant thought is that it is the religious extremists have highjacked the Republican party. I think it's some of both.


Anonymous said...

You are not afraid of your own shadow, are you?

Afraid of ghosts also?

Oregonian37 said...

Never met a ghost yet that scared me but thanks for asking!

MCAT said...

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