Matching the Right's Passion

This week gave me a sobering reminder of just how motivated and organized the Radical Right is. I think it's a real challenge to us to match their passion and commitment. On Wednesday, national and local Religious Right leaders convened a call of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pastors and activists at 215 locations in California, Florida and Arizona. Those are the three states with constitutional amendments banning marriage for same-sex couples on the ballot this year. They rallied their troops for what they describe as nothing less than warfare against "Satan." The call's main focus was Proposition 8 in California, which Watergate felon-turned-Religious Right organizer Chuck Colson called "the Armageddon of the culture war." The Right's rhetoric may be over the top but their field plan is sophisticated and extremely ambitious, with detailed plans for identifying their voters, get-out-the-vote campaigns, absentee balloting strategies, and massive rallies. Organizers said they had already raised $15 million of the $23 million they need to put their full plan into action, and national religious right organizers are planning to call for special offerings from conservative churches across the country. All this to invalidate legal same-sex marriages in California and prevent other committed gay and lesbian couples from being legally married — and having their commitment recognized and protected under the law like everyone else. I'm glad that People For and our foundation's Right Wing monitoring brings this kind of behind-the-scenes strategizing to light. You can read more about the extreme rhetoric and terrifying scale of the Right's planned operation in a memo on the call here. And I'm proud that we're working with our allies to defeat this attack on equality —and that People For the American Way Foundation has its own long-term education campaign working with African American pastors who are willing to take the lead in challenging homophobia in the black church — and to take the heat for doing it! Some of those leaders were in the office this week, and we're getting some high-energy inspiration from them. We're going to need it — because, take it from me, the Right is not dead, or even sleeping. And, in case you forgot that some of its ideologues are sitting in positions of great power, People For the American Way Foundation's recently published analysis of the Supreme Court's most recent term confirms that critical institution's drastic shift to the Right. We're also going to need your passion and energy to fight for the American Way. I hope I can count on you in the coming months so that, together, we can build a better, more just and equal America.
PFAW