Is there a connection between same-sex marriage and mass murder?
That's what one religious right outfit is suggesting. This week, Morality in Media disseminated a statement noting that the Iowa Supreme Court had legalized gay marriage on the same day that a gunman murdered 13 people in Binghamton, New York. The headline on the release: "Connecting the Dots: The Line Between Gay Marriage and Mass Murders." The group's president, Bob Peters, notes that the "underlying problem is that increasingly we live in a 'post-Christian' society, where Judeo-Christian faith and values have less and less influence." And, he continues, this "secular value system is also reflected in the 'sexual revolution,' which is the driving force behind the push for 'gay marriage.'"
Here's the punch line:
It most certainly is not my intention to blame the epidemic of mass murders on the gay rights movement! It is my intention to point out that the success of the sexual revolution is inversely proportional to the decline in morality; and it is the decline of morality (and the faith that so often under girds it) that is the underlying cause of our modern day epidemic of mass murders.
That is, he's not saying that gay rights activists are directly responsible for the murderous actions of gun-toting madmen. But Peters maintains that those who champion gay rights are undermining the moral fiber of society and that this assault on traditional values creates an environment in which killing sprees can more easily occur. These acts of gun violence, he insists, are the poisoned fruit of the push for gay marriage.
Talk about exploiting tragedy to advance an agenda. It might be tempting to dismiss Peters and Morality in Media as marginal, but this group did receive federal funding from 2005 through 2007. The money supported a Morality in Media project, ObscenityCrimes.org, which paid two retired law enforcement officers to review citizen complaints about obscenity on the Internet and to forward the best leads to the US Justice Department for possible prosecution. A total of $300,000 was provided to Morality in Media through two earmarks Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) placed into spending bills, according to Peters. And a portion of that money went to cover Peters' salary. As The New York Times reported in 2007, no obscenity prosecutions had resulted from the Morality in Media's obscenity-tracking work.
Peters tells me that since 2007--thanks to the fuss about earmarks--he has received no more funds from the US government. After the earmarked grants ran out in 2007, he did apply directly to the Justice Department and was turned down. Since then, he has raised private funds to keep ObscenityCrimes.org going. That may be for the best--particularly for Morality in Media. Peters has recently attacked President Barack Obama's pick for deputy attorney general, David Ogden, as an "ACLU-minded" sort who would "likely weaken" government efforts "to curb sexual trafficking and sexual exploitation of children." It would be difficult--or, at least, awkward--for Peters to blast a Justice Department that was funding his own work.
In his statement on gay marriage and mass murder, Peters notes that Christianity and Judaism teach "that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and to forgive others." But on the subject of gay marriage, he does seem to have a rather unforgiving approach.