Mr. Joseph Solomonese,
Human Rights Campaign
My dear Joe,
Dude, you almost got reamed! (Er, sorry, that's just an expression.)
You probably won, but it was close. Maggie Gallagher still managed to land a few punches that, to mix sporting metaphors, should have gone straight through to the keeper. Here's a couple of tips.
- When she interrupted you at the beginning, I wouldn't have tried to shout over her. She'll always win. Rather, you might have waited for her to run out of steam, whereupon you may have reminded her that Chris Matthews is an able moderator, and he will ensure she has an opportunity to rebut your points. And that in future, you will ask her to wait for the interviewer to invite her to respond, rather than interrupting. Moral advantage scored.
- Those pesky Methodists on the beach? "Maggie, I believe that religious charities need to learn a lesson that gay charities learned long ago. When you act as a business--that is, charging people rather than asking for a donation--you need to conduct yourself like a business. When the HRC sells a bumper sticker to raise money, we can't refuse to sell one to Maggie Gallagher because we disagree with her morals. Of course, religious charities have been getting a free pass from the law for quite some time, and it needs to stop. That's independent of the issue of gay marriage."
- Catholic doctors performing abortions? "Catholic doctors should get out of the abortion business. Find another specialty. More to the point, though, is that they should not perform a service for one which they deny another. Should a Catholic fertility specialist refuse to help a remarried divorcee, lest he abet adultery? Should a Jehovah's Witness doctor refuse to administer a blood transfusion to a patient he treats in the ER? Even worse, should he have the right to say that NO patient may receive blood from another, anywhere, because he finds it immoral? That's effectively what you're doing when you oppose gay marriage."
- The Catholic adoption agency? "Faith has not protected the Catholic church from incompetence, and indeed malfeasance. Any agency which takes children, often from failed heterosexual relationships, and denies them a loving, stable home beccause that home happens to belong to two women, raises not a question of morals, but of professional competence. We should judge the agency on whether it has denied this child an opportunity for a loving family, when loving families are so few and far between. That's the injustice, not for the prospective parents, but for the child."
- "By the way, Maggie, show me the unbiased stats that say kids raised in gay homes fail to thrive."
- "Of course you have your religious freedom, Maggie, which allows you to make moral judgements, to which you are entitled. But everyone's morals differ, even within your coalition. That's why the law concerns itself less with morals, and more with ethics and justice and fairness. You may disagree with the morality of many people, but that's no reason they should not be treated fairly."
- Here's an easy point everyone has overlooked. "Maggie, tell me why you chose a young black woman to say the line 'and I am afraid', and not a white guy. It's scary for both of them, right?"
- Now, Joe, you let her get away with the violins at the end. We have gotta tug at the heartstrings better, while still remaining cool. Obama is a master at this, and it left his critics with no means to fault his character or motives. "Maggie, I actually agree with much of what you say. That which truly puts us human beings at our best, in the eyes of God or by any other standard, is the love in our hearts. Right now, you're saying that the love in my heart is worth less than the love in yours. Shame on you."
Joe, by all means, keep up the good work. But if your arguments always descend into he's-lying-she's-lying, you'll fan the flames, rather than douse them.
Mr. Honourable Husband
EDIT: Now this is more like it.