Bill Foster's win
The one thing that has become clear to us in the March 8 stunning upset victory of Democrat Bill Foster over Republican Jim Oberweis is that the American people, both Democrat and Republican, have become fed up with narrow-minded intolerant views from their politicians.
Bill Foster, a little-known Democrat physicist from Geneva, Ill., easily handed well known dairyman Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove, Ill., a huge loss in Illinois' 14th Congressional District. The end tally was Foster's 53 percent to Oberweis' 47 percent, with barely more than one in five registered voters voting. Why is this a huge loss? Illinois' 14th Congressional District has long been a Republican stronghold in heartland politics. Retiring GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert has held the seat in this district for 11 terms and was the longest-serving Republican Speaker in history. It was almost a sure bet that this seat in the March 8 special election would go to another Republican—yes, even to Jim Oberweis, who has lost three other bids for public office in Illinois.
The problem is that Oberweis ran his campaign the old-fashioned Illinois politics way—negative and with loads of money thrown in, and Foster simply focused on 'change' and 'ending business as usual'. Oberweis and the Republicans even outspent Foster by almost two to one. Oberweis has long been known in Illinois for being a voice of intolerant and homophobic views. He championed putting an anti-same sex marriage amendment for gays and lesbians into the Illinois constitution in 2005 and said that passing a constitutional amendment against a whole group of people is 'not bigotry'. The amendment died due to several gay-friendly organizations, including the Illinois Log Cabin Republicans and Equality Illinois, who contested the petitions and their hundreds of false or incorrect signatures.
We are asking the government for what it can offer—equal rights, not the Church for what it does not what to give—marriage rights. Many Log Cabin members even consider themselves to be moral, spiritual and religious individuals resenting the homophobic slant on interpreting scripture. It's sad to have to say to our Republican leaders in Illinois that we desire liberty, freedom and equality in the Land of Lincoln yet again. This special election proves this once again. Log Cabin Illinois remains committed to continuing to exclaim to the statewide GOP leaders this message of inclusion. But we say, once again, to listen to common sense in government affairs and, if you can't listen to us, listen to the voters, will ya?
Evidently in Illinois, sexual-orientation equality is an idea whose time has come.
—Log Cabin Republicans of Illinois
Catholics, gays and McCain
GOP presidential candidate John McCain has picked up the endorsement of San Antonio, Texas, pastor John Hagee, who said at a news conference that he was giving his 'vigorous, enthusiastic and personal support to an American hero.'
Following the announcement, far-right Catholic League President Bill Donohue criticized the endorsement because he believes Hagee has 'waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church.'
This is what you get when you mix politics with religion. The 'religious' crowd is fearful of losing its political connections in the White House—or, more specifically, who has the right to speak for all Christians within the Republican Party and, therefore, the country.
Clearly, this is not about religion but about politics, and bigots trying to grab the media spotlight.
The Catholic League should be worrying about our clergy sexual abuse scandal, and keep its paws out of politics. This is the season of Lent, where truth should be promoted. Unfortunately, truth has become a casualty and half-truths are the norm in this Lenten and political season.
Furthermore, John McCain does have to account for his clear anti-Christian message that is pro-war. This election is clearly about war and peace, not anti-Catholic bigotry.
The question that needs to be answered by people of faith is if the next president will be a religious or political leader. Or, is it the place of the president to promote either a Catholic agenda or a Protestant agenda by prioritizing abortion, gay marriage, stem-cell research and unconditional support for Israel above all other political issues?
The Rainbow Sash Movement calls on all people of good will to promote love, not bigotry or the money-centered word of faith theology that is promoted by Hagee, which the Republican Party seemingly has embraced under McCain.
To find out more, please visit www.rainbowsashmovement.com .
—Joe Murray, Rainbow Sash Movement