Revolution #148, November 23, 2008

the System,
and Proposition 8

Many people, including people actively involved in the protests against Proposition 8, see the election of Barack Obama and the passing of Proposition 8 as a perplexing contradiction because they see Obama as a progressive who supports civil rights and will reverse the dark years of the Bush regime. They have been hoping that Obama will soon step up and say or do something to get Proposition 8 overturned. But Obama has a lot of unity with the Christian fascists on the question of gay marriage and on using religion to cohere the empire. In his book The Audacity of Hope, he says, in explaining implications of his own religious beliefs, that “American society can choose to carve out a special place for the union of a man and a woman as the unit of child rearing most common to every culture.” This converges in substantial ways with what Proposition 8 is about, and it is why Obama has not really campaigned against it—he took a position against it, but has yet to really speak out strongly against Proposition 8.

From the beginning and increasingly as the campaign developed, Obama brought forward an agenda that has many elements in common with the religious fascists—Obama has called for bringing religion more fully into political life; has advocated an expansion of federal funding of faith-based organizations; and has called for further erosion of the separation of church and state. Obama sought throughout the campaign to do everything he could to seek the blessing of Christian fascist forces, as evidenced by his first public and televised joint campaign appearance with John McCain, which took place at Rick Warren’s fundamentalist Saddleback Church. Warren grilled both candidates about their moral views, including what it meant to them to trust in Jesus Christ. Warren urged the members of his megachurch to vote Yes on 8 and said, “This is one thing that politicians all tend to agree on. Both Barack Obama and John McCain—I flat out asked both of them—what is your definition of marriage, and they both said the same thing. It is the universal, historic definition of marriage, one man and one woman, for life. And every culture for 5,000 years and every religion for 5,000 years has said the definition of marriage is between one man and a woman.”

At the same time, Obama is more nuanced, and he did not support Proposition 8. In the last week of the campaign he answered a question put to him by MTV News about Proposition 8 this way: “I think it’s unnecessary,” “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America’s about.”

But Obama has yet to speak out in opposition to the passage of Proposition 8, and its implications. And even if his concern about “playing around with constitutions” is genuine at some level, he has never called out or mobilized mass opposition to the Christian fascist forces and movement they are building, and he, and the rulers of this system, have basic unity on the need to defend and expand the US empire, and the need for many elements of traditional morality and religion as crucial to that.

People need to cast away illusions about what Obama, and this system, are about. Obama is the newly anointed head of the empire. His position on gay marriage sheds light on the underlying ugliness and horror that this system means all over the world and in this country as well.  

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