The White House Suppressing Dissent?

I saw in interesting post from Phil Cooke today about the Obama administration’s fight with Fox News.

From Phil;

“For a President that campaigned on a post-partisan platform, the White House’s critical stance toward Fox – or any media outlet – leaves even Democrats troubled, according to the Times. As Dan Fowler, former Democratic National Committee Chairman told the paper, “This approach is out of sync with my conception of what the Obama administration stands for.” He added he hoped Obama will think better of it.

I do too. When a President starts controlling the media at any level, that’s not a good thing for a democracy.”

From the LA Times Story:

Reporting from Washington – At least one Democratic political strategist has gotten a blunt warning from the White House to never appear on Fox News Channel, an outlet that presidential aides have depicted as not so much a news-gathering operation as a political opponent bent on damaging the Obama administration.

The Democratic strategist said that shortly after an appearance on Fox, he got a phone call from a White House official telling him not to be a guest on the show again. The call had an intimidating tone, he said.

The message was, “We better not see you on again,” said the strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to run afoul of the White House. An implicit suggestion, he said, was that “clients might stop using you if you continue.”

White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that she had checked with colleagues who “deal with TV issues” and that they had not told people to avoid Fox. On the contrary, they had urged people to appear on the network, Dunn wrote in an e-mail.

But Patrick Caddell, a Fox News contributor and former pollster for President Carter, said he had spoken to Democratic consultants who said they were told by the White House to avoid appearances on Fox. He declined to give their names.

Caddell said he had not gotten that message himself from the White House.

He added: “I have heard that they’ve done that to others in not too subtle ways. I find it appalling. When the White House gets in the business of suppressing dissent and comment, particularly from its own party, it hurts itself.”

I have little doubt that this is actually happening. If less and less Democrats appear on Fox news, it appears more and more right-wing. If it is “right-wing” then it can be sidelined as an actual source of news. It can be dismissed.

Judging from the use of media in the campaign, I am not at all surprised to hear the Obama administration continues to manipulate mass media to protect the administration’s image. Every politician does it some, but I don’t remember the last time it was this intense. it’s one thing for administration officials to decline interviews, but to tell others to decline them as well? Not healthy for Free Speech.


Gay Marriage and the State of Culture

Normally I would post this on my political blog, but since the conclusion I reach deals more with spiritual matters, I am placing it here. As always, I am speaking for myself, and no organization or church I am associated with.

Last night voters in Maine repealed a law that would allow homosexuals to marry. The margin looks to be about 6 or 7 points, which isn’t bad, I guess. Especially if you consider that New England is considered to be very gay-friendly.

In every state where the issue has been put to popular vote, gay marriage has been defeated. every time. But in many cases the votes have been close. To be honest, it’s just a matter of time before gay marriage becomes legal, unless something changes in America.

I like to think the reason it has continued to be defeated is because people know that marriage, while carrying some civil weight, is a religious ceremony, a religious union. It may surprise you to know that I am not against same sex couples being able to do a lot of the things that so-called “civil unions” allow them. I want people to have access to health care, and people should be able to designate anyone they choose as a beneficiary of life insurance, and for goodness sake, let them see each other in the hospital. If people want joint property, I don’t care. Those are civil issues.

Marriage is a very different matter. It’s been a round a lot longer than this country. Marriage is a covenant between the couple and God. For those of faith, marriage is not just a civil union, it’s more. And gay marriage supporters know that, because civil unions aren’t enough for them.

When some states (Hawaii, California, Washington, and others) give same sex couples the civil side of things, gay marriage supporters pressed for inclusion in marriage anyway. At that point, this stops being about equality in the civil realm, and moved onto religious and moral grounds. That is where I draw the line. It’s a longer conversation about the religious view on same sex behavior and marriage, with reasons why I think God set things up this way, and the implications for society as a whole if we move from the ideal of one man- one woman relationships than we have time for right now.

Instead, let me ask why is it that a decade ago these votes wouldn’t even be happening? Why are we counting victories on popular votes with less than 10% margins? There has been a political battle raging for years over this. And we are losing.

Why? Don’t we have the moral high ground? Aren’t we in the right? Shouldn’t we fight the good political fight?

That’s our problem, we have turned this into a political issue. It isn’t one. It’s a moral and religious one. Moral and religious views are not changed on the political front, they are changed on the spiritual front. We can force people to modify behavior through legislation, but that does not mean their heart will change.

If we want to put this issue to bed once and for all, win people to Christ and disciple them.

Change their hearts and their actions and votes will change.

I don’t have a problem with political movements as a whole, and think there are real civil consequences to accepting homosexual behavior as equal to heterosexual behavior, but this fight won’t be won apart from the spiritual transformation that comes from a relationship with the living God.

In order to do this we as the Church need to get back to being the Church and stop being whatever thing we are now. But that’s another conversation as well.