Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Or so says an anti-gay nut in Lincoln, Nebraska. As this blog reports, there was a proposal to give a small $1500 grant to a group to help prevent suicide by gay teenagers, a grant to PFLAG. Religious righters on the city council didn’t like that the money was going to a group that supports gays (who else would you go to if you want to prevent gay teens from committing suicide, to an anti-gay group that gay teens wouldn’t talk to?) so they modified it to give the money instead to a health center. But even that wasn’t enough to satisfy a couple of them. The Lincoln newspaper reports:

[For] Councilwoman Robin Eschliman and County Commissioner Bob Workman … even removing PFLAG as the grant recipient was not enough to garner their support.

Eschliman voted against the resolution Monday, saying it was controversial and “causes grief” to use tax dollars to fund gay and lesbian issues.

She said she’d rather give the money to something less controversial because people with “deeply held traditional family values” don’t want their tax dollars used for such causes….

Workman, who was the lone County Board member to vote against the amended resolution Tuesday, took a similar view.

“I believe this type of government funding can undermine traditional family values,” he said….

[Human Services Administrator Kit] Boesch defended the grant, saying the money would be used to create an “education module” for area professionals to help high-risk homosexual kids who are depressed and suicidal.

Bear in mind that gay teenagers have an enormously high rate of attempting and committing suicide, many times higher than the rest of the teenage population, for obvious reasons. Preventing this from happening, helping those kids handle their difficulties in a healthy way, is clearly a good thing to any sane human being. But according to these bigots, helping gay teenagers avoid suicide “undermines traditional values.” Only if those values are vile and barbaric, of course.

Comments

  1. #1 Coin
    October 17, 2006

    Brings to mind the valiant stand in favor of cervical cancer we saw earlier this year.

  2. #2 Miguelito
    October 17, 2006

    They are most definitely pro-lifers I imagine.

    Would they be against abortion if it could be demonstrated that a fetus was going to grow up into a homosexual adult?

  3. #3 Gretchen
    October 17, 2006

    Preventing this from happening, helping those kids handle their difficulties in a healthy way, is clearly a good thing to any sane human being.

    But that’s not what they’re opposing. They’re opposing using tax dollars to do it. It’s only $1,500, true, but it’s still public money. Why should people be forced to fund this? I’m surprised that you, as a libertarian, would say they should.

    The hypocrisy lies in the fact that these people would probably be a-okay with using other people’s tax money to fund….oh, say, after school prayer meetings. But it doesn’t make their gripe on this particular matter any less legitimate.

  4. #4 Ed Brayton
    October 17, 2006

    Gretchen wrote:

    But that’s not what they’re opposing. They’re opposing using tax dollars to do it. It’s only $1,500, true, but it’s still public money. Why should people be forced to fund this? I’m surprised that you, as a libertarian, would say they should.

    That isn’t the point of my post. If you want to make the argument that government shouldn’t fund this stuff at all, that’s fine with me. If the councilmembers had made that argument, that would be fine with me too. But that’s not what they said or what I am rightly criticizing.

    The hypocrisy lies in the fact that these people would probably be a-okay with using other people’s tax money to fund….oh, say, after school prayer meetings. But it doesn’t make their gripe on this particular matter any less legitimate.

    I think it does. Their gripe is that preventing gay teen suicide “undermines traditional values”. And that’s an idiotic gripe. It’s not their hypocrisy I’m criticizing, it’s their stupidity and bigotry.

  5. #5 PennyBright
    October 17, 2006

    This grant was not funded by tax dollars. It was funded by the proceeds from a keno game.

  6. #6 Coin
    October 17, 2006

    So homosexuality and gambling then? Oh my word.

  7. #7 Gretchen
    October 17, 2006

    Their gripe is that preventing gay teen suicide “undermines traditional values”. And that’s an idiotic gripe.

    Well, okay. I see what you’re saying then. But honestly, I think that complaining about nearly anything “undermining traditional values” is likely to be idiotic griping. The people who use that expression are pretty much invariably…well, people like this.

  8. #8 Matthew
    October 17, 2006

    It boils my blood to read stuff like this, knowing that tax dollars is already used to fund christian prison missionary programs.

  9. #9 twincats
    October 17, 2006

    Gee, those “deeply held traditional family values” must be more fragile than we thought if keeping people they don’t like from killing themselves will undermine them!

  10. #10 kehrsam
    October 17, 2006

    I thought they were against the Oregon assisted suicide thing…but it’s okay if they’re gay? But then they tell you they’ve got a cure for the gay…. Now I hear Larry Craig has annymous sex with men in the restrooms at Union Station. I used to shop there a lot, that really creeps me out, what is it with these folks?

    I’m confused, as an evangelical Christian should I just stay home November 7th?*

    *Just kidding, I wasn’t voting for those liars in any case. Charlie Taylor is going DOWN!

  11. #11 Nebogipfel
    October 18, 2006

    In that great film Timecop, the religious right are described as the “pro-life, pro-death lobby”. Life imitates art, once again…

  12. #12 raj
    October 18, 2006

    Gretchen | October 17, 2006 05:29 PM

    They’re opposing using tax dollars to do it. It’s only $1,500, true, but it’s still public money. Why should people be forced to fund this? I’m surprised that you, as a libertarian, would say they should.

    This is preposterous. Tax dollars are used to fund all sorts of things that religious conservatives like. Including, but not limited to police and fire protection to benefit their tax-exempt churches. Unless you believe that libertarians would object to taxing anyone to provide for any expenditure, you really don’t have a point.

  13. #13 Gretchen
    October 18, 2006

    raj– There are many different kinds of libertarians, but I would say the foundation of libertarian philosophy is in not authorizing the use of force (i.e. in this case income tax, which is taken forcefully) by government to do anything but protect our rights. And giving grants to gay advocacy organizations, however effective they may be at preventing suicide (and we really don’t know about that from this article) falls outside of that category.

  14. #14 DuWayne
    October 18, 2006

    Gretchen –

    If that was their motivation then they should have said so and not have said anything about traditional family values, as that would be entirely irrelevant. Of course, if they had that motivation, then they should also be screaming to cut funding to public parks, stop having parades on public streets paid for by tax dollars – becasue they block those tax payers from using that street.

    The problem with your argument is that they didn’t say word one about your argument. They made it quite clear that they objected on the grounds that it goes against traditional family values.

    Personaly, I am not a libertarian, so I actually support expenditures that my representatives make in my name. I don’t always agree with them – in fact I often dissagree voraciously, but I still support it, because it works out to support ideas I do believe in. But this has nothing to do with libertarian thought – this has to do with bigotry. There is no way to couch it any differently – it is their own words damning them here.

    She said she’d rather give the money to something less controversial because people with “deeply held traditional family values” don’t want their tax dollars used for such causes….

    or

    “I believe this type of government funding can undermine traditional family values,” he said….

    They have said nothing that indicates they object to tax dollars being used outside of protecting the people. In fact Robin would love to see that money go to soemthing less controversial – if she meant public safety, why not say that instead?

  15. #15 raj
    October 18, 2006

    Gretchen | October 18, 2006 10:04 AM

    There are many different kinds of libertarians, but I would say the foundation of libertarian philosophy is in not authorizing the use of force (i.e. in this case income tax, which is taken forcefully) by government to do anything but protect our rights.

    This is a very, very red herring. All forms of taxation involve coercion to a greater or lesser extent. If you are unwilling to pay your property tax, you will be evicted by the government. If you are unwilling to pay the sales tax on something you want to purchase, you won’t be able to buy it. Similarly with excise taxes or import duties, which are effectively hidden sales taxes. If you are unwilling to pay your telephone taxes, you won’t get a dial tone. All taxes involve coercion. I would suspect that the taxation involved in the Lincoln NE case is probably more a mix of property and sales taxes than income taxes–which would be typical at the local level.

    The idea that government will ever do nothing more than “protect our rights” is similarly naive.

  16. #16 PennyBright
    October 18, 2006

    I repeat – the funds that support this grant are *NOT* from taxes.

    This money is from the proceeds of a keno game licensed by the state and locality.

    Taxation and the coercive nature of taxation is not at issue. No one is forced to gamble to support the locality.

  17. #17 Gretchen
    October 19, 2006

    DuWayne– I know that wasn’t their motivation, and I know their real motivation was in fact idiotic and hypocritical. That’s the point of Ed’s post here. What I’m saying is that it sounded to me at first like what he was saying is that if somebody doesn’t want their taxes to go to something, they don’t support that thing at all (or in this case, the converse: “I support gay people committing suicide because I don’t want to be taxed to prevent them”). That’s a common mistake people make about libertarians when they (the libertarians) argue against taxation for this, that, and the other.

    raj says:

    All forms of taxation involve coercion to a greater or lesser extent.

    Exactly.

    The idea that government will ever do nothing more than “protect our rights” is similarly naive.

    I know, and that’s sad. Governments don’t ever seem to shrink…they just continue to grow until they blow up.

    PennyBright says:

    I repeat – the funds that support this grant are *NOT* from taxes.

    I was just going by what the people complaining were saying. I don’t even know what keno is.