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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tim Burgess: Bible- Believing “Values” Voter

posted by on August 30 at 14:28 PM

Tim Burgess wrote this op-ed for the Seattle Times after George W. Bush was sworn in for a second term—a term Bush won thanks to “values voters,” a group Burgess identifies himself with.

Commentators have been debating what the Democrats should do to reach people like me: Use more faith language, screen candidates for acceptability to red-state voters.

Nonsense. The wisest course for Democrat—and Republicans, too, for that matter—is to get to know and understand people who are driven in life by their faith beliefs. People who believe that truth can be discerned, that some things transcend this physical realm we touch and see every day.

Unfortunately, the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have helped create an image of Christians as narrow-minded, exclusionary, hate-filled loonies who don’t understand the nuance and realities of life.

Uh, Tim? Your clients at Concerned Women for America have done just as much as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson to make Christians look like narrow-minded, exclusionary, and hate-filled loonies—heck, you were helping to write their copy and buy their ads, which means you played a role in making Christians look like narrow-minded, exclusionary, hate-filled loonies.

We place significant value on personal responsibility and contributions to the community.

We try to teach our kids these things.

We worry about the vulgarity and coarseness of our culture and the “values” preached to our children day after day on television, in movies and magazines, and through music lyrics. We despair at the level of coarseness in our political discourse, too.

Uh-huh. How about bearing false witness? Does that coarsen our political discourse, Tim? Because the CWfA is notorious for pumping out sensationalistic lies about gays and lesbians—and there you were, for almost a decade, cashing their checks, pimping for the CWfA. And Seattle’s gay and lesbian voters aren’t supposed to be concerned about that?

Admittedly, we struggle with a lot of pressing issues. We don’t like abortion. We value the sacredness of marriage between a woman and man. We recognize that not everyone agrees with us and we know the law isn’t a good mechanism to resolve these issues, but moral persuasion is.

You struggle with gay marriage, Tim? Boo-fucking-hoo, Burgess. I struggle with second-class citizenship. You know what I’m struggling with? I’m struggling with how to respond to some asshole that believes I should be a second-class citizen, and that my child’s life should be made more insecure, and yet seems to think he can ask for my vote without first issuing an apology and a retraction.

And hey, Tina Podlodowki? You’re supporting Tim—you’ve endorsed him, you’re slapping me around in the comments for expressing concern about Tim’s long financial and professional relationship with the fundamentalist Christian bigots CWfA—a relationship that makes a whole hell of a lot more sense now after reading Tim’s 2005 op-ed.

So tell me, Tina: Has Tim managed to talk you out of supporting same-sex marriage with a little of that “moral persuasion” magic he was advocating in the Seattle Times a couple of years ago? Has he changed his position on same-sex marriage? Or have you?

Don’t be alarmed, but there are faith-driven values voters living right here in this politically blue city. We don’t have an eye in the middle of our foreheads; we’re not foaming at the mouth. We vote Democrat and Republican. We love our city. We’re your neighbors and co-workers.

We just want to make sure our gay neighbors can’t get married—in fact, we think the very idea of same-sex marriage is immoral, hence the need for “moral persuasion” to put a stop to it.

I don’t know about you, Tina, but I find that kind of alarming.

RSS icon Comments


So I take it that you don't think equal rights for minorities victimizes heterosexual white people like Tim Burgess?

Posted by Original Andrew | August 30, 2007 2:33 PM

No, I don't. What, I wonder, is Tina thinking?

Posted by Dan Savage | August 30, 2007 2:36 PM

Tina is worried about the frogs.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 30, 2007 2:38 PM

Start some rumor about Tina getting arrested for engaging in a lewd act in some airport ....

need not be homosexual in nature.

Posted by OR Matt | August 30, 2007 2:43 PM

Breaking news:

Iowa Court Issues Decision in Lambda Legal's Historic Lawsuit: Same-Sex Couples Must Be Allowed to Marry

Posted by Original Andrew | August 30, 2007 2:43 PM

"the Iowa District Court for Polk County said that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry based on the Iowa Constitution's guarantee of equal treatment under the law."

Guess, the Iowa Constitution is a hell of a lot better than Washington's. Congrats, Iowans and good luck with the Iowa Supreme Court.

Posted by Original Andrew | August 30, 2007 2:47 PM

What a lame, ranting, childish post...Dan has officially jumped the shark.

Posted by Trey | August 30, 2007 2:56 PM

Not the first, Trey. And I reserve the right to take ranting personal attacks -- even ones couched in squishy religo-speak -- personally.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 30, 2007 2:58 PM

Burgess's op-ed begins with the premise that Democrats are not people of faith ... a common and calculated practice by those of a religious right persuation.

Posted by D Huygens | August 30, 2007 3:04 PM

Tim Burgess was one of the only people in the entire City of Seattle to speak out IN FAVOR of the draconian Strip Club Regulations that were defeated by Referendum 1 last year. Here's his Op-Ed piece on that:

Tim Burgess Op-Ed urging "Yes" on Ref. 1

Recall, 63% of Seattle Citizens voted to reject these new regulations, leaving Burgess on the outside side of this issue.

Posted by Timothy | August 30, 2007 3:20 PM

Dan -

Maybe engage brain before ranting and typing and check things out....

Tim's op-ed was an effort to stimulate discourse related to people of faith - and used the "royal we"...not the most elegant prose, and not how I would have written it...but the point is this:

In the past many progressives have simply refused to engage with people of faith, simply because they ARE people of faith. And faith must = conservatism, right? Wrong.

I agree withthat point - hope you do too.

If we are truely going to make change, then we need to see where we have common ground in our values with lots of different ideologies and faiths - and see if we can get people to change their minds, especially if we disagree about how to live those values...

Maybe instead of simply ranting in slog posts you can actually call Tim and talk to him about this....

I know where Tim stands on isues I care about because he and I have discussed them extensively. Have you even bothered to check, Dan?

I like so many things you do/write/discuss Dan, but I really hate it when you go off without taking the time to check things out....just call Tim for heavens sake before the next rant...

Maybe Tim is not as elegant as you want him to be, but I know where he stands on these issues.

Posted by Tina Podlodowski | August 30, 2007 3:23 PM

Okay, Tina -- and where is that? Where does Tim stand? You've endorsed him, you've spoken with him, you're telling us to take your word on Tim. He's a good guy!

So where does he stand on same-sex marriage?

And, I'm sorry, but it's totally legit to comment in writing on someone's published op-ed without a sit-down. And we are talking to Tim -- Erica is, which is clear in her posts. But, man alive, this stuff stinks, Tina, and so, frankly, does your content-free, trust-me, knuckle-rapping bullshit on this score. If you know where he's at, please let us know.

We intend to talk with Tim--I'm looking forward to that candidate endorsement interview, for sure. In the meantime we have a right to report -- and fume about -- this stuff.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 30, 2007 3:30 PM

Beside the point that religion has no place in government, why don't you tell us what Tim's positions are on the issues important to the GLBT community - since you profess to understand them. And then tell us how you reconcile his past support and lobbying efforts on behalf of the nortoriously homophobic CfWA, because as second class citizen who can't enjoy the same rights as Tim, there is no way in hell that he will ever get my vote.

Posted by crazycatguy | August 30, 2007 3:37 PM

Tina @11:
"Maybe Tim is not as elegant as you want him to be, but I know where he stands on these issues."

Great work building up the suspense, we're all on the edge of our seat. So, where does Tim stand on these issues?

Posted by Sean | August 30, 2007 3:41 PM

He's regressive! He's against gay-marriage but for equality! Wait, what were am I talking about?

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 30, 2007 3:44 PM

*was. FUCK!

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 30, 2007 3:45 PM

And cancel that 'am'. Jesus fuck. Time to go home.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 30, 2007 3:47 PM

@11: "And faith must = conservatism, right? Wrong."

It does in the U.S. People who self-identify as Christian consistently vote majority Republican.

Posted by Orv | August 30, 2007 4:01 PM

First, you go Dan. Thank you for calling bullshit on a bullshitter, and I mean Tina and Tim.

In the case of Tim, actions speak louder than words, and Tim's actions of taking over 300k from an odious organization like CWA is all I need to know.

Tina's actions stink, too. As a "leader" in the GLBT community, she needs to realize her endorsement carries weight, and endorsing someone who specifically editorializes against your rights and interests? Well, I think Tina's swallowed the christian koolade.

Why does this matter in our city? Well, what about the thousands of employees who get healthcare from the city? What if Burgess decides birthcontrol is too expensive to cover or it is too expensive to cover healthcare for domestic partners for GLBT employees? Those are just two examples of policy issues the city council could realistically take up that directly apply to members of the GLBT community.

Posted by Sierra | August 30, 2007 4:06 PM

Hey all you stupid fools who can rationalize themselves into half way accepting the ugly, vile, attacks of Concerned Women of America ... how can you do that?

This is the most horrible anti-gay group in America, relentless year after year after year. Raising tens of millions on our backs, repeating the most vile and ugly crap you can imagine in their mailings.

I could not stand to be in the same room with these people, their smell and facial expressions would be too foul.

Let alone take hundreds and hundred of thousands of dollars of their blood money drawn from our veins - the bodies of our dead.

Your enemies friend is your enemy. Did Burgess do work for Karl Rove? Ask him Erica?

I think Mr. Burgess is a moralistic/ prudish Republican trapped in a City than has no place for Rs.

Not my vote. Not my friends vote. Never.

Years back I got on the CCWA mailing lists - Did
Burgess work on the PR about how gay men ear feces - and deserved the AIDS epidemic as the revenge of God. Did he?

Dan and Erica and Dave Coffman, just what PR materials did Burgess and his company work on? How bad is the stench?

Posted by ida mae | August 30, 2007 4:11 PM

Don't believe that local politicans can't make a differnece. It was NOT that many years ago that we first passed 'groudbreaking' domestic partnership legislation in the City of Seattle. San Francisco's Mayor Newsom took a bold step in allowing gay marriage in SF that opened up the door and really started changing the debate.

I won't vote for a local leader who is not supportive of gay marriage. I agree with both Christian Sinderman & Dan on this point; you can have different expectations for someone who is squishy on the issues and who is trying to get elected in rural washington.

I live in a place like Seattle BECAUSE I have a better chance of being treated equal in the absense of full equality of the law. It is important that my local politicans will stand up for me. Ralph Reid proved that if we don't tend to local offices we will be sorry.

Posted by Barb | August 30, 2007 4:25 PM

#11 Um, Tina? What happened to that explanation of this guy's true views on marriage equality? If you have first-hand knowledge on the subject, I'm sure everyone commenting here (and on the subsequent post on this subject) would be interested (especially if it's backed by some concrete actions that contradict the public record Dan cited).

Posted by maddogm13 | August 30, 2007 5:33 PM

From Tim's King County Democrats Candidate Questionnaire:

Do you support the King County Democratic Platform? -- YES

Do you support freedom of choice in contraception, abortion and sterilization? -- YES

Admits to previous support of some identified Republicans, but declares himself "a progressive Democrat."

Member of the 36th District Democrats

10. What is your position on civil rights for Gay. Lesbian, bisexual and trans gendered people? What is
your position on equal rights for same-sex couples when it comes to benefits, civil unions, marriage
and parental rights? I favor equality and fairness without discrimination for all people. I support civil
marriage and full rights for all persons, including same-sex couples. I remember in the 1970s when Seattle
was a national leader in granting domestic partner benefits to city employees. One of my police academy
classmates launched a petition drive to overturn these benefits; this effort was an embarrassment to me and
many of my police colleagues.

Posted by Mickymse | August 30, 2007 6:56 PM

Mickymse @ 23

The issue isn't whether Tim is going to say all the politically correct things to garner Democratic endorsements (of course he is-- he isn't an idiot), it's whether his actions match his pretty words (of course they don't).

How many of your fellow King County Democrats have donated big time to Republicans? How many have used your professional skills to advance the right wing agenda of a group like Concerned Women?

Posted by Valerie | August 30, 2007 7:21 PM

CWfor A(Concerned Women for America) is not "the most horrible anti-gay group in America" It is tied for No. 1 with the Traditional Values Coalition.

Posted by athEIst | August 30, 2007 9:26 PM

"....we know the law isnít a good mechanism to resolve these issues, but moral persuasion is."
Okay so he doesn't support gay marriage which, as bad it as is, isn't as bad as saying gay marriage should be against the law. Some progress but still way too crappy a position.

Posted by arandomdude | August 31, 2007 7:04 AM

Tobacco companies hurt people. Tobacco companies lie.

Yet somehow the Stranger's staff can pocket dirty tobacco money week in and week out and that doesn't taint the pristine purity of their reporting in the least.

Dan, are you ever going to explain exactly how that works? How is it that Stranger editors and writers are magically free from the influence of money, but everybody else is presumed to be compromised?

Posted by elenchos | August 31, 2007 7:37 AM

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