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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Required Reading

posted by on October 28 at 11:09 AM

Head over to Danny Westneat’s column in today’s Seattle Times and read—once again—all about how very sincerely Tim Burgess regrets spending ten years in bed with the American Taliban. Burgess is awfully sorry about all those checks he cashed from the Concerned Women for America (it’s a hate group, Mr. Westneat, not a “conservative nonprofit”), but he’s not sorry about his, you know, faith and shit.

Then head over to the New York Times and read Frank Rich’s column. A sample:

When Rudyís candidacy started to show legs, pundits and family values activists alike assumed that ignorant voters knew only his 9/11 video reel and not his personal history or his stands on issues. ďAmericans do not yet realize how far outside of the mainstream of conservative thought that Mayor Giulianiís social views really are,Ē declared Tony Perkins, the Family Research Council leader, in February. But despite Rudyís fleeting stabs at fudging his views, they are well known now, and still he leads in national polls of Republican voters and is neck and neck with Fred Thompson in the Bible Belt sanctuary of South Carolina.

There are various explanations for this. One is that 9/11 and terrorism fears trump everything. Another is that the rest of the field is weak. But the most obvious explanation is the one that Washington resists because it contradicts the cityís long-running story line. Namely, that the political clout ritualistically ascribed to Mr. Perkins, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Gary Bauer of American Values and their ilk is a sham.

These self-promoting values hacks donít speak for the American mainstream. They donít speak for the Republican Party. They no longer speak for many evangelical ministers and their flocks. The emperors of morality have in fact had no clothes for some time. Should Rudy Giuliani end up doing a victory dance at the Republican convention, it will be on their graves.

I think Rich is speaking metaphorically here, but… man… it’s such a delicious image that I couldn’t resist picturing it literally in my mind’s eye. Read the whole thing here. And then read all about “The Evangelical Crackup” in the NYT Magazine. Hm… it looks like Burgess deserted that ship—the U.S.S. Christian Bigotry—right before it started to sink. Good timing, Tim.

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It's probably way too much to hope that there's any sort of permanent crack-up of the American Taliban coming. As Rich's reference to Elmer Gantry suggests, this sort of aggressive no-nothing busybodying is just as inscribed in our country's DNA as conservative Islam is in Afghanistan's. But at this point, I could totally cope with a 4-6 year lull while the bastards splinter and regroup a few more times.

Posted by Doctor Memory | October 28, 2007 11:38 AM

Tim wants us to know that his faith informs everything he does, but then wants to accuse those who challenge that faith of bigotry. You can't have it both ways. Replace faith with Marxism and see what I mean.

Tim's brand of Christianity is out of step with this city, and someday hopefully our Country. Not wanting fundamentalist Christians to serve in office is not bigotry, no more then not wanting racists, libertarians, or Scientologists to serve. Religion is an ideological choice and when it expressly affects views and behaviors its fair game.

Posted by Giffy | October 28, 2007 11:45 AM

Hammer away at Guiliani's secularism as much as possible. Mention it to every conservative Christian you know. Remind them of how Bush and co. failed at both of they key issues: Abortion and Marriage.

Force them to run a third candidate to prove they're not irrelevant.

If we want this war to end and health care for our families; if we want to slow the war on government so we can rebuild our infrastructure and invest in transportation; if we want to get rich again on stock-options and technology; if we want to finally see a woman with real power, we need to drive this wedge as deep as it will go.

Abortion Abortion Abortion!
Marriage Marriage Marriage!

Can someone please make a statue of Jesus out of something disgusting? Will the polys please sue for domestic partner benefits?


If we want this war to end and health care for our families; if we want to slow the war on government so we can rebuild our infrastructure and invest in transportation; if we want to get rich again on stock-options and technology; if we want to finally see a woman with real power, we need to drive this wedge as deep as it will go.

Abortion Abortion Abortion!
Mariage Mariage Mariage!

Can someone please make a statue of Jesus out of something disgusting? Will the polys please sue for domestic partner benefits?


Posted by DownWithDella | October 28, 2007 11:49 AM

@2 - "Tim wants us to know that his faith informs everything he does, but then wants to accuse those who challenge that faith of bigotry. You can't have it both ways. Replace faith with Marxism and see what I mean."

Here in the shadowed Northwest, we don't openly discuss faith, race, earthquakes or active volcanoes. It's unbecoming.

Please make sure to know your coffee order before you get to the counter.

Posted by DownWithDella | October 28, 2007 11:54 AM

Yeah, he very sincerely regrets it. He's awfully sorry. What kind of gullible fools would fall for that? Who'd be dumb enough to "believe him when he says he "made a mistake'" Probably the same band of dupes what would describe the CWA as merely a "right-wing group" rather than having the balls to call them the hate group that they are.

Oh wait. Duh. I just clicked on my own link. The Stranger's own editorial board was dumb enough to believe Tim Burgess when he said he made a mistake. The SECB lacked the balls to call CWA a hate group.

So why would you be lobbing snark all the way across town at Danny Westneat? Wouldn't it be easier to get pissy with the people sitting at the desks right next to you?

Posted by elenchos | October 28, 2007 11:59 AM

Dan, have you read the NYT Magazine today? There is an interesting article on the Evagelicals and the GOP (part of the article made me puke and if anyone read it you know which part. It had to do with a chuch, soldiers in fatigues and a chior singing. You have to read it to appreciate it)

Tim Burgess is trying to add separation from the Christofacists ever since the political winds have changed nationally. Had things gone differently on the national stage I think he would still be in bed with them.

Posted by Just Me | October 28, 2007 12:00 PM

Drop my last comment....nothing to read there....move on.....

Posted by Just Me | October 28, 2007 12:06 PM

Such a total crock of shit.

I am a perfect example of a humanist who took all that old Christian stuff and put it to work in direct action, no organized church needed to do tons of good.

I take great exception to Mr. Burgess and his need for crutches. The article should say thousand of us in Seattle do more good than all the churches combined. And despite their pious blather, many of us reject the giant organized and money focused church machines.

What a bogus assumption - back to organized religion to be a moral and elevated being. Rot.

Burgess needs his crutches - well grab 'em Tim.

Spare me your lectures, all of them.

Except he forgot the one about not wearing your faith on your sleeve, my mom used it often as her personal life strategy.

And, what of the separation of church and state? Hell, the guy is running for city council, not vicar.

Danny forgot the old slogan about the leopard and spots. Has Tim Burgess changed his spots, I don't think so.

Hey, Burgess, have you ever heard of the Church Council of Greater Seattle? It is a grouping of hundreds of PROGRESSIVE churches. Very pro gay a long time ago. Sending NO hate mail for its funding.

Tim,just how do you go from feeding the poor to sending hate mail for money - and then say you have a real conscience? How aberrant.

Posted by Raphael - voting Della | October 28, 2007 12:17 PM

Re-reading part of the article in the NY Times this crossed my mind. Since we are seeing the break up of the marriage of the GOP and the Evangelicals what are the chances of the Democrats not only courting some of those evangelical votes (the emerging anti-war, pro-environment) and at the same time not pandering nearly as much to gay and lesbian voters? Where do the numbers line up if they did that? A net gain or net loss?

The Dems have to consider that they will get gay and lesbian votes by the fact we are not about to vote for a GOP candidate. Paranoid about this you say? I hope so but politics make strange bedfellows. So let me put that in the back of everyone's mind to think about. Sure trust the Democrats but Trust and Verify. (had to use a Reagan quote just now)

Posted by Just Me | October 28, 2007 12:28 PM

If only Della wasn't soo awful.

Posted by mirror | October 28, 2007 12:43 PM

Rudy may be dancing on the grave of the christiian right if he wins, but he will also be dancing on our cival liberties and the Constitution

Posted by Michael | October 28, 2007 12:46 PM

Vote Steinbrueck.

Posted by COMTE | October 28, 2007 12:48 PM

@10, Della may not have done much, but what exactly has he done thats so awful?

Posted by Giffy | October 28, 2007 12:51 PM

@13 -
* Ousted Heidi Wills
* Voted to rebuild the Viaduct
* Drove trucks over bicycles
* Tried to force nightclub owners to police downtown nightlife
* Ignored skate-boarders on new skate parks
* Tried to band-aid police accountability
* Screwed firefighters over station rebuilds and staffing requirements
* Forced the resignation of the entire parks board
* Claimed credit for lowering energy rates

This is the list from the top of my head. If you want a longer list, I can go to my notes.

Posted by DownWithDella | October 28, 2007 1:08 PM

Vote Steve Pool.

Posted by kid icarus | October 28, 2007 1:18 PM

Most Republicans that I know are Libertarians at heart. The only thing they really care about is paying less taxes. Abortion, gay marriage, stem-cell research, etc are all window dressing. They could take em or leave em as long as their tax bill is reduced.

Every once in a while, the stars align for the Republicans, and the fiscal conservatives and bible wingnuts find themselves on the same page (Reagan, Bush). However, the rest of the time, their differences are on display for all to see, and it is a beautiful sight.

Posted by Mahtli69 | October 28, 2007 2:00 PM

Yes, but the thing that's always confused me is that taxes are a moral issue. Tied up in your taxes are issues of fairness, support of your community and your country, the welfare of those less fortunate than you, and--of course--your own issues of materialism, greed, and sacrifice. Every other so-called "moral issues" is really only about bigotry, fear, and control.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | October 28, 2007 2:03 PM

@17 - The Republicans that I know (admittedly, not very many) are rather shameless when it comes to materialism, fairness, and greed. Moral issues, no matter how they are defined, aren't on the radar at all.

Posted by Mahtli69 | October 28, 2007 2:29 PM

Burgess still refuses to say who he voted for for President.
Burgess: did you vote for George Bush???????????

Posted by unPC | October 28, 2007 3:20 PM

I find it funny how snarky and superior Dan Savage is about Burgess's turn-around, considering Dan's own dismissive attitude about criticism of him for his former vociferous support of the war -- "the war in Iraq, which is all my fault..." -- isn't that how he typically refers to it? Dan, you let yourself off the hook with such ease, but you don't give anybody else a break.

Posted by tree | October 28, 2007 3:30 PM

I'd call ousting Heidi Wills (who was a worse-than-usual corporate Democrat), supporting the AWV rebuild (80,000+ people live in West Seattle, with a similar number in NW Seattle neighborhoods), and ousting the Parks Board (who quit in a snit when legislation Della moved gave the Council authority to appoint some of the Parks Board positions) net pluses rather than minuses as far as a whole lot of Seattle voters are concerned.

Posted by Mr. X | October 28, 2007 3:31 PM

@14, * Ousted Heidi Wills
He didn't oust Wills, the voters did. He just ran against her.

* Voted to rebuild the Viaduct
I agree with you on this one. Thats a mark against Della.
* Drove trucks over bicycles
* Tried to force nightclub owners to police downtown nightlife
* Ignored skate-boarders on new skate parks
Fair enough. I don't really follow those issues to much because I don't really care.
* Tried to band-aid police accountability
Della supported the proposal to require the chief to file a written report when overruling the OPA. While maybe not enough, I don't remember him activly opposing a better solution. Not championing something is not the same as being against it.

On this issue especially I would think Tim Burgess would be not better.
* Screwed firefighters over station rebuilds and staffing requirements
I agree on this one. Della caved to NIMBY pressure.
* Forced the resignation of the entire parks board
They quit after he moved some oversight to the Council. Given the state of our parks I'm not sure their departure was a bad thing.
* Claimed credit for lowering energy rates
Thats what politicians do.

You raise some good points, but I would hardly call those failings horrible. Is Della perfect (or even that good), no. I would happily vote for someone else. Its too bad that the only other choice I have is Tim Burgess.

Posted by Giffy | October 28, 2007 3:55 PM

Dan, thank you for calling Westneat on Concerned Women for America. I cannot believe he of all people is getting snowed by the Burgess "I'm just an innocent churchgoer" routine.

If Burgess was just a regular churchgoer, no one, not Democrats, not the typical Seattle voter, would care. We care now because he has put himself on a pedestal of righteousness and wagged his finger at those who don't accept religion into their lives.

Plus, for him to say that Democrats don't relate to people of faith is ridiculous anyway. There are 300 churches that signed on to the Equality legislation (Anderson-Murray bill that passed last year.) Religious people accepting gays and lesbians as equal to straight people. It's not just a concept, it's real and Tim should know that.

Plenty of Dems are people of faith. Does Tim represent them as well? Or just conservatives?

Posted by me | October 28, 2007 4:14 PM

@22 - fair enough

Public safety (ie, the police and the firefighters) is important to me. Della acts as if the mayor's requirement for written records solves the problem.

He's had four years to hire more police officers and negotiate oversight. Whereas he's done next to nothing, and whereas Burgess campaigns on taking charge on this issue, I support Burgess.

Della's slights against the firefighters go beyond a single fire station relocation / remodel.

On bicycles: Susie Burke and Vulcan support Della because he's either weakened or gotten in the way of the bicycle master plans for Fremont and the Regrade.

As far as I can tell, Della is consistent on this one issue: trucks and cars are more important than livability and sustainable growth.

My true problem with Della is he seems to have no idea why people don't like him. When asked why the firefighters are against him, for example, he has no answer. When asked why the environmentalists didn't endorse him, he has no answer.

Posted by DownWithDella | October 28, 2007 4:29 PM

@24, Ok I get what you mean by the bikes thing now.

I think we agree that Della could be a lot better. I just don't see Burgess as an improvement. If Della wins, I think we can both hope that in 2011 we get a really great candidate to run against him.

Posted by Giffy | October 28, 2007 4:44 PM

To deserve so much opprobrium from the Stranger can mean only one thing: Della rides a fixie.

Posted by mywayorthehiway | October 28, 2007 4:49 PM

Down with Della - this is interesting.

What is there - in you opinion - that you can't blame Dave Della for?

The city has been trying to add cops for YEARS, they have a hard time hiring because pay scales are low here, housing cost high .... blame Dave.

The fracas about replacing the viaduct has not been solved but Della made it clear he wanted to get off the shitter and move forward and replace would be fine. Shock, he made a decision. No progress yet ....blame Dave.

Dave suggested a skate board park .... idea shot down by the rest of the council, new site chosen ....blame Dave.

The firefighters have ALWAYS bonded with cops. I have a firefighter and a cop in my family. The cops back "one of their own", Burgess, firefighters follow like sheep .... blame Dave.

Remember, both the cop shop and fire dept. are full of blatant homophobia and racism. Della is a little Filipino guy, with a slight lisp.

Della says the council wants to appoint to the park board as well as the mayor, the old board quits, new board is appointed. So what is the big bad deal. Good people all around, who cares about those giant arrogant egos? ....blame Della.

All the virtual lily white enviro groups don't like to be reminded that our society is almost 50 per cent non white, oh god he said it in public, oh horror ...blame Dave.

I like the guy. I like his lets get to the work and his candor.

Did you all notice Licata has endorsed him as well as all leading progressivea in the city, county, and state. Impressive.

Voting for Della - and won't blame him alone for all the city's problems.

Posted by Karla | October 28, 2007 5:23 PM

I wish Tim Burgess all the success his fellow conservative Ed Jew has had on the SF Board of Supes.

Posted by ddbb | October 28, 2007 6:08 PM

Raphael @8, the church Burgess attends, Bethany Presbyterian, is one of the churches in the Church Council of Greater Seattle, so your argument seems a tad lame.

Posted by Alcina | October 28, 2007 6:10 PM

Some of you guys are amazing. If a person is a Christian then he must be a fundamentalist. If he says he is a Christian and NOT a fundamentalist (i.e think the bible is a historical document not something that God handed to the Council of Nicea) then he is inconsistent somehow.

Face it folks, the Church has done a lot of bad. The question is will you ever accept ANY Christian and if you do when he disagrees with you will you resist the temptation to attribute the difference in opinion to the fact that he is a Christian.

Just for about five minutes imagine that not every Christian in the world is a fundamentalist or someone who just goes to church to play bingo.

Posted by Vicar Johnny Boy | October 28, 2007 6:20 PM

@30, "faith-driven values voter"=fundamentalist in my mind. Faith is not a legitimate path to knowledge, values, or anything. Its just an accuse for believing things you can't prove.

Posted by Giffy | October 28, 2007 6:31 PM

Faith only leads to fear and superstition. Those who claim to have "faith" are just as likely to worship a rock if they are told to by someone with enough authority over them. I bet Mark Driscoll will vote for Tim though.

Posted by Just Me | October 28, 2007 6:58 PM

I quit going to church as I viewed the move to politics.

The churchie types think they needed more power and govt. dollars, and so they entered politics.

I think they needed to stick with faith, hope and charity.

Burgess is a perfect example of what I dislike most. Running the city has NOTHING to do with religion, nothing.

And, yes, it is a path to theocracy.

Burgess and what he represents turns me off completely. And, it is not religion in large, it is his version of faith.

Posted by Angel | October 28, 2007 7:00 PM

@31 Do you think that the Democratic National Committee is wrong to have a "Faith in Action" program which reaches out to faith based voters, that the DNC has a Faith Advisory Council, and that the DNC is putting faith outreach workers (funded by the DNC) in some states, and not just Bible Belt states, there is one in OR?

Or do you just not like candidates who are people of faith, like Burgess? If so, maybe you can address the fact that Della is Catholic and how you feel about that.

Posted by Alcina | October 28, 2007 7:08 PM


Lame? Hell. Does he know his church is part of a leading Red Jesus Gang?

By the way, I thought he was a way far right wing conservative Catholic or possible a Mormon.

But really, who cares? Isn't that the point for those of us who don't like him.

Posted by Raphael | October 28, 2007 7:12 PM

@35 Maybe you can ask Lisa Domke, who is on the Board of the Church Council of Greater Seattle--she endorsed Burgess. FYI, she was also a Delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention and she's very progressive.

Posted by Alcina | October 28, 2007 7:25 PM

@34, sometimes desire has to give way to reality. Most people in this Country and probably this city consider faith to be important. while I don't agree with that, its the current reality. That does mean compromise. If the DNC outreach to faith helps advance progressive politics I'll tolerate it.

However Seattle is a very secular city, perhapses the most so in the Country. To me that means I can be a bit more demanding of my candidates.

As far as I know, Della has not made an issue of his religion. Burgess has. I don't make a point of digging into peoples religious beliefs, but when they make them the center piece of their campaign and accuse those of us who argue against such beliefs of bigotry I have a problem. He can't have it both ways. Either his religion is private irrelevant to the Council, in which case its not an issue, or it is and therefore fair game for criticism and critique.

Posted by Giffy | October 28, 2007 7:25 PM

@37, actually I don't think Burgess made an issue of his religion. Who made an issue of Burgess' religion was David Della's campaign and they did it masterfully. Della's campaign was handing out Burgess' op-ed on faith based voters at candidate forums this summer and contacting the media about it. For what it is worth, pretty much everything that was in Burgess' op-ed about faith based voters, I've heard Howard Dean say. However, Della's campaign did a great job of making it a "story". Then Burgess had to respond and talk about his faith.

Posted by Alcina | October 28, 2007 7:52 PM

@38, Burgess did write the op-ed after all and not that long before declaring his candidacy.

Assuming your right, he could have responded by saying his faith was a private matter. He didn't. He held it out their as a positive and something acceptable. He is of course free to campaign on his faith and try to get people to vote for him because of that. But that means others are free to say the opposite.

Posted by Giffy | October 28, 2007 8:02 PM

Alcina - you just don't get it. Blinded by the smooth talker.

There are thousands of people in Seattle who are secular. Another batch of thousands who are people of great faith but do not like organized traditional religion. They have come together to have a big say in this city. A NEW ORDER FOR THE MODERN WORLD WHICH WORKS VERY WELL.

You want religion in your life, move to the Bible Belt. I am sure religion will be on every corner, every discussion, and people like Burgess can tell the story of conversion and Christ in politics and be well received.

Not here. And you don't want to deal with that.

Dave Della almost got killed organizing for cannery workers. Using you terms, that makes him a living SAINT. Willing to give your very life to social change for the oppressed. Jesus could demand no more.



The fusion of right wing politics and religion has made you attack the secular and the faith of others. You don't know a hero when one is standing before you.

The killer thugs working for the canneries killed two, Dave would have been the third had he not arrived a few minutes late for a meeting.

You want a hero - read that again. And did the God you profess to believe in save him? Ah, for a person of faith you must say yes.

Posted by Raphael | October 28, 2007 9:19 PM

The Democrats should NOT have a faith based voter initiative. The 6th amendment of the US Constitution provides that there shall be NOT religious test for our politicial leaders. AND if history has shown us anything is that those people of religous belief are not satisfied with leaving others alone. That group has consistantly demostrated a willingness to force their belief system onto others.

Leave faith issues out of politics as the US Constitution prescribes!!!

Posted by Just Me | October 29, 2007 4:43 AM

@40 You are jumping to conclusions. You seem to assume that I'm a person of faith and I'm not, nor was I attacking the secular. Among other things, all I was attempting to do was point out that faith based voters exist and are not being ignored by the Democratic Party. I agree with Giffy @37, who stated, "Most people in this Country and probably this city consider faith to be important."

Raphael, I totally agree with you that Della's work with the Cannery Workers Union was incredible and took real courage. However, that was in the 1970s. I strongly supported him when he ran in 2003 hoping we would all see similar courage from him on the Seattle City Council and so far we have not. If he gets re-elected, maybe we will.

Posted by Alcina | October 29, 2007 8:04 AM

@40 & @27 -
David Della: Running for re-election on his record of doing just a little too little.

The man has been in office for four years.

Posted by DownWithDella | October 29, 2007 8:21 AM

@40: Christianity is not synonymous with the theological bullcrap you ascribe to it. Do your fucking homework.

Posted by Greg | October 29, 2007 8:32 AM

Most are missing the point. Vote against Burgess, not because he opposed gay marriage or is guided by faith but because him and his company worked directly for Concerned Women for America. Despite what the name implies they are one of the most evil hate groups in America.

Posted by Touring | October 29, 2007 9:47 AM

Baby Sloth is the Future.

Vote Baby Sloth.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | October 29, 2007 10:21 AM


He can't have it both ways. Either his religion is private irrelevant to the Council, in which case its not an issue, or it is and therefore fair game for criticism and critique.

i'm not sure this is a either/or choice... you are making it one. why can't he say his faith is important to him but that he doesn't want a theocracy? um, like many people. and hopefully, someday, like most people.

it's like you said above ("'faith-driven values voter'=fundamentalist in my mind. Faith is not a legitimate path to knowledge, values, or anything. Its just an accuse for believing things you can't prove."), you are the one who has to see this as a black/white issue. granted, that is probably because so many fundamentals have tried to push their religion on us via laws.

but if someone says they won't legislate their religion, and if they act in a way that is to believed, then i'd like to believe them. because there are many different kinds of people out there, and i'd rather seattle be a place that is accommodating to all. not just the religious OR, as you envision it, the unreligious.

your comments scare me more than the idea of tim winning: he's only bad if he's lying.

Posted by infrequent | October 29, 2007 1:59 PM



For me, the most heinous part of Tim Burgess's conduct is that (if you believe him) he took the CWA contract and produced ugly, hateful, and distorted mail pieces for them *while thinking it was a bad idea to have them as a client.* In other words, he was not acting out of misplaced comvictions, he was acting as a mercenary for Christo-fascism. It makes me wonder what else he would do for money.

I'm quite prepared to believe he's being sincere when he claims he's a "progressive" but do we really want to elect "progressives" who are so ready to sell out their professed policial beliefs when the Christian right waves some money under their noses?

Posted by mike | October 29, 2007 2:24 PM

mike, i understand and appreciate your concerns. i feel they are a valid reason not to support burgess. i would hope, however, that after some time -- maybe after he proves himself by aligning with progressive causes -- he could eventually be forgiven. it sounds like it was years ago that he started to disassociate himself with that group. that might not be enough yet.

what i don't appreciate (or fully understand) are people who will not, no matter what, support a candidate in seattle who mentions that their faith is important to them.

Posted by infrequent | October 29, 2007 2:32 PM

It depends on what people's faith tells them to do. It shouldn't be framed as an issue of faith vs secularism. Unlike previous faith-based movements (abolitionism comes to mind) the faith-based politics I see now is largely reactionary, anti-woman, anti-gay, nationalist, etc. It's the political content that's the problem, not the theological frame.

(BTW, yes I do recognize people of faith in the anti-war movement and other progrssive contexts, but they have neither the national audience nor the resources of Christo-fascism.)

Posted by mike | October 29, 2007 2:56 PM

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