There is a small rural church on the road between my hometown in Kentucky and the state capital of Frankfort called "Open Bible." I always thought a more appropriate name would be "Open Bible, Closed Mind."
For some reason, I was reminded of this church when I read about state Sen. Mark Leno's bill to allow a child to have multiple parents and saw the comments from a spokesman for the Traditional Values Coalition, which bills itself as promoting Bible-based values.
It struck me that the coalition's opposition to Leno's bill, Senate Bill 1476, has more to do with his leadership in the effort to allow gays to marry than it does with protecting children from having more than the traditional two parents.
Groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition are very good at cherry-picking the Bible to reinforce their biases and prejudices, and they seem to have an unhealthy obsession with sex who's having it, how often, when, where and why.
They also seem determined to take us back to a "Father Knows Best" era that never really existed.
The coalition's website indicates that it is a lobbying group focusing on religious liberties, marriage, abortion, the homosexual agenda, pornography, family tax relief and education. It doesn't say whose religious liberties are being defended, but I imagine that Jews and Muslims need not apply.
There also is a link to a National Institutes of Health website that is designed to educate gay men and thus reduce their risk of contracting HIV. It is reminiscent of a local official I once knew in the Central Valley who was always waging war on pornography and kept a desk drawer full of it, apparently as a reminder to himself about how awful it was.
"The Traditional Values Coalition strongly urges readers to be aware of their environment before viewing this material," reads a coalition warning about the NIH film. In other words, sneak a peek at men engaging in sex but be prepared to view with alarm.
On its face, "traditional values" sounds reasonable enough. But the phrase has been co-opted by fundamental Christians to become a political tool through which they try to influence elections and impose their definition on the rest of us. They essentially are saying that "our values are better than your values."
And just what are those values? Here is where you can find their real agenda restore prayer in the schools and ban sex education, outlaw abortion no matter the circumstances, make homosexual acts illegal and promote creationism as science.
Wikipedia, the Internet encyclopedia, notes that the phrase "traditional values" implies that values, being traditional, are better than values that are nontraditional, but without giving a defense of why they might be better, other than an appeal to tradition, which defies logic.
The Traditional Values Coalition spokesman told The Bee that Leno's bill merely was a new attempt to "revamp, redefine and muddy the waters" of family structure. He said it was no surprise and here we have it that such a bill would come from the San Francisco Democrat, given his drive to legalize gay marriage.
None of this is to defend or debate the merits of Leno's bill, which he describes as an effort to bring California into the 21st century, "recognizing that there are more than Ozzie and Harriet families these days." Even though it has passed the Senate and is now before the Assembly, my guess is that it won't become law anytime soon, certainly not in an election year.
But I would not be surprised to see it show up as a virtual fait accompli in a Traditional Values Coalition fundraising appeal.