Friday, May 22, 2009

christian coalition brings same-sex marriage to special election

While the same-sex marriage debate rages in the District, it also took a swing through District 4 this week as the Montgomery County chapter of the Christian Coalition distributed a "Voters Guide" outside Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville during Tuesday's special election. While Republican Robin Ficker and Green Party candidate George Gluck gave their responses to a series of questions about same-sex marriage, abortion, and taxes, Democrat Nancy Navarro (who, of course, won the election) did not.

I was surprised to see that the Christian Coalition - a once influential right-wing organization led by televangelist Pat Robertson - even had a chapter in liberal Montgomery County. The only information I could find about their MoCo chapter online was this 1997 article about their opposition to a push to outlaw anti-gay bullying in the public schools. "We . . . will share with parents, teachers, and the public the knowledge and the truth concerning homosexuality," said then-chairman Joseph Simon.

Frank Hackenberg, who's listed as the current chairman of the MoCo Christian Coalition on the voters' guide, is an 87-year-old Calverton resident who unsuccessfully ran for the District 14 State Senate seat in 2006. Hackenberg, who won 31 percent of the vote, said the biggest issue facing his district was that it was "becoming more and more liberal . . . Our education system concentrates on sexual orientation and sexual experimentation rather than on a basic curriculum."

While the Christian Coalition's voters guide probably had a negligible effect on the election (the table the flyers were posted on wasn't attended by anyone, and I'm not sure if they were at any other polling places), it shows that Montgomery County isn't completely blue. Remember that it took a court order, not a referendum, to pass the transgender rights bill in MoCo last year. (I'm also thinking about my former high school classmate who basically ran John McCain's campaign at uber-religious Liberty University last year.)

Side note: while looking up the MoCo Christian Coalition, I stumbled on the Montgomery Christian Softball Association, a league of local churches. The team with the most wins this season is from Burtonsville Baptist Church. Go East County church softball!

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