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Friday July 9, 1999

Political Persecution
When any group is targeted unfairly
it should incite public ire.

By Andrew Ping, Staff Writer

     BERKELEY - San Francisco Supervisor Mark Leno began a political crusade against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this week because of their conservative views on marriage.
     What does Mr. Leno object to? The Church's long-standing traditional view that marriage is defined as union between a man and a woman, which means that members are likely to vote in favor of Republican State Senator Pete Knight's "Definition of Marriage Initiative." The initiative would legally define marriage in the same manner that members of the Church already do religiously.
     It's not a surprise, and Mr. Leno follows in the footsteps of many political leaders. One example was Missouri Governor Liliburn W. Boggs, who issued an executive order in 1838 making it legal to murder any "Mormon" left in the state after a set date. Fortunately for members of the Church, that order was recently removed from Missouri law. The First Amendment to the Constitution provides for religious freedom, but it has been a long-standing tradition among local governments within the US to ignore that vital liberty as it pertains to this particular Church.
     Mark Leno is supported by Mike Marshall and the group called "Californians for Fairness." Like most liberals, they focus their efforts on what they see as the easy battles and what they perceive as fair. Mr. Leno objects to Church actions that he claims blur the line between church and state. Yet he does not object to Supervisor Amos Brown (a Reverend of the Baptist faith) quoting the Bible in public meetings. Nor has he attacked the Catholic Church for lobbying against domestic partners legislation. Perhaps he feels that there are too many potential constituents he would offend by attacking the Catholic Church.
     Lopsided liberty has long been fought in the United States. What applies to one citizen should apply to all. The freedom to think, act and worship in accordance with one's own conscience prompted the writing of the Bill of Rights, and the First Amendment in particular. Whenever any particular group is targeted unfairly, it should frighten us, and incite public ire. The question that loomed in the minds of German citizens under Hitler's reign of terror should arise: "Who's next?"

     [Editor's Note: Andrew Ping's popular column 'View From the Terrace' is published weekly by the BulldogNews.Net]


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