We are the 99%

May 31, 2007

Finally! Details on the anti-Kraus, antigay, Catholic flyers

Rumors had circulated in the Burgoshpere about an antigay flyer reportedly circulated at Catholic Churches by Koch supporters against Bruce Kraus the weekend before the primary for City Council in District 3. (If Kraus wins in November as is expected by EVERYONE -- Rauterkus notwithstanding-- he will be Pittsburgh's first openly gay elected official.

When details of the flyers did not materialize prior to the election, some anonymous commenters called foul claiming that it was nothing more than a rumor put out by Kraus supporters.

Well, wonder no more as this week's City Paper provides details -- including verification from Jeff Koch that the flyers did, indeed, exist. Of course, as with all the dirty tricks in District 3, Koch denies prior knowledge of the flyers though he admits that it "may have been somebody from my side who didn't tell me."

Here's the details:
According to the Kraus camp, Koch supporters distributed fliers headlined "Support Catholic Values, Vote No To Bruce Kraus on May 15th" at local churches. The flyers, which were handed out as churchgoers were leaving Mass, included a bio of Kraus taken from the Web site of the Victory Fund, a Washington, D.C. group that supports gay and lesbian candidates.

Kraus is gay, and the Victory Fund biography notes, "If elected, Kraus would be the first openly LGBT person on the Pittsburgh City Council, and the first openly LGBT person elected in Western Pennsylvania." The flyer reprinted the biography, along with a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette clipping that identified the fund as one of Kraus' largest campaign donors. (The group gave Kraus $2,500.)
The City Paper article also recounts the scuffles between Bodack and Dowd supporters at the polls.

You can read the entire article here.

20 comments:

Mark Rauterkus said...

Thanks for being honest about the fact that there is a general election in November and that the winner of that race gets to be on city council.

The one gay advocate web site had listed the knock out of Koch as something more than it was.

Thanks for a second time for props about my opinions. Yes, it would be a bad move for the city to elect Mr. Kraus to city council.

Maria said...

Can't agree with you there, Mark.

I voted for Kraus in 2006 and in May 2007 and I'll vote for him again in November 2007.

gayle bittner said...

There is no difference in these types of flyers than in ones that prochoice groups put out to protect a woman's right. They simply speak facts. While many who check in with this blog will want to throw things at me, you gotta ask the question...isn't it just as narrowminded to not even allow for the possibility that the Bible is correct, i.e. that homosexuality is indeed a sin as the Bible says it clearly is? If I'm narrowminded (and I'm a progressive on important fiscal issues) because I don't allow for the possiblity that the Bible isn't true, then aren't those who don't allow for the possibility that the Bible is true also just as narrowminded? The flyers -- though I never saw one, granted -- speak the truth to an audience that cares about those issues, just like environmental ones or pro choice ones or labor ones or gun ones do to their members. Don't say something is anti when all it's doing is adhering to the Bible. Go ahead throw stones...those without sin!

Bram Reichbaum said...

Gayle Bittner is absolutely right. From this new description, calling these flyers "hate literature" was a big stretch. Much as anyone (most Democrats) might disagree, sexual politics are an unsettled issue, and it is legit to bring that info to the fore and let the chips fall where they may.

It IS revealing that the Koch campaign released this information very late and very selectively, and also that candidate disavows any knowledge of it. It suggests that THEY THEMSELVES felt it was unseemly, doesn't it?

Then again ... the Kraus campaign kind of kept their man's sexual orientation on the down-low as long as humanly possible, no?

EdHeath said...

It wasn’t long ago (relatively) that protestants were afraid that JFK would take orders from Rome. There may have been some flyers involved. I did notice that the papers did not carry anything about Mr. Kraus’ sexual orientation (seemingly like the press used to ignore JFK’s affairs).

In reference to Ms. Bittner’s statement, I believe she is offering us a false comparison. If the bible is Truth, if its words are Facts, there is no debate/comparison possible. Unless I am engaged in some kind of Pascal’s wager, I don’t think you can allow for many Truths, the Truth you accept can allow for no other world view. I assume Ms. Bittner is a strict creationist. I wonder how she views the crusades and the inquisition?

I mean, I understand her point, and I certainly agree that progressives can be pretty narrow-minded in their world view. But I think there is something particularly extreme about talking about a person’s ability to govern based on their sexual orientation. I can even accept that the right to life people are doing what they are doing out of a sense of morality, even if they are defining women as second class citizens, but what harm to others does homosexuality do? You can take the existentialist route and say the all action is the same, all pamphlets for all causes are the same, but then you end up questioning whether you should resist the Nazis. I think we do have to make distinctions, even if one of them is the statement Ms. Bittner references at the end of her comment.

“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

Don’t gay bash.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Gayle and Bram: Let's be just as open-minded as we can be, shall we? Let's say that there is something out there called GOD. Let's say the Bible is not only true, but the WORD OF GOD. Let's also say that the Bible does in fact call homosexuality a SIN. Each of these statements is certainly open to debate and disagreement, as you will have to admit if you are being open-minded; but we ARE being just as open-minded as we can be, right? So let's just accept them all for the sake of argument. Here's the question then:

Has GOD, our all-powerful, all-just, all-merciful creator, declared that THOU SHALT NOT ELECT SINNERS TO PITTSBURGH CITY COUNCIL? If so, it's gonna be goddamn (literally!) hard to find qualified candidates, since the Bible also declares all men (and especially women) to be sinners. A dilemma, no?

(BTW, it's a good thing that they don't keeps homosexuals out the priesthood, huh? Think of all those empty pulpits!)

Well, gotta run. I need to buy some slaves. I need help getting ready for the Feast of Tabernacles -- seven whole days every year! You know, it's the WORD OF GOD. Besides, I need to get my buddies together and stone my kid. She suggested that I join her at a service for a different religion. I really like her, but you know, it's the WORD OF GOD. Also, there's a neighbor who needs killing...he wears a cotton-polyester blend shirt, and plants both tomatoes and peppers in his garden. Nice guy, but you know, it's the WORD OF GOD.

Maria said...

Gayle,

According to the Bible, the Earth is fixed "immovable and firm" (Chronicles 16:30:) at times the Sun and the Moon stand still to help with battles (Joshua 10:12-14), there was a tree so tall that it could be seen all over the Earth -- which would mean that the Earth had to be flat (Daniel 4:10-11), rabbits are unclean because they chew their cud -- even though they don't (Leviticus 11:5-6), it's perfectly OK to purchase male or female slaves as long as they are foreigners and to treat them as your property and pass them on to your children as an inheritance (Leviticus 25:44-46), it's an abomination to lie with mankind as with womankind (Leviticus 18:22), etc., etc., etc.

Whatever.

You can believe whatever you like for whatever reason that you like. It's called faith because it doesn't need to be backed up by any facts.

You can no more call me narrow-minded if I do not choose to believe in the Bible than I can call you narrow-minded if you don't choose to believe in the doctrines of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Neither do I particularly care if your belief that homosexuality is wrong springs from a religious mandate, a feeling that gay sex is "icky," or if you are secretly homosexual yourself and hate yourself because your parents told you it was bad.

I really don't care.

I do know, however, that I don't really vote for people based on what they are or what they believe nearly as much as you do or you think that I do.

While I don't believe in the Bible, I've voted for numerous Christians. Would you vote for an atheist?

Your "issues" argument falls flat as issues based flyers typically are about how a candidate has voted or will vote on issues.

I have no problem voting for a candidate who personally believes that abortion is wrong and a sin because he/she has been taught that by their religion, but who does not believe that it their right to impose their religious beliefs on women.

You, on the other hand, find it perfectly acceptable to vote against someone on the basis of who they are alone (the flyer makes no mention of how Kraus would vote on any particular issues).

Pity if you can't see the difference.

Oh, please don't stone me if I eat some shellfish, OK? (Leviticus 11:9-12)

[Great post, SS. I was writing mine as you were posting yours and you've gone and stolen some of my thunder.)

Maria said...

Bram,

I'm so sorry if you or anyone else feels some great need to know exactly what happens in someone's bedroom and felt gypped if Bruce Kraus did not shout it to the rooftops at every opportunity that he is gay. He does not hide the fact that he is gay anymore than his opponent hides the fact that he is not. Perhaps you (and other voters) should just ask everyone to detail their sexual persuasions before casting any votes.

Maria said...

"In reference to Ms. Bittner’s statement, I believe she is offering us a false comparison. If the bible is Truth, if its words are Facts, there is no debate/comparison possible. Unless I am engaged in some kind of Pascal’s wager, I don’t think you can allow for many Truths, the Truth you accept can allow for no other world view."

Good post too, Ed

Maria said...

Bram,

Oh! Let's not leave gender out of this either.

People want to know!

Perhaps Darlene Harris, for example, was born with male genitalia and has lived her entire life in drag. We should probably test for such things!

Richmond K. Turner said...

I would just like to see a real copy of one of these flyers. Even better, I would like to know how many of them were floating around out there.

If the content of these flyers was truly as has been reported here and elsewhere, then it sounds like these flyers did go beyond "simply speaking facts". It it a fact -- an irrelevant one, in my view, but a fact nonetheless -- that Mr. Kraus is gay. If somebody wants to bother the rest of us with this particular fact, then so be it. At least it's true, knowable, and known.

But it a theological opinion that his homosexuality damns him to an enternity in the fires of hell. It may or may not be true, but it's truth is not knowable. Those who believe this version of his fate to be true must base their opinion of faith alone.

And I have no problem with that. Go to town with your faith. Base your opinions on your faith. You can -- and even should -- cast your votes based on your faith, if it's that important to you. Faith is a key part of your life, and I think that's great. It's part of mine too.

But you must accept the fact that my faith is a bit different from yours. Homosexuality may be a sin, but the entire purpose of my own faith is the forgiveness of sin. And if sinners are to be excluded from city council, we are certainly going to be in a very bad way very soon.

Anonymous said...

Bram: From this new description, calling these flyers "hate literature" was a big stretch.

It is hate speech if the information that is brought to the fore is intended to ostracize the subject. Simply stating that someone is gay is not hate speech, but taking that message to Catholic voters is, b/c the intended consequence is to disgust and invoke hate from the recipients.

Bram Reichbaum said...

The flyer points out that the Victory Fund was one of Kraus's biggest campaign donors. This speaks to the fact his sexual orientation is not irrelevant, but that he could be beholden to the LGBT establishment as a special interest.

Yes, yes, yes. I'm playing a LOT of devil's advocate here. But I don't see how anyone has a right to rule on Gayle's issues as totally unworthy of public debate and pamphleteering, whether or not they are "bible" based.

Also: if Kraus's sexual orientation was a total non-issue on May 14, why was it suddenly a historic and newsworthy story on May 16?

Maria said...

Bram,

While I would hope that, say, no one would vote for or not vote for Hillary Clinton simply because she is a woman, it would certainly be newsworthy and historic if she became the first woman president, no?

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Hmmm...we have a commenter here who enjoys watching gladiator movies and men running about in skirts sans negligee. Does he protest too much re:gayness? Just askin'. Really.

if Kraus's sexual orientation was a total non-issue on May 14, why was it suddenly a historic and newsworthy story on May 16?
A valid question for Pgh's corporate right-wing media; not necessarily a valid one for a left-leaning blog.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Maria - Agreed. And that is why the media has been discussing just how historic Hillary's presidency would be for the last five years already.

Schmuck - Ha, ha! Touche. Although I don't recall protesting gayness, nor do I recall much gladiator skin in those movies to speak of.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to see a real copy of one of these flyers

The print edition of this week's City Paper shows a portion of the flyer. (We could have shown the whole thing, but we had space constraints and besides, it was clumsily assembled and not very interesting to look at.) It's on page 29. Pick up a copy and, while you're at it, feel free to patronize our many fine advertisers.

-- Chris Potter

EdHeath said...

Well, gee, the flyer does look innocuous enough (on page 29). The worst part that I can see is saying that voting no to Bruce Kraus is supporting catholic values. The current Pontiff would probably agree with that. Which is a shame.

Maria said...

Of course vandalizing the stores of pro Kraus supporters, breaking the law by campaigning at your government job, and calling Kraus a liar with no evidence on campaign literature is "supporting Catholic values"???

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Actually yes, Maria, those are all sound RC values. Not quite up to the Inquisition, of course, but on the right track.