Thursday, October 1, 1998

Christian groups at odds
over ads against same-sex

By Mary Adamski


Save Traditional Marriage spokesmen say the group's advertising campaign against same-gender marriage depicts "reality."

"The ads clarify exactly what is at stake in a charitable and clear way," said the Rev. Marc Alexander, a Catholic priest who is on the advisory committee of an organization that is campaigning for passage of a constitutional amendment to allow the state Legislature to limit marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

"As far as the notion they are hateful and bigoted, I absolutely disagree. They are not meant to be homophobic," said Alexander, director of the Hawaii Catholic Conference, which represents the Hawaii Roman Catholic diocese.

Jennifer Diesman of Rosehill and Associates, media consultants who produced the television and newspaper ads, said: "Some may find them sensitive or hard-hitting. Sometimes the ends justify the means. Homosexual-marriage advocates are being deceptive, telling people the issue isn't about marriage when in fact it is only about marriage."

They responded to criticism yesterday from a group of Protestant ministers who attacked the advertising campaign as promoting "fear and intolerance" toward homosexuals. The ministers said the campaign, which is supported by fundamental Christian groups and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as the Catholic church, does not reflect Christ's teaching on justice.

Diesman described the two television commercials that they have used. "In the first ad we have a boy reading from the book 'Daddy's Wedding,' which shows a picture of two men kissing as they get married. The ad says, 'If you don't think homosexual marriage will affect you, how do you think it will affect your children?'

"The second ad began this Monday. A man and a woman in wedding attire are running toward each other, and he runs past her into the arms of a man," Diesman said. The commercial says that only a yes vote will stop same-gender marriage.

The Rev. Joan Ishibashi, of the United Church of Christ Hawaii Conference, said the ads "appeal to our deepest prejudices. We urge them to stop their campaign of intolerance." She said "using the child for their purposes is a very subtle way to hit the triggers of intolerance."

Ishibashi is on the executive board of Protect Our Constitution, which advocates defeat of the measure on the November ballot and defines the question as a civil rights issue. Others of the eight clergy have endorsed the Protect Our Constitution stand, including the Revs. Stanley Bain, Don Johnson, Jory Watland, Neal MacPherson and Kaleo Patterson.

Also at the news conference were the Revs. Barbara Ripple, superintendent of the United Methodist Church Hawaii conference and Mits Aoki, retired University of Hawaii religion professor.

"There is a phobia out there. It comes from fear," said Patterson, executive director of the Hawaii Ecumenical Coalition. He said Hawaiian churches in the United Church of Christ "have struggled with this issue. We are looking at it from the perspective of compassion."

Stanley Bain, pastor of Keolumana United Methodist Church, said: "We feel we need to make clear that they do not speak for the Christian community. We want other denominations to know that these imperialist tactics do not reflect the view of all Christians."Diesman said: "We are in no way trying to frighten people; we just want them to fully understand what they're voting for. I think the homosexual-marriage supporters set the tone . . . trying to trick people into thinking it is not about marriage.

"In a democracy there is a marketplace of ideas, and everyone should be entitled to express ideas without feeling pressure or caving in to political correctness," she said.

Cavalcade, march to
push marriage amendment

By Mary Adamski


The Hawaii Christian Coalition is relying on prayer rather than public advertisements to advocate its opposition to same-gender marriage.

The organization is an affiliate of the Christian Coalition, a nationwide conservative Christian group.

"We are not doing commercials; we are doing a people-to-people approach at the grass roots," said Executive Director Tommy Amarino.

He said its supporters will pray for a favorable vote on the marriage issue at its Pray Across Oahu event beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday at Aloha Tower Marketplace. The members will move in a cavalcade of vehicles to the Aina Haina Shopping Center, the first of a series of 12-mile laps that will circle the island.

Prayers for passage of the constitutional amendment on the ballot will be a feature of another local religious organization's annual procession. The march and a Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary is usually held in December but was scheduled this year for Nov. 1, two days before the election.

Mely McGivern of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Association, a group of Catholics, said no political banners will be permitted in the march from Chaminade University to St. Patrick Church in Kaimuki. But "the election is definitely foremost in our prayers, that we will come out for overwhelming yes for marriage between one man and one woman."

Amarino said Saturday's event is timed simultaneously with similar prayer sessions in other states including Massachusetts, Virginia, Kansas, California and in Alaska where a similar question will be on the ballot. The prayer cavalcade will resume from 7 to 8 a.m. each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for four weeks until the 144-mile circle island route is completed.

"We ask people to pray with us, for what is good for Hawaii," Amarino said. "We pray that more people will get to know God. We really care about all the people. We want righteousness in our land based on our Judeo-Christian values." He said the prayers will also be for resolution of the universal computer calendar problem which will occur when the year 2000 is reached. "The Y2K problem . . . will start closing America down," he said.

Marian march participants will gather at Chaminade's Mystical Rose chapel at 4 p.m. They will recite the rosary aloud as they walk along Waialae Avenue. The Rev. Romeo Rabusa will preside at the 5:30 Mass at the finale.

McGivern said the election was not the sole reason for changing the march from Dec. 8, a Catholic holy day celebrating Mary's Immaculate Conception. Since that falls on a weekday this year, she sought another Catholic feast day on a Sunday and settled on Nov. 1, All Saints' Day.

"The timing focuses attention on the election," she admitted.

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