Encouraging malignancy....

Years ago, when I served on Berkeley's Police Review Commission, a tenant filed a complaint against the police for refusing to arrest the tenant's landlord.

The charge?

Attempted murder!

That was because the landlord dared to smoke in his own building -- in which he happened to live. (Berkeley Rent Control is another issue entirely -- but I feel sorry for anyone unfortunate enough to be a landlord in Berkeley.)

In the tenant's view, the police were guilty of misconduct for refusing to arrest the landlord -- who was clearly attempting to murder his tenants.

Now, when you sit on review boards, you are supposed to let the process run its course, and you have to be impartial. (It's very similar to being a judge.) But this complaint seemed so patently ridiculous at the time that all the commissioners -- both far left and regular left -- rolled their eyes knowingly, clearly thinking "Do we really have to hear this?" ("Another wack job!" -- although no one would admit to such political incorrectness.)

Surely, you would think, no one would take such nonsense seriously. Such a person might be pitied -- and clearly has the same right to hold opinions and be heard as anyone else, but people in positions of responsibility would never actually encourage them, would they?

Believe it or not, the ideologically pure people of the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association decided to help this tenant. They took the matter most seriously, and supplied letters of support!

Stuff like that helped me in my political evolution to the cynical believer in compromise that I am today.

And today I stumbled into a situation I consider analogous. Surfing around, I saw that WorldNetDaily is now pushing a web site devoted to opposing George W. Bush's continuing in office. Not only has he violated his oath of office, but he has violated his covenant with God! Perusing the web site in detail, I saw that the principal objections involve SODOMY!

Bush is pro-sodomy!

Hey, it was news to me too, but I decided to investigate.

I checked to see who the hell the site's proprietors were, and saw a name which immediately rang a bell: Michael Marcavage.

Mr. Marcavage is a local activist -- right around here -- who loves to get arrested -- mostly at gay-friendly events, but he also enjoys grossing people out and distracting drivers by waving huge placards of mutilated fetuses, and he managed to get himself arrested picketing a condom store on South Street.

While a student at Temple University, he demanded that the school give him a stage and an amplified sound system so he could counter a play he considered blasphemous. From that point the story diverges: his side is that they hauled him away to the loony bin for praying in the bathroom; Temple says he locked himself in the bathroom and wouldn't come out for fifteen minutes so they called a locksmith and then had him taken off in an ambulance.

Hey; this man has his rights. I would never deny them. I am not sure whether they include the right to amplified sound (of which he seems fond) and I am not sure how large the dead fetus placards should be (can I advertise my blog like that?) -- but never mind the details. I'll grant him the right to wave huge billboards, put on sound events, yell at everyone with a bullhorn.....

Hell, he can even continue his "judicial career" for all I care -- and sit as a judge on the "ecclesiastical Court, sometimes called a Court of Divine Justice." (Here's a list of Marcavage's actual legal proceedings.) All fine! Legal!

And he can launch a website exposing George W. Bush as a religious heretic who God should not allow to hold office!

Now, I could see support of this guy coming from Reverend Phelps -- or (as it does) from Reverend Ovadahl's Homo Fascist Watch.

But why is a leading, responsible, website like WorldNetDaily encouraging him?

Why, they're starting to act like the American Cancer Society!

As to Mr. Marcavage, I am sorry to sound so cynical (and maybe I've been around too long) but I just smell another op. (Not the first time, either!)

Take a look at his alleged background:

CLP Senior Trial Attorney Brian Fahling, who is handling the case, said, "This kid is as solid as a rock. Besides being a college student on the Dean's List, Michael was a White House intern with security clearance, is founder and president of a ministry called Protect the Children, president of his own business, and a volunteer who has worked with Campus Crusade for Christ and gone oversees with Feed the Children," Fahling said. "This is a good Christian kid who wanted to stand up for Jesus, and instead was handcuffed and dragged to a mental hospital as if he'd been seeing pink elephants."
At the risk of being paranoid, I must ask a question.

Why is a former Clinton White House intern with a security clearance doing all of this?

Dare I ask the question so often posed in who-done-it cases? (Who benefits?)

As usual, I can't prove any of my suspicions, but like fellow traveler Fred Phelps, the man seems to be doing a Hell of a good job of doing the Devil's work!

Even the Devil has First Amendment rights.....

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh reports on the appeal of Harry Hammond; a case with similarities to Michael Marcavage. (Glenn Reynolds is still blaming Ashcroft.)

And I defended Hammond's rights last summer, just as I defend Marcavage's now.

What people need to keep in mind though, is that holders of obnoxiously racist views have just as much right to exercise their views -- on street corners, with bullhorns -- as Marcavage or Hammond. The number of people they might offend (or the "group" to which those offended might belong) is irrelevant.

UPDATE: Interested readers can heard Reverend Ovadahl's interview with Michael Marcavage (along with another man convicted of "disrupting a lawful assembly" by preaching at a Halloween event) by clicking here.

MORE: And, speaking of street preaching, meet Chuck Spingola. Definitely a colorful street warrior, Spingola has been arrested for strangling a gay man during a confrontation, and is quoted as saying that,

if a few homosexual activists were killed, then "the rest of them will go back in the closet."

I am all for free speech. But I am not sure I am willing to go with strangling as a form of free expression....

Why, in a political context, strangling your opponent might even be considered akin to censorship!

Musical interlude!

This was fun music to stream while I was writing this post. (Link via InstaPundit.)

Normally, when I delve into topics like this, I get all whatever-the-opposite-of-sentimental-is and play some of my favorite tunes for that mood. Shifting sands, brother-against-brother stuff.....

Like this.

posted by Eric on 01.15.04 at 11:00 PM


Makes me want to vote for Bush so he can keep on promoting SODOMY (GOMORRAHY, too). So many people are trying to get me to like Bush through their attacks on him. They persuaded me to vote for Clinton that way, too.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  January 16, 2004 4:26 PM

This whole thing makes me wonder which candidate the anti-Bush evangelists intend to vote for.

I'm just drawing a blank!

Eric Scheie   ·  January 17, 2004 12:08 PM

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