The world's biggest victims are Washington State's evangelical Christians, who are horribly oppressed because employers and landlords can't discriminate against gays anymore, because gays can now visit their partners in the hospital, because pharmacy customers can now get the medication their doctors prescribe, because teenagers are told about birth-control methods in addition to abstinence, and because the Bible isn't taught in science class.
Now, thanks to these clampdowns on their God-given right to oppress others, these aggrieved evangelicals have identified their victim hero. They hope he will take their cause to the governor's mansion.
Dino Rossi obscured his socially conservative views in his 2004 campaign for governor. "I'm not running on that," was a typical Rossi rejoinder when reporters asked about abortion rights or gay rights. Rossi is taking a different approach in the run-up to 2008. He's standing up for— and aligning himself with—religious conservatives.
For example, earlier this month, Rossi's campaign denounced rules that prevent pharmacists from refusing to fill Plan B prescriptions on religious grounds. He's appeared twice on Spokane-based American Christian Network radio shows (broadcast to towns all over Eastern Washington) denouncing the "homosexual agenda"—which, as far as I can tell, is getting married and starting a family.
And just last weekend, Rossi was a featured speaker, along with intelligent-design-advocate Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute, at a retreat for the Faith & Freedom Network and Foundation, a faith-based political lobbying group.
The retreat, for high-school students, was dubbed the "Change Your Culture Youth Leadership Retreat." ("Students should bring: Bible, notepad, pen, pillow, two days' worth of clothing and shoes, sleeping bag or linens and blankets.")
And Rossi—who told a story about taking the Bible's advice and praying for your enemies rather than harboring bitterness—was a hit. Indeed, on Monday, November 19, following the weekend retreat, Faith & Freedom president Gary Randall sent out a note to supporters hailing Rossi's performance as an indication that Rossi is their guy, a victim's victim.
On his website, Randall wrote: "The high school students from around the Northwest were involved in sessions dealing with career choices that can make a difference in our world to an in-depth look at defining a personal, biblical worldview philosophy.
"The kids heard a powerful presentation from the Discovery Institute on intelligent design... It was Dino Rossi, however, who moved some to tears with the story of how he overcame the 'nay-sayers'...
"With more than 11 months remaining before the general election, there are those who are gearing up to 'get Rossi'... No one knows how far some will go to defeat this man, but I think we have a pretty good idea of how Rossi will respond.
"Rossi's response will probably go something like this: 'Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name....'"
Yeah, and if he's elected governor, Rossi's legislative agenda will probably go something like this: stopping gays from visiting their partners in the hospital, allowing employers to discriminate against gays, and preventing women from getting their prescriptions filled.