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DNC WRAP-UP: Barney Frank backs ‘gay marriage’ at DNC

BOSTON (BP)–Among the cultural manifestations at the Democratic National Convention: Jimmy Carter and Michael Moore seemed to enjoy each other’s company; John Kerry’s daughter decided not wear the see-through outfit she picked for the Cannes Film Festival; and Rep. Barney Frank assured the convention that “the gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual wing of the Democratic Party” will vote for Kerry in November.

And comment continues to fly over the pro-cloning/embryonic stem cell research assertions by Ron Reagan, son of the late President Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s speech was “deeply misleading,” Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas says.

BARNEY FRANK’S GUARANTEE — The Massachusetts congressman, saying he was speaking on behalf of National Stonewall Democrats, the homosexual movement within the Democratic Party, told the Democratic convention July 29 of “how proudly we will vote in November for John Kerry and John Edwards.”

Frank, the leading openly homosexual congressman, included a reference to Ralph Nader in his address: “… when Ralph Nader tells us that there is no significant difference between the parties, he trivializes our lives. Among the differences between the parties of overpowering significance are the differences that exist on the right of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered to be treated fairly with the same rights as every other American.”

Frank characterized the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, which seeks to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman, as a Republican effort “to knock a big hole in the U.S. Constitution.”

When two people of the same-sex “are in love,” Frank said, “and they are willing to be morally and legally committed to each other and financially responsible to each other, that if they are prepared to get married, it’s a good thing for the stability of society.”

“To be honest with you, we don’t know why we are; we just are,” Frank said. “But we do know why we are Democrats. We know we are Democrats because it is the Democratic Party, as opposed to our very right-wing Republican opponents, who support that agenda of allowing us to fight, of allowing us to marry, of allowing us to go forward as human beings with the rights of everyone else.”

JIMMY CARTER — “I was shocked to see President Jimmy Carter walk up to [Michael] Moore in front of a gargantuan television audience and give him a warm handshake and then sit next to him for the duration of Bill Clinton’s speech to the convention,” Jewish rabbi, talk show host, columnist and author Shmuley Boteach wrote in The Jerusalem Post July 28.

Boteach, a former rabbi to Jewish students at Oxford University, while doing his radio show from Boston’s Fleet Center, “found myself sitting 10 feet from Michael Moore. He was chatting with journalists, so I decided to ask if he would agree to be a guest on my radio show. I wanted to debate him about his Bush-hating Fahrenheit 9/11. But when he saw me approaching, he dismissed me with a single, condescending flick of his finger as if I were a bug crawling up his arm.”

Boteach wondered if Moore’s attitude “had something to do with my yarmulke and beard” or his “hatred of Israel,” as Boteach put it, evidenced when Moore identified Israel as one of the three “epicenters of evil” in the world in a New York Times article in June.

A few moments later, Boteach took note of the embrace between the former president and the raging filmmaker.

“Here was a former president lending his stature to a man who wrote on his Web site last April that America brings immeasurable misery and sadness to the world,” Boteach wrote in his Jerusalem Post column. “… Supporters of Israel need to question whether they wish to support a party that honors men like these — Moore was positively mobbed by the Democrats wherever he went — and whose presidential candidate, John Kerry, said last year that he might send Jimmy Carter to the Middle East as his personal envoy.”

Boteach wrote that he fears “the increasing anti-war posture of the Democratic Party … will ultimately turn against Israel.”

“America is hated by the nations of the world almost entirely due to its support of Israel and the war in Iraq,” the rabbi continued. “The United States is the great champion of Israel and is therefore loathed by a world that despises the Jewish state. Likewise, the U.S. has incurred the wrath of the world by refusing to turn a blind eye toward Arab tyranny as embodied in Saddam Hussein.

“When Democratic Party leaders demand that George Bush be dumped so that America can be loved again by the French and the Germans, they are well aware that the only way that’s going to happen is by a radical change in American foreign policy. That would take us back to Bill Clinton’s days, when America was neutral on the Arab-Israeli conflict and when it largely turned a blind eye to Arab tyranny. …

“The Democratic Party would have us believe that there is something wrong in having the whole world oppose you. But the Jews have long known that there is honor in it as long as you are right and they are wrong,” Boteach wrote. “When all the world closes its eyes to slaughter and tyranny, Winston Churchill taught us in his opposition to Britain’s policy of appeasement that the noble dare not close their eyes as well — even if it means losing the ‘respect’ of the world.”

MORE ON MOORE — USA Today has retained Moore to write a daily column during the Republican National Convention, acknowledging that the filmmaker is “a vociferous critic of President Bush.”

The newspaper said it “scrapped” a daily column by conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter on the Democratic convention “after a dispute involving the first piece she submitted.” USA Today editorial page editor Brian Gallagher said the column had “basic weaknesses in clarity and readability that we found unacceptable.”

Gallagher said Moore will be held “to the same editing standards” that were applied to Coulter.

Moore has told the media that his cameras will be watchdogs at Florida polling places for the November election and his next documentary will be on the nation’s healthcare system.

KERRY’S DAUGHTER CHANGES CLOTHES — When John Kerry’s daughters from his first marriage, Alexandra and Vanessa, introduced the nominee for his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention July 29, “Alex,” as she is known, was dressed much differently than when she attended a Cannes Film Festival event in May.

Alex Kerry, a 30-year-old filmmaker and actress, was at Cannes to show her 15-minute film, “The Last Full Measure,” about a young girl’s experiences after her father had returned from the Vietnam War.

The snopes.com website confirmed that Alex Kerry, in attending the premier of a sequel to the violence-laden “Kill Bill,” was “wearing a black off-shoulder dress that, under the glare of numerous photographer’s flashes, revealed her bra-less chest.” The website then offered this qualifier: “Sometimes fabrics and styles that appear modest in the dressing room turn out to be unexpectedly revealing when subjected to unusual or harsh lighting, so not every exposure of this nature is necessarily a deliberate example of exhibitionism.”

Snopes.com noted that a photo of Kerry distributed by the Agence France Presse news service “appeared in a variety of European and U.S. newspapers, some of which covered up Ms. Kerry’s breasts or cropped the picture at her neck.”

The New York Times, in an article about Kerry’s two daughters July 29, referenced a “babe battle” that is “shaping up between the Kerry children and the Bush twins,” Jenna and Barbara, daughters of President and Mrs. Bush.

The Bush twins “were featured in strapless couture in Vogue this month,” The Times noted, and the Kerry daughters will be featured in the magazine in September.

The 1,486-word Times article, however, made no reference to Alex Kerry’s media exposure at Cannes.

John Kerry’s 18-year marriage to heiress Julia Stimson Thorne was ended by annulment in 1988.

MORE ON RON REAGAN — Comments by the son of President Ronald Reagan to the Democratic convention in support of cloning-based embryonic stem cell research continue to stir pro-life advocates.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., chairman of the Senate’s Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee, noted in a news release, “To date, 45 diseases and medical conditions have been treated with adult stem cells, while there is not one successful treatment or trial for humans using embryonic stem cells.”

Brownback called Ron Reagan’s July 26 speech to the Democratic convention “deeply misleading.” Human cloning, Brownback said, is “both immoral and almost universally opposed. It is wrong to create human life just to destroy it. … The fact that Ron Reagan Jr. did not even mention adult stem cell research, with all its recent successes, proves that despite his comments to the contrary, his was a purely political speech supporting human cloning.”

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, meanwhile, said, “Ron Reagan’s comments cannot be left unchallenged — yet that is precisely what the media has allowed to happen. Somebody needs to speak the truth to the thousands of Americans who have heard Reagan’s misleading statements and been allowed to think that destroying embryonic human life is going to cure them. It is not.”

Dobson noted in a July 28 news release: “Not one human being anywhere in the world is being treated with embryonic stem cells. Why is that? It’s not because there’s not enough money to fund it; it’s because embryonic stem cells in laboratory animals have been known to create tumors. No credible researchers will use them. …

“When you hear Ron Reagan say … that groups like ours oppose stem cell research because we have a ‘political axe’ to grind, nothing could be further from the truth,” Dobson said. “We support unequivocally stem cell research that offers real hope to those who are suffering and which does not require the snuffing out of innocent human life. That kind of research is being done throughout the world using adult stem cells.”

HERE AND THERE — The Democratic platform, on the issue of abortion, states: “Because we believe in the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman’s right to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand firmly against Republican efforts to undermine that right. At the same time, we strongly support family planning and adoption incentives. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.”

— A Muslim cleric, Yahya Hendi, gave what Democratic convention planners called a “Benediction” in closing the July 27 session in Boston.

Hendi, in 1999, became the first fulltime Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, the prestigious Catholic university in Washington, joining a chaplaincy staff of eight Catholic priests and two Jewish rabbis.

“Many Muslims are not clear about their Islamic identity,” Hendi said at the time. Especially for new students, a Muslim cleric, or imam, will help ensure they do “not lose their identity as Muslims,” Hendi said.

In November 2001, Hendi opened the U.S. House of Representatives in prayer in conjunction with the start of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting.

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