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Joel
Engardio

Our Gay Christian Neighbors

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 4:42pm

(Originally posted on the Washington Posts's On Faith blog.)

Near San Francisco's gay center, past the hill where Castro becomes Divisadero Street, a portable sidewalk sign points to City Church. That's where evangelical Christians gather every Sunday for worship in a converted theater. They are true believers: Jesus saves, Satan is real, sex is for the married and marriage is for the straight.

I didn't think a market for such beliefs existed in San Francisco, but hundreds of people and a full balcony proved me wrong. There were back-to-back services the day I attended. The congregants looked no different than the employees I saw on a visit to Google's Bay Area campus. These evangelicals wore Skechers, watched hulu, twittered and composted. They were high-tech professionals in their 20s and 30s who were mostly pro-life and partook of the body of Christ each Sunday. Many even voted Democrat because, abortion aside, it was the party they said that focused most on what mattered to Jesus — the poor, sick and environment. Same-sex marriage wasn't a factor because Barack Obama was against it.

I visited City Church because I wanted to see who in San Francisco might have voted for Proposition 8, which banned gay and lesbian couples from marrying in California. Nearly a quarter of San Francisco voters favored the ban, and that surprised me. Sure, the Bay Area overwhelmingly supported gays marrying, but in Silicon Valley — home to Google, YouTube, iPhone and a number of churches like City Church — 44 percent of voters didn't.

Alabama has the highest percentage of evangelicals, but by sheer size California has the greatest number: Two million, according to the Christian research firm Barna Group. The votes over marriage in California last year totaled 13 million and gays lost by 52 to 48 percent. That means any fraction of evangelicals changing their mind in the next, close election could make a difference.

Liberate the Breast Cancer Genes

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 8:26am

The ACLU has taken on a patent case for the first time in its nearly 90-year history. The government's been allowing private companies to patent human genes. The ACLU thinks that violates the First Amendment and patent law. This is heady, complicated…

An al-Marri Timeline

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 2:54pm

Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, talks us through the timeline of one of the more important cases he has worked on: the al-Marri, or domestic enemy combatant case. It asks the fundamental question: Can the…

“We Still Have to Protest This?”

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 4:38pm

Free speech unplugged, unfettered. With a handheld camera, Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU, documented the debate for and against same-sex marriage outside the California Supreme Court last Thursday.

Please note that by playing…

A Gay Rights Life

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 12:08pm

Matt Coles, director of the ACLU LGBT Project, talks to Joel Engardio about his life working in gay rights, coming out, surviving the AIDS crisis and fighting for LGBT equality. Matt's conversation is divided into three chapters, each four minutes…

Internet Filters: Voluntary OK, Not Government Mandate

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 3:18pm

People are talking about internet content filtering, especially since the ACLU won its case against the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which tried to censor all speech about sex from the internet. But don’t be confused between voluntary use…

Protecting Children and Free Speech Online

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 1:55pm

This video explains how the ACLU proved that the Child Online Protection Act was unconstitutional.

Please note that by playing this clip You Tube and Google will place a long-term cookie on your computer. Please see You Tube's privacy statement…

Obama's Child Soldiers

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 5:42pm

Six days after the inauguration of President Obama, the U.S. is scheduled to begin the first trial of a child soldier accused of war crimes since World War II. This video shows why President Obama must take swift action to end the unconstitutional…

Video Blog From Gitmo

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 2:22pm

The footage might be shaky, but the experience is equally raw. See ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero as he films himself in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Anthony was at Gitmo for the military commission hearings of five detainees charged with 9/11-related…

There Will Be Days Like This

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 1:27pm

The "Day Without A Gay" protest coming December 10 sounds like a good idea for gays in California who had their fundamental right to marry eliminated by a simple majority vote. When all the gay doctors, waiters, police officers, hairstylists…

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