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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cutting Off God

Ever notice that every argument opposing gay marriage inevitably deteriorates into a religious sermon on the evils of homosexuality. Seriously, I have yet to encounter a truly secular argument opposing gay marriage that holds any water. Every one of their arguments boils down to one basic theme, bigotry against and hatred toward homosexuals.

In general, I love to get into a good discussion about religion. I love pointing out all the contradictions or just plain wacky beliefs they follow, or choose to ignore while cherry-picking the parts they like. I get a slight feeling of intellectual superiority when it becomes obvious that I know more about their bible than they do. There is nothing better than cornering a religious know-it-all into falling back on the ol' "God works in mysterious ways" when they have run out of excuses for beliefs they can't explain.

But I'm tired of religion poking it's head in where it doesn't have any right to be in the first place. And gay marriage is one of these places. So I am making a slightly late New Year's resolution: I will no longer tolerate any discussion of religious beliefs when it comes to gay marriage. Period!

"But people have a right to their religious beliefs. It's who they are. How can you expect them to set aside their most cherished beliefs on an issue so volatile as gay marriage?"

Let me explain it to you as simply as possible:

1. While many people consider marriage to have religious overtones, legally, in this country, marriage is a civil contract. For example, when my wife and I decided to get married, we were not required to be married in a church by a clergyman. We merely had to fill out the legal paperwork supplied by the state and then find someone who was granted permission by the state to marry us. And there was no requirement that the officiant be religious in any way.

2. In this country, we are governed by a Constitution that is neutral toward religion. While most people remember the phrase "Freedom of religion", this neutrality also means that our governmental institutions cannot actively support religious beliefs simply because of their religiously based justifications. There must be some secular justification for government to take action.

3. Because marriage is a civil contract regulated by government and because government can only act on secular justifications, common logic dictates that purely religious arguments for or against gay marriage should not be allowed to have any bearing on the matter.

Do religious people have the right to think that their god hates homosexuals and wants them to hate homosexuals too? Of course they do. Do they have the right to use those religiously based arguments to oppose gay marriage? NOPE. Only secular arguments can be considered when making law. When someone wants to make a religious issue out of it, we should ignore those arguments. Personally, I think we should stop taking the bait and simply refuse to get into any type of religious discussion with them. When someone wants to drag you down the road to god, simply say "You want to talk religion, go to church. This matter concerns civil law, and religion has no place in such matters."

So no more. I don't care if you're Mel White or James Dobson. Unless you have a secular argument to back up your assertions, your opinions may be interesting to your own congregations but they have no role in the workings of our government and I'm not going to tolerate them any further.

And to all you people out there who would like to tell me that I'm anti-religious because I'm trying to take away your right to religious freedom, TOUGH LUCK. As you are all so fond of telling us, go find a country that is ruled by the religion of your choice if you don't like it here, because in this country, we have a secular Constitution and when it comes to making our laws, your religiously based opinions don't mean squat. But if you think you really have a good secular argument against gay marriage, go ahead and lay it on me, because I'd really like to hear one.
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Monday, February 26, 2007

Help! Help! I'm Being Repressed!

So there is still some hope for humanity in this country.

U.S. court upholds same-sex teaching to children

Some families didn't like the fact that a gay couple were the main characters in a children's book. So they sued to get the book removed from the curriculum. And as any rational person would do, the judge told them to get bent:

Federal Judge Mark Wolf ruled on Friday that public schools are "entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy."

"Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation," he said.

And on what grounds did the parents sue???

The complaint filed against the town of Lexington, about 12 miles west of Boston, had said the school had "begun a process of intentionally indoctrinating very young children to affirm the notion that homosexuality is right and normal in direct denigration of the plaintiffs' deeply held faith."

That's right, the school was violating their right to religious freedom by daring to expose their kids to the real world. Apparently, if you point out the fact that there are gay people in the world and they often fall in love with each other, then you are repressing every religious person who hates gays. No wonder these types of Christians feel so persecuted. They've set themselves up as martyrs, but this time they're nailing themselves to the cross.
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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Prepare to be Pissed Off

I've just finished reading David Sirota's latest book "Hostile Takeover" and I feel I need to warn you about this book in advance. Before you read this book there are a few things you need to do. If you own any guns, lock them up and throw away the keys. Likewise, keep all sharp objects out of reach. It might help to light a few candles and turn on some easy-listening mood music. Do not read this book in a public place where bouts of loud profanity would be inappropriate. If you are on blood pressure medication, double the dose. And by all means, do not miss your court-mandated RageAholics meeting, because this book is going to piss you off.

I'm not going to give a detailed chapter by chapter review because there just isn't enough space or time to cover all of the information packed in this book. Instead, I'm going to sum it up as clearly as I can in just a sentence or two:

Our country is controlled by a super wealthy minority who have rigged the rules in their favor while at the same time convinced the majority of us that it is in our best interest. In other words, they are screwing us against our will yet have convinced us that we enjoy it.

The rules and laws are gradually being written to benefit the few at the expense of the majority. And this includes both Republicans and Democrats. Yes, we may long for the days of Clinton, but he was no Saint of the working class. Until we can elect representatives who really want to make government responsible to "We the People", expect the trend to continue. How many more jobs will have to be shipped overseas? How many more people will have to go without health insurance? How many tax cuts for the rich will we be willing to trade for our public schools and our environment?

Hopefully the majority will come to its senses long before it realizes just how much they have already lost. Turn off those TVs. It doesn't matter if Brittney is in rehab again or some has-been Playboy bunny has died. Learn to think again and then start asking questions. Politicians pandering to your emotional and religious sensibilities may make you feel good about them, but ask yourself, "What have they done for me lately?" Chances are, absolutely nothing.
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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Religion Never Hurt Nobody

So you think religion is benign? If someone wants to believe in some spirit in the sky, what's the harm? Why don't you just leave those God-fearing church-going people alone?

Well, here's a guy who is willing to ruin his marriage and make his wife's life a living hell because he thinks God wants it that way.

He already has three children. It's not like he hasn't been fruitful and multiplied. He had no problem using contraception in the past, but now his wife has given him an ultimatum:

So she has laid down the law: No sex until I get a vasectomy. Period.

She's already had three C-sections. She is in her forties. She has suffered depression. She is afraid of complications if she were to get pregnant again at her age. And most importantly, she just doesn't want to have another baby!

Perfectly reasonable request on her part if you ask me. But now that the pressure is on hubby to do something about it, he has suddenly had a change of heart. He believes that God is telling him (via the Bible) not to get a vasectomy because it is a sin.

OK, so you think this guy will eventually come to his senses and have the vasectomy and be happy with the three children he already has and start having a sexual relationship with his wife again, don't ya?

I made an appointment for a vasectomy. When I went in for my initial consult, the urologist asked me why I wanted to get a vasectomy. I said, "Because my wife wants me to." He told me that was the wrong reason.

I rescheduled my appointment for the actual surgery a couple of times for various reasons. At this point, I have no appointment.

So it has now been 15 months since we have had sex or even done much in the way of snuggling. It's not that we don't want sex. She has said several times that she didn't sign up for a sexless marriage. But even more than she wants sex, she doesn't want another pregnancy, another delivery, and resetting the clock for being a stay-at-home mom.

The lack of sex has been a wedge between us. The chemical thing that happens to your brain during sex to boost the emotional bond between a couple -- that's supposed to help sustain a couple in through the stresses of living together, but it's not available to us.

So what does a guy in this seemingly unresolvable dilemma do? I know you'll find this hard to believe, but he asks other Christians who also believe that a vasectomy would go against the "Word of God" for advice on how to save his marriage.

I'd like to reserve the comment box for this entry for those Christians who believe that contraception is a sin, to suggest solutions to my dilemma: How do I protect my wife from a dangerous pregnancy while avoiding the sin of abstinence and the sin of contraception?

Surprisingly enough, he's only heard from one such person so far and he didn't like the advice offered.

This guy doesn't want a solution to his problem because he already knows the answer: He believes that God won't let him have a vasectomy and no matter if this issue eventually destroys his marriage, he ain't gonna doit. What he's really looking for is a bunch of like-minded God-worshipers who feel the same way he does to reassure him that it's OK to figuratively screw his wife without actually having to.

My advice: Get a dildo for your wife and hope she doesn't leave you, and thank your God for the Internet, because your new lover is going to be that same computer screen you're currently blogging with.
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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Our Heterosexual Problem

The mayor of North Maimi (who happens to be a gay man) has invited Tim Hardaway to spend a day with his family.

"I don't expect [Hardaway] to be waving a peace flag anytime soon, even after this," Burns [the mayor] said Friday. "But maybe he'll be less likely to say something bad about people if he knows them and understands a little more."

There was an episode of the Simpsons a few years back where the Director John Waters does the voice of a gay man who befriends the Simpsons, but Homer doesn’t realize he is gay right away and when he finally figures it out he goes crazy because he thinks Bart will turn gay. At the end of the episode, Homer finally comes to his senses when Waters saves his life. Homer tells Waters that because he has saved his life, he has changed his mind about him. And Waters responds:

“Well, Homer, I won your respect, and all I had to do was save your life. Now, if every gay man could just do the same, you’d be set.

I think it is great that the mayor is willing to invite this bigot into his house for a day. Maybe Hardaway will change his mind and he will then tell the world that he was wrong and the world will listen. And if only every gay man and woman could invite every homophobe into their house for a day...

Let's go back a few years. Remember when Blacks were thought of as second-class citizens and feared for their safety, if not their lives, on a daily basis? Yes, racism was (and unfortunately still is) a problem for Blacks, but it was a White problem. Blacks did not have the burden of proof of showing that they should be treated and thought of as equals, and neither do homosexuals. The responsibility to rid the world of homophobia rests at the doorsteps of heterosexuals.

"But people have the freedom to believe whatever they want to believe. If someone believes that homosexuality is wrong, that is their right, and they should be free to say it."

Technically, yes, we can't stop someone from believing something, no matter how morally repugnant it may be, and we certainly shouldn't punish such thought crimes themselves. But we do punish behavior, and that behavior can include incitement. Is saying "I hate gay people" incitement? How about "It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States"? OK, so he's not directly telling people to go out and persecute homosexuals, but I can't help but wonder how he intends to get rid of "it" throughout the world? Maybe if every heterosexual could just invite every homosexual into their house for just a day...

It's time to be proactive about our problem. We can't keep relying on gay men and women to point out our bigotry and then expect them to solve the problem for us as well. The mayor's offer is extremely generous, but it shouldn't have to be made in the first place. Proactive would be the NBA creating a public service announcement rebuking Hardaway's statements and then running it as a commercial during every game for the rest of the season. Proactive would be our most prominent politicians calling press conferences and telling the world that there is no place for such hatred in our country or anywhere else in the world and then immediately submitting legislation to give homosexuals equal rights in this country.

But you know what, I don't think that's enough. When we say "It is wrong to discriminate against homosexuals", what do we really mean? Is it enough that we create laws that force homophobes to treat gay people the same as everyone else under the law, but to be content that they will always think of homosexuality as wrong and that there is nothing we can really do about that?

If a teacher in a classroom gives a presentation on the Civil Rights struggles of the 60's and talks about the injustices Whites committed against Blacks and shows a video portraying a Black family in a positive light, very few, if any will complain. If the teacher tells her students "We once considered Black people to be second-class citizens in this country, but we have learned from our mistakes and now realize that that was wrong and that the color of a person's skin does not make him or her any less of a human being than anyone else", not only would we approve of that message, we would encourage it to be told. We don't merely tell our children that you are only required to treat Blacks equal under the law but otherwise you can still hate them because their skin is darker than yours, we actually tell them that it is not OK to hate people because of the color of their skin. It can be done. We can teach our children not to be bigots and we can expect people who should know better to overcome their bigotry or expect to be ostracized from society.

Now change that class presentation to the Gay Rights struggle and put in a video of two lesbians and their child enjoying family time at home and you'll make the evening news.

Gay rights is still allowed to be a political issue in this country. We heterosexuals feel that we have the right to vote on whether gay people can get married or whether they deserve insurance coverage or other benefits taken for granted by us normals. Hell, we'll even tell them if they can legally have sex (although we won't tell them that we do that stuff too). That we even consider it acceptable to vote on and legislate such things is a sad commentary on us heterosexuals and an affront to those unalienable rights we claim to uphold.

Yes, I will continue to applaud the efforts of mayors. Yes, I will continue to vote against the "sanctity of marriage". Yes, I will continue to support legislation the we heterosexuals so generously offer to those poor, confused homosexuals (my front door is always open if you want to come in). But homosexuality is not a political issue, it is a human rights issue and homophobia is a heterosexual issue. Until the President of the United States can stand up in front of the country and state "There is nothing wrong with homosexuality", we've got a problem. Until every major network news channel can end their Tim Hardaway coverage with "Hardaway is a bigot because there is nothing wrong with homosexuality", we've got a problem. And until every homphobic preacher is relegated to the Aryan Nations of Idaho, we've got a problem.

I don't buy the Christian cop-out "Love the sinner, hate the sin." If you don't support gay marriage, you hate gay people. If you don't want them teaching your children, you hate gay people. And if you are willing to treat them equally under the law but you still think homosexuality is wrong, you still hate gay people.

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