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Sin and same-sex marriage

My name is Enyo and I’ll be a guest blogger this week. My blog is Redfish. I’m sorry about this post being a bit scattered, but I just haven’t been able to get my thought together very coherently.

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about same-sex marriage recently. I believe that banning same-sex marriage is a violation of civil rights; I am in favour of legalizing it.

When the same-sex marriage debate erupted in Ontario, and I waited to hear logical, coherent arguments against legalizing same-sex marriage.

Three years later, I’m still waiting.

Since I’m not Christian, it isn’t surprising that I find religious arguments somewhat less than convincing, but my disagreement with the arguments presented goes beyond my lack of belief in Jesus Christ. Religious-based arguments advocating for a ban on same-sex marriage don’t make sense. Not even internal sense based on the belief system from which they arise.

I have a hard time explaining what I mean by this, so I’d like to provide some links to someone who provides an example of what a consistent Christian position on homosexuality and same-sex marriage could look like. R.J. Anderson is a fellow Canadian and an evangelical Christian who believes homosexuality is a sin and has written posts about her views on Gay Marriage, Gay Marriage II and Homophobia:

“So to have an attitude of “fear and hatred” against those who commit a particular type of sin, just because it isn’t a sin that I personally happen to be engaged in, would be arrant hypocrisy, to say the least.”


-Enyo Harlley


Norbizness feels the holiday spirit:

— Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. I heard it in a Beatles’ song once, so it must be true. But what if I told you that you could double the amount of mercy you obtain without having to give out any more mercy? I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out!

— Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. In a potato chip.

And because someone asked me, here are the relationships between Christian and Pagan holidays. Easter correlates with the Pagan holiday Ostara, marking the Spring Equinox, usually celebrated around March 21st. “With the return of spring,” says the site, “came the birthing of the farm animals for the year. Which is why we see bunnies, chicks, eggs and little lambs as symbols for this holiday. Part of the Ostara mythology involved the return of various deities from the underworld (symbolic of the end of winter). So it’s not surprising that this holiday got enmeshed with the Christian story of the ressurection of Christ.”

Also see the Pagan origins of the Easter Bunny.

Open Blogging Schiavo…

I’m Dylan, and I spew my rhetoric at Something Requisitely Witty and Urbane. I hope this doesn’t bore anyone to death about a subject that is already getting beaten into the ground, but here’s my take.

And now for the most often typed phrase in the blogosphere over the past 3 weeks: I haven’t written about the Terry Schiavo situation because of (fill in the blank) reason.

My reason is… well… I’ve been way to busy to really keep up with all the details. That being said, I’ve some things to say. I won’t delve into the specifics of the case because you either know them or you don’t and, if you don’t, your lack of knowledge will in no way diminish the impact my writing will have on you.

Perhaps I’m overselling… Chances are there will be very little impact. But here’s my two cents.

That Congress stepped in on this issue is a travesty and a complete and utter disregard for the judicial system in this country. The Florida courts are skyrocketing past Massachusetts to regain their rightful position atop the the “Most Likely to be Involved in a Constitutional Crisis” list. Like the Massachusetts case, the Republicans are attacking what they view as “activist judges.” In Mass. it was the judges who usurped the law and tried to establish gay marriage. But this round, the activist judges are the ones who UPHELD THE CURRENT LAW which states that the decision of whether to cease actions which keep a person alive by purely mechanical means is to be made by the spouse, if married, in consultation with their doctor. Period.

Congressional Republicans stepped in to go against the law (similar laws having been passed by Republican Congresses in the past decade, and one which was passed by a certain Governor of Texas not so very long ago) which is already in place, completely disregarding the courts which are there to act as a check on their legislative powers. The good news is, I have no doubt that that check will work, and that, ultimately, the Supreme Court, if and when it gets that far, will uphold the current laws and Terry Schiavo will be allowed to die in the manner which befits the wishes she expressed to her husband: To die with dignity, it’s just that there will be slightly less dignity left for her once “Culture of Life” neo-cons are done on their soapbox.

This brings up troubling precedents, however. Let’s say that I’m wrong, and that, because of all their work, the Republicans wind up with the Courts ruling in their favor. Terry Schiavo is left alive, and James Dobson does a little dance and declares it a moral victory against the Godless tyranny that has befallen this country before the Lord ordained Bush to lead us into the promised land (the promised land which, of course, can only be found after Armageddon). We will now be left with hundreds, probably thousands, of people left alive in name only, on machines until their bodies completely and totally wear out like a piece of fatigued metal after it is bent one to many times. Ther will be entire wings of hospitals where people are left alive with no hope for a future meaningful life, the familes who care about them will be kept in a state of emotional limbo as they wait for bodies which have no other option but to simply whither away. It brings to mind the often asked question of just why Christians, who are so sure about the afterlife, are always the ones who are most afraid to go to it.

Also, do I have to now concern myself with the political persuasion of my doctor? If I have a heart attack tomorrow which results in the cutting off of the oxygen to my brain long enough to cease any and all conscious functioning it might have had, and I’m left in a vegetative state, should I have, in the midst of that heart attack, asked the doctor who happened to be next up on the board when my name pops up if he or she is a Republican or a Democrat, and if they will abide by my wishes? (For the record, if I am in this situation… Pull the fucking plug, chop me up, and donate every single usable part to anyone who needs it). This is a can of worms that was best left unopened, if only for the fact that has already been decided (and if it gets to the Supreme Court, and Mr. Schiavo’s lawyer isn’t pounding his fist on the table screaming “Stare Decisis! Stare Decisis!” then he has no right to be there).

The good news is, though they might get some play out of righteously holding fast to their moral absolutes, just like they do with abortion and gay marriage, this will ultimately be a losing issue for Republicans for two reasons. The first is simple: Public sentiment is not behind them. They might get points for steadfastness, but it will be in vain as the American public has loudly resounded during the life of this story that it is pissed as hell that Congress got involved in the first place. But the second and more important point is that Republicans are not going to be able to stand by this forever. In the past, many Republicans have aided in the passage of laws for just such a situation, and they will have to do it in the future. This isn’t the same as abortion, and this isn’t the same as gay marriage. They find themselves on completely hypocritical ground, howling into the wind that “every life is precious… every life is precious” and then standing behind Dear Leader who governed a state which has put countless prisoners to death. One day they’ll be staring down the barrel from the other side of this issue, and they’ll have lost all credibility. Delay, Frist, and Santorum have officially stumbled, and eventually they’ll realize that the pebble that tripped them up was their own political hubris.


What Jesus wouldn’t do:

The hardest saying of Jesus and perhaps the most controversial in our post–Sept. 11 world must be: “Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.” Let’s be honest: How many churches in the United States have heard sermons preached from either of these Jesus texts in the years since America was viciously attacked on that world-changing September morning in 2001? Shouldn’t we at least have a debate about what the words of Jesus mean in the new world of terrorist threats and pre-emptive wars?

Christ commands us to not only see the splinter in our adversary’s eye but also the beams in our own, which often obstruct our own vision. To name the face of evil in the brutality of terrorist attacks is good theology, but to say they are evil and we are good is bad theology that can lead to dangerous foreign policy. Christ instructs us to love our enemies, which does not mean a submission to their hostile agendas or domination, but does mean treating them as human beings also created in the image of God and respecting their human rights as adversaries and even as prisoners. The words of Jesus are either authoritative for Christians, or they are not. And they are not set aside by the very real threats of terrorism. The threat of terrorism does not overturn Christian ethics.

This is from a compelling excerpt from a book titled “God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It” by Jim Wallis. Read the rest.

Supreme Court To Rule on 10 Commendments Cases

Does the display of the Ten Commandments at a courthouse consistute an unconstitutional government establishment of religion? Well, the phrase “I am the Lord thy God” does a bang up job of that.

My courthouse has no such sign, but there is a mobile nativity scene carried on the back of one man’s pickup truck every Christmas parked in front of the courthouse, initially a protest against the county’s decision to remove the nativity scene from the courthouse lawn. However, this is an expression of his own religion, carried out on his own time using his own money. He neither represents me nor my government the way that a state-sponsored slab of rock declaring who or what my god consists of does when plunked down in front of the courthouse.

What is the importance of displaying the Ten Commandments in front of a legal building?

Supporters of keeping the monument on the Capitol grounds say the traditions of Western law are rooted in the Ten Commandments. America can’t scrub the role of religion from its history, said Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Legal Institute, which defends religious freedoms and First Amendment rights and filed briefs in support of keeping the monument.

“What they’re really advocating on the other side is a religious cleansing from our history,” Shackelford said. “It should be treated with respect as our part of history, not some new form of pornography that has to be banned from our public arena.”

…Van Orden acknowledges the role religion has played in law but believes most people view the Ten Commandments from a religious perspective, not a historical one.

State Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Catholic who keeps a photograph in his office showing him meeting Pope John Paul II, will defend the Texas monument. “I hope and believe the United States Supreme Court is not going to force agnosticism upon the people of this state and this country,” Abbott said. “The First Amendment was never intended to remove all religious expression from the public square.” Abbott noted the U.S. Supreme Court’s marble courtroom also has a carving of Moses holding the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

Van Orden rejects that comparison, noting the carving also shows other historical lawgivers, including Hammurabi, Confucius and Muhammed, as well as the secular figures Napoleon and Caesar Augustus.

Alternative methods of finding ways to continue the Ten Commandments displays have surfaced. One such method includes sectioning off a piece of courthouse property to be rented or sold to the highest bidder. But no one can guarantee that the group who wins such an auction is one that will continue a Biblical display. How would we feel if, for example, the highest bidder was a company wishing to display a billboard? Perhaps an enterprising attorney who wishes to advertise his or her services on the property? Perhaps a clever atheist who chooses to set up a hot dog stand?

The Assertive Atheist takes another look at the Ten Commandments. The American Atheist wonders what would happen if we not only allowed the displays of the Commandments, but also honored the Biblical punishments that accompany them.

Abortion Debate in Australia

Hopefully the other guest bloggers will be able to maintain the US side of things, as I get my fill of depression from the Australian media alone. If I have to absorb the evil doings of a nation roughly 15 times the size (in population) I think I would end up giving the toaster a waterproof check in the bath. Its an exciting time in Australia for all things female. Only yesterday some politicians and church leaders have informed the public that we are reopening the debate about abortion! We don’t tend to have the same manic nutters blockading abortion clinics here so this came as a bit of a shock. Unfortunately in this kind of “debate” my lines of sorting the good guys from the bad buys becomes slightly blurred. It’s what’s apparently called a matter of conscience, which means there is no party line for the middle aged blokes to follow. So some of the good guys (the left of centre) become bad and some of the bad guys (the right wing lot) don their white cowboy hats and ride of into the sunset with much applause. As a simple atheist it all becomes a bit confusing. Now I have to consider the religous beliefs of a candidate as well as their economic and social polices before voting, in a system in which there is supposed to be a separation of church and state. In any other form of employment, discrimination along religious grounds is illegal, but here I am being forced to play the bigot because some of our politicians fail to recognise that religion is placing belief above reason and has no part in running a country. Bush isn’t the only leader with a slight hankering for the bible.God's finger on the buttonThe future may be bleak as it so happens that the guy in charge of our health system, Tony Abbott, is a raving anti-abortion loon who makes the Pope seem like a harmless old commie fellow in a nice white car. On the cards may be a change to the Medicare system so that the government will not fund abortions. At least the abortion clinics will have a more select clientele with no poor people hanging around. And how did this debate start? One of our Senators (Eric Abetz – also known as Erica Bets) received an impartial survey not from Gallup or Zogby, but our very own Carrie’s mum organisation – The Festival of Light. This was just a few short weeks after our last election which historically handed over both houses of parliament to the Coalition (right wing, John Howard etc). So it was only the result of unchecked politcal power, and the rise of the Christian right as a serious lobby group that made some politicians decide that after 8 years of calm (and a proper house of review), now is the time for debate. I can’t believe I got through that without swearing.

Indiana Legislature Proposes Three Anti-Homosexual Bills

I was aware of only one of these bills, but Scott, a fellow Hoosier, alerted me to them.

The fact that I’m living in a conservative state isn’t news, and I knew that a marriage-protection amendment was bound to be coming. But I’m a little bit surprised that not one, but three anti-gay amendments have been introduced by my state legislators.

Yes, there’s the protection of marriage amendment, but there’s also a proposed amendment prohibiting a homosexual from being a foster parent or adopting; and an amendment to eliminate domestic partner benefits for all state university employees.

While I’ve always been less than thrilled about being an Indiana resident, I’ve also always contended that a good job and nice home were enough to keep me here and reasonably happy. But today, I wish this fucking state and 3/4 of its residents would sink into a swamp.

And on the national front, the New York Times is reporting that “a coalition of major conservative Christian groups is threatening to withhold support for President Bush’s plans to remake Social Security unless Mr. Bush vigorously champions a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.”

Today, I’m with Scott; I wouldn’t mind if the whole damn state sank into a bog. Of all the state’s worries, of all the ways political time and taxpayer money could be spent.

I’m so angry there aren’t any words.

These proposals come shortly after the booting of the state’s Democratic governor in favor of Mitch Daniels. Yes, the Mitch Daniels who used to be the White House budget director who wants to clean up Indiana’s deficit by cutting funding to our public schools. The first one in the White House who resigned under accusations of insider trading. Yeah, him. I’m hoping those who are bringing these bills, primarily Brian Bosma, the house bigot, do not have a friend in Daniels.

But it doesn’t look hopeful.

Guilt-Free Downloads: Danielson Familie

This atheist has been rocking out to this not-so-vaguely-and-yet-so-vaguely Christian band, the Danielson Familie, connected to Sufjan Stevens. It’s all in the background singers, quirky lyrics, and folk-punk stylings.

From lead Br. Danielson’s solo CD, “Brother is to Son”:
Things v. Stuff – This song title is adorable. The anti-materialist message doesn’t hurt either.

Daughters Will Tune You – The banjo does indeed rock.

From Danielson Familie’s “TriDanielson”:
Cutest Lil’ Dragon – It ate the love.

All three from the beautifully designed Sounds Familyre website.