Saturday, June 03, 2006

Quick!! Look over here!

Here we go...

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Next week, the United States Senate will begin debate on a constitutional amendment that defines marriage in the United States as the union of a man and woman.

At least this time around it sounds like some of his base is onto the ploy: some conservatives on Fox were saying this is like "throwing a bone here, throwing a bone there".

How does 'ole George sleep at night? Soldiers dying in Iraq... Terrorism on the rise world-wide for the last 5 years... 20 million kids living below the poverty line... millions of American's without health care (and skipping meals to pay for required drugs)... and THIS issue is the one he's gonna take on.

This is pure politics folks -- absolutely pure. There's very little chance the amendment will actually pass, so all this is supposed to do is appease the base. But as I mentioned, its likely to back-fire on that account too.

The Republicans in power talk morals & values: but this has got to be the most morally bankrupt administration and congress in history.


Za said...

(shamelessly taken from the internet and altered to re-apply to the current situation ;P )

Dear President Bush,
Thank you for doing so much to for the country, in regards to protecting God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

Such as:

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a greater abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16.

Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

A loyal voter.

bombsoverbaghdad said...

Didn't they do the same thing in 2004? There's nothing left in Rove's playbook. Definitely pure politics. But good politics too. The Dems are now on the defensive, because gay marriage is a litmus test for Dem candidates now.

Two Points:

I was talking with a friend late into the night last night and dI thought of your blog. She is 30 and said she sometimes can't stomach the sexuality, gay or straight, brutality, cursing, etc. on TV. She said it hurts her so bad to watch TV she feels like the TV and her are engaged in "spiritual warfare." Though it is pure politics for Bush to move on this, there are many people that feel the corporate media is engaged in "spiritual warfare" with Americans who hold what we call "traditional values." Can you understand how some people feel like America is just "sick" right now?? Sick with materialism, sex, war, etc??

With regard to whether Reason really Reigns, I disagree. IMO, the reasoning of the highest Greek scholars can't touch, say, the spiritually based philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi, etc. How do you reconcile that comparison: Western reliance on reasoning and Easter reliance on high spirituality?? Have your ever read Gandhi or other folks like M.L. King or Yogananda? If so, how does that affect your view of Reason??

Reign of Reason said...

I have read King … and Dr. King is one of my heroes. He took an entire segment of society; one that was being unjustly persecuted and convinced them that passive resistance was the key to exposing and eventually overturning that injustice.

If I understand your question, you ask how I can reconcile that approach (first used by Ghandi) with “reason” as the foundation of society…

I see no inherent contradiction. To me, reason is the light that exposes the injustice. It doesn’t take a spiritual-based morality to see that discrimination/segregation is “evil”… Ghandi’s and King’s response (i.e. – passive resistance) to injustice was based both in logic (e.g. – an example of “right behavior” will expose the injustice of the policy) and ‘belief’ (i.e. – the “right” way to go about affecting change is to use only non-violent means).

So, I believe that you can arrive at the same response from a purely humanistic viewpoint… (if that is what you are asking). Spirituality, the fear of god, etc. is not an antecedent for my belief in the basic dignity and human rights of all peoples. My beliefs flow from the logical realization that the “do unto others” rule makes sense in a free society: As long as my actions do not infringe your right to live your life as you see fit, I should be free to pursue my interests. If I somehow have the right to impose my will on you, then why don’t you have the right to impose your will on me?

Now, in the “real world” we live in a system where many of the laws we live under don’t pass this test. The majority has decided what the “common good” is and implements restrictions on my freedoms via the law. Ok, we live under a flawed system (in my view) and pragmatically, given the nature of mankind, some deviation from my intellectual system is likely needed. However, our system is also based on the fact that individuals have certain inalienable rights: which even the majority are not supposed to be able to touch… The gay marriage issue seems to (obviously) cross that line: if the state has decided to give two people, who make a public vow of commitment to each other, special consideration – it would seem that the state should be blind to the parties involved.

Now you may bring up the issue of minors, but we have observed throughout the animal kingdom that juveniles are not ready to make decisions on their own until reaching a certain age… if you want to debate what that age is, that’s fine, but the concept appears sound to me.

Anyway, I’ve rambled long enough, and friends will be here in 30 min for a pool party.

bombsoverbaghdad said...

Great answer, thanks. You hit the nail on the head.

Reign of Reason said...

Thanks BoB... its an interesting topic...

the F*bomb said...

what annoys me is that this ploy will probably work to confuse ppl & energize his "base" to vote this fall. all they see if their blind hatred of gays & not the giant elephants in the room (terrorism, where is bin laden? our economy isn't as good as bush says, health care, etc).

hopefully Dems can FINALLY stand up and have a firm platform & some real leadership and vision.

Just Ask said...

RoR, I couldn't agree more. Color me radical, but it's exactly that reason that I believe we should either (a) make marriage a contract with terms left to the persons involved, and the government should be blind to who those persons are, or (b) get rid of marriage completely as a civil institution. Obviously, (b) would be markedly more radical, but the fact remains that if we set a precedent as to who has and does not have rights, we're violating the spirit upon which our nation was founded. The other thing that's bothered me for some time now is this whole religious aspect. Clearly, courts have decided time and time again that we need a separation of church and state. Marriage is the one institution that kind of blurs the line by allowing clergy to issue government licenses. What bothers me isn't that clergy can (it certainly makes it more convenient), but rather people don't realize that the church *is not* the government. The church ordains the marriage with God, and the government piece of paper makes a civil contract of certain legal obligations of both parties involved. My parents, for instance, held their wedding in Canada, since my step dad is Canadian. Legally, they were married in the hallway of their apartment building with random persons as witnesses 24 hours before they were married by a pastor in Canada. People don't seem to realize that there is a separation between religious ceremonial marriage and government contractual civil marriage. By no means do I endorse civil gay marriage to trump the rights of churches to disallow gay marriage. But, by the same accord, I don't believe religious marriage trumps the government's right to allow them. Furthermore, some churches allow gay marriage, even though most do not. Are we not impeding on some churches rights by disallowing them to issue marriage licenses as they see fit? I see a major disconnect here, and I don't understand how the majority of Americans just don't get it. Regardless of whether I personally would marry interracially, I cannot deny someone else that right. Likewise, just because I may or may not marry someone of the same or opposite sex doesn't mean I should be able to deny them that right. It's a simple government contract between private citizens to indicate a personal (like parental rights, rights to visit in hospital, end of life decision making, etc) and financial relationship exists, no more, no less. It doesn't mean that society itself will fall apart. Gay marriage has existed in other countries now for as long as 10 years, and we have yet to see the collapse of society. Any arguments I've heard so far against gay marriage have been weak and illogical, in my opinion.

Regardless, the timing of this debate (5 months before another election) seems conspicuously political. Despite the fact that states are individually taking the matters into their own hands (11 states have passed their own consitutional amendments to disallow gay marriage, while Massachusettes remains the only state to legalize it), somehow there's the sudden emergency need to take on this "important national issue" which "must be left to the people." Ironically, Republicans cried fowl ball and "judicial activism" in the case of MA, but when CA tried to pass legislation to allow it, without the courts imposing them to, Republican Governor Arnold argued that it should be left for judges to decide, and vetoed the bill. Bottom line is they seem to stop at nothing to want to make sure this makes it into law. This is clearly meant to split the vote, and make anyone on the fence who's maybe a bit morally conservative vote republican. I've had this discussion with many, many people, and the Republican party is *clearly* not the party it used to be, and people need to wake up and realize that. If you're an old school Republican and believe in finacial conservatism and limited government, Libertarian is the party for you. If you're helping the upper class while eliminating programs designed to help everyone else, for spending our nation into unrecoverable debt, starting wars in foreign nations (not defending our nation from attack, but actually starting the wars ourselves), spying on citizens at obscene financial cost, paranoia, and fear mongering, by all means, the new Republican party is for you. I wish I could say "vote Democrat," but they seem so indecisive, political, and defensive, rather than taking a stand for what actually matters, that I can't really whole heartedly support them either. I'll still probably vote for them, since I'd rather have a weak party than an evil party, but people have got to wake up and realize we have to fix this. Excuse me while I take my vote elsewhere, thank you.

Reign of Reason said...

JA- I agree with you completely.

“Marriage”, as a religious institution, should be left to individual churches: some will marry gays, some will not. It’s a matter of personal belief which church you choose (if any) to belong to. Some will marry gays… some not. So be it – that’s all in the realm of personal belief.

The government should only issue “civil union” licenses. Such licenses MUST be blind to race, color, creed and sexual orientation. To believe otherwise is to be a bigot, plain and simple. The fact that they are trying to make it the central issue in this election season just demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of the “morals and values” crowd.

As for the republican party (today) I couldn’t agree more: they are in business to protect their wealthy constituents – namely corporate America. They have been blinded to the fact that capitalism and democracy are NOT the same thing and that free-markets depend on regulation to operate. Without regulation, you see behavior like Enron, Exxon, etc.

There’s a balance between unfettered markets and regulation – but this crowd apparently believes that any regulation is bad, while corporate welfare (which has just a big an impact on markets) is good.

I only hope Americans wake up this Nov.