Aug 04, 2006
Our country is spectacularly beautiful and I’ve been to 44 of the states within it. While traveling home from Washington DC this past weekend, it occurred to me again how wonderful it is to live in this country and be able to travel from state to state without checkpoints or having to demonstrate why you are where you are (remember the line from the Hunt for Red October when the Executive Officer of the Russian submarine expresses awe at that ability?). But, my patriotism was tainted by a nagging feeling that I couldn’t put my finger on.
As the Girl and I hiked through magnificent Shenandoah National Forest, enjoying the beauty of the countryside and the wildlife (we saw hawks, and deer and my first ever in-the-wild black bear!) I twice came close to requiring medical assistance. First, as we hiked back up a long, steep trail I experienced shortness of breath and a pain in my left arm. We both knew that those could be symptoms of a heart attack. Later, being stupid, I fell as we were climbing some rock formations. As it turned out, of course, I didn’t have a heart attack and all I did was scrape the palms of my hands when I fell. But, we were in Virginia. What would have happened if I needed emergency medical attention and I was unconscious? Would they have let her make medical decisions on my behalf? Would it matter that The Girl had a copy of our marriage license in her wallet? Would it have mattered that my last name and hers were the same (I changed my last name a couple of weeks ago – hyphenated it to include her last name into mine)? Thankfully, we didn’t have to find out. But, there is no shortage of stories of couples who are denied that ability.
In a handful of states, gay and lesbian couples are allowed to enter into either marriage or civil unions that ostensibly provide them with all the state-sanctioned rights and obligations of heterosexual marriage. As we were traveling, that nagging feeling finally crystallized into the thought that among the various benefits denied to same-sex married (or civilly united) couples is the loss of that legal relationship and accompanying protections as couples travel state-to-state. In the end, this seems to me to be one of the most hateful results of the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the so-called mini-DOMAs passed by various states. In our own state of Michigan a constitutional amendment was passed two years ago (the infamous Proposition 2) that said “the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.” It’s that last phrase – “for any purpose” – that is problematic. That language is being used to remove insurance protections for gay and lesbian families and children. Can you believe that the Christian right has actually filed lawsuits (two, so far) to require state-funded institutions to stop providing insurance to domestic partners and their children based on this amendment? How hateful is that? The consequences of denying protections to individuals and families as they travel is, as yet, undocumented. I fear it will require tragic circumstances to ultimately cause the courts to step in and right these wrongs.OK, I have much more to say about this, but it’s Friday morning and my Girl and I are headed to Denver, this morning, for 3 days to visit family (my sisters and her brother) and then up to Yellowstone for 4 days. I still have some last minute packing to do. Expect no more posts for about 8 days. I hope all of you are having a great summer and that none of my LGBT readers provide the test case that ultimately challenges the inequities foisted upon us by the hate-filled political right.
Jul 19, 2006
Coming out -- again
It has taken me a long time to finally come to grips with a cogent "religious" philosophy. I think I'm there. I vote "no" on the existence of some single, omnipresent, omnipowerful being who holds final sway over the course of our individual and collective lives -- and after-lives.
Some of my reasons can be found in this article.
Having said that, I love the impending battle between the [Christian] religious right and the finally-found-our-voice [Christian] religious left. I never did get the whole "Christ says I should hate you" thing (much less the "Christ (or some other god, but in this country it's mostly Jesus who does all the talking) says I should kill you").
OK, so I've said it. I'm out of the closet. Pray for me.
Jun 16, 2005
No Jesus, No Peace/Know Jesus, Know Peace
You know what bugs me about the title (something I saw on a bumper sticker yesterday)? The same thing that bugs me about organized religion, generally. It's the proselytizing. I have no problem, whatsoever, with someone believing what they believe. But, I have a serious problem with them trying to tell me it is the way that I should believe. There is no allowance for an alternative belief structure. If that saying had said, instead, "I found Jesus, I found peace" I'd have no complaint. Instead it tells me that I cannot have peace without Jesus. Horse hockey.
But, I am aware that some religions make conversion of others and "spreading the word" an integral part of their belief structure. Perhaps they see it as a divine commandant to "save" as many souls as they can. It is simply not good enough for them to believe in their deity and its divine power; they are commanded to get as many people to believe as possible and are taught that those that do not or will not believe are condemmed, possibly to even someplace they name "Hell". Are these people, then, not acting out of good faith and positive intent? And, doesn't that absolve them (assuming, of course, no harm is caused to another; I was not harmed by that bumper sticker, for example)? How does one reconcile that belief structure with a society that says all must be allowed to practice their own religion, without interference?
Now, generally, I ignore such things. I truly do subscribe to the "live and let live" philosophy of life. But, it occurs to me that these differences in people's belief structures (especially religious) are the underpinnings of most of the world's conflicts. I see no way to resolve them and it causes me great sadness.
Jun 15, 2005
Judge orders parents to teach only mainstream religion
Man, this is so far out of whack I can't even believe it. I would love to know what law school this judge went to. I know I'm only a 2L, but I think I heard once that the government cannot tell us what religion we may practice. Sheesh. I imagine Melody, my own little Wiccan will post about this as well.
An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge's unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals."
The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth.
Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court, kept the unusual provision in the couple's divorce decree last year over their fierce objections, court records show. The order does not define a mainstream religion.
Mar 31, 2005
One of the things we're studying in my Critical Race Theory class is something called "interest convergence." It is an argument that suggests that things in the larger culture change only when the interests of the controlling groups and the dominated groups converge. Sometimes those interests are hidden and sometimes they are obvious. And, of course, it's a theory that cuts both ways. There is no pre-set way that it must change.
This article is all about interest convergence. In this case, it seems to me that it may also be labeled as uniting against a common enemy. To protect the Holy City against the evils of homosexuality three disparate religions are joining together in an attempt to block a gay pride festival planned for Jerusalem.
Now major leaders of the three faiths - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - are making a rare show of unity to try to stop the festival. They say the event would desecrate the city and convey the erroneous impression that homosexuality is acceptable.
"They are creating a deep and terrible sorrow that is unbearable," Shlomo Amar, Israel's Sephardic chief rabbi, said yesterday at a news conference in Jerusalem attended by Israel's two chief rabbis, the patriarchs of the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches, and three senior Muslim prayer leaders. "It hurts all of the religions. We are all against it."
Abdel Aziz Bukhari, a Sufi sheik, added: "We can't permit anybody to come and make the Holy City dirty. This is very ugly and very nasty to have these people come to Jerusalem."
We are powerful, we gays. We have the ability to unite what others could not. Maybe this is what the world needs -- a common enemy to band against. I'm glad we could help. I heart religion.
Mar 28, 2005
Is this the worst case of hypocrisy you've ever seen? How can this possibly be justified? Does the Hippocratic Oath apply (supersede)?
I am disgusted.
The bill allows health care workers to refuse service to anyone on moral, ethical or religious grounds.
The Republican dominated House passed the measure as dozens of Catholics looked on from the gallery. The Michigan Catholic Conference, which pushed for the bills, hosted a legislative day for Catholics on Wednesday at the state Capitol.
The bills now go the Senate, which also is controlled by Republicans.
Mar 06, 2005
Evil in the world
Steve Sanders is a brilliant classmate of mine and a fellow blogger over at Reason and Liberty. His posts are not just so much trivia like so many blogs (including this one); rather, they are often deep and quietly reasoned and always articulate.
Another former classmate, Jordan Fowles (now enjoying the warmer climes of Texas), has given up blogging. He asked to have his link removed from the blogrolls. I have not done so to this point in the hope that he would resume blogging. Today, after one month and out of respect for him and his wish, I remove his link from my blogroll.
The Pope announced, some weeks past, that the idea of same sex marriage was an "evil" in the world. An evil. Perhaps he even means to imply that it is the work of the devil, I don't know. I've been annoyed with him and his pronouncement but I've not written about it -- knowing that others would do so and much better than I could have. Steve's post on the subject should be read. And, to my delight, Jordan posted a comment in response that should also be read.
I hope we, as a world community, find our way through this troubled time and diametrically opposed ideals. I can't help but reflect on all the death and destruction and the lives devastated throughout history in the name of one religion or another. I feel very much as if John Paul II has just renewed the Crusades, only this time against the LBGT community. He may have done so out of a pure belief, I can't say, but to me his words are the real evil at work.
Dec 25, 2004
To all my Christian relatives and friends: Merry Christmas!!!
And, to all my non-Christian relatives and friends: Happy Holidays!!!
And, to all the Frog worshipers, Joyeaux WCF!!!
I've not been Christian for many years. But, I've always loved this holiday. If we could celebrate this holiday in the spirit for which it was named (at least in my perhaps idealized version of it) how could you not love it? Didn't the man preach love, above all? I don't know the Christian bible at all, but I thought it was someone in that religion that spoke of love, turning the other cheek, throwing stones only when one was without fault, etc. What an awesome philosophy!
My folks and I shared Christmas morning, alone, for the first time since I was a kid. It was extraordinarily nice (and we exchanged gifts and I am so thrilled with mine (especially these very cute earrings that I am wearing even now)). Still, it is very odd for me to not have kids around, even my own adultren. Tonight, I go spend Christmas evening with my soon-to-be ex and step-kids. I am determined to smile and laugh and have fun (and take all their money, if they rope me into playing poker with them!).
Peace and Love to each and every one of you.
Dec 07, 2004
As I've reported before, I have two daughters who have recently converted, or are in the process of converting to Judaism. Plus, I have several very good friends that are Jewish. One of my first best friends when I was growing up was Jewish. So, while I know a lot of anecdotal stuff about Judaism, I thought it might be time to learn more. You guys will get to come along for at least the highlights!
So, to all my Jewish family and friends, I wish you the very happiest of holidays and joy in your celebration on this first day of
Hanukkah or Chanukah (Hebrew for “dedication”), annual festival of the Jewish people celebrated on eight successive days. It begins on the 25th day of Kislev, the third month of the Jewish calendar, corresponding, approximately, to December in the Gregorian calendar. Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, and Feast of the Maccabees.
© 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
I just received the following e-mail, which I find to be totally wonderful. Do you suppose that all religions have this same welcoming and loving sense?
Ahava, the LGBT Jewish Collective, is having a Chanukah party tonight at Hillel (1429 Hill Street, a short walk from the Rock at Hill and Washtenaw).
It starts at 8pm, all faiths, sexual orientations and genders welcome.
Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem by Judas Maccabee in 165 bc. Rededication was necessary because Antiochus IV Epiphanes, king of Syria and overlord of Palestine, had profaned (defiled) the temple. In 168 bc, on a date corresponding approximately to December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, the temple was dedicated to the worship of the pagan god Zeus Olympius by order of Antiochus, who forbade the practice of Judaism. An altar to Zeus was set up on the high altar. When Judas Maccabee recaptured Jerusalem three years later, he had the temple purged and a new altar put up in place of the desecrated one. The temple was then rededicated to God with festivities that lasted eight days (see 1 Maccabees chapters 3 and 4). According to tradition, only a one-day supply of nondesecrated olive oil could be found for the rededication, but that small quantity burned miraculously for eight days. Jews commemorate this event by lighting candles for the eight nights of Hanukkah. The principal source for the story of Hanukkah is the Talmud.
© 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Dec 02, 2004
Look what the liberal-biased media has done now! It has refused to run an ad for a church group! Heaven knows we don't want those so-called "Christian values" of love and acceptance permeating our airwaves.
Nov 29, 2004
It's in the Water!
I posted earlier that the influx of cross-dressers appeared due to the activities of a Texas school district, but it seems as if the "problem" may be rooted even deeper. According to Alan Farago, "a writer on the environment and politics", writing a commentary for the Orlando Sentinel, pervasive endocrine disrupters are "sex change agents" being imposed on all of us.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger only had it partly right when he coined a new phrase for his critics, "girly men." With pollution changing our fetuses and our bodies, there is more girl in men than there used to be.
For Christians, a question: When God comes to raise us up, what if there are no real men left to save?
For all communities of faith: When will you bang the doors of the White House and Congress as loudly about the moment of mis-creation as you do about the moment of creation?
Consider this an action alert for all Christians and other communities of faith!
Sep 16, 2004
Happy Rosh Hashanah
Happy Rosh Hashanah to all my Jewish brothers and sisters!
Rosh Hashanah is one of Judaism's high holy days -- a day of remembrance, a beginning of a new year. It begins the observance of the Ten Penitential Days, a period ending with Yom Kippur that is the most solemn of the Jewish calendar.
Although I am not Jewish (I practice no organized religion), I have great respect for those that believe. My first experience with Judaism was in junior high (now part of high school - 9th grade). My best friend was an immigrant from Israel -- and longed to return and join the army. Since then, I have had many Jewish friends and neighbors. Now, my eldest daughter is engaged to a "nice Jewish boy" (did I sound like a stereotypical Jewish mom there, or what?) and is herself converting.
So, whether we are Jewish, Christian, agnostic, atheist, Hindu, Muslim, Buddist or a member of any other religion or sect, it seems to me that taking time for introspection, looking back at our mistakes and planning changes for our future is a worthwhile endeavor.