July 31, 2003

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

Almost got into an accident the other day, and it didn't even involve cell phone usage. A 50's balding guy in a convertable tried to occupy the same space and time as my car, but I was able to swerve away and beep the horn to warn him that this was physically impossible. He did some more swerving back and forth and gestured oddly at me before slowing down to a speed better befitting a legally blind person while his heart tried to catch up with his adrenal glands.

There are a lot of stories in the news that give me the same feeling that I get when someone is not paying attention on the road and swerves into me. Yeah, most of them involve the president.

Bush was telling us we're all sinners yesterday. Amazing he thinks he has any authority on religious matters. My honest first thought on that statement was that he was welcome to lodge it deeply into the recesses of his sigmoid colon. Sure, the guy is welcome to be religious, he's welcome to hold an opinion, and I'm welcome to think he's a dolt for imagining that I would care whether he thinks I'm a sinner or not. I'll take moral advice from that man about the same time I decide it's a good idea to abandon my National Guard post. I'll take moral advice from him on the same day I take workplace sexual conduct advice from Bill Clinton.

Bush's statements were made in the context of homosexuality and gay marriages. People are correctly interpreting the statements as meaning that he thinks homosexuals are sinners by virtue of their lifestyle. Again, that's what his faith appears to be telling him. However, I don't see what that has to do with the law. Laws aren't meant to get you to lead a less sinful life, or to punish sinners, are they? Laws are supposed to help in establishing an orderly society in a fair manner. And what gays are concerned about with this whole marriage issue is that it is not fair to exclude certain kinds of unions.

Bush and his ilk want to force their view of "family" on the rest of us.

A family is defined by the love which binds it together and the way it acts as a cooperative for the good of all members.

But, further baffling me, there are all these folks that believe the world is on its way to a messy end with the second coming of their lord. Many of these folks believe this is going to happen soon, and that their real life is going to take place in heaven. If this is so, why cant they leave secular matters to we humanists? I mean, what the heck do they care what homosexuals are doing if they're irredeemable sinners? They won't see them in heaven, so let them have their unions. No?

Why do these people care so much about what other people are doing?

Someone once told me that liberals are driven by a worry that someone else might be making money. I'm beginning to think that many conservatives are driven by an idea that someone else might be "getting some."

Posted by James at July 31, 2003 1:00 PM
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I know you don't get The Weekly Dig down there, so I'm posting the link. On the cover this week in huge letters: The Case to Impeach Bush.

Love their beer column "The Beer Advocates."

http://www.weeklydig.com/dig/

Posted by: Patti M. at July 31, 2003 2:42 PM

Ha!

The "terror alert" thang on their page is a riot!

Ashcroft with a yellow face: Terror Alert Yellow -- Exercise Vague Caution!!!

Posted by: JP at July 31, 2003 2:52 PM

That came from http://www.wackyneighbor.com/ashcroft.

Blue's my favorite.

Posted by: Patti M. at July 31, 2003 3:27 PM

To me the solution to the gay marriage issue is simple - we should all stop using the word "marriage."

Gays say that they want their unions to have the benefits of a legal contract. Of course they should. So establish something called a "domestic contract." That's the government's business - to see that contracts can be established and honored. Such contracts should have nothing to do with sexual preference.

Whether any given church chooses to bless any particular union on two people is the business of that church. But such a blessing is a religious statement with no civil contractual meaning.

This whole business of performing some sort of civil ceremony signifying a binding contract enforced by the state used to bug my Dad. As a minister he was all in favor of blessing a marriage. But he didn't really think he should be performing one. When a minister does that he is acting as an agent of the secular authorities which is not reall y his job.

That may sound like a fine line - I don't think it is. I think it's at the heart of what is becoming a very ugly argument. But people get all up tight over the word "marriage." There are a host of legal reasons why the state should be involved when two people make a commitment to one another - just as they are involved in any contract.

But the state should leave marriage to the churches. That should keep Bush and his minions happy. And they should give gay people all the same legal rights to contract with one another that any other person has - which I assume would satisfy their concerns.

Then we can move on to tackling real issues - such as how do we establish a world government based on human rights rather than on the rights of states.

Posted by: Greg at July 31, 2003 10:54 PM

I wasn't very eloquent in my entry. Oh well.

On a discussion board I frequent I made points similar to what Greg raises above. There is no need to mix religion into this issue. It's about what the government recognizes.

What I don't get is people throwing logs in the way of progress toward a more fair government. I see this attitude all over the place. "Once I've got mine, keep everyone else out." "Those folks are the wrong kind of people."

Bah.

Posted by: JP at August 1, 2003 12:55 AM

Greg's point is spot on. Marriage should be viewed as a contract between two people, and if these two people want their marriage blessed by some religious institution as well, they can.

After all, marriage is viewed as a contract in terms of law. When you want a divorce, you go to court, not to church. Yes, I know there's the issue of annulment in some religions, but only a court judgment can divvy up the spoils.

When Bob and I were working out the details of our wedding, I knew I didn't want any religion connected to our ceremony. We don't go to church, and I don't believe in god, so having a wedding in a church or presided over by a religious official was right out. We were married by a judge (CA doesn't have JPs) and it was very simple: us, the judge, and a chipmunk in Muir Woods. Peaceful, beautiful, and just right.

Here's the basic view on most of life, in my opinion: You mind your business and I'll mind mine. Pray if you want, fine, whatever. Don't force religion on me, please.

If you don't like homosexuality, then don't be homosexual.

If you don't like abortion, then don't have one.

If you don't like anchovies, then don't eat them.

Choose for yourself, please.

Posted by: Patti M. at August 1, 2003 9:30 AM

But I can't decide whether I like anchovies or not!!!

Posted by: JP at August 1, 2003 9:49 AM

The question is, do anchovies like you?

I agree that marriage as a sacrament and marriage as a legal contract are two different things. It seems a very obvious and inappropriate intersection of church and state.

And I was thinking this morning about religious people who seem to think that it is their obligation to punish people. Surely, if you have faith in your god then you have faith that those who deserve punishment will receive it? Why not concentrate on keeping people alive and safe and leave vengeance to the Lord.

Posted by: Julie at August 1, 2003 1:11 PM

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