They Really Believe They Are Right…

According to the Gov of Indiana, he thinks that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is a good thing. He had this to say,  “This bill is not about discrimination,” he said, “and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it. In fact, it does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved. For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana.”

He’s kidding, right? He thinks that allowing religious practice and belief to trump the Constitution is a good thing? Does he really understand what he’s saying?

He’s just signed a bill into law that does one of two things. It either means that, following the First Amendment, ALL religious beliefs and practices, including Sharia, must be allowed in order to avoid the state favoring one religion over another or, that he believes that the 14th’s intent that all laws must protect equally doesn’t apply to the LBGT population. The implication being that the LBGT population is undeserving of the rights afforded to all citizens because they are less than deserving of basic human rights.

This is my response…

Hey asshole, my friend Z is one of the humans on this planet that makes me think there’s the tiniest bit of hope for the species. She’s more than earned her rights as a citizen. She’s not some jackass whiner that happened to win a popularity contest by being able to pander to a constituency. She’s gone to war. She’s raising her kids to be valuable members of society. She’s brutally honest and totally loyal. You, on the other hand, can not even seem to remember an oath you took. Your oath was to ALL the citizens of your state, not just the ones that voted for you. Your oath was to uphold the Constitution. You just failed that test.

*****

Yeah, this is a “Z post”. It becomes personal when someone uses the excuse of my faith to discriminate. It becomes more personal when they discriminate against the person I go to for Christian prayer, Z, because she happens to be a Lesbian. There is not a verse in my Bible that says  “…and the Lord said, “discriminate in My Name'”. I find verses on love. I find verses saying that we treat others as we wish to be treated. I find verses that say we are to teach by our actions and our compassion.

Nowhere do I find a verse that advocates these laws. Nowhere do I find anything that advocates discrimination.

These alleged Christians do not speak for me. They do not speak for Z. The only verse I can find that seems to fit my state of mind toward them right now is, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Are You Sure That’s What You Want?

I keep reading Christians demanding their “rights”. I keep seeing Christians saying they have a right to refuse service or be against Marriage Equality because it’s “against my religion”. I AM a Christian. I’ll play along for a minute…

The Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Given that as background, here goes. The “equal protection” bit says that all laws must apply equally to all citizens. If we are to pass a law that says that a person or business can discriminate based on our “religious convictions”, that law has to apply equally. Christianity is not the only religion in the USA. The door has been opened to any person of any faith using the same precedent. In more blunt terms, do you want Sharia Law applied to Christians doing business with Muslims? Do you want other faiths being able to tell you what you may eat or drink?

It truly is both that broad and simple. “…but we passed a law” Sure you did. Now, you get to deal with the unintended consequences of that.

Again, I am a Christian. I understand religious objections. I also think that the protections that our Constitution provides are secular and allow me to have whatever private bias I might have. I think the secular nature of that document protects me from having to follow the strictures of a faith that I do not share or understand. I want Civil Rights kept apart from religion. If you want to prohibit Marriage Equality or alcohol or anything else within your faith and church, I am all for your doing that. If you want, as a business or in your public life, to have the right to discriminate, I am entirely in disagreement with you.

Marriage can be a religious service. It can also be a civil service. What both have in common are that there are various things granted to married couples that are not granted to un-married couples. Those include tax breaks and the rights to make medical/end of life decisions for the spouse. If we deny a portion of the population the right to get married because of our “religion”, we have denied “equal protection”.

If you happen to read this and are Christian and against Marriage Equality, I hope you don’t get your way. *editorial, I’m straight and really don’t understand same-sex attraction, either* What I do understand is that Constitutional Law is based on precedent. I do not want a country that sets the precedent you want. I do not want to be discriminated against because of someone else’s religion. Try thinking with your head and not with your heart, please. Try using a bit of self-interest and wanting the Constitution to protect equally and not selectively. Your marriage and your rights are not threatened by Marriage Equality. They are threatened by an attitude that allows for discrimination.

More, “Some Thinking”

Some thinking…

I love Texas. My family has been here since it was Mexico. Our Honored Dead are buried here. Right now, I am not proud of the way the Executive Branch is handling one specific case. A judge made a one-time decision to allow a couple become married. It was two ladies in Travis County. One of them has cancer and will die, sooner rather than later. The Gov, Lt Gov, and Atty Gnl are trying to fight it. This is beyond cruel. This is not what they were elected to do. They may have been elected by a demographic that is, in part, against marriage equality. I get that. After they are elected, they are supposed to protect ALL citizens. *sigh*

*****

Who defines “normal”? In my house, what is normal is for a middle-aged couple that married late in life to have no children. In a different house, it can be two moms and a kid that are happy. “Normal” is a subjective word. For me, normal is to be attracted to women. For Z, it is the same thing. One of us happens to be male, the other is female. So effing what? Some people are Vegans, too. That is truly odd, yet no one is trying to tell them that they have different rights. *palm to forehead* If I were to impose my view of “normal” there are a bunch of things I could decide were different and ban…Z being Z and loving how she is made is NOT one of them.

*****

That’s all for this morning. *editorial, I’m a carnivore, nothing against Vegans. It was the first thing that came to mind*

Why Do We Need Allies?

Okie dokie, I have a question. Before I ask it, I’ll admit that I have a skewed perspective. My friends, the ones I write about and for, are strong people. They have suffered the “slings and arrows” and come up fighting and stronger. Given that, why do “allies” have to exist? People like Z really don’t need me, in the sense that she needs reassurance of any characteristic of herself is lacking in worth or value. She doesn’t need to be told that she is a valued and treasured human being. She is all of those.

I’m not writing this to say that we shouldn’t speak out for people. I’m not even trying to make an excuse for silence in the face of stupidity or bigotry.

I’m not saying the rules should be changed, either. What I will say is that the rules should be applied evenly. As a Christian, secular rules protect my freedom to worship in the manner that suits me. Without civil protections of my rights to my personal beliefs, anyone that disagrees with me may dictate how I live my life. It is a matter of principal that those same protections be applied across the board. Simply put, equal is equal. “It’s against my religion” or “I think it’s uchy” are not reasons to blatantly discriminate.

As a straight person, my marriage is also protected. Yes, my wedding was a religious act. It was given civil legal protection. I could have had a wedding by a JP that would be given the same rights. No matter how many excuses anyone makes, NOTHING outside of my house will ever have any capacity to cheapen it.

*sigh*

Anyway, back to my point. I love Z to pieces. I call her my “cousin” because I love the idea of having her as family. I haven’t written about her as much this year because I haven’t written as much. I didn’t ask her to be a member of my family because she’s gay, I asked her because of the person she is. I wish I could make that point about the entire issue of equal rights. If you want to dislike someone because of the person they are, that’s fine. The world is full of jerks. If you want to take away civil rights because of criminal actions, again fine. That’s why prisons exist. If you want to judge based on something that happens between consenting adults, that’s not. If you want to dictate based on your views, be prepared to have the same done to you.

I don’t really want to be an “ally”. I want to be a friend. I’ll be glad when allies aren’t needed.

That question I started to ask, Why do we need allies?

Sorry for the Delay

It’s been some time, a month or more, since I have written one of these. It’s not that my views have changed or that I have lost interest. It has just been hard to think of a different way to say something I’ve said a couple of hundred times before…

I do not think we live in a “religious” country. I think that we live in a secular country that protects our right to worship as we please. That distinction means that our rights to our various faiths are protected. To be honest, because of the fact that others with differing beliefs are protected and respected, I feel that my faith has become stronger. Because of my exposure to my Pagan friends, I have become a better Christian. I have learned to better “love my neighbor” *paraphrase*. I have seen some similarities, and some glaring differences, between my faith and theirs. The differences are unimportant because I have no intention of becoming Pagan. The similarities ARE important because they give hope for common ground, not only between me and them but, between me and people with all manner of different ways of doing things.

Marriage Equality is the same way. By saying that all marriages between loving, committed, caring couples are valid, my marriage is strengthened. I have been talking to a Lady that considers herself married. Yet, the state she lives in doesn’t. To me, given the longevity of her relationship with her wife, I would hope that my marriage is as strong. Legitimizing it and giving it the same protections as I have, will not diminish my marriage.

Again, we live in a secular state. Marriages have legal protections. Marriages might also be done by various faiths but, with legal protections, the 14th Amendment has to apply evenly. Since my right to faith and marriage has the force of law, all must be accorded the same. It protects me, too. It means that no other faith can impose their views on me. It means that I can not and must not be forced to follow someone else’s religious strictures. If someone does not wish to recognize marriage equality, within their faith, that’s for them to decide. If they wish to impose those views outside of their sect, that is a different issue. Then it becomes forcing their religion on someone else. That is a dangerous view. That opens the door to the possibility that they might, someday, not be the majority and have other’s rules forced on them.

Also, as a Christian and a human, I have to consider the matter of love. I do not understand the God I believe in. I do understand that He is a god of love. I barely understand love to begin with. I can not figure out why my wife loves me. I just accept that she does and bask in the warmth of it. If I were to decide that someone else’s love couldn’t be legitimate, what would that say for mine? How can I say someone else can be wrong for loving someone in a different manner than I do. The bond that a couple shares is not mine to judge.

I know that there are Christians that disagree with me. I really don’t care. They are entitled to that view. Odds are, I disagree with the blatant unthinking dogmatism that they have. I know that there are people that are willing to consign to Hell, people for being LBGT. That they would say that being “gay” is a choice and willing sin. I disagree. If it were a choice, I would ask, “when did you decide to be straight?” Funny, not ha ha, they can not answer that question since, they didn’t.

Marriage Equality will not weaken marriages. Strong marriages strengthen the marriages around them. It doesn’t matter if it’s two wives, two husbands, or a husband and wife. I can learn from any marriage that has lasted longer than mine. That couple I was talking about up there has been “married” 4 times as long as I have. Their’s is a strong marriage. Their’s is a partnership. That is what marriage is supposed to be.

*sigh*

I’ll be glad when the SCOTUS puts this to bed. We will be drug, kicking and screaming, through this. Then, after it’s over, we’ll realize that nothing has changed. The fringe will still be as nutzo as they have always been. *editorial, there will always be some people that just can’t get over themselves* The rest of us will just keep on going. Jewelry stores will make some money selling more wedding rings. Couples will not have to worry when a loved one gets sick and medical decisions have to be made. Driver’s licenses will have to be changed. Florists will get to sell more flowers for the weddings. Stress and fear will go down in households that don’t deserve to have society impose stress and fear on them. I’ll find something else to blog about.

I hope this made sense. I hope it might persuade someone to reconsider their views. I apologize for the semi-disjointed train of thought.

*sigh*…again

*sigh*

I’ve read the Constitution. I can not find a single place where it grants us “freedom from being exposed to what we disagree with.” We have no right that is “freedom to repress.”

It really doesn’t make any difference if you dislike the idea that some people are LBGT. It doesn’t matter if you feel that you have some religious ground. “It’s uchy” is not an excuse. *editorial, that last was not intended as a judgement on my part. Sex is fun…and uchy* It doesn’t make any difference at all what excuse you use. You are not allowed to repress.

If we were allowed to repress because someone did something we dislike or did something we can not imagine ourselves doing, there are a bunch of things my opinionated, grumpy, middle-aged self would put before being LBGT. *editorial, willing stupidity and musical taste being high on the list* *grins* *I digress*

As many times as I’ve said it, I’ll try again. Who someone loves is their business, not your’s. What adults do in their bedroom is none of your business. That two women or two men love each other and are willing to make the commitment that marriage vows entail should be celebrated. If we grant protection to straight married couples, and we do, we should grant them to LBGT couples. Equal Protection has to protect equally. The Constitution is clear on that point.

I am a Texan and an American. I write about and for my home. We pretend that we are the moral high ground of the world. We pretend that we want ALL Americans to be treated with dignity and respect. Yet, what we really mean is that we want “Americans that think and act like I do” to be treated that way. That is not the same thing as actually protecting everyone.

*sigh*

We need to get over ourselves. Our defacto motto “E Pluribus Unum” should be celebrated. Being LBGT doesn’t make someone less a part of the “many” or the “one”. It just makes them human.

*editorial, too early in the morning for this train of thought to seem less disjointed than it does. It needed to be written and this is when I have time*

Equal Protection

Amendment XIV

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

*****

The SCOTUS is finally going to take up the case for Marriage Equality. It is simple. No matter the arguments against it, it boils down to “are people being deprived of ‘equal protection’?” The answer is “yes, they are”. I know a very loving married couple. They are fiercely devoted to each other. They can not travel to Texas because their marriage is not valid here. If something were to happen, God forbid, to one or the other in a state that doesn’t recognize their marriage, the spouse would have no say in their medical treatment. That state of things is not “equal protection”. If something were to happen to my wife, no state would question my right to make decisions.

*editorial,I know I haven’t made as many posts as I should have, this year. That’s my bad. I digress.*

The fact that the couple, I mentioned, are a pair of Ladies makes no difference. It is no one’s place to judge the love of another. *caveat, as long as it doesn’t involve a minor and as adult* Just because someone is LBGT doesn’t make their love less than mine. It also doesn’t make my love for my wife worth less.

No matter your perceived religious belief, imposing them on an issue of civil rights is invalid. You should be protecting those that differ. If you do feel that you have a right to vote away rights, consider, you won’t always be a majority.

*****

Anyway *sigh* it is personal. I’m not gay. I love my wife. Having said that, I truly enjoy watching the couple I was talking about. Z is gay. *yeah, you had to know she was going to be in this post* I want, for her, all of the things my wife and I have. I want, for that couple, the same protections that my wife and I have in every state. I don’t question the capacity for love that any of the Ladies I am talking about have. The issue is simple, either extend the same protections for my marriage to their’s or remove them from mine. Now, could we please get this done and move on?

Only the Second One This Year

Last year I wrote almost one of these a day during the part of the year this blog existed. I haven’t been near as prolific this year. *sigh* It isn’t that I don’t care, I’ve just run out of ideas. The basic concept of treating humans as equals no matter how they love or what their faith is, still remains important to me.

It isn’t that I don’t care, I’ve just run out of ideas. The basic concept of treating humans as equals no matter how they love or what their faith is, still remains important to me. I have the deepest affection for the people I write for, Aj and Z. I talk to them almost every day. I cherish their trust and love. I want every good thing this life…and the next hold for them. I just don’t know how to change the views of those people that don’t see what I see.

I’m not frustrated. I watch the Marriage Equality cases going forward. I see the SCOTUS not staying the lower courts rulings. I hope that means that they are not so cruel as to allow couples to get married and then to reverse those marriages. I watch cities in Texas, my home, passing laws making discrimination against the LBGT community illegal. I know Z has a “list” of places. It is rapidly becoming the time when Texas will be on the list.

The problem isn’t the majority of the humans in the USA that don’t care how others live their lives. The problem is the minority that don’t see humans as human. They have decided that they have a right to dictate who is deserving of the rights of citizenship. I don’t know a way to persuade them. *sigh again*

If you, my readers, or you, my friends, have any ideas, I’ll gladly welcome them. If you would care to lend your voice and guest write a post, I’ll take that, too. My wishes are simple, to find a way that Aj, and my Pagan friends, as well as Z, and my LBGT friends, are seen as the caring and valuable humans that I see. That’s really not too much to ask.

Last Year

I’ve been silent for some days. It happens, sorry. Anyway, I should have written this yesterday. I digress…

Happy New Year. Last year, I started a blog. I also learned some stuff. I explored my faith and wrote about my addiction.

I came to a greater understanding of what it means, to me, to be Christian. I can not remove my faith from my attitudes. To me, being Christian has to include respecting that other people have different faiths. It also means that, if someone tells me that they are Christian, I don’t get to tell them that they can not be simply because they don’t march in lockstep with me. *sigh* Yeah, that means that I have to take at face value the validity of the belief some people hold that my LBGT friends and family can not be Christian. I ENTIRELY disagree with that view but, it is their view and not my place to judge.

I started writing and was frustrated that changes aren’t happening as fast as I would desire. I hoped to change things with a post or three. Not only was that something that didn’t happen, it is something that I suppose will never happen. Z explained it to me…sort of. It is that she’s more understanding of the rate of progress. Besides, I came late to the issues. It isn’t my place to be impatient. I tried, like any newbie, to make an immediate impact. I forgot that a real change isn’t an avalanche. It is more like the ocean turning a mountain into a beach. It is one tiny imperceptible bit at a time. In the end, the ocean always wins.

I also found out that there are more Pagans in the world than I ever knew. Because of Aj, I have been introduced to a wide community that I didn’t know existed. I don’t understand the rituals or the details. Don’t really care. I learned that some aspects lineup with a Christian worldview and others don’t. I’m not going to become Pagan, it doesn’t fit me. I no longer question the validity of it, though. I have a huge amount of respect for Aj and, as a result, was open to the fact that her faith is the one that fits her. My former perception of silliness and mysticism has been replaced by a respect for the depth of the faith that the Pagans I know hold. *editorial, I shy away from things that feel like mysticism or emotionalism in matters of faith. It’s my bias toward the way I believe*

Now to the bit about Aj and Z. Because I am allowed to write for them, I had to find out about them.

Aj was and is my “best friend that is not my wife”. I still had to learn things. I had to make an attempt to understand what she believes so that I could take it seriously enough to write for it. I had to read the blogs that others have written. I had to meet members of her community. Interestingly enough, I enjoy them as people. They, in most cases, are far more accepting of differences in faith or life, than most Christians are. They allow me the dignity of my beliefs, even when they disagree with them. They can read my thoughts and give them some weight where a Christian would, typically, writeoff  their’s. That’s a failing on our, Christian’s, part. *sigh, I digress* Back to Aj, she is great. Her only real problem is that she lives too far away for her to come visit our house so that my wife and I might be able to feed her. *editorial, cooking for people is what I like to do best*

Z gave me a gift this past year. She gave me her trust. She didn’t just give it in the small things like “here’s my car keys” but, in the big things like “I’ll tell you and you can not repeat it”. To me, possessions are just stuff. Our secrets define our soul. Who we are is what lives inside of us. I try to return her trust with my own. She taught me patience. She also taught me courage. She doesn’t hide herself or her views from anyone. She speaks for those she cares about and stands up for people that have no voice. Do you note a tiny bit of hero worship? Add to those that she loves her kids more than she loves anyone or anything else in the world. That alone speaks volumes. She laid down boundaries before I started writing. She also answered every question I had with no assurance I would not cross those lines. I don’t know why she did. Maybe she saw something in me that gave her some reason. I really don’t know. I wouldn’t cross those lines if I wanted to. She deserves that and more.

For what it’s worth, being Pagan is part of Aj just as being a Lesbian is part of Z. I like them they way they are. I wouldn’t change them if I wanted to.

I guess that covers enough on those ladies except to say that my world is a better place for having them in it.

As to me, because I had to learn about what they face to be able to write for them, I had to read and research. I read blogs and sites. I read words of hate written by strangers. I read words that also said that it is my fault that things are the way they are. *editorial, I AM NOT taking comments personally. The commenters were merely speaking of my demographic middle-aged, straight, married, WASP* As a result, I’ve become more careful in how I expend emotional energy. I have become kinder and more patient. I have become less concerned about opposing views. I have found that there are people that have paths that are different from mine and that doesn’t make them wrong.

I’ll never be either gay or Pagan. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that those people are given the same dignity and respect that I am given. It isn’t important to be the same in matters of faith or love. It is important that the capacity for both is accorded the same respect. It is important that we are all treated the same in the eyes of the law. It is important that we treat humans as humans. It is a huge thing to realize that, to me, we all have the spark of the Divine in all of us. *editorial, my Pagan and Atheist friends would disagree. grins. So be it*

Last year was a good year. I learned. I hope I taught.

To those of y’all that read these musings, I hope they made a difference. If you needed support, I hope you found some here. If you needed your views changed, maybe I made a difference. If you read and liked my words, thank you for that.

*editorial, There’s a bit way up there about Aj that is sort of repetitive. I’m not going to rewrite it. Sorry*