Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An Open Letter

So the Republicans want to block the Violence Against Women Act because it includes illegal immigrants and the LGBT community. Here follows an open letter to our Republican leaders.

Dear Republican Congressmen and women: First, let me give you an economic reason to pass this. It's generally cheaper to get out of an abusive relationship than it is to pay the hospital bills that come with getting beat half to death. Thanks to DOMA, same-sex partners aren't automatically covered by their spouse's medical plans and, of course, illegal immigrants don't necessarily have insurance.

But that's not the primary reason to pass this bill as is. You don't just represent the people who voted for you or those who agree with you, you represent everyone in your district. Let me repeat that; EVERYONE. You are responsible for everyone who lives within the area you represent, including LGBT and illegals. It doesn't matter whether you agree with their sexual orientation, or how they came into this country, because it all boils down to one thing; human decency. We are supposed to be better than that. We are supposed to be the protectors, the people who do the right thing. Our children are killing themselves because they are being told that they are less than human, if not literally then in deed. Our LGBT population is being denied basic human rights, immigrants are told that they're good enough to pick our vegetables but not to be a part of this country. Where is the compassion, where is the respect for human life? It is your duty as our leaders, and ours as humans, to help our fellows when they need it. No one deserves to be beaten up, and no one should have to be afraid to ask for help.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Anti-gay Teachings and Teachers

For anyone who doesn't know to what I am referring, here's a link to an article about this. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/13/viki-knox-union-township-_n_1009582.html

And now, my thoughts. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You have every right to feel that homosexuality is wrong, even immoral, and you have the right to say this. You do NOT, however, have any right to tell kids that they’re worthless. You don’t have any right to bully them and berate them to the point where they feel the world is better off without them. If you’re worried about their afterlife, that’s fine, but there are other ways to get this across.
I did sign this petition, however I thought long and hard about it before I did. As a statement attributed to Voltaire goes, “I do not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The statements by this teacher seemed to me to go beyond the pale, but I needed to make certain that this was not a visceral reaction to the hatefulness of the statements. I think they are abhorrent, but she does have the right to say them.
This situation is different, however, and I have been able to put my finger on why. One, her Facebook profile was public at the time she posted these statements. That means that any of her students, past or present, or any student in the school could see. She is a teacher and, as such, in the position of having children in her care, children who look to her for protection. Furthermore, New Jersey has very strict anti-bullying statutes in place. She is required to uphold them, but how can she be trusted to do that when she is taking part in the vicious language that is contributing to our LGBT children killing themselves? If she had made statements like this about any other minority, she would have been fired without a second thought. Why are our LGBT youth less deserving of protection? Why are they less worthy of politeness and consideration? Even if you believe that LGBT choose to live their lives this way, why the vitriol? If you’re so worried about their immortal souls, how is browbeating them, insulting them, cutting them down to nothing going to help anyone?
And I’ve somewhat digressed from the point I was trying to make. The point is this: Yes, you have a right to your beliefs and you have a right to state those beliefs. That does not, however, mean that there will never be consequences. And it does not mean that there should never be consequences. If I ever went to work for a Christian organization, I would keep my opinions about certain things to myself. And if I did open my big mouth, I’d expect to be fired, regardless of what the forum was. If this teacher can’t bring herself to accept her LGBT students, and if she can’t keep that to herself in a public forum, then she shouldn’t be teaching. Period.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Social Security rumors

So, it looks like there's a new meme on Facebook.  I've seen two of my friends posting this now, and I quote: "Dear Mr. President, I heard you say you will not guarantee SS checks if the debt ceiling isn't raised. Why is it the scare always has to do with SS, Medicare, & our Soldiers pay? Why not stop YOUR OWN PAY or ALL of CONGRESS to save much more money for our country? Why use the Seniors, Soldiers, & our Needy as examples? Take the money from those who take no risks and reap the benefits?"
Of course you've heard the President won't guarantee Social Security checks if the debt ceiling isn't raised.  I'm not saying it couldn't happen, I'm just saying I see no evidence of it happening now.  These are the same rumors that always go around whenever there are problems coming to a budget agreement, regardless of what party is in power, and they usually turn out to be false.  Let's keep in mind who it is that wants to gut SS and medicare and other social programs, and all because they refuse to even entertain the idea of tax raises on the people who can afford it.  Do program cuts need to be made?  I'm sure they probably do.  But you have two solutions here, you can raise taxes some and cut programs some, rather than all or nothing.  And don't talk to me about trickle down economics; that doesn't work.  It was a Republican who called that "voodoo economics," after all. 
And while we're at it, let's talk about the idiotic balanced budget amendment Republicans have talked about adding to the US Constitution.  Really?  With all the problems out there, this is what you want to focus your energy on?  Do none of you remember that Clinton had a balanced budget that left us with a surplus and would have paid off the debt in a reasonable amount of time?  What happened to that?
Now, I'm not saying President Obama is doing a flawless job.  He isn't and, what's more, I don't think there's anyone who can.  But he's trying his best with a Republican party that has one goal in mind; get him kicked out of office.  The economy is their biggest weapon and, as such, they have little interest in doing anything about it.  Don't get me wrong, I get as pissed with the Democrats when they refuse to work with Republicans.  But please, please, think twice before cluttering my news feed with pointless, stupid crap that's just rehash of the same old rumors.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Non-Christians and the Ten Commandments

I am responding here to something someone said on Facebook for two reasons.  One, I do not think it should go unchallenged and two, I do not believe that Facebook is the place to have this discussion.  I will be sending a link to the person in question, in order to give her a chance to respond.
In response to someone’s comment, she said about her opposition to gay marriage that, “It's just what I believe. Neither having to do with my religion or my political party.”  I asked her why, then, did she oppose it.  Her answer follows:
“Deja, if I examine that very very very hard, I eventually turn back to my upbringing and my families beliefs (which are based on religion and politics).
For me, it's in my heart. It's my inner voice, that right/wrong thing that I've tried to avoid listening too much of my life. The older I get, the more I understand that certain things are not good for anyone.
You know me. You know that I don't hate and that some of the things that I believe are contradictory to my own actions on occasions.
If you don't believe in the bible, do you still follow those basic 10 commandments? I like to believe most people really do regardless of their religious views. So if you do, and you aren't religious, how do you explain your belief system to others?”
The first thought that comes to my mind is that it seems that her opposition is a product of politics and religion, even if someone else’s.
The second thought is a response to the last paragraph.  I do not believe that the bible is 100% correct.  I believe, in fact, that it cannot be 100% correct but I do follow a number of the ten commandments.  Since I am not Christian (indeed, I’m not a monotheist at all), I break commandments one through four just by my beliefs.  I do follow the one to honor your parents, but I care a great deal for them and owe them a great deal; I know there are others who do not have such wonderful parents and I firmly believe in breaking off toxic relationships, regardless of who that relationship is with.  Breaking those commandments, however, has little impact on a large scale, so let’s take a look at the rest of them.  I will be paraphrasing.
Commandment number six is the biggie: Don’t kill anyone.  Concrete reasons; you hurt others and you hurt yourself.  You remove from this world a family member, someone who does or will contribute to society and change yourself irrevocably.
Next is no cheating on your spouse, or with someone else’s spouse.  Concrete reasons; again you are hurting others and, perhaps, yourself.  If it goes on long enough it will impact the other relationships, even if the cuckolded spouses do not know of the affairs.  There is the possibility for a break up of the marriage, which will in turn affect any children involved.  I would, however, like to add two notes to this one.  First, it is not detrimental if you have permission and all parties involved are open and okay with it, and have the option to discuss issues that may arise.  And two, adultery should not be against the law.  You cannot legislate morality.
Which brings us to no stealing.  When you steal you deprive someone of needed resources.  You lower trust in the community and that can lead to all sorts of problems.  False accusations (another issue we’ll get into in a minute), tensions that can cause larger problems, money wasted on investigations and, possibly, false arrests.
No making false accusations.  This can ruin people’s lives.  Someone arrested and falsely convicted has that stain on their record the rest of their lives, and no one will believe that he’s innocent.  And just the accusation of some crimes—child molestation, for instance—can destroy a person’s career and family.
No coveting.  By coveting, I imagine the bible means an obsessive desire, not just saying, “Wow, Bob’s car is nice, I’d love to have one like it,” and forgetting about it.  Obsession leads to problems if the person obsessing forgets about everything else, or hurts people in order to get what he’s obsessing over.  And there’s a whole other level of issues if the object coveted is another person.
So there we have it, concrete reasons why the major commandments—the ones around which laws are based—should be followed.  Try as I might, I can’t find one that covers homosexuality, itself, much less gay marriage.  If someone has one or more, I would love to hear them.  As I’ve said before, I am interested in a respectful exchange of ideas.  I cannot grow and learn if I never hear opposing viewpoints.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gay Marriage in New York

First, let me say that I'm grinning from ear-to-ear.  It's about damn time!

Okay, now, let me ask some questions of my own.  One: Why is homosexuality immoral?  Because of the Bible?  Well, according to the Bible, so is divorce, eating shrimp, working on the Sabbath and wearing cloths of two different weaves.  According to the Bible, I could sell my daughter into slavery and have a clear conscience.  You have every right to believe that homosexuality is wrong, but at least have the balls to admit that you are picking and choosing.

Two: When you say you think marriage should be between one man and one woman, why?  Marriage has changed over the centuries.  It used to be all but slavery for women, it used to be illegal for a mixed-race couple to marry.  It's not the same institution it was even a hundred years ago, we change the definition to suit our needs.  Why not now?

Three: My daughter was raised by a tolerant father and an openly bi-sexual mother.  She just graduated from high-school with excellent marks, she is kind and intelligent and caring and a young woman I am very proud to know.  Meanwhile, one of her classmates is a bully who is verbally abusive over stupid things.  This person was raised by a heterosexual couple.  The parents' sexuality has nothing to do with how the kids turn out, it is how the kids are raised.

Four:  Why is a forty-year relationship between a same-sex couple (this is a couple I know personally) less deserving of legal protection than Larry King's ninth marriage?

Five: If God doesn't make mistakes, then why is He making more homosexuals?  You think it's not natural?  Then explain the Humboldt penguins in a German zoo, the male couple that have raised chicks.  You think it's not natural?  Then tell me when you chose to be heterosexual.  What?  You didn't?  Then why would you assume that homosexuals choose their sexuality?

The upshot is, yes.  You have a right to feel that homosexuality is wrong, just as you have a right to think that mixed-race couples are wrong, that smoking or drinking are wrong, watching movies, etc.  You do not, however, have the right to limit my civil rights and my right to protection under the law.  I feel that my own civil rights are rendered less meaningful when they are not extended to everyone.  Can you not extend me the same courtesy?