Category Archives: Religion

can’t we all (shouldn’t we all?) get along?

how much do we really know about the people we surround ourselves with?  i’d like to say “a lot.”  at least i think that’s true for most of the people i know.  and with those people, i believe i would be able to predict the way they might react to certain undiscussed topics.  very recently, i learned how untrue my assumption can be.  i was surprised to read some ignorant, unintelligent comments that a “friend” of ours wrote.

i don’t mean to presume that only my opinions are correct or fair.  i only know that my opinions are my own, and i should treat them as such.  that is, i would not impose my opinions on other people, and i rarely get into debates about them unless there is some imminent reason for it. i haven’t engaged in a dialogue about the topic i am about to discuss.  this is probably because a rational, conversational debate on this subject is rare.  at least in my experiences…

i would like to invite friendly, respectful conversation about gay marriage.  i would like to try to understand why someone might be opposed to gay marriage.  it sounds simple, but every reason that i hear comes across as intolerant.  i’m having trouble understanding why anyone would object – it’s not as if anyone is asking you to be homosexual, or to get married for that matter.  so why are people even voting on this issue?  my questions may seem rudimentary, but i suppose that shows how idiotic the opposition is.  i recently read a frightfully passionate expression regarding this very topic, written by a man i know (thought i knew).  after reading and analyzing his heartfelt opinions, i think that this particular man is incredibly uncomfortable with his own sexuality.  that is the only way that he could be so calculatedly hateful and opposed to the concept – he must be struggling with his feelings.  i imagine it must be difficult for him.  he has a conservative christian preacher/pastor father.  although such a person should radiate acceptance and unconditional love, it is more likely and realistic that a gay son would cast a shadow on his ability to teach and to lead.  unfortunately, many of the proclaimed christians that i know (but NOT ALL) are quite close-minded regarding what their fellow man or woman can and cannot do in the privacy of their own bedroom.  I’m not sure why that becomes an issue, christian or otherwise, but apparently it does.

the person that i am so passively responding to has strong feelings about gay marriage – the strongest i have ever seen.  his arguments become downright ridiculous, and it begs the question as to why he expends so much time and energy to the rejection of a concept that really wouldn’t affect or harm his daily life.  in our world, we are LUCKY to come across two individuals who love each other and want to make a life together.  marriages that work, that last, are incredibly rare.  who are we kidding?  marriage isn’t about sex and reproduction and all that – it’s about FRIENDSHIP and respect.  i don’t think that “friendship” and “respect” are exclusive to heterosexual relationships.  i think they exist in ANY good relationship, whatever your sexual orientation may be.  it takes a lot to offend me, but this person, with his steadfast opposition to gay marriage, gay love and gay adoption, has done so.  he has offended me more than i have ever been offended…so i can’t even begin to imagine how passionate people feel.  this is the response from an average, open-minded girl.  i have no particular motivation.

so it’s time to remove this person from my circle of acquaintances.  i am sure that he must have a good heart underneath it all, but i am not the person to find it.  maybe i’m being narrow-minded, but it’s truly difficult for me to comprehend why someone would object to the personal, private happenings of other people.  if you object on the basis on governmental benefits, than i simply ask you to reconsider and analyze governmental benefits as a whole…that’s an easily dismissed objection.  whatever you believe or support, there are governmental programs for and against it.  maybe an opponent to this post can come up with a different rationale.  and maybe not.  at least i have said some of what i want to say, and maybe one person our there will identify or understand, or take the time to respond.  thank you, and happy holidays!


the definition of marriage

i’m currently taking a seminar called “sex and equality.” we’ve covered quite a few topics – from radical feminism to institutional sexual violence, all of which i have opinions on but haven’t yet blogged about. this week, our topic of discussion is marriage. although i have a lot to say about conventional marriage, the first case that i skimmed dealt with same-sex marriage. in theory, i suppose i always thought that same-sex marriage should certainly be legal, since marriage can be categorized as a personal liberty, protected by the Constitution. but i’ve never really thought about it in the context of the arguments against it. the massachusetts supreme court case, goodridge v. department of public health (2003), caused me to think more logically and analytically about WHY i hold such a belief.

in the case, the MA department of health advances several reasons as to why same-sex marriage should not be legally sanctioned. i find none of these reasons to be remotely well-founded, let alone compelling. one of the main arguments against same-sex marriage involves the “well-being” of children. this, of course, operates on the presumption that an opposite-sex marriage is the best environment in which to raise a child. realistically, such a scenario is probably the minority in our current society – at least if you assume that the opposite-sex marriage is a HAPPY and HEALTHY one. the current rate of divorce flirts with a 50-60% rate, and many children are born to single mothers with unknown or irresponsible fathers. i don’t think that the legislature could rationally allow same-sex couples to adopt or have children unless it also allows the benefit of marriage. if the child’s best interest is at issue, then allowing for the legal union of marriage is the only rational way to further such a cause. if an opposite-sex couple marries, has children, and subsequently divorces, there are legal avenues that the dissolving union must endure. these legal avenues, if they function effectively, provide for the care of children post-divorce. although the system may not operate perfectly, it aspires to facilitate custody situations and financial support of children. if the argument against same-sex marriage is allegedly in the interest of children, then what protections do the children of same-sex parents, and the parents themselves, have in the case of a break-up? none. further, if children are the reason to protect opposite-sex marriage and deny same-sex marriage, than what about couples who choose to marry and NOT have children? is that a consistent line of thought? nope!

i find it completely illogical to allow same-sex couples to have children, yet deny them the benefits of marriage. marriage ensures, on some level, that the legal system can intervene and hopefully make decisions in the best interest of a child. if a same-sex couple is denied such recourse, then the children face an unpredictable future.

another reason that the department of health set forth was economic. it presumed that opposite-sex couples were in greater need of the financial benefits given by the state to married couples. this is ludacris to me. if financial need was a prerequisite for marriage (reasoned on the idea that the woman stays home and the man works), then opposite-sex individuals who are financially secure should also be denied the benefits of marriage. that is ridiculous.

further, the department of health thought that the massachusetts court should define marriage based on its common law definition. if the court actually chose to define marriage in such a traditional way, then interracial marriage would not be permitted – and that is preposterous! the point of the law and the constitution, is that it is flexible, adaptable, and open to an interpretation that reflects modern society. we must allow for society to evolve. if we didn’t, then women wouldn’t be allowed to vote, african-americans would still be forced into slavery, and any non-conforming way of life would be ostracized. i’m not naiive and suggesting that the world is in any way ideal – i know very well that injustice permeates our daily lives, but that is the very reason that the law should step in and at least instigate a societal change. sure, society follows the court’s decision very slowly, but it will follow. without change, we’d all be screwed.

oh, one last point that i probably should have mentioned before is the argument against same-sex marriage based on “morality.” well, what the hell IS moral? if two women or two men are commited, respectful and able to provide a safe and loving home for a child – well, that’s a lot better than what most kids receive these days. why deny a couple the benefits of marriage because they are of the same sex? who cares about “protecting” the sanctity of marriage when many opposite-sex marriages are devoid of love and respect, anyway? as the gap between men and women close, then we may as well outlaw marriages between professional men and women if we’re going to outlaw same-sex marriage – they are both nonsensical. but i’m straying from my point – the morality issue. some people argue that if same-sex marriage is permitted, than the institution of marriage is undermined. i don’t understand. it’s not as if same-sex couples are subverting marriage for opposite-sex couples. they can coexist. it reminds me of the morality argument against abortion. if you are against abortion, then be against abortion FOR YOURSELF, you can’t control the beliefs of anyone else. likewise, same-sex marriage should be personal – if you disagree based on your own morality, then don’t be in a same-sex marriage! don’t make other peoples’ decisions for them. that’s just small minded and lacking perspective. ok, i’m done. goodnight!

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The new wild animal…

“Recent opinion polls suggest only one-in-three voters approve of the job the president is doing – making him more unpopular than any other president in the last 50 years, except Richard Nixon just before he resigned.”

This is reminiscent of a situation in the seventies, isn’t it?? He can’t even control it now. Vietnam whispers in the ears of our parents, and if it doesn’t…it should. Quite a difference between Richard Nixon and George Bush though isn’t there? Nonetheless, we should learn from our past, shouldn’t we? Bush has almost lost control of the whole situation. It’s at the point now, where even if he wanted to stop it – he probably couldn’t it.

This unchecked, unabashed, aggressive capitalism, world and market dominance, makes me sick. Why can’t we just end the war? War is over – if you want it.

Besides Green is the new trend and is quickly becoming a surefire way to improve every businesses bottom line. There are jobs to be made and an economy and a market to create, and the country is already headed that way. Therein lies our interests, and our saving grace – not some pointless war that undoubtedly span years and take more lives, and cost billions and billions…at the risk of sounding like a hippy… it worked in the seventies didn’t it? Never have we seen more social change and concern then we did in between 1969-1978. Maybe we should all just make love, not war. Maybe everyone should smoke a joint. (so to speak) Maybe i shouldn’t watch the news. I hate talking about politics…i usually don’t. I just can’t stand watching or reading about the State of the Union speech. Let’s face it, the state of the union is that we are in a volatile situation in the middle east. We are not retaliating against terrorists or punishing the “evildoers.” We hid under the guise of religion, or good foreign policy, and we really don’t give a shit about ending a civil war or making the world safe for democracy. The government conjures up anything to get the backing of citizens and feed their agenda – but the silent majority are getting wiser now.

The point is, and this refers back to my initial quote, that government is a wild animal. You think you have control, but in reality you never really do…i don’t necessarily care about policy and the state of the nation, and a bunch of made up concepts – i just care about people and lives. I care about now, and tangible things that are here and matter. If we could find some way to get back down to that basic level, things might be different. Things are too complicated now…there are too many variables and causes and in effects that are part of a constant ebb and flow that we can never really pin down or regulate, or effect in any significant or result bearing manner. So much policy is dictated by a whirlwind of immediacy and fear of consequence. We are, at this point in the game, constantly putting out fires. No real benefit can be reaped from policy at this point. It’s like the domino effect, only this time we are not dealing with Communism – we are dealing with Capitalism. This is a different beast. This is the last chance to tame the beast…i hope congress can enforce their check and balances…

enough, enough…p.s. where is Osama Bin Laden?

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a question of faith (? not depeche mode)

at the columbus airport the other day, i asked my grandparents how long it’s been since they had been on a plane.  “9 years,” my grandpa answered.  this, of course, was well before 9-11.  i thought they would be more befuddled with the “new” abundance of security measures, but rather, it was the fact that most suitcases are now, yes that’s right, on wheels.  but that is the subject of another blog entirely.  it has been 9 years since my grandparents have been on a plane, and it’s been about the same since i have sat through an entire catholic mass. 

although my family has gone to church on most christmas eves, it’s usually overpacked and we’re standing in the back and can’t hear or see much of anything.  it’s more of some physically close together time as we squeeze into whatever corner we can.  tonight, i broke my nine year “fast.”  tonight i attended mass because it’s what my grandparents do, every week.  well, i gotta tell you: same old station, same old song.  verbatim.  you’d think they would try to change it up a bit, just to reduce the number of grateful (and audible) sighs that ripple through the crowd after the preist’s final blessing.  but, alas, they are a big fan of the rerun;  i just hope someone is getting paid some hefty residuals.

my grandparents; my grandmother especially, are devout catholics.  it was drilled into their heads for years and years and years.  tonight before church, my mom reminded me that they are in their 80’s and that i should grin and bear it for their sake.  my mom is the bridge between my grandparents and i: she understands, to a certain extent (as a function of being raised catholic) how important their religion is to them, and furthermore, how important it is for any of their descendants to comply with the rules of that religion (you know, to get into heaven?). on the other hand, even though i know on some level how important it is to them, i can’t quite understand why i can’t say that i am not a catholic and that i do not believe in those traditions.  i’m not ashamed of not attending mass religiously; i’m happy about my life and the way that i treat people in this world. it has nothing to do with confession and eucharist and guilt and latin.  but, i love my mom and i trusted that for some reason i may never fully understnad, i should shut up and go – which is essentially what she’s doing for them.

after church, we went out for a bite to eat at sand bar (a fabulous, local marco island jewel).  my grandparents actually had a beer or a beer and a half each – amazing! – and we got into what i thought was a fairly candid discussion about religion.  it started with my grandma raving about some new young priest at their church at home, and how funny he is.  he told a story one sunday about how, as a child, he and his siblings laughed at their father when he fumbled over a line in the “our father” while praying a rosary.  as a result, his mother told them that they would all have to pray another 20 hail mary’s and some more “our father’s.” the parish thought this was quite comical, as did my grandma when she relayed the story.  i  know i was supposed to stay quiet and go along with the catholic stuff she siad (per my mom’s request), but i couldn’t stay quiet on this one.  instead i asked, “isn’t is strange how the church endorses praying as a wonderful way to communicate with god, yet that same praying is consistently used as a form of punishment?”

my grandpa and mom immediately agreed.  my grandma agreed because they agreed.  later, my mom and i talked about it.  we talked about how she grew up in a “public” catholic school; how the nuns would beat a kid’s head into the chalkboard if he didn’t know his vowels; how they would get in trouble for not kneeling at the right time; how they had to attend confession every TWO weeks.  my question: what the hell is an eleven year old doing that is so bad that she must repent over a rosary?  how are those things connected?  my mom told me that she used to fabricate sins to tell the priest, since you had to have something to say.  she would say “i fought with my sister ten times last week.”  what?! please tell me that everyone sees a problem with this.  is anyone logical anymore?  my mom, as a scared and brainwashed child, had to lie to a priest about “bad” things she never did in order to be a good catholic.  there are so many things so severely wrong with that picture.

i strive to be a good and decent person.  it has nothing to do with a set of religious rules of any kind; it has to do with human nature.  some god out somewhere probably created everything, but that god isn’t telling us to regurgitate meaningless phrases for one hour each week in order to pass the test and go to heaven.  at least a god wouldn’t do that in my reality.  i aspire to be a kind and loving human being.  i don’t need a church to tell me how to do that.  i do what naturally feels right.  i want to make days brighter and to appreciate every moment that i have with those whom i love.  no, there are no sacraments or rosaries involved, but there is true love and compassion and a good heart behind it.  that’s what matters to me.

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