On Obama, Gay Marriage, and Prop 8

A Quick Hit:

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn’t have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead.

Now their son opposes Gay Marriage.  Prop 8 has been struck down, but this battle brings the fight to White House.  Obama must weigh in, and his backward, incoherent and irrational opposition to marriage for some US citizens but not others will once again be brought into the light.  His ironic position is that of “separate but equal”.  The only equality he is defending to place the demands of theocratic bullying on the same level as the rational, compassionate, popularly supported desire for true equality for people of any sexual orientation.

As Keith Olberman said:

This is about the… human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not… understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you. They want what you want — a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Well Mr President?  Will you step up to the ethical plate and take a swing for equality?  Or will you continue to cower and let theocrats – who harbor no intentions of ever supporting you or your party electorally – dictate the policy we all have to live with?

Opposing Gay Marriage in a Recession

One of the best arguments against Gay Marriage I’ve heard from Rob Thomas (emphasis mine):

Still, I’m amazed at the audacity of a small, misdirected group of the ultra-conservative Christian right wing, to spend millions of dollars, in a recession, on advertisements to stop two men or women who love each other from being able to be married, but when you present any opposition to them, they accuse you of attacking their religion.

I had not thought of that angle.  What does it say about those pouring money into opposing gay marriage, during a recession, that they’d rather prevent people from enjoying equal rights than reach out to the poor and the meek and help those in need?

As an added bonus, he adds:

Isn’t it funny that the people who are the quickest to take someone’s basic rights to happiness are always the loudest to scream when someone attacks their right to do so?

Amen.

One of thehttp://melinda.toomojo.com/

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Invasion of Love and Privacy

The people who brought you prop hate have decided to go after existing gay marriages:

The sponsors of Proposition 8 asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to nullify the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who exchanged vows before voters approved the ballot initiative that outlawed gay unions.

The religious right is literally tearing families apart.  How many of these married couples have kids together?  What will there status be?

That doesn’t matter at all to the theocratic  freaks who would rather force the government stop anything not approved by their interpretation of the Christian Bible.  (And these are the types of people Obama is trying to reach out to).  They aren’t pro-family, they are pro-theocracy.

They need to be stopped.  They do not have the right to ruin lives because they think their God disapproves of homosexuality.  While I approve the irony and creativity behind the initiative to ban divorce in California (petition and more details here), I think we need to come up with a sharper plan of attack.  We need to find a way to make areas of discourse that have been regarded as politically safe, dangerous.  We need to shift the overton window of religion’s role in public life to expose the ridiculousness of allowing irrational faith of some to dictate the rights of all.

Theocrats: Don’t Tread on Me

I’ve got a post over at Revolutionary Act on Republicans, Gay Marriage, Palin, and Theocracy.  You are all warmly encouraged to drop by and share your voice.

GodTube: Sex Before Marriage

The video itself isn’t remarkable.  It compares marrying someone who has had pre-marital sex to getting an order in a restaurant a previous patron has already eaten.  Would that make marital sex like eating the same order over and over again?  While the endless cycle of regurgitation and ingestion hinted at does provide some mirthful moments, the comments section is a fascinating read.  Most of the comments express disgust with the video with a few “yay let’s be holy and chaste” shout outs sprinkled throughout.  This one comment really stood out (emphasis mine):

Just so you know, this vid is circling the net right now, garnering ridicule and outrage from folks who are intelligent, compassionate Christians. No, the circulation of this vid will not help you “spread your message”…if anything it will harden even more hearts, and probably turn more hearts against God. We are fortunate that one of the creators of this has explained himself (comments below) and is even intelligent enough to understand the flaw of his work. He even sums up the major problem with most “Creative Arts Ministries” in America; There is too much interest in condemnation and reinforcing negative prejudices. It is created solely for shock value (the “shock” aspect being questionable at best, and regarded by most young people as “lame” at worst). There is little or no interest by the people using the creative arts to present God’s message in showing/exploring the teachings of love, the railing against hypocrisy, and the values of compassion…these are the cornerstone of Christ’s teachings. Instead, these folks capitalize on kid’s fears and insecurities. The more intelligent young people who view this vid will see it for what it is: a desperate attempt by people who claim to “get it” to maintain the status quo. Your arrogance will drive them away. The more easily swayed will, sadly, take these values more to heart. They will take a condescending stance towards those they can easily label as sinners. They will place themselves higher than others, because you teach them it is right to do so. I ask you: If call yourselves Christians, how do you have ANY right to judge others?

I keep the reactions to videos like this in mind when considering national politics.  There’s always that segment of the population who could care less what specifically a candidate says so long as they believe in Reagan as their lord and savior.  For them the concept of truth boils down to “does it reinforce my beliefs?”.

Posting this again for “cooket” since he is so “high and mighty” This video was done for our youth group a couple years ago and was for total shock value. The message was covered with Grace and love and truth. Looking back, I don’t think I would have changed anything about the video, but I think I would have make a part 2 showing the Grace side. Blessings, Vince

In addition to turning people off to the compassionate activist side of Christianity, the thinking exposed by the reactions to this video show a very watered down concept of truth and identity.  How many of the children in that youth group who tone down their faith to sane and have sex before marriage will internalize the video’s message?  If their concept of self and correct action always comes down to an argument from authority, its no surprise the religious right is cannon fodder for this nation’s fascist tendencies.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention I got wind of the GodTube item from my friend Brad.  Doh!

Thoughts on Family

Family is a very full word.  It carries most of our memories, aspirations, relationships and identity.  Defining family is the closest we can come to approaching but not reaching the act of defining self.

When I think of the division between conservatism and liberalism (as strange and twisted as both definitions have become in American politics), I cannot think of a starker difference in opinion than on the nature and significance of family.

On the one hand, you have organizations like the fundamentally ugly quiverfull, and the people their brand of thinking inspires (via inmate1972):

So I’m in this cafe with the Super Breeding Quiverfull Family of 14 and while some people giggled at the father trying to remember one his daughters’ first name, I focused instead on the incredibly sad look on the girl’s face and she corrected him no less than three times. But who is this kid to expect to feel special when she exists soley as a fullfillment of a mission?

That’s heartbreaking.  But I think its a mentality that plays out in many right wing positions.  In the war that grinds through a generation of soldiers, leaving some dead, and more deeply wounded in both mind and body.  In posititions on birth control that have led to preventable deaths.  The idea that a child is a punishment for having sex outside religiously acceptible terms is best viewed through the lens of people who have made the conscious decision to have children.  When you see the effort, love, and weird transformations (“I’m comfortable with picking another person’s nose now” – Rich) involved, you can’t help be see the child who is viewed as a weight as a victim of the cruelest loss.  And of course there is health care.  Any political idealogy that counts uninsured children as a necessity has embraced a cold and detached violence that replaces compassion with psychotic indifference.

On the other hand, there is the liberal view of family.  Blonder than You wrote this incredibly moving post on her accompanyment of a friend to the Emergency Room:

i kept playing it over in my head….you are not family…you are not family….

what the hell do these people know about family???? they dont know him they dont know me..they certainly dont know about our “family”….they dont know:

that his parents are assholes and kicked him out of the house when he told them he was gay

that i moved in with him for several months a few years ago when he first got cancer…to take him back and forth to chemo and to care for him after the treatments left him a mess…

that he gets realllly scared at hospitals… i mean you really only have to go through cancer treatments once for hospitals to leave a bad taste in your mouth…three times… and well…. you’ll pretty much freak out when they try to put an iv in your arm too…

that when i needed it..he offered to let me live with him…rent free… for as long as i needed (seriously… isnt THAT family)

Family is more than a social unit.  It is a level of connection that reaches compassionately into our deepest weaknesses to offer support.  Its knowing you can call and share your latest ideas, fears, passions and triumphs.  It leans over the line where the terms “close friend” and “best friend” sit as close as they can to each other.

Defining family is powerful:

but i swear … the whole thing…. made me agonizingly aware of the magnitude of not allowing gay partners to marry…i know that gay couples go through this kind of thing often… and … its awful… i cant really imagine it…two hours and i was near crazy…

step back folks…it isnt about having two dudes or two chicks on the top of a cake…. it isnt just about having a “wedding” …..it isnt about what “your god” preaches…..its about being legally defined as family….. not having to explain to a 17 year old receptionist who cant even tie her shoes..(she was born in the age of velcro) … what FAMILY is… cause reallly… its none of her business…

It is a way of defining who we are.  The battle for gay marriage is often viewed “merely” as a civil rights struggle of a particular group of people.  It goes far beyond that.  It is simply one front in the battle over a fundamental question.  Do we posses the liberty to determine our own relationships?

When you take your dear friend to the hospital, and you are the only one there, you are family.

When Obama wins office, one of the key points his platform advocated (as did Clinton, Edwards, and every other Democrat), was the idea of furthering patient’s rights.  The definition of “family” ought to be a part of that.  Hell, if the campaign was really smart, they’d make it a cornerstone.  Because nothing takes the hypocritical punch of “Family Values” out of right wing discourse like shoving real family values into the spotlight.

But on a more personal level, as I reflect back on the conversations I’ve had over the past few weeks, it reminds me how dearly I love the people in my life.  And how no matter how close a friend you are, it is never expected that you would take time to listen to my worries or my adventures, and always flooring to know that I could be the object of such caring.  And it always moves me that I am ever able to be the same sort of person for you.  So I owe some people a very big thank you.  And I am reminded how much is as stake, whether during an election cycle or not.

So I invite you, dear readers, to make politics personal.  Politics isn’t an abstract and filthy thing politicians do to keep the country running.  It is the energy that builds the world we live our lives in.  So it is by nature personal.  And what is more personal than how we are allowed to define family?

Gays in the Military: Allowed to Die but not to Marry

Its encouraging that 75% of Americans reject McCain’s dangerous stand against Homosexuals serving in the military.  Temper that with the knowledge that the majority of Americans oppose Gay Marriage.

Allowed to die for your country, but not marry the one you love.  A large chunk of my fellow Americans have the polar opposite of “make love not war” shoved ironically up their collective asses.