Archive for the ‘Society’ Category
As the Supreme Court ponders the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act, it should be noted that traditional marriage was never intended to discriminate against homosexuals. In fact, I don’t know that anyone has argued such a point. What is posited is that traditional marriage no longer represents the values of society, that it has become discriminatory. If the Supreme Court rules that traditional marriage is, in fact, discriminatory, merely extending marriage to same-sex couples will do little to establish true marriage equality.
The problem with the institution is that marriage, however it is defined, is an exclusive relationship. If the rights of marriage are extended to homosexual couples, vast classes of people will still be excluded. Though I do not support polygamy, if marriage is to be redefined, the definition should include polygamous parties. Why should it not? Polygamy is a normative institution in much of the world, and outlawing it in the United States harms immigrants who are already involved in such an arrangement. Simply that it is not normative behavior in the U.S. should not exclude it from constitutional protections.
And there is another, more common class of people who are harmed by the current rules: singletons.
It may defy logic to include single people in the definition of marriage, but such will prove necessary if “equal protection” carries the day in the gay marriage cause. By virtue of being single, I am unable to enjoy the benefits of marriage. Some might say, “Well, you can always get married” — and, yes, that is true; but it is also true of homosexuals: any gay person can marry someone of the opposite sex. Why is it that I cannot, as a single person, enjoy the financial and legal benefits of marriage? Why are my health and social security benefits limited to me, when such are shared by married couples? Why am I excluded from any other of the myriad of benefits shared by married couples?
Given that singletons are a growing class, such considerations are not extravagant. If we are going to redefine marriage, why stop with homosexuals? Will such ensure true marriage equality?
Extending the marriage contract to everyone might deprive gays of their civil rights spotlight, but the Constitution was not ratified to champion individual agendas, but universal freedom. I am for true marriage equality, or else the status quo.
From NBC News:
Crystal Kelley got paid $22,000 to have a baby. But that wasn’t the only offer the 29-year-old Connecticut mother of two received. After an utrasound at 21-weeks revealed significant medical issues, the parents offered her $10,000 more if she agreed to an abortion.
The gross immorality of that second offer tells us that there is a lot wrong with the first arrangement. It is intolerable that our society continues to put up with an unregulated, free market in hiring cash-starved women to make babies. — link
A little later in the article…
According to a CNN report, Crystal Kelley then got a letter from an attorney named Douglas Fishman reminding her that her surrogacy contract required her to get an abortion in the case “of severe fetus abnormality.” The lawyer told her that if she did not promptly get an abortion the no-longer-wannabe-parents would sue her to get back the money they’d paid along with the money they’d spent on Crystal’s medical bills and legal fees.
I’m certainly not an advocate of government interference. Less government is preferable to more government. However, government is necessary to regulate behavior between individuals. The unborn are rarely included in these conversations, and the article cited above does not consider the interests of the unborn child, but scarcely are relations between people considered also. Contracting another person to have your baby is an ugly business, especially if there are no rules. Under these circumstances, those that control the funds determine the outcome, and that is not the basis for morality.
Consider that state law may force citizens to participate in gay marriage ceremonies. According to NBC News, the owner of an Oregon bakery must answer to the government why he refused to make a cake for a gay couple, after a complaint was filed against him to the state justice department. “I believe that marriage is a religious institution ordained by God,” said Aaron Klein, speaking to the media. “A man should leave his mother and father and cling to his wife … that to me is the beginning of marriage.” If the women prevail, Ortiz may have to set aside his constitutionally protected religious beliefs, and participate in a gay ceremony.
According to the Pew Research Center, one in five Americans is religiously unaffiliated. Popularly called “nones,” how is the church to reach them? I preached on this topic at my church this Sunday. The sermon can be found here: “The Rise of the ‘Nones’”. The Pew Research Center’s report can be found here.
Reports NBC News: “When [the men] became blind as well as deaf… they would not have been able to lead autonomous lives, and that with only a sense of touch they had no prospects of a future” (emphasis mine).
What sort of world are we engineering when such decisions can be made and sanctioned by a lawful government? Read the rest of the story –
Faced with blindness, deaf twins choose euthanasia
By Annabel Roberts, Correspondent, NBC News
A pair of adult identical twins in Belgium have been legally killed at their request, the men’s doctor told journalists.
The 45-years-old men, who were born deaf, spent their lives side-by-side — growing up together and then, as adults, sharing an apartment and working as cobblers together, according to Belgian media reports.
The men’s names have not been released but photographs of the identical twins from the Antwerp region have been made available to some media outlets.
Their doctor, David Dufour, told Belgium’s RTL Television over the weekend that the two men had been losing their eyesight for several years and soon would have been completely blind. The prospect of being blind as well as deaf was unbearable to them, he said.
“They were fully aware of their decision,” Dufour said.
After winning approval from the necessary authorities, the two men received lethal injections at a Belgian hospital in December.
Dufour described their last moments: “They had a last cup of coffee and everything was fine. They said goodbye to their parents and brother and all was serene. They waved — and that was that.”
A headline at the Huffington Post reads, “Louie Giglio, Atlanta Pastor Giving Benediction At Inauguration, Under Fire For Anti-Gay Sermon” (link). Subsequently, NBC News announces that the administration has withdrawn Giglio from the program, purportedly “over anti-gay remarks” (link), noting further that the popular pastor is known for “homophobic preaching.”
Based on these reports, one is left believing that Giglio and Fred Phelps are confederates! — and I do not believe I am overstating the issue.
Strictly speaking, the prefix “anti” means against, but in today’s society the prefix connotes much more. To be “anti” anything is to be in the wrong party, to hold the wrong views, to avow morally inferior values. Thus, “anti-gay” has become a label of derision.
The administration and inaugural committee, apparently aware of this distinction, has issued a carefully crafted statement seemingly so as not to utterly alienate evangelicals. “We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural,” said Addie Whisenant, a spokesperson for the committee. “As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.”
Necessarily, however, the administration must exclude evangelicals.
Evangelicals need not apply
“Anti-gay” is a new expression — it was not in currency before the 1990s, and the media did not call pastors “homophobes” for preaching the biblical values. That liberals can see no distinction between Westboro Baptist Church and evangelical Christians is astonishing, and deliberate. By equating evangelicals to Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church, the media can marginalize Christianity.
The distinction between Westboro Baptist Church and religious conservatives should be apparent, but to some it is not. Perhaps a comparison of remarks would be helpful. Consider, for example, how Westboro interprets the Bible. In the FAQ section of its website, the group offers this response to the question, “Why do you hate?” –
Because the Bible preaches hate. For every one verse about God’s mercy, love, compassion, etc., there are two verses about His vengeance, hatred, wrath, etc. The maudlin, kissy-pooh, feel-good, touchy-feely preachers of today’s society are damning this nation and this world to hell. … What you need to hear is a little fire and brimstone preaching, like Jesus preached. What you don’t need to hear is that you’re okay just the way you are, and God accepts everyone without exception. Don’t listen to the money-grubbing heretic who stands at the front of your church. Listen to God. If you are one of His elect, you’ll hear (link).
And what did Pastor Louie Giglio say that constituted — in the mind of the media — “anti-gay” and “homophobic” remarks?
The “only way out of a homosexual lifestyle … is through the healing power of Jesus,” he says. “We’ve got to say to the homosexuals, the same thing that I say to you and that you would say to me … it’s not easy to change, but it is possible to change” (source: Huffington Post).
(Note: Readers can listen to the entire sermon here.)
If Giglio’s statement is homophobic, hateful, or anti-gay, then so too is the Bible, and so too are the majority of Americans who are religious. But Giglio’s statement is not hateful or anti-”anything.” It is a statement of truth, avowing morality, honor, and dignity. To deride Giglio as a homophobe is to deny the ultimate righteousness of the loving God whom he preaches, and exclusion of such men will only harm America.
NBC News broadcast:
Nearly everyone was moved by this “viral” photograph of a New York City police officer giving a gift of boots to a barefoot man. A few days later, however, we learned through news reports that the man is again barefoot. Misplaced charity? Perhaps not. According to reports, the barefoot man, now identified as Jeffrey Hillman, is receiving assistance from the government –
According to the Department of Homeless Services, Hillman has an apartment, paid for through a combination of Section 8 vouchers, Social Security disability and veterans benefits. The housing comes with a wide array of services, including drug, alcohol and mental health treatment.
A departmental spokesman said of Hillman: “From summer of 2009 to late summer of 2011, he lived in transitional housing, known as stabilization beds or Safe Havens, which is aimed at helping the chronic street homeless population.
“Over the past year, Mr. Hillman has had housing through a Department of Veterans Affairs program that provides rental assistance and clinical services to homeless veterans. Outreach teams from the Department of Homeless Services continue to attempt to work with him, but he has a history of turning down services.” — link
On one level, it is discouraging that Hillman is again barefoot, but, on another, it is encouraging that so much is being done for this veteran. Homelessness won’t be solved by the giving of gifts, but it might by acts of kindness. This story shows that people do care, both individually and collectively.