Who am I?Where am I?

26 November 2008

Prop 8

Please note: Please read the two posts below before reading this one as they form the crux of this debate.

My View

I have many random thoughts on this issue. So let me just put them out in no particular order.

1. Let me just say that after reading my father's views again, I do disagree with him on some points. I understand his background and make-up lead him to take a very Christian view of the world and try to analyze things from that point of view. That is his bailiwick and not mine. Mine would be in the historical context and area and I feel that my Dad brings up many good points.

2. I feel that homosexuality has unjustly become the sobriquet of modern America. As I stated in the first post in this series, Barack Obama would not have been President in the 1700s because he is not a white, landowning, male, from one of the 13 original colonies. Thankfully, the USA has outgrown this mode of thinking and clearly, though racism still exists, the color of one's skin, amount of owned property, and state of residence (except in the case of Washington, DC...but that's another issue altogether) is no longer the sole determining factor in how far one can advance. The Declaration of Independence defined certain unalienable rights: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. I believe that Proposition 8 violates a homosexual's right to all three of these rights. Thus, this is wrong.

Notice that I did not say morally wrong. I do not care what one's views are personally on homosexuality, to limit a person's right to choose is wrong. Morals implies religious and the United States Constitution implicity separates church and state, which is why we do not have a national religion. The United States prides itself on being a bastion of "freedom." I challenge that by posing the question: Free to whom? Historically, every single group within the United States has been oppressed, including the Founding Fathers, and by extension, "free white men" of the colonial era. Everyone has wanted freedom. This right has been fought for. Gay rights is merely an extension of this process.

3. By what right does any American justify a yes vote on Prop 8? There are generally two arguments. The first is moral and the Bible is often used. Again, this is not my bailiwick so please read my Dad's post for a discussion on that front. The second arguement is legal and historical. This too is bogus because by assuming that we can limit the rights of others by voting is to assume that we know better how to achieve happiness for another person than that person himself would know.

What strikes me as ironic is that those who most voiciferously argued for Prop 8 were the conservatives who feel as though the American way of life is somehow in danger because of this issue. Conservatives who worry about American liberalism. Conservatives who take stands that are akin to those taken by a young Austrian in the 1920s who later became the leader of the Facist world. Is Nazi Germany the ideal goal of conservative leaders? I doubt it, yet these arguments and limits on one's personal freedom are the first step towards a fascist state.

4. Most of the arguments proffered by the religious right sound as if they have been concocted by a flibbertigibbet. These arguments use circular logic that make no sense. (As I'm sure some of my arguments do likewise!) However, the fact of the matter is that the religious right is trying to impose its values and norms onto other Americans and in the case of California, many Californians allowed it to happen. This is an unfortunate state of affairs and undermines (albeit only marginally) the joy and pride I felt on election day watching Barack Obama win the election. We as Americans need to recognize that the rights of individuals apply to everyone and not try to summarily limit these rights.

5. I hope this issue at least makes you think and evaluate why you have your own views. Again, I really do not care what your views are on any subject. I simply do not want you to enforce your views on me nor anyone else.

Kind regards,

Richard the Nomad


One Christian Minister's View on Gay Marriage and Prop 8

Subject: Re: Fw: Be Scared California Be VERY SCARED

I don't believe for one minute that the disasters in California are the result of God being angry at the homosexual marriages or punishing the people of California for the decision of "four activist judges." That is just plain crazy. In a similar vein neither do I agree with the words of Jerry Farwell that 9-11 was because of our nation allowing homosexuality, etc. And because I see the thread of the religious right running through both Jerry Farwell's statement and the e-mail in question I find myself reacting in opposition to the sentiment and intent and logic of such a campaign. (I believe 9-11 to be more the result of a hegemonic US foreign policy but that is another subject.) The logic of the e-mail supposedly quoting our early founding fathers does not accurately quote them. The truths that were self evident were "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." I haven't read everything that they wrote but I am pretty sure that the issue of homosexuality was not in their thoughts as a truth that was "self evident." The founding fathers were secular men and morality was not what they were trying to define in our early national documents.

I don't really know how God is going to judge homosexuality in the end. I personally don't know whether homosexuality is part of heredity and acquired at birth or if it is produced by a social programming in a dysfunctional family. I have had male homosexual church members who believed that they were somehow different at the time of their first memories. In one church, I had four homosexual men who didn't know that there were three others with the same sexual orientation within the church. I never told them. But I did have opportunity to talk with them at length and after mulling over those conversations I was able to talk with some of the best minds within my denomination at that time regarding the issues surrounding homosexuality. Just suppose for the sake of argument that a homosexual became a homosexual because of some genetic mix-up at conception. If that were the case then do you believe that God would condemn that person forever?

I have to look at homosexuality two ways. First, as a pastor my church left me no option. Practicing homosexuals could not hold church office. However I could use them to play the piano and do various other ministries on a low key basis and if they wanted to participate in church activities I welcomed them.
But secondly, as an American, homosexuals have an equal right to pursue happiness as they define it. And our constitution is founded on the Declaration of Independence which defined those rights as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Contrary to the common beliefs, America was not founded as a Christian nation and therefore the whole Christian right idea of somehow defining morality in a Christian or for that matter even in a religious way is a violation of the Constitution. Many Christians don't believe this to be true but if you read the Federalist papers and read some of the early founding documents you will find this to be true. It is the basis of our Religious Liberty work within the church. Our constitution is founded upon "rights." Congress shall make no laws concerning the establishment of religion. We have a right to bear arms, a right to free speech, a right to have a free press. And while I might disagree with my whole heart with the NRA or what someone might write in a ragtag newspaper he/she would still have the right to put into print whatever he wanted to say and our laws would be obliged to protect him. We have had a women's rights law when suffrage was allowed and women got a vote, we have voted a civil rights law, and Roe vs. Wade was an attempt to provide women with reproductive rights. That is why I don't believe that Roe Vs Wade will be overturned nor should it be. So the question might be raised about those four so called "activist judges" in California. Could they be closer to the intent of the US constitution than all of the citizens who voted for Proposition 8? I believe that it is entirely plausible for our country to have a gay rights law and it might be that Proposition 8 will bring it on faster. Our politics should stay out of the bedroom. Now, do I personally believe in abortion. No! Do I personally want to practice homosexuality. No! If there are legal things I can do to limit the number of abortions then I am bound as a Christian to do that. I believe that our society should help an unwed mother figure out a way to adopt out an unwanted baby, or perhaps provide enough assistance to that mother so she would see a way to financially support that baby and keep it. But I don't believe that I have a right to tell that mother that she must carry that baby to full term and deliver it. I do not believe that our society has a right to force a woman into a back alley abortion clinic where she has a good chance to lose her life after a botched abortion either. Once, at my hospital, we had a twelve year old patient who carried a baby to full term. I believe that it would have been far better for that baby to have been aborted than to have put that child through the delivery.

If there are ways to help a homosexual person to not practice homosexuality if he/she wants that then I think that we should try to help. We have had a couple of Christian organizations who have tried to do that with limited success. Essentially the church's stand is to say that a young person with a homosexual orientation must remain celibate all of of their life. That might work for a few but for the most part they cannot live a celibate lifestyle anymore than many heterosexuals can live a celibate lifestyle. I once had a male church member who after being trapped in a male body for 22 years went to New Orleans and had a sex change operation. Allen became Allison. A few years later she married and as far as I know she is still happily married. My stand with the church at that time is that we should just leave the judging to God on issues like that and perhaps that was the best choice for Allen. I wasn't consulted before the operation but after the operation I tried to do the thing that would have been the most redemptive for her. It wasn't easy to support Allen's father who had a series of heart attacks related to the stress following Allen's surgery and it wasn't easy to be the pastor of a condemning church but I would still do things the same way if I had the same situation today. While that had nothing to do with homosexuality the issue seems similar in that if I don't know something about a situation I would rather err on the side of being pastoral.

What I am saying is that a Christian cannot use a cookie cutter kind of ethics. In a philosophical debate perhaps you can debate against homosexuality or abortion but in real life it is much harder to debate. And from a theological standpoint I believe it is even more difficult because of the statement in scripture which says. "Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you."

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss this. It was a good exercise to rethink it a bit.


Proposition 8 and Gay Marriage

My Comments:

I usually do not post hate speech and summarily dismiss these types of conversations. However, I received this email from an unlikely source: my father. He then wrote an excellent rebuttal. Considering he is an ordained Christian minister, I found it interesting and asked him if I could post it here. He agreed. So thanks Dad!

I am going to post these unedited. However, just know that as much as my father takes a religious view of this, I would take exception to the historical references and would note that the "Founding Fathers" also were not infallible. Our own president-elect would have been considered merely 60% of a human during the time of the "Founding Fathers." Inter-racial marriage, women voting, and myriad other things that we consider commonplace now, would have the Founding Fathers aghast if they were alive today. Additionally, Rome and Greece did not fall because of homosexuality. They fell because of the Lucullan lifestyles of its populace. Thus, we should consider our way of life and rampant consumerism if we feel as though America is about to "fall." Regardless, the historical aspects of this email that I am about to post are essentially rubbish. Furthermore, I do not believe that a homosexual is a reprobate doomed to eternal damnation. I believe that gay-bashing is inherently wrong and that "religious" people who use the Bible or the Qu'ran as their reason for justifying gay-bashing are simply wrong. Without further here is the first post (the one I vehemently disagree with.)

Be Scared California… Be VERY SCARED!

On March 7, 2000, millions of Californians voted and passed that:


But then on May 15, 2008, four liberal San Francisco judges threw aside the vote of millions of Californians forcing the legalization of gay marriages. Since that shameful day the state has experienced record forest fires! - A record budget crisis! - State-wide drought! - Record home foreclosures. Not to mention the general economic meltdown.

Just a coincidence? Think again!
Jesus foretold that conditions in the world before the end would resemble the conditions of Sodom just before their destruction.

"Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; "but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. "Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30)
The Scripture plainly tell us why God destroyed Sodom. "Because their sin is very grave." Genesis 18:20.

The very strongest language in the bible is used to denounce homosexual behavior and it is mentioned alongside bestiality.

"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. 'Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion" (Leviticus 18:22, 23).
“If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:13).
Fact - Moral bankruptcy led to the implosion of the Babylonian- Persian- Greek- and Roman empires. America is now following in the footsteps of these fallen civilizations. “As goes California, so goes the country.” California can still slow the approaching disaster and buy a few more years of tranquility if we vote YES ON PROPOSITION 8!

Help restore the blessing and protection of God on our country,
Fact! Our Founding Fathers — such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin,— all believed certain truths are “self evident”. Among those truths was the belief that homosexuality was unnatural and deviant behavior. William Blackstone, whose Commentary on the Law is the basis of law in America, said homosexuality was “so reprehensible that he was ashamed even to discuss it.” He called it a “detestable … infamous crime against nature.”
Gay activists are kidnapping the definition of marriage, the state, and our freedoms. Unless we resist this robbery of our liberties, judgment will be at our doors! Vote — yes, Yes, YES on Prop 8!


What does proposition 8 say? 14 simple words;
"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California.”

It is a tragic shame that we must vote on what Americans have always believed to be a basic truth. SO WHAT CHANGED?

Hollywood is pouring millions of dollars into defeating Proposition 8. That itself should tell you something!

The liberal media has been systematically working to brainwash the conscience of Americans to accept this obvious perversion as normal. The television and theaters are saturated with messages glorifying the homosexual lifestyle and portraying them as a misunderstood minority. Gay activists are not a minority, they are a rich special interest group. We need to wake up and see what is happening before it's too late! VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 8!

What can we expect if Proposition 8 fails?
· Confused kids will be taught in school that gay marriage is just as healthy, normal, and valid as traditional marriage. It already happening. (Link)
· Photographers, bakers, limo drivers, et… will be sued for not wanting to serve Gay weddings. It’s already happening.
· Anyone who speaks against gay marriage will be labeled a “Homophobe” as though they have a mental illness, and be required to receive counseling.
· Groups like the ACLU will force churches to perform gay "weddings" in order to maintain their tax-exempt status.
· Pastors who dare to teach what the Bible says regarding homosexual behavior will be accused of "hate speech". It's already happening in Canada!

And this is only the tip of the iceberg!

Please! If you value common decency and American freedom, vote yes, Yes, YES! on proposition 8!

….and Please forward this e-mail now to everybody you can, …even if you're not a resident in California.

“If the right are silent, the wrong will rule.”

If Proposition 8 fails…. BE SCARED CALIFORNIA…. BE VERY SCARED!Visit www.AdventistsFor8.com for more information!