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8:47 a.m. - March 29, 2006
The Moral Stew - Part 2
(Note – This is a series of essays about certain topics which may be a bit controversial to people and it may question some people’s beliefs or thoughts. The idea is to provoke rational, calm discussions and insight – not a flame war. So be warned, flamers and people being rude and callous towards me other others who comment will be subject to having their comment expunged, being removed from my buddy list, or at worst, blocked from reading me. Thanks.)

I had a discussion with a co-worker, a Man of God, a few years back, when debating the ruling on the Texas sodomy law. He was upset that the Supreme Court struck down that ruling and thought it was a slippery slope. I said to him that it was a good ruling, it kept the government out of the bedroom, where it had no business being.

He asked me, “Would you have a problem with Katie growing up next to a gay couple?”

I flat out said, “No!” He looked stunned.

I don’t care who people love. (Within reason, of course, some things are just RIGHT out, and you know what they are). They are a loving couple who care about each other. They can love who they want, as long as they mow the grass and keep their property looking neat. And if they invited me over for a cookout, heck yeah, I’d bring over the beer. Because, you know, free food.

It makes no difference to me. Katie will see them for what they are – a couple in love. It certainly isn’t going to turn her into a militant lesbian overnight just by living next door to them.

Then he asked, “What if it was three people living together – two women and a man?”

Again, I wouldn’t care a whit, even though the odds of that occurring in BFE Indiana are quite small. It’s not against the law, and they’re doing what they’re comfortable with – it’s who they are. Yes, that may take some explaining to Katie and Kristin that some people are different and love in different ways, but we should accept them and love them for who they are, even if we don’t live in the same way.

We, as parents, should do the teaching, and explain things like that to her, not shelter her from things like this, because then she could even be more confused and ignorant. We shouldn’t let the government do our teaching for us, especially when it comes to matters of love and morality. The government shouldn’t be our bedroom police.

I’m married, in a traditional marriage and in love with my wife. It’s almost Norman Rockwell, even with the two adopted kids. In fact, that’s even more Americana than normal, I think.

To me, religion is very personal. It one person and their relationship with God and we all have different relationships with our God. Putting that belief in the public eye, and basically claiming that it be mandated as law, is against what I firmly believe in.

One thing that gets me hot and bothered is when politicians wrap themselves inside the Bible to justify their beliefs and policies that pander to the extremists of their base. It’s not for the sake of spreading the religious faith; it’s strictly used in order to gain votes and to keep voters in their camp for the next election. I firmly believe that religion should be kept out of politics, and vice versa. Churches should not be used as political theatre, by any side, left or right (yes, the left has their dog and pony shows in churches as well, and while it’s not as audacious as “Justice Sunday”, it’s still pandering of the worst kind).

When politicians wrap themselves in the Bible to get votes, many times, they become hypocritical. I feel Men of God should be charitable, wanting to take care of their neighbor, help the poor and needy, and give aid and comfort to those in need. Men of God should believe in charity, and in the vows of poverty.

Many of these politicians, claiming to be Men of God, will vote AGAINST social programs that are to help the neediest people, the sick and the indigent, the people who need it most, yet vote FOR programs to help pad the bank accounts of their cronies and fat cats and the people who can most afford to pay an extra quarter percent of tax to fund a program to help the people who don’t have enough medical care.

And what blows me away is that these Men of God will vote against programs that help protect God’s greatest gift to us, mother Earth. But they don’t believe in evolution, so why would they believe in ANY science? This is the only Earth we have; it is a gift from God himself. Science is telling us that we are harming the Earth, but I guess some in power think we must protect the stock portfolios of the multi-millionaires instead of the people of this Earth.

Perhaps it’s my cynical eye, but I rarely believe that any current politician acts totally sincere in how he votes, how he acts, how he campaigns, left or right. All you need to do is remember Bill Frist and his ‘video diagnosis’ of Terri Schiavo, and his backpedaling when the autopsy was done. Talk about theatre of the absurd! All Frist was trying to do was win support for his upcoming presidential campaign by pandering to a base.

It’s sad to see things so cynically, I know.

Politicians often expound on “the sanctity of marriage” and “promoting the virtues of family values” in not allowing gay marriage. Of course, some of those politicians are on their second or third wives themselves and were caught in states of hanky and panky otherwise. Some sanctity there, eh?

Some zealots also decry the “homosexual agenda?” What agenda is that? To be treated as a human being with the same rights and responsibilities? To stop being hectored and discriminated against because of who they love?

Florida even disallows gays from adopting children for some asinine reason. Couples and individuals with means who desperately want children and will raise them in a loving, caring way definitely should be qualified to adopt. Remember, all of the LEGITIMATE studies show that your orientation is innate – it’s who you are. You are NOT going to force a child into a gay lifestyle simply by raising him as a child. And children raised in gay households are just normal kids.

Of course, some politicians are also frothing at the mouth about creationism versus evolution as taught in schools. This is what happens when you politicize the state education boards. (Of course, everything is politics, in a way). When the Bible was written, the creation story was the ‘best guess’, but every culture and people had one and there are some similarities. Yet, as mankind gained knowledge and insight, they learned the truth about life and how life came to be, and how we came to be, on this wonderful planet.

Life has evolved, slowly, surely, and it continues to evolve to this day. The bones don’t lie. Neither do the boobies on Galapagos Island.

Is it not reasonable to think that God himself is the instigator of evolution? Is it not plausible that he himself allowed this wonderful thing to happen? Heck, the Pope has declared that he is in favor of the theory of evolution as sound science. That’s a long way from the days of Galileo and Copernicus.

But that’s not the Intelligent Design theory, which I think is creationism mixed in with some mumbo jumbo, which means there’s very little, if any, science. It’s all smoke and mirrors. What I’m saying is that God himself said, “yeah, let’s set this in motion,” and he did and let it go do what it did.

Yet some people do not want their children learning about evolution. They want to keep their children in the dark. And we wonder about our school systems and how we are falling far behind the rest of the world in the area of science.

If you firmly believe in creationism, then teach that to your children at home and in your church, but allow them to be exposed to evolution, and let them make the choice themselves. Heaven forbid you want your child to do some critical thinking.

That leads me into another story.

The year was 1992, and I was living in Indianapolis. The old afternoon newspaper, The Indianapolis News, published a story on the front page of their Life section about the growing craze of tattoos on the alternative set. Now, I had not gotten a tattoo at the time but was definitely considering one, and hung out with a lot of musicians and friends that had tattoos.

So the story ran and it had some photos of some tribal designs and simple patterns, nothing over the top, and certainly nothing rude or vulgar. It was tasteful.

A couple of days later there was a letter to the editor. It was from a mother of a 12-year old in Martinsville, who said, basically, don’t print pictures of people like that in the newspaper again, because she’s trying to protect her children from things like that.

What, people with tattoos?

Lady, you put your kids in a box, they’re either going to be passive sheep, or they’re going to totally rebel and you’ll be in a whole mess of trouble. My tattoo has not prevented me from meeting my wife, getting my job, adopting my kids, or having a great support system of friends and family.

The idea of ‘protecting children’ has been a great excuse for many things in our culture, mostly as an excuse to limit and restrict freedom of adults and keep children from learning about anyone or anything that’s remotely different or would cause them to ask questions. It’s a great way for parents to get out of parenting.

Why do you want to leave your child ignorant of things in this world that are different? By exposing them to the world, one gains knowledge, insight and wisdom. Yes, I know that some TV is not suitable for children. Heck, we don’t let Katie watch “Sponge Bob”, because she’s not old enough for it. But we’re not going to write letters to Nickelodeon about it.

Liz and I love “The Sopranos” and “Big Love”, but we’d never ever let Katie or Kristin watch those until they’re much, much older and can come to grips with what is on the screen.

That’s why we will only have ONE TV in the house. We will control it, yet we will trust our children to make wise choices when we are not in (and use the appropriate locks and limits if need be as well until they can make a wise choice on their own).

I don’t think anyone has been converted to gay by watching “Will and Grace”, do you?

If you object to something on TV, don’t watch it – change the channel. But don’t interfere with my right to watch the same program because you don’t agree with it. The free market of TV will take care of itself.

Many people boycott certain companies because of their policies on allowing gay couples or couples that live together to have spousal benefits. Yet, I don’t think those boycotts work one iota, because most of the people are smarter than that. Who cares if a company allows gays couples to have medical benefits? Is that anyone’s business?

All of these groups that boycott these companies are being negative. Why can’t they be positive? They want to ‘preserve’ marriage, well then, why not try to build programs that help couples in need with marriage and financial counseling, provide support and assistance for women and children in trouble due to abusive spouses, and work with all couples to ensure that marriage is the right step for them, instead of being negative because a tiny minority of the population wants to get married and you don’t want them to?

Oh, there’s no publicity in THAT.

I realize this was sprawling, but take away my general ideas from it, if you will. I do also realize that I was harsh on politicians, mostly on the right, and I recognize that the left also has its share of strident ideologues and zealots. But I cannot fathom how sticking up for the rights of people, or being very careful about how religion is endorsed in our society is somehow a threat to Christianity.

The threat to Christianity lies in the hearts of those who wish to use it in the name of prejudice and ignorance.

Amen.

 

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