Monday, March 08, 2004

Same Sex Marriage

This is a tough one for me. As I've said before, I'm a Christian, so I have a hard time reconciling homosexuality to the beliefs I grew up with. I've come a long way, but I still have a long way to go. I know I don't have all the answers. I also know that I don't have the right to judge anyone. I have enough to answer for in the afterlife that I don't want to add that to the list.

I also have libertarian leanings that ask, how will two women or two men getting married affect me? It's not going to hurt me in any way shape or form that I can see. I admit that I haven't thought past the basic issue, so maybe there's something I haven't considered.

I don't believe that anyone chooses homosexuality. Why would anyone choose a lifestyle that is not acceptable to the majority of the public? Why choose to possibly alienate yourself from your friends and family? Why choose a lifestyle where people could say nasty, to say the least, things to you? Why choose a lifestyle where you are different from other people? Why choose a lifestyle where people might hate you simply for that choice? I believe that people are born homosexual. It might be years before they acknowledge it to themselves, much less their family and friends. I know several lesbians. I've known gay men and I currently know one gay teenager. It's not a lifestyle I would choose, but I won't deny them their right to live the lifestyle they are born to live, choose to live, or want to live.

Okay that being said, I have to say I am against same sex marriages. My reason is that right now, our laws say marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. Until the law is changed, I have to follow the law.

I can't see that a Constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage will be passed. I could be wrong, I have been known to be wrong before. And I don't think that a Constitutional amendment is even necessary. I think this is an election year flavor of the month and won't live past the election.

I believe that this is a state issue, not Federal. If any state or states change their laws, I'd be willing to bet that eventually, and sooner rather than later, all states will recognize marriages from that state. And eventually, all states will change their laws. But, I don't see laws changing anytime soon.

Since same sex marriages are currently illegal in all states, the marriages that have been performed are not legal. The clerks who issued the licenses have performed an illegal act, and because of that act, the marriages are null and void anyway. The officials who performed the ceremonies also performed an illegal act, just as the clerks did. Or at the very least, performed a ceremony that has no legal value. Those couples have no more legal standing today than they had a month ago. And, could the couples themselves be charged with a crime? I don't know, and I doubt that any prosecutor would file charges.

Will same sex marriages ever be accepted and legal? I don't know. I think this should start at the state level with a change to the state constitution to allow same sex marriage. It's going to be an uphill battle to get people to change their minds about an issue so personal and fundamental as marriage.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

The Passion

I haven't seen the movie yet, but why should I let a little thing like that stop me from commenting on it? I do intend to see it sometime, but I think I'll let the furor slow down a bit so that I can view it rationally and without undue influence. then I will have forgotten most of the reviews I've read, both for and against.

I am a Christian. I'm not ashamed of that fact, but I try not to push it in anyone's face either. You ask me about my faith, and I'll answer your questions, but generally I won't offer my opinion unless I feel called to. I try to live my life as Christ would like, but I am human and often fall far short of my intentions. I try to live my life as an example for others, but I'll also admit that there are times I am far from the best example that could be found. I tell you this only because, of course, my faith will play a big role in how I see the movie and in this post.

Back to the movie. As I understand it, Mel Gibson used his own money to make this movie. He has the right to use his money any way he sees fit to do so. The movie going audience also has the right to not pay to see this movie if they so choose. Using his own money to make a movie, he has the right to make any movie he chooses. I'm assuming a few things here, such as he can find people willing to work both behind and in front of the camera. Another thing I'm assuming is that someone will pay to see the movie. And it looks as if he had the money to make the movie, he was able to find people to work in the movie, and finally, people are willing to pay good money to see the movie.

All of this is part of the free enterprise system. One person has an idea and the money to produce that idea. Other people have money they use to purchase, in this case, tickets, to see the idea.

Now, to the controversy. From what I have heard, Gibson stayed pretty close to the Gospels. Certainly true to the time of Christ, using the Aramaic language and subtitles. Clever that was. I think changing subtitles into another language is cheaper than hiring actors to do voiceovers in all the languages of the world. Some people are outraged at the violence. Personally, and especially since this is based on true events, I don't object to the violence of the crucifixion in the movie.

People have the right to object and to state those objections at any time. It's called free speech. If it weren't for free speech, I wouldn't be writing this now. Free speech also gives me the right to write about those objectors and what they say or wrote. That's what people forget so often.

I do object to people who kill people because they have different beliefs. I really object when it's done in the name of God or peace. I object to men who kidnap, rape, and murder children. And I object to the senseless violence I see in movies every day, simply because someone thinks they can't sell tickets without it. The days of Christ were a violent time. Crucifixion was a common event. So was scourging, stoning, and beheading.

Some people say that the movie promotes hatred of Jews. A friend saw the movie and didn't see that. I haven't seen the movie so I can't say. I do believe that if you go to the movie expecting a specific message, you will probably see that message. If you expect hatred, you will see hatred; if you expect a fulfilling experience, you will see that instead.

Campaign Ads

Another controversy I've been hearing lately is about Bush's campaign ads using footage from 9-11. Survivors of some of the victims are outraged that footage is being used in the ads. Some genuinely believe that the footage is in poor taste and I respect their opinion. Others think that Bush is using it to his own ends. Of course he is! This is a presidential campaign and 9-11 will play a big part in it.

That was a horrific day for the entire country. September 11, 2001 doesn't belong just to the people who lost family members and friends in the WTC and in a field in Pennsylvania. All Americans lost something that day. We lost our innocence. We believed that nothing could ever happen on our own soil. We never dreamed that such an attack would ever occur in our country. We were wrong. Every American was attacked that day. I'm afraid that people are forgetting, and I'm even more afraid that people want to forget.

I wonder if the people who are objecting to Bush using that footage want people to forget. And especially forget the actions that Bush took that day and since. To use a baseball analogy, he stood up to the plate and began swinging. I don't agree with everything Bush has done, not by a long shot. I do have respect for the man because he didn't sit back and whine about the attack; he took action. He told the world that we would not be bullied, that we would find the men responsible and bring them to justice. We don't have bin Laden yet, but a great many of his henchmen have had to answer for their actions - either on earth or before God. He used intelligence that said Iraq had WMD and attacked Iraq. By the way, the list of people who agreed that Iraq had WMD years before 9-11 is long and has lots of big names on it - foreign and domestic. Was the war justified? In my opinion yes, if only for the results. Was America in danger? I'm still on the fence about that.

Should Bush use that footage? I think so. September 11th was a defining moment in the history of this country and in Bush's presidency. The footage would have been used at some point by someone. Bush beat Kerry to it's use and Kerry supporters are mad. I also think that no matter who was in office at the time, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, it would be used. I also believe that had Bush not used the footage, there would be comments and questions as to why it wasn't used.

Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Free Speech and the Two-Way Street

I went back and read what I wrote about Free Speech in my post about The Passion. I want to expound on that a bit.

Americans have the right to Free Speech. It is guaranteed in the Constitution. There are some caveats attached to it, such as you can't yell fire in a crowed theater. But, if you object to something, say, something President Bush says, you have the right to state your objection, aloud and freely to anyone who will listen to you.

The Dixie Chicks exercised their right to Free Speech when they made their comments in London about President Bush. They had the right to do so. I have the right to think they are morons, but it's my right to express that opinion. Many Americans were so incensed about their comments that they refused to buy Dixie Chick CD's and some destroyed CD's in public arenas. The public has the right to do that, they were exercising their right to express their opinion - Free Speech. The Chicks were upset that the public would react this way. What the Chicks forgot was that the public also had the right to express their opinion. It's not a one way street where The Chicks say what they want and no one can disagree with them.

Hollywood has also forgotten Free Speech is a two way street. Many Hollywood stars have expressed disagreement with the Bush Administration over all kinds of issues. They have the right to do so. But, like the Chicks, they forgot that the public has the right to disagree with them.

I choose to exercise my right to not buy the CD's, movie tickets, DVD's, watch their TV shows and so on when I disagree with what a celebrity says or does. If I disagree with a politician, I can write a letter, send an email, actively protest, work for the opposition, or, my favorite choice, use the ballot box.

I like sending email. It's fast and it's easy. I've sent email to legislators and got telephone calls to answer my questions. Email at the very least gets a response that the email was received. I have a congressional representative who does not answer email. Not even an autoresponder to let the sender know the email was received. After sending several emails asking where the Representative stood on a specific issue and getting no response, I sent snail mail telling the Representative that since I couldn't get an answer, my vote would be going to another candidate at the next election. No response to snail mail either. Obviously, my vote isn't important enough to spend $.37 and a few minutes of a staffer's time. I'll exercise my right to Free Speech both verbally, in writing, and in the voting booth.

We as Americans have to remember that the world has the right to disagree with our actions. We also have the right to disagree with their disagreement and to even boycott products of that country. And they have the right to be angry. And so on and so on.

If The Election Were Held Today....

I heard about a poll where if the election were held today and the world could vote, Kerry would be elected. Well, you know what? I really couldn't care less how the world would vote in an American election. Am I am supposed to be influenced by how the world would vote? You know what? It worked, I was influenced. If the election were held today, my vote would surely be for Bush.

Why is anyone asking people outside the US how they would vote? Who cares? No one has asked me recently how I would vote in the French or German elections. Has anyone asked the Iraqi on the street how they would vote? How about asking the wife whose husband was put into a shredder? Or the father whose daughter was raped and murdered by the sons of Saddam? Or the child whose father disappeared in the middle of the night?

There are people in Iraq and in the rest of the world who hate America just because we exist. We have freedom that they don't have and they resent it. There are people who hate America for a lot of reasons. Some of the people asking the poll questions go out of their way to find people who disagree with Bush's actions. Talk about stuffing the ballot box!