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Thursday, March 28, 2013


It appears this blog has added an additional purpose to itself - that of a personal platform for my beliefs, be it religious or political.  I know that not everyone shares my beliefs, and I am fine with that.  I do ask that you read what I have to say before making a judgement, and then reflect on the logic of your own arguments, as well as mine.  It may not make a difference in the long run, but at the very least it will make you entertain another point of view for a while, and that is never a bad thing.

As many of you are likely aware (and the rest of you should be), the Supreme Court has been hearing the case of marriage equality in our country.  And it's about time.  There have been many controversial cases involving marriage equality in recent years, from the entire California Proposition 8 fiasco, to DOMA, to Perry v Schwarzenegger.  There are at least 4 cases the Supreme Court has to decide on, and this week may see an end to all of them.

Now, I've heard a lot of arguments for and against Same-Sex Marriages.  After hearing them all, I've found that none of the arguments against it hold any water in a debate.  In fact, some of the articles I've read, particularly this one, are so bad that even their analogies and metaphors make no sense.  (Obviously this writer was never very good at checkers if he never tried to plan anything out).  A brief run-down of the ones I can think of off the top of my head:
1) You're "redefining" marriage!  Or "undefining" it!
2) Marriage is about procreation!
3) Think of the children!
4) The Bible says it is wrong!
5) It threatens all marriages and the very fabric of our society!
6) God hates fags!
7) It will destroy the "sanctity of marriage."

To these arguments, I have this to say:

1) Yes, and it is not a bad thing.  Just as we redefined what a "person" is (to include, for instance, blacks), what a "voter" is (to include, for instance, women), and what a "soldier" is (again, women on the front lines).  In fact, our legal documents are meant to be looked at time and time again and changed according to how our society has evolved.  Redefining something means the system is working.  Refusing to means we are not progressing as a society.
2) Tell that to old people, infertile people, and people who don't want kids.  Besides, with the abortion rates so high and the demand for adoption so high, I think procreation is not a problem in this country.  Hollister v Perry showed that marriage in this country has NEVER been about procreation and that there is no legal wording or documentation to support this argument.
3) Children of same-sex couples lead happy, normal, lives, just like those of stable heterosexual couples.  Children of single-parent homes can, too.  It's not like being gay rubs off on others.
4) The Bible has surprisingly little to say about the kind of gay relationships we are talking about here.  Almost all of the 6 (yes, 6) references in the Bible are talking about sodomy as an act of forced submission during war, not as a stable, loving relationship.  The other references to it (none of which are from Jesus) are very ambiguous in their wording and meaning.  Paul himself said you should only get married if your lust for each other is so great you would commit the sin of fornication otherwise.  Why would he say this?  Well, because he thought Jesus would be coming ANY DAY and we had no time to turn our love anywhere other than to God.  Besides, so what?  To an atheist, the Bible is just a work of fiction, so why should an atheist gay couple be bound by it?
5) No, refusing to pass this law does.  Our marriages are just fine, but if society can't move forward, we are moving backwards.  This argument is nothing but fear-mongering.
6) Nice try, Phelps.
7)   Ah.... 7...

Number 7 is the one I really can't stand.  Argument-wise it is the love-child of "Bible" and "threatens us" arguments, with a bit of "procreation" thrown in for good measure.  When someone uses number 7, I cringe inside.  I was watching a video on facebook where this was brought up and the speaker, Senator Diane Savino, eloquently tears it apart.  Watch it yourself to hear her case.  She makes the same case that people have made for decades, essentially that the way our society treats heterosexual marriage is what is really destroying its sanctity.  Only briefly does she get close to the true trump card against this.

The truth is, the word "sanctity" is defined as "holiness" or "godliness."  It is an entirely moot point.  The Supreme Court is not attempting to vote on whether or not marriages are holy, because the Supreme Court is a legal, secular institution, not a religious one.  According to our laws, no deity or holiness enters into marriage at all.  Marriage is nothing more than a legal institution, a procedure that grants certain benefits to two legally responsible adults (or at least close to adults; I personally believe we should ban marriage under the age of 18).  The government has no right to deny two people from receiving those benefits, regardless of who they are.  We have freedom of religion here, so it is wrong that any religion should be brought up in a legal battle like this.  I have no problem with a church refusing to marry a couple on grounds of the marriage being against their beliefs.  It is their right, as the government should not force a church to do something against its beliefs.  Hell, I was married Episcopalian, where we have to wait 6 months after getting engaged, attend the church we will be married in regularly during that time, and go to marriage counseling before the wedding or else they will not perform it!  How many marriages would happen if everyone had to go through that?  No, there is no sanctity at risk here at all.  If you're worried that "marriage" will be less holy, bring that concern up with your church.  If you don't like their policy, change churches.  Don't change the government to suit your bigoted worldview.  Because it needs to accommodate everyone, even those whose religions don't think same-sex marriages are wrong.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


As many of you know, the Boy Scouts of America has been addressing the matter of allowing openly gay scouts and leaders into their ranks.  Under current regulations, it is not permitted, and a scout or leader will be removed from the program for being openly gay.  This has been a controversial topic for many reasons - so controversial, in fact, that the BSA postponed its decision until May.

Some of you may support the current regulations.  I, however, strongly oppose them.  But before you bash the BSA for being bigoted, allow me to open your eyes a little to their dilemma.  The BSA usually works through "chartered" organizations.  That is, a troop is chartered to an organization, such as a church or school.  The troop meets there, it gets money from there, and can even get its scoutmaster from it.  Of course, just because a troop meets and is chartered by, say, a mormon or baptist church does not mean that the scouts or leaders have to be mormon or baptist or even religious.  But if the BSA decides to allow openly gay scouts and leaders into their ranks, many of these groups will turn the BSA away, and those troops will be left without a charter.  With nowhere to meet, what will happen to them?  With no money, how will they survive?  So the issue of whether or not the BSA allows gays to join them is not so cut-and-dry as many people believe.

Well, today I received an email from the BSA asking for my opinion through a lengthy survey because I am an Assistant Scoutmaster and Eagle Scout.  I most certainly let them know my mind, and I wish to share it with you.

Of course, like an idiot, I copied the thing I wrote and forgot to paste it before copying something else. So I will have to paraphrase what I sent.

The question:
What are you most concerned about if the BSA does not adopt the policy of allowing openly gay members?

The answer:
First of all, it is every American's right to be gay or straight, and in most cases discriminating against someone based on their sexual orientation is against the law.  Secondly, a scout is brave.  It is one of the twelve tenants of the Scout Law.  What kind of message does it send to scouts and the nation if the BSA itself cannot stand up against bigotry and do what is right, regardless of the threats it faces?  How can the BSA reprimand a scout who bravely declares he is gay without becoming hypocritical?  Those who oppose gay rights are ruled by fear and ignorance.  They believe that being gay necessitates that you are also a pervert and a pedophile, but that is not the case.  These ideals stand in direct opposition to what Scouting stands for.  Finally, history has shown that the oppressed are usually right.  Today's youth overwhelmingly support gay rights.  Does the BSA wish to stand in the way of progress and promote bigoted ideals, or does it want to lead the next generation of leaders through its own example? If the BSA refuses to allow equal rights within its ranks, it will either revisit this decision in coming years or be doomed to extinction.

The question:
What are you most concerned about if the BSA does adopt the policy of allowing openly gay members?

The answer:
I am in full support of allowing openly gay scouts and leaders into the organization.  It is a good and right thing to do.  However, I am concerned on two fronts. The first is that charters will threaten to separate themselves from the BSA and the BSA will cave in.  The second is that at some point, one openly gay leader or scout WILL harass a scout and the media will blow it out of proportion.  It will ignore the many straight leaders or already harass boys, and the BSA will rethink its policy based on this fear-mongering.

Do I know what is best for Scouting in general?  No, of course not.  I do not know what kind of threats the BSA has received or will receive because of this potential policy.  If most of the charters leave the scouts hanging with nowhere to go, it would essentially end the scouting movement in America and prove that the USA has a *very* long way to go.  On the other hand, if it doesn't adopt this policy, more and more young adults will steer clear of the organization (because they support gay rights), and when they have kids they will keep them out of scouting.  Without any scouts or leaders, the BSA will fail.  However, I believe that the BSA needs to take a chance and show its youth that we do not negotiate with bullies, even if those bullies have positions of authority over us.