Archives

Haters Gonna Hate…Especially When They Lose

On The Twelfth Day of Equality
The haters gave to me…

“The Confederate flag isn’t a symbol of racism, it’s a banner of pride in our heritage.”

Maybe so, but what if Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he was governor of California, decided to fly the Nazi flag on the State Capitol grounds as a way of expressing pride in his heritage? After all, his father was a Nazi….

And these same “proud Southerners” have a problem with people in Texas flying the Mexican flag. But after all, Texas was a part of Mexico long before it became first an independent republic, then a Union state, a Confederate state, and a Union state once more. And besides, some of the families flying the Mexican flag have been in Texas far longer than most of the rest of the population of Texas.

Speaking of Texas, the latest revision of that state’s history—and which will be taught in their schools—makes no mention of slavery or the Ku Klux Klan.

Is There a Point to All This, or Am I Just Ranting?

There is most definitely a point and it is that we are in the midst of tremendous social change in the United States. And while social (or cultural, if you prefer that term) change is usually slow, there does come a time when certain forces come together and culminate in one, big explodey BOOM!

And isn’t that what’s been happening for the past couple of weeks in the United States? First, we had the decision—some would say the inevitable decisions—by the Supreme Court of the United States that same-sex marriages are, in fact, protected by the Constitution. Then we had the tremendous push-back against the display of the Confederate battle flag as a result of yet another white supremacist committing yet another murder (in this case, murders) in yet another African-American church in the South. And just yesterday I read that the City of New York was ordered to pay nearly $6 million to the family of yet another Black man killed by the police—this time because they used an illegal choke-hold to restrain him, despite him telling them that he couldn’t breathe. And this time, the coroner had no trouble ruling his death a homicide.

How many times have you heard—or even said yourself—that “we fear what we don’t understand”? Do you have even a basic understanding how hatred grows out of not only ignorance but fear? And make no mistake: I’m not using the word “ignorance” as an epithet or to dismiss people as being stupid. Far from it. There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. As someone once told me, “Ignorance can be cured,  but stupid is forever.” My own view of the difference between them is that ignorance comes from a lack of education or experience, where as stupidity is deliberate and a conscious choice.

As an example, take the fact that there are still people who believe that the Earth is flat. This, despite all of the evidence to the contrary. Compare that to the Yanomami tribe in the Amazon jungle who have had very limited contact with the outside world. If they don’t know that the Earth is round (and I’m not saying they don’t; after all, the ancient Greeks knew that fact), I would put that down to ignorance rather than stupidity.

So here we sit at the junction of progress and regress, of light and darkness, of knowledge and ignorance. Where we go from here, and how long it will take, is a combination of those of us who choose to take positive action as well as the dying off of older minds who still cling to the lies and hate.

As for me, I choose positive action.

Thanks for reading,

Robyn

It’s All Over But The Shouting

http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/6b0007fc307c311d20c7a42c5d126e30ce5e3585/c=135-0-2748-1965&r=x513&c=680x510/local/-/media/2015/06/26/USATODAY/USATODAY/635709277155027520-usat-scotus.jpg
Shane Crone, left, and Diane Wiltshire take a photo in celebration
of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage in
Washington, D.C.

Friday, June 26, 2015. Mark that date on your calendar. That’s the day the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down its historic ruling that, in accordance with Article XIV of the Constitution of the United States, same-sex marriage is the law of the land.

Some say that date will go down in history; others say it will live in infamy.

I’ve heard all the arguments for and against marriage equality, and a few things stand out in my mind:

  1. Most arguments against marriage equality are based on religious beliefs
  2. Many arguments speak to the idea that “gays want special rights”
  3. They also claim that “we’re redefining marriage”

There are many more arguments against, but I’m going to limit myself to these three. I don’t want to spend hours writing any more than you do in reading. So let’s take each of these arguments in turn:

Arguments Based on Religious Beliefs

Far too many people claim that their objections are based on their religious beliefs. But let’s face it: in the United States, “religious beliefs” usually means Christianity. And all too often, Christianity means fundamentalist, Bible-pounding, hell-fire-and-brimstone interpretations of the Bible, for which there is no Biblical justification. I maintain that the Bible and software EULAs (End User License Agreements) have this in common: nobody ever reads the whole thing; they just scroll down to the bottom and click on “I AGREE.”

“But the United States is a Christian nation!” “The United States was founded on Christian principles.” I’m sorry to rain on your parade, but these claims demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge of United States history. I won’t go into details here, but instead suggest you Google® “Treaty of Tripoli,” or “Deism and the Founding Fathers” and educate yourself on the facts.

I have no problems with your religious beliefs just so long as they don’t trample my individual rights. As my father (the retired evangelical Lutheran minister) was fond of repeating, “Your rights end where my nose begins.” Pithy, but apt.

For centuries, religionists have cited scripture to justify enslaving, torturing, burning, and otherwise oppressing other people; when they were called to account for it, they screamed “You’re oppressing me! Religious freedom!”

For the longest time in the United States, the Bible was used to justify slavery. But fortunately, the bedrock of our legal system is NOT the Bible but rather the United States Constitution—imperfect as it is. When people are sworn into public office, they place their hands on a Bible or Koran or some other religious document and swear to uphold the Constitution; they don’t place their hands on the Constitution and swear to uphold scripture.

Gays Want Special Rights

Here’s a partial list of legal rights that heterosexuals have, that are denied to the gay population:

  1. Have legal equal employment: according to a Federal law, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBTs) are not protected against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the private sector.
  2. Donate blood.
  3. In many states, we can’t adopt
  4. Be safe from educational discrimination based on sexual orientation
  5. Live in certain communities: the Fair Housing Act lends no protection to LBGTs when purchasing, renting, or leasing a home on the basis of sexual orientation.
  6. Be Boy Scout leaders (although this is slowly changing)
  7. Trans folk are still forbidding from serving in the military

If someone would explain to me how wanting the same rights as everyone else amounts to wanting “special rights,” I’d certainly appreciate it.

Gays Are Redefining Marriage

‘Nuff said.

POINT: Marriage Is a Civil, Not a Religious Union

Yes, there are many religious ceremonies used to solemnize marriages. But consider: where do you go to obtain your marriage license? You go to your county clerk, and have the license issued by the government. That’s because the government considers marriage a civil arrangement, not a religious one.

And rather than complain that gay marriage threatens your religion, there is no law, statute, regulation or court decision requiring any religious person to perform, officiate over, or otherwise participate in a same-sex marriage. Yesterday’s SCOTUS decision doesn’t change that fact. If same-sex marriage is against your religion, nothing requires you to change your beliefs. All it does is prevents you from denying my right to marry whomever I wish.

In Conclusion

Marriage equality (same-sex marriage [or, as I like to call it, “marriage]) is now the law of the land, and while that is a significant historic victory, we still have a long was to go on our march to what the Constitution promises us: Equal rights under the law.

A promise that for far too many of us still remains unfulfilled.