Thursday, March 12, 2009


This is from an exchange with a close and trusted friend. My coming response to Part One of Casey's No Separation is Possible post will also keep this exchange in mind.

I'm in red and he's in blue. No symbolism.

Here's the issue -- Proposition 8.

Now because we're friends I'm almost sure that my wisdom and insight has influenced you enough so that you recognized the folly of the "pro" argument. But if you still think the Devil has corrupted my thinking I'd love to hear your argument.

As for Prop 8 - of course I am pro. Read Leviticus 18:22 and tell me G-d wants kids in that type of detestable home.

See that's wonderful. But maybe too good. Because I almost believe you can't be that ignorant. Almost.

You can of course believe in that single verse of Leviticus (while ignoring so many others because they're just too crazy to still believe) if you want to. You can take it literally. You can argue that G-d hates homosexuality (except for lesbianism). You still have to prove that the constitution should be based on a religious argument. I doubt you'll be able to convince me that our laws should also allow us to own Canadians and Mexicans as slaves because of Leviticus 25:44.

I say that we should ignore a lot of the bible tells us to do, and we should disagree with a lot of what the bible tells us is OK. I just flat out don't believe a whole lot of the Hebrew and Greek bible when it ventures a guess at what G-d condemns.

You could of course argue that government should enforce your religious view and impose it on everyone because of Lev 24:22. but at least admit then that you want to throw out the 1st amendment.

Imagine that there's a religion out there that sanctions and performs same-sex marriages. (It's evil of course, right? Must be Satanic?) Should the constitution be amended to revoke that religious right when the revocation is based on nothing more than another religious belief regarding Hebrew scripture? Even in the face of the American Psychological Association's view that the prejudices against same-sex parenting are unfounded? Are we simply supposed to trust bigots as long as they argue that G-d is also a bigot?

I say G-d isn't.

Can you come up with any evidence that prejudices against homosexuality are well-founded outside your scriptural reading?

The Bible is what it is. It is tilted toward man. If it says "man" it makes references to women as well, I am aware of the paradox this presents in Leviticus. But I am convinced the scenario of the garden of Eden is persistent and compelling in its message of marriage. I am also becoming more cognizant of androgynous births and unusual patterns of human development, but G-d can not be interested in the perpetuation of degenerate attractions that sin designed and the malignant mutations driven by poor human choice. By that I mean, when humans turn to incest, drugs, and self abuse, unnatural births follow.

Prop 8 to me simply restates basic Biblical principals and strives to protect the order of family as ordained by God. This belief is further solidified by the concept that Satan is working first and foremost to destroy the family as a functional unit of heavenly practice.

As for the loss of constitutional rights, I am convinced as far as eschatology goes, this is inevitable and should not be encouraged, but I am downright convinced that tolerance has its limits in light of risks.

The rights that same-sex couples want are only those that are granted by the state. they only want the government to protect the rights that come with a state recognized union/marriage. They don't care what any church thinks. They don't care what you preach. They don't care if you think they're the product or cause of sin. Teach your children to judge them. Or if you're an enlightened evangelist just teach your children to judge the sin while loving the sinner. That's fine.

But can you ask the government to deny that right without asking the government to rule based on your religious beliefs? Can you give an argument other than one that disregards the first amendment? Or are you willing to say that on this issue the government should not be bound by the constitution?

I cannot immediately come up with a non-religious arguement for Prop 8. I will consider it. However, I am not convinced I can remove my religion from any aspect of my life. Therein lies the controversy.

Before you sprain a brain muscle don't confuse G-d with your religion and don't confuse your life with the constitution.

What I'm getting at of course is that maybe you don't really value separation of church and state. If so then this disagreement is resolved and we have to move on to the next argument: why you should or shouldn't value some sort of separation.

Excellent point. I believe I have been giving lip service to the support of the separation of church and state, but I privately insist on the commandments in the courtrooms, the prayer of students and faculty in school and the instructions of creation or at least intelligent design. I like these, but believe it could mean we would be leaning toward Christianity, only to find Christianity leaning against me and my beliefs one day soon. So again, excellent point. Nice wake-up call. Let the state of California recognize these degenerates if they want, but I will still insist on pitying any innocent child subjected to that lifestyle.


Casey has responded to the previous post. Please read his thoughts. They're important.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sabbath's Over

My attention has been drawn away from the current media-darling issue: the economy. As I said to a friend, the economy isn't really touching me right now. It will soon enough when we're looking for jobs in (probably) academia. It will if our car conks out. It will as soon as we need a loan. I think it's worth knowing about the economy and policies and all that. But right now every argument about Keynesian vs Hayekish theories starts sounding like an argument about angels on the head of a pin. The only argument anyone's going to win is about the pronunciation of Keynes' name. (It sounds like canes.)

I don't mean to say that I don't care about people who are affected. I do care about the shit I see. I know people who have been screwed by their business connections. People who have trusted institutions but have been betrayed by the interests of a struggling provider. Banks. Corporations. A lot of weak baskets dropping all their vulnerable contents. And I feel bad seeing this crap happen to people I care about.

But my attention keeps moving to the intersection of religion and politics. And as I said to that same friend, that's probably where it's always been. I've long held on to a belief that government and religion can be separate, but often doubt that they ever will be. Of course they should be, but I also believe a perpetual motion machine would be a great boon to the energy grid. Just because it'd be awesome isn't going to make it happen.

The compromise comes because it's not up to a constitution or a law to separate the two modes. We are forced to trust individuals, and individuals are only occasionally trustworthy. It only takes a few committee members honestly believing that their religious views would survive a change of religious ideology, and a sufficient vote can be constitutionally upheld in this representational democracy.

What makes this troubling beyond pure principle is the evidence of intolerance that we've seen in recent votes and the patterns of thought that I see so often broadcast stridently by religious apologists. I'm not interested in pulling out the tired argument that religion is historically the thickest root of persecution. The Inquisitors are all dead. Responsibility calls only our current selves, and faith can rest only in those who are acting now and will act again.

What keeps me from completely giving up on the ideal is the ability we have to see what direction individuals give to their institutions. Many poor arguments are popular. Many excellent arguments are ignored. Why? What are these voices saying ex cathedra? What voices are necessary in anticipation and in response?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Out of the Fox Hole

Glenn Greenwald makes some interesting points about militia groups.

Greenwald's column is a response to an episode segment on Glen Beck's "War Games" that hypothesized a revolt in 2014 because of government getting to big and raising taxes. From your friends as FOX News.

What was most remarkable about this allegedly "anti-government" movement was that -- with some isolated and principled exceptions -- it completely vanished upon the election of Republican George Bush, and it stayed invisible even as Bush presided over the most extreme and invasive expansion of federal government power in memory


  • They were never afraid of an intrusive government; they just hated Clinton.
  • They do fear government intrusion but under Bush they were willing to sacrifice some constitutional rights because they hate foreigners even more.
  • They were just as active but the media stopped visiting Michigan and Montana.
  • The militias just kept quiet because they were afraid of ending up in Guantanamo.

    The onscreen disclaimer:

    This is from FOX so if you turn the volume up you'd probably hear a voice hissing '...and should happen.'