Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Could We Start Again, Please?

I've been living to see you,

Dying to see you but it shouldn't be like this.

This was unexpected,

What do I do now?

Could we start again, please?

  ~Jesus Christ Superstar


 

Hey, Christians!

Thank you for the conversation, and your patience with me. You didn't ask for it this. I stuck my nose right into your business, and you've responded wonderfully, with warmth and love (for the most part) and a whole lot of "gospel." If you'd be willing to be patient awhile more, I'd appreciate it.

Could we start again, please?

Okay, this part is in response to David's last post in reply to "Thoughts on God and Sex:" (I don't know how you "start again" with a response, but I guess with God all things are possible.)


 

So, David, if I'm hearing you right, when I ask to be allowed to marry someone of the same sex as I am, you feel worried and/or anxious. You've got a need for safety that isn't met, fearing that if I marry someone of the same sex, you won't be safe within this larger community of the United States of America, and your closer, personal community won't be safe, either. Need for community not met in that concern. Is that correct?

Also, when I read your comment on salt, I'm guessing that you feel sad, or confused by these people who want to change the way things have been, because you really value the sacredness of marriage and the long tradition that has held it as being between male and female. You've got a need for sanctity or sacredness that isn't met. Am I correct in that?

I'm wondering also if you feel a bit frustrated, because you have needs for choice and for control of your own environment and social structure that aren't met. Am I correct in that?


 

It may be rushing things to go straight from empathy to expression, but I think I'd like to try it.

When you compare thievery to getting married as two things that are equal both morally and in how they hurt others, I feel confused and puzzled. My needs for clarity and understanding aren't met. It's quite clear to me how, if someone steals from me, my life has been affected; I've been hurt. Likewise, if I steal from you, I see how you are hurt. What I don't see is how you are hurt if I marry another woman. Would you be willing to give me a specific example of how my marriage will hurt you?

(The reason I ask is that your example of a country that endorses homosexuality failing is vague to me. What about Greece? What about Rome? The two of them were among the greatest of the early civilizations, yet Greece lasted for hundreds of years, up to two thousand if you count the various city-states and periods. Rome lasted for over 600, and didn't fail until shortly after it adopted Christianity as the state religion. The Third Reich, on the other hand, institutionalized discrimination against homosexuals, even sending them to the gas chamber, and it only lasted about twelve years.)

When you say, "I feel that having God's laws be our laws helps preserve the country," I feel downright scared. I wonder, who gets to decide which laws are God's? I think of Afghanistan, where the Taliban ruled with God's laws; Saudi Arabia, where the Saudi royal family enforces God's laws; Iran, where the ayatollahs enforce God's laws; The Spanish Inquisition, where Christian leaders ruled with God's law. I think of my own Puritan ancestors who came here on the Mayflower to escape from God's laws, and yet set up a new rule of God's laws in Massachusetts Bay and ended up burning "witches." I have needs for safety, choice, autonomy, freedom, and sanctity that aren't met. I feel sad, with a deep, deep grief. David, I feel my emotions strongly triggered by reading this! I feel confused; I have needs for understanding and being understood that aren't met. My understanding of this country is that our Founding Fathers specifically wrote "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" as the very first right of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights because living free of God's laws that have been imposed by the state (others) is the most important right we have, even more important than freedom of speech. It allows each of us to live according to the dictates of our conscience – our own understanding of God – within the parameters of social equity and civility. It is the most basic cornerstone of our nation. Would you be willing to tell me, David, what you think that first clause of the Bill of Rights means, and whether it should be repealed?


 

I'd also like to reiterate Anne's point from "Not Quite Connecting," that for me, this issue is economic – it is about having equal access to the opportunities and protections provided by our system of laws, i.e., being able to file joint tax returns or pick up my kid from school.

Would you be willing to tell me what you heard me say with that comment?

Thank you all so much.

8 comments:

David Carrel said...

ok, I think that I can clear something up. We are focusing a lot on allowing marriage and all the legal technicality. I don't know about all that. But I feel that to support anything with the LGBTQ is to say that I am ok with the overall cause. Does that make sense? You are saying, "why can't I have this right to marry" and all that, but for me it is not about the legalities, it is about supporting the overall cause.
So in answer to your first question about safety for the community. I do not feel that the overall cause is a safe one for the community.
The salt comment had nothing to do with you all, just the Christians responsibility to live lives that help the overall community.
No, I am not frustrated about needs for choice or control.
Once again, on the thievery comparison, I just used that as a random example about the majority of the overall community believing that the "cause(GLBTQ, not just you specifically getting married)," as I mentioned above, not being good for the overall community. (That example proves that I could never be a good politician because I would always try to make comparisons that could easily be misunderstood, haha).

History: I never liked history and am bad at it and I have been asking my brother-in-law who is a history buff. He just said that generally speaking in history as you see a moral decline in civilizations, you see them decay from within. As far as Christianity being a state religion; that was usually Catholocism, which is an entirely different argument because I definitely disagree with that and although I think that I would agree with a small minority of Catholics, overall I do not. (Basically I would not claim them to be "brothers in Christ"). Yes, you are right about people using God's laws to rule. That would not be right. I guess that I was meaning general principles laid out in the Bible (but the specific laws in the Old Testament would not be good laws to use today.
Oh boy, constitution, I am bad at that too. I think that the first ammendment is saying that the government cannot prohibit the practice of any religion. It has nothing to do with religion affecting the laws of the country. The early forefathers looked to God for wisdom in running the country.
" It allows each of us to live according to the dictates of our conscience – our own understanding of God – within the parameters of social equity and civility." is what you wrote and you are right about that. But you said within the parameters of social equity and civility and my argument is that the majority of our country has determined that this agenda is not good for the country.
I hope that I made sense a little more (am I making progress as far as making sense is concerned?)
I have been a little distracted as my little niece and nephew showed up.

ajandmac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ajandmac said...

david-

u know what's not good for the country?

legal discrimination and hate that leads to abuse, assault, and murder...



amongst other things, like:

economic crisis...
[home sales down 75% since last august]

poor health care...
[or ppl like me with NONE]

failing school programs...

false media information...
[have you ever heard of Operation Mockingbird? here's a glimpse: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird]

the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer...

nations dropping bombs...

those r things I'm worried about...

...not people loving one another. THAT we could use more of...

Kate said...

I'll address this again later, but I've always felt that the old "empires that embrace homosexuality fail" argument is a poor one. Why? Because ALL empires fail.
It's like saying "All people who exercise eventually die," and using that as your argument for why you refuse to exercise. It's a pointless statement, equal to the quintessential parents' reply of "Because I said so."
I have my own reasons for not supporting homosexual "marriage"(which I will extrapolate later, as well as explain why I put that in quotes), but that argument is silly.

Nick the Geek said...

Seda,

I don't think I entirely missed what you were saying, I did address why most Christians will not support gay marriage.

I will not support gay marriage any more than I would oppose it as a state sanctioned marriage. I would never perform a gay marriage. I try to be pretty selective in performing marriage. I require premarital counseling and follow-up with marriage counseling sessions 1 year after. I reserve the right to refuse officiating a marriage up to the day of the wedding. I may refuse if I feel the couple is too immature, financially unstable, or unequally yoked (Christian marrying a non-Christian).

I believe that officiating a marriage is a sacred duty and is not to be taken lightly.

That said, I am not marching against gay marriage. I don't march against abortion either, even though I disagree with it. It isn't that I'm lazy or whatever, it is that I believe there is a better way to reach out to the women who are getting abortions than to march against what they are doing.

Please don't be offended that I referred to gay marriage in the same manner as abortion. I am not saying they are equal, but rather saying that they fit the same social pattern relative to Christian thought. I believe there is a better way to reach out to the GBLT community than to march against gay marriage or other gay rights issues.

Seda said...

David,
I feel a little confused when you say that to "support anything with the LGBTQ is to say I am ok with the overall cause." Our cause is to live free, with rights indistinguishable from yours (as I understand it). Do you mean that saying it's okay for us to get married would mean that you believe homosexual sex is clean, normal, healthy, and Godly? I think that cigarette smoking is disgusting, but would never imagine that anyone would think my support for allowing you the choice to smoke cigarettes meant I support doing it!

I also feel a little confused when you say that "my argument is that the majority of our country has determined that this agenda is not good for the country." It is certainly true that in the 1950's, the majority of the country had determined that allowing black children to attend school with white children was bad for the country. Again, to me, this agenda is for us to live free, with our rights and responsibilities indistinguishable from yours. Would you be willing to tell me what you think our cause and our agenda are?

AJ,
It sounds like you're feeling a lot of pain about the things people are suffering today, and you'd really like to see our community (as a nation) work together to help?

Kate,
I do so agree with you on the empires argument. That's one that can run around in circles for hours, as each side brings out the examples that support their argument. And it really is beside the point, anyway. I look forward to hearing more from you. And by the way, I love that photo with your profile!

Nick,
"I will not support gay marriage any more than I would oppose it as a state sanctioned marriage. I would never perform a gay marriage." Thank you. I will never ask you to perform one, and feel grateful for your clarity on that stand.

And Nick, I do not feel the least bit offended by your views. I've read your Bible cover to cover, I know the basis for them, and, like my ancestors, I'd be willing to fight for your right to hold them dear and live free according to your faith. God bless.

David Carrel said...

You wrote, "Do you mean that saying it's okay for us to get married would mean that you believe homosexual sex is clean, normal, healthy, and Godly?" And yes, that is exactly what I am thinking. That is what I equate the "overall cause" to, which may be wrong, but that is how I feel. To support any LGBTQ cause would be to say exactly what you said above.


"Would you be willing to tell me what you think our cause and our agenda are?"
Exactly what is above. And yes, we as a country have been wrong so many times. Like the example of segregation and women voting. I personally believe abortion is one of them right now that is wrong, but the country is wrong on. But the political system is supposed to be set up for the majority to rule and our society has done wrong and believed wrong.

I hope those answered your questions.

Seda said...

David,
Thank you for the clarity.
If I heard you right, you believe that our cause (I hope I can speak for other LGBT folks here) is to change the way you feel and believe. I feel disappointed and sad when you say that, because I would like to be understood as fully supporting your right to believe as your conscience dictates, and to act on that faith, so long as your acts don’t cause pain for other people or the environment.

I think of Nick the Geek, who has written several times in this conversation, and on his blog, that he could never support gay marriage, but he also will not object to laws that allow it. I feel really happy when I read him saying this, because he has found a way to stay in his integrity while allowing me to meet needs for equality and autonomy.

David, I feel sad and frustrated when I see the legal hoops that gay and lesbian couples have to go through to establish partnerships. I have needs for autonomy and equality that aren’t met.

Would you be willing to tell me how you feel about our needs not being met?

Also, would you be willing to tell me what need(s) of yours are met by prohibiting our equality in marriage?

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz