Friday, March 05, 2004

So much fear and hatred
My local paper published two letters to the editor this morning (labeled "Gay marriage" and "Immorality") that make me sad. The second letter invokes Sodom and Gomorah, from which I infer the author is saying it's okay to "destroy" homosexuals. Nice. That's so Old Testament. Whatever happened to "love they neighbor"?

The first letter at least attempts to address the legal issues, but here the author combats the call for equal rights by quoting scripture and such tactics leave me cold:
Item: You do not have a constitutional right to marry. If it is a right, it is one of those with which folks are "endowed by their creator." And it was that creator who said in Matthew 19:5 and Mark 10:7, "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh." God also said: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." (Leviticus 18:22)
The Bible does not make for a legal argument - we are not like some Iraqis, who are attempting to make Islam the cornerstone of all laws under their new constitution (do you see how this all ties together?). I say people do have the constitutional right to marry as guaranteed by the Ninth Amendment. The standard for determining whether someone has right to perform some act is not the Word of God, but whether the act would violate someone else's rights. Since the act of marriage between consensual adults - regardless of their genders - does not violate the rights of others, marriage is indeed a right protected by the Constitution. To argue otherwise is to believe that our rights are derived from the Constitution, when, in fact, it works the other way around - the Constitution derives its power from us.

One could argue that the government has no business being involved in marriage in the first place, but we can leave that for another time.

To continue:
Item: Homosexuals are not forbidden to marry by any state or federal law, provided they marry someone of the opposite gender. It is not society's fault that they, by choosing to "lie with" one of their own gender, render themselves unable legally to marry.
There's so much wrong with these statements, the easiest way to demonstrate is to replace some words:
Item: Minorities are not forbidden to marry by any state or federal law, provided they marry someone of the same race. It is not society's fault that they, by choosing to "lie with" white folk, render themselves unable legally to marry.
I know some people believe gay marriage shouldn't be equated with the fight for equal rights for minorities, but the underlying principle is the same - a minority is being denied rights because the majority doesn't simply doesn't feel comfortable about it. It's blatant discrimination.

This letter concludes with the following:
Do you really think so little of your God-ordained marriage that you don't mind seeing it dragged down to so low a level that God, himself, deems it an abomination?
To which I ask, do you really think so little of your God-ordained marriage that you feel it is threatened because some gay people want to get married? How, exactly, is your relationship with your wife effected by this? It is not the fault of homosexuals that your confidence in your marriage is so weak.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Politics corrupts
Today's Best of the Web contains a bit on how Kerry believes President Bush misled everyone on Iraq even though Bush did precisely what he told the U.N. he would do (see the "BUSH LIED!!!! by Telling the Truth" section towards the top). Kerry is so political that he cannot believe plain statements from a straight-forward President - there must always be some hidden, real agenda behind anything that's said. It's sad that Kerry's mind works that way. Bush said what he was going to do and he did it, and apparently that's not how a respectable politician does things in Washington.
Building a secular Islamic state
Nina Shea over at NRO is worried about the proposed Iraqi constitution. In particular, a provision in the constitution states that all laws must conform with the "universally agreed upon tenets of Islam", whatever that means. Imagine if no law in the U.S. could violate the universally agreed upon tenets of Christianity. Even if every person in this country were Christian, do we really think the Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists and everyone else could possibly agree? Iraq wouldn't be any different.

Shea offers a pseudo-solution:
The examples of two of Iraq's neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Iran, demonstrate that for democracy to take root, Islam must be enshrined in a way that is compatible with constitutionally provided democratic mechanisms.
Ah, but that begs the question of whether such enshrinement is possible. Would Islam change to become more compatible with democratic government, or isn't more likely the government would change to conform to Islam? I don't intend to pick on Islam - I don't there's much hope for any state that binds itself so closely to any religion. There is a reason why we have freedom of religion and separation between church and state in this country. Freedom does not flourish in a theocracy, any theocracy.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Can't super-size? Okay, I'll just have two.
McDonald's will soon stop offering super-sized items such as fries and sodas. They must be attempting to avoid lawsuits, because I don't see how limiting choices will entice people to eat there. Those that choose to eat healthier portions will still do so, but there will be plenty of people who want to eat more that will just head across the street to Sonic or Wendy's. If anything, McDonald's should continue to expand their menu with healthier alternatives to burgers and fries. I go there quite often at lunch for their grilled chicken bacon ranch salad, which is quite good.

It's attitudes like this that drive me nuts:
The Super Size portions, which include a seven-ounce carton of fries and 42-ounce drink, have been targeted by critics as part of the cause of a growing obesity crisis in the United States.
No, the cause is the choice that was made by their customers to eat these things. The sooner we get away from this belief that fast food eaters are all victims of some vast conspiracy to make them fat, the better.
This just in...
Longtime Bush Adviser Takes Jab at Kerry

Excuse me for mimicking Best of the Web, but you've got to love the obvious headlines.

The story itself does tie-in nicely with my previous post:
Hughes said Kerry "has railed against the Patriot Act, against the No Child Left Behind education reform, against free trade and NAFTA. Yet, he voted for all three of them."
Yep.
Using an anti-McGovern ad on Kerry
I'm watching Hardball right now and they just showed a pro-Nixon TV ad from the McGovern/Nixon election that was simple yet highly effective. It was simply a picture of McGovern's profile facing one direction. The voice-over talked about how McGovern kept changing his position on several issues, and for each issue mentioned, the image would flip so it was facing the other direction. I say it would be good for the Bush campaign to copy the ad's style and replace it with Kerry's photo and flip-flops. First of all, it would make the implicit comparison between McGovern and Kerry across the years, but more importantly, it would tell the simple truth - Kerry has a hard time taking a stand for anything.
Politics and education
There are roughly 140 school districts in the state of Missouri that are asking voters to approve levy increases this Spring. These districts, including the one in which I live, are facing significant budget shortfalls because the state government has failed to deliver the money that has been allocated for the schools.

It's a big political game. The Republican legislature blames the Democrat governor because he has withheld millions of dollars in school money. The governor blames the legislature, claiming he cannot release the money because the legislature has refused to raise taxes to provide more funding. When it comes down to it, I don't really care who's fault it is - I say they are all guilty of playing politics with school money. If I had to choose, I'd say the governor bears most of the blame. If he's so concerned about state budget problems, he had a plethora of other programs from which he could have withheld funding, but he chose to screw the schools to make a political point, to make the case for a tax increase. Bah!

What none of them seem to understand, or care to, well, care about, is that these state-level squabbling is causing problems that must be dealt with at the local level. They bicker and complain, but it's my kids' education that will suffer. My school district is going to have to trim $2.3 million, which is a big chunk of their sub-$20 million total. I've seen the list of cuts the School Board is considering, and it ain't pretty. If you're curious, you can visit this site to find out more about it.

Monday, March 01, 2004

The Republican conspiracy at work
I have received word from a reliable source that my brother has recently registered as a Republican. Apparently the GOP's practice of sending him letters pretending he was already a party member in hopes he would give in and actually join has been successful.