The “Right” to Marriage

164683607

Marriage is not a fundamental right.  For anyone.

Marriage is a human construct, some say inspired by God, that has historically existed to ironically limit the rights of one or both parties.  Today, arranged marriages are still arranged and women in their pre-teen years are sworn to men without any say in the issue.  In other contexts, marriage is a mutual agreement based on love and respect that will last a lifetime.  This idea of a marriage based in love is a rather new and welcome concept on the journey of humankind.

Regardless, no one has a fundamental right to the institution of marriage because it is an agreement of more than one party.

Rights exist because we exist, because people are born and have a fundamental right to their own lives.  To use their efforts, mind and body to create happiness for themselves on this Earth.  Anything less subjugates humanity to a state of slavery and extinction of either the mind or body.  This contrary position would doom us all (and has come close to doing so).

Subsequent conditions, whether marriage, employment or the ownership of property, require the actions of another and no one has a right to compel another to act.  This is the concept that separates a right from a so-called privilege.  Marriage is a condition that people can engage in but does not exist as a precondition for existence and requires no state sanction for its execution.  Semantic arguments notwithstanding, and again stated, one can never hold a right to another’s person, mind or body.  For if I have a right to marriage, as I have a right to breath, then who do I have I right to be married to?  Can I take a person for my marriage and forbid any divorce?  After all, it is my right.  But this ludicrous position would then violate the right to life that is held by another, the basis for all free human existence.

In order to be married I need a consenting partner and a consenting PRIVATE institution that will perform the ceremony.  In my personal view, this is enough, regardless of gender.  The issue that has been present in the United States is one of equality which has led to the demand for rights, and this is a fault of the over-bearing government entity of which I so often protest.  And ultimately, the fault lies with us.

The arguments of late in favor of same-sex marriage essentially state that because heterosexual couples can be married, so can homosexual couples, and it is only because the state has an involvement in marriage that this argument can be made.  The same-sex marriage advocates are tragically asking for permission of the government to live their lives because the government has been allowed to dictate such terms to the people. In this sense, the people are now beholden to the sovereign for the status of their very lives.  Not to protect those lives mind you, but to live them freely.  Heterosexual couples have been subjecting themselves to these conditions since before the republic.

The error made in the recent ruling was not a moral one based in gender but in the morality concerning the role of government in our lives.  These justices possess such authority that they can determine the status of this precious relationship that exists between two people.  And they do so on a whim because no law exists concerning this “right.”  Marriage does not appear in the Constitution.

The invocation of the 14th amendment serves to add oil to the water and further obscure the issue.  This is the amendment requiring equal protection under the law and was used to justify the ruling, essentially stating that people all deserve the same right to marriage as one another.  The application of this reasoning states that what was illegal yesterday is legal today under the same set of laws that existed yesterday.  Today we (the Court) now view those laws in a different context and have the power to impose our will.  Here is the ruling opinion from Justice Kennedy:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. THE CONSTITUTION GRANTS THEM THAT RIGHT.” (emphasis added)

This, while nicely stated, subtly reflects the grim reality in which we live for there is no possible way to know what the law truly holds.  Yesterday this was illegal and today, with a reinvention, and not the passage of an actual law, the Court can say “oh wait, you CAN do that.  We’ve had it wrong this whole time.  Let us GIVE you your right back”  And therein lies the rub.  The Court no longer interprets but changes the law to fit a personal belief and that is not in its job description.  All current circumstances considered, the issue would have been better left to the states because states can pass amendments that determine the behavior of its residents and those residents have a direct say in the creation of the law (except in California where people voted against Proposition 8 and the courts just overruled them).  A free people cannot be free without the stability of law.  But the unity of people requires no law at all, only the consent of those involved in the union.

Marriage is a beautiful, hopefully joyous institution that today joins people in love.  It is not a gift from government and it is not a right held by anyone over anyone else.  It is an agreement that ought to be independent of the state.  Marriage has had a specific definition in society but those definitions on permissible behavior do change and that is a fact that opponents of same-sex marriage will have to accept.  However, private citizens living private lives can change them in the realm of private society and do not require governmental action.  Laws are meant to exist to protect our very lives and to limit such action, not to guide personal relationships.  Laws that do so are a direct infringement on the fundamental right to life that we all do hold.  This action by the court should serve as a warning:  We can tell you what is right for you in your personal life.  We can grant such rights, and we can take them away.

It has been said that the law is what the Supreme Court says it is.  I suppose we should all thank the Court for the permission to live our lives.

Thank you sirs and madams, may we have another?

Love In America

heart-with-handsRacism, prejudice and discrimination exist.  People are sometimes still viewed and treated differently solely because of their superficial attributes without any consideration for the deeper identity of the individual, the content of character.  And it represents a great flaw of humanity that human beings will never be able to fully eradicate these feelings from any society.  Where there are people, there will be hatred and evil, just as there will be goodness and love.

While these feelings are ubiquitous, they are not pervasive, despite the endless calls of racism in the United States.  With the recent shooting in South Carolina comes the all too predictable claim that hate and prejudice rule in America.  On June 19, USA today ran with the headline “Hate in America,” recounting the events in Charleston, focusing on the aspect of racism and “lone wolf” attacks.

Also on Friday, the Denver Post led with the headline  “Racism likely factor” pointing out the investigation of this tragedy as a hate crime and using the President’s frustrations as a thinly veiled attempt to promote gun control.  The same article points to the President’s words, “at some point, we, as a country, will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,”Obama said.  The people of Norway might have something to say about that and direct the president to educate himself on the 2011 attacks in that nation.

Meanwhile, the city of Chicago has seen 33 people (as of this writing) shot and killed in the month of June alone with 179 killed in 2015. The vast majority of these were the violent acts of black Americans on other black Americans.  And while not entirely illegal, the possession and use of firearms in the city of Chicago has some of the most stringent restrictions in the country.  I have yet to see the headline in the Denver Post or USA Today highlighting this violence, or the president make it a priority to end the violence in Chicago, his adopted home city.

This stubborn silence has a direct relation to the outcry of racism that has been splashed all over the news over the past few days.  One scenario provides ostensible support for an agenda, the other is a direct contradiction.  Meanwhile, people die.

The actions of killers in Chicago, South Carolina or Main Street, USA do not reflect the ideology of most Americans of any race.  Hate is not a fundamental belief system in the United States.  It used to be, but this nation has made great strides towards promoting equality of opportunity, based in a society of respect, justice and love.

There is also a tragic irony to the prejudice and ignorance that exists in the way that the progressive mentality views these situations.  Instead of treating people as the equals they are under the law, hate crime legislation separates identical acts based upon the motive of, well, hate.  As though the people being shot in Chicago were not shot out of some sort of hatred.  Murder and gun violence is a hateful act, by itself.  It does nothing but further segregate society to distinguish a crime based upon racism as something other than the delusional, violent actions of one individual.

It has been a sad few days in this nation but not because we are a hateful country.  The tragic actions of individuals have that effect, regardless of their color or their motivations.  But the feelings of this killer do not reflect yours or mine or the vast population of this country.  What we can do is promote love and tolerance in the face of that slim minority that still promotes hate.  We can also provide a level of self-defense for ourselves that is the foundation of the principle behind the second amendment.  We must also face the fact that hate exists and will always exist.  As will love.  And we can be one nation, unified in love.  As this Google search reveals, hatred is not in our creed.

Never allow those with predetermined ends to dictate the rules of the game.  Keep on in love for one another.  These words say it all:

“I forgive you,” Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance (who was killed in the shooting) said at the hearing, her voice breaking with emotion. “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”

The Climate Sermon on the Mount of Fallibility

139170503739

There is something to be said about a proactive pontiff (which I’d written briefly about after the Super Bowl) in this secular day and floundering religious age.  As noted recently in a new poll conducted by Gallup, the church in general has “been losing its footing as a pillar of moral leadership in the nation’s culture.”  Controversy, most specifically pedophiliac priests (terms which should never collide in the same sentence) and a devotion to the technological achievements of man, have left many people feeling as though the church is an antiquated institution that can provide little in the way of spiritual nourishment.  That’s what yoga, ‘’The View’’ and social media are for in the present day.

In the immortal words of Garth, “Live in the now.”

So, having a representative of the church that puts himself front and center to declare his beliefs should be a move in the right direction.  If only it were so.  The naive, or dare I say ignorant, approach to economics and global environmental with a dash of social affairs will only inflame the issues that are driven by that same secular faith in man and his ability to destroy and then fix the planet.  In this case, the pope will be used by the folks who declare the infallible righteousness of a separation of church and state and that the science is settled (when it suits them) yet keep his views out of the doctrinaire classrooms of public education.

In a previous blog I’d written, “to help the environment, encourage charity and clean living are noble and righteous acts in which the pope is almost obligated to engage.  But to express naivety towards free market economics, denigrating a system that has created more wealth for the world and the church than any other, is dangerous sophistry.”  And now he has doubled down on those efforts, using platitudinous morality to denigrate the nations (or really nation as it seems that his words are directed at the United States.  Maybe I’m just sensitive.  Probably not.) who have lifted this world from the darkness of the night with a lightbulb, the dangers of disease with penicillin (and I know Fleming was Scottish) and the chaos and destruction that was a Second World War.

Pope Francis writes in his ‘’Laudato Si’’ (Praise Be) that “this vision of ‘might is right’ has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all.”  He then adds, “completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace as proposed by Jesus.”

The problem with this vision is that it directly clashes with millennia upon millennia of power struggles reflective of human nature.  We are not Jesus Christ and we never will be.  He is a model for the way that human beings can and should live.  An ideal that the world does not fully embrace and ironically, in the United States, shirks when his name is invoked in the public sector.  Except when it furthers the agenda of an already rabid environmentalism, unconstrained by economic, or any other, form of reality.

To decry the economic giants of the world for a fault they do not deserve is sadly, and conveniently for the ideology, dangerous folly.  For this perspective offers only a prediction based on the same human nature that it does not recognize in its prescription: do what we say or things will get worse.  They will then point to every instance of poverty, war, flood, drought and ‘’Deadwood’’ cancellation, as a sign that man is killing the planet and that he hates his neighbor.  But when crafting a view of what the world should be, man has always fallen well short of the ideal ‘’model’’ of behavior.

There are parts of the world where might IS right, where force is the rule of law and it is solely the defensive, and at times offensive, capabilities of these United States that keep those dark forces from truly destroying the planet.  Not with cars and air conditioners but with the machete, chemical weapons and fires at the stake.  This dream of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace is only possible if one side capitulates to the demands of the other, resulting in the inevitable subjugation of one society over another.  The Pope’s view is just that, an ideal, but not applicable as a panacea for the world in which we live.  People have always acted in ways that enhance one side at the expense of another.  It is the way it is, has been and forever will be.  After all, Christ needed to be crucified by the world to save the world from itself.  And this was pre-Prius.  But never has there been a more benevolent power than the United States to promote the ideals of Christ throughout the world.  We do fall short.  But this is the best hope that there has ever been.  To criticize that as not good enough, and to blame this humanistic achievement that has saved lives as the cause of discontent, is an arrogant message  unworthy of any church.

And then there’s climate change.

The science isn’t settled, humans are not destroying the planet and the automobile is not degrading the societies of the third world.  Humans undoubtedly contribute to the environmental integrity of the planet, as does the magnificent power of the sun and yes, cleaner living is good and yes renewable resources would be spectacular replacements for fossil fuels.  But they are not a reality.

“The simple reality is that energy is the essential building block of the modern world,” said Thomas Pyle of the Institute of Energy Research.  “Application of affordable energy makes everything we do — food production, manufacturing, health care, transportation, heating and air conditioning — better.”

The world needs energy and right now its up to oil, coal and natural gas.  Solar and wind are not economically viable just yet and to promote the idea as though they are is demagoguery at its finest.  Moreover, it is not the evil oil companies keeping this technology from us.  If any private entity could develop such power in an affordable way, those same energy companies would invest in the technology in order to send this power to the world, and yes, make money.  Then they would become the evil solar companies.

“Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age, but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way, to appropriate the positive and sustainable progress which has been made, but also to recover the values and the great goals swept away by our unrestrained delusions of grandeur,” Francis writes.

Unrestrained delusions of grandeur are permitted in the United States and they can live side-by-side with the values and great goals that such delusions have created for the world.  How many more people can dream all the more wildly because they have an iPhone or access to the internet and a highway.  These consequences of a (relatively) free market have flooded the world with jobs and broadened the horizons from Kenya to California.  Slowing down and looking at reality in a different way is not an action requiring any other action on behalf of any civilization.  It is a bromide creating a false dilemma wherein we are to be made to feel guilty for the sins of the world.  And if not the Stone Age, then just how far back should we go?  1900 or 1600?

The fact is that people have been losing faith in church, its leaders and its teachings for reasons beknownst to individuals alone.  But speculate we can.  When the church defends or hides from its own indiscretions, when success and achievement are accused of creating an “immense pile of filth”  and when rabid environmentalism is allowed to taint the traditional message of love, people will tune out.

Jesus Christ was the embodiment of God on Earth and taught that love of one another was THE way of life.  This is the model for us to live: corporations, politicians, clergy and laymen alike.  This message is not served by the delusions of a politicized science that is so vague in its explanations as to explain everything that ever was and will be for all time… except of course what the weather will be like tomorrow.

Elementary Entrepreneurs in Regulationville, U.S.A.

1lemonade3

Just another day in Regulationville, USA, the red-tape capital of the world.  Where you can find a rule for every rule, a water-monitored one-quarter inch lawn at every house and an FDA approved chicken in every pot.  Where even the panhandlers have permits and little girls selling lemonade will be shut down on sight.

And so it went this week in the town of Overton, Texas where two sisters had hatched the nefarious plot to sell lemonade and popcorn in order to provide their dad with a fun Father’s Day at a water park.  They were promptly stopped by the righteous long arm of the law, just doing its civic duty.

Truth and justice prevail yet again.  Good on ya guv’ment!!

(You can read the news story here)

When ask for comment, news outlets were told, “We have to follow by the state health guidelines,” Overton Police Chief Clyde stated.  “They have to have a permit if they’re going to do the lemonade stands.”  And when they tried to get a permit they were told they’d need a license from the health department. A license to get a permit =(

What an age we live in.  The future truly is NOW.

This joke that isn’t presents the first of two fundamental issues that have become the prevailing norm of American society. (I have decided to limit my critique of this ridiculousness to two so as to maintain the brevity that is the foundation of good humor)

ISSUE THE FIRST

While this is sadly not the first, or surely the last, instance of an overbearing bureaucracy, and only one of many Untouchable-like raids upon a lemonade stand, circumstances such as this one expose the lack of clothing on the rampant statist element.

Most notably, there is no level of control by a given populace over the powers of this kind of state interference.  Again, there is no vote, no election, no recall or petition that can effectively limit this kind of insufferable, inscrutable threat to liberty.

Someone, somewhere thought that somehow the public needed to be protected from itself to such an extent that the kids on the corner need a permit to operate a lemonade stand.  Now, albeit, this was undoubtedly not the initial purpose of the regulation, but that makes it all the more grievous and unforgivable.

For there is a level of authority operating amongst us that does not comprehend the extent of its own actions and yet acts all the same, without any oversight or approval from the communities in which its actions will be enforced.  This is the epitome of the “We Must Do Something” and “If It Saves But One Life” mentality that permits rampant emotional appeal to trump legal limitations on government and personal freedom.  And it need not even be consistently implemented.  Which brings us to…

ISSUE THE SECOND

The girls from this story did find, as they were getting their crash course education in bureaucratic buffoonery, that if they were not SELLING the lemonade but GIVING it away, their stand could operate sans Johnny Law.  You see, due to what was described as a “loophole,” the girls may make the same lemonade and the same popcorn and give it to the same citizens of the same community, from the same table in the same corner spot, but ask for a donation instead of charging for the refreshments.  THAT is acceptable under the “law.”

These previously juvenile scofflaws are able to give away the same presumably tainted, pestilent, putrid un-inspected lemonade for free and suddenly the laws meant to secure the safety of the unassuming patrons no longer apply.  Apparently, there is no longer any danger from products offered ‘gratis,’ and the sisters can go about their business.  Or lack thereof, as it were.

And with that, the undeniable truth has been set free: (stick with me)  for it follows that if a bureaucracy can create a regulation that is not meant to but does include lemonade stands run by little girls in its requirement to receive a permit, under the ostensible auspices of “safety,” but it doesn’t include those same requirements if there is no monetary exchange, the primary focus is not safety at all, but only money.

Safety is the Siren’s Song that tells us that something is being done, or most likely has already been done, by some guy (or gal, as I’m sure that red tape is gender blind) from room 6 of sub-level G at the regulatory bureau in Regulationville, for your own good.

Except it hasn’t.

The demonstrable proof is that these types of rules are created to limit your freedom and make you pay to get it back.  They keep us all under a permanent thumb. They know that virtually everyone, by the simple attribute of citizenship, is guilty of some regulation that they had no idea was in existence, couldn’t have known and now must pay for, literally.

And there are not going to be any exceptions.  These girls weren’t told that the rule would be revised, that the permit shouldn’t apply to lemonade stands and that the government was sorry for the inconvenience.  They were told to go to the bureau, get a permit and then a license to get the permit.  And they should be happy to live in a nation that protects its citizens from the surreptitious elements that exist on street corners, like elementary entrepreneurs working to pay for what they want.

They should have just made a cardboard sign instead and begged for money.  But then again, they’d need a permit for that.

I AM WHO I AM

d7472a1774dec9f833569ba4365bf642

 I wake each day with thoughts in my head
A conscience I feel
But this body instead

I look at this stranger in the mirror each day
Through the windows of my soul
At myself far away

I look at my hands, at my beautiful hands
And I know that they do not quite fit with me

I run these hands through my hair, not my hair
I see my arms, not my arms
My nose, my lips
Part of me
Not of me

Like clothes too tight
A crowded room with no air
Or standing atop a tall building with the uttermost care

My body betrays the true me that is me
If only I could be the me that is me

The Me
I have always wanted to be

Who I know that I am
The one that’s inside
The one who no longer can hide without pride
The trapped me that screams

LET ME OUT LET ME LIVE

Take who I am
All that I have to give

I will be strong and live on
Until that glorious day
When the world will let me
Be me and just be

But the truth is so hard
Nature got it wrong
I don’t feel quite white today
And it makes me less strong

For you see my skin
Is different within

To my innermost soul

Help me
Accept me
Don’t judge me

I
AM
WHO I AM