Category Archives: politics

Texas Adoption Bill

The Texas Legislature made some waves earlier this month when the House sent the Senate a Bill about the rights of conscience in Child Welfare Services.  It’s called HB 3859.  This link goes to the text of the bill.  The New York Times, and Atlantic Monthly, have written about it. Equality Texas is particularly opposed to it, saying the bill would trample the rights of Gay and Lesbian couples.  ABC News complains loudly the bill could allow Texas Adoption Agencies to ban Jews, gays, and Muslims.

If you want to, take a few minutes and go to the link and read the bill for yourself. We won’t go away while you’re gone.  We’ll still be here.  We promise.

Are you done reading, yet?  Good.  The whole Bill is about four pages long in 10 point font, a little longer if I make the writing bigger for old eyes.  The Texas Legislature isn’t like Congress in that respect.  Congress likes bills hundreds of pages long, or even thousands, written in complex legalese that require a JD to even pronounce the words.  The Texas Legislature drafts short bills in plane understandable language.

Does the text contain the name of any religion?  It does not.  Does it specifically call out gay, lesbian, transgendered children or couples? It does not.

Then what does it do?  This bill simply protects the right of conscience of any private agency that works in child welfare.

  • If there were a Muslim Adoption Agency in Irving, Texas, that wanted to ensure Sunni couples adopted Sunni children and Shi’a couples adopted Shi’a children, they would be protected.
  • If there were an LGBT organization in Austin that wanted to step up and make sure LGBT kids get placed with LGBT families, as long as they have a religious explanation, they would be protected.
  • I dare say, that a Child Welfare Agency full of Secular Humanists who refused adoptions to Christians would also be protected by this law, as long as they explained their position in religious terms and referred them to another agency.

What this Bill actually does is protect everyone’s right of conscience.  I expect that if it were to become law and be challenged in court, it would even protect Atheists who have religious reasons to keep Christians from adopting.  The bill would require any agency refusing services on religious grounds to refer those seeking services to another agency that would help them, or to the Texas Department of Child and Family Services.

What this Bill doesn’t do is allow anyone to use threat of law suit or government force to coerce someone else to violate sincerely held beliefs.  Don’t we need more of that?  Don’t we as a society want more protection for all sincerely held beliefs, even if those beliefs aren’t exactly the same as anyone else’s?  Don’t we want more liberty and less coercion?

On thing we do need to ensure is that while Texas is requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, the Legislature and State Agencies make adoptions easier and less expensive. Not harder.

If we’re truly pursuing Virtue here, then we need to make it easier for couples (or singles) who would nurture children and help them flourish to adopt, regardless of creed, belief or religion. As a society we should keep children out of the hands of the violent and the abusive regardless of creed, belief or religion.

Thank you for reading.  We do appreciate you.  If you liked (or hated) what you read here, please tell your friends and click the follow button.

And lest I forget, these views are my own and I’m not writing here to represent the Texas Military Department, the Texas National Guard, the U. S. Army or the DoD.  All these organizations have Public Affairs Offices and spokespeople who should not be confused with me.

Planned Parenthood Part 2

Let’s get down to where the rubber meets the road.  Planned Parenthood has not denied that they trade in livers, hearts, kidneys, lungs, and other organs …many of the same organs that come from organ donations. So, it is not just a blob of cells like NARAL and other abortion advocates have said for nearly 50 years.

When I was an Army Reservist, years ago, I was trained as a Combat Lifesaver. The first thing they taught us was to check for pulse. If the casualty has a heartbeat — no matter how slow or faint — he/she is alive.  Unborn babies in the womb have a heartbeat in the first trimester.  I know this from experience because I heard my son’s heartbeat during the third month when my former wife was pregnant with him.

In almost any medical procedure a heartbeat is the standard for being alive. If not heart beat, brain waves on the EEG, is the standard for being alive. Unborn babies have a brainwave pattern and a heartbeat in the second trimester.

I have friends who work in neonatal and premie ICU. Premature babies born before 30 weeks have lived.

In a newly released sting video, Center for Medical Progress shows Planned Parenthood employees discussing “intact foetal cadavers” in a very upfront and cavalier tone.  Planned Parenthood has called these videos heavily edited. They imply that some sort of context is left out. What kind of context makes trading baby organs acceptable in a civilized society?!?!?

If a pregnancy threatens a mother’s life, I can rationalize ending it, but if the baby is at 24 weeks put her in the premie ICU. Save both lives. If the mother doesn’t want the baby someone will adopt her.

In cases of incest, I can rationalize ending the pregnancy.

In cases of rape … Find, try, convict and execute the rapist. The baby is innocent. If the baby is at 24 weeks deliver by ceserian section and put him in premie ICU. Someone will adopt. Before twenty weeks, I can’t tell rape victims what to do.

So, I can see some exceptions where abortion could be acceptable in cases of rape, incest, or when the pregnancy jeopardizes the life of the mother. But otherwise in cases where the unborn baby has a heartbeat and brainwaves, he or she is alive. 

He or she is a child. A child is possibility, hope, potential, love, responsibility…but not a punishment. Someone will adopt. Someone will love, even babies with birth defects or developmental concerns.

I believe that life begins at conception. I assert that other than the exceptions I described above, abortion is murder. Murder is horrible and illegal. Other than the above exceptions abortion should be illegal, too.

These veiws are my own and not endorsed by the National Guard or the DOD.

Tell US Senate to stop Iran Nuclear Deal

So, the Great Powers have made a deal with Iran.  The UK, France, Germany, China, Russia, and the US have concluded a deal with Iran that lifts sanctions very soon, provides them with access to $150 billion in frozen assets, allows them to buy conventional weapons from Russia and China, and leaves one-third of the known nuclear enrichment centrifuges in place and requires them to ship 98% of their known plutonium out of the country.  It has an inspection regimen… that allows for inspections of known nuclear sites with twenty-four days’ notice.  But what about the sites they haven’t admitted to, the centrifuges that the West hasn’t already found and the plutonium that we don’t already know about?  Exactly.  Who knows?  Here’s some of what we do know:

  • National Security Adviser Susan Rice admitted to Wolf Blizter of CNN that Iran could use some of that $150 billion to fund military and terrorist activities.
  • President Obama admitted that Iran funds Hizballah and Hamas/Palestinian-Gaza which both point missiles at U. S. ally Israel. Gaza has launched thousands of missiles from Palestinian neighborhoods into Israeli cities.
  • Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that Iran is the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism.
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, General Martin Dempsey, stated that his military advice to the President was to keep the sanctions against Iran in place as long as possible.
  • The UN’s nuclear watchdog agency, IAEA, says that Iran lies and blocks inspectors’ access to nuclear sites.

So, why would we trust Iran to keep to the terms of the deal?  Why would we make a deal that could allow them to spend more money on terrorism?  I don’t know.  It’s a terrible deal for Israel and a terrible deal for US national security. But if we have any chance of scuttling this deal before the UN Security Council makes it a Security Council Resolution we all need to contact our Senators now and tell them to stop it.  Senate.gov has email contacts for all U.S. Senators.

Thank you for reading. These opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employers, the Texas National Guard, or the DoD.

sources:

http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2015/07/15/does-the-deal-restrict-irans-ability-to-buy-weapons/

http://news.yahoo.com/obama-says-israel-legitimate-concerns-iran-175703668.html

http://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2015/07/html

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/07/29/video-joint-chiefs-of-staff-chariman-reveals-his-military-advice-on-iran-deal-was-ignored-by-obama-admin/

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/08/2014823102238354575.html

 

 

 

Marriages and the Sacred (pt 2)

Gay-marriage is now settled law. How did we get here?  Pastors, Priests, Rabbis, Imams, Minsters, Rebbes, Bishops, Cardinals and other leaders of our various sacred institutions didn’t stand up, lock arms and declare to the world that marriage is a sacrament, is an inherently religious and sacred covenant to be defined by our various sacred orders, according to how these orders understand their sacred writings, traditions, teachings and doctrines. 

This issue is probably going to merit many pieces on my blog, like Ferguson did last year. For now here are some more thoughts. 

Marriage is a sacred institution; secular courts and legislatures have no business imposing themselves in it.  

If the Southern Baptist Convention and Orthodox Judaism want to define marriage as one man, on woman, no one should stop them. If the Unitarian Universalists, the Presbyterian Church USA, or Reform Judaism want to have a different definition, no one should stop that either.

My friends in the LGBT community and their straight supporters have argued gay-marriage to me on basis of rights of inheritance, next-of-kin, visitation in hospitals, pension benefits, health plans and a host of other inherently secular concerns. Those problems could all be solved with powers of attorney or a secular union. Marriage, as a sacred institution is not primarily concerned with such matters. Marriage is about a man and a woman consecrating their exclusive relationship in the sight of the Divine. Our various sacred leaders should have looked away from their book sales numbers, television ratings, weekly tithe receipts — and figuring out how to stand up in the face of a national health care law demanding they violate the tenets of their faiths — long enough to wrest marriage back into the realm of the sacred. If the state, or county wants to have a secular union to merge property and finances and establish next of kin, etc; let them do that. Those are secular matters that our sacred leaders equally have no say in.

And I say this as a divorced father. I will continue to fellowship and attend worship in congregations that understand marriage as one man/ on woman. To be remarried to a woman, I would gladly forgo a synagogue wedding if that’s what the rabbis decided. Preserving the institution of marriage is bigger than my personal desires, emotional needs and quest for dignity.
And these are my own views not necessarily shared by the National Guard, Dept of the Army or DoD.

Freedom of conscience and Federal Power (pt 2) — Marriage, the Divine and History

Since the horrific shootings in a Charleston, SC, church on Wednesday 17 Jun 2015, I looked forward to my next opportunity to write for you.  I wanted to speak to the life of Pastor (and State Senator) Clementa Pinckney and his eight parishioners whom a crazed, racist, lone-wolf, lunatic gunned down in a fit of rage and insanity.  I wanted to write about the amazing and transforming Christian love and forgiveness that led families to forgive the man who murdered their mothers, grandmothers, fathers, brothers, sisters –even before his first court appearance.  I wanted to write about Christian love and forgiveness that brought  the City of Charleston together in unity the wake of a tragedy instead of descending into riots, looting and arson.  And I intend to give this amazing demonstration of Christian love and American spirit more than a mere paragraph.

I also want to write about trade treaties, rule of law, a European space probe that came back online and Space-Ex landing a rocket on a barge. But the Supreme Court of the USA (SCOTUS) has preempted my writing plans with its decision on gay marriage.

I wrote briefly on Facebook yesterday — in the most civil flame-war I ever participated in — about the fallacy of creating rights out of whole cloth in a Judicial ruling.  If a court creates a right, another court can take it way.  But this is about far more than mere democratic process and preservation of individual rights.  This is about far more than whether or not this right, newly created by five Justices, will trump the rights given to us by Nature and Nature’s God: freedom of speech, freedom conscience, freedom of association, freedom of assembly and above all freedom of religion.  Religion is far more than worship for one hour a week and occasional rites, ceremonies and holidays.  Religion is way of life.  Religion is individuals, families and voluntary communities coming together to understand and serve the Divine, their fellowman and fellow-woman, and themselves. Religion is a quest to understand the Divine, the Universe, each other, ourselves and our place with respect the former.  In American’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence, we acknowledged the Creator, Nature’s God, the Supreme Being as the Supreme Judge of the world.  And now five Justices have ripped marriage away from the sacred and said they know better, they will define.

Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, references Cicero, Confucius and philosophers and sages from numerous cultures and throughout history extolling the virtues of marriage.  Even the petitioners acknowledge that prior to 2001, no human society had included same-sex relationships in its definition of marriage.  Chief Justice Roberts, in his dissent, writes that traditional — heterosexual — marriage “formed the basis of society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs.” For Christianity and Judaism, Genesis 2:24 defines marriage as “a man shall cling to his wife, and the two shall become one….” An act or a way of doing something only becomes tradition because it works effectively to accomplish its intended purpose.  No one tries something, has it blow up in the face and says, “Let me do that again exactly them same way.”  Heterosexual marriage became traditional and sacred across all these societies throughout human history because it was an effective way to procreate, raise children and pass on the values and virtues of society, not by some white-supremacist, cis-gendered, prehistoric desire to exclude two percent of the population from the way the other 98% organized itself.  Heterosexual marriage isn’t just an American thing, or Christian thing, or a Jewish thing.  It isn’t something to be discarded into the memory hole like the battle flag of General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia (commonly known as the Confederate Flag).  Likewise opposition to same-sex marriage doesn’t have to be based on one religious tradition, or even on religion.  Same-sex marriage flies in the face of six thousand years of recorded human history.

SCOTUS doesn’t always get it right.  The Thirteenth Amendment overturned the Dred Scott decision (citizenship denied to former slaves) and Brown v. Board overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson (separate but equal).

If same-sex marriage is about the gay community leaving behind adolescent promiscuity and embracing monogamy, fidelity, faith, and responsibility, then it could be a good thing.  If instead, it is an attempt sanctify promiscuity, it could all end in tears.

The facts are facts, opinions are mine and not necessarily shared by my employers.

Thank you for taking time to read my thoughts on these matters. It’s a lot of complex issues shrouded in layers of agenda and deeply rooted beliefs. Tell us how you feel about the legal or moral issues here, in the comments below. If you like what you read and you want to read me regularly, click the follow button or take another moment to scroll back thru my other posts. And don’t forget to bring ten of your friends back with you.

Blaming the Victims or the Shooters?

On Sunday, 3 May 2015, Pamela Geller and her organization Stop Islamization of America/ American Freedom Defense Initiative hosted a ‘Cartooning the Prophet Muhammed’ event in Garland, Texas.  They paid $10,000 for extra security. Two Muslim men from Arizona wearing body armor and carrying automatic weapons arrived and began shooting shortly before 7pm Central Time.  The shooters wounded a retired police officer and an off-duty police officer returned fire, killing the assailants:  Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi.

A Phoenix area Islamic leader confirmed that both Simpson and Soofi had attended his mosque regularly until recently.  Simpson had been investigated by the FBI in 2010 on terrorism charges.  Soofi was recently charged with marijuana use and possession in the Phoenix area.  North Texas Imams have condemned the attack.

Perhaps Ms Geller was trying to create an American “Je Suis Charlie” moment.  She and her recent “Draw Muhammed” event have been smeared in the Daily Beast and the New York Times.  Searching Ms Geller’s name in Breitbart.com reveals numerous counter-articles responding to the blaming of the victim.  Searching her name in The Blaze.com showed numerous defenses of free speech. Looking her up in Google showed a list of articles from across the political spectrum both supporting and decrying Ms. Geller and her recent event.

Those of you have read my blog for a while, will note that I have a habit of writing about Judaism and Christianity together at holy days.  I’m a Messianic Jew, so that’s how I understand the Divine.  If an event to draw cartoons of Moses and Elijah or Jesus of Nazareth and the Apostle Paul had been held I would be mildly offended.  I’m mildly offended that she chose to hold a cartooning Muhammed event as her way of expressing her views.  But she has the right to do this in America.  And all those who attended had the right to draw and present their cartoons and expect that it would not be marred with violence.

Remember the Catholic riots when an artist funded by U. S. government grant put a Crucifix on display in a jar of his own urine?  The piece was called Pi$$ Christ and the Cardinal Archbishop of New York hosted a rally to burn down the museum where it was exhibited.  None of that sounds familiar does it?  Because it never happened.

Remember when the Mormons rioted and destoryed Broadway theaters in New York City and shot several dancers, singers and musical producers in response to the award-winning musical “The Book of Mormon?” No?  That never happened either.

Remember the Evangelical picket lines in front movie theaters across the country during the exhibiting of the film ‘Last Temptation of Christ?’  Remember how they sang and prayed and chanted and marched in front of movie-houses?  No?  Look it up.  That happened.  I think the protests got more coverage than the film did.

As Bill Maher said in response to the notion that those who provoke Muslims are ultimately to blame for Muslim violence: “This assumes that we just have to accept that Muslims are unable to control themselves the way we would ask everyone else in the world. To me that’s bigotry. That’s the soft bigotry of low expectations.”  The moderate Muslims who have grown up and realized that not everyone understands the Divine the same way they do, need to wrest control of their religion back from those who use cartoons as an excuse for violence.

Some pundits have likened the “Draw Muhammed” contest to shouting fire in a crowded, darkened theater and suggested that such speech should not fall under constitutionally protection of the First Amendment.  I agree with Bill Maher, this line of reasoning requires the assumption that the violent barbarians (who happen to be Muslim in this case) who can’t abide differences of opinion are some how in the right.  If burning the American Flag is protected speech, if the Pi$$ Christ piece was protected, then this cartoon contest must also be protected.  It is unpopular political speech and unpopular religious speech and unpopular speech in general that must be most protected.  Popular speech will need no protection.  The national government isn’t here to favor one over another, or push down the historical majority so that others can have their time in the sun.  The national government is here to protect the fundamental human rights — given by our Creator, by Nature and Nature’s God, by the Divine — of all citizens.

Thank you all for taking a moment to read my thoughts on this recent tragic event.  If you have thoughts or stories of your own, feel free to share them in the comments.  These opinions, unless otherwise quoted, are my own and not necessarily those of my employers.

If you like what you read and you want to read more, please check out some of my other posts (linked at the bottom).  If you want to read me regularly, click the follow button and bring back ten of your friends.

Sources

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20150503-police-men-killed-in-garland-shooting-had-assault-rifles-body-armor.ece

http://www.theblaze.com/news/garland-attack/

http://www.breitbart.com/?s=pamela+geller+

https://www.google.com/#q=pamela%20geller

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/05/09/bill-maher-on-draw-muhammad-contest-this-is-america-do-we-not-have-the-right-to-draw-whatever-we-want/

Freedom of Conscience and Federal Power

There has been much consternation in the news recently regarding a law in Indiana that requires the government to demonstrate compelling interest before forcing citizens or business to violate their deeply held and sincerely followed religious beliefs.  The law actually provides the following:

the government can’t “substantially burden” any religious practice unless it can prove that doing so

  1. “is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
  2.   is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”

Gay and marriage equality activists have decried this law as squarely targeting them with open season discrimination. On the other hand Wiccans have asserted that the law would allow them to perform moonlit, clothing-optional rituals on the steps of the state capitol. And some Muslims have vowed to use this law to rule Indiana with Sharia. I think all these claims are a bit outlandish. I do think such a law would protect a Muslim photographer from being forced to take pictures of a Jewish wedding or protect a Jewish kosher deli from being forced to cater pork for city government luncheon. It also might keep a gay printshop owner from being forced to print signs and placards for the Westboro Baptist Church if they decided to do a protest in Indiana. Unless the gay printshop owner is an atheist. But we’ll come back to atheists.

The Constitution and Federal Laws require any level of government to show compelling cause, and if no crime is involved, provide fair compensation, before seizing the property of a citizen or business. Isn’t forcing people to violate their conscience an even more intimate breach than seizing their property?

Freedom of Religion is protected in the Bill of Rights along with freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and freedom of the press and many other rights. The Founders and Framers acknowledged that these rights come from our Creator, from Nature and Nature’s God.

Federal Courts have long interpreted many of these rights (freedom of speech, religion and assembly) together as freedom of conscience. I understand that at present it’s all the rage to bash Christians as intolerant for following their religious convictions regarding the life of unborn children and their definition of marriage. Well, some Christians, anyway. Evangelicals, and Southern Baptists and other more conservative denominations. There are also those who have prayed in support of Doctors who perform abortions as well as denominations that have redefined marriage to include gays and lesbians.

Are we as a society, now prepared to decide to bring the full force of government down on the heads of Christians who refuse to cater gay weddings…? Okay, maybe just fines and hearings and other regulatory processes. We don’t really want SWAT teams arresting Pastors who won’t marry gays.  Do we?

First, I think we need to acknowledge that gay marriage is a relatively new phenomenon in American society. The reputation of gay men in the 70s and 80s was anything but committed monogamous marriage.  Excessive promiscuity was the order of the day, at least in the perception of the popular zeitgeist. I don’t recall hearing discussion of gay marriage until about 8 or 9 years ago, maybe less.

As such, I submit to you that perhaps, we need more time for a national conversation, before we start labeling people as hate mongers and banish them from polite society. Mozilla and the Atlanta city council can hire and fire whomever they want to be CEO or Commissioner of the Fire and Rescue Service. But neither the fired Mozilla CEO, or the deposed Fire Chief ever actually discriminated against gay employees or condoned a work environment hostile to them. Yet, they were each forced out of their jobs for not embracing the gay community with sufficient zeal.  Again, I suggest that it’s a bit premature for such banishment.

Some pundits and activists compare the struggle for gay rights with the struggle for Black/ African-American civil rights. When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr rose to the forefront of the civil rights movement with the marches in Washington, DC and Selma, AL, approximately 100 years had passed since the Emancipation Proclamation. It was time for civil rights laws and government force to allow all citizens to live in the communities they could afford and to work in jobs for which they were qualified. Certain communities hadn’t heard the message in the prior decade when President Eisenhower Federalized the Arkansas National Guard and used Federal troops in integrate Central High School in Little Rock, AR. The point is nearly a century had elapsed since slavery was outlawed. There had been time for a national conversation. And the results weren’t acceptable. Now, I also want to note that some African-American opinion leaders do not agree to the comparison of the struggle for gay rights to the struggle for Black civil rights.

I’m not saying that a century is the acceptable time for a national conversation. But neither is less than a decade. Some denominations of Christianity and some Jewish sects already have gay bishops and lesbians in leadership. Some Churches have redefined marriage. Others are holding on to more traditional ways. Didn’t many say during the George W. Bush administration that dissent and debate we not only tolerable, but preferable? And now these same voices are the ones condemning Christians and celebrating the sacking of the Mozilla CEO and the Atlanta Fire Chief. Which is it? Do we want a national conversation or do we want everyone walking in lockstep to beat of the government drummer?

If a gay couple wants to marry in a church, there are many churches that will welcome them. There are many florists, photographers, caterers, etc who would gladly provide their services. Why are we rushing to judgment against family owned pizzerias with only one store? If it was a publicly traded company like Pizza Hut (part of Pepsi), that’s one thing, but this is one family owned store. What happens to freedom of thought, to freedom of religion, to freedom of conscience if we now bring in government force thru regulation, taxation, or troops to decree that all businesses and all churches must serve the customers and preach the sermons decreed by the government? What power does the individual then have against the almighty Federal Government?

And while I’m at it. The State Department is about to conclude a grand alliance with Iran (or at least a nuclear weapons treaty).  Iran is a Muslim country that executes gays and won’t allow women to be educated or seen in public wearing any fashions more modern than the 7th century.  Where is the outrage against a treaty legitimizing Iran? No one in Indiana is advocating stoning gays to death or hanging them.

I think more freedom here in America is the answer. Not more government force. I submit to you all that the Episcopalian Church is model we could all follow. A few years ago, the Episcopalian Church consecrated a gay bishop. Some congregations liked the idea, others didn’t. Those that didn’t like the idea of a gay bishop quietly withdrew from the Episcopal Church and realigned with the Anglican Communion. Those individuals in congregations that disagreed with the congregation decision found another congregation to attend. No government force, or regulation or fines required. Civilized people, with their freedom of association, freedom of travel and freedom of speech, worked it out among themselves.

And here’s an idea regarding gay marriage and Christianity. You can take one verse or one phrase out of context and issue a blanket condemnation of homosexuals. But if you look at the verses and phrases often cited in context of the entire passage, any condemnation of homosexuality the Apostle Paul made, he wrote in context of also condemning drunkenness, wife-swapping and rampant promiscuity. Perhaps it is in context of such excesses that don’t belong in polite society, whether secular or religious, that the condemnation of homosexuality should be understood. If the male gay community wants to leave behind adolescent promiscuity and grow up into monogamy, perhaps the religious community could welcome them into monogamy. If, on the other hand, the male gay community is trying to bring promiscuity into marriage, then the Councils of Bishops, Rabbinical Councils and senior Muslim clerics should stand up assert that marriage is a sacred institution and they will define it as leaders of their religions; government get out of our sacraments. Either way, perhaps promiscuity is the greater vice and monogamy the greater virtue.

And here’s another idea regarding freedom of conscience. These Religious freedom restoration laws that have been much trumpeted, if properly constructed to protect the rights of all at the expense of the rights of none, can be a good thing. Anything that protects the rights of the individual against the power of an angry mob or an overreaching government is a good thing. However, they may not go far enough. Now that Hizbollah and other Iranian militant front groups are being removed from the Terrorist watch list, they can conduct fund-raising openly. Suppose one of these militant groups, which still funds suicide bombers blowing up Hindus in India and provides rockets launched at children and civilians in Israel, wants to hire Penn Gillette as entertainment for a fundraiser. Penn Gillette is a well known atheist. But he’s also well known for his consistently applied moral principles. Should the Islamic militant group be able to sue Penn Gillette for discrimination and compel him to perform his magic act at their fundraiser? Penn Gillette isn’t a member of any organized religion, so he can’t claim protection under a religious freedom law. Hizba’allah isn’t on the Terrorist watch list any longer, so he can’t refuse on those grounds either. Perhaps we need to expand these freedom of religion laws to include all freedom of conscience. Doesn’t anyone deserve to follow their deeply held and sincerely followed moral principles whether secular or sacred.

I think the issue here is where we want government force applied to coerce one segment of the population to do or believe what another segment of the population wants. I don’t think we want that anywhere. We want government to protect life, liberty and property. We do not want government in our bedrooms at all, or photography labs or kitchens (except to enforce local health and safety regulations). The Constitution was written to tell the government what it cannot do; not to tell people what they must and cannot do.

Thank you all for taking a moment to read this.  Okay, two moments; it was one of my longer posts.  I hope you’re all a little bit angry and also a little bit pleased, but mostly I hope that you’re prompted to think about the consequences of laws like this and the motives of supporters and opponents.  Do we really want to empower government over freedom of conscience?  Sound off in the comments below.

If you liked what you read, come back and read me again; click the follow button and bring back ten of your friends with you.

The facts are the facts; the opinions are my own and not necessarily those of my employers.

Sources:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/04/wiccans-say-indiana-religious-freedom-law-opens-the-door-to-polygamy-nude-rituals-at-the-capitol/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/03/next-we-muslims-bring-sharia-to-indiana.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/01/us/religious-freedom-restoration-act-arkansas-indiana.html?_r=0

http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2012/04/19/planned-parenthoods-abortion-prayer/10646

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/17/us/presbyterian-church-gay-marriage/