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Posts Tagged ‘civil rights’

treeinfog_21This topic has been on my mind a lot lately. Perhaps because of all the media coverage of the California Proposition 8 it stirred up a lot of feelings I have – not only on gay marriage, but also abortion. In many ways the two are similar in that it involves some people trying to enforce their sense of morality onto others.

I’m not gay, but I have known many gay people. Some of the best people I’ve ever known are gay.

When I was much younger, and lived in the NYC area, I, like many professional women in my area, used to hang out in this one particular gay bar. After work, like many men, we’d go for a drink or two to unwind after a hard day at work and there we could enjoy the company of men who were not spitting out lines to get you in the sack, but were intelligent conversationalists. A gay man’s perspective on a lot of issues is the best of both worlds – male and female, and they have a sensitivity to the feelings of others you don’t find in macho man. They were always great listeners. In fact, looking back, I regret that I lost touch with my best “girlfriend” Bill after I got married.

The issue of gay marriage is a lot like the issue of pro-choice. Perhaps gay marriage is the new political twist on the pro-choice, right to life debate.

About a year ago, as I was driving back to North Carolina for Thanksgiving, my mind wandered to a variety of things during the 10 hour trip. As I passed each billboard along I-95, I fantasized about having enough money to create an advertising campaign to promote a business venture I was thinking of using the copious number of signs you’re faced with along that route. As I was driving through the heart of Dixie – Georgia, South Carolina, with all the little Jesus saves and other religious signs along the way, it occurred to me that billboards could be used to put out some powerful messages.

On a ten hour trip, a mind can wander to many different things. Why it turned to pro-choice, I don’t really know. Maybe all the little Jesus saves signs were pissing me off. I was driving through “far right” country, and of course they are the ones who want to force their views of just about everything onto everyone else.

A flash of inspiration, revelation if you will – came over me. God is pro-choice, that’s why he gave us free will!

The gift of free will means He gives us the right to make our own choices – for better or worse – in our own lives. If the choices we make are unacceptable to Him, then that is an issue that is between the individual and his Creator. Not between an individual and another person or group of people.

“Do not judge, lest ye be judged” is a principle that has guided me through life along with the golden rule. In fact, I can’t see how a person can truly live by the golden rule if he or she does render judgment onto another. In judgment, our hearts are not pure.

That doesn’t mean that another person’s choices are right for you. If your own personal opinion about abortion or homosexuality is that it’s not right for you based on any principle you have – (religious or otherwise) – then that’s OK. But when you believe that you must stamp out the God given gift of free will to other people, you are in fact depriving others of that same gift.

I respect the Right to Life. However, I think that until a baby is actually born, until it takes its first breath of life, its fate will always remain with that of the mother. How many pregnancies naturally terminate in miscarriages? How many pregnancies result in a still birth, where the baby dies while in the womb? No one can say – with true certainty, until the actual birth of a baby, that any pregnancy will result in a new life.

How many babies have been born to mothers who just don’t want them? How many babies have we heard about that were abused and died at the hands of these “caretakers”? If a woman will not give up her baby at birth, and also doesn’t want the burden of motherhood – for whatever reason, then let her make her own choice. Let her use the gift of free will to determine what she believes is the right choice for her. Whether you believe it is right or not should have nothing to do with her own personal decision.

That brings me to the Gay Marriage debate. I think this is an issue, much like the abortion issue, where some want to force government to intervene in what is primarily a personal decision which is quagmired within a religious issue. Seeing that the forefathers of our system of government set it up to have a division of church and state, I see this issue as government overstepping into the personal rights of others.

Marriage is traditionally between a man and a woman. I’m not sure when it was required to have an “official” marriage license, but I do know that marriages in ancient history were sanctioned by a religious ceremony – not by a government. In God’s eyes, an “official” marriage license is not required. Only the government and divorce lawyers need that.

I suppose the need of government to have some legal verification that two people were actually married was so that when one partner died, or the two decided to part, that an equitable division of property could be litigated. A “legal” marriage also allows one partner to have a voice in difficult decisions when the other partner needs medical care and is unable to make decisions for themselves. Who else would you want making decisions for you except a person who you love and who loves you?

I know that many gay people are opposed to “civil union”. However, that is exactly what a “legal” marriage is. A legal partnership. Nothing more in the eyes of the law. It’s two people who enter this partnership because they love and cherish the other. They want to share all they have together – til death do they part. (Or until they decide they don’t want to be married anymore.)

While it’s true, that legally, marriage is nothing more than a partnership, the premise of “marriage” denotes a partnership that transcends a legal document. The love between two people who love and care for and about each other does transcend a simple document. Marriage does imply a sacredness of passionate devotion between two people. I think that people who need a special ceremony to seal this element of marriage seek this as a blessing. I don’t see any problem with doing this with or without a “legal” document. However, the legal rights two people wish to give each other still needs to be recognized by the government.

While people opposed to gay marriage may revel in denying others this legal right, it will not prevent two people – of any race or creed – of loving and being devoted to each other. It will not stop them of having wedding ceremonies where they confess their love for each other. The only thing they do is deny these people of the civil rights they deserve as citizens. Rights that these opponents have decided – because of their religious belief – that only a man and a woman can share.

Like abortion, who you marry is a personal decision and should not be “governed”. If you feel that God’s gift of free will is given freely to everyone, then – without judgment – you should feel compelled to live and let live. Do what your own conscious guides you – personally – to do, and don’t condemn others when their choices differ from yours.

If love for one another – for all mankind – is our highest principle, then let us accept with joy and without judgment – those who wish to honor the sanctity of two people who desire to declare their love and care for each other.

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It’s the day after the election and I’m still addicted to the news coverage of the election. I’ve watched practically non-stop since the Democratic Convention, which was the first time I really saw him as a candidate.

I am a white female in my mid fifties. My story includes the fact that my view of the world includes growing up seeing the beginning of the civil rights movement. Being from the south, I remember the civil rights marches in Greensboro, NC and Danville, VA. I have always been thankful that my family, particularly my grandfather, taught me that all men are equal and that that is how we treat others – no matter the color of their skin. Equality in how we treat others was one of the most important lessons I grew up with. That was a very radical stance back in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

In 1967, the first black student was placed in our school. We shared class together, and it was fortunate that her father was a brick layer that my contractor father worked with regularly. My Dad had a great respect for her father, and we became friends. This, of course was an unpopular position. We ate alone together in the cafeteria as no one would have anything to do with a “black” person. It was as if she – and I by association – had some incurable plague. I remember kids, sitting in class, throwing spit balls at her. As we progressed to high school, again we were caught up in civil rights divisions and confrontations at school.

Yesterdays victory for Obama is a major turning point in our American evolution.

While I appreciate the historical value of this event, the fact that Obama is black had nothing to do my decision to vote for him. In some ways it is a shallow commentary on the news today, as the fact that he is black had nothing to do with the reasons I voted for him. It is merely a side note.

What appealed to me was his education, and how he achieved it. I was attracted to the hope that we could have a President who could articulate thought, quite elegantly. One of my major disappointments with George W. Bush was how embarrassingly stupid he appeared when trying to communicate – anything! He was the American Joke who was also our selected self-serving leader. To me, he lowered our dignity as Americans and I think I lot of people felt that way. Bush never represented what I love about being an American, our ideals of freedom and justice. His position on human rights is appalling and does not represent the ideals of the American I love.

My vote for Obama was a vote for us to return to having a chief representative of our government who not only garners our confidence in ourselves as Americans, but also in the office of President. To go even further, having Obama in office will now promote a new confidence in America that has erroded with each passing year of the Bush administration.

I also voted for him because, contrary to the McCain campaign, he has the right experience and the motivation to govern. Over the past 8 years, I’ve never felt our government reflected We The People – just we the big oil companies. I never felt connected to the Bush administration in any way, and felt he was placed in his presidency to do the bidding of those hungry for power and used this position to fuel the greed and profits for the top 5%. In every way he trampled on our dignity and misrepresented the goodness of Americans to the world. The plight of the remaining 95% was never more than an afterthought to his own personal agenda.

I voted for Obama because he knows that it is the 95% of us that are the backbone of our country. His philosophy that it is when we all have the opportunity to live abundantly, that the top 5% will also prosper. I’ve never understood the “tickle down” approach. How can any company do well if no one can afford to buy its product or service?

I also saw in Obama a steadiness in his reasoning process. If we’ve learned nothing else from the Bush administration, it is that anyone can be President – even idiots. We’ve also learned just how wrong that can be without someone who has the intelligence to analyze the problems and come to thoughtful solutions that are in the best interest of all.

None of these abilities has anything to do with being black. These are abilities that many people all over the world possess and any person who ran for president with them would have gained my vote. I guess I’m color blind. Seeing the true essence of a person really is far more important.

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