Monday, June 05, 2006


Sowing the Wind

Saturday was a sad day in the annals of the Presidency of the United States. The President embraced discrimination on the basis of identity. He threw his support to those who would limit human rights based on the accidents of birth and genetics.

The president saddened those of us who have faith in the intrinsic worth of human beings. He embraced a discriminatory constitutional amendment; discriminatory based on identity. But we believe morals and ethics concern action, not identity. What people do concerns us, not the endowment of DNA given to them by the creator.

Murder is wrong, regardless of the identities of the perpetrator and victim. It would be wrong to murder a black man, a homosexual, a mother, a Hutu, a Tutsi, a Serb, a Muslim, an Iranian, a Jew, a Christian, an Arab, a politician, or whomever, because it is the act of murder that is wrong, not the identity. And murder is wrong because it harms another human being.

People say attraction to members of the same sex is a choice; one supposes they would say they choose to be attracted to members of the opposite sex. As if, over coffee, one suddenly says to oneself, "I think I'll date only people of this or that sex." Evidence, as well as simple common sense, shows that homosexuality is no more a choice than blue eyes, red hair or brown skin. Homosexuals are not self-made; they are born the way they are. Believers in a just and merciful god must have faith that the choice was His, not ours.

God challenges us to deal with each other in justice and brotherhood. He requires that we have faith in Him, and through our faith, we learn to live together in community. God does not preach or teach hatred, fear, disgust, loathing or discrimination.

In the United States, we face many real and significant issues. Two wars occupy our troops, with daily violence in Iraq. And Iran pursues nuclear ambitions virtually unchecked, knowing the world's only superpower is stretched far to thin to challenge them on the battlefield. The Chinese own more and more of our debts. Decades of poor energy policy leaves us now highly dependant upon our enemies. Decades of barbaric, third world healthcare financing allowed medical costs to accelerate at double and triple the rate of inflation, so that now a cancer diagnosis often means bankruptcy. More and more citizens of the United States slide over the line into poverty every year, even as state governments slash public aid budgets. The looming debts of the United States government threaten to ruin prosperity for ourselves and future generations.

The president rightly identified the millions of undocumented people in the United States as a priority, and charted a wise policy. A moderate, reasoned policy opposed by his own base.

Now he announces this "protection of marriage" amendment. He proclaims the ancient, malleable institution of marriage in peril, and plans to freeze the form of marriage into a 1950's mold. All in the name of his god.

Mr. President, with all due respect, how can you take seriously the idea that the eternal institution of marriage, ordained by god, could possibly be threatened by mere human activity? How can you reconcile your belief that heterosexual serial monogamy is the only form of marriage approved of by god with the actual polygamous marriages blessed by god in scripture?

Perhaps the term "serial monogamy" needs some explanation. It means marriage of multiple male and female partners, but only in succession, one partner at any given time. (It could also be called "serial polygamy.") It means the actual form of marriage, as practiced in the United States, does not resemble the one-man, one-wife model this amendment is meant to protect.

Mr. President, how, exactly, are you threatened if two men pledge their loyalty to each other? Will this shorten your life by even one hour? Will it decrease the pleasure of your next meal? Will it cost your children more to drive to work? Will it place a young soldier in harm's way halfway around the world?

Mr. President, precisely how is society damaged if two women pledge an exclusive commitment, "forsaking all others?" Will the cost of educating our children increase? Will the jails fill up with felons convicted on petty drug charges? Will the poor receive even less than they get now? Will taxes for the wealthy go up? Will undocumented homosexuals pour over our borders, shouting "Casemosnos!"

Mr. President, I have friends who choose to unite and raise families, adopting children that would otherwise be raised in foster care or orphanages. Are these children harmed by being given loving homes? Or would they be harmed by an amendment outlawing the only homes they've ever known?

Mr. President, just how many wives did Abraham, David or Solomon have? Do you think god blessed their unions?

What do you think Paul meant when he wrote, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)? Do you think he meant to exclude all people who are not white, middle-class heterosexuals?

Mr. President, even your friends are saying you take this stand, not on principle, but for mere political gain. By doing so, you again align yourself with people who cannot compromise. You again support the narrow, exclusive, views of a minority of Americans. You again champion the cause of extreme Christianists. If you help elect and re-elect these people, you will again face paralysis whenever you attempt to cajole moderation and reason from the Congress. These are the same people who oppose you on immigration in the House of Representatives. You do yourself no good by currying their favor. They are not interested in governance, only power and their own theocratic agendas.

Alas, reason that does not seek power gets no power. The only course left is to beg.

Therefore, Mr. President, I beg you; the people of the United Sates implore you, forget your concern with imaginary threats and petty political machinations. Pay attention to what's truly important. You have only a short time left in office - use your time wisely. Further the ends of human dignity and uphold the rights of individuals instead of increasing the power of the executive. Answer the cries for help from the most vulnerable of our own people, instead of the imaginary oppression felt by the rich. Steep yourself in reality; do not surround yourself with people who say only what you most want to hear.

Pursue justice, not party favor.

Seek peace, not war.

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