Monday, June 23, 2008

So, How Hot Was It?

So, when I go to work Friday morning, the GINORMOUS four o'clocks in the back yard are head high, the HUGE mounds of nasturtiums are billowing about in massive piles, the hardy lavender are fluffy and huge and waving their purple blooms about, even the hardy, drought resistant rock roses and mallows were happily facing the day.

When I got home, the backyard (and a lot of the front yard) looked like someone had come through with a flame thrower. The nasturtiums were flattened, a lot of the four o' clocks were bent over and hanging down, the leaves on the mallows were fried to a crist. In short, the place looked like it had been hit by a blast furnace.

The paper the next day noted that Los Osos, my beloved, cool, ocean-breeze-washed Bangladesh by the Bay had been 110'


How did you all fare, dear and gentle readers?

I Do, I Do, You Too, Part Deux

In the June 19th Bay News ( , the pastor of the Los Osos Christian Fellowship, Mr. Randy Nash, had a letter to the editor responding to my previous column, "I do, I Do, You Too, Part II." You can read his letter on the link above, page 8,and my original column June 6 posted below)

What makes Mr. Nash's letter so interesting is that his letter illustrates one of the most difficult aspects of this whole "marriage" discussion -- the near impossibility of many people to put down the scrim they're viewing the world through in order to consider that maybe, just maybe, there might be another reality for other people existing out there.

In my column, I asked the reader to put aside " . . ALL cultural, traditional . . God, Bible . . . references . . ." and ask, "What, really is the purpose/point of marriage." That question goes to the heart of the constitutional initiative people are going to be voting on and to the heart of the recent California Supreme Court ruling on equal rights for gay people vis a vis a "marriage" license.

Sadly, Pastor Nash was either unwilling to do that and instead he chose to "disregard Ann's rule that we "put aside religious references & etc. and so proceeded to outline HIS religious beliefs vis a vis HIS religions definition and purpose for "marriage."

Which is all well and good, but NOT the point of my column or even the point of the Supreme Court's ruling.

Like ALL of us, Pastor Nash views HIS world through HIS personal scrim, as well as viewing HIS world through HIS religious beliefs. What has gone missing from his argument is this: What about people who do not share HIS particular religious beliefs? Suppose they have different religious beliefs? Or no religious beliefs?

Indeed, a few days after Pastor Nash's letter, the L.A. Times ran an interesting article noting that the recent Supreme Court ruling has made clear that even when discussing "Christian" beliefs, (as in, "this is a Christian nation") there is no monolithic system, no unified field. The reality is that different denominations disagree on gay marriage, even within their own general religious traditions. So to say that "christianity" does not approve of gay marriage would be incorrect. Some "christian" and Jewish demoninations bless gay unions, sanctify them and are, even now, conducting wedding ceremonies for members of their congregations who want to get married. Others don't.

So back we go to my original request of the reader: Put aside "religious" and "traditional" and "cultural" reasons and ask -- in a Secular, democratic, civil, pluralistic society, one that prides itself of offering equality under the law to all its citizens, EXACTLY WHAT IS "marriage" supposed to do and be?

Answering that, may allow a clearer dialogue about whether we truly do believe in equal rights for all citizens, or whether we want to set up classes of people based on some mututally agreed-up secular reasoning (best interest of the state, some practical, civil reason, etc.) that would give full rights and benefits and responsibilities to some but not to others, and so forth.

Answerring that also may allow a clearer dialogue and understanding about the role a secular government does and should play in various personal and family arrangements in they way we live our lives nowadays. And maybe a clearer dialogue about the ways a secular government should NOT be involved in personal lives. And just how tangled up with religioun our "separation of church and state" government really is.

In a Christian Theocracy, Pastor Nash's explanation of "marriage" might well be the Official Dogma and the Law Of The Land (or may not be, depending on which Christian denomination held power). But in a secular democracy, where the separation of church and state is designed not only for the best interests of the citizens but also the protection of both church AND citizens, his definition doesn't suffice.

So the dialogue needs to continue and the question -- what IS marrige anyway -- still needs to be asked. And answered somewhere down the line.

Also, it should be noted, a bit of irony in Pastor Nash's letter. He closes with this: "It is in heterosexual married couples that God has entrusted the very running and management of the earth. 'WhatGod has joined together, let no man put asunder.'"

No mention of the . . . what? . . . 50% divorce rate among heterosexual couples in the U.S. Clearly, the definition of "holy matrimony" needs a bit of work here.


Steven said...

I don't think government should be in the marriage business at all... and that includes between a man and a woman.

Marriage should be between you and your church... period. And church issued marriage licenses should not be recognized by the government as anything other than a religious document, like baptism, bar mitzvah, communion, etc.

If you want legal rights, benefits and responsibilities as a couple then states can issue "civil union" licenses.

Civil Unions should be available to anyone... many countries already recognize civil unions among opposite sex couples (Canada, Denmark, England, New Zealand and Uruguay for example)... and many recognize them between same-sex couples (Andorra, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,
Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Uruguay).

Seriously folks... what are you really afraid of here?? How does gay marriage affect you, personally? How are you personally harmed if a couple of fags get married... or "civil unioned"??

Let me help you... you aren't!!!

Ron said...

Every time -- every time -- I see news footage of a same sex marriage, I'm always struck by how overjoyed the participants are. There's so much love, and so many GINORMOUS smiles involved.

Imagine if our Declaration of Independence included this line, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for heterosexual people."

That'd get awkward.

Ann wrote:

"... one of the most difficult aspects of this whole "marriage" discussion -- the near impossibility of many people to put down the scrim they're viewing the world through in order to consider that maybe, just maybe, there might be another reality for other people existing out there."

It's been my experience that a lot of people seem to hold onto their "scrim" tightly for just about any "discussion" they have.

Churadogs said...

Ron sez:"It's been my experience that a lot of people seem to hold onto their "scrim" tightly for just about any "discussion" they have."

Yup, we ALL do that all the time. OUR SCRIM is really all we have, it's OUR view of "reality," but with a little effort, we can always back up a bit and squint and sure enough, other scrims hove into view. Alas, for many people the terror of squinting and backing up a bit is simply too great a threat.