Oh, Pastor Nash, We Gotta Talk More About Prop 8
In the Dec 4 Bay News, [ www.tolosapress.com] Randy Nash, Pastor of the Los Osos Christian Fellowship, had an Op/Ed piece in response to my previous Column on Proposition 8. I had high hopes, as a supporter of Prop 8, he would answer the one critical question – What is the compelling state reason for denying gays the right to marry – but he didn’t He came close with his statement, “Finally, exit polls tell us that one out of seven that voted ‘Yes” said they had no religious affiliation. Might I suggest they just used common sense that said something like, ‘If gay couples need more tax or medical benefits then let’s give it to them. But we do not need to call their relationships a marriage. That has been reserved solely for heterosexual couples in every society throughout history and for good reason.”
O.K. “for good reason.” So, what is it? Or should I say, “what are they .” Please let us have those “good reasons.” As I noted in my previous post on this, it can’t be for reasons of “the children,” since gay couples have kids, just like straight folks. Can’t be about “sex,” or “certain kinds of sex” since straight and gay folks have been doing the same things with their naughty parts and there’s nothing now in the “marriage” laws that define what “married” people can or can’t do with their dirty parts, gay or straight. So, what are these “good reasons” Pastor Nash refers to?
Surely, the supporters of Prop. 8 should be able to tell me exactly what the compelling state reasons are for denying “marriage” rights to gay people?
As for Pastor Nash, may I suggest that perhaps one reason he feels that certain rights should be reserved for certain people but not for others can be found in his statement “ . . . true civil rights . . . have nothing to do with one’s behavior, but everything to do with one’s immutable or unchangeable characteristics such as being born black. . . . but many homosexuals have left the homosexual lifestyle. . . . Gays would be hard-pressed to prove they were born gay.”
Ah, in a previous posting, I’ve tossed that issue out there too. “Being” versus “doing.” So here’s another question for Pastor Nash. Was he born straight or at some point in his life did he “choose” to be straight? I sure as heck have no memory of “choosing” to be straight. Sitting there on the jungle gym in the school playground, about age 4 or 5, I sure wasn’t thinking, “Hmmmm, there’s little Suzy Jones and little Dick Castenon. I wonder which one I’ll fall madly in love with.” Nope. Zhazam! It was suddenly, like a bolt out of the blue, true love, mad passion and little Dick Castenon won that race right out of the box. Movie star Jimmy Stewart, also. Choice? Naw. I yam what I yam. So I am always puzzled by people who believe that I somehow made that choice. And if I didn’t “choose” to be straight, why would I presume that others “chose” to be gay? Makes no sense to me.
So, I’ll ask again. Pastor Nash, do you recall how and when you “chose” your sexual orientation? Anybody else reading this blog entry, feel free to chime in on the comment section. I really would like to know how someone “chooses” to be straight or gay.
Also, I would have to ask Pastor Nash whether he’s ever heard of the notion that human sexuality, like all things human (and natural) runs along a continuum – with people scattered along the line from 100% straight to 100% gay with some people scattered in the middle who can go either way. (If Pastor Nash believes sexual orientation is a “choice,” then he also needs to ‘splain the issue of gender mix ups, where people from earliest age genuinely feel they’ve been born in the wrong body (not to mention the issue of hermaphroditism, which often calls for an arbitrary surgical choice at birth that may not match the brain’s gender orientation that emerges much later, often causing much tragedy.) We know from fetal development studies that the brain is bathed in hormones during different phases of development and that can have a profound effect on that brain’s development. And we further know that the female and male brain operate differently due to those hormonal baths, both prenatal and after birth. So, I would have to challenge Pastor Nash’s claim that gender perception and/or brain development is a “choice.”)
But here we are again, with my question unanswered: What compelling state reasons are there that prevent gay citizens from having equal “marriage” rights and responsibilities with straight citizens? Until the supporters of Measure 8 can ‘splain that, we’ll be stuck with the same answer the Supreme Court gave: There is no compelling state reason.
Prop 8 is a case of the religious belief of certain religious institutions being imposed on the entire population who may or may not hold those particular beliefs (remember, a lot of gay folks were “married” in a church or synagogue of their choice so you can’t say, well, those were just a bunch of atheists – they weren’t, their union was blessed by the religious institutions of their choice, exactly as our founding fathers foresaw. ) And Prop 8 is an excellent example of the tyranny of the majority over the rights of a minority for no compelling state reason other than a (certain) religious or personal antipathy – exactly as our founding fathers foresaw as well, and tried to prevent in our Constitution.
Wheeee, And Who Says Christians Are A Persecuted Minority In Danger Of Being Wiped Out, Boo Hoo!
The various braying “Culture Warriors” on the right are fond of portraying “Christians” as some threatened “minority,” facing extinction at the hands of the godless mob. It’s a nice conceit, but waaaayyyy off the mark. A superb book, “The Churching of America,” points out that the reason religions in America are so vital is precisely because the founding fathers separated them from the state. “Privitized” churches were vital, living things that required congregants’ constant attention and money and care – care for both church buildings which required pots of money from members who actually DID care about their church since they were coughing up pots of dough to keep it going – and care for church doctrine since a “privatized” church was “owned,” not by some king or state somewhere, but owned by the members. In short, separating church from state ensured a variety of religions and sects all vital, alive, growing, changing, breaking off, re-forming – a constant broth of reformation of belief.
So, Culture Warriors, stop your phony boo-hooing. I give you Prime Example I: The Episcopal Church, a certain number of members who couldn’t stand the fact that the main church ordained a gay bishop five years ago. So for five years, certain American congregations stewed about this and finally broke away to hook up with more conservative groups, putting themselves under the authority of bishops from Africa and South America. Their quarrel is doctrinaire – no gays need apply, they wanted to head back to a more literal, older, conservative dogma. (The quarrel now will center on Who Owns The Church Property and Building, not Who Owns the Liturgy and Dogma.)
While I’m sure a lot of Episcopalians are distressed by this, I say, Hooray! This amoeba-like splitting off indicates to me a religion that’s alive and well and congregants who care enough about their beliefs to form and reform. That sort of thing never happens with “dead” state-sponsored official zzzzzzzzz snore religions.
Which our wise founding fathers understood very well indeed.
Yes, Yes, back to the Sewer Wars
Correction/Clarification in the Dec 4 BayNews: In the previous week’s story about the “new estimated costs for the Los Osos sewer stated by comparison that the previous CSD project had contracted costs of $116 million. The reference was to the bids that were awarded for construction of the project. Had we added in costs for land acquisition, permitting and environmental review, as well as legal costs and others, it would have been closer to $150 million.” (The county’s latest guestimate of $165 million is actually a mash-up of both gravity and STEP, sort of combined and averaged, so the real cost of either system remains unknown at this point.)
And, Yes, It’s Ron Crawford, Having Waaaay Too Much Fun, Again
“Stupid is as Stupid Does,” over at www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com Ron is quoting Jeff Young, Chairperson of the RWQCB who said, during the 4/28/06 hearing, “Folks, I know that there’s a lot of history here. No one on the Board is stupid about that.”
Right. Well, Mr. Young, Mr. Packard, Mr. Ron thinks it’s Pop Quiz Time!
And, Finally, Ah, God Bless Donna Handy!
Remember when Prez Bush started pushing through this executive order that would allow doctors, nurses, pharmacists, any “medical” personnel to refuse treatment or medications of any kind to patients if that medicine or treatment violated their religious or ethical beliefs? The whole effort was – in reality -- aimed at women’s reproductive rights, abortion, morning after pills, birth control & such like.
Well, here’s Donna Handy of Santa Barbara in her Dec 6, 08 letter to the Times.
“When it comes to women’s reproductive health issues, everybody has a conscience and moral rules: President Bush, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, Catholic bishops, the Pope, the Taliban and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. But when it comes to a prescription for Viagra or Cialis, anything goes.
I would just love to find one pharmacist in the U.S. who would refuse to fill a prescription for Viagra or Cialis for a single guy.”