Wednesday, November 7, 2012

On election results, the Jetsons, logic, texting, and Taylor Swift

Oh, the doom and gloom! Good grief, Charlie Brown. People are unfriending people on social media. Others are moving to Canada. Others think this is the 2012 apocalyptic demise that's been foretold.

Our government is a pretty snazzy one. We have a Constitution, three branches of government, and a system of checks and balances. Though I'm not a fan of the 2-party system in general, even that has inherent checks and balances. We alternate, throughout history, between Republican presidents and Democratic ones. And somehow, all of that helps even things out.

I woke up, on this first post-election day, to a LOT of texts from Dave Johnson and they just made so much sense (see, I told you he was smart). I begged him to write a post about his perspective and I really hope that he does. In the meantime, a combination of his texts, today's headlines, and some of what I see when I peek at Mark's Facebook page have my thoughts racing to such a degree that I feel like I must write them down, so I can carry on with my day.

As I got ready, my mind raced and I kept stopping to write notes. I hate getting ready in the morning. I just don't like it. I feel like it's a tedious step I take daily to get on to what I really want to do. Sure, I do it anyway and I try to have a different, more positive perspective of mindful appreciation and while I can attain that sometimes, I find myself, just about every morning, wishing I had one of those conveyor belts like they had on the Jetsons, where George, Jane, daughter Judy, and their boy Elroy sleepily rolled out of bed and just sort of stood there while they were showered, dressed, and generally cleaned up. I want one of those! Maybe Obama can make that one of his hand outs, she says with her tongue firmly in her cheek.

And I have a book to write! No wonder we didn't start NaNoWriMo until 2009. It wasn't an election year! So. Many. Thoughts. Must. Write. Down.

Here's the thing. Sure, I'm glad at the outcome. Yes, I wanted Obama to win. And sure, I'd be disappointed if Mitt had won. I don't like Mitt Romney. But even leading up to the election, as I considered what would happen if Mitt did win, I thought he'd do good things, too (even if he doesn't care about 47% of us). I didn't think the world would end and I didn't make a contingency plan to move to Canada (socialists!).

I've seen words today like "devastation," "evil," "dependence," "bondage," "disappointment," "handouts," "idiot," "depressed," "Muslim," "revolution" (that one, courtesy of Donald Trump), and "Overlord." If I didn't know what time of year it was, it would all read like a Zombie-based 50 Shades of Gray.

One person even predicted that though we are all going about our days normally today without riots and gunfire (hurray for living in a democratic republic!), that someday it will come to that if we keep snubbing our noses at God much longer. What?? Yes, seriously.

Now, someone please explain this to me. If a person starts shooting (thank you, 2nd Amendment) at another person in the street because they disagree with the outcome of a democratic election process, how exactly is that God's will? Because generally, when people hear voices telling them to do things, it's considered mental illness.

I don't understand this line of thinking that people use when they couch these things in religious terms. Either what happens is God's will or it's not. You can't have it both ways depending on how you view the outcome. It's dichotomous thinking. Like when I hear people say, "God spared me" after something like Hurricane Sandy. What does that say, then, about those who were not so fortunate? You lucked out, but God "got" them? That's pretty sick and twisted. But that's another rant for another time. Focus, Stacy. Focus.

Election results. We are clearly a divided nation. The two-party system is not my favorite. I don't fit neatly in either party. There are things I like in both parties and there are things I dislike in both parties. And there are some issues over which I am torn. But the anger and outrage that exists when people don't get their way is a problem. We're modeling behavior for our children. People are angry. Rampant bullying is a problem in this country and it exists from the top down, adults to children.

We need to come together and stop this vitriol. Two years ago, members of Congress banded together around what some of them claimed to be their #1 goal - to get Obama out of office. Seriously? How is that working for the good of our country? You're going to spend TWO YEARS focusing on making the president the bad guy and fighting him at every turn? Not exactly helpful. And then, you're going to gripe that he didn't get stuff done?? Well, duh.

And despite all the hatred and animosity, he did get things done. He's ending wars, he caught Bin Laden, he saved the auto industry, he repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," he cracked down on Corporate suits and Wall Street, he's making sure everyone has access to health care, he bravely stood up for gay rights and for kids who are having a hard time out there because of their orientation, he worked for student loan reform, he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act - assuring equal pay for equal work - a huge win for women, and much, much more. Sure, he's had some stinkers, too. No question. I don't agree with everything he does or says. And I don't mean to focus on specific political wins. I'm simply saying that he did all this and imagine what else he could get done if we'd stop the damn in-house fighting! Hey Congress, your #1 goal shouldn't be to get him out. Your #1 goal should be to find a way to work with him for the good of everyone in this country.

Conservative, right wingers have a penchant for quoting our Founding Fathers. Well, guess what. Thomas Jefferson said, "I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." It's good to have friends with differing opinions. It challenges us and makes us expand our minds instead of being thoughtless drones. It's a GOOD thing. And you have serious insecurity issues if you can't handle that.

The elitist attitude of "we're right and everyone else is wrong" is problematic. In either party. I think so much of it is steeped in religion. Just look at the Electoral College Map if you don't believe me. That red/blue divide is pretty obvious between the Bible belt (and Utah) and just about everywhere else. The divide was stronger along those lines than anything else. People voting against someone, whether or not they like who they ARE voting for, is not a good approach (hint: Southern Christians aren't big fans of Mormons, but they voted for one anyway, because he's not Obama). And while I'd love to see religion taken out of politics completely, both sides do it to some extent, the right particularly. I saw an excellent post about what Jesus would do in this election and why he would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever vote for Mitt Romney. Whoever you champion, Obama or Romney, this post kind of calls out everyone who professes to be a Christian while denying exactly what Jesus himself said. It's an excellent read.

The amount of money spent on the presidential campaign, from both sides, is obscene. Mitt Romney's strategy of TV ads didn't work (they both used them, but Mitt spent far more on them). Obama had far more people working on the ground and that did work. Money doesn't buy everything, Mitt. He didn't even win his home states of MI and MA, where he had been governor. Ryan didn't win Wisconsin. This should tell us something. But either way, the level of spending on the campaign, by both parties, was obscene. We could've fed hungry nations hundreds of times over with what was spent on TV ads and other propaganda.

Where is the party that is both fiscally conservative and socially liberal? Because I would be a fan of that party. Republicans are always touting their conservative financial ideas, but they don't always align with their party stances and actions. Overseas wars are expensive. The war on terror. The war on drugs? Also expensive. These things cost a lot of money. Notice the common thread - "war." Not exactly coins in the coffers. Firing Big Bird, but heading into war over imaginary weapons to impose your form of government in an area steeped in thousands of years of cultural and religious history isn't a recipe for financial solvency. We're in this economic mess in the first place because of those wars as well as a housing problem where people spent more than they had -- Republicans and Democrats - and where there was deceit from the top down. Both of those things happened on Bush's watch. And yet people blame Obama. Brilliant.

See, both parties have good ideas and misguided ones, too. Things cost money. We simply have to decide what we'll spend on and what we won't. I got SO sick of hearing people talk about how much they hate socialism. Guess what. If you dislike it so much, I sure hope you don't send your kids to school or drive on roads. Things. Cost. Money. So, instead of constantly blathering on and on about saving money. We need to talk about specifics. BOTH sides.

Look, Obamacare? It's flawed. But it's a start. And perhaps we need to start with an imperfect plan to at least get the ball rolling. I give mad props to our President for taking action on this. I'm married to a physician. We could get hurt by some aspects of Obamacare and we could lose money, too. But you know what? People need access to healthcare. Lack of money should not be a reason people can't get help when they're sick. I've been in that situation and it's scary as hell. What kind of elitists are we to say otherwise and deny people's suffering pleas? As human beings, we should see that it's the right thing to do. 

I think social progress equals financial and economic progress. Eventually. Yes, we may have up front costs, but so do all investments. And social progress is an investment in our future and our children's future. You can't go around legislating your own religious or moral agenda just because you think you're right. This country was founded so that people could have a place to be free from a religious government (American History 101). Everyone is free here, believer or atheist. So, unless it's hurting someone else, Let. It. Go.

That money problem our country has? Legalize pot. No, seriously. Legalize it. Just because it's legal, doesn't mean more people will do it. I have no interest in smoking pot. But I think legalizing it is a smart move. I mean, really. Guns are legal in this country, but not pot? In our country, alcohol and guns and cigarettes are legal. Pot is, I would argue, less dangerous than all of these. If someone wants to smoke pot, fine. Yes, don't harm others while doing so (not unlike "Don't Drink and Drive"), but making it illegal doesn't make people magically not find it and use it anyway. And this way, we won't be locking people up just because they have or smoke some weed. Talk about a waste of time and resources! Our jails are filled to overflowing (thank you, Nancy Reagan) with pot smokers due to the famous "war on drugs" (there's that term again). I think the space in our jails is much better served to incarcerate those who are a danger to society. The money we'd save from this one act alone is enough to significantly lower our deficit. Legalizing it means you can tax it, too. You think it's wrong to smoke pot? Don't do it.

Next, legalize gay marriage. For crying out loud, it's the right thing to do. I saw a great quote the other day that said, "Claiming that someone else's marriage is against your religion is like being angry at someone for eating a donut because you're on a diet." If you don't like it, then don't do it. But stop trying to push your views on others. Again, you're trying to legislate your own morality. What are we, in the stone ages? When I was growing up, people considered it an outrage to see a black man with a white woman or vice versa. It used to be illegal even for them to marry. That was wrong. And people learned to be more accepting. They can do the same with this issue.

People have GOT to get over themselves. Just because you're not used to seeing something, doesn't make it wrong. It makes it, sadly, hidden away because of the intolerance of a society. I, for one, am SO glad for the "It Gets Better" campaign and for TV shows and movies that are shedding light on this issue and showing gay couples as exactly what they are -- loving couples like everyone else trying to make a go of it like everyone else. It does no harm to me, my marriage, or my children if gay couples want to marry. It doesn't threaten my marriage or my relationships. If someone in my family were to come out to me as gay, I'd embrace them with open arms and with absolutely no judgment. Total acceptance. People should be able to live true to themselves.

Believe what you want, but don't try to make everyone else believe it, too. Though, in this case, like I said before, it's simply the right and fair thing to do. Listen openly to logic and you'll see it's just not fair otherwise. Best explanation I ever heard that completely opened my eyes to what is FAIR in this was given by Ted Olsen in a television interview. If you can listen to this (it's brief - click and scroll down) and give me a LOGICAL explanation as to why you still think gay marriage shouldn't be legalized, I'd love to hear it. Because this guy nails it. Think what you want, but it's unconstitutional to deny gay people their rights. It just IS.

These are just two examples. There are many more. Many people feel high and mighty in their morality, beliefs, thinking, whatever. They want to make the whole world conform to their views. I read about a college professor who builds on this for a fantastic object lesson with her students. They come in, many of them privileged white kids from well-to-do families, full of ideas on what laws should exist and what should be dismissed. They want to get rid of Welfare and Medicaid, diability and Medicare, deny civil rights, impose religious viewpoints as law, get rid of affirmative action, ease up on ADA restrictions, etc. They know JUST want to do to make the world run better.


So, this professor gives them a really cool assignment. They get to create a country and its laws from scratch. Whatever they want to legislate, they can. They get to make their country from the ground up and whatever they say goes. These students get so excited, rubbing their hands together in anticipation of finally, finally being able to set things right. They are going to lay down the law and big things are going to happen. She puts them in groups and they get to work. About an hour or so into their planning, just when they're feeling pretty good about themselves and their laws, she throws in a caveat. "Oh, one more thing," she says. "This country you're making? These laws? You haven't been born yet to this country." The students are fine with this. And then she adds, "And you don't know if you're going to be born black, disabled, gay, a female, mentally challenged, poor, or drug-addicted. Carry on." The students faces fall. Suddenly all their laws don't seem so stellar. BIG lesson on putting yourself in someone else's shoes and considering the cost of legislated morality and being a hard nose.



Mark is always saying he thinks most of America is actually moderate, but that the two parties have become so very polarized and extreme. I think he's right. We need to meet in the middle, all of us. And it needs to start with our rhetoric. I've heard otherwise intelligent people say things like, "All the natural disasters we're having are because gay marriage was legalized in some states." What?!? What kind of logic is that?? Seriously flawed logic, that's what. Remember 2nd grade cause and effect lessons? That's like saying, "If Taylor Swift sells another #1 album, it's because the Taliban is evil and hides in caves."

We need to start using our brains. We need to embrace LOGIC as the method whereby we move forward. So much of what everyone freaks out about is based in fear, often fed by religious and media frenzy. It needs to stop.

So, really, if your candidate didn't win, chin up, deep breaths, and look around. The world needs help. You know why? Because it's the right thing to do. Remember that the President is ONE person and really can only do so much. We have three branches of government, a Constitution, and a system of checks and balances. It will all be okay. Those topics about which we all feel passionately - abortion, gay rights, gun control, etc. - there is really only so much the President can do about those things anyway. It's up to far more than him to decide what happens on such big issues, so voting on those issues alone really ignores the big picture that we MUST see.

The world has REAL problems. Malala Yousafzai, a young 15-year-old girl,  was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen, because she's a girl who wants to learn. Do we not see a problem with that?? She is a CHILD. She is a girl who wants to learn. This is an outrage! Just because a group of thugs doesn't value education, feels that women are inferior to men, and believes their religion is superior to others doesn't make it so. And it damn well doesn't give them the right to try to make their beliefs the law nor does it give them the right to circumvent laws to try to make it the way. THIS is a real problem. Let me repeat. A child was shot because she is a girl who wants to learn. We had an election that didn't go your way? People need to pull their heads out of their asses and look around at what really matters.

We, in this country, need to take a good hard look at ourselves and make sure that we, in our own perhaps less-violent ways, aren't doing the same kind of thing. We need to make sure we're not imposing our morality on everyone else just because we think we're right. There is a general morality upon which most people agree and laws about those things -- not killing each other or stealing from each other -- are generally agreed upon as a good basis of laws on which to govern ourselves. You know, in general, don't hurt other people. But some of the ways we try to go beyond basic morality into legislated religiosity is not right, nor is it Constitutional.

We need to come together. We need to stop this divisiveness. We need to work for the betterment of our country, our present, our future. We have a troubled economy. We have real problems in the world. We have people who are suffering. Both sides need to give a little. We need to be logical. We need to be fair. We need to be kind.

We all have certain rights. And we all have the freedom to believe what we want (decent or not - reference the Westboro Baptist Church), but there is also an inherent expectation that we act in a way that respects those rights. So, think what you want. Believe what you want. But unless something really harms someone else, leave it alone. You have the right to think you're right, but you don't have the right to impose your right.

39 comments:

Jimmy said...

--This is the fifth time I've deleted and re-started this comment. What I'm tactfully trying to say is that when we get away from the issues and instead frame our votes as a vote for good (Republicans) vs. evil (Obama), then we've lost sight of the issues, lost a willingness to hear each other, and lost an opportunity to learn from one another. We've lost our ability to understand and grow. Turning our politics into an argument of good vs. evil is an easy way to frame it, but it lacks courage and oversimplifies and ignores the complexities of God's greatest creation--man. (And of course woman.)

We need to stop trying to oversimplify. We need to be courageous and willing to respectfully acknowledge each other's ability to perceive things differently. That's what I see lacking in our current political environment and unfortunately I don't see any real attempts for us to turn that around. Instead we feed it and take comfort in hiding behind it. It frustrates me to watch it happen.

Jagged Rocks said...

I totally agree with you about gay marriage.
I am really wondering about the legalizing of recreational marijuana???
I truly believe that everyone should respect others views. Difference are one thing that make this country good.

Dr. Mark said...

Oh, much to say. So much I could say. What to say?

First of all, awesome post! So well said, all of it. Obviously we talk a lot (like, A LOT), so you know what I think, but we are so on the same page about so many things. OK, my thoughts.

Yep. No apocalypse. Life goes on. And you're right: no matter who wins, the president deserves our support. I was impressed with Romney's concession speech. He said exactly what needed to be said. We fought hard and Obama won, so now it's time to join forces to make America better. That doesn't mean give in. It means that there is a middle ground where all of us can be satisfied. Negotiation necessitates concession.

There is no way to build a government of consensus without concessions on both sides. This is what ticked me off about the Republican leadership in congress since 2010. Their explicit and stated goal was to prevent the reelection of Obama. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it our elected officials' responsibility to take care of our society right now? Fine, they don't have to agree with much that Obama has to offer, but there is exactly ZERO chance of accomplishing any positive change when one party has already said they aren't interested in compromise for the next TWO YEARS! If I told my employer my goal for the next two years was to get him fired, and then I sat on my ass for two years, bad-mouthed him, and made it my life's purpose to oppose him at every turn, I'd last about 3 days. If that. Now politicians are more concerned with getting reelected than accomplishing anything for society. Grow up, Washington, and do your jobs.

You want to fix this problem? Term limits. Give the Senate 2 terms and Congress 6. Twelve years to get something done. I bet you see a bit more urgency when these politicians have less time to establish a legacy.

Obamacare. I'm not a fan, but I am a fan of someone trying to address problems in healthcare. I personally don't think that universal access is going to improve the situation. I think the real problem is one of entitlement, and by entitlement I mean that all segments of our society from the rich to the poor feel like someone else should pay for our healthcare. We, as a society, are fine with forking out thousands of dollars a year for expensive cell phones, pointless apps, or excessive quantities of satellite stations. But try and collect the 28 dollars someone's insurance company won't pay for the 30 minutes of the doctor's time they just got, even though they were scheduled for 10? Forget it. That's a fight you wouldn't believe. Never mind the fact that your insurance company already decided that it is only going to give the doctor half of what he charges to take care of you, anyway. If Obamacare fixes the problems, then great. If all it does is expose new problems, at least we'll be on the right track.

(To be continued in a second comment . . .)

Dr. Mark said...

(Part 2 of my ranting comment.)

Most of all, you hit a nerve with a couple of things that have really gotten me thinking recently. First of all, you're right. I feel like the vast majority of our society lives in the same political region ideologically. We're all just a little left or a little right of center. The political parties, with their extreme views and rhetoric, really don't represent many of us, and yet they are the ones driving the political dialogue. It is a huge disservice to a populace that meets in the middle on a daily basis. Gridlock is really a mostly governmental phenomenon, except for traffic in L.A. To paint us out as a brutally divided country, and then to perpetuate ignorant ideas and factually inaccurate propaganda just to actually bring about the divide is insulting and cruel. Anyone who even glanced at Facebook even once in the past year can see that we've become an "us vs. them" society, and if we actually sat down and compared our political notes we'd find that we have a LOT of common ground. It's just sad what happens in the political arena.

Second, I am tired of people perpetuating the myth that we are a nation founded UPON one religious ideal. While the founding fathers came from mostly Judeo-Christian backgrounds the Constitution was not set up to establish these religious ideals as the standards upon which we should build a government. In fact, like Stacy pointed out, that was the exact OPPOSITE of what they desired. "You have the right to think you're right, but you don't have the right to impose your right." This closing line says it all. We can, and should all have principles that guide us, but we must not impose those beliefs on others. If we happen to share the same beliefs, wonderful. If we differ, that's great, too. But our government and society has an obligation to keep us safe and cared for, and also to allow us all to EXPRESS our beliefs and principles. But expression cannot be IMPOSITION.

First, do no harm. Hippocrates' statement has a lot to do with life in general, not just medicine. There are a lot of things that people do in life that do not jibe with what I believe, but do not harm me either. We as a society should let these things go. I get tired of hearing how someone else getting their constitutional rights some how reduces my rights. Same-sex marriage does not diminish the quality or importance of my marriage. It just doesn't.

I could go on and on, but I don't want to hijack the post. Although, I think I already did a little.

Oh, one more thing, marijuana has been traditionally held to be a gateway drug leading to heavier drug use. Recent research has debunked this theory, and this is one of the biggest reasons people give to keep marijuana illegal. If it's not a gateway drug, then what is the new reason to keep it illegal? Discuss.

Thanks again for the great blog post!

Jimmy said...

Taking you up on the invitation to discuss marijuana. Liberal as I am, I do have an opposing view on this one. I know my experience is anecdotal, but it's what I have to go off of. My cousin (and best friend) started off recreationally smoking marijuana in high school. It was one of those rebellious but exciting things to do in high school. In his case, I truly believe it led to a full-fledged addiction. I still remember the morning I first realized he was an addict. I often spent the night at his house. We were both only children and we grew up close in our small town. Anyway, I was a Junior and he was a Senior in High School. It was a school day and I was getting frustrated that he was taking so long to get out of the bathroom. I knew we'd end up running late for school. In my frustration, I picked the lock to the bathroom door intending to yell at him to hurry up because I needed to shower and get ready. I can still see in my mind what I saw that morning. The shower was running, but he wasn't in it. Instead he was sitting on the hamper, wrapped with a towel around his waist, smoking from his pipe. It was a pathetic sight. I realized then that if he couldn't even start his day without lighting up, that if he would do this in his own home, with his mom and dad still in the house, that if he was doing this by himself--not at party or other social environment, then he was an addict. to make a long story short, he correctly became labelled as a pot head at our high school. He did not do well in school, though he managed to graduate, barely. After graduation, he stuck around, really going no where with his life. A few days before his 19th birthday, he killed himself.

Am I saying that the fact that he smoked weed caused him to kill himself? No. I know, trust me I know, his problems were more complex than that. But I am hypothesizing that marijuana is addictive. I am saying that I don't see how anything good came of it and I pray my children will never even try it. I am afraid of what it can do to someone like my cousin, someone that was creative, funny, outgoing, and loyal.

For those reasons, I want it to remain illegal.

Boquinha said...

Kim and Mark, thanks for the continued discussion and questions. I think it's REALLY important that we question everything and not make rash decisions. The marijuana issue is one over which I've been torn for a long time. It's also not one on which I feel really strongly either. I admit to still being on the fence about it. But I have come around to seeing it differently.

Jimmy, I'm so sorry to hear that story about your cousin. That's just tragic. I think the loss of life is such a tragic thing, especially when it's like that. He was so young and creative with so much promise . . . that's truly so sad.

I totally agree with you that it's addictive and harmful and I, too, hope my children never want any part of it. I guess (and maybe this doesn't make it right - I admit I'm trying to find my thoughts and views on this topic) I'm looking at it like society looks at alcohol and cigarettes. They are also addictive. But when they were illegal, people still found a way to make it/buy it/use it. At least by legalizing it, we are able to tax it (heavily) and keep our prisons from overflowing with drug users so that people who are a true danger to society.

Interesting, this. Today I saw this in an article by one of our local newspaper editorials - it was in a list of suggestions for the President:

"5. Allow states to legalize marijuana (and tax it heavily, like alcohol and cigarettes). Colorado and Washington already did, so others are going to follow. Might has well make it official. Of course Pennsylvania will be about the 49th state to figure out what a revenue generator this can be (and what a savings it would produce for our overcrowded prison system)."

I guess that's what I'm thinking (and he's right, by the way, about Pennsylvania - I'm continually shocked, though happy, that we're in a blue state, since most of the state seems stuck in the past and not interested in progress . . . thank goodness for Philly, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg!).

Like I said, I'm torn. But I have, over time, come to think differently - though not strongly - about it. I'm open to discussion and to changing my mind. I'm not that sold on my ideas on this one, though I DO see the benefits of legalizing it.

Jimmy said...

No, I get it. I can poke all sorts of holes into my argument, and it's MY argument.

I wasn't around to do anything about alcohol and cigarettes, but you're right, they are addictive, harmful and they are legal source of revenue. But does that mean greed is a good reason to make something legal?

Boquinha said...

I don't know. I don't know that it's "greed," though, maybe it is. Hmmm.

Typing as I think this through . . . I wonder about stigmatizing someone who smokes pot, too. I mean, imprisoning someone because of that just seems . . . extreme, I guess. Not saying it's a good habit. Just not sure it should be worthy of jail, especially when overcrowding is such an issue. Cocaine, opiates, meth? Yes. Marijuana? I'm not so sure. Distributing to minors? Yes. Using it? Not sure.

I don't like it, don't get me wrong. Quite honestly, I am one of the BIGGEST complainers when it comes to the smell of cigarette smoke. I *HATE* walking into a store or restaurant while someone smokes outside the door - just YUCK. I often wish cigarettes were outlawed, but again, what would we do then? Jail everyone who gets caught smoking? Urgh. I'm not sure what the answer is. But I think it's a discussion worth having.

Dr. Mark said...

When I look at social issues like these I try an consider what we as a society stand to gain by prohibiting or allowing a behavior, and what damage will we do. It still comes down to a value judgment, but hopefully it's one based on scientific and provable facts.

Knowing that tobacco use and second-hand exposure are health risks tells me we should have laws that shield non-smokers from unintentional exposure. Clean air laws, for example. People can smoke if they want, but there are limits where their rights necessarily infringe upon mine.

We can all argue where the acceptable line for any social issue may fall, but if we all apply logic we'll probably come up with very workable solutions for the majority of individuals.

Emily Foley said...

So I basically disagree with a lot of things you say in this post (no surprise there, right?:) except that we need to cross party lines and talk to each other. Nothing will ever get done in this country if we keep blocking each other because of political party. Ridiculous.

"People have GOT to get over themselves"...hmmmm. All people.

Gay marriage. I just disagree. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman because the Spirit told me that--and I'm not mentally ill. I don't want gays to marry because I believe it's morally wrong, and when this country turns to immorality (as it already has, obviously, this is just one more step), God's calamity comes upon us all. And I'd rather have God's blessings. It is such a hard issue because logically, I agree. It just seems wrong to deny loving people the right to get married. But I can't do it. I can't deny the knowledge I have been given.

IF OBAMA WOULD JUST STOP SPENDING MONEY, AND MAKE CUTS WHERE THEY NEED TO BE MADE. AND YES, FIRING BIG BIRD IS INCLUDED IN THAT. Sorry for the yelling but I feel so strongly about it. Obama wants the US to be like everyone else--he's getting rid of nuclear weapons and making America weak so that we won't be a super power--and I'm sorry, but I have issues with that. And he did not kill bin Laden. He sat in a room in the white house.

Ahhh. Sorry. Sorry. I just feel passionately, obviously. I still love you all.

Jillo said...

Okay...where to start....
First of all, fabulous post. Thank you for sharing. =)
So..in my kindergarten class I have 18 kids. My class is in a lower income part of town but still, this is Salt Lake City and we are hardly the hood. Of those 18 kids, 2 are homeless. Like no home, living in a shelter, homeless. Some are not homeless but can't afford simple things like changes of clothes for their children and the kids rotate between 2 shirts every other day. 10 of the 18 are on some sort of government assistance to pay for childcare so that their children can be in a loving, safe environment while they work. (good day cares do not come cheap and not working is not an option.) Their is a gay couple, families from every continent, single parents (both moms and dads) and "traditional" families too.
But here's the thing...they are some of the most amazing parents I have worked with. They love their kids and want nothing but the best for them. They work their butts off to provide their kids with every available resource so they can lead the best lives possible. They have, for the most part, been dealt a crappy hand and are doing the best to make the most of it. They are NOT lazy, good for nothings looking for a quick handout so they can go buy drugs. They are the norm. They are the "traditional" family now and they are beautiful.
We are often so caught up in what is "right" and what is "wrong" based on our own religions, cultures, stereotypes, ect that we forget to really look at the issue. The fact is as long as we are working on bettering our world and helping our fellow man, no one is right and no one is wrong..only different. We are all people just trying to do our thing. When I look around at the big problems this world is facing, I mean the really big ones, I find it laughable that gay marriage and high gas prices are the #1's on our list of things to fix. This world is broken and it needs some serious help.
I voted for Obama for that reason. I do NOT think he will save our souls, I don't think one person can, but I think he has the courage to admit things aren't working and find new ways to solve our problems. People HATED FDR's New Deal. They said he was spending too much money and making too many waves. But the New Deal played a major role in getting this nation back on it's feet after the Great Depression. If Roosevelt hadn't been brave enough to stand up and try to make things better for a country he believed in who knows what would have happened.
Mark is right...our founding fathers did NOT build a nation on a loving, Christian God. Their vision was a nation that governed itself and allowed all men freedom in religion and lifestyle. (research deism) How is forcing our moral beliefs on others respecting that vision?

Emily Foley said...

A few more thoughts this morning. I am NOT picking a fight, just responding with some of my thoughts. Feel free to pick a fight with me though, 'cause some of these are fightin' words. :)

I have to say that a careful study of the scriptures teaches us that not everything is God's will. It is not his will for the nation to be wicked. Free will allows it, but God's will is for us to "choose the right."

It is also my opinion that the right insert religion into politics because they are a God-fearing people. There is not a problem with believing in God and wanting to do His will.

People have a right to medical care. Sure. But it is not the federal government's job to force it on the country. Mitt Romney worked out a healthcare plan in Massachusetts and it worked at the state level. That doesn't mean it will work on the federal level.

The taxes from marijuana will not fix our money problems. But interesting idea. Let's legalize prostitution and child sex trade while we're at it, for the taxes. If you don't like it, don't do it, right?

"Believe what you want, but don't try to make everyone else believe it too." isn't that what you're doing here? You believe gay marriage should be legal, I don't. We can each believe what we want, right? I see you saying we should all get along and do what's right, but what's right to you is obviously not the same as what's right to me. Interesting discussion idea, I think.

I'll stop now, before you disown me. Thank God for a place where we are not that little girl who got shot.

Emily Foley said...

Ooh, I agree with Mark on term limits. Let's make it happen.

Dr. Mark said...

No disowning. That would be the exact OPPOSITE of what it means to have open and honest dialogue. :)

I get how people want to insert their values into the government that leads them. It's a natural inclination. The big problem that we run into as a nation is that the view of God's will varies from person to person (and for 20% of our population, there is no "god's will") and I firmly believe that the vast majority of people are good people trying to do the "right thing," regardless of their political, social, or religious views. In a country full of such diversity it seems unfair to appeal to one value set, however justified we feel about our particular viewpoint.

Totally agree with you on the universal health care idea, by the way. The real answer to the health care problems, in my opinion, boils down to these things:

1. It costs too much. And those that make the most money in the system are those that develop the technologies and pharmaceuticals being used. And those in power to change it are funded by those same companies. Health practitioners cannot keep up in the political arena where money reigns supreme.

2. Somewhere along the line HMOs got us believing that insurance should pay for everything. If we viewed our health insurance like car insurance, where it paid for deductibles and we paid for the "little things" it would take some burden away from the system. When someone sees the doctor for free they tend to use that service a LOT more. I've seen it.

3. People don't take responsibility for their own health. We are in full catastrophe mode with health care and not prevention.

Marijuana? There is no way taxing it will fix any large funding issues in our government. It's just an interesting topic to consider. Using it as a slippery slope argument is perpetuating a logical fallacy, though. At some point all of us essentially draw a moral line beyond which we are unwilling to accept any allowance of specific behaviors. For some it's nicotine and alcohol. For others the line stops after marijuana. Some say legalize all the drugs (I don't, by the way). It's an issue I still don't feel incredibly strong about. I'm sure there is a huge logical debate there but the comment field is going to shut me down at some point! ;)

Same-sex marriage? Large-scale studies have yet to prove that it presents any credible threat to our society as a whole. Marriage as an institution (even so-called "religious marriages")through divorce, infidelity, and apathy fails countless people, both spouses and children, but we're not ready to abolish it yet. I for one say that we should take the legal definition of marriages away from churches. People would be married by the government, and then each church should have the right to solemnize and accept whatever their definition is, within the conscripts of the law. And when I say "accept" I mean that they could grant rights and privileges within their set of doctrines without worrying if people are "legal" spouses. Many churches already do this to some extent.

I guess for me, when I consider public policy, I appeal to logic first and emotion last. I'm not perfect, and I get as riled up about issues as the next person, but the Constitution is set up to help us avoid emotional appeals and focus on our individual rights as equal citizens.

There are so many issues to discuss and unfortunately there has never been one person running for office anywhere that held all of the answers. Let's be glad we live in a country where we can debate things safely. We can at least all agree on that.

Dr. Mark said...

Hey, maybe we should just start a movement to establish term limits. We could heal all the Democrat-Republican ills together! ;)

Dave Johnson said...

Western Christians tend to want everyone else to live by their rules. Their reasoning is typically two-fold:

a)The action is morally "right" or "wrong" and should therefore be allowed/forbidden.
b)If we allow/prohibit this behavior, God will do bad things to us.

This is arrogant and misguided because:

a)If the action isn't *directly* hurting you, it's simply none of your business. You have no constitutional or scriptural mandate to interfere in the actions of others, good or bad. The Bible is clear that you are to live as an example to others, tell them about your faith, etc. but nowhere, nowhere, nowhere can anyone find a mandate to change the actions of others - especially through legislation. No on wants to be told how to raise their kids, conduct their sex life, spend their money, etc. Those things are private, personal, and subjective based on our own experiences and worldviews. It's wonderful to be strongly convicted that God/Buddah/The Flying Spaghetti Monster wants/doesn't want them to do X,Y, or Z. But to impose that conviction on people do not share your subjective spiritual experience is arrogant. If I yelled at people to wear their pants backwards because Zeno the God of Denim commanded me to do it, Christians would roll their eyes and ignore me. Why do religious groups - particularly Christian ones - get special privileges? The government should not defer to any religion. For further reference, see the Roman Catholic Crusades.

b)I will give anyone $1000 dollars, cash, if they can find a single example in scripture of God punishing an entire people group for the sins of a few. God does not have a habit of punishing nations for the sins of individuals. The President ended his acceptance speech using the phrase "by the grace of God." Whether he believes in that grace or not is irrelevant to this discussion but it does speak of a nation that is still very much Christian and expects God's name to be invoked at important civic events. It's very convenient to hold this scythe of judgment over the heads of non-believers, but unfortunately, those people don't believe in Zeno or Yahweh or whoever. That being the case, they are responsible for their own judgment and any reasonable interpretation of scripture says they will be judged personally - not punished alongside an entire nation that isn't even engaging in that behavior.

This is an important distinction because on the one hand, people of faith complain that the gay community has too loud a voice for such a small percentage of people. It's therefore inconsistent to claim that God will punish the entire nation for the sins of a few? There's no scriptural precedent for it - not one.

What this reveals is not so much a concern for the country's morality or worry over God's judgment. It instead reveals a desperate desire to conform the world around us to our personal tastes, and to avoid anything, anywhere we personally might find offensive. It reveals a desperate need to have others conform to our behavior, possibly even in an attempt to have our "good" behavior confirmed by society around us (ironically, the same thing Christians claim about the gay community - wanted the Church to "affirm" their lifestyle).

Dave Johnson said...

(Continued)

I guess this applies to pot as well - why is it my business what anyone else puts into their body? Marijuana has very mild long term affects, but we're not trying to outlaw Mountain Dew, Pop-Tarts, and Donuts. Healthcare costs to due to obesity from unhealthy foods far out paces healthcare costs to treat issues stemming from marijuana abuse. I suspect the only reason we've targeted pot instead of Cin-A-Bun is because it's already illegal. Anyone that worried about pot should already be REALLY freaked out about the amount of Percaset and Hydrocodone abuse taking place using *legal* prescriptions. If the anti-pot folks were raising the same stink about the ills of Flexaril and Tramadol abuse, I would believe they were sincere. Until then, I call bullshit.

Dave Johnson said...

Really wish I could edit those - I kept hitting the character limit so did some quick editing. Pretty awful in spots. Hope you can tell what I was trying to say...

Jillo said...

Jumping in...not to make waves or enemies...this is just good stuff.

Comparing legalized marijuana to child trafficking it is a bit of a straw man argument, don't you think? The will of an educated, mature adult verses the will of an innocent, dependent child are two very different things. Anytime you are removing someones choice or freedom when they are unable to think or act for themselves is, in my opinion,"wrong." However, consenting, educated adults making a personal choice for themselves is where the line gets grey.

Religion is very important....to religious people. Morals and guidelines from religion are truths and law....for religious people. But we are not all religious or guided by the same moral compasses.

So where do you draw the line?

Interesting note...I have a friend, a very devout Mormon, that gives her 5 year old autistic son Marijuana because it keeps him from biting his arms till they bleed. She smuggles the pot in from California WRAPPED IN HER GRANDMAS GARMENTS because it is unavailable here in Utah. Can you draw a moral line there? It's easy to say "I would NEVER!!" when you don't have a child covered with infected, self inflicted bite marks.

Just because you (collectively...not an individual attack) feel a certain way about something doesn't make you wrong... but it doesn't make you necessarily right. Same can be said for me. I feel the way I feel and I am not wrong...but I am not necessarily right either. History has proved time and time again, dictatorships DO NO WORK. The same can be said with humanity. We need the diversity! It takes a lot of spokes to hold a wheel together...it's only when some spokes start demanding others spokes conform to their standards that problems begin to arise.

Boquinha said...

Yowza! Step away from the computer for a day and you come back to a lot of debate! I LOVE IT.

First off, and for the record, I don't see debate as contentious. I see it as an excellent exercise in logic and articulation, so no worries. I don't get offended because someone disagrees with me. I don't know how anyone would get through life like that. Moving on . . .

My comment about people needing to get over themselves is in reference to what I described right afterward. Some people are against it, because they're not used to seeing it (I've heard this said). It bothers them to see two men holding hands or two women holding hands, so they take that to mean their gut (or the spirit or God or the Universe) is telling them it's wrong. And I say that's not a valid reason for legislation banning gay marriage.

Also, I'm not sure how we can discuss gay marriage when we're using 2 different standards by which to decide. You are appealing to emotions and religious beliefs. I'm appealing the the Constitution. Whatever your feelings on it, you're entitled to have those. But when it comes to the Constitutionality of it, I think Ted Olson made a solid argument that can't be refuted (and I think the Supreme Court will agree later this month).

Also? Fox news and the Republican party has their followers so utterly convinced that Obama is some kind of spendthrift monster who just throws money to the wind, but they fail to mention all the bailouts that Ryan voted for, or the fact that Romney socialized programs in his own state of which he was governor, or that Bush entered two wars -- ON FALSE PREMISES -- which is also a gargantuan money suck. It's definitely unfair to peg Obama as a villain for "all his spending." Big picture, folks. Also? Educate yourselves. Otherwise, it just looks like you've bought into all the talking points of the right-wing talking heads.

And the Bin Laden remark? C'mon now, Emily. You're letting your passions get the best of you. You know what is meant by that. He is the commander-in-chief. He's the one who made the call to change the strategy to a surgical strike. Yes, it was based on advice from military advisers. And yes, he wasn't one of the actual SEALs who went in, but he is ultimately responsible and you know that. By your logic, a football coach doesn't win a game, his team does. I think we can agree that's not how we word that either.

More to come . . . I'll comment in separate comments, because this could be a lot of words.

Boquinha said...

Jill, YES! It seems to me that most of the people I talk to who are super conservative Republicans go on and on about government staying out of our lives, but what they really mean is "stay out of our money and religion, but please go around outlawing all the things I feel are wrong like gay marriage, drugs, and abortion." So, it's not really an argument for small government involvement, just selective government involvement. Also, most of the people that I meet who feel that strongly about "handouts" (another right-wing talking point) either are well off themselves, have been born to opportunity to become well off, and/or have never worked with the population they are so quick to dismiss and judge. Perspectives change mighty quickly when you work WITH the poor, the sick, the marginalized. Most of the people I know who would count as "poor" are VERY hard working people doing the best they can. I think it's disgraceful that they get stereotyped as lazy people with their hands stretched out for aid from rich people. That's sickening.

Boquinha said...

Mark, agreed on universal health care. It's kind of a mess even if it's a step in the right direction. Your 3 point? I agree wholeheartedly with all of them. I don't believe insurance is the answer, at least not in the way it's being laid out. And that's a shame. See? I don't think Obama is perfect. ;) :P

Boquinha said...

Emily, Jill's right. Suggesting we legalize child sex rings and prostitution is a straw man argument. In my original post, I was clear about accepted general morality and not hurting other people. Obviously the child sex trade would fall under that and be an automatic no-no by the consensus of general morality and protection of those who don't yet have a vote to protect themselves.

Yes, I do believe gay marriage should be legal. But beyond whether or not you and I agree if it should be legal or not and what our reasons or emotions are on the subject, I think it's unconstitutional to deny them that right to marriage. And the Constitution is our nation's handbook. We defer to it, using our three branches of government, to decide our laws. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will likely decide this.

As for inserting religion into politics, it absolutely doesn't belong there at all. That's not how this country is set up, first of all. And secondly, churches get all kinds of tax breaks for being non-profits and staying out of it. If they want to get involved, I say we start taxing them. THAT would help the deficit problem! I've seen stats recently that estimate that taxing churches would bring in 70 billion dollars annually.

Boquinha said...

Dave, I was so hoping you'd chime in. Good food for thought on marijuana and the explanation of religion in politics. Even if your Droid needs rebooting. :P

Jill, this:

"Religion is very important....to religious people. Morals and guidelines from religion are truths and law....for religious people. But we are not all religious or guided by the same moral compasses."

Exactly.

Also, I'm STYMIED by how much vitriol and heartbreak and fighting there is on the Internet about the Mitt Romney loss. I'm curious what you're all seeing, because Mark and I are seeing our non-Mormon Republican friends moving on, but our Mormon friends are all dealing with MASSIVE fallout among friends from in-fighting and disagreement over this. What in the world happened?!? Why is there this much divisiveness over an election? The level of fear and fear-mongering is at an all-time high among many people we know and I'm not sure why that is. Appropriate concern about our economy, sure. But losing friends over this? I'm mystified.

I saw an excellent blog post today about it from the perspective of a Mormon who voted for Obama - she captured well the dynamic I'm seeing. Just curious what everyone's thoughts are on this.

Emily Foley said...

The Mormon church stays out of politics. But telling me I can't use my personal beliefs or religious feelings to sway my vote is like saying you can't use logic to use yours. It's so engrained in me, it's a part of me, and it would be impossible to take my religion out of my politics.

Obviously the child sex trade was a stretch--I was going for sensationalism. But prostitution is not. Cocaine is not. Those are not straw man arguments (I don't know what that means but I think I get the gist). If a grown up, a consenting adult wants to do those things, let's legalize them and tax them. That's what you said! I don't see the difference between those things and marijuana.

The chart on growth is interesting, but misleading. That's not dollars spent.

When we lived in Utah, we lived below the poverty line. Dave had a masters degree, I had a bachelor's degree, he was working full-time, I was working part-time. I was raised in an environment that naturally should have given me a leg up and I educated myself, and we could not make ends meet (hence the move to NM). And I feel very strongly about the handout situtation. The free phones. The 47% of America receiving government assistance. We could have received government assistance, but I feel strongly in being self reliant and we did not. My husband works in public health--he absolutely works with the very poor (hello, Navajo Nation, a people without running water or electricity). I can't speak for him, but I live in a place full of the very poor and I don't believe in "handouts".

Emily Foley said...

Marriage is an inherently religious thing. It was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden. That makes it religious. You can change the definition to suit your needs if you want, but marriage is religious.

I think Mormons are freaking out because they like drama and because they are genuinely worried about the downfall of society. We read the Book of Mormon, we know what happens when people turn away from God. We can take religion out of politics but when a nation turns away from God, it is destroyed. We have lots of evidence of that. So Mormons are freaking out because they know that. I think what most of us have forgotten is that this is the last dispensation and we know that's not going to happen again before Christ comes...so maybe we're freaking out because we're not ready for the Second Coming? Heh.

Also, a friend of mine posted a kind of mean diatribe directed at me (without using my name) on facebook this week because she was so upset at my "i blame obama" satirical post. But I didn't unfriend her and she didn't unfriend me, we're still friends. We just differ greatly in our political views.

Boquinha said...

"But telling me I can't use my personal beliefs or religious feelings to sway my vote is like saying you can't use logic to use yours."

I totally agree with you. Of course people's beliefs and environments are going to sway them in their votes. I'm not saying you can't use your personal views to sway your personal vote. I'm saying religion is to be separate from government and state (separation of church and state).

Also, while the Mormon church does not generally tell its members how to vote, the church very much DID get involved in the ERA as well as Prop 8. I was saddened to learn that they were dishonest and not forthcoming about their level of financial contributions (they're under investigation for that). That was a MAJOR disappointment to me when I learned that years ago.

I beg to differ - I think there's a big difference between pot and prostitution. I was comparing pot to cigarettes and alcohol (which are both legal, addictive substances).

As for the chart, no one said it was dollars spent. That wouldn't be a valid comparison anyway, since you must account for cost of living increases and inflation. But the chart does show that ALL presidents increase spending, Obama least of all. And all spending by all presidents benefits both Democratic and Republican projects. Bills that Obama (and any other president) has signed generally contain pork barrel additions. That's nothing new. FOX news hyping "ALL THE SPENDING" seems quite over the top.

As for the handout situation, I think we can both agree that perhaps reform is necessary. I agree with that. I've seen waste in ALL kinds of programs. So, yes, it's not perfect.

But, living in a society necessitates that we look out for each other (not to mention, it's the humane thing to do). Agreeing that reform is necessary to help fix the situation, I still see a need for help being available to the poorest of the poor. Otherwise, what do you suggest the homeless man should do? "Get a job!" people say. That's easy to say, but who's going to hire him? Where should he sleep at night until he gets his life together? What about his health care? Do we leave him on the street to die? I'm just not okay with that. He may need some help to get started and I don't mind being part of a society that helps my fellow citizens.

It's easy to judge others and assume they're all lazy and moochers (and some are!), but the truth is that many are doing their best to TRY to get ahead (like we all are) and they just don't have the same start in life that you have had or that I have had. Some of them are homeless. Some were born addicted to cocaine. Some are disabled. Those people may need help to at least get to the starting lane. I'm no better than they are. I'm just LUCKIER. That's IT. So, helping them out? That doesn't bother me. I think it's the right thing to do.

I imagine you'd agree that if your children were hungry or cold, you would do whatever it takes to get them food and warmth. And the fact that you've not used government assistance is great, but that means you were somehow able to make it work. But not everyone is in your circumstances. If someone has tried EVERYTHING and still comes up short, they shouldn't have to starve. If you were penniless, you have a family and church that would help you. Not everyone in life has that. Those are "the least of these," in my opinion. And sometimes they need help.

Boquinha said...

Thanks for taking a guess at why Mormon Republicans are freaking out in large numbers. I think it's sad that if that's the reason - living in fear, feeling such animosity toward others who feel differently - that doesn't seem like a very happy way to live. :/

"Marriage is an inherently religious thing. It was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden. That makes it religious. You can change the definition to suit your needs if you want, but marriage is religious."

So, would you be okay gay couples being able to have civil unions then?

Boquinha said...

Wow. The lengths to which some people go to make a political point . . . this is just so sad:

Coal Company Announces Layoffs in Response to Obama Win

I agree with the comment beneath that says, "Obama is just his excuse, coal is taking a beating from natural gas and this is just a publicity stunt by a bitter old man. I'm sure his God will understand that he had to leave 160 employees and their families potentially homeless and without out food so that he could increase his profits."

Dave Johnson said...

Emily - not trying to bait you, but I'm curious, what evidence is there that nations who turn from God ultimately fail? Israel has fallen into biblically defined sin many times, and is currently reporting a majority of athiests in their population, yet they thrive. There really are no other nations other than the U.S. that were established purposely, much less established on Judeo-Christian principles. So I just wonder what evidence this is that you speak of because I hear it all the time, but it seems impossible historically. Even citing Israel's historical exiles and suffering doesn't really count as evidence because they were singled out by God as "his" people, the U.S. is not (maybe in the Book of Mormon, with which I am not completely familiar...). Rome doesn't fit because it was never truly a Biblical/Christian nation at any point.

Dave Johnson said...

Also, *you* believe marriage was established in Eden. I do not. I happen to believe that marriage was established in the Book of Zeno when people married their pets. Therefore, when the religion of Zeno becomes the largest religion in the U.S., marriage licenses will only be given to One Man and One Pet. All others excluded.

I'm being ridiculous to illustrate the point that requiring an entire nation to conform to something because of what any of us personally believe is very dangerous. Once the majority opinion shifts away from your own, you can end up in real trouble.

Jillo said...

Wondering if religion is being confused with spirituality... . I could maybe get behind the idea that all marriages have an essence of spirituality.... both religious and secular. But so does a life long partnership where marriage never takes place, or basically any deep connection made between two people.

Spirituality is a not a religious thing, it's a human thing. We all find ways to fill our spiritual cups, for some religion is the answer but for others its not. I guess what I'm asking is why do you claim all marriages are inherently based on religion? Are marriages based on secular grounds not real? I know a few atheists that would take great offense to that idea. ;)

ellen said...

Dave- ever heard of sodom and Gomorrah? If you're looking for a biblical example there you go. (And on a side note the sin they were committing that caused them to be destroyed? Take an educated guess from the name)

Dr. Mark said...

Actually, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because Abraham couldn't find but a few righteous people. Biblical tradition supports Dave's comment that there aren't examples of "God punishing an entire people group for the sins of a few." So far I'd say Dave's $1000 is safe.

The two cities had a laundry list of problems, although only one "problem" is usually cited. The argument could be made that it isn't the nature of their sexual orientation that was the problem but their extreme and total focus on it that was the real issue. I mean, they were ready to assault angels.

Of course, all of this presupposes that the reader accepts Old Testament practices and writings as the most current of guidelines within Christianity, or that one accepts religious texts as the basis for social practices at all.

Dave Johnson said...

Ellen - I'll give you that it was destroyed bc of homosexuality, but that's not my point. As Mark says, it was actually the opposite problem from what you mention. Sodom was filled with Sodomites and other depravity, down to one man - Lot. God rescued him, as He always does for the righteous when he plans on punishing an entire people. He never punishes the wicked alongside the righteous - a belief that if I'm not mistaken is at the core of your faith. In the case of the U.S. the majority of citizens are still opposed to homosexuality - otherwise, gay marriage would be legal in all 50 states, right? So here we have a majority of "righteous" people standing up agaisnt the "sin" of a small group (speaking in percentages and population proportion of straight to gay citizens). The Biblical precedent then is that God would be blessing the U.S. at this point, not poised to destroy it. And He certainly would not destroy the huge majority of Christians in the meantime, because again, there are no, nada, zero, zilch, goose egg, dry hump, nothing, bust, nein examples of that in scripture. And even if He WAS, Christians would get a clear heads up so they could prepare or escape, so either way, you've got nothing to fear. Thank you for playing though. :) Next contestant!

ellen said...

There's nothing I (or anyone else who you decide you're going to disagree with) could say to convince you otherwise. And mark I know the story of sodom and Gomorrah, there were no righteous men to be found other than lot because of the horrible sexual sins that were being committed just as an FYI. I'm not interested in an argument with any of you. I've learned people who believe things on opposite ends of the spectrum rarely (possibly never) come to the middle or actual can be convinced to sincerely see the other's point of view. Emily never said that god punished a whole nation for the sins of a few (well at least as far as I can see, the posting is a little ridiculous at this point). She said when NATIONS turn against God they are destroyed. And that's exactly what happened at sodom and Gomorrah. ( and there are countless other examples in the Book of Mormon).

Also I know not everybody believes in the bible or uses it as a basis for social guidelines. I was just answering Dave's question as to a biblical example

Dave Johnson said...

Agreed, I don't like arguing either. But I do find it curious that believers as a majority hold the opinion that God is poised to judge the U.S. or that, as you said, we as a nation have turned away from him. A legit question, and again, not trying to bait anyone - would you feel differently about our standing with God had Romney won the election? As I see it, a Mitt victory would change very little about the hearts of the citizens. 4 states would likely have still legalized gay marriage and marijuana, pornography, abortion, etc. would not have been affected (especially considering that Ronmey ran on a pro-choice platform here in Mass not many years ago), etc. We are still a nation where millions of people pray daily, attend church, tithe, and donate to charity. We refer to God on our money, in our Pledge, in our courtrooms when swearing in witnesses, and in our Presidential innaugrations. There seems to me overwhelming evidence that America is still a very Christian nation in many respects, regardless of who sits in the oval office, because that cannot be the only guage we use to measure our standing with God. The warnings of religious people honestly come off to me as little more than sour grapes and tantrums that their guy lost, and it's disturbing that some of them are almost gleeful when pronouncing this impending doom. But the Biblical principle remains - God told Lot he would not destroy Sodom if even 5 righteous people remained. There are far more than 5 in the U.S. God repeats this same approach over and over in the Bible, so why do Christians suddenly think He will treat America with any less grace or mercy? I suspect it has little to do with their fear of actual judgement and everything to do with a desire to play the martyr and feign persecution because the majority voted for the other guy. No civil or religuous rights have changed, and neither will the number of people at church/temple this Sunday. If God can't handle four more years of the U.S. choosing the guy who has a different fiscal plan than the Mormon guy (because there is little moral difference between the two, in terms of legislation they can actually affect), then I'm not sure He's as loving and merciful as believers are make Him out to be.

Emily Foley said...

Stacy--yes. I believe civil unions are the best answer after not acting on homosexual feelings. It sounds like I'm a bigot. I don't hate gay people, I promise. But I do believe that gay couples should have the same rights (like they can get information about their partner in a hospital or whatever).

Dave--you'll have to read the Book of Mormon. That's where you'll find the case of a nation being destroyed because they turned away from God. It's worth a read (with an open mind), I promise.

ellen said...

I agree with everything you said. I can't speak for what anyone else believes or thinks I was simply pointing out that it is historically accurate to say when nations turn against God they are punished/destroyed. No I don't think we're there yet, but I think that's the path this country is on. That's my own personal opinion based on many factors not solely the election.