Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Thanks, Wheeza... Nothing Like a Nice Piece of Ass..."

I wonder how a race of homosexuals would do in regards with natural selection and the survival of the fittest? Not too many babies will come if you don't procreate in a natural way.

It seems they would be doomed by Darwin if not by the Bible.

--Obaminable Zombie, Brookfield, CT
If you ever care to see what stupid looks like in front of a keyboard, just hang around the Topix forum for a while. It's, to say the least, unnerving.

But I hear this a lot from rabid evangelicals, things like "If evolution were true, homosexuality would have been weeded out ages ago!" and "Homosexuals are proof evolution isn't true!" Never minding that religion just proves that sometimes evolution goes in reverse (socially speaking), it seems we must delve into the world of evolution and natural selection once more in an attempt to educate the ignorant masses (assuming it is possible to educate strict adherents to doctrine as opposed to lovers of knowledge...)

I suppose we must first start out by defining the two differing types of homosexuality (and I don't mean "lesbians" and "gay men"):
  1. the sexual activity between two individuals of the same gender, and
  2. the innate sexual preference for one's own gender.
In layman's terms, there's the act itself, and then there's the individual.

Back in the day (Yesteryear, Yonder, and Yore), both the scientific community and the church (at odds even then) were both of the mistaken conclusion that homosexuality was a purely human characteristic and trait--that is, the church took the stance that "No dumb animal is drawn to this evil"; Greek society and other enlightened cultures were said to have stated that "All irrational animals merely copulate, but we rational ones are superior in this regard to all other animals. We discovered homosexual intercourse. Men under the sway of women are no better than dumb animals" (Source.). Such was the ignorance of all mankind.

Of course, today we know that homosexuality (the act) is indeed abundant--nay, the norm--in most animal communities, least of all our closest living cousins the primates! Over 450 species of vertebrates have been documented and observed engaging in homosexual behavior (Source and Source); thus, we have at least established that not only is homosexuality present in a great deal of the animal kingdom from which we are a product, but indeed established as a naturally occurring act (for if it is observed in nature, how could it possibly be labeled "unnatural"? It can't!)

Of course, human homosexuality is neither new nor "unnatural" and has been documented in almost every single culture we have discovered (of course, making no statement on how homosexuality was perceived in that culture, just that it has been documented), one must ask how the seeming paradox of evolution and natural selection has kept the "dead-end reproductively" homosexual perpetually throughout most (if not all) species might seem to be easily answered on the surface: "If evolution were true, the non-reproducing homosexual traits would have been naturally selected out of the population in short order, thus eradicating it from the gene pool, thus proving it is a CHOICE, not inherent."

If only life were so simple. Take, for example, sickle-cell anemia. It is a disease passed on through the genes of humans to this day, and continues to be fatal if undiagnosed and treated. Sickle cell anemia is only inherited when BOTH parents pass on the gene to the child. Both parents could have no trace of the disease (being as they each only have ONE copy of the gene), but if their child gets one recessive copy from each, that person has the disease. However, if the child only gets ONE of the sickle cell genes from one parent, and the normal gene from the other parent, that child will exhibit no signs, and thus, the disease will continue to be carried throughout the genome unnoticed and undiagnosed. Even people with sickle-cell anemia have children, after all, another way this seemingly useless and anti-naturally selective trait is passed on to future generations. Thus, something seemingly undesirable can continue with a species forever, as long as the species can continue to procreate.

Add to the fact that societal stigmas (human society and culture, if you will) have long (in European circles, at least) stigmatized the homosexual, many a homosexual has indeed gotten married and sired children (both men and women) against their natural inclinations--indeed, this is still all-too-frequent in today's world, in which a homosexual person is made to hide their natural inclinations for one more socially acceptable to the mob, thus ensuring that, even if homosexuality could only be passed on by a "full blown" homosexual, societal norms of the reining culture are thus ensuring that the inclination of same-sex attraction continues in the human population--in fact, such a cultural stance ensures that homosexual tendencies will be expanded, not neutralized or eradicated.

However, these examples and scenarios, in regards to both the "sickle cell anemia" passing of gay traits and the "hide it from society" passing of gay traits, assumes that homosexuality is an undesirable trait that continues to thrive in the population.

More recent studies have shown that perhaps homosexuality is a necessary, even beneficial, trait of animal and human populations. From societal and social gains (Source) to the naturally selective plus that a woman who gives birth to homosexual children generally HAS more children (greater species propagation; Source) to more adults being on hand to raise children (Source), homosexuality in a species could be either a side affect of other choices in natural selection and evolution (the number of children a woman can bear greatly enhances the chances of homosexual children) or it could be a direct result of the mating habits of our ancestors (a male reducing the copulations and gene dispersal of other males as in polygamy or "herding" of females for one sole male), or it may even be something entirely different that we haven't explored yet. The fact is, science is learning new and fascinating things about what it means to be human every day. From our eating habits, our sleeping patterns, to our choices in sexual partners, all of these are the result of years of evolution both at the fundamental genetic level and the greater perpetuation of the species level.

To make off-the-cuff, ill-educated remarks like "Homosexuality would have been gotten rid of if evolution were true" does nothing to further understanding of either the human condition or the individual, and does both a great disservice, not to mention the disservice to science in general.

So all of this to say what? That we are still learning how we, as a species, fit into the growing body of knowledge we call reality. While it might be easy to vilify the things we don't understand and regulate it to the "undesirable" column, that could be the very thing that could undo us as a species. After all, who is to say that "straight sex" is the only type of copulation that will keep us from going off the deep end? It could very well be that homosexuality is the saving grace of our species.

Or, it could just very well mean that there's nothing like a nice piece of ass, no matter who's ass it happens to be. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that, my friends, is the driving force behind natural selection.

Nothing could be more natural, after all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just Being Mean...

Not content to simply make gay marriage illegal, now right-wing extremist "Christians" would like to retroactively nullify those marriages that were performed before the church used lies and fear-mongering to pass an "amendment" to make it illegal for gays to marry!

From the article:

“The biggest question mark right now is the question of what happens to the marriages that were valid when they were performed, but now the constitution says they are not recognized,” said Yes on 8 attorney Andrew Pugno.
Apparently, not being familiar with the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, why should I expect they would be familiar with Article I, Section 9, which states: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."

For the record, that means you can't make a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of acts committed, or the legal status of facts and relationships that existed, prior to the enactment of that law.

But then again, fundamentalist "Christians" haven't been wanting to listen to the Constitution for quite some time--why should they start now?

Elder Farron Davis: As president of the Pocatello stake it is my unhappy duty and obligation to convene this church court on behalf of the Elder Aaron Davis for the grave and grievous sin, of homosexuality. In the light of your abnormal and abominable state and your refusal to see you have been duped into a hogwash alternative lifestyle...I wish my shame was enough for both of us. Not to mention the shame you brought to this church...our family...our ancestors...
Aaron: Wait a minute, our ancestors? Dad, your grandfather had half a dozen wives, and the same goes for every single person in this room. I'd say we were the original definition of 'alternative lifestyle.'
Elder Farron Davis: Are you calling us hypocrites?
Aaron: No, we've gone way beyond hypocrisy, Dad, now we're just being mean.
Not to mention King David, Solomon, Jacob, and many, many other bible figures...

But now I'm telling them their business...

And they're just being plain mean...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Entitlement, Privilege, and the United States Christian...

I do believe this needs to be revisited, in light of all the fundies trying to impose the bible on the rest of the American citizens--hence, here it is again. Read, enjoy, and share a thought or two!

So I've been writing this post for quite some time... Months, actually... Constantly writing and rewriting trying to get my point across just right, and I think I've pretty much refined it as much as I can... It meanders a bit, but I think the overall cohesiveness is about as good as I'm going to get it in this lifetime, and we all know we'll end up revisiting this topic at some point in the future, so without further ado... here it goes...
Tolerance is over-rated. I've been mulling this for quite some time, ever since Ergo, a truly wise man, once told me that I should forget about the concept entirely. And even though I have great respect for Ergo, I never take anything anyone tells me and run with it--you'd be liable to poke an eye out! I mull, I consider, I ruminate and decide how it would, could, or should fit into my world view if at all...

I've decided tolerance is ultimately self-defeating. It's primary purpose is a weapon by which someone says that they can't be criticized for their position, and ultimately it squashes any dissent at all...

We've seen this type of behavior even here. I'll be criticizing the beliefs of practices of a certain religious group which holds great sway over the daily life of many Americans. And inevitably, somewhere in the comments of any given post I'll be accused of anger, and ultimately, intolerance, and then they will go on to state just as strong a position in stark contrast from my own, and told in no uncertain terms that that is "the way it is," or "the truth," (as if somehow this is a "tolerant" position to take), and sky god forbid if I try to refute it, as I'll once again be labeled "intolerant."

And, despite the fact that 90% of the people in this country (scary, scary) hold the same beliefs the commenter holds, somehow my voice, comments, and opinions are the ones that cause an issue of intolerance...

But what is the sum of my "intolerance"? The meaning, the whole, the reason why I try to be "tolerant"? I do believe that a plethora of ideas, thoughts, and statements of belief to society as a whole are wonderful, ultimately productive, and beneficial. Though this should in no way construe to be meant that every idea, belief, or statement is valid, but every idea must be at least put on the table, so to speak, for society to continue to move in a productive direction, for the group, as well as for the individual...
"Tolerance" is now a weapon, of sorts. It takes a pretty benign idea, that of having patience to hear someone out, or "put up" with something. But it no longer is used within this context, is it? When most people cry "intolerance" (especially when in relation to some supposed attack on Christianity), it has come to mean "They won't agree with us and let us say whatever the hell we want."

But tolerance is only ever meant to be the smallest part of patience. And when the patience has been tried, tolerance goes out the window. Tolerate is what you do when your two-year-old tried again to drink from a cup instead of his sippy-cup, or you tolerate the sales person who called during dinner only as long as it takes to get them off the phone. You tolerate a visit from some member of the family you dislike for the sake of a holiday, or some-such other type scenario.

But dogma isn't something to be tolerated...
Christianity enjoys great privilege in our country. They have the freedom to spout whatever nonsense comes to mind, to do all sorts of ceremonies, worship practices, pass judgment on huge swaths of humanity all under the guise of "religious freedom." Whether it be blessing a bottle of water to call it "holy," or eating crackers and saying it's the body of their dead god, to declare such-and-such "good" or such-and-such "bad" based on a book that should have been retired to the moths ages ago is pretty much standard. One can't be too shocked when they think this is their country when they are so populous as to bring to mind the cockroach and the ant.

And one would be remiss if one didn't acknowledge the impact Christianity has had on this country!

Back in colonial times, Puritan preachers referred to Native Americans as "Amelkites and Canaanites"--and in case you are unaware who they are, in the old testament, they are "bad people" who are living in the so-called "promised land" who must be smote (smited?)--and as such, Christians in the early days of our country decided that, if they wouldn't convert to Christianity, they had to be killed...

Then there was the state of Maryland's famous 1649 law called "Act Concerning Religion," which supposedly instituted "freedom of religion" for the first time in an American colony. What was your freedom of religion? Christianity, basically. You were free to be a Christian, otherwise you'd be put to death, as stated in the law:

That whatsoever pson or psons within this Province and the Islands thereunto belonging shall from henceforth blaspheme God, that is Curse him, or deny our Saviour Jesus Christ to bee the sonne of God, or shall deny the holy Trinity the ffather sonne and holy Ghost, or the Godhead of any of the said Three psons of the Trinity or the Vnity of the Godhead, or shall use or utter any reproachfull Speeches, words or language concerning the said Holy Trinity, or any of the said three psons thereof, shalbe punished with death and confiscaton or forfeiture of all his or her lands and goods to the Lord Proprietary and his heires,
The same went for the Virgin Mary, of course...

Citizenship rights were denied to American colonists who were not Christian church members. Dancing was rated by several Protestant denominations as an unforgivable sin (despite the fact that King David in the bible danced naked around a fire before his god...). Any one who spoke ill of sky god, Jesus, the holy spirit, or of the Bible could be jailed for blasphemy. Baptist evangelists were persecuted by order of civil laws in the colony of Virginia, a state that only recognized the Anglican church as the one true church (irony, irony). In Salem, Massachusetts they hung people who were accused of being "witches." And four Quakers were hung in Massachusetts merely for being Quakers!

Truly a religion pock-marked by tolerance...

"But!" today's followers of sky god will say, "they weren't really Christians!" Or, "But you cannot judge us by their actions!"

Fair enough--I'll judge you by today's actions, words, and deeds. This may seem intolerant of me, though, I warn you...
Today's Christians in America enjoy a grand sense of ... well, entitlement is the only word that comes to mind. They have strong feelings about how their particular brand of religion should be expressed in this country, whether at the expense of other religions or the non-religious is of no consideration.

Take, for example, prayer in schools. Many Christians feel that non-teacher-led prayer in schools is a strike, an attack, on Christianity in America today. As if having a teacher lead a Christian prayer in school would have prevented Columbine or some other type of disaster! They assume it is an unconstitutional hostility against their religion. This assumes a justification of privileges for Christianity, despite the fact that there are no other religious prayers led by teachers in learning institutions, such as a Jewish prayer, or a Buddhist prayer, and we certainly don't hear Jews and Buddhists claiming that teachers should be leading their prayers before every class in a public school, and they certainly aren't claiming a hostility toward their brand of religion.

This sense of entitlement also comes up when Christians insist that their religious holidays deserve some type of special recognition, deference, or respect. At times, some Christians act as though other belief systems are inferior, unequal to their own, and don’t merit equal consideration in any form. A perfect example of this would be the holiday known as Christmas. The fact that they consider "Happy Holidays" a slap in the face of their particular brand of religion, and that being considerate of other celebrations of other groups, whether religious or non, shouldn't even be recognized by retailers, let alone a school or government body of any type, is a common "call to arms" in many fundamentalist Christian circles. Yet Muslims, Jews, Hindus don't take it as an affront when someone doesn't say "Happy Hanukkah" or "Merry Eid al-Fitr" around their time of celebration. But an American Christians' sense of entitlement, of privilege, doesn't even recognize their claim of religious belief as valid. Indeed, many Christians will openly admit that differing beliefs aren't valid, even bad for American culture.

In fact, in what I assume to be the type of thinking engaged by these "entitled" Christians, is the sense of the idea that Christians are a majority, and in a democracy, the majority rules. That if they want to shape, mold, and influence the political and cultural landscape of the country, it is not only their right as citizens, but their right as the majority! They not only get this from the Constitution, but I suppose they also feel it (indeed, I guarantee it) to be their religious duty, as if legislating morality is the moral thing to do! It's what being a Christian Nation is all about. What fails to be noted, though, is that in a democracy, while there is a majority rule, there is still the protection of minority rights, something of little, if any value, in what is perceived to a Christian nation. Christians should note that they can no more vote to privilege Christianity in America than a white male like myself could vote to privilege my race. It goes against the very principles at the core of the Constitution itself.

But what does this have to do with "tolerance" and "violence" you ask? Indeed, there does seem to be a separation, a disconnect, of thought when it comes to Christian values and violence as opposed to Muslim values and violence. Why was not Clayton Waagner, or Eric Robert Rudolph, and others like them called Christian terrorists when its quite obvious their acts of violence are directly related to their Christian beliefs, much like when suicide bombers are called "Muslim terrorists" as their acts of destruction and devastation are directly related to their beliefs? Why is there this disconnect between American Christians, who feel they have nothing to do with the acts of those who believe as they do when they do something this destructive, yet they feel they can blame Imams and other Muslim teachers for not speaking out enough against Muslim terrorists?

It is the current sense of entitlement and privilege that many American Christians feel--their own innate individualism guaranteed by the Constitution--that I feel they think allows them to separate themselves from the group-think they engage in. They are an individual. They claim their common beliefs, their group of thinking, their way of thinking as the majority has the right to rule, yet they wipe their hands clean when individuals in their group do something so horrific, they are not to blame. American Christians--even when they hold the very beliefs and thoughts that created the situation they are hypocritically condemning--never have to worry about being called one of the group. Instead, they get to call their violent coreligionists "crazy," "insane," "deluded," or even "deranged," and it is assumed that the beliefs that lie at the heart of the violence are not connected to the religion that teaches them.

Take for example abortion. Many many sites that claim to be loyal to the Christian god have stories, essays, and grand sermons on what their holy book says about abortion, why it is wrong, why it is "murder." Here is one site that pulls verses from Luke, Jeremiah, and Psalm that the Bible teaches abortion is wrong--nay, even murder--as if stringing together a bunch of random verses from things written two thousand years ago is an argument in any way--but if one were to use this very book as a basis for moral law, guess what the punishment for murder is in the Bible? You guessed it--murder. Kill them. Stones were the preferred method of the day, of course, but one certainly can't blame them for not having discovered gun powder yet, right? All part of God's plan, or somesuch other reasoning...

But this person--and many others throughout the country--are thoroughly convinced there is no connection between anti-abortion violence and Christianity. Why is this?

It boils down to privilege and entitlement--something American Christians are quite used to here in the United States. And as previously stated, individual rights are one of those privileges. I'll say it again, American Christians--even when they hold the very beliefs and thoughts that created the situation they are hypocritically condemning--never have to worry about being called one of the group. Instead, they get to call their violent coreligionists "crazy," "insane," "deluded," or even "deranged," and it is assumed that the beliefs that lie at the heart of the violence are not connected to the religion that teaches them.

American Christians of course have the inalienable right of "individual," but only seem to claim it when a "group" or "individual" commits a violence in the name of the same god they subscribe to. These individuals are claimed to be missing the "point," perhaps, or certainly "not one of them." In fact, the only time our American Christians seem to think as a group, or claim group status as a majority, is when they sense some type of empirical threat against their supremacy, their privileges, their entitlement, such as school prayer, "Merry Christmas," or ten commandments displays on a government wall.

But they refuse to see themselves as a group when it comes to those who are persecuting others, much preferring to be the "victims" in a country where their status of entitlement and privilege marks them as no more a victim than a billiard table holding all the balls. Even when those same Christians-in-denial hold the same beliefs that lead to the situation of violence and destruction...

But this self-assigned "privilege" (denying group-membership when it comes to violent members) is something we hear Christians denying every other group in the country, whether again of religious or nonreligious persuasion. For example, all Muslims must account for Islam/Quran-supported (direct or indirect) violence of any Muslim. Yet to call on Christian leaders the next time an abortion clinic is attacked, or a gay bar is blown up, or a prostitute is murdered isn't seen as something the Christians need to speak out about--it is secular society that has caused the ills, secular society that has the issues--even though most of the reasoning behind these types of crimes comes from a Judeo/Christian thought process!

They claim "we bring it on ourselves," or that "This is what happens when a country turns on God," or somesuch other nonsense, which, in effect, claims to rid them of any responsibility for their group members despite the fact that the act was committed holding thoughts very much in agreement with the conservative Christian mindset!

Back to abortion: Most Christians would claim that abortion is wrong. Murder is a word most of them would use to describe what happens in an abortion procedure. They claim it from pulpits, plaster it on billboards, run around wearing T-shirts that claim abortion is murder and it must be stopped! So then someone in their group tries to stop it. And then suddenly, when that person is charged with a crime, they are now "nuts" or "dangerous" and "missing the point...," and even though they claim God hates abortion, and God set forth rules to take care of murderers, when one of them does murder the murderer, they "have it wrong" and "aren't one of us (i.e., Christian)."

Because they as a group only think and act as a group when their empire can be expanded, or is under some perceived attack. But if one member goes rogue, or acts in such a way to cast a bad light on the Christian sects, they are not part of the group any longer... Close ranks, ship 'em out, spin the PR, and hope for the best. Oh, and throw in there that he obviously wasn't a Christian, or they wouldn't have committed such an act...
Is this a grand generalization? Yes, in many ways, it is. It speaks to the "Christian nation" as a whole, which, even though they have the United States, they aren't only content not to share, they aren't willing to take responsibility either. Muslims and Christians continue to war in Africa today over land, "souls," and lives. Where are the voices calling for an end to this type of violence? Why are today's American Christians so concerned with who's having/not having a baby, who wants to get married to whom, can my kid's teacher say "Bless this food, amen," but there seems to be no concerted...

Effort to take responsibility. That pretty much sums up most of the premises held in religious circles. I've read where some Christians decided that global warming is either a tool of the devil or some type of lie made up by man (and I'm thinking, shouldn't we just pollute less anyway? Doesn't that make sense?).

Much like the nature of their worship--their so-called "sin nature" isn't their fault. It's God's plan, Eve's or the devil's fault, and Jesus took care of the fine print--they're responsibility free! All they have to do is believe! (How much easier could it be? No responsibility and eternal life in heaven...) Other people's issues? Their fault, or the devils, or their sin nature, or "turning away from god..." The whole ideology behind Christianity is a lack of taking responsibility! So therefore, why should they feel a responsibility to treat others equally? Or to treat the Earth with respect? Salvation was handed to them (so they think) with no strings attached... (This paragraph needs fleshed out a bit more, but I think you guys get the drift...)

Claims about discrimination and persecution would be justified by the Christian right if we were dealing strictly with Constitutional rights (such as the right to free speech, or the right to bear arms), but we're not talking about these things are we? As much as the Christian right would like to make this about a "violation of rights," it's really just a leveling of the playing field, and a loss of their "specialness." The truth is that Christians are losing privileges, actions and entitlements they feel strongly about--not rights. They are losing the power to get treated better than everyone else. They are not actually being discriminated against--its just that they can no longer discriminate in their traditional ways and means, and are starting to be treated the same as everyone else. It’s certainly not unlike how the end of “white privilege” was perceived by whites during the Civil Rights era of the fifties and sixties (you know, the good old days when all these right-wingers claimed that "life" was somehow better?)

Christian privilege is one of the few traditional privileges that continues to be openly defended in today's United States. Other forms of privilege (like "white male privilege") may continue to exist, but it’s wrong actually argue in defense of them anymore (to many a discriminatory person's chagrin). Perhaps one day religious privilege will go the way that white male privilege are going, but conservative Christians are already bemoaning their loss and fighting tooth and nail (in the humility and love of Christ, of course).

One wonders what they'll resort to when all privilege is gone?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The First Snowflake...

As I sat underneath the electric blanket this morning, Rich snoring softly by my side, I stared as a single snowflake drifted down from the sky past the window and disappeared into the grass...

Soon my yard will be covered in the beautiful grave blanket of winter. A beautiful shade of temporary death, but death nonetheless...

I turned the blanket up one more notch and pulled it tighter around my shoulders. I try to imagine what the butterfly bush looked like in the height of summer, with its conflicting purple and white flowers. The climbing, rambling, blood-red rose sneaking its way through its neighboring ferns.

The grave blanket of snow will be beautiful. Much like most of us imagine it will be at the end when we go to our own grave. Surrounded by friends and loved ones. Perhaps going in our sleep, painlessly, next to our spouse's gentle breathing as it soothes us from this earthly life. Maybe it will happen on that one adventure, the adventure we had waited our whole lives to undertake, and we will go doing something we love, high on life while death embraces us from the reality of earth...

As the first rays of light peak through the bare branches of the apple tree, I see a few chickadees flitting about, nipping at the last vestiges of rotted apples. Hawthorne leaps onto the bed and buries himself underneath the blanket with me while Mary contents herself with using her tail as a drumstick on the foot board. Rich rolls over, hair mussed, eyes sleepy and tired but happy, and smiles up at me.

"Good morning, baby."

"It is, isn't it?"

I kick Hawthorne back to the floor and lay back down for a few more minutes, arms around the one I love, and we stare together between the curtains as the frost begins to reflect back the suns beams.

"I have to get up to check the coal stove," Rich says, beginning to pull away.

"Wait," I said, pulling him tighter. "Just... wait. A few more minutes. Life can wait a few more minutes."

He lays back down and we just lie there, content with the sounds of our breathing, and the view of the morning sun through the branches gradually brightening the room...

Waiting for the snow. And loving every minute of it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"I Wouldn't Have to Yell..."

Hawthorne is a pretty athletic dog. When it comes to that old adage, "Owners look like their masters," this one definitely doesn't fit the mold--in fact, he's the exception that proves the rule.

Flying balls caught on a whim, leaping tall fences, running for hours on end--this is Hawthorne. One great big white-hot ball of canine energy--that sheds. Regularly.

But yesterday was--well, it was almost as if he was having an "off" day. As if his "Jock Gene" got lost.

It started when we got home from work. Rich went straight to the coal stove while I took the two pups outside to drain the metaphorical lizard. When we came back in, Rich was shaking down the stove, door wide open, so he could load in some fresh coal and thus keep our house from becoming a freezer.

Now, we've yelled at Hawthorne for this many, many times, all to no avail. Whenever he sees the coal stove door open, he feels the need to run and leap over the door, as if he were Dawn Harper in a past life. (In case you were wondering, she won the gold medal for the 100-meter hurdle event this past summer...)

So I yell the customary "Hawthorne, no!", and as usual, he ignores me, reaches down deep into that inner-Dawn Harper and takes a flying leap over the coal stove door just as Rich is reaching back for a shovel full of coal. He lands safely in the kitchen, except--

BANG!! Shatter!

  • Replacing the high-heat resistant glass on the front of the coal stove: $200

His back legs didn't quite make it over the door. After much duct tape, aluminum foil, a few metal hangers, and a call in to Stoves 'N Stuff, we will have a new piece of glass next week. For now, our Red Green-inspired cover on the door functions...

So we get all of that cleaned up, prepare dinner, and are dishing ourselves up a nice steak meal. I pop in The Nightmare Before Christmas while Rich heads back out into the kitchen for drinks. He sets my ice tea and his can of cola on the coffee table and we plop down on the couch.

Hawthorne, trying to make nice, brings his big blue ball over, lays it on Rich's lap, then spins around to wait in the hall for us to throw it and...

SMACK! Dribble, dribble dribble...

  • One glass of ice tea and one can of soda: $1.75

I get a rag to clean up the mess while Rich tries to rescue the pile of bills and magazines from the ever-growing flood of liquid. Hawthorne stares from the hallway, ears down, tail tucked between his legs. More like The Nightmare Before Dinner, I think, grabbing towels and soap.

After we get all that cleaned up, we eat a luke-warm steak dinner and discuss how we can't really punish him for being klutzy, no matter how out of character it seems. I gather the dirty dishes up and begin to walk them out to the kitchen and...

SLAM! Clatter!

  • Two dishes, one glass, and a twisted ankle: $15

This time Hawthorne and Mary both look as if Satan himself had risen up from the floor. I look up from my half-kneeled position, shattered bits of glass and dish shimmering around me, to see them cowering under the kitchen table--their chosen hiding spot after trying to race me out to the kitchen.

"What in the hell has gotten into you guys!!" I scream. I'm at my wits end! This is the THIRD dog-created mess in less than four hours! I know people with toddlers who don't clean this much!

"Calm down, it was only an accident. There's no need to yell," Rich says, reaching for the broom--again.

I couldn't help myself--a line from one of my most favorite television shows drifted into my head and out of my mouth before I could stop it: "I wouldn't have to yell if they were such stupid, klutzoid, DUMB-HEADED NONG-NONGS!!!!

"What?" Rich was truly puzzled.

I busted up laughing, the anger leaving my body as quickly as it entered. It's a good thing, too. Otherwise I may have pulled a slightly different quote form the same source:

"You know, I'm beginning to think we don't need a dog. Or maybe, we need a new dog. Or maybe, we need a CAT!"
With a cat, at least, I probably wouldn't have to yell...

As much...

Who am I kidding?

  • Hawthorne: Priceless.

For everything else, there's Mater Card...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ahh, Democracy, the New Mob Rule... | Updated...

Pardon me for belaboring the point. After all, all I'm doing is bitch-bitch-bitch, while you all are trying to get on with your Voter Tested, Christian Approved™ lives...

But I'm wondering--now that religious right-wing radicals have decided to prevent "fake" weddings and "fraudulent" marriages between the gays, I'm wondering when they'll come for the atheists--after all, they get married all the time without god being involved. Buddhists, Hindus, Jews--all heathens and pagans according to fundamental Christianity, and thus, since their marriages are not "of god," they must all be fake marriages, yeah? Will they next try to get that on the ballot: "Should any person who wishes to enter into a contract of marriage be required to prove their membership into a Church approved by a Council created by the Transatlantic Baptists-Protestant Alliance? Yes or No?"

Prisoners have the right to get married, whether incarcerated or not. Murderers, child rapists, money launderers, petty thieves...

You do know that there are also interfaith marriages? Jews marrying Catholics. Hindus marrying Lutherans. Jehovah's Witnesses getting hitched to Mormons. Apparently all shams! Do they not know the Bible says "Thou shall not be unevenly yoked"?

I suppose the key difference being they usually each bring one penis and one vagina during the "genital role-call" requirements (the little known verse following "unevenly yoked" says "especially with two penises or vaginas..."). All marriages must now start with this, you know: "Will the alleged bride and alleged groom please lift skirts and drop trousers? After all, we wouldn't want the Church invading our Hunka-Hunka Burning Love Wedding Chapel and Tackle Shop for performing sham marriages. Elvis, please check the junk, if you would be so kind..."

I mean, if my life and my choice of spouse must be put up for a vote, I demand the right to vote for or against everyone else's marriages--I mean, doesn't this mean that no one should get to choose their spouse? I move for a Constitutional Amendment to have only arranged marriages. And a Constitutional Amendment to outlaw divorce. I move for a Constitutional Amendment for all persons unapproved for marriage be posted on a public web page so that all true, pre-approved for marriage persons can know which neighborhoods to avoid. A Constitutional Amendment to prevent atheists, gays, Hindus, Jehovah's Witnesses, and all other "questionable" or out-right wrong persons from living within four miles of a church that is stamped "Straight Tested and God Approved™."

Sound silly? So does declaring individual rights are up for a "democratic" vote.

Remember that the next time you wish to make a personal decision: "What would 52% of the population do? Would they approve?"

Get enough signatures, and we can put it to a vote. Fuck individual freedom--let mob rule reign forever... Under the guise of democracy, of course.
The above bumper sticker, and many other great T-shirts, hats, and other nifty items can be found at Cafe Press. Shop now before their inventory is put up for a vote...
The Mormon Church is now calling for "civility" as protesters called them out for their bigotry:

"The church calls on those involved in the debate over same sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other," the church said in a statement. "No one on either side of the question should be vilified, intimidated, harassed or subject to erroneous information."
Yes, we weren't vilified, were we? In the weeks leading up to the vote, when the Mormon Church raised $20 million of the overall $75 million in an effort to prevent marriages which have no impact on them, I'm sure they were completely civil, right? They didn't say things like
  1. "Children in public schools will have to be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage." (a lie...)
  2. "Churches may be sued over their tax exempt status if they refuse to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their religious buildings open to the public." (a lie...)
  3. "Religions that sponsor private schools with married student housing may be required to provide housing for same-sex couples, even if counter to church doctrine, or risk lawsuits over tax exemptions and related benefits." (a lie...)
  4. "Ministers who preach against same-sex marriages may be sued for hate speech and risk government fines." (a lie...)
  5. "It will cost you money. This change in the definition of marriage will bring a cascade of lawsuits, including some already lost." (Biggest lie yet...) (Source.)
The Mormon Church was the biggest supporter of Prop 8, and the largest infraction of church into politics in United States history. And now that they are done lying and won their Prop 8 passage, now they want to be "civil"? Now they want "respect"? They don't want "erroneous information" spread about them? About THEM?!

So much for "Thou shalt not bear false witness." Anything goes when "traditional marriage" is on the line, but as soon as the battle is over?

[...] Frank Schubert, the campaign manager for Protect Marriage, the leading group being Proposition 8 called the commercial a "blatant show of religious bigotry" because the protesters feel comfortable attacking a group that makes up a small percentage of the population.

"They think they can get away with it," he said, adding that other religious denominations are condemning the commercial. The Mormon church denounced the ad.
To paraphrase, "Hey, we're allowed to beat up on small percentages of the population, but YOU GAYS are NOT!"

Perhaps they'll put that up for a vote in four more years...

The so-called "Family Research Council" (which does neither research nor is for real families) issued the following in a mass email:

At LDS headquarters in Utah, leaders called for a ceasefire with gay activists and "goodwill" on both sides. Unfortunately, that message has yet to stick with the "No on 8" crowd, which has lashed out with unprecedented aggression against the faith community.
Gee, I wonder why that could be? What would lil ol homosexuals like me have against "the faith community"? Let's give that one some thought... And for the record, it isn't against "the faith community," it's against the religious bigots community--get a clue, Tony Perkins. But Tony continues:

FRC is proud of the example that the interfaith community has set on marriage. If the Prop 8 outcome is any indication, homosexuals could stand to learn a thing or two from the church on civility.
If lying about how you are the victims in this fight, selling out your beliefs for "the greater good," and spending millions of dollars against gay marriage that could have fed thousands of hungry families and housed hundreds of homeless persons, than yes, I suppose we could all learn a thing from you--

Pay attention everyone--you have just learned how to be an asshole for god, courtesy of the Family Research Council and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All in the name of civility, of course. No really--they voted on it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One generation plants the trees;
Another gets the shade.

Maggie Gallagher claims that "Unions of husband and wife really are unique, and they deserve their unique status in law and society." (You should read the article--it's amazing how she can spin restricting freedoms of a minority group into a "We Christians are the victims here!" pile of shit...)

How do I explain it...?

I guess the best place to start is with The Children. After all, it seems that in today's society, everything must be about The Children, we must protect The Children, we can't let The Children see this or that, we can't let The Children hear this or that...

And now, according to the right-wing extremism, we must restrict individual freedom in the name of The Children.

I, for one, am still waiting to find out what harm The Children will come to if one woman and another woman commit their lives to each other in matrimony. If two men stand before a magistrate (or even one of the many open-minded clergy in this country) and declare their love for one another in front of friends and family. If, like opposite-sex couples, when one of them dies, the other doesn't have to worry about buying the other half of their home from their dead spouses estate; automatically gets pension payments, social security, and any other of the 1,138 federal benefits, rights and responsibilities associated with marriage.

Is it that The Children may grow up gay? Here's a news flash for you: I was raised by--brace yourselves--an opposite-sex couple! Rich was raised by--yep--an opposite sex couple. All of our gay and bi friends? Give you one guess--opposite sex couples! In fact, I know quite a few STRAIGHT people who were raised by GAY couples!

"You mean"--you are thinking--"that gay isn't contagious?"

I know, I know--I was shocked myself, and I was one of The Children who became one of The Gays! And I bet you'll find this an even bigger shocker, dear reader--I wasn't raped as a child, beaten by my parents, coddled by my mother, OR raised by heathens and pagans! Nope, I became one of The Gays just by virtue of being born--albeit, in a used-to-be-righter-wing right wing, born again, baptized Christian family. If a god even existed who could give a rats ass, he couldn't have put me in a more non-gay-friendly childhood environment... (No offense, Mom and Dad...)

I'm wondering when it became kosher to actually hide behind your children, you know? When did parents suddenly start expecting the world to conform to their standards? "We must get violence off television!" Ever hear of a television switch? "We must stop people from cursing in front of my young ones!" Well, you know what? Learn to explain to your children why you don't want them using those words! "We must stop gays from getting married, else The Children will think it's okay to be gay!" Guess what? I thought it wasn't okay, tried to change it, almost killed myself, was filled with self-loathing for years, and for what? So that your children wouldn't find out that gay people exist? That people do swear? That just because you are standing in line to see a movie that it doesn't necessarily mean you are there to see--wait for it--an R rated film!

Be a parent! Don't want your kids to be gay? Guess what--there is nothing you can do about it. Gays have been being created by the straights for years. And will continue to be. Not because we have an agenda, but because that's the way the ball bounces. That's life. And legislating against it isn't going to change it.

Legislating morals is never a moral thing to do--in fact, it's downright immoral and disdainfully un-American (but please note that I am not calling right-wingers un-American--just the fact that they are trying to legislate their morality...)

But I'm going off on a tangent...

Back to The Children. Yes, they are our future. And they must be prepared for the future by realizing that not everyone is just like them, just like their parent(s), and just like their home life (my biggest beef with home schooling...) Sheltering The Children isn't preparing them to be our future, it's preparing them to live in a bubble--and as anyone on Wall Street knows, bubbles burst. Harshly. Loudly. Messily.

I remember my first day in public school--seventh grade. "Culture shock" would be an understatement. After spending K through 6th grade at Chapel Christian Academy (now defunct), going to a blue-jean wearing, T-shirts okay, hair-allowed-to-be-past-your-shirt-collar public school was just too much, and I pretty much shut down socially for the next 3 years. I survived, but some kids do not, especially if their sheltered education lasts far longer.

And The Children should not be an excuse for limiting freedoms. Constitutions are designed to protect minority groups from majority rule, and in this, the California legal system has failed. What's even more surprising is the amount the Mormon church contributed to stopping gay marriage--a sect of Christianity who themselves are victims of marriage discrimination! (DISCLAIMER: Plural marriage, IMO, should be legal as long as all are consenting adults, of legal age to make legal decisions, and are not being forced, coerced, or threatened into such an arrangement...) Most main stream Christians (if such a thing exists) don't even consider Mormons to be real Christians (whatever that means... QED? Thoughts or clarification on that point?), but as the old saying goes, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," and all denominations came together to prevent a right and freedom that in no way affects them, their church, their religion, or their god... (Could someone clarify how this is treating your neighbor as you would like to be treated? Anyone? How this shows the love of god?)

Let's face it--preventing gay marriage isn't to protect The Children. And if it were about "protecting traditional marriage," it wouldn't have been a ban on gay marriage, it would have been a "Ban on Divorce"! It would have been a "Ban on Sex Outside of Marriage". It would have been a "Ban on Adultery". But after all that, the South just wouldn't be the South anymore, would it?

I know in another fifteen or twenty years, people who supported this ban will be viewed with the same shame and disgust at all those who opposed inter-racial marriage. Like those who supported preventing women from voting or owning land.

But until then? Until then, I will continue to sock away money so that when the time comes that either Rich or myself pass on, the other can keep what we two have worked so hard to build together: our home, our land, our lives...

And even though we can't get a stinkin' little piece of paper for $40 dollars like the rest of the hetero's, we're as married as you, and will continue to live together as if we are.

After all, the marriage fight isn't about the piece of paper. It's about the rights all straight couples get to take for granted, to use or not as they please: to make medical decisions for their spouse and not think twice; to fill out the same customs form at the airport and not get a funny look from the agent; to file taxes on the same form and not have to do double the paperwork or pay H&R Block twice for one household's taxes; to know that Rich will get to keep the house and not have to "buy my half" when I die...

I will continue to plant this tree, so that in the future, The Children--your children--will enjoy the shade. Because The Children? They'll be just fine either way.

Once they get you to stop hiding behind them...

Photos courtesy of Gay Twogether

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Over Dramatic? Or Just Plain Mean...?

I'm feeling very Natalie Imbruglia about the election results, if I must be honest. Not that I'm in any way upset that Obama won--that's been my happy thought since about 10:30 pm last night!

I have to applaud my American citizens for finally getting over the "black thing," if I am to put it politely (if mostly because they feel their wallets are more important than skin color). That's progress, if you care to look at the proverbial glass as half full, I suppose. Most of them were able to see McCain's politicizing for what it was, his pandering, and his lack of focus, and, even though I know most people didn't vote for Obama because he is a Democrat (most people just wanted change, they really didn't care where it came from, I believe...), I love how new blogger on the scene "Not Lacking an Opinion" put it:

It seems as though McCain countered the Obama's African-American candidacy with a female running mate. "I see that African-American and raise you one woman!" Well it didn't work. The citizens of the United States were smarter than that. They chose substance over image.
Love that sentence! Perhaps I'll have T-shirts made...

But there are microcosms of citizens that are most unhappy, as I was reminded on my Facebook this morning. Granted, most of my Facebook friends are from my Appalachian Bible College days, right-wingers mostly, although I love them dearly, I am sorely disappointed in their reactions. Granted, some of them were very gracious; things like "Congratulations to Obama, now let's pray for him," or "trusting God's sovereignty." I can't make too much fun, as these people are trying really hard to look at the bright side, even if their bright side is nonexistent.

But then there were the others: things like "in shock that our country just elected osama i mean obama for president. God have mercy on us!" and "May God have Mercy on our souls!" and "there were many evil kings that God appointed over Israel, there's a reason for it no doubt, I'm just disappointed in the Christians of this country" and "my daughter prayed this morning when we told her the bad news. she said she sure hopes obama asks Jesus in his heart so he can make good choices."

Evil kings? Assuming he's not a Christian? Have mercy on us?? (Step away from the de-friend button, step away from the de-friend button...) I am appalled by the pride, the arrogance, the sense that they have god, but apparently Obama does not; that they know that their opinions are the only good opinions, that they are the only thing standing between god and our total annihilation-- I wish they had humble buttons I could take away! What utter, horrifying cheek!

Much like QED who commented very strangely on my last post, saying things like "He's not a Christian because he's not a very good one!" I know a lot of people who make very bad human beings, does that mean they aren't? Of course not! These are the same people that claim their god sees the heart, and no other man can know it--and they know he's not "saved"? Not a Christian? An "evil king," for crying out loud?!

There is a very good reason for why there are over 38,000 Christian denominations--None of you can agree on who each other is, who is right, what make a "real" Christian, and you all have too much god damned pride to admit you may be wrong. After all, how could you be wrong? You pray, you read your own copy of a bible, and you all draw your own conclusions with "feelings" and "leading from" the spirit (something a little Pepto would fix right up...) What could possibly go wrong with that?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I believe their hearts' are in the right places, but I don't know where the hell their heads are at. I may have hated Bush (still do!), but I would never think of him as a man of intentional ill intent--I'm very sure he does, did, and will continue to do what he actually thinks is best, no matter how ass-backward I feel his actions to be! (or stupid, moronic, or ill-thought...) I believe there to be a very huge difference between talking about a man's actions, and who a man is, and if these are the followers of the so-called "prince of peace," it doesn't take a genius to figure out why so many were (are) disillusioned with the church, no matter what their spiritual status...

But I digress to touch on another portion of this election season in which I am very disappointed in my America, my United States: they haven't gotten over the "gay thing" apparently...

Three states had constitutional amendments on their ballots, and one had an anti-gay adoption law to be voted on, and, due mostly to lying pastors and dishonest right-wing groups ("We'll have to perform those marriages!" "We won't be able to stop them from using our churches!" "We will be arrested if we disagree with them!"--all lies...), they all passed--although some barely.

The one bright side, as FC pointed out in the comments of my last post, this now sets up a Supreme Court showdown. After all, rights were given to gay couples in California. They have wed (and will still do so until California's "amendment" takes effect--unsure of the time line there...), and now will have to appeal to federal levels to make sure they can retain those rights, as the 14th Amendment of the federal Constitution states:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Emphasis, of course, is mine. Now that the "privilege" of marriage (later found to be a right, see Loving V Virginia: Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man"...) has been granted, it cannot be taken away from the citizens of California (or Massachusetts), and thus all those discriminatory bans and state amendments will be overturned (until such a time as the right-wing can once again sweep the country into their ideological abyss and try to pass a federal ban on gay marriage), and once again cries of "judicial activism" will fill the air waves (even though most of the time, they are not being "activist," they are doing their jobs!)

So even in this, I have hope.

I can understand the disappointment of McCain's supporters (as, when I fell asleep in 2000 with Gore as my president and woke up with Bush as my president), but at least the election was fair (unlike in 2000), Obama won the popular vote (unlike Bush in 2000), there were no tidal waves of "voter fraud" (unlike in 2000), so I'm pretty prepared to say "Deal with it!"

But what I've been hearing today isn't disappointment.

It's just being plain mean.