Tag Archives: freedom

Same Sex Marriage “Stuff” – Part Two

Click here to read Same Sex Marriage “Stuff” – Part One

Religious-freedom-is-not-freedom-to-discriminate

50 years ago religious freedom arguments that are being made today to discriminate against LGBT people were being used to justify the discrimination of black people and interracial relationships.

At that time scripture was misused to support the exclusion and oppression of black people and interracial couples. Today we have people doing the same thing to justify the exclusion and oppression of LGBT people and same sex couples.

Most people have never taken the time to study what scripture says about same sex relationships for themselves. Most people read scripture with preconceived ideas that have been formed by believing what they have been told by someone else.

If anyone is willing to set their preconceived ideas aside and take the time to study original language while also taking historical context into consideration they will be able to comprehend that there is nothing in scripture that clearly condemns a loving, healthy same sex relationship. NOTHING!

I know!, because as a parent of a gay son I was diligent in my effort to find out FOR SURE what scripture did and didn’t say about same sex relationships. I loved my son enough to go to the trouble. Do you love anyone enough to go to the trouble? If you do, I would be glad to help you.

In fact, there is more evidence in scripture to support slavery than there is to support the condemnation of all same sex relationships.

Scripture also doesn’t put forth the idea that marriage is to be only between one man and one woman or that it has anything to do with people falling in love.

Scripture proves one thing about marriage … that marriage has been changing since the beginning of time. As society progresses, learns and improves, our institutions change.

Traditionally marriage was not between one man and one woman. The idea of marriage as a sexually exclusive, romantic union between one man and one woman is a relatively recent development. In the ancient world, marriage served primarily as a means of preserving power, with kings and other members of the ruling class marrying off their daughters to forge alliances, acquire land, and produce legitimate heirs. The purpose of marriage was primarily the production of heirs. Often times peasants wouldn’t even bother with marriage since they had no property or position to worry about.

The church didn’t even get involved in marriage until the 5th century. It wasn’t declared a sacred sacrament until the 12th century. And it wasn’t until the 16th century that weddings were performed publicly by a priest and with witnesses. A license to be married wasn’t commonplace until the 17th century which was around the time when romance began to have some involvement. As the middle class formed in the 19th century only then did young men begin to select their own spouses and start marrying without the consent of their parents. The idea of women having rights and not being a subordinate to their husband didn’t become common until the 20th century. It was 1965 before the Supreme Court ruled that a wife could be raped by her husband. Until then husbands who forced themselves on their wives were not guilty of rape, since they were legally entitled to sexual access.

The institution of marriage has always been in a constant state of evolution.

“Marriage, like transportation, has always been a part of human existence. But riding a donkey is very different from flying in a jet, and modern marriage has only superficial similarity to what went before. Just as we embrace each new mode of travel that enhances human welfare, no one should mind adapting marriage to the needs of modern people.” – Steve Chapman

Extending matrimony to same-sex couples advances the same interests cited in support of heterosexual marriage. Legalizing same sex marriages encourages stable commitments that offer a framework for procreation and upholds the interest of children in a legally protected family.

The evidence before us is that same sex marriage offers the same benefits to individuals and society that opposite sex marriage does.

And finally, there is nothing in scripture that would support the idea that Christians should not sell their services or products to someone who is, in their eyes, sinning. In fact, that would go against the very tenets of Christianity. Any use of Christianity to justify discrimination is evidence of a misunderstanding about who Jesus was and what his good news was meant to convey to and about humanity. Discrimination and exclusion were not values of Jesus and are in conflict with the precepts of the Christian faith.

Oh – and one last point – the First Amendment does not guarantee us the right to discriminate based on our religion, it instead guarantees us the right not to be discriminated against based on our religious beliefs.

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12 Movies and a Novel

This post is part of the August Synchroblog: Summertime, Summertime, Sum Sum Summertime in which we were invited to share our favorite books and/or movies of the summer.  Be sure and check out the list of contributions to this months synchroblog which I will list at the end of this post as they become available.  To learn more about the synchroblog please visit the Synchroblog site.

When hubby and I went to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes this past weekend I checked in on Foursquare at our favorite theater (of which I am the Foursquare Mayor) and received a message saying that I had achieved a new record because I had checked in “12 weekends in a row” at this particular theater.  12?  Could it really be 12?  We do love to go to the movies, but I wasn’t sure if I could remember 12 movies I had seen in the last three months.

Green Lantern, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Larry Crowne, CaptainAmerica: The First Avenger, Friends with Benefits, Cowboys and Aliens, The Hangover Part 2, Bridesmaids, X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Bad Teacher, Rise of the Planet of the Apes … it looks like we may have been there 12 weekends in a row!

However, I don’t know that I could really write a whole post about any of those movies.  There just isn’t that much substance in summer movies.  They are fun and entertaining but they don’t create a lot of conversation afterwards.  Sure Larry Crowne was a sweet story about the importance of community and second chances; and Rise of the Planet of the Apes could be considered a wake-up call; and Julie Clawson did write a full length post about Cowboys and Aliens which was very interesting … but the most I can really say about my movie experience this summer is that for the most part it was fun and entertaining.  (For the record, I guess my favorite summer flick was Super 8).

That is why I really needed a good, long, epic sort of book to read this summer.  I needed something that I could dive into, live within, immerse myself, connect to, reflect upon, struggle with … but it had to be fiction!  because I am mostly drawn to fiction these days.  I seem to learn more, get more insight, experience more transformation, find truth more in a great novel than in anything else I read these days.  It is something about “the story” that connects me in a way that stays with me.

So that is what led to me reading the novel Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.

You probably heard all the hype when it came out last fall … “The Next Great American Novel”  “The Most Over-Hyped New Novel”  “A Poignant Indictment of Contemporary American Life”

It is long (over 500 pages) and covers a span of more than 30 years in the life of a family who is in a sort of free-fall as they try to figure out how to live in the world they find themselves in.

It is almost impossible to give a brief description of the plot as it includes so many things … fidelity, infidelity, politics, war, war profiteering, depression, marriage, friendship, personal liberties, social responsibility, environmental issues, teen rebellion, betrayal, capitalism, regulation, sex, love … even rock ‘n roll.  It tells a lot of stories and it spreads them out over a few decades and continents.

The closeup story centers around a love triangle between Patty and Walter Berglund and Walter’s lifelong best friend/competitor, Richard Katz, who is also a rock star.  The broader story examines life and the stresses of life in our post 9/11 world.

It seems to me that the theme or question that keeps coming up in the story is “how to live with the freedoms we have without destroying ourselves, others, what we care about and the world in general.”  As it turns out, freedom is more than a right or a privilege or an opportunity … freedom is a responsibility, a chore, a problem … sometimes even a curse.  It’s complicated because one person’s freedom often seems to infringe upon another person’s freedom.  Freedom doesn’t really translate into “let’s all be happy and get along” as much as us Americans would like to suggest that it does/can.  I think Walter frames the concept of how freedom isn’t all it is cracked up to be when he says, “…the one thing nobody can take away from you is the freedom to fuck up your life whatever way you want to.”

If you can’t read a book unless you are in love with the characters then this book isn’t going to be that enjoyable for you. None of the characters are cuddly … but they do come off as real people with many layers who are often living contradictions of who they think they are and strive to be.  Franzan is a genius at creating characters that are so real one thinks about them even when not reading the book.  He describes them so thoroughly that it is as if he has actually created a life … someone you might run into at the grocery story or see in the car stopped next to you at a red light.

Although this book is about serious stuff, it does not lack humor (just like real life). It is actually billed as a comedy-drama and Franzen is quite good (astute even) when it comes to witty descriptions of real life predicaments that are roll on the floor funny.  One of the most hilarious moments is when we find Joey (Patty and Walter’s rebellious, mixed-up son) in a hotel bathroom digging through his own poop trying to find his wedding ring that he accidentally swallowed while the girl he is cheating with bangs on the locked bathroom door because she needs to pee.

In the end, I came away with the feeling that I had read something important, something I wanted to talk to others about, something I wanted to ponder.  I also came away with  a few new ideas about freedom:

Freedoms are best enjoyed when they exist with imposed limitations and structure, whether that is in the world at large, a city, a neighborhood, a family or a friendship.

True freedom cannot really be found in any form of autonomy because we are only content when we are in a right and healthy relationship with others and the world we live in.

Can it be called freedom if it leads to depression, loneliness and/or destruction?

If you haven’t already done so, I recommend that you read Freedom by Jonathan Franzan.  Although only time will tell if it truly is a Great American Novel, I think it will be a book that is talked about for years to come.

What would you consider a great summer read?

Check out these other synchroblog posts: