Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Same Sex Marriage Considerations

This article is thoughtful and not hateful while considering the volatile subject of SSM.Thought it was worth posting.

Marriage is of such importance that it is uniquely protected in the law and culture. It predates the law and the Constitution, and is an anthropological and sociological reality, not primarily a legal one. No civilization can survive without it, and those societies that allowed it to become irrelevant have faded into history.

The Meaning of Marriage

Marriage is the union of the two sexes, not just the union of two people. It is the union of two families, and the foundation for establishing kinship patterns and family names, passing on property and providing the optimal environment for raising children.

The term "marriage" refers specifically to the joining of two people of the opposite sex. When that is lost, "marriage" becomes meaningless. You can no more leave an entire sex out of marriage and call it "marriage" than you can leave chocolate out of a "chocolate brownie" recipe. It becomes something else.

Giving non-marital relationships the same status as marriage does not expand the definition of marriage; it destroys it. For example, if you declare that, because it has similar properties, wine should be labeled identically to grape juice, you have destroyed the definitions of both "wine" and "grape juice." The consumer would not know what he is getting.

Marriage, the Natural Family, and the Best Interests of Children

Marriage is the union of the only type of couple capable of natural reproduction of the human race-a man and a woman. Children need both mothers and fathers, and marriage is society's way of obtaining them.

But even childless marriages are a social anchor for children, who observe adults as role models. Besides, childless couples can be "surprised" by an unexpected pregnancy, and they can adopt, giving a child a mother-and-father-based family. Single parents can eventually marry. And marriage is a stabilizing force for all. Even when a couple is past the age of reproduction, the marital commitment usually keeps an older man from fathering a child with a younger woman outside wedlock.

Children learn crucial things about family life by observing our crucial relationships up close: interactions between men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and parents to children of the same and opposite sexes. Human experience and a vast body of social science research show that children do best in married, mother-father households. It is wrong to create fatherless or motherless families by design. The effort is being driven by the desires of adults, not the needs of children.

The drive for homosexual "marriage" leads to destruction of the gold standard for custody and adoption. The question should be: "What is in the best interests of the child?" The answer is: "Place children, whenever possible, in a married, mom-and-dad household." As homosexual relationships gain status, marriage loses its place as the preferential adoption-family option.

Defining Marriage Is Not "Discrimination"

Marriage laws are not discriminatory. Marriage is open to all adults, subject to age and blood relation limitations. As with any acquired status, the applicant must meet minimal requirements, which in terms of marriage, means finding an opposite-sex spouse. Same-sex partners do not qualify. To put it another way, clerks will not issue dog licenses to cats, and it is not out of "bigotry" toward cats.

Comparing current laws limiting marriage to a man and a woman with the laws in some states that once limited inter-racial marriage is irrelevant and misleading. The very soul of marriage-the joining of the two sexes-was never at issue when the Supreme Court struck down laws against inter-racial marriage.

Requiring citizens to sanction or subsidize homosexual relationships violates the freedom of conscience of millions of Christians, Jews, Muslims and other people who believe marriage is the union of the two sexes. Civil marriage is a public act. Homosexuals are free to have a "union" ceremony with each other privately, but they are not free to demand that such a relationship be solemnized and subsidized under the law.

Homosexual activists say they need legal status so they can visit their partners in hospitals, etc. But hospitals leave visitation up to the patient except in very rare instances. This "issue" is a smokescreen to cover the fact that, using legal instruments such as power of attorney, drafting a will, etc., homosexuals can share property, designate heirs, dictate hospital visitors and give authority for medical decisions. What they should not obtain is identical recognition and support for a relationship that is not equally essential to society's survival.

The Legal and Social Fallout

If same-sex relationships acquire marital-type status in the law, several things will occur:

Businesses that decline to recognize non-marital relationships will increasingly be punished through loss of contracts and even legal action. This is already occurring in San Francisco and in Canada.

Other groups, such as bisexuals and polygamists, will demand the right to redefine marriage to suit their own proclivities. Once the standard of one-man, one-woman marriage is broken, there is no logical stopping point.

As society rewards homosexual behavior, more young people will be encouraged to experiment and more will be discouraged from overcoming homosexual desires.

Popular understanding of what marriage is and what it requires will undergo change. Homosexual relationships, which usually lack both permanence and fidelity, are unlikely to change to fit the traditional model of lifelong, faithful marriage. Instead, society's expectations of marriage will change in response to the homosexual model, thus leading to a further weakening of the institution of marriage. Some homosexual activists have acknowledged that they intend to use marriage mainly as a way to radically shift society's entire conception of sexual morality. (See appendix.)

Recent Polls

Americans are reassessing their stance toward homosexuality and homosexual activism. Major polls show a reversal of "acceptance" of homosexuality and homosexual so-called "marriage" and "civil unions."

A USA Today/CNN poll1 by Gallup in July showed a huge drop in support for homosexual acts between consenting adults. In May, 60% supported legal homosexual acts, with 35% opposed. By July, support had dropped to 48%, with opposition rising to 46%. Among African-Americans, support for legal homosexuality dropped from 58% in May to 36% in July. Among people who attend church almost every week, support dropped from 61% to 49%. Concurrently, 57% of all Americans opposed homosexual "civil unions," with only 40% supporting them.

An Associated Press poll2 in August revealed that support for civil unions had remained steady over the past three years at 41%, but that opposition to civil unions had risen from 46% to 53%. "Close to half of those surveyed said they would be less likely to support a presidential candidate who backs civil unions (44 %) or gay marriage (49%), while only around 10% said they would be more likely."

A Washington Post poll3 in August revealed that "a strong majority of the public disapproves of the Episcopal Church's decision to recognize the blessing of same-sex unions. … So broad and deep is this opposition that nearly half of all Americans who regularly attend worship services say they would leave their current church if their minister blessed gay couples-even if their denomination officially approved those ceremonies, the survey found."

Other findings: "Three out of four frequent churchgoers opposed the Episcopal convention's decision. … But even among those who acknowledged that they rarely or never attended church, nearly six in 10 objected to blessing same-sex couples." The poll also found support among Americans for civil unions falling to 37%.


"Marriage" for same-sex couples (or the counterfeit equivalent under pseudonyms such as "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships") is being promoted as an extension of tolerance, equality and civil rights. But all these devices are really wedges designed to overturn traditional sexual morality and to win official affirmation, celebration, subsidization and solemnization of behavior that is harmful to the people who engage in it and to society, and that is still viewed as morally wrong by a majority of the American public.

For the well-being of children and of society, we must not allow the creation of government-imposed counterfeit "marriage" by any name. Marriage is civilization's primary institution, and we tamper with it at our own peril.

-- Robert H. Knight is director of the Culture & Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America. Mr. Knight was a draftsman of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the current law that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for all federal purposes and allows states to resist demands to recognize counterfeit "marriage" licenses. Some references were drawn from "Questions and Answers: What's Wrong With Letting Same-Sex Couples 'Marry?'" by Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council, InFocus, Number 256, August 14, 2003.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Whose got time?

I was perusing a pile of memorabilia, gifts given, cards written, notes of expression, and handwritten poems. "My God," I prayed aloud, " whose got time to do this anymore?" Right then it struck me... all these time saving devices... don't. they don't save time... they might help you double dip, answer email while at a ball game or multi task during a boring meeting. But save time... nah.

The time invested in a handwritten note is so precious. Somebody had to turn off the playoffs or American Idol and give themselves to writing to just you. A phone call is nice but it is over with a click- a handwritten note lasts forever. But , you say, whose got time to do that? Who can just take 10 minutes out to write a letter complete with scratch outs and underlined words for emphasis? Who can make that kind of time?

What if you began to hand write one letter or note every day? Wouldn't that be meaningful? You could write to your unborn grandchildren; or your sons and daughters; or your family who are far removed? You could skip all that tripe about the weather and jump right in to the meat- your feelings. About your missing them or how much you are looking forward to visiting with them on the holiday. You could talk about lessons that you have learned... the hard way. You could testify to the goodness of God and encourage others to seek Him.

Your gift of writing would develop - encouraging, exhorting, and strengthening those around you. You might be known for your prose and wittiness rather than your grilled cheese sandwiches... And people would learn to savor those thoughts shared that must have taken so long to write.

But whose got time...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lies on Torture

I have a bone to pick with Pres Obama. He has released carefully cleansed and politically charge memos (revealing only half of the story) to create a diversion from his ineffective and ill designed bail-out plan. He has completely botched his first hundred days and has proved to be a friend of nearly every foriegn thug and despot. But he has failed to be a friend to americans (unborn, born, and yet to be born!) His red herring is to throw out the controversial topic of torture to divert attention from his inept administrative blunders and foriegn lack of policy.

So let's talk about torture. Some high sounding folks will make sweeping statements and judgments about torture. So you will hear some say that torture doesn't work. That simply isn't true. I can find out anything about you given enough time and the impliments of "persuasion". Why, I bet if I waterboarded Timothy Geithner, I could find out if he paid his taxes on April 15th! And if you can't get a person to tell you what he knows then you don't know how to do it! Come on people use your heads... you would sing like a canary if you were being tortured. Admit it. We all would.

It turns out that certain horrible plans were revealed during these "water boarding" events that may have saved many American lives- even here in the US. Do I feel badly that my country used strong and aggressive means to extract that information and save those lives? No. Does this mean I am saying that torture is okay? I guess I can say that I am convinced that sometimes aggressive questioning is called for. Remember that there are doctors overseeing these techniques, and professionals whose job it is to get accurate information from these detainees. These aren't bad teenagers with a neighbors cat! So where does harsh interrogation leave off and torture begin???

Is there excess in these practices, sure! But if you could save thousands of Americans lives by extracting information and you refused to do so, could you call that moral? I couldn't.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Prayer for Spring by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Wonderful Cross- Part Three

Jesus was abandoned by all. He knew it was coming, he prophesied it to his disciples but the pain of the separation was great. When I was young, maybe 3 or 4 we had a store in our neighborhood called Topps. It was like a Walmart- a huge discount store. I remember playing hide and seek in the clothing racks. One time I hid pretty good inside a circular dress rack. And when I jumped out, my mom was gone. Vanished. There is a feeling in the pit of your stomach that happens when fear quickly grips you. It is often overwhelming and quickly brought me to tears. So here I am this toddler crying in the store and wandering around looking for my mom (who was surely looking for me!) I felt as if my childish game of hiding had lead me to be abandoned.

Jesus wasn't hiding. He lived his life before God and man circumspectly. yet , there on the cross, he experienced the abandonment of all his friends, his followers, his family, and even his God. Why did he experience this? So that you and I would not feel the pain of eternal rejection and abandonment. Like that stupid little toddler, our games have gotten us lost, and we are in danger of abandonment. But he knows us; and his love for us is so overwhelming that he is willing to send his Son to taste abandonment for us. What a wonderful cross!

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Wonderful Cross- Part Two

One of the great pains of the cross is the shame associated with it. Often we think of Christ as he is depicted in artists or drama's or even in films like the Passion of the Christ. In all modern depictions there has been a cleansing of the drama what has lessened the shame that Christ felt on that Cross.

Christ felt shame for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that he was naked. No loin clothe, no modesty rag, naked. Biblical Scholar Morna Hooker writes " Crucifixion was a barbaric mode of execution. Widely practised in the ancient world, it was adopted by the Romans for slaves and for the worst kind of criminal; they also came to employ it in delaint with rebels against the Roman role. Since the victime was stripeed naked and fixed immobile to suffer the torments of pain, thirst, insects and aunts, sometimes for days , it was particularly humiliating, as well as a prolonged and agonizing form of death." For a Jew to be subjected to the public indecency of public nudity was in itself a humiliation.

Christ was further shamed because of the companions crucified on either side of him- each one a thief. They were a vivid reminder to Christ (as was the excruciating pain) that the world rejected him as a liar, criminal, and blasphemer! This shame in itself was compounded by the fact that Jesus viewed his life as a ransom (Mk 10:45) and his teaching as truth from God. The holy man is rejected as unholy; the teacher as a liar; the sinless one as a criminal. In effect he was rejected, and marked out as cursed by God. To be hung on a tree was, as Paul recognized in Galatians, a rejection and an acknowledgment of not just mankinds rejection but of God's rejection of Christ.

Now we know that the shame that Christ bore was the shame for our sins since he had none of his own. His humiliation was for our exaltation. And his bearing of sin was for our forgivness. What a wonderful savior

The Wonderful Cross- Part One

Jesus had been arrested, illegally charged in an unlawful meeting of the Sanhedrin, spit upon and beaten when he was brought to Pilate to be crucified. Crucifixion usually began with a scourging or flogging of the victim’s back. The Romans used a whip called a flagrum, which consisted of small pieces of bone, pottery, and metal attached to a number of leather strands. The number of blows given to Jesus is not recorded; however, it was limited in the Old Testament law to 40. During the scourging, the skin was ripped from the back (often to the bone), exposing a bloody mass of tissue and bone. Extreme blood loss occurred, often causing death, or at least unconsciousness. In addition to the flogging, Jesus faced severe beating and torment by the Roman soldiers, including the plucking of His beard and the piercing of His scalp down to the skull with a crown of thorns (Judean thorns are 3 inches in length).

After the flogging, the victim was often forced to carry his own crossbar, or patibulum, to the execution site. The patibulum could easily weigh 100 pounds. In the case of Jesus, the record shows that He may have carried His patibulum the distance of over two football fields up hill and through the rough streets of Jerusalem. In a weak and tormented state, it’s no wonder the record establishes that Jesus needed help. Once the victim arrived at the execution site, the patibulum was put on the ground and the victim was forced to lie upon it. Spikes about 7 inches long and 3/8 of an inch in diameter were driven into the wrists. The spikes would hit the area of the median nerve, causing shocks of pain up the arms to the shoulders and neck. The Patibulum would then be turned over and the spike tips bent to prevent working loose. Already standing at the crucifixion site would be the 9-foot-tall post, called a stipes. The patibulum was then lifted on to the stipes, and the feet were crossed and nailed to the stipes. At this point, there was tremendous strain put on the wrists, arms and shoulders, resulting in a dislocation of the shoulder and elbow joints. The position of the nailed body held the victim’s rib cage in a fixed position, which made it extremely difficult to exhale, and impossible to take a full breath. Having suffered from the scourging, the beatings and the walk with the patibulum, Jesus was described as extremely weak and dehydrated. He was probably losing significant amounts of blood. As time passed, the loss of blood and lack of oxygen would cause severe cramps, spasmodic contractions and probably unconsciousness.

Ultimately, the mechanism of death in crucifixion was suffocation. To breathe, the victim was forced to push up on his feet to allow for inflation of the lungs. As the body weakened and pain in the feet and legs became unbearable, the victim was forced to trade breathing for pain and exhaustion. Eventually, the victim would succumb in this way, becoming utterly exhausted or lapsing into unconsciousness so that he could no longer lift his body off the stipes and inflate his lungs. Due to the shallow breathing, the victim’s lungs would begin to collapse in areas, probably causing hypoxia. Due to the loss of blood from the scourging, the victim probably formed a respiratory acidosis, resulting in an increased strain on the heart, which beats faster to compensate. Fluid would also build up in the lungs. Under the stress of hypoxia and acidosis, the heart would eventually fail. There are several different theories on the actual cause of death for Jesus. One theory is that there was a filling of the pericardium with fluid, which put a fatal strain on the ability of His heart to pump blood. Another theory states that Jesus died of cardiac rupture- a literal broken heart. Regardless of the actual medical cause of final death, the historical record is very clear -- Jesus suffered numerous hours of horrible and sustained torture on the cross of Calvary for me and you.