Tag Archive: opinion

There’s a very popular internet post currently doing the rounds on Facebook, one that Snopes itself say has been circulating since 2000. While the original author remains a mystery, the post itself is one that made me laugh out loud. You will see why when you read it yourself.

After I posted my blog about The gay marriage and religion debate I received a response to the blog that was a very long opinion piece detailing why I was wrong. I chose to delete the response because its tone was hostile and the arguments were largely incoherent though seemed to take exception to my comments regarding the change of attitude toward slavery and how that same shift in thinking cannot also be applied to homosexuality. (Editor’s note: the person posted it on their Facebook page instead).

The Letter to Dr Laura that is being shared on Facebook seems an appropriate and timely inclusion into the debate. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

On her radio show, Dr. Laura said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Schlesinger, written by a US man, and posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as quite informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman,

Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,

Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia

P.S. (It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian)

I’ve wanted to write a post for a while about my opinion on gay marriage (I’m for it), about prop 8 (I’m against it), and how I just can’t get my head around why there are so many religious types trying to say that the world will end if gay people are allowed to get married. It doesn’t make any sense to me, and I consider myself quite a smart person. Today I had opportunity to post a picture to my Facebook profile which made me smirk, and it turned into a very involved and passionate debate on homosexuality and the bible. At one point I was asked to weigh in and, dutifully, added my 2 cents worth.

[My friend] ‎has the best argument when he said: The bible notes slavery as an accepted part of society from which it’s referenced. If we agree now that slavery is barbaric and out of sync with societies norm today — then perhaps we need to reconsider homosexual relationships in a similar light.

There are many who would use the bible to judge others, to hold others to a standard they would not like to be held to themselves. There are many great Christians who don’t do that, but there are many who do. Just as there are many great Muslims who do not fall under the stereotype of being a religious extremist. There are many religions and many beliefs, which ultimately seem to culminate in the same, unifying belief system: Love others as you want to be loved; Treat people with the same respect you would ask of them in return; Show fellowship and grace; and Lead by example.

I posted the picture because I got a kick out of it. Call me a heathen if you want (I’ve heard it before, lol) but it bugs me like crazy when people use the bible as a weapon against someone else. I’ve heard many times people say “God told me to tell you – (insert inappropriate judgment here)”. Or “the bible says – (insert scathing argument here)”. But, quite frankly, if you’re going to bible-quote me, I’m going to dig up all the obscure bible references, take *them* out of context in the same way, and say “well, guess what, the bible *also* says – (insert sarcastic answer here)”.

Using [my friend]’s point, I believe that the current views on homosexuality are evolving, just as the views on slavery evolved and changed till we ended up with the wonderful Emancipation Proclamation. It grinds me to hear religious leaders and people professing to be Christian say that gay marriage will ruin the sanctity of marriage. All they’re trying to do, in my opinion, is deny gay people the right to describe their union (which is the same as mine) as “marriage”. It’s a word recognized all across the world and brings about an understanding that the union being spoken of is between two people who love each other, who promise to be together, monogamous, till death do they part. It may or may not involve having kids but one of the oft used arguments against it is that gay people can’t have kids therefore it isn’t really marriage. Well guess what, a heck of a lot of people can’t have kids, but you don’t see their marriages being annulled. Marriage is a union, a covenant before God, or in front of a judge or other official person, where a person promises to be loyal and loving to another, no matter what.

I have no problem with people being gay. I work in an industry where some of the most creative, influential, inspiring, wonderful people are gay. I have no problem with it, and I have no problem with them. They don’t ask me to be gay, and they don’t expect me to be gay for being their friend. All they ask is to be respected. And I do. The bible says a lot of things, and many of the ‘popular’ bible quotes used in the arguments I read online a lot are snippets taken out of context and re-explained. And I’m not okay with that.

Be gay if you want, I don’t mind, nor do I care. As long as you are a decent human being, you can do pretty much whatever you want and believe pretty much whatever you want. If you think homosexuality is a sin, fine by me. But remember this – its the sin, not the sinner. People are people. Telling them they are sinners will not endear them to you. It will not open their ears and their hearts to the wonderful word of God who asks that we love our neighbors as ourselves. It’s very hard to be a light unto the world when we’re so busy snuffing out the flames we don’t agree with.

And if you don’t dialogue, and bridge an understanding, how can you then fully shape the arguments of your opinions and find peace (not anger) with views that differ from yours.

I’m quite sure the Emancipation Proclamation was quite controversial in its day. And I’m quite sure that affording homosexuals the same, equal rights as heterosexuals will be just as ground-breaking.

The world didn’t end when slavery ended. I’m pretty sure the world won’t end the day gays are allowed to get married, and have it recognized equally across the whole USA.

That is all 🙂

When justice fails

The internet is on fire in outrage at the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, and Zimmerman’s claim that it was in self-defense. The fury is, in my opinion, justified and will not be going away any time soon. Yet, despite the public disgust at this case, and of the police’s handling of it, Zimmerman is still free, and no charges have yet been filed against him.

Below is a video from The Young Turks which I think greatly sums up the frustrations that any rational or sane person has when they look at this tragic murder. Note, I call it murder because that’s what I believe it to be.

There has been a March for Trayvon Martin in Union Square Park in New York City this week and more are planned. Photographer Rene Carson captured the amazing scenes that were used in the CNN story.

So why it angers me so much:

From what I’ve read and from what I understand, the law of self-defense does NOT apply because Zimmerman initiated the threat. He followed the teen (when he was told not to), he confronted the teen (when he was told not to) and he pulled a gun on Trayvon when the young man reacted to being grabbed and confronted. I’d react too if I’m walking home or wherever, in the dead of night and someone’s following me – the girlfriend was on the phone with Trayvon and gave testimony to this [1] – and am then grabbed by someone wielding a gun. Trayvon tried to defend himself – per Zimmerman’s bloody nose and thump to the back of the head [2] – but Zimmerman shot him anyway. Trayvon died that night for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time then being caught by a cop wannabe with a gun and an overactive imagination. All my opinion, of course.

The defense Zimmerman is using is rooted in Florida’s 2005 “Stand Your Ground” law, but I take issue with that and I’m not the only one. Dennis Baxley, a Republican state representative who co-wrote the law says this law does not apply. “This law is for innocent, law-abiding citizens who are under attack by a perpetrator,” Baxley told The Huffington Post. “Anyone who is out pursuing and confronting people is not protected by this statute.” [3]

An ugly twist in this tragedy is the allegation that Zimmerman used a racial slur just before confronting and shooting Travyon Martin. And it begs the question, did he single out Trayvon because he was black? Is Zimmerman a racist? Here, Anderson Cooper explores the audio further for CNN and it’s clear (to me) that Zimmerman said something derogatory about Trayvon that I suspect was, indeed a racial slur. Judge for yourself.

Then there’s the story covered by The Young Turks in which Glen Beck’s “The Blaze” tries to smear Trayvon Martin’s reputation using some deplorably dirty tactics, even by political standards. TYT discuss and analyze the comments on the website, but, quite frankly, my disgust at Glen Beck will not be ending any time soon.

The inconsistencies about the way this case was handled, compared to almost any other case in the news, is staggering. Piers Morgan said it best when he tweeted:

It’s an ugly, heartbreaking, tragic and senseless murder, and I don’t know if we will get justice or not.

The court of public opinion wants Zimmerman prosecuted, but he’s using the “Hold Your Ground” law and self-defense to justify the murder. Again, I’m calling it murder because I believe wholeheartedly that Trayvon Martin was murdered. Whether Florida will prosecute or not remains to be seen. And if nothing else, maybe the Hold Your Ground law will be repealed or clarified to prevent another needless and senseless death such as this. After all, Zimmerman did follow Trayvon when told not to by the 911 dispatcher, and he did confront the teen, when told not to, and he did shoot him. Whether Zimmerman racially profiled or not remains to be seen, but its my humble opinion that he did, hence following Trayvon at all, and hence the racial slur muttered on the 911 tape.

Now here’s the kicker, and this makes my blood boil more than anything else. If it was a black neighborhood watch person who shot and killed a white teen and tried to claim self-defense, do you think it would have taken 2 weeks for the news and social media to ignite the story? And do you think for one second the self-defense claim wouldn’t be vetted and dissected every which way but loose to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt what REALLY happened that fateful night? I didn’t think so. Trayvon Martin deserved the full protection of the law against the aggressor here, gun-wielding, self-indulgent, rent-a-cop-wannabe, racist vigilante (imho) Zimmerman. And though he was brutally and tragically murdered, he still deserves that same powerful, unwavering and COLORBLIND justice today.

We shouldn’t have to fight so hard for the police to do their jobs and arrest Zimmerman. We shouldn’t need to have the Justice Department open an investigation into the events and the police handling of the tragedy. The very fact we need them to is a great and tragic testament to exactly how far this wonderful country has NOT come.

Today, as I still watch and wait for justice to be handed down for the senseless killing of Trayvon Martin, no matter how much I love America and her greatness, sometimes she just flat-out lets me down. Today, thanks to Florida and their shockingly uncaring police department, this is one of those days.

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