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Passions in Poetry

Jack and Diane and What's Love Got to Do With It?

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Denise
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50 posted 03-28-2004 02:10 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

But they aren't paid to break the law that they have sworn to uphold.
Local Rebel
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51 posted 03-28-2004 04:19 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

which one?

(If we're going to square dance don't we need a caller?   Grab you're partner dosey doe... promenade)
Stephanos
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52 posted 03-28-2004 06:21 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron,

One problem I have with your complete dichotomy of government and morality ... is that you seem to imply that the moral standards of the Bible are taught in a Vacuum.  One (not all) of the reasons homosex is sin, is that it does hurt individuals and societies.  Sodom and Gommorah bears that out.  Other civilizations have borne that out.

If a male/ female relation is the normative standard layed out in the Bible regarding marriage, then how can you say that such an "abnormal" societal view will fare just as good?


You keep asking how "commitment" can hurt anyone.  That's not the question.  Mothers are committed to sons, for life. Friends are committed to friends.   But that's not what marriage requires.  In a transcedent way, marriage being given by God himself to humanity, that's not what marriage IS.


Let me ask you a couple of final questions:

Does God play any role in marriage?  Do you hold to the truth that God is "joining together", making the two becoming "one flesh"?  


If you say yes, then does God join homosexuals together in the same way?


If you say no, then you are lining up with LR in saying that the Bible gives nice word pictures, but nothing substantive? ... that it makes for interesting literature, and anecdotal entertainment, but it's not really that reliable for founding life principles upon?  Is that your stance?


Stephen.    
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53 posted 03-28-2004 06:38 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

False choice Stephen.

He can line up with me in saying that things like kidnapping, rape, and slavery aren't reliable for founding life principles upon.  Or do you want to try to justify them?
Ron
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54 posted 03-28-2004 07:01 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
because I consider abortion murder, and as I've stated before, that is the only acceptable time according to my conscience anyway, to break a law.

Ahh, I missed that part, Denise.

So, you agree it's okay to break the law. You only want to be able to pick and choose which ones according to your own conscience?

It shouldn't really surprise you, I would think, that others will want to do the same.

I don't mean to pick on you, Denise, but rather I would hope you can see that all of us, including yourself, are forced to draw lines and refuse to cross them. Did you follow the Alabama case where Chief Justice Moore installed a monument to the Ten Commandments in the courthouse rotunda and then willfully disobeyed a Federal court order to remove it? He did what he felt was right, not what was expedient and easy, and he ultimately paid a high price for his personal convictions. Officials who marry homosexuals in defiance of statute will face consequences, too, if they are prosecuted and the laws upheld. That's simply the way our system works.

I think Moore was dead wrong and the Mayor of SF was absolutely right, but I respect and admire BOTH for the courage to risk their own well-being for the sake of what they believe is right. The only people they ever put in jeopardy was themselves, and they did so for no real gain for themselves. Like you, Denise, they insisted on following their conscience.

(Stephen, I was typing while you were. I'll be back in a bit to try to answer your questions.)
Ron
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55 posted 03-28-2004 07:58 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Stephen, my personal relationship with God is exactly that -- personal.

What I believe the Bible is and can do will dictate the way I live my life. Those beliefs give me absolutely no right at all, however, to dictate how others will live theirs. If God wants people to have free will and make their own choices, I will (quite literally, I believe) be damned if I'll try to mandate for them what those choices should be. Our role should be to teach, mostly through example, and never to force. Coercion, either through law or social pressure, makes a mockery of Christianity and exposes our trust in God to be nothing but a lie.

If you are going to advocate even a single law based solely on Christian teachings, Stephen, you might just as well go all the way. Do you really want to pass a law that everyone must read the Bible, pray for salvation, and go to church on Sunday? Can you honestly think that would ever bring anyone closer to God? Do you really believe that's what He wants?

People have a God-given right to sin. If you could ever take that away from them, Stephen (and you can't), you would also be taking away their right to choose not to sin.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (Matt. 7:3)

Essorant
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56 posted 03-29-2004 11:38 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Gender/Sex does not make us true or false.   A true or false will does.  And that's what we shall be judged by.

If we call it "marriage" or do not, that does not change the truth or falseness either.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (03-29-2004 12:33 PM).]

Stephanos
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57 posted 03-30-2004 11:41 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

LR ...

about slavery and the Bible ...

*sigh -- If I must;


It's easy to "proof text" to make a point ... but what does slavery look like Biblically when all of the scripture is taken into account?  I wanted to add a few considerations that you didn't mention.




1) There are different meanings and nuances of "Slavery" in it's social construct and praxis, and so it's important to consider what slavery actually consisted of in the ancient world, and in Israel in particular.    


2)  Just because Civil War, pro-slavery arguments were constructed from proof-texts from the Bible, that doesn't mean automatically that such arguments were valid or incorporated sound exegesis of the Bible.  There are other views, (such as from the abolitionist Christians) that must be considered.  You only quoted "half the story" and much less than half of the scriptures pertaining to this issue.


3)  The whole history of the Jewish people was built on a generally negative view of Slavery ... in Egypt.  The Prophets reiterated this again and again.


4)  The regulations about slavery in the Bible were a) mostly concerning domestic slavery rather than national slavery (I've got an article below that illustrates in great detail the differences), and b) were quite mild in comparison with the systems of surrounding nations.


5)  A smattering of Biblical passages which express a negative view of slavery issues ...

Exodus 21:16
2 Chronicles 28:8-15
Jeremiah 22:13-17
Jeremiah 34:8-16
Amos 1:6-9

1 Timothy 1:9-10
James 5:4
Revelation 18:13


(Sorry ... I don't have the time to type these out.  Those interested will have to look them up for themselves)


6)  The ethics of the New Testament were presented more as a dynamic agent that would change the heart ... as the understanding of what it means to be "in the body of Christ" came into play.  Ripping up entrenched social customs by the roots, was (understandably) not the chosen method.


7)  Though slavery was quite a different thing in the American Civil War era, "Emancipation" advocates mostly based their views upon Christian principles.



Though you (we) are getting way off the subject (imagine that!), I don't think you've treated the subject of slavery and the Bible comprehensively enough.  And I don't think your conclusion is warranted.


Anyway for any who are interested here are a few articles of interest.


Does God condone slavery in the Bible- (Old Testament) ...
http://www.Christian-thinktank.com/qnoslave.html  


Does God condone slavery in the Bible- (New Testament) ...
http://www.Christian-thinktank.com/qnoslavent.html


Slavery, Homosexuality, and the Bible: ... a response
http://www.robgagnon.net/RespKrehbiel.htm


More later,

Stephen

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58 posted 03-31-2004 12:24 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
What I believe the Bible is and can do will dictate the way I live my life. Those beliefs give me absolutely no right at all, however, to dictate how others will live theirs.



Ron, your personal Christian responsibility and the responsiblity of Government are two different things, yes.  But you fail to admit that the Bible portrays the role of Government as an upholder of what is "right".  You still haven't answered how you interpret Romans 13.  Far from being a theonomist myself,  I still recognize that such scriptures must have some measure of public application, or they are meaningless.  What does Romans 13 mean to you?  You constantly negate, but never offer a postive Christian view on such scriptures.  I would still like to hear one.  


quote:
If God wants people to have free will and make their own choices, I will (quite literally, I believe) be damned if I'll try to mandate for them what those choices should be.



Relax Ron, you're not a legislator.  I never asked you to mandate anything.  To uphold something in principle and support is a different matter.


quote:
Our role should be to teach, mostly through example, and never to force.


I totally agree.  Aren't you confusing the Church with those in Governmental power again?  There is a very different role for both, in scripture.  One is a legislator and enforcer of law ... the other is a prophetic advisor.  The separation of Church and State was never supposed to be so total that the State can't hear and submit to the word of God, was it?  


quote:
Coercion, either through law or social pressure, makes a mockery of Christianity and exposes our trust in God to be nothing but a lie.



Agreed.  You're blurring the distinction between Governent and the Church again.  


quote:
If you are going to advocate even a single law based solely on Christian teachings, Stephen, you might just as well go all the way.



...a non sequitur.


quote:
Do you really want to pass a law that everyone must read the Bible, pray for salvation, and go to church on Sunday?



No Ron, I don't.


quote:
Can you honestly think that would ever bring anyone closer to God? Do you really believe that's what He wants?



Well, I don't trust much in what you or I "think" he wants ... especially when he has revealed much of what he does want.  I really think, rather than trying to constantly prove me wrong here, you ought to consider a couple of ideas from scripture that may at least modify (not totally overthrow) what you believe on these issues.  Because as always, I see truth coming from both sides.  And believe it or not, I consider things you say and don't dump them without scouring them for truth.  As someone has said before, this may be a case where you and I are "right in what we affirm and wrong in what we deny".  


think about these scriptures ...

"The Law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ ..."  (Galatians 3:24)


and ...


"We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.  We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for udulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers- and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me."  (1 Timothy 1:8-11)

Where's Jim? ... I know he could quote me some Luther on the functions of, and the differences and similarities between Moral and Civil law.



Stephen.

  
Stephanos
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59 posted 03-31-2004 12:50 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
On the contrary. Judges are appointed by the Executive branch and need to be confirmed by the Legislative, both of which, of course, have been elected by the people. Check-and-balances. It's a system that has worked remarkably well for a few hundred years now.



I almost missed this one...

No I wasn't talking about their appointing, but their decisions which apparantly have no checks to prevent judicial tyranny ... when they arbitrarily redefine a law, or call it unconstitutional, or initiate a "precedent" that becomes the standard.  


Stephen.  


Ron
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quote:
The separation of Church and State was never supposed to be so total that the State can't hear and submit to the word of God, was it?

The separation of Church and State should insure that the State can't hear and submit to someone's interpretation of the word of God. The alternative to that seems to be Crusades and Inquisitions.

My trust in God does not extend to you, Jerry Falwell, or Jesse Jackson. When it comes time to condemn others for nonharmful actions, I don't even trust myself. There's just too many unacknowledged planks obscuring our vision.

The fact that we've strayed so far off-topic is probably significant. Stephen, if your interpretation of Scripture is the *only* argument you can raise against same-sex marriages, then I think you've pretty much answered LR's original question.

No harm, no foul.
Stephanos
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61 posted 03-31-2004 01:10 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron:
quote:
The fact that we've strayed so far off-topic is probably significant. Stephen, if your interpretation of Scripture is the *only* argument you can raise against same-sex marriages, then I think you've pretty much answered LR's original question.



Ron, Go back and read.  I have discussed reasons, though you don't accept them.  The Biblical position provides an overview and a warning for us all.  But there are naturalistic reasons too ... Scriptural truth was never given in a vacuum.


Though you don't trust your interpretation of scripture ... I can't agree with you on that until I hear it.  If you conclude that God is quite right, yet so ambiguous that our mortal minds can never "get it", then are you bordering some kind of deism or agnosticism?    


Stephen.
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62 posted 03-31-2004 01:20 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
the State can't hear and submit to someone's interpretation of the word of God. The alternative to that seems to be Crusades and Inquisitions.



Conversely,

The State can't hear and submit to the word of God without someone's interpretation.  The alternative to that seems to be atheistic "manifestos" and totalitarian rule.


Stephen.
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63 posted 03-31-2004 01:32 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

It's coming down to this for me.

I don't think we've been critical enough of the presupposition of this whole thread.


Firstly, I don't believe changing marriage to include same sex unions will be without harm.  But why are we pretending that "well it doesn't apparantly hurt anyone" is a valid argument for such a major alteration?  If I wanted to change and augment the National Space Program to include underwater / oceanic exploration, would it fly very far on the argument ... "it won't hurt anyone."?  


I just wanted to say that, though far from conceding that homosexual marriage being legally accepted will not harm anyone, I don't really accept the "lack of harm" argument as a valid reason to change something so drastically.  What are the positive arguments for homosexual marriage?  How will they benefit society?  Remember you are talking to someone, (and there are many others) who don't think those of the same sex have any intrinsic right to get married to each other .. though they have the right to marriage as it stands just like anyone else.  


It just seems like pretense to say since something "won't hurt anybody" (though that is strongly debatable) it is therefore desirable as a social policy.  


Stephen.  
hush
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64 posted 03-31-2004 02:35 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Stephen-

Homosexual marriage will benefit the homosexuals that enter into them.

I thought that was self-evident.

Who did it benefit to let blacks sit at the front of the bus?

Blacks.

But on a broader scale... when any civil rights progress is made... it benefits us all by further incorporating that maxim "all [people] are created equal."

It furthers us toward what America truly (IMO) should be about.
Ron
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65 posted 03-31-2004 07:06 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Thank you, Amy. Well said.
Essorant
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66 posted 03-31-2004 01:57 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephen

What do you mean by "intrinsic" right?  

Denise
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67 posted 03-31-2004 08:22 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

L.R., I believe that the current understanding of the law should be honored until it is decided, if it is decided, through the legal process, that it means what those who are currently breaking it contend that it means.

Ron, My conscience can only speak to my own personal actions, true, but I also believe that the only time it is acceptable for anyone to break the law is if it is to save a life because once you take a life you can't reverse that decision/action in court. All other issues can be handled through the process for redress of grievances. I think Judge Moore was wrong, just as I think that the Mayor of San Francisco was wrong.

Ess, I think what Stephen means is that marriage isn't a "right" conferred on "couples". It is a right conferred on "individuals", and in that respect everyone has the same right to marry as everyone else, subject to the conditions of the marriage contract.
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68 posted 03-31-2004 08:58 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Stephen,

Assuming a literal translation of the Bible is accurate -- then when the Pentateuch was written the ancient Israelites had no 'all of the scripture' to take into account.  Did they?

Slavery is slavery.  Conservative Christians have been trying to spin it ever since the Quakers and Wesley started to develop a conscience on the subject.  Up until that time the interpretation by both Christians and Jews was that slavery was 'Biblical'.  

Are we then supposed to believe that God thought it was OK to enslave millions of people over the course of thousands of years because he gave a more 'humane' prescription for it?  C'mon.  Get real.

How much clearer can the issue of slavery be than a direct reference to how hard you can beat one?  How much better is kidnapping and rape than just raping a woman right on the battlefield?  I'm not going to lay out the entire scope from Genesis to Revelation because this isn't that battle.  

Ron summed it up quite well.  You have no case on the thread subject.  If you want to open up a thread on Higher Criticism, Midrash, or Lower Criticism  -- go ahead. I may, or may not, participate.  It depends on whether or not it is done with any purpose.  

That Conservative Christians have put a spin on slavery in the Bible, as well as a flat Earth, just goes to my point Stephen.  They changed their interpretations and the Christian philosophy survived.  What didn't survive was the wickedness of slavery or the myopia of the Church in the middle ages.  And that's fine by me.

Denise -- they are bound first to uphold the Constitution.  It is the superior law they must uphold.

Denise
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69 posted 03-31-2004 09:13 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

The Constitution, L.R., or their interpretation of how it should apply to the laws on marriage?
Ron
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quote:
The Constitution, L.R., or their interpretation of how it should apply to the laws on marriage?


It is, of course, their interpretation of the law, Denise.

Frankly, if I have to trust between yours, mine, or theirs, it's not going to be a real tough choice. My law degree is a bit lacking, I'm afraid. How about yours?
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71 posted 04-01-2004 12:54 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Can't keep up with you guys ...  

Ron:

quote:
There's more than a few issues hiding in your question, Jim. How do you intend to punish someone for killing themselves immediately springs to mind as one, and why should you be allowed at all to park on a street you don't own is another. But those issues, and the few score ramifications they raise, are probably fodder for another thread?


We do punish people for ATTEMPTED self-murder.  In administrative law, decisions are often made on the basis of whether something is considered "just, reasonable, and in the public interest."  I think these are far closer to being moral valuations (concerned with the "public good") than more precise legal standards (e.g., reasonable doubt, preponderence of evidence, etc.).

If you are trying to hang your "gay marriage hat" on the assertion that morality is not something to be legislated, then I'd have to say you better find another place to hang your hat.  

Jim
Ron
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On the contrary, Jim, my hat is very comfortable where it is.

Punishing someone for having a medical condition is foolish and archaic. "Just, reasonable, and in the public interest" is not the same thing as morality. There is nothing just, for example, about discrimination.

If you are going to define moral valuations as being concerned with the public good, then the question still stands. Who does a same-sex marriage harm?
jbouder
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73 posted 04-01-2004 01:51 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Ron:

Ironically, of the two of us, I would consider myself more of a human rights advocate than I would consider you.  I've seen discrimination against the most vulnerable of citizens that, if left unchecked, would have had lifelong implications and I've invested considerable energy in doing something about it.  I think the real test of whether discrimination is the bad kind of discrimination is accomplished by determining whether there is a substantive violation of life and/or liberty.  

Is denying a child access to free, appropriate, public education on no other basis besides a school psychologist's unilaterally determination that the child is "uneducable" discriminatory and harmful?  Yes.  Was slavery discriminatory and harmful to the African-American?  Yes.

That said, I fail to see how denying marriage to gay couples causes substantive harm to life and liberty ... certainly not in the same way as pre-1970s exclusion policies toward disabled children or slavery did.  So who is really harmed by telling the homosexual, "Marriage, if for no other reason except the thousands of years precedent, is defined as is the union of man and woman"?

Stephan is right, I think, in pointing out that marriage was an institution before the law recognized it as such.  I believe it wasn't until late 18th century that American law even claimed the smallest jurisdiction over marriage.  To argue now that it is the law that defines the institution is absurd.

I don't really think there is any real harm to entitling homosexuals to similar legal benefits as are afforded to married couples, but I think calling it marriage is a mistake.

Jim
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74 posted 04-01-2004 05:50 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Jim

quote:

I fail to see how denying marriage to gay couples causes substantive harm to life and liberty ... certainly not in the same way as pre-1970s exclusion policies toward disabled children or slavery did.  So who is really harmed by telling the homosexual, "Marriage, if for no other reason except the thousands of years precedent, is defined as is the union of man and woman"?



Would it harm you if the government told you that you couldn't get married?  

My injection of the slavery issue was merely to point to watersheds of change in society.  I don't think the situations are completely analagous either.  But, there is a related matter that is.  Were African-American opposite sex couples harmed when they weren't allowed to marry?  And were mixed race couples harmed when they weren't allowed to marry?

At an institutional level I don't think there is any question that the religious institution of marriage and the civil definition are two different things.  I have stated repeatedly my opposition to anyone trying to redefine 'marriage' for a religious organization.  That's a sacrament between them and their god and would obviously violate the establishment clause...

Which brings us to your question of why the government is in the business at all -- and -- its the same reasons that show up in court during a divorce -- property, taxes, liabilities, responsibilities.

For that, you are correct, it can be called Civil Union or something else and still confer those functions.  I'm in favor of it.  But, really, isn't it just doublespeak?

The numbers that I'm seeing are around 60% against same-sex marriage, but 52% for Civil Unions.
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