Posts Tagged ‘community’

Religious Freedom or Discrimination?

April 23, 2015

Things change.

Not that many years ago, homosexual sex was against the law.  It was listed as a mental illness.  It was a sin.  Gay marriage was unthinkable.

Now, those laws have been either rescinded or forgotten.  They certainly are not enforced.  It has been taken off the list of mental illnesses.  Some churches have embraced it as an alternative lifestyle.  Many states have legalized marriage of same sex couples.

There are still a few holdouts.

Some people of religious faith continue to hold to their view that it is a sin, that gay marriage is a sin.  They want no part of it.  They base their beliefs on a few scriptures.

Leviticus 18:22

 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

Leviticus 20:13

 If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

I Corinthians 6:9-10

 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

I Timothy 1:8-11

But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

Romans 1:18-32

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

There are actually still quite a few people who believe that homosexual activity is sinful.  Some of these people are in business.  They believe that it is wrong for them to support a gay marriage by providing services such as photography, baking, or catering.

Is the refusal of these services criminal discrimination, or an exercise in religious freedom?  Should the people newly in power force compliance upon those who have been slow to change?  Or who will not change?

Recently Indiana had a law passed that was meant to protect people of conservative religious views.  It was poorly written, being far too broad in scope. There was an uproar of protest.  The law was quickly changed.  I would like to suggest something more specific to be considered.  Something like:

“Business people who have strong religious convictions against gay marriage will not be forced to provide services to support a gay marriage ceremony so long as those services are available by another business within a fifty mile radius.” 

This type of law would protect the right of the individual’s religious conviction while still allowing the desired services to be obtained.

Of course, maybe we have become a society that will not tolerate disagreement or noncompliance.

 

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How to Survive an Encounter With Police

March 5, 2015

The headlines of our local paper yesterday chided the Ferguson police for racial bias.

A homeless man was shot in Los Angeles.  The public is outraged.

Perhaps we should look at the other side of the issue.  How should we behave in an encounter with police?

Michael Brown assaulted the police officer.  The bruises and scrapes are clear in the photos.

The police claim that the homeless man was grabbing for the gun of one of the officers.  After the incident, an officer’s gun(one who did not shoot) was half-cocked, with a bullet partially ejected.  It is cited as evidence of the struggle for the gun.

In addition to questioning police action, we should focus on our action.  We should not punch police officers.  We should not try to take their guns.  In all of the articles that I saw after the Ferguson incident, I only saw one comment made about how the public should act in an encounter with police.  It was an African-American police chief who said that the advice that he gave his own children was simple.

Cooperate with the police and move slowly. 

In the last year three men who have died at the hands of police have made national news.  The focus has always been on the action of the police.  The fact is; the police have a dangerous job.  In our area, a while back, a deputy sheriff was shot in the face and killed while serving an arrest warrant.  In the months since these three men have died at the hands of police, I wonder how many law enforcement officers have died?  Their deaths do not often make the national news.  Their job is to protect and to serve, but they must also protect themselves.  We do not often see the footage of police officers being killed in the line of duty, but I am certain that they are used in training police officers.  They want to be able to go home at the end of their shift and they want to be able to live with themselves.  I am certain that the vast majority of officers are not looking for an excuse to kill someone.

Cooperate with the police and move slowly.

It could save your life.

 

More to the Story

March 29, 2012

The shooting of an unarmed Florida teenager by an armed neighborhood watch man has created quite an uproar.

What surprised me the most was the information that was left out in most accounts that I have read.

According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, dated March 26th, when the police arrived, George Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, had a fat lip, and was bleeding from lacerations on the back of his head.  There is a witness that saw Zimmerman on the ground with Trayvon Martin on top of him.  Zimmerman was the one calling for help, according to the witness.

This information significantly changes the story.  There is still much to debate about the role that neighborhood watches play in communities, the right to bear arms, the “Stand Your Ground” laws and so on.  It is a tragedy that the young man is dead, but we really should consider all sides of the story. Sadly, Trayvon isn’t alive to tell his side, but we should still listen to what George has to say.

 

Grassroots Politics

March 20, 2012

I am in my fifties.  This is the first year that I have participated in the local political caucus.  I also had the opportunity to participate in the county convention.  What this experience has shown me is that there is an avenue for the average person to be involved in politics.  If you feel strongly about issues, you can bring like-minded people with you to these events and it is possible to have an impact.  You simply need to be willing to invest some of your time, energy, and a little money and you can be a part of the democratic process.

It was also surprising to me the range of opinions that were represented.  I certainly did not agree with all of them, but I recognize that everyone has a right to their opinion, and a right to be heard.  It is my hope and prayer that, in the end, right decisions will be made for our country.  It was fun to be a part of the process.  Why did I wait so many years to get involved?

Retaliation is the Wrong Choice

November 30, 2010

Recently, a young man was arrested for attempting to set off an explosion during  a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon.

First, thank you to the good work of Homeland Security, and all other law enforcement agencies that participated in preventing this attack.  Great Job!!

Second, I would again want to remind us all that it is important that we not allow an escalation of hostilities.

There was a fire at an Islamic Center  in Corvallis, Oregon on Sunday.  Arson is suspected.  It seems likely that it was in retaliation for the failed bombing attempt.

The Bible clearly tells us to “Repay no one evil for evil.”  (Romans 12:17a)  By setting fire to this building we fan the flames of terrorism, giving radical Muslims a crime around which they can rally support for their ongoing activity.

Retaliation is against the teachings of Scripture.  It is against the law.  It is not effective in combatting terror.  It is the wrong choice of action.

Thank You, Veterans

November 11, 2010

Today is Veterans Day.  I would like to thank each person who has served in the military, in all of its branches, over the years.  Our country would not be what it is today without the willing sacrifice of the many who have served.  That service comes at varying prices.  Not all have had to endure combat, but all have given years of their life, in service to our country.  For those who have endured the horrors of war, it is a very difficult scar to heal in their lives.  Even for those who have never seen combat, their lives are forever changed by their time in service.

They all deserve our thanks, our prayers, and our support.

Judges Fired!

November 4, 2010

On Tuesday, November 2nd, Iowa voters decided the fate of three of the seven judges who decided that Iowa should legalize gay marriage.

They were fired.

Hopefully this will send a message throughout the country that the people do not want a small handful of people making decisions of that type, and  magnitude, in that fashion.  The decision of seven people did not strike down a new law, but in effect, created a new law of the land.  The attempt by legislatures to put into writing what had been the common practice, understanding, and law, of the state for one hundred and fifty years should not have been declared unconstitutional.

I am surprised by the observed response of the media.  It has been kept pretty quiet.  You would think that something that has never happened before would be a bigger story.  It has been a strange response.  I am curious to see what will be the ramifications of this action of the people of Iowa.

Hegelian Dialectic

October 26, 2010

The basic idea of the Hegelian Dialectic is that ideas fluctuate through time.  There is a pattern of thesis/counter-thesis/synthesis.  It has been suggested that you can use this pattern to manipulate public opinion.  You simply find someone to advocate a position that is more extreme than the opinion that you actually want held.  The resulting synthesis will be your desired goal.  If the movement is extreme, it may take several steps to get to your desired result.

Currently, there are shrill, extreme, voices on both sides of the political arena.  I wonder if those positions are held sincerely, or if they are an attempt at using the Hegelian Dialectic to sway public policy?  It would be better if we sincerely sought a unified means to a common end, rather than using manipulative tactics to get our own way.

Campaign Crud

October 25, 2010

I am tired of attack ads.

I truly wish that candidates would campaign on what they have done, and what they would try to do if elected.  There are sufficient differences in political ideologies that if people would focus on the different approaches to solving problems then perhaps we could have constructive political interaction instead of half-truths, distorted reports and accusations.

Where do we want to go?

What is the best way to get there?

These are the things that we should be discussing in our electoral campaigns. I would enjoy that discourse.  As it is, I just want the campaign season to end.

From Me to We

October 11, 2010

When we are having problems in our relationships with other people, whether it is in a church, our workplace, our community, or even in our families, the problem is usually experienced as my dissatisfaction with your actions.  I am unhappy, because you are doing something wrong.  I think that we would be better served if we would shift our focus from our personal perspective to a shared goal.  Instead of asking “How can you make me happy?” or “How can I get my way?”  We should ask “How can we make our situation better?”  How can we make our church better?  Our workplace better? Our communities, and our families better?

In seeking solutions to common problems we need to shift our thinking from me to we, from thinking of our personal needs and goals to thinking of the needs of the group.  Problems that exist in a group setting are not my problems, they are our problems.  Solutions then should focus, not on me, but on we.