Gay Marriage — and Why Can’t I Own a Canadian?

gay2It’s all very complicated, but, at the far end of the rhetoric, what it boils down to is this: last week the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that California’s — and every other states’ — attempt to ban gay marriage is unconstitutional.  For those of you (like me) who can’t keep track of the nuances of American law, SCOTUS didn’t rule that gay marriage is constitutional; it ruled that banning it isn’t.  Splitting hairs, I’ll grant you, but that’s what lawyers do.  Either way, this week, despite dire warnings, the sun still rose in the east, God’s in his heaven, George Takei hasn’t … well, you get the idea.

Since I’m not particularly gay, the whole on-again/off-again marriage debate leaves me cold.  If anything, I think the gay end of the rainbow gets an awful lot of media ink considering they’re one of the minor minorities in our society.  Frankly, we have more people with gingivitis.  However, on a more personal note, if gay marriage does catch on, I’m totally watching Gay Divorce Court.

Anyway, since the US government has decided to stay the hell of the bedrooms of America, opponents of gay marriage have turned to the church to sanctify their opposition.  This is an old ploy which hasn’t held much water since Clarence Darrow beat up William Jennings Bryan in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925.

However, in that vein, a couple of friends of mine sent me this email, which apparently has been kicking around the Internet for a few years now.  I haven’t checked it for accuracy and take no responsibility for mistakes.  It should be noted that my friends are Catholic and haven’t really cared what the Supreme Court had to say for itself for over thirty years.  (BTW, I don’t plan to turn this blog into a repost emporium, but I just couldn’t resist.)

Here’s the email.

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, [she believes] 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. Laura, written by a US resident, and posted on the Internet.

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 togay1 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

PS (It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian)

The Scariest Thing in the West

scared24As I wrote on Monday, one of the things that scares the hell out of me is the current crop of high-powered maniacs, prancing around the planet, trigger fingers dangerously close to (and I know these words have been overused) Weapons of Mass Destruction.  You can read about it here.  However, as much as this makes me want to crawl back to bed, assume the fetal position and turn the electric blanket up to 9, there’s something that scares me even more.   Now, honestly, I don’t wander around all day in my pajamas, chewing my fingernails and sipping Shmirnoffs, but when I do stop and think about it I wish I did.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the people in my society who should be outraged at the likes of Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong-un, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Bashar Al-Assad  and all the various other nutbars out there, don’t give a damn.  The very folks who have taken it upon themselves to try and win friends and influence people, raise awareness, make a difference or whatever other euphemism we hold dear for acute activism, could not care less.  This scares the bejesus out of me because it indicates that my society’s moral compass is so out of whack it’s now useless.  To all intents and purposes we have abandoned any moral direction and are now merely winging it, in a shrug-your-shoulders hope that something eventually sticks.  We are rapidly becoming the Seinfeld Show of history, with George and Kramer leading the charge.  Confused?  Of course you are.  From my point of view, our whole society is.  But you’re not specifically to blame.  Let me explain.

Who, on this earth should be absolutely livid with rage over what’s been scared23happening in Iran and the rest of the Middle East for the past few decades?  One guess – women.  I don’t even have to go into the gory details; the beatings, stonings, shootings etc., are all clear and common knowledge.  Even as the men of the region decry the decadence of the West, they make no secret of legally chaining their (I used that adjective on purpose) women to institutionalized domestic violence.  Frankly, to be considered a second-class citizen would be a step up for women in that part of the world, since they’re not actually considered citizens in the first place.  In the face of this, every Women’s Rights, Gender Equality, Anti-discrimination and Feminist group from the Vistula River to Venice Beach, California (and all points in between) should be in the streets right now, demanding action.  Every foreign minister, trade secretary and business leader should be buried in emails.  Every company who does business with these repressive regimes should be boycotted.   And no woman who enjoys sitting alone in a cafe, driving a car, feeling the breeze in her hair or who ever wanted her daughter to go to school should give these people the time of day.   In fact, when Mr. Ahmadinejad shows up in New York City to speak to the world at the United Nations, every woman within a stone’s throw (yes, that’s an allusion) should line the streets of his motorcade route, shoulder to shoulder, and give him the finger.

And who should be right behind them?   The Gay, Lesbian and Transgender lobby!  And who should be right behind them?  University students!  And there are plenty more; activists against poverty, hunger and oppression should all be on the front line, but in reality, they’re nowhere to be seen.

This isn’t rocket surgery, folks.  Even as North Korea is spending billions on nuclear weapons and a viable delivery system, their people are starving.  Yet I have never seen one protest, one demonstration or even one person with a sign creating “awareness” of the situation in North Korea.

Furthermore, Gay people are routinely murdered in places like Iran (which, BTW, officially doesn’t have any gay people) yet go to any Gay Pride Parade (I’ve been to more than one) in any city in North America, and you won’t see one person protesting that godawful situation.  Apparently, the real obstacle to gay equality is the weirdo opinions of some guy who owns a bunch of chicken restaurants.  (I wish sarcasm had its own font.)  I could go on and on, and I’m not going to even touch where the oh-so-political university students stand these days, but does Israeli Apartheid mean anything to you?  (Or anybody else, beyond the clever marketing department who that it up?)

scared22Our society has a very well-organized and powerful Activist industry.  It throws its weight against some serious problems and does a lot of good work.  However, its priorities suck.  Chasing chimeras of oppression in a society as benign as ours, while neglecting even to notice the true nature of repression in the wider world, is a scary indictment of all of us.  It frightens me that we are now so insulated and isolated from reality that every harsh word or social faux pas demands a media or legal response; yet, when young girls are shot on their way to school, we answer by clicking an icon on Facebook.  Something’s wrong here.  It literally scares the hell out of me that this huge apparatus we’ve created for activism, advocacy and awareness has become so morally spongy that they only fight battles they’ve already won.