Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Message to Representative Tim Bishop on the Park 51 Cultural Center

Representative Bishop,

I am most disappointed in your statement opposing the muslim cultural center two blocks from any part of the Ground Zero site (and several more from where the towers actually stood).

Do you not realize that the only reason the issue is divisive is because bigots in the rightwing blogesphere and media made it so?

Do you not realize that a right is only a right if you are free to actually exercise it, without protest from government officials such as yourself?

There is nothing insensitive or unwise about building a muslim cultural center near Ground Zero, unless you believe that muslims as a whole are responsible for 9/11, or you're willing to allow a ginned up mob of bigots to determine your standards of morality.

I have seen no polls of 9/11 families on this issue, so I question the "sensitivity" issue to start with, but even if they are by and large opposed, there is no American or Constitutional right not to be offended in this country. (In fact, the first amendment all but guarantees that at some point, every American likely will be offended by something another American says or does.)

I can appreciate that some 9/11 families may irrationally blame all muslims for the murder of their family member, but that doesn't make them right. And just as we wouldn't permit anyone to bar any jewish family from buying a house in a neighborhood where someone was murdered by a jewish man, even if the family of the murdered man was "sensitive" to jews after losing their family member, we cannot allow an irrational distrust of all muslims based on the acts of 19 extremists, to take hold in this case.

Please reconsider your statement, and stand up for the Constitution, not only in theory, but in practice.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In reply: Standing up for American Principles, even if you Stand Alone.

In reply: Legal Insurrection: Will They Now Call Harry Reid "Extremist"?. The post lists several liberal pundits expressing displeasure with Harry Reed's statement about the muslim cultural center being built in lower Manhattan, and for some reason wonders whether they will (or is it should?) call Harry Reed an extremist, based on what he said.

The post also elicited the following comments (among others, as of this posting):

The Ghost said...It always amazes me that the left sees critisim of their speech as someone telling them to shut up ... when in reality they are being disagreed with ...
I think what is really going on is that the left would love to tell us to shut up but they know that's a 1st Amendment thingy and they pull back so they assume that their critics really want to tell them to shut up ...
They all too often accuse others of doing exactly what they would like to do or are actually doing ...

August 17, 2010 10:00 AM
2421Rich said...
This is a great example of how the DUMBOCRAT Party does not allow any independent thought.
Dear Leader calls the tune and the spineless troops must follow the party line. Deviation is punished or if you stray you are ordered to shut up.
I know that once you get away from far left there are more Democrat voters that agree with Reid on this one. It's these people Reid is forced to pander to in order to save his job.

August 17, 2010 11:06 AM
I don't know why folks'd call Harry an extremist based on his wishy-washy support for the first amendment.

But wrong?

Sure... And if his objection is based on the religion of the folks who are building the cultural center--which it seem to be, given the absence of any other reason--I have no qualms about saying he's speaking like a bigot, either.

All those folks listed (and me, too) think he's wrong, and contrary to 2412Rich's assertions, there's pretty obviously no dictum saying it's against party rules to say so, otherwise those writers'd all be towing the party line, wouldn't they? (I'm not subscribed to either major party, m'self... They've gotten too big to stand for much of anything, anymore...)

I have little use for labels or for poll-tested or "majority rules" answers, either.

I see no asterisks attached to the free exercise clause that negate the thing, subject to anyone's feelings or sensitivities. (In fact, the first amendment pretty much guarantees that at some point, every American will be offended or at least have their feelings hurt by something someone says or does. That's kinda the point of the thing.) That these muslims have the right to build the center on ground they own, subject to local zoning laws and whatnot, should be the end of the story. There is no "but..." attached to the first amendment.

Folks who believe the cultural center shouldn't be built (or shouldn't be built there) have every right to speak up and to protest. And those who think that first group of folks are wrong--including those who think they're expressing bigotry while being wrong--have every right to say so, as well.
Even if folks don't like what the other side is saying.
Even if feelings get hurt.
And even if the pollsters say one side is faring better than the other, according to popular opinion.

(Being here on what is currently the "faring worse" side, I just keep reminding myself how often the mob has been wrong before, how we don't vote on constitutional rights, here in America, regardless, and how win or lose, I'm proudly standing on American principles I think are rock solid, and worth defending.)

Folks who hold all muslims responsible for what 19 extremist islamists did, and who therefore object to a muslim cultural center 2 blocks from Ground Zero on those grounds, are espousing the very definition of bigotry. (Those questioning financing or offended by something the imam once said, on the other hand, are not bigots... ...not that I can tell, anyway... only they know what's in their hearts. That's not to say that I agree with them either, but at least they're offering a legitimate reason for their opposition.)

If anyone is telling anyone else to shut up, I haven't seen it. It's all speech and rights and sensitivities, from where I'm standing... Messy, but just as the founders intended. In short, I'm not quite sure what the majority of the five visible comments before mine are trying to say, because I'm surely not seeing what they're seeing...

Monday, August 16, 2010

In Reply: "Moving the Cultural Center Will Only Embolden the Bigots..."

In reply to: The Mahablog - More on the 9/11 Families, and in particular the update indicating that Haaretz is reporting that the folks who intend to build the cultural center in lower Manhattan intend to back down. (It sounds like planted propaganda to me--why would an Israeli paper have inside info on this?--but one never knows...)

I too, hope Haaretz is wrong.

Moving the cultural center at this stage would only embolden the bigots--both the terrorists who hate us for our freedoms, when they see how easily we're willing to give them up, and the ones here in America who are opposing muslim mosques and community centers--not to mention muslims themselves--all throughout America.

I don't care what the polls supposedly say. We don't vote on civil rights or Constitutional protections here in America, no matter how unpopular the exercise of those rights and protections may be.

Submitted for moderator approval Aug 16, 2010 @6:58 pm

In reply: "Fear, Distrust, and Bigotry is just what the Terrorists want."

In reply to: WyBlog -- Who Was That Mosqued Man?, and in particular, the following comment:
@repsac3 - This is not about stopping Muslims from building mosques. No one is opposing mosques "all over the US". There are periodic local zoning fights about mosques. And similar fights about churches and synagogues too. Come to my town where the animosity generated by a humungous synagogue which was approved in the dead of night is still strong Or several towns over where a Greek Orthodox Mega-Church spent 15 years in litigation before getting its permits.

You say these Muslims are not associated with 9/11. That's probably true. But they are associated with Hamas. And Hamas is a terrorist organization. Hamas sacked and desecrated the Church of the Nativity is Bethlehem. It's absurd for them to now turn around and demand this mosque be built to promote "tolerance". When they lift the siege of Bethlehem, then we can talk.

Oh, and let me set you straight on one point. The terrorists who brought down the towers didn't "claim" to be Muslims. They *were* Muslims. You're veering into Rosie O'Donnell territory if you are unwilling to admit that.

I'm sorry... I did not mean to imply that those terrorists were not muslim. But they represent the muslim  faith in the same way that Fred Phelps represents the Baptist denomination, which is to say, not so much. The proof of that are the millions of muslims all over the world who have never lifted a hand to anyone. To pretend that it is the extremists that represent the muslim faith (or the Baptists, for that matter) and not all those who worship in peace is no less looney than any nutjobbery to which Rosie has added her voice.

I have seen no ties to Hamas. What I have seen is a guy who chooses to be more diplomatic than to call a spade a spade. (or a terrorist a terrorist.) Something to disagree with, perhaps... but not an offense that bars him from opening a cultural center on private property in America. It's fine to be offended by his reticence to speak as forcefully as you would, in his position. But his goals are to bring extremists down from the ledge, and you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. While it's admirable to speak your mind, there are times when not saying the right thing at the wrong time will diffuse a situation better than blatant, brutal honesty. There are times when it's wiser to avoid needless confrontation.

Zoning fights? No, I'm sorry, Chris, but these are objections to mosques and cultural centers, on the basis of the same bigotry against muslims at play in lower manhattan, by what are likely many of the same people. Staten IslandTennessee. Wisconsin. Even folks on the right see what you deny: American Power: To Build or Not to Build? Mosque Protests Go Nationwide (And to his credit, Dr Douglas gets this one more or less correct.) Indeed, there are Mosque Disputes Around the Country. Even Jon Stewart is getting in on the act. This isn't the same as fights over the height of the spire on a church. In each of these cases, the issue is an objection to the muslim faith. Pretending otherwise won't make it go away.

We are America, Chris. We don't base our freedoms on what folks do in other, more regressive, repressive countries. We extend the freedom to build mosques (or other houses of worship) regardless of what other governments or groups do. We are not Hamas, and the suggestion that we should take our cues on freedom from any more repressive regeme betrays a serious misunderstanding of what it means to be an American, whether said by you or by Newt Gingrich.

You know what... Skip it... I see from the comments to the previous post that you're one of those who believes that all the muslims who aren't currently committing acts of terrorism are just pretending, lying about themselves and their faith to lull us all into a false sense of security before they rise up, take us over, and impose Sharia law. And that's to say nothing of Louie Gomert's terrorist tots... 

There's just no arguing against that kind of baseless conspiracy theorizing... I didn't realize what I was dealing with, here... You seemed far more reasonable in past encounters. Carry on being afraid. But if you were to ask me, I'd say that that fear and distrust and bigotry is just what the terrorists want.

In Reply: " That hole is their symbolic 'victory mosque,' not some cultural center."

In reply to: WyBlog -- Who Was That Mosqued Man?

No one has the right not to be offended here in America. We are a nation of laws, not of men, or of feelings. That they have the right to build should be the end of the issue, at least legally. Fake zoning hearings and landmark status pleas are beneath us as Americans.

And really, why shouldn't they build? What is it about this cultural center or the people who're involved in it or who will be served by it that so offends Mrs Palin and the rest? And since when do we Americans put rights or sensibilities up for a vote, anyway?
When Fred Phelps shows up to disrupt and desecrate a solemn memorial service for a fallen soldier we don't get all huffy about "religious freedom".
On the other hand, we don't oppose all Baptists (or everyone from Westboro), either. Opposing a cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero because it's being built by muslims, on the basis that the terrorists who took down the towers also claimed to be muslims, is little more than bigotry based on a sweeping generalization that suggests all muslims are potential terrorists.

That there are questions about the financing of the center make slightly more sense, but I don't hear too many opponents suggesting that they believe the center can proceed if the answers don't bear out any of the suppositions about "terrorist funding" being made. (And neither the money questions or the "sensitivity" issue explains why conservatives are opposing muslim mosques and cultural centers all over the US.)

Rather than making me rethink the muslim cultural center, the story about the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church makes me question why so much hasn't been rebuilt so long after 9/11. To me that is a far greater insensitivity to the families of 9/11 and to New York City as a whole than any muslim cultural center, or mosque, or Greek Orthodox church, for that matter.

(Personally, I'd love for the whole area to be strewn with churches and mosques and chapels and synagogues and temples representing the faith of every person who died in the towers, along with places to reflect and to mourn and to remember.)

But whatever they're going to build, they ought to get started. That Ground Zero is still a hole in the ground all these years later offends me far more than this proposed cultural center. At this point, I'd prefer the pre-Disneyfied Times Square. Porn shops, topless bars & hookers better represent NYC and showing the terrorists we cannot be beaten than that damned hole. That hole is their symbolic "victory mosque," not some cultural center.

Posted 8/16/10, 1:00 PM

Related: St. Nicholas Church (including links to local stories about the difficulties of getting the church rebuilt and a place to donate, if you wish to help.)

Mayor Bloomberg: Deal To Rebuild Greek Orthodox Church Near Ground Zero May Be Near

In Reply: US Bigots Help Islamist Extremists Demonize America

In reply to It"s an emotional issue, but blocking the "Ground Zero mosque" is just what the terrorists want

Treating all muslims as though they are presumptively potentially guilty of extremist terrorism is nothing more than religious and cultural bigotry. And while decent people can do no more than try to convince those who engage in it that there is a better way, even that personal bigotry pales in comparison with trying to make our government complicit in enforcing personal bigotry and animus on behalf of the city, state or country. Those who oppose a muslim cultural center (pretty much the equivalent of a YMCA) don't have any more right not to feel offended than the rest of us have not to be offended by their bigoted words and deeds. That "they have the right to build it" should be the end of the story, here in America... We are a nation of laws, not of men, or of feelings.

Whatever the "sensitivities" of the issue, the only people who would benefit from blocking the cultural center at this point are the bigots in this country who would be emboldened to oppose more muslim mosques and cultural centers throughout the United States--which is already happening--and the Islamist extremists who will use any victory by the bigots here to "prove" that the west is hostile to the Muslim faith, and to recruit more disaffected muslims to their murderous cause.

We combat muslim extremism by upholding our American values of inclusiveness and religious freedom, encouraging moderate muslims to become a part of the fabric of this country and taking away the rhetorical symbol that distrust and animus toward muslim people and the muslim faith provides those extremists who seek to do us harm.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Donald Douglas - On The Gay - August 14, 2010 Edition

Saturday, August 14, 2010, 10:00 AM:

Hey, I'm for equal time around here (barf!!). - American Power: Get Your Heterosexuality Outta My Face!
While I don't know what possessed Dr Douglas to post the video --a pretty good satire on the ridiculous "why do gays flaunt their gayness in public?" meme-- the "equality makes me sick" reaction he offers is classic for the Donald we've come to know.

An American Nihilist X-post

X-Post: In reply: 'Friends of Terror' Attend White House Ramadan Dinner

In reply to: American Power: Obama Defends Plan for Mosque Near Ground Zero — 'Friends of Terror' Attend White House Ramadan Dinner

It'd probably just be easier if Dr. Douglas and his "friends of bigotry" at Horowitz's FrontPage Magazine, Spencer's Jihad Watch, and Geller's Atlas Shrugs list the Muslims they don't believe are "Friends of Terror," because reading them, it seems as though they feel the only good Muslims are ex-Muslims (or dead Muslims... ...and it's sometimes hard to tell which they prefer).

In any case, their list of approved Muslims that "real Americans" like them could associate with--without getting that familiar guilt by association stain of "connections with" islamist jihad on 'em, I mean--couldn't be very long.

x-post at American Nihilist

Friday, August 13, 2010

In Reply: "Things pretty much are what they seem..."

In reply to (a Facebook conversation I don't have permission to post the other half of... ...though I think the gist is pretty apparent, just from my end...)

No one who reads the stuff I write can credibly suggest that I go in much for sweeping generalizations. (In fact, I'm often arguing against ones being made by others... the one you make about the lamestream/mainstream media and the "too stupid to think for themselves" American public, later in your rant.)

Do I think that the bigoted signs at tea parties are being held by liberal infiltrators? For the most part, no. Maybe one out of fifty, just as there were a very few right wing infiltrators at liberal protests.

I'm not much for elaborate conspiracies... I see a racist sign at an event, I believe the guy holding the sign is at the event because he supports the cause and that he means to say whatever it is his sign says.

I don't believe that the "infiltrator" excuse holds water, given that two major players in the tea party movement have been implicated in clearly bigoted actions. (Look up Dale Robertson and Mark Williams, and please don't claim that they're not REAL tea party people, because no REAL tea party person is a bigot.)

Now, does that mean that all tea partiers are bigots? Of course not. But those two--and most, if not all, of the folks pictured in that video holding bigoted signs--are.

Far too many of us (Americans, though I've no doubt it's more widespread than that) talk about "the right" or "the left" or "The Tea Party" or "Progressives" as though they're all one monolithic block. Anyone who suggests that Dale and Mark prove the tea party is racist is wrong, and probably has an agenda. Anyone who suggests that Rangel and Waters prove that Democrats are corrupt is just as wrong, and just as likely has a different agenda.

I think we need to learn to talk about people as individuals more often, rather than as representatives of the groups to which they belong. (If you ask me, our failure to do so is where bigotry and the divisive political partisanship you so decry in your rant begins. When we talk about Mark Williams (or Charlie Rangel) rather than "the tea party" (or "Democrats"), we can get to the business of discussing their behavior(s), rather than engaging in divisive partisanship based on what we falsely claim these individuals say or show about the groups to which they belong.)

I don't believe the American public is as stupid as you say they are. I don't believe that the American media is as liberal or biased as you believe it is, either. (I know who owns much of it, and who just works there, and therefore who calls the shots.)

Now when it comes to blind partisanship, I'm with ya, at least as far as that portion of the electorate who enjoys politics is concerned. Too many see it as a zero sum game and root for their team like it's a sporting event. The horse race "who's up, who's down" takes up too much of the news. And based on what I said above, you can see where I don't think it's a good thing.

...I'm not so sure whether they're leading us, or reflecting us back at ourselves. While it is kinda sad, America does like a good horse race, and some believe it's the only reason some Americans pay any attention to politics, at all.

...I don't believe that the portion of the electorate that enjoys politics is very large. Most folks read the paper or watch the news a little more in the week or so before an election, and then goes and votes. The rest of the time, they have families and jobs to take care of... (There's even a good argument to be made that those people aren't right; all the protesting and letter-writing and caring about every little thing in the space between elections doesn't change all that much, in the end...)

So, to wrap up, Deb, I believe my own eyes, as far as these things go. A guy holding a bigoted sign is a bigot. The news is the news (though I do suggest getting one's news from a variety of sources, including one or two that you believe might be "biased" against your political/social beliefs.) The American people are made up of all kinds of people, but by and large ain't baby birds compliantly being fed by a corrupt media (or political party, or corporate entity.)

Things pretty much are what they seem and, while some of the truth probably is out there, some of it is in here, plain as day, as well... YMMV...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

X-Post: Lifelong Heterosexual Monogamy is Unique and Indispensable.. ..and Rare, Regardless of What Gays Do

In the post American Power: Celebrating Lifelong Heterosexual Monogamy as Unique and Indispensable, Donald sends mixed messages. He says:
I've dealt with these arguments over and over again, but I must say Ross Douthat's piece yesterday was an extremely clever analytical outing. He makes the case that marriage not only is entirely unnatural, but has virtually collapsed as a social institution as well.
While all of that is true, Dr Douglas neglects to say that Ross Douthat's clever analysis consists of points in direct contradiction to much of what Donald has said himself in his dealings with these arguments. Does Dr Douglas no longer believe that heterosexual "marriage is an ancient institution that has always been defined as the union of one man and one woman," or that "lifelong heterosexual monogamy is natural," or that "the nuclear family is the universal, time-tested path to forming families and raising children?" (Quotes taken directly from the Douthat op-ed, right before he argues that each of them is factually incorrect.) I find it pretty hard to believe that Donald actually changed his mind, and thus I find it interesting that he so easily glosses over Douthat contradicting his oft-argued beliefs. Apparently though, Donald finds Douthat's conclusion worth accepting (or more than likely, pretending to accept) Douthat's arguments against much of what Douglas has been saying on the subject of gay marriage for so long.
The clincher is the last couple of paragraphs where he describes marriage is a civilizational ideal that's "unique" and "indispensible," and concludes:
That ideal is still worth honoring, and still worth striving to preserve. And preserving it ultimately requires some public acknowledgment that heterosexual unions and gay relationships are different: similar in emotional commitment, but distinct both in their challenges and their potential fruit.
Here's the thing... I don't know how many people, even over here on the other side of the debate, disagree with too much of that. Heterosexual marriage is an institution worth honoring and preserving. Heterosexual relationships and gay unions--(See what Douthat did there, and I played the opposite way? Sneaky bastard...) Heterosexual relationships and unions and gay relationships and unions ARE different, with distinct challenges and potential fruits for each.

The place to honor and preserve heterosexual marriage is in one's faith and according to one's familial moral and cultural traditions, not as a matter of law. It is not the place of the US government to hold one set of relationships and unions, challenges, fruits and all, above the other, challenges, fruits and all, particularly absent a compelling legal reason to do so, and especially when doing so would violate another civilizational and constitutional ideal concerning equal protection under the law and the innate worth and dignity of every person.
I've read around the horn quite a bit, and Douthat was certainly successful in firing up the masses. With the exception of the Steve Chapman piece (excerpted with additional commentary at Protein Wisdom), it's mostly howling gay bloggers who're up in arms about it.
Howling gay bloggers? Memeorandum lists The Daily Dish, Matthew Yglesias, Washington Monthly, GayPatriot, Prairie Weather, TBogg, Hullabaloo, The Awl, Truth Wins Out, Left in the West, Patterico's Pontifications, INSTAPUTZ, First Draft and Sadly, No!. Not that it matters (or at least, not that it should matter, even to Dr Douglas) but are most of the writers of those blogs gay (let along howling gay, whatever that is)? I count Sullivan, GayPatriot, and TruthWinsOut, I think, but I don't know that any of the others are... (And then you have to wonder whether Douglas is even intending to be literal, or whether he's just trying to slur the bloggers with whom he disagrees by suggesting that they're gay. It wouldn't be the first time he did that, for certain...)

And I wouldn't say that these bloggers are "up in arms" about Douthat's post, any more than I'd suggest that Douglas is in bed with Douthat; they just disagree with some or all of what he wrote, no different than Dr Douglas agreeing with somewhere between some and all of it.
Glenn Greenwald's piece appears to have little familiarity with actually law (or at least moral foundations of the law), but Andrew Sullivan in fact wrote a pretty good essay.
Great, now Douglas is crawling into bed with Andrew Sullivan, too. What is this world coming to?
Click on memeorandum to sample some of the responses.
I strongly urge you to do exactly that if you're interested in this issue. Donald Douglas' characterizations of how these other bloggers replied and what they said bears little resemblance to the truth in my opinion (though like Donald, I thought Sullivan's piece was pretty good). Click on the memeorandum link, read the posts, and make up your own mind.
And I suppose it's a good thing that Sully and Rick Ellensburg et al. are pushing for marriage, considering how the gay hookup culture --- despite its murderous health and safety risks --- is still pretty much the rage, at Gawker.
The hookup culture in general is morally pretty bad (as well as murderous and unsafe), Don... It surely ain't limited to teh gay. Pretending that it's a gay thing, rather than a people thing, is kinda cheesy...

American Nihilist X-post

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In Reply: Palin Eye Roll — That's SEEEEEXIST!! (Sorry Douglas, I couldn't resist)

In reply to Le�gal In�sur�rec�tion: Palin Eye Roll Derangement Syndrome:

People see what they want to see, I guess... Best to watch the video and judge for oneself, rather than taking any blogger's word for what is/isn't in it, regarding attitudes and eye rolls...

The most disturbing thing to me is the bloggers who're now digging into the woman's whole life (which is bad enough) and "reporting" every dang scrap they think they may've found, maybe, rather than getting the story down cold, one way or the other.

Singer in a drag queen band? Please...

The woman's a teacher or she isn't. Rather than all of the increasingly meaningless updates at Macsmind--being echoed throughout right wngnuttia as fact, rather than the latest bit of gossip, all too often--it'd be good if "Mac" got the facts, THEN posted the story for the rest to regurgitate. I'm just sayin'...

(I do give Jacobson props for including the words "may not be" in his update. "Gateway" Hoft and a few others I've seen couldn't be bothered to hedge in the slightest, and I won't be at all surprised to see that kinda rush to judgement biting 'em in the ass... again.)

Submitted for moderator approval 8/10/10, 2:42 PM (or so, WIS blog time)

X-Post: In Reply: Obama-Rama at Jersey Shore — That's RAAAAACIST!!

In reply to American Power: Obama-Rama at Jersey Shore — That's RAAAAACIST!!

No Donald, it's just stupid. (...though I do think the caricature of the President does look a little more "minstrel show" / "lawn jockey" than might be aproppriate... I'm just sayin'...)
I love the fact that you can almost take out Obama and Osama at the same time. But seriously, I'd say the leftist outrage is a bit much, since everything from guillotines to Bush assassination movies greeted the 43rd occupant of the White House. Well, at least it gives desperate lefties another chance to scream RAAAAACIST!!
First off, I suppose it'd be lost on ol' Don to point out that the folks at the other end of his his "desperate lefties" links don't actually scream about the game being racist (or raaaaacist). Don's got his meme and he's stickin' with it though, facts be damned...

Second, the fact that he's still whining about the various depictions and other mistreatment of Dubya back in 2008 puts the hypocrisy to his words now... Public figures get mistreated, and yeah, some of it is over the top.

While Donald likes to dismiss racism raaaaacism and bigotry biiiiigotry as though they don't exist, some things really are considered over the top (or should be) because the target is black, or jewish, or a woman.

Others are considered over the top (or should be) just because the person is a fellow human being.

The rest (including this, and much of what folks on the right whined about when Bush was in office) is just political speech, protected by the Constitution and offensive to those who don't agree with it. People who don't like Obama (or Bush, or Pelosi, or Palin) have every right to throw beanbags or pies at depictions of 'em in a carnival game. Shooting guns at 'em (any of 'em) is over the line for me, and I'd like to think I'd speak up to the owner of the carnival and/or to the media (this blog, at least), no matter who the "celebrity" target(s) were. (Bullseyes, ducks, and even non-descript "criminals" or "enemy soldiers" are one thing, but depictions of actual people just doesn't seem right, to me... YMMV...)

I'm also no big fan of burning anyone in effigy, defecating on folks, or lynchings... (Lynchings are one of those things that take on an aspect of biiiiigotry when done to some folks (blacks, witches, black witches, ...) that is somewhere between "less pronounced" and "non-existent" when done to others, whether it's intended that way or not... Folks like Don are welcome to continue denying that racial sensitivities exist and to therefore dismiss that, as they will...)

The people I most respect are consistent, and don't whine out of one side of their mouths when eeeeevil things are said about folks on their side, while saying eeeeevil things about folks they oppose out of the other. For example:
Rusty Walker said...
Oh my! I do wish they wouldn't do this. I know they mocked Bush mercilessly, and still do. I find the Leftists that traffic in this type of crudeness, vile. We don’t need this now. These are the types of isolated incidents and clips the press will pull out to accuse the entire Right as racist. I wouldn't want to be associated with anything like this regards a U.S. president...even if it were Jimmy Carter!
Yeah, that's why I generally found Rusty to be a class act, back when I wasn't banned from Don's blog... We often disagreed, but he held friend and foe to the same standards... Donald Douglas could learn a thing or two from Mr Walker... (not that I expect he ever will...)

American Nihilist x-post

X-Post: In Reply: Them ignorant, illiterate, "Barack Obama supporters" (if ya know what I mean...)

In reply to [blog]: Michelle Malkin Gets Hate Tweets

Unreal, but to be expected from Barack Obama supporters. As I've said many time, Obama really needs to work on his inner city education agenda. These be some illiterate mo-'fukers', yo!
Whatever you think of the guy's tweet*, his thoughts no more represent "Barack Obama supporters" than the few racists in the tea party (like the guy with the "niggar" sign, or the one who wrote the "Colored People" rant about the NAACP) represent "the American right."

*Me, I don't approve of calling women whores under very many circumstances... (Male and female, whores do exist, and naming it is appropriate, when that's actually what's going on... But as with other slurs, it does take on a different meaning, depending on whether the target is male or female. Just as comments about being "cheap" take on an added meaning when said about jewish folks, the shaming of women by calling their sexual habits into question make the term different for "girls" than for "boys"...) As for whether Malkintent is closed-minded, a racist, or a puppet is more up for grabs, however...

Classy use of dialect there... That guy does black folks proud at every turn...
(It's almost as though he don't know no better, yo...)

x-post from a blog that once was

Sunday, August 08, 2010

In Reply: "...we are a society who can handle differing religions, political philosophies, dissent, and even a bit of unintentional insensitivity..."

In reply to xpostfactoid: Christopher Caldwell girds for civilizational war near Ground Zero

Hear, hear!!

What got to me most (and what I posted on my own blog) was the idea that 9/11 was some kind of defeat for the US. While it lead to to some of us questioning our fundamental values and unfortunately finding them insufficient and unworkable, this time, at no time has the US been defeated by this or any terrorist attack, and if this reactionary nut doesn't realize that, he ought to go back and read our founding documents and our long history of being a pluralist and in all ways diverse society. While we've never been perfect, and while some situations do cause us to stumble, for a time, we are a society who can handle differing religions, political philosophies, dissent, and even a bit of unintentional insensitivity...

You bring out a bunch of great points (that honestly, I wish I had, in my own piece... 8>)

Submitted for xpostfactoid moderator approval 8/8/10, 7:50 AM (WIS blog time)

In Reply: 9/11 was in no way a defeat for the US

In reply to: A mosque that wrecks bridges - Christopher Caldwell - (and memeorandum), which says, in part:
"People around the world will differ over the meaning of September 11 2001, but there can be no doubting that it is one of America’s most consequential military defeats. It led to a stalemate in Afghanistan and a war in Iraq that undermined the US’s standing in the world. By providing another reason for low interest rates and easy credit, it helped spur the present economic crisis. Whether or not this was inevitable, it happened. Osama bin Laden’s strategic calculus – that the US lacked either the resolve, the cohesion or the cultural self-confidence to stand up to a mighty blow – has in many ways been vindicated."

9/11 was a military defeat for the US?

Is this guy kidding?

9/11 was a cowardly terrorist act but, as with Pearl Harbor, Oklahoma City, and other cowardly terrorist attacks perpetrated from without or within, at no time was the US ever defeated by the individuals and ideologies that brought them forth. Not for a second.

Indeed it is America's cohesion and cultural self-confidence that makes this mosque and cultural center possible, and if the author doesn't understand that, he ought to revisit our founding documents and our history of being able to maintain our pluralistic society, including dissent such as his own. The real defeat would be to give in and become less free and less pluralistic.

While I can understand the motivations behind those who believe that a mosque anywhere near the Ground Zero site is insensitive because those who perpetrated that act claimed to be doing so in the name of Islam, the rhetoric of many of the opponents (Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, to name just two) and the media coverage of the situation up to now would make canceling or relocating this project a propaganda victory for the bigots on both sides--those who believe and preach that all Muslims are potential terrorists would be emboldened, and those in the Muslim world who benefit from painting the US as intolerant and hateful toward all Muslims--indeed the very terrorist recruiters we seek to prevent--would use this episode as proof that they are correct, as well. The fact is, we in the US are not bigoted against Muslims or anyone else--though a few of us are doing all they can to make it seem so--and we cannot allow anyone anywhere to paint us with that broad brush, no matter what political, social, or religious ideology they claim to represent.

Given the choice between insensitivity (which, if real at all, seems largely unintentional) and intolerance / propaganda that we now face, I'd prefer we show a little insensitivity...

Saturday, August 07, 2010

In Reply: Legal civil unions for consenting adults from the state, and marriage from one's church

In reply to Should Government Get Out Of Marriage Business?

Harsanyi's idea about taking the state completely out of the unions between people is unworkable, but I've long supported a divorce of the religious rite of marriage and the legal right for people to form couples and families. When the definition of marriage is held by one's faith--as it was meant to be, IMHO--the state can better define the legalities involved in property rights, protection of children, privacy, and all the rest that comes with legal couplehood. While I agree that such a change wouldn't end objection to "gay marriage," I think it would clarify where the objections are coming from, calm the fears of those who believe the gays will attack churches with discrimination suits and loss of tax breaks, should they be granted their right to legally "marry," as well as clarify the equal protection arguments of same sex marriage supporters.

To PD Shaw's point, I recently read somewhere (perhaps among the comments at the Harsanyi piece, in fact) the idea of attaching benefits (and responsibilities) to children and to legal guardianship, rather than to marital status. There is no reason that a childless married couple should receive benefits meant to encourage child-rearing, and a committed gay couple actually raising children should not. (Of course I also support lower school taxes for those who don't have children in school, as well. We all benefit from having a new generation of educated Americans following us up, but those with kids attending benefit more, short term.)

So yeah... Legal civil unions for consenting adults who want that, and marriage--including gay marriage, if that be a part of the belief system (Unitarian Universalists like me, for one)--from one's church. State recognition of church rites (and vice versa, I suppose) optional, as long as married couples are recognized/not recognized equally.

Posted Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 10:30

In Reply: There were Muslims involved; Of COURSE Geller and Spencer Objected...

In reply to Why did no one object to the "Pentagon mosque"? - War Room -

Actually, both Geller and Spencer DID object...

I don't want to be the party pooper, but the author should've used the google...
Robert Spencer - West: Ramadan at the Pentagon - Jihad Watch
Pamela Geller - Pentagon Submits to Islam - Atlas Shrugs

Both were posted on October 4th, 2007, based on the October 3rd Washington Times article cited in the "Pentagon Mosque" post.

Somehow, I didn't think that either of these bigots could've passed it up... and sure enough, neither of them did.

(Have these two ever met a Muslim they didn't hate?)
Permalink to comment at Salon

Conservative Bigotry Against Muslims... ...Again.

If there's one thing Dr Douglas at American Power wants you to know, it's that some conservatives are proud to be bigoted against Muslim prayer facilities.

On top of that, it's not like conservatives HAVEN'T objected to the actual construction of Muslim facilities at military installations. Imam Saifulislam, who as far as I can tell is the only Muslim cleric being cited by Salon and Think Progress, was at the center of controversy in 2006 when an "Islamic Prayer Center" was being established at the United States Marine Corps training center at Quantico, Virgina. See, "Taxpayers fund Islamic center: Prayer building on Marine base not really mosque, officials say." And note the key information at the passage:
An announcement that the U.S. Marine base at Quantico, Va., has refurbished a building to be used as a prayer room for Muslim soldiers and civilians on base is a "bad signal," one critic has concluded.

The Marines announced earlier this summer that one of the buildings on the base had been repainted so that Muslims would have a place to pray and hold religious services

The new "Islamic Prayer Center" is the first of its kind on a Marine base, and "serves to express the Marine Corps' recognition of diversity among service members and the commitment to provide continued support to all Marines regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or gender," the base announcement said.

However, Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer said he wonders why the Marines do not seem concerned such facilities might to used to generate anti-American sympathies.

"It's going to go up as part of a testament to American multiculturalism and so on without any indication of the possibility that this could be a source of what we're fighting against," he said. "It just sends a bad signal."

At the dedication ceremony, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England praised the estimated 4,000 Muslims in the U.S. military. Joining him were leaders of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

CAIR describes itself as America's largest Muslim civil liberties group and boasts 32 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. Its mission, it says, is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

However, CAIR is a spin-off of the Islamic Association for Palestine, identified by two former FBI counterterrorism chiefs as a "front group" for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Several CAIR leaders have been convicted on terror-related charges.

"It is sadly ironic and lost on most that the plan to dedicate the prayer center and build a new mosque was approved by military leaders occupying a building that was attacked on 9/11 – the Pentagon – where more than 100 of its occupants were killed on that day," was the conclusion of those at, a private security organization.
Justin Elliot and Think Progress might want to revise their posts. Robert Spencer (along with Pamela Geller) is among the leading opponents of the New York Mega Mosque. Thus, not only is there not a "mosque" at the Pentagon, but an earlier initiative to establish a fully designated "Islamic Prayer Center" met with the same kind of opposition that we're now seeing with the Cordoba Center. I'd add as well that the same folks who protest the erection of Islamic victory mosques have stressed repeatedly their respect for freedom of religion. Imam Saifulislam's Pentagon prayer services allow Muslim service-members to worship their faith as fully protected members of America's pluralist religious order. The U.S. did not prohibit Islam after 9/11. And our armies in the field are working with Muslim populations in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world to defeat militant jihadis who kill indiscriminately, regardless of faith.

Mega Mosque opponents are asking Muslim religious leaders to exercise their rights responsibly. No one is attempting to take away those rights.

The essays at Salon, Daily Kos, and Think Progress are simply additional examples of the anti-intellectual smear tactics disguised as "debate" that are found routinely on the left. Just watch. More people will die from this kind of conservative-bashing. Talk about political opportunism. It's pretty sick.

"the same folks who protest the erection of Islamic victory mosques have stressed repeatedly their respect for freedom of religion."
We respect all religions... We just don't want the muzzies to have a place to pray...

I see... Allowing moderate Muslim Americans, including those who've joined the military and sworn to defend this country, to build mosques and prayer centers would be allowing them to exercise their rights irresponsibly, I guess...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, as well as the idiots like Donald Douglas who follow and defend them, are bigots, plain and simple. To them, Muslims--including American Muslims--are not as worthy as the rest of us, and don't deserve the same rights and freedoms. The lip service about respect for all faiths is lovely, but it ain't worth spit when you watch the things these creatures say and do when faced with real life situations, like building places where Muslims can gather and pray. Any American who objects to tossing a coat of paint on a building so that the Muslim Americans serving as marines have a space on the base large enough for them to gather and pray, simply because they're Muslim, has something really wrong with them. If objecting to their having a place to pray isn't taking away their rights, it's only because the pleas fell on deaf ears and they got their prayer center. Personally, I'm glad these fools didn't object to Ramadan prayers in the Pentagon, whether held in a dedicated mosque or an unused conference room. One can only presume that they didn't know... I can't speak for all of 'em (mostly because I feel slimy enough after having to wade through just these two), but Geller and Spencer knew, and Geller and spencer objected (of course... I guess Douglas can add this to his list o' Judeo-Christian Neocon American pride): Pentagon Submits to Islam - Atlas Shrugs, and West: Ramadan at the Pentagon - Jihad Watch.

There is something sick alright, but it's the bigotry against Muslims about which some folks on the right are so proud to express to their readership...

(Crossposted at American Nihilist)

RealClearPolitics - The Mosque Controversy & Religious Freedom

Friday, August 06, 2010

In Reply: Marriage and The State: Time for a divorce

In reply to: Time for a divorce - David Harsanyi - The Denver Post:
In the 1500s, a pestering theologian instituted something called the Marriage Ordinance in Geneva, which made "state registration and church consecration" a dual requirement of matrimony.

We have yet to get over this mistake. But isn't it about time we freed marriage from the state?

I support divorcing the religious rite of marriage from the legal rights involved in "civil unions" (for lack of a better term), for sure. Much of the argument over "the definition of marriage" involves the foolish use of the term for a religious rite to define legal rights.

As many have said, the state does have an interest in the legalities between two people who choose to unite--property rights, protection of children, settling domestic disputes--but the state should have no interest in the religious definitions and rites involved in the term marriage. I do believe that "married" and "civilly united" should have two different meanings, and I'd support replacing every form of the word "marriage" with "civil union" (or some similar legal term) in every federal state and local law.

And then if the Catholic church wants to ban gay marriage, fine. If the Unitarians want to perform same sex marriages, that's up to them. The state can either choose to recognize all marriages performed by religious officiants as legal unions, or it can choose to recognize none of them, and require it's own "ceremony" to legally unite two people.

We can't remove the state and the law from our unions, but we can divorce the religious and moral conception of marriage from the legal trappings involved, and vice versa...

Posted 8/6/10, 5:59 PM (WIS blog time)

Also at: memeorandum

In Reply: Yep, Birtherism Lives, alright...

In reply to the post Birtherism Lives, and in particular, the comments of my nutty buddy Donald Douglas, who claims not to be a birther, himself, but goes on to express and espouse many of the birther's most vociferous arguments, to whit:
"Barack Obama has not released his full medical birth report, with doctors’ signatures, etc. Newspaper announcements can be forged. And Obama has a history of secrecy — no one has seen his academic transcripts. You don’t have to be a ‘birther’ to have doubts about the president’s honesty. All you’ve posted is the ‘certif’cation of live birth’, who knows if that’s authentic, and Markos Moulitsas was the first to claim he published a copy of it a Daily Kos, so that tells you something." -- Americaneocon, Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 23:50
"@ Steven: I’m not invested in this and have written about Obama’s birth perhaps once on my blog. I just don’t like soft thinking.
You write:
“Again: this is the exact document that any other American would use as proof of birth and is colloquially known as a “birth certificate” (the rearranging of the words does not change the nature of the document). By your logic, I cannot prove that my own children were born in the US (as the only official documents issued to me by two states, 1 from Texas and 2 from Alabama) look exactly like the “certificate of live birth” issued by the state of Hawaii for Obama.”
Even accepting the possibility that Obama’s Certification of Live Birth, which is the document you have provided above, is authentic, questions remain as to whether that is sufficient to demonstrate eligibility. So to be clear: A “Certification of Live Birth” is not the same thing as a long-form birth certificate. At the time of Obama’s birth, the state of Hawaii made long-form birth certificates available. These included the name of the hospital and the attending physician, name and address of the parents, the race of the parents and the race of the baby, etc. The long form includes signatures of the doctors attending. The state of Hawaii’s long form certificates in 1961 were numbered in order with serial numbers. This is what people refer to when they talk about their “birth certificate.” I have mine (from Landstuhl military hospital). I have my children’s (from county records in California). Since Hawaii records show that these long-form documents were available at the time, why hasn’t Obama released his, and why has the hospital refused to release it? (And this says nothing about your children, or mine. No one is proving the eligibility of your children, or mine, for president of the United States.) The short form you have provided is a computer generated certification. No hospital or doctor is listed.
Even if that is sufficient for you, there were multiple ways to obtain a Hawaiian COLB that would leave open the possibility that the person in question was born outside of the state. No doctor or midwife, or any medical professional, in 1961, was required to certify to the Department of Health the facts of the birth. One parent was required to provide proof of residency and a pre-natal and post-natal certificate by a physician. A pre-natal report would show the mother was pregnant. The post-natal report would certify a newborn was seen by a doctor. Thus, it’s possible that a child born outside Hawaii could still receive a state COLB. As of today, it is still possible for a child born outside of Hawaii to obtain a short-form COLB using official state form s338-17.8. Go ahead and search it on Google.
Also, newspaper announcements are not legal proof of official birth.

This discussion, therefore, places doubt on your claim at the post above that Obama’s birth is a matter of ”a simple, empirically knowable fact …”

Empiricism requires evidence. And in the case of the birth of Barack Hussein Obama, that evidence is virtually entirely absent. Hence, it’s entirely reasonable for 6 of 10 at the CNN poll to have doubts about Obama’s U.S. birth story. You, sir, are in the minority."
-- Americaneocon, Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 22:31
And, as if this wasn't enough, the good doctor professor makes reference to the whole thing on his own blog, so that more folks can share in the conspiracy: American Power: Birtherism Lives? Only 42 Percent of Americans Believe Obama Is a Citizen
I reply, as follows (revised and extended from my original posted comment):

Even accepting the possibility that Obama’s Certification of Live Birth, which is the document you have provided above, is authentic, questions remain as to whether that is sufficient to demonstrate eligibility.
According to who? The COLB is sufficient to demonstrate eligibility for all manner of legal and government licenses and other official documents, employment, and security clearances. What official or legal entity is claiming the COLB as issued by the state of Hawaii is not sufficient for demonstrating eligibility for President Obama’s current position?
The state of Hawaii’s long form certificates in 1961 were numbered in order with serial numbers. This is what people refer to when they talk about their “birth certificate.”
In California, perhaps, but in Hawaii, the document citizens receive when they make a request to the Department of Health is the COLB. (And if I'm not mistaken, these documents carry the very same serial numbers as the long form documents--in that familiar fixed order, like serial numbers tend to be, being, y'know, serial numbers.)
Since Hawaii records show that these long-form documents were available at the time, why hasn’t Obama released his, and why has the hospital refused to release it?
At the time, Obama himself was probably too young to keep hold of the thing, being just born’n'all… His mother may’ve received one, but those things have a way of getting misplaced, especially in cases where mom has since passed on.

When you apply to the state of Hawaii for proof of birth, you receive a certified COLB, which is what’s pictured above. According to, “The Hawaii Department of Health’s birth record request form does not give the option to request a photocopy of your long-form birth certificate, but their short form has enough information to be acceptable to the State Department.”

If I had to guess as to why President Obama hasn’t found a way to get a copy of his long form certificate out there to appease every crank and asshole who remains unconvinced by the standard short-form COLB that Hawaii uses, I’d say that 1) the short form COLB actually IS sufficient proof of his eligibility for everyone who isn't a crank or an asshole, and 2) speculation by birfers like Dr Douglas has been a net positive, politically (yeah, even now, when apparently 6 out of 10 Americans fall into the crank / asshole / birther category).
there were multiple ways to obtain a Hawaiian COLB that would leave open the possibility that the person in question was born outside of the state.
Even assuming this is true, (which I obviously doubt) wouldn’t it be incumbent on the person making the charge to prove that President Obama’s Hawaiian COLB actually was obtained in a way that left that possibility open, or is it enough to simply speculate that it might've been, in some mysterious, unspecified way?
Thus, it’s possible that a child born outside Hawaii could still receive a state COLB.
And it’s your assertion that not only might Obama or someone in around him, either back in 1961 or in 2007 have received one like this, but that the COLB in question would falsely report that the child was born in a particular part of Hawaii, too? Based on what? Is anyone credibly making the claim that this did happen, or is this just more of that "well... it coulda happened, somehow..." speculation?
As of today, it is still possible for a child born outside of Hawaii to obtain a short-form COLB using official state form s338-17.8. Go ahead and search it on Google.
The danger of suggesting a dare like that is that someone will actually do it.
[§338-17.8] Certificates for children born out of State. (a) Upon application of an adult or the legal parents of a minor child, the director of health shall issue a birth certificate for such adult or minor, provided that proof has been submitted to the director of health that the legal parents of such individual while living without the Territory or State of Hawaii had declared the Territory or State of Hawaii as their legal residence for at least one year immediately preceding the birth or adoption of such child.

(b) Proof of legal residency shall be submitted to the director of health in any manner that the director shall deem appropriate. The director of health may also adopt any rules pursuant to chapter 91 that he or she may deem necessary or proper to prevent fraudulent applications for birth certificates and to require any further information or proof of events necessary for completion of a birth certificate.

(c) The fee for each application for registration shall be established by rule adopted pursuant to chapter 91. [L 1982, c 182, §1]

So yes, within one year of a child’s birth, a parent who can establish proof of legal residency in Hawaii for at least one year immediately prior to the child’s birth can obtain a COLB for a child born elsewhere. But nothing suggests that the place of birth for a child born outside of Hawaii would falsely be listed on the COLB as being in a particular city in Hawaii, so I fail to see the significance of this document. (It is also possible to get such a COLB after one year, but it is marked and certified as being a late filing, making it more suspect.)
"Also, newspaper announcements are not legal proof of official birth."
No, the COLB is legal proof of official birth, including specifying place of birth. A pair of contemporaneous 1961 birth announcements in local papers, however, are evidence (even suitable for use in a court of law) that the birth took place in the time and at the place named on the COLB.
Empiricism requires evidence. And in the case of the birth of Barack Hussein Obama, that evidence is virtually entirely absent.
I can appreciate that this is difficult for you Dr Douglas, but the COLB issued and certified by the Hawaii Department of Health, and vouched for by both the head of records and the Republican governor, as well as two contemporaneous newspaper birth announcements offering information consistent with the information found on the COLB, is the evidence you insist does not exist. According to and the documents and reports they in turn cite, there is at least one person--a friend of the daughter of the doctor who delivered President Obama--who reports knowing about the birth at the time it happened.

Individuals certainly can deny and dismiss this evidence and otherwise claim it is insufficient to convince them--preferring it seems, wild claims of incompetent or unscrupulous record-keepers in cahoots with equally unscrupulous family members who knew that this young foreign, altogether alien child would one day run for US President, faking either the documents themselves or the portions that would otherwise prove persuasive (with even less evidence than is presented by the non-birther crowd, I hasten to add)--but that doesn't mean that the evidence ceases to exist. The truth is out there, Dr Douglas... in Hawaii, and on the internets...

As I said to back in December, if you talk like a birther and make birther arguments, you’re a birther. No need to be embarrassed about it (well, there is, but…) Embrace it, Donald Douglas. You’re a Worldnet Daily reading, Corso-conspiracy-minded birther, and if this is who you're gonna be, you should stop denying it and instead be proud of it. (Now, how long will it be until my friend Mick, the birther, shows up in the comments, to tell me the REAL PURPOSE of my post and go on about the original interpretation of the Constitution and how Vattel's "Law of Nations" informed all who had a hand in creating the document, and thus what they really meant by their words.)

Posted (in original unrevised and unextended form) on Friday, August 6, 2010 at 03:23 (Outside The Beltway blog time)

The relevant links:
Birtherism Lives
American Power: Birtherism Lives? Only 42 Percent of Americans Believe Obama Is a Citizen
Birth Certificates: Exploring Hawaiian Law | Native and Natural Born Citizenship Explored Barack Obama Birth Certificate
American Nihilist: Donald Douglas: "I'm no birther... (I just post like one.)
American Nihilist: Donald Douglas: Still not a Birther (And, is Sarah Palin calling him "conspiracy-minded?") Born in the U.S.A.
PolitiFact | Obama's birth certificate: Final chapter

Thursday, August 05, 2010

In Reply: "Let one's religion define marriage. Let the state define legal unions."

In reply to: Federal Judge Declares California’s Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

I've long thought the government should get out of the marriage business, though being more of a liberal than a libertarian, my thought was to replace the word "marriage" with "civil union" in all local, state, federal laws that mention the word. (And yeah, I'd be ok with allowing any two people to "unite" for the legal benefits, including parent/child, a pair of friends, ???. I also wouldn't object to removing some of the financial benefits, because I'm not so sure that couples need a government incentive to marry, in the first place.)

Religious institutions govern the sacrament of marriage however they see fit, and the government has no role, either in telling any denomination who must be allowed to marry, or who cannot marry. (aside consent laws, of course.) But religious institutions have no role in deciding who the government can/cannot legally unite, either.

Let one's religion define marriage.
Let the state enforce legal unions, and the contracts between the individual parties and between the "united" and the state that they create.

While I'd prefer that the state continue to recognize sacred marriage as one way to enter a civil union, I wouldn't be opposed to divorcing one from the other, making them completely separate entities, either... (Religious institutions are under no obligation to recognize civil unions, of course... though of course, they may, if they wish.)

Comment posted Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 02:36 AM, Outside The Beltway blog time

Previous discussions on the subject: Wingnuts & Moonbats: marriage

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