Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I always regret this, but....

From the Silicon Valley Mercury, regarding the attempt to take the gay marriage debates to the Supreme Court: "Walker previously said he wanted a full trial to provide the appeals court with a complete record, including testimony related to the history of discrimination against gays and lesbians, the impact of denying marriage rights to same-sex couples and evidence related to whether Proposition 8 had a discriminatory intent."

Can I tell you how sick I am of biased reporting on this case? Clearly either the reporter or the judge himself is 100% already in favor of gay marriage--no court case necessary.

What about testimony related to the history of discrimination against religious people? What about the impact of granting marriage rights to same-sex couples (socially and for religions and religious organizations like schools and social services organizations)? What about whether Prop 8 had an anti-discriminatory (for religious people) intent? Or a religious intent? Or the intent to protect our rights to believe in the Bible as we understand it, and not force religious institutions to do things that are unconscionable to them?

I realize this is a two-sided issue that will end in someone being deeply hurt. There is no peaceful solution that I can see--my "right" to freedom of religion is at odds with your "right" to marriage. Both sides see their unalienable right to pursuit of happiness under attack. Both sides feel discriminated against and want the government to force the other guys to shut up and leave them alone. Both sides feel deeply, undeniably firm in their view. Neither side is going to be able to be convinced to change their minds--so all the explanations and propaganda out there are just feed the flames of discord instead of converting people to one side or the other. Nobody seems to be acknowledging that we don't have the right to force people to abandon their beliefs, no matter how repulsive we find them.

Do white supremacists or polygamists have the right to believe things we find discriminatory? Absolutely. We protect that right, even if we think it is horrific. Do they have the right to teach their children their beliefs? They do--and social services can't take their kids away over it. Do they have the right to hurt other people? No.

And that's where this debate stands--your freedom to act on your beliefs threatens my religious freedom and well-being--threatens to hurt me--in my perception, and my freedom to act on my beliefs threatens yours in your perception. How do you solve that problem?

One thing I know: you can't solve it by denying that the other side has something to say that is worth addressing. Sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling louder is NOT an effective problem-solving strategy. Even for the courts. Even if the press is doing it, too.

There IS an actual debate going on here, and it is very much being presented as a one-sided bullying by religion. That bothers me. One side brings up questions, the other side either refuses to acknowledge them or brushes them off with a cursory "not a valid concern" or pulls out emotional propaganda. Either way, THE QUESTIONS REMAIN. Nobody is trying to answer them. They're just trying to make people agree or shut up--but not addressing their very real concerns.

And the Press is party to the whole problem.

Where debate is stifled, government becomes one-sided and corrupt.

Regardless of the issue, if the people aren't allowed to ask questions and seek answers, we are in seriously bad shape.

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